Thursday, February 28, 2013

Who the hell are you?

I've been tagged.  Again.  When I got tagged by two of my friends and fellow bloggers, I knew I was in trouble.  This one is fun, though, and you'll learn all kinds of interesting things about me.  
Mom-spirational and The Plucky Procrstinator both said I had to do this.  Go check them out - they are both amazing!
1.  Where were you born.  I was born in Simi Valley, CA.  My mom went into labor at the bowling alley.  My dad was bowling a perfect game and she didn't want to ruin it, so no one told him.  Blew it in the tenth, but he got me.  LOL
2.  Were you named after someone?  Um, yes.  I was named after Jaclyn Smith's character in the TV show Charlie's Angels.  We also had a dog and cat named Starsky and Hutch.  What can I say?  My parents watched a lot of TV in the 70's.

3. How many children do you have?  Four.  It explains a lot.  The one I lost before them all explains more, though.
4. How many pets do you have?  1 dog (who talks), 1 temporary dog (who can barely get up, but is amazingly competent when it comes to knocking over trash cans), 1 cat (who is a total ass), 2 hamsters (I'm amazed they are still alive).
5. Your worst injury.  I have irrational fears of hurting myself, so I try to avoid injuries as much as possible.  The worst was probably when I ate it riding my brother's skateboard as a kid.  Road rash over too much of my body to discuss.  That bad.
6.  Do you have a special talent?  I can juggle.  No, really.  I can.  Good to know I can always run away and join the circus if need be.
7.  Favorite thing to bake.  I stress bake. I don't particularly like to eat baked goods, but I make them when I'm a mess, usually with no warning or planning, so I have to use whatever is in the house.  This week, I made strawberry oat bars.
8. Favorite Fast Food.  I love the chicken soft tacos from Del Taco, and the chicken sandwiches from Chick fil-A are insanely good even though I refuse to eat them.  I wish they weren't homophobic jerks so I could go eat one.  Nom nom nom.
9.   Would you bungee jump? No freaking way.  I have bad knees already, have a fear of falling and am a total control freak.  No.  No, no, no.
10.  What is the first thing you notice about people?  Whether they set off my radar.  I have very good instincts about people, and I know within seconds if I'm going to like someone.   Conversely, I can smell a person without integrity a mile away.  Watch out, now.
11.  When was the last time you cried?  Last night.  Don't ask.
12.  Any current worries.  Only a million of them.  
13.  Name 3 drinks you drink regularly.  Coffee, tea, vodka.  (shhh)
14.  What’s your favorite book?  The Social Transformation of American Medicine.  No, I'm not kidding.  Yes, I am a dork. 
15.  Would you like to be a pirate.  YES!  They are on the water all the time, they wear lots of bling, they get to fight and curse and drink.  I'd make a fine pirate, argh.
16.  Favorite Smells.  Home cooked food, fresh brewed beer, cut grass (even though I'm allergic), the beach and baby head.  Oh, baby head.  
17.  Why do you blog?  Sanity.
18. What song do you want played at your funeral?  Ave Maria.
19.  What is your least favorite thing about yourself.  I'm a total control freak.  Pretty sure I've referenced that a few times already.
20.  Favorite hobby.  Writing, reading, music, watching the kids play all the sports they are in.
21.  Name something you’ve done, you never thought you would do?  I never thought I would be in a position to give someone morphine, but I was.  
22.  What do you look for in a friend.  Someone who can laugh with me, at me, and who can take a joke.  Someone who gets my sense of humor.  Someone who won't betray me. I don't do so well with that.
23.  Favorite Fun things to do?  I love to get out and take pictures.  I'm drawn to water, almost like it has a gravitational pull on me.  
24.  Pet peeves. Kids who never clean up anything, people who give unsolicited advice, people who can't drive, spammers.  I could go on, but you probably sensed that already.
25.  Whats the last thing that made you laugh?  The four year old singing this song he made up about a monkey, which requires guitar accompaniment.  It's an awesome song.  Honest.
Now, I am supposed to tag other bloggers.  I'll tag the ones who'll love me the most for doing this, I linked their Facebook pages.  Mwhahahaha.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the day late because I had another post scheduled edition

I just had to write about the controversy at Yahoo yesterday, and in doing so, I knew that I would be pushing TTPMOT back a day.  Then I figured that you all would be okay with that if for no other reason than it gave me an extra day to find things pissing me off for the week.

Off we go.

Unimaginable Crimes Against Children
A father in Saudi Arabia is anticipating a light sentence after the violent rape, beating and death of his five year old daughter at his hands.  His alleged reason?  He questioned whether she was still a virgin.  At five years old.

The details of the crime are horrific, so bad that I can't even bring myself to type them.

Saudi clerics have since proposed that baby girls be forced to wear burkas to protect them from sexual attacks, because it's so clearly the infant temptresses to blame here, not the twisted society that allows monsters like this man to get away with their crimes.

The Creative Lawyering of the Church
Now, this isn't something that has only been claimed by the Catholic Church in court, but the fact that it's being used now, in light of international scandals breaking and resignations in the shadow of controversy, makes it harder to stomach.

The sex abuse issues aren't anything new with the church, as there have been allegations and lawsuits for decades here in the United States.  What is a new trend, however, is the defense now being employed in some situations...one you are never going to believe.

Ready for this?

The First Amendment.

No, I'm not kidding.  They are claiming that the First Amendment guarantee to the freedom of religion prohibits the government from legal action against the church in sex abuse cases.  Essentially, they claim that the government is supposed to respect the separation of church and state, allowing the church mechanisms to deal with claims of abuse, punishment of offenders, and so on.

Isn't that what got us into this whole mess in the first place?  The church mechanisms hiding abuse cases, protecting the offenders, ignoring the systemic problems that allowed thousands, if not millions of victims to be hurt?

They have also tried to say that the church should be shielded from liability because being held financially responsible for damages in court could bankrupt the church.  Sorry, but there are very real institutional sources of liability here, and the effect that liability may have isn't a defense to it.  This isn't a matter of a few rogue priests getting grabby with a few altar boys.  This is bigger than that, a lot bigger than that.  So big that a Cardinal (and some would even say the Pope) is resigning.

The Pope authorizing the Papal vote early won't be enough to distract the world from scandal.  Creative defenses won't save the Church. Cardinals have been deposed.  It's time to face the music.

Bad "Jokes" At The Expense Of A Child
Quvenzhane Wallis sat in the audience of the Oscars Sunday night as the youngest Best Actress nominee in history at nine years old.

The satirical news site, The Onion, decided to tweet about her, calling her a c*** (nope, I won't type that word either).

They deleted the tweet and have since apologized, but that's not good enough.  The C-word isn't one that feminism has reclaimed for women, like bitch.  It's not one tossed around with affection these days, it's not one that is almost wholly devoid of the meaning it once had.  It still is deeply offensive, and is a word that would hardly be funny if used in reference to an adult, let alone a child.

I have to wonder what the hell is wrong with someone who would think that could ever be funny.

People Who Don't Like Me Saying I'm A Superhero
A few of my friends and fellow bloggers shared my post yesterday, for which I am extremely grateful.  I was prepared for people to attack my position, to defend Yahoo, to come up with valid points against my stance.

A few did just that, which is the point of my writing.  I want people to talk about these issues, to be  able to have intelligent, informed conversations about real issues that affect real people.

That isn't all that happened, though.

One reader, who happens to be a man, immediately seized on the fact that I refer to myself as a superhero up there ^^^ on my header.

Tried to say that I was compensating for some shortcomings in life, that being a mom isn't the same as being a superhero, that it's ridiculous for women to think that they could use that label, and so on and so forth.

I happen to think I make this work.
First of all, I can call myself whatever I want.  This is my blog, asshole.  If I wanted to write that I'm a purple unicorn, I CAN, because that's how it works.  If you want to publicly tell the rest of the world that you're a troll with a chip on your shoulder who clearly doesn't know a damn thing about women, go ahead and start your own blog.  Until then, STFU.

Second, this asshat doesn't know anything about me.  He doesn't know my past, he doesn't know my current situation, he doesn't know the things I've been through or what I've done...some of which could firmly seat me in superhero categories.

Third, it's a freaking joke.  I'm not really a superhero, because superheroes aren't real.  Tool.  I'm sorry if I somehow offended your sense of world order, or if you believe comic books are real, or if you actually give a shit about spandex wearing spider bitten people.

Having said that, I think I'm wearing my Wonder Woman costume for the rest of the day.  I'll be using my bracelets to deflect stupid, whipping idiots with my lasso of truth, and kicking ass in my bitch boots.

Anyone have a problem with that?

I didn't think so.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Standing on the glass ceiling

When you think of a woman who has it all, the family and the career, there is so much more behind the scenes than most people realize.

Organization, coordination, the requirement of other people to fill in the gaps seamlessly, is all necessary.  Having it all isn't easy, primarily for one reason.

It is, simply put, impossible to be in two places at once.

Women cannot be kicking ass and taking names 80 hours a week in boardrooms, and be wholly present for their families all the time.  It's a physical impossibility.

The women who seem to balance it all, and I count a few of them as close friends of mine, who can stand tiptoed on the top of the scale, constantly shifting and adjusting, aren't just talented and smart and resourceful and flexible.

They're also lucky.

Some of them are geniuses.

A few of them have created their own work environments after learning the hard way that the conventional wisdom which dictates a firm line between work and home isn't often feasible once you have children.

Once kids enter the picture, most women want that flexibility.  Need it.  Crave it, like a deep maternal instinct wearing heels.

Society, for the most part, has started to evolve in ways that push towards that flexibility, although if we are being honest, it's easy to see how short the United States comes up in the maternity leave department, among other concessions to allow for families.

Telecommuting has become more and more popular, and often results in a more productive workforce than one chained to a desk all day.  Job sharing has become more common.  Some companies allow for flexible hours to allow not just mothers, but fathers, to leave work early for t-ball games and dance recitals.

These benefits haven't just helped women, they have helped everyone, even those people without children.

These benefits wouldn't have come, however, without women asking for them, demanding them, forgoing the inflexible male-dominated institutions and starting their own businesses.  

The retraction of these benefits this week by the CEO of a large company rubbed me the wrong way immediately as a step in the wrong direction for all employees, but for women in particular.

New Yahoo CEO, Marissa Meyer, has banned employees from working from home.  In the online world, which has been one of the most flexible industries in the nation, she wants all her employees in the building, all day.

The most confusing part of it all, aside from the obvious reputation the industry has for relaxed environments, is that Ms. Meyer herself is a new mother.

A new mother who was back at work less than two weeks after giving birth.

I obviously do not know Ms. Meyer personally, but I have to wonder why she is so insistent that every single employee of her company needs to give up all their flexibility just because she says so.

She may want to be in the office all the time, but why start requiring it from legitimately productive people accustomed to a flexible work environment?

Is she trying to justify the fact that she sees no need to be home with her own child, a fact that she was raked over the coals for in the media when it happened last year?

Is she unaware of the studies that have shown time and again that people are both happier and more productive if given the option to work from home at least occasionally?

Is she really a 70 year old man masquerading as a new mother?

Forgive me, but I can't figure it out.

I can't understand why anyone, particularly a woman with an infant, would decree from the mountaintops that having a work/life balance is unnecessary.

Why is this woman standing on the glass ceiling, telling other women that they may become successful under her leadership only if they are willing to forgo everything else in their lives for work?


Have women really come this far to be pushed back down by one of us?

She's not doing anyone any favors here, including herself.  Soon to be leading a disgruntled workforce, she will face a lot of backlash from this decision.  She may start having a mass exodus of good employees.  This has been a hot topic in the media already for days.

Marissa, go home.

Kiss that baby.

Stop thinking like a CEO for a few minutes.

Think like a working mom instead.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The complicated relationship between this girl and her mother

In large part, I have avoided writing about pieces of my life here. You guys probably think I share a lot, but trust me when I say that I don't.

I've shared bits of the stories with people in real life, with friends I've made online, with trusted confidants.  There are times that I've been at my wits end with it all, questioned whether I was doing the right thing or not.  Asked why.  All that.

Family is complicated.  Mine is special.

I have shielded others from things as much as I could, because it's my job.  

I've even spent a lot of time protecting the one hurting me.  

In doing so, I've suffered.  

A lot.

I haven't just lost my father.  In many ways, I've lost both of my parents.  My mother is still here, yes.  But she isn't.  She doesn't think I even deserve to know when she is in the hospital these days.  

She had choices, lots of them.  She chose to hurt us.  She chose to hurt herself.

She needs help.

And I can't help her. I have tried. I tried everything I could think of.

I've carried it all inside for too long.  

When things come spilling out of me to the people who should know, there is a huge sense of relief that comes with it.  A weight lifted off my shoulders.  

Clarity.

I spend too much time trying to reassure myself that I've done all I can.  That I can't fix someone else. That I can't help someone who doesn't want it.  That I can't enable self-destruction.  That I have to protect my children.  

That I have to protect myself.  

And sometimes I am in a good place with it.  I reason that the one who isn't here anymore, the one who asked me to do the best I could, would reassure me that I've done what I can.  That distance is better now.  That the damage is too bad.  That I can be okay with things as they are.

I am virtually certain of all that.

Sometimes I am in a good place with it, until I get blindsided again.  

In the last few weeks, there have been too many reminders.  Too many lingering consequences.  Too many things we have had to deal with.  Too many things forgotten.

When someone you love seems determined to ruin their life, the one thing they don't realize is that even if their motivations are inherently selfish and myopic, there is damage done to everyone around them.  They aren't just downward spiraling, they are dragging others with them.

And it is not fair.

It's not fair to me.  It's not fair to my kids.  It's not fair to the rest of my family.  

I'm tired of being dragged.

I love you Mom, and I miss you.  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Any Given Sunday

It's snowing today.  There is already about 4 inches on the ground, though it is hard to tell exactly how much.  It's one of the sideways snow days with high winds and huge drifts.

We were originally planning to go down to Denver today, hit one of the museums.

Instead, I'm sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee, watching the pre-race festivities for the Daytona 500.

This is a big deal you guys.

I haven't watched NASCAR since my Dad died.

It was his thing.  It was never my thing, but it was something I would happily sit with him and watch whenever I got the chance.  We knew that if we were with Dad on any given Sunday, there would be cars driving 200mph around a track on a tv somewhere.

He left us a week and a half before Daytona two years ago, and I'm sure he would have rather held on to see it one last time.  Daytona is the first, the biggest, the best of them all, though he always liked watching Sonoma almost as much because it requires the drivers to turn right - something they don't do so well with.

I used to give him a hard time about it.  I used to wonder aloud all the time how he could watch the same thing for hours and hours and hours.

He loved fast cars. He taught his daughter to love fast cars.  He took us to races as kids.  We wandered the pits together.  He opened it up on empty roads. He laughed when I told him about racing cops in marked cars in the T-Bird we had when I was a teenager.  He laughed even harder when we took the governor out of my daughter's Barbie Powerwheels Jeep and she spun the tires bald.

This isn't a picture of his, but the closest I
could find to his Camaro.
He cringed at the wrecks, and losing Earnhardt was rough on him.  We watched that accident as it happened on television together, at this race in Daytona in 2001.  Like most people who know anything about the sport, that accident just seemed wrong to him.  To me. It wasn't that bad.  It didn't seem that dangerous.  There were so many others, so much worse.  Then just like that, Earnhardt was gone.

My Dad wasn't a big sports fan for much else.  He never waited for opening day of baseball with anticipation, he could take or leave professional football.  He loathed the NBA.  There were three things sacred in his living room.

College football, PBA & NASCAR.

Today, I'm letting NASCAR back into my house.

Rooting for Dale Jr. to get it back.  Watching Danica make history.  Trying to make small talk about the drivers with my husband.

Missing him.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

NASCAR is back.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Diabetes, you can suck it

I have a feeling that we're winding up here for another round of blood sugar struggles.  The instant my son tells me anything feels weird, I know.

He was running high last night, woke up high again today.

This time, he's not sick.  At least not as far as I can tell yet.

He has stress induced hyperglycemia, which basically means that his blood sugar runs high when his body is tested in anyway by illness.  This condition could be something he outgrows, but it's more likely a precursor to full blown type 1 diabetes.

He's not sick this time, and he's trending up.


Which means that on the day of his sister's birthday, I have to tell him he can't have birthday donuts or birthday cake or birthday ice cream, and that he can only have a little bit of the pasta dinner she has requested.

He doesn't completely understand.

He just wants to be four.

But he can't.

He doesn't get that option.

Sigh.

As a mother, one of the most helpless positions to be in is where you know that there might be something very wrong with your child, but you are powerless to do anything about it.

I watch him, and I worry.

This time seems different.

Diabetes, you can suck it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fiction Challenge, episode eight



He was down on one knee and Dani stood in their dining room, frozen.  She was unable to move, unable to speak.  Time stopped moving forward and everything slowed to a deliberate pace.  Her heart rhythm slowed and she could taste her breath as it moved slowly from her mouth.  The haze set in.

She drew in a long deep breath and closed her eyes, trying to absorb all the pieces of this moment.

She was unsure what to make of it all, and the flame from the candle played tricks on her eyes like a strobe light, replaying her past.  Flashing bits and pieces before her in this arrested reality.

She had never believed in love before.  This was as close to love as she'd ever known.  Maybe it was real.

Maybe.

She had never allowed herself to imagine a world where a man would do all of the things he had done for her, where he would forgive her faults, where he would not just tolerate her flaws but embrace them.  Where someone would just love her.

Love didn't last in Dani's world.  It never lasted.

Her mother, oh her mother.  She was a selfish beast of a woman, Dani figured that out right quick as a child.  For as long as she could remember, Dani had been told at every opportunity that her mother only married him, it, that, because of her.  She was pregnant and stuck.  She wasn't in love, she didn't care about him.  She certainly didn't care about the baby.

It didn't take Dani long to figure out that she just was more afraid of being alone than with someone she loathed.

Their tale of wedded bliss began and ended in a courthouse with witnesses pulled from the hallway.  Visibly pregnant by then, she'd at least had the decency to put the cigarette down for a picture with her new husband.  The picture that would be the only outward evidence her parents were married since she refused to wear a ring, saying it would control her.  She wouldn't be limited. The smirk on her face in that photo was trite and revealing.  She didn't want to be there.  She didn't want to be married.  She hadn't quit smoking because she didn't care.  The baby was an inconvenience to her.  A life changing, unwanted inconvenience.

Dani grew up being reminded of that all by her mother repeatedly, until it finally became ingrained in who she was at her core. She was a mistake.  She ruined lives.  She messed things up.

Dani's earliest memories were of being yelled at by that woman.  Slapped.  Forced to spend hours in her room, where she dared not make a sound for fear of what would happen if she did.  She remembered being so grateful when her father would come home from work, because then things would be better.  She could breathe again.  He would calm that woman.  Mama wouldn't hit her then, never did when he was around.

He made Dani better.  He made her safe.

Her memory flashed to the day, one of many, where she found her mother passed out on the bathroom floor.  Dani was six in this version and she knew mom was drunk again.  Vomit all over the floor, Dani carefully navigated the piles, nudging the thing on the floor to make sure it was breathing.  A moan and a swatting hand told her all she needed to know.  This was her childhood.

Then she was eleven, walking in to find her her in bed with someone else.  A man she didn't recognize.  Mother yelled, threatened.  Promised to hurt her if she told anyone.  This man started to come around more and more, but never when he father was home, and Dani knew what that meant.  She tried to ignore what she saw as much as she could, force it away from her mind, but it wouldn't go.  The stench was undeniable and the entire house smelled like deception.  Her father found out one day, and even though Dani never understood it, he was broken.

He loved her, even though she never loved anyone or anything.

The day, not long after that, when the person she called mother left.  Forever.  Never looked back, not once.  She threw dishes first, yelled at her father about how this was his fault.  He made her do it.  Thrust her spindly finger out at Dani and lashed her verbally for one last time before she walked out the door and never came back.

Her mother was a liar, an abuser, a cheater.  Then one day, she was just gone.

Her father, the only constant in her life for too long.

Dani's memory flashed to Bryan again.  To the night he found her on the bathroom floor.  The ways in which that all was similar to how she'd found her own mother as a child made her sick to her stomach.  She hated that woman with a depth of loathing she'd never known for or toward anything else.  The last thing she wanted, ever, was to be like her.  Like that.

The day that Bryan left burned into her memory again, suddenly.  He said all those things, and he'd meant them all.  She didn't trust him. She didn't tell him.  She was afraid to be married.  She didn't want a baby.  She hadn't even given him a chance.  He deserved better and she took all that away from him.  He deserved the truth, and she'd denied it.  He tried but couldn't forgive her.  She knew immediately when he left that she'd failed not just him but herself.  She also knew it was too late.

In many ways, she had already become her mother.  She hurt the only people who loved her.

She had become her worst nightmare.

And now, in this moment, in this place, she wasn't afraid anymore.

She had learned so much about herself, how she got to this place, how she became who she was in the past year.  Therapy had helped some, the clarity of sobriety more so.  Each day things came into focus more.  She still had far to go, but she was good now.  Really good.

The best she'd ever been.

Scott had taught her to love.  He'd known her at her absolute worst, even when he found out only because she hadn't been good enough about hiding it.  He didn't judge. He didn't leave.  He wanted to help her.  He wanted her to learn to help herself.  To find her value.  To see her good.

He made her better.

Time launched forward again, and she was dizzy in the moment.

He held in his hand the most beautiful ring.  The center stone was an aquamarine, the band encrusted with tiny diamonds.

The stone symbolizes truth, he said.  When I look at you, I see our future together.  I love you.  Dani, will you marry me?

She glanced around the room quickly, trying to force every piece of this moment into her memory, and she took a leap of faith.  In him.  In herself.  In love.

Yes. 


This post is part of a fiction challenge I am participating in.  This is a continuation of a story that already has two parts.  You can find them here: part 1part 2, part 3part 4part 5, part 6 and part 7.

Here is this week's prompt:

Your character has a certain deep-held belief about love and fidelity. This belief may be based on religion, on something s/he learned from her/his parents, or on her/his own experience. Decide what this belief is and where it came from. In your story, something happens to the character that seems incompatible with this belief. How does your character react? Write the story.

Check out the pieces from the other participants!


http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/
http://www.susannenelson.wordpress.com/
http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com/
http://www.mollyfield.com/
http://neargenius1.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spandex & Love

There are times when my faith in humanity are shaken more than they normally are.  I'm a generally cynical person these days, so it doesn't take much to make me wonder what the hell happened to society.

There are times like today when I question not just humanity, but all the rest of it.  Cosmos, fate, the wisdom of a higher power.

When bad things happen to good people, I think that's a normal reaction.  At least it is around here anyway.

Welcome to my jaded head.

Anyhow, I picked up the girls from school this afternoon and headed to a school the next town over for my oldest son's wrestling match.

They start them at 3:30, which makes it almost impossible for most parents, even the stay at home variety, to ever make it on time.  Consequently, I'm always hauling ass to the school to try and make sure I get there in time to see him.

I walked in the doors just before his name was called for his first match.

Whew.

Parenthood...it's not about all the times you are there, it's the one time you're not that they remember.  

I take my own memories of that from my childhood pretty seriously, so I patted myself on the back for not screwing it up this time.

I found a seat in the bleachers with the rest of my herd.  You know, my three other kids.  First, the ADHD child who cannot physically make herself sit still after 4pm no matter what I do.  I could literally sit on her and she'd find a way to squirm out from under me.  The younger daughter who is always so terribly bored with everything in the world and needs to check out the bathroom everywhere we go almost constantly.  And the 4 year old who always has the attention span of a gnat.

This is what I'm dealing with, while I'm trying to ignore the fact that the gym smells like farts and feet, knowing it's at least another hour and a half before his next match.

My patience was about shot, my emotions for the day long ago spent, and I had no cell phone reception (which is a tragedy all unto itself when you're spending over two hours in a middle school gym).

I was tired and worn out, beaten down a little by life.

Then, something happened.

Something strange and beautiful.

There are two differently-abled boys on my son's wrestling team.  The school is phenomenal with including each and every kid who wants to participate. One of them was called for the next match, and two of the boys helped him across to the check in table next to me.

He struggles with communication, so they told the judges his name.  They patted him on the back and wished him good luck.

He stepped onto the mat, shook hands with his opponent and the match began.

Then, one by one, the boys from our team lined up at the edge of the mat to cheer for him.

All the anger and frustration, negativity and sadness in my heart melted away as I watched these spandex wearing tweens yelling and clapping for this boy.


It was amazing.

They told me that there is good left in people, that our youth aren't as spoiled and entitled as we sometimes believe, that kindness is stronger than judgment, that a team isn't made of athletes, but of friends.

I was proud of them all.

I needed that bit of hope today.

Ignore the lady crying in the stands.  It's just me.

Nothing to see here, move along.

I will try

Life is not fair.

Sometimes really terrible things happen to people for no ascertainable reason. 

We do nothing to deserve them.  

We do nothing to bring them on.  

We can do nothing to avoid them. 

Nothing can make it better. 

Nothing can make it right.

There is no answer that is without pain, without loss, without risk.

Life is far more complicated than it ever seems to the rest of the world.  

We all have our tragedies.  

We all have our demons.  

We all suffer.

It's not fair.

Some do it for the world to see.  

Some do it quietly.  

Some know that to involve other people would only increase their suffering and so they keep it in. 

Sometimes it's easier to do it alone.

Sometimes it seems like no one understands. 

Sometimes the best you can hope for is to make it through this breath.  

Then the next.  

Worry about tomorrow when you get there.

I will try to fix you.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday, part deux

Since I accidentally posted what I wrote for today last night, I've had over 12 hours to find new things to be pissed off about.

Is that a challenge?

Mwhahaha

My Phone
My phone is an asshole.  A lot.  Most of the time I love it and all the wonderful things it does, but it's a pain in my ass fairly frequently.  It doesn't like to be cold.  Or hot.  It likes to be at a constant temperature, preferably about 75.  Our house thermostat is set at 67, and that's too cold.

When the phone gets too cold, the screen flickers until it just stops displaying.  So then I have to breathe on it, sit on it or cram it somewhere warm (use your imagination, then get your minds out of the gutter for a second).  This phone refuses to believe it lives in Colorado, where the average high temperature in February hovers in the 40s.

OH!  And, my weather app likes to force me to learn new languages.  For a while, all my weather reports were in Chinese.  Today, they are in German.  Can't be Spanish, the other language I actually can read.  Nooooo, that would be too easy.

Everything in my house
We've lived in this house for almost eight years now.  With four kids, five different dogs, two different cats, too many parties to count and more vomit than you'd ever want to know about.  My floors are shot, and my carpet shampooer died a horrific death last year.  The kind of death so bad that you unplug it and hurl the smoking machine out the back door in a hurry.  The carpet is stained, ripped, has holes in it from dogs, edges shredded because of cats.  The wood floor is warped in places, and completely stripped of any protective finish in others.

The floors aren't the only thing though.  There are places where the base molding is just gone.  Missing.  Kicked off, run into, broken.  Everything needs repainted.  All the windows need re-caulked again.  The appliances are starting to go, not that I can say I blame them.  Six people demand a lot from dishwashers and washing machines.  The dishwasher has the glue equivalent of duct tape holding it together and my husband can take the washing machine apart in less than 3 minutes now.  The oven door is falling apart.  The microwave hasn't shut right in years. The drawers in the fridge are all cracked and the water line to the ice machine vibrates now.  I'm fairly certain it's not supposed to do that.

I'm pretty sure it's all going to die at the same time.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Spammers and Robots
For whatever reason, I've had more spammers post crap on my Facebook page in the last week than I have the rest of the time I've run it combined.  I ignore them, delete whatever they post, report it and ban them for life, but it's chapping my ass.

The thing that makes me the most frustrated is that I can't do any of that from my phone, which is my FB tether most of the time.  I'm not on the computer all that often these days, but have to get on one to delete these jerks.

Facebook recently created a page manager app, which I was all excited about until I realized that it really wasn't any different than the regular Facebook app.  We should be able to deal with spammers remotely, but I'm sure the powers that be at FB are just trying to figure out a way to let us do it for a price.  Kinda like they will only show my posts there to 25% of my fans in general because I refuse to pay them to sponsor posts.

The spambot comments on my blog are getting more and more interesting as well.  Lots of sex toys ads....because apparently that's who I attract these days.

GoodReads
Holy hell, this website.  Sometimes I amaze myself with my behind-the-timesness, as I'm sure this site has been around for years and I just discovered it.

It's like Pinterest was for a few months after I found it....addicting.  I'm wanting to try and remember every single book I've ever read, which is seemingly impossible...then I want to read every book the site recommends based on my past history and interests.

Let's be honest, though.  I don't read.  Not nearly as much as I wish I did, anyway.  The last books I read were the Hunger Games series almost a year ago and 50 Shades of Grey, which was incredibly disappointing.  I wrote a review of that one, if you haven't seen it yet.  Just be warned, there are spoilers, and my review is far more entertaining than the book itself.

Now I want to go to the library and check out 16 books and sit and read them so I can check off more boxes on this damn website.

Except I owe the library $37 in late fees.

Don't ask.

The Harlem Shake
I seriously have nothing against this dance or fad or craze or whatever it is.  I just hate the fact that I don't understand it and it makes me feel old.  We went to a college basketball game last week and everyone under the age of 25 seemed to know WTF it is, we just sat there like the dinosaurs that we are.  Crazy kids.

Bring back something I understand.  Cotton Eyed Joe and I had a disagreement once because he's a real ass kicker, but I could go for a little Running Man any day.  Jesus, I am old.

If you don't know what the Harlem Shake is either, watch this.  Then explain it to me.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the racist slapper, addiction and jerkoff edition

There was so much stuff to include for this that I started writing it yesterday.  Either this week is disproportionately full of shitty news stories or I'm just in the mood to be exceptionally pissed off. I guess it doesn't really matter, since you people seem to adore my rants.

Off we go.

Are we really talking about a water bottle?
Last week was the State of the Union address where POTUS talked about revolutionary things like universal preschool and raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour (good lord, the audacity of this man sometimes....aaaaand you know I'm being sarcastic, right?)  He talked about gun control legislation, voter rights and bringing the last of the soldiers home from Afghanistan.

As is customary, the party to which the President does not belong was given time to provide a nationally televised rebuttal immediately after the speech.  The powers that be in the Republican party chose Marco Rubio, the guy proclaimed by some to be the savior of the party.  As long as they're talking about the party somehow being saved by increasing extremism...which didn't exactly work out for them in the last election...but I digress.

Anyhow, it seemed like all anyone could talk about in the hours and days after the speeches was the fact that Rubio seemed nervous and fumbled a bit while trying to grab a bottle of water, as if that is somehow more relevant than the fact that this guy, the supposed savior of the party, voted against the Violence Against Women Act just hours before.

The picture IS amusing, I'll give you that, but
this is NOT important.  
Yep, that water bottle sure was more important.

***bangs head on desk***

Racist Baby Slappers
Joe Rickey Handley did what plenty of people do in the country every day on airplanes.  He got tired of listening to a baby cry.  Boo hoo. It's part of life, jerkoff.  Instead of dealing with it like a normal fucking person, he told the mother to shut that n***er baby up, then slapped the two year old across the face.

And yes, for the record...I will curse like a sailor on this here blog, but I'm not typing that word.  In some ways, that pisses me off more than the fact that he hit someone else's kid.

My son was slapped by a stranger once.  True story.  It's amazing that I'm not behind bars because I was so angry, but unlike that vile woman and this racist dickhead, I actually HAVE SELF CONTROL.

He's already being charged with federal assault charges, but I hope to god that they slap this jerk with a hate crime too.

The illusion of okay in the face of addiction and mental instability
Mindy McCreedy killed herself last weekend, just weeks after her boyfriend took his own life.  She left two children without a mother.

She's struggled with addiction and mental problems for years.  She was in abusive relationships, torrid affairs, she's had a DUI and has been charged with other crimes including battery, identity theft and unlawful imprisonment.  Her kids were in foster care because she had been deemed an unfit mother.

She had attempted suicide more than once in the past, and is the fifth person featured on the show Celebrity Rehab to have died in the past three years.

She assured her fans, her friends that she was okay...and even if people claim they were concerned now, what's done is done.  Too many people are lost every day in this country at their own hands. Too many of them suffer mental disorders, substance abuse, addictions.  Too many.

105 people a day, on average.  Gone.

We must do better.  We must treat mental illness as a medical disease just like we treat cancer and diabetes.  We must take the stigma away from it.  We must encourage people to seek treatment and help.  We must treat addiction the same way, like the disease that it is.  We must do better.

First Do No Harm?
Isn't the hallmark of the Hippocratic oath, the one that doctors swear to uphold, to first do no harm?  It's always been my understanding that this piece is the quintessential one, the most important, the most revered.  And yet, this week, I saw quite the opposite happen.

A friend sought advice from her doctor about a situation.  A complicated, dangerous situation where there is too much at stake.

Instead of offering medical advice, objectively and soundly in the best interest of his patient, instead of recusing himself because the situation might go against his moral fibers, instead of referring her to someone more able to treat her, he judged her.  He sat in judgment.  He provided no information, no advice.  He didn't even suggest treatment alternatives that lined up with his personal beliefs.  He just judged.

In doing so, he did harm.  Irreparable harm.

There are things that happen in this world that place competing interests against each other, and the human condition lends itself to too many of those situations.  If we cannot trust our physicians to, at a minimum, not make it worse, what are we left to do?

I am angry.  Very, very angry on her behalf.

I'm going to take my toys and leave
Magpul is a company that produces molded plastics here in Colorado.  Among the many items they produce are high capacity magazines for guns.

The state legislature is currently debating implementing many gun control laws in Colorado, one of which pertains to limits on the size of magazines that can be owned here within the state.  As a concession to the gun lobby, the limit was raised from 10 units of ammunition to 15.

Importantly, there are no proposed laws here in the state that would outlaw the manufacture of these magazines.  Though private citizens would not be permitted to purchase them in state limits anymore if it passes, they can still be produced here.  The magazines could be shipped to other states and purchased for military and law enforcement purposes here.  Retired members of law enforcement are not subject to the same restrictions as the general public, and could still purchase them as well.

Magpul is threatening to pull up stakes and leave the state all together.  They've launched an all out assault on the state legislature, taking out full page ads in local papers threatening to leave, claiming that the proposed state law would force them out, when it does no such thing at all.

If you're going to leave, Magpul, just be honest about it.   Stop trying to manipulate people by lying about what this law would actually do.

Tragedy, Heroes and the Definition of Overreaching

Three days ago, there were two major news stories the media was circulating.

One, a cruise ship that was stranded without power for five days after a fire in the engine room was towed into port.

Two, a meteorite hit Russia, injuring over a thousand people.

The meteorite got less press coverage than the cruise ship, and I'm not exactly understanding why.  That story exposed the very real fact that the Earth currently has no defenses against meteorites, asteroids, comets and other items floating around in space.  Depending on which scientist you listen to, rocks this size hit the Earth once every few years or so, with no prediction to when they will come or where they will hit.  I've heard on the news that we lack the technology to detect them at this size, but I think that's a joke honestly.  We have the technology to spy on individual human beings from outer space, so I'm pretty sure the actual technology exists, it just isn't funded and used for that specific purpose.  

Over a thousand people were injured, a number that certainly would have been higher had the rock hit Earth instead of exploding in the air like it did.  Had the meteorite hit Western Europe or the United States, there would have been a lot more press coverage of it.  Just because this one hit over there doesn't mean the next one will.

Of course, this issue mostly falls into the category of things an average person can't actually worry about because there's not a damn thing we can do about it.  Unless we had billion dollar space science programs to back us up....

As for the cruise ship, I honestly didn't pay much attention to it until it was towed into shore and the newsmedia started referring to the passengers as heroes.  Calling it a tragedy at sea.  I'm pretty sure that's overreaching a bit.  They are people who had a shitty vacation.  People who probably will get vouchers from the cruise line for another cruise.  People who had to wait four hours for a hamburger and sleep on outside decks.

Forgive me, but it's all a bit dramatic.

After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, we didn't have power for 4 days.  The gas lines were shut off longer than that.  We had to boil water for weeks.  We were lucky we had a swimming pool, even if it had huge cracks in the bottom and the water was leaking out, because at least we could use buckets to flush the toilet for the first week.  We slept in the car outside because FEMA hadn't gotten around to assessing whether our house was safe to remain in, with twisted beams holding up the second story.  My brother was very sick at the time, and I dug through broken glass and debris during aftershocks to get his meds, worked with neighbors to get a generator up and running so he could use his nebulizer.

We didn't get any help from the police or the fire department.  Our area's damage didn't even make the press because we were on the other side of the hill from LA county.  No one knew that our school was unsafe to enter for months, that we spent half our senior year splitting schedules with our cross town rival.  Had the quake happened during a school day, hundreds of students would have been killed by collapsing overhangs.

I've lived through worse than what those people on that boat did.  Except I didn't get a few awesome days of vacation first, and no one wanted to interview me on tv.

People around the world live every day in conditions worse than these people endured for a few days.  People in the United States are hungry, have poor sanitation, don't have a proper roof over their heads.

I'm sure that these people had to go through a lot.  I don't mean to diminish the fact that the conditions were probably awful....but these people aren't exactly heroes.  They had a vacation ruined.  They were already with their family and friends.  There was food, though not an abundance of it.  No one died.

They all got off the boat, got fresh water and food immediately.  They got to take hot showers.  They're back in their homes now.  They all had enough extra money to afford a trip that cost that much in the first place.

I think in this country, we need a healthy dose of perspective.  We need a media that doesn't sensationalize transient news stories.  We need a media that gives coverage to the real and legitimate issues facing people here and around the world.

In the United States alone, 17.2 million households are food insecure and over a million children are homeless.

Enough talk about ruined vacations.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

We Aren't Friends

As a follow-up to my post yesterday, I wanted to write a little bit about the agony and defeat of parenting.

As much as it hurt when my little girl told me screamed that she hated me, I took it as a sign that I'm doing something right.

As parents, our job isn't to be friends with our kids.  Our job isn't to make them happy all the time.  Our job isn't to create a universe where things always go their way.  Our job isn't to smooth the speed bumps and reduce the unfairness they will confront.

Our job is to parent them.

Period.

Life sucks.  Life isn't fair.  Life is a real bitch sometimes.  But it's also reality.

If we don't ever teach them to deal with changes, to adapt, to be conscious of other people's needs, to react reasonably, to make good choices, to pick themselves up when they fall, we aren't doing them any favors.

Life isn't going to bend at their will because they stomp their feet and throw a fit.

Neither should we.

Is it easier to give in sometimes?  OF COURSE.

We all do it.  We all cave sometimes.  It's human nature.

Easier isn't better though. Easier can't become habit.  Easier teaches them to whine, to complain, to nag until it wears on you.  That they can wear you down.  That they can get their way if they push enough.

I know people, too many people, who make it their mission to be friends with their children.  Who want their children to like them.  Who want to have things in common with their kids.

We can do all that friend stuff when they're adults.  Right now, my job is to parent them.  To discipline them.  To give them structure.  To teach them.  If we can get along in the process, that would be great...but it's not my goal. I hope that someday we can be friends when they are grown and have flown the coop and have responsibilities of their own.

To illustrate my point, there is a commercial out right now for fruit snacks.  I won't say which brand and I won't link the commercial for a few reasons, one of which is that this crap isn't food and no one should be feeding it to their kids.

Sorry, I'll put my crazy liberal back in the cage.

Anyhow, in the commercial, the kid whines through the entire grocery store, bugging his mother incessantly.

Does she leave a full cart of groceries in the store, apologizing to the employees, as she drags her beast of a child out (like I've done too many times to count)?   No.

Does she recite the word no so many times that she starts to wonder if it's the only thing that ever comes out of her mouth (like it seems I do every day)?  No.

Does she tell her kid to knock it off and behave, to stop whining and act his age, finally requiring him to hold on to the cart like a toddler if he's going to keep it up (like I do)? No.

Does she eventually get so frustrated that she leaves the store exhausted and without half the stuff on her list because it's just freaking easier to go at midnight alone (like I've done a million times)? No.

She buys him a box of fruit snacks.

Hell.to.the.no.

I'll live with being accused of ruining their lives.

It's part of the job description.

We aren't friends.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I hate you

It was just a matter of time, and I knew it.

From the moment my newborn babies were placed in my arms for the very first time, I knew that today would come.

I knew that eventually those words would come out.

I hate you.


To be completely honest, I'm a bit amazed that it's taken as long as it has.  I have almost twelve years of mothering under my belt, and figured that it would have happened sooner than this.

I also expected it to come first from a different child.

Kids.

They keep you on your toes.

As I sit here and write this, the child who screamed at me that I'd ruined her life and that she hated me rages in her room.

I know that she's throwing things.  I know that she is crying as loud as she can to make sure I hear her.  I know that she slammed her door for full effect.

She knows that she was wrong.  She knows she is overreacting.  She doesn't care right now.

I just sit here and breathe.

I know that I'm doing the right thing.  Staying calm.  Reminding her that we treat each other with respect in this family, and that her words are not okay.  Telling her that she will be punished for being disrespectful.  Staying consistent every time she attempts to beg off her punishment by coming down the stairs and snuggling up to me.

I did not yell.  I did not lash out in anger at her.

I'm not angry.

I am hurt.

Even though I knew this day would come, even though there have been hints at this for a while now.  It still hurts. Her sister started accusing me of ruining her life months ago, but this combination of words never came out.

Until today.

Their older brother has never been the authority challenger in the house.  He's not the limit pusher or boundary tester.  He keeps his head down and does what he's supposed to almost all the time, and when he is called on his mistakes he tends to realize that the punishment is deserved.  He might be sad and angry, he might make pathetic faces at me, but he doesn't rage.  He doesn't yell.

His sisters do.

I'm ruining their lives, one day at a time.  Or so they think.

And that's fine.  I can live with it.  I'll add a thicker layer of skin and hold my ground.  I'll tell them to go hate me in their rooms.  I'll remind them that hate is a strong word and should only be used for situations more serious than whatever this one is.

They can hate me all they want for enforcing boundaries, for teaching lessons, for things in life outside my control.  I hope that their reasons will always revolve around re-scheduled play dates and inconveniences and least favorite dinners.

I hope they never have real reasons to hate me.

I hope I never give them those reasons.

God, I hope.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Fiction Challenge, episode seven


Dani sat in the beige chair in the corner, the one with the fake leather that smelled like disinfectant and squeaked every time she shifted her weight.  Her legs were pulled up to her chest and her chin rested on her right knee.  She ran her finger along the windowsill over and over again, feeling the contrast of the smooth frame and rough drywall texture.  She stared out the window, wondering what life might be like if she could make it through all this.  If she could actually stop.

The giant oak tree outside had just started to sprout leaves, and the grass showed the earliest hints of green.  It had rained the night before, and the color outside in the world seemed brighter today.  More vivid.

Being here, in this place, made it easier.    Obviously, no one was allowed to use anything in the building.  No one was allowed to bring it in.  She couldn't leave and go get it, not if she wanted back in.  It was part of the agreement.  She'd surrendered her bags to be searched when she came through the doors fourteen days ago.

The guard at the door had been kind, but firm.  Eyeballing her as he asked if she was hiding anything, gauging her face and body language for any kind of reaction.  He'd been here a while, she guessed.

She hadn't tried to sneak anything in, though if she was being completely honest with herself, the thought had crossed her mind.

She slept a lot at first.  Being awake made her stomach turn.  Her mind always told her to fix it, to make it stop, to find a drink.  When the shakes got bad there was a nurse who put in an IV and gave her something that helped.   She figured it was phenobarbital, but didn't ask.

The nurses were always so calm, even when she was coming undone.

Dani didn't remember much about the first few days except being curled up in the fetal position a lot.   They tried to get her to eat, but not much stayed down.  Something about her heart rate being too fast and her blood pressure being high.  Lots of meds in the beginning.

It got better eventually, though she still had the tremors occasionally.  Her dreams had become more bold and disturbing, and she sometimes had trouble telling reality from the dreams. The counselors said it was normal, though nothing felt normal about it at all.

Normally, she would just drink.  Not that drinking is normal, but to her it was.

She worried about things staying this way, the inability to discern truth from fiction.  She worried a lot.  The anxiety was almost overwhelming at times, but they had meds for that too.

She found it all so terribly ironic.  Here she was, supposedly to stop drinking.  Here they were, handing out even stronger drugs.  It seemed inconsistent.

She resigned herself to it all.  She remembered learning about detox in nursing school briefly.  There's a method to the madness, or at least that was how they explained it.

It was a little belief.  A little doubt.  Somehow it seemed to make sense.

It all came into focus a bit more with each day.

She felt a little less crazed.  A little more sane.

There were all these people here who understood.  Who had spent years helping others through the worst of this.  Who had been through it or were going through it now.  Since she'd been in the program, two more had come in and she wondered if that is what she looked like at first too.  The hollow eyes, the disillusioned expressions, the sense that they were just lost and angry.  The vomiting.

Oh, the wretching.  The dry heaves.

That had been the worst.

She reasoned that most people didn't exactly go to rehab by choice.  Someone, something took them and dropped them off, pushed them through the doors.

The last guy was maybe in his early twenties.  Maybe.  He might have been younger, even.  How had he ended up here so young?  Dani struggled with that.  His mother was crying at the door.  Begging him to fix himself.  Sobbing.  They wouldn't let her back with the patients.  Dani was grateful for that.  Her own mother had needed to go to rehab years before but hadn't.

Honestly, it wasn't a huge surprise Dani had ended up here in this place.  Seeing someone else's mom actually caring enough to force this upon him made her wish that things had been different.

Maybe if they were different, she wouldn't be here.  Maybe.

She stared out the window again, watching the cars pass on the road below.

She tapped her nails on the window.

She wasn't exactly here voluntarily, but she wasn't fighting it either.  Not anymore.  She was tired of fighting.

The judge had given her options. Or at least had made it seem that way. By then, Scott knew everything and still sat behind her in court during the hearing. He didn't leave. She didn't understand.

She didn't deserve him.

The district attorney couldn't charge her with a DUI since she hadn't been tested that night for alcohol levels, and she fell below the cutoff when she was interrogated the next day.

She had caused some property damage, though.  Driving off after hitting a couple cars isn't exactly a good idea, especially when there is a party nearby and there are several eyewitnesses.

There was another hit and run that night on the other side of town, which she was initially accused of too.  Which is also why her car had been impounded by the police.  Thankfully, surveillance cameras in the area showed a different car.  A different suspect.  She breathed a huge sigh of relief when the public defender told her that she wasn't implicated in that one anymore.

That accident had put a mother and two kids in the hospital.

At least all she had done was hit some cars.  Old, cheap cars at that.

She'd dodged a huge bullet and she knew it.

When her car was released from impound the week after the accident, she finally saw the front end damage. It was mostly the bumper. Cosmetic. The car still ran fine, and she didn't have the money to fix it.

At least she hadn't hit that lady and her kids.

Thank God.

She found comfort in the strangest things sometimes.

They were still charging her with hit and run though, which is what she sat before the judge for three weeks ago.  He stared down at her over the top of his reading glasses with a disapproving face that bore a hole right into her soul and made her feel like she was four years old sitting in the corner again.

He looked like a disappointed father.

The judge gave her the option.  She could go to trial, or she could go to rehab and the charges would be reduced.  She would still have to be on probation for a while, but would serve no jail time if she completed rehab and stayed out of trouble.  He knew she was an alcoholic.  He knew even though they couldn't charge her with the DUI.  He knew even though she'd never admitted it.  He just knew.

For that, she was actually grateful.  She was tired of hiding.  Tired of the lies.

More than that, she was afraid what she was capable of.

Her lawyer mumbled something under his breath about how the judge was giving her a gift and she should take it.  She turned to see Scott nodding.  He reached for her hand and urged her to take the deal.  Go to rehab.

He whispered I love you, and she agreed.

Within 48 hours, she was packed and on the way.  Scott drove her here, nudged her out of the car, kissed her goodbye when she checked in.

Dani knew she didn't deserve him, but she needed him.  She needed someone who actually wanted her to be better.  Someone who loved her.  Someone who supported her.  She needed him.

She slipped the journal out again from the drawer and started writing.  It always came out feverishly.  She pressed down so hard on the paper that it ripped in places.

The counselor told her this would help.  She wasn't sure, since it seemed like everything she wrote just made her sad or angry.  It all hurt.  Her mother, her childhood, Bryan, that night when he found her, waking up on his street, the police.  All of it.

Almost all of it.

The only good thing she had to hang onto was Scott.  For reasons that made no sense to her, he was in this.  He wasn't running away.  He sent her letters almost every day.

For the first time in a long time, for the first time she could remember, she was hopeful.

She wasn't about to let go now.

She had to do this.  For him.  For herself.

She looked at the clock.  It was almost 4pm.  Time for the meeting.  The first one.  The first of many.  She was required to go to this meeting every day starting now.  She'd have to go every until she was discharged.  And then she had to find one on the outside after.  And go.  Her probation dictated it.

She put the journal away and shut her door almost completely.  Walked down the hallway trying to fight the urge to peek into everyone else's rooms.  She pulled her sweater tightly around her, suddenly cold from the draft in the hall.

She walked into the circle and sat down.  Crossed her arms.  Took a deep breath. The leader began the meeting, and Dani struggled to stay focused.  She was nervous.  She hadn't been out of her room much since she got there except for meals.  The voices of the other people seemed muffled in her head, and then they were looking at her.

They were all looking at her.

She slowly stood up, with weary legs that she wasn't sure would hold her weight.  She gulped hard.  She had to say it.

For the first time.  She had to say it.

My name is Dani and I am an alcoholic.  It's been two weeks since my last drink.  


This is a continuation of a story that already has several parts.  You can find them here: part 1part 2, part 3part 4, part 5, part 6.

This week's prompt was a visual one:


A piece from the Barbara Kruger installment at the
Hirshhorn  Museum in Washington, D.C.
Check out the pieces from the other participants!


Clearly Kristal
Worlds Worst Moms
Susanne Nelson
DeBie Hive
Grass Oil
Near Genius
Quirky Chrissy

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What love is...

I'm not a religious person.  Never have been, really.  Even when we got married in the Catholic Church and jumped through all the requisite hoops, we did it more for family than for ourselves.  

Other people wanted us to get married in the Church.  We just wanted to get married. 



It's funny looking back from this place I'm in now.  When we were engaged, we had to take personality tests and go on marital retreats and meet with priests.  The tests we took back then claimed we had almost complete compatibility on everything except faith.  

The tests were wrong.  We were naive to believe in them.  We were naive to believe that love was enough or ever would be.  

Mostly, though, we were just naive.

It so happens that we were also lucky for a long time.  Life threw us plenty of curveballs and we weathered storms with grace together, until we didn't anymore.  I'll never be quite sure how or why the undoing began, but it did.  So quietly and so small at first that we didn't notice.  By then, we were busy, and didn't realize that our naive notion of love wasn't enough.  

Or maybe we did. Who knows?

Either way, the damage was done.  The imagined world we thought we had disappeared, and we were left with whatever this is.  Different.  Tarnished.  Flawed.  Broken.  

In that broken space, though, that is where true love exists.  

True love doesn't come only when it's easy.  True love doesn't come only when it is new and exciting. True love doesn't demand the perfect set of circumstances to endure. True love isn't self serving and spiteful.

True love is what was reflected all those years ago, when we included this passage in our wedding ceremony.

Love is patient.  Love is kind.  Love does not envy or boast. Love is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. ~Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient.  It waits.  It lets someone have more time than they should need to figure things out. It gives second chances. It opens the door again.

Love is kind.  It empathizes.  It hurts for them.  It worries about them.  It worries for them.  It loves them, not just as a lover, but as a person.

Love does not envy or boast.  It is trusting, even when trust seems impossible.  Impassable.  It is brave enough to step onto that road again, this time with eyes open.  

Love is not arrogant or rude.  It is humble.  It is human.  It knows it's own flaws and forgives those in the other.  

Love does not insist on it's own way.  It knows that rules and restrictions and demands are incompatible with free will. Only through free choice can love be true.

Love is not irritable or resentful.  Love forgives. Love moves on.  I need to work on this one more.

Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Amen.  Truth shall set you free, and it shall be the only path to a complete love. Truth sometimes hurts, but it always hurts less than a lie.

Love bears all things.  Yes.  Infinity.  Love tests us in ways we could have never imagined.

Love believes all things.  Without it, there would be nothing to believe in. 

Love hopes all things. It must.  I cling to hope sometimes out of necessity.  Without it, there would be nothing else.

Love endures all things.  This is where that hope portion comes into play.  I have to hope that it can, believe that it can, trust that it can.

Love never ends.  

-------------------------------------------------------------

One of the most profound quotes I've come across in this past year is this:

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. ~ Elie Wiesel

Hate may chip away at our souls, it may make us rage, it may bring us to our knees, but it also means that we still love the other person enough to care.  

I'm not indifferent, I never have been.  I've loved and I've hated, sometimes all at once.  

I'm not naive.  Not anymore.  

I am hopeful that I've figured out finally what love truly is.  

I'm hopeful that we have.

Happy Valentine's Day.


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