Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rules of the Road

Very simply stated - when you are driving on a highway where there are two lanes on each side, the inside lane is for passing.  Period. It is not the lane for cruising.

It's the law.


I know. I've looked it up.

State by State - it's the same thing.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because I just finished a road trip and the majority of people out there have no fricken' clue as to the rules of the road.

What drives me nuts? Willful stupidity.  Selfishness. The assumption that everything is created for "you." That "they" owe "you" something.

No. The inside lane is not made for you. No. Just because you are driving speed limit does not authorized you to drive in the inside lane.  No. Just because you are young, old, black, white, brown, rich, poor, - no one owes you squat. There is nothing that allows you to be an ass on the road. Nothing.

So - get the hell out of the inside lane. If you are driving faster than those in the "slow lane" then - and only then - can you go into the "fast lane" to do just fast. Then when you pass the slower vehicle, pull back into the right lane. That way, when you are driving slower than another person, they have the advantage of going around you.

It's simple.

It's polite.

It's the law.

Monday, December 20, 2010

College Road Trip 101 - Adventure at Reed College

So how did we wind up at a Faculty Christmas party at Reed College in Portland, Oregon?

It wasn't our intent - nor did I budget time for this festive occasion...but obviously the best laid plans are made so they can be changed by forces beyond ones' control.

And so it was as our adventure at Reed College was coming to an end.  We had a wonderful time meeting some of the staff - getting the lowdown on College life in Portland and taking a whirlwind tour of the campus.  We said our goodbyes to the most excellent staff and entered back into the light rain to become one again with our little red Kia.

Stop.  You cannot enter the parking lot.  Some "distraught individual has taken refuge on the campus."  and oh by the way...he has a loaded weapon.

Nice. Distraught and loaded weapon.  What a wonderful combination.

We could see our car.  It was right there. I could almost reach out and touch it. But no. That would have crossed into the "no can be here" zone, so back we went.

The building that we ended back up in at Reed is a long Gothic-looking building with wonderful stone work, bearded face carvings and ivy filling the nooks and crannies of the mortared bricks.  The trees that caress the sides are a combination of oak and redwoods with moss clinging to the bark and some with a feathering of ferns growing from the crooks of branches.  The buildings are celebrating their 100th year of existence with beauty and grace...and a madman somewhere on the east side with a gun.

And there we set.  In a small room with comfy leather chairs sipping tea and cider while munching pretzels and oreos waiting for sanity to prevail.  One by one, the staff donned coats and left the building in pairs until only a handful remained.

Then. The call came.

Join us! We are having our staff Christmas party and, well, since you are stuck here you may as well come enjoy some food and live music...


A Party.

A Distraught Individual.

A loaded gun.

Don't these people read the papers? Shouldn't we be worried? Shouldn't we take cover?  Shouldn't we drop and roll?


So we moved to the West side of campus...away from the "activity" and proceeded to meet and greet the Dean and other assorted tenured staff.

We sat at a table with lovely people who really didn't take much of an interest in us until I mentioned that we were REALLY from Alaska.  And as always - the very mention of Alaska opened up an active conversation.  We discussed Moose, fishing, poor hotel choices, and the school districts between Anchorage, Eagle River, Wasilla and Talkeetna.  My usual shyness evaporated and I came alive.

Then - the situation holding our car hostage was lifted.  Just like that. No more concern over loaded weapons. No more despondent male over the holiday season. Joy was restored in Whoville and we departed the campus as if we had just been through a typical college interview.

No harm. No foul. No bloodshed. No bullet holes. No worse for wear.

We were free to go...and somehow, Reed has moved into the #1 position of college choices...

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Sometimes, you just have to get it out.

Sometimes, you can't tell those who are annoying you to stop, or to see your side of it.  Sometimes, if you do then it only makes things worse.

This is one of those times.

I have a vacation planned for December 17 - January 2.  Yes...that is a tad bit more than 2 weeks away from work.  I need it.  I can work on average 60 hours a week.  Sometimes I have worked over a month straight...and yes that includes Saturdays and Sundays.  Now before you get all excited about overtime, etc - understand that I am salary.  I don't get overtime.

I just work.

Rarely, do I take time off.  I can't.  My job just will not allow for it.  I am at the whim of the Government.

I write proposals.  So...when the Government (specifically the military) decides they have a job to be performed on a base somewhere around the world (specifically Operations/Maintenance/Support/Housekeeping/etc) then the company I work for will bid for that job.  It's how we keep afloat.  It's what allows me to actually HAVE a job.  So...I write proposals.

When I started, there were about six of us in my department.  This was 3 years ago.  Now there are 2.  And we do it all.

It is the most stressful job I have ever had in my life.

It is also the highest paying job I've ever had.

As a single mom, this is vital.  I need to live. I need to support myself and my son.  I need, I need, I need.

And so I work.  Constantly.

My last vacation was in 2008.  Prior to that, it was when I quit my job in Alaska and drove to Texas.  I was off work for 3 weeks.

This is my first REAL time off in years.  And I need. Desperately.  I feel as if my ability to hold it together is slipping...and I know I need a break.  If I don't get away, I will snap.  It's inevitable.'s the issue.  We just had 3 major solicitations hit.  All are due within 7 days of each other between January 7 & the 14.  One is HUGE.

And now they are threatening to pull my vacation.

Did I mention I'm in Texas?  Yeah.  They can do that in Texas.  There is no State law governing vacations.  If Texas had it's way, no one would ever take a vacation.  If I push for my time off, they can fire me.  And even though it is not to their advantage to do so...they would probably play that card.

So here I am.


I already will be - at the very least - working on my vacation.  Though, finding the time will be interesting as it is a major roadtrip.  I will be driving 70% of the time.

And's one of the last (and possibly the last) vacation I take with my son before he leaves for college in 2012.  I can try for another...but financially, that isn't always an option.

So - this is the big one.

And it may not happen.

And there is really nothing I can do about it.

Sometimes...Life just sucks no matter how hard you try to make it all alright and find time for yourself and your family.

Sometimes, I wish I wasn't a single mom.

Sometimes, I just wish....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

you and me against the world...

I don't know when it became the two of us. Though...if I think about it, it's been since the very beginning of time.

I remember finding out I was pregnant with Sean.  It was a lifetime ago...and I was so scared.

We'd been trying forever to have a baby.  When I first discovered I was pregnant...the first time...I was over the moon with joy.  My world was complete. I did what every expectant parent is not supposed to do - I told EVERYONE.  We were going to have a baby. We were going to be a family.

Wrong.  I lost the baby Christmas day, 1992.  I had been pregnant less than 8 weeks.  But I already had a baby ornament for the tree.  I still have that ornament...and once a year, I look at it and think about the baby I lost - my first baby - and I mourn what never will be.

So...when Sean came along the following May, I was scared.  More scared than I thought was humanly possible.  I didn't believe the pregnancy tests.  I made the doctor do a blood test - then prove to me why it was correct.  My first ultrasound?  The same thing.  I made her explain everything she saw in the ultrasound that proved I was indeed pregnant and the little peanut shape she was showing me baby.

Sean was peanut before he was Sean.

As I got comfortable in my pregnancy, the fear started to subside.  After three months, we finally told everyone... cautiously.  I still wasn't sure.  But as time moved forward, I got less scared.

Until November.  Pre-Eclampsia. And I was down on bedrest from my birthday until Sean was delivered January 29, 1994.  Between were almost daily visits by nurses, technicians, and the weekly hospital visit.  They had me terrified that if I moved wrong, I would lose my baby.  Even the delivery severely threatened both our lives.

But we survived.  And I became more protective in life than I ever was during the womb days.

Was this the beginning of Sean and I?  Well, probably.  But I tried to be three.  I really did.  And for a while it worked.

I can't blame Mike.  He tried as best as any new dad could.  But Sean was as close to me as I was to him.  He was always in my arms, or around my legs, or nestled up beside me.  We were almost as inseparable as we were when I was pregnant.  Even trips taken outside to visit family - it was just Sean and I traveling. I don't remember Mike ever joining us on a vacation.

So when it came out that Mike was an alcoholic and we started to fight that horrible demon, Mike retreated into a shell of tequila and gin bottles, while Sean and I gathered together as one.

It was natural.

And it's how we got to where we are today.

Just the two of us.  Who have been through everything together: illnesses, broken bones, emergency room visits, learning to read, learning to ride a bike, death of grandparents, the hell of alcoholism, divorce, and growing into a man.

No matter who has been around - no matter what our family situations - no matter what state we've lived in - it's always been the two of us, hand in hand.

Unconditional love at it's finest.

And the truth is...I need to learn to let go.

My peanut is not mine to hold onto forever.  He is mine to love...but he belongs to himself.  He is the best of unconditional love, but as is true with the finest of loves...they are not meant to last forever.

In a very short year and a half - he will move onto the next chapter in his life...and I will need to move on too.

I love you Peanut.

You and me against the world

It feels like you and me against the world
And for all the times we've cried
I've always felt that God was on our side
And when one of us is gone
And one is left alone to carry on
Then remembering will have to do
Memories alone will get us through
Think about the days of me and you
You and me against the world

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back by popular demand...the story of my first Thanksgiving...

Back in the dark ages of my youth...I was about 20 and had my first "real" job. Well, they gave us a gift certificate at Thanksgiving time "for a turkey." It was really a $25 gift certificate to Safeway - but I thought I had to buy a turkey with I did. It was 1980 and I bought a $25 turkey. 

I was single at the time. 

Didn't dawn on me to give it to a I was going to cook my first turkey for me and my friend! Yeppers! 

So there we are in this tiny apartment kitchen opening this turkey...okay, I remembered my mom sticking her hands in the turkey and taking stuff I did.

GROSS! I thought everything would be in a bag or something - I have no idea why. Then I didn't know what to do with the stuff I took out, so we put it in a dish then stuck it in the fridge. 

Step two. Stuff the turkey. 

Okay. This should be simple enough. We opened the box of Stovetop stuffing and poured it into the turkey cavity. Do you know how much Stovetop stuffing fits in the cavity of a $25 turkey? Lots!!! So we kept filling the cavity until it was full. YEA! Now let's cook the turkey!

It took forever. We thought we were suppose to baste the turkey with it's own juices...but there really wasn't any juice coming out, so we didn't. Somewhere...I probably should have called my mom...but no. I was 20 and living on my own. Why call mom????

Sometime around Christmas I think the turkey finally popped it's little red timer thingy...and so it was done.

Yum! We couldn't wait! 

Did you know you're suppose to let the turkey sit before you slice into it? I didn't. So we fired up the electric knife and butchered the hell out of that turkey. Oops! Forgot to remove the stuffing...I guess we'll just serve it from the turkey...YEA!!! Turkey and Stuffing!!!! WOOHOO!!! Let's eat!!!

Have you ever had cottonmouth? 

Have you ever shoved like an entire pack of crackers into your mouth and tried to chew them and swallow? Have you ever had all your bodies' moisture sucked right out of you?

Yeah. we did. Remember when I said we poured the Stovetop stuffing into the turkey's cavity? Did you know you're supposed to first mix the stuffing with water? 

We didn't. 

Wonder where all that turkey juice went that we were supposed to baste the turkey with? Yep. into the cavity. The wads of dried breading was sucking the literal life juice out of the turkey.

So there we were...CRAVING turkey and dressing with a frickin' huge turkey as dry as the sahara desert surrounded by piles of semi-moist turkey-fied breadcrumbs.

I didn't prepare another Thanksgiving meal until I was in my 40's...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

They say it's your birthday...


I have a birthday and oddly enough, it's today. Just like it was last year and the year before that...and so it goes back, back, into the dark ages of time. Back to a world that exists only in black and white pictures and broken Super 8 film, sticking and burning in an ancient Kodak projector.

Where I am today is never a place I thought about back in the world I use to live in...that world of Ed Sullivan and Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom, of "Sing Along with Mitch Miller" and Elvis Presley albums, of climbing the old apricot tree in the back yard and digging to China in my mother's garden and playing in the old paneled wagon with Jeff and Bryan pretending we were soldiers trying to avoid capture by the Nazi's during the days of the Vietnam War.

What have I seen in my lifetime?  What has happened in the past 50 that I'm 51 and what has shaped the person I've become?

And am I any different that that girl with the long blonde pigtails? Is there a difference between that tomboy of 1968 and the single mom of 2010?

In my lifetime I've lived through the toddler years of Rock & Roll, survived Disco, Punk and Grunge and have questioned the reasoning behind Rap. All in all - it's been a wondrous life of music, though my son swears I was lucky enough to live through the best decades EVER when it comes to Rock.  My stories of concerts during the '70's can easily elicit a glazed over expression of envy the likes I never even considered.

I've lived through 4 or 5 wars (assuming one counts Grenada?) with Vietnam still etched into my memory as a horrible vision shown nightly on TV. My prayers always included a line asking God to end the war in Vietnam.  Even after it had finally ended, I repeated the line nightly for years because my prayers had simply become a habit. My feelings toward war have not changed in the last 50 years. I have studied all the wars, the history behind them, the strategies, the outcomes, the battles, the bullshit - and I still have the same opinion that I've always had.  War is simply two men (always a man) who have issues with each other - usually involving one having something the other wants. They then gather all the people under them and force these people to "go get it" from the other guy. Sometimes, the people have to be told it is in their best interest, that the other guys are evil and will kill us all if we don't stop them.  War is stupid. People die for reasons that are usually ridiculous. Families are destroyed because of the will of someone who doesn't care. Even today - (and yes, I understand what has happened in the US in the last 20 years) - we have simply traded the fear/threat of Communism for the fear/treat of Al Qaeda. It's always steeped in truth, but it has grown to ridiculous proportions by being fed through ignorance and fear.

Nope. War has not changed in my lifetime. It has only, like music, evolved.

What else has happened in the last 50 years? Politics? Nope - different people - same Bull Shit.

Society?  You would think with all the opportunities to educate ourselves, more people would take advantage of knowledge. But no. That really hasn't changed either.  The people who will grow and be valuable to our world will take the initiative and learn.  The ones who are lazy and expect the world to cater to them, will sit on their asses and wait for a hand out. It's no different today than it was 50 years ago...though sometimes, in my darker times, I think there are more lazy ass people looking for their piece of assumed heaven.  But really?  No, I think it's the same just dressed a little differently.

So what has changed?


We are still people. We are still human. We love. We hate. We are afraid of things we don't understand. We find pleasure in the simple things around us. We are hungry. We are rich. We want only what is basic to survive. We want it all. We are no different than we were at the start of 1960.  Our society on a whole has changed and evolved with the ebbs of the tide.

I want to be better than that. I want to have grown. But, even as an individual - I know how difficult change can be. I want things to be different, but I didn't do whatever was necessary in my past to make things different. I still wish I was sitting in Bob's car cruising State College, or hanging out at Bill's cool apartment on Lemon Street, or trading shots from a bottle of Jack Daniel's in the Fort at Pioneer Park.

I want to do more dancing in LA with Mark. I want to go see "Animal House" one more time at the Orange Drive-in.  I want to see another concert at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach.

I want to be happy and loved in 2011, but I still want to relive 1979 over and over again.

How can I expect the world to change around me for the better - how can I expect people to grow and evolve in this society - when I'm not willing to let go of my past?

What do I want as I move into my 52nd year on this earth?

What I've always wanted. I want Peace. I want Love. I want Happiness.

But most importantly - I want to make this world a better place for my son so that when he is 50, he can look back and see the change I never saw.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What do you want from life?

So far, I've given up on the autographed picture of Randy Mantooth, the herd of Winnebago's and the baby's arm holding an apple - but what I haven't given up on is that idea of having it all in whatever reasonable fashion I can manage having it.

You never really do know what is out there until you step into the pile of shit while rounding that blind corner.  Sometimes, while you're leaning against the wall scrapping off your shoe, the most surprising things tap you on the shoulder.

Mine was simply a phone call asking me what I wanted for dinner.  When I said surprise me, he said okay and intends to do just that.  I don't get the company, but I do get the food.  More importantly - I was thought about. And for a moment - someone unexpectedly cared about me and felt compelled to surprise me with a little gesture.

These are truly the gestures that get me through my days - they are also the gestures that remind me that I still have desires and dreams. I'm not ready to give up and become the cat lady.

The Tubes reminded me that no one really knows what they want - and when they have it, they're not really sure they want to keep it.  We are always searching - always wondering - and always, always wanting more.
"What do you want from life
Someone to love 
and somebody that you can trust
What do you want from life
To try and be happy 
while you do the nasty things you must"
Is this truly it?

Is this what we're all striving to reach - to find - to cling to in our dreams, in our beds, on our daily commutes to our sheep like existence? 

I think it's pretty damned close.

My 2 minute surprise phone call showed me it's not that far from the truth.  

I want to be loved, I want to love back, I want to be happy and I want someone to stand by me as I creep through the muck, claw my way through the jungles, and deadman float through the garbage-strewn moat surrounding my King's castle.  

And while I never expect him to tell me he loves me - I know that he the way most of us love another after climbing out of the hole of love affairs gone bad. We're scared, we're weary, we're covered in crud...but we still want someone to love and trust. We want to try and be happy.  

And we desperately want someone - just as battle savvy - to stand beside us in love and in life.

In a weird way I have that as a woman too afraid to cross a line to reach a man who is too afraid to need another person. So together we'll be there for one another - never sharing the identical secret we continue to keep from the other.  

In the meantime - I'll enjoy dinner and know that someone who truly does love me is watching out for me from afar...the only way he knows how.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

slow down...the corner is coming too fast...

So what's wrong with me?

My son says I've changed.  That's new.  I've never had my son tell me that.

My ex did. I've had friends tell me that.  Even family.  But my son?

nope. That's a new one.

So what's different?

My life is changing around me and I have no control over it.  That's nothing new - but the circumstances are changing.

My son is growing up.  Hell, he's already grown up through no fault of his.  Life threw him a curve ball early on and he hit it out of the park.

But is that a good thing?

I will never know, because it is what it is and I can't change the past.

So I'm trying to control the future - and it's not mine to control.

I love him. I'm proud of him. I trust him to make the right decisions and choices and twists and turns that come with life.  I'm just not prepared to let him go.  Actually, I'm not prepared to let go period.


Because I have nothing to grab onto.

In my past, I've had three things...
1.  What will I be when I grow up?
2.  My husband
3.  My son

I'm grown up, divorced and the mother of a high school junior.  I'm done.  I spent 25 years holding onto and guiding my husband and I will have spent 18+ years doing the same for my son.

I understand that now it's my time.  Terri time.

But I don't know what that means.  I can't see the paths.  I don't know what's around the corner.

And unlike that girl of 19 - this time I'm scared.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You've come a long way baby...

I'm tired.

Anyone who knows me has got to believe that's my mantra.

I work more than I should and I never accomplish enough.  Sometimes I feel so exhausted that I just sit and stare at shit piling up on counters and tables and wonder where the hell my maid is.

Then I remember I am the maid.

And the mom.

And the business associate.

And the chauffeur, the tutor, the dad, the chef - the everything.

Why is that?  Because I deemed my life better as a divorced, single mom.

During times like this, it takes a lot to remember just how bad it truly was.  I spent years sad and lonely and scared...always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I never knew what I was coming home to or what my son was being subjected to. I was miserable. My son was scared. I hated coming home. I hated that I hated it. I got to the point where I just wanted my husband out of my life. I hated his alcoholism and I hated him.

I don't hate.

It's not who I am.  I'm an annoying peacenik - someone who truly believes that love can conquer all.  But I was done trying to rescue a man who didn't want to be saved.  I wanted freedom.

And damn if I didn't get it.

I'm free now. Free to live with skyrocketing debt. Free to work 60 hour weeks. Free to have 1100 sq ft of clutter. Free to want to pass out while defrosting a frozen meal. Free to do whatever I damn well please...if only I was awake to do it.

Is it better?

Yes. It is.  But sometimes I'm too tired to see it.

I want so badly to have someone to share parenting with, to share finances with, to share my bed with.  I want someone there to hold me and tell me everything is going to be okay. I don't care if it really is - I just want someone to lovingly lie to me that my debt, my exhaustion and my messy house are okay.

I want a partner in life.

I want to be loved.

I walked away from that so I could have a better life.  Am I being selfish to want both?  Am I too old to want both?

God, I'm tired.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

brick by brick - the facade begins

Sometimes the reason people feel so alone is because the person they want to hold them up doesn't.

It doesn't matter how many friends they may have, or how many of the people around them say, "if you need anything - just let me know."

People like me don't just reach out.  We don't just "let you know."  Not because we don't want to - but because it's been driven into our tiny little brains that to do so could be an inconvenience to those we reach out to.

Or...when we've reached out, we've received obvious advice that we really didn't need.

Telling us the mistakes we've made to get to where we are is unnecessary.  Usually, we know where we've fucked up.  It's pretty obvious to us.  We tend to feel extremely stupid for allowing ourselves to make the very mistake you feel a need to point out to us.

So - we don't reach out.  Because we don't want to be beaten over the head by our own stupidity.

Some people think we need to hear it to move forward.

We don't.

I don't at least.

What I need is quiet support.

Someone to tell me it will all be okay.  Someone to hold me and to prop me up.  Someone to stand behind me as I face the coming day.

I need someone who will protect me.  Someone who will not be condescending to me when I ask for advice.  I'm perfectly able to tick off every mistake I've ever made - every misstep that has led me down all the wrong paths. What I need is help climbing out of the hole.

I need love.

And I'm no different from everyone else out there that feels lost on a daily basis.

The hardest thing I'm finding is to grow older and having that support system change around you. I'm not alone in that I gather very few trusted people around me.  I'm not alone in feeling that I would impede on another's life by asking them to join my little circle.

People like me - need people like you to step up and come to me. I need you to make the effort to show me you truly care.  I need you to fight for me and not simply think I'm strong enough to do it for myself.

To simply offer up a comment of "just let me know" implies you're too busy to take the time necessary to reach through my walls and touch my heart.  I'm not going to "let you know" because it will take too long for me to explain why I need you.

Whereas you believe I have that time - have that strength - the simple truth is that I don't.

I'm afraid.

And fear is a grand motivator for living inside of walls.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Imagine all the people - living life in peace...

So what's wrong with us?

As a society on a whole?

Why do we perpetuate hatred and allow it to continue day in and day out?

Seriously. Have we learned nothing in my lifetime?

I have been around this earth for 50 years.  During that time I have lived through historical acts of fear, ignorance and unspeakable acts of hatred aimed at people who have done nothing other than to try and live in this world.

And why is this?  So many people have stepped forward to say this behavior is wrong - that it will not be tolerated - that it must change.  Yet, it doesn't change. It is tolerated. And there are just as many people who are willing to turn a blind eye to it everyday.

What is wrong with us?

Why do people allow hatred to continue?

Worse yet - why are there still people out there that push for its very existence?

Don't tell me I'm wrong.  I know they are out there.  I've dealt with them.  I've seen how they raise their kids.  I've heard their rhetoric of ignorance thrown back at the peacekeepers - as if the venom, if yelled louder, will become the right and destroy those who quietly strive for peace.

True - this is the way our world has existed for 1,000's of years - and on a much grander scale.  But that doesn't make it okay.  It doesn't give credence to a parent's right to instill hatred in their child.

Dear God, it's not a Constitutional Right to maintain stupidity and support your child's ability to heap hatred upon another child!

What is wrong with basic tolerance?

What is wrong with basic human respect?

What is wrong with simply being polite to one another?

Everything you do affects another. Period. We should be aware of our actions and not suppose, or even superimpose them upon another without recognizing that they are doing the exact same thing with their actions. We can be annoyed at another or ignorant of another - but the reality is - the actions will affect someone.

Politeness and kindness are easy. But only if the person choses to exhibit that behavior. Rudeness is a choice. Ignorance is a choice. It doesn't reside in a certain class or income of people. It exists because that person choses to be selfish and ignorant of others. 

I've learned that I can't change certain attitudes for the betterment of society. Which leads into a socialogical thought of whose ideals are right and whose are wrong. Is that even realistic? I don't think so. 

I do not believe that it is my duty or even my right to "change" someone by trying to force them to comply with my behavior. What I do believe is that - given the overall ideal of kindness toward one's fellow human being - it is our responsibility as a collective group to bring about awareness of all. It IS our responsibility to other humans to tolerate their differences - and to allow them the basic human right of survival in a horribly, difficult world.

Why the hell is this so damned difficult?  Can't we get any farther than this in the art of kindness toward one another?  This isn't an issue of how we have changed, it's an issue of not changing at all. 

Pay it forward.  Pay it backward. Just pay attention to those around you.  Being polite, being kind, being tolerant, isn't giving in.  It's acknowledging that others have a right to exist.  

And before you say any differently - remember YOU have that right to exist.  And you don't make the rules.  We are all in this together.  We don't have to like each other, but we do need to coexist. 

We need to stop the vicious cycle of bullying. We need to stop the vicious cycle of accepted hatred. We need to stop being willfully ignorant of the suffering our turning a blind eye can cause another human being.

We have to realize these are children - the very people we have brought into this world as our legacy to society.

Aren't we supposed to hope for a better life for our children? For our Grandchildren? For Society on a whole?

Doesn't that better world start at home?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

She's taking chances...

She gets rock n roll a rock n roll station
And a rock n roll dream
She's making movies on location
She don't know what it means
But the music make her wanna be the story
And the story was whatever was the song what it was
Roller girl don't worry
D.J. play the movies all night long

I remember hearing this song back in the dark ages of the late 70's.  A friend said the song was "my" song.  It was me that Dire Straits was singing about.  I was a flattered 19 year old, stepping out onto the brink of adulthood - no holds barred, nothing to keep in check, the world at my feet.

My life WAS the songs I heard on the radio.  I lived for music - the poetry of my soul.  My hopes, my dreams, my loves, my failures.  They were all there on the radio. 

But the roller girl she's taking chances
They just love to see her take them all


I remember those.  

I took them head on with a smile on my face.  

Looking back, I see a girl who was never afraid.  But I know better. I was always afraid. 

 Except now, it's more noticeable.  I'm more cautious.  I don't pick up and dust off nearly as well as I once did.  Probably because I've learned - you can't always live in that dream world.  Sometimes, no matter how hard you fight reality - Reality creeps in and rules the day.

When I was much younger - before my skateaway days - I never really dreamed.  Reality was horribly there - every day - telling me what I could or could not do.  It was painful and blantant.  And it never left my side. 

Nope.  Love was never coming.  No white knight.  No castles.  No beautiful wedding gowns flowing over the fields as my prince swept me into his arms.  

Never as a young girl did I dream of that.  I was different.  I knew it.  No matter what - it was never going to happen for me.  I was told that - I was shown that.  I believed that.

Then the wheels hit my feet.

Hallelujah here she comes queens rollerball
Enchante what can I say dont care at all
You know she used to have to wait around
She used to be the lonely one
But now that she can skate around town
Shes the only one

I could fly.  I could reach out and pass by all the hurt and the pain of childhood.  I was invincible and alive.  Nothing was going to bring me down as I sailed away on avenues never available to me before.  And that is how I met him.

I was on top of my game.  I wasn't needy.  I wasn't vulnerable.  I was everything I could ever want to be.  I was me.  He was the truck grazing my hip and the seduction of the city.  He was my taxi driver - and I was his matador.  And I fell in love.

No fears alone at night she's sailing through the crowd
In her ears the phones are tight and the musics playing loud

Somewhere along the way - the phones were removed from my ears.  The music faltered and quieted.  But it was okay.   I had the dreams I had never allowed myself.  I had the music we created together.  I had him and I had love. 

Yet somewhere, somehow, over the years - the music ceased to exist.  I don't remember even losing it.  But I do remember waking up one day and realizing it was gone.  It was all gone.  The music, the dreams, the love, the feel of the wind on my face as I sailed into the crowd.  I wasn't sailing.  The crowd wasn't parting.  My feet were like lead weights.  The whirlwind of fantasy was no longer something I could see.  Instead, there were traffic jams and horns blaring and the pain of a gray city.

I wanted out. I wanted my skateaway.  I wanted my freedom and life back.

I rediscovered the song just a little while ago.  

I rediscovered music again.  

The dreams, the laughs, the hopes, the falls.  It's all there.  Again.  In my life. And I'm starting to feel whole.  It's almost as if I'm 19 all over again - and the blip in the middle was only that - a blip. 

She's back.  

That rollergirl - she's taking chances.  

And this time...I know to be careful of the trucks and the taxis and the traffic surrounding me.  I know...the wheels on my feet can slip on the pavement.  I also know...I can fly...

Come slippin and a slidin
Lifes a rollerball
Slippin and a slidin
Skateaway thats all
Shala shalay hey hey skateaway
Shes singing shala shalay hey hey

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Any Major Dude...

It's been a Steely Dan kinda day...week...month...

Sometimes it's hard not to see beyond the facade of happy day-to-day existence - it's hard not to see the tiny timber tied together trying to hold up the smiles and laughter.

That's how I feel today.

Tired of trying not to see - not to feel the tiredness of the days as they stack upon one another.  Trying not to fold under the weight of my acceptance.

"Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend...any minor world that breaks apart falls together again."

I try.  Day in. Day out. I try.  I'm no different than anyone else - yet, I wonder sometimes why it is that I feel so removed from the rest of society.

If you look at me statistically - I'm right there in the thick of things.  I'm a divorced, single mom.  I struggle with making ends meet. I'm average height.  I'm one of millions of overweight Americans. I remember the 70's. I believe in hope.  I don't trust our Government. I hate war. I love puppies.  Nothing too unusual about me.


I've always felt as if I were just a tad removed from the reality of life around me - as if I exist on the sidelines and can almost reach in to experience the game...but not's just a transparency sitting outside the perimeter of my sight.

God knows I try.  I want to play.  I want to be a part of it all - but sometimes it's so exhausting to go through the motions just getting to the game so that when my chance finally comes around to join in, I find an excuse to step away from the field.  It's maddening sometimes - yet, I know I do it to myself.

I make sure I find a way to live life on the peripheral.

"I can tell you all I know, the where to go, the what to do. You can try to run but you can't hide from what's inside of you."

The melancholy of living - even to those of us who always see the glass as half-full, who would rather smile than fight, and who chose to see the joy in the day instead of the death and destruction that surround us - never escapes us. We know it's there. It's always there - and it's not even hiding around the corner.

No. It's twisted up in the twine that wraps the facade around us as we go out into the world. Every day. Every moment. It's always there.

Somehow, it's part of who we are.  And, at least for me, it's what keeps me anchored on the outside looking in.

"I've never seen you looking so bad my funky one. You tell me that your superfine mind has come undone."

Any major dude...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shine on...shine on Harvest moon...up in the sky...

I love Fall.  Or Autumn as the season is properly called.  But, while I was living in Alaska - I came to understand the reason behind calling Autumn Fall.

My first Autumn in Alaska - I was talking with my mom on the phone and looking out of my sliding glass door.  We lived in a second floor apartment and my view was a forest of trees.  They were beautiful.  The white birch wore their canopies of yellow leaves brilliantly while surrounded by the reds and pale greens of ash and cottonwoods.  It was a cornucopia of colors framed by the majesty of varying spruce.

Well - as I was talking to my mom - all of the leaves (and yes - I do mean ALL OF THE LEAVES) dropped from the trees. At the same time. Together. As if they all counted "one, two, three" then yelled "jump" and down they came.


I never called it Autumn again.

It's the end of September - officially Autumn for the last couple of days - and it's a ridiculous 90+ degrees outside.

I hate Fall in Texas.  It's almost as unbearable as summer.

We've had rain - thankfully - but it only adds humidity to the air and makes the heat all the more unbearable.

Right now, I'm pretending it's lovely and I've opened the windows of my apartment for the first time in four months.  Yep. Windows open, A/C off.

I'm insane.

But I want it to be cooler.  I'm desperate.  I want to wear jeans and long sleeves.  I want to curl up with a blanket and a book and listen to the rain and the wind.  I want to be chilly.

Sometimes, I want to go home.

Except, where exactly is home?

Right now it's Texas.  I guess.  I don't know.  I'm still not sure after three years. It's more familiar than it was, but I don't know if that makes it home.

Is it Alaska?  I was there for 18 years.  It was heaven.  But ... life happened up there and it was time to move on.  Emotionally.  Financially.  But I miss it.  I miss the trees and the mountains.  I miss the waters and I even miss the snow.  I miss Summer.  I miss the week of Fall and the week of Spring.

I don't miss seven months of Winter.

Or is home really California?  My mom always said I would miss it one day.  And I do.  With all my heart.  But I don't think the California I miss is still there. Most of the people aren't there anymore.  At least the people that I loved.

No.  Most of them have moved on or died. They are the California that I miss. They are the California that is home.

Maybe it's true.

Maybe you can never go home.

Because home isn't a place.

Home is a memory.

So - I'll hold my memories close to my heart. I'll wear them when no one is looking - bring out the thin, Victorian needleworks of time and gently wrap myself in the familiar fabric of family and friends no longer with me.  And as I quietly twirl around the dusty confines of memory, I'll ache to touch them all just one more time before I gently fold them back into the tiny compartments of my heart. I'll kiss them all goodbye and pattern them throughout my present day life.

I'll look out the window and imagine the stagnant breeze of a Texas Autumn carrying my home into the tiniest of dust particles and depositing it all around me.

Maybe today - I'll start to accept this place as my home afterall...

Maybe - just maybe - Autumn will be Fall, Fall will be warm sweaters, and Texas will weave itself into my heart along side Alaska and California.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What wroth is brought to bear?

In a continuation from the last post...

The silence has brought about a pain that I didn't see coming.

Not mine.  No - I'm more or less at a milestone in the bumpy road I share with my ex.

My son.

He was fine...for a while.  Until he realized that this woman referred to herself as "wife to be" four months ago.  That would be May.  This is September.  In between was Summer and a two week vacation my son and his dad  took together.

You know...the trip where two people reconnect?  Where two people learn about one another?  Yep.  That trip.  The one where his father failed to mention he was getting remarried.

To a woman with two children.

The trip where my son's father failed to mention his family would be expanding.  That my son would have a stepmother and two step brothers.


Epic Fail.

Whatever trust his father was attempting to rebuild disappeared in that whooshing sound you heard last night.  Gone in a flash.

That's what happens with trust.

It can be there - be strong and unwavering.  It can be given without a second thought.  It goes hand-in-hand with love.  But be the one who whittles away at it?  Be the person who pulls that last peg out from the Jenga game and watch all the pieces fall everywhere?  It can suck.  Plain and simple.

If you're lucky - you can rebuild that tower of trust.  But you can only tear it down so many times before your partner is done playing.

The sad part is - you never know how many times you can remove pegs from the fragile tower.  And each peg removed cannot be automatically replaced because you changed your mind.

No.  Trust was destroyed years ago.  The sad part is that the trust originally there was the innocent trust of a child - the trust that comes from being born into a loving home.  There's no reason to doubt as long as there is love.

But watch out for those promises.

They'll get you everytime.

Without a drawn out reason for the past breaches of trust - suffice it to say, it has been a long three year rebuild that was enjoying a wonderful success.  It was a mature trust.  A once bitten, twice shy trust - but it was there.  Eyes were wide open.  Mistakes were expected and forgiven.

And sadly, excuses were made.  The mature trust was disguised and ... as it turns out ... was simply a facade for a hurriedly recreation of that innocent childhood crush from long ago.

For all my ex did through his years of self-destruction, I had thought his sobriety and rediscovered self had taught him that omission of truth can be just as damning as lies.

I was wrong.

And now he is paying the price for a debt he isn't even aware he owes.

Over my son's lifetime I have taught him the value of trust and faith in another human being.  I've taught him that these strengths must start within ourselves.  He has seen firsthand the damage that can be done when trust is lost in another person.  And he has seen what happens when that trust - rebuilt several times - looks like when it is completely destroyed.

My ex destroyed my trust in him.  It was the final straw and the catalyst for divorce.  It doesn't matter how it was destroyed.  My son was a witness to the rollercoaster that was the final years of an incredibly wonderful marriage gone terribly bad.

By not volunteering his involvement with a new woman allowed the black hole of speculation to open up and swallow our son.

The fragile trust is gone, and the pain that had been a lingering memory has reignited into a festering sore threatening to infect any future attempts at family.

And his father has no idea.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The many Surprises of Facebook

My son informed me that while I was out last night - Hell had officially frozen over.

His father - my ex - is now on Facebook.

Oh. Dear. God. No.

While most people share the ever-entwining paths of Facebook with lovers and friends and exes of every imaginable existence - I have been blessed with a technologically deficient ex-husband who has shuddered at the thought of moving into the 21st century.  He has repeatedly informed me that socializing sites are a complete waste of time and not a valid use of what the internet has to offer.  And while I disagree with his take on Social Networks, I have quietly reveled in the knowledge that I was free to be who I am to a network filled with strangers.

True...I shuddered when older family members joined the ranks of Facebook - but I've come to realize it's easier  to stay in touch this way than forgetting to send out yet another round of Christmas letters every year.

But my ex?

Oh. Hell. No.

While I admit I truly loved the man and believed him to be my soulmate on this earth - we've completely grown in opposite directions.  There is a reason he is my ex.  I feel no animosity toward him, nor do I wish him anything other that peace, love and goodwill.  But...I do NOT want him reading about my day to day life, nor am I willing to censor what I say and do on Facebook.

I understand that most people don't care one way or the other what I say or do on Facebook.  He may be among those people.  But have you noticed that each time you add a new friend - somewhere in the back of your head - you wonder if they will judge you for saying "fuck"?  I guarantee if my mother were still alive, my statuses would be entirely different.

I'm thankful I'm as technologically literate as I am.  I have blocked my account from most of the curious out there who wander the internet cloaked as stalkers seeping into the lives of unsuspecting marks.  He cannot see  that I had a date last night, or am pissy about working 70 hour weeks, or bitchy about lack of parental support for our son.

But I can see his Wall.

So I did what any other ex would do and I looked at his Facebook info.

SONOFABITCH if the first thing I see is a comment asking him when his upcoming wedding is.  WHAT THE FUCK???


Further down is another comment...this time from a woman...greeting him with love from his future wife.  And not just any woman...the woman he is "renting a room from."

So...all this time I was thinking he was a loser for not having a place of his own - for feeling bad for him because he was trying to get back on his feet - he's been "renting a room" from a woman who thanks him for last night????

Jealous? No.  Pissed off because I was COMPLETELY in the dark about this? Absolutely!

I've told him repeatedly that I wish only love for him - that I want him to find someone who loves him and looks at him the way I use to.  I want him happy.  So maybe he could tell me?  Or at the very least, tell his son?

I've always known that if you want to keep things quiet - the last thing you do is post it on Facebook.

Obviously, my ex missed that part in his lessons on navigating the "highway of tubes."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And then the morning comes...

New day.

Sometimes, they just pass by like a daily freight train rumbling through the backyard, and then there are other days where they whisper and flit around like a butterfly dreaming of clouds.  Morning brings with it promises of a new day, or reminders of the broken pieces from the night before.

But if you're like most people - morning is just morning.  And the day is just another day.

I am not like most people.

Sure, there are times I get caught up in the angst of daily strife and lose sight of what I'm supposed to be doing besides going through the motions. I hate those days. They depress me and capture me within a funk that can - at times - be difficult to break free.

And then there are mornings like today, and like I expect tomorrow to be.

Days that hold promise of new things - of being one step closer to love - of being that much closer to floating just above the ground.  These are the days I live for.  I wish I could plan them out - line them up and use them when the need arises.  But instead, there is a higher power that seems to drop them on me when I least expect them.

It's the same power that brings me love, tangible or not.  The same power that shows me possibilities, but not a way to attain the dream.  The same power that gave me just enough time away from one who holds my heart to see there's another who is willing and able.  The power that throws me back together with original to remind me there is always a choice - always a decision to make in life.

Right or wrong - eventually I have to make a choice.

But not today.

This is not the day to break dreams, to step among the pillars of reality and dodge sleeping freight trains.

Today is a day filled with the warmth of love and promise. Today is the day I climb a tree and laze about in the sun. Today is the day of youthful daydreams - of chasing frogs in the grass and releasing the magic of dandelions.

At least for a moment - I will be cocooned within the comfort of childhood hopes. I will smile up at the sun and thank the Spirits for the gift of today.

Maybe tomorrow I will be one step closer to a decision...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Love the one you're with

He says I'm beautiful.

And smart.

And funny.

And kind.

He makes me laugh and has a way of bringing me up when I feel down or frustrated.  He always seems to put a smile on my face.  He can also make me blush...and for some reason, I look forward to his IM's popping up on my screen at work.

And I don't know why.

I really don't see what he sees.  Yes, I believe I'm intelligent and funny.  I know I am kind.  But beautiful?  Nah...not really seeing that.  But they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I'm not going to argue with him.

So why am I here blogging about this?

Because I'm truly confused.  For everything I've said that's positive about this man, I'm not that attracted to him.  Even though he stirs feelings inside of me - I'm not sure how far I want to take things with him.  And I don't know why.

I'm beyond the age of judging a person simply on their looks. No...I've grown in that I see beyond the physical and can peer deep down into the soul.  Look for the heart and not the head of hair.  Look into the eyes and not measure the girth of his belly.

We are so very much more than the outer casings we try so hard to maintain for everyone's approval.  We are more than height and weight and hair color.  More than a bra size.  More than ... well, you get the idea.  So that's not it...completely...

He's such a nice person - and for some reason he really is interested in me.  And that's the complication.

He reminds me of the other person in and out of my life.  The one that has my heart. The one that has no idea what to do with it so he runs the other way.  The one who reminded me what it's like to love and be loved.

This man reminds me of him.

And that confuses the hell out of me.

So I think until I sort it all out - until I can differentiate the feelings in my heart and in my head - until I can hear this man's words and not the other one's voice - I think I need to play my cards close to my chest.

Afterall...that is where my heart is...

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I'm slow.

I'll admit it.  I'm finally starting to read "Eat, Pray, Love" and only because I bought the book for someone else.  I figured maybe I'll flip through it and see if  it's worth the hype.

Liz Gilbert described my feelings exactly when she talked of ending her marriage.

"I don't want to be married anymore. I was trying so hard not to know this, but the truth kept insisting itself to me...How could I be such a criminal jerk as to proceed this deep into a marriage, only to leave it?"

Then she described my feelings on Spirituality.

"Culturally, though not theologically, I'm a Christian. I was born a Protestant of the white Anglo-Saxon persuasion. And while I do love that great teacher of peace who we call Jesus...I can't swallow that one fixed rule of Christianity insisting that Christ is the only path to God...Traditionally, I have responded to the transcendent mystics of all religions. I have always responded with breathless excitement to anyone who has ever said that God does not live in a dogmatic scripture or in a distant throne in the sky, but instead abides very close to us indeed - much closer than we can imagine, breathing right through our own hearts."

It's hard to put your life into words - or at least very few words - when you are discussing what some would consider a failure in your life.  Yet, Ms Gilbert does so quite well in her quick synopsis of what pushes her toward the journey of this book.  I'm barely into it - yet I feel as if I've been embraced by a soul that found a way to grow while still young enough to learn and give back.

So what am I doing?

I started my life over officially 4 years ago when I left my husband after 23 years of marriage.  I put him on a plane to Washington for his 4th (and seemingly) final attempt at sobriety on the day of our 23rd anniversary.  I told him not to bother coming back since I was leaving him and moving to Texas to be nearer to family.  I didn't finalize my divorce until April 2008 - after he followed us to Texas. I finally decided he was strong enough to let go.

But is that when my marriage ended?  It's what I've always told everyone...but no. That's not the truth.

My marriage ended for me after I gave birth to my son. My light. My joy. My gift. I realized there was a person in this world that I would willingly give my life for - sacrifice everything for - someone I could and would love truly unconditionally no matter what.  And at that moment, my focus changed and I started to breathe - to see - through my heart.

Understandably, my husband was not happy about this change.  I tried to balance it. I truly did.  But somewhere in my attempts, I found my own needs - my own voice.  I hadn't even realized they were missing.  I reached out to my education. I reached out to my passions. And while I was reaching - I was holding on to my son. I thought...I had hoped...that my husband could follow along side me. I had assumed he would want to move forward - for the sake of bettering ourselves for this precious child we had lovingly brought into this world.

But in that first year, and subsequent years, our paths separated and became further and further apart. What I thought was a lull in our marriage was actually the division of the union of souls. My marriage ended almost 10 years before I found myself acknowledging that voice inside of me, "I don't want to be married anymore."

As I said, I'm slow.

Here I am. 50 years old. Divorced after a lifetime of marriage. Mother of the perfect teenage son with less than two years left before college.  Starting over. No retirement, no savings, no credit.

But I'm at peace. Something I wasn't sure I'd ever experience again. I'm true to myself and I'm true to my son. I study everything I can searching for the God that I can feel beside me, speaking through my heart. I believe I have found that without the surety of labels.  I have my spirituality, I have my peace, I have my God.

I wish I could have traveled to Bali. Or Italy. Or a quiet cabin nestled in the redwoods close to the Pacific ocean. But I couldn't - I had to find that peace within my day-to-day means of survival as a single mom.

And I did.

I have the peace and the understanding to move forward in my life. To rediscover the lost spirituality I gave away when I got caught up in living for everyone else.  I have the chance because I am simply me.

But me.