change is for other people

Long ago, in a far away land called my twenties, I embraced change. I loved it. I lived for it. Change is good! Change is how progress is made. Change is scary but even when you’re terrified, it is almost always for the better. Even when it doesn’t feel like it at first.

Now that I am 20ish years past my twenties..I embrace the idea of change but when I’m faced with the actuality of it…I am pulled into it kicking and screaming. Because with age comes responsibilities…which throws a big kink into my impulsive blind acceptance of change.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still embrace change…sorta. It just takes me longer to adjust to the idea. Old dog–new tricks, I guess. I understand more now why our grandparents were such creatures of habit. The older I get, the more I get it.

But I’m trying so hard to avoid the rut of sameness. Life without change is easy, but oh my god, is it boring!

So I’m embracing change a little bit at a time.  I’ve started meditating. It’s weird…as my brain really doesn’t shut off…but the app I’m using (headspace) tells me that meditating isn’t about shutting off your thoughts, it’s about being at ease with them. Well, that’s an interesting thought in and of itself.

I’ve been regularly exercising again for 2 weeks. I feel SO much better. My resting heart rate two weeks ago was 75-80. Today, it’s 65. My heart doesn’t have to work quite so hard to sit still…and that’s awesome.

I don’t know what small change I’ll be making next. But I do know, I’m not going to be the person who gets so stuck in a rut, that I refuse to change at all. Life is too short to live every day the same.

Embrace the change, bitches! And sparkle on!



When Thin was In…

This is not a “bagging on the skinny chicks” post, so please, don’t take it that way. If you do, then you probably ought to do a little self examination of your own. Everyone needs love themselves for who they are…and to help myself with that,  I’m endeavoring to write more honestly, to use my blog in a way that will help me on my path to physical health. And part of good physical health is emotional health, and writing is very good for me emotionally.

And I need to explore my past to improve my future. Please excuse me while I slice open a vein…

I am an 80s girl through and through. And, if you were an 80s kid with me, you know that decade was not made for curvy people.

Every pant was high-waisted and tapered. No hips allowed. And for those of us with an hour-glass figure, we had to buy pants a size too big and then have our MeMa dart the waist by at least an inch. (what? Only me?) No wonder everyone thought I was fat. I was relegated to Chic and Lee Jeans. UGH. The horror.

il_fullxfull.452142843_dewy il_224xN.447391093_jv5g

Yes, I was told weekly by my basketball coach that I was fat and needed to get to a goal weight of 118-125. I weighed 135-140, was 5’6 and played 2 hours + of basketball a day.

But I was “fat” because I had tits, hips and thighs.

Mel 8th Grade BBall

Please ignore the mullet.

Look at “Fat Mel” from 8th grade. Yeah. I know. Ridiculous.

But think about what kind of damage hearing how fat you are when you weigh 135-140 lbs when you’re 14 years old. That number is always my “fat” number, mentally. So imagine how bad I felt about myself several years ago when I was 100 lbs over my “fat” number? Talk about self-esteem issues!

The other problem with the 80s’ idea of the perfect physical shape was the clothing.

I wanted to be the girl who could wear the White Patch Levis. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? The ones only the hot girls could wear? (At least, in my mind those were the only girls who could wear them. The skinny girls with no hips.)

il_fullxfull.297862858And I wanted to be in the club. I wanted to be a broomstick, not a brick house. Because in those days, girls were shamed into believing they needed to change their bodies to fit in. Coaches snatched our candy bars from our hands and told us we needed to eat more salads–NO DRESSING. Daddies told us we’d never find a boy if we didn’t lose weight and compared us to our friends. “Why can’t you be more like them?” It didn’t matter if the friend they were comparing you to was having sex, doing drugs, boozing it up, smoking cigarettes, or failing school… it mattered that they looked good in their basketball, softball, cheerleader, you name it Uniform. And of course, in their White Patch Levis.

I spent a lot of time covering myself up, trying to hide my body. I wore sweat pants and t-shirts almost everyday. I used the excuse of having only 5 minutes between the end of school and the beginning of basketball practice to change, but the reality was, my clothes became my wall. I developed a witty sense of humor and had friends from every walk of life (which I’m grateful for, to this day) and I pretended to not care what anyone thought about me. I got good at feigning confidence. But at night, when I was alone, I would flip through the Spiegel and Esprit  catalogs and pray that my hips would go away. Those magazine pages (especially the swimsuit ones) were tear-stained and ruined by the end of the 80s.

What a horrible thing to do to a child. To put such unrealistic ideals in their heads and to make them ashamed of their body shape. To try to force them into being just like everyone else. Those expectations are hard to overcome, even as an adult.

I’m 44 years old. I’m 60 lbs over my current ideal weight and I have never loved myself more, nor have I ever felt sexier.

But it has taken a LONG time for me to get here, and trust me when I tell you, I still struggle everyday with loving myself for who I am. Not because I’m not awesome (I’m totally awesome) but because in the back of my mind, I’m still the 14 year old girl who just wants to be skinny so people will approve of her.

I think we have come a long way in the fat-shaming world, BUT we’re not fully there yet. If we were, things like Mike Jeffries saying “fat chicks” can’t be one of the “cool kids” wouldn’t happen. Shaming children in any way is wrong. One of the things I swore I’d do as a parent was to build my kids up for who they are and teach them to celebrate their individuality and revel in the differences of others. And they both do that, rather well, thankfully.

I tell you all of this to let you know the reason I still struggle with my weight. Not because I’m worried about being “fat” because I’m not. I’m sexy. The dudes dig me (and the chicks, too, tyvm) and frankly, I dig myself. I struggle with my weight because ultimately, I want to be healthier. I’m a very fit fat girl. What I want to be is just fit. There’s always going to be someone who thinks of me as the “fat girl” and that’s okay. They can label me however they want, that’s their problem, not mine. I’ve spent 30 years overcoming trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations, but I’ve finally given up trying to please anyone but myself. That is so freeing.

Welcome to my world, folks. I’m a little damaged, but I’m not broken. My extra padding has protected me.


So, I’ve been on an eternal quest for a healthier lifestyle…for oh, let’s say, eternity.

In March, I added a new skin care regime, because as I lose weight, it is highly possibly that I’ll get wrinkles. And as a woman of 44 years, who still gets carded on a regular basis, the last thing I need or want is to get wrinkles. At least, not yet.

I’ve been using Meaningful Beauty for 3 full months now, and this is me today, without any makeup on and no filters.

Today: No makeup. Fewer laugh lines and crows feet

Today: No makeup. Fewer laugh lines and crows feet

Not too bad for a 44 year old broad, huh? I was trying to find a good comparison picture. I found 1 that would work, but I have full makeup and glasses on so it was difficult to see the difference around the eyes. However the difference around the mouth is pretty significant.

Now, I purchased this product, so MB isn’t paying me anything to review it. Here’s what I have to say.

Yes, my skin looks fantastic and feels SMOOOOOOVE like a baby’s bottom. I’ve noticed a definite fading of crow’s feet and my laugh lines (which I actually love) are noticeably less prominent. I have no issues going without makeup (even though I need new lashes ASAP. Has anyone seen my eyes? Yeah, me either.)

I’m not a huge fan of the cleansing lotion. It doesn’t foam or bubble up, and I feel like I’m having to use more of it than I should. The kit doesn’t come with a night cream, so I use the day cream at night. That’s a huge disappointment. You have the option to ‘customize’ your kit and can add the night cream that way.

I also do not like the “club” set up, however, I have my automatic delivery for 20 weeks, which I can change at any time if I run low. That’s a nice option. Most “clubs” force your into a 90 Day /12 week automatic delivery.

The price point isn’t bad, especially if you set up your delivery for 4 months or more. I don’t need to use a lot of product, one little dab will do ya… or at least it does me. I’ve decided to keep using the product for at least one more round.

In Eating Cleaner news:

I fired up the grill and loaded it with some awesome locally grown veggies this weekend. Sweet potatoes, asparagus, okra, squash, green beans, tomatoes. I also grilled some pineapple, which was oh so yummy. We ate very well this weekend, let me tell ya.

I walked every day for an hour. Monday was hard because Sunday I had some girlfriends over and we enjoyed muy wine. I’ll have you know, I still did not go over my calories for the day, thankyouverymuch.

In OMG how awesome news, I met Ian’s friend-girl this week. (OMG, she’s adorbs). I’m not sure if they’re going to officially ‘date’ or not, it’s really not my business yet (it won’t be until it’s her birthday or Christmas, and then I’ll need to know if I need to buy her a present or not. Haha) But anyway, we were all hanging out on Wednesday and we were talking about parents and parenting styles etc., and I made a comment that sometimes parents have really high expectations of their kids and no matter what they accomplish, it won’t be enough because they expect more. (this is a concept I don’t understand as a parent, but I understand as a kid of those parents.) I said, “for example, I’ve published two young adult novels with a very prestigious publisher, and sometimes I think my mom still thinks I could do better.” She stopped and looked at me and said, “Wait. You’re Melissa Francis? As in BITE ME AND LOVE SUCKS Melissa Francis?”

Me: Yep.


Me: Happy happy joy joy can’t stop smiling.

And in other O517I1Qi7nnL._SY300_MG Awesome News…I got to see my Stacey Jay this weekend! Have you pre-ordered her latest book yet? WHY NOT?


order it. devour it. review it. and email Stacey and tell her she is made of awesome. (because she totes is).

Find Stacey on Facebook

Stacey on the web

Stacey on Twitter: @stacey_jay

Okay, there’s my weekend recap. It was a great weekend. The boys enjoyed Riverfest. Jefe and I enjoyed each other and the beautiful weather, and I also enjoyed my girl time with some of my besties. Life doesn’t suck.

Happy Thursday

I’m in a great mood today. Rader Tater made the JROTC Drill Team at school. This is awesome, as not a lot of freshmen are invited to try out. What isn’t awesome? Having to get him to school before 7:00 a.m.

But my parental proudness outweighs my general early morning crankiness…so today is an epic win.

I’ve been really happy lately. I feel great about getting back to me… when I turned 40, I was really exercising and focusing on feeling good about myself. It was a process I started when we lived in Oxford…not long after our home renovations were done, and I was working for someone who made me miserable, plus the marriage was starting to unravel and I was in denial about it. So I started exercising and trying to lose the 50lbs of security blanket I had added to my body. It’s amazing how just adding a 2 mile walk a few days a week to my life made me feel much better about myself.

Recently, I’ve had some personal issues pop up that haven’t been fun. I made peace with them, apologized for my part, and moved on. And wow, how good does it feel to be at peace…and to be able to focus on the positive again. Bootcamp is going great. My butt is looking better than ever! (I saw you looking. It’s okay.) The boys are happy at home, we laugh every night and every morning. (Although, I’m not gonna lie…I’d love JUST ONCE to take Rader to school and not have to talk about farts. This morning’s conversation? “Mom. I had the WEIRDEST fart yesterday.”)

I’m in control of my own happiness. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. I’m so pleased with where my life is right now. Sure, there are aspects of it that could use a little nudge in a different direction, but damn, focusing on the negative just gives you wrinkles. And a bad outlook on life.

So…in light of the “thankfulness” theme going on right now…I’m so thankful for my family. And that includes my dear friends. I am so lucky to have two wonderful boys with fantastic senses of humor and who still kiss me goodnight before they go to bed every night. I am thankful for the wonderful man in my life who loves me despite my glaring flaws and who forgives me when I’m stupid. And who laughs at my jokes, even when they aren’t funny (which is rare, because as you all know, I’m VERY funny). I’m thankful for forgiveness…and the ability to learn from my mistakes and move on. I’m so thankful I’m healthy and happy. Life could be so much worse.

And with that. Happy Thursday. Life is good. Go forth and share a smile today.

Forward. HO!

Yes, the election is over. Yes. I’m pleased with the results…but the reality is, if things had gone the other way, I’d be all right, too. (Unless I wanted to make a very important decision about my body…)

Anyhoo… Yay that the Rape Idiots didn’t get reelected. Good Grief. Yay for women who soundly told our country that we deserve the same pay and full control over our own bodies.

The only 1950s we get to live in, is in our pin up girl fantasies! And that’s the way it ought to be. (I’ll be right back, I need to go make you a sammich.)

And yay for President Barack Obama and his family. Go forth and continue to rebuild from the mess you were handed.

I’ve been extremely disappointed in my Facebook newsfeed lately. I welcome dissenting opinions, but I do not tolerate racism, hate or rhetoric. I woke this morning to see a couple of my ‘friends’ posting “Welcome to Muslim America’  and “Well of course he got voted in, everyone loves getting freebies.”

Really? Come on. Educate yourself. Don’t spread hate and rhetoric and untruths. Damn. So this is my status today.

If you truly believe that Obama is a Socialist, a Muslim, if you’re still looking for his birth certificate, or if you’re posting racist hate and rhetoric on your page, please just unfriend me now. This is a democracy. The people have spoken and they have spoken loudly. If I survived 8 years of Dubya (barely) then I promise, you will survive 8 years of Obama. These are not the darkest days. This is not the end of the world. I have been looking for signs of the apocalypse, and I’m pretty sure we’re safe. There’s no excuse to post hate. Respect the process and let love rule.

Seriously, we’ve all made mistakes, we all don’t like something about someone. We all disagree with different government policies, but to be hateful? To spread lies and encourage racism? Just not something I want to be around and certainly not something I want kids to see. So I’ve unfriended a few folks and I posted this and asked people to unfriend me. And I’m okay with it if you do. You have the right to your beliefs, but I’d appreciate it if you’d just keep them off my newsfeed because I don’t really want to hang out with someone who won’t bother to educate themselves with facts and who hates because of race, gender, or sexuality. Now. Go forth and love someone today.

will lightning strike twice?

Yesterday I had a writing breakthrough. It was really weird because I’ve tried to make myself write this story that’s been haunting me for more than a year, but the reality is, I haven’t been able to do it. I have barely written anything in almost 2 years (maybe more). I actually thought maybe I was done. Maybe I had accomplished what I was supposed to with BITE ME and LOVE SUCKS, and it was time to focus my creative energy elsewhere.

And then yesterday happened.

Is my writing drought over? I have no idea. But for the first time in a LONG DAMN TIME I am excited about a story…and I am excited about writing.

I’m so glad I haven’t lost that part of my life, after all.

big. stuff.

Ian is taking his driver’s test today. He starts college tomorrow. My treefrog is all-growed-up.

Not only can he vote, he can join the military, & run off and get married without my permission (yeah…but if this happens, I will be killing him so, really this one doesn’t count). And he’s a college boy. Wow.

I’m amazed by both of my boys everyday. I’m proud of the young men they are becoming…and if you do the math, you’ll realize I was obviously child bride and young mom…because there is no way I’m old enough to have boys this age. (which explains why I’m still getting carded) Freshmen! Both of them!

In Feline news, Clementine brought us a present yesterday. I’m very glad it wasn’t a bunny or a chipmunk. About a month ago she brought us a flying squirrel. She probably took it straight out of the air, because she’s hardcore like that.

boys and their momma

Here’s Rader and his 8th grade graduation:

and here he is today, his 2nd day in high school:

What a difference 4 months (and a couple of haircuts) can make…

Last night El Jefe and I had a houseful of boys. I didn’t cook because Ian and his best friend Ben had gone out to eat with Ben’s parents and because we had plenty of leftovers from Monday night’s awesome pan-roasted chicken.

I love the fact that the boys want to come and hang out at the house, but sometimes it feels really, really crowded. Our house is more like a cottage and with only 1 living room and 1 couch and a dining table…so when we’re watching TV, we are all on top of each other.

But that’s okay for me, I love that they wanna be there–I just wish they didn’t always wanna be right on top of me… haha. I’m very lucky though. How many teenage boys do you know that come to their mom’s room at 10:00 (her bed time) and make sure they give her a hug and a kiss goodnight? Yeah, I’ve got two amazing kids. I’m pretty proud.

Now to get Ian situated to start college next week. Wow. August 2012 is turning out to be a big month for the Francii.

then and now

Okay, so lately someone has been digging around in my archives reading tons of my past posts. I’m always curious when I see that something I’ve posted is interesting enough to cause curiosity to dig into my past…and so I always follow the links they click to see what they’re reading. And then I usually smile because there are some good (and some not so good) memories stored in my archives. Also, sometimes I’m funny. (I know, this is very surprising…)

Anyway, yesterday I read an post from 2009 where I posted a meme that was going around Facebook. You pick one artist and answer the questions with song titles from that artist…and try not to repeat the song titles….

I thought it would be fun to compare my answers from 2009 to 2012…Let’s see how much things have changed….

Pick your Artist:


Are you a male or female:

2009: Me   
2012: Open Your Eyes

Describe yourself:

2009: Devil   
2012: The Way I Am

How do you feel:
2009:  Lost Along the Way     
2012:  Eyes Wide Open

Describe where you currently live:
2009: Home   
2012: Warm Safe Place

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
2009: Outside   
2012: So Far Away

Your favorite form of transportation:

2009:  Falling
2012:  Just Go

Your best friend is:
2009:  Right Here
2012:  Right Here

You and your best friends are:
2009:  Schizophrenic Conversations
2012:  Schizophrenic Conversations

What’s the weather like:

2009:  Raining Again
2012:  Outside

Favorite time of day:
2009:  Tonight
2012:  Tangled Up In You

If your life were a TV show, what would it be called:

2009:  All I Want
2012:  Homegrown

What is life to you:

2009:  Everything Changes
2012:  Everything Changes

Your fear:

2009:  Suffocate
2012:  Lost Along the Way

What is the best advice you have to give:

2009:  Believe
2012:  Take a Breath

Thought for the Day:
2009:  Nothing Left to Say
2012:  This Is It

How you would like to die:

2009:  The Way I Am
2012:  Comfortably Numb

Your soul’s present condition:
2009:  Raw
2012:  For You

Your motto:

2009:  Fill Me Up
2012: Take It

Hmmmm. Kinda fun. Not much has changed in the friendship realm. I still have the bestest friends on earth. But it seems I’m a much happier and fulfilled than I was in 2009–which, lemme just say: Duh. Also, Staind needs to lighten up a little bit. Damn.

So enjoy digging around in my archives. I love knowing that you find my life so interesting. Sorry you’re having to relive it vicariously through my words. You should have been there when it was happening in real time!

bear with me while I get a little philosophical

Or you could BARE with me and take your clothes off…

A friend of mine posted this link on Facebook yesterday and it really spoke to me. It sums up exactly what I’ve been trying to do for the past few years of my life. I’ve realized lately that I’ve been letting a lot of negative people and actions take over my generally happy disposition and I’m working hard to rectify that.

Happiness is very much a state of mind (unless there is an underlying medical reason involved. And if that is the case, please don’t ignore it, or self-medicate it, or just hope it will pass. Depression and bipolar disorder, etc. are not things you hope will go away. They can affect every part of your life and there is no shame in seeking help. /mothering moment). Anyway, as I was saying, happiness is often a choice. You can choose to dwell on the crap in your life that is weighing you down or you can choose to appreciate the good you have. You can let life happen to you or you can make life happen.

I made a list yesterday, and I’m not kidding myself that everything is perfect, like unicorns farting sparkles, sunshine and butterflies, or Adam Levine naked cooking me dinner…but when I look at the good I have and compare it to the negative, I’m winning.

That’s right, Charlie Sheen. WINNING. (don’t reenact scenes from Platoon with Charlie Sheen)

Here are a few of the list of 15 items from the article that I’ve been really working on.

1. LOVE vs. FEAR. Well, I can tell you for sure that those people who are really happy, FEAR less and LOVE a lot more. They see each moment, each challenge, each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

Of course there are things I’m afraid of in life, but I will tell you, I’m not afraid of being hurt. Sure it sucks, but each painful experience I’ve had, no matter how devastating it was to me at the time, has made me stronger. I try to love with all I have and if that love/friendship is rejected, it will not reflect on me or my lack of giving or trying.

3. FORGIVENESS vs. UNFORGIVENESS. Really happy people know that it’s not healthy to hold on to anger. They choose to FORGIVE and FORGET, understanding that FORGIVENESS is  a gift they give to themselves first and foremost.

I actually forgive more than I should, sometimes. However, it is sometimes hard for me to let go and forget. This is something I’ve been struggling with for years and have started really focusing on truly forgiving and letting go.

4. TRUST vs. DOUBT. They trust themselves and they trust the people around them. No matter if they talk to the cleaning lady or the C.E.O. of a multi billion company, somehow they always seem make the person they are interacting with feel like there is something unique and special about them.

They understand that beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, and because of that, they make sure to treat everybody with love, dignity and respect, making no distinctions between age, sex, social status, color, religion or race. These are the great men that Mark Twain was talking about: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain

I am a very trusting person and I’m proud that I surround myself with people I can trust. The problem is, when my trust is broken, I struggle with the forgive and forget part….

 12. GRATITUDE vs. INGRATITUDE. No no matter where they look, no matter where they are or with who, they have this capacity of seeing beauty where most of us would only see ugliness, opportunities, where most of us would only see struggles, abundance where most of us would only see lack and they express their gratitude for them all.

If everyone focused on being grateful for what they have, we’d all be happier. Hence my list making…and damn, I have no reason to be ungrateful. I’m a very lucky woman.

Okay, sorry for being all serious and stuff. I’m just really tired of negativity and I’m really focusing on fixing my attitude. I can only be responsible for my outlook on life. I know that no matter what happens to me, I’ll be okay. I want to put good out into the world so good will come back to me. It works. Everyone should try it!

Now for some less serious stuff, I posted some fun things on Pinterest yesterday. You know I’m not that active there, but when I am, I always find good stuff! hah!

Also, check out the most pitiful pug known to man. Oh my, Ruby. Why so sad?