Jen and Christin’s New Journey….

Christin ~
Jen called me the other day and told me she joined a gym. I then proceeded to look outside and see if pigs were flying.

I was then recalling the time when we lived together in the apartment. A friend of mine from work had convinced me to join her at the gym before work each morning. Each morning as I left the apartment, Jen and Alphonso would give me the side-eye as I walked out in my gym clothes before the crack of dawn. So, naturally when I got the news that Jen was the newest member at Planet Fitness I had to give a little back. After a few minutes of extreme harassment and in-depth conversation questioning her sanity, I decided to join her. Not at the gym but in the realm of eating healthy and exercising.

Upon our new venture, I had an epiphany the other night about having an incentive to our weight loss. After much discussion on what our incentives are going to be, this is what I decided. After I lose 50lbs, I would like to treat myself to a trip to California. This will surely keep me on track and out of the drive-thru at Dairy Queen, right? No kids, just a peaceful trip to a place that I dearly love to be. Thankfully, Day 2 went well, with no slip-ups or chocolate.

Chocolate. Did I mention how much I love chocolate? So, as long as I can keep away from chocolate, this should go smoothly. I guess we’ll check in a week and see how the progress is going and hopefully, I don’t end up with any broken body parts.



So, we all know by now that I took the leap and joined the gym for the first time in my 37 years of life.

Talking to my sister tonight on the phone….

Sister ~ So what are you doing tonight?

Jen ~ I am going to the gym……….Wow, just saying those words makes you want to laugh huh?

Sister ~ Well, I did not want to say anything but……..

Joe thinks I am nuts.

Jen ~ I hate the way I look in gym clothes. THIS SUCKS!

Joe ~ Yeah, isn’t that why you joined the gym?

He may or may not have used quotation marks for the word “gym.”

I mean I get it, I cannot fault anyone. I am the least athletic person you will ever meet.

Phone conversation with my brother.

Brother ~ Soooooo, what’s been going on?

Jen ~ I joined a gym!

Brother ~ You did, that’s……..that’s nice.

Jen ~ It’s okay to laugh, everyone else has.

So…..the thing is, I need to make some changes. I have talked about this before, and will try to keep it short. I basically eat my emotions. Food is my vice, it is my safe place, in a way it is my addiction for coping. It is my high, it is my low.

Yesterday, I had a brief moment of sadness, of depression, of questioning if what I do even matters. Unfortunately, I was in a classroom at one of my kid’s school. I was able to sneak away, have a little “moment” in the restroom, pull myself together, return to the classroom and scarf down a butterfinger. Chocolate always makes everything better.

I am not sure if this will make any sense. I feel I have a pretty good canvas to work with, it’s just worn, and not in the best condition. Over time, the canvas can be restored. The canvas will not be in its original form, yet there is the chance it can be better. It can be fabulous.

After a heart to heart talk with Christin, together we decided it was now or never. Together,  over the past 16 years, we have been through it all. Abuse, high risk pregnancies, eating disorders, psychotic boyfriends, and now, we will add weight loss to our list.

We want to lose a combined total of 100 pounds…..50 pounds each. It wont be easy, nothing good ever is….yet I believe we can do it.

Although Christin has a pretty impressive goal of taking a road trip to California, my goal is a little, well, let’s just say I probably need to learn to dream bigger…….but for now, my goal is to be able to wear this dress.



I have always loved the vintage/retro look, and although I would have absolutely no place to wear this dress (grocery shopping at Winco?)…….I want the day to come where I can put it on and just amaze myself.

And the shoes, I need those shoes.

So here we go on our new journey…


The Ghost of You.

Maybe she wasn’t meant to let go.

Sure, she’s moved on and made a good life for herself.

She smiles, she laughs, she’s created a world that some might envy.

Yet, somewhere in the midst of the sunny days, she looks for your presence.

In the highlights of her existence, the ghost of you stands there with her, reveling in the celebrations.

On the calm, routine days, you slip in the door of her mind and remind her of something real.

Sometimes in the still of the night when sleep won’t come, you tap her on the shoulder and tell her everything’s going to be alright.

But when you leave, you leave her with nothing.

She is sad because you left, sad because you were never really there.

Your words are indented into her skin like a burn or a deep, deep cut.

Maybe it was always supposed to be this way.

Maybe it won’t always be this way.

Life is ever-changing as she knows so well.

She clings to the words of yesterday.

And tomorrow she will look for you again.




So this happened….

I have been an official gym member for about 9 days now. I finally bit the bullet and went tonight. For the first time ever. Schedules worked out where I had someone to go with, and because I know myself SO well, I knew if I did not go now, I would continue to find excuses to not go.

I picked up the kids from school. Joe and I made it home at the same time.

Joe ~ How’d it go today?

Me ~ Did you know you can make rice krispie treats in the microwave? Also, I am going to the gym tonight.

Clearly Joe was trying to hold back his laughter. I got all serious, borderline self-righteous.

“Here is the thing. I need to do this to feel better about myself, because lately I am not feeling too good about myself. I know we have a treadmill that is a nice makeshift coat rack, and I know we have access to a free gym at the complex, but I need to go with someone, because if I don’t, I will never go…..and if you have noticed the size of my ass lately, I need to go.”

As always, he was supportive and told me to do what I needed to do.


I made it to the gym before Wingman. As I was sitting in the parking lot waiting, I kept noticing all these beautiful people enter the gym. In a moment of weakness I asked myself…

“What the hell are you doing? You do not look like them, why are you here? You are not ready. They will laugh at you. You are a joke. I can’t go in.”

I was thisclose to texting Wingman “Sorry, I cannot do this, don’t be mad.”


Just as I was having those thoughts, Wingman showed up, and I figured I would look like a total wuss if I backed out. (And trust when I say he would not let me live it down.) I had to do this. I had to do it for me.

As Wingman was getting out of his car, I greeted him with “Just so you know, I saw like 15 beautiful people walk inside.”

He rolls his eyes, “C’mon, let’s go.”


Wingman ~ Do you have water?

Jen ~ No, do I need it?

Off to a great start!

Wingman shows me how to work the bike. FYI, there was a fan…..on the bike! I was good to go.

So we are biking. He is like on 5 miles, I barely hit one. I am wondering why his numbers are higher than mine, while totally enjoying the fan. Wingman looks around the gym, most likely out of boredom or annoyance, then says to me “I believe you have mistaken beautiful for skinny.”

(Long pause)

I was kinda speechless.

Again, “I believe you have mistaken beautiful for skinny.”

How much truth is in that? I am so guilty of believing those words. Somehow along the way I learned to equate beautiful with being skinny.

He was right, and I hate when he is right because he is ALWAYS right and it kinda sucks.

Wisdom comes with age I suppose.


I am so glad I did not allow my insecurities to control me. I got out of the car when everything inside me told me I was not good enough…..and you know what happened? I enjoyed it. I felt like I accomplished something. I felt like I was taking care of myself. The first step is always the hardest, right?

Naturally, I have a long way to go, but I will get there.

Most of the machines I used, I had to put the little pin on the “one” slot.

In time, I will build it up.

In time I will not only build up my strength, but my confidence as well.

Because I took that first step….and I made the time.


I came home and I felt good. I felt productive.

I have gained some weight. Ever since Gracie and her medical issues, I have gained weight. I do not know how to cope unless it is with food. Food = comfort. If I am sad, I eat. If I am confused, I eat. If I feel lost and hopeless and do not know how to make my daughter better again, I eat. All these feelings that I have been holding inside, have let their way out in the form of food, and it is now catching up with me. But not anymore, I will take control back.

Gracie ~ Mom, did you finish at the gym?

Me ~ I did…it was fun!

Gracie ~ How come you are not skinny yet?

So, I may not get my control back over night, but give it time. Come see me in 6 months and we will talk.


My Saturday

In the early hours of the morning (4am to be exact) I was startled awake by the sound of Joe yelling.

“Oh fuck this shit! Hell no! This is bullshit!”

Joe turned on what seemed to be every single light in the house. I am trying to figure out if I am dreaming or….or what else could it be?

He is not calming down. I decided there was just no way I can fake being asleep….and to be honest I am now kind of annoyed because I WAS in a good sleep.

“What is going on?!?!”

Joe is looking at me, or shall I say looking through me. He is pretty heated, and I know something is up.

“The fucking cat! The fucking cat jumped off the ledge and took a piss on me!”

This is where we need to contain our laughter.


Joe is still all over the place. Yelling, cursing, grabbing blankets off of the bed, grabbing new ones from the linen closet, and I am just sitting there trying to make sense of what is happening.

It is now 8pm and I do not completely understand the happenings of this morning, other than one of my cats jumped down from a ledge and peed on Joe. I brought up the very important fact that at least the cat did not pee on the bed. For some reason Joe was not impressed by that fact.


11am. I am now ready for the day! Because I feel pretty bad for finding the whole cat peeing thing funny as hell, I told Joe I would run some errands for him. Because of our recent move, one of these errands Joe wanted me to do had me going in an area I am not too familiar with. That’s okay though. As long as I have very specific directions, I can do it. It will be no surprise to anyone who is reading this, that I did in fact get lost….but it was not my fault.

He had me going somewhere on 356th and Pac. Hwy. That is where the store was supposed to be. Guess what, there is no store over there. Somehow I ended up on 376th and Pac. Hwy, and nothing looked how Joe told me it would look. Just a long stretch of road, and no stop lights. Well now what?

I remained calm, and decided to just backtrack. With the car windows down and one of my favorite songs blaring from the radio (You Shook Me All Night Long) I was kinda having fun. I mean yeah I had no idea where I was going, yet still it was relaxing. I totally rocked this whole being lost thing. Of course I never found the place, but does that really matter?


Next up, Wal-Mart! I despise Wal-mart but love the their prices, so I had to find a happy medium. Nothing too exciting happened there. I mean I found two bar stools that I was determined to buy, whether they would fit in my car or not. So that was a success.

In the check-out line, there were these three huge guys in front of me. The only items they were purchasing was beer and condoms. Just a typical Saturday night I am sure. I tried to manuever my way between my cart and the soft drink cooler because I was thirsty. It was a tight fit, because like I said before, these guys were huge. I am sucking in my breath, opening up the cooler and grabbing a drink. I needed five. One of the guys thought it would be a perfect opportunity for him to grab a drink as well……and it was, until I somehow managed to drop all five sodas which in turn made the door close on his arm. Oh well. A gentleman would have held the damn door open himself……but hey, at least he bought condoms.


I make it back home. I explain to Joe that he sucks at giving directions, but I did buy him new boxers like he asked, so yay me! We do some cleaning, I do some “cooking” and everyone goes off and does their own thing, which leaves me to jump on Facebook!

So here is the thing. I have a family member who is upset, mad, whatever adjective works best in this scenario at my niece and I. This family member is so miffed at my niece and myself that she refuses to comment or “like” anything my niece and I post. I honestly would have had no idea this was going on, but my family does not know how to keep secrets, so word got back to me.

As I am scrolling through Facebook, I see that this family member gives a clear-cut dig to my niece and myself. Hmmm. Shots fired? I decided to do the right thing and ignore her comment, but felt the need to correct the spelling on her ever so obvious dig.


I also decided that it is time for me to write a book. Well, a new book separate from the Vodka Calling book that will never see the light of day. I feel that I have a story to tell, and not many people are privy to this story, and well, what the hell do I have to lose, right? So there’s that.


This is me. Getting ready to write the first words to my new book.
Or…this is me getting ready to jump on Facebook. It can go either way.



Field Trip Shenanigans

Today I was able to volunteer on a 3rd grade field trip. We are taking a trip to see the Wetlands and release the salmon that the school has been taking care of…..or something like that. All I know is there was fish, and the fish were almost left behind.

I had the pleasure of hanging out with my favorite group of 3rd graders, many of them all wanting to sit next to me on the bus. What could possibly go wrong?!


Well. Did you know that one school bus is not big enough to accommodate three 3rd grade classes, plus their teachers, along with maybe five parent volunteers? Yep, neither did anyone else. That’s okay though because one of the teachers, the one who will be refered to as “Wingman” from here on out, had the pretty brilliant idea of another teacher driving, let’s call her Snow White, while Wingman and I hitched a ride. That would clear up about three seats, and you can squeeze three little people into a bus seat. Problem solved. So far I am loving this field trip. Of course that meant that the last of the 3rd grade teachers would be stuck on the bus with about 75 kids, but she is a trooper, she totally has this!

And off we go. Snow White driving, Wingman in the passenger seat, leaving me to relax in the backseat. Things are looking pretty good from where I am sitting.

“I can’t find my phone.”

Words that no one really wants to hear when we are on our way to visit the Wetlands. Being able to be in constant communication would be of the utmost importance. Right? Wingman did not think so. Somehow, he left his phone at the school. This will not end well. It’s important that you remember those words, this will not end well. I mean who does not take their phone with them?

After about a nine minute drive, we finally arrive at our destination. Funny how we were not the only school apparently taking a field trip today. Traffic was so backed up near the entrance there was nothing Snow White could do except just sit and wait…and kick Wingman and I out of the car so we could go find out where the 75 kids were.

And we were off, while Snow White tried desperately to find a parking space that did not put her in a different county.


After about 15 minutes of complete chaos, all classes, teachers and salmon were accounted for. Each class went in a different direction, led by a park guide. I think we had a pretty good system in place (if I do say so myself) Wingman would lead his class, and I would fall in as the caboose, right behind the last kid, this way making sure no kid gets left behind….or pushes another into the swampy Wetlands. Everything was going smoothly.

We were in some cabin thing. (I probably should have paid more attention to what kind of cabin this was) All little people safely inside, while Wingman and I guarded the entrance. One way in, one way out.

After the cabin, we were to make “a bit of a walk” to some other station. No problem! Except, there was. An adorable little boy, who I will call Danny. I mean I think that is his name, but I am not completely sure. He looks like a Danny so we will just go with that. Danny comes up to me, “Mrs Pedro, Mrs Pedro, I lost my lunchbox, I think it is in one of the cabins.”


I let Wingman know the current situation, and he instructed me to take little Danny back to said cabin and try to locate the lunchbox. We would then meet up with the class after “a bit of a walk.”

Wingman and the class were off in one direction, while little Danny and I had to backtrack. I mean I was fully willing to call up Pizza Hut to see if they could deliver a pizza to the Wetlands, but little Danny was so intent on finding his lunchbox, I had to make this work.

Finally! Lunchbox is retrieved. Danny and I set out to find our group. We made our way to the path and we walked, and walked, and walked, and then I started to panic. “Oh for the love of God do not let me be lost, here, in the middle of the Wetlands!” Danny looks at me, I look at him, and figured we are officially screwed. Seriously, we were the only ones on this walking path. No other of the 52 classes I saw, including my own, were anywhere in sight. No one. It was like a ghost town, like a zombie apocalyps….and this little boy is counting on me to get him safely back to his class. Just great. If this were a video game, I would already be dead.

We walk some more and I see another class. Not from our school mind you, but at least it was SOMEONE. “Hi, excuse me, are there any other classes in the direction you just came from?” The very nice lady explains to me that no, there were no other classes in the direction they came from. Of course not.

It was now time for me to regroup. I did not want to walk further and further into the Wetlands, not knowing if I was getting us closer to the class or further away. It was time to make a phone call. I will call Wingman….Oh,wait, that’s right, he left his phone at school!

I did not have the phone number to the other third grade teachers, but I did have them as friends on my Facebook. I looked at Danny who is now looking up at me for answers. “Okay, lets take a break. I am going to message Snow White on Facebook and see if she can help us out.” Danny seems satisfied with that answer. Looking up at me with big brown eyes he innocently asks “What is Facebook.” I quickly bypassed that question and sent a text. I was hoping she would be able to sense my desperation through the screen.


I do not know exactly how long it was between the time I sent the desperate text and when Danny and I finally found our group, but it felt like a lifetime! As soon as Danny saw his class, he ran up to his fellow classmates. As soon as I saw Wingman, I marched up and proclaimed “WE GOT LOST AND COULD HAVE DIED!”

Wingman rolled his eyes. Which seems to be a habit of his.


After being safely reunited with the group, it was now time to go even further into the Wetlands to finally release the salmon. Again, more walking. Beautiful scenery on both sides of the elevated walking path, that in a small way reminded me of Mr Miyagi’s garden from “Karate Kid.” It was something. Lots of twist and turns, many times the path not being wide enough for two people to walk comfortable side by side. The kids were excited when they would spot a snail….or a dead frog.


And then finally, we were there. We made it to our destination. It was as if the heavens opened up and a bright glorious light was shining down on, well, my luck! I made my way over to Wingman and discreetly whispered “Finally, some eye candy for me!”


Wingman was pretty excited as well. “I know, right! Which one do you like?”

I discretely  nodded my head in the direction of the one I was most drawn to. “I got you bro!” Before I knew it Wingman had my phone in his hand (because you know, he left his at the school!) and started taking pics. Lots and lots of pics to commemorate the third grade field trip.

As far as the salmon goes, if anyone is actually interested. This is how they are safely released into the Wetlands.


This field trip was definitely one for the books……or a blog.



Jen’s Mother’s Day 2017

Mother’s Day 2017

I do not consider myself a materialistic person. You give me a pack of Snickers and it’s like you gave me the world.

The only thing I really wanted this Mother’s Day was a chair for my computer desk. My set up now has me pushing the bench to my kitchen table up to my desk, and that is just an annoyance. Especially if someone is sitting at said bench.


Joe. God love him.

Somewhere along the lines, I think there was some slight miscommunication.

This is what he thought I asked for.


A mouse for the computer!!

Okay. He totally gets points for trying.


I hate Mother’s Day. I know that sounds horrible, and that is certainly no reflection on how I was raised, but I hate Mother’s Day. In the days of social media, it has become some sort of unspoken competition.

Typically I spend the day curled up on my sofa, watching my all time favorite movies. “Goodfellas” “Casino” and the ever popular “Titanic” (You jump I jump!)

I get caught up on sleep and chocolate while not having a care in the world.

Then, the time comes when I think it’s “safe” to jump on social media and I see it.

“My wonderful amazing husband cooked me breakfast in bed!”
“My perfect children cleaned the house!”
“Flowers from my love!”

Ugh. Stick a fork in me I am done.

I just can’t.

Maybe it’s just me. In fact, I am sure it just me. Going by my Facebook feed it has to be just me, but somewhere along the way my darling angels missed the memo.

My oldest son texted me (from his bedroom) at 3am. “Can I take the car to Seattle?”

That would be a “Hell no, you do not even have a license.”

Vinnie, okay, he gets some points, he actually did do some cleaning today. “Okay Mom, I am done, can I go out?”

Gracie. I cannot fault her. She is my one kid where I can say, I know, without a doubt, I know I am a good mom. I have fought for her. I have fought for a proper diagnosis. I am fighting her meds, I have fought her IEP. I know with her I am doing everything I possibly can.

She made me this at school. I think it’s a flower. “Here Mom, I made this at school. I do not know why.”

I will put it with all the others. My wish is one day she will understand that I fought for her, and I hope she sees the payoff.

Then we have Sofia.
“Mom, is it Mother’s Day yet”

“Yes, it sure is!”

“I’ll be right back, I have a gift.”


I was so surprised when she proudly gave this to me.

“This is not from my class, but I had to keep it a secret.”

Quick back story. I did a “Mother’s Day” craft with a group of kids at Sofia’s school. Their hand print on an oven mitt is such a special keepsake. When my guard was down and I was sent away, Sofia was brought into the classroom to make one for me.

She was so proud of herself for keeping the secret (she kinda has a big mouth) and I felt special that she was sincerely excited to give me something.

So… Mother’s Day gifts may not compare to breakfast in bed, or flowers in the morning, a nice lunch in a fancy restaurant, or a day to myself. However, it’s not lost on me. There may be people who look down on me, but at the end of the day, I have a perfectly imperfect life.

As I wind down for the night. Making sure the kids have clean clothes for school tomorrow, lunches packed, my “to do” list in place, Joe gives me one more gift. No….it’s not the chair (that would be too perfect) but it is just as good.


Like I said before, you give me a pack of Snickers and it’s like you gave me the world.


Mom Fail or Mom Win…you be the judge!

Last week I had to enroll Vinnie in a new highschool. Since we moved, I gave Vinnie the option of staying at his current school, or enrolling in his now “home” school. Vinnie knows a lot of people at his now new school, so it was a win win for both him and I.

I took him to the new school and both him and I were pretty impressed with the size. I do have one small connection at his new school. Gracie’s fourth grade teacher now teaches Special Ed at this highschool, so worst case scenario, I have that.

The enrolling process was just as to be expected. Long. I did run into a sub I knew from Sofia’s school, so that was kinda cool, catching up on all the gossip and such. Before I knew it, Vinnie and I were sent to the counsellor’s office, where he would now have a new schedule!

This is where things get interesting.

Vinnie and I were welcomed with open arms in the counsellor’s office. I was really digging this woman. She threw a stack of paperwork at Vinnie, while her and I proceeded to talk. Then, before my eyes, I noticed laying peacefully on her desk was this particular brand of lipstick that can only be purchased online (hello, shipping charges!) Or, if you personally know a local distributor.

Me ~ “Oh-my-God, is that Lipsense? Do you wear it??? I love it, look I am wearing it now!”

Her ~ “Yes! Isnt it the best?! I know a girl who works here, she sells it, do you want to meet her?”

Me ~ “Yes Please!”

It was at this point where Vinnie decided to crouch in the corner and pretend he was not with me.

Before I knew it, I was now face to face with my new BFF. My new distributor, who is local, and will save me money on shipping. I put in an order right there on the spot. Soooooo excited!

This lipstick is amazing. You can do anything you want wearing it, and it does not come off.

Vinnie and I said our goodbyes, and between you and me, I have no idea if he got his schedule or not…..but I did have a new order put in. Score!

So….the weekend comes and goes and my new BFF texted me today asking when I wanted to meet up so she could give me my new product. And then, because I am a genius, it hit me.

“My son started his first day at your school today, can you just drop it off to him?”

“Sure, no problem! Just tell him on lunch to go pick it up in the counsellor’s office.”

See how nice and accommodating she is?!

Then I had to text Vinnie……

“Vinnie, you need to go to your counsellors office on lunch, she has something you need to give me.”

“What is it?”

“It’s Lipstick!”

*long pause*

“Really Mom, are you trying to get me beat up on my first day of school?”

Hours later, I arrive home, anxious to see my new lipstick! I am so excited I cannot explain it.

“Vinnie…..where is it…..did you get it?”

“This will not happen again.”

“Why, were they any problems?”

“Let’s see……I got lost at school, go to the counsellors office, expecting them to, you know, show me where I need to go……as soon as I walk in the door, I hear “We have your Mom’s lipstick!” I am like cool, but I am lost..where do I go? And do you see what they gave me, this is what they had laying on the desk for everyone to see.


I was dying. Tears in my eyes could not stop laughing. I mean a hot pink bag and all?!?! With not only Vinnie’s first name on it, but his last name as well!

Vinnie is a tough kid, he will recover from this nicely.

As for me, I will just be sitting here enjoying my new amazing lipstick!
(My amazing new lipstick…shade…Napa)

For some reason he would not let me take a picture with him and my lipstick?!?!