"I wasn't even supposed to be here today"

aren't those Dante's famous words from Kevin Smith's movie "Clerks"? Well, I should have called out sick yesterday and didn't. Instead I left work after half a day to come home for some tea, comfort and recuperation. Unfortunately, I came home to find our house had been broken into and robbed. And they took everything they possibly could, which means they must have come in a truck/van. It happened in broad daylight on a well traveled street between 9 am and 12:40 pm. We are, needless to say, sick over it. In trying to sort through the very weighted emotions, I penned a little note to the shit birds who are responsible. it is:

Dear Thieves:

My daughters don't want to sleep in their own home tonight...they don't feel safe. So, thanks, criminals who aren't fit for gainful employment...thanks so much for stealing my children's security. By the way, your timing was quite good. Considering you managed to steal my daughter's birthday gifts-most in the form of money sent to her by those who love her. Tomorrow is her birthday. I'm certain she won't remember how horrible her 18th birthday was because you helped yourself to her gifts. Oh, wait...yes, whe will definitely remember how horrible it felt. Normal people are actually affected by such acts of cruelty. By the way, fellas, that little safe you took? The one with no key? No money in it, just an 8th grade yearbook and some sentimental papers. See what you get on the street for those treasures. Hopefully an ass kicking from the scumbag you sell it to.

I don't know who failed you or why. All I know is you've unleashed your inability to contribute anything valuable to society on people who work hard to earn what they have. At least that's how my youngest daughter phrased it. Even a twelve year old knows not only right from wrong but good from evil. I'm sorry for whatever lead you to this path but I won't be sorry to see you pay your dues.

If you were stealing food to feed your children I would wish you the best and attempt to help you in any way possible. This, however...this is going to be a tough one to get over and forgive. This was an act of sociopathic, cash driven malice. Why should there be forgiveness for this?

We, as a family, enjoyed dinner at a restaurant tonight. Talk revolved around favorite books, least favorite books, college plans, high school activities, middle school happenings, music, sisterhood, food, travel, movies and various other rather inane topics. We as a family were together, we were complete and we were happy. By breaking into our beloved home and stealing what belonged to us you ruined a small piece of our happiness and security. But you also allowed us to see the bigger picture. There are certain things which are impossible to steal, no matter how accomplished a petty criminal you are. And for what your life lacks and mine is abundant with, I pity you.

Ah, well...therapy comes in many forms. Mine seems to write letters to phantoms. But, in all seriousness, protect your home. Network with your neighbors, pay attention to anyone with a particularly focused interest in your home, think about a security system, be aware of any workmen you hire, don't be afraid to call police if anything unusual occurs, from having door to door salesmen pop up on your doorstep to anyone on your property without your prior knowledge, DON'T hide a key outside your property, develop a healthy, friendly relationship with the local law makers and law keepers, whatever preventative steps you can take, please do. And I don't mean to sound paranoid, I am all about living in a home not an imposing fortress, but having this happen feels beyond lousy. It really does. xoxo tara
Thanks for reading.


The REAL Jersey Shore...

Who says you aren't able to enjoy being "down the Shore" in the middle of January? In the middle of the night? For those of you who've had the unfortunate experience of seeing MTV's "Jersey Shore", may I clarify a few things? And, really, I'm not bashing the show...though the cast is made up of people clearly NOT from the shore, it is entertaining and who wouldn't want to take a voyeuristic peek on a house where people are "goin' tannin', gettin' my hair did and goin' to the nail salon", presumably so they look pretty when they get involved in a bar brawl later in the day?

We Jersey Girls love our beaches. The night these photos were snapped, Chrissy and I had been to the charming West End area of Long Branch, where we drank a few "Snowballs in Hell" which actually taste nothing short of heavenly. (Somehow Chrissy cribbed the recipe, I will try to remember to post it in full, but just know it includes Godiva white, Stoli Vanil, cream and angel wings or pixie dust or unicorn eyelash...)

So, we love our beaches enough to visit them in the wee hours and look for...sea glass! I managed to get my poor boots wet, but Chrissy not only stayed dry but scored an amazing piece of glass!!!
Jersey Girls LOVE sea glass!
Jersey Girls love State beaches.
Jersey Girls do not frequent tanning salons, they do use sunscreen and will dip into the self-tanner for some color when necessary.
Jersey Girls know (when they forget their sunscreen) a milk bath, 3 Motrin and clean white sheets cure a sunburn.
Jersey Girls love boardwalks. To run on, eat funnel cake on, play cheesy games on. Yes, we get the "kitsch" factor.
Jersey Girls do not love 3 inch acrylic nails. Nor do they get their "hair did".
Jersey Girls may not admit it but they do love the song "Jersey Girl".
Jersey Girls decorate with things they find on the beach...jars of seaglass, starfish, a little driftwood with candles...
Jersey Girls have gone swimming naked in the Atlantic Ocean at LEAST once in their lives.
Jersey Girls shop at Shutters in Fair Haven!!!
Jersey Girls may complain about "Bennies" (see MTV for examples) but have usually made out with one at some point.
Jersey Girls don't pack anything for the beach except: a towel, chair, book and umbrella. Oh, and a bottle of water.
Jersey Girls don't care if their butts look fat in a wet suit.
Jersey Girls stand up for environmental issues.
Jersey Girls like to sit and stare at the ocean. Even when it's empty of hot surfers.
Jersey girls wear flip flops until the temperature drops below 40.
And...last but not least, Jersey Girls don't date guys who go by "The Situation" or girls named "Snooki" but do have mad crushes on a guy known as "The Boss".


July will find me in Copenhagen...

I am so looking forward to a trip we are planning in July...we'll be starting in Copenhagen, then off to Nykobing and Aalborg in Denmark. My grandmother, who passed away two years ago, was born in Nykobing so it will be amazing to see where I hail from.
We're also heading to Bruges, (did anyone see the film "In Bruges" with Colin Farrell? Give it a watch, if for nothing else to just admire the beauty of Bruges.
We'll be ending our trip in Amsterdam, where I've always wanted to visit. I am over the moon about this, my Aunt Maureen is taking me and my 15 year old daughter Casey (18 and 12 year old girls were not so keen on going, so they will be staying home with Dad) and it should really be a remarkable trip. My relatives had a hotel/restaurant called "Phoenix", and I am anxious to have a current day photo of the building. July seems a far way off!


Just listen to help...

We've taken to making charitable contributions to honor those we love for their birthdays, Christmas, etc. One of the charities we donate to is Oxfam America. I won't bore you with the details but I investigate the charities thoroughly before sending funds to them. Oxfam pays their CEO a substantial amount, but is a very highly regarded and ranked organization.

All you need to do in order to have 25 cents donated to Haiti Disaster Relief via Oxfam is click to listen to the music on the link I've pasted here. It's a brilliantly simple means to donate without asking people to make any more of a commitment than clicking and listening.


White Kitchen Shelves

We have a set of shelves in our kitchen which is so ugly it actually acts as an "ugly magnet" and attracts all the junk, miscellaneous shtuff and unloved bits in the kitchen and displays it like some sort of hideous kitchen mini-museum. I cleared the whole lot two days ago (and found a very attractive $20. bill while doing so) and will now paint the whole thing a lovely white. The original color was kind of a dirty mud tobacco brown. After a dreaded trip to Wal-Mart (or, as my beloved calls it "The Devil's Lair") I came home equipped with: primer, paint, a brush, some nice looking glass jars and a set of storage boxes. The intention is to pretty-up the poor unloved shelves and turn them into an eye catcher instead of the eyesore they've been.
I used the above photos from Country Living as inspiration. Stuck my trust i-Pod on the mini speaker and primed away.


I hereby resolve to...wait, what was it again?

It's always interesting to me to read other people's New Year resolutions. Sometimes I make a sort of vicarious resolution through someone else's desire to improve something in their life. My husband asked me New Year's Eve if I was going to make any resolutions. Not really was my answer. Not really? In rethinking it, that just sounds so weak. SO, in the vein of joining the rest of the country with taking a step in the right direction, I am making a broad resolution to just try to be better. Whether it's putting things such as laundry (ugh) away in a timely manner (you know, like before it becomes all muddled in with dirty laundry and the whole mess must be re-washed) or a little more patient (oh, the words my poor innocent children's ears have been assaulted with in my auto), or a little more giving (I'd already signed up to cook a community meal at St. James on the 16th-or is it the 17th?) be a little more organized (refer to previous sentence) I'm just going to strive to be...a little better. Here's to a better 2010...


My Sweet Peas

Oh, how I love these girls. Molly is nearly 18, Casey 15 and Maeve 12. They have brought such happiness to my life, along with a healthy dose of aggravation and a boatload of pride. What can I say...they make me strive to be a better person. If you can see Molly's necklace, she found it on etsy and requested it on her Christmas list. LOVE that! Just wanted to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for how great these girls are and give a shout out to whoever's in charge of these things in the universe. Thank you, thank you, thank you!