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Along the way…

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I’ve been silent… and just plain exhausted, for two years. Somewhere along the way, I got lost in my own head and stopped writing. Having my words held against me during my custody battle, stole the joy out of blogging.

I’m really sad that I’m missing those two precious years from my journal. Regardless of the very public nature of my blog, it keeps the significant moments in my life that run together in the daily chaos, somewhere I can find them. The struggle of single parenthood means you spend twice as much time doing, and half as much time reminiscing. Blogging has allowed me to do both.

I burn the candle from both ends at an Olympic level. Last week, it caught up with me. I’d been up for 3 solid days and nights with a sick toddler, and our entire world was peppered with vomit, diarrhea and snot. Hers and my own. We were a hot mess, literally. Flu, my ass… I’m pretty sure we had the plague.

And I needed to wash diapers. FML.

Sneezing, coughing and struggling to throw the wet bag full of ungodly-smelling diapers into the washer… whilst sterilizing jars in preparation to can chili and black beans, because I STILL have tomatoes from the garden this summer.

Oy vey… I had to sit down and laugh/cry… because this was certainly not the Happy Ever After I envisioned when I fell in love with her father.

I wasn’t all wrong about her Dad. He helps in the ways he can from a few states away. He lets her live the life of a normal kid, and not one forever split between two parents that wanted her more than they ended up wanting each other. It’s not her fault that we aren’t together, and I’m thankful her life isn’t fractured on a weekly basis. He got engaged this fall, to a woman that suits him perfectly. They’re a happy couple and he’s a father to her three kids. All is well that ends well… aka: I work hard to bite my tongue. I lose my temper and text war breaks out every now and then, because while his not being here allows her to live a normal life and I’m grateful, she also deserves to have her dad around.

After the most recent argument, I spent a little time cleaning up my blog and deleting random mindless crap from the past few years. Reading back through the blogs I wrote is always good for a healthy reminder of why things are the way they are. I don’t always like to read back, but it always reminds me that once upon a time, I thought he was the one. I’m glad I wrote about it because it reminds me not to be a bitch to him, now most of the time.

I do believe my ten days two years of puke, mucous and shit entitle me to a little righteous indignation, but my 39 years should also grace me with enough maturity to be kind. I’m grateful that I gushed embarrassingly then, so that I can remember now to not say what does not NEED to be said.

I’ve learned a lot by being quiet. Leaving something unsaid is far more powerful than having the last word, and given how short life is, I sincerely hope that the words I leave with people on a daily basis, are kind.

Except Thomas Murray. That guy can still go fuck himself.

Happy Spring ♥

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I’m slowly getting back in the habit of writing every day to clear out the cobwebs, and I figured I’d be lazy and catch up with everyone at once, since answering emails isn’t one of my strong points.

Life has been a steady bunch of bliss for the past two years, and though things didn’t go like I expected, I have never been happier with how it all IS. My babies are growing and happy. My tomatoes are standing tall and ready to outdo their predecessors. It’s been a beautiful early spring and my garden is planted MONTHS earlier than ever before.

This little munchkin has a lot to do with that!  I’ve grown a mini farmer, and she loves to play in the dirt with me. (amen)

mqLooking back, it’s amazing how much time I wasted trying to find love. I’ve been single for nearly two years, have no intention of dating again and could not be happier. My days are full of laughter, baby dolls and rows of vegetables. I love my job, have great friends and am finally content with my fat ass.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Write on…

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It’s been a long year. In fact…it’s been a long decade.

I finished planting my garden earlier than ever last year. My corn was a huge success for the first time! The pumpkin patch of my dreams, was a reality. Through morning and afternoon baby naps, I managed to get it planted and weeded. It was actually beautiful… but sobering. I CAN grow an acre of vegetables and bottle enough to feed an army, but I don’t NEED to. I’ve given up on the fantasy of my children loving to garden, and I remember clearly how much I hated it as a child. I’m determined to cut back this year so that it’s a blessing, not a burden.

I figured it may be relaxing to write again, if only for myself. I get the nicest emails from people, asking me why I don’t write anymore. I’m not sure how to answer that?

I’m a different person than I used to be. Growing up, and more importantly fucking up; changes you. I guess you could say that I finally learned from my mistakes. As a result of my relationship failing, finding myself as a single mother with a teenager AND a newborn and a side of heartache… I grew up. I’m slowly finding my footing again, while carefully choosing each step with the knowledge that the wrong one can have lasting consequences.

I’m a little sad to see my tiny one grow so fast and I miss her infancy when I see newborns. She lights the whole world up with her constant smile, hilarious laughter and baby chatter. I don’t know how we ever lived without the joy and love she brings to everyone and everywhere. She’s nothing short of magical. I’m that annoying friend on Facebook who shamelessly inundates everyone with baby pictures and videos.

The teenager is absolutely frustratingly normal. Most days I’m the stupidest person in the world and live purely to thwart her plans for part of the day, and her best friend the other half. I am proud of the young lady I know that she is, and hopeful she’ll escape our small town after graduation to pursue her dreams. I’m grateful for the friendship I have with her dad and step-mother.

All in all, and in every aspect; life has calmed down. The custody war has long ended and my relationship with my baby girl’s dad is peaceful and friendly. He’s dating an old friend and has moved back to Colorado to live with her. He calls regularly and I hang pictures of him around the house so she sees his face. She’s just begun to say Daddy. I’m grateful she will grow up surrounded with love, not hostility. I never dreamed in a million years that I’d be raising a baby alone, but I treasure every single second and appreciate that he does everything he can do from thousands of miles away.

We’ve learned to coexist, sleep, love and make the most of every moment in the last year. We’ve weathered financial devastation, laughed through a lot of creative pasta and rice dishes and have found a new-found peace in being carnivorous vegetarians. We all love a good steak but we can afford veggies, and I grew enough to feed us all winter.

Life has changed and it isn’t what I thought it would be, but it is absolutely joyous and full of everything simple and sweet that I treasure most.

The last vestiges of babyhood have been hard to pack away. A long-outgrown bassinet stands in the corner of my room, because I love it too much to part with it. Baby shoes, pacifiers and miniature socks clutter the top of my dresser. It’s a strange mix, no matter where you look. My black work apron, a few pens, a wine key and wilted gardenia still hooked by the bobby pin that held it in my hair all night. A school progress report for Little Red, lipgloss and an antique jar of buttons. My latest knitting pattern, some industrial foot cream for my mangled server feet and a stack of bills. As always, my crafts create a happy clutter that reminds me to take time to create. My vices are all healthy, and I am definitely guilty of being a little boring these days. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m only growing three varieties of tomatoes this year. I did away with my whimsical round garden and have practical, straight rows. I wouldn’t say I’m disenchanted… more so that I’ve gotten an epic reality check. I don’t want to be bitter and jaded, but my fairy-tales turn into nightmares when I least expect them to and my heart is not a good judge of character. Consequently… I have taken myself out of the pool, entirely, and permanently.

Never. Another. Boyfriend. I have two cats… and I’d be delighted to adopt a dozen more.

IMG_7334Being boring is awesome. ♥

Grandma

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I had someone ask me if my baby was my grand-baby the other day. Seriously. My Little Red looked up in horror at the person and half shouted that her sister was NOT HER BABY.

I laughed. I was stunned at the thought, but… I’d had a baby 18 years earlier and my mother was the same age I was when my son was born. Good Lord in the morning… what an amazing difference to feel like the “old” mom.

So I went to a mommy & me group. I’m staying home with Muffin right now and I figured it would do us both well to get out and about.

I walked in wearing my favorite yoga pants and nursing shirt, My uniform du jour, so to speak. Wandering through a sea of bejeweled postpartum asses, I feel like the sharpest tool in the shed. What’s up with the bejeweled ass pants? I don’t get it.  Perhaps when I was 16?  It was awkward… but I was willing to suffer a little for some adult conversation. Ish.

I start to notice things.

They’re all younger than me.

I hate to say that was my first thought, but it was. So there it is. They all drive nicer cars than me. Ok so that’s petty but I had to laugh about it too since I’m so damn thankful I don’t have a car payment to be late on right now.

They’re all worried about being hot for their husbands/boyfriends.

I’m the only single mom.

I keep hearing them refer to me as “You two” as in, my husband and I… not my little baby and I. I’m happy I’m over 30 and dealing with this sort of shit. I can remember feeling really uncomfortable at the absence of a wedding ring on my finger when I was pregnant with my son, at 18. I do not feel that way anymore. I’m happy with the silky nakedness of my ring finger.

I explained quickly, smiled widely and reassured the few naysayers.

Blonde idiot: Oh my word I could NEVER do it without my Huuuuuuuusband. He is my rock. He is my man. I am so tired and if he didn’t do all those night time feedings I would just break down and DIE

I’m judging her before she opens her mouth to tell me these things so there’s no point in pretending I’m not. She’s a grade A, fresh off the subdivision, Walmart girl. She doesn’t breastfeed <sneer> she doesn’t get up with her baby <sneer> and she’s one of “those” women.

Those women: The women who can’t think clearly without a man telling them which way to go. Uck.

J- We do really well. That’s wonderful of your husband to help so much.

It’s amazingly uncomfortable, to be honest. They pretty much just chat amongst themselves… about things like baby shoes and strollers. Some of them are gluten free. That’s fun.

It is too much to ask for an adult mom friend? I can’t tolerate the youngsters. I admit it. I hate myself for it because I can remember clearly how the “judgey” older moms were so frustrating to me. I was a good mom, and they weren’t nice to me because of my age.

I am now that “judgey” older mom, and I can’t do it. I don’t want to hear them chat. I care about the world, at large… beyond the superficial “We went with the Bugaboo. What did you two decide on?” I hate to stereotype them. Truly, I do… but the shoe fits and it’s too damn tacky.

I’m not going back to “group”. In fact I wonder if I can make a group for old moms. I wanna talk about politics and healthcare. I want to have friends who give a shit about GMO’s.

I’m a new old mom, and I love every single bit of it.

Even being called Grandma. I just don’t want to hang out with my old self anymore.

That baby of mine is nothing but pure love & joy. Her and I have gotten our routine down. She gets up at unspeakably early hours. I sing to her day and night. Life is an awesome bunch of grins and details.  I never thought this would be my life. I had this beautiful baby because I loved her daddy so much I lost sight of the fact that sometimes things don’t work out. I never thought I’d be raising a baby alone, however… I treasure every second.

I could care less if her socks match or she’s in the same pajamas for the second day in a row. I show her everything until she smiles. I sing the ingredients I’m using to can marinara if she gets fussy while I’m rushing to get it done in between nursing and patty cake. I make a point to write the love notes in my teenagers lunch box. I remember all over again what it’s like to have a newborn that takes so much energy and inspires that much ooey-gooey adoration for just laying there like a potato.

With no child support & no second set of hands, the eyeliner and primping have to go. I have clean clothes on and her pants are dry- everything is just as it should be.  I’m thankful that she’s unscathed by it all. She’s just happy and loved and protected from everything that isn’t perfectly wonderful and happy. I could care less about makeup.

I’m going to make my own group.

For the moms who want to make friends but don’t want to change into something less comfortable.

For the moms without dads.

For the mom who is thankful for the blessing of motherhood.

For the mom, like me… that treasures every exhausted moment that makes life worth living.

I wanna hang out with those moms. Or Grandmas.

And then there were 30…

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I haven’t been writing lately. I’ve harvested an acre of veggies and have been busy wearing the hell out of my glass slippers. I rarely check my email. I sleep in. I go to bed early. I suppose you could say I’m simply enjoying the seconds tick by as I swim peacefully in my newfound fairytale. It’s been six months since I met my Superman… yet each day is better than the last.

Those happily ever after rumors… are true. I don’t have nightmares anymore; it’s all one big dream about white veils and baby socks. I AM the luckiest woman, ever born.

I find myself wishing I could erase the past two years of my life. If I could find a way to highlight and delete them, I would.

Alas, I cannot- and I would be remiss to do so. I’ve written so honestly because I find that we’re all in the same boat… the difference between me and so many others, is that I admit it.

I admit I’ve failed and I admit I don’t have all the answers. While I’d love to put my judgemental panties on each morning and convince a bunch of strangers that I’m perfectly perfect and an award winning mother, instead I admit that my firstborn hates me and I have a laundry list of douchebags I never should have gotten within an inch of. All of whom you’ve seen me fall prey to.

Ok so in some instances, I’ve ran towards the fire while being totally and completely convinced that someone as nice as I am, could not possibly get burned, AGAIN.

A word to the wise? I’ve been burned every time. A kind soul and a trusting heart render you highly flammable.

I set the world on fire with a heart determined to believe in true love, armed only with a glamorous pair of rose colored glasses and more faith than any woman should be entrusted with.

For a very long time, I failed. For a VERY long time, I had taste bad enough to qualify me as a serious contender in the douche bag Olympics, willing sacrifice division.

Then I got my delusional ass on a plane to Puerto Rico and learned in the hardest way of all. First hand. It’s safe to say I was at rock bottom. It’s fair to say I was lost. It’s honest to admit I was a train wreck. Having been lied to, cheated on, stolen from and disrespected in every way imaginable, I bought the biggest line of crap I’d ever been offered.

Thomas Joseph Murray had followed my blog for years. He’d read of my heartache, my betrayal and my disappointment. He knew how crushed I was and he knew I was ripe for the picking. A ridiculously expensive ticket later, my hair curled and green eyes clouded with hope… I flew away to collect my glass slippers from my prince.

Only to find he was the original prince of darkness, himself.

Fortunately, I was spared a lifetime with a lying con-man, and came home a helluva lot wiser.

You’ve all read the details of my disastrous island adventure, and though I walked away with an interested publisher and a dozen calls from rabid agents… I came home with the most priceless souvenir of all. My self-respect, gift wrapped with red ribbon and humility. My faith was intact, because I truly believe in good men, and refused to watch it end up in a bitter box of thrift store donations scarred by memories of a trip gone wrong.

I threw my favorite shoes away. I tossed every pair of panties I was ever stupid enough to let him touch. I burned the love letters and dumped my perfume down the drain. I did what I could to wash myself clean of the nightmare that is Thomas.

Then the women started to roll in, after I bared my ass and shared my heartache with the world. The women with so much more lost than me. The woman who’d given him 15 years of her life and never knew he was married. The woman who’d sacrificed her chance with a real man and real babies… to sit around waiting for more strategically planned lies. Worst of all? The woman who took his name and slept beside their child while he slept beside me.

God bless the good saint Natalie- who bears a burden larger than the one anyone else has ever been saddled with.

I’m fairly convinced he regrets me most, which is nothing short of a hilarious point my closest friends laugh about with me.

Thomas, Thomas, Thomas…

When you fall in love with a woman’s angry words and you KNOW what a douchebag you are, it should come as no surprise that you will end up on the chopping block at some point. When you lie to a woman with a very public platform, you have to know you’re going to suffer the brunt of the same drama that attracted you to her in the first place.

Well…assuming you’re not evil, and it’s safe to say after now 30 women have come to me one way or another via Google.

Call me naïve, but I am still so surprised each time someone emails me with another heartbreaking tale of deceit at Thomas’ hands. We’re all so eloquent, so beautiful- and so full of hope. We all have so many stellar qualities in common.

Unfortunately, we all have one bad man in common as well.

A few weeks ago I was fighting a bout of insomnia on the couch and a story came on one of my favorite shows. “Who the bleep did I marry” showcased a blogger, named Andie Nash who had her very own Thomas. Simon Reid had lied and cheated her. He’d made an unwitting homewrecker of her as well. She wrote about her heartache and his deceit, and had the same experience I did. Women started to contact her, and ultimately they arranged a little “coming to Jesus” party for Simon, complete with news crews. Andie isn’t stupid, and as a beautiful successful woman, was by no means a charity case.

Simon is simply of the same tribe as Thomas. The lying, cheating douchebag tribe.

The women they conned were hopeful, loving and wanting the same things we all want. A man to love that will love them back, honestly. They all wanted someone to treasure and bless with the beauty of a wonderful woman. Nobody sets out to find a liar. Not a woman alive wants another woman’s cheating husband.

There are bad men in the world, but there are also superhero men who pride themselves on being different from the assholes carrying the same genitalia.

Andie Nash and I have gotten our happily ever after end results to a rocky path we both unwittingly stumbled upon. We’ve gone on and done better and found happiness that’s real and fulfilling. We’re the successful end to a cautionary tale. We’re also a bold reminder for anyone looking to deceive someone. Whatever you do- don’t fuck with a blogger.

Thomas will never darken another day, for me. He’s relocated to the cold Pennsylvania he claimed to loathe, he’s definitely lost the wife who made his home warm and inviting and hopefully his children have turned away from the poor example he sets. It’s safe to assume Simon has felt the same karmic slap in the face. It doesn’t pay to lie, but when you lie to a blogger with an intense following, you’ll find yourself working overtime to cover your ass.

Then there’s that pesky Google… which has really taken the douchebag to task, in my experience. A new email comes weekly, sometimes two…. hell sometimes ten. It always starts with “I’m not sure why, but I Googled his name and found you”. We have an arsenal of tools available that thwart even the shadiest of jerks and any woman who fails to use them will certainly kick herself at some point. The amount of information that hit me upon my return from Puerto Rico was stunning. His wife’s phone number was listed on their vacation rental. She was blogging too, and with pictures he’d sent me from THEIR home. If I’d done my research, I could have found her before I learned the hard way.

Google. Use it. Believe what you see. Inform yourself and set your feet on a smooth path as a result. I don’t share intimate details of my nightmare to torment him; I share them to protect the unsuspecting women in his path who are poised to suffer the same fate.

I have a gold plated vagina card, and I am not afraid to use it. I have an extensive vocabulary and a platform and I will burn a motherfucker’s house of cards down, if need be. I’m a woman, I’m a deadly threat and I’m a wealth of nasty adjectives when the opportunity calls for it. I heard from three women last week that are positively broken by the lies and broken promises that Thomas fed them.

I’ll proudly put on a pair of redundant panties if it means I don’t hear from another devastated lovely woman.

Dammit Thomas, would you fucking quit already? It’s gotten REAL old and I’m not at all amused about having to take off my glass slippers to put my shit kickers on.

Thomas Murray: Happiness is the best revenge

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Every time someone contacts me regarding the nightmare that is Thomas Murray, I laugh a little. I can finally laugh about it. I can finally forgive myself for being so careless with my safety and I can finally shake my head at myself in the mirror.

How could I be so stupid? How could I trust someone without any concern for my own value?

I hate to admit it… but it was fairly easy. I’d gotten to a place I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I’d been broken so deeply I forgot to protect the one thing I couldn’t get back… my life.

I curled, painted & zipped myself into believing I could take risks other people “wouldn’t have the bravery to take”. I was so terribly disenchanted that I took the ultimate leap of ignorance and got on the airplane.

There are a few clear memories that stand out now that I know what a horrible idea it was. The first was the real head-shaking, heart breaking memory of handing my passport to the man in the security line at my local airport.

M- Ohhh Puerto Rico? I’m jealous! Enjoy your trip!

At the time I looked ridiculous, I’m sure. Dressed in a little black dress, heels and blonde curls for days… running on adrenaline because I’d been up all night long with my best friend. Packing and repacking… and still unhappy with what was in my suitcase. Stopping at the book store in the airport to buy Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”.

The second moment hit me on my last flight, and the one that took me into Puerto Rico. I sat with a couple who’d been married for decades, and they urged me to be cautious and warned me to watch my drink.

C- Be careful honey, Puerto Rico is beautiful but it can be a very dangerous place. Keep your wits about you at all times.

I heeded that advice, and it may have saved my life.

The third time I finally realized I was in over my head, on the phone with my red-headed sister Miss Lovely.

L- Please let me call mom, I’m worried about you and I know she would be too. Please.

I told her to call my mom right before I passed out and fell asleep. I still don’t remember calling her and her memories are what I have to fall back on when I panic over the lack of mine. I talked to her for 3 hours in the middle of the night, and told her we’d gotten in a fight, that he’d hit me and I’d packed my things and left. She said she could hear him banging on the door of my room and screaming at me. I don’t remember any of those things beyond fighting with him, but her recollection matches closely what the hotel has told me.

I came home confused and feeling broken and responsible. He tormented and terrorized me until I went public and told the whole truth. As soon as the pieces started to fall into place, he left me alone. As soon as I called his wife, he disappeared and quit harassing me.

…but just as soon as he vanished…the women started to come out of the woodwork.

I’ve been contacted by women he’s been involved with for the past 15 years, women he’d recently tried to schmooze and other women he had on the line. Twenty two women who’d had the misfortune of being targeted by a con man. What’s the one common feeling every one of us have?

We all feel stupid.

We all feel responsible, to a certain degree- and we all regret him.

We’re all right & alright at the same time. We should have known better- we all should have believed more strongly that we ALL deserved the truth.

I’m just thankful for the lesson. It scared me out of my nightmare and made me face my mortality. The experience spanked me deeply enough for me to catch my breath and remember who I was again.

I love my children and my family more than I loved the idea of having someone love me whom I loved and wanted to spend my life with.

I wanted so much more than to settle for an elderly nerdy wanna-be frat boy. He was so bad I remembered how awful it was to settle for the Dirty Boat Thief. I remember waking up hating my existence. I remember being embarrassed by my partner… I never wanted to go back there.

I wanted more and he was never enough to risk my life for.

His ultimate downfall is that he underestimated our voices and disregarded the facts on the ground.

He pursued me AFTER falling in love with my blog. Hello? I suppose because it covered more than the span of a year, people gave it more credence than some Match.com fling, but just given those facts I should have to wear a big red I on my forehead for at least a month.

He had the audacity to buy me a ticket and con me into meeting him there. I say con because that’s truly what he is. He doesn’t tell the truth to anyone, we all get tiny pieces when he decides to “bless” our hearts with to show us more love than we’ve ever known… because we’re important to him, and he’s not finished with us yet. <eyeroll>

I acted like some sort of prison inmate with no prospects and fell for simple flattery and pretty words. That’s all on me, and I take full responsibility. Definitely not a high point in my life, that’s for sure.

He paid for nearly everything, except for dinner and drinks the last two nights I was there. So all told I got to go to Puerto Rico in February for $300, I got the story of a lifetime in the history of internet dating and just the slap in the face I needed.

I never claimed to learn the easy way, and I try all the time to be a nicer person.

Ultimately I’ve met my Superman as a result of raising my standards, who happens to be the love of my life. I regret every man that came before him. I’m happier than I’ve ever known and I know love deeper than I ever thought possible.

All things Thomas promised I would do and/or have, so I suppose I’m thankful for the reminder that it’s nice to have someone treat you kindly. The charming Thomas Murray quickly morphs into Tommy Boy when you add booze, and unlike the charming dancing Lothario he claimed the infamous “Tommy” was? He’s more like an abusive jackass with no filter.

With my wits about me, I witnessed what I never wanted my life to include. I came home in one piece, but broken and compromised. Surviving it and telling the truth.

Making Friends with the other “Other” women.

Forgiving myself in the process and moving on in my life. Wanting more and being blessed by God, all the angels & saints with the greatest man I’ve ever known.

The Karma fairy gave me new wings, a future to be envied and the love of a lifetime. A man as devoted to wanting my happily ever after as I am his.

That guy I always dreamed existed, is going to be my husband and the father of my youngest child(ren).

All that limitless faith and deep abiding love Thomas loved to go on and on about? I have that and it’s rumored that Thomas relocated to Pennsylvania since all the truth came out . Some ladies were suspicious of him at a singles meeting, did a little fact checking & contacted me.

I never wanted someone like Thomas in my life.

The step father to my children that will love them as his own and set a good example? Yeah… my Superman is as good as Thomas is bad. My life is as blessed as his is cursed.

I have a few dozen new friends, countless women he was lying to now know the truth and I am happy.

I learned my lesson… and I sure hope at some point he’ll learn his.

Until then…

Drink up, Tommy Boy… and know that I have friends in every circle you walk in. Your closest confidants have apologized for your behavior and commiserated with me. The women you’ve spoken to about me have all shared your words with me.  Being young at heart is one thing, being immature is another. It’s time to grow up and be a man. It’s time to care about your own soul and your severe lack of integrity. Carpe Diem… and Cowboy Up.

Just as you treated me, in every way that you disrespected me, my intelligence, my safety and self respect? Just as much as you cared about what you had to offer… I’ve returned that effort. I’ve refused the burden of you in my life and forced you to hold your own truth.

I don’t have time in my life to hate you because I’m loved too deeply and love too much. I have nothing but a smile to offer you, and a little gratitude. Without my trip to Puerto Rico I could have stumbled along in my own misery… and you snapped me out of it. I was scared sober at the sight of the bottom of the barrel and I realized first hand that I really am shallow. I love a bald man better than a hairy one- but not all bald men are created equal and I am not the kind of girl that could handle people mistaking my boyfriend for my grandfather.

You’d be a distant memory if your scandal wasn’t so widespread, and I would have washed my hands of you if you hadn’t continued to harass me. Your own ego got the best of you, and instead of the puff piece you demanded I write… I told the truth and your other targets came out of the woodwork.

So many women in addition to your wife. Shame on you for making all of us complicit in your betrayal.

Surely you can understand then why we’re all enjoying your expose.

All 24 of us… you reprehensible douche bag.

Ohhh and some words from you that were stumbled upon and recognized immediately. You’re a bad apple, Tommy Boy– and I’d be willing to bet my life that’s exactly what Cylie figured out.

You have a team of helpers, as my ticket was purchased under a different name and the same person signed for your package in Saint Thomas.

You’re a bargain basement con-artist who’s had his cover blown and we’re a vibrant group of smart women who ended up a little wiser for the bad experience.

I can’t say the same for you.

Just when you thought you’d seen it all together…

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My dear friend and tattoo diva is leaving. Moving back to a sunnier place… sob. I look up to her so much and value her opinion so much- I’m going to be a little lost without her and I’m kicking myself for not making more time to hang out with her in the past.

She helped me for 7 hours in my garden last week… and I knew in her voice that she was serious then. I just didn’t want to even consider it, really.

On my hardest days, when I’m at a cross-roads, when my life is a disaster, when I’m in love… I run for tattoo & sister therapy. I completely embrace my tattoo habit and I will probably be covered at some point. I have no doubt, because I’m already wishing I had more skin to color in. I have a habit… and my habit makes me beautiful.

I have a poppy and a honeybee princess for my daughter, a honeybee for my son and (my favorite) my queen bee. I have a regretful tramp stamp I would love to erase. I have a kanji symbol I’d love to transform into a tomato… I have the ghost orchid for my mother, the dandelion and birds I always wanted and a four leaf clover because I’m the luckiest girl ever when it comes to finding them. I have a poem about love on my foot complete with a little red heart that I adore. I look at my skin and smile when I used to frown.

It’s still a body too chubby for my taste, I still wear the same stretch marks. I just love the beautiful pictures painted into skin I’d previously resented. I’ve never worn flip flops. I hate my feet. Hate them. I have horribly ugly feet and I’m incredibly self conscious about them. Or was. I own three pairs now. I love the tattoo my darling sister-friend drew on my foot just a week before I landed in Puerto Rico with Thomas Murray. It’s gorgeous, and deserves to be shown off. I love that foot now- and there were moments in Puerto Rico that I stared at that foot and tried to channel her.

I also have a beautiful purple orchid that Nathan Steinbauer bought me a few days before my birthday… just before I found out what a pathological liar he is. I’d taken him in with me and he’d bought me a tattoo for my birthday- anything I wanted- no questions asked. He got a military tattoo for the Army Rangers, something he’d always lied about being. He went back for a second one- the day I found out about the other girlfriend.

Through it all, my darling friend has been there… fixing me when it hurts the most, with a beautiful new reason to love the woman that smiles back at me in the mirror.

I got a new one when I panicked over Superman. A beautiful dandelion with birds… feeling like I wished for him and was so fucking scared of something being so good that I was literally flying away from that same wish. Reminding myself to breathe and spoiling myself with some time with one of my favorite people, ever.

I miss her already, and I can’t imagine not having her to run to when I need advice rooted in love and compassion- and not sugar coated or biased. Good old fashioned strong woman advice, from someone I would like to be more like. Gentle in her words and actions, but confident in her ability and worth. She’s the sister I always wanted- and there’s a lump in my throat when I think about saying goodbye to her.

Also in the increased cost of my tattoos, because they’ll have to include a plane ticket from here on out. Sigh.

Another friend of mine was going in for a tattoo today, and it was the perfect excuse for another visit to say hello before it gets a whole lot harder.

We hung out and watched for a while, then chatted before heading out the door.

… and just when you think you’ve seen it all, and your heart is a little sad at the the thought of lost opportunities to make new memories… a new one just jumps right into your lap.

There on the sidewalk outside her door, is a man taking pictures of license plates. Standing in the middle of the road to photograph cars and actually crouching down to take close-ups of license plates. He has a favorite even… the poor innocent red Geo Metro parked directly in front of her shop.

WTF?

It gets weirder…….. He has his son with him. They’re walking around side by side while the dad squats periodically to take another picture of another license plate. Nobody does a thing- myself included. I weigh my options, to be honest- because I’m dying to hear what his excuse is… but anyone willing to do something that bizarre in front of their kid, obviously has a few screws loose and I love my life these days and treasure my safety.

But…

The blogger in me is already laughing… and I can’t resist… you’re welcome.

This is, after all, why God made iPhones.

and the mother in me has to stop for a moment and hope his wife or this child’s mother reads my blog… because this is worth a chat with good ol’ Dad about the crazy example he’s setting, if nothing else.

My daughter is instantly sympathizing with that poor kid, who must be so embarrassed… but my girlfriend and I are more than a little sketched out by him…. and his love for the Geo.

We waited to leave until he’d wandered on to photograph more license plates…. sort of hoping he’d be taking one of ours when we got there… (thankfully, no such luck.)

My daughter and I both climbed into the car and said simultaneously…

J & R- I’m sad she’s leaving, and gosh that was funny.

Another crazy funny memory with a woman I’m going to miss SO much. She gave me my Blogoddess tattoo the week my blog went viral and I was having a mild nervous breakdown. She’s filled in the blanks and taught me to not only love myself, but to love myself enough that I don’t have to give anyone an explanation about who or what I am.

She’s fixed the tattoos I hated, made beautiful the things about my body I resented & has been by my side during some of the most epic moments in my life.

I miss her already.

But no matter how far she goes… we’ll always have the Geo Metro Stalker.

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