Friday, October 31, 2014

Guess who's featured on Maria Shriver today? That would be me!

Today my article is featured on Maria Shriver and I'm very excited! Here it is. Happy Halloween!

Sex: To Have Or Not To Have, When Is Too Soon?

This article by Lizzy Smilez originally appeared on
My friend, “Abby,” recently met a guy online, “Stan.” Abby fell hard and fast for Stan. On their third date, the two of them showed up at a dinner I was attending. They looked really cute together and you could tell right away that there was chemistry between the two of them.
I knew the look on Abby’s face well, having experienced it with a few men myself. It was that “I don’t even know what’s going on around me because the only thing that matters is this guy I’m with” gaze. If there was a fire in the kitchen, I don’t think Abby would have noticed (or cared).
I talked to Abby the next day. “I could fall in love with this guy!” she said. Just the sound of her voice made me laugh. It sounds so trite but just hearing her talk was exciting. But, on the other hand, I wanted to caution her– this could very easily end up not going so well. The problem is, who wants to be cautious when it’s so dang fun to just enjoy falling head over heels?
Two days later, Abby joined me for my morning coffee run. “Have you slept with him?” I asked.
“Yes! Last night it was two hours of solid love making. This is what amazing sex is like!” she said. She was literally glowing, cheeks pink… Abby never had good sex with her ex-husband and he was the only man she’d ever slept with until her divorce was final. She was discovering her body, orgasms, an emotional connection… all of it.
She went on and on, talking about her new love. Stan (according to him) never had good sex with his ex-wife either. Abby was his second sexual partner. There were no girlfriends since his divorce. He was honest, shy, innocent and kind. He was perfect for her and Abby had high hopes for their future.
That pure excitement and happiness was short-lived. All day, silence from Stan–not a single text or phone call. By Tuesday afternoon, she broke down and texted him. He apologized for the silence, he was just really busy at work. She baked some dinner for her mom and had left-overs and she invited Stan to meet up with her and pick up a plate, which he did. Wednesday came and went. Silence. By Thursday, Abby was confused. She was angry with herself for sleeping with Stan so quickly, upset with his disappearing act, and tired of obsessing about it.
She went online and looked up Stan’s profile again and there he was, “online now.” It felt like a kick to her gut. Was Stan honest with anything he told her? Was he coming across as a simple, honest and shy guy when, in reality, he was a serial dater? Maybe. She didn’t know him well at all (it had just been a week, after all), so who knew? She knew his body but she didn’t know his intentions. Heck, she didn’t know how to communicate with him either. Now what?
First, Abby blocked Stan’s profile. Next, she called Stan and ended their semi-dating relationship. Stan seemed surprised. He said that he didn’t know he was supposed to be calling her every day, and apologized. What was the rush in defining their relationship? He thought they were having fun? Abby said she certainly deserved more than silence. If Stan was really into her, he would naturally want to talk or text her every day. Was that too much to ask? Maybe, but without having that conversation prior, who knows? Certainly they were on two different planets and Abby wasn’t up for the “relationship” on Stan’s terms. If they had kept it casual, if they hadn’t already had sex, then most likely, a casual and slow dating pace would have been perfectly fine. But after sex? It wasn’t ok at all.

Divorced Moms: The Chore List: Teaching My Daughters To Pitch In

My latest on Divorced Moms. And it's all about my sweet daughters.

The Chore List: Teaching My Daughters To Pitch In
by Lizzy Smith         
October 31, 2014
Share on Tumblr
Last week, my daughter called me in a panic. She had a soccer game and her uniform was dirty.

"Put it in the washer," I said.

"I don't know how!" she was nearly in tears.

Lovely, at age 14, she literally didn't know how to use the washer or dryer.

My fabulous daughters, God bless 'em, have almost no concept on what it means to run a home. They believe that clean clothes magically appear in their closet and drawers, food simply grows in the refrigerator, and that angels come in the middle of the night to clean the house. And, quite frankly, I am sick of it. But, really, whose fault is that? Mine. I haven't taught them, nor have I expected them to do anything. And certainly, there were no consequences if they didn't do a thing. So I went on an official quest to teach them some valuable lessons about chores and pitching in.

The reality is that giving my daughters chores is far more work that it was worth. When I asked them to do anything, they complained and argued and made a mess that I had to clean up anyway. My younger daughter actually loves to help but she is super klutzy, so I have been afraid to let her do much of anything. It was time that I got over it and simply allowed mistakes to happen. After all, they'll get better and more proficient at their chores if I simply back off and allow them to do it and hold them accountable. And some day, it will save me loads of time if I get help around the house. After all, doing it all myself is exhausting (not to mention, thankless).

So I made a handy list of things they can (and should) do around the house and divided it up between the two of them. I put their assignments on the refrigerator door and if they don't have a good week of doing their chores, they don't get their allowance.

Keep reading...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Divorced Moms: How To Kill A Promising Relationship In 5 Easy Steps

Yesterday I hit up Bikram yoga. It was my first time back since last spring when it was still cold outside. Dang I've missed it. I felt so amazing, calm and healthy. For every drop of sweat that ran down my face, I envisioned the stress simply melting away. All my worries and annoyances exiting my body and soul. The Brick Canvas where Bikram yoga takes place is one of the most healing places I've ever been. William asked me yesterday where was my happy place? It didn't take me long to answer. And then I knew... I needed to get my butt to yoga. And so I did. I am so happy to be back.

As I write this, I am doing so while at a surgery center. William is getting his shoulder operated on. Since I have several hours to kill, what better place to write than right here-- in the waiting room with a TV blaring in my ear? Hey, it's cold outside and I stopped by Starbucks so no complaints. And writing is one of my favorite things to do anyway. Enjoy my latest on Divorced Moms. My stories are all real. Gotta love the dating trenches!

How To Kill A Promising Relationship In 5 Easy Steps
by Lizzy Smith                     
October 28, 2014
Share on Tumblr
Having been in the dating trenches for a few years now, I've experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly out there. Along the way, I've met some great guys who have become my friends. Add to that, since splitting with my husband, I re-established the male friendships I had pre-marriage. All together, I've ended up with a pretty decent plethora of males with whom I can bounce ideas off of when it comes to dating, relationships, and women. So the question of the day for my Male Dating Panel: How to kill a promising relationship?

I gave my "panel" this scenario: You've met a girl online and you've already had that first meet-up for coffee. She's attractive and seems to be fun. You asked her out again and now you've dated a few times. You like her and she obviously likes you (a lot). How can she ruin it? Here goes...

1. She is already too needy
"Ken" tells me of a woman he met for coffee. A few days later, they went out to dinner. After that, she started texting and calling him endlessly. When Ken didn't respond within an hour, she texted or called again asking him if he was mad at her or if there was something wrong. A few days of that and Ken stopped calling or texting her back. "I can't imagine being in a relationship with her. She was already annoying and we weren't even dating," Ken added.

Lesson: Texting or calling once is a nice gesture. Now sit back and wait for him to respond. If he doesn't, it'll tell you everything you need to know about his level of interest in you. If you keep reaching out to him despite his silence, you'll just become Annoying Woman. And it certainly won't make him want you more anyway.

Keep reading...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

From Divorced Moms: 20 Stress Busters To Boost Your Immune System (And Your Soul)

I almost forgot to post this one! From Divorced Moms...

20 Stress Busters To Boost Your Immune System (And Your Soul)
by Lizzy Smith                    
October 21, 2014
Share on Tumblr


Stress causes inflammation, which causes your immune system to weaken, which leaves us prone to all kinds of viruses and illness. Here are some tips on how to live a calmer, happier, and healthier life.

1. Exercise
Do not be a couch potato. Especially when we’re fatigued, stressed out and pushed to the brink of insanity, or simply aren’t feeling well, this can be a tough one. Nonetheless, to the extent possible get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. If the weather is decent, get outside. Fresh air and vitamin D is great for the body and soul. Anything you love, go for it! Even walking around Costco will count in a pinch. The important thing is to move around. Exercise releases endorphins, elevates your mood, strengthens your heart, and makes you stronger. These are all fabulous reasons to move, move, and move some more.

2. Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is essential for health. It’s when your body repairs itself. And it’s also when we emotionally repair and rejuvenate, too. Lack of sleep causes tremendous emotional and physical stress. Take naps when possible and when needed. Listen to your body. You may need six hours or ten hours. Whatever you require, get it.

3. Take Time For You
Do something you love that calms and centers you (and don’t feel guilt for doing it). This can be reading a book, taking a “stay-cation” (vacation in your own city) solo or with a close friend. Take a hot bath or go for a horseback ride or movie. Be selfish, it’s ok. After all, it’s hard to properly care for others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves first.

Keep reading...

Divorced Moms: 5 Tips For Surviving The Excruciatingly Painful Brazilian Wax

My latest on Divorced Moms. Enjoy!

5 Tips For Surviving The Excruciatingly Painful Brazilian Wax
by Lizzy Smith                     
October 24, 2014
Share on Tumblr
One of a girl's biggest dilemmas is to wax or not to wax? Like Brazilian wax. Going bald in our sweet spot that goes well beyond the bikini line. For most of my adult life, I simply shaved my bikini line and then some, so I had a small patch of hair. Was that sexy? I never really thought about it, to be honest.

And then I got cancer, had lots of chemo, and lost all the hair on my body (minus a little arm hair). For about 15 months, I wore wigs everywhere I went because I could not handle anyone thinking that I might be sick. Even at home, I wore a pink beany cap and if anyone came over or I stepped outside for even a second, the wig went on. I lost my eyelashes for several months and wore falsies (they suck, if you ask me; they are heavy and it took me loads of time to get them on just right). I had no eyebrows either for a time and drew them on with a pencil. It was summertime and let me tell you how paranoid I was that my draw-ins would melt off. I carried a little mirror and that eyebrow pencil with me everywhere I went and touched up endlessly. I lost the hair on my legs (whoohoo!) and all my pubic hair (which I loved).

Keep reading...

I'm Happy. (?)

A few nights ago, William and I finally went to see The Hundred Foot Journey, a story of two amazing but totally different restaurants in a small town in France-- one a Michelin One Star restaurant on a quest for the second star; the other an Indian restaurant. It was fantastic. If you haven't seen it, GO! It was beautiful, fabulously acted, and I afterwards I desperately wanted to go back to France, and find a restaurant asap that served up great curry. It was about finding peace and joy, discovering passion-- your own passion, not someone else's, and knowing your priorities.

It hit me-- I've done all those things. I am happy. I have amazing family and friends that I love endlessly. I know that those in my inner circle and my true friends who I can count on for anything. I trust them with my life and I love them beyond measure. I have two daughters that I love so much that it hurts. I have found my passion-- writing about things that matter (surviving an alcoholic home, cancer, health, divorce and parenting), traveling, experiencing life, constantly having personal growth, and focusing on my health (emotional, physical, and spiritual). Years ago, someone asked me what I would do for a living if making money wasn't important. I wasn't sure. Open a cupcake shop? a doggy daycare center? Nothing? I know now-- write, travel, experience, obsess about health. And I'm doing that now.

For the first time in my life, my priorities are absolutely in the right order. It's all in place. Self, health, family, friends, love, doing things that matter, experiencing all that I can, traveling, discovering, and, well, I am being repetitive here... loving. Oh yes, and being grateful-- grateful for every single day I'm here on earth, alive, breathing and listening and learning.

Which is not to say that all is perfect. I hate that I have myeloma. I hate that I have fatigue. I hate that I am maybe 80-90% of my former physical self and that percent may never increase. This may be as good as it gets. I hate that I'm so dang busy all the time and I can't be more efficient or faster or better because I can't physically or mentally do it. I'm slower and I can't work to improve that. I hate that my body has changed thanks to medications and age. I hate that there isn't a cure for cancer. I hate that I haven't hit the lottery.

All that aside, I'm so blessed and lucky. I am surrounded by love and support. And as I head quickly to my 47th birthday and Thanksgiving, this is my sappy thought of the day.

While up at the top of the mountain in Palm Springs this past weekend, we hiked a bit. And then we stopped, listened, watched, and smelled. It was beautiful. This is how I know God lives-- each time I see his awesome creations, I just know He's there. There was a woodpecker. And a squirrel. The air smelled of pines. It was beautiful. Several weeks ago, I went with Katherine and the kids up the canyon and we walked a beautiful trail. And then a tree fell. Naturally. Out of nowhere. It made a huge crack, then a whoosh, as a tree fell not too far from us. I never had that happen to me before. It was amazing. We laughed and we were all stunned. And we realized how cool it was. These days, I notice these things. In my awful life when married, I noticed nothing of the sort. I was too busy surviving, working, surviving, and grieving. Walking on eggshells. Too busy with my utter disgust with my drunk husband and myself for sticking with him, to notice or appreciate anything. Life wasn't pretty, peaceful, or meaningful. Today, it is. What a stark, vivid contrast. Did cancer make this all happen. I cringe to say that, yes, it did. Enough for now, it's late and I'm tired.

Now go see that movie! Plan a trip to France. Go eat amazingly delicious food. Make your Bucket List and get busy crossing those things off. And hug the people you love.

Goodnight my readers,


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My new life's motto: Why not?

So we just got back from five days in Long Beach. We did the older girls' retreat in Palm Springs. That meant that just me, my BFF from college days, Julie, and our two oldest daughters, Morgan and Devynn (both 14 years old), went to Palm Springs for the weekend. The younger girls stayed with Julie's husband, Shane.

We rode the tram and hiked up at the top. Even though I've been to Palm Springs more times than I can count, this was the first time I've gone up the tram. In PS, it was, like, 95 degrees. A 10-minute ride up the mountain, and it was cold and a forest. I loved it. We had a great weekend and flew home yesterday. Why did it take me so long to do something new? I have no idea.

Which brings me back to my story for today: Why not? That's my life's motto. Life is about creating memories and doing new things. So if I have an opportunity to do anything that sounds even remotely interesting, I say, Why not?

William asked me to go to Kansas City. I had never been to Kansas City before. Why not? No good reason not to. So I went.

I just scheduled a boudoir photo shoot. Talk about BRAVE! I've never done a photo shoot like this. Why not? I'm doing it!

In a few days, William and I are celebrating our two year anniversary (minus a two month break in between). We are going hang gliding. I've never done this before so... why not?

I'll be sharing all those experiences with you, I promise. Will I be brave enough to share a photo of my boudoir shoot? Hmmm... not so sure. But maybe. Why not?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

From Sleepwalking on Ambien (oh my!)

My article via on my latest Ambien experience. You can visit the article on the site by clicking here. To quote Wise William, "I can't believe they still sell that drug." To quote my nurse at Huntsman Cancer Institute today, "Some tolerate it well. Others do crazy and dangerous stuff on it." True that. I think I might just fall into the latter category. Which is why I'm done with it. I'm frightened, and that's no lie.

Sleepwalking On Ambien – Oh My!

Sleepwalking On Ambien – Oh My!


Last summer, I went night shopping while on Ambien. I didn’t know I did it until the next morning when I checked my email and I had several order confirmations. I bought bra balls (don’t even ask), a facial machine that promised to erase wrinkles, a pair of white and black diamond earrings, and a few tops. So in my conscious state, I was in the market for none of those things. Perhaps somewhere deep inside, I really “needed” them (right). I was stunned and I decided that I could never take Ambien and have my phone or laptop near me because I did things (like spend money) that I didn’t want to do and didn’t remember doing. I am so grateful I didn’t buy a big trip on that spree, because that was one thing I was really researching and preparing to do. Problem solved by simply hiding electronics at night, right?


This morning, I woke up and noticed that the TV in the living room was on, the kitchen included a plate with four pizza bagels that looked like someone ran their fingers through but didn’t eat any, the left-over salad bowl from dinner, a cup with punch, the silverware drawer wide open, and lights on in the kitchen. Impossible! I went to bed with a spotless kitchen. Like not a fork out of place. I left the microwave light on and went to bed. I popped an Ambien and fell asleep. (Truth is, I hate taking sleep aids but when I’m on Dex, I really don’t have a choice if I want to get any shut-eye at all.)
I asked my daughters if either of them got up in the middle of the night. They looked at me like I was crazy after denying it. And I believed them. They wouldn’t opt for salad or turn on the big TV anyway.

So that left two choices: 1) My house is haunted and a ghost was there; or 2) It was me and I didn’t remember it at all. Unfortunately, it was me. It had to be me. There is no other option. And this really isn’t funny. What else am I doing that I don’t know about? I hear about people driving and going to Walmart in the middle of the night and not remembering it. Or worse. I know a guy who “came to” at the police station after getting a DUI because of Ambien. He didn’t remember getting in his car. Dangerous! I really don’t think I’ve been driving. But am I eating? I’m not gaining extra weight but maybe I am. But what else am I doing?

I went to clinic today (I’m on a two year maintenance plan so I’m there once a week) and talked to them. They switched me to Sonata. Apparently this doesn’t have as long as a sleep effect. It makes you fall asleep faster but burns out faster, which means that probably I won’t be shopping, eating, or … ? At least I hope! And I’m also going to try just simply taking Melatonin (five mg) per night and getting off sleep aids altogether unless it’s an emergency and I’m really desperate. I’ll keep you posted.

So lesson here is: Be very careful when taking sleep aids.

Want to know what life is like when you live with an addict? Here it is, described in it's terrible glory

My latest on Divorced Moms. Enjoy! Well, actually there's nothing enjoyable about living this kind of life. But at least maybe you'll learn something. And maybe if you're living with an addict, this might serve as Step 1 in escaping. Because it is a really sucky life, trust me.

Ever Wonder What Life With An Addict Looks Like? Keep Reading!
October 16, 2014
Share on Tumblr
When you're married to (or dating) anyone with an addiction, life is hell. There are no exceptions. Is it worth it? No. It's a terrible existence for you, the children, and anyone else in the vicinity.

Addictions come in different forms. There's the alcoholic (I lived with a functioning alcoholic that could hold a job but my hell was just as bad as the next person's), druggy, prescription pill popper, porn addict, gambler who'll hand over the title to your home, shopping addict, sex addict... I could go on, but you get the picture.

If you're living with an addict, here's what you can expect.

He'll lie to you
He is a pathological liar. Everything he does is to cover his addiction. That'll mean lying to you about what money he spends and on what, where he's at, what he's doing, what time he left work, and if he walked the dogs. Big lies and little lies. You cannot trust him because he is simply incapable of earning your trust.

In order to live with this man, you need to set your expectations extremely low and not be surprised or angry when you catch him in one bold faced lie after the next. Can you do this? Doubtful. Unless you give up, have zero self esteem, and are so thoroughly beaten down that there is no dignity left in you. Sound good? Of course not. It's horrid.

His needs will always come before yours (or anyone else's)
He may be capable of doing nice things for you. Sometimes. Usually out of guilt and because he knows you're at the end of your rope. But as things simmer down, he'll be back to being the utterly selfish guy you know. You will do the majority of the work, cover up for his disasters, make excuses for him to others, and do everything possible to try and make him "happy" so he'll have an incentive to get better and be better. It's an exercise in futility, though. There is nothing you can do to make him an improved guy. It's exhausting and frustrating.

In order to survive this guy, you'll need to take all the things you love and put them on the back burner. You'll forget who you are because you are now the person who covers for your mate. Sounds fabulous, right? Wrong.

Keep reading...

Another scary Ambien story and traveling

So this morning I woke up and the TV in the living room was on, so were the lights. The silverware drawer was wide open, there were dishes on the countertop and a plate with four bagel bites that looked like someone had stuck their fingers into then decided not to eat them at all. I was totally baffled. The girls woke up to get ready for school and I asked them if either had woken up in the middle of the night to eat bagel bites. They looked at me like I was nuts. No, of course not. And, really, I don't see either one of them turning on the TV and having a food fest alone anyway. So there were two options left: 1) ghosts in the house; 2) it was me. I am convinced it was me, which is really disturbing. I don't even like bagel bites. I hate them actually. I only bought them for my daughters because about a month ago, I went to Kansas City for four days and wanted to leave easy snacks for my children while I was gone. And this had to be an Ambien sleep thing. I have no recollection of it at all. What else am I doing in the middle of the night that I don't remember? Oh my gosh. I once went shopping on Ambien. I woke up the next morning only to check my email inbox to discover that I spent some $400 on stuff I don't remember. But am I eating or... I can't even fathom what else. I talked to my nurses today and they will give me another sleep aid without the same side effects. I hate that I even take sleep aids but you try taking Dex and sleeping. It isn't possible!

Did I ever mention how much I love to travel and go places? Life is about experiencing new things and seeing as much as possible, whether it be in your backyard or a continent away. To that end, I went to Kansas City last month. It was a last minute thing and I had company (William). Kansas City is beautiful. Granted, we stayed in a very tony part of the city. But the downtown park, the mansions, restaurants and shopping were superb. I absolutely loved it. I ate way too much, that part was not good. But the rest? I thought Missouri and Kansas were simply fly-over states. If I had not gone to Kansas City, I'd still be thinking that and what a shame that would be.

On Thursday, my daughters and I are flying to Long Beach for a few days.

And in early December, I'm heading to San Francisco for the American Society of Hematologist's convention (ASH). I was admitted as a reporter and I'm so excited to go. It's a huge conference and I will learn a lot and be writing it, blogging it, and Tweeting like crazy. Three years ago, I went to this same convention but as an employee of a major company that had a large presence at the convention. And this time around, I am going as a patient and advocate. Weird how that works. I haven't been to San Francisco in eight years. William is coming with me and we are heading out a day early, staying with my college roomie Jen so we can visit, then checking into the hotel downtown the following day. It'll be a very busy but hopefully fun and rewarding five days.

We just booked a trip for Spring Break. It's a cruise to Honduras and Belize. Just weeks prior, I'll be in Fernandina Beach, Florida for the Myeloma Beach Party. And I am hoping that next summer I can somehow figure out how to live in Croatia. I really want to rent an apartment there for a month or three. Sigh-- a pipe dream? Perhaps, but I can wish and hope and dream some more, right?

And that's my Wednesday post. Cheers!

Monday, October 13, 2014

And this is how he lives without a wife

When I was married to Rob the Great (Alcoholic), I did 95% of the household work. That meant managing the bills, keeping the house clean, laundry, walking/feeding dogs and taking them to the vet, shuttling kids around and helping with homework, managing the vacation house that we rented out in Big Bear-- pretty much all of it. Rob, after all, had diving and drinking. Oh, yes, he also had a "Really Important Job" at the local utility company. Which, truth be told, no one works that hard there except the linemen. Rob left work early every day, didn't work hardly at all on Friday (actually, he "worked" from home - wink wink, which really meant working from the BrewCo, the local bar where he slammed back beer and vodka). And, honestly, most of the people who work at the utility company don't really work. It's like being an employee at the DMV. Rob fit right in.

So when I asked for, or demanded help, I usually got whining, drunken screaming fits, and excuses. "You do everything too fast! If you'd just leave it alone, I'd do it!" he'd scream in the famous Rob soprano pitch. Seriously, I wish I had recorded his screaming because you would be horrified and laughing. It's utterly ridiculous.

Anyhoo.... flash forward to my leaving Rob in the wake of my cancer diagnosis and moving to Utah. After being threatened that if I didn't get all my stuff out of the house, he would leave it in the front yard, I decided it was time to head back to San Diego and move my things out. When to do it was not an easy decision. I was in the midst of a stem cell transplant so I consulted with my doctor. Rob was going on vacation to Costa Rica. There was my timing. There was no way I was going to be in Rob's presence, moving my things out of the home while he hovered, screamed, full of bravado. I had my limits and Rob had surpassed his limit with me about four months into our relationship. I talked to my attorney. I could legally go into the home and remove all my belongings without Rob being there. I was, after all, still on the lease and was paying half the rent. I consulted with my doctor. That was a good time for me to travel. While I was still really super weak, driving to San Diego instead of flying was ok. I hired professional movers and off we went.

I rented a car and my dad and I drove. We stopped overnight in St George and stayed with my aunt Saundra. She kept staring at my funny. I wore the worse wig that I owned and had tape-on eyebrows. I looked like Groucho Marx. I also had no eyelashes which I tempted to disguise by drawing heavy thick eyeliner around my eyes. I looked freakish.

We arrived in San Diego late afternoon. The movers were arriving the following day. I forgot my key so I went next door to Crissy. She helped me get in. She told me that Rob left the sliding glass door to the master bedroom open. She also told me that she was caring for the dogs in Rob's absence but he left no dog food and no money and she didn't have money either. Wow, big shocker that Rob would do something like this (I say with dripping sarcasm). I went to the store and bought an enormous bag of dog food. It's hard to do things like buying dog food when there's the new girlfriend to fuck and beer to be had. Lots and lots of beer. Oh, yes, and screaming at me that I am too lazy and I want his money and I should get the fuck back to work instead of trying to get all his money. Except the guy has no money, but I digress.

I walked into the house for the first time and nearly gagged. It smelled so horribly. I looked at my dad and he had his t-shirt over his nose and mouth. What was that horrible smell? I looked and there it was-- mounds and mounds of trash in the kitchen that he couldn't be bothered to take out before leaving on vacation. And in the cupboard were rotting potatoes that I had purchased in early December, some six months prior. Holy hell, how could anyone, even a drunk, not smell this and try to get rid of it? How could even un-sober and dirty Rob be able to live like this?

The sheets smelled so bad- of terrible Rob B.O. and beer.

Rat feces throughout the garage

The movers found nine dead rats that were easily found in the garage. No doubt there were many more.

Mold and clumps of filth on the floor of the shower.

The dogs were horribly neglected.

The house was disgustingly filthy. The shower had mold and chunks of something all over the floor. The sheets on the bed were filthy and reeked of body odor and old alcohol. There were Diet Rootbeer cans all over the pool deck and all over the house. There was ample vodka in the freezer. Clearly he was drinking Diet Rootbeer and Vodka liberally. The floors were a mess. The kitchen filthy. I wanted to start sobbing when I saw the dogs-- they needed vet care. They had horrific fleas and they looked so sad. And the kicker was this-- dead rats throughout the garage in various stages of decay. And rat feces all over the shelves that housed canned food and serving pieces. It was so unsanitary, stinky, filthy and disturbing.

So this is how Rob the Great (Alcoholic) lives without me. If I had waited for him to do anything around the house, the truth was that none of it would have gotten done. Not a thing. Because when there's a choice between drinking and doing anything else, drinking wins the day Every.Single.Time. And anyone who dares try to get in the way of a drinking fest is to be ridiculed, screamed at, resented, and punished. Just like a child. Because most alcoholics have the maturity level of a small child. Stunted development. No coping skills beyond alcohol. How Rob has managed to keep his job is a good question. The only place he could get away with his work ethic and skills is at a utility company, the DMV, or the Post Office. And that's the honest truth.

Which brings me to my Divorced Moms post of today, which is right here. The sadness and desperation of my life when living with that man. My desire to walk away from that life, which I eventually did. Life with an alcoholic is universally a horrible experience.

Hopping Off The Treadmill. Rebuilding Life From The Ground Up
by Lizzy Smith                    
October 12, 2014
Share on Tumblr
Back when I was married, I was on my way to work, sitting in horrific traffic. I called my mom and had plenty of time to lament about my life.
“I am on a treadmill and I amazing on it. I can go really super fast and while I’m running, I can multi task! I can run holding onto the handles or with my hands in the air. I can talk on the phone or text. I can rattle off to do lists and add more things onto my list. I can read or watch movies. And I get off the treadmill and get some shut-eye and the next day I do it all over again. And today I realize that while I’m a superstar on the treadmill, I’ve actually made no progress.”
And there I had it. Explained as succinctly as I knew how, in all its sordid, boring and tedious glory. I was totally unhappy. I was working like a sled dog and yet I had nothing to show for it. My morning started with waking up early, walking and feeding the dogs, then getting in the shower and getting ready for work. Then waking up the girls and feeding them breakfast and getting them gathered up for school and dropping them off. And then it was my turn to start battling traffic to work—45 minutes of it. That’s when I made phone calls, usually to my mom. Then I got to work and stared at a computer screen all day, feeling more and more like a blob. Windowless, airless, soulless. I made a great income, I had a job that many college graduates dreamt of landing, I was good at what I did. And I hated it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Divorced Moms: Learning to love my body just the way it is

From Divorced Moms.

Learning To Love My Body Just The Way It Is
by Lizzy Smith                    
October 09, 2014
Share on Tumblr
11a1.jpgMy 14 year old daughter, Morgan, is done growing. I took her to the pediatrician and we did a bone scan so I make this statement with authority. She is 4 feet 11 inches tall. A mini. And she is gorgeous. Not only is she physically beautiful, but she is wise, funny, kind and thoughtful, too. She's also wiser than I am much of the time and I really look up to her (ok, since I'm 5 feet 8 inches tall, I literally look down on her but I look up to her wisdom, if you follow me).

For the past year or so, Morgan lamented over her height. She so badly wanted to be five feet tall at least. We even did a little research on taking growth hormones. The risks, we determined, weren't worth it. Plus once we went to the pediatrician and did the bone scan, it was too late anyway. The bones had fused and forevermore, she was going to be whatever height she was meant to be. No tweaking what nature intended.

Morgan was born in Russia. Her birth weight was under five pounds and she went full term. Her birth mother relinquished custody right there in the hospital. For the next year, Morgan spent most of her time in a hospital fighting off pneumonia and whooping cough. So, really, she didn't have a lot of opportunity to catch up on weight. When she was placed in the orphanage, I am told that she wasn't a big eater and was overwhelmed by her surroundings, especially during meal and snack time. She quickly developed a habit of putting food in her mouth and simply sucking on it for as long as it would hold up. When I met Morgan and adopted her, she was 26 months old and weighed 19-1/2 pounds. She was so cute and, well, tiny. And today, she is still cute and tiny.

Morgan gets teased a lot about her size. But as far as I can tell, it is all in gest-- no bullying. She is called Tiny, Mini, and Munchkin by her friends. Yesterday, she read to me a post she sent on via Instagram: I am tiny and I love it. I breathe less oxygen, my Uggs cost less, and I can wear any heals I want without being taller than a guy. I love my size! The response was overwhelming. Her friends loved her post! One cute boy said, "What, you're small? I never noticed. hahaha."

Keep reading...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

From Divorced Moms: 10 Ways Divorced Moms Can Beat The Winter Blues

From Divorced Moms. Enjoy!

10 Ways Divorced Moms Can Beat The Winter Blues
by Lizzy Smith                     
October 06, 2014
Share on Tumblr
I don’t know about you, but my moods tend to follow the weather outdoors. And when it gets really cold and I don’t spend much time getting fresh air and natural vitamin D, I can easily get cranky. Here are ways to get out of that bad weather funk and get a healthy pick-me-up when you need it most.

Get Proper Sleep
Aim for at least eight hours of sleep a night. Naps may also be in order. Sleep deprivation not only leaves us feeling moody, but it also weakens our immune systems, leaving us more prone to getting sick. On the flip side, make sure you’re not getting too much sleep or are having a hard time getting out of bed. If this sounds like you, keep reading below for more tips. Or if you struggle with depression, it may be time to see your doctor or therapist.

You don’t need to train for a marathon, but getting 30-minutes of exercise a day is optimal. Especially when we aren’t feeling that great, it’s tempting to become a couch potato. Do you best, though, to commit to getting up and moving around. Personally, I love power walks, hikes, and yoga.

Revamp Your Wardrobe
Within budget, consider adding a few fun pieces to your wardrobe that are outside your norm. For me, it’s all about the boots, coat and scarf. I can live happily in comfy skinny jeans and a high quality colorful T-shirt. But if I’m going to feel fashionable, I really want to be wearing great boots, a fun trench or warm coat, and a colorful scarf. There are great deals out there. A few weeks ago, I purchased a leopard print trench coat for under $75, a pair of over the knee black boots with a bit of heel for $100, and several colorful scarves under $15 each. Now if only the heat would go away so I rip off the tags and go out in public in them!

Keep reading...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mommy's MAMBO FOR MYELOMA by Siena

Siena did the Mambo For Myeloma Dance Challenge. We posted it on Youtube and I wrote about it. Your turn! Keep it going, post, and let's raise awareness of the second most common blood cancer. My article via

I Did It! Mambo For Myeloma Dance Challenge. Now It's Your Turn.

by Lizzy Smith

It’s been several week since I’ve learned of the Mambo for Myeloma Dance Challenge. It’s a concept similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS, but this one involves a dance or fun routine for multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer. As a myeloma survivor and advocate, I knew that I had to participate. What took me so long? Well, I’ve been busy and … Truth is, doing the Mambo for Myeloma takes almost no time, is fun, and it’s important!

So two nights ago, I did it! I filmed my nine year old daughter, Siena, doing the Mambo for Myeloma. She is a total ham and loves this kind of stuff. Here’s how we did it.
  1. I asked Siena to make a sign. It took her a few minutes and she had fun with it.
  2. I picked a song. I chose Destiny Child’s Survivor and asked my Dad to play it on his fabulous speaker.
  3. I snapped a photo of Siena with my phone holding up her sign so I’d have a visual to share.
  4. I played the song and told Siena to start dancing while I filmed (you can do this with your phone, to make this extra easy). She could have gone on forever but I cut her off after a few seconds. As you will see, I’m no expert videographer and Siena and I didn’t spend a whole lot of time practicing. That’s the point—the Mambo for Myeloma challenge should be simple and fun. It doesn’t even need to be a dance—it can be a hoola, or trampoline silliness or a run, or… a song, jig… whatever. A sign is necessary so the viewer knows what the heck you are doing, but everything else is up to you. Grab a soccer team, your tennis buddy, the book club… whomever, and film, share, and enjoy.
  5. I went to my Youtube channel and uploaded my video. If you don’t have Youtube, signing up for an account is beyond simple. All you need to do is go to and sign up. Make sure you have an email address first, that’s all you need. It’s FREE and extremely simple—even my technologically-challenged 73 year old mom did it on the first try! Once you sign up, there’s a big prominent button that says “upload video.” Click on it and follow the instructions. When it asks for a description, somewhere in there make sure you add the words “Mambo for Myeloma.” Then publish and share! You can copy that link on your Facebook page, email it to your friends and family, or blog it. If you ask me, Facebook is the best place for it. And please post a link to the Facebook page called Mambo for Myeloma Dance Challenge Starts Here!, that way we can all marvel at your new video.
After you’ve done your dance challenge and made it public, keep it going by asking your friends, family, co-workers, church group, or other, to do the same. Keep it going all year long. Help us raise awareness for multiple myeloma.

Here are a few Mambo for Myeloma Dances to get your creative juices flowing.

Keep reading...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Divorced Moms: Ladies, the ex is not (usually) your enemy

My latest on Divorced Moms. Enjoy! And Happy Friday.

Ladies: The Ex Is Not (Usually) Your Enemy
by Lizzy Smith                    
October 03, 2014
Share on Tumblr
Some lessons are learned the (very) hard way. Such is the story of my (now ex) husband, his ex-wife, and me.

When I first met Rob, he told me about his horrible ex-wife, “Tina.” She was crazy, jealous that he met me, didn’t want to work (though she did work fulltime), wanted all his money, was using the children just to get more child support, was a screamer and, well, I could go on and on. I felt so sorry for him and after we got married, I grew to really dislike Tina. After all, I believed everything Rob said about her and those first (strong) initial impressions took a long time to slowly wither away and die, but I digress.

Once Rob and I married, Tina became my mortal enemy. When Rob’s explosive personality began to appear (he hid this side of him completely when we were dating), he blamed it squarely on Tina. She taught him those communication skills. If it wasn’t for Tina, he would manage conflict better (sure, no doubt! I cannot believe I accepted that line of bullshit). When I discovered his alcoholism, Rob blamed that, too, on her. Tina was his trigger (always had been). If only he had never been married that horrible woman, I thought, Rob never had turned to alcohol to cope. Every time Rob and Tina went back to court, it was all her fault, she just wanted money and to punish him for moving on. Everything bad in our marriage was because of Tina, Tina, Tina.

A few years into our marriage, I had an epiphany: maybe everything Rob said about Tina was a lie. Or, maybe, just maybe, there was another side to this story. Maybe all this “it’s Tina’s fault” wasn’t exactly true. Instead of hating Tina, maybe I should feel sorry for her. Hmmm…

Keep reading...

My first cooking demo on Youtube! Immune compromised? Eating fresh fruits and veggies is an option!

Siena and I had so much fun working on my first cooking demo for! One of the hardest things about having no immune system when going through chemo is that everything eaten must be super safe and ultra processed. After a day or so of eating frozen burritos and canned soups, I was seriously going crazy. True, some people are so sick that eating anything isn't possible. But there are many who can eat and want to eat healthy food. What to do? Cooking the heck out of fresh fruits and veggies and enjoy! Of course, always speak with your doctor before doing this.

So while my video is kind of long, the really entertaining part is watching and listening to Siena. She makes me laugh every single day. So here goes - enjoy! And if you're feeling hungry, try this recipe. It really is "that" delicious.

Neutropenic and wanting to eat fruits & veggies? There is hope!


One of the hardest parts of being neutropenic is eating choices. Nausea, diarrhea, constipation and food aversions aside, simply eating healthy is a challenge. Typically, fresh fruits and veggies are not an option because of the potential for contracting food-born illnesses. Or are they? Actually, if you cook the heck out of them, they can be! Make sure that if you opt for fresh produce, you thoroughly cook, boil, steam, bake, or sauté them. And, when in doubt, cook them even more. Here is one recipe we love.

(As always, talk to your doctor before proceeding.)
Veggie, Shrimp & Chicken Sausage Pasta
-Chicken Sausage, pre-cooked
-Shrimp, fresh or frozen
-1 package of pasta (your choice)
-Extra virgin olive oil (for coating pan)
-Sea salt (for flavoring)
-Artichoke hearts in oil or canned (optional)
-Olives (optional, type of olives your choice– suggestions black or kalamata)
-Peppers (green, yellow, red, orange)
-Yellow onion
-Several garlic cloves
-Fresh mozzarella cheese
-1 bottle of pasta sauce

Boil water in large stockpot. When water comes to a full boil, salt the water and place the pasta in the pot until it is thoroughly cooked. Drain.

Cut up all vegetables, garlic and onion. Heat sauté pan and generously coat with olive oil. Add onions until they start to brown. Add the other vegetables except the spinach. Add the entire contents of the pasta sauce, artichokes, and olives. Turn stovetop to medium and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly. Add the spinach and allow to simmer an additional 10 minutes until thoroughly cooked. Add mozzarella cheese.  Serve over pasta.

To visit the full article, click here.