Sep 11, 2013

always remember.

 Twelve years ago...
i pulled into the lot at work, listening to talk radio. They mentioned that a plane had flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. It HAD to have been an accident, right?

Right???

No accident. Just a nightmare. Terrorism, it seemed, was now part of OUR lexicon.

Like the rest of the world, i watched the news that night, feeling like i was watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster...except that although i desperately wanted it, i knew that Bruce Willis or Chuck Norris or even Matt Damon wasn't going to show up and give those bad guys their comeuppance.

This was real. And truly terrifying. And while the sting of the horror would pass, there would be no ending to this movie. It was the beginning of the New Normal.

Twelve years later...

we take our shoes off going through airport security. Three ounces of fluid can't be on your carry-on. No lighters, no penknives, no anything that could be used as a weapon. And thousands of our men and women have given their life here and overseas in the constant fight against terror.

A fight that will never, EVER end.

So what's the outcome? There's one effect we had from those days right after 9/11/01 i wish we still had.

The feeling that we truly were one nation. United. The lyric from that 60's song 'come on people now/smile on your brother' was really happening. I remember seeing little kids standing on street corners, waving American flags twice their size, and people honking  as they passed them.


We really were united then. And while i don't wish another horrific nightmare like the one we lived back then, i wish for us to be a united front again. Democrat, Republican  Left, Right. No matter your religion. No matter your color, or lack of color. No matter. If you call yourself an American, then BE one. United.

Maybe then Freedom will really Ring.

Apr 10, 2011

confusion sets in.

what a long, strange trip it's been.
and that was just last week.

last week brought me to my knees...and i'm still trying to find my way back up. nothing serious, but something hit me hard enough to really make me pause...and wonder what the heck it's all about, anyway.

things will be well. more importantly, i will be well..i just need to find my footing.

and once i do...the confusion will be gone, right?

dude. being a grown up sucks.

Mar 24, 2011

not in my jeans..er, genes.

a good friend had posted on Facebook the other day how her daughter was inadvertently following in her footsteps...by getting into the art/publishing business...and my friend had done the same thing in her mother's footsteps - her mother an art major (like my friend) and both parents were into publishing. so she asked, how many of us out there HAD followed in their parents footsteps.

i got nothin'.

my grandmother, while she never studied, wanted to be a nurse. medicine fascinated her - but it was the Depression and hey - there was barely enough money to live, much less for something like schooling.
she LIVED to see them draw blood.

um, no thank you.

my mom has some mad math skilz. me, not so much. if math problems go higher than how many fingers & toes i have to count on...then there had better be a calculator handy.
photography? yep. my mom has a good eye. so i guess i got that going for me..

my mom & i got started in cross stitching about the same time. that's a wash.
however she now quilts. she would LOVE it if i started that as well. thanks, but no. i HATED sewing in home-ec, so sewing for pleasure? meh.

now. as for the sperm donor..er...dad...well...i don't know much about him since he left before i was born.

wait..i do know this: dad could put 'em away...and did so frequently. wait! i can do that, too!!
oh, and he also had a sarcastic sense of humor.

wait! i also am sarcastic!!! 
so. i am sarcastic and like beer. thank heavens for genetics.

Mar 23, 2011

something's in the water.

56% of women in this country wear size 14 and up. 56 percent.

but apparently the retailers out there don't see it that way.

Spring is here. and with it comes some fevah. while i don't look for more cowbell with that fever, i do look for some wardrobe freshening.

(and me saying wardrobe freshening is kinda funny...if you know me or have seen what i wear, there ain't no wardrobe going on)

my shopping usually occurs at one of two places: Target (98%) and Walmart (1%) and other (1%)...the 'other' being more expensive and as such are usually confined to *ahem* foundation garments and the occasionally super-cute top. Target is my go-to for cute fat gurl clothes.

lately - not so much.

when i've gone to Target & WallyWorld, i've noticed something...the usual size of the plus size selection has apparently gone on a diet.

and has lot a LOT of weight.

while the maternity size...right next to the plus size has, well...expanded. kinda like Octomom.

i.don't.get.it.

hello? marketeers of said store? did you not get that 56% of the women in America wear a size 14 and up? why would you reduce the size of your plus size section? while i get that it costs somewhat more to make these clothes, didja think that we would think 'oh crap, not so many fat gurl clothes to choose from? i'd better go on a diet!'

(shhh. lemme let you in on a tiny secret: when given a choice between a hot fudge brownie sundae {no nuts, please}and a diet? guess what i'm gonna choose)

so...just in case any of the marketing geniuses from Target are reading...lemme lay it out on the table for you: plus size good. expansion of plus size section better.

while being in the 56 percentile may not be best for me personally, it sure doesn't mean i wanna wear mu-mus and caftans.

now if you'll excuse me, there's some hot fudge calling my name.

Feb 11, 2011

persistent lil' buggers.

more changes for 2011. the bigger one for us, was, getting new insurance this year.

oh new insurance and new doctor - why do you torment me so?

we ended up switching from our PPO to Kaiser...i was reluctant to do so, but hey, a $3000 difference makes a difference - especially when half of your household is unemployed.

i really hated to switch. i loved our old doctor. he was young. rather hip. kept the Husband on the straight and narrow with his diabetes (conversely, he kept me on the straight & narrow. dammit.), and he was WAY too good looking for one man.

(best laugh Brendan had was after my first visit, i came home and announced that this doctor would NEVER EVER look at my hoo-hoo. not a chance. don't ruin it for me, k?)

but Kaiser, i have to say, wins the all-time world champion super-duper bowl for communication.

i have never EVER seen any company be as proactive and easy to communicate with. i've got an appointment with my new primary care AND an opthamologist this Tuesday - probably eye surgery in my immediate future, but nothing serious so there you go.

until today.

got a message from them, informing me that it was time for my annual scraping well-woman exam.
well la-de-freakin'-dah.

so a trifecta of fun awaits me. i'm getting examined, smeared, and dilated.

damn. it sounds like such a party, i may order out for wings.

luckily, my new primary care, although a good looking man, is not the rock-star god my old doctor was.

thanks be to God. that means he may see my hoo-hoo. time to spruce up.

Feb 5, 2011

hmmm.

it has come to my attention...on more than one occasion, that if i ever dyed my hair back to a darker (read: natural) color, i just might be accepted for membership in Mensa.

maybe.

or not. case in point:

it's a rather quiet night here under the Smogberry trees...the Husband just went to bed and it occurred to me that our neighbor was not, for a change, sitting out on her patio, dropping f-bombs on her phone calls (hourly calls, it would seem) to ex-boyfriends.

dang. it's practically Christmas!

but then, i kept hearing something...like someone had their TV or radio up. loud.

really kids? it's really necessary to have everything up that loud? come on. i mean, what's the point in it? is it so important to have your music on so loud that EVERYONE gets to hear it? what if they don't like country? or Michael Jackson? or even Toni Basil?

wait. Toni Basil?
holy crap. that's my iPod.
in the bottom of my purse.
that sounds like it's playing at a neighbor's.

think i'll slink off to bed now. goodbye forever...the blond one.

Jan 29, 2011

when the past comes around...

met my old lover in the grocery store / the snow was falling Christmas eve
i stole behind her in the frozen foods / and i touched her on the sleeve

when i was in 9th grade, i fell in love/developed a crush/had it bad for a guy i had gone to school with since kindergarten.

it was bad.

the guy and i were friends. always had been. but it killed me when he would date my friends, leaving me alone on the sidelines with my secret crush.

ah, the stuff Hollywood romantic comedies are made of.

she didn't recognize my face at first / and then her eyes flew open wide
tried to hug me and she spilled her purse / and we laughed until we cried

we recently reconnected again, like so many of us are, via Facebook. we've texted back and forth, as is the custom of the day. he's married. kids. i'm married. no kids. two cats. 

he emailed a while back, to let me know he was changing jobs and would be out here in the Smogberry Trees for training. we need to get together for dinner and such.
bring la-la too, he said.

la-la is my code name for his old girlfriend, my friend in the day. suddenly, i was 15 again, with my feelers hurt. 'um, hello? what about me? am i so invisible to you that you can't see me standing here?'

went to have ourselves a drink or two / but couldn't find an open bar
we bought a six pack in a liquor store / and we drank it in her car

it's amazing that, no matter how we age, or how mature we are, or even whether we're married, single or other...that all it takes is one blast from the past, and we are immediately transported back to that age, that situation...that feeling that you had then.

the three of us sent emails and decided on a date for dinner. being that we're all Mexican food freaks (and that he, having lived WAY out from the Smogberry trees, does not have the best access to good Mexican food), decided as well on a place the Husband found with killer food and a open access refrigerator with beer. help yourself, be honest and tell your server how many you had.

the date approached when la-la came down with the flu...texting to say that we would need to reschedule for a different date when she felt better. i passed the message on to him, feeling that pit in my stomach. dang it, i was so looking forward to that night...to seeing him and to take that oh so fun trip to Yesterland. 

imagine my glee when he said he didn't want to cancel. he wanted to see me.

we drank a toast to innocence / we drank a toast to now
tried to reach beyond the emptiness / but neither one knew how

so the Husband and i met up with him  - and like the lyrics from this Dan Fogelberg song, it was was another auld lang syne. we're both the same...and we've both changed. time has worked it's evil magic.

we've lost parents. loved ones. had heartbreaks. job change & loss. and while time for us has stopped from where we last saw each other, it has marched on and left its scars.

we laughed - all three of us. the Husband has things in common with him...they talked. i would look at him and think that his eyes were still as blue as i remembered. he talked quieter than i remembered. i could still make him laugh...hard.

we drank a toast to innocence / we drank a toast to time
we're living in our eloquence / another auld lang syne

dinner was long...we ate slow (for a change), talked, talked, and in between beers, talked.
i found out about his kids. talked about the high school reunion we had last year. he talked about how he didn't have many friends in high school.

i didn't realize that. i seemed to be the social butterfly, flittering between different friends that brought different colors to my page. i, in my cocoon of innocence (read naivete) just assumed he did the same.

youth can be oh so self centered.

although i didn't share with him, i remembered a time where he & i went to a ball game and we cuddled and semi-made out in the back of the bus. i thought it was a turning point. apparently it wasn't, but i wondered if he remembered or thought about it.


i was sure he didn't hold it in a gossamer-lined box in his heart for a good part of his adolescence like i had.

we finished dinner, paid the bill and walked outside, still talking. he said the next two Thursdays would work for a rematch of dinner...hopefully with la-la this time. my 15 year old heart soared and then plummeted. but i looked at him, and at my Husband and realized that a) he wanted to see me even without la-la and b) despite issues every marriage has, that i got to go home with my Husband and not be hundreds of miles away from a family i missed.

we hugged. and kissed. my 15 year old self was happy. my 48 year old self was happy as well. happy to reconnect. happy to be where i am in my life. happy to be the Husband's wife.
happy. and still a little bit of 15 again.

the beer was empty and our tongues were tired / running out of things to say

just for a moment i was back in school / and felt that old familiar pain
and as i turned to make my way back home / the snow turned into rain

'Same Auld Lang Syne' - lyrics Dan Fogelberg

Jan 17, 2011

happy new year.

2011.
seriously?

new year. new beginning. time to start a new life.
(the Husband laid that on me when he proposed waaaaaay back in 96)

i feel like i spend a lot of time whining. wishing for more. wishing for it to be better and sometimes (OK, a lot of times) not seeing the Big Picture. that things aren't as bad as i perceive. that there IS sunshine behind the clouds.

or that the clouds aren't really there.

2010 sucked.
we lost our cat, after 14 years of purrs and pissiness.
the Husband's kick-ass Solara got rear-ended. and totalled.
the Husband had countless interviews. the majority of which went nowhere. therefore, he ended 2010 the way he began: unemployed.

on the other hand...
new furbabies entered our lives: Abby & Fletcher, belonging to friends of friends, had to get rid of them due to their kids' allergies. these two are ying and yang. they fight, they play, they love on us and the feeling is mutual. they have healed our hearts and are filling the void in our hearts left by Elvis da Wunderkat.

insurance paid off what we owed on the car. with enough left over to buy two new-to-us cars - my sister in law's Avalon and his friend's neighbor's Honda.
two cars and no payments. righteous.

doors closed. windows opened. God's hand in it all.

i just needed to look at it.

and a reminder...from my faux commencement speech last year:

1) You will make crappy decisions in your life. Guess what - that's just the way it goes. Like the song says, every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. Some of the choices you make will rock the world. Others, not so much. Just try to remember to learn from all and glean something out of the experience.
And while we're talking about bad decisions....

2) You will fail at something. What - this isn't the happy feel-good commencement address you were expecting? Wait....
You, you, you and even you waaaaaay in the back, will fail at something. Some will fail miserably while others will fail spectacularly. As the Husband will frequently say - 'you're gonna step on your dick'

Colorful, no?

Here's the good news: despite what the media in all forms will tell you - failure IS an option and is not always bad. After all, a chemist at DuPont failed in an experiment he was working on and ended up creating Teflon. Failure is good - learn from it and move on.

3) Love what you do. Some wag once said if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. Those people also have money up the wazoo. It's very likely you will have to work, and you ain't gonna love it. But find a passion. Find something that makes you happy and excited to get up in the morning. Photography, writing, gardening - whatever trips your trigger - if you find your passion and aren't lucky enough to make it your life's work, you can still be lucky enough to do it...and to share with others.

4) Happiness is not a birthright - it is a daily choice. If you ain't happy, guess what - it ain't your parents fault, not your siblings, your friends or even your dog's fault. That blame, my friends, lands squarely on your shoulders.

Every day we make choices, remember? You can choose happiness, too, even if your situation sucks. You don't have to be happy with the situation, just know that optimism goes a loooooong way in this world - you will live longer and not only that, you will be a thorn in the side of the nay-sayers who will lose their minds wondering what you're on because you're so damn happy all the time.

I'm not saying you should go around with a maniacal smile all the time, plucking daisies like some Ophelia, but choose your attitude daily. Choose to be optimistic. Choose to be proof positive that smiling people are up to something.

There you have it. Four little nuggets and only four because I'm somewhat OCD and I like things bookended. Go out there. Fail. Step on it...and in it. It's the only way you'll really learn, and besides, the adventure is so much more exciting living it than reading about it.

hey...2010 wasn't all that bad.
bring it, 2011. i'm so ready for you.

Jun 5, 2010

summer lovin' - had me a blast....

don't worry. i'm not involved in a remake of 'Grease', nor am i taking up with a T-Bird.

however...if John Travolta IS interested, i volunteer to play Sandy.

and instead of 'Grease', we could name it 'Beano'. after all, we ARE middle-aged now.

i really don't have anything profound to say today...not that i regularly pluck pearls from my brain and transpose them into written word...but there are a few things crossing my mind:

1) to the shopkeepers of America...have you noticed lately? there's a recession going on. people are not spending their money quite as freely. so it might behoove you to instruct your employees to be around in the store - not hiding - and helping the customers that are willing to buy. otherwise, they're gonna walk out...just like i did in three - count 'em - THREE stores today.

man, i AM getting old. and crotchety.

2) it really sucks to have a computer down and out. the power jack is dead in mine, and currently in the hospital. it'll be cut free next week.

3) a co-worker is travelling to India for the company next week...for a month. while i don't relish either a 20 hour flight or the four weeks there, still, it's India. makes me think i could relive my fantasies of 'A Little Princess' - and yes, i know it took place in England, not India. i just like the idea.

4) i seem to be in a bit of a funk...i call it my post-birthday dramatization. seems like the older i get, after my birthday, i kind of feel looking for something...just not sure what.

5) my sweet boy turns 50 in a few weeks. good Lord. whoever thought we'd get to be 50..after all, as kids, 50 was ancient. heck, 30 was almost to the point of no return.

and to reach 99, well...a feat just like his coaching career. RIP Coach.

and once again - i have pitched a perfect game of non-sequential ramblings.
goooooooooooooooooooooo me!!

May 26, 2010

every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

my oldest niece graduated from high school last night.

and while she's not technically a blood relation - i like to think that friends are the family you pick and actually don't mind visiting.

graduation is always such a milestone in any life. when your child starts kindergarten - it's always so exciting - they're starting off on a grand adventure and God alone knows what awaits them on this adventure.

high school graduation is much the same. as we sat there last night, listening to what the valedictorians planned on doing with their lives (a degree in microbiology with a minor in genetic engineering? good grief - i barely could manage remedial math.), you can't help but wonder what each of these kids lives has in store.

and selfishly - i didn't give a rip about the rest of the 539 kids there. just a certain blond, blue-eyed wonder.

i've known her most of her life. we would all go to Disneyland together, where her mom had started a tradition of taking Christmas card photos in front of the massively gorgeous tree in Main St.

she was (and still is) amazingly beautiful. Brendan & i would push her down Main St. in her stroller, while people would be sitting on the curb, waiting for the parade to start, we would prompt her to wave to the crowds, blow kisses and yell 'see my movie!' to the assembled.

which she did. hey - when you're 3, you're very eager to please.
(and yes, occasionally someone would ask the name of the movie. there still might be some yahoo from Podunk looking for her movie at RedBox)

at 4, she joined up in soccer...where she distinguished herself by being far more interested in the grass daisies than the plays.

when we got married, i asked her mom to be my matron of honor, and her daughter to be my flower girl. her mom was concerned that the girl would do something to 'ruin' the ceremony. i say anything that happened would only be cute - it couldn't ruin a thing.

and while she was very concerned about my gloves that her mom was holding for me, the whole thing went off without a hitch...or any ruined moments.

she got through those gawd-awful pre-teen years relatively unscathed...well, except for the continual teasing of her uncle. she takes care of her younger brother and strives to include him in as many things as she can...even when he has irritated her to the point of no return.

and now she's leaving childhood for a new chapter. a new adventure. again, God alone knows what is in store for her as she travels down new and uncharted territory.

i for one, cannot wait for the next installment.