For The Longest Time

11 Apr

I’ve been under going a transformation. 

I won’t compare it to that of a caterpillar to a butterfly … but rather a snake shedding its skin.

Outgrowing my old, dull, scarred protective layer and using every muscle to pull free – brushing up against rough things to shed that final piece.

What has emerged is raw, sensitive, achingly new and wonderful.

I have a twinkle in my eye.  A secret smile.  A feeling of hope – and promise.

 

Taylor James

Taylor James

________________

I sat outside earlier and watched the last of the suns rays playing with the cloud cover … a breeze moved my long hair.  I was glad in that moment I had not decided to cut it.

Billy Joel drifted to me from a nearby houseI’m that voice you’re hearing in the hall …”  I exhaled – closed my eyes.  I felt in that moment, beautiful.

I felt that I was enough.

That I was awakening.

I haven’t been there for the longest time
I had second thoughts at the start
I said to myself
Hold on to your heart

I seem to have suddenly gone from ‘what will I be?’ to ‘I know just who I am.’  And the woman in me approves.

My inner goddess that craves touch – intimacy – interaction and laughter has been given the green-light by the cautious, anxious mother in me.

It’s my turn.

Now I know the woman that you are
You’re wonderful so far
And it’s more that I hoped for

I thought this newly emerged ‘me’ was my secret – but she’s not.  Others have noticed.  That I’m smiling more.  Laughing more.  Being bolder and have a glow to me.

I’m spending more time with friends – noticing the opposite sex.

I’m completely and delightfully aware that anything is possible.  And giving myself permission to explore that.

I don’t care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things

And I haven’t felt that for the longest time.

 

We interrupt this hamster …

6 Apr

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Nic bought himself a hamster on his birthday.

Yesterday I tried to worm my way into its heart by offering it a sweet potato Triscuit as it’s been hissing at me.  Of course, it was asleep – so I placed it on its ‘food deck’.

Nic:  Are you trying to buy her love?

Me: Yes

Nic: Well I’m taking credit for that Triscuit

Me: You’d better tell her that was from me!!!

 

This thing doesn’t so much ‘hiss’ as manages to get a sound out of its throat that resembles a velociraptor and that croaking thing from The Grudge.

Sort of like this: http://youtu.be/-fzfT4iDGTM

But with more of this thrown in: http://youtu.be/hMvFo4cd02o

It’s name is “Scarlett”.

That isn’t what I named it on the drive home from the pet shop.

I drove Nic’s car so that he could sit on in the passenger seat with the rodent carrier box on his lap.

“Mom! Careful of the bumps!” Really? Really Nic. I drive expertly. Hmph!

His newly acquired pet scratched on the box the entire way home. I lovingly named her Scratchy and wasn’t budging – until yesterday.

Her new name is Satan.

I had my reservations about this new pet. Not because she’s a rodent – I love rodents. I’ve been the proud rodent mom to a long history of rats, mice, hamsters …

***Breaking News – We interrupt this blog entry to announce that a random male laundromat patron has just chosen to sit DIRECTLY behind me in a rogue chair, no less than a foot away! If anything happens to me, he can be found with a blue plastic laundry hamper – and a size 10 flip-flop mark on his forehead if he gets any closer.***

Back to the reservations.

Like most moms, any new pet that crossed our threshold was OH so loved and enjoyed for about a week – and then it magically became mine.

My fish bowls to clean, my fish to feed, my mouse to cedar chip etc. OH! Speaking of cedar chips

You know what?  This is useless.  I can feel that man … it is really hard to write.

I just got up, had to literally try not to back up into his foot, and went to check on my laundry. It was done – and in a brief moment when he wasn’t looking at me – I snapped this photo.  I’m sitting at the red table, with my back to him … you can see the close proximity of his chosen spot.

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Seriously guy – it’s a HUGE laundromat! Add to that, he keeps clearing his throat.  It’s like having a teacher lean uncomfortable over you during class.

I have 14 minutes remaining on the driers – I shall stand awkwardly staring at the time elapsing until it’s time to go.  Because even though I could just MOVE to another table, I don’t want to hurt his feelings!  This is how fucked up I am.  I can’t even scoot away from a possible predator without thinking about how they might feel about it.

 

“As perfect days are few …”

1 Apr

I was driving home from work today, admiring the shadows cast on the mountains by the clouds hung in the sky … and thought “It has been a perfect day.”

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I instantly knew I would be writing tonight.

I have a peace about me today.

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Nothing extraordinary happened.

I am just very aware of how blessed I am.

______________________

I awoke before my alarm – took my time getting ready.

Received an email that ended in ‘In deep love’ from someone special.

And actually smiled at the mess that Nicholas’ birthday had left in its wake.

Yesterday was pretty amazing.  My son said he had one of his best birthdays ever – and it wasn’t because of any material thing.

He spent time with people he loves. During the day, with his first love – Chelsea, they’ll be celebrating 1 year together this month.   Then I arrived home and he was with my mom.

 

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I was aware in that moment that he’s grown.  That he appreciates that what matters are people not things.

______________________

Back to today.

So I’m reflecting on the day – the interactions with my co-workers/friends.

The successful meeting we had this morning, one of the guest speakers being a dear friend who I’m always glad to see.

Happy about the fact that our place of business is going to be of service in the community.

Happy that I was busy, productive.

Happy that I felt genuine joy returning from lunch and seeing the cars of the ‘family’ I work with – knowing I was going into a building full of people I like.

Then how fortunate I was to be driving a car in working order – to have a job to drive home from – to be able to stop off at the pharmacy and afford to collect my medicine.

I was full of gratitude for every little thing.

Grate FULL.

Then I checked the mail.

There was a brown package for me.

It was from a friend I’ve known for years and years.

She had told me a while ago she saw something and thought of me – and asked for my address.

This was in the package.

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Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives.

Years ago, books like those wouldn’t have anyone thinking of me.

I was humbled.

Then I opened it.

Inside was a letter – and a check.

Dear Amanda (+Nic)

The book is for you  – enjoy and pass on.  The check is for Butters.  Took up a collection, please put towards bill to get snip snip done.  Have a great day.’

(I’ll keep her anonymity.)

I’ve been struggling trying to find the ‘extra’ money to have Butters spayed.

I came very close to looking for another home for her.  I’m a firm believer that if you can’t afford to provide for an animal – can’t afford health care, food or time – then you should not have one!

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When Butters showed up in my yard, I went to great lengths to find her owners.  Even using a connection I have at a television station to have her shown on a morning show.

No owners came forward.

I then went to great lengths to find her a forever home.  No takers.

I could not bring myself to take her to the pound, a definite death sentence.

So, 3 years later, we’ve been her ‘better than the pound’ solution.

But I’ve hated, simply hated that I haven’t been able to have her spayed or provided her with shots!!

It all came to a head a while back – I was frustrated when I had to chase her down the street when she jumped our frail fence.  I panicked.   She can’t get pregnant!  She hasn’t had her shots!  What if she is injured?!

Of course she wants to jump!  Of course she wants to play with other dogs!

I knew all of this and felt SO inadequate as a pet mom.  She deserved better I concluded.

That conclusion was shared with my friends and clearly made an impression.

______________________

So here I am, having my ‘perfect day’ added to by this amazing person – and then I see her Facebook status.

And apparently something has happened.

Her recent status alluded to that and ended with “May the journey we all travel be peaceful as perfect days are few and sometimes far between.”

This friend, who managed to make my perfect day end on such a sweet note is not having a perfect day.

She wrote inside the book ‘Because you just never know! Pay it forward’

To her I say, “I will.  I promise you I will.”

And I ask now for anyone reading this to just take a second and send love and light into the universe to all those in our hearts, on our minds – and in the world.

Nearly 19

28 Mar

Nic3

 

Nearly 19.

It’s been so strange to see my son through my eyes lately.

I find myself noticing new things about him as if I haven’t spent almost 19 years watching him grow.

 

nic2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He takes my breath away sometimes – when I catch a glimpse of the man he’ll be.

I’m filled with pride when I hear him share his original thoughts about life – about the universe.  Whether we share the same opinions or not – I love how his mind works!

He definitely inherited the best of both of his parents. Big blue eyes and full lips from his paternal side. My smile, my humor.

 

nic4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It really is hard to feel any ill will towards his absent father when I see so much of him in the person I love most on the planet.

He’s growing into himself – finding what makes him happy, interested, angry.

It’s fascinating.

 

Nic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m trying to hang back – be a casual observer and not interfere. Hoping my lessons over the years have taken seed.

And I think they have.

I genuinely like this person who is about to enter his last teenaged year on the last day of March.

And I love that I get to like my son.

Happy Birthday Nicholas Avery Charles.

 

The cold and feet post

26 Mar

 

Well, one toe to be specific.

I am a dork.  A klutz.

An awkward bundle of looking like a put together female on the outside and a Star Wars loving, cartoon watching, zombie adoring, comic book and action figure collecting, insecure teenaged boy on the inside.

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This week I got my 3rd head cold in 4 months – a record for Miss. I-never-get-sick.

As I said yesterday, awkwardly, on Facebook, if I could itch the back of my eyeball, throat and ear with my tongue, I’d be golden.

Worked Monday and Tuesday with a fever and a leaking face – as did my boss.

I swear, our office should be quarantined at certain times of the year!

One ‘carrier’ comes near the building  and the rest of us fall in groups of diseased worker bees – then keep passing it back and forth.

But I’m hearty.  My boss and I sneezed and sniffled greetings to one another and carried on.

I’m leading up to something here.

I gave birth ‘au naturale’, I worked the day after I broke my wrist on the busiest day of the month – writing with my left hand like a chicken scratch trooper – I will only stay home if I absolutely can’t make it.

But today, I cried like a toddler after a stupid toe injury.

 

________________

I started the day fuzzy – having not slept well – my mouth felt like a nest of scratching, very furry kittens had slept in it.

I took cold meds and remembered it was the day I had to be at the office early.

I skipped a shower, hurriedly dressed, threw kibble in the dogs bowl and headed to the car.

Then I sat there – in the driver’s seat and realized I was ahead of myself by over half an hour.

Got out of car – shuffled back into the house, grabbed another cup of obviously much-needed coffee and sat dazed on the couch.

The clock ticked by and I wished I had taken my shower.

When I did arrive at work, I was in hyper-drive mode.  Lots of physical things to take care of.  Cleaned, sorted out an office – back and forth, back and forth.

Then nature called.

As I was exiting the bathroom I opened the door only to have it stop half way.  It hit a door stop.

Door stop was my toe.

Now, I’m in ‘Oh God this really hurts and I’m afraid to look at what I’ve done’ mode.

Then I realize … door is still stopped half way … on my toe.

And the knowledge that I now have to basically run my toe over AGAIN is dawning on me.

I closed my eyes and WHAM – got the door ‘off’ my toe.

Tears filled my eyes … and since I have a high threshold for pain, I’m scaring myself with my body’s reaction and definitely not wanting to look down.

Seriously, the breath was literally snatched out of me.  That ‘whooomf’ of adrenaline and pain rippled through my body.

I must have made a noise, because someone, not sure who at the time, noticed me.

I hobbled to the kitchen, bleeding on my shoe.

My boss went for the first-aid kit and a co-worker came to help.

I felt like an idiot.

Trying not to cry, and not succeeding.

I remember my co-worker (that sounds so formal, she’s my friend too, as is my boss) telling me that it would be okay to swear.

I also remember thinking I REALLY wish I’d showered as they were looking closely at my foot.

And I do remember saying – “I already don’t feel well … and now I’ve hurt my tooooooe”

My boss said I could go home – and since being at my tall desk is the exact opposite of elevating my foot – I took her up on it.

****** *********WARNING!  GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW!*********

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It bled for over 3 1/2 hours.

I’m pretty sure I may have fractured it above the toe knuckle.  Is that what it’s called?

Because it bends – but when I step flat (which, I won’t be doing again anytime soon) the wind is knocked out of me and a shocking pain goes up my foot.

Of course, I won’t know this for sure as I can’t go to the doctor.

Besides, there’s nothing they can really do.

(Unless this nerd goes to a doctor whose last name is Who)

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Musings from the Laundromat: Clocks and Curbs edition

23 Mar

I woke up this morning, turned my sleepy head to the clock and thought ‘Wow! I slept in!’  Clock said it was after eight.  I couldn’t see how much after eight it was, my nighttime drink cup was blocking the minutes.

Decided to leap into action.  Figured I’d shower after I returned and had cleaned the house – threw a pair of jeans on, ran a brush through my hair and heated a cup of coffee to-go.

That’s when I noticed the clock on the kitchen wall.

For some bizarre reason, my bedroom clock time traveled.

It decided to Spring Forward – not even caring that we in Arizona do not observe the time change and completely ignoring the fact that if we did it was the wrong weekend to do so.

Bottom line, I was now ahead of myself.

I gathered my laundry – hunted the usual spots that my son’s laundry lurks, captured and bagged those items and headed out the door.

__________________________

The laundromat opens at 8:00 a.m., but I’ve noticed that the sweet laundry lady usually opens a bit early.  I know this as I have arrived at eight on the dot and there have already been early birds sitting with their newspapers while their clothes are enjoying a wash cycle.

Deduction.  I am capable of it.  Gold star for me.

This morning, the pavement in front of the laundromat was littered with people. People and an assortment of baskets.

It wasn’t quite 8:00, so I wasn’t too concerned.

I carried my items over into the fray and plopped down on the curb to wait and sip my coffee.

One lady in particular kept pushing up against the glass – repeating the same Captain Obvious sentences over and over – and over.

“Something must be wrong!”

“They’re usually open by now!”

No shit.

She probably announced those two things at least a dozen times to anyone who would listen.

I sat.  And sipped.

I’m pretty damn patient.

Except when it comes to listening to people who aren’t.

It was 8:10 now – OMG!

“Something must be wrong!!!!”

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A new car pulled in – which had everyone who had previously been pressed against the door, turning like curious dogs in a yard.

When newcomer exited their vehicle, ‘something must be wrong’ lady filled them in.

“The lights aren’t even on!  The lights at the counter are even off!”

Which she followed up with this gem as another newcomer arrived approximately 3 minutes later:

“The lights are on, but nobody’s home!”

Okay, which is it lady?  Lights are either on or off.

‘Something must be wrong’ lady is the sort of person I can’t stand having behind me or in front of me in any line.  Whether it’s the grocery store or the pharmacy or the bank.

Impatient – and loud about it.  Sighing and clucking and complaining.  I’ll use my ‘You know, there are people who would give anything to be standing in this line right now’ from time to time, but mostly I roll my eyes and enter a trance like state to block out the squawking.

The whole time, I’m sitting and sipping and thinking “Probably she slept in.”

I was willing to wait until 8:30, then I would put plan B into action – do laundry after work on Monday.

The panic mongers weren’t willing to wait.

They drove off, one by one.  Leaving me – and two others to greet the laundry lady a mere 2 minutes after they gave up.

The door opened and I turned and smiled.

“So sorry” she said, “I didn’t hear my alarm this morning.”

“I’m glad you’re okay.” I replied.

I got up from the curb – went inside and was able to stuff my favorite washing machines and claim my favorite seat.

Patience has such rewards.

Holding the plank – and wanting more

21 Mar

I held the plank last night.

In correct position, and with my arms shaking – I held on.

And when I got home, I started to get undressed when I noticed that the work I’ve put into my body these past weeks, is showing results.

I originally took a photo of my stomach for myself.  When I looked at the picture after I took it – I noticed my arm.  I was shocked.  And excited.  And I was sharing that!

I posted it to my Facebook wall, completely ecstatic that my goal of achieving tone was being realized.

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I have other goals.

Other desires.

And what I tried to convey in my last post – was that I am trying to allow myself to want those things.

I found myself feeling on the precipices of a breakthrough – of starting to feel like a woman – in my prime – of wanting more for her.

At the same time, feeling very much confined to my hamster wheel and with no resources for even a change of cedar chips.

I needed to talk it out with someone.

So I did what I am only now learning how to do, I spoke up and reached out.

_______________________________

I had the most amazing conversation with one of my best friends.

I miss her.

This is the friend who wore a ball gown one casual Friday.

The friend who smeared cake on her own face just so she could turn around at the right moment and say “What cake?”

The friend I danced to P!nk with – and swooned over  Dave Matthews with while we sipped Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.

The friend who was there for me during a devastating chapter in my life.

I love her.

She fought cancer and won.  If that wasn’t enough to make her my hero, she’s bold and authentic, funny and smart, balanced, human and oh so loving.

She also happens to have the maiden name of my mother.  First, middle and last.  The odds of that are bonkers.

So I told her early this week, “I need to talk.  I need a friend.”

We had a time planned, but then another friend needed me.  The thing about true friends, is that there is no explaining, no awkwardness, just ‘can we talk another time?’

Yes we could.  This weekend.

So I called her with tonight with “Are you home yet? What about now? What about now?”

No.  She wasn’t home.  But now was a good time.

She then proceeded to blow my ever so ‘undeserving’ mind with:

“It doesn’t mean you’re not grateful.  It’s okay to acknowledge that you obviously have needs on many levels that are not being met.”

_______________________________

The thing about getting older, is that the window of opportunity for any significant life change gets smaller.

The older we get, the more likely we may become ill – become lonely – become someone we didn’t plan to be – and there are only so many do overs.

That is reality.

But so many times, ‘reality’ becomes an excuse for not trying.

As she said “We have to candy coat reality a little bit at least.  To make life less bitter.  We have to be able to dream, to want things for ourselves.”

This is true.

I can think of a million reasons why I can’t take a big step and make the little girl I used to be proud and excited again.

But all it takes is believing anything is possible and allowing myself to want something for myself.  And that is NOT selfish.

I don’t know if I’m brave enough yet.

I don’t know if I believe enough in myself yet.

But I’m getting there.

If I can just hold on … even while I’m shaking.

Musings from the Laundromat: Putting things to Write edition

16 Mar

Yes.  Intentional.

When I started this blog, I had hoped to have a place to process, purge, sort through such things as matters of the heart, my past and my unedited thoughts.

I started out telling only 2 or 3 trusted friends where to find it – then I went public online and after deciding I only have friends on Facebook that I trust and who know me, I then would share my links.

Mistake?  Maybe, maybe not.  But definitely I found myself editing.

I haven’t discussed Matters of the Heart – protecting the identity of people in my private life this past year.  I haven’t gone deep into my past – protecting the identities of those involved.  And I certainly have been editing my thoughts.  As if I would feel I owed everyone an apology for having them.

I just can’t do ‘phoney’.  I can’t.  It eats at my gut and sticks in the forefront of my brain gnawing away at me.

Relatives and acquaintances have told me in so many words, that I think too much.  I share too much.

It’s who I am.  Who I have always been.  Who I always will be.

I think those concerned with me sharing too much are the ones who have shared too much with me.

They needn’t worry.  If my story line crosses over to someone else’s, I don’t feel it’s my story to tell.

But when it comes to me and me alone, I have to be authentic.

A friend posted this today and I laughed.  So true.

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I do love my life.

But find myself editing my statuses too.

I’ve had this self-imposed expectation of myself for a few years, that I can’t be ‘human’.

Always wanting (needing) to do the right thing – making living amends to myself and others for years of wrong choices.

Trying to be some perfect unobtainable example for my son.

I can’t do it anymore.

Not because I am incapable, but because it is not authentic and it is not healthy, spiritually, to deny a facet of me exists.

I am blunt and very forthcoming by nature.  It is inherently who I am.  If I edit myself, I’m not honoring that part of me.  I’m telling myself in a round-about way, ‘that part of you is unacceptable’.

Unacceptable to whom?  I’m fine with it.  Why am I always worrying about what ‘they’ are going to think?

I seem to in constant battle with myself this past year or so.  The care-giver and sensible me shaking her head at every personal desire.  “That’s selfish”  “That’s wrong”  “That’s not putting others first”.

In a quest to be the best me I could possibly be, I left some of me behind.

I am not always happy.  I have high-highs and painful lows – I feel to the nth degree and I love that about me!

And – shocking news: I want things.  Not material things – but things that would serve to give me pleasure.

I want pleasure without guilt.

I want to be able to say “No.”  I want to be able to say “Yes.”  Purely based on how I feel about something and not how it effects the person posing the question.

But the battle wages on.

And it’s not a matter of ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ – it’s a matter of acknowledging that I deserve things sometimes too.

That being grateful for what I have and making good choices, doesn’t mean I should ignore the woman inside me who has needs that don’t sustain life.

And that they don’t make me bad.

They make me whole.

The House Next Door

8 Mar

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It was windy today.

I leave the front door ajar for Butters so that she can exit and enter when she needs to.  It opened and closed with each gust  and outdoor furniture slapped and thudded against the porch.

Butters is not brave, but what she lacks in courage she makes up for with volume.  Startled barks peppered the morning and when startled turned to alarmed, I would go to the door and check that it was in fact just the wind.

I don’t always assume she’s barking at nothing – and try not to get frustrated at the nine out of ten times that she is.

After all, she’s guarding her territory.  And, in turn, us.

No one needs to know she’s all bark and no bite.  It’s comforting that she is on duty, albeit, over zealously most of the time.

One such zealous bark had me looking out the front door and that’s when I noticed the man in the road.

He sat past the nearest cross street – his legs out in front of him, in the dirt.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this at first glance.  A jogger resting?  No.

He looked like he was injured – perhaps wincing.  His hand on one leg, his head moving back and forth.

Then I noticed a pattern to his movements and the repetitive motions made it clear he was having some sort of a seizure.

I called out to Nic – to come with me to see what was the matter. Then decided the man needed help quickly – threw my flip-flops on and headed out the door.

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I went through my gate, shut it and started toward the man.

As I passed by my neighbor’s house, I noticed that two men were outside working on their cars.

How are they not seeing this?

I continued past them and called out “Are you okay?”

As I got closer – a voice from behind me “Be careful.”

I turned to see one of the men looking toward me.

“He needs help …”  I kept moving forward.

“That’s his brother.”  The speaker thumbed in the direction of the other man.

Why are they not helping him??

I came closer to the man in the road.  Noticed the spittle and drool on his chin, his denim shorts caked in dust, a sheen of sweat on his contorted face.

“Are you alright?”

I saw his eyes – wild and unfocused.

“He’s got mental issues.”  A different voice.

“Well, he seems to be having medical ones right now – is he having a seizure?  What can I do??”

The first speaker suggested ice water, and both men now had phones in their hands.

I assumed one of the men was my neighbor, but didn’t know which.  I really only hear him, when he’s yelling at the children.

I don’t see much of the people living next to me.

(See HERE then HERE)

Regardless of who was who, it appeared they were calling for help, so I turned to head back to my house for ice water.

____________________________

I found a cup I didn’t mind not getting back, filled Nic in on what was happening and headed back out the door.

I saw now that the man was no longer in the road and felt a little better.

Until I reached my neighbor’s house and saw what must have been the brother (my neighbor – the puzzle pieces were fitting now) yelling at him.

The man who was no longer in the road, still looked awful.  Shaky on his feet and eyes still wild.

I didn’t understand why this was a good time to yell at him.

I held out the water and it was taken.  I can’t recall who reached for it, but it ended up in the right hands.

“He needs help, not reprimanding!”

“He has mental problems.”

Again with this!

“Regardless of any mental problems, he clearly needs help!”

“Go back inside your house lady.”

It wasn’t said with any room for debate.  My racing heart and hot body suddenly felt chilled.  I had been dismissed and I was not to continue questioning or inserting my opinion.

Having had a past with these particular neighbors, and knowing what they’re capable of, I once more headed back to my house.

As I walked away, the man who was in the road said to me “I’m sorry … I’m sorry.”

The walk back was uncomfortable, surreal and daunting.

I felt like a child who had awoken to fighting in the house – seen someone they cared for being hurt, only to be commanded back to bed by the aggressor.

Helpless.

Small.

Submissive.

____________________________

Some time later, Butters started barking again.  This time at my back door.

I peered out to see only a hand and the cup I had taken over earlier.

I told Nic to hold Butters and slipped outside.

It was the woman who lives in the house.

The one who yells at her children almost every night:

“GO TO FUCKING SLEEP!!”

The lullaby of dysfunction.

The one who told her children that daddy was trying to kill mommy – and then brought them back in the house.

The one who said she was leaving when she could, and never did.

As time has passed, I notice that she is an instigator in the chaos.

I am not saying she’s ‘asking’ for any of it – I just notice (from my couch, yes, she’s that loud) that she does the majority of the screaming and yelling.

So she’s standing on my back porch with the cup and for some insane reason, explains to me what had happened.

The man in the road had been staying with them for four months while he sobered up.

She explained with feigned ignorance of the topic “He does those rocks, you know, the ones you crush and smoke?”

Just say CRACK woman!  I see your teeth, I know you know what it is!

He relapsed apparently and what I thought was a seizure was – but of a drug induced kind.

“We were trying to get him sober.”

“You know you can’t get someone sober?  He’s going to have to want that for himself.”

I suggested a local mental health location in our town as a possible resource for her.

The whole time I stood there – holding my cup that now had crack saliva on it – and hating her.  Hating her for having that man in an already horrible environment around her children.

“You should be careful – having him around your children.”

Oh God.  I said that out loud.

She nodded at me – much like she did when I offered my home as refuge in the past.  But I knew she wasn’t really listening to me.

I said I hoped things would be okay – and I meant it.  She went down the steps and disappeared.

____________________________

I tell you this knowing my house is made of glass.  I share my anger because I can, I have already been in their shoes.

My past is not perfect.

The difference is, I made a choice to change.

Even after I learned that the man in the road was there due to drugs, I hoped he would find help.

Even after I hear the woman screaming at her children, I tell myself “She’s lashing out at them because she is unhappy and feels powerless.”

Even when I hear her partner being violent in the house, I think “What horror must he have come from to end up so angry?”

____________________________

Nic and I had to leave the house to visit my parents shortly after the woman left.

I was uncomfortable leaving as there were repercussions the last time I spoke to her.

I decided they wouldn’t try anything in daylight and Butters could be trusted to deter anyone from entering the yard. 

image

(I’ll admit, I fear for her too though.  Who knows what they are capable of.)

In the car, we spoke of what happened.

“People like that should be wiped off the planet.”

“Nic, people can change … there’s a reason for their behavior.  They were once children perhaps in that same environment.  Besides, I’ve done drugs. I drank. And I changed.  I chose good. “

I love that he knows this.  I love that we can talk about anything.  No skeletons in our closets.

“But you always had that in you.”

“Are you saying you think they’re inherently bad?  Do you believe there are some people just born evil?”

“Yes.”

I hope not.

But I just don’t know.

My favorite quote by W.H. Auden comes to mind once again:

“Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.”
____________________________

Sharp grasses

7 Mar

My mind buzzes like flying things – resting in sharp grasses.

A new thought becomes a rock, tossed into my nest.

Distruption – panicked flight.

In the air and frantically assessing! 

Slowing to settle back onto ground

image

Bugs and Monsters

6 Mar

image

Just ate a bug.

I’m sat outside, with my coffee – reading and reach for my cup and … ate a bug.

Then I looked up (after not so delicately thrusting my finger in my mouth to fish out the foreign coffee additive) and suddenly felt very lonely.

I don’t do ‘lonely’.

I like my own company.

So let me tell you, this feeling was quite a surprise to me!

From spitting out an unidentified flying protein, to contemplating my shelf life.

Just. Like. That.

Ms. Independent will be Ms. Depends.

image

Tutting at ‘those kids today’ and shuffling around in house slippers.

Probably eating bugs and not even realizing it.

Good news is I’m good at ‘alone’.

Earlier a THUD came from my bedroom.  Without even thinking about it, I calmly got up and went to investigate.

It’s seriously ridiculous how unafraid I am of bumps in the night.  I’d make for a boring horror movie.

They’d start the ‘increasingly intense’ music, pan to me rolling my eyes and lazily getting up to check out the threat.

“Cut! Can you try to look concerned?”

“Yeah – sure.” *Sigh*

image

“ANNNND – ACTION!”

Thud.  Eyeroll.  Feigned mild concern.

“Cut!”

_____________________

Maybe it’s because I know monsters don’t live in the dark – and that people who mean you harm don’t wait for you to turn out the lights …

Or maybe, it’s because I’ve vanquished so many monsters that the only things that alarm me are bugs in my coffee – and the prospect of depends.

Monday Roadkill

3 Mar

“Have to remember to get gas.” I told myself this morning.  I decided I wouldn’t do it on the way to work, but rather during my lunch hour.

Directly to work I would go.

Then this.

_____________________

I’m driving on the highway, which, in our town is 45 miles per hour as it’s pretty much ‘main street’ through several cities.

A desert highway with business and residential areas either side of the road for miles.

With a lot of stop lights.

I’m approaching a stop light when I see something in my lane just after the intersection.

Now, I’m a pretty decent driver.  I haven’t had a ticket or accident in 28 years.  When I was 16 I got a ticket for ‘inappropriate lane use’ (I should have fought that one – it was appropriate.)

And then there was the time I backed out of my parking spot in my private driveway and forgot my parents were in town.

I ended up hitting my moms parked Durango.  No damage to her car, but I’m such a square, that I told on myself to my insurance company anyway.

Bottom line is – I’m cautious, aware, defensive and boring behind the wheel.

image

So I see this thing in my lane and I’ve gone over every scenario in my head an instant after assessing the traffic around me in each mirror.

‘Can’t drive around it – it’s illegal to change lanes in an intersection’

‘Must be something I can drive OVER because it’s there and I can’t be the first car to come across it’

‘Probably a plastic bag or a piece of cardboard’

The ‘thing’ was bright red – so I don’t know what store such a plastic bag would have come from.  (Although, we do have two Adult ‘bookstores’ in town – so …)

I had only seconds to decide what to do and I chose to try straddling it and not switching my present course.

*CRUNNNNCHY DRAGGING NOISES*

This is a millisecond after I am on top of the damn thing and realize what it actually was.

I indicate, pull to the right and crunch my way into a shopping parking lot.

I then IMMEDIATELY turn the car OFF!!!!!!!!

The red thing was this:

redgascanWhich is why it was very important that I turned the car to the non-explosive ‘off’ position.

So I’m on the side of a busy road – in a long peasant skirt, pink sweater and knee-high boots – and approach the rear of my PT Cruiser.

On my hands and knees I peer under the car to find the ‘debris’.

Gas container was bigger than I thought, and it would not come out.  Not only would it not come out, but wouldn’t you know it?  It actually had gas in it.

HAD gas in it.

Now most of it was on the ground … and my hands.

I tugged and tugged – it would not give.

I went to the side of the car.  Maneuvered my hand underneath and grabbed hold – all the while thinking – I KNOW someone is seeing a woman on the side of the road, dressed nicely, on her hands and knees and NO ONE is stopping.

The thing finally pops out – I place the container in an upright position and pick gravel out of my knees with my gas soaked hands and return to my car.

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful, except for all the jokes I was making in my head. 

Stupid jokes like:

‘Well, I did need gas’ and ‘Been a while since I’ve been on my knees’.  (My inner joker has a dirty mind – I try to ignore her – but I was inhaling gas fumes at the time.)

I’m retelling this to someone I work with and she says: “I saw that on the side of the road!!!” 

“Yeah, well, I’m the one who killed it.”

Musings from the Laundromat: Little Basket, Blue Ticket and Panty Lines

2 Mar

8:15 a.m.

The ground is wet outside from a recent storm that passed through our thirsty desert – the sky is clear, birds are singing – and I’m sat in an almost empty laundromat at a table that is always my 3rd choice to perch at.

There is a couple at the ‘umbrella table’.  I regarded them as I stuffed two washing machines to their capacity.  (I was stuffing mostly because I was too lazy to stop half way through and go back to the ‘Value Transfer Machine’ and add more money to my laundry card.) As I was doing this, another couple came in the back door.

“Still here huh?”

“Yeah” said the umbrella table couple.

I wanted to interject some sarcasm – but kept my head down and stuffed.   Why do we do that?  Confirm that people right in front of us are, in fact, actually there?  Or ask acquaintances that we see in a grocery store or a bank “Hi!  What are you doing here?”

8:30 a.m.

I noticed this little tiny laundry basket unattended when I first sat down.

image

Can you see it?  Barely?  That’s how little it is.  I sat and wondered, while typing, who the owner of the basket was and how much laundry could possibly fit in it to warrant a trip here.

I mean seriously, compare the hangers to the basket and probably, what,  only 5 shirts?

Mystery was solved for me.

There are now bags on the folding table as the owner of the little tiny basket returned.

image

That’s more than 5 shirts.

The basket was a red herring.

He’s back outside in his car now – not before bending over at the dryers and giving me an eyefull that made a very clear point that Mr. Little Basket needs a belt.

8:40 a.m.

Time to check my washing machines.

8:45  a.m.

They were finished.  And I ended up making that trip to the ‘Value Transfer Machine’ after I also stuffed the driers and realized they would need more time to successfully dry my stuffings.

Why do I have so much laundry today??  Nic must have worn every pair of jeans, shorts and t-shirts he owned last week.  OR (and this is probably closer to the truth) I’ve just washed clean clothes that somehow returned to his hamper.

I found these in his pockets – another mystery!

image

The receipt is for Carls Jr. – no mystery there – but the ticket!  Hmmm … wonder when he got that.  Is there a prize on the line?  Or did it grant him access to a meal somewhere.  And if it is food related, why is he going to Carls Jr. and blue ticket places without me?

8:55 a.m.

Okay, since I’ve shared about other’s laundry,  I’ll tell you a funny story about me.

Yesterday I was getting dressed while half awake – and as I was walking from the closet to my master bathroom, I noticed something in the mirror.

You know I’ve been working out, and I’m actually seeing results.  There are muscles on my belly where no muscles have been before.  It’s really quite exciting.

So I’m walking – and noticing – and my eyes widen and I think “Oh!  That is a LOT of definition!’

I got closer to the mirror and felt like a complete idiot.

Here is a photo of what I saw (only much blurrier in reality)

image

It was the string of my underwear.

Hey!  From across the room it looked an awful lot like that ‘V’ I see on muscle-y people going from their hips on down!

I laughed pretty hard at that before I took the photo.

9:05 a.m.

Time to wrap this up and do the ‘Drier Dance’.  This is when I snatch dry items out, while leaving the damp items in to continue on their tumble,  and shuffle back and forth to the folding tables.

Oh!  Thought you’d like to see how capable ‘Little Basket’ was of holding things.

This looks like a complete set of bedding!

image

Morals of today’s musings:

Never judge a man by the size of his laundry basket

If someone is right in front of you, they’re probably there

Underwear is not a muscle.

It’s working out

26 Feb

 

important

Just got back from a very productive day at work and a workout that had sweat falling into my eyes.

Love it.

I’ve never felt more focused, confident or capable.

My son messaged me today while I was at work that he was going to dinner with his girlfriend to celebrate 10 months.  Where he got the aptitude for relationship longevity is a mystery.

Certainly not from me – and clearly not from his absentee father sperm donor.

I’m proud of him.

He was leaving for school last night and I noticed how ‘college-y’ he looked.  Book bag, shorts, beanie – tall and handsome.

Last week I had driven home for lunch and as I was leaving the house to return, I passed him on our road.  We stopped and spoke from our respective drivers side windows and the whole moment was so surreal!

It seems like only yesterday he was driving that same road with such trepidation – having just acquired his permit – with me nervously giving direction.

Life has definitely moved forward.

I read some of my older posts and it seems like two different people!

I find myself trusting that no matter what’s to come, I can handle it.  Because time after time, I’ve come through what has worried me.  Succeeded in what I thought might be too difficult.  Conquered what I feared trying.

Much like me lately, everything  is just ‘working out’.

The Dirty 30 and Bacon

22 Feb

Day 5:

Today was sponsored by bacon.  I’m sure of it.

I got up early – threw my workout clothes on, got my laundry together to take to the laundromat and sat with my coffee as I went through the grocery store coupons.

This was my first laugh of the day.

image

Mmmmm!  Healthy bacon!  AND – save 65 cents!

That out-of-the-way, I loaded the car and headed to the offices.

Today was called ‘Dirty 30′ AKA: ‘ouch’!

I thought it was even harder than last night’s cardio.  “Don’t quit on yourself” had to show me proper execution and position a few times.  Which is good – I want to do this thing right.

Here’s a peek at one of the less painful routines we did this morning, you can see that I’m tuckered out!

image

I think what is more exhausting than the actual moves, is getting off the mat from a floor exercise to a standing position for a stand up one!  It dawns on me – that’s probably on purpose.  Not a move is wasted.

Sadistic.  Sneaky.  Smart.

Round three was up and the instructor started end stretches.  We usually have a ‘bonus’ exercise.  (I’m sure I’ll look at it that way one day) but this morning, one wasn’t mentioned.

This is when beautiful-realtor-with-killer-calves spoke up.

“No bonus?! There’s always a bonus!”

To which I responded “Shhhh!  She’ll hear you!”

Of course, considering the instructor is on video, that wasn’t likely to happen – but still.  The bell rang and it wasn’t my fault the teacher forgot to assign homework!

“Don’t quit on yourself” made healthy shakes that I guess are part of the diet.  (I’m not doing the diet part – I’m not crazy.  I know I’m thin.) I wasn’t left out.  I tasted it and … Diet mud, herbs, chocolate and ice came to mind?  Very earthy and thick.  In fact, so thick, that after 2 hours, I was still nursing mine.  I brought it with me on the rest of my errands.

No offense to anyone who respects the shake.  But I was not used to it.

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After that, I ran by our local big box store on the hunt for healthy chips to accompany my daily lunch sandwiches.

Bacon was back.

image

I turned back to the chips.

image

These came home with me.  As did vegetable chips and sweet potato chips.  I looked for kale chips – those things are $6!!! And come with probably 12 chips in a bag!!!  They did not come home with me.

Tried opening the Bacon chips and struggled.  I thought perhaps it was because my arms were tired – turns out there was a notch I was supposed to tear.

This is how much it opened.  Definitely not made for ramming your whole hand into.

image

Guess that’s how they can sit in the healthy section of the store.  Portion control.

So it’s been a looooooooooooong day.  13 hours after I climbed out of bed, the workout is done, laundry is done, groceries are put away, house is clean, dog had a bath and offices are sparkling.

So I just took a much needed shower and was drying off when I noticed something different on my body.

Above my hip, and on my abdomen, is a lump. 

I poked it – then noticed a matching one on the other side!!!

I think I have a baby muscle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s right about here:

image

The rest of me doesn’t look like that though … YET!

As long as I don’t quit on myself, and stay away from bacon sales, it just might happen!

Eli Glasman

Blog of Australian author Eli Glasman

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