Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Change of Address

Martini Mom has moved into her new digs at Freetime, Ltd. I'm still unpacking and hanging the artwork, so please ignore the minor organizational chaos at the new cyber-house. Please swing by for an informal house warming and check out the new digs. BYOB.

(In case you missed my last post, I've decided to close up shop at Martini Mom. Read the bloggy eulogy if you're interested in the whys, and then come party at the new space.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


She served me well for many years, but it's time to shut the ol' girl down. This will be Martini Mom's final post.

While a "single mom blog" was never what I intended this space to be, it is certainly where it laid down its roots and flourished. And I am no longer single.

In fact, I'm engaged, which I'm now realizing that I neglected to announce here. So, hey everyone: Martini Mom and The Man are getting MAAAAAR-ried. (Please say that last part in your best Oprah voice.)

Sure, I could morph a single mom blog into a not-single mom blog. Plenty of formerly single moms have done it before me. But, meh. This place reeks of my old life. It was a pretty great old life, don't get me wrong. But I'm ready to bid it a fond farewell and leap unencumbered into my even greater new life.

Plus, martini mom? That's a pretty dumb moniker for someone who can't remember the last time she laid eyes on a martini, let alone drank one. Also, there's this weird Martini Mom & Devil Spawn thing happening that I'm pretty sure I don't want to be even accidentally associated with.

But don't worry: I've been hard at work on a new blog that's almost ready for prime time. There will be less martini. And, I suspect, even a little less mom. But more other stuff. More awesome other stuff. And this time, you even get to call me by my real name. (It's Kellee, by the way.)

So long, Martini Mom. I'll see you in the next life.

(I'll post a link to the next life here, when it's ready, so that I can see YOU in the next life too. It wouldn't be the same without you.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One year. No new clothes. For realz.

There's no denying that we are a society of rampant consumers, gobbling up more and more disposable goods, chewing on them ever so briefly until the luster just begins to wears off, before spitting them into the trash like chewing gum that's lost its flavor. We are insatiable in our lust for the bigger, faster, shinier versions of the things we already own; proclaiming our "need" for the new iWhatever because ours is white and the new model is black. We waste valuable resources to manufacture New, while the dumps overflow with perfectly functioning Old.

Frankly, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

At least, I'm ashamed of myself. Which is why I've decided to conduct a little experiment to see what will happen if I restrict myself from buying any new clothes for an entire year.

One year. No new clothes. No new jewelry. No new shoes. No new accessories. 

Here are the rules (and, ahem, the exceptions):

  1. New means new. Thrift store finds are still acceptable. 
  2. As are homemade items.
  3. And gifts.
  4. Though lobbying for gifts is not.
  5. Replacing an item that has bitten the dust is okay, so long as I first try to replace it with something that already exists in my closest or, failing that, try to find it second hand. If both these fail, I let myself off the hook for that particular item and can buy a new replacement. So, for example, if the heel breaks off my favorite pair of black Mary Janes, I will "replace" them with one of the other several pairs of black heels already in my closet, even though (gasp!) none of the others have an ankle strap. I know. The horror.
  6. If the need arises for an item I don't currently own, I can buy new so long as I first attempt to find it used. For example, I have no snow gear. Should we get hit with another snow storm, I can buy myself some damn boots. 
  7. Should I need replacement underwear, I am allowed to buy new. Period.
  8. Bras count as underwear.
  9. Impractical lingerie does not.
  10. I will post everything I buy here, so you can call me a cheater.
To be clear, it's not purchasing needed items that I find problematic (hence the "exceptions" at rules #5 and #6). Nor do I find anything at all distasteful about the occasional frivolous treat. It's the reflexive purchasing, the (literally) buying into planned obsolescence, the "occasional" frivolous treat that happens so often as to no longer be a treat but a habit, the confusion of the meaning of want with the meaning of need

Mindful consumption. 

That's what this challenge is about. (Also? Less laundry.) 

Effective now – actually, retroactive to January 1 – the pledge is on! Here's hoping none of my friends throw a fancy party worthy of a new dress until 2013!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Christmas in January

This is something of a belated post, obviously. But had I published it prior to Christmas as originally intended, I wouldn't have been able to tell you about the Christmas surprise. So there. Poor time management for the win!

Every year since we split, I've gotten the The Ex a Christmas gift.

I don't mean that I assist The Kid in getting his dad a Christmas gift (though I do that too). I mean I get my ex-husband a Christmas gift. From me. Every. Single. Year.

It's nothing big or fancy or, God forbid, personal. It's just a book. And not even a passive aggressive book carefully selected to point out one of his personal flaws that I think needs fixing. Just a book I honestly think he might enjoy. Over the years, I've introduced him to Tom Robbins, Douglas Adams, Orson Scott Card, Charles Bukowski, and non-fiction that isn't about World War II.

The gift-giving wasn't an intentional decision. It just sort of happened the first couple of years after we split, mostly out of habit I guess. But I kept it up, because I realized a few things:

  1. It stops – even if only momentarily – whatever disagreement we might be having.  The book is a tangible reminder (just as much for me as for him) that I don't think he's a total douche bag, despite indications I may have given to the contrary. For a minute every 25th of December, we smile at each other and mean it. 

  2. It's nice for The Kid to see. When The Ex and I split, I was fiercely adamant that The Kid never have to deal with our shit. We've been pretty successful there, but "not dealing with our shit" is a pretty low bar. I think it's nice for The Kid to see us go beyond that, even to the point of being (gasp!) genuinely nice to each other.

  3. It makes me dislike The Ex less. As far as divorced parents go, we actually get along pretty well. But we do argue, and sometimes it can get pretty ugly – and those ugly parts make up the bulk of our interactions. (Because when things are going well, we don't actually talk a whole lot. There's no reason to, beyond the standard pleasantries during pick-up and drop-off.) So the ugly times – the arguments about child support and video games and whether or not Gatorade and crackers "counts" as dinner – become the only times we spend any real time together. That can leave me with the perception that The Ex is more of a douche than he really is (see point #1). But picking out a gift for him forces me to think about him as a person, not just my ex-husband. And it is SO much easier to show empathy, compassion, and patience to a person than to a former spouse.
It's been therapeutic for me over the years – an annual detox of sorts, serving as a reset button that wipes the slate (mostly) clean. Christmas certainly isn't the only time we're nice to one another, but it is – for me, anyway – a clear reminder to step back from whatever anger might have built up over the year and to forgive, as well as I can.

This year's ritual came with an extra surprise: for the first time, The Ex returned the favor gave me a gift. A thoughtful gift, even: a book that is right up my alley and that I'm excited to read.

While it never bothered me in the past that he didn't reciprocate (gift exchanging former spouses are hardly the norm, after all), I have to admit that it was nice to receive as well as give this time around. Not for the book itself (though that's nice too), but because of what it symbolizes. This is a forced relationship he and I are in. It's not one that we would choose to continue were it not for the benefit of our son. But since it is for the benefit of our son, we WILL be civilized, respectful, and friendly.

And books, it turns out, make excellent peace pipes. Especially when they're puff-puff-passed back.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Excerpt from a love story, nerd edition

From a Gmail chat, circa 2008

Me: "He argued with me over every single piece of data... er... datum, I guess."

The Man: "I love that you know the singular form of data."

And then they lived happily ever after.

It's the small things, people.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Truth in advertising

"Yes," says the Okie in the dining room. "This is an accurate depiction of what everybody in Oklahoma looks like."

"That's how we get around there."


"Trough the air."

"Under our hat-copters."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Boobs for Babes: Giving a big FU to the big C

Nearly 14 years ago, my mom and one of her coworkers were diagnosed with breast cancer within a month of one another. The two women shared an oncologist, similar prognosis, and nearly identical treatment plans. Both underwent radiation, chemotherapy, and radical mastectomies. And both were given a clean bill of health at the same time. But today, my mom is alive and Carmen is not.

Carmen's cancer came back, metastasized to her brain. Multiple surgeries and endless treatments later, Carmen's husband and daughter watched her slip away. Her daughter was less than 10-years-old when Carmen died. She had spent years of her young life watching her mother's losing battle.

That's some fucked up shit right there.

But it's hardly a unique story. It's estimated that about 12% of women (approximately 1 in 8) will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. The diagnosis comes with a 22.8% mortality rate. Along with my mom, my aunt has been forced to undergo the boobie knife. So has my great-uncle. (That's right. My great-uncle.) My cousin was diagnosed shortly after her youngest child was born.

That's some more fucked up shit right there.

I don't like fucked up shit, so when fellow West-Seattlite, Joslin Bernard, asked me to help promote Babes for Boobs, I was more than happy to do so. Joslin, along with her sister Darci, founded Babes for Boobs in honor of their mother, a breast cancer survivor. They gathered together a group of Northwest women in 2010 - most of whom have been affected by breast cancer in some way - to create a 2011 calendar with the help of photographer, Derek Johnson. They're currently busy with production of their second calendar (2012, obviously) - again partnering with Johnson - which will be available in time for the holiday season.

A couple teasers/out takes:

Model Shannon, photographed by Derek Johnson

Model Joslin, photographed by Derek Johnson
To support the cause and give a big middle finger to breast cancer, "like" Babes for Boobs' Facebook page, share with your friends, and keep your eyes peeled for calendar purchase information. You're definitely going to want these beautiful babes and their beautiful boobs hanging on your wall.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Bad omen

My lip balm smells like Suzie.

Suzie was a doll I had when I was very young. She was one of those plastic dolls you could fill with water and then squeeze to make her pee. My mom used her as a potty-training tool for me. I would fill Suzie with water, say "Suzie pee pee!", walk her to the toilet to do her business, and then reward her with an M&M (which I would eat for her). I loved Suzie and her magical ability to land candy in my mouth.

Since she was so water-friendly, Suzie often joined me in tub for bath time, where she was encouraged to pee on my head and rinse the shampoo from my hair. The only problem was that, while Suzie's body was hollow plastic, her head was not-hollow plastic.

I don't know exactly what her brains were made of, but after years of deep-water diving, Suzie began to take on an odd smell. I was old enough to know that the foul scent meant something had gone horribly wrong, but I was young enough to not be in the least bit grossed out by it. I did my best to keep the stench hidden from my mom, whom I was certain would do unspeakable things to Suzie should she be made aware of the situation.

Eventually, though, she got a whiff. Assuming it was Suzie's clothing causing the odor, my mom stripped her of her offensive wardrobe and I quickly shoved naked - and still stinky - Suzie into my pillow case under the guise of keeping her warm while her clothes her washed.

After that close call, I had one final glorious week with Suzie before my mom discovered that it was her, not her clothing, that was so noxious. With disgust spread over her face, she yanked Suzie's head from her torso and exposed the lumps of black mildew filling her skull. I never saw poor Suzie again.

Probably not a good sign that my lip balm smells like her.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A hungry child can't wait: Ask 5 for 5

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5
Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Martini Mom and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can't wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we'll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren't so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world's first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond--or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity's baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don't do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn't want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother's hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya--the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, "I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm." The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. "We don't have enough food now...our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues."

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on--in nine generations of 5x5x5...we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support, healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It's so so simple; here's what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!
I'm looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at ask5for5@gmail.com if you're interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn't wait. She doesn't wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn't wait for us to decide if she's important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on...please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped--you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don't move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you're life is busy like mine, you probably won't get back to it later. Let's not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let's leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!

Monday, August 29, 2011

He's one

The minutes defy their 60-second confines. The swollen hours haltingly circle the clock.


And then, some days later: Tock.

The days stretch like taffy from one fleeting slumber to the next.

Until one morning you wake up and, rather suddenly and completely without warning, he's one. Somehow the plodding individual moments of 365 torpid days have coalesced into a year that raced past in a heartbeat.

In the blink of an eye.

In the change of a diaper.

He's one.

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