Paula-Loves-Marla's Blog

Observations about Art, Movies, Books, etc.

Best Friends

As usual, I checked in with Yahoo! news this morning. I was very touched by the letter written by Jack Pinto’s friend John. Link

Yeah, I was crying at my desk. The thing that struck a nerve (beyond the touching sentiment) was the picture:


It reminded me of my own best friend who I’ve known since I was five.

I am lucky enough to still have her as one of my best girlfriends and we still see each other at least a few times a year. I take these get togethers for granted because it feels like we’ll get to keep seeing each other forever.

As we were harshly reminded of this week, there is no forever and each day is precious.

I’m not going to preach about how we should live our lives.  I’m just really sad these two little guys will never have the opportunity to grow up together.


I sincerely hope that we can move forward as a society to a place where mentally ill people don’t choose to kill others before committing suicide. Our citizens and children do not need to be part of some sicko’s own personal reality TV.

My apologies if any of this offends. The slaughter of innocent children really pisses me off.


Dear Younger Self, Part II

Okay, my earlier ‘younger self’ post has probably ensured that I’m written out of mom’s will. Sorry mom. It was the first thing that came to mind when thinking about sending wisdom back to my younger self.

Today I will write with a little more levity.

Dear senior year high school Paula,

Despite the current big hair perm rage of the 80’s, you should absolutely not cut your lovely long, straight, blonde hair. You should not spend hundreds of dollars over the next five or six years in order to perm your hair into a tortured poodle style. In spite of current trends, this style is not attractive and you will be much better off in the long run if you just skip it altogether. (your older hair follicles thank you)

The same goes for the cubic ton of make-up you will buy during this same time period. A little foundation, some mascara and neutral eye shadow should be enough to keep you looking fresh as opposed to the circus clown colors you will be sporting over the next few years.

Finally, a secret it took me many years to learn – Thrift stores are a great place to find wardrobe pieces at a very inexpensive price. You can fill in with a few nice new pieces from department stores and specialty shops rather than buying everything straight off the rack (although you should be commended for shopping the sale racks).

Now that I have clued you in on many of your spending mistakes, please take all the money that you have saved and use it to buy all the stock you can afford for Apple & Microsoft. I’d very much like to retire by the age of 50.

Much obliged,

Older P

Kiddies In The Crossfire – It’s Not A Good Thing

Okay, last post about relationship/divorce type stuff (for now).

I just wanted to say that if you’re separated or divorced and have children, please keep in mind that all those shots you take at your ex wind up hurting your kids. It’s hard enough for them to have their family split up without having to hear all the ugliness you and/or your spouse spout off about each other. Certainly do not under any circumstances put the children in a position where they feel like they have to pick sides.

If you want to bitch about your lying, cheating, no-good, spendthrift/penny-pinching, lazy/workaholic, shiftless, mean, insensitive ex-spouse, do it out of earshot of your kids. Go out with your friends, have a beer, shop, shoot some skeet and vent at will, but when you’re around the children, remember that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Divorce is a hard thing for kids to deal with. I personally remember coming home the day my dad had been by our house to clear out his stuff and how hurt I was to see the empty places where his things had been. Each spot on the bookcase where his statues & books had been felt like it left a hole in my heart. Adding an ugly narrative to the situation just compounds the hurt.The other thing is that holding onto all that anger and hurt is just as bad for you as it is for your kids. At some point you have to let it go and the sooner, the better. All those bad feelings are bad for your health and can shorten your life. Really the best thing to do is pick a date where you are going to move on and then do it. Your relationship with that person is over except for parenting your children. Find ways to be good to yourself and heal. Fill your life with positive things and thrive within that life.

The best revenge is living well. Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it now.

Here’s an article  about what kids think: Article

Rules of Engagement

So I mentioned in my last post that my parents didn’t always get along and the conflict between them was ongoing even after the divorce. Most happy marriages are not based on conflict. It’s no fun for the kiddies either I assure you.

So, how do you solve problems in a constructive way? How do you settle a disagreement when you think you are right or want your way? What is the key to solving differences while preserving your relationship?

I can tell you some of the things I’ve learned after years of getting it wrong.

1)     You are a team. And what did we learn from the movie “The Blind Side”? Your team is your family and you always protect your family. True dat.

2)     You can win every battle and still lose the war. If you think the main point of fighting with your spouse is to win, you are dead wrong and at some point you’re going to end up alone. Remember that the person you are disagreeing with is someone you love and have pledged to be a partner with until death do you part. State your point in a calm and quiet way: listen with a loving heart; if you can not reach an understanding at that time, ask to table the conversation until later on. You can revisit the topic after you’ve had a little more time to consider both sides and come up with a solution. On points of opinion that don’t directly affect your family life, it’s okay to agree to disagree. Amen.

3)     Love, Honor & Cherish. Next time you feel the top of your head getting ready to fly off, just remember what you promised when you got married. When you treat your spouse with love and respect, your marriage is going to be a much happier situation for you to exist in. If you need a time out to deal with your emotions, step away, take a deep breath, then go back and talk to your sweetheart in a rational way. So mote it be.

4)     Say that you’re sorry. Yes, even with all of our best intentions we can still lose it and act badly. Own up to it and apologize. There is no shame or weakness in saying you’re sorry. Actually, it takes a strong person to admit that they are wrong and it feels really good to put the bad stuff behind you and move on with all the good things that come from living a married life.

5)     Let’s make this a clean fight. Obviously, if your anger is out of control, you need to leave the situation before you do anything you’ll regret. Name calling and hitting are unacceptable ways of dealing with your spouse. If you are feeling like these are issues you are having, there are many therapists available to help you deal with your feelings of anger. If someone is hitting you, you need to find a safe place to go and get help. Love shouldn’t have to hurt.

6)     A little humor goes a long way.  Look for something funny in your current situation. It’s amazing how laughter can defuse the tension in an argument. If you can step back from your current argument and find the humor in it, you will be amazed at how the anger evaporates almost instantly.

That’s all I could think of right now (its lunch time so I’m hungry and need to go to the bank), but I am more than happy to discuss this with anyone who happens upon my humble little blog and decides to post a comment.

Let me just close by saying that good relationships take work every single day. There is no ‘happily ever after’. Prince Charming has morning breath. He burps, farts and leaves skid marks in his bvds just like everybody else. You both have to commit to communicating and trying to work out your differences. As long as you’re committed to doing everything you can to make the relationship work you have a much better shot of having a deeply satisfying lifetime relationship.

Good luck on your journey!     ~P

A Letter To My Younger Self

There was a thing on Yahoo! this morning about it being national letter writing day (it’s not. It’s not even national letter writing week until January so I’m not even sure where that story came from – archives?). In spite of the error, I thought it might be interesting to write a series of letters to my young self with all the great wisdom I have amassed over past 48 years.

Also, I’ve been off blogging for quite a while. I’ve been listening to that snarky little voice in my head that tells me everything I write is total crap and no one wants to read the sort of fluff that goes on in my brain. The time has come once again to tell that little voice to shut up and keep its destructive opinions to itself and let me get on with the business of writing.

So here goes…


Dear school-aged Paula,

I know all the fights mom and dad have about money, especially the child support payment arguments, make you feel terrible. I know its hard being stuck in the middle of two angry adults engaged in a never ending battle to win the argument. I know that you feel like you are a big part of why mom and dad fight and that you are putting a terrible financial burden on them because they support you, but guess what – they had you and it’s their responsibility to take care of you.

The fights about money make you feel worthless. Sometimes you wish you had never been born so that maybe mom and dad would be happy and not fight all of the time. Sweetheart, I want to tell you that their fights are not your fault. It’s true that their marriage may have lasted longer if they had waited to have you or maybe not had a child at all, but the reality of the situation is that you are in the world.

What I’d like you to do in order to make the situation more tolerable for yourself (and probably for mom and dad too) is to sit each one of them down at different times and tell them that when they fight about money and child support in front of you, that it hurts and that it makes you feel worthless. Ask them to please try to let go of their anger towards each other and take into consideration how much it hurts you every time they engage in this battle. Tell them that once they let go of this fight, they will feel better too.

Darling girl, you are going to have to have many follow-up conversations with mom and dad because they are really good at fighting with each other. You’re going to have to find the strength to correct them each and every time they slip back into their old patterns. This will go on for years. The good thing though is that you are going to feel really good about yourself for standing up for your feelings rather than silently resenting how shitty those fights make you feel.

Do this for yourself.

Be strong.

Fight for what you need.

You deserve it.

~Older, Wiser Paula

Savannah Visitor’s Center

The visitor’s center in Savannah has a little museum area so we paid our little bit of money and walked around the various exhibits.

Of course the draw that brought me to Savannah:

Forrest Gump

…And His Bench.

There was also a nice textile & quilt display:

Savannah is also home to the Girl Scouts and many a pilgrimage has been made by girls to the birthplace of their organization. The museum had many displays including:

Hats From Different Eras


Knives From Different Eras

So next time you’re out and a Girl Scout tries to sell you cookies, you should probably buy some so she doesn’t cut you.

Savannah was also apparently a good place to trap beavers.

Beaver Pelt

Back in the day, beaver pelts were used for hats and coat collars.

Savannah was very cool. I’m really glad we went and toured the city.

Touring Savannah, GA

Okay, ever since I saw Forrest Gump sitting on the bench telling his life story to complete strangers I’ve wanted to visit Savannah, GA. Yeah, that seems like a weird reason to want to visit a place but when I see something interesting on T.V. or a movie, I like to try to find ways to experience that stuff myself. I think I’m going to have to save my pennies if I want to do “Eat, Pray, Love.”

So Savannah is about 2 1/2 hours south of Charleston which isn’t a terrible drive. It did get a little desolate in between the two historic towns though. I guess few people want to live between the two destinations. We did find a little store that sold jams and ciders out in the middle of nowhere. We were extra happy find this little shop as our morning beverages had worked their way through our systems and we needed a pee break. I bought some preserves and a bottle of peach cider while we were there.

I also picked up some of this:

Spanish Moss

…which I let the girls handle, then I put it on the floor of our car and didn’t think anymore about it.

We took the bus tour around the city in order to make the most of our time in Savannah and one of the first things our driver pointed out was the Spanish moss. She told us not to carry any of it home with us as it was the home of mites which would bite us. Good to know except those mites were probably making themselves at home in my floor mats while we were riding around the city. Oh well. It won’t be my first itchy encounter and certainly not my last. We’ve got plenty of mosquitos here in Maryland.

Here is the first location we hopped off of the trolly to see:

City Market

Samantha made a new friend:

Cart Horse

We wandered around the market and then widened our foot tour to the blocks around the market. We found some cool stores and took in the charm of the old city as we walked around. We skipped Paula Deen’s place. I just wasn’t up to putting some “South in my Mouth” at Paula’s place. I’m sure she’s a talented cook, but her over the top folksie-ness just rubs me the wrong way.

We hopped back on the trolly and weaved our way around the squares taking in some of the history and the sights around town. It had rained early in the day so it felt like a very dark place with the clouds hanging low and dark over all of those live oaks. Of course the old architecture was charming as was all the ironwork for which the city is known. We rode along taking in all the lovely old homes and neighborhoods with their many churches and public buildings.

After the squares we headed off towards the waterfront and jumped off the trolly in search of lunch. We found the Boar’s Head Grill & Tavern, Est. 1964 – what a good year!

Everything we had to eat was absolutely outstanding. I had my very first fried green tomato (stolen off Sammy’s plate). Delcious! I could eat those a couple times a week.

Since we were on vacation and wanted to make the most of it, we opted for dessert (must keep our strength up for the rest of the tour and the drive back to the condo).

Ice Cream & Chocolate in a Puff Pastry

Luscious Flourless Chocolate Cake! Super Yummy!

Shots on the ride back from the waterfront:

Back to the visitor’s center:

Coming up next…Touring the visitors center.

Southern Living

We didn’t pack a lot of provisions before we headed down to Isle of Palms knowing that we’d find stores and be able to stock up once we got there. We found a rinky-dink little market nearby, but Jan found a supermarket sized Piggly-Wiggly a little farther out from our condo.


So yeah, I can write Piggly-Wiggly off my bucket list now.

What I didn’t notice while we were there was that they had a beer counter where people could fill their growlers.


We did not check out the selection as we had brought our own beverages.

I’m not sure whether growler bars are standard in the south or if we just lucked into a hoppy anomolie. Whatever the case, it was part of our southern vacation experience.

Next up: Savannah, GA

The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon – Charleston, SC

It was getting a bit warmish by the time we finished touring Rainbow Row. The Old Exchange Building offered an interesting tour and more importantly air conditioning.

We had some time before the next tour so we wandered around and checked out the public areas.

The girls:

I absolutely loved the dungeon tour. We waited in an outer area of the downstairs and I could not get over the brick columns and ceilings.

The geometry involved in making the graduated columns leading up to the sculpted ceilings made my head spin. Our guide talked to us a little bit about these ceilings before we moved deeper into the dugeon. So apparently the columns were formed using sandbags and the brick was placed over the contours. These rooms were built from the ceiling down.

Think about that – how do you get bricks to stay up on the ceiling while you build down from them. Is your brain hurting yet? Mine was. It was beautiful brickwork though and also very nice and cool down there below street level.

There was a painting in the dungeon that Hannah loved:

I think what she loved about it was the subject’s posture of despair. I think she was wondering what happened to cause such an apparent sense of loss. Her creative mind was in overdrive during our trip and she finished writing three stories while we were on vacation. I was obviously not inspired to write during this trip since it’s been two months since we’ve gotten back.

Better late than never?

Rainbow Row – Charleston, SC

We circled back and found ourselves at Rainbow Row.


This One’s For Sale!!!

Here’s the Realtor Info

It would be tempting to move down to this charming city, but for now we’re going to stay put. How cool would it be to be able to say that you live on Rainbow Row though? Totally!

Pink & Blue – Rainbow Row

Next up…..The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon.

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