Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I have an unwritten list of topics for blogs. Do you have one of those? Some of the things on my list are pretty straightforward, meaning one-time events. Others are a bit more complicated. They are people. Important people. They are more ambiguous because I know that they aren't really one blog, they are probably lots of blogs, and I am not really sure how to tackle them. I thought about it ~ again ~ today and decided that probably a general introduction and then one story at a time. Kind of like my mom blogs. She comes up a lot. And I don't give you the low-down on her every time.

The summer between sixth and seventh grade, one of my mom's best friends from high school moved out from California with her husband and daughter back to Ohio. They stayed with us until they found a house to buy. Turns out they bought the house right next door to ours. My mom's friend's name was Robin, too. That gets confusing sometimes in the storytelling. Or not. Robin and my mom are nothing alike. It was probably why they were such good friends in high school. Robin knew stuff. My mom didn't know stuff. Knowing stuff is good. It's good to know people who know stuff. What I am saying here is that Robin was street smart and my mom wasn't, isn't and never will be. I take after mom. That is a good and bad thing.

I trust people. You can lie to me over and over again and I believe you. It takes about ten times of me catching you in bald faces lies before I start to get that YOU ARE A LIAR. Seriously. Robin can listen to you lie the first time and her bullshit button goes off. I'm all ready to buy that story and she'll pull me to the side and say, "That person is lying. That is bullshit." She was always right. It's too bad I couldn't take her on all my first dates. But that would have meant a lot of traveling for her and it probably would have been a bit uncomfortable, but I would have saved myself a WHOLE BUNCH OF HEARTACHE. Moving on...

Anyway, seventh grade was awful. I have already covered junior high school and how sucky it was ad nauseum. Robin made it better. I spent a lot of time (and I mean A LOT) in her living room bemoaning whatever dire situation was going down at school. She would get the play by play and then I would wait for the what do I do to fix this? I don't remember specifics because this was a day to day ritual. It was that bad. I have no doubt that she probably told me to stand up to the girl who was bullying me and I told her, "No way Jose." Well, then it became duck and cover. Of course, the coward does die a thousand deaths and the brave man only once. This is true. Although she was a mean bitch and might very well have killed me outright. But, my pain would have ended. I am not joking. Well, sorta joking. I do know that Robin made the pain of junior high more bearable. Even if she didn't actually fix anything, she sat and listened to all of it. It takes a strong person to listen to the same old crap day after day and not just slap the kid sitting there crying about their terrible life. But, she did it. And I never got slapped once. I have to hand it to her. That was pretty awesome. And she fixed what she could. She did give me some pretty stellar advice. I am saving that up for future blogs.

I spent some time thinking about why I didn't take this junior high stuff to my mother. My mom and I have become very good friends as adults and I would say that she has been my best friend for a long time now. She is the person that I call first for good and bad news. Then, I remembered my first bad incident in junior high, and how I took it to mom. She didn't take it well. She looked like she was ready to make an appointment with the principal of the school, call in that girl and her mother and scratch off both of their faces. Egads. And she had no advice whatsoever. Like I said, mom wasn't street smart at all. I went to see Robin. I had two problems. What do I about my situation at school and at home? My mom is ready to scrape the faces off of two people she doesn't know and I still have this girl at school giving me grief. Robin said my mom would cool down and her nails weren't sharp enough for that (or something like that). She was right. The girl at school... well she was an ongoing issue. But, I stopped telling mom about stuff at school.

When my ex's kids came to live with us, I got a taste of how that felt. C-Man did fine socially at school. But H-girl, who was a year younger had a tougher time making friends. She was shy and just didn't feel confident about approaching other kids and talking to them. Pre-K and Kindergarten were hard on us both. I really thought that by kindergarten in the same school she would have made some friends. In kindergarten, H-girl was getting in trouble for talking during class. When the note from teacher came home, our conversation went something like this:

Me: What is this about?

Her: I am only talking because I am trying to get someone to play with me at recess.

Me: Why don't you ask someone at recess?

Her: Because they already have picked people to play with by then and no one will play with me.

Me: (about to cry) Why don't you ask to join in?

Her: I've tried and they won't let me play with them.

Me: ( really close to crying and feeling the migraine start to pound) So what do you do?

Her: I just sit on the bench and cry.

Me: (ready to call the principal and set up an appt with parents and kids for some face scraping) Why don't you talk to your teacher at recess (knowing this is lame as I'm saying it) and see if she can help.

Her: What is she going to do?

Me: (yeah that was lame alright) I'm so sorry. (rethinking appt with principal. Now ready to drive down at recess tomorrow ~ surprise ~ and kick a bunch of kids across the playground wearing the highest heels I have. Well that's maybe an inch and a half, but it will still hurt.)

An hour later, I decided that beating up a bunch of kindergarteners wasn't a good idea. Plus, I had a raging migraine and couldn't get out of bed, so I had to scrap that plan. But, I kept thinking this isn't supposed to be happening in kindergarten. Kids shouldn't have to go through this crap until middle school and junior high. And, seriously it sucks that they have to go through it then, but it seems to be this rite of passage that no one escapes. That thought is followed by the one that parents are completely unable to solve these problems. However, I did have a greater understanding for my mother's reaction to my story. She was too close to it. Happily, H-girl did integrate better as she got older and became less shy. In fact, she is now so social that her grades are not where they should be because she spends too much time talking. And it isn't because she's trying to arrange a playdate at recess. So, she has bounced back from this trauma more than successfully. However, she is about to go to middle school... God help us all.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Well, I said I wanted to branch out here and do some different things. Today is the day. Today, I want to laugh. Today I need to laugh. I am twenty five minutes away from another birtday and they just aren't as fun as they used to be. And, no, I'm not going to tell you hold I am. I first heard this bit a couple of years ago via email. You may have heard it, too. I must have played it five times and I laughed until I cried all five times. I went looking for it on youtube and listened to it a couple more times and it was just as funny as I remembered. I am not sure what I like most about it. The story is great. The description is fantastic. I think what tickles me the most is how cracked up the guy gets detailing the action. Laughter is contagious. So crank up your volume and give it a listen. If you've already heard it, listen again, because it is F-U-N-N-Y.

Before you click on the video. Go down to my music player and turn it off. It is at the bottom of the page. Sorry for that inconvenience.

I decided to just pull up some graphics out of photobucket that also made me laugh. So, here's your funny for today. The first two reminded me of the ladies from the audio above. You just don't mess with little old ladies in Texas! The rest are just well... funny!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I promised you my Shelle blog yesterday and here it is as it was written all of those months ago. I have not made any changes to it. Well, I added a comma where I realized one was lacking. It is killing me to post this as is. Timing is everything and a friend made a comment on yesterday's blog that speaks directly to this one. I love life. I really do. So here it is untouched:

Most of our lessons are understood only in hindsight. Rarely do we recognize the gift we are being given in real time. Shelle was my exception. She gave me a gift and I actually got it and was able to process it when she gave it. More importantly, I was able to use it. Wow. As I write this I realize how amazing that actually is. I don't know if you have ever had a problem that you were attempting to solve and actually had all of the pieces laid in front of you but couldn't figure out how to fit them together. That sounds rather silly, but it happens more often than you think. Having the tools and knowing how to use them are two very different things. I am digressing...

I met Shelle in 10th grade and was awed because she still had a sense of wonder. It wasn't because she was slow or unaware of the ways of the world. In point of fact, she was very smart and more interested in politics than I will ever be. She was still able to access her own inner child. I carved pumpkins at Halloween with Shelle for the first time in years and actually had fun. She showed me that magic markers and crayons weren't just for kids. I found myself rereading my old books buried in my closet and falling in love with them all over again because Shelle proudly displayed hers on her bookshelf. I bet you're thinking that Shelle gave me the gift of wonder. Yes, she did. But that was only the first part of the gift. It turns out that this was a multi-faceted gift. It was wonder that I admired in Shelle and my admiration for that helped me to access my own wonder. Did it manifest the same way in me that it did in her? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It definitely made me happier.

The real gift was that it started me thinking about who I was versus who I wanted to be. I realized I had role models everywhere. I was surrounded by people that admired. I would never "be" them, but I could try to access my best by watching them and learning from them. By and large, it truly was a wonderful gift because I didn't want to become someone else; I wanted to become the best me that I could be, which was a better friend, a better student, a better daughter, a better sister, a better listener, a better citizen, and the list continues to grow. I haven't forgotten the gift and whenever I meet someone that I admire who seems to have gotten hit with a magic stick that passed me by, it is an opportunity to sit at the feet of the master, so to speak.

That was the blog as I wrote it. I want to add that Shelle and I maintained contact through my freshman year of college. We wrote letters occasionally. The best one was this letter that she sent me that she had cut up into puzzle pieces. I had to put it together, tape it in place, and then read it. We reconnected recently through her sister who is on facebook. That reconnection has consisted of a couple of emails. She has two kids, a new house, a part-time job, and a husband. I wondered if that spontaneity had survived all of the crud that life reigns down. How do you ask that in an email? I really hope that it has and that she has passed it on to her children. I have a hard time imagining all of that zest for life just dwindling into the ether.

In any event, I can always gauge how I'm doing with my own inner child by my reaction to a brand new box of 64 count crayolas. Do I want to smell them? Do I feel the slightest bit tingly at how the ends are cut just so because they have not yet met the paper? Do I feel compelled to line them up by color? Yeah, I do stuff like that. If there are no stirrings whatsoever, well, that isn't a very good sign, because I really like the smell of a brand new box of 64 count crayolas. I'd forgotten how much I liked that until Shelle reminded me. Oh, she was also the person who read Richard Bach's ILLUSIONS in Sunday School. One of the best quotes from that book...."Learning is remembering what you already know." Thanks again, Shelle, for jogging my memory.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I had to go to Florida for a couple of days (with mom) to get some car stuff straightened out. That was an enlightening trip on so many levels. I will write more on that later. The level I will share right now is just how exhausting it was for me when I didn't actually DO anything. The drive wasn't really that long ~ about 4 to 5 hours. We got there easily in a day and stopped in at the game room where I used to work, and then met up with the people with whom we were bunking up with at church. We stayed for the Wednesday night dinner, and after I went to the Bible study, and mom went to listen to the choir sing. I like the pastor at that church (he leads the study) because he always has a unique perspective. The next day we took care of my car stuff, had lunch with a friend, played around a little bit, and met up with some more friends. We got back to the house about 8:30 that night and I thought I was going to die. I went straight to bed. I was one big migraine. Mom went and did it all again the next day. I stayed in bed and let her have at it. We came home today and I felt even worse. Meanwhile, I am thinking, I didn't actually DO ANYTHING. However, I feel like I've been run over by a truck and my migraine cranked up from its normal state of yucky/bad to freaking miserable. Oh, and while we were there was when I passed out in my sleep. Could these events be connected? Let's just say that I am glad to be home.

While I was lying in bed, not sleeping, I had time to think about the blog that I didn't feel good enough to get up and actually write. I considered lots of things. I remembered that I really needed to post on here the blog that I wrote about this wonderful friend that I had in high school who taught me so many valuable things about myself that I carry with me to this day. I wrote it back when I first started blogging, and it is still just on my facebook. Then I thought about the people who blog differently than I do, but how I like that. Which was what brought me back to the first thought about my high school friend, actually. She was the one who taught me that you can pull things that you admire from admire from others, and put your own unique twist on them to make them yours. It's a great lesson actually.

So, I spent my time in bed thinking about how to implement it. That can be the tricky part of any lesson. One of my fellow bloggers, Juliana, has started doing a quote blog occasionally. You can check out her blog by clicking on the link. I think that this might be something new or might be something old and reinstated. I am not sure because I am new. Either way, she does it in such a way that it is thought provoking and interesting. She changes it up each time she does it. I always walk away with something to think about. I think that is the point of any blog. Give me something to think about.

My brain got stuck because I am bit hardheaded and I want YOUR DAILY DOSE to be my "writing" blog. So, I spent too much time toying with the idea of creating yet another blog. I broke off a separate blog for my TV addiction. Well, I do think that was the right choice for that. Not everyone wants to read about my TV vice and my thoughts on it. However, the fact that I was lying in bed with a migraine suggested that maybe there were days that a "writing" blog might be setting the bar a bit high. Maybe just putting something out there that would make me feel good and laugh is okay, too. So, it took me several hours to work through what should have taken about five minutes. No, I am not going to create another blog for my non-writing stuff. It can go right here. It won't be every day. But some days, when I don't feel like writing, or The Think Tank, just doesn't cough anything up, well we will just laugh or think about someone else's pearls of wisdom that day.

Before I leave my high school friend behind for today.... I do promise to copy/paste that blog soon. I have to bring up another high school friend who has yet to have a blog written about her. And she will get something more lengthy than what I am about to put down here. There are people that you admire that you can pull from, and you are alike enough that you can find a way to bend their qualities that you like best to fit your personality. That is the friend I mentioned above. And then there are other people that you admire enormously, like this other friend that I had in high school. We had many of the same interests, but we were not alike. I speak without thinking. She is reserved. I walk headlong into trouble. She sees it from miles away. When I got married she thought to bring a sewing kit. Who does that? She does. And thank God. Because I needed one. I am clumsy. I always wanted to be the person who thought first and spoke later. I wasn't. I'm still not. I always wanted to have that breathy voice that sounds sexy. I don't. I'd like to be the girl who remembers to bring a sewing kit to important occasions, but I don't know where mine is. I'm not sure I have one. There are some people that you can admire the hell out of, but you can never be like them.

And, on that note, I think about my lovely Australian friend in Greece. In so many ways, she reminds me of my high school friend who thinks before she speaks, shows up with the sewing kit, and I bet she has a pleasing voice. It may not be soft and breathy, but I be it's pleasing to the ear. Moreover, she is well read, smart, not afraid to ask the tough questions, and she phrases it all daintily. I am not sure she would like that word. Prosaically is more accurate. I am more of a shoot straight from the hip sort of person. I am not saying these personality types don't mix. This high school friend of which I speak, well, we've been friends for over twenty years. And I have to think that she has found SOMETHING in me to admire or she would have given up on me a long time ago.

Anyway, if you're looking to read something completely opposite of my stuff... in other words... lyrical, prosaic, smart, thought-provoking, and evocative, please drop in on my Australian friend in Greece. Besides, she wrote a very nice blog dedicated entirely to me that made me cry. And that is something that my sewing kit toting friend would do if she were a writer, which she is not. She'd be more likely to compose a song. Oh God. I hope there's not a song out there about me...

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Well, you will all be happy because I am keeping today's post SHORT. This morning was another unhappy wake-up experience. That is another way of saying migraine. I ate a granola bar with some pain pills and fell back to sleep. This is not all that unusual, actually, but this part is: just before I woke up I was dreaming. My father was there and so was someone else, but I can't remember who. I knew that I was going to pass out. I have never actually passed out. It is the oddest sensation. You only get a blink of a second before it happens. Even in my dream I didn't have time to tell my dad that I was going to pass out before the event happened. I felt myself spiralling out and then nothing. I didn't feel myself hit the floor or anything. I woke up.

After I woke up, I remembered that this was actually the second time I dreamt of passing out. The first time wasn't all that long ago, meaning within a year. After I got up, I spent some time trying to remember as much as I could about the first dream. I really couldn't conjure many details except that I deduced that the reason I passed out the first time (in my dream) was that I was hot. I wasn't sweaty or anything when I woke up, but I was thinking, "you better stick your foot out," and that thought was followed up with, "well, you were too late." My thought process, then, was that had I stuck my foot out, it would have cooled me off enough that I wouldn't have passed out.

This morning, I was cold after taking the pills and pulled an extra blanket over my shoulders. So, now I am wondering ~ again ~ if this is another case of being too warm? I didn't wake up warm or sweaty or anything like that, so I can't say with any certainty that is what happened. The other thing I considered was medicine changes, and I ruled that out.

For the record, if I was passing out in a waking state, I would be in my doctor's office in a red hot minute. Since I am dreaming, I will ask her about it the next time I see her, but I don't consider it a state of emergency.

So, have you ever passed out in your sleep?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today mom and I made the trip to Florida to get the title to my car. Well, we will actually be here a few days to catch up with friends, etc. But, today was the drive down. I wasn't sure I would have the time ~ or energy ~ to blog. Turns out, I did get the subject matter. We stopped at the Subway for lunch and we both, naturally, had to use the facilities. I mean the restroom, of course. It was a one stall affair. So, I pressed the button in the middle, not expecting any company, only to find out that the lock didn't work. How did I find this out? Well, when someone walked in, of course. I was just glad it was a ladies room and not a unisex.

That got me to thinking about other bathroom disasters and/or mildly entertaining stories that happened in the bathroom. There was that time that I accidentally walked into the men's room at a McDonald's while on a trip with the Youth Group from church. That was a great one. Everyone watched me walk into the wrong bathroom and everyone watched me come out. Hilarious. I realized I was in the wrong place when I saw the urinals.

My father's mother lived out in the country and must have been on a well. I loved everything about visiting her except the bathroom situation. That I didn't like. Apparently, too much flushing was a problem. So, three or four people had to use the bathroom before we were supposed to flush (unless there was a #2 job). I was always very uncomfortable with this idea. I didn't like the idea of potentially being splashed by someone else's pee, even if they were family, and I didn't like leaving mine behind. We usually stayed for a week at a time at her house. It was an uncomfortable week.

I suppose another interesting bathroom fact about me that I find a bit odd (now) is that my freshman year in college I would still sing in the shower if I felt so inclined. Yeah, I did that. There were about ten showers. They were sometimes full of nine other girls. No, none of them booed me and told me shut it. They just let me sing away. I didn't do it every day. I just did it when I felt like it. Maybe because I was happy or maybe because I was sad or maybe because the day ended in "y." But that was who I was back then. I was the girl who wasn't afraid to sing in the shower, even though the bathroom was full of a bunch of other people. I kind of like that about me.

Oh, and another fact that you didn't want to know is that I don't like to do a #2 job anywhere but at home. That makes traveling really uncomfortable. I have gone a a whole week without going. That was painful. I've loosened up a little as I've gotten older, but I still really don't like it. I spent two weeks overseas that was crippling. Boy, this whole blogging thing is really freeing....

Since I have started blogging, I have done A LOT of random blog reading. If you have done ANY random blog reading, people write more about their kids' poop habits than I would have ever imagined possible. I have read more stories about kids and poop ~ apparently this is very important stuff because it is what people are writing about! So, if you were wondering if I've lost my mind and fallen into the toilet, the answer is no. I just want to keep it real and write what the cool kids are writing about, and that, folks, is poop! So, I solemnly swear to always tell you the whole poop and nothing butt!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have this really superb choral singing voice. I'm an alto, if you wanted to know. When I say choral singing voice, what I mean is that I am an excellent singer for a choir. I can harmonize and I blend. My voice doesn't have vibrato in it so that I stand out. This is wonderful news for a choir. Remember when I mentioned all that about wanting to major in music in college? Well, I still had these visions of me being Cher. That just wasn't going to happen. Cher stands out. Cher is a soloist. I can hold my own in a karaoke joint, which means people aren't going to throw things or run for the door like the place is on fire, but I'm not ever going to be Cher. I bet you're thinking that we covered this blog already with the hairbrush and curling iron. The thing is, I left out this cool graphic. See below. Isn't that awesome? I just wanted you know I always wanted to be a rockstar. Now we can move on.

I've also been thinking about what I wrote about my book writing a few days ago. Yeah, that conversation with my mom happened pretty much like I described it. But, here's the deal. Ever since my fingers started tapping on the keys, the book has been for me and no one else. What happened when mom and I had that conversation was this: pretty much everything in my life was derailing and I was having an anxiety attack. Have you ever had one of those? They don't happen unless pretty much everything blows up all at once. Well, they can happen to me if I'm having a bad migraine and am hit with a load of crap, but that wasn't the case. In this case, it was everything blowing up all at once. So, what I needed to do was start nailing things down one at a time. Basically, what that meant was gaining control over the stuff in my life one thing at a time. I started with my book. Yeah, I sounded nuts. And, I probably was a little nuts, but it was because it was the first thing I nailed down. Once I got that in place, it made it possible to start dealing with everything else. Unfortunately, some of the stuff was kinda out of my control. I just had to stop reacting to it. That is a toughie all by itself. Just stopping. Then I became proactive. I tell you what, though, it feels so much better to be proactive than reactive.

The other thing about me that is tough for people is this: the migraine. If you've never had one, you don't get it. Just like I don't get a lot of chronic pain that other people have. Or the weight loss journey that some of my fellow bloggers are on. I am encouraging them like crazy, but I don't get it like the other people who are also sharing that journey. The thing about my current migraine is this: it started in July 2009 and I don't know when it will end. I am living on pain pills. When I tell you that I keep track of pain pills on a notepad so that I don't OD, I am not joshing you. Imitrex, and drugs like that, only work at the start of a migraine, and mine started almost a year ago. There is not a chance of those drugs stopping it now. The last time I went through this, my migraine last four years. Four years. I want you to think about that and let it resonate in your head. It stopped when I moved to Florida and got on a drug and vitamin protocol and out of a stressful situation.

I know what you're thinking. Why aren't you back on the drug and vitamin protocol? I am. I am as destressed as I can be. It doesn't matter. The overwhelming allergic reaction that I had to the mattress/box spring nuked my immune system. I'm not whining and complaining and saying woe is me. I'm still hopeful. However, I think that the answer is time. My body needs me to keep doing what I'm doing and give it time to repair itself. In the meantime, I have a migraine all of the time and I deal. And I write. Sometimes I sing. I'm so glad I'm not a rockstar. It's so loud. I can't imagine what that would do to my migraine!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Do your parents tell you stories about your childhood that you don't remember? I have a lot of those. I know a good many of them are true because there is photo documentation. Don't you love that? Lucky for me that I don't know where those photos are right now. Everything is topsy turvy since the move. If I didn't have it on my flash drive before we moved, chances are good I don't got it!

My mother says that when I was between one and two years old, she put me in the stroller to walk to the store. Apparently this was not unusual. It was a fairly long walk. We hadn't gone far and I told her that we should probably turn around because it was going to rain. She looked up at the sky and I was right; it did look like rain. She was stunned. I knew it was going to rain before she did. She turned around. No, this doesn't mean I was destined to be weatherperson and missed my calling. Actually, I am not sure what it means. I guess I was just observant as a child.

At about the same age, we were riding in the car after a bad thunderstorm, and there were a lot of downed tree limbs everywhere. She says I got very upset when she was about run over one of them in the road. I started crying and carrying on and made her stop the car. What was the matter? "Don't run over it. You'll hurt it." Yep, that's me. Apparently, there was a conversation that day about how the tree was already dead blah blah blah. If you've been reading my blogs and thinking, "This girl feels like she needs to band-aid the whole world, and she is setting herself up for crushing disappointment." Well, the whole thing started with this tree in the road when I was one and half.

When I was three, or so, my parents bought me this cute, plastic, yellow car that I could sit in and pedal around. We had moved to Florida and had this little patio outside our backdoor. I say patio. It was more like a concrete slab. Whatever. It was large enough that I should have been able to ride my little car in a circle around the slab. I say should. I would ride from one end of the slab to the other. My mother is saying,"Turn the wheel and pedal." Nope. That was just not happening. I dead-ended at the end of the slab. I stood up, picked up the car, because it wasn't heavy, did a 180 with it, put it back down, and pedaled to the other end of the slab, where I repeated the performance. Unfortunately, there is photo documentation of that somewhere. I am not sure what this says about me. Driving wasn't going to be easy, particularly a stick shift, is one possibility. Another was that life was going to offer up a lot of dead ends that needed creative solutions. It is a good thing that I am in the creative solution business.

So what childhood stories do you want to share? And what do you think that they say about you?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I was thinking today about patterns. When I was kid (elementary school age) and I would get into a blue funk I would pop one of my favorite records onto the turntable and dance around my room singing into a hairbrush. Back then, that meant it was Cher's Greatest Hits, Shawn Cassidy's Greatest Hits, or it might have been this record that I ordered off of the TV. It was purple and it had a big clunky shoes on the cover. The name of it is on the tip of my tongue, but I can't quite pull it up. My mother says that I composed quite the letter to place my order. Apparently, it was $7.99, or something like that, and I told them I was sending them $8.00, and I gave them my address so they could send me back the penny. She thought that was hysterical. She sent a check and kept my letter.

As I got older, and moved into junior high and high school, the groups changed and cassettes became more the thing, although records did hang on for a while. And we had an eight track player that still got some use. I discovered that I liked singing into a curling iron better because it had a cord, and that lent a certain panache to the singing experience that the hairbrush lacked. Of course, it had a danger factor, too. Tripping was problematic if you got caught up in the song and weren't paying attention. That did happen on a number of occasions. The 80s lent themselves really well to the curling iron. Who didn't love to croon "Bette Davis Eyes" into the curling iron? "I'm Still Standing" always made me feel better after a lousy day at school. Barbra Streisand released "THE BROADWAY ALBUM" and I thought I died and went to heaven. For a curling iron want-to-be singing diva this was manna from heaven. It just didn't get any better. Here's to the ladies who lunch!

I lost my love for music in college when I majored in it. That was a very blue period that did get better after I dropped music as my major after freshman year. Fortunately, I would still go to parties, and there would be music, and I would sing along, and it would satisfy this elemental craving that I still didn't know I had. After college, I went back to singing along with the radio and my tapes. I wasn't CD techno yet. Alas, I was too mature to sing into my hairbrush or curling iron or dance around my room like a primadonna.

It was only in my singledom that I rediscovered the power of dancing and singing it out. It works with or without the hairbrush/curling iron. Anytime I start to feel blue, I just have to crank up something with a beat. Now, this doesn't work so hot if I have a migraine. But, any other time, it is a surefire home run. The funny thing is my dog. As soon as the music comes on, she comes running. She wants to dance, too. And she barks at me until I pick up her front feet and dance with her, or pick her up and hold her while I dance. Who can stay depressed with all that going on?

So, have you ever sung into your hairbrush or curling iron or danced with one of your pets? What crazy thing do you do to kick a blue mood?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


To catch you up on what has been going on here....this is my facebook blog for those of you wondering why you're getting another blog....

I missed you yesterday with the blog. You didn't notice? Darn. Yep. I was migraining in the morning. I spent my afternoon writing my novel. It is coming right along, by the way. I have no idea if it is total and complete crap or something publishable. I had a breakdown about it a couple of days ago at the kitchen table. I drove my mother nuts by telling her what to say to me. It went something like this....

Me: Tel me it doesn't matter if this book is the worst thing that has ever been written ~ ever.

Her: It doesn't matter.

Me: No. You have to say it word for word like I just said it.

Her: For crying out loud.

Me: It has to be like I just said it.

Her: Well, I've forgotten it now.

Me: It doesn't matter if this book is the worst thing that has ever been written ~ ever.

Her: It doesn't matter if this book is the worst thing that has ever been written ever.

Me: Say that even Janet Evanovich has novels stacked in her closet that didn't get published.

Her: Yeah, and they're publishing them now.

Me: No. you're supposed to tell me what I just said.

Her: But they are publishing them now.

Me: I know they are. But what I want you to say to me is that she has novels stacked in her closet.

Her: You need to get a grip.

Me: I know. That's why we're doing this!

It went on like that for another twenty minutes. She got better at repeating what I wanted to hear or we might still be sitting at the table. In the end, I felt my stomach muscles unknot and was able to start working on my novel again. I had met with some resistance and had stopped for a day. I say resistance. I think what I mean is panic. The talk helped. I'm writing again.

I've also changed my schedule around so that I watch TV at night. Since most everything I watch is now relegated to the DVR, that means I'm watching SoapNet at night. That's okay. General Hospital and I have had a long love affair. I will only admit to dalliance with All My Children and One Life To Live. Although, when they have a storyline that catches my interest, I will make a point of watching. As it is, right now there isn't anything on either of those shows that is particularly grabbing for me right now. That's okay. My goal is to WIND DOWN at night to sleep. Unfortunately, GH is last in the line-up and it is on fire right now. What happened to the days when it was just people sleeping with people they shouldn't and then lying about it?

Right now GH is hurting me in the heart. Yeah, soaps can do that. Any well written story can do that. Take a teenage girl who is dating a verbally abusive boyfriend who is pushing her to have sex. She does. You can see the violence slowly escalating. You know trouble is coming. You just don't know how bad it will get. Girl wants out. Girl develops crush on man much too old for her (in his 20s) and he his nice to her. She does things to get his attention that become destructive things. She shows up at the bar where he works dressed inappropriately (after cancelling her date with abusive boyfriend) and he realizes that she hacked his computer and cancelled his date for that evening (with a woman he was interested in). He gets angry with her in front of a lot of people. He grabs her wrist to throw her out because she is underage. He doesn't handle this well at all. She goes to another bar and runs into her big sister who takes her home, confesses most of what happened, and sister leaves her at home alone to go yell at the older man for grabbing her sister's wrist (it left a mark). Meanwhile the abusive boyfriend is hovering outside. He has overheard a lot and realizes that girl broke their date to be with older man. He knocks on door, bursts in, and beats the ever-loving crap out of girl. It was brutal. It was ugly. It was terrifying. Visually it was well done. It was this slow-mo thing. And you hear him saying, "Why are you making me do this?"

Cut to end of show and the petite actress who plays this girl. She comes on and gives the horrifying stats. 75% of teenagers in America are the victims of physical abuse or know someone who is being physically abused. And she gives the number for the hotline, etc. My mind is scrambling around and unable to fully process that information before another commercial has come on. I would have liked to be able to rewind that and watch it three or four times. Not the horrendous scene at the end of the show. I wanted the PSA. What was that percentage of teens again? Say what? 3 out of 4. That was a cold dose of reality where I like my fiction.

The mother on this show is a good mother. She's a lawyer. She's a SMART woman. This girl's father is a MOB KING PIN. No one in their right mind would pick this girl to beat up unless they were looking to die tomorrow. And I kinda think that was the point. Abuse often happens where you don't think to look. People who are being abused get really good at hiding it. Abusers are usually careful to hit in the places where it isn't going to show. And the people doing the abusing put the blame for it onto the person they are hurting: "Why are you making me do this?" And the person taking the hits takes the blame right along with it. That is how this happens.

If you haven't already, talk to your kids about abuse. What is physical abuse? What is verbal abuse? This one's tough. It is insidious. It starts by breaking down a person's self-esteem. If you don't know much about verbal abuse, look it up. Verbal abuse will often be the precursor to physical abuse, but not necessarily. Sometimes verbal abuse stands alone; all that is necessary is breaking a person's spirit. Make sure that they know it and can identify it, so that they never accept it.


I don't know if you missed me yesterday, or not, but I didn't blog. Between the double blogging, writing for my book, feeling like crap with my migraines, the drama that is my personal life that is contributing to my migraines... well, there just hasn't been time. A fellow blogger posted something recently about how she made an innocent comment on her blog (here) that was misinterpreted and created chaos in her personal life. She admitted that she chose to have a public blog vs a personal one, and accepted that the odds of this kind of thing happening were very low, but possible. It just happened at a very bad time for her (Murphy's Law was in effect). That got me to thinking about my own trauma, which was riding a parallel course, with hers, but different.

First off, I only have 13 followers on this blog, and I am not certain that all 13 actually read my blog. However, I did send out an email to a lot of friends when I first opened this account, indicating that I would be blogging here, and am aware of a few that have read, but may or may not still be reading, my stuff. I am a lot more open about my life, and a lot more likely to get into trouble than the friend I referenced above. My mind skipped over to another friend on here who has chosen complete anonymity. She is a place and her name is a colored animal. She has complete freedom to write whatever she wants about whomever she wants without worry. I bet she didn't send out an email to her friends with the address to her blog site. I am beginning to think that was the wiser course.

I believe I have mentioned blogging on facebook and having a fanpage blah blah blah. All of this blogging started because of my migraines. It was the one thing I could do on my own timetable. If I felt good only 45 minutes one day, that's when I would blog. If I didn't feel good enough to blog at all, I didn't. It turned out that having a purpose helped. Well, that and pain pills and tablet to keep track of how often I take them. But, in terms of my mental health and wellness, having the blog helped. I could actually DO something constructive. I wasn't a waste of space. I wasn't just a financial drain on my parents. I was still a financial drain on my parents, but I wasn't JUST that. Maybe I would become a better writer. Maybe I could support myself someday with my writing. Maybe there was a grand design I couldn't see here. Yeah, I had to have something to believe in.

After my ex and I divorced in early 2005, some friends convinced me to open a myspace account. I did. He did. He had to be on my friends list. I relented. As soon as I did it was less my space. But he was still exercising a lot of control over me at that time. I could see it, and I couldn't see it, at the same time. He was using the kids to make me do what he wanted. He had done that every time I tried to leave him when we were married. It was a pattern and it worked. When I moved to Florida, getting away from him and all the stress that went with him was very good for me. It also gave me clarity about what was going on in that dynamic. I am not sure that he has that clarity. Meaning, I don't think he sees any of that the same way I do, and he would be angry that I suggested such a thing. He believes a different reality.

I discovered Facebook at the end of 2008. Within days, my ex sent me a friend request. I pressed ignore. He sent another one. Again ignore. Then came the message. I told him that facebook was for my high school and college friends. He and I didn't go to high school or college. No, we weren't going to be friends on facebook. I finally had my own space. I thought I had a private space, even though we did have a few mutual friends. I was selective about the mutual friends I allowed on my facebook. I was also selective about what friends I tagged for my notes. Ironically, because I had my own space, my need to write about my ex really wasn't there. I knew that I could, so I didn't. On Feb. 20, 2010 I wrote the blog WHAT'S YOUR DAMAGE? and it opened Pandora's box. If you missed that one, you can click here. On facebook, I made sure not to tag any mutual friends for that blog. If you read it again, take note that this was not a blog about my ex. This was a blog about ME.

Well, someone copied and pasted the entire blog and emailed it to my ex. I would have thought that he would have called me immediately from the moon when he landed. No. He sat on it. He called his mother. I don't know how much he told her. Probably read the thing to her. Hell, maybe he forwarded it to her on the email. He told her that I couldn't talk to the kids until I talked to him. Turns out, she got to wait some time before delivering that message because I went through my mental breakdown at my doctor's office, followed up by my LOST blog, etc. I was having lots of problems of my own. They always spend the night with her on Saturdays and that was when I called. One week ago today. She was short and mad. She gave me the message, I called my ex's cell, got the message that his mailbox was full (like it has been for a year), waited for him to call me for over an hour, knew that he wasn't going to call and was letting me stew, shut off my phone, scrolled through all of the blogs since my blog hit the open forum of my fanpage, thinking he had discovered THAT, and something had set him off, finally sent him an email, and went to bed. Oh... the best I could come up with was my comment that "I think suicidal thoughts" in my LOST breakdown blog of what was going on with that scene where Ben was digging his grave. I was thinking he was going to use that to keep me from seeing the kids. I didn't see the other thing coming... at all.

The next day he'd responded to my email indicating that I knew what this was about, but in case I didn't, he'd copied and pasted a paragraph from the WHAT'S YOUR DAMAGE blog. He told me that it was "unacceptable, mean, and hurtful." Woah. He was in my private facebook, reading stuff he wasn't invited to read and it unacceptable, mean, and hurtful. Well, as you can imagine, the email started flying. I found out that whoever sent him that email also sent him the one about his mother laying into Corey. If you're feeling like a triple dose, you can click here so that you are fully up to speed. I am fairly certain that he sent that one to his mother. That will make all future trips to pick up the kids at her house lots of fun!

Eventually, I realized that we were going nowhere. All he could see was that the email made him look bad. It did. I had to step back and take a new approach, and I am thankful that it worked. I finally found the words that he could hear and understand. I couldn't tell MY story without tell his. Period. This was where I FUCKED UP and if I could have told the story and left him out of it, I would have done it. But, I couldn't. I told him that as bad as it made him look, it made me look even worse. Which I believe is true. I couldn't own my damage without telling my story and he was part of the story. As for the story with his mother, of course the part that he really took objection to was the last line where I said I understood why he had all of his issues. He wasn't really upset on behalf of his mother. It was all about him again. So, I told him what I saw. I saw Corey on the couch being emotionally shredded, and in my mind I saw an overlay of my ex at the same age getting the same treatment. I saw cycles. And that made it all better for him. What didn't make it better for me was that my ex doesn't seem to have any incentive to make things better for Corey, and I have no power. But, throwing that log onto an already out of control fire didn't seem wise.

The four of us had an uncomfortable dinner earlier this week. But, it was better than I expected. My ex let me know by his body language that his feelings were still hurt. That was typical behavior and to be expected. I am very used to this sort of thing. Next time will be better. His mother will be a whole different ballgame. There will be no forgive and forget with her. It will not matter that one person in the entire town read what I wrote, which would be the person who forwarded it to her son. It will be icy at her house from hereon out.

Why am I writing this now? I am in a quandary people. Through lots of therapy, during and after my marriage, I let go of pretty much everything that happened while I was married. I don't have this need to write about it. That is why I was on facebook for so long and didn't write anything about my ex. To my way of thinking, I still haven't. I wrote about me and owned my damage. He just was part of MY story. When I wrote something he didn't like, he played the kid card, just like he always has. "You don't do things my way, you don't see my kids." I realize that we will always come back here sooner or later. Eventually he will force me to say, "Okay, you explain it to them."

Where is the line? What is unacceptable, mean, and hurtful? If someone verbally abused you for years, and you finally found the courage to stand up and walk away, is it unacceptable, mean, and hurtful to share what that person did to you because then his friends, co-workers, and family would see a different side of him? Is it unacceptable, mean, and hurtful to his children? Is it unacceptable, mean, and hurtful to ask me to keep my mouth shut because he says he's become a different and better person? He doesn't seem different and better to me, because the first thing he did was play the kid card. He's only better when things are going his way. Help me out here, folks, what is unacceptable, mean, and hurtful? Where is the line?

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I apologize for double-posting you (particularly, after that long read), but I have to put something on my facebook blog and my other blog would not have gone over AT ALL.

Mom is getting a lot of blog time this week, and it isn't even Mother's Day. We were at the CVS Pharmacy today waiting on her prescription to be filled, and she says, "Let's meander around the store while we wait." She heads straight for the sales aisle. I was already mentally puzzling over my blog, because I got nothing from my time in the Think Tank, and was feeling a bit put out. As I watched her give each item such focused attention, my brain took a trip down memory lane.

I asked her, "Do you remember how mortified I was as a teenager every time you dragged me into Odd Lots (they are now Big Lots)?"

She laughed and nodded, "You would complain that someone from school might see you in there, and how would you ever live with the embarrassment? My response was 'if they saw you, they were in there, too!'" By now, I am laughing with her, knowing that she's right. Then she says, "Then you'd say, 'What if they see me from the STREET?'"

Egads. I really don't know how mothers don't kill their young when turn into teenagers.

So, do you have any teenagers at home that are driving you crazy? Has this reminded you of something that you did to your mom? Are you now thinking about an apology call to mom? Or do you now just want to go shopping at Big Lots? Whatever, just curious to hear your thoughts...


A friend posted the question that never gets old: does God exist? This is a tough question, folks, and if you are not an open thinker, I strongly advise you to skip this blog. Come back for something light-hearted and fun. Religion and politics are tough subjects for some people; they have their minds made up and don't want to hear anything else. You know what? I'm okay with that. The deal is I accept what other people believe. I let them have it and don't judge them for it. I figure that they put some thought into what they believe and anything I say won't change it. With that in mind...

I grew up in the United Methodist Church. The first book I bought for myself was on ESP. It never occurred to me that the two were mutually exclusive. I believed in what the Bible said. I also believed in ESP. In the eleventh grade, a good friend of mine loaned me a book by Richard Bach called ILLUSIONS. I think that was the second book that blew my mind. THE OUTSIDERS was the first. Ironically, she was reading it in Sunday School class. That would never have flown at my church. It isn't a long read in terms of time, so I read it repeatedly. Good thing I wasn't still doing the Sunrise Service.

I tried to find something on Wikipedia to adequately explain, in brief, what this book was about. This was the best I got: "Donald Shimoda is one of the two main characters in Illusions. He is a messiah who leaves his job of being a messiah (and also of being a mechanic at a garage) after deciding that people value the showbiz-like performance of miracles and want to be entertained by those miracles more than to understand the message behind them. He meets Richard, a fellow barn-storming pilot and begins to pass on his knowledge to him, even teaching Richard to perform "miracles" of his own." Well, that is sadly lacking. Donald Shimoda has in his glovebox a "Messiah's Handbook" which Richard discovers. Each time he opens it, the message is different. He discovers that the message he gets is the one he most needs. For instance, "Perspective - Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that."

That right there was enough to blow my mind. WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU IS NOT REALITY. THINK ABOUT THAT. My friend was learning this in Sunday School!!!!

Here's another: "The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change."

And so began the great shift of my life. But, then again, not really. I was already fully capable of holding WHAT OTHER PEOPLE people believed to be mutually exclusive ideas in my head. What I was really doing was expanding, opening, making way for more knowledge. That can be a little scary. So, my senior year of high school I read The Bible. I read the entire Bible, voluntarily, cover to cover, and joined a Bible study group.

I also read every Richard Bach book I could get my hands on. He has written quite a few. He addresses all manner of interesting concepts. ILLUSIONS just picked up where JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL left off and went on to address many philosophical issues. If I had to guess I would say that Mr. Bach believes in God. He believes in a lot of the same stuff I believe in, but we haven't gotten there yet.

In fact, I thought this blog was going to be about this dream I had and then this experience my cousin had, and now I know that I am going to have to write yet ANOTHER blog to get to ALL OF THAT another day.

Instead, I am stuck sharing what I learned from my Bible reading, and what life experience I have thus far. Keep this in mind, I didn't have all of these opinions in the 12th grade, and I have gone back and read some Bible since. I don't like most of The Old Testament. I don't. I don't think most of it makes sense. I think a lot of it is parable or allegory or representational or whatever. I think they are lessons of what you should and shouldn't do. One of the things that I dislike most about The Old Testament is right here: "God's Chosen People." I am apologizing to any Jews who are taking offense right now. That is not an anti-Semitic statement. I don't think God is anti-anybody. I don't think any race, gender, religion, or person with the "right" color of hair has proprietary rights to God. I don't think a person with red hair gets their prayers answered more, faster, or better than someone with blond or brown hair. Wars are fought over this. People have died over this issue dating pre-Christ. This is not a new problem.

Some of the Psalms are really beautiful and some really speak to the sadness that people still feel today. I can get behind that. I like The New Testament better than The Old Testament. I still look at it and think about how long it was between when the events happened and how long before they were put on paper. I know they got some of it wrong. No, I didn't just get struck by lightning. Did you know that all of the disciples wrote a book on Jesus's life? Do you know why that they aren't in The Bible? They were TOO DIFFERENT from the other accounts. John's account is pretty far from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They were stretching it with him. Do you know why they went with Paul's stuff, instead of all the other people who followed Jesus and spanned out to tell the message? Paul went to Rome. Rome was in power. The Pope was in Rome. The Pope decided what got put in The Bible and what didn't. It was pure politics. I know that doesn't please some of you. I wasn't happy when I found it out, either.

Now, let's set all of that aside. The question was, does God exist? Let's say He does. Just go with me. And God sends down "special" people from time to time to try and get humanity on a better track. The Bible calls them prophets, because they seem to "know" things. I would call them psychics today. However, there was all that strife I was talking about before in the OT (bad stuff, wars, slavery, etc), and it wasn't much better when Jesus was born. The Church could have, and should have been, making the lives of its parishioners easier, but it wasn't. It was taxing them to death. People were paying money they didn't have so that they didn't go to hell. It was bad. The Church was using God for profit. I wouldn't have wanted to be the person to upset that apple cart. The Church was Powerful.

So, here's what I think. God sent Jesus here to change how people saw God. The OT painted God as the God of Vengeance, the God of War, Burning Bush, Tower of Babel, Light You on Fire God. That is how the church got away with what they were doing. Jesus was special. Jesus was not only psychic. Jesus could remember what The Other Side looked like. He knew where He came from and where He was going to. He remembered what we forget when we are born. What was special about him was that He didn't forget his life plan. His plan was pretty simple actually. Change the way people see God. He was also not cluttered up with "reality" because he understood "reality" in a way that we don't. The only reason we can't walk on water is because we don't think we can. It's about perception and his was different because his reality was different. He needed that. People saw that as miracles. He needed the miracles to get everyone's attention. He had the power to heal because he believed he could.

He was tapped into something that we all have access to; we just don't know how to get there. We forget. He needed to remember in order to fulfill his purpose. People made his purpose bigger than what it was. They talk about "being saved." I think he probably said that. He wanted to save them from each other. He wanted them to stop fighting. He wanted them to stop claiming God, and using Him to hurt each other. People didn't understand. The one thing that they did get was the part about God being the Father and Jesus saying he was the Son. Do I think he meant he was the Only son? No. He wanted to let them know how God loved them. He loved them like a parent does a child, and not with vengeance. His message was simple. People made it complicated.

So, yeah, I think God does exist. I think he sent Jesus here with full knowledge of The Other Side, and God, and that was how he was able to do all of the amazing things that he did in his lifetime. I don't think that he died to save us from sin. Again, no lightning. I think he died because the church just couldn't have that kind of message going around that "you didn't need to tithe if you didn't have it, and God was a loving Father, instead of a God of Fire." I think that all of those people who die, and talk about seeing the white light or the white tunnel, are on their way to The Other Side. I think that people who talk to people who have already died, just before they die, are actually seeing and talking to their loved ones ~ they are in that in-between place ~ crossing the veil, so to speak ~ and on their way to The Other Side. I believe in a lot more than that, actually, but I have another blog to write. One of the best shows to address the God issue was Joan of Arcadia. I did a little feature of it on my other blog. There are a few clips that are well worth watching. If you are at all interested, you can click here and it will take you to that post. And I will save my dream/cousin story for another day.

Other suggested reading: THE OTHER SIDE AND BACK by Sylvia Browne

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Last night I had a conversation with my ex's son, C-Man, who is in the 6th grade, about math. Sort of. C-Man goes to a magnet school for fine arts, which is wonderful. This school places high expectations on the students, and so it should. C-Man has always been book-smart and prone to dramatics. In other words, I knew that this would be a good fit. C-Man's biggest problem in public school was being a big fish in a little pond. In other words, C-Man was too smart for his own good, and was bored. This has been an ongoing hurdle for C-Man to bear. A few months ago, everyone found out that C-Man hadn't turned in any homework, for any of his classes second semester, and might flunk out of school. The good news was that his test scores were great. This was strictly a homework issue. C-Man was smart, just not doing his homework. The irony was that C-Man would do academic, but non-homework related projects at home. The only thing that came to my mind was that he was bored by the homework. However, he really loves his school, and is now sufficiently frightened that he is doing it anyway.

Did you know that kids are doing algebra in 6th grade? I took algebra in 9th grade. I liked it and did well in it, but there is a huge difference between a 6th grade mind and a 9th grade mind. C-Man's teacher is going to start tutoring him on Thursdays after school in Math. C-Man is not happy about this. C-Man doesn't think he needs tutoring. C-Man gets all of the answers right. Why does C-Man need tutoring you ask? C-Man won't show his work. The teacher wants C-Man to write down all of the steps to solve the problem. My response is, "Well, do it."

C-Man says, "I know the answer just by looking at the problem AND he has more steps than I do. I can solve it in fewer steps and he doesn't like it. He says that my way is wrong. He wants me to do it his way, which is longer."

And here lies the quandary for every parent or parental role model, which is the category I fall into. Has C-Man shown him his steps and hit this wall already? Or is he assuming that the teacher will not like what he sees? What if C-Man shows him his steps and the teacher sees that C-Man is a brilliant mathematical mind in the making? The teacher already knows that C-Man can just look at the problem and solve it IN HIS HEAD. How do I make C-Man feel good about himself and still respect his teacher? Right now, C-Man is convinced that he knows MORE than his teacher and is giving his teacher attitude, which is not a good thing.

So, I take out some paper and put two dots on it. Each represent a specific place. Point A and Point B and then I draw lines. One line is the shortest distance between the points. The other line is slightly more curved. The straight line is the teacher's way of solving the problem. And the curvy line is C-Man's way of solving it. He disagrees. He thinks his line should the straight line. I mark an area on the teacher's line with xxx's, and tell him the reason he doesn't take that line is because it's under construction, and it slows him down. Therefore, the curvy line is faster. However, until he shows the teacher his curvy line, and explains to the teacher about the construction going down on the teacher's straight line, the two of them are not going to understand how the other one thinks. I followed that gem up with, "C-Man, your teacher went to college and majored in Math."

The whole time I'm thinking, "Please Mr. Math Teacher, don't be one of those people who squashes a child because he can. If the only real problem here is that C-Man is smarter than you and has found a faster way to solve a problem, don't penalize him. Don't break his spirit or make him feel small or less than or stupid when he isn't. I know that it must sting, him being twelve, and you being a grown man, if he's already surpassed you, but you can choose to help him flourish. Please choose that."

I am reminded, once again, by the great power that teachers wield. This one man, right now, has the power to boost the self-esteem of a young boy and, perhaps, light a fire that could make this world a much finer place. Or, he can blow out a candle, and we will never know what could have been.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The Think Tank came through again. As I was in there, I remembered a fellow blogger sharing her concern about all of the time that her teenage son spends in the shower. It occurred to me that I get my best writing ideas in the shower, and maybe I should take three or four a day. However, my mother would also be concerned ~ about her gas and water bill going through the roof. It must be tough to be a mom.

And that was when inspiration struck. I started thinking about mom. My mom spent her day applying static cling privacy film to the windows on each side of our front door, technically known as sidelights. It is a bamboo pattern, looks really nice, and it has eliminated the need for blinds. That got me to thinking about my mom and housing projects in general. I can't think of a single house that she's lived in that she hasn't "fixed." Our first Florida house got the least amount of attention from her, but that was only because she designed it. She and my dad had that one built, so she had a say-so on that one from the launch. However, when we lived there our garage was full of antiques that she bought at estate sales. She bought them and fixed them and resold them. My mom is a fixer-upper.

When we moved to Ohio she got her dream house. That thing was a nightmare. There was nothing good there. It was so bad that Tim and I got recruited into scraping wallpaper with putty knives and water. It was a two story with a basement and attic, though the attic and basement weren't livable. But all the wallpaper had to go. After that, we even got to paint as high as we could reach. Mom learned how to put up wallpaper. She put up the molding that ran around the middle of the wall. Eventually the room off of the kitchen was turned into a bathroom. She designed and had someone build a room on the front of the house to be a coat closet/storage area/book depository/ umbrella drop/boot storage area. Basically, it was for everything that used to get scattered around the living room. It also prevented us from tracking dirty snow into the house. The wood on the outside of the house was replaced with aluminum siding. The carpeting was replaced. I am fairly convinced that if she could have figured out how to do the aluminum siding herself, she would have done it.

Every time she moved mom wasn't happy until she "fixed" that house. I am convinced that it didn't feel like it was hers until she painted it, wallpapered it, or in some other permanent way made her mark. I watched it happen time and again. She got another really big opportunity when she moved into what we now call "the peach house" in Aiken, SC, about ten years ago. The whole house was painted peach, which was why it was on the market so long, and why my mom and stepdad got it for a good price. It was a nice house. It was just overwhelmingly peach. Every time I'd come to visit, more and more of the peach would be gone. By the time they sold it, it really had turned into a lovely home.

Mom never was a TV watcher. In Florida, mom discovered HGTV. That was a game changer. Mom likes HGTV. Mom can watch HGTV for hours. Mom gets ideas on HGTV. When we moved into this house, I knew we were in for it. It is overwhelmingly white. White walls everywhere. We were only here a few months when mom painted the master bedroom. It really is beautiful now.

Mom's favorite show on HGTV is Holmes on Holmes. I am wondering what would our lives have been like if HGTV had been around thirty years ago and Holmes Sr. had his show? Oh dear. What if Holmes Sr. had been a real go-getter and wanted to teach the viewers at home how to put down their own hardwood floor? It boggles the mind. Before we even moved into this house, my parents agreed that eventually the carpeting in the living room was going to have to go because the dogs are hell on the carpet. When that day comes, hardwood floor is going down. I am so thankful that there was no HGTV thirty years ago and Holmes Sr. didn't have his own show, because I have no doubt that if he did, and he'd taught his viewers how to put down hardwood flooring, it wouldn't matter to my mom that her back and knees give her grief.

What would I do then? I would be stuck sending a desperate letter to Mike Holmes at HGTV that went something like this:

"Dear Mr. Holmes,

My mother started watching your dad thirty years ago and thought he was the bees knees. He taught her to do everything from fixing the kitchen sink to putting down hardwood flooring. That was awesome when she was thirty, but not so great now. You see, she has trouble bending over, getting up and down, and her back goes out sometimes. She does okay with normal stuff, but I don't think she's up to the task of putting down hardwood flooring any longer. Unfortunately, she doesn't trust anyone else to do the job, and she's already ordered the wood. This situation has become dire. We really need a rescue. By the way, she also thinks you're the bees knees. Please help!!!!"

~Desperate in Georgia