Monday, December 31, 2012

Out with the old and in with the new

It’s New Year’s Eve.  All over the country, people are prepping for parties or to go out with friends or to spend it with someone special.  It’s the end of something and the beginning of something else.  For some people it’s very significant and for others it’s just another day.

For me…I’m reflecting on the year at least for a few minutes.

This year was a true dichotomy of emotions for me.  I had one of the worst moments of my life and one of the best moments of my life...all in the space of a few months.  Two moments that forever changed my life.  Two moments that forever changed my heart.  It’s so strange that they happened so close together.

In 2012…the person I loved with all of my heart, the person I most trusted and loved in the world…betrayed me and broke my heart into a thousand pieces.  I experienced the worst pain of my entire life.  I felt lost, betrayed, hurt and heart sick.  My soul weeps for this loss, still to this day.  It is truly one of the worst emotional pains I have ever felt.  The pain is still there…but I can feel that it’s healing.  I’m thankful for the friends and family in my life who have helped me come through that.  I wouldn’t have made it without them.  I will never stop feeling this loss…but I’m healing and seeing light at the end of the tunnel and looking forward to starting a new life and heading in a new direction.  It’s frightening and difficult…but nothing worth having is easy. 

Additionally…my entire world was changed by the birth of my grandson.  I got to watch him grow in the belly of my firstborn and I watched as she became a mother.  I was in the delivery room when he uttered his first cry.  I saw the light in my daughter’s eyes as she brought him into the world.  I held him in my arms and felt a piece of my heart branded with his name and I felt a love so strong that it made me catch my breath.  He is my light in the darkness when all other lights go out. 

My life has been a whirlwind of ups and downs in 2012 and I’ve shed more tears in this year than in the past 3 put together.  I put this year to bed with happy memories, sad memories, joy and regret.

I look to 2013 with hope.  I look to this new year knowing that I will have my friends, my family, my beautiful grandson and a host of possibilities.  I have opportunities to love, to share, to laugh and to make new memories.  I have opportunities to help others and make people smile and share my gifts, however small, with others.

I look to 2013 with the realization that my heart is resilient and no matter how many times it breaks, I can always put it back together and that I will not lose the capacity to love, I will only make it stronger and add more people to it.  I will share my heart…and share my love…and the broken pieces will heal.  I will heal.  I will never forget the people who have made these scars and indentations in my soul.  I will cherish every one of them for whatever reason.  And I will move on into the new year, thankful for what I have and open to the new things I can still receive.

I am broken…but I am not beaten.  I will heal and I will come back stronger, faster and better.

To 2013 and all the possibilities it holds.  I welcome you with an open heart and a willing spirit.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

One of the fun things about my life is having had the opportunity to do some really unusual things and thus have really cool stories to tell.  It’s fun to be in a group of people and break out a fun story like, “Oh yeah, I once travelled to England to do fireworks for Guy Fawkes Night…” and “I went to Portugal once.  I was there on a scientific research project where I caught tiny sea birds in nets at the edge of a cliff and took samples from them for a research project.”  Those are not things everyone gets to do…so it’s fun to have unique adventures to talk about and unique stories to tell.

The newest unique story I have is not quite as exciting as travelling to another country for some exciting adventure…but I think it ranks right up there in “unique stories” to tell.

You know how when you’re little, your mom tells you to be still on the escalator so it doesn’t  catch your pant leg and suck you under?  Ok, maybe your mom didn’t terrify you like that…but someone probably did at some point.  As you get older, you never really believe it can happen.  I mean really, have you ever known someone who got something caught and sucked under the stairs while on an escalator?

WELL…let me tell you my new and unique adventure.  I now actually know someone who got an article of their clothing sucked off and eaten by an escalator.  It really happens!  How many people can say that?

A few?  Oh…ok, well then let me tell you what makes the story REALLY interesting.  Imagine me at a table, with a group of fun people, all talking and laughing and maybe having a cocktail or seven…and I bust this was out.

“Yeah…this one time…

I was on an escalator with several hundred people dressed like Santa Claus and other Christmas characters, when Krampus got his hoof caught in the escalator and sucked under…which consequently, stopped the escalator, forcing the last of the Santas to have to walk up what were then considered stairs.”

[Mitch Hedberg voice] “We apologize for the convenience….”

So yeah…that will be added to my list of unique and interesting stories I can tell when I meet new people.

I’m fun at parties.  You should invite me over.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Of being vague and having friends...

So…for those of you not familiar with the randomness that is a Facebook Meme, allow me to introduce you to one of the ones I participate in…and am fully amused by.

It is referred to as “VagueBook Wednesday”. It’s a particularly juvenile thing we do where we post vague statuses that no one really understands but us…and we do not explain. Additionally, your readers know not to ask…because that would defeat the purpose.

Many of us (guilty) use it to say scathing and ugly things to people that we would not otherwise say. Did I mention that this is juvenile? I don’t care, it still amuses me. Sometimes I use it to get something out of my system so that I DON’T actually say it to someone. Occasionally my filters break and I let things fly out of my mouth that should have NEVER left my head.

Now, that being said, allow me to tell you about the epiphany I had whilst indulging myself in this juvenile game.

On Wednesday, I composed one of the most scathing, acidic, hateful posts I have ever written. I even wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it. It was directed at two people who have deeply hurt me, people who are not on my Facebook, people who I have never had the opportunity to tell just how much they hurt me and just how reprehensible I find them and just how much anger I hold toward them both.

I waited all day to post it and was going to do so just as soon as I got home. In an even more juvenile and ugly thought, I really hoped that someone who knew one or both of them would tell them about my angry post and that it would hurt their feelings even a tenth as much as they had hurt mine.

That particular day, instead of going home directly after work, I had an errand to run at a local mall. Not being a big fan of malls, I complained at how I did not want to go to the mall…even though my favorite restaurant was at that mall...because what good was that when I don’t like to eat alone? A good friend popped up and offered to meet me at the restaurant. Well that sounded fun, so I agreed. Then another good friend popped up and wanted to come too. Then another good friend! So, a couple of hours later, I was seated at my favorite restaurant with three people I love to spend time with. We ate, we talked we laughed and then we laughed even more. We left and went to another location for ice cream. One of those friends generously treated us all. There, we ate ice cream, talked and proceeded to laugh until our sides ached and at times we had tears in our eyes and our faces were red. It was the most fun I’d had in weeks.

Finally, we all parted ways and I went home. After I changed my clothes and fed righteously indignant kitty…(sorry for staying out too late, Fuzzy), I sat down in front of the computer and opened Facebook. I was ready to finally post those angry thoughts I’d been saving for several hours and hide my juvenile, nasty streak behind a “meme”.

The problem was…my amazing friends had filled me up so much with happiness and laughter and love…that there hadn’t been in room in my heart to hold onto those angry words. I simply didn’t have the heart to post them. Instead, I posted about what a lovely night I’d had…and how I just didn’t have the heart to post the angry words I had meant to post for the day.

It occurred to me that if you open your heart to the people who love you…and allow them to fill it up with their love for you…and the happiness of friendship…and the joy of sharing time with people you care about and who care about you…you do not even have to work to push away anger and pain and resentment. It just falls away and is replaced with joy. A joy that helps you let go of stress and ugly emotions like hatred, jealousy and resentment.

You just have to be open to it.

Now, I’m not saying that I will never again set free my inner 8th grade girl and allow her to spew forth the vengeance that is hers. Let’s not be ridiculous. I’m sure there will be many future VagueBook Posts that are worthy of a Junior High note folded like an arrow and marked F.Y.E.O. (For Your Eyes Only) and passed quietly across English class. I’m still human, you know.

However…I do see that I would much rather fill my heart with joy and laughter than anger and resentment. And I’d rather spend my time laughing until I cry than composing angry letters to people who treated me poorly…that will accomplish nothing but to add another gouge in my already damaged heart.

I also see, that while I may have some people in my world who have been cruel to me, I have considerably more people in my world who love me and enjoy my company and wish nothing but happiness and laughter for me. These are the things and the people that I want to hold onto with every ounce of my strength. And while I do that…I won’t even waste the energy to wave goodbye at the others…I will just let them slip away. I will leave them on the trail toward freedom from anger and pain…and the rain of my happiness will wash them away…as if they were never there.

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's a good thing you're cute.

When you live alone in a house…every noise sounds creepy.  Especially a new house that you just moved into.  However…after a while you get accustomed to certain noises and they don’t bother you anymore.

When you have a cat, this happens sooner.  Cats prowl at night.  The hunt too…even if there’s nothing to hunt.  They race around the house and knock things over and make noise.  Cats are insane.  So there are noises we have learned to ignore because it’s “just the cat”.

However…some noises you will still get up and check out…because they just sound too scary.  Which brings us to this morning at 6AM.

My husband heard the cat tearing around the house earlier than that but ignored it as her typical behavior.  However…a little after 6, we hear quite a big crash as if she had really crashed into something.  Well, she does this.  We have a sliding glass door and our neighborhood has lots of other cats, so she has been known to crash into the door trying to fight other cats.  We were awake, but not out of bed yet so we were startled but just considered it her usual, silly behavior.  A few minutes later, we heard another crash and some really horrible cat noises like she was literally fighting another cat.  It was an awful sound.  That time it was just too nerve wracking because the crash sounded like someone breaking into the house.  So we actually got up to see what was happening.

In the living room, we found a couple of empty bags of rice cake snacks.  I had collected them in a small plastic bag to throw them away but it hadn’t made it to the trash.  We also found little rice cake snack bits all over the living room.  Behind the couch, in front of the couch, down the hall way and in my craft room.  They were everywhere.  Our assumption was that she had dug into the trash bag and tried to eat the remnants of the rice snacks and gotten her head stuck in the bag and then torn around the house trying to get it off…thus spilling crumbs all over.  ALL OVER. 

What we did NOT find…was the cat.  We looked for her in all of her usual hiding spots and could not find her.  We shook the treat bottle which rarely fails to get her to come out of a hiding spot…but still no cat.  We looked for quite some time.  Finally, I had to give up and go get into the shower.

When I got out of the shower and got dressed, I decided I’d go look for her again to see if she had calmed down from whatever trauma she had experienced so she would come out.  I had looked twice behind the bookshelf but I kept feeling drawn back over to it.  So I moved her little cat sleeping/playing tent and the curtain…and finally found her.  Her eyes were huge and she looked terrified.  There was a plastic Hobby Lobby bag with one of it’s handles hanging loosely around her neck.  She looked at me with a mixture of guilt and exhausted terror.  I had to laugh…even though I felt bad for her.  I tore the bag to easily get it off and moved everything so I could get to her and pet her.  She just sat there and looked at me.  It was so sad.

She had apparently gotten into the plastic bag I’d used to collect some trash…and gotten her head caught in it…I don’t know how long she was stuck or how long she thrashed about and tore through the house trying to get it off.  But I’m sure everywhere she ran, she felt like the bag was chasing her.  Which is horribly sad and slightly hysterical.

I suppose we both learned something today.  I should not leave plastic bags where she can get to them.  And she should not dig in plastic bags trying to eat people food.

For the record, I petted her, soothed her, checked to make sure she hadn’t hurt herself and gave her a treat.  She was a little traumatized but she’s fine.  I’m sure she is at home, sleeping it off.

Now if I could just be at home with her and sleeping it off…life would be much better.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's not a seizure...

No, I am not having a seizure.
This bit of random was brought to you courtesy of songs by Jonathan Coulton  including “Ikea” and “I Feel Fantastic”
Ever drive down the road and that song you just LOVE comes on the radio…so you crank up the volume and sing at the top of your lungs?
Yeah…me too.  And when I get really happy about it…there are hand motions.  It’s pretty pathetic.  But it keeps me from being cranky and having road rage most of the time.  At least it cuts down my road rage, we’ll put it that way.
The thing is…nobody in any other car can hear your music.  So you just look like a total lunatic, driving down the road having a complete spaz out. 
For the record, that’s the technical term: Complete Spaz Out.
Anyway…if you don’t know this about me…I’ll freely admit it.  I do this all the time.  If I’m having a bad day or a bad drive…I put on music I love and I crank it up and act like an idiot while I drive.  I even have a whole playlist on my Zune entitled “Make Me Happy”.  On my iPod it was entitled “Make Me Happy, Dammit”…but I felt like that was too much pressure on my friend Steve Zalman.  Long story.
Anyway, so yeah…I sing and  chair dance in my car while I’m driving.  You wanna know the worst ones?  Happy, boppy songs that make my head bounce side to side like an 80’s blonde bouncing her head off her shoulder pads.  When I realize people are looking at me…I usually crack up laughing…which probably makes me look even more crazy than I already did.
I’m having a sudden mental image of Juliette Lewis in that video where she’s in a psychiatric ward and coloring on the walls and crying.
That’s probably what I look like to the people in the other cars who cannot hear my amazing, happy, boppy music.  But you know what?  When it’s 7:20 in the morning and you’re tired and you really don’t want to go to work because it’s been a long week…it can really improve the start of your day to listen to something totally happy and mindless.  And there’s just something infinitely funny about driving along and singing a song about Ikea and how it all started with a God named Thor.  That’s funny stuff!
And there are few bad moods that cannot be improved by Bon Jovi.  “No Apologies”, “Have a Nice Day”, “This is Our House”, “Raise your Hands”…I mean, there’s 25 songs I could name right off the top of my head that immediately improve my mood.
Things are not always going to go your way in life.  Some days just suck.  Sometimes they suck for no apparent reason…especially if you’re female.  But if you can make yourself take that one little step that improve your mood and thus, improve your day…well, do it.  Have a Complete Spaz Out.  Who cares if you frighten other drivers and they contemplate calling 911?  This is not about them, it’s about you.
Just make sure you can do all this and still stay in your lane.  Oh yeah…and when people look at you and you catch them…smile and wave.  You just might improve their day too.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Waxing poetic about my daughter...

So…today I was emailing a friend who was talking about bringing my daughter a gift for her new baby and also bringing her something for herself.  I told her that my daughter would appreciate anything that she did because she’s just lovely like that.
Then some things kind of washed over me that I felt the need to write about.  Thus…you get this blog…with me…waxing poetic about my eldest child.
I was 16 when I had her.  Way too young to be a mother.  But I had my mom to help and my family rallied around me quite a lot.  I was very fortunate like that.  Whatever my aunts and uncles may have thought about me getting knocked up at 15 and keeping the baby…they kept to themselves and they supported me on it and they loved her right away.
I can’t take all the credit for raising her.  My mom was a tremendous part of raising both my kids but especially my daughter because I mostly lived at home until she was 3.  And the times during that when I didn’t live at home, she spent a lot of time with my parents.  So my mom gets a lot of the credit.  I finally established and kept my own household from the time she was about 4 but mom was always close by and heavily involved.  My point is…between my mom and I…we somehow managed to raise this truly amazing girl-child who turned into this truly amazing woman.
On June 5th, she became a mother herself.  My grandson Blake came into the world at 4:29PM on that day, weighing in at 7lbs, 2oz and measuring 19.5 inches long.  He is beautiful and perfect and I was head over heels in love with him the minute I laid eyes on him.  But that’s another blog.
This one is about my daughter and her unbelievable capacity to love people.  She loves with her whole heart.  She is generous and giving and affectionate.  She tries to treat people the way she would want them to treat her.  She doesn’t hold back.  She is a good daughter…a good friend…and I think she is going to be brilliant at this “mommy” thing.
She appreciates the small things in life.  She doesn’t need expensive gifts to appreciate you.  She is as thankful for kind words and love and hugs as she is of money or gifts.  She is grateful for anything she is given.  Yes, of course she gets frustrated sometimes because she puts so much out and gets little back from some people.  I can relate.  I am the same way.  But it never stops her from being who she is.  She doesn’t let life’s hardships stop her from being this beautiful, giving, caring individual.  She has this indomitable spirit about her.  She may get down about things…but she will pull herself right back up and she will pull you right up with her.
She is beautiful on the outside…and on the inside.  Her heart is so huge that I sometimes wonder how she can carry it.  And now there’s Blake.  He is going to be an incredibly loved child.  He has a mommy and daddy who are head over heels in love with him and grandparents and great grandparents and aunts and uncles and just a ton of family to love him.  But most of all…he has my daughter.  He has this beautiful person to love him and raise him and teach him how to have a tender and loving heart just like hers.  She will teach him about compassion and forgiveness and how to love with your whole heart no matter how many times it gets broken.
He is a lucky child.  I am a lucky mother…and now a lucky grandmother.  Sometimes you just have to stop and look around at this crazy, messed up world…and realize just how blessed you are when you have someone like this in your life.
I am truly blessed.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Flashback Friday!!!

Ok, I’ll admit it…I don’t actually have a Flashback Friday.  But it sounded fun!  Maybe I should start writing about a Flashback from my life on every Friday. 
Anyway – today’s Flashback is brought to you by my Zune MP3 player and the band White Lion.
For whatever reason, we were recently talking about 80’s bands and ended up listening to some old White Lion.  I enjoyed it so much that I went home and downloaded the album onto my Zune.  Today I am listening to it at work and just laughing.  I love old 80’s music so much.
The Flashback part honestly hit me last week when we listened to it the first time…but today while at work and listening to it…it hit me again, full force.
I had just turned 18 and was living with my boyfriend in Fort Worth in a crappy apartment on Lancaster.  I worked right down the street at K-Mart…which was across the street from an old Fort Worth bar called Savvy’s.  We drove by that bar all the time and I had always wanted to go in but was not old enough to get in.  Now that I was 18…I really wanted to go.  I just had to convince my overly jealous boyfriend to actually take me to a bar where another guy might actually…*gasp* look at me or something terrible like that.
Anyway – on my way to work one afternoon, a bunch of long haired boys who were unloading a truck of equipment into Savvy’s, started cat calling at me from across the street.  They were yelling the most idiotic pick-up lines ever.  One of which, I remember being “Damn!  She’s got legs all the way up to her ass!”, at which, I wondered…”Um…as opposed to what?”  Still…they were yelling and cat calling and whistling at me…which my 18 year old brain found quite flattering since they were obviously musicians and that was my thing at the time.  If you had long hair and played an instrument, you were on my radar.
So I smiled and waved and they said, “Come see our show tonight!  We’ll be here all weekend!  Come see us!”  They were all waving.  I waved back and yelled to them that I would try.
That night I did beg and plead my boyfriend to take me there.  He finally agreed.  When we got ready to go he insisted that I was overdressed and that I should back off on my crazy 80’s clothing and that “nobody dresses like that up there…they all just wear jeans”.  Well, I trusted him and just put on jeans and a cute shirt.  HE LIED!  Not big shock.  There were girls in there in leather and way more outrageous outfits than I had wanted to wear.  So that was “angry at him number one”.  As the evening progressed, we ended up in a HUGE fight…and I basically told him he just needed to leave and give me some space and if he didn’t…I wasn’t coming home that night.  He left.
When the band played their second set…I was alone at a table in the middle of the bar.  They played a cover of White Lion’s “Tell Me”…and the singer, who had a wireless mic – which was actually unusually at that time for a bar band – was running around the room a lot.  So he comes over to my table…puts his foot on my chair and leans right into my face and sings to me.
Well oh my goodness…be still my heart.  I thought this was just the coolest thing that had ever happened to me and I was totally fascinated.  He sang to me twice that night and I was just ALL about it.
After their set I came and talked to them…at which point, my boyfriend showed back up and we had an enormous blow up which ended in a break up.  But that part of the story is boring.  Suffice to say, he left.  The next day I went back to the bar to see them play again and they treated me like I was their biggest fan.  Over the course of the evening, they started singing a song about me because I squeak when I yawn…the song was called “Girls that Squeak”.  Yeah.  I ended up hanging out with them and then let them crash at my apartment that night.  They left the next day and I never saw them again or heard from them.
But every time I hear “Tell me” or “Wait” by White Lion…I remember that night and how thrilled I was to get that attention and feel that “cool” on my first time in a “Heavy Metal Bar”.
Thanks for reading…this has been…Flashback Friday!  Join us next week…when we will probably forget all about this great idea.