Rough Waters

Friday, September 6, 2013

Day FOUR of BlogtemberA story about a time you were very afraid.


I still remember the first time I experienced true fear in vivid detail.

I was seven years old and I was living on a 34 foot sailboat with my Mom, Dad and Brother. 

Now, my parent's aren't hippies - my father just has a love of the ocean and he always dreamed of sailing.  So he made it happen.  With a wife and two kids. 

How many of you can say you've made your dream happen?

Anyway, back to my fear. 

It was a beautiful morning.  We were under sail, (which means we didn't have our engine running) leaving No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne, Florida, headed toward the Dry Tortugas. The trip was supposed to only take about eight to twelve hours, depending on the wind and how fast we could go.

I experienced my first twinge of fear that day, the moment I looked out on the horizon and saw the storm.

You see, when you're on the ocean with no land mass in sight, the sight of broiling clouds and walls of rain in the distance can cause a seven year old girl on a small boat to quiver with terror.

My first thought was, "Oh, no!  I'm going to puke for sure today!"  (I get terribly sea-sick whenever the ocean's waves are bigger than, oh, let's say, a couple inches high) 

What came out of my mouth was, "DAD!  Do you see that STORM?!  We gotta turn around!!!"

My mother surveyed the horizon and felt the wind whipping up around us.  She agreed that it would be wise to turn back.

My father decided to be a bad ass and try to ride out the storm.  Once he sets his mind to something, he usually doesn't back down.

Within the hour, we were in hell.

Have you ever seen Forrest Gump?  The scene where Forrest and Lt. Dan are on their shrimp boat in the middle of a storm?

That was us. 

Our little boat was being tossed around the ocean like a small toy in a crazy two year old's bathtub.

The sky was black, the waves were crashing over us and our boat was making creaking, groaning sounds like it was going to break apart at any moment.

My father told me to go down below in case the boat capsized.  I also heard him tell my mother that he didn't know how far off course we were - but he thought we might get blown to Cuba.

I refused to go below.  I would get even more sick down there.  Besides, all of our stuff was falling out of our cabinets and shit was flying everywhere.   What if we DID capsize?  I didn't want to be stuck in a sinking boat down there with my brother!

So, my father tied me to the boat with a life line (in case I fell overboard, he could pull me back in).

At this point, I had thrown up so much, there was nothing left.  I kept dry heaving and there was nothing left to come up except blood.

I looked at my mother.  She was throwing up too.  We were all soaked and we couldn't see anything.  My father was at the helm. 

We had been fighting this storm for almost twelve hours.  

In my mind, I could see the end and it wasn't good. 

Our boat was going to fall apart and we were all going to drown in this awful storm.  
   Or, we would end up in Cuba and we would all be shot in the head the moment we were captured. 
       Or, I would keep vomiting and my insides would eventually fall out on the floor of the cockpit.

I had had enough.  I wanted it to end.  I started to scream.


I kept screaming this over and over.

My mom made her way over to me as the waves were crashing over our heads.  She said,
"Rachel, you are NOT going to die.  Pray as hard as you can.  Jesus will hear you and answer your prayers."

Normally, this would make most kids feel a little better but it only scared me worse.   My mother never took me to church.  I never saw her pray.  We didn't even say grace when it was dinner time.  Now she wanted me to pray and ask Jesus to save us?  

Holy shit, we were in trouble.

I prayed hard.  I yelled up at God and Jesus and whomever else might be listening, to make the storm stop and to not let us die.  I cried hard.  I kept throwing up. 

I wasn't sure that God had heard me.

Eventually, the storm began to subside.  We had been fighting the wind and the waves for over 16 hours.  My father had to hail a barge we had spotted off in the distance and asked him his location to figure out where we were.

We sailed into the Dry Tortugas the next day just after dawn.  It was a beautiful morning and the waters were calm.  Almost as if the storm had never even happened.

Our bodies were waterlogged and weary from the last 24 hours. 

Our boat may have been small but she was sturdy. She had delivered us alive and well to our destination. 

Everything down below deck was ruined.  All of our supplies were wet and scattered throughout the cabin. 

We surveyed the anchorage and we saw destruction.  Many boaters had sought refuge in the small cove but many had drug anchor and boats had slammed against each other like bumper cars.

The other boaters in the area who rode out the storm couldn't believe we had sailed through it. 

Many other people remarked how surprised they were that our boat didn't break apart from the beating it took.

Our little boat may have taken most of the credit that day but I'd like to think I had a hand in our survival, as well.

God had heard me and answered my prayers.

Father Knows Best

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Blogtember Day 3. Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

My father is an extremely intelligent man.  With this intelligence comes an arrogance that I still don't fully understand - but I respect it. 

I must've been about 16 years old when, for some reason or another, I came home very upset about something that had happened at school.  I can't remember specifically what it was that made me so upset (I was sixteen, so everything was a BIG DEAL at that age). 

What I do remember is the advice my father gave me:

He said, "Rachel, most people are NOT going to see things the way you do.  Roughly eighty-five percent of the people who live on this earth are damn idiots.  Be grateful that you're in the top 15th percentile." 

Initially, I was surprised by his statement.  My dad never gives out compliments in any form. Did he just say that I was in the top fifteenth percentile? 

My dad thinks I'm smart! 

As I have gotten older, I can see why he thinks this way about the general population.  His advice
has helped me in many situations and has enabled me to keep my mouth shut when trying to argue about something with an 85th percentiler.

Oops, did that sound too arrogant? Like father like daughter...

My Princess (I'll put her in the top 5%) and my Dad

Pearl Jam

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day Two of Blogtember! If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?




If I could take three months off from my current life and do ANYTHING?  My heart goes thumpity thump at the thought.

It would be perfect timing for me to take three months off RIGHT NOW.

Pearl Jam is launching their Lightning Bolt Tour in October.  I would get tickets to each and every show in every city.

I was introduced to their music when I was seventeen.  The sound of Eddie Vedder's voice and Gossard's guitar riffs washed over my body like warm Caribbean waters.  I instantly fell in love with this band.


I have been held up and moved forward in hard times of my life because of their lyrics.

The sounds and words emanating from their albums have assuaged my wounds.

I have a hall pass from my husband if Eddie Vedder somehow sees me from across a crowded room and wants to ravage me.


Blogtember: A September Blog Challenge

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I have accepted a Blog Challenge.

It's not like I have anything else to do, right?  (My almost 7 month old, Charming, is on the couch next to me practicing his vowel sounds and Miss Sassy (2 year old) is taking a nap).  I haven't slept for more than 3 hours in a row since my 8th month of pregnancy, I am the PTA Treasurer at Princess's elementary school and I'm also a co-scout leader in her Junior Girl Scout Troop.

Sure, I have plenty of time for a blog challenge!  Bring.It.On.

Today's challenge is:  Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.

"My Family Tree is Full of Nuts!"

This was embroidered on a pillow that sat on my grandmother's couch for years.  She is gone now - she passed away just a month ago and my heart aches. 

I come from deep Midwestern roots.  My parents were both born and raised in Missouri.  Once they were done with college (my father is a mechanical engineer and my mother is a nurse), they couldn't get out of there fast enough. 

My father has always loved the ocean.  When I was seven years old and my brother nine, my parents quit their jobs and we moved onto a 34 foot sailboat.  We lived on that boat, which my father named Anticipation, for a little over two years.  We began our journey in Gulfport, MS, sailed around Florida and up the East Coast, all the way to Maryland.  We then sailed over to the Bahamas and lived there for about 6 months. 

My Father, Me, My Mom, and my Brother

Although it only lasted two years, this journey definitely impacted my character and worldview from a very young age.

I am a fiercely independent and fun loving person - yet, I can also be a dark, insecure and depressed hermit. 

I am generally very nice and I have the most annoying conscience that never lets me get into too much trouble - yet, I have a bit of a mean streak and a love for putting people in embarrassing situations.

I like to start discussions and arguments.

I don't fight fair (in verbal and physical fights) - yet, I fight for equality and fairness in my political views.

I am currently struggling with my role as a stay-at-home mom. 

I will always be ashamed that the first man to whom I chose to give my heart, broke it into a million pieces the night he viciously beat me in front of our three year old daughter.

I am amazed that I found the inner strength to leave him and start a new life for myself and my daughter.

I am infinitely proud of my husband who works tirelessly to give myself and our three children a safe and loving home.

I love my mom like no other.  You may think you love your mom as much as I love mine - but you don't.

I like to think that I get some of these qualities from my Grandmother.  

She was such a gem. 






Boobs, Butts, Bath - REPEAT

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm starting to feel like I'm living my own version of the movie Groundhog Day. You know, the movie where the guy keeps waking up and living the same day over and over and OVER?

I wake up every morning to a two year old flopping her amazingly hard and pointy body on my face and telling me,
"Wake up, Mama!  I wanna watch Dora and the Mermaids!"

"SHIT", I think to myself.  Some mornings I may even say that out loud but you won't get me to admit that in a court of law.

Then my almost 6 month old son, Charming, wakes up and sees me. 

Well, he doesn't actually see ME - he sees my boobs.  Let me tell you, it is something a male is born with.  They look at a woman's boobs the same way when they are infants as when they are a grown ass man. 

(Unless, of course, they play for the other team)

After nursing Charming and watching Dora, I have to start concentrating on their butts. 

I change Charming's diaper and make sure his fat rolls are all cleaned out.

Sassy (my two year old) is potty trained now (can I get an AMEN?!!) so I drag her into the shower with me and scrub off all the skid marks left on her ass cheeks.  Two year olds are not the best at wiping their own butts.

After we finish our bath/shower, I get us all dried off and dressed. 

Charming realizes it's been over an hour since his last encounter with the milk maid, so he starts giving me the 'look'.

Boob time AGAIN.

And so the rest of the day goes pretty much the same:  Boobs - Butts - Baths

There is a nap or two scheduled in there somewhere but it's not so good to count on it.

You may think that this sounds like a very boring and soul-sucking situation....
                                         ....and you would be right!

However, these kids of mine have special powers.  I think they might have the ability to 'glamour' me like a vampire. 

Just when they push me to the brink and I think I'm gonna buy myself a one way ticket to Fiji, I get a look like this:

Do you see fangs?  I think I do...

Getting Older

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It happened all at once.

Last week I started feeling my age. I'm pushing forty but I've never felt like it until now.

I was walking down the stairs and I felt something on the back of my upper thigh.  It felt really wiggly and gross so I reached around to see what it was and to my surprise...
          was my ASS!!!

I'm not over-exaggerating here, people.  My ASS is sagging down onto the back of my LEGS.

Some of you may remember the Breast Pencil Test.  This is where you place a pencil under your boob and if it falls then you pass the test (you don't have saggy tata's - yippee!)

I would fail the pencil test if I put it under my ass-cheek.

My husband tells me, "Just do some squats and run on the elliptical.  That should help."

"Oh, why thanks honey, that makes me feel better", I said, while silently flipping him the bird behind his back.

I'm not a 'working out' kind of girl.  The last time I tried to run with my husband, I barely made it up to the stop sign at the end of our street. I get itchy and sweaty and I start to get all panicky because I scratch my sweaty thighs and that makes them itch worse.

I'd rather starve myself in order to lose weight and I think this is what made my ass fall.

Guess I'm gonna have to go get lipo...

Impending Doom

Monday, June 17, 2013

In July, I will be taking a road trip from Virginia to Kansas City, Missouri. 

I will be squished into my parent's Dodge with my three kids. That's 3 adults and 3 kids.

It's going to take us over two days to get there and two days to drive back.

I may need therapy when this is over.

What was I thinking?

Easy, Delicious Pasta Sauce - YUMMY!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Italian Pasta Sauce

I'm going to share with you my Mama's pasta sauce recipe.  It is so delicious! And the best part?  It's so easy to make!  Impress your kids, your significant other, or your picky in-laws. 

The hardest part of this recipe is the chopping. 

Once you've finished that, it's an easy downhill ride of pure scrumptiousness.  This sauce gets even better after it's been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days. 

I swear, it's so good it will make your toes curl.
Here's what you'll need: 
  • 6 ounces of real, honest to goodness, olive oil (not the extra virgin kind)
  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Mild Italian Sausage (or you can use a pound of ground beef.  Sometimes in the winter I will use BOTH since my hubby is quite the carnivore.)
  • 12 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 sweet onion (I like vidalia) or you can just use a regular white onion (medium sized)
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes. (Try to find organic or imported - these have little to no citric acid in them and your sauce will taste better)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (DON'T use table salt. Use kosher salt or sea salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves (if you have fresh basil, use a large handful)
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning

This is how you do it:

Slice the italian sausage into 1/2 to 1 inch thick slices.  Chop up onion and garlic.

In a medium/large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil.


Once the oil is heated, add the chopped onion to the pan.  Cook onions about 3 minutes stirring occasionally.

 Add the chopped garlic and continue to stir for about 2 minutes.
Add italian sausage and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or until sausage browns.
 It should look like this when it's done

 Pour both cans of crushed tomatoes into a crockpot and add all the seasonings.

Pour in contents from skillet - do not drain! 
(If you choose to use ground beef, then you SHOULD drain it)
Here is your pot of deliciousness ~ Stir everything up and cover.
Cook on low in crockpot 8-10 hours or high for 4 hours.
If you don't want to wait, you don't have to use the crockpot.  You can just put everything into a large saucepan, heat on medium high until mixture bubbles, then turn it down to medium low and let it simmer for a good 20 minutes. 
Serve over pasta of your choice! 
I like whole wheat thin spaghetti, cheese tortellini or ravioli.

Imperfect Dieter

Monday, June 3, 2013

I started a cleanse/diet last week.

It started off really well and I was following the plan perfectly.  However, as is the case with every diet I commit to, there were several bumps by the time day 5 rolled around. I woke up that morning and the first thought that hit me was: 


Now, I should mention that I am currently nursing a three month old chunkster.  He weighs about 16 pounds.  He eats A LOT.  On a normal non-dieting day, after feeding Charming, I could do some serious damage to any food that comes across my path.  On top of that I'm doing a cleanse, watching my caloric intake AND I'm still nursing.

I could potentially kill someone for a cheeseburger.

So, back to the morning of day 5.

I wake up and I am hungry.  I'm also in a terribly bad mood.  Charming has just finished his morning meal (yes, people - I feed him in bed with me while I'm sleeping - sue me) and proceeds to throw most of it back up on my boobs and neck.  I move him over to his co-sleeper and get up to go take a shower. 

Sassy (my two-year old) wakes up and comes plodding into the bathroom screeching, "MAMA!  I take shower with YOU!!!"  


I summon up the sweetest voice I can muster and answer,  "Okay, sweetie.  Hop in here with me."

What should have only taken a short amount of time, ended up taking over forty-five soul crushing minutes. 

Sassy and Charming are clean.  I'm in a somewhat presentable condition and then I hear it.  The sides of my stomach are rubbing together and it is howling for food.  My dark mood darkens further.

I make it down the stairs to the kitchen.  I get a bowl of cereal ready for Sassy and Princess (who, thank goodness, is able to clean and dress herself for school now) and then I remember I haven't taken my thyroid pill.


If any of you out there have a thyroid issue, you know that you're supposed to take your thyroid medicine THIRTY minutes before you EAT.

Screw it.

I pop the thyroid pill in my mouth and chug it down with some water.  I look at my 'meal plan' for day five and I'm thrown into a fit of despair.  It says: Drink a Meal Replacement Shake OR eat a Protein, Carbohydrate & Vegetable.

What?  No donut?  No pound of bacon?

I yank the blender out of the cupboard and I begin the process of making my damn meal replacement shake.  I'm beginning to hate that stupid blender.  I want to add a banana to my shake so I look toward the fruit bowl and see that there are no bananas left.

What?! No bananas? SHIT!!! 

My husband must have eaten the last banana.  I could rip his eyes out of his head this very moment.  Good thing he's at work...

I decide that instead of making the shake with water, I will add milk.  I used the last of the milk in the refrigerator in our kitchen for the kids' cereal, so I plod downstairs to get another jug out of the fridge in our basement.  I open the refrigerator and let out a hiss.  No milk.


I stomp back upstairs and make my shake with water and no banana.  Princess announces that she's going to be late for the bus.  I tell her I will drop her off at school since I need to run to the grocery store. 

I drop Princess off at school and make my way to Safeway.  I do an internal check of my stomach to make sure I'm not too hungry.  You see, if I go into a grocery store even a little bit hungry, I will end up spending hundreds of dollars on junk food.  My stomach seems to be tamed and my mood has lightened just a bit. I feel safe enough to enter the store.

Sassy, Charming and I make it through the produce section, the dairy section and the bread aisle with no issues.  I'm starting to feel empowered.

YES!  I am kicking this diet's ASS!!  I am HOT!  I am WOMAN!

We make it to the checkout lane and this is where it all goes to hell. 

The candy is calling my name.  The peanut m&m's!  The plain m&m's!  The dark chocolate Hershey Bar!

Holy Mary Mother of God - they are buy 2 get one free. 

I start to rationalize.  I tell myself, "Hey, you've been so good for the past five days.  You DESERVE a treat!"

Damn right I do.

"Come on, they are buy two get one free!"

You said it sister. 

I look around guiltily, then I grab a bag of peanut and plain m&m's and a Caramello.  Oh, I can't wait to sink my teeth into the chocolatey goodness.

The cashier eyes me impatiently since she had finished ringing up my groceries five minutes ago.
I hand her my three choices.  I watch as she scans each delectable package.  I notice she has charged me for all three.

"Um, excuse me", I say a little sheepishly, "those were supposed to be buy TWO get one FREE".

She looks at me over the rim of her eyeglasses and scowls, "The Caramello bar ain't part of that promo".


This must be a sign from God - I shouldn't be so gluttonous.
I tell the cashier to only ring up the peanut M&M's.

I load up the groceries and the kids back into the car.  I'm sitting in the grocery store parking lot opening up my candy with such fervor that I could be mistaken for a druggie about to take a hit.

I plop a couple of m&m's into my mouth and let out a quiet groan.  Holy shit, these things are DELICIOUS!

I hunch over in my seat and shovel a few more into my mouth.  I don't want Sassy to see me eating any because I don't want to share.  With about half the bag already eaten, I start the engine and head for home.

I'm feeling really good!  Poppin' m&m's and listening to Pearl Jam while driving with two kids in my minivan.  Life is GOOD.

I'm enjoying myself so much that I don't see the jackass in the right lane trying to move over into my lane.  Suddenly, the jackass's car is swerving into my lane and I stomp on the brake.  I drop the bag of m&m's. Before I can rescue my precious chocolate, the bag is on the floorboard under my feet and my beloved sweet morsels are rolling around all over the place.


I can't rescue all of them.  I'm able to grab a good portion of the m&m's but I just KNOW there are a few rogue one's underneath my seat.  I look at the candy in my hand and ponder, for just a second, whether or not I should eat them.  I mean, they have been on the floor of my car.  Lord knows what else is on that floor.  Eh, fuhgeddaboudit.  I throw them in my mouth. 

I make it the rest of the way home without incident.  I'm worried about the rogue m&m's. I try feeling around underneath the seat.  I crane my neck to get a good look under the seat. 


I just KNOW that Michball (my husband) will clean out the car and find one.  He will then proceed to hold it up between his fingers and look at me accusingly with squinty eyes and ask,

"Aren't you supposed to be on a diet?"

Then I will answer with an excuse such as,

"I didn't eat any m&m's! It must've been one of the kids.  You KNOW how messy they are!"

He will just shake his head and give me a look that says he knows I'm lying.

Whatever.  It was worth it. 

Did I mention that I've lost nine pounds?

Getting to Know Me

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


This is me around 4 years old ~ circa 1979

My 7th Grade School Picture
(things got a bit hairy in my awkward stage -check out the bad perm and
WHAT was my mother thinking putting me in that dress?!?!)
My First Best Friend

My sister from another Mr.
My forever friends. 
(Notice here that I'm the only one that looks like a hoochie - this was a sign of things to come!)
Highschool Sweethearts (that's my sweet Michball!)
My Brother
My Parents!
Our Wedding Day

My Princess (currently in 3rd Grade)
Little Miss Sassy (2 1/2 years old)
Charming (3 months old)

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
Mae West



First Words

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hello! Welcome to my little space here on the blogosphere.  My name is Rachel. If you really care to know what I "do", I guess I have to label myself as a stay at home mom. I never intended to be one but here I am! I have three children: Princess (age 9 - the one on the right), Sassy (age 2 - on the left) and Charming (4 months). There will be no more.

I am married to a very sweet and wonderful man - he just has a hard time showing these qualities - I will refer to him as Michball (pronounced meesh ball). We met in high school and dated for a couple of years. I decided I didn't want to have a boyfriend when I left for college so we broke up. I met someone in college and married him instead. I will refer to him as Penis Wrinkle. I divorced Penis Wrinkle after 7 years of marriage. The beauty that came from this imperfect union is the aforementioned Princess.  Michball and I reconnected and the rest is history.

Hopefully, some of you will identify with this little blog of mine. Others may get offended and for this I apologize. My intention with this space is to be as honest (maybe too honest?) as possible with my feelings and life events so that some of you may feel a connection and that I may feel a connection with you.

It's our imperfections that help us identify with each other and learn to accept each others' short comings.


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