Then & Now

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With a daughter on the verge of her 13th birthday, time has forced me to take a look at my life and take stock.

I’m remembering back to when I was a kid, young adult, all the things I thought people were needlessly worrying over…

Things that would NEVER be important to me. Things like:

My credit score. Who knew how BIG of a role THAT would play?!

Pets ruining even the possibility of a clean house/carpet… Surprise!

My “final wishes” or after the Terri Schiavo case, my living will. Who wants to think about that when you’re invincible?

Car maintenance and repair- BORING!

How to cook – that’s what pizza is for.

Voting- that kinda blew up in my face…

Being punctual. I’m trying REALLY hard to improve this one. Work with me! There are a million things to do people, while you’re waiting, do them! Go through your phone and delete old emails/texts/photos you don’t want. It’ll take you longer than you think!

The crazy people and state of Florida. What an incredible wealth of writing material! The F should stand for fucked!

The list of things I thought I’d ALWAYS care about was surprisingly short:

Clothes/makeup- I do not have to have name brand clothes or flawless makeup.

Boys- Once you’re married, why keep trying? KIDDING!

What others thought of me- it’s none of my business what others think. Honestly, I don’t spend much of my time thinking about what other people do or say so I was probably overthinking the amount of time and energy other people were putting into judging me. I may be wrong about that, but guess what? I don’t care!

So, that’s my list in it’s early stages. I know I shorted you (and myself) with Sunday’s post being so short… I plan on making it up, house hunting is exhausting though and I’m doing everything I can to maintain my sanity. I guess this may be more of a heads up… Until we figure out where we’re going and have possibly moved, the post are probably going to be shorter, more scattered. I’m still dedicated though. I appreciate everyone who reads, truly.

 

What I Learned From My Mother

Very brave, beautiful post.

BeautyBeyondBones

Tammy Taylor. Carol Brady. Claire Dunphy. Marge Simpson. Claire Huxtable. Kate McCallister. Mrs. George.

When it comes to movie and TV moms, we have been #blessed with all kinds.
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And these characters are all so lovable because we can see glimpses of our own mothers in each and every one.

Some more than others, (I’m lookin’ at you, Mrs. Regina George, self-proclaimed “cool mom”), but each reveal an aspect of every mother’s heart. Because at the end of the day, Mrs. George is really just desperately trying to relate to her kids, however questionable her tactics may be.



I’ve already expressed on here, numerous times, my complete admiration of my mother. She is my rock. My best friend. My role model. My biggest supporter. And I love her with my entire being.


But you already know that. So I’ll table the gushing. At least for this post. 🙂

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Adulting- a VERY short post

This whole adult-thing, it’s not nearly as cool as I thought it would be. I’m not ever sure how it happened. I hope someone lost their job over it… letting me fall through the cracks in the system. No one asked me if I wanted to grow up (ok, lots of people probably did and I’m sure I enthusiastically agreed). There was no training manual. No crash courses. If I’d known… I wouldn’t have done it. “Being an adult is like looking both ways before crossing the street and then getting hit by an airplane.”

Yeah. So there’s that. I’m sure I’m feeling my age extra hard as my “baby” will be 13 in just over a week. Thirteen. So I have that to deal with. On top of finding a place for us to live. Dealing with asshole insurance companies who are refusing to pay for services because I “make too much”. Tell me how that works when we’re so close to the poverty line… There’s family stuff, there’s work stuff. There’s relationship stuff. I’m about – far away from repeating a mantra I learned in treatment. “Two tears in a bucket, mother fuck it!”

But it’s late. I’m tired and I need my meds and some sleep. The only reason I’m still up is because I made a commitment to posting twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays and I’m an adult and that’s what we do.

Until next time.

 

Is Accountability a Liability?

Earlier today Don and I went to a fast food place to get something to eat after a long, early morning school ceremony for Tayla. Admittedly, we were both a little cranky. Hunger and lack of sleep do not mix. We get up to the counter (oh, I’m not going to use their real name so let’s just say it was Bendy’s) and place our order. A few minutes later, at the table, Don bites into his burger and spits it out. “Oh my God, that’s horrible!” he rewrapped the sandwich and brought it up to the counter. I watched silently as he stomped his way back to the table and dropped himself in a plastic chair. “What was wrong with it?” I finally asked.

“Ugh, the bun was like stale and the cheese was cold”.

He unwrapped his remade cheeseburger and eyed it with suspicion before biting into it. Again, the sandwich and paper were balled up and he marched back up to the counter. “Could I speak to your manager please?” I heard in his deep baritone voice. I was glad I wasn’t up there with him and I felt a little bad for whomever the manager was. Don isn’t always the nicest of guys, especially when he’s got a complaint.

I didn’t hear the exchange between the two, just noticed he came back to the table empty handed. I swallowed hard.

“They can’t even make the remake right? I told them to forget it, I didn’t want it.”

I took a deep breath and studied my cup of chili before deciding it needed some sour cream. I figured a dollar would cover it and I shuffled up to the counter. “Could I get a sour cream please?” I asked.

The woman behind the counter opened the fridge and asked “How many do you want? Three? Two?”

I told her two would probably do the trick and handed her my money. She shook her head. “No, it’s ok. It’s on us because he complained about the burger.” She motioned with her chin in Don’s direction.

While I always appreciate free sour cream, I don’t think that was the best way to handle the situation. He’s upset so you give me free stuff? How does that work? You could’ve apologized to him, given him a refund or a coupon, I know he didn’t want another burger… But by addressing me and not Don, he’s still got a bad taste in his mouth from the whole experience. He didn’t feel heard or validated and I’m guessing he may have felt even a little slighted by the fact they gave me something for free when he’s the one who had the issue.

I get it, and I think it needs to change.

I understand that Don can be an intimidating person, especially when you are on the receiving end of the death stare but by indirectly dealing with his issue, you’ve compounded the problem. Guess how many people he’s going to tell about the bad experience at Bendy’s? Probably everyone he works with. We both work in the food industry and while it may not be a ton of people in the grand scheme of things, word gets around. Unfortunately, bad word makes the rounds in lightning speed while praise travels about 5 mph and takes the scenic route.

So, Bendy’s, it’s up to you. Start making yourselves accountable and treat people with complaints directly or maybe change your name to WeNeedToMakeAmmendy’s.

Take It Away, Erma

“When God Created Mothers”

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”

It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.

One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”

I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

Can it think?”

Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”

It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”

What’s it for?”

It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

You are a genius, ” said the angel.

Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”

 

Erma Bombeck, When God Created Mothers    

What’s So Funny?

A couple of months ago, someone recommended the cartoon humor site, FunnyTimes.com. “They’re accepting cartoons from freelancers… and they pay”. I wondered why she was telling me about this, (I can do funny but stand up funny. In person funny. Drawing? Cartoons? Not so much.)

I looked over their website to get a feel for what kind of humor they were into. Lots of single panel cartoon, basic drawing (still out of my wheelhouse) but I started to get some ideas. Then, I got to work. A few weeks later, I finished my first cartoon!

I’d originally intended on using a picture of a lotus flower but at the last minute, I changed my mind. It was the morning I read about that school in Kennesaw, Ga., who received some complaints about practicing mindfulness in the classroom. I can feel my brain start to catch on fire all over again… The school was teaching breathing techniques to the elementary age kids to help with anxiety and stress as a coping mechanism.

Some parents pitched a fit because “kids can’t pray in school, yet they’re pushing ideology on our students. Some of those things are religious practices that we don’t want our children doing in our schools.”

What?!

Yes, GOD forbid we bring awareness to ourselves or try to be calm, centered and in touch…

See? Sorry, it just… defies words.

Anyway, I was already wondering if the lotus flower was really the “right” image and after reading that article, I changed the picture from the lotus flower to a woman. Her hands were positioned in a way that mimicked what some people do when they have a headache. Perfect.

I was confident I’d made the right choice. I put it in an envelope and sent it out.

Last week I got a reply. It essentially said “Thanks but it’s not right for us” and they sent my cartoon back.

When I unfolded the picture, the picture I put together and sent out, I was a little shocked. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it before…

It featured a Hindu woman in prayer. It looked like I was taking a shot at the Hindu religion. I know a lot of people get nervous with comedy and religion start to flirt but if I think something is funny? I’ll say it, write it, apparently cartoon it… I don’t shy away from controversy. Yet, somehow, I was almost offended! I guess it’s because the people at FunnyTimes don’t know me or know that I can joke about anything and not do it with malice. My only intent (usually) is to make people laugh. I laugh a lot. At myself. If other people want to laugh at me too? Great! The more the merrier.

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But suddenly, I could clearly see how out of context, the cartoon would be almost prejudice.

So now what? Quit? Fuck that. Find another audience. (Cue you guys).

Here’s my almost, sorta racist(?) cartoon about mindfulness and the ridiculous parents who are afraid of Vishnu (and all the other deities).

“There can really be as many Hindu Gods as there are devotees to suit the moods, feelings, emotions & social background of the devotees.”

~Sri Rama Krishna~

What about you? Do you think there’s anything too serious to be joked about? Let me know in the comments below!

***On a side note, it’s that time of year again! Acme Comedy Co is hosting their annual Funniest Person in the Twin Cities contest. I signed up already and my night to perform is July 5th at 8:00pm. Super glad that a) it’s not the 10:30 show I had last year (every show was at 10:30!) and b) I’m scheduled in July vs June… and then had to wait 2 ½ months to see if I advanced to the semi-finals (I did!).

What a Night(mare)!

A few years ago, I tried Ambien to help me sleep. It was amazing. I had never felt so well rested! So refreshed! I love it. It, however, didn’t love me. The last night I used it, I put a plastic bag over my head and tried to tie it off. Thank God for Don. I tried to explain to him that I wasn’t trying to kill myself, I was just cold and inside the bag was “warm and happy”. His logic, which explained just because I wasn’t trying to kill myself didn’t mean I wouldn’t end up dead, was lost on me. Until the morning. I didn’t remember doing that. Nor did I remember what I’d eaten that was now crusty and caked on around my mouth. Or what I’d done with the car keys… (refrigerator). I knew it was the end.

I’ve tried a number of different medications to help me hit a 6 or 7 block of uninterrupted sleep but to no avail.

Currently, I’m not really taking anything for sleep, which is why the other night was so strange.

I’d been sitting at the computer until my chin hit my chest, for the third time. “I HAVE to go to sleep” is the last thought I remember having.

The next morning, I get back in my chair and see my wallet laid out and my credit card gone. Oh shit. I checked my bank balance, no evidence of any purchases. I checked my email, to make sure I didn’t have any confirmation of purchases I may have made. Nope, all clear. WTF then? Where was my card? Why was my wallet even out in the first place?

After a few hours, a purchase did appear on my bank statement. For $1. A dollar? What can you even buy for a dollar? Who? Wha? Wher??? I couldn’t even form a complete sentence or question.

I googled what little information there was and found a Facebook page, dedicated toward hating this company of “scammers”. How they “steal from people”, lawyers and police are getting involved… I noticed under each comment though, there was a simple “call 800-xxx-xxx. Cancel and ask for a refund”.

I sigh and prepare for a long, uncomfortable phone conversation.

“Hello. I’m calling because I ordered something from you, in my sleep. I need to cancel it.”

“What?” says the guy on the other end of the line.

“Sometimes I do stuff in my sleep and this was one of them. What did I even order?”

“Ma’am (big mistake) this is a credit score monitoring service. Have you received your credit score?”

“Why the hell do I want to monitor my credit?” I ask, because I’m sure he’ll know.

“Are you trying to buy a car or take out a loan?”

“No.”

“Well, are you moving?”

Oh shit.

“Yes, we are moving but I don’t need to monitor my credit score. They’ll check it and charge me for it anyway, so please cancel this.”

“Oh, you don’t want to cancel this. If you’re already a member with us, you won’t be charged again.”

“What? No. Please just cancel this.”

“You’re still on the free trial. You have this available to you until May 4th”

“The same free trial that cost me a dollar? Listen, I don’t want this. I certainly don’t want to be charged $29.99 for it… I’m already pissed off about the $1.00 I spent but that’s on me.”

“I understand. The cost can be a bit much. I’ll tell you what. You can have all of the same service, for just a fraction of the price. I’ll knock it down to just $12.99. How’s that sound?”

“Still like something I don’t want.”

“What about $9.99. There’s no obligation and you can cancel anytime.”

“Are you sure? Because I’m trying to cancel it now! I don’t want this, I wouldn’t want this, even if it was free. PLEASE, cancel my subscription.”

“Ok ma’am. There’s just one other thing… Identity theft is abundant nowadays. We can offer you protection from…”

“Listen man, if anyone steals my identity, the joke will be on them. They are welcome to it. Please, I’m asking nicely. Cancel my membership and stop trying to sell me stuff.”

“Ok, hold on a sec, I’m going to get you a confirmation number”

“What did I JUST SAY about trying to sell me shit? Oh, confirmation number? Ok, that’d be great.”

I kinda thought he hung up on me at this point. There had been so much background noise, I had to close my other ear just to be able to hear him. But, the call timer was still ticking.

A few minutes later he came back with the number.

“Make sure you don’t lose that number now, just in case you get charged for anything. Now you can prove you cancelled it on April 29th.”

Why the fuck would I get charged for anything else. I almost ask but deem it too risky. He may have a dozen solutions ie things he can sell me to help.

“Is there anything else I can assist you with today?”

Are you kidding me? I wonder.

“No, you’ve done enough” I said and hung up.

Now, I’m going to have to figure out how to hide my wallet and/or the computer from myself at night but still know where it is in the morning…

Can’t even imagine how much trouble I’d be in if I were still taking Ambien. Scary thought…

***Do you have any strange nighttime habits or extracurricular activities going on after lights out? Strange side effects of sleep medication? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

It’s Sinking In

He is gone and I am feeling it.

I put up my defenses right away, “I don’t want anyone to tell me they are sorry” I said. I thought it was because it wouldn’t do any good. I wouldn’t know how  to respond… I know? I’m sorry too?

But now I’m wondering if it was a way to avoid feeling the sadness. Avoid spending time with it, understanding it and ultimately letting it go.

“What’s the big deal, anyway?” I thought. He hadn’t been born and I knew the odds were not on my side. “I shouldn’t have even gotten my hopes up”, “I should’ve known this would happen”. That’s what’s been playing on a loop in my head.

Yesterday I had my writing class. The last group of people I told I was expecting and now the last group I’d have to tell “I lost him”.

It went ok. It started out ok. And then, the prompt. To write a letter to someone. Anyone. A part of ourselves even. I started a letter to my guilt. The growing guilt I had over “should haves” and “if only”. The guilt that would not bring Noah back and more importantly, wouldn’t bring me back.

The tears started and grew with each unwritten sentence. I sat there, pen poised above paper and let the tidal waves rage. (Thankfully there were a couple of other people who had allergies, so that helped make it seem like my crying wasn’t such a big deal).

Then I forced myself to write. Dear guilt, you may have been invited but now you are being asked to leave. You are not helping. I need to grieve and you are only impeding that effort. I don’t like you anyway and I don’t want you hanging around just in case, in moment of weakness, I call out your name. Noah is gone, for whatever reason. He was meant to be here and I believe, he did what he came to do. Even if I don’t understand it, I accept it. I signed my goodbye and forgot about it until now.

 

The rest of class went well and I received lots of love, hugs and support. I even repressed the urge to shut people down, letting them express their sorrow for my loss. I took in their kind words and the heartfelt looks of kindness on their faces.

I drove home and wondered how, with all this support, can I feel so completely alone?

I fell into bed and sent out a text. “I am here” was the reply. It was all I needed and went right to sleep.

I woke up later with an ache in my chest… one that is slowly replacing the fog in my brain. Losing someone hurts, it don’t wish it on anyone, though I think it would hurt more to have lost them and felt nothing at all.

Or as Kelly Bundy on “Married with Children” once said “it is better to have loved and lost than to never have seen Lost in Space”.

I like this better though:

“Believe me, it is no time for words when the wounds are fresh and bleeding; no time for homilies when the lightening’s shaft has smitten and the man lies stunned and stricken. Then let the comforter be silent; let him sustain by his presence, not by his preaching; by his sympathetic silence, not by his speech. Afterward, when the storm is spent, he may venture to open his mouth; afterward, when the morn has dawned, he may seek to “justify the ways of God to man”, for afterward the sufferer will be prepared to hear, and afterward the sufferer himself may be able to extract sweetness from bitterness, music from mourning, songs from sorrow, and “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” from the root of wretchedness and woe.”

George C. Lorimer, Isms Old and New: Winter Sunday Evening

And I think I am getting there.

To acknowledge him, is to acknowledge the potential & the loss of him. And in admitting the loss and the hurt that goes along with it, I am bringing myself closer to the people who will help me heal.

Looking for a new wallpaper the other day, this popped up:

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Thank to whomever brought you to me.

Risky Business

What have I gotten myself into now, I wonder. I have wanted to move for the past couple of years. Our lease ends July 1st and when the renewal reminder came in the mail, I had kinda freaked out. It started as a few fleeting thoughts about more space, a new neighborhood, possibly a pool… I expected these thoughts as they’ve made an appearance here and there but generally the thought of actually packing boxes, renting a U-haul and spending weekends without sleep because everything needs to be in its place was enough to snap me out of it. Not this year. The flame ignited within me grabbed ahold of this idea and it’s not going out until it’s burned me to ashes.

So I start looking. And looking. And looking some more. Know what I’ve found? A TON of shit that pisses me off!

I don’t remember what all was required of us when we moved into our place now, but I can’t imagine it was THIS hard to do. I expected rent to have gone up a bit, I just didn’t realize “a bit” was about $300.00 more than we’re paying now and for less space. Not including utilities, of course. That’s if I want to live anywhere near civilization. Prices come down the closer I get to Iowa and Wisconsin but… I’m a city girl.

The application fees used to be about $20-$35, now it’s averaging $50. Per person. Why? “Well, it’s to cover the cost of processing your application.”

“Really? Are you sure $100 will be enough to screw around on the computer to get the same information that I’m giving you right now? I mean, you don’t actually DO anything other than fax and forward information, right? When it comes back approved, can I get the money refunded or put toward a rent credit?”

“Well, uh, it’s a one-time processing fee- I’m not really in charge of that, you can talk to my manager…”

“So he can tell me the same thing? No thanks.”

Ugh.

That happens when I’ve found a place I’m even interested in. The ones that don’t make the cut are because of the following reasons:

There are no phots to go along with the listing. You want me to rent your place but you can’t be bothered to take a couple of pictures of it? Just about every phone has a camera and an internet connection. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a picture of the place YOU are trying to rent.

There are photos to go along with the listing, BAD photos. I know what a light socket looks like, thanks. Seriously, someone had a picture of a wall outlet. And of a mirror, that had no reflection because the flash was on, so it’s just a giant white spot in the middle with an interesting frame that’s made up of the photographer’s shadow.

If you’re actually trying to get a nice picture, pay attention. There was a cigarette that had been smoked partway, put out and then set onto of the mantle.

The pictures are blurry. Are you epileptic? Were you having a seizure during the first bedroom photograph? Or is this place in such a bad neighborhood, you snapped the shot as you were running by the place?

You zoomed in on the toilet. WHY God? WHY? Could you at least have sprayed a little Lysol first? Were you afraid I wouldn’t know that the lid could be lifted and wanted to show it in its full working condition?

There are 7 pictures total. 5 of them are of the front of the house. The other two are the garbage cans. What are you hiding?

If you’re going to leave a phone number, please either answer the call or call me back! I’ve left so many messages, looked at so many places, I can’t remember them all. I don’t want to bother you by calling repeatedly but there’s still a big question mark next to your address.

The absolute worst part about finding a new place to live so far, has been the fake ads. I’m getting better about being able to tell which ones are real and which are not. How do I know they are fake? Well, the ads are real but I inquired about two different properties and got almost the same response one right after the other. This is basically what the reply was:

This house is super cheap because- I will be dropping by, unannounced to check (that’s not creepy at all…) that you have kept it well maintained. My wife and I are leaving the country for an undetermined amount of time, so we need to get this taken care of quickly. Come by the place, see if you like it, I am unable to meet you there because of business but check out the location etc. Never mind the for sale sign in the yard! We were going to sell but decided to rent instead. Do not knock on the door or ring the bell, they will have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s a long story. Please send x amount of money to this address and tell me when you want your keys. Please, also fill out this application (which includes all of the “normal” questions but then asks for a picture of my family?) and we can do business soon.

Wow. It’s a long story? Let me make it a lot shorter. NO.

So here I am. Three days to either settle down and sign on for another year or, put in our 60 notice to vacate and HOPE we can find a place to move to.

How did we ever move before?

Shameless Promotion for Rox!

Because she’s the best. Supportive, nurturing, not afraid to critique- gently. She holds a sacred space for writers to come together and learn from one another. She’s awesome & if you want to be awesome too, you’d better sign up for one (or all) of her classes!

 

She has one opening in each of the following:  Biweekly Wednesday Group and Weekly Friday Women’s Group. Details about each group at:
Intimate gatherings, bright South Minneapolis loft studio, no writing experience necessary, all welcome.     Space Limited.       Pre-registration required.
 
Friday Morning Women’s Writing Group
10am-12:30pm (ongoing)    $36
Write together, share, peer review, discussion of craft, publishing, and the writing life. Students are encouraged to explore all genres of writing (poetry, memoir and personal essay, fiction, and more) and all are welcome.
 
Bi-Weekly Wednesday Morning Group
10am-noon (ongoing)            $30
Write together, share, peer review, discussion of craft, publishing, and the writing life. Emphasis on writing as discovery, gifting, and sharing.
Also….
8th Annual! Wild Woman Writing Solstice Retreat
Saturday June 18, 2016, 10a-4p    $75
Call/e soon to register/hold your spot: fills fast!
Limit 8
Shimmering Images @ the Loft 
Saturday July 30, 2016, 9a-3p

Hope to write with you soon!

Rox
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