I’m here!  I’m here!  I’ve been kind of, sort of MIA for almost two weeks now, and it hasn’t been entirely by choice.

Someone knocked the wind out of my sails.  That’s what started the hiatus.  When I decided to start this blog, I knew it was going to be a huge commitment.  For years, people asked me, “why aren’t you blogging?” And my short answer was, “I don’t have time.”

Things are a little different now.  I still have Mom and Wife responsibilities that compete with my “baby,” my blog.  Glitter & Bruises is only two months old.  I want to nurture it, tend to it, and encourage it to grow into a website with a purpose and a message.  I’m doing this because I want to, while simultaneously doing the meal planning, the grocery shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the child rearing.  Like every other working mother out there, I’m just hoping to strike the magical balance between worklife and momlife.My spirit was crushed when someone told me I am spending too much time on “the blog that isn’t even making any money” and I needed to make sure all my other responsibilities were met first–like keeping up with laundry…making sure dinner was on the table…

Yeah, so…wow.  Someone who does not live in this home and doesn’t see what day to day life is like…completely crushed my spirit.  My skin has thickened up over the years, but the context of this conversation (or lecture, really) totally crushed me.

I wish this blog was making money.  I wish my husband could find a job.  I wish his comic book would be available for distribution in comic book stores across the country.  I wish I could afford to study to become a licensed esthetician and makeup artist.  I wish my degree wasn’t in Early Childhood Education so I could step in and be the family breadwinner with a decent corporate-ish job with benefits so I could sleep at night, knowing the mortgage and bills are getting paid and Santa can “afford” to stop by the Wybraniec home this year.

Most of all, I wish this person knew how their words sucked the hope and enthusiasm out of me.

But…Ron to the rescue!  He pulled me out of my bipolar depths of despair.  When I said, “This is pointless.  What am I doing?  Why would anyone care what I have to say?  I should be putting my energy into being a mother,”  he fought against my negative talk and reminded me why I am doing this and how much success I’ve had considering how brand-spankin’ new this blog is.

It was the pep talk I needed to get me back into blogging-mode!  I sat down at my laptop with fresh enthusiasm, and then…he asked me to help him re-write a cover letter.

Dammit.

He denies his intent, but I just looooove the way he sprung that on me, just minutes after my brain switched back to writing mode.  That is some stealthy shit right there.  And, naturally…because I am an extremist person, I had to spend 3 hours crafting the best, most kick-ass cover letter in the entire world.  Not just because I am a perfectionist…but because–

MY HUSBAND NEEDS A JOB.  HEY LANCASTER.  PHILLY.  HARRISBURG.  YORK.  BALTIMORE.  Um…basically any town within a 1 – 1.5 hour commute from Lancaster, PA.  I’ve got a great graphic designer/webmaster/internet guy sitting behind me, eating a man-salad, coloring the comic book, wearing headphones and watching The League right now.

I don’t know what the hell he does, but here’s some words that keep coming up:  website, design, layout, analytics, SEO, Adobe Suite, PHP, CSS, HTML, HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, AJAX, Quark, Pagemaker, InDesign, After Effects, Cinema 4D.

Yeah, so anyway.  There I was–in a totally inspired writing mode, and he needed my help.  Of course I would not, could not say no.

Three hours of writing led to one massive migraine.  I went to bed.   I get headaches a lot, probably because I never wear my glasses…but this was no headache.  This was an epic migraine.  Ron brought me a cold-pack to make a compress for my forehead.  I’ve never had a migraine so bad that I needed a cold compress.  The next day was spent in bed, eating Excedrin and swapping out cold compresses.

The following day, I had to play “catch-up” because, as any mother knows, if you take a break from the housework, all hell breaks loose.

The next day, I went to my mom’s house to make koulourakia.  This is a “thing” we have going on….we’ve been doing this for years.

koulourakia dough

Mom makes a big batch of dough and my sister Nikki and I sit at the table and roll these cookies by hand and place them on cookie sheets.  Mom brushes an egg wash on top of them and is in charge of monitoring the oven and swapping out trays of baked and unbaked cookies.

We used to do this every 3 months or so–always on a Wednesday.  Until January 2012, we were probably meeting up to roll koulourakia more than every three months.  My mom’s sister, my Aunt Arlene, was battling cancer and during her treatment, my mom’s koulourakia were often one of the few things she was able to eat.

After Aunt Arlene passed, we still rolled koulourakia about every 3 months.  Then I started a job in October 2012 and worked all-the-time.  Between my job, my crazy life that just seemed to be one tragedy after another, and my sister’s busy life raising three girls, well….we hadn’t had a chance to get together and roll koulourakia for a YEAR!!

All this Mother/Daughter time we missed out on–technically it was my fault.  I make the best, uniform koulourakia with perfect twists.  I don’t know where I picked up my koulourakia-rolling skills.  I just know my koulourakia are supreme.

Mom knows it, too.  That’s why Koulourakia-Rolling Day is planned around my schedule.  It is absolutely imperative that I’m there, or else the family will be dipping misshapen, inferior koulourakia into Greek coffee.

hand rolled greek koulourakia

Those are my perfectly plump, hand rolled koulourakia.

We rolled dozens upon dozens of koulourakia.  I was anxious to get home and relax for a bit, but the battery in my l’il, beat-up Volkswagen Cabrio finally gave up the ghost, so Ron came over to my Mom’s house with G (who was looking crustier and sounding congested-ier by the minute) to jump me, made a stop at Pep Boys for a new battery ($116, JEEZ), another jump, and home to replace the battery at lightning speed before Ron had to take off for an overnight trip to New Jersey.

The awesome thing about rolling koulourakia is knowing you’ll be waking up to fresh greek cookies the next morning.  It’s like, 100 times more awesome when you haven’t had any for almost a year.

I was so excited, I think that’s why I partially woke up at 4 AM…alone in a glorious king-sized bed, and….stuck.  Yes.  Stuck.  On my back.  My arms and legs flailed but my back remained rigid.  It became fossilized as I slept.  I guess that’s what happens to Greek people that go on a koulourakia-rolling hiatus.  Those special back muscles that had been dormant for a year–they suddenly come to life and then Zeus paralyzes them or something.

It was horrific.  And ironic.  I could have seen my doctor and gotten a script for a muscle relaxer (which has always been helpful in the handful of times I’ve had a back problem in the past), but I estimated a doctor’s visit + script would cost about what I paid for my car battery.

So I sucked it up, took it easy, and pushed through until Ron got home to put some craptastic roll-on Icy Hot stuff on my back.  It was so pungent-smelling, I could taste it.

The next day, we remembered we had a TENS unit.  And holy hell, did that ever help.  Thank God for that.  That sorted my back out quickly.

The next day, I had to wake up and be fabulous.  I hadn’t been fabulous for over a week, and I had the goatee and overgrown eyebrows to prove it.  The eyebrows–well, I was sort of wanting to do an eyebrow shaping tutorial for my blog, but there simply was no excuse for my goatee.

And since I was meeting my fabulous cousins Tara and Laura (plus my fabulous niece Ava) at Michaels craft store for a free event, and because we all love fabulous makeup and being fabulous….I had to look fucking fabulous!

It’s kind of hard to do that when you’ve had a less than fabulous week.  When you’ve felt less than fabulous all week long.

I used to wake up and be fabulous every day, and I was good at it.  I realized I was getting trapped back into the rut of unfabulousness–first, because of my depression catching hold of me, the migraine, dressing down for koulourakia, being bummed about unexpected car costs, back pain topped with being bummed that I couldn’t afford to see my doc…the downward spiral towards unfabulousness had begun.

Um, I’ll be a little honest with you.  When it came time to apply makeup…I was really out of practice.

Snapshot_20131116_2

And it took so long, I had no time to do anything with my overgrown, can’t really afford a haircut hair.

Because……I was meeting my cousins and my niece for a free Learn To Crochet/Learn To Knit demonstration.  Michaels hosted this event in their stores across the country, and invited people to come in and learn to knit and crochet for free.  The goal is to make 9×9 granny squares which are to be donated and blankets will be made from the donated squares.  Sounded awesome and I really, really wanted to learn how to crochet.

Long story short, I learned almost nothing.  But I had a great time with my cousins and my niece.  The other long story short…is that the class wasn’t technically free.  We had to pay for our crochet hooks and yarn, and trust me–I didn’t expect Michaels to give me something for nothing, but there was no mention of “plus the cost of supplies.”

I’ve seen lots of advertisements with that wording:  “Class is free with the purchase of supplies.”  “Class fee is $30 plus cost of materials.”  “Buy this for $5 and make this craft at the craft table.”  That’s totally cool.

What wasn’t cool…was how the “instructor” tossed out a bunch of skeins of yarn (anywhere from $2 to $9, which I only know because I saw the price tags in the store afterwards), and as we were getting started, she told us “make sure you take your yarn and crochet hook packaging up to the register when the class is over.”

That’s it.  That’s all she said.  So–again, it’s not that I expected Michaels to give me something for nothing, but it also wasn’t clear that there was a cost involved.  I thought maybe she told us to take our things up to the register so they could make a note and take them out of inventory…especially since we would be learning how to make granny squares to donate and turn into blankets.

But what do I know….?

About an hour into the class, another employee came in the room and I overheard her talking to the “instructor.”  “You told them to take their things up to the register when the class is over?”  “Yes.”  “And you let them know they have to pay for their materials?”  “Yes.”

Um, nope.  Nope.  Nuh-uh.  No.  There was no mention of “cost of supplies” from her…nor was there any mention of it on the website or the advertisement flyer I had gotten.

But, as I said two times already–I don’t expect something for nothing, and I was just grateful that the skein of yarn that I chose simply because due to proximity….was only a $2.xx skein of yarn.  I think they should have been clear that there would be a cost involved, and I hate to sound like such a tight-ass, but we’re on a strict budget until there’s some employment up in here and we can play Catch Up On Bills.

Kind of not cool, Michaels.  I’m a little disappointed.

The next day was spent doing the Housewife thing, since it was Sunday and Ron was actively combing the newspaper and internet for job listings.  That was also the start of a tingly feeling in the back of my throat…the first sign that maybe I’ve caught what Gabriel has.  Ugh.

The next day…was a great day to stay in bed.  What happened was…..much like any other typical month, my uterus had a bitchfit, let me know I was most certainly not pregnant, and did so whilst kicking and screaming from the inside out.  I am, unfortunately, fresh out of Vicodin and definitely can’t afford to see my OB for a visit and a painkiller script.

According to Ron, the quickest Googler in the family, ouzo is said to help with cramps.

So I was shitfaced from 10 AM till my cramps went away.

The next day, Ron woke up sick, scratchy, sniffly, and plain grumpy.  I felt OK, so he napped and worked during the day while I took Gabriel to school, then on a large grocery trip, and then spent the rest of the afternoon making chicken pot pie with homemade noodles (this time with carrots, and with corn as per Ron’s request)….because chicken stock is the best remedy when you’re sick.

The next day, Gabriel coughed in my face by accident while I was helping him get dressed.  It was a big, wet, germy cough—and my face was *MAYBE* 3 inches away from his face.

I could feel every germ seep through my skin and penetrate my mucous membranes and multiply at an incredible rate…  A few days prior, I thought maybe I would get off this time with just a touch of illness, but when those dirty, dirty microbes propelled themselves at my face, I knew it was only a matter of time before I was fuhhhhhcked.

I am pretty sure I napped on Wednesday and sometime on Thursday as well.  Which brings me to today…Friday.  Three loads of laundry, a big long nap, and not much else, because YES—I am sick.  I washed my hands frequently, I avoided prolonged contact with Gabriel as best I could, but I could not escape the Biological Warfare Cough-In-Close-Range.

I have not abandoned you.  I promise.  I pinky-promise.  I need to get healthy and centered again.  For nearly two weeks, I’ve been in conflict…my head said “BLOG!” and my body said “NO!”  or…vice versa.

So, that’s about it…in a big, old nutshell.  And at the very least, I’m glad this all went down before Thanksgiving.  The season of “must run at optimum levels at all times” is upon us…  (Which reminds me…that one year I got the H1N1 Flu before Christmas and it really messed up a good part of December and my holiday preparations…that sucked.)