24 February 2017

Would You Give Me Your Shoe?

I was trying to explain a person's generosity the other day. "Scott is the kind of person who if you asked him for his left shoe would give it to you. No questions asked. And with no expectation of it being returned."

This made me think of other ways to categorize people. Because this is how my brain works.

My friend Willa would do a one-minute bit about possible reasons to give you that shoe but would definitely do it.

Kevin would laugh incredulously, ask WTF you need it for, then figure out a way to not have to give you his shoe but still get you the shoe. And you'd probably come away with more than you asked for.

Another person might, to use one of my favorite Swistle words, dither so long that the need would pass or you figured out another way. Or the shoe would suddenly just show up with no fanfare.

I would give you the shoe, completely forget about it then be mystified later if you tried to return it. Or conversely, tell everyone about the time I was asked for my left shoe.



19 February 2017

27 Years

This year has been bizarre, not just the current bizzaro-world administration but all the things. The loss of Karl, the continual fragility of Kevin's parents, Kevin lost a coworker to illness. He has a dangerous job that we recently discovered has resulted in a loss of hearing in one ear and just the other day, some very bruised ribs. 

Yesterday we visited an old friend who lost his wife about a year ago.  We hadn't been to the house since then as he lives far away. It was like time had just stopped within those four walls.  It's heartbreaking to see and made me feel powerless.  There is nothing we can do to help.  I'm a person of action so to be a passive audience member is horrible for me.  But it's not my life and as badly as I feel, he's probably feeling exponentially worse.

Kevin is seven years older than me and sometimes that age difference really shows.  Not often, but sometimes.  When we were talking about the above situation, he said something so darkly romantic that it really rocked me.  He said he realized that the time he has spent with me is now probably more than the time he has left with me and that it made him sad.  We've been together 27 years in October so the math plays.

We are in one of those life cycles where loss is the theme.  I remember this life cycle from when I was a child, it was one of those reasons one was given when one has an alcoholic parent. So, I know it's a thing.  A developmental life cycle that everyone has to go through.  But that doesn't mean it's fun.  We have to just bunker down and live our lives.  Perhaps stop paying attention to calendars and ages.

13 February 2017

We Already Knew

I've mentioned our young nephew before. The one who we knew was gay and was just waiting for him to realize it.  He's thirteen now but we've known since he was four. No exaggeration. And we're all TOTALLY FINE with it.  Our only irritation was the giant, feather boa'd elephant in the room that no one could talk about.

Kevin had to work on Saturday so at 5:30 in the morning I'm blearily scrolling through my social media.  My nephew had posted on his page earlier in the evening with his friends.  As you can imagine, I scrolled right past it because giggling teenagers showing off for the camera can be a bit much, regardless of what time it is. 

Then there was another video, of just him, and posted much later.  Curious, I did click on this one.  It just had a different feel and weight to it.

He came out.  Finally, he did it.  Actually, he admitted to being bi-sexual, to be accurate but he said the words "I like boys" (followed by a muttered "and girls..." but BABY STEPS)

The relief I felt surprised me.  I mean, we've known for YEARS.  It's been a running joke of how he was going to finally come out.  No one is surprised, no one is upset.  I just wanted to post "We KNOW, Dude."

Thank God for social media because the response can be immediate. His first comment was from his dad.  His dad is blunt and makes me look like a diplomat sometimes.  It was a perfect response:
"You be you. The only problem I have is you being on Facebook at 0230. Go to sleep lol"

Then adult friends/parent figures commented, then his mom, then me:
I used the Dr. Seuss quote of "Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind" followed by "I'm gonna go with dr. Seuss here. We just want you happy, safe, and healthy. We don't care who you love." 

Slowly, comments trickled in during the day.  All positive.  Hooray progressive family and friends! Thank you for a world where this is normal now.  His cousins, his aunties, his great grandma even.  

It's funny because I asked his older cousin if he was seeing anyone at Sweet Baby's First Birthday if he was seeing anyone.  (yes, her name is Kendra) and then he deflected attention to one of the Littles, who will be ELEVEN in three months.  ELEVEN.

I asked him if he has a girlfriend, the amended it to "or a boyfriend, either way is cool."  He said he likes girls but shrugged it off because these kind of questions are NOTHING these days.

When I was his age, one hundred fifteen years ago, I didn't really have an awareness but even if I did, no one ever talked about it.  It was considered impolite and even put the person in jeopardy because you didn't talk about it then.

What a relief for it to be "easier" now.  Not to imply for one hot second that it will be easy for him.  He will have his challenges, for sure.  But I'm not worried about it, not like I would have even when I was his age.

And what a new world that someone can just make a video and post it and it's totally normal and acceptable.  It seems so efficient.  But also risky.  People could have bombarded him with negative comments for sure.  I'm sure he had moments of sheer panic waiting for everyone to respond. But he had to know that we were all fine.  

So, it's a whole new world.  No longer do I have to hear about Demi Lovato's hair (well, not as much).  Hopefully we will learn about what young men he finds attractive and if he's seeing someone.  Finally, we can have honest conversations.   

Welcome to this new world, young man.  May it greet you as openly and positively as your family and friends did.   

31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

May every hour that fleets away bring blessings bright with you to stay true,
blessings all your life to cheer, shield you from harm and protect you from fear.
In sending these Season's Greetings I wish to tell you dear that I wish you 
a prosperous and Happy New Year!

New Year's Meme

It’s back! The New Years Meme!  

Please play along! Copy and paste to your bloggity or social media.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Had a huge increase and change in my work.  I had to learn medical insurance billing.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


Yes, I think so. Incrementally.  I have a stove that still needs attention though so we're on year three of replacing appliances.  I replaced the microwave with one I hate so ugh.

My resolutions for 2017:
1.  I'm going to try to be more zen this year.  Let things go. 
2. Write Daily...be it an email, a tweet, a post, something.  Facebook and to-do lists don't count
3. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Yes, OMG, Sweet Baby James!  Love of my life.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


God, I just can't even with this year.  Multiple people.

5. What countries did you visit?


"Oh Canada, our home and native land.."

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Healthy Family Members 

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Road trips with Kevin....Mount Baker in May and Baker Lake and Dam last month. (same national park, different sides though so two different trips.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?


Not desk flipping and leaving my dream job out of abject frustration. More enlightened answer: Learning a whole new skill.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Staying in touch with friends.  Life intervened this year in ways I never expected.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not this year!  Hooray!

11. What was the best thing you bought?


Books?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The Nephew, again. He's a champ.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?


I refuse to state his name or title.

14. Where did most of your money go?


Same as every year: Bills, Racecar, Vegas trip. Books. Amazon. Mochas!

15. What did you get really excited about?
Sweet baby James

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Hamilton Soundtrack.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? I’m ambivalent, right now.
– thinner or fatter? Same-ish
– richer or poorer? About the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Read.  I didn’t seem to have time to read this year.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


Work.

20. How did you spend Christmas?


Eve - In a sitcom level family gathering with my family. 
Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement and food

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?


This Is Us.  Hands down, makes me cry every episode.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


No. I'm not a hater. It's a waste of time.  I'm side-eyeing a person who shan't be named though for the next four years.

24. What was the best book you read?
House on Tradd Street series

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Hamilton soundtrack.

26. What did you want and get?
Time with Kevin.  We actually had a non-family vacation this year.

27. What did you want and not get?
I can't think of a single thing.  Hmmm.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
This is random: Mr. Right with Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell, totally funny and violent and I loved it. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, critics hated it and I loved it.  Added to my all-time favorites was Brooklyn.  Such a beautiful film.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Slept in, mochas, lunch with Kevin, shopping, take-out dinner, opened presents from my BFF throughout the day.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less work stress, and less work, frankly.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
More purple.  Trying to let my hair go.

32. What kept you sane?


Mochas. Kevin. Lucy. Television.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Hardwick is my new celebrity crush

34. What political issue stirred you the most?


I.Just.Can't.Even.

35. Who did you miss?


It's been a rough year, full of reflection.  I don't know if it's people I miss or the good old days.

36. Who was the best new person you met?


My work BFF.  Love her so.  She's intentionally and purposefully kind.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.


Drop in the Bucket Theory.  I mean, I've known it but I'm actively putting it into play.

29 December 2016

This is an Organizational Tool

I've been up since 5:30 this morning.  I haven't accomplished anything beyond looking at social media and wondering why the characters in Supernatural always look like they haven't showered in days. Are they gremlins?  can they not get wet?

The house is a mess, by my standards only which even I admit are impossibly high.  What do I define a mess?  Well, let's make a list:

Approximately six half-eaten chip bags, two birthday cakes, and two tins of now stale Christmas cookies are needing my attention today. 
The recycling needs to be taken to the place. 
I have to send out three sympathy cards, including printing two photos from our wedding for one.
Christmastime is always a good time to start another photo project so I have that.
The tree needs to be taken down and this is where I admit that perhaps an 8 foot tree was not my best choice.
Defrocking the kitchen and living room...I may have mentioned before, multiple times probably, that I have too many decorations. 
Laundry, because always.
I have to change the radios back over to our regular station because they stopped playing Christmas music.  But The Weekend can't feel his face when he's with me so I can't just yet.
My father-in-law returns home from the hospital today so I have to go look at what kind of a disaster is happening over there.  (yes, I swore I wouldn't clean up over there ever again.  shut up.)
I've already changed my shirt because it bugged me. Now my socks don't match and I'm trying really hard to not let this ruin my life.
I have to write a thank you note to the parents nurse who helped me get portable oxygen for my m-i-l yesterday, while sitting in a hospital full of oxygen that she couldn't have.
(don't get me started, ain't nobody got time for that.)

So, I'm spinning my wheels a bit.  There are all.the.things to do and this is where the ADD spins out.  Clearly, as I'm sitting here writing about all the things instead of doing them.  Let's just say that I used this post as an organizational tool.


24 December 2016

22 December 2016

Stop Marrying Me Off, Husband

Major life discussions tend to occur when people around us pass away.  This week has been no exception.

Kevin has always been very clear about his wishes. He has a distinct picture of what he wants to happen if he passes before me.  I have a specific set of instructions and key players in our friends and family also know them.  He has told them "She's going through the worst part of her life, whatever she says goes and eff off if you're going to argue with her." 

It's a little terrifying and creepy that he is so prepared.  But, he has always been honest that he's never felt like he was going to live to be an old man.  He has a very dangerous job and a dangerous hobby so he lives his life like a dare.

The latest topic has been if I would remarry.  He's, like, guessing who I might choose.  It's equal parts fascinating and horrifying.  Who he has seemed to have settled on is not someone I would immediately think of so I find that intriguing.  I mean, how did he decide?  Convenience?  Similarities?  Time we've known each other?

And it's not like I can say "Oh no, I would run into This Person's arms" because that's not going to end badly at all.   Holy Awkward Conversations, Batman.

So, after being together 26 years this is what we've come to:  Choosing future spouses. 


Karl, We Speak Your Name

It's usually the odd number years that are challenging.  It's just a theory, of course, so a person has no right to be surprised when 2016 continues to be so challenging.  Seriously, we have just a few days left, 2016, get your sh*t together.

A childhood friend of Kevin's passed away this morning. He's the first of the inner circle of friends to pass.  It was unexpected and gut wrenching.  Life is just feeling super challenging right now.

Like you do, a person revisits memories when someone passes. 

When Karl learned Kevin and I were dating, (a bit of gossip stirring at the time) he just shrugged and said "Oh, okay" with a smile. If you knew Karl in real life, you just heard him say that. He had a childlike way to him, including many one-liners, bad jokes, and puns. 

Karl waited quite a while to get married.  His was one of my favorite weddings because we just knew something Karl-like was going to happen.  To our surprise, he was pretty well behaved.  The last thing, the kiss, was what made us laugh.
"You may kiss the bride..."
"Oh, okay."  Then he kissed her like a grade-schooler would, with a firm grasp on her shoulders, a peck on the lips, and then set her back on her feet.  It was textbook Karl.

When his first son was born, they named him Justin.  Karl joked, albeit with some seriousness, that he wanted his middle name to be "Case".  I'm a little surprised he didn't win the argument, actually.

Karl was one of Kevin's street racing buddies in high school. I knew Karl from cruising when I was a teen. Karl was at our wedding. Karl helped us move. Karl would randomly show up at your house for a visit.  Karl always had something when you needed it. I can't count how many times I've heard "I got it from Karl" when the car guys are talking.

We'll miss you, man.  We thought you'd be around forever.


11 December 2016

To Glitter or Not to Glitter?

Before we left on vacation in November, I was thinking about Christmas cards.  I even took them out of storage and put them in plain sight.

Almost one month later and here we are.  Still not done.  However, there are some finished and this is the soonest I think I've ever started.

Swistle talked about choosing Christmas cards (and then made her own. Omg, they're fantastic! look!)  It made me realize something about myself.  I have too many cards to choose from.  This is what spins me out every year.  Well, at the fact that it's just a daunting task as a whole.

I overthink things (I know, shocking) so I will spend time thinking "Well, they have kids so it has to be something Santa-ish" or "They're church people so choose a pretty church card" (I have a stack) or "They have dogs so send one of those"  (I have a stack of those also)  Too many choices, for real though.  I also tend to hoard my favorites, because reasons?

So, it occurred to me this time last weekend: Just send everyone the same doggone card and be done with it.  That's the mature and reasonable solution.  Am I either of those? not often.

Then I saw this and posted it to my facebook.  Now I have to do it.  Because I don't already make Christmas cards  complicated:



One of the biggest hurdles is that I get distracted by our address book.  It's the same one we've had for many, many years.  I believe I've written about it before. My attachment to this particular item is unusually strong.  In it, there are people who have passed, people who we wouldn't mind dead, many scratch-outs because people move, people divorce then remarry, business cards stapled in (just in case).  Finally, just for fun, it's not alphabetized by last name.  It's not how Kevin's brain is wired, nor mine really, so it goes by first name.  This is fine until one realizes there are tens of Johns and Lisas in our lives.  Those pages are crowded.

Just spending time browsing and organizing the address book on an annual basis is a time consuming project.  I should probably schedule doing that at a different time. Won't, but probably should.

I also have a list that I keep. Except this year, when I managed to print off an old list.  I am somewhat organized, evidence to the contrary.  But even with a list, I get distracted.  "Oh, I'll do neighbors first, then BFF's, then family."  Next thing we know, the list is half crossed-out and my ADD brain malfunctions trying to figure it out.  So then I make an updated separate list then rinse & repeat.   To anyone who ever thought, I wish I had a brain like hers, print out the paragraph and remember: no, you don't.

Why are you even?, you're probably wondering.  Because I do actually enjoy it.  I enjoy receiving them even more.  It's become a lost art and that makes me sad.  I don't want to contribute to that loss.  It is soothing to look back and then write out these cards.  I think I would miss it. Even if I do make it too complicated.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, look:



04 December 2016

Who Are All These Kids!?!


We just celebrated a few big birthdays in the family. With the kids there is now an age range of teenager to baby.  We now have three thirteen-year-olds in the family. (not the Littles but three nephews) Sweet baby is coming up on nine months old.  The eldest boy is about to be fifteen.  And we have a three year old boy, no longer a baby as I tend to call him, on the other side of the family.  My adult nieces are now 21 and 24 years old.  Nephew will be 31 in January, Niece will be 35 in a few days.

I carry that feeling that I imagine grandma's do.  There's just a joy in having all these kids around.  It's astonishing to see them grow and become their own person.  Even more astonishing is watching their parents grow into parenthood and adulthood.

The Littles have very distinctly different personalities and now that they're ten, a person can see the individuals they are becoming.  One is super smart and skilled at humble-bragging, one is quiet and in their own imagination, and the other is pragmatic and very careful.

The Bigs...oh, they're so grownup now.  Biggest has a girlfriend and is no longer the nerdy little magician.  C2 is in that weird stage of trying to figure out how he fits in the grownup world, the school-ager world, and just the world in general.  Gosh, I hated being thirteen. 

Sweet baby is moments from walking.  He loves the guys in the family, he's a guys guy like his uncle Kevin.  He's pretty adventurous, if it comes to playing with his siblings or trying new foods, no matter.  He is all in.

The other nephew, same family but different parents, is also thirteen.  He is so socially awkward that it's almost painful.  He's going to school now so I've noticed that is starting to change.  The biggest hurdle he is facing, I believe, is that he has a coming-out in his future. The family is completely fine with that yet his parents seem to be rooted in denial.  "But he likes GIRLS!" his mother says "He loves Demi Lovato and..."  I just want to shout "He wants to do their HAIR and wear their SHOES, not date them!"  This is not a crisis, just something that time will take care of.

The other thirteen year old is Nephew's brother-in-law, whom they had temporary custody.  He's living with Nephew's sister-in-law, visits often, is doing very well in school and has acclimated from being essentially feral.  His "mother" remains in jail and should be there until he turns 18. He still is a little overwhelmed at the sheer volume, both in number and in sound, of all of us.

The grown nieces are doing well, in their own ways.  Eldest has an apartment, rented from her former stepmother (totally weird, right?) and has a long-term boyfriend who is a little on the odd side but very good to her.  (he randomly bursts into song...)  Youngest is still finding her way but has yet *KNOCK EFFING WOOD* to make any life altering mistakes.  No marriages, no pregnancies, no addictions.  She is much like me in  the Go Where the Wind Takes You way of living life.

George, my three-year-old nephew, has finally decided to talk  and holy buckets, he has a lot to say.  He narrates what he is doing or what you are doing, and it is adorable. His favorite thing to do is help, doesn't matter how big or little the task, if he's helping he is overjoyed.

The toughest part I have with this whole grandkid thing is watching the adults make decisions, sometimes what I would consider mistakes, and having to just be a passive spectator.  Instinct is to guide, advise, and frankly, shout. Bottom line is that it is their lives and their decisions, even if we know better.  I realize that this is every parent/significant family member in the world and not just me.  But if you know me in real life, you know I have no hesitation to advise and guide. 

Now we're entering the Christmas holiday where feelings of goodwill are abundant.  I will resist buying the kids All.The.Things and be excited to watch them open their presents.  We will continue to be the naughty NotGrandparents who open all the packaging against their parents wishes.  



25 November 2016

Top Ten Things About Our Trip

Top Ten Things About Our Trip

My Do Nothing Day stretched to two days.  I stayed in the hotel room, watched television, read, played a game on my tablet, texted my friend, and did nothing.  Twice. My version of bliss.

Hanging out with Kevin is always fun but when we're traveling, it's even more.  It reminds me that we're a team in this crazy world.

Listening to Spandex Nation play live at the Fremont Street Experience with our friends who are my age.  We were singing, dancing, and laughing like the teens we were when this music was popular.

We learned more about how to get around Vegas the way the locals do.  It lessens anxiety, for sure.  We're also finding locals spots to eat and that is easier on the bank account, which is always good.

I visited the Titanic exhibit again, this is my third time.  I just enjoy it so much, it's so well done.  We also went to the Bodies exhibit.  I over-rode my anxiety about it and it was pretty cool.  Not something I would do again though.

Our friends held the top three spots in their class at the race, one of them won.

Seahawks won.

I bought another cozy sweatshirt.

Figured out how to check in online for our flight.  This is a game-changer and requires faith in the electronic world.

Finally, just the time spent with our friends.  It's irreplaceable and makes the stress of traveling easier to bear.

24 November 2016

18 November 2016

I'm Not Scared of You

This election has had an impact on me that I would have never predicted. I'm sad, I'm scared, and I'm disappointed. Not just that my candidate didn't win but that a large portion of this nation voted and said that racism is okay, sexism and sexual assault is okay, fraud is okay. People seem to believe that it's now okay to be openly racist.

The racism bothers me the most. I worked for the YWCA for seven years. It is in the actual mission statement to eliminate racism. I admit that that portion made me skeptical. Erasing racism is impossible. But, we can do our part to make sure it lessens. It became a core belief for me.

Now I'm in Vegas. I'm away from my predominantly white state. I don't normally notice much a person's color but now I am painfully aware.  Now I feel protective. I feel compelled, as a middle-aged white woman, to say "I'm not one of them!"

I meant to grab a safety pin to wear but I forgot. Also, that movement has been met with such derision that it gave me a sense of futility. But it's an easy way to say I'm Not One Of Them.

While we were checking into the hotel the other day, I asked the  clerk a question that she misunderstood. She thought I asked her if she'd experienced any abuse since the election. She said no but that she's nervous now. She has to think about it now.

One of our favorite baristas at home is mixed race and she's scared.  She's already had a friend who was verbally attacked. She attends a liberal university in a liberal city in a county that is conservative. She says she no longer feels safe and now feels like she has to be vigilant.

This morning I went downstairs to get a coffee. As I was waiting for the elevator, a man also walked up to wait. I glanced up and he was a gorgeous black man, also by himself. I saw him internally flinch. I felt like sh#t knowing he's probably thinking this tiny little white girl is scared of him.

I looked at him again and he was studiously examining the back of his chip bag. Now I am having a debate in my head as to what to do. I stood there feeling dumb.

Finally the elevator arrived. He stepped on first because he was closer. I stepped on and smiled. I said "Good morning." And he visibly relaxed. Then four college guys got in and off we went.

When the elevator stopped he let me out first. I told him thank you and to have a good day. I can only hope that everyone meets him with the same respect and gentleness.

I effing hate that this is a thing. Some might say that it's always been a thing but it wasn't in my world. While I try to remember that people are mostly good, I can't help but feel compelled to compensate for the ones who aren't.


11 November 2016

09 November 2016

Until It Feels Better

I tried to practice self care today.  I tried to be aware that I was grumpy, pissy, bitter, and all the other alternative seven dwarves.

I didn't watch the news this morning.
I stayed off Twitter.
I posted a few things on the facebook to express my displeasure.  And I liked the sh*t out of other's posts.
Then I went to work, but not before buying a mocha.  I don't normally do that.
I listened to Sting being interviewed by Howard Stern.
I commiserated with my friends.
I put my earbuds in and listened to my favorite songs.
I muttered. A lot, perhaps.
I focused that this time next week we will be in Vegas.
I chatted with Kevin who is excellent at being level headed, even when he's upset.
I got a haircut.

Once I was home, I left the television and radio off.  ADD doesn't normally enjoy this but it was subdued today.
I had leftover Monday Night Football pizza for lunch. (Go Hawks)
I put on my favorite cozy clothes.
Finally, I put on Pride & Prejudice, my all-time favorite movie. 
But not before trading a comment with a troll on my facebook page.  It's the only engaging I'm going to do and ended it with "I will not debate this further. You are welcome to ignore my posts if I offended you."

Now I'm going to lay down with my puppy and watch Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.  I hope you find and do what soothes you today as well.


Three Deep Breaths

Image result for desiderata

07 November 2016

Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Kevin has wanted to spend time together lately.  This is mostly positive, I mean what kind of horrible person would complain?  I do finding myself on Monday mornings mystified at where my weekend have gone though.

He's not being clingy at all.  It's like we're back twenty-six years ago when we just wanted to hang out together all the time.  I wonder if it's a relationship developmental stage?  I guess we are at the age of parents who are empty nesters, it's just that our nest has always been empty.  So, maybe it is a milestone, just not one as easily recognizable because we don't have kids to make it obvious.

But this has been good and bad.  I'm not reading as much, certainly not writing as much, and suddenly we are spending money.  Not big ticket items, but old married couple purchases like early dinners, trips to the hardware store, ice cream at any time of day kind of thing.  Mostly nice though because we're remembering how it used to be.  We're going on adventures and making memories.  We're enjoying just being us.

Something else I've noticed is that he will ask me out on a date.  Like back in the day ask me out and if I don't want to go out, he's mildly disappointed.  I guess I just never thought of it, after twenty-six years as a risk/reward kind of thing anymore.  But, surprise, it still is.

Again, not complaining, just acknowledging the change and the fact that this change is possible.  Perhaps even a heads up to those of you younger than me that this might be on the horizon. Something to look forward to, even.


And this is a cool problem to have. I mean, it's every teenager's dream really:

06 November 2016

A Dog by Any Other Name

(Continuing in my quest to post silly stuff until a certain day passes)

Kevin has named two of our dogs (Missy & Lucy) and he tends toward people names for dogs.  Our first dog was Aussie because she was Australian Shepard and she wouldn't tell us what she wanted her name to be so we defaulted to that.

With Lucy I noticed that she has nicknames .  It's a wonder she doesn't have an identity crisis.  It seems pretty random too so I made a list over a few days to see how many there are.

Her Better Knock it Off name: UHOHLUCY!
Her You're Making Me Crazy name: Crackhead
Her Code name: Cold Blooded Killer
Her Italian name: Pupparoni
Her Greek name: Pupous Adorkious
Her Dr Seuss name: Lucy Lou Who
Her Ballad name: AwwwLuce

05 November 2016

Unusual Crushes

Years ago Swistle and I played a game of listing crushes on celebrities who aren't normally considered attractive.  Everyman types perhaps instead of societal norms of sexy. People we find alluring for whatever reasons.

In these stressful days, let's play again as a distraction.

Chris Hardwick...Nerdist, @Midnight, The Talking Read. Funny, smart, nerdy.

Patton Oswalt...Comedian and writer. Look up his essays, specifically his latest on grief.

Jason Sudekis...Saturday Night Live... not an unusual crush hot not normal. Funny, smart...you'll see that's a theme.

Rachel Maddow...I am not gay but I  find her attractive all the same. Kevin does as well so that's something.

David Muir...ABC News. Smart, adventurous.

Okay, your turn.

30 October 2016

22 October 2016

Reluctant Traveller

We are headed on our annual trip to Vegas next month.  I wasn't going to go this year but then things changed and I was going.  Now I'm regretting going. 

Now, how can one be regretting going on a trip, you wonder.  Well, a variety of reasons but mainly one.  I have been a bunch of times so there's not much left for me to see now.  I'm becoming more of a hermit as time passes.  And then there is Kevin's brother.

His brother has mental illness, mixed with just being an ass.  The older he's gotten, the worse it has gotten.  He has anxiety and depression and it's untreated.  He not only refuses to address it, his parents have "allowed" (not quite the right word, roll with me on it) him to exist in this headspace that allows horrible behavior.

I have full understanding that people with mental illness can't always control their behaviors and we have made allowances.  We don't ask him to plan things, we don't have him drive anywhere, we know he can't be counted on in an emergency.

 It's not a case of "Well, he just can't help himself" but a case of "You should have put a stop to this behavior forty years ago."  Plus the need for medical intervention.  Instead, it's just "Oh, he's always been that way." and "that's just him" that just ladles guilt onto anyone who dare express frustration.  He has been consistently dickish and when called on it, can rein it in.  So, there is the distinction between illness and being a jackhole.

We have seen him be an ass, to put it lightly, to everyone from his elderly parents to the new baby, to strangers.  An ass in such a way that friends have backed away.  An ass like yelling at his wife so loudly over the phone that we can hear him as if he's in the room.  An ass like wake up a sleeping baby and saying "I was just playing." 

He doesn't pull it with me because he knows there would be bloodshed, not only inflicted by me but by Kevin.  He pulls it with Kevin but always when it's just one on one, which is abusive and makes me furious.  Which shows control and intention. 

This is the part where I say that Kevin has purposefully pulled away over the last year or two.  He has finally recognized the unhealthy state of that relationship.  He also sees his future without his parents as any sort of buffer and support.  And that we have friends slowly backing away.

So, of course, this is who we are traveling with.  He has an unhealthy attachment to Kevin and he does whatever Kevin does.  He includes himself in whatever Kevin does.  If Kevin friends someone on social media, so does his brother.  If Kevin starts liking something, so does his brother.  If Kevin has a friend, he is their friend too.  You get the idea.

Here's the zippy twist and trip regret.  Originally, I was going to skip this trip.  I can't hardly be in the same room as his brother.  To quote a mob movie, I've seen too much.  It's not just the assholery.  It's having conversations interrupted because he can't bear to be not in on the conversation, it's endless texting, it is relentless.

But months ago Kevin mentioned driving to Vegas.  I told him that if it were just he and I traveling, I am all in.  100% down with that idea.  But the idea of doing it with his brother was a dealbreaker.  So, Kevin decided not to do it.  (there were other reasons also, to be fair)  

His brother had decided that he was going to do it anyway.  We were relieved,  finally he was going to do something separate for us.  And this is where we were stupid:  We believed him.

I booked our tickets and was planning our trip in my head.  We were going to have 1.5 days alone and possible one day at the racetrack alone plus the flights.  It was actually going to be a vacation.  I was thinking of things that Kevin hadn't seen or something we could do together.  I was actually excited for time alone with him and knowing that Saturday and Sunday, I would probably just kick it in the hotel room and wouldn't that be lovely.

Then my sister-in-law texted me and asked to get together to book tickets. (because they are helpless. Seriously)   There was a blue mushroom cloud of profanity above my head for quite a while. Of course they (he) changed his mind and we were stupid enough to fall for it.

To make it more awkward, Kevin was with his brother at an event.  I couldn't call him and yell "AREYOUEFFINGKIDDINGME!?!?!"  So, I texted him instead.  He replied that he was sorry and that he would do everything possible to still keep our plans.  Isn't that just ADORABLE?  Like the narcissist is going to let that happen.  Sweet, sweet boy.

Now I'm back being annoyed and wishing I'd just stayed home. But I didn't want to be away from Kevin for a week, I didn't feel great about him traveling alone and I do love Vegas.

"Lucky" for us, they have to take a different flight home because they waited so long to book tickets. This caused a meltdown "How are we going to get to the airport!?!" he said.  "It's called a TAXI." is Kevin's response.  He's already practicing.

They want to share a car (like always) and I haven't volunteered for that yet.  I may lie and say that we can only get a small car and that they need their own.  But then we're stuck with a small car. That's not cool.

So, we'll see.  This is why headphones and alcohol were invented.  And we're hanging with our friends so I have to focus on that too.  We have 25 days to plan.  It will give us a good story to tell, maybe. 

But I'm still pissed.

12 October 2016

Dog Whistle Trigger Warning

I don't hide the fact that I'm a bleeding heart liberal.  I also don't shove it in people's faces.  I understand that everyone thinks a little differently.  I agree with some principals from the conservative side, I'm not a party-line separatist. I diligently try to see all angles.

In this election however, it has brought out the worst in Americans.  I have to take breaks from social media and the news because it has gotten so dark.  And I don't mean because the "side" I am on is losing or winning.  It's just a vacuum of negativity right now.

I'm utterly disappointed in my friends and family who support He Who Shan't Be Named.  I just can't understand how someone who likes/loves me is totally okay with supporting a racist, sexist, zenophobic, hateful person.  Totally fine with his abhorrent behavior and attitude because he's "not a politician" or the other one is "SO much worse."  How is that even possible?

A writer I recently started following on the facebook finally was able to sum up how I was feeling the night of the debate.  I went to bed exhausted and sad.  I was morose and I couldn't pinpoint exactly why. I read this the next morning and felt like I'd just had a therapy session.

Because it bears being reposted everywhere, in my humble opinion, I am pasting it below:
"Last night, I watched the debate at an oblique angle. From the kitchen. Looking away. Sometimes with headphones playing music. I paced. I left. I sought distraction. I came back. The bile came up in my throat.

I wasn't nerve-wracked by the outcome; the statistical cake is baked. More reputation-eviscerating tapes will emerge. I'm not worried about the guy as president. But I was still a bundle of nerves. I didn't recognize why until this morning.

If you've ever lived with an abuser and made it out to tell the tale, then you remember that not every single day was a nightmare. This was part of the hold over you. Some days were average. Some were somewhat livable. Others were not. You just prayed you could get a little bit of serenity, the tiny chunks on which you learned to survive.

But then, especially if you challenged that person, there was the wind up. You thought last Tuesday was bad? Oh...really? THAT bothered you did it? Thought you'd complain, did you?

The weak signals of the wind up were part of the cat and mouse. Make ME feel bad about something, will you? Well what about...this? Or one of...these? Guess who *I* invited over? When? Oh, this evening. No problem, is there? I'll leer at you and for the millionth time force you to pretend that This Is All Normal.

It was never the electrical discharge of abhorrent behavior that was the crux of the abuse - it was that game right there.

When Trump had that press conference with those women prior to the debate, that's when my pulse shot up thirty percent. I didn't understand it until this morning, when I woke up and asked, "Is it over? Is it morning?" and remembered when else I felt that way.
That same weight, the awful obligation to make it all normal, was plastered on the faces of both the Trump and Clinton families. But you saw it make its surprise appearance on the face of America's top television journalists. Dear God, must we? Can we really make it through...how long will this be? What if he...? What is he planning here?

That series of questions and the inexorable focus onto one person's sick behavior is the essence of living with an abuser.

Luckily, like with all of our adult relationships, we get a choice to be in this one or not.
See you all November 8."

THIS. A MILLION TIMES. THIS.

I lived with someone just like he described for two years.  I had people in my life who didn't believe that he was just like that.  I bet, if asked, some would still express doubt.  Even with a permanent restraining order in place, there's a tiny bit of "Well, who knows?"

That is how insidious this type of behavior and person is.  That is how dangerous a person like he is.  Twenty seven years later and I'm still triggered by this type of behavior.

05 October 2016

Completing a Circle

I rarely plan anything in my life.  So it comes to no surprise to me that I stumbled, almost literally, into this situation.

"Closure" is not a word that I enjoy.  It's just too buzzwordy and seems self-serving, in my opinion.  But here I am, feeling the effects of closure.  I mean, I know it's a thing and a thing that has worth.  But I think the need for closure that might never happen will always exist because: humans.

It wasn't really on my to-do list. It was something I've thought about but not something I would have ever had the motivation to put into motion by myself.  It's not an easy thing to do.  Even with still being in contact with this person off and on, clearly there was an elephant in the room that we were ignoring.

It began with an impulsive, simple Happy Birthday text.  Then a joke was made.  Then sh*t got real.  Before I knew it a real and long overdue conversation happened.  The air was cleared, the past put to rest, and a new future is optional.  Not guaranteed because stuff still happened but it's not a duck-down-an-aisle-in-the-grocery-store kind of situation anymore. (which I've totally done)

To protect this person, I am not going into specifics.  This is part of honoring that closure. This is so squelching the need for OMG YOU GUYS. I WANT TO TELL YOU ALL THE THINGS.

Instead of carrying around a consistent feeling of "Sh*t, I effed that all up." when I think of this person; I know that I am forgiven and that person has no doubt of my feelings or intentions, either past or present. And the reverse is true because it takes two.

This is not the part where I recommend "You should do this too!" because No.  I don't know if it was a good idea in the long run, I can only speak for my side, and I think it is a very personal and individual thing.  Really, it's not something I did purposefully so I can take no credit.  I tripped over the universe and here I am, mildly unscathed.  I can only acknowledge that I feel better afterward and hope that the other person does also.








26 September 2016

Someone Just Send Me a Damn Book

For the longest time, I was signed up with a book club that allowed a person to build a Want to Read list and they sent a book each month from that list for $10 monthly. It worked great for me because I could add a book then forget about it until it arrived.  It also allowed me to have a list to refer to when I found myself in a bookstore.

 I had noticed that the selection of books were waning and wondered how long it was going to last.  And, the answer was not much longer.  Now I'm on the hunt for something to replace this club.

I find The Literary Club is annoying.  It's the electronic version of Send in the Coupon or We'll Send You the Book and Overcharge You Greatly.   It's slightly different as it's via email but it's confusing how it actually works.  There's credits, and shipping charges if you don't order more than one book, and it might just be me but a slight tone of disapproval if you decline the  featured selection.

So, then I looked at the Book of the Month Club.  This is similar but different.  It gives a person five choices and the shipping appears free.  But it tweaks my Don't Tell Me What to Read rebellion.  I am considering it  but I haven't committed.

There is, of course, always Amazon.  Here's the thing about that: it's like a crack dealer to me.  I go with the intention of buying just one book but then I've added five more to my cart and a bathmat or movie or all.the.things. So yeah, crack dealer.  I will pre-order a book though then promptly forget that I do it until Surprise!

I just want someone to send me a book I want to read each month with very little effort required of me.  Is that too much to ask?  Probably.

So, I did a search of subscription services and finally landed on this one.  The Bookish Box

It is not a book club, per se.  So, it doesn't fulfill the book need.  But it does fulfill the OMG TREATS! need.

I signed up for the one that doesn't include a t-shirt and I'm still dithering over that decision.  But OMG treats!

Bookmarks! magnet! highlighter & page markers! tea! earrings!  Book preview!



So, the search continues for a book club subscription that fulfills my bratty needs. Until then, I highly recommend the Bookish Box.  It was so worth it just based on the fun of opening it.

24 September 2016

AGAIN

So, here we are again.  Another tragedy. 

We listened to this one unfold almost in real time last night.  There is an independent news page on the facebook that was posting information in real time and by crowdsourcing.  They also provided a police scanner link so we could listen.  In the best and worst way, social media kept everyone in the know.  Again. 

Luckily, we were home last night. We didn't go to Friday Night Dinner because I have a cold that the baby shared with me.  Otherwise, odds are good we would have been in the neighborhood of the mall.

The surreality will be difficult to shake.  It's weird seeing your hometowns in the news.  It's weird hearing phrases you hear in CSI shows and movies being used in real world terms.

We don't know the victims, or so it seems as their names haven't been released but in a small county like this one, it doesn't matter.  We'll know someone who knew someone.

We've been all through that mall, both as shoppers and as workers.  Back in the day when we were cool, we held a car show there that allowed us inside the mall after hours.  We know how dark it is after hours, we know the back hallways.  It was relevant to us as we listened.  The store that it happened in?  I believe we have a photo of our car in front of it in the albums. 

We're familiar. My niece worked in that mall until about six months ago.  A person can only say thank you and not What If.

Our friend's teenage daughter posted this link earlier today and I was really struck by it.  It's a little churchy for some, just heads up. 
https://itisstillwell.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/180/

News just stated they have the guy.  No community connections, just a random shooting. 

There are no words other than gratitude to the hundreds of first responders.  And "Again."

23 September 2016

A Trial Run

 I was just thinking that I need an old-fashioned typewriter to write this post. I need to jab keys and slam the thingy that makes the paper return to emphasize frustration and emotions.

Kevin's dad just spent a week in the hospital with an untreated, massive UTI, a-fib, and out of control sugar.  He was really, really sick and in the CCU for a while.

So, that was awful.  He's a horrible patient, either being jerky or being "funny" (borderline to straight up inappropriate)  He would justify his behavior as flirting and that is "how truck drivers communicate".  You can imagine the chorus of "Umm, NO." from the family.  "These folks are NOT waitresses."  we said.  The CNA said "Well, we're waitresses that wipe butts."  This fell somewhere between funny and OMGSHUTUP.

He's had potty issues, if you will, for a while now.  It's been a thing but if the mom brings it up, he has these massive outbursts and doesn't talk to her.  Because...she's causing him to smell like pee? But he just figured he was old and this is how it goes.  We all admit to thinking that as well.
He claims he didn't notice his heart fluttering or skipping beats but we call bullsh*t on that because we've noticed things.  And, sigh, the sugar.  That's a hopeless topic right there.

To add some extra special sauce on the situation, he is ALL OVER the mom if she doesn't take her meds, or go to the doctor, or whatever.  But the same rules don't apply in the reverse.  Oh no, don't you Even.

Because he is Kevin's mom caregiver, she had to have a babysitter while he was hospitalized.  This is where I say Thank tiny baby jesus for our sis-in-law who isn't working right now.  She shouldered all the burden.

They moved the mom into Kevin's brother's house (again:  thank you baby jesus) and then s-i-l had custody of her during the day, as well as at night.  I know I couldn't have done all that she did and still have everyone alive.  Although, I don't know that she doesn't harbor dreams of smothering multiple family members in their sleep.

Now he's home and saying he feels better than he has ever felt. He said he's going to do All The Things but I don't think he actually left the house today so we'll see.  Even if he does feel brand new, he's still 78 years old and just spent a week in hospital.

He's on massive antibiotics, blood thinners, and is supposed to monitor his sugar.  We are skeptical that all of these things are going to happen.  The both of them are really big on not doing what doctors tell them.  Because: reasons.

AND, we still believe he's had a stroke in the past year or so.  He was so sick while in the hospital that we couldn't get an answer about that beyond "could be".  He's going to a new geriatric doctor next week and we'll see.  He's been unusually combative, saying random garbled words/sentences, forgetting things.  All the things that Kevin's mom does, really.

The problem being (out of many but let's focus on this specific one) is that both parents are horrible reporters.  She can't remember anything or fixates on the one irrelevant thing.  He also struggles with remembering everything AND BONUS ROUND: often goes for the melodramatic.  "It could be cancer!" are words that have actually been said.

Also, we have a solid plan for when his mom goes to the hospital.  Grab her meds, her DNR, her list of illnesses, we know who to call and who's responsible for what.  But with this adventure, it all fell apart.  The biggest piece that fell apart was alerting the hospital staff of the mom's issues.  You know, letting them know about unimportant things like the DNR and that she has vascular dementia so don't expect her to remember or understand everything.

But, the parents don't need help.  Just ask them.  Doesn't matter that they both forget her oxygen, neither wears their CPap masks, eat high sodium, high sugar, and high fat foods, and that their house is a mess.  They don't need help. They don't want Visiting Nurse or Chore Program, Meals on Wheels, nope.  They've got this. Right up until they don't.<----shaking br="" head="" my="">

We have to get to that place where a person just had to stand back and let it fall apart.  Like teenagers, they're going to do it their way and that's that. However, the challenge being is they essentially live with us.  There is no disconnecting.

The "fun" part about my parents when my dad was dying is that they didn't tell anyone anything until it was all resolved.  Ambulance rides, falls, hospital stays, no need to know until afterward.  As messed up as it was, I think I prefer it to the "OMG EVERYTHING IS FALLING APART. COME RUNNING RIGHT NOW" only to arrive to find that everything is fine.

This aging parents thing sucks.  I can't even sugar coat it.  But, at least we have some experience from when my dad was sick, and all the times that the mom has been sick.  We just have to stick to what we know.  Ugh.  We know what to do next time.