Lesson Learned

Biology lesson. True fact (according to moi): The human brain is like an English Muffin, except not nearly as tasty. And all those memories, everything you’ve EVER experienced in your LIFE sinks into those nooks and crannies like so much melted butter. Mmmmm…butter! Disclaimer: My apologies to high school teachers everywhere. Somewhere within my muffin brain lurks a section labeled ‘High School’. Most of the day-to-day teenage angst is in there, hidden to me. But every once in a while a little gem of a memory pops forth. This is one of them: We’ll call him Mr. B. He was tall and skinny, balding, with a nose that would’ve looked better on an eagle. He wore his cranky pants cinched somewhere just south of his armpits. He taught American history and had five classes every day, thirty-five kids each. He was passionate about his subject–and we were not. All we wanted to do was screw around. We were kids. He was an academic tyrant. And I was the class clown. Do you see where this is going? I spent the better part of the year banished to the round table in the alcove in the back of the room because Mr. B had a problem with my face. Or at least that’s what he said when he plopped the oversized globe on the table directly in front of me, blocking me from view from the rest of the class. I don’t want to see your face anymore! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! As if the world could come between me and my peeps. I didn’t mind banishment. I was able to munch on carrots...

Shift Happens

I met a gay couple at a party the other day. Nothing unusual about that. I’ve known lots of gay men, lesbians and a few transgender folks in my lifetime. Dear friends, co-workers, acquaintances. I don’t worry myself over what direction anyone swings in the family tree. I really don’t care. It’s none of my business. There was something about this couple that struck a chord in me. They’d been together thirty years. Thirty years–that’s a long time for anyone. Married for five, just before Prop 8 slammed that window shut for same-sex marriage in California. Despite some folks not wanting to see other folks married, Prop 8 was finally overturned. Can you imagine being told your marriage isn’t valid? Isn’t recognized by the state, even if it’s only for a little while. Think. About. That. And how that would make you feel. Like there was something wrong with you, maybe? Like you were different. Like you didn’t feel or love or laugh or cry or breathe or bleed like everyone else. Like you weren’t good enough? And how would you feel if it was your brother or sister in that situation? If you had to watch someone you loved being denied their basic human rights. I sat with one of these men for quite a while. Talking. We were joined at different times by his spouse and his sister and brother-in-law. I was struck by the family unity they projected. By the obvious love between them ALL. By the ordinariness of it. Because these people have been together a long time. As Mama used to say, “You’re not just...

Balance

Enlightenment hit me like a ton o’bricks the other night, an AHA! moment akin to OPRAH HERSELF slapping me upside the head. Hard. Enlightenment said, “Yo–WHAT are you DOING??? It’s zero one thirty in the A.M. and you are STILL awake. Don’t tell me you can’t sleep. I see that pad. I see that pen. I see those wheels turning between those ears. Most of all I see this as a pattern you do every night. You need some balance in your life…because right now it’s so out of balance you couldn’t walk a straight line on a level sidewalk. In your bare feet. Not even gonna mention what would happen if you put on those strappy heels, the ones gathering dust in the closet.” So I turned out the light (grumbling a bit), slid down between the covers, did some relaxation breathing and...listened to those damn wheels spinning like a couple of hamsters having a par-tay inside my head. Eventually I fell asleep. And all too soon I woke up puffy face and bleary eyed ready to start another day. The usual. Except this day was different. Oh, indeed it was. Because I listened to Miss Enlightenment, soaked her message in down to my toes and knew, without a doubt, she was right. This was the day I began the journey of taking care of me. Of saying YES! to loving myself back from the edge. In between the regular stuff of life–the writing, the arting, the things I had to do–I made time to meditate in the morning. Later I spent some quality time sitting in the...

The Prodigal Blog

You know that Bible story, the one where the kid bottoms out the family car  camel and later leaves home in a hissy fit, swearing never to return, except for unguarded moments when parents aren’t home and he can use the pool and love on his dog and conspire with his younger sister. Remember that one? Of course you do, I’m sure you learned it in Sunday school. Remember when he came home after 6 weeks of wandering, wrapped his arms around his mother and said, quite sincerely, “I’m sorry I was such a dick.” And she forgave him because he was her son. But the sibling, the one that stayed at home and did the dishes (occasionally) and took out the garbage (under duress) wailed, “Wah…that’s not fair! I stayed here and did good child things and you still love him more than me.” To which the mother replied, “You were always with me. I’ve bought you Skittles and Smart Water. I’ve given up my favorite corner of the sofa and the remote to you. But he was lost to me and then he came back. Of course I forgive him. And, heh…heh… next week he goes to boot camp and the Marines will shave his head and kick his sorry ass over and over and over again and he won’t know what hit him.” And the sibling smiled at that and understood. Do you remember that story? I remember it.  Oh wait…. Wait. I think I told it wrong. I think a few things got confused in the translation. Like details. And the kid sounds suspiciously like...

Oh, Really?

I’m all about being authentic on this blog. All about saying YES!!! to life. YES!!! to who I am. Except for politics. Politics are…ugly. Alienating. I want my readers to like me, to want to come back for more. I don’t want to get into arguments with anyone.  So my political views are something I don’t share here. Off limits. Until now. Because something happened the other day that left me seeing red. And yellow. Blue, green, purple…what the hell, ALL the colors of a good mental bruising. You see, my son was a US Marine. The kid did three tours in Iraq. Three. COMBAT. Deployments. Combat as in dodging bullets and bombs on a daily basis. As in watching his friends die. And doing things I never raised him to do. Ever. Combat as in growing up way too fast, way too hard. And taking his family along for the ride. Seriously, I refer to this a my batshit crazy period. But lack of sleep, flinching every time a strange car drove up the lane, 2AM phone calls and daily OCD rituals I HAD to do to keep the kid alive…well, hell, the fact I’m sane now is a miracle. So when Ann Romney went on national television the other day and compared her five strapping sons’ missionary service and that of her husband as akin to serving in the military, it kinda pissed me off. As in, yo Annie, listen up…pedaling bicycles and going door to door to grow your CHURCH is NOT NOWHERE NEARLY NOTHING like serving your COUNTRY in the military. Especially in time of...

Kumbaya

Harriet and I met the summer we were 12. Just a couple of kids at camp. Throw in ponies and a whole lot o’mischief and the next thing you know nearly 50 years have come and gone. Between us we’ve had  three husbands (two for her, one for me), three kids (two for me, one for her) and more dogs and horses than I can count. That’s not true. I could count them. I have enough fingers and toes. It just sounds more…dramatic…this way. Like we live in the land of Old McDonald. I love her like a sister. Which means we ARGUE like sisters too. Especially during election season. And a presidential election? Most especially. Because when it comes to politics, we’re on opposite side of the fence. Opposite sides of the planet. It’s simple really…I’m right and she’s wrong. If she’d only see it that way everything would be fine and dandy. Honkey dory. Kumbaya moments apleanty. But she doesn’t. Granted, half of the country doesn’t either. I have other friends and a few family members who follow the same line of thought. And we don’t argue about it. In fact when my son, my own flesh and blood who took forty-nine hours to wander down the birth canal…yes, FORTY-NINE excruciating just-kill-me-now hours…when this not-so-little ingrate posted on my Facebook wall Every four years I have to remind myself I’m not adopted I read it and laughed. LAUGHED. And told him it was a karmic thing we were working through. Because it doesn’t bother me that we think differently. He doesn’t try to change my mind and I don’t try to change...

A Matter of Direction

I was cleaning the litter box…and it was bad. Only the most powerful hose could do justice against unmentionable kitty…things..stuck on the bottom. This was a job for…ta-da... the jet stream. I needed a paint peelin’ pressure wash. But there was one little problem…the hose wasn’t attached to the faucet. Not a big deal, right? Well, for some reason it was. Some STOO-PID person (I’m not naming names) must’ve stepped on the end. The female part. Swear to big G I’m NOT MAKING THIS UP. Hose connectors have a girl parts and boy parts, look it up if you don’t believe me. In fact, I’ll make it easy. Here’s a link. Girl parts. Boy parts. Screw ’em both together and you get a working hose. Oh, the places I could go with that one… But I won’t. Because this is not a post about hose porn. Oh no, I have far meatier content in mind. Heh heh… The girl part looked okay but she must have been slightly bent. Because no amount of screwing could get her to clamp around the boy part. Which meant I was totally screwed because no way was that litter box being washed in the sink. Like any act between a girl and a boy, I figured a little finesse would make things happen. A slightly different angle. A firm but steady pressure. NOTHING!!! It was getting dark. I’d been dicking  struggling with this far too long. The mosquitoes were coming out. The poor cat was dancing around and crossing her legs. By mentally condemning two family members to the hall of shame, I’d cracked...

Like Mother T

Last week I began the process of de-cluttering my physical space. This week I’m working on the space between my ears. As far as the universe is concerned, that means it’s open season on testing me. It all began a few days ago when I woke up and said (to no one in particular) I am going to think before I speak. Weigh my words carefully, and (this is the most important part) neither bitch-out nor judge ANYONE or ANYTHING. Today. Tomorrow.  And every day for the rest of my life. Watch what I say for the rest of my life? Well, sure. I’m playing BIG with this one. Aiming for verbal sainthood. Wise. Compassionate. Often quoted. Like Mother Teresa. Or Dr. Wayne. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Mwa-ha-ha!!! Do you have ANY idea how freakin’ HARD that non-judgmental shit stuff is? Yeah, neither did I. Well, here’s how it went down. I’m talkin’ about the first few days because this is an on-going process. A rest-of-my-life process, like brushing my teeth. It will become easier, I’m sure. Like eating healthy. I’m working on that one too. First, I had that conversation with myself. Set the intention. This was before breakfast, when I was still lying in bed. A pre-caffeinated intention of the purest order. Things always seem so much easier when you’re in bed. And not really awake. Later that day, I shared my new found intention with a friend, who laughed so hard she squealed like a guinea pig. I suppose she had good reason…I have a reputation of being a blurter. Most days there’s...

Lighten Up

I took some vacation days last week. Stayed home on one of those stay-cation things. But this wasn’t one of those stayin’ home hangin’ out at the river stay-cations. No m’am. This was I’m staying home from work so I can clean my house. Say what? Is she crazy??? Umm…quite possibly, yes. Yes, I believe I may have a few screws loose. But I also have a new studio that’s organized. And a laundry room you can actually walk in without fear of falling into a pile of…something…and never being found again. Dirty laundry, fifty thousand pieces of recycling, close-to-empty cans of paint from every room we’ve ever painted in thirty years of marriage, mops, brooms, STUFF. Just STUFF. Dangerous things that would reach out and pull you down and EAT YOU. Especially small children. Stuff that is now organized. Or gone. Gone, gone, gone farrrrrr away. To the away place. Or your house. If you’re one of the chosen, you’ll know soon enough. Stuff that will NEVER come back. That will never breed in the closets again. E.V.E.R. I made a to-do list before my stay-cation. A list that included every room in the house, every closet, every drawer. And the piles of pine needles out back that I assured my husband I’d deal with while he was away, far away, like out of the country far away. His was not a vacation either. Business. And, umm…a word of advice here. If you should happen to travel with a passport that has been gnawed upon by a dog, no matter how cute the dog and no matter how...

In my own skin

Right now I’m very aware that I have thighs. Two of ’em. One on each side. And they’re quivering. Not romance novel quivering, more like holy crap! how many squats can a girl take quivering. Because I’m saying YES!!! to getting back in shape. And my neighbor Wendy, who just happens to be a personal trainer, mentioned she had a new class. Hiking along local trails. Stopping to exercise from time to time. I told her I’m out of shape. She said, No problem. It sounded like a good idea, so I said yes. Oh, oh, pick me! I want to go! But the night before it sounded not quite as great. Because I’d have to get up and move my body through the wilderness in a few hours. What if everyone else was faster than me? What if I held them back? What if what if what if.… I lay there in bed, my new 10:30 bedtime mocking my restless mind for hours as WHINEY GIRL filled my head with all sorts of reasons to stay home. I woke up, took the dogs out and felt some pain. Somewhere. I’m sure I did. I fed the horses. Decided my tummy might hurt. OMG! What if I have to use a potty and there’s no potty out there? What if — WHINEY GIRL decided there wasn’t time for a shower.  And no sense putting clean clothes on a body that’s going to sweat anyway. Dirty hair, dirty clothes, starting the day out stinky… eff you, Wendy. Uh-oh…it’s a bad sign when WHINEY GIRL starts channeling MEAN GIRL. I met Wendy at the...