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Crystal Clear Intention

We spent Mother’s Day at the Salt River playing and relaxing.  #’s 1 and 3, grandchild numero uno (infinnery an dion) and I spent quite a bit of time adventuring up and down the river, traversing the rapids, if I’m honest, only about 100 yards down, then back up to where the more sane adults were parked in chairs, throwing back Coronas.  Considering the fact that I’m still healing from some recent physical issues, I did well.  Walking on mossy river rock in a rapidly moving river is no joke, people.  I did stumble a few times but managed to regain my balance before any appendages were damaged. 

“You are pretty gangly out here Mom,” Loran said.  “How is it you’re so graceful in your yoga practice and have such a hard time with this.”

It was a fair question and I chose to take the compliment and totally ignore the fact that she’d just called me a klutz because, well, I kind of am.  Yoga is different.  It’s a progressive practice and certainly nothing that will ever be perfected but I’ve been doing it for 20 years.  I should be at least nominally good at it sometimes.

“Yoga is very intentional for me,” I answered.  “It’s the one place I remember to respect and honor myself and wherever I happen to be on a given day.  That’s the integrity of it.”

Loran tilted her head to one side.

“So, walking is not intentional?”

Smart ass.

But, yeah.  Right?

It was a mini-epiphany – or perhaps, considering the injuries I’ve incurred lately – not so mini.

I thought about how I was moving about in that river.  I was running and sort of hopping, trying to, oh my god, I don’t know, outrun the rapids?  It’s a bloody wonder I didn’t break my neck.  All I had to do was plant one foot firmly before I lifted the other one to go forward.  Be methodical.  If you ask the guys who’ve worked for me what will be written on my tombstone they will tell you, methodical.  It’s how I get through every day.  One thing at a time.  I don’t rush because it’s better to work steady.  Anyway, once I figured out that paying attention to how I was moving and doing so with the intention to stay upright made me less disaster prone, the rest of the day at the river was much easier.  Of course that was 10 minutes before we packed it in to go home.

The words intentional and with integrity stayed with me.

When I’m practicing yoga and I take a step forward with my right leg, I know where my left one is.  My back is straight and my pelvis is tucked.  When I put all my weight on my right leg to lift the left, my core is pulled in and I lift up out of my hips and my waist so that my upper body is sort of floating – as opposed to allowing it to sink into my right hip and glute – and I am breathing slowly and deeply in and out through my nose while focusing my vision with a drishti (focused gaze) in order to concentrate and send strength and balance where it’s needed while I lift my arms into prayer pose at heart center.  Sometimes I look like a ballerina when I do this.  Sometimes I cannot balance to save my life and I look more like – well, not a ballerina.  Either is acceptable as is anywhere in between because I am intentionally stretching the boundaries of who I am and honoring the integrity of the pose.

It’s the same in life.  When I remember to be intentional in my interactions with others, progress is made.  Of course, that also depends on what the intention is.

I read a discussion one time where a spiritual teacher said, Love is the only reason to do anything.  It’s not always the intention, but it should be.  No matter what.

A bit further into the discussion she was asked, Is indiscriminate sex okay?  Is it a sin?  The answer had a huge impact on me for many reasons, not the least of which was that I’ve always thought indiscriminate sex was fine as long as one has a care for themselves and those with whom they are – you know.  Who is to judge what “indiscriminate” is.  And just for the record, I am not looking for a debate on the merits or lack thereof regarding the subject.  It is simply being used for the purposes of making a point.  I was raised Catholic and taught that sex is between a man and a woman in marriage for the purpose of procreating.  Period.  This lesson was hammered in by the nuns during Catechism and supported by my trying-to-keep-me-a-virgin-till-30 parents.  It-did-not-work.  It did, however give me a somewhat skewed view of my own sexuality.  I mean, I still had sex and not for the purpose of procreation and not with someone  to whom I was married.  But I said I was sorry on Sunday.  In fact, I can remember several times when on my way out Saturday night asking God to forgive me, in advance, for the drinking I was definitely going to do and the sex I intended to have, just in case I was in a car wreck and died before I got to Mass the next morning because I wanted to go to Heaven.  

I got tired of that, though.  I kept wondering why I had to apologize and feel bad about something that made me feel so good.  If God loved me for who I was and who I was wanted to do what came naturally, why was it supposedly so damn bad?

Aaaaaaaaaanyway…….Fast forward to the book I mentioned, where the question was, Is indiscriminate sex okay?  The answer was, It’s fine as long as it serves who you are and who you are trying to become.  The next question was, Huh?  The next answer was, Whatever you do, do it with love.  Literally, everything.  What is the point of eating spaghetti and meatballs if eating spaghetti and meatballs does not serve you?  If you don’t love it, eat something else. 

It made – makes – perfect sense to me pertaining to everything I do.  Which is not to say that everything has to be studied and picked apart for the intent, but I do set an intention at the beginning of the day – and as many times during the day as is needed.  When I do so my question to myself is generally the same – is love involved here?  For example, if I’m at work and hating my life as a result, I have to ask why am I here.  I then answer, because I love to eat and have a roof over my head………..  And go clothes shopping, and on vacation, and out to dinner and to the movies……  Which strikes me as funny and I’m usually able to pull my head out of my – uh – complaint and review what is most important and prioritize and find gratitude for said job.  It also allows me to be nice to the people who walk in with the intention of buying what I am selling, which keeps my boss happy and keeps me employed, making that part of my world go round.

Our lives are always made up of our intentions.  Therefore it’s simply better if our intent is, you  know, intentional.  It’s not as if doing things on purpose will eliminate spontaneity.  After all, no matter how full of intention one is when taking that step into the rapids, there is still the matter of the moss on the rocks and the rapid flow of the water.

What is your intention for today?




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Filed under Daily Life

Remembrance of a Summer Day

I began writing in earnest in the late 1990’s as a release for overwrought emotions in the wake of what seemed like a completely out of control world.  I wrote about my childhood through early adult years.  In the coming months I’ll be re-working some of those passages and blogging them – probably not in any particular order.  While I try to be disciplined to write, I like to free form a lot and just see where the story leads me.  That’s how I’ll be relating the stories to you.  

Some of my favorite stories to write start with the thought, I am that girl.  In part – not gonna lie – because I like referring to myself as a girl….… just like all old women I’ve ever met……  Mostly, though, because it conjures up the cartoon image I’ve always had in my head of what I look like.  My grandmother used to laugh and tell me when I walked I looked like a farmer coming out of a barn.

“Grama,” I’d say very matter of factl-ly.  “It’s the only way I know how to walk.”  

And, honestly, when I see my arms and legs in action, I look more like a colt coming out of a barn.  Which is not to say anything negative about how I look – I’m fine with it.  I just wish I’d learned to sort of control said arms and legs a little better.  I illustrated the difficulty in my last blog, talking about the various injuries with which I’m currently dealing.  All are healing, by the way, including the new one I inflicted on my left palm while at the playground with Kache and Loran.  I’d tell you how I did it but I’m not completely sure because it was dark and – oh!  You’re not supposed to be at the playground in the dark?  


Nothing serious.  Just an enormous bruise that covers half my hand and makes it look like I knocked the hell out of something.  At that point in the injury making I didn’t even get much sympathy.  I’m thinking people are getting tired of saying, Oh Mom!  Are you all right?  Because all I got from #3 was typical Mom at the playground.  She injures herself…..  She was referring to the time, decades ago, when Mark and I had #’s 1-4 at a playground in Dallas.  Coolest thing ever.  Made entirely of wood to look more like a fortress from Robinhood than a kids’ play area.  I was running around playing tag with my progeny, jumped from a platform to the ground, caught my right heel on the platform and twisted the shit out of my ankle.  Inconvenient to say the least.  I landed on my back and blacked out for a few seconds.  Coming around I found four familiar faces hovering over me, in various levels of panic, yelling my name.

“get.daddy.” I sort of rasped out as I tried to pull air back into my lungs.

They kept yelling and I kept trying to talk at a volume that could be heard above the din.  Did I mention I landed on my back and knocked the wind out?

Long story short:  Ankle severely sprained.  Doctor visit.  Ice.  Trauma for children.  


And now…… as long as there are no broken bones or even skin, the level of sympathy is only extended to hey, put ice on that when we get home.  That thing is gonna hurt.

Love my kids.

I digress…….

Sort of…..

This first story illustrates the beginning of the I am that girl…. series.  I hope you like it. 

Chapter One

Remembrance of a Summer Day

When I was a kid, we hiked for miles through the woods on most any given day.  I grew up in the country, outside a small town in western New York State.  Yes, I was a hillbilly, though let’s make this clear.  I have all my teeth and my family tree forks.  A lot.   We hiked because, frankly, it was the only thing we had to do with any consistency all year long.  Rain, snow, hail, humidity and even hunting season – I don’t know what the parental units were thinking – we slogged through them all to get wherever it was we imagined we were going.  

One summer day we were walking through the pasture behind my cousin Missy’s house, down toward the creek.  I was blindfolded and being guided by Missy and our friend Devon so I  “wouldn’t fall.”  An experimental idea from school designed to inspire compassion, empathy and trust, it went horribly wrong in the hands of my twisted companions who lead me through a couple of piles of cow shit, then watched me stumble over something in the overgrowth and land face first in a pile of wet, mulchy leaves.  I sat up spitting and wondering out loud whose idea this had been, why I always fell for this crap and which of my friends’ asses I was gonna kick first.  Being all show and no go at the age of ten, nobody got anything kicked.  I was persuaded to look on the comical side and remember, A.  I was often on the instigating end of these escapades and B. if we fought and went home, there were lots of chores to be done.  Laziness was a major motivator back then.  We walked on.

Down toward the creek the hot air cooled.  It was one of the smaller tributaries that fed into the Genesee river and just deep enough to satisfy the adventurous spirit of three pre-adolescent girls but not so deep or swift that our mothers needed to worry about us being carried off by the current.  

Here we were safe from little brothers and sisters, free to live out the stories in our heads and discuss our dreams without the censure of these same mothers, whose main ambition in life was to spoil every ounce of fun we managed to dredge up, even if we weren’t lighting anything on fire.  We played at being everything from mermaids to Tarzan, swinging on a rope we’d slung over a low hanging branch of an ancient, gigantic oak tree.  Dressed in old shorts and t-shirts, with dirty canvas sneakers protecting our feet from anything that might pinch or bite, we explored.

One day we decided to keep walking up our mountain (it was on the other side of “our” creek and more like a big hill) long after the point at which we usually turned back.  We saw the roof top of what turned out to be an old barn in the distance and hiked toward it as the long shadows of late afternoon began to creep toward us.  

Having been born afraid, I begged to turn back as soon as we crossed the creek, but Missy and Devon insisted we continue.  We walked further into the woods as the shadows deepened.  I began to feel panicked, thinking about the stories Devon’s grandmother told us of the wild cats that still walked these hills.  Missy’s mom dismissed the stories as the ramblings of an eccentric older lady, but we believed the grandmother.  We’d walked there too.  Though we’d never seen the panthers she described, we felt them.  Call it imagination or – maybe intuition.  We knew we’d been observed before.  The fact of it had stopped us in the middle of our play near the creek and sent us running home on more than one occasion.  We’d get to within sight of Missy’s house and knowing we were near safety, stop, gasp for air and swear never to go back to the creek or woods.  

Of course we did go back and here we were.  As we walked along, I kept looking up through the web of trees to the sky.  It was a bright blue, which meant we still had a good two hours before nightfall.  The angle of the shadows, though, told me we’d probably missed supper and Missy’s mom would be good and mad.  I mentioned this and as it was about my 43rd complaint, Devon had had enough.

Look, Lorie,” she began in a thoroughly exasperated tone.  “If you wanna go home, go home!  Missy and I are going to the barn.” 

I rolled my eyes at the stupid idea of me traipsing back through the woods alone and kept following.  It was as if she didn’t know me at all.  I sulked and kicked at leaves on the path, having a pretty scathing argument with Devon in my head and so preoccupied that it took me a moment to realize we’d come out of said woods and were at the edge of the clearing where the barn sat.  

It looked even creepier up close and I would have done anything not to go in.  Well, almost anything as long as I didn’t have to do it alone and in these woods, which, by the way, I was never going into again.  We moved closer and closer toward what I was sure was the gate to the entrance of hell.  When I could stand it no longer, I made Missy and Devon walk on either side of me, holding my hands and guiding me so I could close my eyes.  The cow shit incident crossed my mind but I was forgiving and trusting, not to mention completely frigging terrified.  At that moment all I could think of was being protected from the panther attack I knew was coming the moment we stepped through the barn door.  My friends made exaggerated disgusted noises but let me walk between them.  I knew my image was suffering from this show of cowardice but didn’t care.  All that mattered was protection.  They could dish out all the grief they wanted when we got home, if we made it back alive.  A tear leaked out the corner of my eye as I envisioned my parents waiting in vain for my return.  Devon sighed as we traipsed through the tall grass toward the barn, muttering something about what a baby I was and that she only hoped I could run fast enough when whatever was in there came after us as it inevitably would.  

We came to a stop and I opened one of my eyes just enough to see we were at the open door of the old building.  We stood there on the threshold and as the seconds passed I gathered the courage to look around, still holding onto my friends’ hands.  The hay was piled high on one side in bales, old, wet and moldy.  The other side held ancient, broken down farm equipment, rusty from the rain that had leaked through holes in the roof.

“Wow,” Missy said, releasing my hand to walk further into the building.  Wow?  Whatever.  This is what had scared us so badly?

“Scared who,” Devon asked, disbelief in her voice.  I wasn’t scared!  I didn’t beg me and Missy to hold my little hand.”  

Oh, gee had I said that out loud?  It was a childhood handicap, thinking I was thinking when really my mouth was running.  I was getting sick of Devon’s crap, though.  So I was scared, so what?  

Yeah, that was pretty much all I had.  

Nothing clever, nothing that would shatter the self-confident scorn written on her face.  I looked to Missy for help, figuring that when push came to shove, we were blood.  She couldn’t have been less interested if I was one of her creepy, smelly little brothers. I turned back to Devon and having nothing else, I made a face at her.  

“I’m not always afraid,” I said.  Clearly a lie.  I was constantly terrified by our adventures.  It was half the fun for me. 

“What about the time the bull chased us,” I continued.  “Who was afraid then?”  

That would have been all of us, of course, and it would have been dead all of us if not for the fact that Devon grew super powers.  She somehow managed to throw – and I mean throw Missy and me up onto the roof of a small hay shed out in the pasture we had no damn business being in, then hoist herself up and out of harm’s way, before El Toro could take a chunk out of our trespassing little rear ends.  But I’d seen him coming first.  It was my horrified look and squeaky attempt at a scream that had first alerted Wonder Woman.  I should get some credit, right?  

This and other assorted bullshit I spewed quickly, hoping to confuse my friends into believing what they already knew wasn’t true.  Thinking fast on my feet was not, at that point in my life a strong suit.  

Devon glared at me, hands on her hips.  She opened her mouth to really let loose and froze.  I leaned toward her a little, mirroring her battle stance, waiting.  Missy followed the line of Devon’s vision and let out a scream.  Devon screamed as well and ran out of that barn like her ass was on fire.  I turned toward Missy but she was already gone.  

They’d left me!  I made a sound half way between a yell and a sob and sprinted to join them.  I made it one step.  The shoelaces on my ancient sneakers had come untied and I tripped on them, falling flat on my face.  It hurt – bad.  I struggled to breathe but had knocked the wind out of myself and lay there helpless, in pain and panic.  I don’t remember, before or since, being as consumed with incoherent fear.  I was sure the panther was just inches away, waiting to have me for supper and I could do nothing to save myself.  I could hear my friends calling my name from outside the barn.

“Damn cowards,” I thought.  I could hear the fear in their voices as they realized they were responsible for my untimely passing in the claws of a deadly wild cat.  They would answer to my mother for this.  

While thoughts flew through my mind, the seconds were ticking by.  Soon, I was able to take a breath.  I lay still, though, trying to assess my situation.  I heard no growling, no breathing save my own.  I raised my head slowly and looked around, trying not to attract attention in case something of the feline persuasion was watching and planning its evening meal.  

Nothing.  I pulled myself up into a sitting position, with my back toward the open door.  That was the brightest part of the barn and I could see that nothing lay in wait for me there.  I stood up and looked around.  Turning slowly, my eyes combed the place, up toward the top of the hay bales, across the beams and along the back wall behind the old plow.  There was nothing.  What had they seen?  

I shrugged and began walking toward the door, bleeding profusely from several appendages.  Both knees and an elbow were scraped raw.  My wrist throbbed and there was a lovely goose egg growing on my forehead.  I smiled an evil little smile, knowing I could use this.  They couldn’t call me chicken when they had run and I had stayed and been injured.  Things could work out after all.  

I added a limp for good measure and was nearly to the door when I saw it.  It was a cat alright and a big one.  Not a panther but a bob cat.  It was creepy but I didn’t run.  I stood there, alone, and stared into its eyes.  Or, where its eyes should have been.  Oh, this was gross.  The cat, what was left of him, was as stiff as a board and had been hung on the wall like a picture frame.  Who would do something like this?  I felt violated and gave an exaggerated shudder of revulsion, working my way into a pretty good state of disgust when I noticed Devon and Missy standing, shame faced in the doorway.  Missy had been crying and Devon was blushing like she always did when any kind of emotion was about to overtake her.

“Is that why you ran,” I asked, pointing at the animal skin.  

Devon nodded, hanging her head.

“Yes,” Missy said.  “Are you okay?”

“A lot you guys care,” I snapped.  “Look at me.”

“I’m sorry Lor,” Missy said.  

I smiled, bestowing my forgiveness.  I had her.  I could see how guilty she felt and this knowledge resulted in my kind benevolence.  Devon was not so easy to reel in.  She apologized but her heart wasn’t exactly in it.  She was probably thinking what a scaredy-cat-pain-in-the-butt I’d been all the way up here and, once inside, how I spoiled the fun of complete terror by falling and stealing all the glory.  I could salvage it, though.  Pull the adventure out of the dumper, so to speak.

“Do you suppose,” I began, weaving a scenario in their minds.  “The ghost of this cat lives here?  Maybe it’s what we hear when we’re by the creek.” 

 We looked at each other and noticed for the first time, how long the shadows had grown outside.  The hair on the back of my neck seemed to stand up and I shivered.

“Maybe,” Missy said.  “Or maybe what we hear is this cat’s mate, crying because its partner was slaughtered.”  

Devon grimaced.  Very soulful, Miss, I thought.  She was always into love and stuff like that.  Definitely the Rosemary Rogers of our ten and under set.  For me, boys were pretty much for kicking around and hating.  

We were silent for a minute and an evening breeze rustled the grass, tickling our legs.  We came out of an adventure induced trance then, realizing that a human being had butchered this cat and therefore, the barn might not be as uninhabited as we believed.  We stared at each other, unable to move.

“Let’s get outta here,” Missy whispered, as if somebody might be listening to our conversation.  We walked to the open barn door, afraid to move too quickly and repeat my performance of a few minutes earlier.  Had it been only a few minutes?

Once out into the field, we began to walk faster.  I remembered, belatedly that my shoes were still untied but there was no way to stop now.  The sun was beating a fast retreat into the good night and though the woods looked dark and dangerous, they were our only way out.  

Somewhere, in the middle of the field we began to run.  We hit those woods full speed, dodging branches and bushes, jumping over logs and underbrush, praying nothing was chasing us.  Blood pounded in my ears making it impossible to hear any other sound and before long my sides began to ache from the exertion.  I longed to stop and rest but was convinced, along with my bosom pals that something ominous was just behind us and lingering could spell the end of our young lives.  

We ran on, Devon in the lead, Missy in the middle and me bringing up the rear.  I don’t even know how that happened.  I never brought up the rear.  The last in line or the goofy, hysterical one always bought it first in the movies and on Scooby Doo.  I knew damn well I qualified as both.  Fear pushed me on and I picked up the pace till I was even with my cousin.  I figured I stood a better chance if whatever we imagined might be chasing us had to choose.  I outweighed Missy by a good ten pounds.  She’d definitely appear to be the weakest and least likely to fight back.  She glanced over at me, suspicion written on her face but I just kept going.  

At last, we heard rushing water and knew the creek was just below.  We slid down the embankment and landed, butt-first, in the water.  Across the creek and up the other side we ran, still.  Through the lower field belonging to Devon’s grandmother and over the barbed wire fence onto Missy’s parents’ property we went – thank God the electric wasn’t on – before coming to a halt.  The three of us collapsed onto the ground, holding our sides and gasping for breath.  Eventually we sat up and looked at each other.  

Missy grinned.

“Lorie,” she said, laughing.  “You are a mess.”

We all lay there in the field, then, watching the stars come out.  The evening breeze blew the tall grass around us as we reflected on our day.  All animosity was gone, dissolved into nothingness by our wild flight for life.  We were a team again.

“Was this a cool day or what,” Devon asked nobody in particular.  Missy and I nodded in agreement.

“We better get home, Missy,” I said with a sigh.  “Your mom is going to kill you.”  Missy’s mom never yelled at me even if what we did was all my fault.  I liked that about her.  

Strolling slowly toward the houses in the distance, each of us contemplated her version of the day’s events.  What fun it had been.  I never had as much fun with anybody else as I did with these two.  We’d be friends forever, of that I was certain.  We discussed this for a minute or two as we walked, safe in the knowledge that we understood each other so well and would always be there when one needed another.

Over the mountain behind us the moon began to rise, nearly full that night.  We looked back in wonder at its beauty, reveling in the memory of our adventure and the surety of our bond.  Then it came.  

On the night wind it came, ghostly and wild.  Almost human, but not quite.  The scream of the cat.  The lonely panther whose existence we doubted by day and dreaded in our dreams.

And we ran.


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Filed under Daily Life, Memories

Stuff: My Head Was Getting Full

Greg Allman died. That made me cry. I’ve been a fan for most of my adult life (translation: since Mark and I have been together as adults because he’s a HUGE fan) and that’s part of why I cried. I knew how it would affect Mark. And Matthew. Matt sent Mark a note on FB saying, “This isn’t real, is it?” Of course, it was.

The Day The Music Died played in my head – when Sweet Melissa and I’m No Angel weren’t. The music didn’t really die. Just the musician. Taken down by the same insidiousness that took many others. Others with names like Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix, Cobain, Cornell, Jennings.


What do I hate about addiction? Is it that it’s selfish? That it is a form of entitlement that doesn’t just destroy the one addicted but entire families, communities even? Yes. Of course. I hate that it disguises itself as pleasure and peace. I hate that I love that pleasure and peace.

Am I an addict?

Probably not but maybe so. I have the genetic predilection certainly, on both sides. I remember being at an Al Anon meeting once and voicing my frustration.

“Isn’t there someplace I can go where this shit doesn’t exist?”

To a person, those in the meeting with me either shook their heads or simply said no. Take away the alcohol, the drugs and what is left to be addicted to? Food, sex, work, shopping, money. Obviously it’s not the substance at fault. It’s the behavior patterns. And we all have them.

Am I an addict?

I have been, yes. I have displayed addictive behavior driven by everything from hormones to the lack of them. All the kids at home to the kids all moving away. Euphoria to depression. Not enough work to too much work. Not enough choice to everything laid out before me like a banquet. No ice-cream in the house to an actual banquet.

My latest dilemma is stress at work and sleepless nights, both of which, of course, feed on each other. In my first half-century I could count the nights I was unable to sleep on one hand. This does not include infant/child induced lack of sleep. Those were a given and had nothing to do with not being physically and psychologically able to let go of wakefulness. No, the latter is something that was saved for me until I was lulled into a false hey, this getting older thing might be okay, state of mind. Kids are grown, hot flashes are easing, I see freedom calling up ahead sort of thoughts were roaming playfully in my brain.

Then the next section in the manual opened itself up to me and revealed that those hormones I used to have do more than just all those other things I thought they did. They also helped me to sleep.

Apparently they’re gone just like said slumber.

I, literally, lay awake all night long.

It happened once. And again. Then again. And more regularly. I started taking half a Benadryl at night get to sleep but it didn’t always work, so I’d take a whole one. Sleep was deep and as long as I took it fairly early I could drink enough coffee in the morning to wake up for the day. Which became a problem in itself because I really don’t have a large coffee capacity. One or two cups are the maximum and it always took a third to shake the antihistamine blues, which, in turn made me shaky and a little dizzy. Then the antihistamine stopped working and I became pretty frantic. I cut down on coffee, upped my water intake and spent a couple of days and nights trying to get my shit together so I could sleep when I was supposed to sleep and be awake, you know, when I was driving and working and stuff. I went to my doctor who offered me Ambien or something like it. Non-habit forming, of course. Such an ironic, bullshit claim. Perhaps the drug itself is non-addictive but if you, like – everybody – are a fan of sleeping, the drug becomes your habit. There’s no way around that. Also, there are some pretty severe side effects with Ambien.  My two favorite, upon reflection are hallucinations and sleeplessness.

I’ll just let you mull that one over.

I took a pass.

My doctor was okay with the half dose of antihistamine but concerned that I took it within an hour of having a night-cap consisting of a shot (and probably a half) of tequila. I told her my liver wasn’t completely happy with me either, but the tequila helped me fall asleep and the antihistamine kept me asleep all night.

That’s important – the all night thing. Some of my worst times have been when I wake up from a sound (sober) sleep in a full on panic because – for no reason at all. Anxiety is in full swing with no warning and no solution and by the time I’ve reached a state of I’m actually not going to die horribly at this very moment I’m wide awake and pissed. And still anxious as I go over every single thing that is/could be/was yesterday/might be tomorrow – wrong in my life, Mark’s life and the lives of my children, grandchild, mother and brother. I have, at times, scooted over to cuddle with Mark but that wakes him up because he knows, even in his deepest slumber, that I do not like to be touched in my sleep. We have lines of demarcation in our bed that may not be breached once I’m in lala land. When the kids were little it was this way because one or more of them were there nightly and there was barely room to breathe. Then it was hot flashes. If I cuddle up to my poor hubby, he knows somethin’ aint right and will wake up ready to take on the world in a way only certified morning people are able to do but it’s the middle of the night so we’re both screwed.

……….Or so I told my doc.

She said, again, that perhaps the Ambien would be a better choice. I said, again, no thank-you.

I have an aversion to relying on medication. I mean, if I had to take something because I was diabetic or had epilepsy it would be different – and I have taken meds for PTSD (long story there……well, really not so long, but for another time) and depression. There was a start date and an end date in sight with both, so I wasn’t quite as concerned. I became addicted to nose spray once. Started taking it when I had a cold and didn’t get off it for two years. The thing about nose spray with a decongestant/antihistamine is that, besides making one look sexy and attractive when shoving it in one nostril then the other and taking a deep huff each time, it makes your nasal passages more open than they would ever be naturally. When you try to stop taking it cold turkey you don’t just get a stuffy nose. Your nasal passages slam shut like there’s actual gold in there to be protected and you can’t breathe through your nose, nor can you swallow because you can’t breathe through your nose. Try it. Plug your nose and try to swallow.

My father was addicted to nose spray. He became ill and was in the hospital where an idiot doctor overdosed him (that one is a long story) with a medication his body basically had a bad reaction to. He was in a state of unconsciousness for such a period of time that we truly thought he would not make it. During that time he could, of course, not take his nose spray. We watched as he struggled to breathe. His suffering was incredibly difficult to witness and inspired the aversion I spoke of earlier.  After Dad recovered I went to my doctor for help in ridding myself of the nose spray. She said, simply, to use it in one side or the other as often as I needed until the side that wasn’t getting any assistance unplugged, then stop using it on the other side. She said it could take about three weeks. I was off it in less than two and felt so free and, well, stupid for not figuring this out much, much sooner.

Now, to get back on medication and have to depend on it for something that should come as naturally as sleep? No. I couldn’t see it. Still, if I was honest with myself, it was six of one and half dozen of the other in the drugs vs. alcohol category.

Am I an addict?

Probably. But I’m an extremely particular one, if so.

I stopped taking the antihistamine a few weeks ago. The long term effects started to rear their ugly heads. Moodiness, increased day-time anxiety, depression – they came on fast and were difficult to control. I cut out sugar at night, back on coffee in the morning, cranked up my water intake and am gradually settling into a more restful pattern leading up to bed time. Basically I’m a three-year-old again. Who gets a jigger of tequila and a Coronita nightly if she wants.

I’m not giving up all my fun.

I sleep better, for the most part. Electronics are banished to drawers and other rooms. TV is off and the temperature is cool. I’m dreaming again which means I’m not taking myself to an oblivious place and when I wake up it’s just slow and cranky like it’s been from the time I was a child. Not groggy and “why did I take the stupid antihistamine again,” the way it had been for a few months.

Am I an addict? I have addictive tendencies – just like most people, I suppose. I’m on guard, though. I mean, everybody has to die from something but I won’t go because I drank/smoked/shot up/snorted my internal organs to death. That hurts like hell. That hurts everybody like hell and it’s hard to get over. Some people tend to obsess, even.

Can one be addicted to making sure they’re not addicted?

These and other insane questions will be covered on the next edition of “Shit I write down so my head won’t explode.”

<Insert eye roll here>

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Filed under Daily Life

Catching up…..Life as a Badass

Dear 23 Readers:

Oh my gosh, it’s been a long time since I sat down to write an update. I’ve been thinking of you, though and decided today is the day to reach out. There’s been a lot of change lately – nothing negative – just different. My mom is selling her house and that’s very emotional for all of us. It’s definitely time. She and Dad bought it 27 years ago and it is the “stable” home my nomadic children have known. We’ve moved so much and 1141 N. Nielson has been the port in many storms. We had Easter dinner at Mom’s and realized it will probably be our last holiday in the house. Matthew (#4) and I sat by the pool and started to talk about it but tears threatened and I am way too macho for that crap. Mark and I found out, recently that our good friends are moving back to Boston due to a job offer. Then, at work, we promoted my assistant manger to store manager at a different location. Which means a promotion for my key holder and hiring someone new for her position. Which means I have to talk to and play well with others I just met….. See? All good stuff, but change in the people in my peripheral and that always freaks me out. <sigh>

In other news, we camped Easter weekend with the fam. Part of it anyway. Loran (#3), Matthew, Kache (grandbaby) and Mark and I headed out for the last desert camp of the season. Lots of fun. A little too much tequila Saturday night after Kache fell asleep. Matt played guitar and I may or may not have sung “How Great Thou Art” acapella, at the top of my lungs, around midnight.


Kimmy(#2) and her husband, Matti (note the i at the end of the name as I also refer to #4 as Matty and we try not to mix up the two. It’s worth noting we also have two Brandons – #1 as well as my nephew Casey’s husband, Brandon – differentiated by the spelling of their middle names Jeffrey for #1 and Geoffrey for nephew Brandon or by referring #1as Bubba or to Nephew as Nephew or Uncle Mooney, referencing somewhat dated family redneck jokes. Don’t ask.)

What the hell was I talking about?

Oh! #2 and Bodington went to England on a vacation I am openly envious of. They’ve been all over the place – South Africa, Ecuador, Japan – and that’s lovely, but England is on my bucket list and they got to go to Hogwarts and have high tea and see the Queen and Prince William. I am jealous.

It’s later now.

Pops left for New York (more change). Mom flew with him and will hang with family and friends that still reside in the frozen north. Her house sold, things are moving along nicely at work and my assistant moved on to his own store. <sigh>

Due to all the above mentioned change – not to mention the state of the world – I’ve been somewhat grumpy and have been making an effort to take myself out of a negative state of mind. I tend to be, by turns, cynical, annoyed, snarky and bitchy simply out of habit that is exacerbated by watching the news or Saturday Night Live and getting the latest Trump update. The negativity is like a cassette tape that’s on repeat in my head, when basically, I’m a very nice person.

Ask around.

What got me thinking about my own state of mind was Brandon’s. Admittedly, his is a bit of a challenge to me as he is Mr. Spock and I am a cross between my Aunt Gertrude, Karen on Will and Grace and the old bat Shirley McClain played in Steel Magnolias.

Don’t ask.

Anyway, one of Brandon’s favorite comedians is George Carlin. I get it. He was a funny guy. Sardonic, ironic, brilliant, fast and – largely negative. While I understand it is a comic’s job to point out the irony, etc., in daily life, depending on who they are and what their style is, things can get really dark. Carlin’s style fell into that category. I mean really, really bleak. So if Mr. Spock is listening to this guy who speaks the “truth” and does it loudly and in a somewhat angry voice, how exactly is that going to affect Mr. Spock?

Well, I don’t know. But it’s not good for Brandon.

For instance, Brandon is Agnostic. Fine. It’s his choice and frankly I don’t think God cares either. I mean, really, if God is all powerful and good and whatever, he knows Bran’s mind and heart and could really not give a shit less if #1 goes to church, a baseball game or the living room couch on a Sunday morning. However, Bran has been getting adamant about it. Even a little belligerent. And I’m like, “Dude, what? Okay. You don’t believe in the religious God. I’m good, and seriously, Supernatural is about to start. Please don’t get in the way of my Sam and Dean time.”

Yesterday we were on our way to an appointment in BFE and Bran brought his George Carlin CD. I listened for about 15 minutes, turned it off and looked at my son.

“Jesus, no wonder you’re half crazy over this crap,” I said. “You’re living your life based on the gospel according to George freaking Carlin.”

Thank God I know how to be subtle.

“You may not believe in the stuff written by whomever claims to be the scribe of God in any given part of the Bible, but please please give the same discriminatory once over to Carlin’s material. This is his schtick. You get that right? He was apparently one angry fu—.”
“Sorry, but jeez! All this time I’ve been worried that you’re gonna end up punching pro-life marchers in the forehead or telling little old Mother Theresa look alikes that they’re full of sh-uh-baloney because you don’t believe so much and it was just a stupid recording of George Carlin warping your good sense!”
“Well,” said my completely unimpressed by my rant son. “If you look at things logically, he’s right about almost everything he says.”
“Perhaps if everything was black or white, but the gray areas count, Bran.”

There was more, but it got me thinking about what I listen to and what floats around in the space between my ears. In Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose, book I read and re-read endlessly, Eckhart Tolle talks about the ego and the recording it plays in our heads. A constant diatribe of discontent and negativity. We’re always something whether it’s annoyed, irritated, entitled, deprived, anxious, resentful, victimized – made up stuff that keeps us enslaved to negative feelings. Some of it, of course, can very well be rooted in real events or needs and wants, but most is habit. Think about when you’re driving and someone zooms in front of you. It startles you and you immediately decide that person did it on purpose or without any thought for you so they are suddenly the enemy and you can call them a worthless ass hat or perhaps a douche lord. Or a freaking jerk or a f&^$ing a$$hole…….. I digress.

I read something in the Buddhist Bootcamp blog that said (paraphrasing) You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.

Sing it with me : e – PIPH – any.

Of all the things that annoy me, it annoys me most that I am them. (That one is mine)

My point is not to demean anyone’s space. We are where we are. And I would never suggest that anxiety and/or depression are a figment of imagination. I’ve been there with both of them and for whatever reason they might exist for someone, they’re real as hell.

So are the voices.

Just kidding.

For the daily, though. The recording that plays over and over – maybe we could change it up. It’s surprisingly easy to do. The first step is to realize your ego is a separate entity from who you truly are. Your ego believes the guy cut in front of you in traffic ON PURPOSE to RUIN YOUR DAY. Sanity tells you he, like you, is just trying to get where he is going in one piece and he did a bone-headed thing. Maybe today you can refrain from telling him how many ways you’re going to eff him up when you get a hold of him the next time you see him on the freeway. Perhaps when someone walks into your store to ask directions or for something you clearly don’t sell you can summon a smile, even though they’re the 73rd person to do so, and give them the information they need instead of the finger.

Do you get where I’m going? Away from the edge and today I’ll take you with me if you want. Tomorrow I may be calling you for a lift.

Next up: Depression and Naked Disco Dancing.
……………My second cousin, once removed asked for advice, via her Facebook page, regarding something she could do to channel some extremely negative energy and (as I read it) sort of clear her space. I didn’t answer at first because, though I’ve come to think a lot of her and I adored her grandmother (my first cousin, once removed), I don’t know her well and it felt presumptuous to offer said advice.

I know. She asked. But my answer was a very personal one and it felt strange putting it out there.

Like I was naked.

Then she posted again, expressing surprise at the number of constructive suggestions she’d received when she sort of expected irreverence. SC chose a couple of the suggestions and shared her plans to follow through on them, but there was no irreverence. No silliness. No outrageous behavior to upend the blues. I responded thusly:

You wanted something irreverent? I’ve got it, I think. During times when life overwhelmed me, when sadness curled me into a fetal ball of fear under the blankets in my bed, behind closed and locked bedroom doors, my husband – whether reacting from concern or just not knowing what the hell else to do – marched in, turned on Donna Summer or Gloria Gaynor or The Bee Gees and told me to dance. I said “I’m naked under here.” He said, “Perfect! It’s pretty hard to take anything seriously when you’re dancing naked to ‘I Will Survive!'” I protested. I bitched. I cried. But he wouldn’t take no for an answer. So just to get rid of him I danced. Naked. To disco. There was some serious stuff bringing me down. Those dances became my fuck you to losing my mind to them. Irreverence matters. Do the constructive things you’ve mentioned but grab some irreverence as well. That’s just for you.

Just for you.

And, so you see, I was naked. And it was frightening. Not that anybody saw – except me. And nobody cared – even me – which was weird because we all know exactly how vain I used to be.

Shut up.

When I danced I discovered a kind of freedom that I hadn’t known since I was a child. It was a letting go of energy that children know instinctively how to release. As we grow into adults and buy into the trade offs that life inevitably brings – you know – make the deals to get the stuff, I think we tie up the instinct piece by piece and sell it, accidentally, for shit we never needed in the first place. It takes a level of consciousness of which most 12 to 30 year-olds are unaware to say no more often than not. And, frankly, I thought I’d said no. A lot. I thought I was pretty Zen. However, I forgot – or more likely – ignored the fact that pretending the deals I was making weren’t, in fact, deals and stuffing fear and anger in my “I’ll deal with that tomorrow” file like I was Scarlett O’Hara isn’t the same thing as being fully centered.

As if “fully centered” actually exists on this plane……

Adulting is hard. There’s no way around it. I knew it and I believed it. I just didn’t make room for it. And so, in that first summer and fall we spent in New York, when I was away from my two oldest daughters and my mother and Mom had cancer and I was still reeling from the loss of my father and I hated my job and Matthew hated me because I’d gone back on my word never to move one of my children from their home during high school and all of that didn’t even scratch the surface of the guilt and grief I was carrying from years of deals, I curled up in my bed one day and thought – well I stopped thinking. I was afraid to think. Or feel or move. I was afraid.

Which is where Mark and Donna Summer came into play.

It wasn’t the last time he found me that way. The first time wasn’t the last time I danced. And I still make deals. But I make them more fully aware of what I’m doing. There’s less idealism involved but there’s also less fear. I traded the need to have everything in its place for learning to live in the moment and be thankful for it. I traded wanting everyone to like me for liking myself. I traded religion for faith and I traded feeling like a victim to living like a badass.

I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t she sell sunglasses? Yes. I do. But what one “does” isn’t what makes one a badass.

I dated a guy in college who was, in every sense of the word, unavailable to me. It’s okay. It was my pattern as a commitment-phobe to choose those whom I could not have – which is a story for another time. With the advent of social media, this person and I crossed paths again five or six years ago. It was hey, how are you? Tell me about yourself…… We caught up a little and that was it. Except for one thing. He said to me, I’m happy to know you’ve lived a joyful life.

I hadn’t told him that. I mean, we’re basically strangers and I certainly didn’t reveal anything deep. I had a moment of what does he mean by that? Was I not joyful back then? Is he judging me? Which sounds like pure egocentric paranoia.

You’ve met me, right?

But once I dismissed Blanche – which is what I call my egocentric personality in honor of the character immortalized by Vivien Leigh in the movie Streetcar Named Desire – I was able to take the compliment for what it was. An impression given. My aura. It’s basically who I am. Really am. When I look at the things I’ve been through in my life – the good, the not so good, the horrifying – and know that who I am now, at the heart of it is the same happy, loud, curious, open, joyful being I was as a child and that all of my personalities get out of bed every single morning – THAT makes me a badass.

I’ll bet you just figured out you’re one as well.

It’s been lovely catching up!  I’ll try not to wait so long before sitting down to write next time because I have been known to go on and on………..


Filed under Daily Life

It’s a Process

In the wake of the 30th anniversary of my marriage I thought I’d write about what makes a good marriage, but more than a month has passed since the momentous occasion and as I put hands on the keyboard in the hundredth attempt at doing so, I find I know very little. And I know everything.

Conundrum anyone?

People who’ve been married or together for decades will tell you though. The truth as they know (or don’t know) it.

Why stay together?

Love?  Yes, of course it’s love, but, really, what does love mean?

I don’t know.

But I do.

Therefore I have no advice to give and I could go on all day, giving you thousands of tips on how to formulate a lasting relationship that will bring you happiness and fulfillment. Or not.

I read once that spending a lifetime with one person goes against the natural tendencies of human nature. Taking into account some of the humans I spent time with when I was in the dating world, I totally get that, but even given the propensity of people to pick the wrong human, I disagree.

Look. We are basically alone on this carnival ride known as Life.  I, personally, have been confused about almost everything from inception. That I met someone when I was 11 years old and have loved him from the start seems like the way to go if at all possible. I mean two heads are better than one, right?

Not that there haven’t been hiccups.

There was that time when I was 13 and standing on stage with my cousin and brother, in the gym, prepping for a talent show performance. Mark came strutting in(and those who knew him back then will be able to visualize this as well as I), his arm around his girlfriend and greeted me across the room with a, “Hello beautiful.” My father, who’d been sitting facing us, heard this, stood up and turned around slowly with a murderous look on his face. (Those who knew my father will be able to visualize this as well). I thought it was all over right then.

Thanks Dad, for not killing my future husband.

There was the time when I was 15 and expressed my love for Mark via a letter and he said, “yeah, thanks but no thanks, jail bait.”

Fine. He was sweet and kind but the result was the same. My ego and my heart were shattered.

There were the weddings. Ours. To other people. Ironically, in the same year. The marriages lasted about the same amount of time as well – which is to say not long.

The hiccups our first few years together came rapid-fire and left us both wondering why, when we had loved each other for so long at that point, it was so difficult to meld our lives. I mean it’s not like Mark thought he knew everything and I was stubborn to a degree most commonly documented in mules. What attracted us to each other sometimes repelled us and many times in those early days the thing that held us together was the thought that if one left, the other would be alone and at the mercy of the short people we were so good at creating.

I can’t say that the hiccups ever stopped. I mean, it’s life. Somewhere in there, however, we found a groove and I can sum it up in one word. Communication. We talk and it depends on the day, month, year, millennium, moon cycle – whatever – who talks the most. I mean, you’d think it would be me simply by virtue of the fact that it’s me and, obviously, I talk a lot. Granted, some of those conversations are between me and, well, me, and the diatribe is pretty much never ending, let me tell you, but no. It’s not always me. Mark has a lot to say as well. That means one of us has to listen, which is harder. When Mark and I were first married I’d pour my heart out about a frustration, hurt, anger – basically I just needed to talk. He’d listen for a while, sum things up for me and offer a solution. Then we’d fight. I’d tell him he wasn’t listening and he’d tell me I was out of my mind because that’s all he’d done for however long we’d been sitting there. It took years of practice for him to understand the difference between problem solving and listening. It took years of me listening to him for me to understand that his intentions were good. He wasn’t trying to shut me up.

It was a classic Mars/Venus thing.

Now we set aside time for just talking and just listening. Sometimes we spend days that way. Sometimes we cobble together a few moments because our schedules keep us apart.

And that’s hard because we like being together. We’re buddies.

I remember when it dawned on me how much I love Mark. I mean, I always knew I loved him. But that all-encompassing never want to be without him ever again and can’t remember a time when it wasn’t that way thing. That you’re stuck with me now dude, so don’t even think about trying to get away, realization that had nothing to do with the five children, mortgage and car payments we’d racked up.

It was around our 15th anniversary and it came to me that almost all the memories I had were of Mark. Or if they weren’t of him, they were made within the time I knew him.

And it didn’t scare me.

I had been the one afraid of commitment in the beginning. I had been the one to run away. I had been the one who could not believe that another human being would love me just for me and that all I was required to bring to the party was – me.

I was enough and he was enough and around year 15 the realization dawned that I believed it. I guess what I saw was the difference between the beginning and the present. I slowed down long enough to pay homage to the process that was us and to acknowledge the beauty of life and this extraordinary gift of love I’d been given and was still allowed to participate in…..

…..And then a kid threw up or threw something at another kid and as quickly as the first 15 years passed, another 15 went by.

We are now entering a new phase with freedom involved that we have never experienced as a couple. It’s so new, in fact, that we’re not quite sure what to do with ourselves, though we’re determined to figure it out, one adventure at a time. Nude beaches have been mentioned but the reality verses (my) fantasy has us sticking with hiking in Montana – fully clothed – and sitting on beaches where everyone is at least strategically covered.

I, personally, am so jazzed by this phase, it’s almost hard to process. I feel like a grown up – like someone who is ready to explore a part of life I didn’t think I’d ever experience.

I feel open.

Believe me, I was not even close to the neighborhood where open lives when Mark and I started out, let alone knocking on doors that might actually do just that. It’s another gift choosing to build our relationship has given me. Given us – because Mark was fairly walled of as well. We learned and earned trust that has, more than anything else, released our hearts, minds and souls and enabled us to progress together and as individuals.

It’s a process has become our watch-phrase and it is a process we cherish. It is a relationship we nurture and never, ever take for granted. We have been married for 30 years, together officially for 32, in love for 40 and friends for 44. As much as I’ve learned and as little as I know, I realize fully how special that is and how blessed Mark and I are.

So, to answer your question. Wait. There was no question. It was my proclamation of how to stay married and do it well.

I have no idea.

Or, at least I have no road map.

Honestly, it’s a process, is the best I’ve got. Let it be a process and stay in the moment thereof. It’s kept Mark and me sane. Or at least together. And if we’re together and happy, how effing important is the sanity?

I’ll let my kids write that chapter in another 30.


Filed under Daily Life

Poof! Anxiety is Gone… or something… And I do not have ADHD… Yet

I have spent the last week with an old acquaintance named anxiety.

What a jerk.

He comes over uninvited, makes himself at home, doesn’t explain the reason for the visit and commences to wreak havoc. I did what I could on my own then threw up my hands and called my good buddy, tequila. We sipped a shot together and my stomach untwisted enough for me to get my shit together and show anxiety the door. The problem is, anxiety has his own key.

And we all know tequila can’t stay forever or he turns from the solution into the problem.

Like I always, eventually do, I started the backtracking inventory, researching and figuring out why my head seems to be so far up my – uh – why I’m anxious. Is it psychological, physiological, work-related, stress-related? Am I not getting to the gym? Am I not saying no enough?

For me, anxiety is almost always self-induced by the mythological I-can-do-it-all syndrome that affects women from 9 to 90. I work full time and have a lot of obligations, just like millions of my sisters around the globe. Is it menopause related? I don’t know. I can’t tell you what point of menopause I’m in because there’s no map supplied by life – thanks God – and we will be discussing this later….. I have a mental picture of me saying these things to God and God sitting at his laptop reading them, eyes going wide, clapping his (we’re going with ‘him’ as no woman would ever do to herself or another female what menopause does) hand over his mouth to smother naughty giggles…….

Yes, I personify The Almighty as a 13-year-old nerd, pranking womankind.


In this case.

It’s a testament to how close to the edge I can get when desperate for answers. I mean, come on. I can’t walk around with my heart in my throat all the time. It makes me grouchy as hell. Neither do I want to be zonked on Benadryl constantly. That stuff makes me cantankerous after a while too.


……….I went to have my hair colored yesterday.

Not cut. Just colored.

I’ve never split my appointments up before, but because I waited until the last minute (read three inches of roots) to schedule them, my colorist and stylist couldn’t be booked on the same day for a month out. I took what I could get, which was a color appointment right before Mr. Smooshy Kissy Cheek’s Kindergarten Moo-sical. I was sure I’d have at least 45 minutes between completion of the appointment and the start of the barn show. Plenty of time.

And I don’t know what my colorist was doing with her time but I felt neglected. She put the foils in my hair, had someone else wash the color out (which is normal). She put toner in, plopped me in a chair and I never saw her again.

I sat, waiting, for long enough that I wondered what the hell was happening. There was a brief moment of fear in which I remembered the girl who does my color was a classmate of one of my daughters and said daughter told me they did not get along – in fact the words “can’t stand,” “mean as hell” and “such a b!#ch” might have been thrown around. However, as that was 10 years past and the “mean as hell” girl is nice to me, does fabulous color, and it’s my hair, #1 agreed sucking it up was in order. But – had my colorist suddenly remembered the animosity between them and decided to take it out on my hair?

I tried not to panic. It wasn’t as if I could just leave. There were mysterious chemicals on my head, of which I was (and am) completely ignorant.

I took deep breaths and watched a girl sweep the hair from three different stations, empty it into the garbage and take the garbage outside. She then came back, introduced herself as Maddy and said she’d been sent to wash and blow dry my hair.


Everything was good. Normal.

The speed at which Maddy moved was neither. It took her five actual minutes to comb out my hair and 32 actual minutes to attempt a blow dry. I knew she was a student and learning and was fine with that – unlike the student in the teaching hospital where Kimberly was born…… I made it clear, at that time, to my doctor that I wanted no residents anywhere near me. Brandon’s birth had been a horrible ordeal, during which we both could have died and I wanted nothing but seasoned professionals around for the birth of my second child. So, when the unfamiliar doctor came in to check my progress during labor I asked if he was a resident. He said yes. I said how happy I was to meet him and that he should take the goddamned glove off because that hand was going nowhere near my cervix…….. But this was just hair.

“Just hair.”

Seriously. 32 minutes.

At minute 20 I told Maddy how much I appreciated her efforts but was in quite a time crunch.

“Oh, of course,” she said. “I understand schedules.”

At minute 30 I released a sigh that sounded more like a growl. Maddy just continued on with the little, tiny section of hair she was drying.

“May I ask a favor,” I said at minute 32. “Give me the dryer. Just hand me the dryer.”

I grabbed it, flipped my head over and had the top of my head, which was literally still wet, dry in about 30 seconds. I mean, Jesus, it’s the desert and I have fine hair. Unless I’m standing out in the 100 degree sun and am in the middle of a frigging hot flash, it takes me, at the very most, 10 minutes to dry and style my locks.

Finally all was well.

Then I saw it.

In the middle of my head there was basically a big blonde mass. A forelock so brightly colored it looked like a bald spot.

“Is everything okay,” Maddy asked nervously. She reached toward my hair.
“Don’t touch me,” I said. “I’m going to use the restroom, then pay and I have to go. I’m late.”

I walked away and reached the bathroom right before I burst into tears because damn it, now I’d have to think about my hair and that’s my one rule. I don’t want to have to think about it. I get it cut and colored three or four times a year and I don’t have to think about it otherwise. But now I would because there’s a big blonde bald-looking spot right in the middle of my face…………

………And it’s a couple of days later…….. I’ve calmed down and had my hair washed and cut and the “spot” is blended and makes sense with the style……. Sort of……..

Maybe I’m just too picky. Maybe it’s wrong of me to insist that my hair look more like my natural color from 25 years ago and less like a photo of Bonnie Raitt.

Does anyone get that reference?

If you want to feel old, make jokes around people in their twenties. One of the guys at work started complaining about his hair the other day. Because it resembled Greg Brady’s from The Brady Bunch I said, “Oh calm down Greg. You’re getting it cut this afternoon, right?” His face was completely blank.

“What? Why’d you call me Greg?”

I had to explain the joke and show him a clip from The Brady Bunch. He’d never heard of it.

And just in case anyone wonders, google photos of Bonnie Raitt.

Later I was on break and scrolling my Facebook feed. Sean Hayes had posted one of his lip sync videos and I was watching it and laughing. Another of the babies who works for me asked what was so funny and I said I was watching a Sean Hayes lip sync video.

He gave me a blank stare.

“Sean Hayes,” I repeated. “You know, Jack, from Will and Grace.”

Same stare.

From somewhere in my brain I heard the words, fire him.  Instead I threw him a nasty look and told him to go back to work.

Almost everyone with whom I work is younger than I.

And it’s okay. I don’t mind. Most of the time.

It’s just…… Well, if there’s any levity it almost has to be on their level because it’s one thing for me to stay current but if we have to go back in time, I have to give history lessons and we all know I have no patience for that crap. I mean, I know Will and Grace has been off the air for a while but….

Oh God. I am a dinosaur.

Seriously. I just looked up when Will and Grace was on the air and I can’t believe it’s been OFF longer than it was on.

What about Friends? BRB

12 years off the air!


So my humor, my newest humor, is at least ten years old because, seriously, I don’t think much of what’s on now is funny. I like The Big Bang Theory and Amy Schumer, but Vine and Snapchat? Ugh. Olivia will, every now and then, find me in a weak moment – I’ve just gotten out of bed or the shower and can’t move quickly enough to avoid what I know is coming – and force-feed me six and a half second videos that she swears will simply tear me up with laughter.

They don’t.

I’m sure some are funny. I just haven’t seen those. Yet. Because my daughter insists we keep on trying. And because it puts me in close proximity with my youngest, I agree.

But they’re not funny.

Karen Walker is funny. Lucy and Ethel are still funny. Barney Fife is still funny. That big, dorky guy who does the Chrysler Pacifica commercials – Jim Gaffigan – is hilarious. So I guess, if you count him and Amy Schumer, I like current stuff.

Over 30 stuff.

To each generation their own.

I remember when Mark showed a clip of Robin Williams Live On Broadway to his father and Pops very calmly told us exactly how unfunny Mr. Williams and his crass, profane brand of humor was. Pops hates swear words. Robin Williams used them liberally. Mark and I use them liberally – unless Pops is around. I tone it down then. Mark, not so much.

I’m a lady.

See. That, right there, is funny. If you know me.

And the kids at work are getting there.

They laugh. At me. When I dance. And trip. And am myself. And I laugh back because – because it’s just the best thing and –



……..Anxiety is gone.


Filed under Daily Life, Lady stuff......, Parenting


I heard a song on the radio the other day that took me back. I don’t hear this one very often and it reminds me of a very specific time in my life – and, honestly – more often than not I’ve turned the song off. It’s long and sad and I’m usually just pissed off by the end of the first verse – still.

That’s the name of the song.


Lionel Ritchie.

For many that information alone would be enough to change the station. This time, however, I didn’t. I wasn’t even tempted. In fact, the song was over before I remembered that I don’t like to listen to it. I realized in that moment, I’d forgiven myself for something.

It’s not that I haven’t reached the self-forgiveness point in my life before, but normally it’s a more gradual realization. This one felt momentous.  Though, Jesus, it took long enough.

Seriously. I’m pretty sure I heard Jesus say, “It took long enough.”

Still came out when I was 18, I think. Toward the end of the Lionel Ritchie/Commodores years. I’ve always made fun of Lionel in a Kenny Rogers/Michael Bolton manner. He was sort of the best of the King of the lounge singer hit parade. Which is pretty nervy of me to say, considering that the wealth of the three above mentioned men due to their musical success could feed several small countries for years. The truth is, at one time or another, I’ve loved at least some of the music from all of them. To the point that Mark used to play Bolton CD’s to a Barry White end, if you know what I mean…..

It worked really well.

In fact, I suppose we could have named our son, Matthew, Michael Bolton, had we been so inclined.

If you know what I mean…..

I went to college at Weber State in Ogden, Utah. I went there because it got me away from Casper, Wyoming, where I spent four of the most difficult years of my life. I wanted to reinvent myself at Weber. Be more assertive, reach out to people and make friends – and I was successful.

To an extent.

I didn’t know, then, about healing the pain. I didn’t know just how traumatic the move from New York and what I’d been through in Casper was. The loss of having my friends and family in my life on a daily basis, the bullying (four years worth) that happened in Casper caused me to sort of implode. I was walking wounded for a long time, including the school year I spent in Utah. The success I cultivated and achieved there, I turned around and in fear, sabotaged.

It’s that simple and looking back at what went on from that perspective, seems such a forgivable thing. Yet it’s taken me 36 years to realize that young girl was doing the best she could, and under her circumstances, did very well. If I could tell her anything, what I’d say, as I wrapped her up in my arms, is contained in the last line of Lionel Ritchie’s song, which, in the moment, driving in my car last week, lifted a decades old burden from my heart.

I do love you.



Filed under Daily Life, Memories