Carol Marine

Never-before-seen Carol and Jen videos!

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These videos were filmed in Carol and David's backyard, before the fire, along with almost 1,700 homes and over 34,000 acres. Sadly, none of those trees are alive anymore... Sorry for the lousy quality. The originals were lost somehow over the years.

I've had these three videos of Carol and I hanging around in a tech vault somewhere and completely forgot about them! They're Part 2 of the following topics:

  • The most common problems between divorced moms and stepmoms
  • What to do if "the other woman" doesn't want to get along
  • The benefits of working together

Our thinking has evolved a bit since then, in that we're much more aware of how some women really shouldn't keep trying to make it work -- and should just focus instead of creating healthy boundaries between houses and focusing on their own happiness and that of their family. 

We hope you'll find them helpful. Here's Part 1 of 6 videos:

You can find the rest HERE. 

Enjoy! We'd love to hear what you think!

© Jennifer Newcomb Marine   All Rights Reserved

Carol and David lost their home - a fundraiser

Carol Marine

Carol Marine

Hi everyone, Carol and David Marine of Daily Paintworks and their 6 yr. old son Jacob lost their home in a terrifying fire yesterday out near Bastrop. Their entire subdivision was wiped out (up to 300 homes) and the fire is still spreading - it's currently 16 miles long, 6 miles wide, has covered over 35,000 acres and is moving south towards another town. Today's forecast of more high winds is bad news for surrounding areas.

[UPDATE: A neighbor confirmed late Monday afternoon that nothing of their home survived. It's just dirt and ashes. Over 1,300 homes have burned and the fire is only 30% contained as of Thursday, Sept. 8. Please see the end of this post for an update on the astounding outpouring of support from the online community -- and artists in particular.]

They lived in a cute, little house in the middle of a beautiful pine forest, which is kind of an aberration in Texas. Rolling hills, tall towering trees, orange pine needles everywhere on the ground. All of which made for a lot of tinder, due to an extreme drought and the highest temperatures ever recorded in the state for August.

bastrophouse
bastrophouse

Here's an older picture of their house right after they bought it, before they added on a woodshop and studio for Carol. Jacob is a bit bigger now:

My 16 yr. old daughter Maddie and I were visiting them, along with two of Carol's friends, Karen and Randi. We were sitting around their big table, swimming in beading supplies, laughing, talking--when a neighbor came over and told us we had to leave right away.

At first, Karen and I went out to the backyard to see and were making jokes about how David had paid off a neighbor to say that, just to get all these crazy women out of his house. We couldn't see anything over the tall trees. Then Randi went out front and we heard her saying, "Oh my god. Oh my god!"

davidworking
davidworking

When we stood in the front street, we could see huge clouds of billowing smoke. There wasn't even enough time for them to take more than their computers. I backed my car through their front yard and up to Carol's studio, but we didn't take anything more than a few small paintings of Carol's. They lost all her art that filled their house.

Carol took their small car and David hooked up their pick-up to their camper, so luckily they have that. They're currently in a campground and will have to decide where to go from here....

When we finally left, the smoke had changed to black and was much bigger. It was incredibly frightening. Here's a video that someone shot on YouTube:

http://youtu.be/wELdKgk80e8

They had good insurance, but it will take time for that to all kick in, so I'd like to help them in the meantime.

Please consider making a donation below to help them get back on their feet.

 (The fundraiser is officially over and the Donate button has been removed. Please see the update below for the total raised.)

It's true, the most important thing is that they're safe. They are my family and I love them all dearly. But my heart aches for everything they lost - all the mementos, all the memories, their sense of sanctuary.

Thanks for your help. And please say prayers for everyone that lost their house, dear pets, or is still in harm's way.

With love,

Jennifer

[As of mid-day on Friday, Sept. 9th, only five days after the fire, over 300 kind and generous people have donated almost $18,000 to help Carol and David. That's right: almost EIGHTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! You have no idea what this means to them, folks. No idea. They have been moved beyond words and have cried about this more than once -- in a good way. :-)

As of Sept. 20th, the fundraiser was closed, with over $21,000 raised!

Carol and David say thank you, thank you, thank you a million times over for this wonderful expression of love and support from fellow artists and fans of our book.

To see all these incoming links from art blogs far and wide, to see the names of so many studios and even other daily painting sites online, honestly, it's blown their minds. It's really something to be proud of. Y'all are part of something really special.... 

You've all helped turn a gut-wrenching experience for Carol and David into something affirming, amazing and beautiful.... They can never thank you enough and they will never forget this!] 

Oprah to announce National Stepmother’s Day!

Photo credit: Harpo Studios

Photo credit: Harpo Studios

I just got a call from an Oprah producer at Harpo Studios, Heather M.! I had spoken to her right before our book came out last year, so it took me a moment to place her name on caller ID. But once I did, OH MY GOD, you could have knocked me off my chair with a pinky finger—or perhaps handed me an adult diaper, because I was going to need it!

As everyone knows, getting on the Oprah show is like the Holy Grail for authors, plus, this is her last season. I felt like I was either sleepwalking, hyperventilating, or both. This just couldn’t be happening!

But no....

It was.

So I tried to gather my wits about me and not sound like a babbling idiot on the phone. Deep breaths helped. A lot.

Not only does Heather M. want us on the show, which is totally amazing and awesome and mind-blowing in and of itself—but even better—Carol and I get to play a small part in a big announcement for a cause that’s near and dear to our hearts: improving mom and stepmom relationships while creating happier dual-families.

Here’s the deal.

Oprah’s staff is working on a show tied to Mother’s Day (happens here in the U.S. on May 9th) where they will be announcing the official proclamation of Stepmother’s Day!

What’s so cool about this is that I, as a mom, get to publicly acknowledge the important and vital role that stepmoms play in our kids’ lives—something I think other moms need to see, hear, and be thinking about.

I remember when Carol and I couldn’t stand each other, more than ten years ago. She was 21, both my ex and I were 35. I just thought the whole idea of them dating seemed insane and ridiculous (and a few other choice words as well which cannot be repeated here!).

The very thought of her interacting with MY kids on a regular basis (with either love or authority), made my hackles rise and my stomach hurt. Before Carol and I starting getting along about 8 years ago, I would have been hard-pressed to send any good wishes to her as a stepmom—much less any stepmom. Like many moms out there, I just wanted her out of my hair—and my kids’ lives.

What changed?

So I was a bit slow on the uptake, but I began to realize that it’s not wise to cultivate someone who will be spending tons of time with your children as an enemy. I mean, really, even on a practical level, it’s clearly a pretty dumb thing to do. What if she took out her frustrations and tensions about ME, and our relationship, ON THEM?

Bad, bad news.

Bad parenting.

And what were we showing the kids about how you resolve conflict as adults? Weren’t we all the ones acting like children back then?

It drives me crazy. I so want moms (not "bio-moms," remember: our kids weren’t adopted) to really GET how important it is to give their kids permission to not only like, but love their stepmomtoo. It sucks to put your kids in the position of having to take your side, while creating all this inner turmoil for them.

Okay... I’m sorry.

Today is April Fools Day here in the U.S. and my post is totally fake. Made-up.

There was no Oprah call (although I did actually speak to Heather M. from Harpo Studios a few times before our book came out last year).

There is no official Oprah announcement about National Stepmother’s Day.

I did a search and found conflicting information. Stepmother’s Day already exists, but it’s alternately listed as May 1st (which seems like it would piss some moms off, coming before their day). Or else it falls on the Sunday after Mother’s Day, which would make it May 16th of this year.

So which one is it? Does anyone know?

I think the fact that there isn’t a clear date only highlights the fact that stepmoms are getting a bum rap, without a clear-cut holiday. A day for their husbands to acknowledge their efforts in keeping the family humming along, to get a card from their stepkids, or to gamely eat burnt toast and raw eggs in bed. Or, you know... maybe just get the hell out of the house and go get a massage, just to be away from the little buggers, like moms sometimes do.

Isn’t it time for a definite Stepmother’s Day?

And shouldn’t we all know when that is?

After all, the majority of the kids are being raised by two women. It’s about time we all knew who they were and acknowledged their contributions. I mean—look—in elementary school, most of the kids still come from nuclear families. As you get to junior high, those numbers drop. And by the time your kids are in high school, it’s pretty rare to find kids who still live with both their parents. That seems insane, but there it is.

If you’re a mom and you find yourself annoyed by the idea of a day to recognize the stepmom in your kids’ lives, you might want to think about the fact that you wouldn’t dare leave your kids with a babysitter who seemed to be giving you the evil eye before you walked out the door (sorry, stepmoms), so why are you fine with just leaving things as shitty as they are between the two of you?

If you’re a stepmom and your hopes were dashed by this post, I do apologize. I hope that someday everyone will know when Stepmother’s Day is and the day will you a feeling of validation and support.

Who knows, maybe there’s still time for an Oprah announcement!

 

© 2010 Jennifer Newcomb Marine     All Rights Reserved

Related Posts:

"No One's the Bitch" book official launch day!

No_Ones_the_B_CoverLike a little gremlin that escaped from the attic, our book is officially out there in the world! If you'd like to help us obsess over our Amazon status on this holiest of launch days and reach Bestseller status (however briefly!), you can buy the book at Amazon. Just some of what you’ll find inside No One’s the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for Mothers and Stepmothers.... Help for understanding and working through the conflict:

  • What’s one of the biggest hurdles to getting along? (It’s not what you think!)
  • What should you do if the mom or stepmom isn’t willing to improve your relationship or is actively undermining you?
  • Why does this kind of “other woman” cause more problems than the kind normally associated with adultery?
  • Who ultimately pays the price for all the stress between households?
  • Are there any negative emotions that affect only one side?
  • What might you be afraid of losing if the two of you actually start to get along?

Changes you can look forward to making—with help!

  • What simple steps can each woman take to diffuse resentment and competitiveness from the other side?
  • Why should you sometimes work around the ex-husband/husband in trying to create a sense of partnership?
  • What’s something easy you can do today to set positive changes in motion?
  • How did we go from barely being able to speak to each other, to becoming close friends. How long did it take? What exactly did we do to get here?

Positive effects you’ll see in your life

  • Why will the children be opposed to some of the surprising benefits of creating a new, extended family?
  • Why is creating a partnership between the two women like living in a small village?
  • What opportunities are lost if you simply try to avoid each other and accept the adversarial status quo?
  • How will you change your child or stepchild’s life if you learn how to work together with the other woman?

If you do happen to buy the book on Amazon, we'd be ever so grateful if you'd be kind enough to leave a comment. (Or come back later and write one! Comments are hugely important in terms of the "sticky" formula Amazon uses to refer customers to related books....)

And again, thanks for all the emails of love and support!

© 2009 Jennifer Newcomb Marine    All Rights Reserved

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No One's the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for Mothers and Stepmothers is a revolutionary, new approach to diffusing the traditional animosity between moms and stepmoms -- and creating a brand, new version of an extended family that's healthier and happier.

If you're ready to move forward and are curious about how to start resolving some of these issues, then our book is for YOU!

We'll walk you through:

  • understanding the confusing landscape most mothers and stepmothers find themselves in
  • unearthing your own role in perpetuating the conflict (even though you might insist you don't have one!)
  • creating a positive vision of what-could-be that will inspire and motivate you and give you something to lean on during the hard times
  • which actions to take to move your mom/stepmom relationship from conflict to potential cooperation (even friendship!)
  • fine-tuning your efforts, including chapters on accountability (both ways!), collaboration, and communication
  • techniques for regrouping when problems blow up in your face
  • how to bond over a shared focus on helping the kids be the best selves they can be
  • celebrating your accomplishments and the creation of a new-fangled, extended family that works for ALL!

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How an Ex-wife and Stepmom Stopped Hating Each Other - Our Story

It's all well and good to read here about our wonderful, happy blended family, or about other harmonious ex-wife/stepmother teams at equally brilliant, literate, incisive sites. But what if you really are struggling mightily with the stepmother or ex-wife in your life? What if you honestly, truly just CAN'T STAND the woman!

Is "hate" too tepid a term to describe your feelings towards her? Does the mere mention of her name give you an instant headache, or knots in your gut?

What if you find yourself going down your list of grievances against her on a daily basis, and adding more by the week? Do you rail against her ad nauseam to anyone that will listen (including, oops — the kids)? Do you avoid her as much as possible? Does a simple phone exchange or brush by the front door raise your blood pressure for hours?

If so, you're not alone.

So great, the large wooden boat is cram-packed out there - alone at sea, bobbing in the dark and the rain. Now what do you do?

Well, two things here….

1. I can talk a bit about how Carol and I went from actively disliking each other (aren't you happy to hear that!) to becoming close friends and... 2. I can also cover a few things I've learned over the years in pondering this subject.

A little story….

The very first time I met Carol was in my driveway.

It was a beautiful Spring day, but despite the searing-blue, cloudless skies and California-like temperature, I believe I had already been sweating bullets for hours in preparation for their visit: their being my ex-husband, David, and his new girlfriend. And not just his new girlfriend, but his new girlfriend FOURTEEN YEARS my junior. (Do not spend time looking closely in the mirror before a visit like this. Just sayin'….) I was also internally rolling my eyes at the fact that David just had bought a motorcycle (long since sold) and bolted outside out of superstrung nerves when I heard them pull up.

Ech. There's nothing like pure jealousy to rival the feeling of poison helplessly coursing through your veins.

Carol was pretty, in shape, and I'd already seen her art, so I knew she was talented and creative. She swung a muscular leg over the back of the motorcycle, dismounting like a gymnast, and removed her helmet, shaking out beautiful, light-brown curls. I hated her already. I felt something melting in the pit of my stomach which should have been accompanied by the smell of electrical wires about to catch fire. I wanted to turn around and go home, but -- oh.

I already was. There was nowhere to run.

The rest of the visit was a blur (one of those out-of-body experiences that’s akin to addressing thousands from notes you can't read, or bumping into a movie star in a bathroom or elevator), but I do know that I now had a target to attach my venom to — a real-live person whose voice I could remember and whom I could now imagine addressing my children. MY children!

Yes, the territorial aspects kicked in right away, true-to-form.

This would have been helpful if I were a mother tiger in the jungle and needed to protect my cubs from being carried away by a baboon or radioactive chimpanzee, but, in this case, my instincts were simply triggered in a hopeless someone's-going-to-win-and-someone's-going-to-lose-and-that-ain't-gonna-be-me kind of way.

What followed were about two years of tension. And sometimes "tension" was putting it extremely mildly.

I'd say the whole thing culminated when I slammed the phone down on my ex-husband after he'd calmly told me he thought the kids should live with him because "Carol could do a much better job taking care of them, since I always seemed so stressed out from work" and proceeded to wail on the floor, curled up in a fetal position in front of the fireplace, imagining lengthy, costly court battles which I would ultimately lose. (And before you hold that against him, know that he's since apologized profusely for one of the stupidest, most thoughtless things he's ever said.)

At first, there didn't seem to be any reason to try and make things any better with each other. If we could just minimize contact with each other for… oh… the next twelve years or so, we'd be just fine.

But it became harder and harder to "minimize contact" as Carol and David got married and their lives intertwined. There were school events, family events, holidays to negotiate.

Along the way, I hated thinking about how much more organized Carol seemed to be, how much more disciplined she was with her art. I hated knowing that there were probably plenty of cozy evenings between David and Carol, dissecting my behavior and what had went wrong with our marriage.

I hated thinking about her interacting with the girls. I was totally oblivious about what went on between them and this drove me crazy. Who was this woman anyway? She was a perfect stranger having tons of experiences with my own children and I knew nothing about her! It was like having hired a babysitter by pulling out a name from a hat and sending the whole lot off to Disneyland without having even met her. (I knew the stepmoms out there will cringe, reading that, but that's what it felt like at the time….)

So what finally changed? Why did ANYTHING change?

Well, I finally got tired of all the animosity. And so did Carol.

Simple as that.

Okay, so that was the beginning of things changing between us, but it started there.

You can say our changes were selfishly motivated, and that's partially right, but I also worried about the effect my ill will was having on the girls (our daughters are 12 and 16 now, and David and Carol also have a 3 year old son - what I'm describing took place about five years ago). Sure, I was proud of the fact that I was keeping my mouth shut when it came to saying anything "bad" about Carol, but I was also never saying anything positive or warm about her.

…As if my children wouldn't notice!

So, in some comical, frozen-arms-forward, blindfolded manner, I took a few lurching steps her way, in the hopes of thawing our relationship and creating at least a more well-oiled "business machine". We were the two hands-on parents and we were stuck with consistent, regular contact, for better or worse.

I have to admit, it's not like Carol reciprocated right away. She didn't jump for joy at my efforts to reach out, but neither did she bite my head off. (Maybe it was a bit like putting your hand into a snake's cage, with the pet store owner assuring you the snake had been recently defanged and was "perfectly harmless".)

I'd say there was a period of about a year, to a year and a half, when we both started taking baby steps towards each other. Oddly, David was the channel through which we both sometimes broadcast our good intentions. He also ended up in the middle of a few misunderstandings, when one or both of us had our feelings hurt through some perceived slight, playing the peacemaker. That must have been strange….

It wasn't easy to keep shooting for harmony. Sometimes, we'd both feel really exposed and vulnerable. And weird too. People would ask us why we were letting the other person "get away with things", like they were uncomfortable with us getting along; anticipating the drama.

We both definitely felt like we were in uncharted territory.

One thing that really helped was knowing that the other person was trying too. It made us both bite our tongues a bit more. We couldn't so easily badmouth the other person if we were going to be interacting with them again soon, like that same day or the next. Plus, there was less to feel guilty about if you hadn't just said something nasty about them!

There wasn't any one special memory for either one of us when we both realized, "We're friends!," but somehow… eventually… we were.

We had done it.

And we both realized how rare and fragile that friendship was, initially, and took pains to protect it.

Over time, as women do, we tentatively confided in each other and tried to prove to each other that the other's trust wasn't misplaced. We turned to each other for help with parenting problems and then, with problems in general. Closeness grew. And when we hit rough spots in the road, we did our best to talk about them directly, instead of venting elsewhere. Now I don't think there's anything we couldn't talk through….

And neither of us has that sense of the other one trying to undermine us, like we used to. We're working together as a team. We talk about common goals, we admit shortcomings where appropriate. Neither one has a long, secret list of grievances on a rice paper scroll we're regularly adding to in spidery handwriting, in hopes of one day finally proving to the world that this other woman is really and truly a bitch who's made our life absolutely miserable.

But we know we're lucky. And we're grateful.

For lots of folks out there, they're just counting the seconds, hours, weeks, months and years until the other woman is out of their life, like we were, and that day Can't. Come. Soon. Enough.

So what if this is where you find yourself?

On Monday, I'll finish this essay by combining the trajectory of our story with an outline of things I've learned from books and deliberate study. This will be more a more prescriptive post, but I'll reference aspects of our story to help it all make sense. You may be pulling your hair out NOW with angst, but there IS a way to create peace in the middle of chaos.

© 2008 Jennifer Newcomb Marine  All Rights Reserved

 

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Carol and Jen Photo Session

This is us together...

Our sunset "golden hour" was more like the gloomy gray-hour, weather-wise.  Here's what we came up with (Jennifer's on the left, Carol's on the right):

We had a lot of fun and it was nowhere near as painful as we were expecting it to be....  Thanks to David Marine for being Mr. Photographer!

 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just curious who is who there.

October 14, 2007 7:48 PM  

Belinda Del Pesco said...

Really nice sequence. Great to see your faces together.

October 17, 2007 8:16 AM

 

 

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