Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Burning Desire Wound Up Burning Like The Fiery Pits of Hell

In my youth I was an avid sunbather.   From the time I was a tween I have memories of laying on a lounge chair in my back yard with baby oil smeared from top to bottom.  I don't ever remember burning in my younger days, but instead turning this beautiful Italian-like nut-brown.

But for some reason, as soon as I hit the teenage years my skin changed, going from my old Italian olive- tone to sickly looking sallow.  I don't know how or why this happened, but it's the God's honest truth.

This, of course, did not change my desire for nutty-toned skin, so each summer I would lay myself out like a lizard to soak up the rays.

Who the hell thought of wrinkles and skin cancer back then?  Certainly not I!

In May of 1985 my boyfriend, Matt, and I went to the beach, even though the temperature was only in the mid 70s.  It was our first taste of summer that year and we were grasping it wholeheartedly.  So what if he was a redhead and could burn on a stormy day?  I was ready for some rays and off we went on his moped, me with a Stephen King book in hand.

Me and Matt, 1986, his Junior Prom

Damn that book was good.

And geez, the weather was so cool and delicious.  No need to go in the water.

In fact, no need to ever flip over to my other side because hey, it was only May, it was cool out, no way was I going to burn.

Matt told me many times that he thought I was turning a little pink and should turn over.

But my book was so good, I didn't want to put it down.  And hey, it's only May.  I won't burn!

Four hours later, Matt got very insistent with me, that I either needed to turn over or we'd have to go.  I was no longer pink, but a mean, dark red.

So I flipped over.

Big mistake.


It immediately felt like I had laid my body down on a bed of hot coals.  I stood up quickly but holy shit, my skin now felt like Matt was holding a blow torch to my legs and back.

And back then, even my one-piece was quite skimpy so quite a bit of hiney was showing.  Previously very white hiney.

All I could think was, "Get me the hell out of this evil sunlight, NOW."

Let me tell you, sitting on a hot moped seat in this condition was not a good thing.  I've basically blanked out the entire drive to Matt's house, which is probably a good thing.

The next thing I remember is laying on my stomach on his bed, screaming and crying that my legs were on fire.  His mom standing over me not knowing what to do.  Finally, one of them had the idea to blow a fan directly on my legs.  Ahhhhhhh... that felt so damn good, but if someone even so much as stepped in front of the fan, blocking the air flow to my sizzling skin, I would once again scream and whimper.

Matt somehow got me home that day, where I proceeded to lay upon my bed, barely able to move for the next 3 days straight.  My mom had fans blowing on me constantly, and several times a day she would crack open an aloe leaf and spread that cool goodness all over me.  The pain of her touch was intense, but at least I got some temporary relief once she was done.

At one point, when Mom came in to spread the aloe, she said something like, "Justine, this isn't looking too good.  Your skin is turning purple and bubbling.

Purple???  Bubbling?  Like, little tiny bubbles?

Oh no, big, quarter-size bubbles.  That were purple.

It would be at this point that most parents would take their kid to the ER or something, but not my mom!  Nope, she'd just keep that aloe coming and I could just keep duck-walking to the bathroom because my skin was so tight I couldn't bend my legs.  I would eat laying down on my belly and just lay there being miserable.

After 3 days I would be forced to go to school for a few hours to take a final.

Standing up the entire time.

With gigantic, oozing bubbles on the back of my legs.

I won't even go into detail about what it was like when those bubbles started popping open.  I'll just tell you that there was wet skin flapping everywhere.

It was the worst burn I've ever seen a human being get from sunbathing, and if I sit here and really think about it, I can remember the pain like it was yesterday.

That was not my last bad burn, although, thank God, it was the last super bad burn.

I still rarely use sunscreen, but I also rarely lay out in the sun these days.

The best medicine for a major burn?  Definitely fresh aloe.

My best advice?  Don't lay out in the sun.  Or if you do, use sunscreen!

This post was inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, and the prompt:  "What was your medicine?  Write about a time you remember being ill." 

**Note to self:  Call dermatologist tomorrow and make appointment for a baseline examination.**

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Some Kind of Wonderful

My girls have always given me a special morning on Mother's Day, but this year they went beyond any expectations I could have had.

Jimmy has been in Germany, so they were on their own this year and I have to say they out-did themselves!  Maybe because Jimmy is in Germany?

They know I don't like to eat until I've been up a couple of hours, so no breakfast in bed this year.  Instead, I got to have my computer time outside and made a reservation for brunch at 11:00.

When I went inside, there was a hostess stand (folding table) set up where Mikayla handed me my buzzer (her cell phone) that I was to take into the lounge (family room) to wait until my table was ready.

When my buzzer went off I was led to the table where I was handed a menu that the girls had made together.  Madison did the table/graph part because Mikayla forgot how, and Mikayla did most of the decorating of it.

I opened my menu to find this.

 Check out beverages.  Water:  If tap, free.  If not, one hug per pet.  Heeheehee.

I made it super easy for them by ordering a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, a side of cottage cheese, a cup of coffee and some ice water.  (Not tap).

Those fuzzy pipe cleaners are flower-shaped rings they made me.  Awwwww.

One of my personal chefs toiling in the kitchen.

Wow, the kitchen was a mess, wasn't it?

Before I began eating, I was instructed to look under my plate.


One of my favorite gifts was this poem written by Madison at school.  I sense Jimmy's influence in some of these lines but the purity and innocence of this poem had me giggling and beaming with pride at the same time.  My girl so gets me!

Now tell me that's not the best poem ever!

My girls gave me the best Mother's Day morning EVER, so I just had to bring them out shopping as a thank you.  New bathing suits, shorts, Silly Bandz and lots of (in Mikayla's words) lollygagging around, made for an exhausted but very happy me.

After our dinner of grilled NY strips, I finally got out the cordless drill so the girls could stick straws in the coconut we'd bought and drink the coconut water.

Aw, look at sweet Strudel!

It was fairly easy to do... when the drill wasn't in reverse.  Ahem.  Thank you, Mikayla, for pointing that out.

And then it was time to take a taste.

Madison looks on with anticipation.

Well?  How is it Mikayla?  Is it good?  Did we pick a perfect coconut, or what?


How was I supposed to know it was rotten on the inside?

Mikayla said it tasted like...

I can't even say it, so instead I'll use Madison's term...

It tasted like...


I'm still feeling guilty about the mouthful of rotten coconut water Mikayla swallowed.

Next time?  Smell first, sip second!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

This Mother's Day, I Celebrate You, My Children.

How to put in words the changes the two of you have brought to my life?

Once, long ago, I thought my heart could not expand enough to give you all the love you both deserved.

I was wrong.  It did expand.  First for you, Mikayla, my Sweet Pea.  It wasn't immediate as I always thought it would be, as I thought it should be.  Was it fear of the unknown and a sense of being overwhelmed that kept my heart from recognizing my love for you?

Then one day I awoke and put you to my breast like so many times before. 

And there it was.

My heart calling out to yours, filling so completely I knew I would never be the same.

How could I love you this much, yet have room in my heart for Madison?  My sweet Princess?

This time the fear of motherhood was less and I knew I would feel that overwhelming love at first sight.

I could not have known that the first time I saw you, you wouldn't be pink and healthy.

I could not have anticipated what I would feel when I heard the words, "Blue, seizures, NICU".

I could never have imagined the pain of them taking you away from me before I was even able to feel you against my skin.

At that moment, it felt like a part of me had died, my heart feeling as if it had collapsed in on itself.

But your persevered.  You overcame whatever it was that caused you such stress during your birth.

My love for you, Madison, and for you, Mikayla, has only grown stronger each and every day since you entered this world.

I never did need to worry about having enough love in my heart for the two of you.  
You both are my heart.

All My Love,


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Where The F*** Is The House??!!??

When Jill moved last year she left behind a childrens' playhouse.

Something kind of like this.

Gianna had been asking after her playhouse recently, so yesterday, Jill called her two friends that own a pickup truck and asked if they could take it from the old house to the new.

No problem!  The two girls lifted it up, loaded it on and took off for Jill's, which is probably a 10-15 minute drive on Interstate 4.

Jill heard them pull up and was making her way through her garage to meet them out front when she heard:

"Where the F*** is the house?  Where the F*** is the house?  How can it not be here?"

Jill met their bewildered faces with a look of shock of her own.

They said they'd loaded it on the truck.

But where is it?

Apparently it pulled one of these while doing 65 mph.

At this point Jill didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  How that heavy house could have blown from the back of that truck is a mystery to me.

What's even more of a mystery is how two women could be so freakin' oblivious that they didn't notice a huge plastic house had blown out of their truck!

*Oh look behind us!  A 50 car pile-up!  I wonder what they hit?  Ooh, what is that?  Holy shit, it's a big plastic house in the middle of the highway!  How'd that get there?  Wait.  Didn't we have a big plastic house in our truck?  Nah, can't be ours.*

You know what I did when Jill told me this story, right?

Oh yeah, I laughed my damn ass off.

Because really.  Who else does this kind of crap happen to other than Jill?

No one!

Jill later called to tell me that the house had been located, and in various pieces along the side of I-4, but seemed to be unbroken.  She wanted to know what I thought the girls should do.

Should they pick up all the pieces and bring them back to Jill?

Again, guess what my answer was.

No, you damn idiot!

Addendum*** Just got off the phone with Jill.  The girls did in fact go back and pick up the pieces.  On the side of the interstate!

Idiots, all of em!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is This Thing On? Can You Hear Me Now? How 'Bout Now?

Come on now, I know I took a self-imposed bloggy break for a month or so, but where the hell are all my peeps? 

Twelve comments in 3 days?  I'm crying!

I'm sobbing!


Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

So, A Bunch of Italians and a Polack Went To the Zoo...

It is no secret that I love being surrounded by my family, but it's especially wonderful when I get to see my favorite aunt and uncle for the first time in nearly 5-1/2 years!

Twenty or more years ago the key family groups of Ferraras all moved from Long Island, seemingly at the same time.  Life was never the same after my paternal grandfather died, followed four years later by my beloved grandmother.  The ties that held us close together were broken and everyone was ready to start fresh somewhere new.  My brother and his family took off for Florida, then soon after, my parents, Jill and I joined them in the Sunshine State.  Aunt Barbara and Uncle David took off for to Utah, where Uncle David re-established his business in chemical sales (cleaning stuff?  Not even sure) in Salt Lake.

The last time we saw them was at my cousin David's wedding in Utah in 2004.  Way too much time was allowed to pass!

So imagine my glee when they announced they were coming down for a visit!! So yep, a couple of weeks ago Aunt Barbara and Uncle David (yes, the annoying one from Facebook) flew down to visit and stayed with us for four wonderful nights.  It was so amazing how within 30 seconds of being with them it was like time had stood still.  We went right back to our old rapport.  Even the kids latched on to them as if they'd only seen them last week.

I think I've mentioned before that Uncle David is a bit mental, just like the rest of us Ferraras.  We all have "conditions", "syndromes", "maladies", "disorders", "quirks" "phobias", "afflictions", and/or "dementia".

Are we not the coolest?

Anyhoodle, Uncle David is a bit of a freak about anything that goes into his mouth, moreso after losing a kidney and a 17 pound encapsulated cancerous tumor last year.

While he was here I learned the benefits of:

  • Everything organic.  Gotta stay away from those horrible pesticides.

  • Not only brushing the dirt off the mushrooms, but washing them thoroughly because they're grown in flats of pure poop.

  • Washing all fruits with soap and water, even the ones where the skin or peel is not eaten, as in an orange.  Come on... those pesticides and such are now on your hands from peeling it and then you're going to eat the juicy insides with that crap on your digits.

  • Nitrite and nitrate-free hot dogs.  Sure, that funky chemical isn't in your food, but you have to cook all the hot dogs, and either eat them or throw them away because they don't have enough preservatives to even keep them frozen.

  • Fructose and cane juice is your friend.
  • Whole milk is much better to use in my coffee, rather than the fat-free 1/2 and 1/2 that I love.  Look at the label!  They add corn syrup to that crap!

I tell ya what, while they were here my colon was in overdrive from all the organic granola and nuts I was snacking on.

Jill came over the second day of their visit and we had a great time just hanging out doing nothing.  I made a fairly fabulous dinner of chicken marsala that everyone devoured.

Upon Jill's arrival, she was promptly dispatched to bring Uncle David to Starbucks for his required afternoon latte.  Did I mention that one of Uncle David's afflictions is that he is unable to make his own cup of coffee, even after being shown exactly how to use the Keurig machine?  Uh huh, it's true.  He's actually too dumb  frickin' lazy to make his own coffee, so I spent much of my time as an unpaid barista.

The next day they wanted to go to the zoo.  Since I'd never been to the Jacksonville zoo and the weather was very warm, but not hot, I was excited to go.  We let the girls take a day off from school, and off we went with lunch and drinks packed in a cooler.

The zoo was beautiful but I was a little disturbed by how small some of the habitats are.  But, I still got some great shots of the fuzzbutts.

Okay, so these guys aren't fuzzy, but they sure are cute!

The animals were all so active because of the mild weather!

 Awwww... Madison found a baby bunny hiding in the mulch!

Look at how gorgeous this pair is!

 Girlfriend needed a drink...

 Check out this look she gave me!

 The giraffes were so beautiful.

 And the girls got to feed them!

This bird was so cool.  She led us down a path to the otter exhibit and then stood right next to me.  Aunt Barbara, having a fear of birds ever since their parrot, Rusty, bit her, kept scuffling away from my friend.

 "Barbara, does this carousel display make me look fat?"

 Madison brushed a cute little goat.

 Uncle David, resting in the sun.

This little guy was picking his nose and eating it.  From the look on his face I'd say it didn't taste very good.

It wasn't all fun and games while they were here.  There was also relaxation time, or what I like to call, "Aunt Barbara ignoring all the annoying people."

 See?  She's doing it again!  Uncle David looks to be contemplating the air quality.

One of the funniest things happened while I was taking a nap.  How could I miss something this good?  Thank goodness Aunt Barbara had the intelligence to grab the camera as soon as she heard screaming from outside.

"Barbara!  Help!!!!  The chair broke!  I can't get up!!!"

"It's like this.  I sat down, went to Facebook to take over Justine's account, and the chair bent over!"

"Look, I don't care if I was wrong to leave snarky updates on my niece's account.  Get me up and stop taking pictures!"

"Okay okay, I guess you're right and I do deserve the position I'm in.  Can you help me up now?"

"Oh, what have I ever done to be so forsaken?"

 "Okay!  I give up!  It's funny!  Really funny!  Can you help me up now so I can delete all of those pictures you just took?"

Did I mention that Uncle David lives just a few blocks away from my good friend, Pooba?  Good luck to ya Kelly, now that he knows exactly where you live!  And guess what Poo?  The aunt and uncle invited my girls to spend a week with them in July and I may just send them over to your house to decompress after spending hours in close proximity to my uncle. 

So there ya have it.  Most of our visit with Aunt Barbara and Uncle David.  I can't wait until they come back again!

No, really.  I'm serious!

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!