Friday, August 28, 2015

Diamonds...


Have you ever wondered why man's best friend is a dog,
While diamonds are a woman's best friend?

Dogs are loyal to a fault.
Always happy to see you.
Warm. Soft. Companionship.
Goofy, dorky, fun.

Diamonds are beautiful.
Shiny. Sparkly.
Cold, hard, ornamental.
Impersonal.

A dog is a friend.
A diamond is a gift.
A dog is your buddy.
A diamond is your status.

Man's best friend.
Wagging his tail.
Waiting.
Excited.

Woman's best friend.
Sparkling. 
Aloof.
Cold.

Who decided these things?
Who said, this is the way it goes?
Men need companionship!
Women need ornaments!
Men need someone who thinks they are heroes just for coming home!
Women only need something to shine on a hand, or an ear.

Is it an insult to men?
To women?
To dogs?
To diamonds?

Diamonds don't care.
They know they are perfect.
Dogs don't care.
They only want to be loved.
Men don't care. 
They have a dog that loves them.
Women...
women ponder these things...

While looking at their diamonds.

Multifaceted.
Shining.
Hard.
Yet beautiful.
Strong.
Yet dazzling.
Sparkling in the sun.




Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ummm...I don't think you belong here...

My new workout cycle is heavier in free weights than the last one was so for the next three months I will be spending half of my workout in the non-machine section of the gym. This is not where my comfort zone is. On the machines I can sort of figure things out. Work my way through them. Watch a YouTube video if I need to (which I totally needed to for one of them) and move along my merry way. The free weight section is for the "serious" gym goers. The muscle heads. The So Hot girls. The people who are really fit. Not the middle aged stay at home retired women. That's the water aerobics class that I also don't do but anyway...

It makes me feel more than a little out of my element each time I step over to that section and scout out a bench and some weights. Like at any point someone is going to come up and ask me to leave. That I should probably go back to the machines where I obviously would be more comfortable. And honestly I would. But that's not the program I'm on for the next three months. That was the program I was on for the last three months (with one free weight section that I got around by doing it in the classroom space when no one was there).

Then today as I was doing "Standing biceps curls with barbell" one of the women that works out A LOT was watching me. She's an older lady but it took literal months before I realized that she had to be pushing mid-sixties because she is so fit. So anyway she's watching me and comes over to say something and I'm bracing myself for the "you are so doing that wrong" or "you should leave now" and she says, "I have been wanting to tell you for ages that you have great arms." I laughed that self deprecating I don't really believe you laugh and said, "Thanks." She wasn't buying it. "No, really, I watch you do the lat pull downs and wish I could get that line" and here she pointed to her arm, her incredibly fit but lacking in a full biceps muscle belly arm, "but I just can't."

I smiled at her and told her thank you again and then told her, "That really helps keep me motivated. You are in great shape and that means a lot." And then felt really awkward because I had just basically admitted to checking her out. Which I totally have. I check out everyone in the gym. And give them all really interesting back stories, because of course I do. Then because when you are feeling awkward the best thing to do is just keep talking I said, "Mostly it's genetics. How your muscle fibers are. I have decent arms, they respond well to work outs. My arms, abs and back will always show my progress while my legs just sort of are. I have thicker muscle bellies so I will never get that lovely long and lean look that ballet dancers have. Though I tried for a long time." She told me that she understood completely, she had worked for years to get a six pack and it just wouldn't happen. But she decided that being the best she could be was good enough. I then admitted to her that I decide that too, about 4 times a year, and one of these times I was sure it was going to stick. She laughed and then we went back to our work outs.

And I looked at my arms while I did my second set of biceps curls and thought, "Okay, I belong over here too."

Which lasted right up until swiss curls for triceps where I longed for my machines again...

It's impostor syndrome in the gym. I work out. A lot. Five days a week. Which to be fair was a step up 3 months ago when I started this new system. Before that it was three days a week. And two days at home. But I don't feel like a "gym person." I am never going to be one of those people that loves working out. I love cake. I love tortillas. I love cheese. I love to walk without my knees calling me names. So I work out. It's preventative, for the arthritis and for the cake belly. But it's not something I love to do. But I do it. Consistently. So doesn't that make me a "gym person?"

Where is that line where you really feel like you know what you are doing? When you own what you are and what you do? I haven't found it yet. Not at the gym. Not with writing, (I have been getting better about calling myself a writer but there is still A LOT of internal side eye happening). I never got there with advertising, even when I was handling millions of dollars in business. There is always this piece of me that is pretty sure at some point everyone is going to figure out that I am in way over my head and just making it all up as I go along.

And then when I talk to other people about it, I find out that they feel the same way. That a good portion of us are working our way through life by the seat of our pants. Just winging it day to day. Even the things we are experts in (from the outside) we are just waiting to be told, "you're doing it wrong, you probably should move over and let the real adults take over now." Which probably makes us all better at what we do, right? I mean I worked hard at my advertising job because I was sure I was in too deep and needed to constantly work to be good enough, which then ended up making me really good at it. I write more now because I want to be thought of as a writer and not a "writer" so I try to make sure I put words on the screen more days than not. And I plan my workouts and keep at them to keep from being asked to go....just please go. So at some level I really am all of those things, right?

So here's to all of the fakers, the impostors, the seat of the pantsers! Keep doing what you are doing, I swear you look like a natural to me!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gracefully...

The tub filled slowly. She dipped a toe in the milky water and took a deep breath. Warm vanilla sugar. Smiling to herself remembering the years of Love's Baby Soft, then Jean Nate, Tresor, Miracle...and now the smell of a warm kitchen on a cold day. How things change.

Easing in to the bath the water creeping over legs marked with old scars. A lifetime of stories in the marks. Tripping over barbed wire at camp now nothing more than a silver line at her ankle. A bump of scar tissue on her knee once the worst thing she could think of now just a mark over an angry joint that complained when it got too cold outside. As the water covered her thighs she smiled remembering the photographer on her wedding day telling her that one day she would look back at the picture of her slipping the garter on and wish for thighs so thin. On that day she had thought how ridiculous, she needed to lose 5 pounds after all. Thirty years and thirty pounds later she understood.

But now she knew they were strong legs. They had walked a thousand miles. Squatted for hours over Lego buildings and chalk drawings. Run to catch a falling toddler and stayed still to let a grown up leave the nest. They were thick. Thin thighs were something for a child to aspire to, She was happy with her strong ones that had taken her everywhere she wanted to go, and held her man close when she didn't want to go anywhere.

Easing deeper in to the bath the water caressed her stomach. Not as flat as it used to be. Crossed with stretch marks that never went away. Soft fold of skin that was left as a reminder of the life she nurtured in her own body. Rock hard abs sound good but a warm inviting lap for a child, a pet, comfort on a bad day, that was better.

Her breasts rocked in the water. Unruly things they had become. They were healthy which was a blessing to her. They weren't as firm as they used to be, but they were full, lush...Silky. Responsive. Hers.

She relaxed and felt the muscles of her face let go. There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead had turned in to there was an older woman who had a crooked line right between her eyes... The first time she had noticed it she thought "where did that come from?" and as soon as she concentrated and her eyebrows dipped she saw...It was her thought line. Like a fault line under the earth's crust it was the line where her thoughts pushed against each other until one came out triumphant. Or that's what she liked to think.

She smiled...crinkle lines around her eyes. Crow's feet. Did you know that crows are the smartest birds? Really. They can figure out puzzles, they mourn their dead. There was a study at a university years ago where this professor and his assistants captured and tagged a few crows then released them. The crows were not thrilled with this, by the way, and started dive bombing and attacking these people when they would walk around campus. Not just the crows they had captured, but all of the crows. And did I mention they were wearing masks when they did the capturing and the masks didn't matter? The crows still knew who they were. And TOLD THE OTHER CROWS. AND THEN THEY PASSED IT ALONG TO THE NEXT GENERATION! I think the results of the test were...don't fuck with crows. So a few crow's feet around her eyes was fine with her.

The eye crinkles, the thought line, those joined the laugh lines she had. More years spent with a smile on her face than a scowl. She would take it. Then there was the one deep groove above her lips. The mark left from her years as a smoker. Lips pursed around a cigarette. It was a good reminder to her to watch herself. What seems like nothing can end up being something later in life. Listen to the warnings. Pay attention to those that came before you. They know. And get out of a bad situation before it gets worse. One wrinkle is better than lungs riddled with disease after all.

Running her hands through her hair. Years of long had given way to short. Her hair had been her vanity until she realized it could be a gift to someone else instead. Then she grew it and cut it with regularity. Up until the silver gray threads went from a few to a few more to how many of you are there? Then she cut it all off and embraced her new glitter. Each sparkling silver hair was a reminder of an adventure. Those times when she ran to catch that falling toddler? Silver hair. The times she had to let him fall on his own. More silver hairs. Time passes and it leaves gifts. Threads of sparkling silver in her brown locks were part of a crown.

Time moves. Bodies change. Muscles soften. But so do rigid thoughts. An expanding mind is more important than an expanding back side any day.

Warm water in a bath tub smelling like a freshly baked cookie.

A body strong and healthy.

Yet soft and lush.

Life is good.

The stories tell of wicked queens bathing in the blood of young virgins to keep their youth. They should have been washing in the essence of grown women instead. Fuller. Juicier. And more powerful than they could have ever imagined.

Gracefully.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

We are all hypocrites...

I worked on this blog yesterday for a long time. I was having a really hard time getting it to gel right. I had one point I wanted to make but I kept veering in to another point and I fought it over and over trying to get my thoughts to behave. I had reached the point where I realized they weren't going to and I was just going to have to mesh them together to get this out when I got news that stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly it was all too personal to move forward with, I put it aside and wasn't sure when I would pick it up again.

But the personal nature of it, along with the topic (topics?) of the blog now wouldn't let go and they added to each other so I came back to it today. Deleted most of what I wrote yesterday and started all over again. Knowing that I have a point to make and part of it will be personal, part of it will be political, not all of it will make sense to everyone, and I will have to cry at some point while I write. So knowing all of that I start again...

I titled this blog "We are all hypocrites..." I've touched on that theme a lot over the years, here and on my Facebook feed, and in conversations with people. We all hold beliefs that if we were to lay them side by side on a table would be opposite to each other. And yet somehow we hold on to them just the same. We believe things that don't work across situations. We hold one set of standards for one thing, and a different set for another. We don't like to be labeled while we label everyone around us. And sometimes we don't really believe what we say we believe.

Today we are going to talk about how we don't really believe what we say we believe, not when we start to break it down. Not when we have to realize that we are hypocrites about it. Not when we have to own every aspect of it.

Years ago a friend of mine had a miscarriage. She had been trying to get pregnant. She had two others after that one. Carrying a child wasn't easy for her. But this was the first one. We had been out hiking that day, both of our husbands were in the Navy and both out to sea so it was just us. We had hiked to a lighthouse, had a picnic, hiked back to the car. Good day. Long day. I dropped her off at her house and headed home. I lived about 40 minutes away and as I walked in the door of the house my phone was ringing. "I need you to come back. I think something is wrong with the baby." I made the return drive in about 25 minutes. Flew in to the house and found her in the bathroom. There was a lot of blood. After looking at what she had passed so far I made the call that we were headed to the hospital. After a blood test, two sets of ultrasounds and a somber visit by the OBGYN on call the news came down. The baby was gone. She needed to go in to surgery for a d and c and spend the night there.

We were 21 years old. Exhausted from a very long day. Starving, since neither of us had eaten since our picnic lunch and it was close to midnight. And completely at a loss on how to handle this. So we did the best we could. Which involved convincing the orderly to let me make ambulance noise when we pushed her around the hallways to various tests and when she went in to surgery. Wishing we had a camera with us because when the IV failed and blood backed out of the tubing and over her hand dripping off of one finger on to a puddle on the floor it was the best horror movie scene ever. Telling the nurse on duty that a Big Mac Meal after she came out of surgery was exactly what she needed and if she would play along an extra fried cherry pie might just end up at the nurse's station. And making any number of jokes to make the orderlies laugh and not feel so badly that they were there dealing with a young mother's miscarriage while her husband was out to sea and unable to be reached.

After I got her fed and settled in for the night (morning by that time) I went back out to her place to get clothes for the next day, feed the cat, and to clean up the bathroom. Hoping that we were with it enough when we left to close the bathroom door. I am really strong and good in a crisis but that would have pushed me over the edge I think. Thankfully we had. I got her clothes, took care of the cat then braced myself for the worse task at hand. I cleaned the bathroom. Wiped up the blood and took care of the clots that we had examined the night before. Which meant flushing them away. What else was there to do? We have no ceremony for this. We have no standard that we do when a woman miscarries. Maybe say we are sorry and better luck next time at best. At worst we tell them how it wasn't really anything anyway and it never really happened.

And here is where I am going to get harsher in my language, my thoughts and my tone so you can back out of this blog now if you would like...

We do more for a child's dead goldfish than we do for the loss of their potential sibling.

I wrote here about the bullshit hypocrisy in our abortion laws and now I'm going to touch on the same thing from the other side.

Even if you are staunchly pro-life, we don't really consider a miscarried child in the same category as the death of a newborn child. We just don't. If you really believe that life begins at the moment of conception then you need to follow through with a lot of things that you would find ridiculous. Things like investigating my friend and I after her miscarriage. Were we negligent? We hiked that day, we knew she was pregnant and we hiked anyway. Did that lead to the miscarriage? Was I an accessory to the death of her child because I knew she was pregnant and didn't make her stay home? How about an accessory after the fact because I went back to her place and cleaned everything up? Flushing away evidence as it were. There was never an investigation because that would be ridiculous. The hike didn't cause the miscarriage. She was fit enough to hike, doctors will tell you that unless you are high risk you can keep up the level of activity you always have had as long as you are comfortable. But there was never even an investigation to make sure. Not even after her third miscarry.

When I had a miscarriage when C was little there wasn't ever even a doctor involved. We had just started to accept that I was pregnant when I wasn't anymore. Pretty damn convenient, don't you think? I didn't want another child. I had been very vocal about the fact that I only wanted one child and now I was only going to have one. That's motive right? But it would be ridiculous for there to be an investigation because it was a miscarry. Not a newborn.

We don't make women show proof that they are not pregnant before letting them drink even though it's illegal to serve a minor alcohol. And if you are sharing a blood supply if you drink, they drink. We don't arrest pregnant women for smoking though we would if she taught her toddler how to smoke. We make suggestions for treatment during pregnancy but we don't mandate it because it's a woman's choice what she does. Right up until that child is born, then we can mandate things like no booze, no cigarettes, must see a doctor if they are ill. But before that? We don't. We allow an abundance of embryos to be created for people doing in vitro fertilization, and then we allow them to be put in a deep freeze indefinitely. If you believe that is a child, how are you okay with this being legal in any realm?

We don't investigate miscarriages like we do the death of a newborn.

We don't even mark the death as a significant life event deserving of a funeral.

Because we don't see it the same way.

No matter your stance, you just don't.

I am saddened when a friend miscarries. It hurts my heart. I feel badly for them and I wish I could do something to ease the loss of that dream that they had. But I have to be perfectly honest that it is nowhere near what I feel when someone loses a child. Because as anti-abortion, pro-pregnancy as I am, there is a difference.

I know it.

You know it.

We just don't like to admit it.

Because we are all hypocrites.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How did you know?

She always seemed to know things she shouldn't.

Or maybe not shouldn't so much as couldn't.

She always seemed to know when the phone would ring.

When the knock on the door would come.

When the babies were due.

When they were lost.



Cookies were baked and waiting for the surprise visitors.

Fresh linens were on the bed for overnight guests who didn't know they were staying.

Cards were purchased just waiting to be mailed...congratulations, condolences.

She always just seemed to know.



Her children never tried to get away with anything.

Neither did her husband.

There would be no point in lying, she would always know.

And she would just let you go until you tripped yourself up.

She always just knew.



Until the day she didn't.

When the test results came that surprised her.

When she hadn't seen how the story would end.

When she faced the unknown.




She went home to find...

Unexpected visitors.

Fresh linens.

Cookies.

Cards.

They just knew.






Saturday, August 15, 2015

Shooting stars...


She pointed to the streak of fire in the sky,
"Make a wish!"
He watched the light arc and flare then disappear..
"Did you make one?"

He smiled.
"I wish on the moon, not on the stars."
She shook her head,
"You aren't supposed to wish on the moon."

"Stars flare and fade, the moon is constant.
The moon pulls the tides toward the shore.
The moon is a constant.
I wish on the moon."

She smirked,
"It's not constant, 
It waxes and wanes.
It's there and gone."

He shook his head, 
"Even when we think it's not there,
It is always there.
Just dark or light."

"The moon has no light of its own.
It just reflects the sun.
A star is its own source of heat,
Of light. Wish on a star."

"Now you understand.
Stars don't need our wishes, 
they burn on their own.
Until they burn out.

When we wish on the moon
It gets our wish and gives our wish
Wax and wane.
Tides roll in and roll out."

She leaned back on the grass 
and looked in to the dark night sky.
Another flare lit the sky.
She watched the arc of fire.

He asked,
"Did you make a wish?"
She smiled and took his hand.
"I wish on the moon."


Friday, August 14, 2015

Randoms of randoms...

Okay, since I got the fluffy blog out of the way for Dana yesterday I will do one last sort of ranty, sort of rambling blog and hope that the fiction coalesces over the weekend. Just a few things on my mind right now:

At the gym this morning while ESPN and MSNBC were both on commercial I glance over to Fox and they are talking about some legal case and having the trial moved because the prosecution doesn't think they can get a fair trial where it is. I missed the beginning so I don't know where or what but that wasn't the part that stopped me. It was when the "expert" they were talking to said that getting a fair trail would be hard to come by once people heard the facts of the case.

Well, if you are talking about the actual facts of the case that come out during a trial that you hear while on a jury then why? Facts lead to a fair trial. That's what facts do. Just because they might be found either guilty or not guilty once the facts come out doesn't mean it was unfair.

That's sort of the problem with our society in general right now, right? People get "fair" confused with "agrees with me." I mean that's Fox's entire business model right? They call themselves fair and balanced and call out all other sources of media as biased. When what they really mean is that they will tell you what you want to hear while other sources of media won't. Either because they have their own bias they are working or because the facts don't actually support your opinion. That doesn't make them fair, and it certainly doesn't make them balanced, it just means they agree with you. There is a difference.

....

There have been two more cases brought from people who say that doing their jobs for everyone is against their religious beliefs and that because of their personal beliefs they shouldn't have to do what they don't want to. They both lost. The woman in Kentucky who didn't want to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and the baker in Colorado who didn't want to bake a wedding cake. Now I will tell you my opinion on the issuing of marriage licenses is she needs to find a new job. She's a government employee so she really doesn't get to say her religion prevents her from doing her job. As far as the bakers go I think they should make cakes for who they want to, as long as they post a sign saying that they discriminate. Then everyone gets the same freedom they want. I don't want to do business with bigots so that way we are even. Though the law doesn't agree with me. The law in Colorado (like in Oregon) says if you are running a business you don't get to discriminate. So they need to make the cake.

I've also got two more points to make on that...one is the people who want to make it biblical. Okay, make it biblical. In Jesus' day and age the Roman soldiers could force the Jews to carry their equipment for a mile. Jesus addressed it in the Sermon on the Mount where he said, "If they say go with me one mile you slam his gear to the ground and sue his ass for religious discrimination..." Oh wait...that's not it. He said, "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." Which is where the expression "go the extra mile" comes from (Matthew 5:41 if you don't believe me) So what would Jesus say to you? My guess would be something along the lines of if someone wants a wedding cake from you, make them a lovely set of cupcakes as well.

The other is for all of the people who don't find the irony when they talk about people being abused by the police and say, "Don't break the law and it won't happen." and yet talk about what a shame it is people are sued for discriminating. "Don't want to be sued? Bake the cake." Try that one on for size...

....

Target has decided to stop labeling toys, bedding and entertainment by gender. And people are losing their damn minds. It's like somehow they can't separate out the fact that Target now will just have a toy section instead of a girls' toys and boys' toys section from some sort of irrational thought that this means you can't have a boy or a girl child? I know...it doesn't make any sense.

Just a quick heads up, toys, bedding and entertainment don't have genders. They are things not people. There isn't a need for gender specific things. In fact it's all been a giant marketing ploy to get you to buy more things the whole time. Seriously. Making things boy or girl specific has all been a corporate manipulation of your emotions tied to your pocket book. Chew on that for awhile.

....

There was another one I was going to post but I can't remember it now...

Imagine it here. And imagine it was deep and profound and well written.

Yeah, I'm a genius...