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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vegas, Day Two: Excesses And Indulgences

Saturday dawned early in Vegas - or at least it does on Philly time, on which, despite 48 ounces of alcohol the night before, I seemed to be.

So I pulled out the laptop and did some writing - some really good writing, believe it or not, and I was only very mildly hung over, nothing that two Advil couldn't take care of. I did wake up feeling like birds had made a nest in my mouth, but that's small penance for drinking damn near a two-liter of daquiri.

Once the roommates were up, we headed out to catch the Deuces bus, which whisked us away to the strip, and the incredible Bellagio Hotel and their massive - oh God, so massive - buffet, with unlimited mimosas.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Once Upon A Time: My Big, Fat, Season Four Premiere Review

Ohhhhhhhhhh the anticipation!! Especially after the way they left season three. We Captain Swan die-hards were all agog.

Agog, I tell you.

And now, finally, we're back and....

Right back to square one. Emma, you suck. Would you like a little "hem" with your "haw?"

{Picture credit: ABC]

Honestly, what is this woman's problem? Is he too devilishly handsome for you? Too witty? Too intelligent? Too selfless where you're concerned and now as well with others? Too nice to your family? Too great with your kid? Too much chest hair?

What Happens In Vegas Stays On The Internet (If You're A Blogger)

When I told one of my coworkers I was going Vegas, she exclaimed, “Oh my God, you have to fly in at night!”

I’m here to tell you, ladies and gents, if you’re going to Vegas, you have to fly in at night. I mean it. It was amazing to watch it all glow against the blackness, with landmarks like The Luxor and The Eiffel Tower getting more recognizable as we made our approach. Unfortunately, I was in an aisle seat, so this is the best I got through the airplane window. One of my seatmates was kind enough to snap it for me. Wish I’d waited, though – it was much more spectacular when we got closer.

And oh….my seatmates. Oh. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Friday, September 26, 2014

AutASTIC Friday: Check Out The Amazing Artwork This Girl Has Created

Iris Grace is a painter, and she lives in the UK. She creates incredible watercolors that could easily hang in anyone's cheery foyer or on the wall of any arthouse, coffee shop or museum. What really is amazing about Iris's work is that she's five years old.

What's really, really amazing is that Iris is also a child with autism. 

Like many children on the autism spectrum, Iris's unique way of looking at the world around her translates into a thing of beauty, and provides her an outlet for sharing her special perspective with the rest of us.

Iris Grace, you are simply brilliant. Shine on, girl. Shine on.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dear SUV Guy: Thanks For Making My Night

It was just a routine trip to the grocery store after a routine day at work and I was heading home to my routine life and feeling pretty average about it all.

Nothing spectacular. Just me being me.

I was tired. I'd like to say I was having a great hair day or I just felt great all over, but that wouldn't be the truth. I was tired, and I'm tired a lot.

I'm a single Mom. I work two jobs. I have teenage daughter who's thirteen in a twenty year-old body and pre-pubescent boy with autism. None of that is easy. And more often than not, it leaves me feeling kinda....well, I guess "drained" is the right word.

And that was me last night. I drove home from work in traffic, I stopped at the grocery store with the measly twelve dollars I have to spend until payday, I got in my car, and I started driving the remaining two miles to home.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Walking With The Dinosaurs

Check it out, Mom, she says
Yeah, Mom, check it out, he echoes
It looks like a giant egg, doesn't it?
The path is full of rocks and full-on boulders
Many of them jut out of the stream
Causing impromptu waterfalls
And making walkways that we can traverse
To drop twigs or leaves into the water
But just now, this rock looks like an egg

It could be a dinosaur egg, says he
Wouldn't that be cool? says she
If we found a dinosaur egg?
That would be cool, I agree
Even if it's not, it's still a really cool rock
And a reminder
That the simplest things
Can become anything
If you let your mind examine the possibilities

We keep on hiking
In the open air
Over the rocks and by the stream
We may not have found a dinosaur egg
But we found this day
And all the possibilities in it

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Project Bombshell - Will It All Go To Hell In Vegas?

So here's the scoop for those of you who don't regularly peruse my other blog: I'm going to Vegas - rather unexpectedly (thanks to the generosity of some wonderful friends) - this weekend for a girl's weekend away.

Holy cow! Vegas, baby!

Monday, September 22, 2014

So Tell Us, Ellie - Why Do You Blog?

I ran into a friend this weekend and she had a buddy along, so of course, she introduced me and then she told the buddy I was a blogger. Like, a real-live "she does it almost every day" kind of blogger. In her mind, I'm a minor celebrity in the Blogosphere because I blog for Woman's Day and also have my very own webpage. The buddy was quite gracious and friendly, and she asked me the question I've heard oh-so-many-times-before: "Do you make a lot of money with your blog?"

I learned long ago that it's rude to laugh directly in people's faces, so I just smiled demurely and said "I make a little money – but not enough to quit my day job." Then, of course, I followed it up with, "But that's not why I do it, anyway."

And it's not, really. I'm not kidding about the money thing, either.

Friday, September 19, 2014

AutASTIC Friday! This Man Made An Amazing Cat Playground!

I'm starting a new feature here on the blog that I'm going to call "AuTASTIC Friday," where I shine the spotlight on one of the many amazing people on the spectrum who do incredible things.

Check this guy out - he's built a kitty playground for his beloved pets!

Greg Krueger is from Minnesota, and he loves his cats. He loves them so much, in fact, that he created a kitty amusement park inside his house just for them to enjoy. His home is criss-crossed with walkways, cat-sized staircases and wonderful, hidden cubby-holes just for the furry felines to romp and relax in. Check out these pictures!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: In A World Without Cheese

In a world without cheese
Nothing is gooey
Nothing has that same salty, chewy, pull-away from your mouth sort of love that food really ought to have
No brie on crusty bread
No pepperjack on a tortilla
No parmesan and ricotta spread artfully between layers of pasta
No scalding layer of mozzarella to slide off a slice and brand your chin
No sharp, biting feta on a folded pita
No burger dripping in processed american cheese
Naked macaroni, helpless and ashamed without its glorious golden covering
Oh, who am I kidding - this diet won't even let me look at macaroni, or pizza, or bread
And as hard as it is giving all of that up, the cheese is the hardest goodbye of all
The truth is there, ringing with the memory of a thousand gooey, orange, yellow or white morsels melting into mouthfuls of deliciousness

I don't want to live in a world without cheese

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

And Today In The News: Call Me Kinky

Call me kinky, but I'd love for someone to assault me like this:

I don't know who you are, Fudge Bar Guy, but I may be the girl for you. 

[And yes, I know he's probably a jerk, but at least I'd get ice cream out of the deal...]

Monday, September 15, 2014

Project Bombshell: Do My Legs Look More Muscular? Because I've Been Jumping Hurdles All Weekend

And by jumping, I mean "crashing directly into them, flipping end-over-end and skidding several feet across the pavement on my face."

Oh, this weekend was bad. Bad, bad, bad. I blew it. I blew it pretty damn bad, and I owe some of that to these evil, evil pieces of gastronomic ecstacy:

Oh God, I cannot resist them. Or candy corn. I simply cannot.

Or, at least, that's what I tell myself. It's not much a defense, really.

Friday, September 12, 2014

This One's A Shout Out To My Spunky, Fierce, Wonderful Girl

I know I brag about my Anna a lot. Hey, I'm her Mom. And a blogger. It's my job (literally). I also complain about her on occasion, but again - I'm her Mom. Mother-daughter relationships are never easy.

This week has been kind of a rough one for Anna - I'm not at liberty to get into the why of it (that's her story to tell someday) but suffice it to say she's getting some bullying on subtle and not-so-subtle levels from some of the kids at school over a recent issue. Anna has always been a low-key kid and has never had so much as a write-up in all her years of school, so this is rough on her. She's handling it all amazingly well and with a lot of class, but yesterday - well, I guess she'd just had enough.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 And The Field Of Dreams

[This is a re-run of a previously published blog. I think it still says all I have to say today.]

We lay snuggling in my bed, our nightly ritual after bathing, putting on jammies, reading and discussing the school day. I’d put her brother to bed a few minutes before her, then we snuggled in under the big comforter and she picked a subject for us to discuss – another ritual. The sky is the limit, and the only caveat is time: ten minutes to be exact. Then I put her into bed with a kiss and an ‘I love you’ and a promise to meet up with her in my dreams that night. The night before we’d decided to meet in Egypt, to see the pyramids together. I hadn’t yet received the dream destination for the evening, but I knew she’d get around to picking someplace.

"So what’s the subject, Boo?" I asked, brightly, as I pulled her close.

"Holidays.” She said. “Like Labor Day or Thanksgiving. Why don’t we have the day off to celebrate 9-11?"

I stared at her, at a loss for a moment. Once again, I have to wrap my head around something enormous and make it understood in a way she'd understand. You’d think it gets easier as she gets older, but it doesn’t really. She understands more now, and it’s a fine line between giving her the answers she’s looking for and information overload.

"Sweetie, we don’t celebrate 9-11. It’s not really a “celebration” kind of day."

"Oh, I meant the other word. You know…starts with a “C” and it means remember." She says.


"Yeah, commemorate. A girl in my class is going with her parents to some field to commemorate. She’s missing school that day. We should all be off that day."

"Oh," I say, with realization dawning. "She’s going to Shanksville."

Just A Few Fun Facts About My Home State

As some of you may remember, I'm a native New Mexican, and really proud to say so. Someone passed this along to me today, so I'll pass it along to you:

Fifty-One Things You Might Not Know About New Mexico


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: The Fading Rays Of Summer

They pose for a selfie, in the bright summer sunshine

When days are halcyon and filled with the smell of freshly-mown grass and sunblock sprayed haphazardly

The warmth on their backs and the smiles on their faces, still flushed from the bike ride they just took

Glorying in their youth, their energy, their boundless freedom

And I glory with them

Glad that they've captured this moment

And wishing, oh, how I'm wishing, they can hold onto that feeling forever

Let it always be summer for them, where it counts

[Follow Ellie's Divorce Diaries Blog at or join the fun on Facebook and Twitter]

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Project Bombshell: The Week One Results

I am officially down eight pounds since last week. Holy crap.

And no, I don't mean that literally. You'd think with all the extra fruits, whole grains and veggies I'd be in serious intestinal distress (at the very least, you'd think my bacon-loving insides would be scream WTF? at the top of their lungs) but I'm remarkably not having a lot of issues in that area.

My head, however....

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hi, My Name Is Ellie, And I Just Became A LOST Addict. It's Been Eleven Hours Since My Last Episode...

Okay, so I've had a rough time lately, Daughter with a concussion, son needed minor surgery on his foot, house is a shambles, air conditioning isn't working, my yard looks like Jurassic Park and I just shelled out over $300 in Emergency Room, Urgent Care and Pediatrician co-pays in the last two weeks.

Cue the weekend, or should I say more specifically, the long-awaited kid-free weekend, and I was ready to unwind. I decided to take Saturday just for little ole me and I refused to do a lick of work. It was pure indulgence. I had a free massage waiting for me, and after I sat in a charming little cafe and wrote for a few hours. Then I decided against going to a movie, deciding instead to hang with my darling Netflix and have a cocktail with my cats.

Don't judge.

Friday, September 5, 2014

To Hell With The Helicopter Mommies - Let 'Em Play In The Rain

I was perusing Reddit today and someone posted this wonderful gif of a child's first time being allowed out in rain.

I was instantly taken back to a day in the summer of 2001. My daughter was five months old and I was dropping her off at daycare before I headed into work. It had started out a hot, muggy, overcast morning and by the time we arrived, a light rain was falling.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Signal Boosting This, But I Warn You....It's Rough To Watch

Some teens in Ohio thought it would be great fun to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. One of those teens was a fifteen year old boy with autism, and his "friends" thought it would be great to add urine, feces, spit and cigarette butts to his bucket. Then they used his phone to video it being poured over him.

After that, they posted the video to Instagram, so that lots of other kids could laugh at their idea of fun. Their victim was humiliated, embarrassed, and didn't want anyone to know what they did to him.

His parents decided to make the video public in order to educate people - this is the kind of bullying that happens on a regular basis for special needs kids, and there's nothing funny about it. It's sad and it's sick and it's infuriating, particularly if you're a special needs parent like me. That could be my son.

Someday, it may likely be my son, at least in some very similar circumstances. That thought makes me sick to my stomach and makes me want to punch a wall.

Or at the very least, a bullying kid from Ohio.

Project Bombshell: Day 4 - It's All About The Mantra

I'm on Day 4 of the Fast Metabolism Diet, and my enthusiasm is waning a bit. Days three and four consist of protein, vegetables, and some vegetables with more protein. Nothing else. Meat. Beans. Egg whites. Veggies.

Nothing even remotely sweet.

And it's killing me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday - My Fat, Furry Alarm Clock


Hey, you. You gettin' up?

I've been laying here on the nightstand since five a.m. for Pete's sake. Get your act together and shut off this stupid alarm.

Here comes the hand. Let me just give that a quick nip, to aid you in waking.

Oh, sorry. I figured you'd get the hint and scratch me between the ears. 

But you didn't do that so I'd better follow you to the bathroom and lay in the sink so you can't brush your teeth.

Hey, are those black pants? I'd better scissor between your legs as you try to walk down the stairs then. Appearances, you know.

I know you think all I do is laze around all day, but this cat stuff can be real work sometimes. 

Seriously. I'd better lay down for awhile.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

That Fleeting Moment When That Guy's Eyes Landed On My Daughter

I've got a hot daughter.

There. I said it.

And yes, I can tell you she's beautiful, that I hear it from others frequently, that anytime I show or post a picture everyone remarks on just how gorgeous she is.

I can also tell you how smart and funny and kind and patient she is with her younger brother. I could point out that many people have told me they were surprised by her level of maturity. She never has been a screechy, giggly sort.

Of course, I could tell you she fights with her brother until my eye starts twitching and she's screamed until the veins stood out in her head when I took her phone away for being disrespectful, too. She is thirteen, after all.

And therein lies the problem. My daughter isn't just pretty. She's hot.

And Today In The News...Classified Ads That Were Written By An Honest Man

[Follow Ellie's Divorce Diaries Blog at or join the fun on Facebook and Twitter]

Monday, September 1, 2014

Never Say Diet - Oh Wait, I Just Did

It is September 1st, and by coincidence, it is a Monday. The stars have aligned, the signs are all in place.

I have started (gasp) a diet.

It all started with the big boss coming to visit the office, and he's suddenly looking really lean. Like, healthy lean. He wasn't huge before, but he'd gotten a bit of a gut, no doubt due to all the travel he does and eating out all the time. I just saw him a few months ago and pow! He's dropped a chunk of weight.

And this is how he did it: