Tomorrow, this little boy will be eight-years-old.


Ok, I know he doesn’t look like that anymore, yet that image is still what I see sometimes when I look at my little guy. I see that same sweetness and innocence and a little bit of wisdom that I’m not sure he even knows he has.

My son is in no way perfect. His penmanship is atrocious, his table manners have a lot to be desired,  and he’s a bit smelly. He still can’t tie his shoes, when he brushes his teeth I usually make him do it twice because you’d never know he brushed after the first time, and the boy loves video games more than nearly anything in this world.  The only toys he really likes to play with are toy weapons (guns, swords, and lightsabers). Sometimes his tics drive me mad even though I know they’re not his fault, I truly wish he’d blow his nose more instead of snorting or wiping it on his sleeve and of course, I wish he liked to run—even just a little.

And yet….I think this boy is the greatest thing in existence. His empathy for other people astounds me. His wordsmith skills are top notch. I love how much he cares about his cats, but also that he can purr like one! The fact that he not only loves to read but loves to read to others just makes my heart sing. His observations of the world are just so pure, so free of prejudice and fear and hatred (“But *why* do some people think gay people are bad because they’re gay? I don’t get it. That’s just silly!”).  He’s tall and has the cutest lips and ears and the most beautiful brown eyes that often con me into doing things for him that I really shouldn’t. (Maybe he’s not really a Jedi but a Sith….)

This boy loves me with such unadulterated love. His love feels so complete and absolute. It’s not unconditional, mind you. He needs love and caring from me, too. But the trust that is tied in with his love can feel a little scary at times. I do NOT want to fail this kid. This little person *knows* I’ll keep him safe and won’t lie to him and will provide any answers that he needs, and that I’ll always love him. That’s a lot for a person to live up to.  But I suppose that’s exactly what I signed up for on April 20, 2007.

I’ve done the best that I could up to this point and will continue to do so. I’ve tried to keep him safe (although I dropped him on his head when he was a baby), I try not to lie to him (although it may be time for Santa and I to have a discussion) and I *have* provided LOTS of answers that he needed to know (recently had many conversations about bodies, sex and sexuality).

And the always loving him part? That, my friends, is the easiest thing to do. How can you not love someone who thinks you’re one of the greatest people to ever live? How can you not feel deep affection for this boy who adores both Star Wars and My Little Pony? How can you not cherish this person who continually gives great hugs and wants to dance in the kitchen with you?  I can’t. It would be impossible for me not to love him.

I have never needed or wanted to love someone more.

Happy birthday, my sweet baby boy.


“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”

Dear Donna,

I went to your wake tonight. There were sooo many people there! Having 10 siblings and an extended church family, I knew you would have many visitors, but obviously I underestimated the amount of people who knew and loved you. I shouldn’t have, though. I’m sorry about that.

I loved all the photos they had there, Donna. You would have laughed at some of them, probably rolled your eyes at others. I particularly loved seeing the younger photos of you. I hadn’t ever seen those before. You had that amazingly long hair even back then.  And your wedding photos. I loved those, too. I was so happy you invited me and the other bookstore folks. I *love* weddings. I may be one of the most unromantic people, but I still love going to weddings. And yours was pretty awesome. It totally made me laugh when you and Craig were trying to shove wedding cake at each other. You were having fun, having a good time, and Craig seemed so gaga over you.

You know, people have said that he took care of you 24/7 near the end. He loved you, Donna. Loves you. But I think you already know that.

I think I saw your boy there, too. I haven’t seen him in person since he was just a little guy, but from your Christmas card I think I recognized him. He seemed ok. Surrounded by a bunch of people, but not being smothered, you know? I wanted to say something to him, but I didn’t think he needed to hear anything from a person he didn’t even know.  Did you get to talk with him a lot in the past few months? I hope you did. He still has his dad, Donna, and all of your family. He certainly won’t be alone, will he?

Were you angry, though? I know you believe in God and an afterlife. I know how much your church and your faith has meant to you….but you still must have been pissed.  Or…maybe you weren’t.

Maybe I was angry enough for both of us.

You were 50, Donna. Just 50. A teenage son still needing you. A husband and family and friends who love you, who still want to talk with you, who want to hear that amazing, life-affirming laugh you always had.

But Donna? So…after I waded through the throngs of folks in the funeral home, signed my name to the guest book, looked at the photos of you everywhere….I saw your casket. I walked to it, keeping my eyes averted so as not to look at you yet. I needed to find a bit of courage first. I knew you wouldn’t look quite the same, losing so much weight from being sick but honestly? People that have been embalmed never look quite the same as they did in life, do they? No matter how hard the funeral directors try, there’s always this doll-like quality to those in the caskets. But sweetie? Oh, Donna. You didn’t look like yourself at all. Not only had cancer shrunken your body, but you aged so much this past year. So, so much. I couldn’t find you in there. I couldn’t find you in the body that was lying in the casket. I didn’t recognize your face…at all. I know you must have suffered so much in the past few months, but I don’t think I could really comprehend that, until tonight.

But…my friend…I refuse to remember you that way. I refuse. And I know how my mind works. I will actually forget that image of you in the casket. I will block it from my memory until I only remember you, the real you. Our Donna, laughing at the bookstore or looking so in love when you talked about your boy. Every Christmas I will think of you as I send out cards. Yours was always the first or second one I received. We used to “race” each other with our cards, remember? When I look at photos of my cat, Ginger, I will always think of you and how happy you were to give her to me…and get her out of your house! (She really was a grumpy kitty, wasn’t she?) And anytime I see a woman with long dark hair wearing a long jean skirt, how can I not think of you?

I will miss you, Donna.



What I do

Here’s a little sample of what I do:

  • Assist library patrons with tax forms, computer issues, and downloading e-books
  • Suggest book and film titles to patrons for both research and leisure
  • Catalog new materials for the library by using the Dewey Decimal System, our automated system and my vast knowledge and years of experience

What I don’t do:

  • Read books all day
  • Shush people (I do yell at people, though.)
  • Try to scare children (I don’t try but sometimes my size freaks them out. They either love a giant or run away from them. You get used to it.)

What you didn’t realize I do:

  • Plunge toilets
  • Clean up scary unidentifiable messes with rubber gloves
  • Put up with LOADS OF CRAP from many people ALL DAY LONG

I’ve said before how much I love what I do. I’m not disputing that fact. I feel privileged to be in a profession that I am not only well suited for, but one that I’m really good at. I work with and for so many wonderful people that make me laugh and bring me joy and I am so grateful for them.

But then there are days like today. Days when I wonder why I do what I do.

As a librarian, I have had my fair share of scary or disgusting people to deal with. Like the Masturbator–the teenager who sat on the beanbag chair and who apparently didn’t realize that I could see what he was doing. A laptop on your lap really doesn’t cover up much when you have a sweaty face and glazed eyes…and I can see your hand move, you idiot.  (As a side note, the beanbag chair was removed by me wearing rubber gloves and was stuffed in a closet. I haven’t stepped into that closet since.)

Or the Greasy-Haired Dude who always talks to the computer and pounds on the keyboard calling it a piece of junk. I have to continuously threaten to kick the guy out (and ban every so often).  He at least doesn’t look at as much porn as he used to…although he may be stalking young women on Facebook. I’m not sure.

Or the Smelly Ones. The folks that don’t do anything “bad,” but you have to keep your mouth open and try not to breathe in too much when they’re at the desk.

And then there are just the people that are rude for whatever reason or the ones that hit on you or just the folks that are lonely and linger a little too long. You expect these types of folks when you work with the public. It’s just how it is.

But today, I experienced something new. And something vastly unpleasant. Something that made me angry and hurt and honestly, I wanted to hit this person.  Today, I was accused of stealing.

Here’s the situation:  A patron called to say she got her overdue notice in the mail and would be returning her books. Great! I knew the patron and when I sent her this “final notice,” I was never worried if she would return her books or not. She’s often late and pays her fines and it’s no big deal. It may take a while, but she’d be back.

Apparently she had never read any of her “final notices” before and was astounded that we mention prosecution in the letter. I assured her that this was a form letter that every single person gets when items are a month overdue, but yes, it would be stolen property if you don’t return the books so I think the language in the letter is appropriate.  I do want the items returned, but in her case, since she was returning them, she had nothing to worry about. She then went on to say that she found it interesting that our maximum fine is $2 per item, when she had to pay nearly $50 in fines last year and there was no way she had checked out 25 books.

Ok. Here’s the point where I kind of lost it. She kept repeating that “someone” at the library charged her this amount and “there’s something wrong there.” I asked her point blank if she thought we maliciously charged her more than what she owed or “padded” her overdue fines. And then she repeated that “someone at the library” business and I thought I was going to bitch slap her through the phone.

Here’s the thing. We have 4 employees at the library. F-O-U-R. I have worked with two of them for nearly 10 years. NO ONE PADDED ANYTHING. I’m quite certain that *I* was the one who collected her fines last year. And you know how much money and for how many books? $42 for 21 LATE BOOKS.  Not 25 books mind you, but 21. (“I never check out that many!”)


I’ve said before that I don’t make much money doing what I do. But would I pad someone’s fines to pocket a little cash? Would I steal from my job, from my library? Absolutely fucking not!! I, in fact, have some friggin’ integrity. (Probably not for everything, but most definitely in the workplace.) To be accused of something I find loathsome….it just burns my butt.

And yet when this patron did come in to pay her fines with her two young children in tow, do you know what I did? I pasted that smile on my face, thanked her graciously for her books and her money, asked her young son about coloring Easter eggs and if he wanted to find more books to read. I was downright delightful.

I didn’t shove her fine history in her face and tell her horribly wrong she was. I didn’t tell her what a rotten person I think she is for accusing me of stealing from her and from the library. I really wanted to tell her that she was so fucking wrong. Wrong about everything.

Did she forget that I was the one who forgave her fines after she had a baby? (Seriously, that was the least I could do.) Or how much her son enjoys story time at our library? Or that we help pack her book bags and make sure she’s all set before she leaves the building with her little ones? Did she really forget all of those kindnesses and instead just thought horrible things about the library and our staff?

I think I’m heartbroken.

I shouldn’t be, right? This person doesn’t really matter. She’s going to think what she thinks and maybe there’s nothing I can do about it. I probably need to teach myself that little lesson I tried to teach my son a few weeks ago, about not trusting everyone. Not every person can be your friend and not everyone will like you. I’m just coming to terms that not everyone likes me. I think I’m ok with that.

But accusing me of ripping off a library patron? It’s not only inconceivable, but unforgivable.




Don’t Mess with Mama Bear

As the youngest of three children, being teased was a daily part of my life. Being a fat kid made me a target at school, on the playground and on the bus. Especially the bus. Remember Molly Ringwald’s line from Sixteen Candles? “I loathe the bus.”  Yup.  That was me and probably 90% of the kids on it. There were always a few guys (usually) in the back that would pick on a variety of kids and typically if my siblings were with me, I wouldn’t get picked on. No “hippo” or “fatso” shout-outs on those days. But any other time? I’d try to shrink as much as this big girl could shrink and hope they didn’t notice me.

And now it appears my son is being teased, bullied, picked on, whatever you want to call it. And, of course, it’s happening on the bus.

There are a few kids involved, although we initially thought it was just one. Let’s call him Mark and his friend is Tony. Apparently, since last year, Mark has been calling my son names–“baby” and “c.o.o.l.” being the ones I’m aware of. Cool is no longer a good thing, I guess. It’s an acronym, but the only words my son knew were “overweight” and “loser.”  So I’m guessing that fat loser is really what cool means now?  Un-fucking-believable.

I didn’t know about this happening until last week. My son mentioned that a boy was teasing him on the bus and sometimes teased other kids, too. Ok. I’m going to confess something that sounds unbelievably horrible, but here it is. Initially, I was just happy my son wasn’t being singled out. Not being the only target can make things easier, you know? Not every day will be hell, just some days. But yesterday he tells me that he doesn’t think Mark is teasing anyone else, or at least it doesn’t seem like it. When I asked him what he did when Mark called him a name, he said he told a teacher. Awesome! Good boy, that was the right thing to do. Yet once the teacher was gone, Mark’s friend, Tony, picked up where Mark left off.

These kids are only one year older than my son. At dinner last night, my boy was already wishing to be in 5th grade because those boys wouldn’t be in his school anymore. A 7-year-old should not be wishing the next 3 years of his life away!


At that moment, I wanted to hurt someone. Human mothers are very much like mother bears–we want to rip your throats out if you touch or hurt our babies. End of story.

But, since we are supposed to be civilized, then other solutions must be found. I told my boy that wishing to be older was not going to solve anything, so we needed to talk to his teacher. This morning, I wasn’t feeling well, so he went into school alone but went directly to his teacher to tell her what happened. Meanwhile, I went home and immediately emailed the same teacher. An hour later I had an email from her. She ended up personally talking to the student and made the principal aware of what was happening. This woman was “all over it” so fast and it made me love her even more than I already do. She made my son feel safe and cared for and reassured that everything would be ok.

When my boy got home, I was here and I got to ask him how his day went. He told me that Mark was now his friend, but Tony was calling him names now.

“Your friend? Mark is your friend now?”

“Yup!” my little innocent replied. “He gave me a pencil!”

Oh. Oh my sweet boy.

I couldn’t say anything right then. I just couldn’t burst his bubble. Not yet. Instead we worked on his homework. As he read aloud the instructions without stumbling once and sounding older than his 7 years, I started to cry. He looked up at me and just smiled. I gave him a hug and told him to not let *anyone* tell him he wasn’t smart or awesome or my kind of cool. He smiled again and said, “I know, Mom.” But does he?

After dinner, before we started chores, I sat my boy down and told him we needed to discuss Mark. “Honey, I know you think Mark is your friend now.”

“He is, Mom!”

“Just listen for a sec, ok? I need you to be…wary…to be cautious about Mark.” He had no idea what I meant, and what little kid would? Hopefully not many.

“Look, this boy has been calling you names for a year, it’s seems a bit odd that he’s now your friend because a teacher told him to be nicer.  If he *is* kind to you, then great! Maybe he’s realized he was doing a bad thing. Just…try not to get too close to this boy until he can prove he’s your friend.”

Thankfully, my son did not roll his eyes, but he did give me a very skeptical look.  When I asked him if Mark defended him when Tony called him names, my boy’s face fell just a bit. “No,” he whispered.

“Then, honey, you just need to be careful, ok? It’s ok to be friends with Mark if that’s what he truly is, but I wouldn’t call him a friend until he can tell Tony to stop calling you names.”

*big sigh*

I think this was the toughest conversation I’ve had with my son yet. More than the “how babies are made” talk, or “what really is sex, Mom?” discussion. Telling your child not to trust another child just sucks. Plain and simple.

I’m not sure what will happen next. We’ll keep talking about it, asking about the bus rides, seeing if things change. You know, I’m grateful for the school and its teachers and how they’ve been trying to handle the subject of bullying. They’re trying and I know that. But unfortunately, bullying will never go away. There will always be bullies at every age and every town. Hopefully there will be fewer and fewer as tolerance and empathy is taught in schools, but how about at home? You can’t force parents to be good examples of tolerant and empathetic individuals, although I wish we could.

You know, I told my son yesterday about the bumper sticker I used to see a lot in the mid-90’s, “Mean People Suck.”

“I like that,” my boy said. “Can we have that sign EVERYWHERE?!?”

Now *that* would be cool.

Meet my nemesis


Meet my nemesis, Mr. Scale

I thought I was like Wonder Woman in the fact that I didn’t have any kind of longtime rival. (I know. Comparing myself to Wonder Woman is foolish, but I *often* wish I was her. Still. Even at the age of 41.) Interesting fact: There is no one villain that opposes Wonder Woman, like Joker to Batman or Lex Luthor to Superman. She has no archenemy. Isn’t that odd? But I digress.

The fact is I do have an archenemy. I’ve been fooling myself by thinking that he was my supporter, not my opponent. I thought, in fact, that we had a decent although sometimes rocky relationship. Yet after a few weeks of bad mornings, I’ve decided that I need to take a breather from this relationship. As of today, like Ross and Rachel, Mr. Scale and I are on a break.

For the past 6 years, I have weighed myself nearly every day. SIX YEARS! I’ve let the scale’s wicked numbers dictate how I feel about my body. He could boost my self-confidence for the day or bring me to tears. He was a cruel bastard while I PMS’ed, and I finally learned to stay away from him during those times. But to be fair, over the past few years he was mostly good to me. Until last fall. When those numbers kept crawling back up and I couldn’t make them go back down.

Now look, I take full responsibility for my actions and the pounds of chocolate I consumed over the holidays. My running days are still very limited, but my eating is not as controlled as before. I try to count calories, but some days I just don’t have it in me. And even when I seemed to be in a good, healthy groove,  those rotten little digits refused to go any lower.

I just can’t take it anymore. I need to cut this toxic relationship from my life….for a month.

I’m not ready to cut him from my life completely, ok? Don’t judge.

Just listen when I need to talk about him. Remind me of the cruel way he kept jumping up past the 170 mark and refused to budge. If I seem agitated and tell you that I just need to see him soon, tomorrow maybe, just to make sure my weight hasn’t skyrocketed….then hold my hand and tell me to hang on.

And if I visit your house, hide your own Mr. Scale. You heard me. Hide him!

I just need this month–the month of March–to find some self respect, to find other ways to define my self worth, to discover that I’m so much more than that damn number.

Whatever that number may be.




That tingly feeling

I’ve been toying with the idea of renaming this blog. I haven’t been able to run for a few months now, and after my PT telling me that long distances were permanently out of the question, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to run anymore. I’ve been walking on the treadmill this winter while watching many episodes of Arrow on Netflix (I have a major girl crush on Felicity and drool-worthy fantasies of Oliver). This has been an enjoyable way to maintain some sort of fitness level.  I’ve only lost 2 of the 7 pounds I gained over the holidays, but I’ve just started to improve my eating habits again so the weight will be lost. Eventually.

This morning, as I walked on my treadmill and watched drama unfold in the fictional Starling City where Oliver is in fact the mortal superhero Green Arrow, my mind drifted to other names for this blog. “See Holly Read” was suggested a while back by my friend, Jess. I do love being a book pusher, but not sure I’m ready to only write book reviews. As I considered other topics to write about, I realized that I don’t have a helluva lot of interests. I love to write, eat, read, visit libraries, hang out with my family, friends and cats…..and run.

Sure, I can give you an opinion about nearly anything but I don’t want to write about just anything. Obviously I need to be a key component of what I write about (hence the “See Holly”) and that’s not because I’m so narcissistic. Ok. It’s not *just* because I’m narcissistic. It’s also because there are no rights and wrongs when I write about myself and how the world affects me. It’s my opinion, my feelings, my views. Rarely are there answers, yet typically more questions. But in writing about myself and how I fit into the world, I’ve come to realize that so many others feel just as lost or insecure or uninformed as I do. We all try to put on a good face, but often we have no idea what we’re doing or how we got where we are. We do the best that we can and keep chugging along.

So after finishing my treadmill walk, I climbed upstairs out of my dark basement and away from beautiful Oliver, to discover the sun was out and it was 40 degrees outside (Maine’s mini heat wave). And you know what? Right then I knew I didn’t want to rename my blog. I just wanted to keep chugging along.

And I wanted to run.

As my son buzzed around the house finishing his chores and my husband came inside after snowblowing the driveway, I put my headphones and jacket on and ventured outside for, what I told my husband, would be a mile walk. Just to get some fresh air.

After 5 minutes, I slowly jogged from one telephone pole to the next. I alternated walking with slow jogging, then skipped the walking and just ran. It was slow and I had to continuously “stabilize my core,” but I did it. Instead of that 1 mile, I took my old 5K route and ended up back home 43 minutes after I began. It was slow…but my god it was good. Maybe even orgasmic.

Well…I felt a little tingly at least.

Admittedly I also felt pain during my run. Mostly my hip and just a twinge from my back. But I didn’t feel sluggish. I just felt…grateful….happy to be able to do this with my body, even with the bits of pain. I felt ecstatic to be OUTSIDE, especially knowing that tomorrow’s temps will be back in the single digits. I was curious to see how my neighbors were doing and how they’ve fared so far this winter. It was nice to see some of them out and about, even if they were just clearing the snow and making room for more. There were still more smiles out there than frowns (although I did hear a bit of cursing, too).

This run just made me feel alive. More than I have all winter. I wish everything could make me feel this way, but not everything does. It’s been a really rough few months for most New Englanders–below freezing temps and more snow than we’ve had for a long time. The weather doesn’t affect everyone the same, but there’s no doubt that many folks have felt more blue than normal this year. I certainly have.

Today’s run gave me hope that the winter *will* in fact end some day, and maybe I’ll be able to run like this again when it’s even warmer with no hat or jacket. That sounds amazing! (Endorphins are truly magical, aren’t they? Best.drug.ever.)

But tomorrow, will I wake up in pain and feel angry at myself for overdoing it? Will I be able to walk on the treadmill in the morning and not have back spasms? Or will running be an integral part of my life again?

Maybe all of the above. Although I’m really hoping for the latter, since I already have a summer 5K race all picked out. :) And honestly? I (and my family) really need those endorphins to counteract the effects of the pill I’m taking. Things aren’t going well in that respect. But that, my friends, is another post for another day!




This is just a quick update. Yesterday was my follow-up after all the drama over the last few months (“I made a mistake” from the doc, then the most painful procedure ever with no results and finally knocking me unconscious to get what she needed).

No precancerous cells! Yippee!!! Nothing terribly wrong, just pretty bad endometriosis that I’ve had for years. It’s like kudzu in there, kids. Kudzu.


I lived in Mississippi for a year, where kudzu runs rampant. It’s like the blob!


The only negative aspect about my visit, is the doc wants me on a birth control pill that should help control the endometriosis. I’m willing to give it a try, but I warned her that the last time I was on birth control (20 years ago), I was angry nearly the entire year. That’s angry with a capital “A”. And at that time, besides lashing out at people, I dealt with my anger by binge eating, throwing up and lying about it. That was a really bad year and one I’d rather not repeat.

So far this pill has just made me feel nauseated. But it’s possibly made my husband angry. When I asked him to pick up the pills for me, he responded with, “So…why did I get my balls snipped just two months ago?!?”

Ummmm….I just didn’t see this coming, dear. Sorry! And he did pick the pills up for me, so perhaps all is forgiven?

*fingers crossed*