31 May 2019

Ford Ranger

From the Drafts folder from a few years ago...

From the completely random thoughts that go through my brain category is today's post.

There is a Country song that just stopped me dead in my tracks when I first heard it.  I know you don't all enjoy the country music so here is the link and here are some of the lyrics:

I saw your picture in a paper, Honeymoon in Jamaica, she's a lucky girl
You look so grown up in your black tux, from a ball cap in a pick up, seems like another world
You and me and our big dreams, falling in love
We were two kids in the backseat, all fearless and young

I got the first kiss and she'll get the last
She's got the future, I got the past
I got the class ring, she got the diamond and wedding band
I got the boy, she got the man

I just remember that moment actually happening.  And I wonder if everyone must/might have that moment.  It happened to me years ago when I was innocently reading the paper, in our new-to-us house, and shortly after getting engaged to Kevin.  A wedding announcement.  Someone in a tuxedo who I was used to seeing like the lyrics described.

It doesn't matter how happy you are. You have that irrational thought "That could have been me."  You still feel the sudden heartbreak all over again even though years had passed and it's disconcerting.  I think partially because we remember people as we left them.  So, I picture the boy in the the Ford Ranger. At the time, I couldn't imagine the grown man.  

And how weird is that?  Well, weird enough that someone wrote a song about it.

We're grown-ups now.  Back then, we couldn't wait to start our lives.  Back then we would have never guessed that we ended up the way we are.

29 May 2019

The Dawning Realization of Power

We had our annual barbecue for Kevin and the Triplet's birthday this weekend.  Like always, it's a lot of people consisting of friends and family that changes just a little bit each year.  This year, our niece was sick so her family didn't attend.  She is always in charge of the annual water balloons. Unfortunately, that part was left out of the party.

Until it wasn't.

I had bought a dozen water cannons for the kids at the dollar store.  They were left inside, unnoticed until  after the party.  When I gathered our stuff up in a big grocery bag, I left it next to Kevin on the deck.  What a rookie move on my part.

C2 (who is now sixteen and the most handsome boy who ever breathed, come at me bro) noticed the water cannons.  "What the?" and he smiles.  It's his superpower, and he knows it.

"No, dude, we're going to use those out at the lake. It's too late."

"Whose idea was THAT" he eyerolls in a comical way.

Five (baby nephew) wanders over because he is obsessed with C2 and also notices the water cannons.  Of course he takes one and says "What's DIS?"

Now C2 just smiles because he knows that the baby gets away with murder.  "Well, let me show you" he says.

They went to the ice chest and tried to fill the water cannon but there wasn't enough water. Well, there was just enough to show how it works.  That was all the baby needed.

After a few failed attempts, their grandma relented and got them a bucket.  And that's when the fight started.

It was a thing of beauty.  C2 showed the baby how to load the cannon, for real. Leaving himself unarmed. Foolish boy.

The baby lifted it up, started to push on it, and drilled C2 right in the chest with water.

The astonishment and dawning power that passed across the baby's face was EVERYTHING.  He belly laughed when C2 yelped and jumped away.  Immediately he's chasing his brother with the water, reloading and then swinging it like a knight when he ran out.

It didn't take long and the remaining four siblings were armed and ready. Then the parents and Uncle Kevin and Grandma.  (As the family photographer, I was unscathed. I'm no dummy)

Walking and talking is one of the milestones that everyone ooohs and aahhhs over.  A baby learning how to defend himself in a water battle is a right of passage in this family.

I wish I could post a better photo but their privacy is important.  
(If you know me in reals, you can see it on the social media.)

27 May 2019

On This Memorial Day

With permission to share from my friend  Cliff Gilmore, PhD. Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.)

(original link to post)

Please Don’t Tell Me to “Have a Great Memorial Day!

I tend to be quiet about being a veteran. I don't beat my chest or my drum. I don’t demand respect or gratitude. I don’t claim elevated status.

When someone thanks me for my service with cavalier sincerity and I suspect they don’t fully understand what they’re thanking me for, I don’t look at them funny or try to explain. I just trust they mean well and say, “You’re welcome.”

Except when it comes to Memorial Day.

I came through my decades of service and deployments unscathed, so when someone thanks me for my service on Memorial Day, I find myself biting my tongue to avoid saying, “I’m not dead. I made it home. It’s not my day.”
And when they say, “Have a great Memorial Day!”, it both sparks my ire and drives me to my knees. Perhaps because I left too many friends behind in Iraq and Afghanistan and did make it home unscathed.

It has begun this year. I just saw my first email, this one from an Audi dealer, announcing a "Month Long Celebration!" of great Memorial Day deals.

I try not to be a freak and don't have many buttons, but that's one of them. So I did that thing I do when words flow out of my fingertips, through a keyboard, onto a screen, and I hit Send.
Good afternoon.
I’m writing with the best of intentions in response to your Audi dealership Memorial Day email and invite you and your staff to give a bit of thought to what Memorial Day is all about.

Much as it marks the start of summer for the nation and is viewed by many as a celebratory weekend, it is first and foremost a holiday set aside to memorialize (hence the name of the holiday) the men and women who gave their lives in service to our nation.

While I genuinely appreciate that Audi offers military discounts every day, it strikes me that “A Month Long Celebration” is a bit odd when it comes to memorializing our dead.
Should we remember our fallen service men and women fondly? Yes. Is it likely they’d want us to enjoy the life and freedom they gave their lives to preserve through start-of-summer bar-b-cues and get togethers with friends? I like to think so.

But would they want us to celebrate their deaths for a month? I certainly can’t speak for the fallen, but as a retired Marine veteran who left friends behind in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m comfortable speaking for myself — and a month long celebration says to me at least that you and your team may be rather missing the point of Memorial Day.
Warm Regards,
Cliff W. Gilmore, PhD
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.)
Generally when I advise someone not to use a particular word or phrase, I recommend alternatives because, “Well, what should I say instead?” is a reasonable response.

When it comes to telling people not to say, “Happy Memorial Day!” or not to describe it as a celebratory event, I’m not inclined to provide an easy alternative though -- because taking the time to think about what the day means is kind of the purpose of the day.

So do please enjoy your Memorial Day. Kick off your summer by spending time with family, friends, and loved ones. Grill some steaks and dogs. Soak up a bit of sun. Toss a frisbee or football around.

Be happy.
Be grateful.
Celebrate life.

But don't tell me, “Have a great Memorial Day!” and thank me for my service.

Take the time to remember those who didn’t make it home from war alive -- and please, I beg of you, don’t turn Memorial Day into a month long marketing strategy of commercialized celebration to sell more stuff to those who did.

25 May 2019

Just Click It

A couple months ago I tested the Click List feature for Fred Meyer (Kroger), the online grocery shopping app.  I have to say: big fan.

Going to the grocery store is one of my least favorite chores. It just feels like it takes so long. *stomping of feet and flailing of head*  And as people's general courtesy plummets, it gets challenging to not carry a spray bottle to encourage people to behave better.

Off on a rant, sorry.

I've had the app on my phone for a while and that's fun to use.  I like the not having paper coupons and making a list features.  But I hadn't tried the pick up option.  I don't remember what finally made it happen.  I think it was someone in the hospital that one time.

I do love it.  I have found that I tend to NOT forget things, even though I have a list app on my phone when I shop in person.  HOWEVER, I do have the habit of over-ordering and that can be just as frustrating.  For instance, anyone need tartar sauce? because I have A LOT.

The feature is free for the first few times and then there is a fee. But it's nominal when you are doing a larger shopping order.  Kevin just says he would gladly pay more than that to never have to enter a store ever again.  I'm not quite to that level of avoidance.

There is one downfall: they use about a metric ton of plastic bags for your order.  OMG, so many bags.  Washington State is on the way to a plastic bag ban (hooray!!!) and this is the prime example WHY. They say you can request paper bags but you have to enter it per grocery section. (freezer, produce, dry good, etc) so that's something.

A childhood friend collects plastic bags for the Food Bank and there are recycling bins at the store so this is a solvable, yet annoying, problem.

For anyone who has control issues (Oh, hi) then it will trigger you a little bit that even though they shop by sections: your produce will be with your paper goods, your dry goods with your butcher goods, etc. This will be a test, one that I haven't completed mastered yet.

But it is a little fun, in a really lame grown-up way, to discover what you've ordered as you unpack all the eleventy bags. If you have a short attention span like myself, maybe throw something fun in the order for you to discover as you unpack.

Also, for anyone who counts steps on the daily, this isn't going to work for you.  I used grocery shopping as physical therapy when I was injured because it was so easy.  So, that's a downfall if you count shopping was your exercise for the day.

And you have to think ordering through a little.  Take bananas...please, because I hate them (groan)...you have to remember how MANY bananas.  The first time I literally got One Banana. It's okay, it made me laugh. Ordering produce is usually okay but I prefer to do that myself.  And they tend toward MORE rather than less, which can be challenging when there are just two of you.

Even though it sounds like this clicklist thing not a good thing, it really is.  It's nice to just take ten minutes to pick stuff up then happily drive home.  

Because an arrest for hucking a loud talkers cell phone across the store is probably best avoided.

23 May 2019

New Phone, Who Dis?

The screen on my phone cracked the other day.  It's the first phone I've had that happen to. *KNOCK WOOD but who are we kidding?*   To be fair, it wasn't even in my possession.  I left it on the back of the station wagon with the mail and it slowly slid off onto the gravel drive.  Well done, me.

I was trying to justify getting a new one by thinking that I needed a new phone anyway. Mine is relatively old, slow and tired.  The memory is full of hundreds of photos, videos, and downloaded songs.  It's way time for a replacement.  But phone upgrades are never free and that annoys me.

I'm having separation anxiety; because like I wrote previously, a phone isn't just a simple phone anymore.  It has my life on it.

Samsung has an app that transfers nearly everything, with the exception of texts, from one phone to another. I used it last time but was disapponted to lose texts.  Sigh.  I use texts to remind myself of things. I like looking back through them.  It's the modern day letter writing, on a much smaller scale

And photos.  I have eleventy hundred photos on my phone.  Sure, I take a lot for the Insta (Kellwynn93, if you dig pretty pictures) but I have photos of the family, from racing, of Lucy.  I even  have a photo file to remind me of stuff like which toothbrush or oil to buy.  Culling through those (Even Though they are backed up to Google Photos) is just not even something I want to do, like, ever.

For example...this weekend I had a little over 1400 photos on my phone.  I KNOW, I have issues. We were thinking about going racing so I deleted some to make room.  Now there is "only" 964 in the MAIN album.  Yes, of course I have my photos organized in albums on my phone.  It's like you don't know me.

It seems silly to transfer everything to a shiny new phone because I'm having issues letting go of things.  But I'm totally probably going to do just that.

And this is most definitely First World Problems that I have no right to be whining about. I realize.
But that isn't going to stop me. It's exhausting setting up a new phone, even with the easy peasy app.  Passwords...those are my nemesis; especially since requirements are increasing.  Downloading apps and setting backgrounds and font sizes so I can see it, and choosing a ringtone again and...and...and...

Luckily, the crack isn't super visible or inconvenient.  I can ignore it for a while longer until I gear myself up to go get a new phone.  (and we're ignoring the cost, thank you)


Kevin convinced me to get a phone.  He knows I've been a whole mood and hoping this maybe might help.  Shiny, new things usually do.  I now have a brand new google phone.  As if the universe heard my whining anxieties, everything will transfer easy peasy, including texts.  Contented sigh.

Oh, mind you, I'm still pissy and resentful about installing apps and remembering passwords. But I'm doing it while holding a shiny new toy so that improves my attitude.  And I'm not pissy and resentful enough to Write Down said passwords for future use. That's just silly talk right there.

And I bet Kevin I wouldn't ask for IT assistance from the store so I will win, regardless of the cost, snot, and/or tears. A bet is a bet.

It didn't take long, relatively, and with minimal cursing.  Any mistakes were due to my impatience and short attention span.  In fact in preparation for this project, I put on Sirius  and tried to concentrate only on the phone but that didn't last long.  I had to start dinner, which made me think of laundry, and the soap dispenser was empty, and and and.  While doing this, I also discovered that the WiFi box needs replacing BECAUSE OF COURSE IT DOES.

So far, I am not in love with my phone, only in like. One like: I discovered that the music and speakers makes my old phone sound like it was playing from a tin can with a string.  Like AND Dislike: it is more simple so just that is panic inducing: where is the? oh, here it is.

It has a fingerprint lock that takes some getting used to. The funny thing is that I set it up with my left hand so it's fine if I'm just living my life.  But if I'm in the car...and yes, I know that you're not supposed to use your phone but LIFE HAPPENS...I can't operate my phone at all because I can't unlock it.  I have to think it's the universe protecting me from being a knucklehead.

If you need me, I will be frowning and lightly muttering at my phone until I get it figured out.  And maybe deleting some photos. Maybe. Don't push.


So I just traded in my new phone for a new phone.  This is where I FULLY ACKNOWLEDGE my privilege.

I hate the photo management on the google phone and it's non-cooperation with the camera.  I will get my nerd on for just a second: instead of having a photo gallery on my phone and built-in photo editing app, google puts everything into the cloud and...well, that's kinda it.  Photo editing is some ethereal thing that I could find but then it saved the photo...somewhere?...not in the cloud, that is for sure.  Photos are stored on the cloud so dependent upon internet connection, which is inconsistent where I live and in Canada. So no bueno.

A person can download an app to fix this problem but you pay for the app AND the add-ons or you have ad-based apps which aren't worth it, to me.  So, yes, I paid significantly more for something that was kind of solvable by downloading an app.  I did the research first, trust me.  And oh: shush.

HOWEVER, and I don't know how to explain this: the phone just didn't feel right. It didn't fit right in my hand.  I think partially because I've had a samsung phone since forever and maybe that feeling would have waned.  My old phone felt sturdy and this one constantly felt like I was going to drop it or fold it in half or something.

I had decided to just pout my way though my problems...because that always works.  But when Kevin put on his patient, "stop being stubborn" tone, I decided to listen.  I do so much with my camera and to not have it perfect was just not worth it to me.  And yes, the salesperson was a little befuddled with my decision.  As he should be.

And my karma was that I had to wait for a long time for everything to transfer because I STILL haven't culled my photos.

Oh, and one more thing: on the samsung  a certain emoji looks like a cute, coy smile but on the google phone it looks like an eye-roll. Yikes. So that made for an awkward text clarifying that I wasn't eyerolling someone.  I'm rubbish at texting, as evidence shows.

So, now we can move on with your lives. My first world problems have been solved and we can continue on.  Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Gratuitous beautiful photo from my old phone

*Not an endorsement of Samsung or Google.  You do you, boo

20 May 2019

I'd Like to Say This is Unusual

I was making dinner tonight and like most  every nights, I wasn't fully focused on what I was doing.

Two things:
This is the night I have the shiny new phone.
This was a fairly straight-forward, easy meal: baked chicken breast with vegs and rice. So it wasn't complicated, at all, even by my low standards.

I will admit to running a little late because: shiny new phone.  But I had a handle on it, no lives at risk.

Table is set-ish, I'm cleaning dishes as I go.  I took the baking dish out of the oven  and set it on a hot pad. (yes, I know all those cooking words) Then I went to attend to something else at the sink.

A few minutes later, it was time to dish up everything so I returned to the stove with a spoon in hand.

Something caught my eye.  What's that strange flickering?

I had accidentally put another hot pad next to...okay, ON...a hot burner and it was happily flaming away.

"Oh." I say.
"Hey now."
"This is not good."

All I hear is my name from behind me in a patient "What have you done, now?" tone from Kevin.

"Nothing.  It's all good.  Nothing to see here." as I put out the flames under the running faucet.

Again, pained patience, yet to his credit not panicked at all; which tells you a LOT about my cooking experiences.  "You got it?"

"Yep. It's not dinner until something is on fire."

Sure I lit something on fire while making dinner. But it wasn't THE dinner.

So I win.

18 May 2019

Drunk Me

I have not had alcohol in any significant amount in years.  Not because it was a problem but because I could see a glimmer of a problem.

Having been raised by alcoholics, who were raised by alcoholics, drinking was just normal to me. I started at about sixteen, which is reflective of lack of parenting and just growing up redneck. Don't feel well? drink. Got good news? drink.  Got bad news? drink  Bored? drink.

I realized that there is a genetic component in me that makes a problem possible for me.  Then as I got older, I realized just how much that family history affected my life.  I didn't want to perpetuate that in any way. So after a particularly binge-y New Year's Party, I straight up quit.  I didn't make an announcement to anyone, not even Kevin. I just quit.

I didn't miss it until about a year later when we went to Vegas, where of course, everyone was drinking so it was a thing.  I really thought about it. It's Vegas, you're with your friends, what could possibly go wrong?  But because I really thought about it, I didn't.

One of the reasons that I do worry about it is because I miss it.

And it's difficult/awkward to explain.  "Oh, I don't drink" implies that there was an issue.  I don't usually enjoy melodrama and that statement has a chance of melodrama.  Most people respect it. One of my friends just looked me dead in my eye and said "I get that." and that was all they said.  I loved the complicit acceptance of that statement.

I had a glass of champagne, which I love, at my brother's wedding.  I had a beer - and not even all of it - when I left the temp job a few years ago. I had a sip of wine at a funeral. Otherwise nothing substantial for...ten years.  Jeez.  I didn't realize until writing it that it had been that long. And all of those situations was where emotions are running high. Drink.

Kevin assures me that it wouldn't become a problem. When I asked him how he knew that, he replied "Because you would come home and all your sh*t would be in the yard."  Umm, thanks?
I get it, it's not just me that would be paying attention. But in my head, it's only just me.

What's sad is Drunk Me is fun.  If you think I don't have a filter now, wooo boy, see me when I have had a few shots.  I like Drunk Me.  Drunk Me would make family gatherings a little easier. If Drunk Me came to hang out right now, things would probably be a little easier.

Until it wasn't. So as much as Drunk Me is fun, it's just not worth the risk to me.

15 May 2019


There was an episode of Mom the other day where one of the characters discovers that she has had ADD all her life and didn't know it. For people of my generation, GEN X'ers, this doesn't seem unusual. We made it into adulthood before most of this knowledge became readily available.

She was understandably frustrated with living her life without knowing there was a reason she was the way she was. I kind of get that. But I also look at it like it's normal to me - I've never known anything different - and it's not necessarily a bad thing.

If I remember it correctly, the moral of the episode was she was wired that way and because she was, she was able to survive/cope with her life.  I FELT that in the feelings, for sure.

I didn't know I did until I was in an Early Childhood Education class in the early 90's.  It was before it was as easily known or recognizable as it is now.  I just remember sitting there, listening and thinking "Umm, that's me." as I'm checking off boxes on the list.  Mostly, I just felt relief that there was a reason that I felt the way I did.

There are still things that I read/hear that come up from time to time that I'm all "Huh, did not know that".  For example, ADD is often not noticed in girls because they appear to be "helpers" and not distracted or off task. That was totally grade school me.  If I'm being honest, it's a little bit into adulthood.

Kids with learning disabilities and/or A.D.D. also figure out how to get by by being charming.  I totally nailed that as a kid while interacting with adults.

In junior and high school, my friends back then thought it was just funny and that I was a rebel.  Turns out that it was just my brain was moving too fast.  On social media a while ago, someone posted a photo that was taken in middle school. It was me with friends and a teacher who regularly had to move me because I Couldn't Even.  "I'm going to move you to Siberia" he would say, with no effect whatsoever.

As much as Twitter can be a dumpster fire, sometimes it reminds you of humanity.  This thread resonated with me so much.  Again, teaching me something that I didn't know even though I live in my brain and work in a field where this knowledge is readily available:

Living with ADHD @yashar

Friends now are just used to me.  Forgotten or misdirected texts.  Broken sentences. Multitasking that is sometimes successful, sometimes not. Rarely on time. Impulsive adventures.  One of our Canadian friends referred to me/us as "You A.D.D. mother effers" and it still makes me laugh.

I can usually tell when I'm having a bad day. Sometimes it's just as simple as  I just have to move my body and now the childhood "Go outside and run around the house" command from my parents makes sense.  Sometimes coffee helps, sometimes it makes it worse.  Writing this, I've had coffee and birthday cake for breakfast and you can imagine how quickly I am typing right now.

Right now I work in an open workspace and I'm finding that to be an ongoing challenging thing.  Some days my brain will cooperate and some days I just know it's going to be a bad day.  Either the office is busier than usual or my brain won't cooperate or sometimes both.  Sometimes it's Susy LoudPants next to me and that's not necessarily the ADD, it's called having hearing.

I use the beloved noise cancelling headphones in that situation.  I use earbuds when I go grocery shopping so that I don't bring home cat food when we don't have a cat.  I learned that if I play classical music when I'm trying to learn something, it helps. (thank you, interwebs, for that suggestion)  Meditation has helped and I would have Never In A Million Years predicted that.

I can't do clutter, my brain just spins out telling me that there is something over there that needs addressing.  I can't do quiet. Overhead lighting is A Thing that I Hate.  I'm not great in large groups (think: movie theatres)  I am more successful when I'm methodical.  But I am on the struggle bus while doing it. (I think that's why I hate cooking. That and I suck at it, but whatevs.) I will actually say aloud "No. Stop. Finish this first."  I will start a conversation mid-sentence because I've already conducted half of it in my head, my body just hasn't caught up.

Also I can, ironically, hyperfocus; reading a book, writing, being deep into a project like ancestry, are good examples.  I prefer the scattered versus the hyperfocus though.

I think it's why the racetrack is my happy place.  It's all the senses at once and the ADD has plenty to play with.  A few years ago I went to a club with coworkers late at night and danced.  I hadn't done that since I'm 21 and forgot how fun that was.  (and how old I am. Yikes) But I left there happy and relaxed.  And it wasn't just the fun of being with friends; my body and brain felt different.  Something about all the input just had an effect.

I somehow managed to marry someone with ADHD and we tend to mesh well, when you wouldn't think this was a possibility.  Certainly every once in a while we'll get impulsive at the same time but mostly it's balanced. My education and work background helps us because I can identify certain triggers or remove myself to look at it bigger picture. But sometimes we fail.  See: "You A.D.D. mother-effers".  (context: we left someone behind, in Vegas. But not in a total abandonment way and it was "only" in Fremont)

And when I broke my foot off my leg, they gave me medicine for the nerve damage that mellowed me out.  Well, it made me high A.F. but I took it at night and it carried me through most of the day. I remember thinking, multiple times, and much like Sheldon: "This is what normal people feel like." I know there are things that I can take, organic and chemical, that would "help" but I'm okay with being the adorable little mess that I am.

Apologies in advance for forgotten or wrong texts, late lunch dates, unpublished posts, and fragmented sentences. I'm doing the best I can.

14 May 2019

The Road Not Taken

I know it's not National Poetry Month anymore.  I missed this one though and feel compelled to share.  It's been a few weeks of big conversations that I'm mulling and this resonates

13 May 2019

High Level Snooping

I am half-embarrassed to admit that I watch Married at First Sight.  I'm not a huge reality show fan but there are a few that I watch.  Mostly benign stuff like Project Runway and Bachelorette.  None of the other Real Housewives type nonsense. Anyway, this isn't about television.  For once.

During the Married show, they give couples bonding exercises.  Some of them I find excruciating and forced and some of them I consider/ponder.

But this one...this one I was All Oh HELL No.

They had couples trade cell phones and give each other unlimited access.




Firstly, our phones are like computers.  it's not just just calls and text messages.  It's email, social media, search histories, lists, documents.  There are health apps on most devices now.

Secondly, I could equate it to someone going through your diary.  It's such an invasion of privacy.

The point of the exercise is that a person shouldn't have anything to hide.  As someone who has been in a nearly 30-year relationship, I say:

*deep breath*


That is...how shall I say this?  ADORABLE.

I'm not talking about anything nefarious or illegal. I'm talking about finding personal items that are meant just for you.  A photo you took because reasons that are private. (not nakey ones, for the love of dog)  I'm talking about snarky texts to your best friend that could hurt someones feelings.  Social media stalking that Every Single Person has done and don't start lying to me now.  Any thing can be taken out of context, really.

And really, these folks have been together, like, five minutes.  They don't even know each other's middle names yet.  Let's throw a firebomb of High Level Snooping into their laps.  I don't think most long-term relationships could sustain an exercise like that without at least a little turmoil.

I rarely look at Kevin's phone.  I don't need to.  If something happens, I'll find out if he wants me to find out.  I'm not going to find out because I searched out of nosiness, boredom, or whatever. Oh, and he has work stuff on there that is 100% not my business. I forgot that element of access.

And he rarely looks at mine. I often have notifications flashing because I don't have the attention span to swipe them away 75% of the time. Google Photos, mostly because I take a truckload of photos. It makes him a little twitchy but he'll usually just say "Your phone is flashing" in a tone and that's it.

I asked him what he thought about this "trust" exercise.  He, like me, paused and went "Oh, no. That's a bad idea."  I do have to tell you: I was a little relieved.  But I was pretty certain he would think that was Next Level Ridiculousness.

It just feels like it sets people up to fail.  It feels like creating unnecessary drama.  It feels like a boundary that doesn't need crossing.  Everyone has something, if they've been dating for a year or married fifty years.  Everyone has something.

12 May 2019

For the Not Moms - A Rare Re-post

Having been raised by wolves, as I've regularly described my childhood, other women stepped up to make sure that I was parented when my parents couldn't or didn't know any better.

As a very young kid, it was my mom's best friend.  As I was a trauma birth, she was the one who cared for me the first month plus of my life.  In fact, she made sure I was taken care of the first part of my young life. She sees me as the daughter she never had.

My paternal grandma helped too while she was alive.  She died when I was five, but I still remember her babysitting and making sure that I was spoiled and had what I needed.

During grade school, my mom became a volunteer firefighter with a group of stay-at-home moms.  Those women also stepped up and made sure I was okay over the years.

Mostly I remember my high school best friend's moms.  At sixteen/seventeen, I was working, going to school, paying bills, and driving.  I was an adult mostly but I still felt their watchful eyes on me. They made sure I got home, school, or to work on time, had what I needed, fed me, answered my questions.  Parented me when I needed it.

So, today I'm giving a shout out to those moms who take care of kids who aren't theirs.  Not just the foster moms or the step moms.  The moms who just take in the friends of your kids without a thought.  You might not think they notice but they do.  You  may think it's nothing or a little thing but it's not.

I appreciate every meal, every hug, every correction, every thing they did to step up and fill the gaps. 

11 May 2019

As It Is Supposed to Be

I've never really identified with women who are undergoing infertility.  I believe it is because I've known since I was sixteen years old that it was highly unlikely I would ever be a mom.  After having a small medical emergency at that age, it was determined that my body decides that embryos are foreign objects that need eradicating.  (No, I wasn't pregnant at sixteen.)

Also, I'm not an overtly emotional person. I'm a "Walk it off. Rub some dirt in it" kind of girl so I don't know that it would occur to me to be upset.

For a long time, I was on birth control to regulate everything but I went off because I didn't like taking any sort of hormone/chemical/medicine.  I stayed healthy so I never considered returning to them.  I mean, really, what's the point?

I've been pregnant - that I'm aware of - three times, twice with the former husband and once with Kevin.  The first miscarriage was brutal, partially because I didn't know what was happening.  (Hello, nineteen years old and already in over my head)  Then about six months later, it happened again but not as horrible. It was more of a relief, once I realized what happened.

I did name them, more out of a sense of tradition than a coping mechanism than anything else. I couldn't imagine them not being acknowledged in any way other than a notation in a medical chart.  I chose Peter and Rachel.  Peter for my former husband's grandfather and I don't remember why I liked the name Rachel so much back then. (this was pre-FRIENDS, so not that and I would have gone with Phoebe, anyway)  It was too soon to have any inkling of gender so this is all pretend, really.

There wasn't a grieving period then because I knew I didn't want children with the former husband.  As it was, six months later the marriage was finished with a permanent protection order in place for good measure.  So, I feel like the universe just intervened on my behalf. Thank you, universe.

Kevin and I had been together for years when I miscarried.  I didn't even fully realize at first what had happened, which is a specific kind of stupid.  But it's an example of how this whole  process has not been a normal one for me.

I named this one as well, Wesley.  It was the name Kevin and I had talked about using.  We didn't agree on a girl name  and both of us wanted a boy at the time, so: Wesley.

(For those who are curious about the girl name, (Swistle ;)    It was Tiffany.  That was such an immediate veto from me.  Apologies to any Tiffany's out there, I just didn't have a good experience with that name.  Kevin thought it sounded "soft and pretty." I thought it sounded Future Strippery)

Neither of us were terribly bothered about it. We had half-heartedly tried IVF a few years prior but after two failed attempts, we just moved on.  I mean, it's not like this was new news to us. In the long run, it worked out as it should. Four grown Nieces and Nephew. NINE grand nephews and nieces

Looking at past relationships, the other love of my life has kids.  If we had worked out, they wouldn't exist and that is an example of how things end up how they're supposed to. While I'm fine with this no kids thing, I wouldn't wish it on someone else.  And yes, there is still  a little pouting anyway.

Now baby Five is three and it's the one time that I've thought "Hmm, I did miss out a little."  I am unsure why I am so connected to this little man over the others but I sure am.  I think it's because Nephew is more of a son to me than a mere nephew.

Creepy Alert:  I also think of Kevin's mom and her firstborn who didn't survive.  She admitted that she was going to name him after her husband so he would have been Three of Five.  Instead, he went un-named, which makes me sad. AND, she gave the next son that name, which I have to admit creeps me out a little.

I'm not even sure why this is a thing in my head today. Maybe it's the approaching hated Mother's Day. Maybe too much Grey's Anatomy.  Maybe it's the family history project. Maybe this is the shiny thing the a.d.d decided to play with today.

And to lighten another dark post: my grown niece calls having her period "Shark Week".  I may never recover, and now so shall you.

07 May 2019

Hello, Workspace. Nice to Meet You.

Yesterday, I ended the previous post with the intention of considering rehabbing my office.  Know one thing about me, when there is something I'm working through, I tend to clean, organize, and dive into large projects.

So, of course, now the office has been reworked.  Kevin walked in, raised an eyebrow, said something along of the lines of "Good luck with that, don't kill yourself moving that monstrosity" and went back outside. Wise man.

The desk didn't used to sit flush to the wall and neither of us could remember why.  I think it had to do with power cords and a giant, old cpu.  As a result, the printer was angled between the wall and desk. Because I hate looking at printers, cords, and electronical junk so this worked for me.  But the OCD needs the desk flush to the wall more.  

I pulled all of that junk out first. It occurs to me that a few years ago when we put in the new carpet that why did I not fix this then?  We'll never know. I'm going with our entire house was outside during Fall in the beautiful PNW and I chose my battles.

I took away all the pillows. I'm resigned to the fact that Lucy will stand on the desk if she wants to and any obstacles I may place would be considered adorable.

There is also a heavy oak file cabinet that Kevin's mom gave us.  I really like it and right now it is helping me keep family photos and history organized.  But it's a small house, by design.  There is no place to put it without thinking "Oh hai, file cabinet" when you walk in the room.  Thus the awkward placement by the window.  And it became a catch-all and I hate that.

With not as much effort as I assumed would take (hello, working through issues), I shoved the desk flush with the wall.  The OCD was pleased.  Right up until I remembered that I had to reroute printer cables and such.  And that the kickplate for the desk goes nearly flush to the floor.  "I will totally drill a hole in that desk" says Kevin.  No, sir, back away slowly.

This is one of those tasks where it is good and bad that I'm short.  Good that I can get under the desk with ease, bad that I can't reach behind to the floor.  (the trick for that: use a hanger. Now you know)
But I prevailed.  Minimal cursing.

I moved Lucy's crate as flush to the desk and bookcase as I could.  She can't see down the hall from her crate now and I think that will be good.  She's never not hunting so a random bark in the middle of the night is not unusual.  Now she's a little more sheltered and I can naively think she will stand down during the night.

I kept resentfully pushing the chair out of the way.  Finally I realized that the only fix to this is if I actually get rid of the chair. I am an all-or-nothing girl, no in between for me. I texted my niece and hooray, she would love to have the chair.  But wait, I need a chair.  Enter: a rocking chair my dad made when I was eighteen.  It's short but it will do for right now.  "Right now" meaning until the perfect chair falls from the sky and lands in the yard.

I cleaned off the junk from my desk.  Lots of it was just knick-knack stuff that accumulated over time.  I'd like to say that I thoughtfully sifted through it but that would be a lie.  I put it into Monica's closet for "later."

Now it feels more like a workable space.  The printer is still hidden, if not a little inconveniently.  The pillows are all gone and the file cabinet....well.  Now it's out of the frame of the photo and sits by Monica's closet.  Sure it partially blocks the door.  Why wouldn't it?

Pillows, clutter, oh Hai file cabinet

Serenity now.

06 May 2019

Hello, Workspace

I watched Under the Tuscan Sun the other night, in the middle of the night.  There is a scene where she talks about introducing yourself to a new house and figuring out how to make it into a home. It shows her moving a desk in front of a window and making her workspace.

My office is kind of multi-purpose.  Lucy's crate is in here.  There is lots of racecar stuff in here: photos, trophies, magazines.  My books are in here, one giant bookcase and one smaller.  Inexplicably there are two closets.  One is Monica's closet, where everything gets tossed until "later" and the other, smaller closet is the Racecar Closet.  It has an actual set of rear tires stored in it.

I used to have a student desk that someone gave us and an old, old CPU.  I wrote an entire book and hundreds of posts with those.  But with time, the CPU died and the desk wasn't functional anymore.  But I wrote much more back then so I was trying to figure out what has changed.  Some of it is just life but that excuse doesn't get anyone very far.

Now I have a giant oak desk that weighs approximately one million pounds.  I impulsively bought it from Craigslist years ago, much to Kevin's dismay.  It's totally fair, it's six foot by four foot in size. I could easily make it into a daybed.

When my cpu died, I replaced it with my old work laptop   This has been fine but not great. The shift key is moody. I tend to lean over when typing, not a good look.  My dinosaur laptop is so old that it runs Vista and no longer receives updates for anything.  I fully expect it to deep sigh one day and never turn on again.  But I love it and I don't want a new laptop.  I do have a newer one that Windows 8 ruined so now it's just used for the racecar.  Even when it was new, I was "meh" about it.

I think I need keyboard.  I covet the steampunk ones but could never justify the cost for a good one.  I'd be happy with one of those ergonomic ones that everyone but me hates. But LOOK:

And my chair is also from the old house.  It doesn't really fit this too-big-desk or me.  I need to find an alternative but I just never think about it until I sit in it, like I am now.  I really want an old school mid-century modern desk chair to match the desk but not enough to search and pay what is bound to be good money for it.

This is not a good example but it's the style.  I've seen them in Yellow or Orange

The lighting in here is perfect, the window looks at the rock garden so it's not distracting, it's at the back of the house, away from everything. It's mostly a great room.  If I'm alone, Lucy will hang out with me while I write. I have a small stereo back here but prefer to write while wearing my headphones to thwart the a.d.d.  Said certain puppy makes this impossible though.

The desk tends toward being a catch-all.  It's cluttered and my brain can't function in clutter.  This is a simple fix but I know that will create other projects.  Some things are from my old job and I am just not as invested in my job to drag it into my office.  Some might say: let it go then.  Some might shut it.

I've tried to relocate out to the kitchen table but there are too many distractions there.  I can only manage that when I'm on break and even then only with mild success. I don't think I will ever be the kind of writer who sits in a coffee shop and writes. Even with headphones.   I don't understand those people at all.

My vision won't allow me to type on a tablet and that's super frustrating.  I don't know what I'm going to do when that will be the only option.  I've used what i call "speak and spell" on my phone but that can create interesting and hilarious editing needs.  My work computer is shiny new and I have two monitors, fast internet, and that is really a special kind of heaven.  But: work computer.

So, I'm thinking I'm going to clear surfaces and see what I can reconfigure.  I'm going to surf craigslist for an old chair.  I have to research converting back to a cpu and screen set-up. But if we're being honest, we know I'm totally going to wait until my beloved laptop breathes it's last.  And if I do decide that is the way to go, I'm going to need a cool keyboard. Obvs.

The point being, for a place where I spend a lot of time, I need to re-introduce myself to this space and figure it out.  As long as the desk doesn't need moving.

I swear the carpet isn't pink, it just photographs that way.
And yes, there are pillows everywhere because a puppy used to stand on my desk.

you thought I was joking.

05 May 2019

More Than A Test

For a few years I've been working on family history, on both sides of my family.  It started because Kevin's mom's memories were slipping and she was failing in health. I seized the opportunity before it was too late.  Then I had time on my hands unexpectedly and I started it for my mother too.

It has unearthed some interesting things, like my dad being illegitimate and the appearance of my grandma and grandpa eloping.

I've culled through and scanned hundreds of photos until I couldn't see straight.  I've spend endless hours hovered over the family tree database.  It feels like the more one learns, the more you need to learn.  It's a good kind of addiction.

So, then I decided that I was going to get my dna tested.  Just to get origins, not for any deeper details.  I made the joke to my eldest brother at his wedding shower about "We'll see what secrets that brings out. maybe we have siblings."

Dude did not laugh.

I mean, I've said before that I would not be surprised for one moment if someone introduced themselves as a long lost sibling.  Making a joke is on one level, having a brother not laugh and not confirm or deny is A Whole Other Level.

Because I am literally a slow learner, I made a similar statement to my mother.  She said something like "Well, you never know."


What the actual hell, family?

I know I've said I've been raised by wolves before and this is the perfect hands-gesturing-in-a-Ta! Dah!-fashion example.

About a month ago I finally did it.  I signed up for the dna info sharing so, indeed, we will find out who all exists out there.  So far it's one cousin that we share a grandma and a BUNCH of second and third cousins. No one terribly interesting.

As predicted, I am so much Caucasian that I should be clear.  Not one speck of any sort of interesting shade in my dna.  English, Scottish, Irish, some more English.  The most interesting part is another shade of white from Norway that I didn't know about.

One side of my family were farmers in the deep south so I wondered if that would bring anything interesting/horrifying out.  I've looked at census records through my hands over my eyes, hoping that there was no slave ownership.  So far, so good.

Another side owned orange groves in Southern California so that would bring the possibility of some Hispanic in the family line.  Nope.

Finally, family lore was that there was Native American in my mother's family.  I confirmed that there was via uncles, generations removed, but it appears there were no offspring so no Native American dna.

So at risk of daring the Universe to eff with me, that turned out boring.

Now one of the kids is working on their family tree.  They have a different father than their siblings so it has created kind of a weird vacuum.  The intention is pure, they just want to know where they came from.

Kevin and I debated it a little bit.  I explained that it's not about WHO these people are or even making in-person connections. It is not demeaning who raised someone versus who provided genetic material.  It's learning details that make you say "Oh, THAT'S why."  It's having a little glimpse of how we all got here.

I learned that my interest in all things racecar is from my maternal grandpa who owned a machine shop and raced motorcycles with his brother.  When I discovered that, it was a like a light was turned on.  My maternal grandma was a bit of a wild child, so now I know that's where the rebel trait comes from.  My other grandma had a very interesting romantic life and in the strangest way, it made me feel better.  She just kept trying and neither grandma gave up on love, even with epic heartbreak.

This is the kind of thing that a person can discover about their family history and about yourself. In some ways, it's healing something that you might even know needs mending.  It's seeing something come full circle throughout the generations.

And who knows?  in the future maybe our family will grow in ways one never predicted.

03 May 2019

Today's Adventure in Parenting

'Tue Apr 30'
A friend or relative could be ill, out of work, or otherwise beset by problems. You may want to do whatever you can to help out. This could be frustrating, but you will feel better for having done what you can. This person needs to face and deal with his or her responsibilities. They're out of your control to fix, Sagittarius.

I like reading horoscopes the day after they post.  Sometimes they're way, way, way off because Horoscopes.  Sometimes it's like the above and it's smack on the nose.

Kevin's mom was in hospital again.  She keeps trying to die and then rallies and doesn't.  This sounds cold-hearted but she's been sick a long, long time.  She has reached the point of not being able to fully bounce back.  We honestly thought this might be it.

This week's diagnosis is Aphasgia - Level 3.This means she has lost the use of her esophagus.

She was in the hospital with malnutrition because of it. Don't look at us like that, look at them. They are the ones who waited so long because "We have a doctor's appointment coming up." Don't try to figure it out, there's no logic.  It's literally like they agree "Okay, don't die because if you can just make it to two Thursdays from now, we can talk to the doctor."

And it's like they think the hospital has bankers hours.  24/7/365 is the gig, man.  AND, while I'm on a roll...WTAF are they doing all day that makes going to a medical provider so doggone difficult?


They pumped her back up and did the procedure to diagnose. This took three days because she was too weak for a simple endoscopy.   Then sent her home because there's really nothing to be done at this point.  "Figure out what you can eat" they said.  Kevin actually heard this part and we're squinting in response to the "Good luck with that!" tone from the medical community.  Although, to be fair, they probably had already gone through this prior to the procedure and felt like it was repetitive.  We'll never know.  Because like teenagers, elderly parents tend to lie.  And strangely, for the exact same reasons: they want to be independent.

So, like I always do, I put on my research nerd hat and went to work.  We have the diagnosis so now it's time to figure out how "we" are going to live with this.  The remedy/coping skill for this diagnosis is not easy but it's "easy":

Small, small bites at the largest but softened/pureed food is preferable
Many snacks, instead of meals
Smoothies, Ensure, and drinks such as that
Sit at the table, at 90-degrees when eating
Don't eat the foods on the list of Food You Do Not Eat

There were lists of foods and food combos that have been known to be successful.  Mashed potatoes and gravy, like KFC style consistency.  I naively thought "Oh, she's gonna like that."
Gravy on all.the.things.  Another winner. Shakes of varying consistencies.  Ice cream.  Pudding. Creamy soups. Because no one cares about carbs or cholesterol at this point.

I mean, no one wants to be told what they can eat but it's not like a diabetes diet.  This is not bad overall.  I didn't see a single thing on the list that she didn't like.  She will not like the stop eating red meat thing AT ALL.  You know what else is on the list not to eat? GRAPES.

I printed it out, two copies, and emailed a copy to Kevin.  He took it over to go over it with them.

Yeah, NO.  Super, really, NOT interested.  "It's fine" they said. "She can eat what she wants" they said. "The doctors didn't say anything about that." they said.

(I know things don't go well next door when Kevin, usually the loudest and happiest guy on the planet comes in the house and just sits down in his chair.  This is the cue to RUN.)

It's so pretty in Denial. Have you been?  Many people like to live there.

Now we flip to the page in the book where we say "We did what we could. They are going to do what they're going to do, and how's next Tuesday for your next visit to the hospital?"

Meanwhile, the father-in-law also thought it would be a great idea to mow all the lawns while we were at work, Two Weeks After he had his pacemaker installed.  We're waiting to see if HE'S going back to the doctor now.

I think I'm going to hide their television remote as a consequence.

01 May 2019

Deal with your shit

Warning: this contains language (more than usual) a harsh topic, and is long form. 

The  title is something that is said in the drag racing world by friends. The point of it is: you deal with what you're given. You don't excuse, complain, or avoid. Deal with your shit.

So, this is dealing with my shit.  This is not a me too post.  I repeat, this is not intended as a me too post.  NOT A ME TOO POST. NOT.  This is kind of a part two of the Post Apocalyptic Hometown post, how it felt to return after All Of That.

I've mentioned from time to time the fact that I was married young.  Really young.  Stupidly young.  Having been raised by wolves, it was a way out.  I loved him, as much as one can when you're in your late teens. But I knew it wouldn't be the end of the world if it didn't work out.  Things had already happened that should have ended the relationship, but because reasons, it didn't.  This, I later learned, is not unusual.

Until it didn't work out and then it was the end of the world. I ended up losing everything.  Friends, job, place to live. One of the loves of my life (not him)  Name it. Gone.

Because of mental illness and just straight-up problems, the marriage ended in threats/acts of violence from him.  It ended in restraining orders and court dates. It ended up with my literal and purposeful disappearance.  Because of his relentless behavior and actions, I had to engage a lawyer.

For my own safety, the lawyer told me to disappear.  This wasn't a cheap, sleazy lawyer just trying to go the easy way; this guy was legit. He had seen it before and knew how it could end. He said something along the lines of "I don't want to have to testify at the trial of your murder."  Yeah.

It pissed him off that it was happening to me and it pissed him off that it was being sponsored - at the time- by his parents, a known family in the community. Dude is a judge now. AND, to substantiate the direness of the situation, it was an 18-month marriage with no assets that required lawyers, court appearances, and lots of paperwork.

The lawyer suggested that I move out of the county.  This wasn't possible because I was dead broke and working at a low paying job. I could have become part of the system to get out safely but my pride got in the way. And I got my stubborn on.  Stupidly, I refused. I gutted it out instead of asking for help.

One stolen car, failed rehab attempt (his, not mine), lots of stalking, and another threat of specific mutual violence and I changed my mind.

How does one disappear in a small town?  I had to file legal paperwork separate from the divorce papers to change my name. He refused  to sign off on it and this part is fuzzy. I just remember he wanted me branded with his last name forever.

I was living with my sister and had to move.  I stopped seeing my family.  I lost my friends - they were either over the drama and/or they couldn't be subjected to his issues. It was just relentless because he wouldn't leave them alone either.  If he knew I'd been to their houses, he would show up. He took every opportunity he could to interfere.

To increase the difficulty level, people were slow to realize what was happening and/or believe it really was that bad.  Because he was so good at presenting the good side publicly.  "Oh, he's harmless. He will settle down. It's not that bad." Imagine how frustrating that was. He ran his mouth everywhere he went, it was relentless and exhausting and on the surface doesn't seem so bad.  Until you realize it happened everywhere I went.

Some of this is on me. I don't want to hear "It's never your fault!" because there were two players in this situation.  I made at least two mistakes: fear based decision making and having permanent solutions to temporary problems.  At the time, I didn't feel like anything else was possible.  This is disrespectful, not to just me but to some of the people around me.

Worst of all during this, I lost someone very special to me. Because I was just barely twenty-one at the time, I did not handle this situation well.  The term ghosted wasn't a thing back then but that's essentially what happened. I felt powerless and I bolted. I should have made a different choice - had some faith - but that is a consequence that I have to deal with.

My sister lied her face off to people to protect me.  I tried to stay at my parents again.  I ended up hiding out at Kevin's way, way, WAY Before either of us were ready for that level of relationship.  To their credit, his family and friends (some of whom knew the husband) helped me stay hidden.

I became a ghost.  I didn't go anywhere alone, except work and there were a few job changes. This was before cell phones and interwebs, thank god. I believe this would be a Very Different Story if it had.  Still, he found me.  I mean, it wasn't hard, it was a small town.

Finally, there was a particularly scary and upsetting telephone call with promises of violence that happened at Kevin's house, before I was even living there. It had followed one from earlier that day that happened at my job.  This caused another court appearance for the "Okay, we're not fucking around anymore" restraining order.

That court appearance ended up being soul crushing and humiliating.  Prior to this, I wasn't required to appear due to the domestic violence status.  Unfortunately this time, there was no one to represent me so I had to appear. (again: small town)  I was told to show up after the proceedings began and I was assigned a deputy while in the courtroom as safeguards.  It was suggested that I could bring, like, my mom or sister with me but no men. (again: 1990's small town) I went by myself because stubborn.

It was something out of Law and Order. Most of what I remember is staring at the wall, when I didn't have to look at the judge.  Mike complained that a restraining order was keeping him from reconciling with me.   The judge asked me if there was a chance of reconciling.  "No, your honor. None."  He nodded and said something along the lines of "By looking at the charging documents, I see why."

Then Mike took the tack of trying to embarrass me.  "Well, she had an affair with My Friend before the marriage ended."  I can't quite recall how the judge's response went because I was humiliated and panicked and couldn't hear anything over that for a few minutes. I was desperate to keep that person's name out of court records, spare him any embarrassment.  The judge shut him down right before he said his name and asked me if I had anything to add.  NOPE.

His last ditch attempt was to say that I was also sleeping with Kevin, who was "a lifelong friend of his" and "She can't keep me from all of my friends."  and "She's living with him right now"  None of which was true. So, Kevin's name ended up in court records because he was mentioned in the restraining order response and court proceedings.  NEAT.

Washington State is a no fault state so none of the above was relevant to anything, other than to manipulate and embarrass.

Finally, it was done. A permanent restraining order with promises of imprisonment if he didn't stop.
One would like to say he stopped.  He kinda did but he just got more sneaky about it. It was still the occasional drive-by, the random hang-up phone calls, showing up in places then disappearing. The kind of stuff that really makes you feel crazy. The stuff you can't prove but know is happening.  He was a pro at gas-lighting.

It finally stopped all the way only because we moved, a few months after the divorce became final. He's wandered off to ruin someone else's life now and there's nothing I can do about that. We no longer have mutual friends so I know nothing about him.  Other than he's not dead, so I lost that bet.

So. The dealing with my shit part. The first of this post was the part about how I got here. Here's where I am going.

Now that I've returned, its a much bigger town so it's easier to stay invisible. Everything has changed, except me. Now it's about how/when I decided to deal with my shit. Slay those zombies, if you will. Vanquish those ghosts. It's been two years since I've returned "home" with the new job.  It was much harder than I thought it would be.  Because, I believe, I didn't deal with my shit. I stayed in the habit of hiding.

There have been no incidents, although I did see Mike in traffic a few months ago. The abject dread that I felt left me exhausted.  Still, slowly, my vigilance has waned.  At this point, he could have already seen me and I don't even know.

I've reached out to friends and that's been good. I realize how much I missed them and how it is to have friends who knew who I used to be. But it is different now.  I stayed hidden to someone because I wasn't ready, until I just was.  At first, I didn't have a good answer to why I reached out when I did. Then I realized it was the guilt because of what happened, the exhaustion of staying hidden. And it's just straight up missing that person. Amends were made and it was difficult but worth it.

There is still a little humility and amends to make. I didn't do a great job of communicating what was happening then. I was embarrassed and mad at myself for everything. I couldn't believe that I was that person.  I scoffed at the lawyer when he said I was a victim of domestic violence. (thus prompting the murder trial quote) I am doing a disservice by not acknowledging it. By not talking about it. It's awkward when someone refers to that time because they don't know or remember what happened. So, here I stand...god, I hate the word survivor. I just watched Game of Thrones so I will say conqueror of all that I thought would never end.

If you know me in real, you probably wouldn't guess that all this nonsense occurred.  It's because it happened, that I am that person now, probably. In the end, I did the best I could at the time, and it wasn't enough for some of the people I loved and that has to be okay. On some level, I did just bail, even though my safety was truly at risk  There are consequences to that, ones that I had to remedy and some that just are never going to change.

A lot of what pushed me forward is that I've just spent a lot time with the kids on both sides of the family.  They are so Live Out Loud kids and they are teaching me how to do that too.

Shout "I love you" across a restaurant, parking lot, or fair? Certainly no shame in that game. Fling yourself with abandon at the people you love, Great! Let's go do stuff, C'mon let's go. They don't care about zombies. They have zero knowledge of that time and don't understand why not come be part of the hometown that they know.  Not to just endure in the one that used to exist for me.

Kevin says just forget about it, Mike probably has.  He's probably right and that's something I would say to someone else. But he doesn't live in my head; he didn't experience that dread. Someone else said "they're just places" and he's right too. They are just places now. They hold no power. All I have to do is reach out, it's all on me.

Make amends. Make friends with those ghosts. Slay those damned zombies.

I just have to deal with my shit.