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Honey Doh List

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Photo 60.jpgThis is me this morning holding part of a scrap-booking kit my sister sent me. It's called 365 and the idea is - you guessed it - to take a photo a day for the entire year of 2010. The designer kit is supposed to take the guesswork out of the process. But, me, I like to take simple things and make them complicated. So, there I was Sunday making Mike use his professional designer eyes to put the cards in their slots. 

The scrapbook is just one of many projects I'm taking on this year. I figure I am bound to finish two out of the dozen or so I have mulling around in my head. In my "spare" time I plan to rebuild the US economy. Hey, why not? 

Gandhi said "Be the change you wish to see in the world." And that is why I will never have free time again.

This town that we live in is a mess. It is a cluster-@#&% of bad planning, high taxes, irresponsible financial decisions and apathetic citizens. Not to mention a council paralyzed by fear, self-interest and laziness.
Clearly, I will never be running for office. But what I am doing is spending my "free" time researching ways to revive the people, aid in redeveloping the main street and mainly, bring the value of my home to a number I can live with when we finally move away to a town that doesn't require so much damn work.

I'm not going to lie. I have no love for this place, other than the few friends I've made here. Right now, living in Matawan is a burden, not a joy. Like many others, we moved here believing that the town was on it's way up; that Main street was going to be all flags, flowers and busy business. I had visions of buying my groceries, stopping by the post office and grabbing an ice-cream cone with my kids all, within a 1 mile strip of walkability. I thought I would become a "regular" at a quaint little cafe on Sundays. 

Little did we know that Matawan has been operating with a budget deficit that grows each year. Without serious change, our little small town dream will be bankrupt - literally. Which means that the 60% property tax increase that was just thrown at us will make no difference at all. My cute little house... I better get used to living in it's cramped quarters because we are stuck here. STUCK. STUCK. STUCK. 

I have never felt to trapped in all my life.

Baby has been backed into a corner. And you know what that means. I now have to fight my way out.

Thus begins a new non-profit citizens organization founded by myself, Mike, our friends Rebecca & Mark and Deana. We considered calling ourselves "Matawan Families With A Lot To Lose", but it's a bit wordy. I also like the "Get Shit Done Group" but it's not specific enough, I suppose. The name is not so important as the fact that we are a group of residents who have decided to take on all the problems with our sickly little community and systematically beat them down one by one. 

On the bright side, we have already met with the mayor once and it turns out he's a god guy who feels similarly and is putting forth good effort to help us. "Help ME, Help YOU" was our mutual message (with all the intensity of Cuba Gooding Jr.) 

That being said, during our meeting, as the mayor spoke about the 125k hole in the 2008 budget, I saw my life flash before my eyes. In this new version, the entire borough council hates my guts, along with select members of the police department and the borough employees. Who was it that said, "If they hate you, you must be doing something right." ?

patio set.jpgWe just spent a small fortune on patio/ deck furniture. Guess we better get a patio.

The point of this new ensemble is part of my master plan to create an outdoor living space where me and the other moms in my neighborhood can drink large quantities of alcohol without worrying about spillage on the carpet. Well, sort of, anyway. 

Obviously since three of us are pregnant we wont be drinking anytime soon. But still. we could sit there in the shade of an enormous umbrella, on the plushy cushions and look like we haven't a care in the world except for the raging demands of our toddlers. We would converse because that's what the set is called. It's a conversational set - not a Sleeping Set or a Reading Room. Conversational. I prefer adult talk but you can sit there and converse about anything as long as you aren't doing it with a stupid voice for that of a 5 inch tall stuffed monkey. Throw in some pretty landscaping and a nice sized swing set and I'm in heaven.

And Happy, Happy Mother's Day to me.

Wednesday night, thru tears, I wrote a very detailed entry about all the reasons and emotions behind my feelings toward living here in NJ. But the power of the internet is not great enough to contain such emotion, apparently. Firefox wiped all my tear filled sentences away - just like that.

So today, like many days lately, I just don't have the energy to go through it all again. The gist of it is this:

After a year and a half of living here in NJ, I sadly report that I have not gotten used to it. In fact,  I have many regrets about leaving California. I knew these regrets would come. I'm used to ups and downs of starting a new life in a new place. But what I wasn't prepared for was the seemingly endless battle to make my place here or the financial hit that our family would take from living in the NE during a recession and how our effort to stay afloat would take time away from our family.

There are a lot of good things about NJ, however. I love our house, which we have made a real home. Also, there are the parks, the proximity to NYC, the comfort of having family nearby to help us with August. Recently, I have even started to make a few friends, whom, I have no doubt will be of the lifelong variety if I am around long enough. But there is so much more to daily life than these things. Most of my days are spent alone. Alone in the truest sense of the word.

I think I have avoided being completely honest with myself about all these things because I kept thinking that if I just hang around long enough I will, as I said, "get used to it". Instead, Mike has become increasingly disillusioned with the way things are as well. Some of his complaints are the same and some are different. For one, he has the added confusion of trying to assimilate back into his family as an adult who is a husband and father. This is so much easier said than done and the process takes an emotional drain on everyone involved. I have quite the appreciation for my older siblings for going through it all with our parents first so that anything I have done in my adult life has been about as hard as eating a pan full of brownies. Poor Mike is the eldest of four.

I don't know what all this means exactly. I just felt like saying it - getting it off my chest. And I admit, perhaps I just need to see it in print so I can move on to the next step - whatever that is. Maybe we'll move when the economy picks up. Maybe we'll take frequent vacations away from the sucky weather and the mean drivers. Maybe I'll feel justified in eating mint chocolate chip ice cream every day.

Meanwhile, bear with me while I muddle through. And I promise to stop picking on NJ as soon as it stops living up to it's bad reputation.


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At the park today I actually broke a sweat. The sun came out like a rescue plane on LOST and all the mothers and toddlers flocked to the playground. They were weeping, tearing at their clothes. August looked at me with wide eyes and asked if God had come back.

If it goes back below 45 degrees in the next two days, I'm afraid there will be mass suicides in NJ. For now, life goes on.

aj sunglasses.jpg

Coming Down

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Florida was beautiful. I had no idea Orlando was so hip with it's flashy fountains and craftsman style houses backed right up to central downtown. I also did not think through the lack of sun in March. Luckily, however, we did get enough days of deadly UVs for both Mike and I to sunburn a bit. Of course August was thoroughly protected and has not a red patch on her. Just so you know we are good parents. 

Here's a few pictures from our trip - complete with an obligatory shot of my belly on the beach. I am delighted that I have yet to get stretch marks from pregnancy, though Mother Nature has evened out the score by giving me hair that like I am starring in Wayne's World III and a complexion liken to that of a rightfully depressed 14 year old boy. 

But doesn't August look like magic? And I want to eat Mike in his new glasses.

First haircut by Uncle Gio. He has a Salon there.
In the pool with Jenn, Uncle Matt's girlfriend.

2346776802_efbefba78e_m.jpg2346774712_8942d462ea_m.jpgAunt Joanne & Uncle Gio2346774422_695623ce23_m.jpgLunch at the Winter Park Arts Festival2345926951_5517c44ae5_m.jpg
( More pictures on my Flickr account. Create an account to view if you don't already have one. )
This weekend I will celebrate 2 years of marriage to the sexiest man I have ever known. What is it, you ask, that makes a man so sexy? So much to say, so little time. Let us go on a photographic journey that will make him cringe and many women weep inside.


Now that I'm back on speaking terms with the blogosphere people are asking me what I'm up to. Today when Rabih - a friend from San Diego, asked me via email, I could see my Stickies program windows behind his email on my screen and I could read ecactly what I'm up to. I didn't copy and paste the notes to him because I thought it would be boring.

Then, while reading them again later, I remembered that everyone's life is boring.