Monthly Archives: May 2015

Reservations (I’m not talking about dinner).

reservations

Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted- I mean, everyone I know pretty much did, but I hear there are people out there in the world who can use drugs “recreationally”, which means, I guess, in a fun way. Weekends, holidays, or something like that. These would be people that do NOT trade their family’s good silver and sexual favors for a twenty bag, I am guessing. I mean, not that I ever did anything like that, of course. My family never even had any good silver (that I am aware of. Good job, mom.) And I wasn’t smart enough to think of the sexual favor thing until I had already given it up, anyway. I never was very good at the whole hustle aspect of drug use. I basically just worked at a job so that I could buy myself whatever I needed, or I wheedled it out of people. I was a wheedler, not a hustler. Anyway, I have learned, even more thoroughly from being in a drug treatment center that caters to a…I want to say, more heavily insured group of people…that the “hitting rock bottom” thing that is talked about in the world of recovery looks very different for people who have a higher expectation of what their life should look like.

I mean, don’t get me wrong- there are people there that were living on the streets when they first came into the program, but it was more a matter of choice, meaning they had other options, than solely a consequence of their lifestyle. Like, help was available to them should they want it. Then, there are those who took their drugs as prescribed, but they felt their doctor was overindulging them and they felt terribly bad about this. My point is, only YOU know what the bottom looks like for YOU. I wasn’t really that messed up this time, by my standards. Not even close. But I can tell you this- I was tired as hell of living a double life. The burden of being that person was just no longer bearable. I sought help this time because I was too weary to keep going on anymore. It was not dramatic, there was no intervention- a lot of people didn’t even know what was going on with me. A LOT of people. You reach out for help when it is bad enough for YOU. And that is where it starts.

No one winds up in a treatment center feeling great and stable and mentally sound. There is no way that is happening. We wind up there after LOTS of suffering, many attempts to fix ourselves on our own, long stretches of battling ourselves, terrible battles, that go in internally. So the relief of finally getting help, of finally finding a safe reprieve from OURSELVES, is indescribable. You get into treatment willing, at last, to do anything to sustain that feeling of relief, of safety. It feels so good to wave that white flag, to surrender.

But, FUCK, we addicts are forgetful human beings. Given a little bit of time, a little distance, and we quickly forget the truth about who we are- who we JUST were. We feel so much better, and we already can’t believe it was that bad. We glamorize our old lifestyles, we joke about it, we don’t want to accept that this is our fate- a whole life without putting any substances, of any kind, in our bodies. Now, right here, for me, what I just wrote- that is how I know I am an addict. If you told most people- “hey, sorry, but you can’t ever drink, or smoke weed, and you should probably be highly cautious about even taking narcotic pain medication, even if you have had REAL pain.” They might balk a little, but, you know, if their doctor was telling them this- they would probably, eventually, shrug their shoulders and go. “Shit. That sucks. Alright, then.” For an addict, for ME, anyway, that is just grim. I get it, but I still have a lot of trouble believing it’s that big of a deal. Despite ALL of the evidence to the contrary, and there is plenty, my friends- I still have trouble accepting this.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I KNOW I can’t do my drug of choice. That isn’t what trips me up. My bigger struggle, the thing I have a hard time giving up, is alcohol. Or, it was hard, anyway. Until I got all sassy last weekend on a date, and drank half of a margarita. First of all, let me explain to you that since the day prior to this date, I was already ruminating, at great length, over whether or not I was going to drink. I don’t think this is something that normal people obsess over, is it? I finally decided I was definitely NOT going to drink. So imagine my surprise when I heard myself order a margarita! I seriously considered tackling the waiter as he walked away, begging him not to bring it. This is also not normal. Then, when it came, I wasn’t NOT going to drink it- it was a twelve dollar margarita, for Christ’s sake! How could I do that to my date, this perfect stranger whose opinion of me mattered far more than my recovery! I mean, that makes total sense, right? Oh, wait, no…it makes no fucking sense at all!

Long story short, I drank half, it was fine, I ordered a cranberry and soda, drank that instead, finished the date, went home, felt yucky, went to bed. Then, I woke up at midnight, chugged ten gallons of water, and lay in bed feeling really sick- almost as if I had ingested some type of poison, some type of tequila, maybe- and wondered what the fuck was wrong with me. But the good news is, that reservation I had, the battle in my head over whether or not drinking would be okay for me, was put to rest. I didn’t get out of control, but my thoughts certainly were a little crazy. Most people don’t get that nutty over a drink. Most people don’t put two days of thought into half a margarita. But more importantly, I didn’t like the way I felt. I am tired of not liking the way I feel. I’ve had enough of that for a lifetime.

There are lots more reasons why it isn’t a good idea for me to drink, but right now, I only need that one- because I don’t like how it made me feel. They talk a lot about reservations in twelve step programs, and why they are dangerous. You have to do what you have to do to resolve them in your own way. I am grateful today that mine didn’t have to be uglier than it was. That is was simple to resolve. Today, I am going to allow myself to remember the truth about who I am, and how I wound up where I am. Because people who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it, right? And that is not something I really want to do. Not at all.

Have a great Thursday! 🙂

Cleaning House. I mean, Literally.

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I spent a good portion of my day, yesterday, in my pajamas, on the couch, snoozing. Before that, I spent a good chunk of time back in bed, snoozing some more (and watching TV). Before that, a good friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in years came by, and we drank coffee and chain smoked on the front step, which is also really bad- the chain smoking, not the coffee. (Don’t you dare judge me, quitting smoking is the hardest, most unpleasant thing I have ever tried quitting. And trust me, I have quit a lot of stuff. Baby steps, man.)

At around two o’clock yesterday afternoon, I was so disgusted with my pajama clad body, horizontally sprawled on various cushioned surfaces, blearily staring at the tv, or the insides of my eyelids. I was so filled with self loathing at my sweaty self just left moldering in the nastiness of my filthy, garbage filled home…I just didn’t know what to do. I mean, I knew what I SHOULD do, but what I didn’t know was how to get myself upright, and actually DO it. I had no energy. I felt angry, disgusted, and frustrated with myself.

Well, I figured out the “BIG SECRET”. It’s pretty simple, actually, though harder than it sounds. Are you ready for me to lay it on you?  Okay, here goes: You simply get the fuck up, and do what you need to do. That is it. Like the Nike slogan from years gone by- JUST DO IT. Just get up off your lazy ass, and start handling your business. Isn’t there some law of physics that says “A body at rest tends to stay at rest unless someone forces it to move it’s slovenly self?” Well, here’s the bad news- it has to be you, the operator of this big machine of skin and bone, that does the forcing. I mean, unless you are independently wealthy, in which case, you can just call Molly Maids, or whatever, and have them come do it for you. If that is the case, I don’t know why you are up so early, reading my blog. I would suggest you go back to bed until it’s time for your pedicure and massage, princess.

Seriously. though, it took me four hours- it could have taken me a lot less time, had I cut corners like I normally do. Doing a half ass job takes half as much time, of course, but the end result sure isn’t as satisfying. I let no dishes “soak” this time, I washed them, dried them, and put (most) of them away. I removed all my “neatly stacked” piles of mail that I am still so resistant to opening- ( hey, I am a work in progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day). I actually did a very good job.

It made me grouchy, for a little while- the first hour was hard, and I did it grudgingly, even with the awesome music blaring from my stereo. The second and third hour, I was just in numbed out cleaning mode. The final hour, I was pretty tired, but I could see the results of my hard work, and it kept me pushing through. I will confess to you right now that the bathroom did not get finished, but the truth is, I wasn’t going to do it at all until I saw how filthy the tub I was about to put my kid in was. So I went ahead and washed out the tub and the sink, while I was at it. And also, the top of my dresser in my bedroom did get overlooked. I will try to get to that today.

However, even with those two little things, I woke up this morning and was treated to the sight and feel of walking through a clean, clear, organized home. I go back to work today after a pretty long stretch of time off, and it feels good to have given myself this gift- a clean home to wake up in and start my day, and a clean home to come back to tonight. As much as I didn’t want to start on it yesterday, I was so glad I made myself do it last night, and I am even more grateful this morning.

So, there you have it- the secret to cleaning your home when you are a lazy, lazy woman. Go spread the word, lazy brethren and sistren (is there no female equivalent for brethren?!) . Go share it with the masses. I mean, if you can get up off the couch, that it. Hahaha!

Have a reasonable Monday (it should help that Monday is happening on a Tuesday this week. There is always that. 🙂 )

A Few Things I’ve Learned in Rehab

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For the sole purpose of writing SOMETHING, because I just cannot seem to get my inspirational juices flowing, lately (God, that sounds so much grosser than I intended for it to), I figured I would write about my stint(s) in drug rehabilitation centers. You normal folks are probably curious, anyway, so why not? Please keep in mind, due to my family circumstances (I am the primary breadwinner for my kids) I have never been to an inpatient facility. I mean, I have been to them, but never lived there. I am talking about OUTPATIENT treatment centers.

Here goes:

1.) The more money the program costs, the better the food is going to be. My biggest regret over going from full days (what they call partial hospitalization) to intensive outpatient (half days) is that I no longer got to eat the fantastic, gourmet, lunches from my current place. Quite frankly, this could be a trick to get you to stay full days longer. One thing every addict has in common is this: We are HUNGRY when we get off drugs. Starving.

2.) Addicts of every age are generally pretty upset with their parents. This seems to be a common thread among us.

3.) No matter how much you like to talk, you get to a point when you have had ENOUGH fucking talking about your fucking FEELINGS. It’s exhausting.

4.) Even if, somehow, you do not know the Serenity Prayer when you get to treatment, by the end of the third day you will have said it so many times that it has forever lost all meaning to you. You might as well be doing the Hokey-Pokey. It means nothing at all.

5.) There will be at least one person in your group who hates everyone. They don’t really hate everyone, they just really want a stiff drink.

6.) There will be several people in your group who have no idea why they can’t still smoke weed. Weed is not  why they are there. They are there because they wanted to stop snorting Oxy’s.

7.) There will be at least one person there who makes you want to jump out the window every time it is their turn to talk. You get to the point where you start exhibiting odd behavior, such as slapping your hands over your own eye repeatedly, or rude behavior, such as tapping your foot impatiently on the floor, while glaring at them. They will not give a fuck. They will continue to talk and talk and talk, usually about the same fucking thing they talked about yesterday. And the day before that, and the day before that.

8.) There is a reason most outpatient programs are only thirty days. That is the length of time one can tolerate this kind of stuff before becoming increasingly hostile.

9.) Most addicts get really weirded out over discussions about God. This is why we refer to a “Higher Power” instead. It goes down more easily.

10.) There will be one person in your group that doesn’t get that, because he is a total Jesus freak, and he will offend everyone else by quoting the bible and talking about how Jesus Christ is the one truth, etc. Everyone else will offend him by arguing, well into lunch, over this. Your entire next process group will be awkward because the counselors will force you to discuss the “incident.”

11.) “Anxiety” is an addicts favorite word, followed closely by “fuck”.

12.) There is no way to tell, when looking around the room, who will actually make it. The ones you think are definitely going back out are sometimes doing great in five years. The ones who seem to have it all together often don’t last a week.

13.) Heroin addicts think tweakers are the devil. Tweakers think heroin addicts are the worst. We don’t trust one another at all. The funny part is, the end result, all the way down to how horrible one looks, are exactly the same.

14.) Treatment centers are terrible about getting paperwork done.

15.) No matter what I have said in the words above, getting help when you need it, checking yourself into a treatment center, is the best thing you can possibly do. No matter how rough it is, or how annoying, you find out that being in a room full of others trying to get right, you are with your people. You have found your tribe. These people know what you are talking about when you say “I hate who I have become.” or “I feel so ashamed of myself.” in a way that no one else could ever possibly understand.

I am phasing out of my treatment now, and I am ready. Ready to go back out into the land of the living, and actually get some living done. Not that I haven’t been doing that already. Oh, for the love of God, I am just not very entertaining right now, outside of my lists, am I? Oh well. It will come back.

Until then, have a wonderful day. 🙂

Glimpsing The Truth

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I have been sort of coming up empty handed when it comes to stuff I feel like writing about lately. I have been working on some other, non-bloggy, stuff. And there have been at least two blogs I WANTED to write, and that you all really would have enjoyed, but nevertheless, these blogs would have caused me deep shame later, so I opted out. I am trying not to be an asshole, no matter how satisfying being that person is at times.

Today though, as I was driving, and, as so often happens when you are driving, I was nowhere near my laptop, I was struck by inspiration. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time unconsciously making plans for my imaginary life. What I mean by this is…well, my thoughts go something like this “When I am my perfect self with a perfect life that is perfectly organized and totally “normal”, and my house is always clean and I have awesome, perfect, friends whom I invite to perfect dinner parties, then I will…” Fill in the blank with whatever thing my imaginary self will then do in my imaginary life. Now, of course, I don’t actually compose this entire mess of run-on sentence in my head. It’s more of just an implied personal nirvana life, you understand.

Anyway, you ever have moments when the veil of your perception lifts, slightly, just for a moment? You ever get just a tiny little glimpse of the truth, and it leaves you completely thunderstruck? Well, this happened to me today. It suddenly occurred to me that- hold onto your pants, now- that perfect life, that perfect me? It doesn’t exist. Now, I am not saying that I could not be a better me. I fully believe, and expect, that I will continue to see all kinds of versions and levels of a better me, as time goes on and I continue on this path. But the perfect me? No. Not only can that not exist for me, but it doesn’t really exist for ANYONE.

And that, I think, is the real issue here. I forget that what I see, the surface part of peoples lives, the  things they show to us, are not their reality. I am basing my ideals for myself on the selected portions of life that other people decide to share with the world, the part they are comfortable with showing. Jesus, to be quite frank with you, were you to scroll through my Facebook timeline, you might think I was a pretty together chick. I don’t even LOOK like ninety percent of the pictures I post of myself. Hahahahaha!

I am not always thoughtful, or funny, or cheeky and positive. I am not any of those things most of the time. I am just a normal, middle aged (and goddammit, I AM middle aged, I am 40!) single mom. I have kid problems and man problems and a mole on my chin that three hairs grow out of (two black, one grievously gray) more rapidly with each plucking. I can’t seem to keep track of my socks, I am generally behind on laundry, and I hate washing pots, pans, and my dogs. And if your life IS perfect? I don’t even want to be friends with you. Who needs that kind of pressure?

But I will tell you what I do have, right now, today: I have a little house with a big yard, and an outstanding view. Inside this house are two beautiful daughters who love me more than anything- one who tells me everything I never wanted to know because she trusts me, and one who still thinks I can do anything, because she is four. I have two dogs, and one cat, and more love than these walls could ever contain. We have food in the fridge and the lights are still on, somehow. We are doing alright.

Maybe the truth is, this is my perfect life. Maybe it doesn’t get any better than this.

No Rest for the Dumb-Ass

LiquidLibrary
LiquidLibrary

Day three of this miserable cold-flu-sinus-whatever bug. I don’t feel good, but I feel a million times better than I did yesterday. Yesterday was horrible. Yesterday was deep in the trenches of yuck. Battling a fever all day long, that weird, patchy sleep thing that happens when you are sick, getting up for water, going back to bed, getting up to pee, going back to bed. Finding yourself watching a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle marathon because you really can’t be bothered to find the remote.

Anyway, today, I am up and about. I can’t really swallow without wincing in pain, and the thermometer is telling me I probably shouldn’t be out among the general public, but I feel so much better. And this is where the problem is. I know I should rest. I know that if I don’t rest, I am going to, quite probably, feel like a giant mountain of shit later on…But…laundry. I could be doing laundry! And, you know, since I am staying home and shirking all my other responsibilities, shouldn’t I just clean the bathroom? Or maybe, you know, it  would do me some good to get some sun…and there are a lot of weeds to be pulled out front. I could kill two birds with one stone, get some vitamin D AND pull those weeds.

It’s really funny, because, if it were a day when I was just off, and I felt great, I wouldn’t want to do any of those things because I really should be doing them. But just knowing that I really shouldn’t be doing anything makes me want to do EVERYTHING. Perhaps if I could get the flu once a month, my house might be a little cleaner? Ugh, never mind- it would not be worth it. I don’t like feeling like this. Although I am amused by my sudden desire to be all Suzy homemaker. Because that is just not me. Not even.

Well, I’m off to take a long, hot, bath. And perhaps just clean up a tiny bit while I’m in there. We’ll see.

Hope you are feeling better than I am today.

Careful What You Ask For…

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Warning: I am going to mention prayer in this blog, so if that makes you feel: Angry, Anxious, Uncomfortable, Defiant, Disgusted or otherwise poorly, you may want to skip this one.

It’s not big news that I believe in God. Not so much the punishing God of some religions, though. I don’t really believe in sin, or hell, or a big man in the sky with infinite eyes, one for each of us, who waits and watches for us to fuck up so that he can whack us one. Nah, that kind of God doesn’t exist for me. What I do believe is that God will listen if we are talking to Him directly, and that He does have a sense of humor.

I was talking about this with a friend of mine last week- both of us, at different times, have prayed for patience. What the result of that prayer was- the answer, I guess,- was that we each found our lives full to the limit of trying, barely tolerable, situations and people. It sure seemed like God was over zealously giving us ample opportunities to exercise some patience that we must already have…

“I prayed for patience a long time ago.” My friend said. “It was horrible. I haven’t asked for anything specific since then- just “Hey man, your will be done in my life, thanks.”

Now, I don’t pray as much as I think I should. For those of you weirded out by this (I told you what was coming, but you didn’t listen, so don’t get all freaked out now) I wish I could explain to you how comfortable I am with my spiritual practices, however meager they are. I feel a real connection to whatever is out there- if you want to call it God, or The Universe, or whatever- when I pray. It helps my meditation practice. It helps me prioritize what matters to me. Prayer is something I can do for other people when there is nothing else. I really believe that something happens when we pray- for those of you who need some kind of proof, I suggest you look up the studies they have done involving prayer over surgical instruments, prayer for sick people who didn’t even know they were being prayed for. Google that shit. It’s real.

I also believe we must be careful what we pray for. Kind of like those stories about the Genie in the bottle who gives you your wish so literally that it winds up totally sucking? Yeah, that.

Yesterday, I sent up a rather desperate prayer to God, asking for help with this out of control nicotine addiction of mine. I have gone back and forth so many times, I feel like a slightly manic yo-yo. “God,” I asked, “Please help me with this! I just need some willingness. I need you to take this craving away from me. Please, oh please, oh pleasy-please?” I whined. I should have known better than to get all whiny and desperate, I guess.

I would like to mention that, at the moment of this prayer, I was feeling the picture of health and vitality. Yet somehow, by noon yesterday, I swallowed and thought “Oh, no. I think I’m getting sick.” By six o’clock last night, I was pretty sure I had a fever. By eight last night, I was straight up SICK- in my bed, fever, chills, pretty sure I was a goner. Guess how much I wanted to smoke, though?

“Hahaha!” I muttered, between chills, towards the ceiling- you know, just in case HE really is UP somewhere.

“Who are you talking to, mama?” My four year old asked me, concerned for my mental well being, even at her tender age.

“No one, honey. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, mom. I’m sure going to miss you.” WTF? Yeah, she really said that. Unless it was a fever induced hallucination. Anyway, between that creepy statement and my fever, chills, sore throat and sweating…I didn’t get a great nights sleep. I also could give a fuck less about smoking. Was my prayer answered?

I guess I’ll let you decide that for yourself. I think I’m going to find some tylenol and go back to bed.

One Awesome Mutha’

mutha

This is where I write the obligatory Mother’s Day Blog. Only I don’t want to write something perfunctory and average, that is never my goal. If my heart isn’t in it, I just don’t want to do it. So I thought and thought all day long, and this is what I can tell you from my heart:

1.) You may think you know how much your mom loves you, but, until you are a mom yourself, or a dad, I suppose, although I have no idea if it works the same way- until the day that you become a parent, you have no clue. I hate to break this to you, but the kind of love you have for your children sort of makes every other kind of love look sort of…not as important. I mean, God, some of you people are going to get all butt-puckered over this (predictably), and defend the kind of love you have for your dog, or your girl, or whoever. I know, I know. I am not trying to say that certain kinds of love are better. All love is important. But the love I learned about when I held my first child in my arms (okay, after, like, a few days- she kind of freaked me out at first) was so much more vast, and pure, and unconditional. It kinda blew my socks off. So trust me when I say: Your mom, as annoying and nosy and cringe-worthy as she may be? That woman would jump in front of a truck for your grown ass without even hesitating. Take your love for her and multiply it by about a thousand, and you might be in the ball park.

2.) Having said that, not all moms are created equal- not by a long shot. I have friends who changed their lives completely the minute they gave birth, and took to mothering like a duck to water ( I am assuming they do this immediately, right? Ducks? If not, please replace that last remark with something that means, like, right away, and naturally. I am on a roll and cannot be bothered to go google what baby fucking ducks do). I have friends (me) who do okay. I have a maternal instinct ( I am not kidding you, I almost just wrote “maternal extinct”. Er…Freudian slip?) but it seems to have a short. It can work just peachy for a while, and then all of the sudden, it starts throwing sparks, and I turn into Joan Collins, only less classy. Like just now, for example, when my four year old asked for food, and I got mad at her for being hungry while I am busy writing. How DARE she? But I try. I try REALLY hard, most of the time. It just doesn’t come totally easily to me. Then, I know people who are about as attached to their kids as cats are to their kittens- they do great for a few months, but then it’s “see ya! It’s been real, thanks for the stretch marks!” and off they go. These types, I do not understand at all. You would need a crow bar, a tranquilizer gun, and several strong men to keep me apart from my babies. Apart from this anomalous few, I promise you, we do the best we can. Again, until you have walked a mile in our shoes, please do not judge or condemn us. Trust that our love is as real and true as any other- we are all doing the best we can.

Having gotten that out of the way, I have some special Thanks to dole out, here.

* My mom- What can I say, mom? I love you with all of my heart. You sure got screwed in the kid department. If it weren’t for my fantastic self, you would only have had Casey to love, and, well…need I say more (you had that coming, Casey. I am totally moms favorite, she tells me that all the time. hahaha). For real, though, mom. I have a lot of respect for the life you have carved out for yourself, even more so now that I am a mom, myself. This is not the easiest of jobs for us wild, gypsy types. Thank you for never giving up on me. I love you.

* Single moms- you are the bravest of the brave, doing the work of two people with aplomb. Please do not be hard on yourself for falling short. Repeat after me: “I am one person, doing the job of two. I fucking rock this shit every single day. I am Superwoman.” Make this your mantra. Single moms can carry in all of the groceries in one trip, unlock the front door while carrying a carseat full of infant, talk the people at PG&E into one more day for three months, and make a life of lemons into the best lemonade you ever tasted- and just might share it with you if you are worthy. Single moms do not have time to fuck around. We are serious, and our love for our children is the fiercest of all. It has to be. They are OUR babies, no one else’s. If you know a single mom (and of course you fucking do) you want to tell her how much you admire her for holding it down. Those words mean a lot.

* Married or otherwise Partnered Moms- I know what you are thinking…these ones have it easy, though! Right? Well, clearly you have forgotten how hard it is to raise kids in the confines of a relationship. All the compromise, all the extra BS, all the disagreements about right ways and wrong ways. Yes, there are benefits to having an extra set of arms and ears and eyes- as long as those parts are working in harmony with yours. When they aren’t, well…lets not pretend we haven’t all wished for a little time alone with the kids to whip them into shape. Daddies rule, but they can also be a big pain in the butt. The kids usually like them more, because, you know, chocolate for breakfast. You feel like the household villain. And, unlike the single mom, you find yourself having to work on your marriage (or whatever kind of thing it is) on top of everything else. Really, all you want to work on is a nap. It’s no walk in the park, and you rule, married mom.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is, if you are out there, in the motherhood trenches, doing the deal- you deserve a day of honor. If you work, if you stay at home, if you don’t vaccinate your kids (although I think you are kind of an idiot) or you do, if you are organic mom, or McDonald’s mom, whatever kind of mom you are- Thank you. Thank you for pouring your heart and your soul into the little people in your life. Thank you for doing the very best you know how, at least 75% of the time. This is the hardest job any of us will ever do, and we all, somehow, seem to do it just fine. Against all odds, they turn out pretty great in the end.  Good job, moms.

Happy Mother’s Day.

The Other 20!

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Good morning! I am back with the other twenty things I feel compelled to accomplish while the age of 40. It occurs to me that this would have been an easier task had I started at 20 rather than 40, but then I may not have as many things to put on my list, right? As it stands, the ideas are coming at me so fast now that twenty more seems rather paltry. However, I have to keep in mind that most of the things on my list are going to take time and planning- marking them all off my list is going to take a lot of (fun) work!

I’m just going to jump right in! Here goes:

21) go on a camping trip that doesn’t totally suck. We’ll see if this is even possible.

22) learn how to make a quilt

23) leave the state of California at least twice, preferably in a different direction each time.

24) ride a ferry to an island

25) attend a live sporting event.

26) really fine tune my meditation practice

27) treat my body as kindly as it has treated me all these years.

28) never go to a public place in private clothes (ie, pajamas), not even once (this one is for Holly Nutt. LOL)

29) Go to Gilroy Gardens ( writing Holly’s name made me think of this one)

30) Do the Halloween tour at the Big Sur Lighthouse!

31) Visit no less than five museums

32) Write every single day for no less than 30 minutes.

33) Make a solid effort to connect more with my family, the ones who DON’T live with me.

34) Practice kindness, empathy, and non-judgement every single day.

35) Plant a garden in my huge, awesome, back yard.

36) Do my very best to make my home feel inviting and look good

37) Get rid of the clothes that do not fit me.

38) Have at least one party- this is a total phobia of mine, and it is HIGH TIME I get over it

39) Buy, and learn to use, a barbecue. You are 40, for the love of God.

40.) Say yes as often as I can- I am not getting any younger!

Oh my gosh, I am just so excited about the direction my life is going. I will definitely be keeping you all posted on where I am at with my list. Wish me luck. The clock is ticking!

Have a beautiful, wonderful, exciting, lovely day. 🙂

40 Things for 40 Years

Jack-Kerouac-Life-Vast

Before I go even one step further, I must give credit where credit is due- this idea was actually shared with me by my good friend Jennifer Paddack-Hyde, whom I hope is not angry with me for missing her birthday party (sorry, Jen.) She has been doing this for a while, I guess, and it somehow involves scrapbooking. I am not going to be doing the scrapbook thing, but I am a big believer in writing down specific goals as a way to actually get to them. So, thank you Jen, for the great idea!

Today is the last day of my life that I will ever be thirty anything, the close of a crazy, but definitely worthwhile, decade. I have a lot of respect for what happens during ones thirties- it is a beautiful time for most women. You girls getting close to thirty, starting to panic- don’t! The thirties are like the twenties, refined. All of that leftover teen angst and self-consciousness leaves you, and all of the beauty, most of the metabolism, stays. Do not fear your thirties. They are good. It is with deep love that I bid my thirties farewell. They were good years.

Now, looking ahead, Just at the brink of this next decade, I can tell you one thing for sure- this is not at all what I thought forty would look like. I am more excited than ever about my life, and best of all, that excitement has some experience and knowledge behind it. If my thirties were the time of gaining faith and confidence in myself, the time to learn who I really am and how I operate, I think my forties will be the time of putting all of that knowledge into action. What I feel is true is that there are no limits. That anything is possible. That this is the good part. And let me tell you, this girl is ready to jump in.

So, I have decided to make a list- Forty things I will do while I am forty. Some of them will be harder to achieve than others, but I have tried to stay reasonable. Also, I may only be able to come up with twenty today. I already have several rolling around in my head, but it is five o’clock in the morning. Give me a small break, okay? My intention, of course, is to document them for you here, so that, not only can you live vicariously through me (hahaha), but I can be accountable. Having said that, you all know how my intentions often work out. Shut up. I am doing the best I can. I just cannot seem to stop lying today, can I? Sigh. Okay, I do the best I can most of the time. Some of the time, I am just lazy. Without further ado, here they are:

1) Stop being so lazy ( will figure out later how to quantify and monitor this)

2) Get a real, awesome, professional makeover.

3) Have essay published in The Sun

4) Do a mud run

5) Meet Justin. I want to see him in real life (no one else needs to understand this, though a few of you might). He can totally wear clothes.

6) Get a literary agent

7) Attend a literary convention

8) Go to the glass beach in Ft. Bragg

9) Visit Alcatraz

10) Take dance lessons

11) Get my passport

12) Work all Twelve Steps to see if anything actually happens

13) Go to a swanky foodie thing

14) Submit a proposal for a non-fiction book idea. The worst thing they can say is no, right?

15)Try hypnotism.

16) Take a writing class for fun.

17) Take a jewelry making class for fun.

18) Hike Sobranes

19) Learn to surf

20) visit the hot springs in Sierraville. Love that place!

Okay, like I said, 40 is a lot to come up with in one sitting. Watch for part two! I have to clean my living room before my beautiful mommy comes over later. Oh yeah! Please, if you have any ideas that you think I might like, please feel free to let me know!

Have a great day!

The Tangled Web We Weave…is Actually Pretty Rad.

tradition

So, the other day, I went on my first date in…I don’t know, like, forever. It was super casual, an afternoon, after the workday but before I pick up the kids kind of date. We took a walk together, got some ice cream, walked back, chatted. Oh yeah, and I met his ex-wife and all three of his kids. Yeah, that happened. It could have been awkward- I’m not going to lie, there was an element of awkwardness pervading the scene. Here we are, innocently chatting in line for ice cream, and first one, then two, then three of his kids barrel into him, followed by, in a much less (thankfully) exuberant manner, his wife. I mean, ex-wife. Thankfully. Anyway, as usual, my desire to end awkwardness at all costs won out, and I found myself chatting with his ex about places my older daughter could start modeling locally, and I was showing her pictures, and we were the next best thing to chummy by the end of it all. Okay, maybe not that, but it wasn’t awful, and it could have been. It’s not the best situation for starters, but we did great with it.

Then, last night, I went out for appetizers and drinks (my drinks were Shirley Temples, of course) with my sisters…except, they aren’t REALLY my sisters. They technically belong to my ex, many times removed, also referred to as my daughters father, or “baby daddy” number one. Yeah, they are the siblings of my first offspring’s spermatozoa contributor, and I just sort of barged in and snapped them up. He has seven brothers and sisters, and I couldn’t decide, so I hogged them all. I love these people as much as I love my own people, and there is no distinguishing that love from the love for my “own” family. We have so many memories, and so much history, I feel confident in claiming them as family.

I would like to think that this phenomena I am experiencing in my life is a wonderful side effect of the breakdown of the traditional family unit. Perhaps it took a while, I don’t know. I don’t see the same things playing out in the lives of my mom (who is not friendly with her husbands ex-wife, to say the least), who modeled her life very much after the traditional family that she had with her folks- I’m not saying it worked out very well, I’m saying that is what she was going for. However, I do see it playing out in a myriad of ways in the lives of those around me. The ability to let go of the ideals we may have concerning what makes family family, and choose to love one another, and accept one another, instead. I cannot see the down side of this. I don’t know where I would be without my stolen brothers and sisters, and I don’t even like to think about it.

Last night, at dinner, I listened to one of the girls talk about how she went bra shopping with the current girlfriend of her daughter’s father. “I just love her!” she said. How can this be bad for anyone? The other day, my daughter and I were talking about a man we know who is raising his girlfriend’s son as his own, which isn’t all that unusual, except that he was the product of what you might call…a pause in their relationship. Yeah. Say what you want about it, I think that is the most noble and loving act I have ever seen. How awesome that he could swallow his pride completely and raise this boy with all of his heart! That, to me, is what love is all about.

A couple of days ago, I had this bright idea to set my brother up with this girl I adore- she is smart and artistic, one of those bubbly people that you enjoy encountering. No big deal, except that she is also the girl that my ex had an affair with years ago. Oddly enough, we have this bond now, forged through confession and pain, and finding out that, whatever else may be wrong with that dude, he has EXCELLENT taste in women. It didn’t happen overnight, that is for sure…but here I sit, trying to finagle her a place in my family. Hahaha!

I am not saying that everything about having a traditional, well functioning family is bad- far from it! If you can achieve that, Jesus, good for you! I know how hard it is. What I am saying is, if things have to be the way they are, what a wonderful discovery we have made around that fact- that the truth is, love is more prevalent than ever, even in these fractured and confused roles we play. That we are not bound by some imaginary sense of honor, or by pride, to disdain those that we may very well come to love. And that family is, really, more than blood. They are the people that you choose along the way, or that choose you, and how you nurture one another. I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

Have a lovely Sunday. 🙂