Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Time Has Come to Say Goodbye

I've tried to make this relationship work, really, I have. I made a commitment and I take that seriously. But after years of sacrifice, I think it's time to say goodbye.

I feel taken advantage of on so many levels. I handle all the meals. I do all the cleaning. And what do you do? You lay around and never lift a finger. And you create most of the mess, which really makes this an unfair arrangement.

Your eating and drinking has become a serious problem. You just don't know when to quit, and you don't care what you put into your body. I can't believe you're still able to get out of bed in the morning.

And speaking of bed, you're completely selfish in that regard. You take up more than your share of the space. You're concerned that the sheets and blankets are just to your liking, but you don't show any consideration for my needs. You snore. And when you're awake, you think I need to be up too.

Communicating with you about our problems is hopeless. You never seem to be listening, and more often than not I get the silent treatment. When you're not silent, you're barking at me. It's just uncalled for.

Emotionally, I think you have real issues that would benefit from serious therapy. I know you do your own thing when I'm at the office, but if I leave you to go out for an evening, your insecurities get the best of you and you make a mess of things to get even with me.

Then there's the running around on me. I never thought I'd accept that kind of behavior in a relationship and I've put up with it from you on more than one occasion. I chase after you which I something I swore I'd never do. Every time you leave I wonder if you'll just stay gone, but no, you torture me by coming back every time, after you've had your fun. And what's worse is that I know the neighbors see what's going on.

Maybe I should have tried harder, but it's just too late for that now. I know the kids will hate to say goodbye and it will be an adjustment not having you around, but we'll survive. And I think my sanity and happiness is more important at this point.

I hope you find someone to take you in who will treat you like the dog you are.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Power of a Good Looking Doctor

It just so happens that the two doctors I've had for most of my teen through adult life have been attractive men. And perhaps the pediatrician I had as a baby was also good looking but I was too distracted by that thermometer up my butt to take notice. Anyway, yesterday I saw my family doctor. He's not exactly Dr. McDreamy, but he's cute and personable enough to make it a pleasure to keep my appointments. And because of this, I have a theory: If everyone in America had a good looking doctor of the opposite sex (unless of course, you're more attracted to the same sex), we'd be a much healthier country.

Here's my rationale:

  1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you're attracted to your doctor you're not likely to miss an appointment, including those regular checkups that we otherwise ignore. The more often we see the doctor, the less likely we are to be caught unaware by some dreadful disease or condition. An attractive female MD is especially important for heterosexual men who are particularly doctor-averse.
  2. Staying "Fit as a Fiddle." If you're attracted to your doctor you're more likely to keep yourself in shape. Who wants to see McDreamy with high blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels? Who wants to strip down for the Doc after the nurse weighs you and you've gained ten pounds since your last appointment? No, you want to be at your very best. A good looking doctor may be more effective for weight loss than WeightWatchers or Jenny Craig (unless your WeightWatchers or Jenny Craig leader is good looking and then the same theory applies).
  3. When You Look Good, You Feel Good. The day of your appointment with hunky/hot doctor you are more likely to take extra care with your appearance, and we all know that when we look our best, we also feel our best. So imagine what a good day you're going to have at work, at home, in the grocery store, etc., all because you have a good looking doctor.
I bet if we did a scientific research study on this topic we would find that my theory holds true. So I encourage you all to get yourself a good looking doctor pronto. Here's to your good health!

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Jury Doodie

    Today I had jury duty for the first time. And I was psyched! No one ever seems to be excited about jury duty, but since I love to judge other people I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to see our justice system in action.

    I arrived promptly, had my belongings scanned by the official looking guys at the entrance, and made my way to the Jury Gallery, which sounded way better than it was. Basically, we were corralled in a big overheated room with no windows, seated about six inches apart. All 147 of us packed like sardines.

    We waited about 30 minutes for one of the judges to pay us a visit and applaud us for partaking in our civic duty. She also explained that there were four cases that were being reviewed today, so I figured my chances of getting selected were pretty good. We then watched an idiot-proof video that walked us through completing the yes/no questionnaire. And then we sat. Being the prepared type, I'd brought along all my work-related reading in order to catch up.

    About 45 minutes later we were given a morning break and many of us made our way to the court house cafeteria. That's where one of the jurors appeared to not be feeling well, explained that she'd had diarrhea three times already that morning (can you say, TMI?), and proceeded to pass out, then wake up to vomit. Hey, this jury duty was proving to be quite the experience!

    We returned to the corral where I actually spotted a friend who had an open seat near her. I took that seat which unfortunately had to be next to "one of those guys." There's always one of those guys in a crowd who is just a bit too friendly.

    Well, this return from break lasted till 11:30 a.m. with no word from anyone official, and then we were told to we could go to lunch till 1:00. About this time it occurred to me that the government is not really a very well-oiled machine. It appears to be incredibly inefficient. Who knew!

    I enjoyed a terrific cheeseburger (notice a cheeseburger theme in this blog?) at the Koffee Korner with Freakin' Angel Cara, and then headed back to fulfill my responsibilities, certain that I was destined to partake in the trial of the century.

    Interestingly, back at the ranch, the televisions were on and were tuned to A & E. We watched Criminal Intent, The Sopranos, and the beginning of CSI Miami. I thought that was kinda strange, but then I realized that it was actually a brilliant means for helping us understand the criminal psyche!

    So with the televisions as background noise, I waited. And waited. And waited. I ran out of reading material. I played brickbreaker on my blackberry. I tried calling my husband but he never answers when I call. I got so desperate for a diversion that I called my children.

    Finally, at 3:00 p.m. another judge arrived to tell us the good news. All four cases had settled, and it was only because 147 of us had sat there all day. Without having us corralled nearby they never would have had the threat of a ready jury to lord over the bad guys. Unbeknownst to any of us, we had in fact saved the day. Ah, the power of justice. I'm feeling rather like a superhero tonight and I can't wait to do it again!

    Friday, January 22, 2010

    A Head Trip Down Memory Lane

    Tonight I overheard Abby telling a friend the story of how I could have been a Broadway star if it wasn’t for the lack of transportation to and from practices. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. I was really only up for the part of the Good Witch in a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz. But her telling this story this evening is ironic given that I had earlier been thinking of "what could have been."

    When I was younger (teens and twenties), I had trouble living in the present. I was always anticipating what was next. At that age there are a lot of "nexts" to look forward to: graduation, first car, boyfriends, college, grad school, career, marriage, house, kids.

    When you hit your thirties and forties, however, you've "been there, done that." The "nexts" start to dry up and you find yourself thinking about what could have been. At least that’s what I find myself doing more frequently.

    I wonder:
    • Could I have been an actress?
    • Why didn’t I study abroad or travel before I got married and had children?
    • Could I have been a great martial artist if I’d started thirty years ago?
    • Why didn’t I work at the shore for a summer during college?
    • Should I have pursued photography as a career?
    • Did I mess up when I didn’t stay at that big NYC ad agency after grad school?
    • Have I settled for less than I’m capable of in my work? 
    • Would Matthew McConaughey still have me if I came running back to him after turning him away?

    The good news is that I don’t put myself through this mental and emotional exercise very often because I know I can’t go back and change history. I suppose the only way to make the angst of these head trips worthwhile is to use it to guide the decisions I have left to make and the opportunities that are still mine to pursue.

    Wanna take a head trip down memory lane with me? What do you "wonder?" And what "nexts" are still on your list?

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    A Room of One's Own

    I had been planning to write on this topic for a while. Then a couple days ago, my friend Emily posted "A Grown-Up Bed...for Grown-Ups" on her Mothers of Brothers blog (and Emily, you owe me for all this free publicity). Emily was very excited for her new bedroom furniture and asked us all to share about the size of our husbands, er, I mean our beds, the quality of our husbands mattresses, pillow claims, etc. Well, this is one time when I am more advanced than Emily, for I am past thinking that new bedroom furniture is 'da bomb. No, I am to the point of wanting my own room.

    Between the dog snoring, Rob snoring, the dog's piggishness in sucking up space, the likelihood of a kid showing up in the middle of the night, and the frequent anxiety attacks I've been experiencing at bedtime, I've found it's just easier to move to another room. I always start out with Rob, but at least half the time I end up somewhere else. And while Rob makes a small effort to get me to stay, I think in reality we're both fine with this sleeping arrangement.

    But here's the thing. A separate place to sleep isn't all I'm after. What I desire most is a whole room of my own. Virginia Woolf, author of A Room of One's Own, was looking for a quiet place where she could be in touch with her creative side. She wanted to write fiction and poetry (but let's face it, if she lived today she'd be looking for a secluded spot to work on her blog and update her Facebook status.). I'm not so much interested in being alone so I can be creative, I'm interested in being alone because I have children (which Ms. Woolfe did not).

    I want a room of my own where there will be no stepping over toys, backpacks, shoes, and laundry. There will be no pile of papers that my husband will "get to one of these days." There will be no dirty dishes with mystery crumbs. There will be no dog hair to stick to my clothes and no dust bunnies to make me sneeze. My room will feature no mysterious odors. No children's programming on television.

    My room will be bright and sunny. It will have dozens, maybe hundreds of books. It will have a stack of chick flicks for those times when one needs a good cry or mind-numbing escape. There will be a small refrigerator with bottles of wine and a gallon of cold milk to go with the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. There will be comfy chairs, the perfect couch, super soft blankets, and singer-songwriter music playing in the background. I'm feeling more relaxed now, just thinking about it.

    In theory, this room could exist in ones home, but unless your children are much better listeners than mine, it would never work out. They just don't grasp the idea that not everything is theirs. I could place a lock on the door, but they would seek me out. They would knock. They would want things. I would be able to hear them. This would defeat part of the purpose of having my own space.

    No, I think what I really need is my own apartment. I wouldn't move out of the house I share with Rob and the kids, I'd just use the apartment for several days a month when I need to escape to avoid causing anyone bodily harm (you could probably chart those days pretty accurately). And I bet I could get a group of women to chip in and share the rent on this place. Heck, I can't be the first woman to think of this. There must be a group somewhere who already have a nice arrangement that we could consult with about the logistics and the ground rules.

    I'm willing to do the research if you're with me. Any takers?

    I leave you with this thought from Virginia W:

    "I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in."

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Feeling the Love

    Aside from being swept off my feet (literally) by the Phanatic at a party last night, it's been a rough week for Kim (so rough that I'm referring to myself in the third person to avoid reliving the angst). We had the NJDOT debacle. The allergy attacks. The burdensome workload. The computer issues.

    But there were a few shining lights:
    1. Freakin' Angel Kim G. had a baby boy (Weston James) on Friday
    2. Got my groove on to the Glee soundtrack thanks to a loan from Freakin' Angel Cathie
    3. Spent most of Saturday with my Mom and Dad
    Now anyone who has had a parent (that means you), knows that spending time with the folks is not always the highlight of our day/week/month. But yesterday was one of those wonderful days where I was feeling the love.

    Why? Because my parents were thrilled to see me. You don't realize how infrequently someone is really thrilled to see you until someone is. Feeling so loved and appreciated is an amazing and unfortunately rare thing.

    I'm incredibly blessed because my parents are so open about their feelings. They remind me often how proud they are of me. They seem to genuinely enjoy my company. They like my writing, they think I'm funny, and they tell me I'm beautiful. Yes, they're completely biased, but how tremendous is it to feel that much love?

    I wonder, did they always love me this much and I'm just noticing now? Or is this new on their part?

    I think it's a combination of things:
    1. I'm no longer subjecting them to terroristic battles with my sister, tears over my latest broken heart, or dramatic meltdowns in which "I demand my rights." This makes me infinitely more lovable.
    2. I no longer see them every day or even every week. There's certainly an element of absence making the heart grow fonder.
    3. I don't think we're capable of recognizing and appreciating our parents' love until we're all grown up.
    4. I'm a parent now, too.
    As a mom, I pray that my children will someday recognize and feel deep within, the tremendous love I have for them. It's without question the greatest gift my parents have ever given me.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    I'm An Angry Freakin' Angel

    It's official. I'm too angry and irritable to be an angel, even a freakin' angel. While I'm often irritable (just ask my family), I'm not generally an angry person. But talking to a surly NJDOT employee about a missing license plate from a car you drove when you lived there 16 years ago would probably even tick off Mother Theresa. It seems they sent me a letter 16 YEARS ago following a car accident, asking for proof of insurance or the return off my license plate. Well, I never received said letter (and I'm super responsible and organized so I know this was not my fault), and they therefore suspended my license. Did I mention this was 16 YEARS ago? Now the Federal government has instituted some national policy that requires states to check to make sure there are no issues with a license holder from any other states they lived in. So lo and behold, PENNDOT passes along this good news. But hey, for a faxed letter and a $100 restoration fee, all will be right with the wold.

    And I should take comfort in knowing I have my *&^!(%!@$ dog to cheer me up. That is when she's not whining and woofing at me. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate my dog? Yesterday she ate three cupcakes, including at least one wrapper. Her legs aren't strong enough to jump up on my bed without assistance, but she can reach to the back corner of the kitchen corner to eat food that doesn't belong to her. Among her recent treats? Three-quarters of a Shoo Fly Pie, about two dozen dunker cookies (of a consistency that makes biscotti look mushy), and chocolate chip pancakes. And don't tell me dogs can die from chocolate. If that was the case, she'd be long gone by now and I wouldn't have all these problems. I could go on and on on the Maddie issue, but I've got other fish to fry today.

    Like the fact that I'm allergic to my house. I'm fine everywhere else but in my own home. I'm even fine in certain rooms of my home, but not every room. Could be the cat, the dog, or the guinea pig. Or maybe it's my responsibilities as a mom and wife that I'm allergic to. The mere thought of making dinner tends to make me sneeze uncontrollably. I've literally gone through a box of tissues in the past 24 hours. How long before my nose falls off and when it does, can I get a smaller one?

    And then there's being home for three days with a sort of sick kid. Abby's been battling a cough for weeks, but about a week ago it started to cause her to gag and choke and vomit. Nice, huh? Well, the good mom that I am decided it might be time to visit the doctor (again). So off we went we me grumbling about wasting $20 when all they were going to tell me was that  (insert your own sing-songy pediatrician voice here) "It's just a virus, nothing we can treat. Blah, blah, blah." Instead, it turns out she has a mild case of bronchitis or walking pneumonia and we're treating her with antibiotics. Oh, and yes, that stuff she's coughing up is probably contagious so she should stay home a couple days. Well that's all well and good except that she only feels sick and down for the count when she's actually hacking up a lung. Otherwise she feels fine and BORED. And while I'd love to play the entertainer, I happen to have a crap-load of work as a result of being out of the office for three measly days during which we went and released two new books. Oh, and LogMeIn, which I use to connect to my work computer when I'm home, should today rename itself LogMeOut because I've been bumped offline more than I've been on.

    So what's an angry, irritable Freakin' Angel to do in a case like this? Vent and rant on my blog, of course, so you can all get a good laugh at my expense. Go ahead. You know you want to.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Gastronomical Reflections, Part II

    It was a dark and stormy night. Ah, no. That's Snoopy's line. And it wasn't nighttime. And it wasn't stormy. But it was dark, inside at least. But let me back up a bit.

    On Sunday, Rob and I left the chilly temps of Key West and moved north to Hollywood, Florida where we'd be colder and closer to the airport for our flight the next day.

    Another reason to head to Hollywood was a special gastronomical adventure that Rob wanted me to experience. The site of this adventure? Le Tub. Here's a brief history of Le Tub from its website: Established November 2nd 1959 as a Sunoco gas station.... Closed by the energy crunch of the early seventies, your Host purchased the barren property in 1974 and dedicated a concentrated year personally hand building LeTub totally of Flotsam, Jetsam and ocean borne treasures all gathered daily over 4 years of day break jogging on Hollywood Beach.
    Le Tub is barely visible behind foliage and bamboo fencing. A hand-painted sign is the only indication that there's something lurking there along the Inter-Coastal Waterway. Most of the seating is outdoors along the water with a lovely view of the yachts passing by. Of course, the frigid temperatures weren't going to accommodate outdoor dining so we were ushered into the bowels of Le Tub. And "bowels" is really an appropriate word since the landscaping featured many a toilet bowl. But wait, it gets better.

    We entered the darkest restaurant I've ever been in in my life. Not romantic dark. Just dark. As in, no lighting. We passed a group of locals at the "community table" and as we took our seat in a corner by the window I was overcome by a fear of the unseen. Who knows what could have been lurking in those corners, under the table, on the table, at the bar, in the kitchen? And the fish nets hanging from the ceiling, I could just imagine what was caught in those things, and potentially dropping onto my food.

    A familiar yet misplaced scent permeated the place. It turned out to be a wood-burning fireplace. Again, not for romance, but for heat. There was literally no other source of heat in the place. At our seat near the window I could actually see my breath. That was a first!

    And then came the food. Le Tub is known for its burgers. In fact, according to its website, GQ and The Oprah Winfrey Show both claimed they had the best burgers in the country. As a meat and potatoes kind of girl, this held great potential. As I watched the guy in the kitchen (can you call something the size of a small closet a kitchen?), I sensed good things. He was back there making the patties by hand and cutting the lettuce and tomatoes. 

    So we ordered. Chips and homemade salsa, french fries, and a couple beers to hold us over while our 13 ounce cheeseburgers were cooking. I should note that we only ordered the fries so that the heat from them would warm us up. Of course we didn't need fries seeing as we were about to ingest 13 ounces of ground beef .

    And then they arrived.

    And they were wonderful. And it was worth seeing my breath because of the cold. And it was worth eating in the dark. And it was worth passing the toilet bowls on the way in and out. Because really, a good cheeseburger is one of the finest treats on earth.

    I leave you with just one final thought. Thirteen ounces is a whole lotta meat. You might want to share yours with a friend. And if you need a friend, just call me, preferably when we can dine outdoors!


    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Gastronomical Reflections

    When we weren't braving the record-setting low temperatures in Key West this past weekend, Rob and I were forced to spend our time indoors, eating and drinking. Heck, even the movie theater served food, beer and wine! (I recommend seeing "Invictus," btw). During breakfast at Blue Heaven, a funky spot with chickens in the yard, an eclectic mix of furnishings, and outstanding food, Rob remarked that it might be among his top 10 most memorable dining experiences. That led to a discussion about other memorable spots and even with my horrible long-term memory, I was able to name a few - ALL of which are from my childhood which means that Rob really needs to take me out more. Among my favorites, in no particular order:
    • Youell's Oyster House on College Hill in Easton, PA (sadly no longer there and the other location was never as good)
    • Crossroads Hotel in Hellertown, PA - best pizza, steak sandwiches and pitchers of beer around - and no atmosphere to speak of unless you count the big fish on the wall
    • The Ritz at the Allentown Fairgrounds* - I remember going there for ice cream with my parents when I was little
    • The Shanty* in Allentown - a really good salad bar, and that's saying something since I don't even eat veggies!
    • Yocco's - the infamous hot dog chain in the Lehigh Valley. Memories of "meals" complete with deep fried pierogies with my aunts and Nana
    • The Paddock* in Allentown - another classic pizza spot
    *I haven't been to these places in years and cannot attest to whether they're still any good or even still exist!

    What this list goes to show is that 1) I have low-brow taste when it comes to restaurants and 2) It's a miracle my cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight aren't through the roof.

    Tomorrow, I'll add to this post with the story of my newest and most unique dining experience ever. A tale of dark corners, icy drafts, and seriously big beef!

    Meanwhile, share your most memorable dining experiences or spots with the rest of our Freakin' Angel readers.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    This One Goes Out to the One I Love

    Tomorrow I leave for Key West with my best guy of 15 years, returning to our honeymoon location where apparently it's almost as chilly as our bedroom it is here. Yes, I've been in a state of wedded bliss for a decade and a half. Known the man for nearly 20 years. It's definitely time to move on. I couldn't be happier!

    Marriage is a battle of the wits, requiring incredible stamina, tricky thing. Everyone tells you how much work it will be, just like parenting, but you don't really believe them. Especially in the beginning. You think there's nothing that will touch your happy union. But the reality is, all marriages see their ups and downs. The good news is that when you stick with it, give it all the love and attention it deserves, your marriage can thrive.

    All goofing and marriage advice aside, I do want to announce to all of cyberspace how blessed I am to be married to my best friend. Yes, there are times when he makes me crazy (and vice versa) and I could fill a couple dozen blog posts with all the things I find maddening about him (and vice versa), but when it comes right down to it, there's simply no one else I'd rather spend my every moment with. This guy makes me laugh. He stimulates my mind. He holds me when I need to be held. He leaves me alone when I threaten to kill him. He makes me a better person.

    I think the only thing that could come between me and my man is Greg Dobbs. If Greg leaves his wife and calls me, I'm outta here. But knowing how cool my husband is, he'd probably be okay with that.

    I love you, Rob!

    P.S. If you bring your laptop on our vacation or spend more than 10 minutes a day checking your Blackberry, there will be hell to pay.

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    You're So Vain, I Bet You Think This Blog is About You

    For Christmas, my mom bought me a new outfit. It's fun receiving new clothes, especially when you didn't ask for them, and particularly if you actually like what you got! What's not as much fun is discovering that mom bumped you up a dress size. Now this was no intended commentary on my 40-year-old spread (was it, Mom?), but clearly it's affected my psyche and wounded my pride.

    Yes, I'm so vain that I will wear my best-looking jeans that are too damn tight in the waist, and just leave them unbuttoned if the top I'm wearing will cover it. (What stinks is when you go to unbutton them later, after a meal, and find they are already unbuttoned and you've got nowhere to go. I haven't actually started unzipping in public, so I clearly haven't yet hit my personal low.)

    This vanity of mine recently got me in trouble with a Freakin' Angel whom we shall refer to as Angel "K." Angel K saw my New Year's Eve facebook post in which I noted I needed a new outfit so I could compete with the hostess (Rob's still recovering from his "Good luck with that" response.) Angel K scolded me for:
    1. Feeling the need to impress 
    2. Having friends who would care what I looked like
    Angel K seems to think my rapier wit, incomparable brilliance, charming personality, exceptional kindness, and saint-like devotion to family, friends, and the poor and downtrodden are enough to endear me to others -- appearance be damned.

    Angel K's scolding has left me feeling conflicted. Of course she's right that true friends don't care what you wear (and I should note that my hostess at that NYE party was not the type to judge me) and we should never feel the pressure to keep up with the Jones. But on the other hand, is it wrong to want to look our best, and occasionally dress to impress?

    The reality is that I'm not usually particularly concerned about my appearance. Anyone who's seen me running through the neighborhood in mismatched pajamas while chasing the dog is well aware of this. But sometimes, vanity gets the best of me and I think it would be delightful to turn a few heads.

    The really important question to consider is this: Do I continue to squeeze myself into my current size and maintain my self-esteem, or should I embrace a larger size and the joy that comes with being able to breath freely with buttons and zippers and waistband intact? I welcome your opinion on this critical matter.

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    This Might Hurt a Little

    I have a friend, Emily, who is not only bright, witty, and a terrific writer (check out her Mothers of Brothers blog), but also happens to be seemingly fueled by the next great challenge or opportunity in her life. Whether it's achieving her black belt, completing a triathlon, or appearing on national television, Emily goes for the gusto and then moves on to conquer something else.

    I am not Emily. I am not a daredevil nor a thrill seeker. I don't crave a surge of adrenalin or a rush of endorphins. In fact, trying whipped cream on my pudding when I was a junior in high school was the first crazy thing I ever did and it's still pretty high up there on my list of life-changing moments.

    So why do I feel so frustrated with my son when he refuses to grab the brass ring, live life to the fullest, or climb every mountain (a shout out to the Sound of Music)? He knows the translation for carpe diem but has seemingly never grasped the concept.

    When he was little(r), getting Ian to swim or ride a bike was torture. Playing sports has never given him any joy. Watching a movie that I insist he'll love (Big, E.T., The Goonies, etc.) is a no-go. Even reading a book I recommend never pans out. Trying new foods is out of the question. I often wished the kid would give in to peer pressure and join his friends in these areas, but it seems everything with Ian has to be on his terms. This will be a great thing when it comes to sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but for now it's rather maddening.

    I realize this reads like a major dissing of my son, but really it's not. If I'm dissing anyone it's myself (and can 40-year-olds effectively use the word "diss"?). I've come to realize that wanting the best for our children generally means wanting them to be better versions of ourselves. And when they possess our own weaknesses and idiosyncrasies, it's frustrating beyond belief. Let's face it, who wants to see those personality traits we least like about ourselves on display in this little person we brought into the world?

    Yes, letting our children be who they are meant to be, letting them discover who they are and who they will become is not an easy thing for a parent. The best we can do is model attitudes, behavior, and beliefs that will point them in the right direction. For me, becoming a black belt was as much about my kids as it was about achieving something for myself. The "real Kim" is someone who would have given up on it years ago. (My personal motto is "when the going gets tough, I'm outta here" and "If at first you don't succeed, move on to something that comes easier."). But to quit, to admit defeat, to stick to what I knew, would have sent the wrong message to Ian and Abby.

    So my resolution for 2010 is to cut my kids some slack. To let Ian be Ian. To celebrate the fact that he's been blessed with a wonderful sense of humor, the gift of kindness, a bright mind, and a personality that draws people to him. And I'll do my part by trying to be a better role model. Heck, last night I tried a crab ball and oyster, so I'd say I'm off to a tremendous start! Happy New Year!