Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wrap up

 In recent conversation with my mother, I made a comment to her about how I tend to look at people born in the late 80's and 90's and am astounded by how much they think they know.  It led me to verbalize how I'm quite sure that when I'm in my sixties and seventies, I will look at my thirties and marvel at how I really didn't know shit.    That's right, people.  For all the 'know it all' comments and accusations I get, fact is that I'm well aware of how much I don't know.   

2010 was a horrible year.  I had very high hopes for 2011.  Looking at the year in a quick glance, it would be easy to say that it fell terribly short as well, but upon further inspection, that's not completely true.  Brace yourselves, I'm doing the 'cup half full' thing.  New territory for me, but terrain worth exploring.   I learned and realized so many things.  Some of them hurt badly, and some realizations had to come painfully slow and at an emotionally detrimental cost to myself and others around me.  Still, I'm coming out of this year smarter, tougher and because of those things, more happy.

Being a parent has been the happiest, rewarding, scary, most painful and gut wrenching experience of my life.  I have a grown son (grown by legal standards, that is.)   I spent the better part of the past two years trying to save him from himself...from making  bad decisions that could affect the rest of his life.  I failed, probably because it was never my battle to win.  The more frightened I got about his chosen paths, the more I attempted to tighten my grip and control.  Seeing my young self in him was terrifying to me, you never want your children to go through the same horrible phases you went through, you want them to learn from your experiences.  Funny how they don't see it that way.  Yeah, we didn't take anyone's word for it either.  Go figure.

After beating my head against  the proverbial wall repeatedly, wasting away for months crying and wringing my hands in turmoil and worry, I had an epiphany. None of this was necessary because I was done.  Not done with my son, but done with my job of raising him.   We instill in them what we think is important, we try to provide the tools that they need to be productive members of society and then we're supposed to let them go live their lives however they choose to.   Regardless of the mistakes that I see him make, I now refuse to let myself try to intervene.   He doesn't want my advice, input and saving.  He's got this.  Even if he doesn't, he's on his own supporting himself and that makes it not my business anymore.  I learned a valuable phrase this year.  Instead of my head spinning around and my blood pressure rising every time I hear a new ridiculously bad idea, I pull it out.   "Well, son, I hope that works out for you the way you want it to."   And with that, I leave it.     Everyone must carve out their own path in life, how I personally feel about his path is less important than I once thought it may be, which was not the easiest pill to swallow.  Hey, that's life.

It may not seem like a hard thing for most of you to do or understand, but it took a lot to get me here.   And I'm not leaving.   I have retired my moonlighting job as Captain Save a Ho.     Not only with my son, but with everyone else around me.   The only saving I'm doing is the saving of my own sanity.   It's a good place to finally be.   I've lost some relationships due to my newfound resolve, but there are always casualties when it comes to finding your own happiness.  I wouldn't trade it.

I have spent the past seven and a half years in a profession that is as curious to me as it is to the people that knew me before I ended up there.  It was taken up strictly because of the benefits and flexibility that it provided me in terms of being a mother.  My younger child has spent every school vacation with me and not in a camp or daycare.  I have been incredibly involved in every aspect of his life and we are thick as thieves and love spending every moment together.  That I would not trade.  But as he grows older, I see that it's time for me to take some of my life back.   I have done what I have been threatening to do for so long….. I have made a change and set the wheels in motion.

Before I go patting myself on the back, I must admit that this change should have happened two or three years ago.  Frankly, fear of change, failure and the unknown have kept me from making good on my never ending promises to just pull the damn trigger.   This year threw me right over the edge, and for once that is a wonderful thing.  I found my proverbial balls and stopped complaining and sulking about how miserable I was and started living differently.  It began with small things and snowballed up to bigger life changes.   I see opportunity everywhere, right there for the taking.   It is invigorating.

A woman like me has to admit, even if my life for the past decade had been all puppy dogs and roses, the wanderer and bohemian in me would have started nagging in an increasingly louder voice inside my brain for something different, for a change.  I know myself too well to blame it solely on circumstance.  Instead of trying to fight that part of my personality, I have just accepted it.  What a damn relief.    I have to keep moving, and that doesn't mean blowing apart everything that is good right along with the bad.  It means allowing yourself continuous evolvement without guilt.

I made the tragic mistake of thinking that all of my self sacrifice would raise me to a new and awesome level of impressive wife and mother.   It didn't work out that way.  Instead my family got the worst parts of me more often than they should.  No one wants a bitter and cranky Me around.  The normal Me is hard enough to take.  Besides, unlike 91% of Latin females out there, I don't wear martyrdom well.  It just doesn't  look very good on me.

 So really, it basically comes down to this.

1.  Learn when to let go.  You can't control everything. If you try, you will  either exhaust or destroy    yourself.  Hell, you may do both.
2.  If you don't like the life you live, change it now because it's yours.  Do it now, no one has an eternity to sit around and wait for the 'right time'.

It's hard to fathom that this seemingly unending rollercoaster  called 2011 can be summed up so shortly at the end of the ride.  But I'll take those two ideas, tuck them into my hat as hard earned life lessons and keep on truckin'.  Some of you may see these things as obvious, and the concepts are admittedly incredibly basic.  But real life application is much harder than spewing words…. at least I can say that not only do I 'get it', I'm now fully living it.

Ever Forward!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ho, ho, ho….WTF?

I'm still alive and nothing tragic has happened to me.   Shocker, since I'm contributing to my own blog, I know.

To know me is to know that I hate Xmas season.  I hate buying mass quantities of gifts that people really don't need.   I don't like the decorations. I don't like how folks all of the sudden expect me to stop being my naturally snarky self and somehow start blowing reindeers and candy canes out of my ass, just cause it's December.  I despise the debate between saying Happy Holidays/Merry Xmas.  Who gives a shit?  Say what you want, celebrate however you wish.  It doesn't offend me.  Just don't expect me to go to church and go back to leaving me alone.

Most of all, however, I really tend to not like Xmas music.  It's pumped in to every public establishment that you have no choice but to enter from what seems like October thru the new year.  Ugh.    If it's not Dean Martin, Elvis, Frank Sinatra or Brian Setzer doing holiday songs, then I don't wanna hear it.  'Divas' doing endless runs… thus making a crap three minute tune into a five and a half minute session of torture?  Nope.  Not for me.

Trust, this is not just a bitch session.  I'm actually going somewhere with it.

While surfing the web last night, my partner in crime somehow ran across THIS.   Now, let me preface by saying that while I don't love Stone Temple Pilot, I've always thought that Scott Weiland was sort of hot (in a dirty, heroin scumbag sort of way.  Don't judge me.  I like what I like.)   I thought, "Hmmm.  This is strange, with a 59% chance of being interesting." and immediately instructed Big Guy to preview the songs.

What followed left me absolutely speechless, not an easy feat for a big mouth like myself.  First of all, he looks creep-tastic on that album cover.  I can't fathom him seeing that photo and saying, "HOT DAMN!  I think we have a winner, folks!"  Seriously?

The music.  Oh, the music.  Believe me, I get that he wasn't going for 'rocker' on this album, instead he's trying hard to tip his hat to the era of big band and go all old school on us.  Problem is, he can't carry it.  It doesn't work.  I appreciate that style more than anyone and have extremely varied taste in music (just ask The Kid, cause he's been listening to me sing along to Streisand's Broadway album for two days… I like to pretend I'm Liza in the car.)  So I'm not judging based on it straying from his normal output of sound.  I'm judging the level of assault on my ears.

Frankly, he sounds a little drunk most of the time.  In a bad way.  On rare occasion, he starts slipping into what I can only describe as a more on pitch version of Sid Vicious' version of "My Way".  I was dumbstruck and still can't believe some of the favorable reviews.  Cause I'm here to tell you it's crap.  It wasn't all just suicide inducing.  It slipped into varying degrees of boring, played out and just forgettable.   There was nothing the least bit interesting about this project.  Also, whoever did the orchestra arrangement needs a boot up the ass.  They did this no favors at all….. my personal favorite moments were the strange  island calypso/steel drum  inspired moments.  Again, WTF?

This is a case where I think that perhaps he ought to start doing really heavy drugs again, if by chance he has stopped.  And for Pete's sake, don't make another holiday album, Scott.  Go back to not showering and I'll stop being mad at you, it's all going to be alright.  But most of all, Scott Weiland….. shhhhhh.

Go ahead, preview the songs, if you dare.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Life goes on.

We've all had pivotal incidents in our lives that change us forever.  Some for immense good, others leave ugly scars and cast a shadow over our heads and hearts forever.

I don't believe that everything happens for a reason.  I don't believe in a higher being and I don't believe in fate.  That leaves me with very little to grip and hold on to in times of trouble, but I am one of the few that has the gumption to go with it.  I was never a fan of fairy tales and hollow words of comfort, it's just not my style.  I know and love people who need those things to get through the day, and I would never begrudge them that, but I would rather experience life as I do…. knowing we are but insignificant specks in the grand scheme of things.  I'm ok with imprinting my mark on the lives of those who I love and who love me.  If they remember me, I will continue to exist in their hearts and memories.  I leave a blood legacy.  That's enough for me, it has to be.  

Still, at times I've experienced disbelief and wonder when the fact of our true insignificance is thrust into our faces in the most undeniable ways.   I remember when my father died… I took it in stride as well as a nineteen year old could.  I was capable and level headed in the midst of everyone around me falling apart because someone had to be.   I believe I stuffed everything down, and it only crept into my unraveling later on, seeping out over a long period instead of spewing out immediately in one go.   It was slow release poison.  

One clear memory sticks from after the whirlwind passed, after everyone went home and the initial shock was gone.   I remember waking up a couple of weeks after the fact, the sun was streaming in through my window and birds were singing.   I was immediately angry.  How could they dare sing while this was happening to me?  As I walked around in a zombie-like state for the next few days, I noticed that my child was still equally demanding and happy, apparently two year olds don't care much about letting you grieve.   Everywhere I went, people were living their lives.  Drinking coffees, shopping, smiling, walking their dogs… nothing changed.  The world hadn't stopped because mine had.  For weeks I fought the urge to run into the street shaking my fist at all these annoyingly clueless people and endlessly scream obscenities into the air.  I may have actually done so a time or two.  

I'm so much older now.  I know all of these things, not only from a pragmatic standpoint but from actual unsavory experience.   I don't remember that this is how the world is when I experience joy.  It's easy to not see the face sulking in the corner and drowning in their problems, completely oblivious to the fact that you had a great day.  Your hair looks fantastic, you have new boots and everything is awesome… but there they are, not rejoicing with you because you don't matter.   In those instances, they aren't a blip on our radar.  Well, maybe a blip if we know them and are emotionally invested in their well being, but let's face it, most of us don't care at all about the sea of faces that make up the background scenery of our little lives.  That's how it is, if you say otherwise I'll call you a liar.  

What happens, though, when the shoe is on the other foot?  You know, when our world seems to be crumbling to pieces around us and we're still expected to actually show up for life.  It's not so easy to ignore then.  I still want to feel indignant, I want to throw away the fact that no one actually knows I'm screaming on the inside and be furious that it doesn't matter to anyone but me.   Ultimately, I can't though, because I learned this lesson a very long time ago.  I don't live in a sea of mind readers.  In fact,  most of the people I know are just tragically unobservant (and the observant ones are usually far more curious than concerned).  Toss that in with general human apathy and you have undeniable facts to face.  

Our personal tragedies, troubles and disasters are only ours, we are just damn lucky if we have some understanding people who will listen to our troubles and lend a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold. ( I wonder how a narcissist handles this shit…. being faced with the realization that the world doesn't revolve around us.  How unimaginable it must be for them.   But I digress, really.)   I know that regardless of whatever I have going on, the birds are still going to sing and my dog is still going to want me to play with him.  The leaves are changing and still gorgeous. It's a beautiful day.  People are still going to smile at me at work today and I'll sit and listen to every trivial story that's thrown at me, smiling and nodding in understanding (all the while trying hard not to cry).   I know how to keep playing the game of life, and the kicker is that I won't even get mad about it.  That's the breaks.  

It's the best I can do.  Today,  I can take all that normalcy that surrounds my completely wrecked insides and use it as a crutch to make it through the day until I can crawl back into my hole and live in my own little world again, where everything that's wrong matters a whole lot.  I hate today, and I may hate tomorrow, but most of the folks I run into today won't know it… even if they did, an equal amount wouldn't truly care.  No one gives a shit except for those wading  knee deep in it.   You know what?  I can live with that.  I've lived with worse.  

Bad things happen.  The world doesn't stop turning because of it.   That's life.

(I realize that this blog is a total Debbie Downer as of late… mildly bordering on fucking depressing.  Sorry bout that.  I write because it's cathartic for me and when I'm pleased as punch with my life I am too busy living it and enjoying it to bother to chronicle the zany adventures I'm having… I know I should make more of an effort to balance out the content of these posts, but it just hasn't happened.   While I may be insignificant to the world at large, this is a piece of the net that is all about me.  So there. I'm off to go slap some cucumber over my ugly puffy eyes… because the truth of the day is that the only thing worse than feeling like shit is looking like it, too.)

Monday, September 19, 2011


So, The Kid is sick.  I've perused the entire Woman's Wear Daily website, done more laundry than should be allowable by labor laws, gotten some actual work done from home via computer and then decided to sit down and listen to some music.  This blog post is pretty much an after thought.  I did very well keeping up with it when I had a video to inspire me on what to write about every day, but then I sort of fell off.  Maybe music is my key or inspiration to open up to a bunch of strangers and friends.

Perhaps I should start referring to the early-mid nineties (93 to about 97) as my Chris Connelly years.
'July' took my ears by storm and changed my perspective on him as an artist.  I've got all sorts of messy relationships, cringe-worthy stories, huge mistakes, ect. all wrapped up in the memories, but I can honestly say when I listen to that particular song, all the ugly shit melts away and I'm very young and passionate again… the way a real artist is supposed to inspire you to.. well.. feel.  Music made today just rarely does that to me anymore.

Of course, Revolting Cocks was amazing, but Chris Connelly just makes magic on his own.  Take a listen to his masterpiece.

Then, of course, in 1994 his best album ever came out and I have not stopped listening to it since.  Connelly has been often compared to Bowie due to this collection of songs, and that may be the appeal for me.   Anyhow, I'm not surprised that loads of people haven't even heard of it, but everyone is missing out.

'Shipwreck' is solidly in my list of favorite top ten albums of all time.  Matter of fact, if you want a soundtrack who's lyrics chronicle my downward spiral of the early to mid nineties, listen to this album from start to finish.  It pretty much says it all.    "The Early Nighters" is sort of self explanatory.

I know I'm putting up  too many videos in one post and that there are few who will take the time to actually listen to all of them.  I'm probably breaking all the blog world rules, but who gives a crap?
They're just there for the people that may want a deeper glimpse into me.  And this WAS me at one time, making it a permanent part of who I am forever.

The last track of this album is 'Shipwreck' and in my humble opinion it's the best song on the album.    I know, I have a pretty solid obsession with the ocean, ships, lighthouses…. I know.   Songs with this sort of imagery are obviously going to touch me.  While this entire album spoke to me, this particular song is firmly attached to the strangest and most alien days of my life.  Not the outwardly ugly, but the really black days I drowned in for so long.  If you listen to any of these songs, do yourself a favor and listen to this one.  It's beautiful, painful and will haunt your dreams.  They sometimes still haunt mine.

I don't always have the words to describe eras or feelings that linger attached to them (though sometimes it seems that I never really shut up)… but it never fails that I can find a song to say it for me.   I'll come back and make a proper blog post soon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday musing

It is the tenth anniversary of  the Sept. 11 tragedy.  Of course, I remember the exact moment.  Sitting on my sofa exactly three months before delivering my child, eating an apple before leaving for work and watching the news.  I watched it unfold live, stunned in total horror before having to break away and make the commute downtown.  I remember driving down 75 south and catching glimpses of fellow drivers on the highway, all looking stoic and numb.  That was when the radio announced that the Pentagon had been hit.   I recall looking up at the sky wondering what was going to come next.   Of course, I remember.  I don't think anyone will forget.  It's our generation's version of 'Where were you when you found out Kennedy was shot?'.

Now I'm going to leave the topic.  I remember quietly without fanfare and continue living my life.  It's not crass, it's how I'm wired.  I respect and remember the immense loss of life and shattered families, give it a solemn nod and move on.   Please forgive the jump in topic.  It's not flippant, I've shed more than a tear and bouts of indignant fury for the spouses left without their partners, the parents who had to bury children and the children who have had to grow up without parents.  What a life changing event to witness, I can't imagine being one of the ones touched so directly by it.

I made a FB post yesterday morning.  It discussed how one should never be afraid to walk away from something that isn't working for you.  I give that advice out a lot, it hasn't always been so easy to follow it myself.   Make no mistake, I am quite good at walking away from people.  I firmly live by the notion that once someone starts becoming toxic and that effect begins to outweigh the positive influence they have on your person and quality of life, the only rational thing to do is to cut them out.   I do it often and no one is immune.  Of course, the result is very few long lasting relationships, but at this point in my life I'm not scared of being more alone than yesterday.  I'm ok with that.

Relationships that I felt I could not function without two years ago have been severed and there is no mourning, there's only relief.  See?  Things change so drastically that it's futile to try and anticipate what faces will be surrounding us in our future.

No, I don't have trouble walking away from people… I've had trouble moving on from an 'era'.  I've been drowning in circumstances that make me unhappy, partly from feeling a duty to stay, partly from fear of failing in future endeavors.  It's only been recently that I've realized that my thirst for adventure can easily be quenched by simply taking the plunge and saying, "Fuck it."  This coming year is going to rock my stability and structure to the core.  I'm starting with the most obvious changes and going from there.  Life feels like a journey again just by making the decision…. and it's only upon that realization that I've recognized that parts of me haven't really been living at all in the past five years or so, I've just been existing.   I deserve so much more than that and the only one that can give it to me is ME.

I'm done settling.  Times, they are a changing.   I have absolutely no idea where I'm going next.  I have no solid game plan.  I'm walking away from safety and constants in the next months with no safety net to catch me if I trip and fall.   All I know is that if I don't, I'll spend the rest of my life clinging to a rock instead of letting the current carry me somewhere else… (yes, Bryan, that is a nod to your advice and wisdom).

Things look new already, and the process hasn't even really started yet.  For some reason, I feel like I can breath just a bit easier again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inspirational quote of the day.

"My worst enemies are those who presume me to be harmless. They cannot imagine how much I resent and disdain them, or just how great a threat they would face if I could get at them. Everything in their behavior speaks of insult and presumptuousness, and for now it is all I can do to make constructive use of my anger toward them. At this time, I just make a list of them and keep a watch on. Some day, with the help of time, space, and circumstance, I will be able to humiliate them properly - not in a manner they would enjoy, but in a style calculated to make them wish that they had never been born." ~A.S.L.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Don't touch me

Disclaimer:  I'm unloading a rant on you all.  Like that's anything new.

I left the house in a pretty bad mood earlier.  Don't ask why, I'm not entirely sure where it all went downhill from the time I woke up totally happy, but spiral downward it did.

It was a list of simple errands I was crossing off to do before the start of work/school tomorrow.  Pet store, pedicure and pharmacy.  Simple, right?  No.  Wrong.   I mind my own business in public.  If someone smiles at me or addresses me for some reason, I am kind at best and civil at the very least… probably about 90% of the time.   Today tells me that I should really rethink that whole life strategy.

Look, I'm the queen of making small talk when I have to be.   I can find something to talk about with a brick wall.  That doesn't mean I want to.  I believe everyone should have a 'social use' word limit and if you go over, you should shut the hell up for the rest of the day.  Now, I'm not complaining because people spoke to me.  I'm pissed because two different people TOUCHED me today.  On purpose.  Strangers.   That is so off putting I don't know what to do with myself.

Minding my business at the pet store, a man put his hand on my shoulder while asking me how many pets I have.  Raise your hand if you've ever heard the term 'personal space'.   Yep, I thought so.  My kid even knows it.  This is not ok.  Don't touch me.

While getting my pedicure, a woman that was seated next to me in the salon grabbed my arm and yanked it closer to her so that she could see my tattoos.   Then she decided to ask me five million questions and even though she received a look that ought to have killed and bordering on my worst demeanor and tone, she just kept on flapping those gums.   The kicker of the whole thing is that she had permanent stink face, nose wrinkled and everything as she kept proclaiming how she didn't understand why people did that to their bodies.  There was an actual moment when I thought someone was playing a joke on me, and that quickly turned into such blind fury that I was scared I was going to get arrested for punching her in the face.  As I replay the entire scenario over and over in my head, I simply can't work out what would make this behavior acceptable in someone's mind.  Seriously, don't touch me.  Matter of fact, don't even talk to me.  There's no reason for it.

FOR FUCK'S SAKE.  What happened to the days where I was so unapproachable that people may stare at me from afar but would rather poke their eyes out with a stick than come near me?   Yeah, I want a piece of those days back.   My approachability factor really needs work.  I've swung too far over to the other side, apparently.

Side note:  I give people a lot of rope before freaking out.  I'm no cold fish, either.  I am quite possibly the most affectionate and touchy/feely person  I know amongst my friends.  I have no issue whatsoever with physical contact between myself and those in my circle.

I'm not entirely sure what is so difficult to understand about this stuff.
If you don't know me, don't touch me.
If you know me on a strictly professional level, don't touch me.
If I'm ok with you touching me, you'd be an idiot to not know it… you can touch me.
Simple, right?
People are total morons.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Worthless.  That is what I've been all damn summer long.   Make no mistake, it's been a mildly interesting couple of months.  Let's see.  I went to Savannah and swam in the ocean, got a new best friend (in the form of a dog), tried to change my hair color, attempted to stop obsessing over my fitness level and ate whatever I wanted for weeks on end, got another couple of tattoos, let go of some bullshit friendships and made headway on some new ones.

Now to the things I did not accomplish.  I did not mark anything off of my 'project' list and virtually quit going to the gym.  I was totally unproductive in terms of home upkeep, no deep cleaning or organizing was accomplished,  I did not even think of writing for this blog on a regular basis like I vowed to.  Really, it just goes to show that when you remove my schedule and structure from my life, I fall apart completely.   Only now that I'm neck deep in work have I been inspired to get back on the blogging saddle.   It's with a certain relief that I anticipate officially starting back to work on Monday, though I've been working from home for a couple of weeks now.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I know that it's supposed to be my all time favorite holiday, but I've got all sorts of childhood crap attached to it, so it's basically been ruined for me.  Not ruined in the sense of 'Boo hoo, I'm a whiny baby who needs a therapist to help me deal with my shitty younger years'… that's just not me and I'm a pretty happy and well adjusted gal considering I was raised in a religious cult.   I'm not even mad or really bitter about it anymore, but birthdays are still sort of warped in my brain.

Fact:  I have never had a birthday party.  I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness….. like totally oddball little me needed yet another reason to stick out like a sore thumb amongst my peers.  Month after month, I would watch invitations handed out to princess parties and would wish mightily that I got gifts and was the center of attention on a special day, too. (as an aside, I also think that this whole thing stemmed my total obsession with birthday cake, which is the best food item in the world)  I believed with every fiber of my being that I'd only have the splashiest of parties as an adult… full of balloons, lavish presents all showered on me and there I would be, with some sparkly crown or something, waving at all my guests and pretending to be surprised that I was so adored by the masses.   It sort of never turned out that way.

First of all, I was poor once on my own.  My friends were equally poor.  One year, a boyfriend actually bought me a bottle of Mad Dog and put it in an empty Neiman Marcus box and wrapped that shit up.  It was supposed to be a funny joke, but when I opened that damn box, all I could envision doing was smashing that bottle on the table and slitting his stupid throat.  He didn't last long after that, how could he?  Even super poor me had standards.

As I grew up and became less poor, it dawned on me that birthdays were sort of par for the course for everyone around me (after all, we'd all had many of them by that time and for most the novelty had worn off), so no one went too far out of their way to make mine super special.   Even with the attempts that were made, I would find myself somehow unhappy.  I couldn't ever figure out why, until I realized that in the back of my head I was comparing it to my little girl fantasies.. and there I was, not a damn tiara in sight.   Gosh, when I write it down, it does seem so stupid, but I'm nothing if not honest about this stuff.  I don't mind putting it out there.

Anyway, it's too late now.  I'm completely uncomfortable at this stage of my life being the center of attention and would rather crawl in a hole than be the 'birthday girl'.   I'd probably scream, "YOU KNOW I HATE SURPRISES" and go tearing ass out of the room if someone were to make the horrible mistake of trying to do something like that nowadays.   I'm actually more comfortable just pretending it's another day… well, except for the gift thing. I so shamelessly love to get presents, it's almost funny.    Especially good ones from people that know what makes me tick.  (Ever realize how much you can tell about a person by the gift they deem appropriate to give you?  Yep, me too.  But that's a subject for another day.)

Seems like I'm the hardest person in the world to shop for, if you ask folks around me, though I don't see how that's actually the case.  So I've decided to make life easy for everyone.  I requested a gun and that's what I'm getting.   There.  The perfect gift for an outlaw in life.  I'm so tickled by the idea that I'm probably not even going to have another birthday meltdown like I did last year.  I've decided to put that shit on hold until I actually start looking my age.  Then all systems can be a go.

Soon I'll have a CC permit.  That thought should lull all of you right to sleep tonight.  (insert evil grin right about here)   What more could I ask for?   Happy Birthday to me. Now someone pass me some cake.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Goodnight, my friend.

I don't think I've mentioned my maternal grandfather in this blog.  He was, and still is even though he is now gone, one of the most loved, respected and utterly adored individuals from my life.  We were very much alike in personality, but his was just better in every way.  Nevertheless, he understood me, always, even when no one else even tried to pretend to.

I must have been five or six when we had the conversation that has been running through  my mind all day.  I remember his mannerisms, voice and gentle  pat on the back as he said to me,  "Animals are better than people any day of the week.  People judge you, sometimes unfairly and harshly, we all do it.  Your dog, however, will always be happy to see you.  They don't care if you've done or said something awful, if you got a bad haircut and can't make it lay flat, or if you're just hard to be around.  They love you.  No one can give you what a dog can. It's a valuable thing to understand, never be without a dog in your life.  They will give you more than you could ever imagine."  He was right, which is not surprising, as he was right about almost everything he ever said.

I grew up with dogs and have really never been without one in the home.  Today is the day that changes that.  I lost my dearest friend Zeus last June, it left a horrible gaping hole in my heart.  My Chloe remained, but she was already in the twilight of her life.  I adopted her six years ago as a senior, she was nine, so I obviously knew what I was signing up for.  Over the past two years or so she has acquired a plethora of health issues… heart murmur, Cushing's disease, dementia, she is almost blind, cannot hear much at all and lost most of her hair.   Nevertheless, she has been relatively happy and comfortable… content to sleep and eat and go outside to let the wind blow in her face and walk a bit.

I was advised last month that it was probably time to euthanize.  Still somewhat traumatized from the bad experience last summer, I've put it off, justifying my selfish decisions when she had a particularly good day.  I've been caring for senior dogs for so long that I also somewhat forgot what active, healthy and happy dogs really act like, but I was reminded of it when I had my mother's dog visit for the past week.  The comparison was so startling that it really threw everything into perspective.  Dogs live in the moment, my dog was just reluctantly existing at best.   How blind I've been!  This realization came at the same time that Chloe's health took a turn for the worse in the past 48 hours, and I could no longer in good conscience put off the inevitable.

I feel selfish, guilty and stupid.  I feel terrible for every time I've allowed myself to be frustrated with the ever increasing amount of work her conditions have required in the past year.   I haven't wanted to let go, but had to ignore her poor quality of life to do it.  Even yesterday when I called to make the appointment, I chose a later time today,  thinking that I could devote my day giving her attention and spending my time with her for just a bit longer.  The reason I'm writing now instead of doing that is because she does not want interaction.  She is uncomfortable being held and turns her back to me in her bed and just wants to sleep.  Now I sit, watch the clock and wait as my stomach twists in grief and my chest feels like I have a load of bricks on it.  The moments tick by so slowly that it's making me slightly crazy.

I'm sad and don't know what to do with it, so here I am, purging some of it from my head and heart.  I will always be grateful that she has been a part of my life and am still trying to work out exactly how to let her go.  She has given me far more than I gave her, in retrospect.  I know when I come home tonight without her, there is no more guarantee that anyone will be happy to see me when I walk through the door.  She has loved me every day, and that is a huge feat, because any person will tell you that I make that pretty hard to do sometimes.  All I can do now is hold her when the time comes and say 'thank you', while I try to remember that the last gift of love I can give her is to let her leave us with a modicum of dignity and peace.

She has been my friend, and it's only appropriate to pay homage to someone so good and loyal when the time comes.  So to my Chloe, sleep peacefully.  I love you so much.  I will miss you every day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The List

Sometimes I feel that I make life extremely difficult by just being me, but I have no choice.  You can change how you act, but you can't change who you are.

I've been in a very cranky mood for many days now.  Actually, I wake up fine, feel fine, live my life, and then somewhere along the way someone comes along and pisses me off.  I have been horrible about letting things get to me lately, though I've never been good with letting things roll off my back.  I react, I become upset, I feel too much.  It's an awful affliction, and if you don't share it, you probably don't get how badly it sucks most of the time.   The highs are incredible, but the lows ruin your day every time.

I've never been good at tolerating the shortcomings of others.  This is not because I think I'm better than they are (well, sometimes it is), but because I simply can't take certain things. (Ironically, this is seen as a serious character flaw to many others.)  I admittedly have too many deal breakers.  I suspect part of this is due to the fact that I grew up in a family and culture where it was not odd to hear someone scream, 'YOU'RE DEAD TO ME!!!', at least five times a year for any degree of issue.   Anyway, it's caused me much loneliness in my life, but age has taught me to be forgiving and tolerant of a person's _______ (insert relevant attribute here), so long as the good outweighs the bad.  Learning how to do that has made it possible for me to have a small number of lasting relationships.  I really don't need, or even want, more.

I'm a keen observer.  I watch people, I read how they react to situations, to me, to anything.  I'm aware.  I know how to take social cues and when to back off.  I make it a point to identify a person's level of comfort and their boundaries and I tread on the right side of those.  Seems like it's a dying practice.  I'm just going to break some of it down.

* Crossing the line.  Relationships have boundaries, all of them.  Not understanding what sort of relationship you have with another person, and then saying or doing something inappropriate is a no no.  Don't give advice unless someone seeks it out.  Don't be TOO FAMILIAR.   You have no idea how many times in a week something flies out of someone's mouth that inspires me to want to scream, "Back the fuck up, you don't know me like that!"   Of course, I realize that my habit of holding folks at arm's length dissuades good people from making the moves to get to know me better, I've even heard that I'm seemingly inaccessible and uninterested, so folks don't bother because of it.  Does that bum me out?  Sure it does, but I don't know how to change it.  Better alone and in peace than throwing the door open and having a headache that lasts a lifetime.

* Not getting the hint.   It all goes back to social cues.  I am no enigma.  My demeanor, tone and actual words used say it all.  You'd have to be a total imbecile to not get when I want to be left alone… when I don't want to take the relationship to the next level, but yet it seems to be a constant problem.  I need space, I need alone time, I need breaks from just about everyone I know.  If I self impose seclusion, it's for a reason.   If I don't answer 1-3 texts in a row within a fifteen minute window, maybe it would be a good idea to stop sending them.   If I turn down dinner repeatedly, chances are I don't want to go.  Sorry, but it's true.   The flip side is, if I ever genuinely reach out, people know I mean it.  Surely there has to be something valuable in that.

*Inserting an entire damn leg, instead of a mere foot.  Look, I say stupid shit, everyone does.  Thing is, I tend to know when I've messed up.  At that point, I do what is necessary to rectify the situation if I'm so inclined.  Sometimes it calls for eating a slice of humble  pie and apologizing sincerely (which I do often and with no problem).   Other times it's knowing when it's best to just shut up and go away for a spell.  NEVER is it wise to just keep flapping your jaws as someone is standing with their ears turning purple and about an inch away from ripping your head clean off your neck… all the while pretending it didn't happen.   Well, it's not wise if you care about your relationship, we're not talking about pissing strangers off.

I could go on forever.  After years of writing people off for next to no reason, over time I have developed a system. Call me a narcissist, I really don't care.   As I stated, I'm working on letting go of the small stuff, lest I find myself old and totally alone.  Transgressions made that I label 'moderate to serious' and I make a mental note.  Another one and you are officially flagged in my brain.   It only takes one more for you to make THE LIST.   Many an individual has made THE LIST, but very few have every come off of it.  There is no redemption at that point.  It's over.  THE LIST is extensive, and lots of folks never even realize they made their way there, especially if I must interact with them on a professional level that keeps me from freezing them out completely.    Of course, there is a particular group of actions that require no process in my brain, they are met with immediate removal from my life.  Cut off, done… no conversation, no looking back.  Straight to THE LIST.    The system works for me.  I'm ok with it.   Matter of fact, the only time I ever really suffer is when I try to give people chances so they don't end up on THE LIST.   (Note to self:  Stop doing that.)

Part of me feels like I'm coming across like a real asshole with this one, but it's not like any of you think I'm some sort of sugary sweet person anyway (if you DO see me that way, congratulations, you saw past the rest of it).  It's been brought to my attention that lots of folks, many of which I call friends, see me as a 'bitch'.  I guess that is fine.  I don't particularly think that because I say what needs to be said makes me deserving of that moniker, but my feelings aren't all that hurt.  I've been called worse, you know.

There you have it.  Rant officially over.  I think I may feel better.  And isn't that what blogging is all about?  It is for me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

100 Greatest Movie Threats of All Time

The title sort of speaks for itself, doesn't it?  Saw this earlier today.  Why it tickled me pink, I'm not sure, but there are some great movie clips in this and some truly classic lines peppered into it.

If you're offended by foul language, don't watch it.  As a matter of fact, you probably shouldn't be reading this blog at all.   I have a very unladylike mouth, and while it's worse in person, it does make its way here.

Why is it not surprising that Joe Pesci seems to make up 30% of these clips?  Hope you enjoy the eleven solid minutes of vulgarity as much as I did.  I do so love a good, nasty threat.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Just your average Sunday

Our A/C broke yesterday evening.  This is like the fifteenth day in the city with temperatures above 90 degrees…. which is not completely abnormal for Atlanta in the summer, but we don't typically hit that stride for at least another six weeks or so.  I was not so bothered by it when it initially crapped out.  I'm cold natured and it was dark, so the temperature outside was cooling and it helped keep the house tolerable.

I have lamented the fact that the cat will not cuddle with me for months now.  I woke up in the middle of the night to find her laying across my body with a smug look on her face.  For fuck's sake, NOW she wants to be close?  I was dripping sweat and she was pretending to be the highest quality mink wrap.  I cursed all night, and kept waking up to her sprawled all over me in various positions, I swear I heard her evil voice giggle once or twice.

Needless to say, when I got up this morning I was in a right horrible mood.  The higher the sun got, the more intolerable the house was becoming, so I threw on my gym clothes and decided that if I was going to sweat, at least it should be while burning calories in a climate controlled environment.   Plus, I'm having serious fitness issues right now and am teetering on the brink of giving up altogether on this whole attempt to keep things high and tight.  I keep threatening to cancel my gym membership, give up the trainer and invest that money into some muumuus, a Lay-Z-Boy recliner and cake.  Lots of it.  I'm struggling with being everyone else's support system and cheerleader while I spend so much time doing my damnedest to self motivate all alone.   But that is a post for another day.

I put in my fifty minutes of horrible cardio and finally decided to get off the death machines and finish up in the boxing room at the gym.  I've got a lot of pent up aggression and frustration going on so I figured that kicking some bags would help blow off steam.    I walked in and saw an elderly but relatively fit man absolutely wailing on one of the heavy bags.  He was packing some heat, let me tell you.  We nodded to one another, I went to the other side of the room and started some side kicks, roundhouses and jumping rope in between.

I could see him watching me through the mirror, which doesn't particularly bother me.  After all, you don't see many women in there (and not to toot my own horn, but most can't kick you in the head either… I'm short, but I'm flexible and have deceivingly long limbs).   Anyway, I stopped to catch my breath and he sat down to remove his gloves.   He struck up conversation, asking me if I did it as a sport or just for exercise.  I told him I have a trainer and that I really enjoy it, but obviously I don't get in a cage with anyone.    He nodded knowingly and the floodgates opened.

Turns out this man is a sixty eight year old Vietnam era Army Ranger.   He spent the next thirty minutes demonstrating to me how my technique could hurt someone if I got lucky, but given my size, it would be beneficial to learn how to totally incapacitate or just flat out kill a man if I needed to in a real life defense situation.   After all, he reasoned,  I'm a very small woman, and if I don't seriously injure an aggressor in the first few strikes, I'm dead myself.  Since this is obviously true and deep down I've always had fantasies of being a lethal weapon, I was a willing student. (Besides, I have a soft spot for the older set, they have better and more interesting things to say than most anyone else.)  He wowed me with some incredible pointers in which I could take what I knew, skew it just a bit and hurt someone twice my size badly.

At one point, a ponytailed housewife entered the room with her yoga mat as he had me pinned down on the ground saying, "If you're lucky enough to actually drop them after that throat shot, you kick them here with your toe leading and they'll probably die.  Sure, you'll limp away and be hurt yourself, but you live to tell the tale."  She turned around and high tailed it out of that room so fast that we both started guffawing over the timing of the situation.

Before I knew it, a pretty long time had passed.  He had finished his impromptu lesson and we had moved on to just sitting on the floor discussing the military, his war stories (he and my father had done tours in Vietnam in the same years, and he even kindly refrained from slamming Marines for me), to shotguns vs. handguns for home protection, to basically the difference between young men today and young men fifty years ago.  I really did enjoy every minute of it.  It's been the best conversation I've had in months.

He then turned to me and said, "It's been fun giving out pointers, and you've done a nice thing by allowing me to be helpful and by listening to me.  I've tried to teach some things to my daughters, but they lack… how do I say… the tenacity to be able to use any of my skills.  It's pretty clear that you're different.  Maybe I'll see you around again some day.   Tell your father that I said  Welcome Home."  

With that, he proclaimed that he was going to run a few miles and left.  I drove home with a small grin on my face from the whole encounter.  He really made my day, and I don't even know his name.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Five Years

I was tooling around today, basically living my life as usual when I looked at my phone to read a text message.   The date on my screen hit me like a splash of cold water.

Five years ago today I was in Los Angeles having a great life experience.  I made the trip alone and flew back home a changed person….for the better.   I saw people I'd been dying to hang out with in person (the internet is great, but no replacement for face time), and met others that I bonded with instantly.  Some of those people became instant parts of my life, others that I met wouldn't become dear and close to my heart for some time to come.  Five years ago today was when it all started in so many ways.

So, to all of you who were there (I know some of you reading will fit the bill), I raise my glass to you.  You were part of a magical experience and I hope you remember it as fondly as I do.   That trip gave me many treasured gifts.  It propelled me forward, made me challenge myself, inspired me and I got my first dose of the heady buzz that comes along with such connections.     Not often are we lucky enough to be in a room full of like minds, great company and electric energy.  I'll carry it with me forever…. the magic, the people, the feelings and the memories.

I miss a number of you, maybe we'll all meet again one day.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Ever get hit with a memory out of nowhere?   Yeah, it happens a lot to me, too.  I probably shouldn't refer to this particular case as a 'flashback', since it's not recollection of psychological trauma or anything, but whatever.  It still works as a title.

I sometimes feel like I have a pretty strange brain, but since I'm not one to carry the delusion of being a super mutant form of human, I'm almost convinced that it's just like most everyone else's.  I remember certain times, events and facts from long ago as if they were a photograph that I see when I close my eyes.  Strange memories that don't seem to hold a lot of meaning, but there they are, claiming precious space in my head.  Really, though, sometimes I can't recall what I ate for breakfast yesterday.  I remember the names of very few people in high school, but remember loads from second grade.  No rhyme or reason, just what sticks, I suppose.

We were driving in the car from running errands today and I was torturing Husband by singing very loudly to an 80's hair band song.  It's a terrible song, but it makes me happy due to the attachment of good times that's associated with the era.   Then, out of the blue, I remembered another song that I absolutely adored.  I'd forgotten it even existed for many years and hadn't heard it in ages, but there I was,  mouthing the words as if it were playing out loud.

So I raced home and went straight to look it up on YouTube, thinking that hearing it would make me remember what made me love it so much.  After all, it owned my heart at about eleven (maybe early twelve) years of age, and it's a strange tune for a kid at that age and time period to love. (This is not entirely surprising, I was a pretty odd child)    I anticipated hating it and saying to myself, "You were a freak, what the hell were you thinking??", but after listening to it again, I totally get why I loved those lyrics.  Gosh, there are big parts of me that haven't really changed that much deep down inside.  I like that, it makes me smile.  

I was transported to being that kid who sang along to those lyrics with feeling and was just sure that she knew exactly what they meant (after all, I was eleven going on thirty-nine).  Who knows, just maybe I did…. who am I to judge Little Me?   I suppose it really doesn't matter now one way or the other.   Some things just are.  They don't have to mean anything or make sense…. believe me, that's been a doozy of a concept to wrap my brain around my entire life.  I'm still working on grasping that one.

So, I'd pretty much be an asshole for not posting the song now after all of that… but it did cross my mind to refrain from doing so.   You may wish I had, as general opinion of it here at home have been,  "JESUS, I HATE THAT SONG!  WHY THE HELL ARE YOU PLAYING THAT SHIT??"
But I don't care.  Nope, I'll just play it again.    Really, never let me know you are annoyed by something I'm thoroughly enjoying, I'll never stop doing it just to pay you back for trying to rain on my parade.

Happy Saturday, folks.  Here's some Supertramp.  Take it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

For you…..

This song is for my kindred spirit…. because I know that you, my dear, understand it.

Long live beautiful outlaws!

It's official.

So.  As I said, it's official.  I wrapped up my job last week and now have a good few weeks of leisure to look forward to before going back in August.   This is the sole perk that keeps me working there, so I'd better make good use of it.    As usual, I've compiled a to-do list that I absolutely must accomplish.  They are the same things on my list from last summer, but now I can't seem to remember why I didn't do any of them.

I am a very tidy, clean and put together person… until you open a desk drawer.  Yes, I am convinced that paperwork is somehow multiplying in my home, a super strain of paper so utterly resistant to organization and files that they are taking over my life and general well being.  That is the demon that I will battle in the next few weeks.  Or at least I'll consider battling it before prematurely waving my white flag, picking up a book and making a sandwich…. so that will probably only take up half a day and now I have to find a way to be productive with the rest of the time.  (Ah, now I remember why it never got done.)

2010 was an awful year, just fucking terrible.  I did not anticipate 2011 to be as bad, but it's shaping up to be a serious contender for the "Kill Me Now" belt.  Now that I've had plenty of time to practice, my coping strategies are becoming a bit more efficient.   Since I spend so much time lately dealing with issues I didn't ask for or contribute to putting myself in the middle of, I've realized that it's foolish to spend even more time talking about it.   I'm sick of listening to myself, for one.   Plus, when I'm actually not in the midst of crap, I really don't want to spend that time rehashing the latest chapter for someone in the 'inner circle'.   Ugh.   Part of this has been taken care of by narrowing that circle to about four people, the other part has been dealt with by giving random e-mail updates  I shall call 'Bullshit of the Week Bulletin' all at once and refusing to actually discuss it in person if I should by chance leave my house and see one of them.

Writing this blog, however, does wonders for me.   Even if I'm not directly discussing what ails, purging my brain of racing thoughts is a beautiful and therapeutic thing for me.  Making myself write every day for that 30 day song challenge was great, but I fizzled out due to 101 reasons after that, so summer seems to be a good time to gain momentum again.  I could do part 2 of the challenge, since I do a hell of a lot more than post a video and leave it at that…. besides, when you don't leave your house much, you tend to have a hard time finding something to write about that won't make someone fall face first into their laptop.   I'll have to ponder that for a spell, maybe I'll bring it back.

So focusing on this blog goes on the list.  I've been told I should put it out there and try to get some exposure for this blog…. hmm, I don't know about that.   Of course, the person that told me this doesn't seem to realize that it took me two years from signing up for this site to actually figure out how to use a pre-made layout for the page.   Yes, my name is Tats and I'm a technological dunce.   I've no idea what the hell I'm doing.

So tell me, fellow bloggers, do you post in forums, link up to other followers, what?   How exactly does one go about getting 'exposure'?  (Eww, just writing that makes me think of contracting an STD that won't go away for some reason, not a good sign)   To me, it all sounds a bit desperate and maybe akin to trying to whore your words out… so while I won't beg for followers (not my style), I'm always up for something that borders on racy, so I'm open to other ideas.  It's not that I have a problem with writing for just myself and a select few.  If that were the case the fact that I often talk out loud to myself would be concerning, and that couldn't be further from the truth.   I just figure that I need a project, and this page will be it.   It's low maintenance in all the right ways, and time consuming in all the right ones.   Thoughts?  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Better than a Dream

I had a very vivid dream last night.  I was a teenager, albeit a total screw up (which is quite true to reality) living with a strange mother and two dogs.  It seemed that we were nomadically relocating all over the world and in the midst of another new town.  I could feel the uncertainty of what was to come, the intoxicating mixture of adventure and nausea that I was facing with my jaw jutting forward and my head held high.  My entire being was saying 'BRING IT', as I looked forward to peeling back the layers of yet another experience.  It was a high as potent as any chemically induced one.

I actually remember that feeling quite well.  When I was younger I lived for new things, new faces, new places and got a rush like you wouldn't believe from not knowing exactly what was going to happen next.  The epitome of reckless, I dove into everything head first, only coming up for air when absolutely necessary.  Sometimes it took me down an ugly rabbit hole, other times it payed off in spades.  I've got memories stamped solidly in my head to carry lovingly from all those days, both the disastrous ones and the ones that actually didn't blow up in my face.  I was brave and stupid all at once, I let my fear of the unknown drive me to charge into life like a bull zeroing in on a matador.

That was a long time ago.  I am now, quite possibly, the furthest thing imaginable from that wild girl.  Obviously, life and its responsibilities makes it much harder to go with every whim that pops into one's head, but I know damn well that it's so much more than that.  I just lost it,  I can now admit it easily.  I don't crave adventure, I snuggle into familiarity and routine.  My favorite place to be is in my bedroom, far from strange faces and break in my structure.  'Controlled environment' is one of my favorite and smile inducing thoughts.  Frankly,  I'm well aware that by all appearances, I probably seem like one of the more boring people you may know.

If you've read my blog since the beginning, you know that I'm one to happily wallow in nostalgia.  That being said, it would make sense that I would have awoken from my dream and once I was coherent enough to get my brain going I would have reverted to a mixture of sullen and pensive, yearning for a taste of yesterday.   In that sense, I'm pretty predictable.   But today it didn't go down like that at all.   Maybe it was all that extra sleep I got,  once my glasses were placed on my face I saw that it was a bit past eight in the morning.

Twenty minutes later I found myself in the kitchen with Husband, sipping on my first cup of coffee and losing myself in the dreamy voice of Tom Waits, who is still crooning to me in the background as I type this.   I sat quietly and helped chop vegetables and chicken for Husband's breakfast creation while thinking that the temperature in the house was perfect.  'I'm neither hot or cold, this is amazing.'   No one was irritating me this morning with too many words.   Husband cooked, The Teen was obviously still sleeping in and The Kid shuffled around aimlessly while reading about lighthouses in his underwear, still rubbing sleep from his eyes.  No one talked, Tom Waits just continued singing.

Ahhh.  Things haven't been easy for me lately.  I get a bit resentful of the fact that being an adult at this stage in my life sometimes feels akin to drowning in personal sacrifice, it's one series of 'have to' after another…. what I want doesn't seem relevant all that much in day to day life.  This feeling makes it easy to be negative and romanticize the past.  After all, it's pretty easy to forget all the shit that comes with wild days.  My trade off for adventure and craziness is peace, plain and simple.   My peace has been essential for my personal long term survival.   I'm not too confident about how long I would have lasted without stumbling upon it.  I suspect I would have had a pretty early demise, gone down in flames for good.

In moments like this, things are so clear to me.  Maybe I won't feel like this at seven thirty tonight (even in my currently boring life, I have realized that the rug can easily be pulled out from under me with no notice in the ugliest way possible…oh, how I've learned), I know I won't feel this way tomorrow while I'm elbow deep in drama at my bullshit job tomorrow at approximately five thirty in the evening…. but I'm not letting that matter.  In this second, it's still clear.   Right at this very moment, things are vastly better than a dream, even an intoxicating one.   I'm going to ride this 'living in the moment' concept for as long as my brain will allow me to.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May, a love/hate relationship

I haven't taken part in this blog in what seems like months.  Given the fact that I'm up to my eyeballs in the shit storm of activity that is the month of May, I realize that I actually have no concept of time.   If I did, this past week wouldn't have lasted for nineteen days.

May.  What can I say about May?  Let's see.  It's the time of my year that consists of watching all of the 'heavy hitter' parents don their business casual best and show up to proudly watch their offspring collect various awards at school.  Now, I'm one of those parents because my youngest son is an academic overachiever, but the awards are usually at eight in the morning in the school cafeteria (which I see every day at work from one to six thirty), so I can barely be bothered to fill my eyebrows in properly, much less get dolled up.   Plus, it's my gym time, and given my expanding waistline, it's not like I can take extreme pleasure in skipping a sweat session.   But I'm always there, taking pictures,clapping and shouting for my boy, because I truly am so proud of him that I border on intolerable.  The rest of the time is spent trying to make sure The Husband doesn't make fun of other parents or their children too loudly.  Not that he's ever wrong in his observation, but damn… I have to see them every day.  He can afford to not give a shit.  I have to deal with the backlash.

May is also the month where all of my child's extracurricular hard work is displayed.  Recital time.   He is a great piano player and they have two performances a year.  The one in December is absolutely painful, all holiday music.  One by one, every tragically ungifted child murders various seasonal tunes and stumbles for two and a half minutes to get through a sixty second piece.  His teacher is smart enough to pepper in the good ones at strategic points of the program, so that just when you're ready to put a bullet in your head, one of them brings you back from the brink.  I can be smug because The Kid doesn't suck.

This year, The Kid is opening the show.   The theme is Broadway this spring, and if you know The Kid, you can imagine how pumped up he got about this.  Oh, yes.  He has chosen to play 'America' from West Side Story.  His only lament is that he will not be able to sing along, because he can perform the entire song in the most authentic Puerto Rican accent you've ever heard.  Bless him, he marches to the beat of his own drum.   I should also mention that he almost gives me a heart attack every year at this time.  He is currently downstairs having his last lesson before the show tomorrow.  I hear him screwing up every five seconds, yelling 'WAIT' and starting over… it doesn't matter that he's been playing it perfectly for two months because he always falls apart the week before the show, thus making me feel like puking the entire morning of the recital.   Then he pulls a fast one, gets up there, busts it out without a hitch and ends with a flourish of dramatic bowing to the crowd.   Every year, I tell you.  It's just cruel.

Then there is dance recital the very end of May.  I cannot speculate as to how it will go since it's our first trip to the rodeo, but it's not hard to imagine that it will be the funniest two hours of the year.  Pure entertainment, because really, none of them are any good.   The trade off is that no kids are missing class this time of year, so the dance studio waiting area is filled with obnoxious siblings who are screaming, throwing toys, and jumping off furniture while their  idiot mothers sit around and pretend to not notice because they are too busy discussing Vera Bradley bags.  In my mind, I am screaming, "CONTROL YOUR SAVAGE SPAWN, BITCHES, OR ALL OF YOU GET THE HOSE!", as I whip one out from behind my back 'Law and Order' style and aim the power nozzle at the loudest snotty kid with the mom wearing the most unflattering jeans.  Instead, I have to settle for giving them all venomous looks as I peer at them from behind my book with a raised eyebrow.  They can all feel the glare burning a hole in their forehead but are too chicken to meet my gaze.    They have no shame, I tell you.

It also happens to be children's birthday party season.  I have three in two weeks, which I will probably be attending alone with The Kid.  I typically refer to myself as a 'Party Widow', since it's really not worth trying to make The Husband attend.  He has an aversion to groups of kids, parents and social situations in general.  It doesn't matter that I do, as well,  because someone has to take the bullet and it's always me. Thankfully, these parties are for the children of close friends, so I can enjoy my surroundings (with wine) much more than when I have to attend a school chum party… which is always ripe with awkward small talk, shuffling of feet and me pretending to take important calls on the cell phone (always resulting in us having to leave a bit early due to an imaginary crisis situation).  But I suck it up, because I'm a wonderful mother.  The Kid better fucking remember all of this sacrifice later on when I'm a senior citizen.

Since my older son has given me so much drama and grief over the past few months, I am forcing him to attend recitals this year.  None of his sarcastic commentary or inappropriate clothing choices will deter me from dragging his skinny ass along.  It's the very least he deserves, really.  Two Sundays this month, his only consistent days off of work, will be spent with his parents and my mother as we watch his younger brother cultivate his artistic side.  He will huff, roll his eyes, loudly proclaim that he wishes he was either drunk or sleeping and be a total jerk about it… but I won't break.  None of his crappy behavior will help his cause, because he'll even have to go eat celebratory dinners afterwards.  All this family time is a special kind of torture for him that I'm thrilled to dole out, since he has aged me ten years in six weeks.   I'm pleased to say that in a month of craziness, this is my silver lining.   Hey, guy…. what goes around, comes around.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Who's calling?

I really fucking hate the damn telephone.  I know I say it all the time, but it's true.   While playing kitchen beautician yesterday and slapping some hair color on a friend of mine, I actually said, "I like you because you don't ever call me."    Now, this is acceptable to say because she hates the phone as well, not to mention that she is intelligent enough to know that her lack of ringing me is but a factor in my affection for her as a person.    Later, I remembered the statement, chuckled and then pondered if my dislike was actually as severe as I make it out to be.  It is.

This morning, I woke up and realized I had not phoned my mother in over 48 hours, oops.  I went ahead and bit the bullet, dialed the number and hoped that she would rush me off the phone.   It's not that I don't have any interest in communicating with her, but I really despise chit chat.  I like to say what needs to be said and then hang up.  It inevitably causes conflict between us, it's a familiar dance at this point.

Mom:  You didn't call me yesterday.
Me:  I'm sorry, I forgot.  You could have called me as well, though.  
Mom:  Well, you always seem too busy to speak to me, and I don't like being a burden, you know.  
Me:  You're never a burden, I just don't like to talk on the phone a long time.  You know that, it's nothing personal at all.  
Mom: As I said, it comes across loud and clear in your voice that you don't want to speak to me.
Me:  I love speaking to you, I just hate the phone.  Was there something in particular you wanted to tell me about yesterday?
Mom:  Don't worry, I don't want to bother you, though I did receive news from the family back home.  It can wait, I know you're busy and have no time to speak to me. 
 Me:  Of course I have time to hear news from home.   Please, go ahead.  

(Now would be a good time to tell you that it's futile for me to try to get a word in edgewise during these talks, I don't bother trying much anymore.)

She tells me how she spoke to my aunt and they were discussing in great detail what a mess the country is in at the moment (Argentina)…. not sure how that is news, seeing as how it's been a mess since the day she was born.      Elapsed time:  17 min.

Then she went on to discuss IN GREAT DETAIL how President Kirchner is a crazy bitch.  (Again, not news.   Google her image, she's got crazy written all over her.)   I reply with saying that I thought the prerequisite to being a President in that country is to be insane. Even though I'm agreeing with a point SHE made, it is not well received and I'm an asshole all of the sudden.  (I just can't win. That's what I get for trying to participate in the discussion, I may as well shut up.)   I look at my watch and realize that I'm still waiting for important family information to make itself known….  not holding my breath at this point.  I've been duped.  Well played, Mom.
Elapsed time: 32 min. (on top of the previous bit of time)

Mom:  Why aren't you saying anything?
Me:  I'm listening to you, Mom.  (I do not mention that my contribution to the conversation was not appreciated.)
Mom:  I always get the feeling that I'm bothering you, you are so short on the telephone and I don't ever know why.   Always trying to rush me off the telephone because you're busy.  
Me:  I'm not rushing you,  we've been on the phone for almost fifty minutes.  I'm listening to what you're telling me.
Mom:  Well, it's obvious you're busy and put out with me, you aren't participating in this conversation at all.   I'll speak with you when you have more time. 

1.  Believe it or not, Mom is not crazy… she's actually usually very perceptive, insightful and awesome.
2.  Mom is delightful to talk to in person and I'm always beyond happy to spend face time with her.
3.  Mom is not the needy type, unless it involves telephones.
4.  I suspect she doesn't believe I really don't like the phone, it's the only logical explanation.

I usually hang up feeling fifty percent relieved and fifty percent total jerk… 'jerk' because I know how it feels to get your feelings hurt by your kid who doesn't seem to want to talk to you.  I don't know why it's so much work for me, but it's a fact that I literally cringe when that damn phone rings and that those fifty minutes feel like ten hours of my life I will never get back.

I love my mother very much and am painfully aware that she will not always be a phone call away.   I also know that when she's not around, I will pine for these pointless and tiresome conversations, which is why I willingly repeat this scenario almost every day.    So if you ring me up and I never answer, stop giving me shit.  I'm probably on the other line (with you know who).  Just send me an email or text.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Leave it at the gym

Most folks who have known me personally probably would not consider me the type to be 'sporty'.  I suppose that it's with good reason.   I used to fake shin splints in school to get out of running the mile in P.E.  I actually did have shin splints once and it impeded me from performing in my ballet classes, so it was an easy 'go to' excuse from that day forward.  For many years, you would typically find me with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth and a vodka tonic in my hand on any given night.  I did not own a pair of sneakers for well over a decade.  After all, standing (let alone walking or dancing in a club) in massive platform boots should be an impressive feat of athleticism in anyone's eyes, though I suppose that if that were the case they'd be handing out Olympic medals to strippers.  (Strippers are athletes in my book anyway, but that is completely off topic…. maybe another day I'll get to that.)

Well, pride changed all that.   As we get older, unfortunate things get set in motion.  As I saw this beginning to happen to my body,  I got off my ass and booked it to my nearest gym.  That was about five years ago.  I've been consumed ever since.  Nowadays, it's not just about my vanity (though it's a proven fact that when you're as small as I am in stature and structure, ten extra pounds looks like thirty, there is just nowhere for it to go).  I discovered that exercise gave me things that I never expected.  Mental clarity, structure, discipline, endorphin rushes (hey, you can't get tattooed every day, but you can break a sweat as often as you want),  mental and physical strength, basically an all around better quality of life.  

I've been wallowing in sadness for a couple of weeks, it got kicked into overdrive about five days ago, when my entire world seemed to crash down on top of me.  I was taking my prescribed Adivan to help with the anxiety, and it saved my ass those first few days.   I was freaked out and on total overdrive.   Fact is, though, that's no long term answer.  Time does help some.  I'm always astounded at how time enables the human brain to adapt to situations and ideas that are inconceivable in the beginning.  Once shock wears off, what other choice is there but to begin the process?  You can only dramatically slide down walls as you cry, starve yourself and spend all night looking at the ceiling saying "WHY??" for so long. You can only exhaust your body and brain for a certain amount of time before it stops you from continuing to do yourself harm.  

Well, I hit a point Tuesday night when my body finally just said enough. Thankfully, I shut down completely.    I slept for seven hours straight, and it was the sleep of the dead, I doubt I moved one inch the entire time.  I had a standing appointment with my trainer at eight this morning that I had forgotten to cancel.  I hadn't been in the gym since the needle scratched on the record and I was dreading the ass kicking I was about to receive at the hands of this guy.  (I usually walk into it with a feeling of anticipation, must be the masochist in me.)  

There was nothing better than I could have done for myself.  I don't know why I always forget that.  For the first time in days, I didn't think once about what a mess I was living through.  I didn't have the urge to cry or curl up into a ball on the floor…. when you're fighting the urge to vomit from physical exertion there is just not a lot of room for much else in your brain.  Everything snapped into focus for that hour, I could literally feel the anxiety and bad energy sweating out of my body with every squat, clean and press and plyometric interval.  I walked out of that gym physically shaking and feeling better.  Unbelievable.  It never fails to amaze me.

Everyone handles their problems differently. Many folks I know channel their emotions into creating their art.   Some choose to pray.  Others practice avoidance by over indulging in drugs, alcohol or food.  I know a few who just have to talk it to death.   Since I'm an atheist with no artistic talents who is too responsible these days to go on a destructive bender and much too weary to 'talk it out', I'm just going to continue leaving it all at the gym.   I can't change what is going on in my life.  What I can do is lift, sweat, jump, punch and kick until my ritual has purged all of the excess crap from my brain and body.  

My problems aren't gone, nothing is really better and probably won't be for a good while.  However, I can gift myself with some relief, if only for an hour at a time.  I can walk in with a heavy heart and leave with the load I'm carrying just a little bit lighter.   Strength is empowering and essential for survival.  I'm not stupid, I'll take it.  

p.s.  I suspect this is getting so many views because some people hoped I'd be advertising the details of my issues right now.  If you're one of them, please stop asking friends and co-workers about my business, that's just tacky.  Plus, the few that know won't tell you.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Three Sentences

Ok, guys.  Here is the deal.  I am barely functioning at the moment.  My fingers feel like big fat sausages and I'm only very clumsily typing this short post out.    If you know me, you know the hell I am going through.   If you don't know what I'm even going on about, it's either because I haven't found the strength to pick up the phone and repeat the whole mess again or I just don't want to tell you.  I'll continue sending updates to those in the loop via email, it's all I've got to give.   Please, no phone calls.

Writing about what is happening may seem like a challenge worthy of taking on, maybe even therapeutic, but I know it's not a good idea in any way.    I am in a sedative (legal) induced haze just to keep myself functioning for my family as best I can, I'm not concerned with much else…. especially providing entertainment to people who are just dying to know what's happening.   I can see it in their eyes.

My head is thick and I'm going on very little and poor quality sleep.  Basically, I'm a right mess and a half.  I'm not putting my business out on display in this current state, I'm just typing this to say that I won't be posting for a wee bit, until the worst is over.   I do not know how long that will be.  If any of you have some compassion energy to throw my way, now would be the best time to do it.   Standing up is hard right now.

No one can say anything to make some situations better.  Words of comfort are being fumbled in the worst of ways, and I simply wish that people would stop trying to counsel me or tell me that they know how I feel…. imagining is one thing, knowing is a totally different creature that I'm sad to have met.  I am not asking for people to drop everything for me, thought it would have been nice to have a strong (and silent, not advice giving) body to lean on in a few of those critical hours this week.  I'm actually feeling pretty pissed off that I'm always there for people when they need it and I've had to end up standing up to a lot of this totally alone and vulnerable.  At least there was no element of surprise in it.  I sort of figured.

I did get a bit of comfort from an unlikely source.  Mr. Operation Human Monster was kind enough to drop me a line elsewhere to provide me with a video he thought I would like.    I'm glad he did, because I do like it.   Mr. Monster is a cool guy, if you enjoy fitness, check out his blog.  

See you all later.   Look on the bright side, if this breaks me entirely, my posts will most likely be more entertaining in the future.  Crazy people say some funny shit.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crying Uncle

I've always believed in not practicing avoidance in difficult situations, knowledge is power.  Well, now I'm wishing to eat my words and here, on this blog, am officially changing my stance on the issue.  I had a good day yesterday until the phone started ringing last night.  If you know me, you know I absolutely despise the phone.  What I was hit with last night, simply by picking it up, is the perfect example why.

I endured a revolting, detailed and disturbing account of an ongoing situation at ten in the evening….. with absolutely no ability to do anything about it but replay it in my head until I thought I would have to be carried out  of my home in a straightjacket.  It was not a total shock, but the affirmation that  my worst case scenarios were not figments of my imagination, but all too true, were almost too much to take.  I was left feeling helpless and nauseous as I sat repeating over and over again, "I fucking knew this was going to happen", as if that knowledge was supposed to take the edge off of the sock in the gut I was reeling from.  

I am a doer, I solve problems, and now in this case I find that I am powerless to do anything to affect the situation or even come to terms with it.   Can I just interject that sometimes it's miserable to be right about shit all the time?   I have a fatalistic perspective on things at times, and more often than not I wish in the back of my head for life to prove me wrong.  Well, this time it hasn't.   I'm honestly in undiscovered territory, I am at a loss.   I've been crying uncle for months upon months now, why doesn't anyone hear me?  

Me, the person that all my friends come to for advice and answers, that woman has absolutely nothing that she can say to herself to make things better, there is no comfort anywhere in sight.   I would call on my closest friends to help me carry my grief and burden, but they won't say anything right either, so what's the point?   I don't need pity, I don't need misguided advice,  I just want it to go away.  I want to un-know and stick my head in the sand, because knowing is just too hard.  Call me a coward, I don't fucking care.  If I was a drinker I'd be drowning my sorrows in a bottle or something, instead I'm just taking my prescribed Xanax that is doing nothing to take off the edge from the gaping hole in my heart and the screaming that won't stop in my head.  I am totally unprepared to weather this storm, I feel way too fragile right now.  That is not only the truth, but it's by far the hardest thing to admit.

I'm fucking angry, devastated, shaky and feeling a touch volatile.  I want to hit someone, blame someone, do something, anything.  Purging myself of some of this emotion by writing is down is all that I can do.  I suppose I could throw some of my anger and aggression at a completely innocent party. That will have to do.   Most pregnant women are fucking intolerable.   Before you get all uptight, I said most.  I personally wasn't one of them, but I still have to share space with most that are.   Fuck off ladies, you're not that special.  I hate to burst your bubble, but this part of your parenting journey is as easy as it's ever going to get.  Remember young mothers, you don't know it all, you don't have all the answers and none of you are immune.  Save your haughty attitude about what a great parent you are, cause one day someone will be there to see you fall hard.  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chicken shit and other shit, too.

I've tried so hard to find the time to write this week, but it hasn't happened for me as much as I'd have liked.   I had at least seven topics to share, but now I can only remember bits and pieces.  I'm afraid you'll have to settle for snippets of my brain again.

1.  My face is falling.   I am now diligently slathering on firming night creams all day and getting up after twenty minutes to look at my face in the mirror to see if the ever so slight jiggle at my jawline and the creases in my neck have  improved.   In addition to seeing nothing after four days, I'm having a hard time with my glasses sliding down my face from all the moisturizing.   Aging is total bullshit.

2.   I tried to be a good mom today and took my kid to the easter egg hunt extravaganza at the old folks home down the street.   Somehow, I managed to get into an altercation with a Mexican woman (only accompanied by teen boys with moustaches)  picking up eggs and stuffing them into her purse while little kids around her cried because they only got one or two.   By the time I was done with her, I had no energy for the idiot who had his Chihuahua shitting in the grass where the eggs were.   Ridiculous.  This is why I don't like to go out in public.

3.  Not only could Brock Lesnar crush your skull like a grape, but he's eloquent to boot.  His catch phrase for this season on Ultimate Fighter is 'making chicken salad out of chicken shit'.   I offered to make my trainer a t-shirt with this slogan but then to add….. 'one client at a time'.    I personally think it's the epitome of positive thinking, but I suppose others don't see it that way, because even though he laughed, he looked slightly nervous that I'd do it and expect him to wear it.  All my good ideas get shot down.

4.  Would someone care to explain to me why I am seeing girls under the age of nine wearing FAKE NAILS?   I'm not talking about the Lee press on nails that were around when we were kids (my mother would never let me have any, she said it made little girls look like cheap Lolita hookers, and she was right)…..I'm talking about the full set of acrylic nails women get at the Vietnamese nail place.  Great, and here I thought they couldn't get any trampier looking due to the words "Juicy" and "Apple Bottoms" scrawled in cursive on the ass of their jeans and track pants.   Seriously, what the fuck is going on?  I'll tell you, horse shit parenting, that's what.  I am so glad to not have daughters.

5.  I really am trying so hard to not be such a control freak.  Today I had cleaners come to the house for the first time.   I like to clean my own house my way, but I was desperately wanting some DEEP cleaning action.  After spending two hours cleaning for the cleaners (I don't want people to see my house dirty), giving him a lecture about how I didn't want anyone touching my linens (it creeps me out to think of strangers changing my sheets) and then rambling some more, he very sweetly suggested that I leave and that he'd call when they were done.    I came home to a sparkling house, the toilet paper rolls had toilet paper origami flowers on them and I liked it so much I don't want anyone to wipe their butts for at least the rest of the day... I suppose someone will think I'm unreasonable now, as usual.   I was also slightly angry that it was cleaner than when I do it, but I think he knew I was a neurotic ticking time bomb, because he went out of his way to tell me how easy it was to clean and how tidy my house was to begin with.   Bullet dodged, he can come back.  Brazilian men are really smooth talkers, plus they wink a lot.

6.  I have been the innocent victim of venomous insults for weeks now.
*First I was told I'm beginning to look like Tina Fey.  I don't think it was meant as an insult, but to be compared to a woman who is the poster girl for the middle aged, unattractive nerd type is not awesome.  Women want to hear that they have mysterious or raw appeal, not that they are a suitable visual counterpart to Steve Carell.  It wasn't meant in the 'you're so hilarious and witty, you should be on SNL' way….  that would have been nice, though.   I tried to blame the comparison on my glasses but was shot down.  Apparently it's my face.   
*I was told by a student earlier this week that it was cool to be taller than me because they could all see the gray hair on my head… he did not realize I was so OLD.
*Yesterday I was not carded for alcohol at a restaurant by a teenager that I'm sure I saw card a table of senior citizens AND told by someone online that I am more uninteresting to them than they are to me.   (Ok, that last one made me laugh and wasn't really an insult, it was a lame comeback, but it was an attempt at an insult, so it counts.)

I'm telling you, people are trying to push me right over the edge, but I'm not going to break.   I'm just going to put on more night cream, pick up an interesting hobby (like knife throwing or something), remember to touch up my roots and wear my contacts more often.  That all actually seems like more work that it's worth, so I'll probably do nothing and continue to to take poisonous arrows of insult to the heart.   *shrugs*

I think that about covers it.  I must now take to my bed with a glass of wine and a true crime book to recover from the traumas of the week.