Thursday, March 5, 2009

coming soon to a neighborhood near you

Okay, so Don't Tell Margaret hasn't exactly caught on like the wildfire I hoped it would be. But whatever. We've had some good laughs, right?, and it's not like I've been all that faithful to my own blog, anyway. Besides, it now looks as if I will be getting my cuzen fix mainly through Facebook. We've got a good chunk of cuzens there, it seems. I poached at least a dozen of them from cuzen Patti's list. I'll soon be sending them links to this site, but they all seem to be pretty well settled into Facebook. Damned Facebook, I avoided it as long as I could. Next thing you know I'm going to be updating my status or something.

Anyway, though I've deleted it now, I hope we all enjoyed watching Bad Boy Billy's Good Behavior Countdown count down the days until his domestic violence and malicious mischief charges were officially dropped. Way to go, brother. I would add a Getting of Probation Countdown but that would be pretty depressing. Something like 18 months to go. Anyway, though Billy and his family remain in a bit of a perpetual drama / funk loop, at least there's been nothing to call the cops about lately. Plenty to call Mom and Dad about, sure, but nothing for the cops...

In the meanwhile, my brother Kevin and I are planning a trip east. I've got to visit schools (NYU, U of Penn, U of Chicago, Northwestern) and Kevin, well, he seems to be filling his dance card with NYC events. We're still working out the logistics, but this I know for sure:

I'll be flying in to Philly late Sunday night (March 22nd), staying with my Cousin Donald (from my mom's side, in our grandparents' old place, just down the park from Uncle John Thomas'), leaving early April 1st for Chicago. I'll be seeing NYU on Friday the 27th, Penn on Saturday the 28th, and that's all that is set in stone so far. I'm pretty sure I won't be renting a car (airfare and Chicago / NYC lodging is already freaking me out - my credit card balance will soon be hitting 5 figures any day now... not to be confused with my credit card debt, of course, which has been at 5 figures for years and years...) so if you want me to visit you'll have to tell me how to get there on foot or by train.

Speaking of the train, is it really $90 round trip to go from Philly to NYC? This puts a crimp in some of my plans. Or rather, some of Kevin's plans. I wonder how much he is willing to do solo?

Anyway, though I haven't posted forever (at least here - I have recently returned to my other blog), I've really got to sign off and get back to the financial aid stuff I've been blowing off. I think I'm nearly done. Which somehow makes it harder to finish.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

off the hook in a totally different way

This evening when I called home I was met by an unusually chatty father. Those familiar with good old Dr. Bill know that "chatty" is one of the last adjectives most anyone would use to describe my father. In fact, I have found he is at his most animated only when describing television shows. I particularly treasure the time he was telling me about an episode of Friends. He seriously hopped from side to side, changing the tone of his voice, acting out the dialogue. It was hilarious. (Hot cocktail party tip: Nowadays he's equally enthusiastic when relating plot lines from The Big Bang Theory...)

Anyway, I always find it a joy to catch my dad in a good mood. Tonight it was because he was working on the family Christmas letter. I know, I know, we were all looking forward to a good old humdinger this year. Though my Dad's efforts will be different than my own, I am happy to be fired. After Billy successfully lobbied to be treated with kid gloves, I found myself dragging my feet getting started. Having never taken well to restriction, even if it is humane and completely understandable, I was virtually uninspired. (I did, at least, pass along the few tidbits I had managed to come up with so far...)

Besides sharing with me his rough draft of the letter, my Dad encouraged me to Tivo a television show (surprised?) and then he passed me off to Mom like a hot potato. It was here that I met with my other chuckle of the evening. It seems that our beloved matriarch, Margaret, does not approve of my plans to attend law school in the fall. She thinks I should have babies instead.

Babies, don't get me wrong, are perfectly fine and wonderful. I know the majority of you have taken the time to have them. And I certainly like babies well enough. I particularly enjoy corrupting them as they get older - you know, teaching them fart jokes and such. But as for having my own, well, it's just not going to happen.

For one thing, I am a horrible mother. Just ask my cats. I send mixed signals all the time. I reward bad behavior. Sometimes I neglect to meet their basic needs, refusing to feed them as required (okay, maybe for just ten minutes or so, as I try to feign sleep - but ten minutes is like a lifetime in cat years...). And besides, becoming a mother would force me to be the grown up. I know, becoming a lawyer is relatively grown up, too, but I dare say it's not as demanding as motherhood.

Besides all that, my eggs are old. I just turned 37. Cooking up my ovum would just be asking for trouble. I don't even like eating chicken eggs when they are past the date on the box. I'm pretty sure my ovaries have a stamp somewhere saying "Best when used before 2001."

Even if I wanted to gamble on the quality of my genes, if I were to get pregnant these days I'd probly end up divorced because, well, it would mean I'd been cheating on my man. Yep, don't tell Margaret, but my hubby's been snipped.

So I guess it is off to law school I go. I am actually getting pretty excited by the reality of it since my recent acceptance by Berkeley. Now I don't have to live in the snow unless I want to. And if I want to it will be because I got in to one of my super fancy reach schools. If that happens, I imagine I won't even notice the snow during my first year because I will still be walking on air. As it is, I can barely wipe the Berkeley grin off my face long enough to tell my stupid stray cat how mad I am he peed on my bed. Doing better than Berkeley, I think I'd be delirious.

It's just too bad to know I haven't got Margaret praying up my Harvard hopes, she's so close with the big Guy and all... But this way I guess I will know I got in on my merits.

I'll keep you all posted...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

off the hook

First of all, I am thrilled not to be the only cousin posting on this blog. Not only does it feel less lonely, but it's been simply precious to share in such well crafted and hilarious stories... I've been wanting to answer back with a jaw-dropper of my own (detailing the time my Dad was freaking out having to drive Granddad's Cadillac while totally stoned), but I've got to do some fact checking. I always thought the chronic was supplied by his brother John, but my Mom swears it was my other Uncle John... (Don't tell Margaret...) Oh, and Sis, kudos are totally fine. This blog is whatever we want it to be. And I am also proud that Margaret had a chance to play such a positive role in this historic election...

I am also happy to report that our brother has managed to avoid going to jail for his recent bout of bipolar bad behavior. I'd been waiting to post updates until I knew everything was settled, and now, as of his court date this past Monday, it seems it is. His lawyer convinced the judge to drop all the charges (new and old) so long as Billy stays out of trouble for 90 days. I believe this makes his goal Sunday February 15th, though Billy wisely recognized he really needs to be on good behavior for life - or at least for two years, the length of his original probationary period. I am excited for Billy that he's not in jail, but I'm excited for me that I finally have a chance to add a countdown to this site. A countdown, some may recall, was a planned feature of the original "Don't Tell Margaret." At the time we were going to count down Marybeth's remaining days of living in sin. Billy's days of living without sin seems like a suitable substitute.

Billy's Good Behavior Countdown will end just a week after my planned visit north for the Aquarius birthday season. With Billy & Grace sharing a birthday on January 28th and Mom turning 65 on February 4th, it's a logical enough time to take a trip, but, in truth, I've never made a habit out of visiting during their birthday season. This year my presence is required as Grace has been planning her 5th birthday party for, oh, 8 months now. She's holding it at a bounce house where even grown-ups can bounce, so you know I'm all for that.

Grace has made an additional special request. She wants to have, "a sleep-over, at my house, with my cousins, and with you and Uncle Kevin - just like when I was 3!" I must say, that was quite a bash we had. It started out like any normal slumber party. We watched movies, ate pizza and made art & crafts (involving lots of scissors - those cousins just love scissors). Then it got a little frenzied. We made a huge mess thanks in small part to the apparently disposable pom-poms (which shed worse than Suzanne's menagerie of cats) and in large part to Madisyn (who decided to move everything from Grace's room in to the hallway). Later we read tons of books - potty training books (for Grace) and bedtime stories (five in total - one for each of us). We didn't read enough bedtime stories, it turns out, cuz the bedtime part didn't stick. We soon found ourselves out in the living room, dancing a jig to the tunes on Kevin's ipod, avoiding smashing in to Grace's worldly belongings, until we crashed out sometime after midnight. (Somewhere in between, of course, we had the whole "boo boo cream debacle" which I already blogged about here.)

So it's no surprise that Grace is looking for a repeat of such a legendary evening. Only now we're going to try to convince her to host it at the Great Wolf Lodge, this cool hotel / waterpark where we're planning to stay. We're also hoping to convince Savannah and Maddie that this is a superior alternative to replace their recently cancelled trip to Disneyland. Grandpa TT (as they call him) was going to take them there for New Year's, but it's been a bit of an expensive year (with all the car smashing and whatnot) and he's already making a trip to California (right now, in fact), so he's not really feeling the whole Disney thing. Billy hasn't broken the news to the girls yet but I suggested it's all in the way he frames it. Act excited about the alternative and they will be too. Act disappointed and betrayed and that's exactly how they'll feel as well. Here's hoping they're let down easy...

And, since my folks are in route and due to arrive tomorrow, I suppose I should get back to (or, erm, actually start) cleaning my house. At least procrastination always brings me back to the blogging world.

But before I go, happy belated birthday, Sis. Looks like yesterday was just peachy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's 4:28am the morning after a historical election where Americans made a choice for CHANGE and I am so PROUD of Margaret, who, at 93 yrs old, made it to the polls and cast her vote for Barack Obama...She's lived through good times and bad times in this country.. she's seen more than any of us.. and today she voted for the candidate that most of her family opposed.. (except for us radical liberal west-coasters)...and i think that's amazing! (jenni, i know this blog is not for kudos but i wanted to give her some kudos tonight!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Invisible Ink

First, let me start by saying I'm thrilled to have married into such a large, wonderful, conservative, Irish-Catholic family. I'm also reassured (and more than a little bit relieved) that I am not the only one to have a few bones laying around, just begging for the doggie to drag out.

As I'm sure you all may know, I came into this family with not just a carry on . . . I brought a full array of fancy-pancy luggage. Let's see . . . I lived-in-sin and had not one, but two children out of wedlock. There's the crazy ex, an evil step-mother the likes of which Disney could not even conjure up, and an Irish/Italian mom (no further explanation there). Lastly, I have, as my mom would say, "a sick appreciation for art" . . . Body art that is.

Now, before you all jump to conclusions . . . I do not have a copy of a 70's Rolling Stones cover running down the length of my arms. I do, however, have a very pretty sunset (designed by yours truly) with a few scattered birds in flight. Very tasteful. The birds represent loved ones I have lost that have had a profound impact on my life. The tatoo is a reminder for me of just how precious life is, how short it can be, and how I have to live my life to the fullest.

That being said, my symbolic body art was for me, so I had it placed where, really, it's only seen if I'm wearing a bathing suit. The very last person I ever wanted to find out about it was my very loving, but ultra-conservative mother-in-law. Now, I know she would not disown me for my love of art. Afterall, I do love her David very much. However, I was sure she wouldn't be jumping through any hoops to have a look-see either.

Now, it just so happens, I do go to the beach from time to time. Many of these moments are spent with my new family. I can't say I ever really worried about any of my hubby's siblings (or spouses) freaking out over my tatoo. But someone, and I am not sure who, let the proverbial cat out of the bag. I never mentioned I didn't want mom to know . . . I just assumed we were all on the same page. (wink-wink)

So one bright, beautiful morning at the bike shop a young lady came walking by. It wasn't until she passed us, going up the ramp to the boardwalk, that we all took notice that she was covered in tatoos. I kind of felt a little ashamed, considering my little secret (which I thought was kept in the "circle of siblings"). It was then, a voice came rising up from behind me, "Look, that's going to be Debbie in a couple of years!" You guessed it! It was mom!

Now, looking back on that moment I just laugh. Mom knew . . . My little secret was out. I could now stop fretting over how to pull off a "retro" bathing suit and just be myself. To mom's credit, she never brings up my tatoo. I guess she just wanted me to know that she knew. That, and the fact that she also knew how much I do love her David. I love him so much, in fact, that I decided to get another piece of art to commemorate it.

So now, no more secrets. I feel loved and accepted into this wonderful family. In return, I love each and every one of them. Just the other day Mare-bear (Marybeth) gave me a great big hug and said, "Thank you for loving my brother." Of course, that goes without saying. I have waited a long time for David. I have honestly loved him since I was 19 years old. So, I gave her a great big hug back and said just that. Then I gave her a wink and said, "I had better love your brother, I have his name tatooed where only his eyes can see." Just don't tell Aunt Kathy!!!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


And here's a photo of the Thomas Matriarch-

Margaret Ink

Thought I would post a photo of the tribute to Margaret inked by Melanie Nead of Icon Tattoo in Portland, Oregon. If only Kevin wore wife beaters.. we'd be able to see it more often!