Sunday, July 29, 2018

I'm going to do this regularly again one day i swear...

I saw friends last night I hadn't seen since before I was a mom.  I met people with whom I've run in the same social circles for years, but had never had an opportunity to get to know.  I watched as this group of intelligent, giving, wonderful people formed a circle of lawn chairs in my backyard and shared stories and laughter - and it made my heart grow three sizes and reminded me of how lucky I am to know such awesome people.

The occasion was a birthday gathering for a dear friend - she wanted the night to be full of her closest and most beloved, so I let her handle the inviting and Jimi and I took care of the rest.  I made a chicken shawarma that was out of this world (thanks NYT!), and Jimi spent all day smoking a pork shoulder.  The food was yummy.  And somehow, we've ended up with way more alcohol than we began the night with - good or bad, that will be determined. The guest of honor cried happy tears and rapped to Biggie Smalls; I call that a fucking win.

I loved it so much I've decided I'm going to make it a weekly thing.  Starting next week, I'm going to invite all of my friends to my house each Monday night - open house style - come and go as you please, bring something or have whatever we're having - bring the kids and let's throw them upstairs or in the back yard to play while the grownups talk and drink and whatever...fill our buckets, our cups, our mental health meters.  It's so fucking hard these days to just exist.  Last night, the conversations I had, remind me that IT'S NOT JUST ME.  We are all fighting the same fight, struggling in the same ways.  Well, we're not, but we are.  You know?  You know what I mean.  And being with people who tell us it's okay, that we're not alone, that we have people in the world who love us and support us even when shit gets hard, well, that's super important.  And despite the fact that we're living in a technologically advanced age of social media and oversaturation connection with every detail of each others lives at our fingertips - I think a lot of us are feeling really lonely and isolated.  Talking to my friends in person, seeing them in person, hugging their necks in person - it makes ME feel better.  and I'm guessing IT'S NOT JUST ME.  

The girls stayed at Dot's last night, and since my house is "company clean" today, I decided I had time to take the girls somewhere fun after I picked them up.  We got bathing suits on and headed up to Iroquois Park - we go there a lot, but it's a special treat for them to get to play in the spray pad water thingy.  When we pulled up, I noticed two young black men getting out of a car two spots from us, and a family of white people getting out of a car across the parking lot.  The older man of the white family met the older of the black men halfway between their cars in the middle of the lot and shook hands - somehow I gathered that the white family was looking to buy the car the black men were driving.  I got the girls out of their car seats and set them free - as I was walking to catch up with them, I noticed the family walking around the car, as if inspecting it.  I peripherally noticed when it drove off, as if someone was taking it for a test drive.  I thought one of the black men stayed behind.  I thought, "Yeah, that makes sense, if you're meeting someone in a park to buy a car, take a second with you, and leave someone behind to assure everyone everything is legit."

I walked around the playground as the girls played in the water - I was trying to get steps in.  I was hung over and not hydrated enough to try to do any real cardio today, but I could get some steps in walking circles around my kids, like the helicopter mom that I am.

I don't know how long it had been since we showed up since someone drove off with the car for a test drive, but on one trip around the playground, I saw a woman coming up the sidewalk in front of the park, and she seemed to be yelling, and crying...I was confused, was I hearing what I thought I was hearing?  My girls were squealing and yelling - I couldn't be sure, but it sure looked like this woman was crying and screaming...and then her people, the family, were running toward her, and I'd walked closer and could hear her saying "...told me to go around the circle one more time and that noise would stop...put a gun to my head....took my purse..."  oh no oh no oh no...

She'd been robbed, at gunpoint, by the two black men who'd posed as people selling a car.

I fucking hate people.

The older white man, the one I'd assumed was the father, he looked to be in shock, stunned.  The mother-lady, she was calling 911.  The woman who'd been robbed, she looked to be in her 30s somewhere, she just stood there, sobbing, trying to hug herself and gasp out the story.  No one hugged her.  No one was hugging her.  That still really bothers me.  I just wanted to go and hug her, but G was suddenly by my side, asking why that woman was crying, asking what was wrong, and I led her away trying to explain in 5 year old terms what had happened and that everything is fine and she shouldn't be scared even though I was shaking with adrenaline and rage and fear and the urge to scoop my babies up and run even though the rational part of my brain said "they've gotten what they were after, the police will be here in a moment, they're not coming back, the girls are safe."  The feeling of violation, the audacity, was so strong, despite that this was a situation that didn't happen to me, that didn't harm mine.  With the family, there was a 13ish year old girl, and a 9ish year old boy - the girl was so sad and scared - her pale face was red from crying.  The boy seemed to be in shock.  Ugh.

I'm so angry.  That poor woman, who probably just needed a good reliable cheap car to get her to work, she's been traumatized for life.  Her family has been traumatized.  Those kids...  And now they all have a story to help endorse and perpetuate the tale of evil black men in our society.

And those black men.  What were they thinking in those moments when they first met that family?  I'm so glad she brought her family with her.  What situation made them so desperate for a little cash that this was the best plan they had?  The forethought and premeditation and trickery that went into it - it makes me sick.   What made them so desperate?  Part of me hopes they have some dire circumstance that lead to this, because alternately...  well, I like to try to not think about the part of the world where people do this sort of shit just because.

I started wrangling the girls to go home shortly after the first police car showed up.  I generally don't like to hang where there are police anyhow, but I was so skeeved out, so uncomfortable, so uneasy, I just wanted to get my kids home to where I knew we were all safe.

This all happened hours ago.  I'm still struggling with it mentally a bit.  It's a fucked up thing to witness, the immediate aftermath of a trauma like that.  I'm so sad for that woman, that family.  I'm so sad for those men, and angry with them too.  Goddammit.  And I'm angry with our society, with our reality, that makes it easier for people to make money doing horrible things than to make money doing noble things.


I discovered this morning that  blogger I'd loved forever, who stopped blogging a while ago, stopped blogging basically because her life went to shit.  All of the things in her world that looked really awesome from the outside were crap on the inside and exploded in a bad way.  It made me really sad for her.  I think a lot of the time people only ever want to tell the good part of the story, the happy ending, the silver lining. I keep finding, over and over again, that the best part of the story is the part that makes you cringe when you tell it, the part that you think makes you look the worst, the part that hurts the most.  Those words, they're the ones that heal, the ones that resonate, because they're the ones spoken with the most truth.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

I can do hard things.

This week was hard, but I've survived it, apparently.  It's not the hardest thing I've ever done, I don't think, but maybe top 10?  Definitely Top 10 Most Stressful Week.

I've ignored the internet and news for days and days.  I've snuck peeks, and immediately regretted it. My little bubble, my safe place, it got real scary for a moment, and I was glad I hadn't been keeping up.  There were rallies everywhere today, and I should've been there - I'd even half-heartedly asked Jimi last week, after sneaking a peek, if he wanted to try to go to DC.  Fuck.  Maybe that's what cursed this week - the last time we tried to go to DC, we ALL got sick.  This time it was just Jimi, but damn, what a doosie.   I'm disappointed in myself and ashamed that I didn't make it out today, that I didn't put my own shit aside for a moment to do what I know we have to do in this moment, as Americans.  I don't even have any money I could throw at it right now, to help assuage my guilt. 

Can I mention again - just be patient with me - how thankful I am for this life?  For our Village?  For the privileges with which we've been so blessed?  And I am so very humbled - what makes us so special?  Why isn't everyone able to have this same experience when shit goes bad? 

I'm not trying to be cryptic: my sweet husband has been in the hospital since Thursday, and it's been a little stressful.  Scary.

For some reason the fact that our yard hadn't been cut in weeks - because of his finger injury, and then the rain, and then because it's apparently hard as shit to find people to take cash money for actual work - was causing me SERIOUS anxiety, because I guess I had nothing better to focus my energy on?  (Because I like to make passive aggressive points as often as possible:  The dudes who showed up at my house at 5 o'clock this afternoon after getting a call at 3 pm on the Saturday before the 4th of July in 98degree weather?  Hispanic.  Did a fantastic job in just over an hour that would've taken me at least 4 hours.  I paid them enough that they each got an extra $20 on top of the rate they quoted me, because they saved my MFn sanity. They tried to give me the extra $$ back.  The two white guys I'd booked previously both ghosted me.  I'm so excited to tell all my friends about how fabulous these guys are - I'll post their business card later.) 

I wasn't going to write a novel tonight, but I guess I am.  Pull up a chair.

We are so lucky to have the friends and family we have.  The offers of help and support that have poured in are overwhelming and I feel unworthy.  I'm so thankful to have so many people willing to lend a hand.  It's really really hard for me to ask for help, to risk inconveniencing anyone.  (Even thought sometimes I feel like I only call my poor sweet Momma when I need a babysitter!)  I don't have the words to say how much it means to know so many people are willing to help out, to support our family. 

I've been really down on the state of our nation, in case you haven't noticed.  I'm eternally optimistic, but goshdang it's getting harder and harder.  But for all the wrongs I see, we really are so very lucky to be here, of all places.  Aren't we?  I want to feel this unabashedly, but then I realize my awe at seeing my sick husband surrounded by the best technology and most well-trained medical professionals is still obtained with a badge of privilege that is not available to everyone.  I remember that in other parts of the world people don't even have clean water, much less portable X-ray machines.  (Do they have X-ray machines in Flint, MI?) 

But we, Jimi and I, we have access to these things - portable X-ray machines and potable water.  He was surrounded by doctors and nurses and aides and medicines and technology all dedicated to making him well.  And he will be well again.  And we can afford this emergency room visit that resulted in a 4 day hospital stay with a private room and round-the-clock care and meals and cable television and air conditioning and a fabulous view, because we are gainfully employed in jobs that offer a comfortable annual salary with reasonably affordable medical benefits and vacation days and holiday pay.  And we each only have to work one job to live this American dream.  We are the best case scenario for your average middle class family, I think. 

Then I mentally poll my friends list - how many of you fit that same description?  What makes us so special? 

I just want to be thankful for what I have.  It doesn't feel right, though, to have all of this when I know that it's not the same for everyone. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Moving on...

Need to get the post with the word "Fuck" in the title, twice, off the top of the page, perhaps.  As good a reason as any to write something down, huh?

It's 7:30 a.m. on Friday May 25, 2018.  I've taken the day off as a little mental health gift to myself.  I'm going to spend my day working for my family, and for myself.  Here in a minute I'm going to go take Finn for a walk around the block - Jimi and I were watching Versailles last night and I skipped his walk and so I will make up for it today.  It's really nice outside right now, about 60 degrees.  When we get back, I'm going to mow the yard, front and back.  Then I'm going to take a shower, clean the bathroom, and fold laundry while watching a documentary of some sort or another.  Or maybe Orange is the New Black. I'm going to read on the front porch for an hour, then do yoga in the sunshine.  I'll clean the kitchen while I listen to the last episode of Seeing White, the most amazingly eye-opening piece of education I've ever experienced on the topic of race and what it really means to be white.  (You should check it out - seriously.  It should be required listening for every American.)  I'm going to reorganize my pantry today and get my dining room straight.  I'm going to condense all the cardboard amazon and diaper and toilet paper boxes and get them ready for recycling.  For dinner, I'm making, per Geneva's request, tuna casserole, with peas and lots of extra love.

Once these chores are finished, these tasks accomplished, my house will be ready for a 3-day weekend of playing and fun, not cleaning and straightening.  I'll be refreshed and ready to enjoy my favorite people.  I'm so excited!

Okay, I'm 10 minutes behind schedule already.  Typical.  At least I'm my own boss today.  :)

Happy Friday y'all!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fuck right the fuck off.

“I have a different opinion and your opinion is making me uncomfortable so please stop talking about it.  I can’t listen to you have a conversation that doesn’t involve me without becoming offended and insisting you shut down your conversation.”

But liberals are the sensitive ones; liberals are the snowflakes

Thursday, March 29, 2018

All I Really Want

...Is some patience.  A way to calm the angry voice.  

Fuck yes. I can recognize and relate to that.

I had to turn Alanis off, though.  I switched to Yanni.  Way better for thinking, sorting your thoughts.  Still reminds me of my adolescence.  And reminds me that we need a piano in our lives.  I would like to play again; the girls would love it.  I need to make that happen.

Also:  I want to paint.  I bought oils and canvas over 2 years ago - I've not opened them yet.  It's past time.

I need to leave social media.  I recognize it plays an addictive role in my life and I use it the way an addict uses and it is sucking away my time, making me agitated and angry.  The bad is outweighing the good.

I fucking suck at blogging anymore.  I don't know what stories to tell.  I don't know how to tell them anymore.  I want to record our lives, to document our day to day, but fucking facebook and Instagram are so much better for that than a blog - so much easier and convenient when you feel like you never have any time.  Of course, if i gave up the facebook and Instagram and twitter, i guess I'd find some time...

I'm going to be 38 next month.  Heh.  In a week and a half.  38.  That sounds way older than I feel.  I don't know what that means, I just know that I have an idea in my head of what a 38 year old woman is, and that's not me.  Except...stable career, married, couple of kids, house, lease, dog, cat - okay.  Maybe.  I also want to say "my life is not at all what I imagined it would be at 38," but that's not true either.  The truth is that, while I full expected I'd be making fuckpiles more money than I currently am, I never pictured many details in my adult life beyond "married" and "kids".  I got that going for me.  So true, I've not published a book or jumped out of an airplane or traveled the world - YET - I'm really not doing bad for 38.  Not by my personal standards, at least.

The truth is, I'm happy as a pig in shit with my boring little life.  I have this fabulous man who loves me and made the most beautiful children with me and he is just the best daddy in the whole world and my boss thinks I'm awesome and my parents are the absolute best and my brother, well, I love my brother, and we have this great dog and cat and our jobs pay the bills and leave a little left over and we've got a house with good bones in a safe neighborhood and our girls will go to a decent school...I mean, what else is there, at 38?  At any age?  I'm not being facetious, or sarcastic - I'm thankful.  I went to the doctor earlier this week for my annual health-insurance-required physical, and as she was filling out the form, the doc commented, "Your numbers are great, I wish all of our patients had these numbers."  They were all in normal range.  WTF?  Seriously, so far, 38 is killing it.

I need to make some changes, though, if I'm going to live my best life.  I've been doing a great job of focusing on self-care, of being more social, of reaching out to my friends more.  I need to do better at home, truth be told.  I still come home and spend too much time on my phone when I should be playing with my girls.  I excuse myself by saying I'm tired or that I need to take just a few minutes for myself, to clear my brain, but it always becomes more than a few minutes and I end up letting them sit in front of the TV so I can scroll through the nonsense.  I do need a few minutes for myself, to clear my brain, but social media sure isn't the answer to that.  I can find better, less distracting outlets to clear the day from my mind so I can be a good mom.  I'm typing this here because if I put it in writing then I'm acknowledging it and maybe I'll be more inclined to actually do something about it.  Maybe. Probably.

I need new hobbies, or to focus on the ones I've tried to cultivate in the past.  I have a partially-knitted scarf for Jimi in a bag hanging on the inside of the coat closet door in the living room. I started it 3 years ago, unraveled it when I fucked up a few rows, then began again this past winter.  I'm maybe 8 inches into a 36 inch (minimum) scarf.  I'll finish it one of these days.  "I do what I want," is what I say when Jimi asks if I'll ever finish his scarf.

I also have a lot of garden spots in my yard that have been pretty much ignored since summer of 2015 when I planted the garden in the spot that was sunny in January but not-so-sunny in June.  I moved in a few raised beds the summer after that, but their yield was mediocre and i think i was in the full throes of my personal version of postpartum funk by then - it was hard to give too many shits about too much of anything - If it wasn't easy, fuck it, it wasn't happening.  There's something to be said for living that way, but you can't live that way and be a gardener, probably.

Hiking.  I want to hike so much - I wish I could get into the wood every day.  But it rains.  Or it gets cold.  Or it rained for the last 4 days, so all the trails are muddy washouts.  Or it's in an area where they say you shouldn't hike alone as a female because there have been "incidents".  For a city with so many parks and so many trails, it sure it difficult for me to find the right alignment of the stars to be able to get out into/onto them.  It's frustrating.  But the girls are bigger and bigger - I started taking them last year, and we'll do more, so much more, of that that this year.  G has already asked when we're camping again.  "Soon, baby," is what I tell her.  Camping and hiking go hand in hand.  My girls will love the woods and the outside at least as much as I do - hopefully more.

Camping - we're going to camp so much this year.  Jimi and I have both missed it since the girls came along.  I know it's possible to camp with babies and small children - for other people, it totally is. It wasn't for us. I mean, we could've survived it, but it was never going to be easy.  Maybe that's because my brain chemistry was all fucked up so everything was hard, but whatever the reason, we've only camped a handful of times in the last five years and now our children are big enough to enjoy the great outdoors so we're going to go get all up in it this summer.  It's good for the mind, body, and soul.  I need it.  I miss it so much.

I wish we had The Property to go to - my grandparents owned 20ish acres in Adair County Kentucky, we dubbed it The Property.  When they bought it, there was no road leading to it - it was just a large field and a couple of hills and hollers back off a county road.  Papaw mowed it and laid gravel and rebuilt the barn, and although there was no running water or electricity at first, it was the perfect campground. My mom's brother and sisters and their spouses and granny and papaw and their brothers and sisters would all drive out, pitch tents in a circle we'd call tent city, and the men would build a huge bonfire and sit around with their guitars, pickin' and grinnin' as they'd call it - singing songs old and new.  It was Papaw's dreamland, and eventually they built a house on the land and moved there full time. He got 3 years or so there before he died.  He was getting the soft dirt from under the treeline to add to his flowerbeds in front of the porch.  Heart attack.  Granny lived another 6 years.  They sold the place after she died.  I still keep some little fantasy in the back of my heart that one day I'll have the cash to walk up to the front door of that house and make the owners an offer they can't refuse - to move and leave The Property to me.  Not that it's even that great of a house or land - but it's my childhood.

Roller skating.  Bike riding.  Reading.  Giving myself a facial.  Listening to music.  Writing.  And that's before I even dive into the mile-long list of mom-related things I should be doing to better the lives of my children.  Not that they're wanting for anything at all, but you know how mom-guilt is - i could always improve, right?

I've got half a mind to do something drastic - like cut off my social media access completely. At least Twitter and Facebook - they are the main source of my time-suck.

I'm struggling with this social-media thing, can you tell?  Like, a lot.  The internet is the best and worst of all the things.  Like parenting.  And cheesecake.

I'm not making any promises or declarations tonight. I will promise to come back here and hash it out with myself a bit more at a later date, because frankly, I'm sick of talking about it and it's getting late and i need to get to bed.

Sweet dreams.


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