Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fear is the mother of all eff you's

I've spent a good chunk of my life being afraid. Afraid of doing something. Afraid of feeling something. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid to trust someone. Afraid of something bad happening. I've spent far too much time being afraid of people. I've done a lot, a LOT to overcome some of my fears over the years. For the first time since ever, I was starting to trust myself more, and fear less. I don't ever want to go back to being the girl who spent so much time living in fear. I want to be the strong, brave person who faces each challenge with a fuck yeah attitude and a drive to finish on top.

I was getting there, slowly, but getting there.

But it occurs to me, sometimes fear is a healthy response. A healthy fear is what keeps us from doing stupid things like poking a rabid bear. My fear has certainly kept me a safe distance from rabid bears. But I've let my guard down. I've been too complacent and not been on the lookout for rabid bears.

Foolish foolish me.

My dad once told me that it's always easier to believe the worst about a person than it is to see the good in a person. He taught me we have to look past the things we see with our eyes and hear with our ears. Not everything is as it seems. That I shouldn't jump to assume the worst in a person. As a result, I tend to see only the good in people until it's too late and I end up getting hurt. 

Sometimes we see the truth we want to see. Sometimes it's easier to believe a lie, than it is the truth. Sometimes a lie is so convincing you just don't want to believe it can't possibly be anything but the truth.

My fear is always that I won't be believed. My life reads like a horror fiction novel. I don't believe most of the shit that's happened to me in my life. Who wakes up in their bed with a car three feet from their head? 

I know I'm damaged and impossible at times and argumentative. I'm far from perfect. I'm flawed and fucked up. Probably worse than most. I don't pretend to be anything less than I am. I've faced a lot, seen a lot, and done a lot. I've experienced things I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I've felt shunned and alone and carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. I've fought tooth and nail and lost a good many battle. I've failed and failed and failed some more. I've cried literal buckets. I've puked. I've wanted to quit and run away.  I've cried some more.

But I'm so much better now for those things. I've learned to fear rabid bears. I've learned that I can survive and thrive, even when it's darkest and coldest. I've learned that I can succeed, even after failing 934 times. I've learned to learn from my failures. Even if it means I keep failing. I've learned I'm strong enough to get up and keep going. I've learned I'm a bit of a whiner. But that's ok, I like cheese. I've learned that I'm a good person, even if I'm fucked up and flawed. I've learned I love to laugh, even if I don't do it as often as I'd like. I've leaned to forgive, even when the person isn't someone I want to know anymore. I've learned forgiving is more for me, than it is for them. I've learned that life is always going to be hard. Fighting to live each day isn't always easy. I've learned that it's mostly worth it. I've learned that each day is a new opportunity to live the life you want. I've learned that it's not always easy doing what's right for you. I've learned that sometimes people aren't always going to like where you're going in your life. I've learned it doesn't matter, because you need to be happy with your own life. I've learned how to be my own friend and how to like myself. I've learned that I am lovable.  I've learned to let myself love others.  I've learned to lean on my friends, even when I'm used to being the strong one.  I've learned to be humble.  I've learned I am worthy. I've learned that some fear is justifiable and acceptable and should be respected.

I've learned that life is hard, but still worth getting up and fighting for. I didn't start this weekend feeling that way. Some time to reflect and a little bit of clarity seem to have renewed my will. I don't need to be right. I don't need to be believed. I don't need to be justified.

I just need to get on with being. A friend recently saw me having a hard time at work. She asked me if there was anything I could do about it. I said no. She said then let it go. I think it's time I start heeding that advice. 

It's just not healthy to keep beating your head against a wall, expecting the wall to give way to your head...

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dying is the Mother of All Eff You's

I recently wrote about turning 40, and the real reason that scares the shit out of me.  I'm not so much scared of the number, as what it means.

I've had a hat trick of a year when it comes to losing loved ones, and the year is only 3/4 of the way done.  For me, that's a lot of loss.  Two of those deaths were younger than I am.  Two of those deaths were cancer.  I'd had something of a relationship with one.  I met two at work.  Worked with one.  Loved all three.  All three were kind, good souls.

I'm dreading losing more loved ones.  I'm terrified of dying.

There is only one true certainty in life ...death (if we're not counting taxes, 'cause let's face it, you can find ways around paying taxes).  We all die.  Every single one of us (except vampires, but we're going to exclude vampires for this portion of the discussion).  There's little we can do to avoid it.  At best we can only prolong it.

I recently had a thought, and it's been gnawing away at the back of my head for a minute now.  It's one that I think I really and truly need to have answered for me.  This is one for all my religious/faith driven peeps.

Barring some tragic circumstance, why do religious folk cry when a loved one dies???  I mean, if there is a God and a Heaven, why aren't we rejoicing that they're there and getting to kick it with J.C. and eternally happy???  It seems weird to me that we mourn so egregiously when we should be happy for them.  Obviously we're going to be sad for our loss and their absence in our lives, but if there is a Heaven and it's eternal and awesome, why do we ugly cry over the death of our loved ones???

Please don't think me unfeeling or uncaring, in any way.  Also, I'd greatly appreciate not being judged too harshly.  I have questions.  I'm having an existential thing.

I just, I want to know.  I want to understand and I want peace, and more than anything, I want to believe.  My faith has been nearly obliterated.  I've tried looking for it everywhere, but it's playing a cunning game of hide and seek with me.

Losing what once was a big part of you, sucks.  I want so badly to believe, but how do you believe in something when all logic and reason tell you to do otherwise???  I'm not one to just go through the motions, so going to church when I'm a doubting Debbie isn't going to help.  I know how to pray and talk to God, I'm not a total heathen, I just don't know what I believe these days.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Who am I???

I'm not often curious about what makes other people tick (people generally suck and the less I know about why they suck, the better off I'll be!), but I do often wonder about what makes me tick.  Like, why do I like mushrooms and okra and broccoli., but not asparagus or olives.  Why do I have a propensity to fall for tall, left handed men (this must be some weird subconscious thing I do)?  Why don't I appreciate jazz or basketball?  Why do I sleep better when there is someone else in my bed with me?  Why do I prefer to write over typing?  These are all burning questions I'd like to get to the bottom of.

I've had all manner of psychological test in my 40 years.  Yes, my mother tested me to see if I'm crazy.  Feel free to have fun with that one.

I'm not, by the way.  Or rather, I wasn't.  I guess I could be, now...

Anyway, I recently decided to see if the psychological tests you can find online are accurate.  I did a basic google search on psychological personality tests, and started from there.  Though I did sit and laugh at some of the results that popped up.  Some of the tests were labeled "are you stressed" or "are you neurotic."  Well, duh, I don't really need a test to tell me that.

The first test I took was The Big Five personality test on  Apparently I'm an extrovert (You are somewhat extroverted, preferring the company of others rather than spending time alone. Extroversion refers to an outward and interactive orientation. Extroverts are stimulated by being around others and are often considered gregarious or outgoing. People with this orientation usually have a lot of friends, and find it easy to interact with strangers. They tend to feel lonely and withdrawn when denied the company of others. When extroverts feel bad, low on energy, or stressed, they look outside themselves for relief. They might go shopping, call friends to come over, or arrange a party) and scored a 96% on openness.  I always think of myself as being introverted, I'm perfectly fine spending time with just myself, so being called an extrovert was a little surprising.  However, I am fairly open person, so this wasn't too huge of a shock for me.

The next test I took was on  This personality test, based on the Five Factor Model of personality, seems to agree with the first test about my extroversion.  I scored very high on extroversion, openness, and neuroticism.  These results told me that I have a lot of energy, have average friendliness, somewhere between well organized and sometimes distracted, I am more emotional than others, and I'm very open minded.  Okay, I can get on board with that.

Still not seeing myself as an extrovert, though.  I love being alone in my room with a good book or a movie.  I enjoy alone time!

Myers Briggs results
 Next I took a Myers Briggs type personality test, found on  I really found the results to be pretty interesting.  This one said that I could be either an introvert or an extravert.  Nice.  It also called me a feeler.  Seriously, I'm aware that I'm a jumble of feelings.  Not exactly news, but I did find the results to be fairly accurate and reflective of me.

Last I took a Keirsey Temperament Sorter.  I think this one may have surprised me most.  Here's what this one said:

"Idealists (NF), as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self -- always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey. Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials.
Idealists are sure that friendly cooperation is the best way for people to achieve their goals. Conflict and confrontation upset them because they seem to put up angry barriers between people. Idealists dream of creating harmonious, even caring personal relations, and they have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all. Such interpersonal harmony might be a romantic ideal, but then Idealists are incurable romantics who prefer to focus on what might be, rather than what is. The real, practical world is only a starting place for Idealists; they believe that life is filled with possibilities waiting to be realized, rich with meanings calling out to be understood. This idea of a mystical or spiritual dimension to life, the "not visible" or the "not yet" that can only be known through intuition or by a leap of faith, is far more important to Idealists than the world of material things.
Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. More often, however, Idealists are the very soul of kindness. Particularly in their personal relationships, Idealists are without question filled with love and good will. They believe in giving of themselves to help others; they cherish a few warm, sensitive friendships; they strive for a special rapport with their children; and in marriage they wish to find a "soulmate," someone with whom they can bond emotionally and spiritually, sharing their deepest feelings and their complex inner worlds.
Idealists are relatively rare, making up no more than 15 to 20 percent of the population. But their ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers."

I guess I don't know as much about myself as I originally thought!  I still don't quite understand myself as much as I'd set out to, but still some interesting info!  So, what kind of person are you????

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice???

Throughout most of my childhood, I dreamed of my future children.  I wondered what they would look like, what their likes and dislikes would be, what their names would be, if they'd like me, if they'd like brussel sprouts (I HATE brussel sprouts, so I always thought it would be weird to have kids who actually did like them), if they'd be smart, what they'd grow up to be like...  I spent a lot of time contemplating my future hypothetical children.  And like most little girls, I imagined I'd have girls.  Why does it work out that most girls want girls, and most boys want boys???

I even practiced my mommy skills.  I dutifully cared for my stuffed animals and barbies.  I saw to their every need; I mended boo boos, bathed them (my mom was soooo less than thrilled at me washing my stuffed animals in the bathtub, then dripping water from the bathroom to my playroom, where I invariably seemed to leave the towels), fixed their hair/fur, fed them, read to them, did all the mommy things that needed to be done.  I even doctored them.  Growing up I had two uncles who were doctors and only too happy to send me care packages of doctorly things for me to play with.  My barbies and animals all got very regular care.  I performed all manor of medical procedures for them.  Mr. Badger's recovery from his hysterectomy was a little touch and go, but he pulled through just fine.

In short, by the time I got around to being a mommy, I was already an expert.

Except that I didn't end up with my imaginary hypothetical children.

My first born was a boy.  Despite the fact that I'd gone shopping for all manner of girl attire for him.  I'd bought countless dresses and pink, frilly blankets, little pink shoes, and hair doohickeys.  Then, of course, he turned out to be a he.  I wasn't at all bitter when I returned and exchanged all the girly stuff.  No matter, I'm pretty found of my son, anyway.

Next came my Hope.  Huzzah, a girl!  Only, I started to realize from a very early age that she wasn't like any little girl I'd ever met.  She's 16 now, and I've spent the last 15 years trying to remind her that's she's a girl.  This isn't at all how I imagined being a mother to a little girl was going to go.  First off, she repels all attire that bears any semblance to anything girly.  She likes playing in the mud.  She likes playing football (and has a rather impressive spiral!) and camping and fishing.  Admittedly she probably got those three from me, but that's not important.  She wrestled.  She wrestled rather well.  I was actually fairly impressed with her wrestling.  Until her wrestling career ended when her older brother broke her arm trying to wrestle her.  She has short hair.  No, no, she has short hair!  And its once naturally beautiful blond has been dyed black.  We met Julie Newmar at Comic Con a couple of years back and the lovely Ms. Newmar complimented Hope on her beautiful blond locks.  I died a little bit.  I love Julie Newmar.  Julie Newmar didn't comment on my hair.  Anyway, she dyed that lovely blond to black.  My imaginary child would have left the Julie Newmar complimented hair the fuck alone!

This isn't exactly the girl child I had imagined.  So, reality and the imagined expectation of reality aren't quite the same.  Shocking, right?

But, she's strong.  The kind of strength that must have been apparent when you met Rosa Parks or Joan of Arc.  She's so beautiful.  She's smart and quick witted.  She loves books and has an appreciation for all things musical and dramatic.  She wants to be an orthopedic surgeon.  She's ever so sassy.  She's good and compassionate and caring and empathetic.

These are things I definitely imagined my child would be.  I guess I can live with not being able to put her in a dress, in exchange for her being able to put to shame any boy with her throwing arm.

Next came another boy.  I was prepared for it this time.  I knew better than to even allow myself to believe I'd be the mother of two girls.  I'm pretty fond of this guy, too, so it worked out pretty well.

My last, my baby girl, was not at all what I was expecting.  For starters, I was entirely convinced she would be a boy.  I was so convinced she was going to be a boy that I made a bet of sorts with my then husband.  We made a deal that if she was a boy that I'd get to name her, but if she was a she, he'd get to name her.  I am no longer a betting person...

My Rosebud is something else.  She's scary mean when she's mad.  No, ha ha, she's really scary!  We're ALL pretty scared of her when she's mad.  She can whoop the snot out of my 16 year old, and she's only 11, and the 16 year old has about 50 pounds on her.  She's teeny tiny and has fists of fury.  She reminds me of Taz when she gets all worked up.  She doesn't like scarey movies.  She's probably the single messiest person in the house.  She has to be constantly reminded to brush her hair.  Like, multiple times a day.  She wants to be an actress when she grows up.  She's a bit of a hard core people pleaser.  Abignation hard core (if you get that, I love you).

However, my Rosebud is everything girly.  She's girly enough for both of my daughters.  She's girly enough for 10 average girls.  At least 10.  In fact, she's so girly that she actually might out girl me.  And that's really saying something.  My room looks like it belongs to a 12 year old girl.  Or Anne Shirley.  I actually have an Anne Shirley doll in my room.  She's one of my most prized possessions and I love her.  She sits on my dresser next to an old fashioned looking (girly) bear.  She keeps Anne company.

Sorry, I digress.

She's pretty damned girly.  If there was an award for being girly, she'd probably win it.  She loves pink.  And purple.  And nail polish and perfume and makeup and accessories and dresses.  She's also caring and compassionate and she's a helper.  She's gorgeous.  She loves to read and dance and sing and act.  She's as sharp as a tack.  She likes to do girly activities and she can be dainty.  She's very polite and sweet and can be quiet and demure.

I say "can be" because she's not always, she is part me, after all.

So I didn't exactly get the children I had imagined all those years ago, I still think I won the offspring jackpot.  I've seen/met some other people's kids, I could've done soooooo much worse!

Monday, July 27, 2015

My Book Bucket List

Growing up, my mother tried to expose me to as much of the world as possible.  I've been to plays, musicals, and live performances of all kinds.  I've been exposed to music of all kinds.  Dad loved all things old timey country music, which explains my love of Johnny Cash, while mom was a total Elvis and Streisand fan.  I've met all sorts of people.  We traveled a lot when I was a kid.  As a result I've visited 49 of the 50 states (Alaska remains the last state left to visit), been to the Bahamas, Canada, and Mexico.  I've seen and experienced quite a lot in my lifetime.

But for the most part, my worldly exploration would take place from the comfort of my own home, in the form of books.

While my parents wanted me to see and live as much as possible, they also wanted me to be able to visit these places without having to leave my own room.  My mom was usually only too happy to enable and feed my book addiction.  As a result, I was a pretty well read kid.  I liked everything from L.M. Montgomery to Stephen King.  I didn't (and still don't) have a favorite genre.  I'd read anything that was put in front of me.  I'd even go so far as to read the cereal boxes, since books weren't allowed at the table.  As a kid I was a smaller, female version of the character Henry Bemis from the Twilight Zone (btw, if you get that reference, you're tops in my book!).

My best friend, Tammi, and I have spent some time discussing things we'd like to read before we die.  A bucket list of books.  A booket list.  There are a lot of books that I'd love to read and I've been doing some research about what should be on my to do list.  I recently found a list of 100 books to read before you die, and I feel pretty good about it.  If I counted right, I've read 18 of the books on this list.  Not too shabby.  I've started a few and failed to finish (have any of  you ever tried to read a badly translated copy of Anna Karenina????), but didn't count those.  I like this list, it seems pretty well rounded.

What I really wanted to talk about are some of the books I've read that have influenced my life in some way and have found a permanent home on my book shelves, both the wooden variety and the cloud variety.

I've sort of separated them into three different stages of my life: when I was young (preteen), teen years through twenties, and my "grown up" years.

Those that most influenced my life as a child, and still haven't left me after all these years, include:

  • Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McClosky - just a truly beautiful children's book!  I still have a super old copy that was mine as a kid.  It's a much loved book!
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl - this is quite possibly my most favorite book of all time.  I loved it as a kid, and I love it still today.  Every time I wanted to escape my horribly mean and unreasonable mother life, I found James and we escaped to the peach with Ladybug and Miss Spider.  Always a good read!
  • The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks - I loved trying to anticipate what kind of trouble Omri was going to get into with his cupboard.  None of my cupboards were remarkable.  Not a single barbie was brought to life.  Ever.
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame - arguably my second favorite book of all time.  It's a contender for first, it was a close call.  I still have a stuffed badger doll (named Mr. Badger, of course).  I have an affinity for talking animals.  And also toads.
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I grew up in California near a little school house that always reminded me of Little House.  I wanted so badly to be Laura.  
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien - might be a close third.  I love this one so much that I've read it with all of my kiddos.  I remember reading it with my mom and just couldn't wait to read what happened next.  I was so worried that Timothy wouldn't make it.
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - what little girl didn't want to find a secret garden?!?!?  Mary seemed like a bit of a spoiled ass biotch, but c'mon, of course I wanted to go with her to find the garden!
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery - oh Anne, Anne, Anne.  What's not to love about Anne Shirley???  I've read this book so many times I feel like I know Anne personally.  I think every girl ever should read this book.  So  much love for that carrot headed girl.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls - another one I've read with all my kiddos.  This one calls forth a real range of emotions  Admittedly, the last time we read it, I had to keep pausing my reading so I could ugly cry.  We read it aloud and at the end, when Billy buries Old Dan and Little Ann loses her will to live...well, it wasn't pretty.
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - two sort of loners who create a beautifully imagined world to escape to...yeah, I could totes relate.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by  Madeleine L'Engle - this is really a remarkably well written children's sci-fi book.  I loved reading about Meg and the tesseract.

During my teens and twenties, these were the books that were making an impact:

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell - we are all pigs.
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding - I have never been terribly afraid of monsters or demons or ghosts or boogie men.  I fear humans.  This book here is a good example of why.
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I've read this book so many times I have to buy new copies because the old ones fall apart.  I'm so in love with Katie Scarlett O'Hara.  She's so feisty and headstrong and stubborn and driven.  A woman who is used to getting her way.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I love visiting with Jem, Scout, Atticus and Boo Radley.  Such a great read!
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - "It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done."  Might be my favorite line ever.  Probably not the easiest read, but so worth it!
  • Needful Things by Stephen King - this book just says so much about the human condition.  We are greedy and selfish and quite often very ugly.  Well done Mr. King, well done.
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - really a depressing read, but paints quite the picture about a time in history where life was hard and grim.  My grandmother once recounted to me her life during the depression.  Lots of hardship and struggle.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - I still remember with vivid clarity the first time I read about the rather gruesome scene of the woman being hit by a car.  Loved Daisy. 
  • Cujo by Stephen King - this book terrified me.  I'm always afraid of being trapped in my car by a big rabid dog, anytime I go down a dirt driveway.  It's a silly irrational fear, I know.  But it's a fear I still have now.  Thank you Stephen King.

Now, as an adult, these are some of the books that I've loved most:

  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - I'm so jealous of Harry.  The whole constantly fighting for his life thing aside, he led a pretty magical life!
  • Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley - like I previously stated, I love Katie Scarlett.  I just had to read (and re read) this book.  Not quite as Margaret Mitchell as Margaret Mitchell, but it'll do.
  • Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I love these two books.  I took British Literature in high school and that's when I fell in love with Ms. Austen.
  • The Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz - there is something about this short order cook that I just love.  He's so sweet and pure and oh so loveable.  I'm always dying to find out what kind of trouble my odd one is going to get into next.
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom - really kinda gave me something to think about.  I'm not religious or terribly spiritual, but this book spoke to me.
  • The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins - I volunteer as tribute.  'Nough said.
  • The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis - sadly the only Narnia story I've read, to date.  Not sure if I should've started here or not, but I did.  Great read!
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - the only book I've read in this series, but it was so effing good!
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - nasty teenaged asshole kings, a dragon tending chick, a crippled kid, and Hodor.  Need I say more???

At this point I feel my list may be getting a tad bit out of control.  However, I'm not wrong, these books are amazing!

Books have long been an escape from my world to another reality.  Books take me to places I've never seen.  Books allow me to meet new people.  Books teach me about things I previously knew nothing about.  Books are my companion on long trips and have seen me through many a sleepless night.  Books are an invaluable resource we should be sharing, freely.  Books are my friend!

What books have influenced your life?  What books can you not live without?  What is your absolute most favorite book ever???

Go lose yourself in a good book!

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Stairway to Heaven. Except, not.

So, I recently talked about some of the things I've done on my weight loss journey.  I've literally tried a million different ways to lose this bit of extra me.  But sometimes life has a way of kicking our asses, and motivation (for whatever reason) to keep trying and keeping fighting gets lost.

It's not easy changing your life.  And truly, any weight loss journey is about changing your life.  You need to commit to the journey and it takes a certain level of serious effort.  This isn't one of those passive hobbies you just sort of pick up and work on every now and again.  It's something that demands daily attention and effort.

My best friend, Tammi, and I have tried a lot.  We got gym memberships and spent damn near every day at the gym.  We did a little bit of everything at the gym.  We did the treadmill, the 30 minute room (dear God, that was no joke!), the weight machines, the bikes, the elliptical machines (ok, so we didn't do those very often, they really hurt!)...We basically tried to incorporate the entire gym into our workout routine.  We were killing it at the gym.  Crushing it.  Just not enough to be happy with our weight loss progress.

Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure we're still getting charged for the gym, actually...

Next, we moved onto doing things like the squat challenge and the plank challenge, etc.  There were more than a few times when I wanted to kill Tammi, every time I heard her say "I found a new challenge!"  Some of these challenges are downright mean!  We twisted and contorted our bodies and pushed them to do things we hadn't previously imagined our bodies capable of.  And held it for long periods of time.  But, we were still left unfulfilled with our progress.

The ones I can do, and the ones I can't do.
I've tried doing yoga.  I actually find yoga to be quite nice.  I enjoy the stretching and trying to find my center and using my core.  I have HORRIBLE balance.  Dude, seriously, it's bad.  When I did my first (aptly named) awkward pose, I couldn't lift onto my toes without falling over.  It was a sad, sad sight.  I still can't quite breath through the half moon.  And you'd better give me a wide birth when I do the balancing stick pose.  My favorite is the warrior pose.  Not sure why, it just is.  But I still feel like it's just not enough.

We've tried walking and hiking and we've found that we really like hiking.  We get outside, soak up some vitamin D, connect with nature, and get to enjoy some really beautiful scenery!  Even when our hikes have gone horribly wrong (and some of them really have), we still end up having the time of our lives.

So  many effing stairs.
Last summer (back when we were still hiking noobs and didn't know wtf we were doing) we got it into our heads to climb the Manitou Springs Incline.  I'm still not entirely sure how we managed to survive this beast, and not just once, but twice.  Now, before I let  you get too terribly impressed with just how awesome we are (and we are), I feel I should mention that we only made it about 2/3 of the way up.  We left the stairs at the "bailout" and were quite happy to have made it that far!

The incline was/is a true test of strength.  I don't mean just physical strength, it's also a test of mental strength.   We had to endure quite a bit to get up this beast.  There are numerous points where we each wanted to give up.  Instead we cheered each other on and encouraged each other to propel ourselves further and further up the stairs.  I know there are probably a few people who would say "it's easy, I've done it in 30 mintues..."  To that I say, can you do it with an extra hundred pounds on your back???  No?  Well, I did!  That's right, I did this when I was still about 100 pounds overweight.  It hurt so bad I wanted to die.  Every inch of my being was screaming at me to stop.  I don't know what my driving force was those two days.  Could have been the desire to finish something I started.  Could've been I was too stubborn to call it quits.  Might have been that someone didn't think I even could and I needed to prove them wrong.  Maybe it was a need to say that I did it, even though I was sure I couldn't.

It took us just under three hours to make our treks.  I want to be sad that our time wasn't better.  I want to be sad that we didn't make it all the way to the top.  I want to be sad that there were people twice my age on the incline who passed us as we climbed, then passed us a second time as they made a second ascent.  I want to say I'm sad that I cried at a couple of points going up.

I want to be sad at all the shortcomings, but it's hard to be sad when you reach that "bailout" point and look down and see just how far you've come.
Couple of smug bitches.
We are total bad asses.  I'm so proud of us.  We've come a long way since we started.  We plan to keep going until we are standing on the top of this mountain, queens of the mother fucking world!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ch ch ch changes...

First off, if you didn't sing that title in your head in your best David Bowie voice, then you didn't read it right.  Try again.

I learned long ago that I am not the same person I was when I was 20.  I'm not the same person I was at 30.  Hell, in many ways, I'm not even the same person I was a year ago.

Life has a way of changing us.  Those of us who are paying attention and who are receptive of the changes, that is.  Some people are quite content staying the same.  Some people fear change.  Me, I embrace it.  Some changes are made consciously, some are born of necessity.  Life is constantly evolving and I'm just doing my best to keep up!

I recently long ago decided I needed to make some changes in my life.  I recently started making an effort to make these changes.

My ex husband could never understand my obsession with tattoos.  He was convinced I must have some ulterior motive for getting so many...surely I must be trying to impress someone.  I tried in vain to make him understand that the only person I was getting them for was me.  Nothing I do to my person is for another living soul.  My body is mine and mine alone and I would NEVER make a permanent change to it for another person.  My tattoos are an expression of who I am, worn on my body as a reminder to ME of who I am, where I've been, and things that I hold dear.

Along those same lines, I don't wear make-up to look good for someone else.  I don't dye my hair, buy certain clothes, pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs, exercise for ANYONE but me.

I've spent a good portion of my life trying to impress other people: my parents, my husband(s), my friends, my co-workers, my neighbors, my dog walker's second cousin... But, as the years came and went, it began to dawn on me that the only person I needed to impress, was me.

I am the only person I need to impress. 

That bears repeating...I am the only person I need to impress.

To that end, I've been doing some serious soul searching and have started making some changes that I hope will impress me.

For starters, I've finally convinced myself that I am in fact important.  I am not second class and need to stop treating myself as such.  I don't EVER cook for myself when my kids go spend the weekend with their dad.  I've started doing so.  Not always.  Not even often.  But enough that I actually feel good about it and enjoyed it.  I don't often spend that kind of time doing something "just" for me. 

I've also started pruning my circle.  I've eliminated some of those whose negativity/drama/whining/life sucking ways were dragging me/keeping me down.  Their presence is missed.  I miss the good times we had, but that's about it. 

I've also stopped letting myself feel so much fucking guilt.  I was holding onto so much guilt that it was tearing me apart.  I was holding onto guilt for things that I probably, in all honestly, shouldn't have been feeling guilty for in the first place. 

I stopped allowing myself to be manipulatedI stopped allowing myself to be manipulated quite so easily.  I'm aware of the manipulation, and I'm working on not being such a pushover. 

I've been working on my parenting techniques.  Because, you know, parenting is the single hardest job a person could ever have.  And the kids don't often assist with making it any easier.  At least not the teenaged ones.  I've given punishment a total reboot.  My kids absolutely hate it.  Just means I found a keeper! :-)

I rearranged my bedroom, moving my desk to the dining room.  Doesn't sound like a huge deal, but it kind of is.  I was spending too much time at my desk, in my room, isolated.  Time to re acclimate myself to civilization.

And one of the changes I'm most proud of, I've given up a great deal of my more deadly vices.  Yes, I'm a quitter.  And I'm not even ashamed.  About 9 months ago I quit smoking.  I've flirted with quitting, off and on, over the last few years.  I quit in October and haven't looked back.  I honestly don't even miss it.  I gave up drinking.  I don't drink often.  Having a progressive allergy to alcohol tends to kill the urge for it.  Just a tad.  And the one that I'm most proud of, I've given up soda.  It's been 13 days since my last Coke.  And wouldn't you know, I've been finding Coke bottles ALL OVER with my name on it.  Spelled correctly, even.  I spent the bulk of my life not having a key chain or vanity plate with my name on it, because my parents thought it would be nifty to give me an (at the time) uncommon name.  They certainly nailed that one...

I've been a devout soda drinking for about 25 years now.  That's longer than either of my marriages, combined.  Longer than my oldest kid has been on this planet.  To say it's been a difficult split is putting it mildly.  I tried, in vain, several times before to quit.  I quit quitting.  Caffeine was definitely my own personal form of heroine.  It actually took me two solid months to wean myself off.  My final push to quit came when my youngest son's doctor thought his mood disorder was being affected by his caffeine intake.  Now, I'm not a drug dealer/pusher.  I don't buy soda for my kids (except as a once in a while sort of treat), I just use it myself...  Hearing the doctor say that caffeine affects our mood, and greatly, was all I needed to hear to make that final sprint to the finish line, and quit. 

It's been 13 days.  I don't miss it one little bit.  I miss it every day.  At first I missed it nearly every minute of every day.  But, now, it's getting easier.

Since quitting, my stomach doesn't hurt nearly as often as it did before.  I'm not so irritable when I wake up in the morning (those of you who had to work early 5 am shifts with me, well, you can appreciate this most).  I'm actually able to sleep more (still not at night, though).  I don't have near daily headaches.  And (this is the best one!) I've started losing weight.  So far, I've lost about 10 pounds.  Not a huge deal, 10 pounds.  But 10 pounds in 13 days, is. 

I've literally spent years trying new fad exercises, new routines, got gym memberships, tried the South Beach Diet, thought about purging, climbed 2/3 of the Manitou Incline (will have to blog about that another time), walked, hiked, yoga'd, changed how/what I eat, and generally done damn near anything else I could think of.  None of it did anything like this.

My heaviest weight was 290.  I'm now down to 235.  I'd gotten it down to about 230, but with the inactivity of not working, I put a little back on.

What can I say???  I'm flawed, I'm  human.  But, I'm an impressive human!

I'm finally starting to impress myself.  Huzzah. 

I've basically decided to rewrite my own story.  I'm changing everything I don't like, throwing it all out.  Now, I'm deciding what to let in, and what to keep out.

I've still got a long way to go before I sleep, but I'm getting there.  I'm not done changing just yet.  I'm starting to impress myself.  But I'm not fully impressed, just yet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Aging Is The Mother Of All Eff You's

This past April I did something truly heinous and scary.  I turned 40.

I have been dreading my fortieth birthday for most of my life.


When I turned 20, I knew that I was technically an adult.  Technically.  I mean, I was a mother and was married and living my own life, wherein I paid bills and did laundry and the state of Colorado proclaimed I was indeed an adult.  Yet, I still sort of felt like I was simply playing house.  I thought, no, I'll give it a few more years, then I'll feel like an adult.

I turned 30 (despite having denied that I was having birthdays, anymore) and found a grey hair.  Actually, I found several.  Almost to the day of my thirtieth birthday.  I was fucking devastated.  I savagely ripped those blights from my head.  And then I cried.  Somehow I went from feeling like a fake adult, to an old lady, over night. 

Somewhere in my 30's I started to realize that I was no longer in my 20's.  That was a little bit devastating for me.  Actually,  it was a lottle devastating for me.

No longer could I race down a ski slope like a bat out of hell (without a helmet!) like I did when I was in my teens.  No longer could I drink like I was in my 20's. No longer could I stay up all night.  No longer could I run a mile in under ten minutes.  No longer could I go hard like I did when I was younger.  Recovery was slower and far more painful.

So, as you can imagine, I was fucking terrified to turn 40.

My 40's are making it clear that, physically, I wish I was still in my 30's.

Drinking is something to be done under the supervision of a doctor and a fully staffed support system.  As one of my friends recently put it, "having a hangover at 40 is like recovering from surgery."  True dat, my friend, true dat.

Taking a hike requires a small recovery period of three weeks and a handful of Tramadol and Percocet and a couple of muscle relaxers for good measure.

A ten minute mile?  Ha!

Ha ha ha ha!!!!

Skiing???  Are you fucking crazy?!?!?!  Dude, I managed to fracture my foot (a bone my orthopedic surgeon assured me is capable of withstanding an insane amount of pressure...meaning I'd done a really superb job in managing to fracture that puppy) by doing nothing but walking.

Skating also goes on that list of not fucking happening.


As I got closer and closer to turning 40, I started thinking a lot about just why I was dreading it.  Physically I hadn't changed all that much since my 30's.  I was less likely to take risks with my person, but I think that's maybe a sign of maturity of another kind.

I found what was truly behind my fears wasn't that I didn't want to look/be old.  No, I actually don't mind the number.  I'm damned lucky to have made it this far in life.  Childbirth was something that nearly killed me.  Stupidity in my teen years nearly killed me.  Stupidity in my 20's and 30's nearly killed me.  I'm happy to be "getting up there," actually.

What had me terrified of 40, is what it means in relation to the time I have left.  I'm no where near ready to leave this life.  I have stuff I still want to do, see, experience, teach, learn.  I want to see my daughter graduate from med school.  I want to see my grand kids graduate and get married.  I want to see the whole world.  I want to climb a glacier and explore volcanoes and run with the bulls!

My first 40 years were devoted to growing and learning and raising kids.  I've been dreading getting old and what I should have been doing is embracing it and looking forward to it all!  I have a bucket list that's nearly a mile long.  I have many things to do and a long way to go, and I'm ready to get started.

My body is trying to betray me and keep me grounded, but I'm stubborn.  I don't feel like I'm getting old.  I still play in puddles and dance in the rain.  I still play games and act silly.  I still read children's books and fall in love with old stories each time I read them.  I still laugh at farts and burps.  I still watch Scooby-Doo and love it now just as much as I did when I was a kid.  More, probably.  I still like making out in a car.  Actually, does that ever get old????  I still like to line dance at the bar.  I still like to climb up dangerously high places.

I still have a lot of life left to live.  I think my 40's will be my best years, yet.  Aging is the mother of all eff you's.  But only if you let it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The One Where I Address the Caitlyn Jenner Issue

I've been really trying to give this some serious thought before I put pen to paper, so to speak.  This issue is stuck in my craw, and I've been using this time to formulate my thoughts into cohesive, sense making sentences.  Hopefully I'll do this topic justice.

For those of you who are currently residing  under a rock and missed the hullabaloo, the shortened version...
So Bruce Jenner, former athletic powerhouse and reality "star", has recently gone public about his gender transformation.  He is now she, Bruce is now Caitlyn.  There has been some facial surgery and breast augmentation done.  There was a prominent photo shoot done by one Annie Leibovitz (lucky!!!) for Vanity Fair magazine, that seemed to really start all the hoopla.  Then there is the matter of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.  People are upset by the fact that Caitlyn Jenner has won this award for courage.  They felt other "more deserving" athletes were picked over in favor of this "publicity seeking" reality star.

Here's my two cents on the matter...

In regards to the Bruce/Caitlyn topic on the whole:  who the fuck cares.

In regards to Bruce now wanting to be known as Caitlyn:  who the fuck cares.

In regards to it being a publicity stunt:  who the fuck cares.

In regards to the Arthur Ashe Courage Award:  I have a few thoughts on this matter.

First off allow me to define courage for everyone.  Courage:
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

Does Caitlyn Jenner exude courage???  In short, yes.  Here is a person who has largely been known as a male athlete.  In my time we've come a long way towards acceptance.  But we have a VERY long way to go, still.  That which makes us different is still less accepted than the socially approved norms (though just who exactly dictates what normal is, I don't know).  Being in the public eye and being different can't be much fun.  So, here's Bruce Jenner, and he knows he's not a he.  Your options are continue being he and be miserable but accepted.  Be Caitlyn at home, when nobody is looking, and likely be miserable, still.  Or publicly be Caitlyn, who you believe yourself to truly be, and open yourself up to ridicule and scrutiny and hate.  And likely be miserable.  But, at least you get to be yourself.  Me, I'd probably hide who I am for fear of rejection.  I don't feel I'd be courageous enough to publicly renounce the man I was born as, and embrace the woman I want/know myself to be.  No matter what your opinion on the person/the act, you have to agree that it was in fact an act of courage. 

I've been deeply saddened by the backlash from this story.  Caitlyn's story, transition, and winning the Arthur Ashe award doesn't take anything away from anyone else.   You and I are still who we were before this all started.  Veteran Noah Galloway is still a remarkable human being, even though he didn't receive the award.  I'm sure he'll still get up and go for a run today, anyway.  I'm sure he'll still keep rocking in the athletic world, despite not having the title of Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipient.  The world just keeps on going, like that.  I'm sure Noah Galloway would be the first one to tell you not to feel sorry for him, as he seems to not need your pity.  I'm fairly certain he's still courageous without the award.  

If it makes you feel any better at all, they didn't ask me who I felt should receive the award, either.  

Personally, I feel anyone who gets up off their ass and does something to better themselves should get an award for courage.  My heaviest weight is 290.  I've managed to knock off about 50 pounds.  So far.  It's not easy.  I constantly have to struggle to move more.  I've hauled my fat ass up the Manitou Springs Incline.  Twice.  Tell me that didn't take some courage!  We need to take the time to recognize that all of us are capable of courageous acts, they just come in different forms of courage.

I am constantly reminding my kids that they can't change the world, they can only change themselves.  I'm beginning to feel like I'm doing them a great disservice in telling them this.  Normally I like to tell them this little nugget of wisdom when I want them to stop trying to control what another sibling has done/is doing.  My point to them is that they need to stop worrying about what others are doing, because we can't change others.  We have no control over what another person does, says, thinks.  The only one we can exert that kind of control over, is ourselves.
But, here is Caitlyn Jenner.  She might not be out to change the world, but she is.  She's helping pave the way for others, intentionally or not.

What truly saddens me about the world we currently live in, is that it costs nothing to be accepting of others.  Your religion tells you that being gay is "wrong"???  That's awesome, I'm glad you found a religion that allows you to follow your beliefs and makes you happy.  Doesn't your religion teach you about acceptance???  That whole "love they neighbor" thing kind of applies here.  You don't have to be gay to accept another as being gay.  It's not contagious, you won't catch the gay by being accepting.  Your personal beliefs don't allow for tattoos???  Hey, I'm not even mad at that.  My response: don't get one.  Me, I love my tattoos and plan to get more.  Your upbringing keeps you from partaking in alcohol or smoking weed???  Great, it's not for everyone.  I don't drink, either, but mostly because I'm allergic to my beloved beer.  But, I won't hold it against you if you choose to partake.
To each his own.

Why can't we live in a world where we just accept each other, as is?????  I don't mind being a woman, so I think I'll stay one.  I love my gay daughter, don't mind if she continues to be gay.  I love my friends who drink and smoke, don't much mind if they continue living their lives as they see fit.  

We are ALL different.  Instead of picking on those who are more different than most, why the fuck not just embrace what is and love them, anyway?  Who cares if Bruce is more comfortable as Caitlyn?  

Live, and let live.  Period. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just Some Thoughts and Stuff

I've been quite lax in my blogging of late.  To put it mildly, life has been kicking my ass.  I'm not normally one to just throw my arms up and quit.  I'm a fighter.  I'm also stubborn.  But, lately, I've definitely been wanting to give up and let someone else take over.  *Insert corny Jesus take the Wheel reference*  I'd be quite content with reverting and living my second childhood.  Coloring and naps sound effing awesome!  Someone else can play house, pay the bills, do all the mommy stuff, and worry about all the stuff that needs to be worried about.  I'm not so sure I want to do it, anymore.

Some days I don't feel remotely in charge of my life.  Seriously.  No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I work something, fight tooth and nail for something, it usually doesn't go my way.  Now, I'm one of those nuts that likes to find something good in everything.  If you're going to have something shitty happen to you, wouldn't you rather there be some kind of silver lining that makes it kind of a little less shitty????  Like, when I come out of the store and find my tire flat.  After shouting a few choice expletives and finding a too kind gentleman to help me change it, I could get all pissy and say woe is me.  Actually, that pretty much sounds exactly like what I'd do.  BUT!  After I do all that, I'd sit back and reflect until I can find one good thing about the situation.  Like, it sucks that I had a flat and got to splurge for a new tire that I didn't really have the money for, but at least it didn't blow out while I was speeding down the interstate and kill me instantly.  See what I did there?  Much better, right????

Normally I'm all over the silver lining.  However, there are just some instances in life for which a silver lining just doesn't exist.  I like a good paradox as much as the next guy, but this is fast getting old.  Life has been kicking my ass and even I can't find just cause for it or even some stupid, shitty silver lining.

So, what now????

How do you get through the terrible parts of life and not completely lose your shit or go off the deep end???  Are there some things for which you can't deal with gracefully and therefore it's perfectly acceptable to ugly cry and scream about how unfair life is and break basketball trophies (if you get that reference then I love you and you're awesome), while eating ice cream by the gallon???  How do you get through life's truly ugly and unbearable moments???