Saturday, December 15, 2012

Forever Changed

I wrote this in response to the shooting in Connecticut that killed 27 people.

Having lost two children of my own, I understand the fragility of life. I try to rejoice and celebrate every moment that I have with my two girls. Not only do I tell them often that I love them, but I try to show them in everything that I do.

My heart is so saddened by yesterday’s shooting in Connecticut. I feel like a ripple went through the universe tearing into the mesh of mankind and humanity. The grief of so many parents, families and friends can be felt by all.
Years ago, I took this picture of Little One looking like a little imp with a dear friend that
I lost to cancer. Too wonderful a soul to have been taken so soon. No one should ever
feel the pain of losing someone they love too soon. For whatever reason.

I cry just thinking about the cowardice and instability of the young man who senselessly took innocent lives. If you don’t want to live, don’t take that option away from others. I know I shouldn’t wish ill upon others, but at this moment I do. I hope that if there is a hell, that he is in the worst one imaginable. It won’t take away the pain being felt, but it seems like there is a slight consolation in that thought.

I wish I could hug everyone affected by this horrible tragedy and make their hurt go away. Their lives are forever changed. As are ours. I can only hope that a new message is sent through the universe. A message of changing thoughts. Of delicate lives. Of kindness. Of peace and love for ourselves and others. A strong enough message felt by enough people that we can change the world. Yea. The world where I talk about fluffy bunnies and happy rainbows. Is that too much to hope for? Is that too much to ask?

Friday, December 14, 2012

How Big is Your Beaver?

So, the other day, Five Eleven showed me the cutest Youtube video. It was called ‘Beaver waves hi to a little kid.’ I’m trying to figure out if the beaver was slipping off the glass and it looked like it was waving, or was it actually waving? Can we now add beavers to the realm of animals like dolphins and chimpanzees?

I know they are curious animals. I remember canoeing alone in a small New England lake once and I was stalked by a beaver. I could see it watching me. It would be on one side of me, then next thing I know, it would be somewhere else. Then, I’d unknowingly get too close to its next spying spot and it would slam its tail on the surface of the water and scare the bejeebees out of me.

I’ve always liked beavers but that term has more than one connotation. And, yes, I like all the definitions. Beaver, as the critter Castor canadensis here in North America, or beaver, as a reference to the female genitalia.

I have never got a picture of a beaver, just beaver dams. Because, as I said,
they'd probably scare the crap out of me and I'd drop my camera in the water or something.

So, that brought me to another memory. Once upon a time, I was on the Board of Directors for an environmental group. We were having a meeting with the woman who would be the new Project Coordinator, a position I had previously held for many years. (I may have to write about that in the future and how I beat Al Gore out for an environmental award we were both in the running for. My resume actually says exactly that. “Beat Al Gore for Environmental Award.” Not everyone can say that.)

Anyway, our small Board was gathered in a casual setting with big comfy leather furniture, because that’s what kind of group we were. Our new Project Coordinator was telling us about her collection of taxidermy animals that she had (with the license to actually have them). Since her role would be going into schools and teaching kids about being good earth stewards, I thought this was a wonderful addition to have. She told us about the kinds of animals she had, which honestly, I can’t remember anything else but one. The beaver.

Sorry I don't have any more exciting beaver pics than this.
Came out of a giant ClipArt book I have.

I was so excited that she had one and I knew they could vary in size from about 35 to 75 pounds. So, without thinking, I asked her the question that could only be brought up in this exact situation. The question that would otherwise only be used in some skanky sex chatroom.

“How big is your beaver?”

I’m sure she answered me, or us, at the time. I, however, was so distracted by one of the other female Board members who suddenly left the room without even excusing herself, that I couldn’t tell you the answer. At a break soon after, I went outside to check on her. We’ll call her Lisa. Lisa was outside in the cold, brisk air. Tears were streaming down her face.

I went to console her because that’s what I do, but soon realized that she was crying because she was laughing so hard. You know when someone tries to tell you something so funny and you can’t understand what in the heck they are saying because they are laughing so hard and you end up laughing with them just because they are laughing? That’s what happened.

Yea. It was one of those moments. When I finally got the gist of why she was laughing, like her, I was now an uncontrollable mess. All I could think was, ‘Oh my god! How could I not have realized that I asked another woman how big her beaver was?’

I think, in this rare instance, in this moment of taxidermy conversation, that this was the only moment in the history of mankind where one woman could honestly and innocently ask another, “How big is your beaver?” You try that, Al Gore.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two Halves Make a Whole

Thoughts go through our minds when we are with the one we love...


Friday, November 30, 2012

Born to Surf: Just Haven’t Done It Yet

Even late in November, I’ve been eyeing the surfers off the coast of Maine…yes, they’re in wetsuits, but dang it, they’re surfing!

Do you ever feel like you’d be really good at something? Something you just keep Jonesin’ to do? Something you were born to do? My thing is surfing. Last year, I was going to try it with a friend but we just couldn’t coordinate our schedules with the waves then the drop in temps and my lack of a wet suit.

There hasn’t been a day in the last year and then some where I’ve seen big waves and haven’t just dreamed about riding them. I’ve been loving boogie boarding the last several years which I think is close. The bigger the waves, the better. Got the whole reading the ocean and paddling to catch the big ones down. Seems to me that surfing is just an extension of that…just need to stand up while catching that wave. And since I always do a push up off the board when I come in, I know I could get up on a longer board without a problem.

Summer of 2011. That's Ocean Hair, Baby!

It’s hard for me to explain the sheer joy that I feel when I’m in the water riding a wave…even if it has only been on a boogie board. The few times I went out to do that this summer were the only times when I haven’t felt my head pound from my head injury in May. 

Catching my breath between rides on an awesome boogie boarding day.

I know that I have some more healing to do before I can go surfing. There’s that whole balance thing that is kind of an issue. Seems rather necessary on a surf board. I keep walking on the beach. One of my neurologists said that it’s great to help with balance (and I suppose if I was to fall, it’s rather soft). Can’t beat walking on one of my favorite places in the world.

You can't tell me this wouldn't be fun?

Not sure how a girl from Upstate New York (the way upstate, not the just out of NYC upstate) can have such a love of the ocean. Maybe it’s my water sign (Cancer – the crab)? Maybe it was from summers spent playing in the big waves of Lake Ontario? Not sure exactly what it is, but the taste of the salt water on my lips and the way I feel so at home in the water just adds to the feeling I get when I think about surfing.

Yea. I'll be doing that soon.

And for now, it’s a goal for me. Not that I can rush the healing that my brain still needs to do, but it’s something I’m looking forward to. Really looking forward to. Even if I haven’t done it yet, I will. After all, I was born to surf.

Is there something you feel you were born to do? Are you doing it? Please share!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

But, You Look Fine…

One of the hardest parts of having this head injury has been fighting what others say. I wrote about it once and I’m still dealing with it. Since day one, I’ve heard, “But, you look fine.” For the most part, yea, I look in the mirror and see that same person that had been there before (minus a little spark in my eyes). I like to joke and say that I can’t help being so adorable…I was born that way. I guess if I had ended up splitting my head open and having some sort of disfiguring injury, I might elicit a bit more sympathy.

I may look fine on the outside. Inside...not so much.
It’s hard for friends, and even family, to look at me and think that I’ve got something wrong going on. “You look fine,” they say. What no one sees is the extreme thought and energy that I need to use now to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. When I have to focus and concentrate on doing something, I end up absolutely exhausted. Like I ran a marathon. I’ll have to take a nap that may be longer than the amount of time it took to do the task. Seems stupid, I know, especially when I used to be the Queen of Multi-Tasking. The previous me would think it was stupid too. But, to those with post-concussive syndrome, or PCS, this is normal.

Being able to take a short walk a few times a week is a success. I’m trying to work my way up to a mile. For me, that seems crazy. Especially when it’s on relatively flat ground, too. Like the beach. I miss my days of hiking. Doing the 4,000+ footers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Going out on those trails that say they are only for the most experienced of hikers. The ones where if you fall in a crevice, you’ll need rope to climb out. The ones where if you fall, you have to do everything in your power to grab hold of a root or something to stop your sliding descent. The ones where you bring survival gear just because you never know what situation you’ll run into or what weather may blow in. Now, I walk a hundred feet or so and rest a few moments. You can’t tell me that isn’t frustrating.

This is a goal of be able to stand on top of a mountain again.

Admitting your limitations to yourself is hard. Knowing what you used to be capable of doing and comparing it to what you can do now is hard. I look like I should be able to walk any distance or even go for a run. I look like I should be able to work. I look like I could mow my own lawn. I look like I could go out in a noisy restaurant or bar and meet up with people. I look like I could be in a store for more than 40 minutes. I look like I could ride a bike. I look like I could vacuum my house without earplugs. I look like… I look like I could do a lot of things. But, right now still, I can’t.

A friend of mine, who is also a psychologist, has been a wonderful support in this whole, ‘But, you look fine’ thing. He has Lyme Disease. I’ll call him Jim. To the average person, Jim is a good-looking, normal guy. No spots, no bulls-eyes on his face. He’s smart and funny. He’s a normal Joe. Or, Jim. Because of the Lyme, he has fare-ups where he is absolutely exhausted, where his clothes feel like they’re made out of sandpaper, where he has excruciating headaches. But, he looks fine. People with cancer can also look fine, another friend pointed out. Ask them how fine they feel.

This isn’t a case of mind-over-matter either. It’s just a brain injury. A real, honest-to-goodness invisible injury that is just taking its own sweet time to heal. I know that I’m better off than a lot of people who have had concussions. And, I’m worse off than others. I’m thanking my lucky stars that I can still write and spell (though, I do actually mess that up often these days and as a writer and Boggle and Scrabble psycho, that’s tough). I can function on my own for most daily tasks. Thanks to all my friends who have helped me with the tasks I just can’t do. I can still drive. I can still laugh and smile, though I don’t always understand things like I used to. Especially if I wasn’t fully concentrating on what someone was saying.

So, if you see me, or someone else with a silent illness, give that person a little slack, or maybe a little help. Just because we may look fine, it doesn’t mean we really are.

Do you or someone you know “look fine” but aren’t and are going through a similar situation? Please share below.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

We Are All Pink On the Inside

Close your eyes.
Picture your spouse.

Think of how they make you feel. When you see them first thing in the morning. When you see them at the end of the day. When you see them after you’ve been apart even longer. When you are sharing close couple or family time together.

How do you feel when you see them smile? When you laugh with them? When you talk about your day with them? When you are making plans for the future with them? When you are doing the little day-to-day things together?

Love. Should just be simple.

Think of how they take care of you. How it feels to have them there for you. In sickness and in health. At home or in the hospital. Through all of life’s ups and downs.

Can you picture their hand in yours? How it feels when they hold you close? When your lips meet? When you make love? What does it do to your body? Your mind? Your soul?

Now, with that comfort you feel, the love that you feel, the warmth that rushes through you, those tingles that still excite you…does it really matter what sex they are? You’ve connected with them as a person for who they are on the inside. And for how they treat you. And for how they love you. And how they make you feel.

Why should heterosexual couples be able to have this (and all the legal and tax benefits that go with it) and gay and lesbian couples can’t?

Isn’t love just love?

If gay marriage was the norm, we wouldn't need to parade.
Well, we probably still would. Dang, we have the best parades.

Please support gay marriage during this election and help see that it becomes common place across the country. Everyone has a right to openly love and be loved.

It shouldn’t matter what we look like on the outside to love, we’re all pink on the inside.

Are you in a state where they are voting for gay marriage? Do you already live where gay marriage is legal? How do you feel about this issue? Does your religion affect your view? Please share below.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Life is Too Short for Paper Plates

I was talking to Five Eleven today again about dishes and my quirk about drinking certain things out of certain glasses and eating things or not off certain types of dishes. And, growing up with a china cabinet full of fancy dishes that were hardly ever used.

I just couldn't imagine eating this off a paper would have to be very sturdy for one...and, well, why?
She isn’t particular about things like that. Except for a favorite coffee mug. A lot of people I know at least have a favorite cup for coffee or tea. Gives you a nice start to your day.

I have two different favorite ones. One was a gift from a friend. It’s covered with funny little robot/alien kinda people. Makes me smile. The other is a winter Japanese tea bowl style. It is a beautiful sage green color that I bought from Starbucks. One cools my drink down quicker…even though I joke about liking my coffee like my women…hot and black…I really prefer it barely hotter than warm. (Though I do like it black, or sometimes sweet or sometimes sweet and creamy…depends on my mood). The other holds the heat in…wonderful for warming my hands and holding close to my body while snuggled up on the couch with Five Eleven on a cold, cold day.

That cozy, warmth-holding tea bowl that I just love the feel of...from Starbucks.
This one makes me smile too.
Now, with drinks other than coffee, I insist on glass. Clear glass is best. To me, there are certain glasses that you can drink milk in and others you just can’t. Same with orange juice, iced tea, water…any kind of beverage. The glass has to have a certain feel in your hands and on your lips. The idea of drinking isn’t just to get the beverage into me…but to enjoy it. To make it an experience...of several senses.

Why do you think there are so many types of barware? Could you imagine drinking a margarita out of a pilsner glass? A cosmopolitan out of a shot glass? Or wine out of a tall cordial glass? Despite the popular thought that drinking is to do it in abundance, I think it’s all about the overall experience. Kind of why I don’t like to drink beer out of a can. It has to be a decent brew in a bottle or on tap in an appropriate beer glass. It’s about the feel and flavor of that one drink…not the saving calories or carbs and having it in mass quantities.

Onto dishes. Yes, we have paper plates here at the Chick Shack. I don’t think we’ve used them at all this past year (except as paint trays). But, I have kids, you say? Uh huh. And, paper is convenient. Real dishes are no less convenient. You pull them out of the cupboard just like the paper ones. But, the cleanup, you say? Most people have dishwashers that they could put them in. I don’t. To me, I’d rather take the time to wash real dishes by hand from a meal that we all sat down to enjoy than to use thin, cheap paper plates.

Presentation of pancakes on weekends is a lot of fun at our house.
Even kids can add their own whipped cream "hair."

There is something about the feel of real dishes…the way food looks on real dishes…and mostly, the way food tastes on real dishes. Presentation is everything. Make it look nice and you’re apt to enjoy your food…linger over it…and eat less. It really doesn’t take much to do this…take cues from your favorite restaurants or cookbooks, or from that food porn your friends are always posting on Facebook. Why does their food look (and taste) so delicious? Much of it is presentation. You may not be the best cook, but if your food looks good, people will think otherwise.

This just wouldn't look the same on white plates...eww...too white. These are from IKEA.
They were very inexpensive and they have a nice feel to them too.

So, maybe time is part of the problem? So many people are in such a hurry all the time. Doing too much or too many things? There is no reason why you can’t make time to sit down and have a real family meal together here or there. Turn off the tv, dim the lights, put on quiet music, light candles, sit at the table and make meal time a ritual (do this even if you only have weekends together…then find ways to do it more).

Quick and easy meal of mussels cooked in garlic, butter, lemon juice
and Reisling served on rigatoni.
Add a salad and some bread (okay, yours doesn't have to be homemade) and sparkly water. Voila!

Put out real dishes. Use the good ones from the china cabinet that you just look at. What are you waiting for? I grew up with those only being used on holidays, and then, as kids, we weren’t allowed to use them. Because we might break one? What? Sitting there eating? Give your kids some credit or teach them not to be animals at the table if they are. And what if one breaks? It’s just stuff. Take pleasure in the memories you are creating. Relish in the history of your family if using heirloom dishes. Your kids will only be kids for so long. Slow down this techno/ADHD lifestyle you are living. Breathe. Enjoy each other.

How many of us have had someone in our life one day and then they were gone the next? Life is too short to not enjoy family meal time. Or, relaxed dinners with friends. Life is too short to eat off paper plates.

So, do you have a quirk about drinking out of certain glasses? What's your take on paper plates? Please share below!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Butch Leaning

There’s something to be said about the image of a strong figure. A woman in particular. I love this picture of 5-11 SexyBoi-SexyTwang that her cousin took. (She was thinking of me at the time which makes it even more special.) This is one strong woman.

Dang! 5-11 sure can rock the toolbelt.

In our patriarchal society, usually men are the ones that are portrayed as strong beings. I’m glad that there is finally some deviation from that norm though even now the man who doesn’t fit that traditional norm may be bullied and hurt (or worse) because of that. Same for women. Women who don’t fit into typical feminine stereotypes are often perceived differently in peoples’ minds. Or, gasp, mistaken for men.

As a tool-belt-wearing-tomboy-sort-of-girl myself, I’d grown up with people questioning me and my not-so-girlish ways.

When I came out as a lesbian, I never looked twice at women who fell into the more masculine Boi or Butch sort of categories. I found myself leaning towards women who were more like me…ones who showed off their figures, wore a little makeup but who were still sporty or athletic.

Maybe it was because I had been married to a man for so long that I wanted to be as far away from that perceived masculinity as possible? Maybe it was because I came out just before the L-Word and most every lesbian portrayed on that show was quite feminine? What was I thinking? My problem was that I had been judging others on their outward appearance and not getting to know them for who they really were.

And how is one supposed to think that not every lesbian is super feminine?

When I first started talking to 5-11 SexyBoi-SexyTwang as a friend, I even told her that she wasn’t my type. Again, what was I thinking? Seeing her and falling in love with her from the inside out totally changed “my type.”

I’ve kind of become obsessed lately with knowing more about Boi and Butch culture. 5-11 shares things with me constantly. Though she labels herself as ‘soft butch’ for the purpose of labeling in our society, she is who she is.

Yes, she’s stronger than most men I know. Way stronger. Yes, she shops in the men’s department but she is also the most caring, loving and supportive woman I have ever known. She’s protective of me and our family. She’ll go all ninja on anyone who tries to hurt us. With her military background; trust me on that. She’s a caretaker in the traditional masculine sense. Someone to lean on. Through anything. She’s been like a rock to me through this whole head injury of mine.

When I look at her…with her masculine clothes and zero makeup…and rocking the toolbelt like no one else can, I see the most beautiful woman there is. And, that is always my type.

What “type” do you go for? What is your perception of more masculine women? Please share your thoughts and comments below.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Half the Fun

Okay, so I know I’ve been a fruit loop lately and I don’t always remember things, but I do remember chocolate. Chocolate in the form of candy bars in particular. You know, those fun-sized Halloween candy bars that have been out in the stores since like the end of August? Yea. Those.

I had the sudden realization a few days ago that it’s now October and Halloween is just weeks away (yea, that’s how my life has been lately). Time to stock up. Especially when you see the bags of candy two for $5.00. (I’ve had about 60 some trick-or-treaters the last few years in my neighborhood and several bags are needed so that’s a good deal).

So, when you have Halloween candy, you have to eat Halloween candy. I’ve never followed the rule to buy what you don’t like because you won’t eat it. First off, there isn’t much in the chocolate world that I don’t like. So, that’s hard. Then, if you buy non-chocolate, most of the kids grumble at that. And, what am I going to do with 80 Dum Dum lollipops left over? I don’t even think the squirrels would eat them. So, I buy what I like. Mallo Cups, Twix, Junior Mints, Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers.

Have you had a fun-sized candy bar recently? I was horrified when I opened a Snickers one for the first time this year. Horrified, I say. Where was it? Where was the fun? Was that Twix-skinny bar really a Snickers? They used to be at least twice as big when I was a kid. I think they were twice as big even a few years ago.

Hungry? You'll have to eat about twelve of these.
Research on the web showed other people noticing the same diminishing confections. But, I couldn’t find any substantial weights or measures to prove it. At the rate that I swear they are getting smaller, by 2013, they’ll be the size of Chiclets. And, by 2015, they’ll be the size of a Tic Tac.

Eight is a total score in the Junior Mints fun-sized world.

So, isn’t this interesting? In this world of food portions getting bigger and super-sized meals available everywhere, our delicious treats are micro-sizing. Why? Because they aren’t good for you? And, your fatty fast food-almost daily meal is? Maybe we should fun-size that? If more people practiced healthier eating habits throughout the year, a few weeks of consuming fun-sized sweets wouldn’t kill anyone. But, our blood boiling over their tiny down-sizing just might!

What do you think of the size of fun-sized candy bars? Do you buy them? Do you eat them? Have you noticed any changes?


Saturday, October 6, 2012

One Thousand Orchids

This was inspired by 5-11 SexyBoi-SexyTwang...yea, I know, the pink is just killing her right now ;)


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Doubting My Jedi Powers

I have always told my girls that they can do anything they want to do…that they have special powers; special abilities…that they were part Jedi. Jedis are special like that.

I never said I had Jedi Photoshop abilities. Don't judge me.

I’m not totally sure when I decided that I was part Jedi. It was probably in 1977 when I was at the movie theatre watching that first Star Wars when it came out. I’m guessing that a lot of other people were hoping they were Jedi too. I mean, how cool is it to live half your life just being you, but then realizing you had special powers? (Ooh, realization of my coming out…special girl lesbian powers…hmm…) With just a little training in a swamp by a toad-like critter…you could be awesome (um, except for lesbian training, that would just be gross).

Yea, he's talking to me.

Over the years, whenever I’ve done anything that seemed slightly cool (or coordinated), I’d chalk it up to the Force being with me. I didn’t need to be tested to see what my midichlorian count was to know I was Jedi (is that even covered by health insurance?), I just knew I was.

I believed that my Jedi powers could help me heal faster. Like a broken wrist that took six weeks when I was told it would take 18 minimally. How could that not be Jedi-influenced? Or, having surgery without general anesthesia or dental work without Novacaine…that has to be from being a Jedi, right?

Now, as I approach the four month mark of being slammed into a concrete wall and dealing with post-concussive syndrome, and not feeling even close to myself still, I’m starting to doubt the Force. The Dark Side is encroaching into my life. Frustration comes when what I want to do collides with what I can actually do.

What kind of Jedi experiences extreme exhaustion and a pounding head from cleaning and caulking a bathtub? (And, no, it wasn’t from chemicals…I was using baking soda and lemon juice). A headache that brings me to tears? Omg, am I sounding like a whiny Luke Skywalker? Nobody likes whiny Luke.

I guess I’m just trying to express how I feel. So, that was yesterday (and other days). And, today, after sleeping ten hours (yes, ten hours!), you’d think I’d have a better day. Still woke up with a pounding headache (I should be used to those by now). Did little fix it projects…like repairing the metal detector battery holders for Little One and trying to mend my 8’ stunt kite that has been sitting lame for years for Oldest. And, then, the world spun. At what seemed like out of the blue, everything spun one way. Slammed to a stop and jolted quick the other way. Wacked with a light saber.

Eyes closed for a few hours. More rest. And, finally enough energy to scrawl this out to type another day. What kind of Jedi does this happen to? It’s not like I’m Superman and there’s Kryptonite around. Though sometimes it can feel like that too.

I’m just looking forward to a day when I’m back to myself. Cruising around (and cranking tunes) in my land speeder. Going for drinks with friends at the Mos Eisley Cantina or other Portland or Hallowell pubs. Finding moments of cool and coordinated. Knowing that I’m Jedi again.

I'm driving the Land Speeder. I don't know why my girlfriend is looking so shiny.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Warming Lotion, Spin Cycles & Cold Showers

I’ve always been the type of mom to explain things to my kids and they’ve always been the type of kids to ask questions. Sometimes I think they might regret that. Both the explaining and the asking. But, hey, how are they going to learn anything?

This summer was mostly the summer of Little One asking the questions. Little One is 11. Closer to 12 than 11 (which is a big deal when you’re 11). But questions lead to teaching moments. Usually moments that horrify Oldest. I could tell this by the eye rolls. This could also be known as The Summer of Eye Rolls.

It all started off on my birthday while watching a most funny movie, The Great Outdoors. Now, we had seen this before and my girls really dislike “stupid funny movies,” as they call them, and they were hoping to never see it again. But, my dear friend, Named After a Thai Dish, was over and the girls gave her “guest choice” of movies to watch (while we ate incredibly delicious German chocolate cake baked entirely from scratch by Oldest). To their horror, Auntie Named After a Thai Dish, chose The Great Outdoors. Yes! Birthday wishes do come true!

German chocolate cake made by Oldest. I like it without the pecans.
Started doing it that way when I was allergic to them. About the time I came out.
Allergic to nuts and men all at once. Imagine that?
So…during the movie, there was a scene where Connie Ripley (played by Stephanie Faracy) and Kate Craig (played by Annette Bening) were talking and there was mention by Kate that the only way she thought she could get pleasure was by leaning against the washer during the spin cycle.

And here’s the question...What does the spin cycle mean?
Pause the movie…
And, there’s the eye roll…
Then, the explanation

Giant steaks with fat and grizzle, water skiing, freaky twins, raccoons....what's not to love?
Auntie is a science teacher so she could have been backup info but I think a second piece of German chocolate cake was calling to her at that very moment from the kitchen.

I thought it went without a hitch. I’ll have to remember that spin cycle thing…my Maytag has a spin cycle that shakes the house like a shuttle launch…hmm…most excellent thought…

I'm not sure any of us can look at our washing machines the same way now...

 Another teaching moment came when we were at Just A Buck. Girls wanted eye shadows to use almost like face paints (Little One breaks out with most regular face paints). I was down the aisle picking up Epsom salts that we all enjoy in our Half Baths. Lo and behold, behind me (next to the home pregnancy and home menopause tests) was a whole section of boxes labeled ‘warming lotion.’

The glittery gold packaging was quite a draw to Little One’s eyes (she’s my bling girl).

So, after the question of what is it, I start to explain that it is used on genitalia during sex and that some people like that sensation… and a woman walks down our aisle. If Oldest rolled her eyes anymore, they’d have been stuck forever in the back of her head. She was probably ready to die inside now with someone else to hear my explanation. Besides her thinking, “Who is this woman who claims to be my mother and why does she keep talking?” I’m sure what I was saying was sounding Chinese to her at that very moment, except for the words like ‘genitalia’ and ‘sex.’ Those were broadcast over a loudspeaker in English.

Okay, so they know what warming lotion is now anyways.

Now, another question came up during on of my favorite movies, Tomb Raider (now also one of Little One’s favorite movies). There is a scene with the naked (and pretty smokin’ body as far as men go) Alex West (played by Daniel Craig) and well-positioned chairs or boots worn by Lara Croft (played by Angelina Jolie). At the end of their conversation, West mentions he now needs a cold shower.

 I don't know what's sexier...the wet and naked Daniel Craig or Angelina's boots.
Okay, I'm going with the boots.

“Why?” asks Little One.
Eye rolls from Oldest (as she dies just a little bit more inside).
Explanations of hard penises and the effect of chilly water on them from me.
Back to the movie like nothing happened.

Don’t even get me started on explaining the play-on-words phrase, Cunning Linguist, said by Moneypenny to James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies. Yea, it was that kind of summer.

Do your kids ask questions? Do you answer?


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Rub ChapStick On It

Kids just inspire little stories like this.

Me: 10:50 pm. Sleeping.

Little One: I have a splinter in my lip. Well, above my lip.

Me: How in the heck did you get that?

Little One: Look at it. (Turns on light.)

Me:  Blinded. Honey, I can’t see a thing.

Little One:  It’s right here. Points at the space above her top lip and below her nose.

Me: Baby, I can’t see anything. Literally, I can’t see anything. Can we look at it in the morning?

Little One:  It feels like a kiwi hair or a cactus prickle. She’s now looking at it with a flashlight by my full-mirrored closet doors (they were there when I bought the place), blinding me even more.

Me: What were you doing with a kiwi? (We don’t have cactus in the house anywhere).

Little One:  I didn’t eat a kiwi.

Me:  Delirious. Maybe it’s an ingrown hair? Put some ChapStick on it.

Little One:  No. It’s a splinter. It’s not on my lips. Pointing again.

Me:  My eyes are so squinchy still from the light. I know, Baby. You can still rub ChapStick there. It’s clear and no one will see it. You’re supposed to be in bed anyway.

Little One:  Drudges off with her flashlight. And, her splinter.

Next Morning
Me:  How’s your splinter?

Little One:  Rubbing her upper lip with that, ‘Oh yea, I had a splinter there,’ sort of look. It’s gone.

Me:  Did you put ChapStick on it?

Little One:  Uh huh.
Me:  Nodding.

ChapStick. Not just good for lips and lesbians. Good for delirious-moms-in-the-middle-of-the-night-first-aid-moments.

ChapStick. The wonder stick. Remember my other blog that featured it?


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sleeping With the Enemy. Or, Things I Learned from Roger.

So, being the nature mom that I am, I thought it would be a great idea to catch the giant tomato caterpillar (aka tomato hornworm) that was decimating one of my tomato plants and bring it in for observation. Yea, so that was an interesting experience. Here are some things I learned from the critter we named Roger:

1. Tomato hornworms eat a LOT.
2. My girls said it was MY pet and I had to clean its tank (or rather large vase).
3. Tomato hornworms make a disgusting mess in their tanks.
4. Their back ends open completely to poop.
5. Their poop looks like little green mulberries.
6. Roger works as a fantastic diet aid when kept on the dining room table. Kinda curbs your appetite. Not kinda. Definitely curbs it.
7. You lose all will to eat with a fat caterpillar in your kitchen.
8. My friends think he’s pure evil and that I’m sleeping with the enemy. (I didn’t sleep with him just so you know. I am a lesbian and not a zoophiliac).
9. Tomato hornworms don’t do well in captivity. I don’t do well with tomato hornworms in captivity. Three days is my max.
10. My neighbor likes Roger much more than I do.

Did you know that formicophilia is a form of zoophilia where you have an interest in having insects crawl or nibble on you? Yea, that's creepy. So is paraphilia which could include applying insects to your genitals. Double creepy.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mom, You're Freaking Me Out

So, this was my night last night. At 12:45 am.

Me: (sleeping)

Oldest: Mommy? (She says as she opens my bedroom door). There’s a BIG spider next to my bed.

Me: Hi, Baby Girl. (Me thinking: She never wakes me up. Something's up. And, there was something about a spider.)

Oldest: Mom! It’s gigantic and I’m not going to be able to sleep with it there.

Me: Ok, Baby, I’ll get it. (I grab a tissue and go out as all spider killers should. Buck naked. There are no places to hide undressed like that.)

Oldest and Me looking. We see nothing.

Me: Where was it?

Oldest: It was in the corner climbing up the wall. It’s probably up by…

Me thinking: OMG, it’s HUGE and it’s right by Little One’s head in the top bunk. If I don’t get it, it’ll go past my funky ceiling panels and they’ll be sleeping with me which means no one sleeps.

I climb up the ladder to the top bunk.

This wasn't the kind of spider that was in the girls' bedroom.
It was more like one of those spiders you'd see in the rocks by a lake.
I wasn't going to stop and take pictures of it last night.

Little One: What are you doing?

Me: (As I eye the spider) I just came up to give you hugs.

Little One: What?

Me: Hugs, Baby, hugs. Can’t I just give you hugs? (As I try to hug her and discreetly reach for the spider).

Squish. God, I hope it’s in the tissue. Please be in the tissue.

Little One: Mom, you’re freaking me out.

Me: I love you, too.

I climb down the ladder and feel something drop on my toe. OMG, my heart rate shoots up. I’m thinking the spider was still alive and dropped out of the tissue. It was just a gummy bracelet. Still felt like a spider.

I throw out the tissue.

Me: Love you, girls.

Oldest & Little One: Love you, too, Mom.

Mom by day. Spider killer by night. All in a day’s work.

Unexpectations for Kindle

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Got What From a Slug?

I’ve been trying to maintain my sense of humor this summer for my girls through this head thing so I don’t worry them. Oldest tends to worry, and, well, so does Little One.

Last week, Oldest was mowing the lawn and I was covering the grill. I found several bright orange slugs attached to the cover that had been crumpled overnight near the compost container. I took a slender metal stake that was nearby and skewered a few.

I thought I was being funny with my slug kabob (or slugabob as 5-11 SexyBoi-SexyTwang called it). I held it out to show Oldest as she pushed the mower past and I faked taking a bite. I lost my balance or something (I just do that these days) and the slugs went flying. They bounced off my hands and body and deposited orange goo all over me. Of course this whole maneuver got both of us laughing.

Brushing my hands in the grass did nothing to remove the slug slime. I ran inside and washed it off after eww-ing a few times. Went back out and realized it wasn’t off. Went back inside and repeated the procedure. Now, you’re thinking that I must be a moron and can’t wash my hands or am just rinsing like a kid would do. No. I’m psycho about hand-washing. Especially since I worked in food prep and in schools before. Out again. Two more spots still remained on my hands. What. The. Heck?

Still slippery. Still orange.

My mind started racing with the potential economic profits of my find. Skin moisturizer? Wrinkle cream? Tanning solution? Personal lubricant? High temp engine lubricant? The possibilities were endless. Imagine driving around in a nice car or living in a house funded by slugs…finally a purpose for these destructive garden critters.

Sacrificial Alter. You should see how many people freak out when
your toddler is saying that as one of their first phrases. 

Slugs, especially these dusky slugs, are prolific. Ask anyone with a garden. Just a few weeks ago, I hand-picked 57 off my lemon thyme and put them in our sacrificial alter (a feeder for the birds in the center of the bird bath). Little One was fascinated by how many I was finding and counted them for me. That’s how I knew how many I had.

Seems like such a waste of good beer, but this was from one night's catch in the lemon thyme. I was surprised at how many baby slugs ended up in there.
Guess they are born with a taste for Landshark.

Well, all this seemed like a really great idea until I began seeing a correlation between touching slugs and getting poison ivy. Pluck a few slugs from the mulch; poison ivy on my arm. Pull dozens off my lemon thyme; poison ivy on my thighs. Make one lousy slug kabob; and, well, omg, it’s where I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. And, no, I was not testing the personal lubricant idea… As a facial moisturizer or wrinkle cream, I didn’t need my eyes swelling shut and having to go to the doctor for prednisone from some sort of venereal slug disease (another 5-11 SexyBoi-SexyTwang phrase).

So, what can I do? Buy more Ivarest, keep my fingers away from itchy places, catch more slugs without touching them and just keep laughing.

I need to buy stock in this stuff. Seriously.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Opinions. Judgement. Questionable Acceptance.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
~Eleanor Roosevelt 

Why do we put so much weight on what others think and say about us? I think it’s human nature to want to be accepted and loved by our own. But, at what cost?

In all types of relationships we look for approval. We want to know that we are doing the right thing. We want love, acceptance and kudos. Even from when we are very young, we try to please our parents. We try to pick up on cues of what is right and wrong. Cues of how they want us to behave. So we can please them.

We try to fit in with friends and school mates. We are constantly judging ourselves and making micro adjustments in our behavior to fit in. Then we grow up to be in the same situations with older friends and co-workers. Whatever circle of people we are in (or are trying to be in) we change. We mold. We conform. And, sometimes it isn’t for the better.

We may be on the outskirts wanting to be one of the group.

How many of us have been in relationships where we change to please the other person? From step parents to lovers to friends? We fight hard against some of what makes us “us” to be accepted. Yes, there is the need to be flexible, especially in a partnership relationship. But, to try to be who we aren’t, to change what makes us “us,” isn’t the way to go. We try to be too much of who they want us to be. We may try this for a while. Weeks, months, years. Thinking this will make the other person happy which will make us happy. Rarely have I seen this work. We are the only ones who can make us happy.

I have a friend who is hurting from an online dating experience. He opened up, showed his vulnerabilities. He was led along thinking this other person liked him for all that he was. But, in an instant, their opinion changed. They wanted more. They wanted him to be different. They didn’t like him for him. Their words cut him deep. And he’s left trying to pick up the pieces from that hurt. I think he’s better off knowing this now before things moved farther. How much would he have changed about himself to try to please this other person?

I’ve personally made concessions to be with others. I’ve tried to change the little things that make me “me” that they didn’t seem to like. I’ve even made big changes. And, I’ve felt the hurt too. I was looking for the approval of others when what I really needed was just to find someone who accepted me for me.

Trying to be something else?

Recently, I’ve even put a lot of weight behind what people have said while I’m dealing with this head injury. I look fine. I should be fine. They don’t know what goes on in my head or the constant physical pain that I’m in. I fight that every day. Why do I care what they think? Why do I put so much weight behind their words? They aren’t me. I’m trying to let that go. But, it’s years of conditioning and of trying to be accepted that makes it so hard.

It takes time to undo the hurt that comes from when we are dealing with what we perceive as rejection by those we can’t please. We have to re-find ourselves. We have to find our self-esteem again. We have to realize that they aren’t us. They don’t know who we are or what we’re going through. Most likely they have projected their own insecurities and problems on us to make themselves feel better. That hardly seems fair. Why can’t we all just be kind to each other? And accept others for who they truly are? It would then make it easier for us to accept ourselves. There would never even be that questioning. We would always be happy with who we are and celebrate daily in our uniqueness. In the end, that’s what’s really important.

Have you ever felt judged? Why did you care so much? How did it make you feel?


Saturday, July 7, 2012


Inspiration hits us from different places. And, for different reasons. As of late, with the way my head has been, I’ve felt less inspired to write than the old me had. Constant headaches and a short attention span keep me from thinking of much else besides the necessary daily functioning of things. But, I think some inspiration is finding its way back in. And, you want to know where it’s coming from? My Oldest. Yep. Kid inspired inspiration.

My girls came to spend the summer with me about two weeks ago. On Day One, my Oldest asked if I had any legal pads. I scrounged up the remains of one, though it was yellow, and she prefers white. She just started writing.

She filled up all the pages that were left and asked if I could read what she wrote. I was amazed. She had the beginnings of a novel with a Western flavor. It featured a strong, young female main character not much older than herself. Inspiration was tickling me.

Character drawings by Little One for the novel Oldest is working on.

We bought her a pack of white 8-1/2 x 11 legal style pads. She went into the reasoning of why she preferred those over spiral bound notebooks. No metal to dig into her or to catch on her if the spiral got caught on something. Nothing to get squished and keep the pages from turning. No looking at all those holes. The direction of flipping the paper and on and on. She really didn’t have to convince me. For less than four dollars, we can get her a six pack of her preferred note pads.

I know exactly how she feels to want to write on just the right kind of paper. I prefer a spiral bound myself; those half-sized ones with three sections and the thicker spiral wire so that it doesn’t squish and catch. And, I like the yellow legal style pads in the same size she prefers (vs. the actual longer legal size) for my character development and place description notes.

My notebooks. Smaller one has a few blogs written in my special chicken scratch.
Yellow legal pad has notes for novel #3. 

I’m like her, too, on writing a lot by hand. There’s just something in the way our brains work when we physically connect our pen to paper. She is also like me in that she prefers to write with blue pen (whereas Little One prefers black).

Oldest has almost forty pages chocked full of writing so far, not counting separate sheets with her notes and changes. She writes every moment she can. Writes when she first gets up. Brings her notepads to the waiting rooms of my appointments. Scratches things down on them while she’s riding in the car. And, most every night, she writes instead of reading when she climbs into bed.

A few days after she began writing, she asked me if it’s okay to write every other chapter from a different character’s point of view. Little One said she loved a book she recently read like that. I shared with them a few paragraphs from the first two chapters of my second novel, Identically Different. (It's still in the editing stages). It showed Oldest the differences between the ways the two identical twin sisters talk and think. Her eyes lit up. I had inspired her.

And, look. I’m writing. Even just a bit to start when I feel like I have more of a moment of clarity when my head pounds less. This is good. This is inspiration. And, I especially love where that inspiration comes from.

Where do you find inspiration?


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Missing Me

I try so hard to be a positive person. I like to look at the glass half full. I try to find the good in everything. I appreciate even the small things in my life. I say I live in a world of fluffy bunnies and happy rainbows. What could be happier than that? But, sometimes, even the most positive of people can be down. Can be frustrated. I’m finding myself going there.

I’ve had this concussion for over 3 weeks now. It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced. I’m forgetting what it feels like to not have my head pound constantly. I so miss music. I never imagined not having music every day in my life. You may remember that I even blogged about that. I’m lucky that I can now listen to a few songs now and then…if they are quiet. I was never much of a tv person but an occasional show to laugh at or with would be nice. I can almost watch a half hour sitcom. As long as I mute the commercials (and loud introduction…like the Big Bang Theory song that usually I’d find so catchy) and close my eyes during those. They are too flashy and over-stimulating for my head.

Everything feels so over-stimulating most of the time. 

I feel like I’m losing myself and who I am. The me who likes to write and express myself with words. I come up with little quips occasionally that I’ll tweet. I rarely get on Facebook these days to see what is going on with friends and family. I miss wishing them Happy Birthdays. The flickering of the computer more that twenty minutes once or twice a day is more than my head really wants. Thoughts come to me of things I’d like to write about. I jot them down. On paper. Hoping that I’ll be up for it at some point.

From the outside I look fine. People look at me and wonder why I’m not back to work. Why I’m not out and about doing things. That’s probably the most frustrating part for me. I’ve always considered myself to be a strong and tough woman (I do have those German genes that I always say add to my strength). Yea, I look fine. But put me anywhere with flickering fluorescent lights or loud sounds or lots of movement and visual stimulation and I’m not fine. Not in my head. And, then not in my belly. Nausea kicks in. How can even the toughest be fine if they feel like I do? I’m the one who had surgery last year without general anesthesia. What the heck?

So, I’m just feeling like I just need to express some frustration. Tell people where I’ve been. I have a CT scan tomorrow that I hope will give us some answers on why I’m still feeling like I am. Just so you know…I hadn’t gone into hiding. I just rest a lot. With my eyes closed. I want to come back soon. I want to come back to being me. I want my glass to fill up. I want to see those fluffy bunnies and happy rainbows again. Wish me luck.