Monthly Archives: October 2014

A Spider Story (Just in time for Halloween)

This is one of the not so little spiders from my yard
This is one of the not so little spiders from my yard

The house I live in is over 100 years old. It is certainly FAR from fancy, and actually, it leans more to the side of “dilapidated”, but I have lived here for nearly three years now, and it is in a GREAT neighborhood, it’s (comparatively speaking) affordable, and I have gotten used to it. By “used to it”, I mean, I have grown accustomed to the ongoing battle between myself and mother nature, who seems to want to reclaim the house. I don’t pretend to think that I will ever really win. The best I can hope for is to keep an uneasy truce until I finally surrender.

There was the time when grass started growing on the top of a door frame in the living room. There was the slug infestation in the bathroom. There was the brave little mouse that had the nerve to dart right under my desk WHILE I WAS SITTING AT IT, because I had dropped some sunflower seeds there, and apparently, that is just like a personal invitation to a mouse. And then, of course, there are the spiders.

This is an actual spider in my kitchen.
This is an actual spider in my kitchen.

There are spiders of every type imaginable in this house. I have seen them in every room of the house, even once in my daughters underwear drawer. Most of the time, they are small and not very alarming, but then there are a few older, more mature spiders that look a little more threatening. Like the one that lives on the bathroom ceiling- it hangs out right above my head in the shower, and it never, ever moves. Unless you spray it with water, thinking it is dead, while you are standing right underneath it. Then, it moves A LOT. There are also two big ones that live in the dining area, but they hang out in crevices, mostly, and they don’t bother me. I used to kill them, but at some point, I started to get all weird and feel bad about it, and the good news is, we NEVER have mosquito’s. Of course, almost no one does around here, because this isn’t a very mosquito friendly area, but I can’t think of any other bright side, so that will have to work.

So, it stands to reason that if there are a lot of spiders in the house, the outside would be even more of a problem, right? Right. And knowing this, would you ever, in a million years, leave your car windows down overnight? No? Well, I would. Because I would never, not in a million years, think that spiders would choose to infest a car. Well, I was wrong about that. The other day, I was going somewhere, and in the space of like two minutes, I found not one, but TWO spiders in my car. One was hanging down by his spider thread just to the left of my face, and I quickly grabbed the thread and flung him out the window. The other one got away. They were very small, but still- a car should be a spider free zone, don’t you agree? Like, a car is not where you expect to have to deal with spiders. It should be an oasis of calm in a big sea of spiders. But yesterday, as I was driving to my daughter’s school for a meeting, I had something happen that even tested my spider tolerating limits. As I looked in the rear view mirror to check my face, a spider darted across my bottom lash line, towards the inner edge of my eye. That really happened. That spider is now incredibly dead, but there may still be traces of his DNA on my face, because I really did not want that spider to lay eggs in my eye. So I squished him. On my face.

Yesterday, my older daughter and I were sitting in the yard talking, and she looked at this weird tree back there- I don’t know what kind of tree it is, but it grows at the speed of light, and it has pretty purple flowers, and it seems to be the home of many, many spiders. “I really love this tree” Aisley said, “but I feel like it is probably infested with spiders.”

This is me making out with my dog- in the background, you can see the spider tree.
This is me making out with my dog- in the background, you can see the spider tree.

“Oh, it totally is.” I agreed, and we studied it for a minute, the way, when you look hard enough, you can see the weird, grubby webs wrapped around almost every bit of green on the tree. When you sit out there at night with the porch light on, you can watch the little translucent spiders dropping down, one by one.

“Just think,” I said, “If the spiders all got together and decided to take over, there would be nothing we could do. If they all decided they wanted to rush us, we’d be dead. They could crawl up our noses, and in our ears.”

“Oh my God, ” Aisley chimed in, ” And we couldn’t lock them out of the house- they are too small. The could totally murder us.”

We sat there for a moment, pondering this. I think when you start to worry about a spider rebellion, it may be time to call for help. But I’ll wait until next week- the spider’s totally decorated for me, for free.

Happy Halloween!

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But You SEEM Fine…

depression

I’m going to switch gears today, and be a little more serious. At least, I think I am. It’s actually a little hard for me to tell how things are going to come out until they have started coming out, but the subject matter is certainly a little more serious. I want to talk about depression. Have you ever been depressed? Like, REALLY depressed, not “OMG, I am so depressed, those shoes that I wanted at Kohl’s were totally sold out by the time I got there” depressed? I am talking about “Holy shit, I forgot to take a shower or change my clothes for like four days” depressed. (See, I am trying to be serious, and I am still so darn funny! What the hell?) And you might be thinking “I have never been depressed, but I have seen my mom-best friend- husband- sister go through it…” Well, that is awesome, and we have all seen someone go through it, but let me tell you, unless you have gone through it yourself, you have no idea. Because, even when you HAVE gone through a bad bout of depression, even knowing what it’s like, when you see someone else going through it, you still want to say stupid shit to them like “You need to get out and get some exercise!” or “You just need to do something fun, and you will feel better!” or “Try to look on the bright side.” And that is how the person you are talking to knows you have no fucking idea what you are talking about. It is also when you better be glad they are so depressed and lethargic, because otherwise, they would be kicking your ass right now, or stabbing you in the neck with a pencil. Then, they would no longer be depressed, they would be exhilarated, and Voila! You just helped make a serial killer! I hope you are happy. Just kidding. My point is, people that are legitimately depressed already know they would probably feel better if they got up and did stuff, it’s just really, really, hard- if not impossible.

See? My problem with depression is exactly that, what I just did in the paragraph above- I make jokes about everything, and I laugh, and other people laugh with me, and then they can’t possibly take me seriously. I mean, funny people aren’t depressed, right? I don’t want to be a total downer here, but I would like to point out that Robin Williams was pretty fucking funny. I’m not saying I am that funny, I’m just saying he was, like, THE funniest- and we all know how that turned out. My point is that, if you look at just the cast of Saturday Night Live, historically, funny people are some of the most depressed, most mentally ill, most fucked up people out there. And they have a really hard time with it. I can still be funny, and be doing less than well. Clearly, I also have a bit of an ego problem, (you must be thinking, as I just compared myself to the Gods of funny-ness) but that is a blog for another day.

I am trying really hard right now to organize my thoughts so that I can fit everything in here in a cohesive manner, but I get excited about what I am trying to say, and I don’t want to lose anything…hold on. Okay. So, here is what I think: I think there are all kinds of levels of depression. For instance, after I had my last baby, I experienced horrible post-partum depression, and it blew the socks off of anything I had known before or since. Like, I was so depressed, forget about showering or eating, altogether- my biggest concern was the fact that , not only could I never imagine feeling happiness or joy ever again, I believed that all my memories of being happy were completely made up. So, I was so depressed that it even affected my belief that happiness ever existed. That is pretty scary. That is, like, Top Shelf Depression. The depression issues I have dealt with since then have all been drug related, or at least, interfered with, if not caused totally, by my out of control drug use. So the easiest way to “cure” those episodes was to quit using drugs. Easy-peasy. (not really, but you get my drift)

This time is different. I am not using drugs, so there is no quick fix. Further complicating the issue- I won’t take anything pharmaceutical. I might if this gets really out of hand, but I am definitely not to that point yet. There is something called “Post Acute Withdrawal” that is a fun little issue unique to recovering drug and alcohol users that basically means you are a total mess for up to two years after getting clean, and I have considered that this may be part of what I am experiencing. For the record, I was calling it “Post Traumatic Withdrawal Syndrome” until my neighbor pointed out that it was “Acute” and not “Traumatic”, and I feel my title is more accurate, but whatever. So, there could be an element of that, for sure.

The weirdest part of all, this time, is that I could feel the depression coming. Thanks to my clear head, I didn’t just come to one day with the overall sensation that mankind is doomed, and that everything in life is pointless, I could feel the subtle changes within me that said “Ugh, something sure doesn’t feel very good here.”, and I was nervous that those feelings would grow, and they have, and here I am. Now, my big question is- what can I do about it? I won’t take anything (right now) and I am not just going to let this dark cloud descend…so what do I do?

Well, the first thing I am going to do is talk to my therapist about it. I have an appointment tomorrow, and I am going to sit close to a box of Kleenex and let it all out. Then, I am going to ask her what ELSE I can do to nip this in the bud. She is super cool, and, even though she is younger than me, I totally like her. She always gives me photo-copied lists of information when I see her, and I joke that she is only encouraging my hoarding tendencies. I like, though, that she sees through my joking to what is beneath it. So I will talk to her. And hopefully, we can come up with a plan.

And this morning, I am going to try to look on the bright side, and take my dog for a walk, and hide the body of the person who suggested it. Just kidding.

Dear Daughters:

two daughters

Hi! It’s me, your mom- you know, the weird lady who lives down the hall, who yells a lot (so that you can hear me, because apparently, our “inside voices” don’t work around here).  Anyway, I figured I would write to you this morning, since you girls are the center of my universe, basically blocking out everything else, and I have no other material. Not that I am complaining. I feel pretty lucky, I happen to have created not one, but TWO, offspring that I actually like.

I mean, yes, you have your less awesome moments. Like Camryn, when you want me to pretend to be a vampire or some other scary, imaginary creature, and I do, and then you get too scared, and punch me in the mouth with your tiny little fist. It’s hard to believe how much your bony little knuckles can smart, but you always seem to catch me in the exact wrong spot. I know you feel bad about it, and I am likewise ashamed of my (clearly too) believable portrayal of a blood sucking demon of the night. I don’t think I want to play that game anymore. And Aisley, thanks to our much lengthier history, I have a wide assortment of complaints I could lodge against you, anything from vomiting in my shoes, to taking my thong underwear to school for show and tell, all the way up to sneaking boys in the house (which I actually found more amusing than anything, because any guy who still likes you after being covered in your dirty laundry deserves whatever he gets). Despite all of that, however, you are both my favorite people in the whole entire world.

There is probably something wrong with me. But, I am not alone. Most moms feel pretty much the way that I do, just loving the shit out of our disgusting, embarrassing children- lucky for you. I am sure it is just some built in safety feature that keeps us from eating our young, or leaving them out on the side of the road when they become too screamy. Nope, most moms still don’t do that, even now, in these crazy times. Not that it doesn’t cross our minds occasionally. There was actually a full year, Aisley, when you were about thirteen or fourteen, when my dearest fantasy was to…well, it wasn’t kind, lets just say that. But in my defense, you were barely a human being at that age. I think it speaks volumes of both of us that no one was jailed. For long.

I can assure you, before you were born, I had never been peed on. Not even for fun. I had never been vomited on, at least not by the same person more than once, ever. I had certainly never been able to continue to tolerate anyone who wet MY bed on a regular basis. I am pretty sure that before you guys came along, no one had ever used me as a Kleenex, although that is one of those things you can never be totally sure of. I had never been expected to comfort and soothe someone who obviously hated me, I had never had so many doors slammed on me, so much change stolen from me, and so much of my stuff haphazardly destroyed. Before you were born, my main job was keeping myself alive, and I was not very good at it- mediocre, at best. After you were born, I was suddenly promoted to keeping alive small humans who couldn’t even hold their own heads up. Do you know how fucking terrifying this is? You both had mushy spots on your HEADS where the effing SKULL hadn’t finished growing. I just wanted to point that out, for the next time (or in Camryn’s case, the first time) you want to tell me what a terrible mother I have been. I managed to not let your giant heads snap off at the neck, and I kept things out of your soft spot. Cut me some slack.

In spite of all of that, I find that I can still look at both of you, at times, and feel the kind of love I have never felt for anyone else. The kind you read about in overly dramatic romance novels, only without the creepy parts. You both make me weak and stupid with love, like, my heart pounds and I get all choked up, and ALL of that. It’s embarrassing. But you are both SO lovely, and so funny, and so full of life and outrageous personality. In a MILLION years, if I had been able to hand pick every single aspect of you, to make a perfect child for me…I never, ever could have gotten it right. No one could ever be better, more perfect, in my eyes, than you are. You beautiful girls make me laugh every single day. I keep going because of you. I try harder because of you. I may not always get it right, but please believe, I never, ever stop thinking about you. And I love you both more than I could ever have imagined loving anyone, and that will never, ever change.

I just wanted to let you know.

Love,

Your mom ( the crazy lady down the hall)

My Day, So Far (This is probably not a good blog for men, today. You have been warned)

pointless-500x400

“What a weird title for a blog written at five thirty in the morning” you may be thinking to yourself, ‘how much could have possibly gone on in someone’s day at this hour?’

Well, let me just tell you- although most of the people I know are still in bed right now, and a few of you are just getting up, I get up at four, every morning, ON PURPOSE. I know, I know, that is like the middle of the freaking night, and it’s a little weird- especially now that it doesn’t even get light out until about seven, pretty much. But I do it because it is the only time of the day that I can legitimately claim for myself.

I used to (like, until right now) say that I get up this early to write, which I do, but as you can see, it is now almost six (and no, it did not take me almost a half an hour to come up with those first two brilliant paragraphs, I was rounding down. It was really like five forty seven, Mr. Literal) and I have gotten very little writing done. Sometimes, I get up at four and get no writing done at all, ever. But I do get several hours owned by me, to do with as I wish. I am not on the work clock or the mommy clock, I am on the Courtney clock, and sometimes, these tiny hours way before dawn are the only thing that keep me hanging on to sanity. I would also hazard a guess that they are also the main reason I can’t stay awake past seven in the evenings, but I try not to think about that. Nothing good happens past seven anyway. Right?

Anyway, I get up, I make coffee, I grab my phone and my latest book, and I get started on my me time. The first thing I do is check Facebook, and I get all excited because I have like twenty notifications, then I get all disappointed, because eleven of them are comments to a conversation I didn’t care about to begin with and only commented on myself to be polite, six of them are other people liking something I wrote to be polite, four of them are game requests from people who should really be sleeping, and there is always one weird one from a guy I am not sure I actually know, and I can’t tell what he is talking about, but I think he is hitting on me. Or possibly a serial killer, so I can’t delete him, because I want him to feel like we are on the same page, so I am not his next target. That seems like it is probably more than twenty, but I am not going to check. This is an example, anyway, not a word for word alibi or anything. Calm down.

Then, I check my WordPress stats ( Apparently I spelled “wordpress” wrong. Twice.) Actually, in case you haven’t caught on to this yet, I don’t even have one single relevant or interesting thing to say today. The sole reason I am writing this at all is because I am such a Word Press (I guess it is two words? You would think that since I am literally writing IN WordPress (aha!) right now, I would be able to see it written on this page somewhere, but it isn’t) junkie, I am terrified to skip a day, now. Yesterday, I broke the record number of views from the day before, and so now I feel compelled to keep going, knowing there is a real danger that I am boring you to death because I am not really saying ANYTHING. So, I check my stats.

Then, hopefully, at that point, I have something funny or interesting (at least to me) to write, and I just can’t keep from writing it. That is not the case today. All that happened so far today is that I went to the store in my pajamas (although I did put a bra on first) because we needed cat food and tampons, because the only tampons in the house were like super-ultra-extra-amazing-power tampons that I clearly grabbed by mistake. I don’t even want to contemplate who would need a tampon that large. You shouldn’t have to brace yourself when it comes to feminine hygiene. Actually, now that I think about it, almost every part of feminine hygiene requires that you brace yourself, doesn’t it? But it shouldn’t, not when we are talking about tampons. Also, we needed bread. So, my me time was punctuated with some household chores, but if you have ever tried to write a blog with starving cats meowing accusingly at you while trying to figure out how to comfortably sit with an industrial sized tampon on board…you are stronger than I am.

Well, that was fifteen minutes of your life you are never getting back. Plus, my mom is going to be disgusted with me for writing about tampons. Sorry, mom. Someone needed to broach the subject.

I promise to be less offensive tomorrow.

The Family Dinner

family

Last weekend, I made dinner for my “little” family, (Vegetable Lasagna, in case you were curious, and YUM) which consists of my 17 year old daughter, Aisley (which we pronounce i-lee, because I wasn’t hip to Gaelic pronunciation way back when she was born, though we found out later that it is supposed to be pronounced Ashley- but at a certain point, it just isn’t realistic to change the spelling and/or pronunciation of a person’s name), my 3 year old daughter, Camryn (because it looks more feminine, that’s why) and basically, Dylan, who is Aisley’s boyfriend, but you rarely see one without the other. Thankfully, I like him, or this could potentially be a nightmare.

It was wonderful. While we ate, I thought about how nice it would be if there were people there (besides Dylan) that I didn’t actually give birth to, people that were, you know, around my age. Or at least were required to love me due to our long, complicated histories…you know- FAMILY. The main problem with this idea is that I don’t have any actual family here anymore, if you go strictly by the “Sharing DNA” rule. Thankfully, I do not subscribe to all that hooey, and have a vast number of slightly younger people to whom I have insinuated myself into their family via breeding. I know this sounds weird, but it’s basically the truth- I never married Aisley’s dad (My spell checker keeps telling me I have spelled my daughters name incorrectly, and last time I almost believed it. Damn it.), but I did marry (in my heart) his gigantic gaggle of brothers and sisters. I lived with them when I was pregnant with Aisley, and at that time, there were still six of them at home, not including the two parents. Yes, SIX. At HOME. There were actually two more that were old enough to leave, one of them being Aisley’s dad, the other being the aforementioned Andrea, with whom I am privately very competitive with.

In that crazy house lived Matthew, Meghan, Amanda, Hannah, Noah, and Zane. Their parents, who I grew to love like my own folks, were Jim and Valerie. I had spent the bulk of my growing up years in a tiny and tense family consisting of my mom, me, her insane ex husband, and my little brother. Then, when they split up, my brother was only three, and he lived with with his dad part time. Eventually, and much to my mother’s horror, he went to live with his dad full time, leaving just her and I. Of course, by the time I was 15, I was rarely home- and by rarely home, I mean, I would run away for weeks at a time, being as how I was the WORST teenager in the history of the world. Sorry mom. My point is, by the time the Davis family got me, I was totally unused to things like: Noise, chaos, yelling, massive food shortage’s, group sleeping arrangements, and families that throw up a lot. I also came to them fully able to go to the store on my own, and left there with a compulsive need to take someone with me everywhere I went. But they welcomed me into their family with open arms, and very few questions, and I was 21, scared to death, very pregnant, and alone. They were exactly what I so desperately needed. They accepted me as I was, they made me feel safe, and they came to love me. That’s not the kind of thing you just forget.

So, when I moved in, Matthew, the oldest, was a junior…maybe a sophomore in high school. Meghan was in middle school, and the rest were in elementary school, still. Zane, the baby, was only six. He towers over ALL of us now, but he is only a few years older than my oldest daughter ( how weird is that?). My point with all of this is- if that is not family, I guess I don’t know what is. These are the people who have shared years and years of my life. I have watched them grow up.

So, I invited all of them to come have dinner at my house last night. I was feeling isolated, lately, and I wanted that family connection. I posed the idea to them in our secret Facebook group, and everyone (well, lots of them) said yes. So, I went and bought a deep fryer and decided on fish tacos, and…Well. In my head, it looked slightly different. In my head, I warmly invite them into my spotless home, where dinner is totally prepped, and the taco garnishes are displayed artfully in bowls on the table, near the freshly cut flowers.

What actually happened, though, is that, for some reason (see yesterdays blog to help clear this up) I totally procrastinated until like one in the afternoon, which was four hours before dinner was set to start. I wanted to get started, I really did- mentally. Physically, I just wanted to watch TV. I think I need to get rid of my cable. But anyway, at one, I started cleaning my house in earnest, not realizing until then just exactly how filthy it really was. I managed to finish it with an hour to spare, which I spent frantically chopping up cabbage that no one really gives a shit about putting on their fish tacos anyway. Live and learn.

By the time Terry and Meghan got here, I was pretty much done. Except for the part where the fryer was still in the box. And I didn’t know how to use it. And I forgot to put on make up or comb my hair, and my clothes were covered in batter, sweat, and bits of cabbage. So Terry fried the fish for me, and I heated up tortillas old school (on the open flame of my gas stove), and pretty soon, my house was filled with Matt and Jenny, Kiera and Taj (their beautiful kids), with Meghan and Terry, and their lamp-eyed, gorgeous baby, Maverick, and then Noah came with his beautiful wife Ali (and I am not just saying that because she brought a huge platter of homemade peanut butter chocolate cookies and then LEFT THEM HERE, either.) And it was loud, and the kids were watching Frozen, and Taj, who is six, pretty much wanted to be anywhere else, but he was a good sport about it, and everyone laughed and told stories…and it was GOOD.

It was so good. And I am so grateful to be lucky enough to be part of it, to be part of their lives. I have watched them grow up, and they have loved me in spite of all of my shortcomings, and my feeble little human problems. Yep. If that is not family, I guess I don’t know what is. I LOVE you guys.

Waking Up Fat and Lazy

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I would like to preface what I am about to write with this other fun fact that just occurred to me as I was dragging my laptop from my bedroom desk out to the kitchen table, since I cannot write with Wonder Pets screeching in the background, and Camryn woke up at four this morning because I gave her her allergy medicine a little bit early by “accident” (in other words, I was really tired and wanted to go to bed, and she had to take it, anyway) last night. Don’t judge me. Anyway, what I realized was, the only reason I can write about half the crap I write about and then willingly post links to it on my Facebook is because I write so early in the morning, I know that none of you people are awake yet. Which makes no sense at all, because you can totally read it when you DO wake up, but by then, for me, it’s already over. This may not be at all logical, but at least it gives you an idea of the kind of person you are dealing with, here.

So, what I wanted to write about was…and I don’t know if this has ever happened to you…but I woke up fat this morning. Okay, first of all, I realize that if I woke up fat, chances are, I went to bed fat last night, right? But I am telling you right now, I went to bed chubby, at best, last night. Somewhere between midnight and four a.m., my metabolism called it quits, and that last slice of Little Caesar’s pretzel crust pizza proved to be one too many. It was the pizza that broke the camel’s back with it’s fat ass. Second of all, for God’s sake, please do not get all up in arms, my lovely lady friends, and tell me how not fat I am. For one thing, you cannot judge me by my pictures on Facebook- do you really think I am going to share the ones that make me look like Jabba the Hut? You all know that we are masters of the selfie, and quite adept at finding the angle that most flatters. For another thing, I am not trying to say that I am obese. I am fat by my standards for me, and that is that. I am not looking for anyone to shore up my flagging self confidence, here, I am fine. I am just really, really, round right now.

Compounding my fattitude is this- I am incredibly lazy, and seem to be growing more so by the day. I mean, this has always been a well hidden feature of my personality, masked by the rapid quality of my speech and my tendency towards animated gestures…but trust me, you can be an energetic communicator and still be lazy as F**K. If you don’t believe me, you can totally ask my mom, who got to see me in (in)action for a little less than half of my life so far. Of course, I also covered up this laziness by my rather prolific use of methamphetamine for all that time…I think I even forgot how lazy I was, what with all the activity, albeit, most of it fruitless, but still. Meth users are nothing if not BUSY, am I right? So embarrassing…anyway, ones true colors always come back to bite them in the ass, only, in my case, they can’t muster up the energy, so…I guess self-deprecating humor will have to serve as my catalyst.

Further complicating the issue is my desire for instant gratification- I mean, it has taken me quite some time to get to my current weight (which I am not going to tell you, and I prefer you not guess) so it stands to reason that it will take time and work, and some sort of ability to be consistent, to get to where I want to be. Which is why I am feeling sort of doomed. I can’t even keep up on my laundry- how the hell can I be expected to follow a diet? I guess it all comes down to what I want more, doesn’t it? Pizza, or a waistline? Lucky Charms with half and half, or less chin-neck? Another day of marathon episodes of Ghost Adventure’s, or a trip to the gym? Oh, these sound like obvious answers, I know, but lets be real, here…how many times have you been all- “I’m going to the gym today!” and MEANT it, then flopped down on the couch “for a second”, and the next thing you know, it’s dark out, and you’re not only too lazy to have made dinner, you are too lazy to throw away the cardboard pizza boxes that were delivered to your door? Fuck, maybe that’s just me, and I have even larger (unintentional pun, there) problems than I thought.

I will tell you two more, no, three more things here, before I am done for the day. 1) On a serious note, I realize that no one can do this for me, and I wouldn’t be writing about it in depth if I hadn’t decided, just this morning, that it is time to formulate a plan, for reals, and start doing something OTHER than making plans, and then excuses, and then feeling all shitty about myself.  2) Because I am competitive in general, but especially, for some reason, with my sister in law, Andrea, whom I love more than anything (and yes, this is totally possible), and she is, like, KICKING ASS, in EVERY area of her life, but currently has turned her laser sharp kick-ass skills to her fitness and weight loss routine, I have decided to use her for an impetus to get off my couch. I have no doubt that it will work, because I am sick like that. She really is RAD though, by the way. And finally, 3) none of this can start though, until tomorrow. Why? Because I just bought a deep fryer, and all of my loved ones are coming over to eat deep fried fish tacos tonight, and I am not skimping. I may, however, go on a walk or something today, just as a gesture of good will towards my future thin self.

As much as all of this has been written in a playful manner, I am serious as heck. Oh, you’ll see. Watch out, Andrea. I’m coming for ya. 🙂

Some More Whining From Me. Enjoy.

Stressed man and laptop

I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety, lately (which probably means I should be meditating rather than writing this, but whatever), and I know I have written about this in the past. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what I wrote, so there is a good chance I will be contradicting myself. If so, please forgive me. I am a really wishy washy human being, and my ideals pretty much change with my mood. This isn’t so bad in real time, but when you write a blog, and state certain things as facts, then forget about them and write something totally different later…you look a little silly. I guess I am alright with that. I mean, I’m not really alright with it, but I simply don’t have time to do the research, and make sure all my stories jibe. I’m not a liar, I’m just subject to my own whims.

Anyway, about my anxiety. Yeah, it sucks. I am having a really hard time at work again, and it seems like I can only hold up for a really short period of time these days, before I am back in the realm of lousy productivity. It’s no great mystery why this is- I am painfully, incredibly, horribly bored. I know I have said this before, too. I don’t know why I would expect it to change. The worst part of all is that I love the place I work for, and I love the people I work with, and I make really good money…wait, maybe that is the best part. What I am trying to say is that there are these great things about this job, but the bigger part is always the work, and the work has become intolerable, and how do I possibly go on? How do I possibly leave? What would I do then? I know so many people who just buck up, knuckle down (is that even an expression? I think it is, but it is still very early, and those words make very little sense to me at this point) and do what they need to do, to the very best of their ability.

I am just lousy for that, though.  I am the kind of person who just fucking suffers when faced with a task that holds no interest for me. It feels an awful lot like lying, which I am also intrinsically untalented at. So, like much of the rest of my life, I am just sort of bumbling along, hoping something makes sense, eventually. I know for a fact that I have said before that happiness is a choice- and I really believe that to be true. But sometimes the choices you have to make to really be happy are not readily apparent, or easy choices to make. The thing is, I don’t want to do what I do, but I don’t know what I do want to do. I mean, writing, obviously, but what are the odds that some magazine or weekly periodical is going to come banging on my email, offering me a starring role in a great new column, because they heard…nothing, ever, about me? And when you are the single mother of two beautiful daughters, you just don’t walk away from THEIR security so easily…if it was just me, I wouldn’t give two thoughts about it, but it’s them, and I like them, and want to keep them, so…so, off to work I go, I guess.

You can see the source of my anxiety, right? I believe happiness is a choice, but I am not happy, so I must be making the wrong choices. I am a huge fan of gratitude, and I am grateful…for some things, but not others, and I feel guilty. I crave security, and I have it, but I can’t stand the price of it. And worst of all, I realize how these are just top shelf problems. I have so much, how dare I whine about it? There are so many people, people I know, who are struggling in ways that I haven’t had to in so long…shouldn’t I be ashamed of myself for complaining? I don’t know. There is a lot to puzzle out here, and I will definitely revisit this until I find an answer.

In the meantime, there is just enough time left for me to meditate before I have to leave for work. Sigh.

The Writer’s Dilemma…

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I have started working on a new story, so what is happening is what always happens- I am finding it harder to come up with the time and energy to devote to this blog. It’s funny, because they are such different things, and both of them give me something I want. Blogging has the immediate reward that I love- I have the ability to see who has read what I have written, who I have reached, who enjoys my writing. I get that immediate gratification that I love so much.

When I am writing a story, though, it is different. The story starts to materialize in my mind before I ever sit down to start sketching it out. It always starts like this- I am washing dishes, or walking my dog, or sitting on the toilet, and my mind goes “what if…say a girl was walking her dog early in the morning, like this, and they were by a cemetery…and the dog dragged her into the cemetery, and she lost the leash, and when she was trying to grab it, she fell…into an open grave…” Or maybe I start to see other parts of the story first, and then that first part comes to me. Eventually, it becomes almost painful not to start writing it out. I don’t get any immediate feedback on it, and most of the stories I have started, I haven’t even finished, for one reason or another. I lose interest, or something happens in my life that takes me away from writing, and when I come back, I just want to start something new.

I want to develop better habits, a solid writing routine, because- I have finally realized- this is everything to me. If I don’t get on the ball now, when will I? When I was very young, I already knew that writing was my calling in life, but I thought I had all the time in the world. I don’t know what I was waiting for. I don’t want to wait anymore. So, here I am, back to getting up at four every morning, so that I can have this time to write. I’m two chapters in on my new story, and I intend to finish this one. I also have decided to finish the editing of my first finished novel, and start sending it off again. I figure one of two things can happen- it will be rejected, or it won’t. I don’t need to get all nutty over it, I just need to do it. If no one wants it, then I will come up with something else. I don’t need to be afraid. I should be more afraid of doing nothing.

I plan on continuing blogging, and actually, I wrote a really good one earlier this week, but decided not  to publish it in the interest of not pissing off everybody in the world who disagrees with me…especially a few particular people whom the blog was aimed at. If they weren’t people I knew personally, I probably would have gone ahead with it, but I am trying to be responsible with my words these days, and not go around stabbing people with my literary sword. Although it sure is tempting sometimes.

I am very interested to hear about your writing routine- are you dedicated to it? Is there a time of day that works best for you? Do you have a hard time blogging when you are caught up in other literary pursuits?

I know this is a short one today, but I really just wanted to check in, let everyone know what is going on with me. I’ll be back before you know it!

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

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So, the seasons are changing, the nights are getting colder, perhaps fires are being lit in your living room (or if you are super lucky, your bedroom) hearths. Your front step may show evidence of the fast approaching Halloween, little pumpkins waiting to be carved into smiles and grimaces. I even have a scarecrow this year! What better time, then, to bring up a subject that almost everyone loves to chime in on- GHOSTS! If you don’t have a story of your own, you definitely have heard plenty over the years, right?

My question to you is, do you believe in ghosts? Like, REALLY believe in them? My sincere hope is that everyone reading this will share their stories in the comments below, or on my Facebook page, because, on top of the fact that I LOVE to tell my own personal ghost story, I SO love hearing other people’s personal encounters with the paranormal. Now, I am going to tell you mine, and it is 100% true! If you don’t believe me, you can totally ask my mother, as she was there and lived through it, too. Some of her memories will be different than mine- this all started when I was eight years old- but I can promise you that it was an experience neither of us will ever forget.
So, when I was 8, my mother was pregnant with my brother, and we moved into a bigger house, a pretty nondescript, standard, home at 530 W. Dayton, in Fresno. It was a hideous mustard color, at least when we got there, but it had a huge backyard. Anyway, within our first few days there, the first thing happened, and it is the one that I am the most confident of all of. I was laying on my twin bed in my little room, and my mom and grandma had just walked out a few moments before. I was reading (of course), when suddenly, the top drawer of my dresser, right next to the bed, just slid open, all the way. Quickly, as if someone had yanked it, hard. I remember being SO terrified that I couldn’t scream- I opened my mouth to yell for my mom, and nothing came out. By the time I could make a sound, I felt quite wild and deranged. The women came running back in, and I told them what had happened, but I could tell they didn’t believe me.
Pretty soon, though, my mom and my step dad, and eventually, even my little brother, were quite aware that we were not living in that house alone. There was tons of regular poltergeist activity, ranging from footsteps in the hall, to glasses and dishes rattling in the cupboard, to entire boxes of cereal flying across the room. No Shit. The rocking chair would rock with no one in it, and no breeze to explain it, things would disappear and then show up in impossible places.
If that had been all of it, I think it would have been bearable. But it seemed to escalate, and the atmosphere in that house became truly unbearable. I don’t know how to explain it to you- if you have ever lived in a house with an unhappy spirit, you will know exactly what I mean…I was eleven, and I couldn’t be alone in that house. I would walk home from school, unlock the front door, and try to sit on the couch to watch TV. Most of the time, the feeling in that place was so oppressive, so terrifying, that I would wind up sitting on the front step until my parents got home. I couldn’t even be in there. You were never alone, and whatever lived there, unseen, did not want me there.
My mother was up late one night, and she heard my brother walking ( he was a toddler, then) down the hall towards her room. She was reading, and she didn’t look up until the footsteps stopped at the foot of her bed, and a strange voice said “Mama!”. Then, her head snapped up, and no one was there. My brother was asleep in his bed. Eventually, he refused to go into his room at night, screaming in terror, and pointing into the corners, hysterical. I will let my mom finish that story, though, because I don’t really remember it well.
We later learned, from our amazing neighbors, Jack and Hazel, who had lived there since the beginning of time, that a small child had died of Leukemia or something in our very house. So that explains the little footsteps we heard often, and the voice in my mom’s room. But I have always felt like there was something much older and more negative in that place than any lost little child’s soul could ever be. I will probably never know the whole story, since we moved many years ago…but I have always wondered if the people who lived there after us had any similar experiences.
I have had other things happen in my life, but that one was definitely the longest…and for sure, the scariest. So, How about you? Do you believe in Ghosts? And if so, why? Tell me your story! I am so excited, I can’t wait!
Happy Almost Halloween!

Everything That is Right With Me.

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I’m feeling rather chipper this afternoon, and thought I would sit down here for a second and write. Nothing special has happened, no great new career has fallen out of the sky and into my lap. I’m still chubby. My house is still kinda messy. I am still struggling with these goddamned cigarettes, goddammit.

But yesterday and today, I have really asked the Universe, or God, or whomever it is out there listening to me, to help me be okay with it- “it” being the many, many things that are, whether I have a hand in it, or any control over it, or not. Whatever “it” is, God, can you help me be okay with it? That is the big prayer I am sending up, day after day. And it seems like I am getting my answer.

Because every time that cruel, hypercritical, mean, awful voice in my head starts to verbally abuse me, another, WAY more believable voice says “NO.” This kinder voice shuts that mean voice DOWN. As I am pulling on my jeans, the mean voice goes “What the fuck, porky? Are you kidding me? ” And the kind voice goes “You are beautiful. It’s fine. Go take your walk, enjoy your life.” And the mean voice, it just sort of fades away.

I think to myself “I should really put some make up on before I go outside.”  And this gentle voice pipes up, before the mean voice even has a chance- “Look at yourself. There is nothing you need to cover up…get out there and take in the afternoon.” (in case you are confused, yes, there are three voices happening here- Me, the mean voice and the kind voice. If you can’t grasp that, you are probably a man. So go hug your girlfriend, because she is probably having a hell of a time with HER voices.)

Do you guys have any idea how wonderful it feels to have someone sticking up for me? I mean, even if it is just me, it’s about damn time. Because let me tell you something- I am a pretty good person. I love my kids, I show up every day, I try like hell to do the best I can. I am nearly forty, and my life sure doesn’t look the way I thought it would, but it’s a good life. I am making the most of it, or at least trying to. I sure the heck don’t appreciate this critical voice that no one else hears busting my balls twenty four hours a day. I am tired of it. I am sure I am not alone.

So you know what? I took my walk, without any makeup, and I had a wonderful time. My dogs were thrilled, and no one stopped their car to point at me and laugh. I saw woodpeckers and Monarchs, and stretched my legs, cleared my head.

I have spent years and years beating myself up for my shortcomings- I am far harder on myself than I would ever be on anyone else. That needs to stop…because I am lovely (said the kind voice.)