Miss Trader

Here I sit watching The Voice in a trough of popcorn (Skinny Girl Popcorn. Of course.) thinking, “How apropos?” I started my blog in 2008 in a vat of popcorn pondering my path and questionable choices. Not much has changed. I lost 10lbs. Finally! Then gained it back… I fell in and out of “love” a number of times. I’ve changed careers a bunch. I’ve just been bouncing along the last 10 years one step forward, two steps back. I’ve learned a ton, matured a little, and still laugh at farts.

I’m taking another swing at this. I haven’t felt like writing in forever. No one asks about it anymore, they don’t ask when I’m going to get married, or if I’m going to have children. As a recap, and foreshadowing, Bumble is my new best friend and I gave up sugar for 30 days. It lasted until Thanksgiving but you know I’ll be talking about it again soon. Very soon.

I also did something somewhat out of the ordinary. I signed up for an interactive trader class. Seriously. I’ve been immersed in stock lingo for the past couple of weeks. Part of the requirement to get my money back, which they promise, is to do 15 trades within 45 days. What. Was. I. Thinking???

First of all, where am I going to get the money to start trading?!? My notes clearly state that 8 out of 10 trades fail. FAIL. In case you missed that word. Obviously, I did. They get you by going in for the sales kill at the end of the night when you’re ready to eat your arm off and your blood sugar is low. That’s always a recipe for poor decisions leading to disaster. Second of all, I haven’t balanced a check book in 30 years! Can I just tell you? I am the last person I want to be managing anyone’s money, especially mine.

So, there you have it. Fasten your seat belts. We’re going to learn about stocks and I’m going to gently encourage you to give up sugar. If I can do it, anyone can. No joke. We’re also going to review the ups and downs of online dating. Together.

 

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Close Encounter of the Handsome Kind

God has a sense of humor. It was a cold and rainy Sunday, I spent most of the day on the couch and never bothered to put on makeup or real clothes. Thankfully, I did brush my teeth. I left for the grocery store with sweatpants, sneakers and a side braid. I had to wear a hat to try to cover the pimple I had just operated on in the middle of my forehead but closer to my eyebrows. I took a quick glance in the mirror and thought, “I’m not going to see anyone I know.”

I had just made an awesome Pasta e Fagiole with plenty of beans that started to affect me in the shampoo aisle, which was clear of shoppers. I contemplated farting but decided against it. I had learned my lesson years ago on that front. Thank God, I held it in, someone turned into the aisle. I didn’t take a good look at him but thanked my lucky stars. As luck would have it, he asked for my help finding a pencil sharpener, the kind everyone had in their school bag in junior high. I suggested an eyeliner pencil and tried to help him find it.

Can I just tell you? That’s when I took a good look at him and just shook my head on the inside. HANDSOME. Very handsome and wearing an awesome hat. We chatted for a bit and walked away. I immediately wondered if my hat was covering my pimple. Ugh.

Batman and the Purple Bra

I went to the outlets this weekend with my mom to buy baby stuff for my sister, Marya. After spending a small fortune at Carters, she needed to go into Maidenform for bras and underwear. It seemed to take forever but I found a pretty purple top for the gym.

A little boy with a batman mask, and his dad tailing him, ran through the aisles and around the bra and underwear racks. Batman made his way to me at my 70% off rack. He looked to be around 5 and may have had a speech impediment. He wanted to help me find something to match my purple shirt.

Much to his father’s horror, he picked a lacy, purple bra for me. I thanked him for his help and took it to the register. (I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.) He bounced along behind me and proudly told his mother, the cashier, he helped to find me something to cover my nipples. His mother turned beet red and started apologizing profusely through nervous giggles.

Can I just tell you? I think his father fainted.

Tootie

We went to Alison’s wedding this weekend. The weather was picture perfect and the setting was wonderfully romantic. The groom’s sister has a beautiful oceanfront, 5 bedroom property (with an indoor pool) surrounded by a swanky county club and golf course. The ceremony was in the front yard, overlooking the ocean. The champagne was flowing like water. We started drinking right away.

We danced, drank and ate all night. A wonderful time was had by all.

By the time we got back to the hotel, I was exhausted with a comfortable buzz. (Via bus, no one drove.) We opted to stay in the rest of the night and go to bed. I passed out immediately, Chris stayed up and watched TV. The next morning we woke up rested but slightly hung-over. We decided to stay in Providence and walk around. I was craving a Bloody Mary so, we stopped at a cute little café with outdoor seating. After our cocktails, we headed up the hill to explore Thayer Street, as recommended by the hostess.

We hadn’t gone 10 feet from the restaurant when Chris blurted out, “You farted on my leg last night after you passed out. In fact, I think you do it all the time.” I stopped dead in my tracks and exclaimed, “WHAT???? Please, tell me you’re joking!” “Nope,” he said, “I think it’s a thing for you.”

Can I just tell you? I couldn’t breathe! I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I chose the former. He started laughing, too.

Maybe that’s why I’m still single?! Who knew?

As soon as I had the chance, I texted my sounding board: my sister, a friend who refers to herself privately as, Tootie MacDougal, the bride, the friend who introduced me to Chris, and another high school friend. The bride told me everyone farts in their sleep and he should be ashamed of himself for telling me. Tootie told me she’s passing her name on to me. My sister texted back the following, “In ur sleep?? Lol” My response, “Yes.” Her response, “hahahahahahahahaha!” (Compassion runs deep in my family…) The other two just laughed and said, “How embarrassing!” Yes, it was.

Whelp, I can honestly say, he’s a keeper. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is. Besides, he’s going to have to be. Apparently, I’m a farter. Or, as we say in Massachusetts, a fahta.

Evil Eye

Friday night, Chris and I stopped by my mom’s for a quick visit and to get a bite to eat. (There is ALWAYS food there and I was starving.) She was having a dinner party, her guests included my aunt, Helen, and 2 other Greek ladies from the old neighborhood that grew up with my mom. One of the ladies is a Reiki Healer (she does it on the side) and the other was into those ionic foot-baths that pull all the toxins out of your body from your feet. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried. I did. I felt like a million bucks afterwards. Seriously.) Then, of course, my step-dad, George.

As soon as we said our hellos and exchanged hugs and kisses, Chris and I made a plate. They had already finished and were working on dessert. Chris was sitting at the table and, all of a sudden, George started sweating and swaying. He asked for an icepack. He has been having these “attacks” since the summer. No one knows what’s wrong, some doctors have suggested its vertigo. It has to be frustrating for all of them because he can’t work and is more moody than normal. Chris got up as my mom tended to George. We were holding our plates and eating by the counter. Suddenly, George lunged for the sliding glass door leading out to the deck. He threw it open and landed on the deck where he proceeded to heave his guts out.

It was shocking. Apparently, it has become a normal part of life though because everyone continued to eat. It was so bad that Chris noted it was, “gnarly.” I couldn’t eat, at least, not in the kitchen. So, Chris and I made our way to the opposite side of the house (where we could still hear the puking, albeit in the distance.) Quite frankly, I’m sure the neighbors on both sides heard it, too. I was pretty gnarly.

Please, don’t think I’m callus. George is dramatic. Moody. And, a pain in the neck. He is my mother’s fifth child. I honestly don’t know how she has managed to stay sane all these years (35 long ones!) without becoming an alcoholic. I would have started self-medicating years ago. I digress.

Truthfully, I can’t imagine being sick and knowing you’re sick but no one else knowing the cause or the cure.

Chris and I migrated back to the kitchen after we licked our plates clean. Much to Chris’ delight, the conversation at the table revolved around medicinal marijuana. Chris pulled up a seat at the table, while George was still heaving on the deck, lying half on the kitchen floor and half on the deck. (With a pillow.) Chris thinks of himself as an expert with all things pot related. He gave them the name of his “guy” along with a summary of the difference between medicinal pot and recreational. My mother and my aunt listened intently as they fussed with the dishes. I could see the wheels turning in both of their heads. My aunt looking for something to ease her pain for the loss of her son and my mom thinking to herself that I’m dating a drug addict. (FYI, he is not.)

There were so many things happening in that room that I decided to sit quietly on the arm of an oversize chair in the adjoining living room and text my sister, Marya, the play-by-play of the conversation and actions of everyone in the house. Her text responses included a lot of “WHAT?????” and “that’s embarrassing!!!” There were quite a few of “I know. Right?” from my end of the text chain. When I thought it couldn’t get crazier, Chris came over to me and asked if there was another bathroom away from the kitchen. Uh oh, I thought. Poor guy. He had eaten something that didn’t sit well and needed a private bathroom STAT. I ushered him upstairs.

Did I tell you about the time that I flooded that bathroom and toilet water came rushing downstairs through the globe light in the hallway? Hmm. More on that later… I was starting to have flashbacks but, I didn’t panic.

When I came back downstairs, one of the ladies made a bee line to the bathroom near the kitchen. From the sound of things, she ate something disagreeable, too. Ugh.

Once again, I thought the explosion of vomit on the deck and bathroom explosions were the end of the excitement for the evening but, no, I had miscalculated the craziness that is my family. Can I just tell you? One of the ladies exclaimed, “He has the evil eye!” You may not know what that is unless you’re Greek. I have a very vivid memory of it from my childhood.

Someone gave my mom the evil eye when I was much younger. She was very sick so, my grandmother performed an exorcism of sorts on her via cupping. Do you know what cupping is? I think Gwyneth Paltrow recommends it. You heat the rim of a shot glass and place it on the skin, typically, the back. It pulls out the evil eye/negativity in the body. I watched my grandmother do this to my mother. I can never un-see it and the memory of it, clearly, has etched itself on my brain.

So, anyway, it seemed obvious to the ladies that someone had given George the evil eye so, they got out a shot glass and said the evil eye prayer and anointed it with, the ever-holy, olive oil. They ganged up on him to “cure” him but he brushed them off. At that point, I grabbed Chris’ arm and said, “Let’s go. We’re outa here.”

We got in the car, I felt him look at me incredulously. He got the hand and we peeled out of the driveway.

Valium

My parents, Stella and George, are into real estate. They buy and sell homes, “flip them.” Stella was born in a small village in Greece and traveled to the United States when she was a young girl. She’s tough as nails and always up for a challenge. They came across a small house in Hollis for short money and bought it. George went over after papers were passed to take a better look at the new property. During his inspection of the property, he discovered the wall supporting the house was being held up by rotting trees. He immediately vomited, then continued to have dry heaves the whole way home. He has a nervous stomach. Between puking fits, he lamented to Stella that maybe they made a mistake with the purchase. She took one look at him then shook his shoulders, coming very close to slapping that silly thought out of his head. She firmly told him to pull himself together, “it’s done and we’re going to make the best of it.” She knew what he needed, valium.

Immediately, she called my aunt, Helen, to ask her if she could spare some pills. Can I just tell you? Helen told her she’d be right over.

Star Trek

I had lunch with a very dear friend the other day. Her stepson, Christopher, was killed in a helicopter crash recently, he was my age. He had discovered he had a 16 year old daughter 4 years before his death. The discovery had given his life meaning and was starting to build a relationship with her. Apparently, it had been going really well.

I have had the sad reality of knowing more than one mom who had to bury a child. Its heart wrenching. They say the mother will never be the same after the death of a child. I believe that to be true. With any great love loss, there’s always a little bit of your heart that goes missing. My friend is no different. She loved her stepson like he was her own child, she married his father when Christopher was still a young child and watched him grow to be a fun-loving and caring brother to their next two daughters to come along.

Her daughters are grown now and took their mom, my friend, for a girl’s weekend in Boston. I was so happy to get the invite to join them for lunch on their last day in the city. The start of the conversation was mostly catch-up talk. At the lull in the conversation, I saw in her eyes that her mind drifted to Christopher.

I took her hand and asked her to tell me about him. She glowed telling me about her wonderful son. I gathered from our conversation he was a kind and generous soul with a perfect sparkle of mischief. His sisters adored him and he showered them with love. He was athletic and loved adventure, his work had him in a helicopter on a regular basis. (Sounded pretty exciting to me, too.)

On the way to the funeral, his two sisters stopped into a coffee shop to pay for the next 50 cups of coffee in honor of their brother. I immediately teared up. She then dryly stated that they walked into the funeral home to an 8×10 picture of William Shatner as Captain Kirk and Christopher’s birth mother in a Star Trek outfit. I gasped and asked, “Why?!” She said the mother was telling everyone, “Christopher was named after a Star Trek character.” “Was he?” I asked. (Shocked.)

My poor friend. Grief held her tightly as she whispered, “No, he was named after A. A. Milne’s Christopher Robin.” (Her husband’s nickname for her is Winnie the Pooh.) At that point we both had tears rolling down our cheeks. We sat quietly for a few minutes before she continued.

Christopher’s mom left him when he was two and never seemed to care about building a relationship with him. I know there are always two sides to a story and I’m definitely biased. Honestly, I don’t know a kinder person than my friend quietly trying to compose herself next to me. However, the more the story unfolded the more unfortunate it seemed.

Can I just tell you? His death included a $5 million insurance policy that would go to next of kin. It’s unknown if the daughter is really his, there needs to be a DNA test. The Star Trek mother is broke and discouraging the girl from the testing because the insurance would go to her.

Shame on her. What would Mr. Spock say?