Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Year: 2010 – The Mission: Survive

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Being 36, the older I get the faster time travels. Minutes suddenly go by in seconds…I am not sure how to scientifically explain that, but it’s true. Yesterday my child was crawling out of her crib (or as she called it, her cage) and today she is about to lose her 2nd tooth and playing Wii Bowling like a champ. Last week my stepdaughter was asking me if I was her mom and this week she is intent on reminding me that I am not. And it was only a year ago I wore that J.Crew bikini I loved so much and this past summer I was sizing up tents for beach wear. How does this happen?

Calendars lie and clocks deceive…and memories are becoming harder to retrieve.

In this nostalgic, nauseating doldrum, I think it is appropriate to take a look back on 2010. This post will be dedicated to the year in photos. I will write a separate one which promises to be far more boring with less visual effects, more tears and a shit load of bitching.

So many things that seem to never change, some I wish never would and others which do perpetually.

Ahhh…the balmy Wisconsin winters…nothing like snow bathin’

Why is there some resemblance? I swear I didn't fuck a snowman.

 

Two cuties...one furry, one ferocious

Me with all my girls...Daughter, Stepdaughter and Nieces

A trip to Discovery World and a visit to my High School

Many summer days on the beach...or at least near it

Sunsets, goo and floating far, far away

Water = Fun (almost always)

New Tat, One Day of Karate and School Time

 

Amusement Mayhem and Boating Moments

Got Caught Stealin'...Once...

My Christmas Family

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Continuing the Squandering

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Okay, so not long after Eric and I broke up, I met this guy named Jiro. We hung out a couple times – had a couple mutual friends. And it was a matter of a couple weeks and we were pretty much attached at the hip. Which, I know, is not necessarily a good thing. We became pretty secluded and focused on each other – but not to the point of destruction like it was with Eric. I worked the whole time we were together as did he. We weren’t entirely mature and some bad habits remained, but it wasn’t as bad as the previous few years. We were literally together every single day.

I made huge mistakes in this new relationship. It had the possibility of surviving once we grew up a bit…I mean, it was possible. We even waited a good 6 months before we were “intimate”. We were both very much in love. But his need for some playtime and freedom and my need for total control and possessiveness ran our 3 year rendezvous straight into a brick wall.

I was unrelenting. I was so afraid I would lose him that I gave him hell if he were to want time to himself or with his friends. In my mind, time to himself meant he did not want to be with me. It was this huge threat. And when he was able to break away, I was a paranoid freak. I would call and call until I reached him. I would interrogate him about what, where, who, etc. What a fucking pain in thee ass I was. I look back now and am quite frankly ashamed.

Its not like he was entirely perfect. I bailed him out financially (with help from my parents) a couple times. I drove his car as he delivered pizzas for a good 6 months when he lost his license. I caught him in a few lies which only gave my paranoia momentum. There were many things his mother didn’t like about me and us. She pretty much ignored me for 3 years. I know he allowed her to believe that his poor choices were somehow my fault. And he never once stood up for me. He would tell me it was just because I wasn’t Armenian. That she hated American women. I highly doubt that to be the case now that I know he is married to an American. He always told me that we wouldn’t be able to marry me until his mother passes away. He said it jokingly (his humor was almost as sick as mine), but I knew it was kind of tongue in cheek.

When I was 23, my father died. I hadn’t seen him in a year and before that visits were sparse if at all. Our relationship had been estranged for a long time. He would take off for years at a time during my childhood and often we wondered if he was even alive. My brother and I were treated very much like emotional yoyos. By the time I was 17 or so, I had given up and started to become angry. I stopped answering and returning his calls. When I did talk to him, it was a guilt fest and I certainly didn’t want to deal with that. He had been saying for years that he was dying and had all these terrible diseases. But I knew that even if that were true, his real problem was with drug addiction. I know at the end he was on methadone…who knows what else.

One beautiful September day I received a call after dropping Jiro off at work. It was my step mother and she said my father was not doing well and that we should probably come to the hospital. My brother and I were busy buying a home with his then fiancé. It was a flat – he would be living downstairs with her and I was upstairs – alone since Jiro could have NEVER told his mother he wanted to LIVE with ME. (GASP!!). Well, the three of us decided to go up to Milwaukee and visit him. We were not expecting anything major as we have been through this a number of times. In my dad’s thirties he had a quadruple bypass. He was always in and out of hospitals for one reason or another but he always turned out ok. Not well…by ANY means…but ok. We really always felt that his mentally created his own illnesses and misery; but that he would somehow live forever.

As we arrived we saw a man we didn’t recognize. It was horrible. He was kind of out of it…but still able to communicate. After a little while of visiting…he took his last breath. I was sitting next to him as he was in the chair finishing his dinner…drinking coffee actually. The others were down the hall in the vending area. I was alone with him when I watched breathlessly as he left his body. I have written about this before…so I won’t detail the hell outta ya. Needless to say, it was very difficult.

The day after, we had to go back up to Milwaukee to make funeral arrangements with my stepmother. I knew on that very day that Jiro and I would not be together much longer. I was a complete wreck. I could barely contain myself. I was just so incredibly sad and scared and brimming with guilt. My father, whom was only 46 years old, was gone forever. Anyway, I really needed Jiro to be there for me and with me. But he had prior plans to go to a Brewer game and decided to continue on with those plans. He tried to be there for me throughout the funeral and subsequent days…but I could feel the pulling away. He had lost his father when he was very young – 12 I believe. I do not think he ever really dealt with that and I am sure seeing me and my reactions were only bringing up emotions he had been able to hide away successfully for so long.

About one week after my father passed I was to start a new job. A good job comparatively. I even stopped smoking weed and everything. I know, that sounds bad…but it was a major step for me at that time. It was a job at the hospital. Patient Call Center Associate was the title and I was excited about it. The night before I was to start, Jiro was out with his friends much later than he said he would be. I couldn’t get a hold of him and that agony in my stomach was there in full force. THEN my sister in law tells me that he had lied to me about going to a strip club a few weeks prior. He lied up and down – swore on everything that he did not go. But in my gut, I knew he did. Anyway, as I am waiting and wondering I get this bit of info and I pretty much lost it. I was SO pathetically insecure. Finally he called at about 1am. He had just returned home. I confronted him about the news I had learned. Without hesitation he told me we were through. No arguments about it…there was no talking him out of it. It was over. And I was certain I would die. But while dying, I had to start a new job in several hours.

I somehow made it in…made it through training…made it through moving into our new house…made it through my grandfather dying 2 weeks later…made it through my mom and stepdad moving an hour away…made it through, but not easily.

Thought I didn’t realize it at the time, I really liked the new job. I felt for the first time in a LONG time that I wasn’t a complete loser. I made friends and we had a lot of fun there. I had my little apartment above my brother – it was small, cozy and ALL MINE. I truly loved living on my own – not having to answer to ANYONE. I even got a second job on the weekends at George’s tavern. And I went back to school at Gateway to work towards SOME kind of degree. I was gettin’ my shit together. But it wasn’t all roses.

I started having these episodes of shear terror. My heart would race, I couldn’t catch my breath, I would shake like a leaf and I just knew I was dying. I made several trips to the ER ending with a dose of xanax and a pat on the head. I began therapy and was diagnosed with panic and anxiety disorder as well as clinical depression. WHY?? Why was this happening when I finally started to live a real life?? The attacks started happening more and more. They affected every part of my life. And I was a virtual guinea pig for the prescribing docs. I cannot even count all the different drugs I have swallowed in the game of trial and error. Thank God I had some really good friends to help me through these times. Maureen, Gina, Kevin, Kim just to name a few…they were very helpful and I will never forget that.

During all of this I was still somehow convinced that Jiro and I were meant to be together and eventually would be. I would call him maybe once or twice a year. Even popped over at his house a couple times when my inhibitions were low. Nothing ever happened between us again…I couldn’t really face it then…but it was obviously over. I was just not willing to accept that. And up until I was married I still always thought that…maybe…someday…somehow…but nope. I had to say goodbye. I love my husband to death. He is so great to me and for me. Wonderful dad. And I am so grateful. But a part of me wonders if that one little part of my heart will forever remain broken. A little knick with his name on it adorning an otherwise love filled heart.

So, here I was. 24ish. 2 jobs, part time school, friends, fun, dating and a raging panic disorder. I was sure to fuck up a few more things along the way.  And that I did.

To be continued….(upcoming: A lot of first dates, Jack and Coke, George’s and another return to the folks)

My 20s…The Squandered Years

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Either my 20s blew or I blew my 20s. I cannot seem to recall; but I have a feeling it is the latter. It was an accumulation of bad decisions, bad direction and bad habits. It pangs me in those nostalgic moments to realize how I squandered the young, good looking, skinny years of freedom with bad relationships, drugs, alcohol and loneliness. I should have been in college when I was at the Grateful Dead concerts. I should have been creating a healthy family instead of fixating on destructive relationships. I should have been working out instead of smoking, drinking and (cough) other things. But I didn’t. So when I flash back to a hidden memory my heart breaks a little and I grieve for that which never existed.

At 18, I couldn’t move out of the house soon enough. My step dad was super strict and I had little freedom or privacy and I was out as soon as possible. Because of this, I was truly never prepared to be on my own and had to subsequently move back in several times – each time worse than the last. When I was about 18, I moved into an apartment with my best friend Paige and her cousin, Wendy. I was a horrible roommate. I was a fuckin’ kid with no work ethic and a new found fondness of weed. Up until age 18…I was pretty innocent. Never went to parties, never drank (maybe twice my entire teenage career), no drugs whatsoever and I was a virgin until almost 19. But once I tried pot…I knew it was the one thing in this world which could make me feel better. For once I wasn’t concerned with – or I should say obsessed with – what other people thought. I started to gain some self awareness instead of focusing on others. I stopped being so freakin’ depressed. I could laugh and laugh. That year was speckled with many good times. I just didn’t know when to say when.

Anyway, yea, roommate fucktard is what I was. I never paid my bills on time. I never wanted to work. I mean my friends and boyfriend were in college during the day (sometimes lol) and partied at night. And although I lived several blocks from UW Milwaukee…lived minutes away from campus aka party central…I did not attend. First biggest mistake was not making sure that I was able to go to college. My grades were very average in high school – it simply bored the piss out of me. My ACTs were very good, but because I wasn’t in the top half of my class…getting into a “real” college would have taken more than just filling out an application. Other steps needed to be taken, all the money would have to come from loans and I was just not responsible enough to grab the reins of my life. My parents never really pushed for college. Lord knows they couldn’t afford it. And I just really think they never expected that I could accomplish something like that. I was never once persuaded to attain this collegiate goal. Neither of them went to a four year school either. When I think about how much I missed out on by not living that college experience…it really makes me quite sad.

Living with my best friend ruined our friendship. We were friends after and still are today (though she is across the country) but it was never the same. I always knew that much respect was lost and I cannot say I blame her. At that time I was also starting a relationship with someone whom was a friend, Eric.  He was my “first” and we roller coastered through the next 3 years with many injuries to show for it. We were both pot heads with big dreams and no ambition. We were so “in love” but fought 90% of the time. We would break up every so often just to find us back together like a quit that wouldn’t stick. I often wonder if it was really love or just a mutual addiction to the fine mess we created. I mean, sure I loved the guy…but were we together because we were ‘in love’ or because of our dysfunction?

After my one year in Milwaukee and his two, we moved back to Racine. We lived in this seedy apartment for a while. We worked various jobs before we’d get sick of them and quit. I quit one job because I wanted to go to a Grateful Dead show in Chicago. I mean, my priorities – even for a 19 year old – were absolutely fucked. Soon after was my first move back to the parents. Ugh. And the rules were INSANE. As soon as they knew I was smoking pot…they pretty much did anything they could to get me to break away from Eric. It was a tremendous clusterfuck and one big giant brawl which eventually ended with my step father literally pushing me out of the door with no place to go. Eric and I were already on the verge of breaking up, but because of my sudden homelessness at age 20…I had nowhere to go but to be with him. It was the beginning of thee lowest point in my life.

After a few months of staying with virtual strangers – one who strangled me and left bruises around my neck – sleeping in the car and staying in nasty motels…My friend’s mom invited me to stay with them. I was finally in a home. A comfortable home which though was not Beaver-like in every way…it was much more a home than I had ever really known. Mom, dad and 2 daughters. They were free to be themselves, but still had basic rules and mutual respect. The cupboards were filled – no PACKED – with food. This family lovingly opened their home to me. And I never once took that for granted.

My friend, Erin, stubbornly did not let me contact Eric even though she was friends with him too. She – and everyone who knew us – knew we were destroying each other. She would not let me near the phone and always seemed to know if I had sneaked away to find another way of calling him. It was like she was the bouncer in my crack-addict-like thought process. She played an instrumental role in helping me get over the addiction I had to this guy. And her mother played a huge role in getting me back on my feet…at least well footed enough to regain some dignity. Not to say that the trouble ended there…but it was never that bad again. I will never be able to thank them enough. Erin’s mom died several years ago. I hope she knew how much her kindness meant to me. I did write to her in her later stages of cancer…I hope it was not too late.

Eric and I broke up for good, I got a new job and moved back to my parents by the time I was 21.

To be continued…(upcoming…The Jiro Years, Dad’s Death, Panic and Jack Daniels)…

Cassidy’s Christmas Recital Videos

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Cassidy’s very first recital was last week. It was also pajama day. You can tell they had a blast but were all so tired by the time it started. She is the one in the back row, last one on the right in the light green flannel pjs.

Dear Santa
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Jingle Bells
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(some song about elves..lol)
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Christmas is Coming
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Holly Jolly Christmas
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Silver Bells (aka – Grey Bells…she to this day calls this song Grey Bells. She knows it is silver, but she sticks with grey. Oddly, if she had been a boy…her name was to be Grey.)
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Silent Night (along with the German version)
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Surprise Christmas Gifts

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Charlie and I had agreed not to buy each other anything for Christmas this year. I was the first one to cheat when I ordered a car stereo he had been droolin’ over. That’s HIS kind of internet porn…searching for various electronic toys (not the vibrating kind, sadly) on the internet for countless hours. Anyway, he had one day left it up on the computer and I decided to order it. I had to buy some clothes and get my hair did. So, I told him that would be my gift. But then I cheated again and bought him a new coat he really wanted and a couple other small things. Unfortunately my DUMB ASS left the receipt on the couch in the basement when I was wrapping. DOOOHHH! Cleaning – total neat freak – he found it. So he then decided he had to buy me something. Here are my Christmas gifts (along with the hair and clothes):

First was a print from a collection I LOVE called StoryPeople by Brian Andreas. It is called Late Night:

Of course, I love it. I could sit read these “stories” all day. This will be my 7th to add to my mini collection. The others I have are:

Clean Underwear

Illusion of Control:

Illusion

Great Game:

Promise #1:

Quiet Pride:

Dark Garden:

Needless to say, I love my little collection. I am NOT an artsy fartsy person. I have a print of Dogs Playing Poker in my living room for Christ’s sake. I don’t really get art in general. It has to MEAN something to me. Most of it is pretentious weird shit in my wrong side of the tracks opinion. But these…I love.

I also received 2 bottles of Zipang. I tried this sparkling sake a few months ago and actually quite liked it:

One gone and one waiting. At 8 bucks a pop…I’m savin’ the last one for a SPEESHALE occasion.

Anywho…these were my ‘surprise’ Christmas gifts this year 🙂

I hope ya’ll had a great Christmas if you celebrate – if not, I hope you has a good

Merry Christmas from My Family to Yours

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Super busy. But I will have a whole week during Christmas break to catch up on some blogging. So, dont give up on me yet 😉

I would like to wish you all a wonderful Holiday…whichever you chose to celebrate…and if it is just a random week for you, well…have a good one anyway!! Talk at ya soon…be safe…have fun…try not to shove a wreath up someone’s ass…Cheers!

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Would You Lend Me Your Kidney?

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I was watching Dr. Phil today – shocker, right?? Is there anything I DON’T watch?? Oh, yea…Wendy Williams. Anywho…The show was about tough family decisions. In the first story, there was a man who is desperately needing a kidney donation. His outcome is likely death without one. He has 2 adult children who refuse to donate one of their kidneys. Not because he was/is a bad dad…but because they are too afraid of what could happen to THEM. Even with the statistics in their favor by FAR, they are not willing to take these risks for their father’s life. I do. not. understand.

My mother had to have a kidney removed a couple years ago due to an injury. Her having only one and me being a fearful freak…I have been worried about her one functioning kidney since. There has never once been a doubt in my mind that I would be the first person to DEMAND to be tested as a match in order to donate one of mine if she ever needed it. I wouldn’t even have to think about it. And this is coming from someone who is afraid of everything. Death is my biggest phobia and going under the knife is a close second. But losing someone I love – someone I could have saved…that would be far more tragic. Shit, I’d probably do it for a stranger.

I don’t get people. What are your thoughts??

Christmas and Facial Hair…two bits..

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Yea, not much but generic blathering today. Just some virtual verbal vomit, if you will. No real need to read on…

I really need to figure out what I am making for lunch on Christmas. And get those teachers’ gifts. UGH, and the mailman. No! I am not ready for Christmas!! Can I apply for an extension of some kind? We have our first Christmas thang this weekend. This one will be with my husband’s dad and step mom. Christmas Eve (after work…yes, I am working. Who goes out to a restaurant on Christmas Eve? I hope there are a lot of atheists and Jews in Racine) we are with his mom and step dad. Christmas afternoon I am making lunch here for my family. And Christmas evening we are going to my step dad’s sister/mom’s. Christmas time is always such a ridiculously busy time. So hurried and full of responsibilities and obligations – there is no time to actually ENJOY it.

One good thing about this year’s Christmas…even though I complained about it earlier…our budget this year is WAY less. And thank God with property taxes due in a month!! I hear about what the gals at work are buying their kids and I feel like Joan Crawford over here. I mean, they are spending hundreds and hundreds…how do they afford it?? I guess I just never really agreed with spoiling kids monetarily like that, especially with actual bills being due. I would rather pay my bills on time, not go deeper in debt and spend a little less on gifts than dig our family into a deeper financial hole. I spent about 80 on each kid. That’s it. And really, they do not need more than that. Kenzie has like 13 Christmases in which she receives gifts…I mean, really…its crazy. Cassidy gets so much crap that there isn’t space in her room!! They are not wanting for anything. And we are very lucky in the way that our kids really aren’t spoiled. They are always grateful and thankful for what they do get. I know my daughter wants a dollhouse (the huge wooden kind which costs about 300 bucks) but she also knows – at 6 years old – that it is very expensive and she is fine with smaller gifts. They never really beg for stuff like some of the kids you see in the store and want to run down with your cart. I am very appreciative of that and can only (wishful thinking here) hope that they will continue this behavior throughout their teen years!!

About a week ago I cut my bangs shorter. I was growing them out…but it was taking forever and they were driving me NUTS!! Most men do not realize the agony of the bang grow out. It can be traumatic. Last night, my husband asks, “Did you cut your bangs?” He does not like bangs, I know this. But I also have never cut my hair to please him or anyone else. “Yes, about a week ago.” He got kinda shitty saying that he didn’t like bangs and he asked me not to cut them. I **cough** got a bit of a TUDE. I loudly told him that he has no right to tell me how to cut my hair. Then he brings up that goddamn goatee. Okay, he has this goatee, right? He has had it since we started dating. He has, on occasion, shaved off the entire thing and I HATED it. It makes his face look so different and I just do not like it one bit. So I  **cough** at times…told him not to shave it. I have even gone as far as to demand he not shave it. BUT…come on. It is different between the sexes is it not?? I realize on paper it seems hypocritical…I get that. And I guess it is. But isn’t it kinda different to a woman verses to a man?? Feminism can sometimes suck. ANYWAY…I will no longer tell my husband he looks ridiculous without facial hair. And hopefully he can suffer through looking at my big banged forehead.

Wii, Wii, Wii…All the Way Home

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Wii Fit

Image via Wikipedia

As of today our family has not had a modern day gaming system. My kids both have a DS…but we have never had a Playstation, Xbox or Wii or anything similar to those. I never really liked video games and I see how they are so violent these days (yes, I said these days as though I am 70). Seriously, they all seem horrible and not really what I wanted to use as a tool to teach my children how to kill cops or pimp out hoes. I truly believe those should be learned in a classroom. Anyway, I have made it this long without any arguments or insane begging. They are still young, 10 and 6, but I am surprised they haven’t asked for them much.

On another note – I have heard from fellow grown ups (cough, cough)  that Wii Fit is quite the blast when it comes to exercise. Now, I am sure it is known by some of you that I despise exercise in every form. I have not found one sport or physical activity in which I can say I genuinely enjoy. Yet, I still do it almost every day. I do my treadmill (aka dreadmill) 40-60 mins 6 days a week. I do a little yoga in the morning maybe 3 days a week. Arm weights, balance ball and other various floor exercises about 3 nights a week. I do these tortuous activities because I HAVE to. I have to feel as though I am doing (almost) everything I can to keep the weight off and even lose 10-12 more. I refuse to starve myself, so I must compensate with forms of tearful punishment. So I have heard these wonderful things about the Wii Fit and how it makes exercise actual fun. Skeptical but hopeful, I broke down and agreed to introduce one of these doo-hickies to our family.

We found a good deal from Walmart online. $250 for the Wii/Wii Fit and Balance Board. Also came with a few games. SOOO…we decided that would be our “family” Christmas gift. I was going to get the kids a couple little things to open and their stockings (of course – I am big stocking stuffer…wait…no, that’s not what I mean…) but that was about it. The Wii would have been the big gift/surprise. But my aunt called and said that her mom was going to gift to us…a Wii. We are going to send back the one from Walmart and just find the Wii Fit separately. But, because of this, I now have to get the kids actual presents. Fuck. Christmas is in like..what…2 weeks?! When I ask them what they want (they both have entirely too much as it is already) they are either vague or ludicrous in their wishes. Cassidy wants this 300 dollar wooden dollhouse. Sorry, hon, but mommy only made $20 bucks today. My stepdad said he would try to make one for her though, but not for Xmas. I think she also asked for a trampoline…she sooo knows better. Thus, it is guessing time. Tomorrow I will be off to Kohls amongst the crowds for their early bird prices and my trusty coupons (pronounced coo-pins…in Ron White fashion). Christ, that won’t be pretty. Sweaty, tired, hot, crabby, broke ass people cramped in store which smells like plastic. What a fun, fun Friday….jealous??

Tomorrow Really IS Another Day

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This weekend was pretty awful. Seeded with moments of hopelessness and despair. Many tears were shed, words were daggered and feelings were maimed. In those kinds of moments I sometimes see no finale to it – no light at the end of the tunnel. I – as I do much to often in life – catastrophize a given situation and expect the worst. It is a process that has protected me somewhat in the past. But it hinders me in most cases.

What I didn’t see then was that my world was not ending, my life was worth living, forgiveness is possible and sometimes a good gulp of pride is exactly what the doctor SHOULD have ordered.

A couple well meaning, good hearted friends, a patient, loving husband and of course time all helped me see that even a bad thing doesn’t have to be horrible. You can be in a moment of shear gut wrenching sadness one day and wake up the next with the realization that it is indeed a new day. Always remember that when you feel you cannot go on…that Scarlet O’Hara really WAS the voice of reason…’tomorrow is another day’.  Sleep on it and give time a chance…it really will be okay.