Friday, June 28, 2013

The stages...

Julia's phone buzzed alerting her a new text message. A quick glance let her know it was from Brad. She sighed and put the phone back down on the table without reading the message.

Her friends Alicia and Michelle both gave her the expectant eyebrow faces waiting for the story.

"Brad and I had an argument as I was leaving tonight. I don't want to keep fighting right now. I sent him a reply to his last message telling him I would talk to him when I got home. But he wants to talk now. So I am ignoring the text, okay?"

"First fight? Sounds like the honeymoon is over."

Julia corrected Alicia, "Actually it's not our first fight. We've been fighting all week. If something doesn't change it might be our last fight though. We went straight from early dating everything is perfect to you wheeze when you breathe and it's making me crazy in three months, it might be a new record!"

Michelle laughed, "Not a record, remember Jimmy?"

Alicia covered her face with her hands, "Oh not Jimmy!"

Jimmy and Alicia had gone on their first date on a Friday night, were living together by Sunday, engaged by Tuesday and throwing things at each other by the next Friday. The evolution and de-evolution of a relationship on fast forward.

"Oh God Jimmy! I had forgotten about him! You were in loooove. And then you were done."

Alicia smiled, "Yeah, we were perfect for each other for about 4 days. It was the best and worst relationship I've ever had and it lasted a week. There should be a name for that."

"I'm not sure anyone else but you has ever had a relationship like that, so we can just call it The Jimmy." Julia signaled for another round of drinks.

Michelle leaned back and said, "But you know what we do need? Words for the phases of a break up. You know? Like you have the honeymoon period in the beginning of a relationship where everything is perfect? You need something like that for a break up so people know where you are."

Julia laughed, "Yes, like Brad and I are about to enter the first stage of break up. The part where you cannot stand a thing about the other person anymore. What should we call it? Haterade? Sad but true?"

Alicia said, "How about The Trenches. You are still fighting but the war has moved on."

"I like it. 'No, I can't go to that party Doug might be there and we are still in The Trenches.' I like it. Next phase?" Michelle asked.

"What is the next phase? It's that little patch of  realistic thought right? Where you still know exactly why you broke up but you don't hate everything about them anymore."

"Pick up your stuff time!" Julia announced. "It needs to be a name like that. You know? It's the time you can go pick up your stuff from their house without fighting again, but you can't wait too long because you will move in to the 'oh my god I'm going to die alone why did we ever break up you were perfect' time."

Michelle started laughing, "Oh you don't want to mix up those times! I thought I was in Real Time so I stopped by his apartment to pick up my Kindle and discovered I had moved to Fairy Tale time and so we slept together. Now I'm back in The Trenches!"

As the girls were laughing Julia's phone buzzed again. Michelle pointed at it, "You know you can't just ignore that right?"

Alicia added, "Go on call him back. Let us know if we are in for a few weeks in The Trenches or if you are working it out and trying for Honeymoon 2: The Sequel."

Julia picked up her phone and started to walk outside, "As long as we never face Return of the Jimmy it will be okay." She ducked the flying pretzel and went to make her call.

I'm sorry...

When I posted my catch up blog yesterday I left out part of the Paula Deen saga. The apology. I told Raquel that was a blog unto itself. So here it is...

When is an apology not an apology? When do you hear someone say they are sorry and take away from it that though they might be sorry they aren't sorry for the right thing? Or at least you don't feel like they have apologized to you, or to who they have wronged? You know it when you hear it. When it just clanks in your ear wrong. When your reaction to the apology isn't one of forgiveness but one of disgust. Or disdain. Or just nothing.

I told you yesterday that I think the racial issues around what Paula Deen said years ago were blown up much bigger than they should have been. That I think she's being scapegoated so we all can feel better about ourselves. And I do believe that. But I also didn't like her apology. Or lack of one. And to be honest, I'm not sure she owed one to anyone. But by starting and stopping and floundering and mucking it up I think she made it worse.

I have to back up a bit. I'm not a Paula Deen fan. It's not that I don't like her, I just don't follow her. She doesn't cook things that I like to make, I think I've seen maybe two episodes of her own show and I just didn't enjoy them. I've seen her guesting on other cooking shows I do watch and I find her to be a bit too much. She's very loud, reminds me of my Aunt Darlene, you could hear that woman clearly from a half mile away. I'm not even kidding. She was loud. And Paula Deen is like that. It's her personality. She's big, she's all of that, all of the time. It's made her a huge star, but it's not my style so though I can appreciate that she is what she is, as she stated, I also don't watch her show so I had no real feeling toward her before all of this started.

So back to non-apology apologies and where Ms. Deen lost me. The first few she put out that were oddly edited and phrased were bad enough but the spectacle on the Today show Tuesday? With the weeping, or almost weeping, she had the facial expression and the choked voice but no actual tears, and the begging for someone to hit her in the head with a stone while at the same time saying she'd like to meet them? It was a mess. Let's start with the no tears weeping. That drives me crazy. Maybe her tear ducts just don't work, but it sure looks like a bad performance to get that worked up without the tears actually falling. Then there is the "he who is without sin" analogy she went for. I get it, you want to point out that you aren't the only one, but it's not one you can do for yourself without sounding like a petulant child. Only someone else can use that on your behalf.

The original story was Jesus pointing out to the crowd that they were all sinners so had no right to punish the woman. Then as they realized he was right he told her to Go, and sin no more. It's a story about judging others, showing grace and second chances. But it changes if you are wailing in a camera about wanting someone to throw a rock at your head and kill you right now if they were perfect and that you'd really like to meet them. It becomes "You did it too! It's not just me!" and that's a totally different story. Can't imagine the crowd would have dispersed if the woman they were going to stone said, "oh yeah? You did it too!"

And then there were the notes of the apology that were basically I'm sorry you were offended by what I said. See there is a subtle turn of phrase here that she was missing. A real apology is I am sorry I offended you by what I said, not I'm sorry you were offended by what I said. See the difference? One puts the onus on you. You said or did something wrong and you are sorry for the offense it caused. The other one is that you are sorry that the people listening to you were such candy asses that they got offended.

Again, I'm not even sure she owed anyone an apology. Maybe a statement, "In the past I have used language that I would like to go back and change, but I can't. As we mature we change and learn and our actions reflect that. I would like to apologize for my use of that particular word in the past and to assure everyone that I do not and would not use it again. I am deeply sorry that my past actions have stirred up so much pain but as we know better we do better and I hope that others are learning from my past mistakes and are going to do better as well." Or something along those lines. But she didn't take this path. Instead she took the victim route. She's the one that has been wronged (and I'm not saying that in a way she hasn't) she is the one that is shell shocked by the reaction. But she is a public figure making money off of an image and she needs to clean that image up a bit. A decent apology, a real apology would go far.

And it's not just Paula Deen who does the fake apology. We all have. We've all used the I'm sorry you got offended line. Or the I'm sorry but... Or the feeling that just because you said you were sorry it should all be fixed and go away. Sometimes, a lot of the time, it doesn't work that way. You can be truly deeply sorry for something you did but it's not going to change the outcome. When I was 6 we were riding the tram in Albuquerque and I broke this fiberglass key thing in the gift shop. Overpriced piece of junk that I knocked off the shelf and it shattered. My parents had to buy it because I broke it. I was really sorry. Deeply sorry. But they still had to pay for it and it was still broken. We took the pieces home and I glued them all together sort of thinking that would make it better. At least we would have the thing we paid for that way. It was still an ugly overpriced piece of junk that they had to buy because I broke it. Being sorry didn't fix that. Trying to glue the pieces back together didn't fix that. It just was. Sometimes sorry doesn't fix things.

But a genuine sorry can help.

My opinion is Paula Deen needs to figure out what she is sorry about and work out from there. And if it's that she said something she wishes she hadn't, not because it's damaged her brand but because it's not a word she would use today, then start there. But if what she is sorry about is that people got offended by what she said, well then she just needs to take a little time away and stop talking.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Catch up blog...

Normally you would expect a blog from me about the DOMA decision from SCOTUS yesterday, but I sort of figure you already know what I would say so why bother?

Also I haven't blogged about Snowden, Rape Culture, Paul Deen, the IRS and any number of other things that have hit my radar recently. Which is sort of weird for me. Normally I write about things to get them out of my head and down on paper. I think a lot of this stuff is very interesting and really gets at a lot of other issues in our world and I like to share my opinion. The trick being to remember that though I find them interesting and I think I have something to say I might find out in an amusing and humbling moment that I am not as interesting as say a memorial service for bees.

So I am going to toss out a few "in a nutshell" summaries on current events. I might come back to some of these later, I might not. But at least they will be here for me to look back on if I choose to.

Snowden. Well I don't think he's a hero at all. I think someone who goes to work for a company with the sole purpose of stealing information from them to release to someone else is a spy, not a hero. Especially when he runs away to another country to avoid the consequences of his actions. I don't think the fact that "people were made aware" of the NSA programs changes that. If you weren't aware before it's your own fault. Did you not understand what the Patriot Act was when it was passed? Have you never read a story about a thwarted terrorist attack or arrest of a terror suspect that came about because of "increased chatter" did you not get how they were tracking that chatter? Snowden spoon feeding you information you couldn't be bothered to learn on your own through basic reading doesn't make him a hero, it makes you uninformed.

I also think people posting on Facebook about a lack of privacy should be punched in the face. I mean come on, really? You think because you have your ad blocker running so you don't see the ads change depending on what you are writing in your status that you aren't giving your information away? You cannot bitch about someone taking something from you that you have freely given. My opinion. But there again, I post to Facebook, I write a blog, I use photo sharing software. I understand the challenges in separating the signal from the noise in big data collection. And I understood what the Patriot Act was when it was passed so maybe I'm just not the target panicked audience for this information. You want to be up in arms about what the NSA is collecting? You want to work towards getting people in office that will limit the government's intrusion in to your life? Fine, but don't make Snowden some sort of hero. He's not. 

Rape Culture. Let's see this is one that I will probably circle around to again later. The thing that brought it up recently was the little postcard picture going around Facebook that said something to the effect of instead of telling your daughter how to be safe you should be telling your son not to rape. I'm sorry but that's just stupid. One, I have a 20 year old son that I have never specifically told the words "Don't rape people" and if I had to tell him at 20 years old "Don't rape people" I would have failed as a parent on so many levels I wouldn't be able to count them. Yes, he is male but that doesn't mean he would ever consider raping someone. Because he wasn't raised that way. You don't take something that isn't yours. Sex isn't about who is the most powerful. These are lessons he learned in all of the right ways. But that doesn't mean if I had a daughter I wouldn't have taught her to be careful. Because though I raised my son in such a way that telling him "Don't Rape People" wasn't necessary I don't think everyone else did. And I would be failing as a parent if I didn't help teach her how to protect herself.

Very much the same way C and I talked about his 21st birthday this Fall.  He's a responsible kid. He's a safe kid. He's a good kid. But I still told him I would rather he didn't do a Pub Crawl on his birthday. I told him the reasons why I would rather he didn't. Safety being first and foremost on the list. Not just in how much alcohol his body can process over a short amount of time but just in how it's unsafe to be that drunk and wandering around. Now does this mean I think we have a drunk culture that he is automatically a part of? Or that I should have called every bartender in Burlington and lectured them about serving him? Or even sent messages to his roommates saying don't do this? No, it means as a parent my responsibility is to my son and keeping him safe. 

Paula Deen. I think she is being scapegoated. She said something years ago that she didn't have to admit to and she did. And now she is paying the price. Because white guilt is strong. No one wants to stand up and say that she's being treated shabbily because then you are afraid you will be painted by the racism brush as well. I've blogged about using the N-word when I was teenager. My best friend at the time (who is African-American) and I used it and cracker or honky to refer to each other and thought we were cool and shocking and edgy. But there was no malice there. Just kids being stupid. Years later when I lived in another part of the country I heard it used with malice and spite and I fully understood the weight of the word. I haven't used it since. Well except when I am singing along to music and it's in the lyrics and I'm by myself so I don't self censor to make sure you don't think I'm a racist. 

But that's the way racism is in this country still. We don't want to talk about it because it's too difficult still to grasp. When I was in college I went to a predominantly African-American school. There were many many times that in the middle of a discussion I would be told, "It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand" and they were right. I don't know what it's really like to grow up black. But they don't know what it's like to grow up white either. And we don't talk about it, because we are afraid that by pointing out that there sometimes are differences people will think we are racists. And there is a difference in understanding that people of different backgrounds (color, economic, religious, whatever) have different life experiences and thinking that your background is somehow better than. And until we can have an open and honest dialog about differences, good and bad and indifferent, we will continue to shun anyone who even has a tinge of racism about them so we can feel better about ourselves.

The IRS scandal. When the story first broke there was a little blurb on one of the news-stations about the words that were used to target requests for tax-exempt status and one of them was Progressive.  But that fell off the radar as it became a story about Liberals going after Conservatives. And abuse of power and Obama is the devil. And then the report came out this week that yes, it was all sorts of words that triggered further examination, not just Tea Party and Patriot, but Left, Progress, Choice and so many others. So no, it wasn't a witch hunt against Conservatives, though you aren't going to hear a lot of retraction from that stance because it's a better OH NO! story than this one.

But my biggest problem with it is why are these organizations tax-exempt in the first place? They shouldn't be. Don't want to pay taxes, don't make a profit. If you are truly a non-profit then you won't have taxes to pay. That's the way it works. Why do we have so many loopholes and exceptions in our tax code? Pay attention to the bigger picture, people, instead of being drawn in to the petty politics. Why do you need to be tax exempt if you are a non-profit? Ask that question first. Our tax code is out of control. And the reason it won't be simplified is because it's the easiest way for Congress to grant favors to corporations that fund them. Follow the money. Then get outraged. But get outraged about the right things, not the smoke and mirror things.

Oh and repeal of DOMA? I cried. I cried when I heard it on the radio on the drive home. I cried when I read about the ruling. I cried when I watched the reaction on my feed from friends who will be directly impacted by this ruling. I cried when I watched the reaction of people who won't be directly impacted but understood how wrong it was anyway. And I was reminded of a conversation I had with C a few years ago. We were talking about the legalization of gay marriage and I said that I wasn't sure I would see it in my lifetime and he was sure he would see it in his. That his generation already understood what many in mine didn't. And I cried again with relief that my generation is finally wising up. We still have a way to go but man that momentum shift feels good. 

So there are nutshells on a few issues that could have all been full on blogs on their own. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It doesn't fit...

Okay so the past few days have been sort toss days. It's been awhile since I did a major clean out of the house and it made it on my "Things To Do This Summer List" so I got started this week. I needed to suck it up and sort out my shoes due to my toe injury so I figured the bedroom was the place to start. For those of you that are on Facebook with me you know that I got rid of a ton of shoes, leaving me less than 20 pairs. Which sort of blew C's mind. Not that I got rid of so many, but that I still had so many left once I did. But it wasn't just shoes that got the sort toss treatment it was all of the drawers and cabinets and under bed storage.

While I was clearing out the under bed boxes yesterday I found my smaller clothes stash. The things I kept from when I lost so much weight and that I outgrew as I put some back on. I pulled it all out and tried on a few things. My jeans right now are a little loose so I was thinking the jeans I had in the box might be perfect. They aren't. They are a little small. And the few shirts I had in there and the skirts and shorts were as well. So I folded them back up and put them back under the bed thinking maybe later. Then last night as I was lying awake wondering why the hell I ever wanted a cat in the first place I thought about those clothes again. And had to ask myself why I was keeping them. The jeans, well they were fine, they are just a little snug, they might fit fine at the end of the summer when my work outs tone my legs a touch more. Or they might not but the are really just a touch small. But the skirts and the shorts? The shorts were size 4 and the skirts size 2. I'm in a loose 8 right now and have no desire to lose more weight. Just keep what I have toned. So why did I keep those super small things? Knowing that I don't even look good at that size? Knowing that I shouldn't EVER EVER try to be that size again?

Then today as I was cleaning out my jewelry box I realized that my grandmother's crystals were gone. This is also the jewelry I wore on my wedding day. I looked where I thought they should be and nothing. The box I thought they were in held the necklace my in-laws gave me at my high school graduation, but nothing else. The panic was starting to hit and I was getting that sick feeling in my stomach. Had I somehow tossed them out accidentally during another purge? Had they fallen off the shelf and gotten sucked up on the vacuum? Where could they be? Then I thought about it and sort of remembered putting them someplace else last time I cleaned up the closet. I looked and they were there. Whew. I was so relieved. But there was something else in the storage box with my grandmother's crystals.

My Tiffany key chain. Seventeen years ago when I worked for the Garcias Shelly got all of us a key chain like this for Christmas. I can remember getting the little blue box with the white ribbon and the thrill of thinking I would now own something from Tiffanys! Me! Trailer trash perennially poor kid, owning something from Tiffanys! Well as you can tell by looking at it, there it has sat for seventeen years. In the little cloth bag, in the baby blue box. I'm not sure how long the white ribbon traveled with it but in one of the 6(!!) times we've changed houses since receiving the gift I let the ribbon go. But not the key chain. Nor have I ever used it. Why? Well, it's impractical. It's heavy as all get out. And the monogram bugs my OCD nature. I know it's a style and design thing but it looks to me like the D is backwards. And that makes my teeth itch.

But I've kept it. I've lovingly packed it from place to place. I've pulled it out and looked at it, made sure the silver wasn't tarnishing. The put it all back away. Stored with my grandmother's crystals, and her reading glasses and a ring from Brent's father. All things I could have told you yesterday that I had and what they meant. I had forgotten about this. Like I always do when it's not right in my line of site. Never used, but always kept. Why?

Because it's from Tiffany & Co.

Now today as I looked at it I had to shake my head. If I want something from Tiffanys I could go downtown to the store and pick out something I would actually wear. I could buy it for myself or mention to Brent what a lovely Christmas gift it would make and just wait. I'm not that girl anymore. That girl who can't have things if she wanted them. Who has to make due with marking what she would buy if she could in the catalog and calling that good enough.

And obviously I never was the kind of girl who needed something from Tiffany & Co. either. I just thought I should be. Part of me still gets wrapped up in a designer name. In a flashy tag. In that "you can't have this" vibe. Because for a big portion of my life I couldn't. It wasn't a choice, it just wasn't going to happen. Now I can get some of those things if I want them. But when push comes to shove, I'm just not a brand status gal. Sure I drive a BMW, but I drive a BMW because it's a solid car. And I drive a low level BMW.  I drove a Civic until we went down to just one car. And I loved my Civic as much as you can love a car. Brent and I are thinking about getting a new (to us, used new) car soon and will probably get another BMW because they are good cars. Though I am loving the new Audi commercials enough that I might want to at least test drive one and pretend I'm Spock.

So today the shorts, the skirts and the Tiffany key chain all ended up in the Goodwill pile. And there they will sit for the next two weeks while I take the mandatory "Are you sure?" rest period I deemed necessary after the great miscalculated purge of 97. Then they will all go to Goodwill.  Where hopefully someone with the initials DLM can make use of it.

Because just like those shorts and skirts this key chain doesn't fit me.

And it never will.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The more they change...

So another thing that drives me crazy (and you thought we were through with the mashed up part and ready to get to the main story didn't you?) is mandatory sentencing. Set in stone punishment. Zero tolerance policies. I've written before that the greatest disservice we are doing with our kids in school is not teaching them how to think anymore. We don't teach them how to reason, how to figure things out for themselves, how to reach a conclusion. We teach them the right answer. And zero tolerance polices, mandatory sentencing and three strikes you're out all fall right in to this vein. It's standardized testing for adults. You don't have to think about what someone has done or why, you just plug it in the slot and out pops your answer.

And the flip side of this is when you get a child who has been punished under a zero tolerance policy and instead of going to the administration, the powers that be, the people who can actually change the decision; the parents run to the media. That makes me nuts as well. I get it, it was ridiculous that little Johnny was expelled for bringing a water gun to school. He's 6 and 6 year olds do dumb things. The toy should have been confiscated, put in "the drawer" and a note sent home saying we don't allow toys like this or toys at all or whatever at school. But instead of going to the principal and saying, don't you think this is ridiculous and let's work it out and teaching Little Johnny how to resolve something, you went to the media and said, My angel, my darling, my perfection! And taught Little Johnny that breaking the rules was fine if it got you on the news.

A few years ago my conservative batch of friends were up in arms about a group of kids who had been sent home for wearing "patriotic clothing", specifically flag do-rags during a Cinco de Mayo celebration at their school. It was all over my news feed. "How dare they!" "It's disrespectful!" "You can celebrate Mexican stuff but not AMERICAN!" And since this was before my "Don't just don't" phase of commenting I actually waded in to the discussion. Now me being me, I first did a few Google searches to see what the rest of the story was, if it was out there. And of course there was another side.  Seems these upstanding patriots had clashed with the Mexican/American students before. The administration, trying to head off trouble, had specifically asked them to be respectful on this day. And they responded by wearing the do-rags and taking the "America, love it or leave it!" stance by shouting at the kids during their celebration.

So when I pointed out that they were really troublemaker kids hiding behind the flag I was told how awful I was. When I also pointed out that technically it's against flag code to wear the flag as clothing in the first place so they weren't being good citizens I was told I was wrong. Um, no, I'm not. It was my grandmother's biggest pet peeve. Seeing people wear the flag as a t-shirt or the worst in her eyes, a bathing suit. The Flag Code, for those of you who still think I'm wrong. Section 8. (d). And don't even get me started on "patriotic paper plates".  But basically nobody knows that there were/are rules around the flag so they ignore them. And since the good patriot kids defending our country against other cultures fit their narrative they ran with it.

Instead of Johnny and his buddies learning the importance of appropriate time and place and respect for other people they learned that if you drape your ignorance in the flag you will get support. I see bright futures for them in talk radio.

So yes, I blame the schools for being too rigid in their rules. Zero tolerance means zero thought. But I also blame the parents for not taking a hard look at their kids and saying, "Hey, you broke the rules, face the punishment." We are raising a batch of kids who have always gotten a trophy, who have always been told they are wonderful, who know if you break the rules you can spin it in the media and come out the hero and we should all be really worried about what that means for the future. It's a subject I've ranted about before. Maybe a few times. Teach your kids to think, to work and to strive. And stop bitching about the nanny state if your first instinct is to tattle to the media if life treats little Suzi unfairly. You can't have it both ways.

Okay, so back to why all of this sticks with me. I'm a sociopath. Or psychotic. Or mentally disturbed. Or something. Now some of you just laughed, some of you nodded like you have always known (hey!) and some of you are waiting for the rest of the story...

When I was in middle school I did my first tries at writing. And one of the things I wrote was a super disturbing revenge fantasy piece of crap story. Now, I say it was a piece of crap only because I've read some of the other things I wrote around that time so I know it had to be awful. I also had stolen shamelessly been inspired by such brilliant pieces as Flowers in the Attic, Blue Lagoon and The War Between the Pitiful Teachers and the Splendid Kids. But I can't tell you exactly why it was a piece of crap or post any piece of it because I don't have it anymore. It was taken from me. 

I went to a small  private conservative Southern Baptist school from 5-8th grade. The core group of kids had known each other for years, some since kindergarten. But by 8th grade we were in rebellion. Something about our class, our group just jelled into something they hadn't ever faced before. Open dissent. Looking back I can tell you it was too much change foisted on us after years of no change at all. They hired a teacher for the 7/8 class that shouldn't have been teaching at a religious school, and honestly shouldn't have been teaching young girls at all. Now, don't get me wrong, he never did anything inappropriate, but it didn't take long to figure out we flustered him. And by flustering the teacher you could get a class to descend in chaos pretty quickly. He didn't make it through the year. 

Then they brought back a teacher we had  had before, Mrs. Cyzack. She was our second favorite teacher. How must that have made her feel? To know we loved her but she was our second favorite and we let her know it. The things you think of as an adult. Anyway our favorite teacher Mrs. Penney had moved when her husband was transferred. But we had all had her for 6th grade and had all loved her. The kids who had come after 6th heard stories about her and wished they had had her as a teacher. Two favorite Mrs. Penney stories:

Our PE teacher had a rough year our sixth grade year, I found out later when he and I talked when he wasn't my teacher anymore, anyway, he was having a particularly bad stretch and just couldn't deal with things well. So one of the things he did was get lazy about his teaching. So for PE that meant we ran. For the entire period. Fifty minutes of circles around the playground. We would come back to class just gassed. Good for nothing for a long stretch. Exhausted, thirsty, spent. So one day after a particularly warm run Mrs. Penney looked out at a sea of red faced sixth graders, excused herself,  went across the hall and laid in to Mr. Rex. She had had enough. This was never to happen again. We heard it all. I'm not saying he was scared of her but the next week we "started a new fitness chapter".

The second one was strictly personal. At the end of my 7th grade year when we passed around our autograph books I went back to Mrs. Penney and had her sign. She wrote in part, "I hope one day you start dating boys as smart as you are." This is a teacher that was paying attention. She saw who my boyfriend choices were and did not think they were the best. Instead of sitting me down and lecturing me she gave me that simple note. Now I eventually did just that. Ended up marrying one and had a kid who I realized was much smarter than I am when he was in elementary school! I wish I could tell her, or blame her, or something like that. 

Anyway, that was Mrs. Penney but she was gone. Mr. Otero was gone as well, we had chased him out. Mrs. Cyzack was back, putting our class back together when she had to quit. She had cancer and was too sick to teach anymore. It had been the reason she left in the first place. We hadn't realized that. So we lost her. And we were all devastated. So then they started the parade of teachers to come in and try and push us along. Mrs. Thompson who should have never tried to teach, let alone a group of unruly 7th and 8th graders. And finally the woman whose name I can never remember, Ortega maybe? But she was a giant of a woman. Red hair, mini skirts, too much make up. I swear we all thought she was a man dressed as a woman! And she was mean. Just flat out mean. Discipline for her meant liberal use of the paddle and extra homework assignments. Writing sentences. I will not chew gum in class 500 times by tomorrow.


So I wrote. It was a tiny rebellion. Putting down on paper that story. Basically in the story we all rebelled. We took over the school. We found out Mrs. Penney hadn't been transferred, they had killed her, and I believe poisoned Mrs. Cyzack and that the rest teachers were planning on killing us to make the rest of the school behave and so we struck first. We killed them all, we hid out in the school, we took care of the younger kids, and at some point in the future Larry got Debbie pregnant. I didn't write specifics about any of it, that I can remember, because I had no frame of reference. I know at least the sex part wasn't detailed. What could I have written at that point? That they kissed..WITH TONGUE!  

Anyway, it was a silly little story. But violent. And sexual (in a glossed over sort of way) and hit among my friends. It was passed around from person to person and poured over. It was contraband. We all knew it was "bad" which made it awesome! Then Tanya took it home. And she read it and then gave it to her mother to read. And that was that.

I was livid! How dare you give it to your mother! It wasn't yours to give, it was mine! And how dare she keep it, it's not hers, it's mine! And I was terrified. If her mother called the school I would get called in to the principal's office for sure. I had never been paddled in my years at Parkview but I knew Mrs. Robertson would administer the beating for sure. And what if my parents were called? I was doomed....

But that's not what happened. Tanya's mother told her it was a disgusting piece of trash and I should be ashamed for writing it and we should all be ashamed for reading it, and then she threw it away. I never got the story back.

Now fast forward that to today. To a "typical" situation now. What would have happened?

Tanya's mother would have turned the story over to the school. They would have taken one look at it and realized that I was planning on doing something horrible and called the authorities. I would have been expelled. Arrested. Questioned. Possibly committed. My parents would have gone to the media to say, "It was a story! She's creative! There was nothing real in that! And we are suing for destruction of personal property!"

What had been a silly little revenge fantasy story written strictly for the shock value and kicks of a group of kids who felt powerless in their situation would have been turned in to something much bigger. Something it didn't mean at all. And what would we have learned? Fear? Never to write anything again? That thoughts are the bad things, not deeds, but thoughts?

What did I learn instead? Well, let's see, I learned that not all fiction is for everyone. I learned not to trust Tanya with my things. I learned to back up my writing before letting anyone see it. And I learned that maybe you shouldn't write revenge fantasies using real names.

And I learned that when I read a story about some disturbed kid that I need to look to see how disturbed really. Is it they built a bomb or brought a loaded gun to school disturbed or they wrote something down that they would never do but they wrote it down anyway disturbed? Are they the next Kip Kinkel or the next Stephen King? Because there is a difference. And we need to be able to see that. 

To think.

To reason.

But I'm still a little bent she threw my story away. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The more things change...

This is probably going to be a bit of a mash up blog. I know there is a story I want to tell about my childhood, and there are a few notes I want to hit about "these kids today", or I guess more importantly "these parents today" so it's going to get a bit wandery at times. Like that's never happened before...

On Saturday I was talking to a friend (who also is my hairstylist) about growing up and how different things are now. How when we were kids we had a ton more freedom. I walked myself to and from school from first-fourth grade for instance. And it wasn't a short around the corner walk, it was a we lived right on the edge of the bus boundary walk. But both of my parents worked and my brother and sister were in school or at work themselves by the time I needed to leave for school so I walked myself. And I walked home. Key on a piece of yarn tied around my neck. And I wasn't the only one. We were the latch key generation after all. And she said the thing that most people my age say, "It's a wonder we made it out alive."

Thinking back on the things I did as a kid, I rode my bike or was out on my roller skates for hours. No exaggeration, hours and hours. No cell phone, not within earshot, sometimes without an adult even having a clue I was out. They weren't home, how would they know? I lived in the South Valley for part of that time and anyone growing up in Albuquerque would tell you that nobody should wander the South Valley alone. But I did. And my friends did. And we got in to scrapes, and played with things we shouldn't have, and saw things we probably shouldn't have, and had what was a normal childhood at the time. Totally normal.

Contrast that with C and when he was 11 or so he would walk the neighbor's dog.  He and Candy would take off, with my cell phone in his pocket, with strict rules on where he could go and when he should be back. The boundary increased as he got older and more experienced.  Or I should say as I calmed down and realized it was fine. But he had a pretty wide range within our "no busy streets" border. He also started walking the mile down to Bethany for lunch or a snack at around 12. He had money of his own and he chose to spend it that way. When there was a Godfather's in the square he would head down there a few times during the summer for lunch. One of the women that worked there was impressed with two things, one how polite he was and two that we let him go on his own. Now I was/am(?) an overprotective parent. I will admit that. I screened his movies, his video games, his computer files; kept tabs on how he was doing in school and what issues he might be having academically or socially. The whole bit. But not letting a 12 year old walk to the local shopping area? That was a step too far for even me.

But it wasn't normal. I know of high school age kids that aren't allowed out on their own. Not because the parents are afraid of the teenage behavior trouble they will get in to but because the parents are afraid they might be abducted. Snatched right off the street! A parent's big fear. What if? But the reality is that the what if rarely happens. It happens. And I wish it never happened, but most childhood abductions aren't by strangers, they are by the non-custodial parent. And since both Brent and I were under the complete agreement that we made him together so we both had to take care of him together we weren't worried about that. I will also say reading the book The Culture of Fear when he was 8 or 9 helped as well. It's the first time I started to really pay attention to the cycle of news stories. It's not that there are more instances of child abductions now than when we were kids it's that they report on them more. And they tend to like to report in groups. Oh no! Look what happened! And then we all panic and keep our kids locked up and they never learn important things like how to leave a proper tip.

Okay, next bit. So remember when we were growing up and words actually meant something? Like bullying. If a kid was a bully or a kid was bullied we all knew pretty much what that meant. Systematic and continual punishment. Usually the bully was stronger (either physically or socially) than the kid being picked on. I say usually but I mean always. That was the point of calling it bullying. The strong picking on the weak. But now? Well now bully means someone was mean to you. It's not the same. And people who try to retrofit their childhood into the "I was bullied" model make me shake my head. I've mentioned before a guy I knew during my high school years who I saw posting on a forum about how he was bullied as a teen. He wasn't bullied, he was an asshole. People were mean to him because he was a jerk. Now maybe he would say he was a jerk because people were mean to him, but now we are talking chicken and egg. When I met him he was a jerk to me from the start. So I was a bitch to him right back.

I did go to school with a guy I would say was bullied. We were all mean to him. On an almost daily basis someone was mean to him. Not all of us at once, but all of us at one time or another. It was middle school and he got hit by the puberty bus hard. He was taller than all of us, greasier, ganglier, more awkward. And we never let him forget it. He called me out on it one time after school. We were almost the last ones there, as was normal and we were talking about something (don't remember) and he said, "Why are you only nice to me when no one else is around? You ignore me otherwise. It's not nice." And being sweet and kind I thought about it and saw the error of my ways and changed. Okay, I totally didn't. I told him "Why don't you act normal when everyone else is around? You act like a big dork so no wonder I ignore you." Ouch. But it did stick with me. And I did have to think about it. And I know I at least had the good graces to be embarrassed that he called me out.

Years later I became friends with a woman who had been his little sister's best friend. We went to the same very small private school. I had no idea who she was, she was younger than me so was just "one of the little kids" but she knew who I was because I was "one of the big kids" and she knew me because she knew this boy. And she ADORED him. Because he was kind to his little sister. Because he was kind to her. Because he was always nice. Because, because, because... Now at this point I was older and closer to sweet and kind and I felt awful for how we had all treated this poor boy. Especially looking at it from the point of view of a little sister who had adored her geeky, awkward, older brother. I asked my friend if they were still in contact and if they were would she pass along a message from me to him. They weren't. So I missed my chance to apologize for the pre-teen me.

So I will cop to bullying when bullying was done. But if you try and tell me you were bullied because someone was mean to you? Not systematically repeatedly mean, but one time? Or because you didn't get along with someone who you were mean to and they were mean to you right back? Sorry, not bullying.  And parents I am looking at you right now, you have to let kids figure this stuff out and learn how to get along. If there is real and true bullying going on then yes, someone needs to step in and explain why it's not okay, what is wrong with the behavior, how it must feel, all of that. And if it's dangerous, physical bullying then yes, step in. But if it's two kids who don't like each other? Stay out of it. Let them work it out. It is a valuable life skill to have. Either learning how to deal with people who don't like you, or learning how to solve conflict so you can like each other.  Either way if we keep stepping in and "fixing" things we are going to end up with generations of broken adults.

So now this leads to the story I had set out to tell about the difference between today and back then. But I've gone long so I will write that tomorrow.

No I didn't just bully you.  I teased you.  There is a difference.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Perfect Words....

Aubrey was one of those people who was blessed with always knowing the exact right thing to say. She knew what to say to comfort someone who was grieving. To make someone laugh. The quick, sharp comeback to someone who was rude. Always just exactly the perfect turn of phrase. The only thing she was missing was timing. Inevitably those words would come to her hours or even days after she had needed them.

She remembered once in high school when she had dropped her purse and the contents had spilled out. Every time she picked up one thing another would drop. Sue Ann, the snotty little bitch, had laughed at her and said it was no wonder she was such a butterfingers since she was so fat. At that moment all Aubrey could do was hang her head and hope nobody saw her blush. Later that night as she replayed the whole miserable scene in her head she thought, Well it's because I don't have the experience being on my knees that you do.

And it was always this way. When she had asked for a raise last year her boss had sat her down and explained that times were tough and they should all be grateful to have jobs. Now was not the time to ask for a raise. Even though Aubrey knew that Carl had gotten a raise just the week before. Later she realized she should have mentioned that she knew times were tough and this led her to no other option but to look for work that would pay her what she was worth. They wouldn't let her go. She was their best worker. She did half of his work, for goodness sake, but to actually get the words out? To even find the words while she was sitting in his office? Just didn't happen. Though she composed a well thought out letter in response to their meeting including her resignation and delivered it to him the next week. She got the raise she deserved.

She had tried everything to make it better. She had taken classes on public speaking to try and get over her fear of crowds. She had taken to practicing any major conversation she knew she would have. Which worked out brilliantly. In her bathroom as she practiced in the mirror she always ended up with what she wanted. The problem she soon discovered is that people seldom follow the script you have for them. You think they are going to say one thing and invariably they say something else. So she would be left scrambling again, not sure what to say until the next day when the brilliant response would come to her.

When email started becoming more prevalent she thought she might be saved. At least at work. You could take the time to craft a response to a question, to really think about what you wanted to say. She had loved it. Then came instant messaging. The Ding! letting her know she had a conversation waiting filled her with dread. There was no time to finesse an answer, the conversations moved too quickly. And then the company fell out of love with that technology and moved back to face to face meetings. To restore company unity. So Aubrey was left again fumbling for an answer or sitting silently while every one else talked.

A few years ago she had made friends with another woman at work who never seemed to suffer from knowing what to say. She always had a response, a quip. She never seemed uneasy even when things might turn a bit contentious. She stood her ground and never let anyone push her around. Aubrey wanted to be just like her. Then one day leaving a particularly rough meeting Ellen had whispered to Aubrey, "Why did I say that? I should learn to keep my mouth shut! Why can't I be more like you?" Aubrey, of course, didn't know what to say to this.

It took her a week to finally get the nerve to ask Ellen what she had meant, why would she want to be like her? Ellen told her all about how she always felt she needed to get the last word. To say something. Anything. She said her mother had been a mousy little woman, pushed around by her bully of a father so she had sworn she would never be like that. She would always be the one in charge. And then she said that the problem was that in trying so hard to not be her mother at times she turned in to her father.

She told Aubrey that the reason she admired her so much is that she kept her own counsel. She didn't seem to need everyone's constant approval. That when she spoke in a meeting it was always something important. She never let herself get drug in to the petty bickering. She was always the calm face waiting out the storm of egos before they could move on to the important matters.

After that conversation Aubrey started to feel a little differently about what she had always thought was a problem. Maybe it really was a positive personality trait after all. Listening more, talking less. Thinking and rethinking about conversations and problems to find the best possible answer. She could see that this might be the reason she was such a good worker and a good friend.

Though she still wished she had told off that nasty piece of work Sue Ann...

Friday, June 14, 2013

And the loser is....

I posted earlier in the month about my latest entry for Three Minute Fiction. The stories I didn't submit are here and here.  Now that they've selected the winning story I figured I would show you the one I did submit.

Reading the winning entry for this month as well as previous month's winners I have sort of come to the conclusion that my writing style isn't a good fit for these sorts of things. I'm kind of fluffy. Now, there is nothing wrong with being fluffy. I like being fluffy. Even when I am writing serious pieces I always try and lighten it up a bit. It's how I am in real life and I think I can't really help but transfer that to the page as well. And I'm not saying I won't keep trying my hand at these things, if for nothing else it's fun to stretch and try and match a prompt. But I am sort of resigning myself to this being a fun exercise instead of a contest.  And they are fun to write.

I hope you enjoy...

The Best Vacation Ever

Stan was showing off his vacation pictures. “Oh and here is one where we went swimming with the sea turtles. You aren't allowed to bother them when they are nesting on the beaches, but sometimes when you are out snorkeling they will swim over to you.”

Julie from accounting who had never before given him the time of day was incredibly impressed, he could tell.

“Here is the view from the room.  Just look at that sunset. I wish I could go back right now.  But I guess if you were always on vacation you couldn't afford to go on vacation, am I right?”

Barry from customer service looked at the photo. “So tell me again how this happened? When you left you said you were just going to be sticking around home, that you were only taking your time off because you had to use it or lose it. How did you end up here?”

“Well, when I got home I decided to check one of those last minute travel sites just to see if there was anything there and boy oh boy was there!”

Barry swiped to the next shot in the album. “Whoa! Who is this?”

Stan grabbed the phone away from Barry quickly. “She’s just someone I met while I was there.”

Julie reached out for the phone, “Let me see. Come one hand it over.” Stan took another look at the current shot and handed the phone to Julie, “Wow, Stan, she’s gorgeous. And the way she’s smiling at the camera I would say she was more than just someone you met there!”

“Well, we didn’t really meet there. We met on the flight over. She was vacationing alone, I was vacationing alone, and well, we just hit it off.”

Julie smiled at Stan, “You know that’s kind of romantic. Two strangers meeting on a plane ride to an exotic vacation and spending a week together.”

Barry tilted his head to side and looked at Stan again, “So how did you spend a week on a beach and end up with no tan at all?”

“Sun screen, Barry, you know what sun screen is right? I burn. I never go out without at least SPF 50.”

“And I would guess you might have spent a little bit of extra time in the room, right?” Stan couldn’t believe it, Julie was teasing him. Was she looking at him differently? He was pretty sure she was. All because he had gone on this vacation and met a girl.

“So tell us all about your mystery woman, Stan, what was she like? Are you going to see her again?” Julie twirled her hair around her finger as she talked.  Stan couldn't believe it. Julie was definitely flirting with him.

“Well, unless she moves here or I move to Texas I don’t think I’ll ever see her again. We had a great week, but we agreed that it was probably just going to be that week. I think that’s part of what made it so special.”

Julie smiled again, “Well I am sure you will find someone else special again soon.” She put her hand on Stan’s shoulder for a second before she walked away.

As Julie was walking away Stan got a text: “I don’t care about getting the phone back, keep it, but please let me get my honeymoon pictures. I've set up an account online where you can upload them anonymously.  Please, you don’t know how important those pictures are.”

As Stan thought about Julie twirling her hair he had to agree. He deleted the text.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Dangerous Woman...

Thomas settled in to watch Tessa's presentation. It had been two years since he had watched her work and he would have been lying if he said he wasn't looking forward to it. She was the best at working a large group and making each person feel like she was talking just to them. The first time he had ever seen her she was pitching a new client for their firm. He had just started with the company and his supervisor had suggested he sit in on the presentation to get a feel for how the teams worked.

He remembered settling in at the back of the room to watch when a Senior Vice President who had come along to show the client how important they were to the firm sat down next to him. Then the VP leaned over to Thomas and nodding toward Tessa said, "That's a dangerous woman right there." Thomas wasn't sure what to make of that comment at first, but luckily the VP went on. "Watch her. Learn from her. She's the best we have. Those men (pointing toward the lobby where another firm was waiting to pitch) won't know what hit them. Men always assume a pretty woman can't be smart. By the time they figure out how wrong they are they will be behind the curve."

Thomas and the VP had then watched Tessa and her team present a perfectly choreographed and planned pitch that came across as completely off the cuff and relaxed. And then he got to watch as the VP's words came true. As they were leaving the office Tessa and her team stopped to shake hands with the other agency there to pitch. The lead from their team tried to trip Tessa up on an obscure fact about the company's founder. Tessa smiled at him and then corrected his error on the year. All while the owner of the company was watching. Tessa's team won the business.

Six months later he and Tessa were assigned to the same pitch team for an incredibly large and important piece of business. As they were told, "No pressure but this will take the agency to the next level if we land it." They had merged their two creative teams and cherry picked the best junior account people they could find. It hadn't always gone smoothly in the beginning. There were Thomas' people and Tessa's people. At the end of her rope in a meeting Tessa finally took charge. She had everyone lay their business cards on the table. Then she shuffled them all up and spread them out. She told everyone, "Without reading them, pick yours out. You can't can you? Because they are all the same. We are one company here. Trying to do the best for this one company. There isn't yours and mine. We all work for them. That bold name on the card? The one printed largest? That's not yours is it? It's theirs. But the trick is, if we all work for them, do our best for them, then it's the best for us as well. We will win this account. But only if we work past the petty bullshit and just do our best."

It was corny. But it worked. Everyone seemed a little embarrassed about their behavior and after that spent more time working together than in separate groups. Including Tessa and Thomas. They spent hours together working out the pitch, going over the company's product line, the current advertising materials, deciding what they would want to keep and what they would want to toss. Reviewing the creative. Reviewing the media prospectus. Fine tuning the presentation. They won the pitch. The agency threw a party to celebrate. And there Thomas met Wal, Tessa's husband.

Wal. What sort of name was Wal anyway? His full name was Walter but god forbid he go by that or even Walt. It was Wal. He was an artist. Not a creative like they worked with in the agency, he wanted to make that perfectly clear, he was an artist. He wanted to create things that moved people. Thomas had joked that they wanted to do the same. Moved people to buy their products. Wal did not laugh. Wal moved on to have a conversation with one of their creative directors. Thomas thought about warning him that the woman he was about to speak to had had not one but five gallery showings of her work so he might not want to mention she wasn't a true artist. He thought about it. But he didn't say a word.

He and Tessa became the go to team over the next few years for landing new business and for keeping old. She was perfect at large presentations, he was the go to guy for the glad handing one on ones. They floated from team to team co-leading more projects than they took separately. And their friendship deepened. They enjoyed each other's company, which was good since they spent so many hours together. In the office and on the road. Pitching, visiting clients, going to seminars, festivals, conventions. Team T&T.

And slowly Thomas had noticed a shift, a change. He realized as he was getting dressed one morning that he reached for the tie Tessa had commented on the week before. Not because it went with his suit more, but because he knew they were having lunch that day and he wanted to wear something she liked. He started looking forward to the times they could be alone. To talk about more than just work. He knew as much about her as he could. She drank bourbon. Not just because her father was from Kentucky and felt it was the only civilized drink, as she would tell people. But because she liked to see the look on people's faces when she ordered it. "Nobody expects a girl to drink bourbon" she said. And she also liked that you could sip a single glass of bourbon all night while entertaining a client and they would never notice you weren't drinking as much as they were.

She knew things about him as well. She knew that he didn't remember his father. That he had left when Thomas was two; gone out for a pack of cigarettes never to come back. She also knew that it was at Thomas' mother's suggestion that he go shop for those cigarettes in another state. And that when Thomas was in his early 20s he had met his half brother and discovered that the only thing worse than not having a father growing up would have been to have had his.

He remembered the first time he thought about kissing her. They had been to an awards dinner, their agency had won two major awards for complicated campaigns that he and Tessa had both been a part of. While they were walking back to the parking garage filled with champagne and good wishes he had known that he was going to kiss her. That he couldn't not kiss her. Then her phone had buzzed, Wal. Of course. Wal who didn't even ask if they had won, just wondered when she was planning on coming home. That had ended that. But that was just the first time he thought about it.

Then came The Lunch. That's how he had thought about it. Still thought about it. The Lunch. When she told him that she and Wal were getting divorced. That he couldn't stand living in Chicago anymore. Felt that it was just a small Midwestern town trying to act like a city. It was stifling his creativity. She said she thought she had always known it was coming. That she didn't want to be crass and say it was a starter marriage as so many magazine articles were talking about right then. But as they decided to divorce she realized that they had never really blended anything. They lived in her condo that they had never bothered adding his name to. Their bank accounts were separate. They had no children together. They had met in college and he had been so different from anyone else she had known she said she thought maybe she had confused fascination with love.

Thomas remembered the rest of the day going by in a blur. Tessa was going to be single. There was no more Wal. Seriously, who calls themselves Wal? He caught himself watching her in a meeting that afternoon. Looking for any hint of sadness that she and Wal were no more. He couldn't find any. When she caught him staring at her and smiled his heart started to race. Tessa was going to be single.

That night when he got home he walked in to the living room to find Janice sitting on the floor playing Hi Ho Cherry-O with the boys. She was wearing his sweatshirt. It was much too big on her but she said it was the most comfortable thing they owned. Taylor took his turn then ran over to Thomas; mouth already going a mile a minute to tell him about the day. Taylor who looked like someone had blended Thomas' face and Janice's face and made a new face. Kyle looked more like Thomas but acted more like Janice. Still a blend of the two. Which he guessed is what had happened. The living embodiments of them.

After they had gotten Taylor and Kyle settled in bed for the evening Thomas told Jan they needed to talk. It was like his mind and mouth were working independently of each other. He hadn't meant to say that but out came the words,"We need to talk." At first Janice replied with a breezy, "Okay, let's talk." Then she looked at his face and realized it was a serious talk. She sat on the couch, "All right...what?"

And out it came, he had no idea what he was doing but apparently he had been thinking about it for awhile. "I think I should put my name in the ring for the managing partner job in the new branch in Austin."

So here they were two years later. He was running the Austin office. Tessa had become the lead Account Manager for the Chicago office and last he had heard she was engaged to a finance manager with a normal name. As he watched her presenting the company vision to the blended Chicago, New York and Austin managing teams he thought to himself, "Yes, she is a dangerous woman."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A drop of water in the ocean....

Even after all of these years he was sometimes shocked by how beautiful she was. Big, blue, china doll eyes so full of light and laughter. They could draw you in to her world with a simple glance. She never wore eye shadow, something he found fascinating. His own mother had never left the house without "putting on her face" not even a quick trip to the mailbox. But for Lily it was always just a quick sweep of mascara and maybe some lip gloss if she was dressing up. But she didn't need more. She would tell him he was biased when he would tell her how lovely she was, but he knew it was true. He could see men watching her when they went out. Women too. She wasn't just physically lovely, though she was, she had that "it" factor. That certain something that just drew people to her.

He looked at her and smiled. They had gone out for dinner. A rare mid-week treat. Usually they were both so busy with work and the kids and life that dinners out were reserved for time off. Food was a quick bite grabbed on the way to someplace else. But tonight she had asked if they could go out. She had picked the restaurant a new place in town they had never been to. Quiet, dark, romantic, good food as well. He was a contented man. He smiled again and reached across the table for her hand, looked in her eyes and saw it;

The tear.

At first he thought maybe it was a happy tear. That she was feeling as content as he was. As complete. As lucky. He watched her face, saw the unshed tear slowly filling her eye, the water starting to cover the blue, making her even more lovely if that was possible, like an ocean in her eye.  But then she smiled. And it wasn't the smile of a happy woman. It was a sad small smile. She blinked and the tear escaped. Slowly rolling down her cheek. He reached out to wipe it away. "What's wrong, honey?"

She closed her eyes. He could see the moisture on her lashes. Glistening like drops of dew. Watched her compose herself. Listened as she took in one last deep breath, opened her eyes and, "I'm pregnant."

The words took a little while to filter in through the fog of what was left of his peaceful contentment. "You're what? Are you sure?"

"I"m pregnant. Yes, I'm sure. I went to the doctor yesterday to confirm."

He remembered trying to call her yesterday at lunch time and not being able to reach her. She had said she had left her phone in the car while she was running errands and he had believed her. Why wouldn't he believe her? She had never lied to him before.

Now it was her turn to reach for his hand. He hadn't even realized that he had pulled it back away from her. "Pregnant? But that's impossible. You can't get pregnant." He looked at her, "I mean we know the vasectomy took. There is no way that I...." and as he said it the awful realization hit him. The truth of what she was saying.

"It's not mine."

This time her tears came stronger. He watched them cascading down her cheeks. Big fat drops falling from her jaw. A hollow echoing plop as they reached the napkin in her lap.

"You're pregnant, but it's not mine. Does he know? Did you tell him first? Oh god, was he with you at the doctor's office yesterday?" He was trying to control the panic in his voice. The realization that life as he knew it was over. That no matter what everything had changed.

The awful truth. Lily, his Lily, was still sleeping with her husband.

Monday, June 10, 2013

So I have this it's two...

This is going to be a three part blog just warning you right now. I had an idea for a story pop in to my head but as I worked it out it turned in to two very different stories and I couldn't decide which to pursue. My friend Raquel suggested I do it all, top to bottom, explain the idea, and where it went. So that's what you are getting. Today is explanation and then the next two blogs will be the stories and you can see how one idea changes depending on what story it ends up in.

So anyway...where did this one come from? Story ideas are funny things. They sometimes drop out of the sky whole and complete and I just write the story as I "saw" it. Sometimes it's an amalgamation of random thoughts that just happened to blend at the right time in to a story. Most of the time it's an idea that sparks and takes off. I don't usually do any actual writing, cursor to screen writing, until I've "written" the story a few times in my head. Worked out how I want it to go. Seen the people, heard them talking. Maybe talked a few things out to myself. So if you see me driving down the road in my car talking out loud don't assume I have the Bluetooth connected, most likely I'm just working on dialog.

So this idea started with someone else's story. Or I thought at first that it did. But after I read that story I had a rush of ideas and memories come to me and I realized it had been brewing in the back of my head for years and had recently been moving it's way forward.

Three specific instances hit almost at once. First being working in an office with a couple who was married but not to each other and watching the face of one half of the couple as the other half announced they were leaving their spouse. Seeing a clandestine relationship that had "rules" change before my eyes. And knowing that the reaction had been involuntary, after all this was an affair they were having, not something for public knowledge. But now the dynamic changed. They were no longer two married people having an affair, both with equal parts to lose, they were one married person and one single person. I wasn't doing any writing at the time but I still tucked this away for later. The drama and comedy of this moment was too good not to keep.

The second one was talking with a friend of mine a few years ago about a friend of his mothers who had recently lost her boyfriend. Now saying boyfriend sounds weird because the woman was in her 70s, but they weren't married. In fact he had been married to someone else.Their relationship had been an open secret among their friends, but still an affair. When he died his family hadn't let the "other woman" know. She found out by chance, after the funeral. So she never even had a chance to go. Not that she probably would have. But she was grieving for her loss and it was difficult for people to know what to say. We have all been conditioned to be repulsed by the other woman or other man, but does it mean their love was any less real? That their grief is any less heartbreaking?

Then on to Brent's grandmother. Do you remember his uncle? Well his uncle was a year older than Brent and didn't share fathers with Brent's mother. His father was a man that Dona taught with and researched with at WMU.  And he happened to be married. Now Kalamazoo is a small town so I am sure this was completely scandalous and I would LOVE to have all of the stories about this but I don't. But some of the pieces I do have are that his family knew about her, how could they not since she had his son? And she took his name even though they weren't married. And he never divorced his wife even though he and Dona were a public couple. In his obituary his wife and their kids (not Sheldon) are mentioned. In his wife's obituary the fact that he preceded her in death is mentioned. No divorce.

Add these to the idea I've had in my head for YEARS for a story for a woman who's lover shows up at her door after his wife kicks him out and she doesn't want him. Though I found out that there is a book out there with that idea, I need to read it and make sure it's not just the same book...anyway...

So as all of these things started forming again in my head I had a vision of a deep blue eye slowly filling with an unshed tear. Poetic vision, poetic lines about the blue of the ocean with the wave of a tear...So I started writing a story.

Then I was working on a piece in my head that I wasn't happy with the flow and it became a different story.

Which led me to this blog. And hopefully now that I've done all the set up I will be able to pull both stories together this week and you can see how one idea can take a turn in to two different pieces.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Say what?

I have written before about my love of a good quote.  Today while a friend and I were talking we brought up quotes that only seem like good ones but really aren't. Or maybe they are filled with subtext. C and I have done this as well. Pop out an "inspirational" quote and mangle it. So I thought I would share just a few.

"It's not if you win or lose but how you play the game." -Obviously said by someone who lost the game

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
"Out of sight out of mind."  - Said by two people in the same but very different relationship

"Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." Said by someone who has never lost. Seriously if I had never loved then I wouldn't know I had lost right? Don't be stupid.

But then again, "Time heals all wounds." Does it really? How about a sucking chest wound? Time going to heal that one? Or does that then become "What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger."

"What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." So basically both of your geese are cooked no matter which way you look at it.

And to be fair one of my favorite quotes "Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake." So do you think Thoreau was really just an insomniac like me?

Then there are quotes that everyone gets wrong. It's not "have your cake and eat it too." It's "eat your cake and have it too." But no one says it right so it ends up making no sense at all. Of course you would eat it if you have But's you can't eat it and then still have it. Nobody gets this right...nobody.

What are some of your favorite non-inspirational quotes? The well meaning ones that make you scratch your head when you really think about them. Or the ones that people always get wrong?

Don't take it for granite that I have already heard it.

See what I did there?

Your turn.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

There are rules to this game!

Jerry tried to catch Steve's eye when he came in to the break room but Steve was already looking at the women huddled around Sarah's cell phone. So then Jerry started sending out a psychic message, "Don't ask, don't ask, don't ask." But either he was no good at sending or Steve was no good at receiving because Steve opened his mouth, "What's up?" Jerry wondered if he could make a break and get back to his desk before the fall out but Sarah and her group were between him and the door so the odds weren't good. He sighed and settled in for what he now knew would be an unpleasant lunch.

Jerry had three older sisters so this made him somewhat of an expert in dealing with women. And by deal with what he meant was he had learned how to avoid most, okay some, of the major pitfalls that his friends seemed to walk blindly in to. He would like to say that he figured all of these things out because he was a genius but really it was his father that was the genius. He had taken Jerry aside when he was about 9 and explained to him that he was outnumbered and disadvantaged. His sisters and his mother would always have the advantage so he needed to learn how to get along in a woman's world. And then he explained that when Jerry made his way out of the house he would still be outnumbered and disadvantaged. That even if he was sitting one on one with a woman he would still be at a disadvantage. "They just think differently than we do, son. The sooner you understand that the better it will be for you." Then he explained the rules.

1. Don't ever try and fix a problem they are having. Even if you could fix it, they don't want you to fix it. This is the one that every man in a successful relationship knows. And the one that every man fails at often enough that it's still an issue. It's just so hard not to fix things. But don't do it. Unless they ask. Then you can only fix that specific problem and nothing else.(Change the blown fuse for instance) Not even a helpful suggestion on how to avoid the problem in the future. (Maybe don't plug your radio, hairdryer, curling iron and the light into the same socket) Fix it, move along. But mostly don't fix it. Unless they tell you to.

2. Don't make eye contact. This goes back to rule #1 (as most of the rules do) if you see a woman in a discussion with another woman about a problem they are having and you make eye contact you will be expected to ask how they are and then you will be tempted to fix the problem. So do not become aware of the problem if you can help it.

3. However if eye contact is made you cannot at that point ignore the fact that they are having a problem though you must not under any circumstances try to fix the problem. If you try to ignore them then you are now the problem. And you really can't fix that.

4. Understand that as a man you will become the representative for all things male. Try to stay out of discussions when they are mad at a man. Refer to Rule #2. And then again to Rule #1 if you think pointing out that you are not the man they are actually mad at will help.

Now, Jerry had heard enough of the conversation between Sarah and the other women in the office to know that the only viable option he and any other male had was to avoid eye contact. Better to be an oblivious guy than in the middle of this discussion. But Steve (Steve who was raised with only brothers) had ruined all of that. "What's up?"

Sarah turned and glared at Steve. "Men are pigs, that's what's up."

"Hey, now, not all of us are bad guys, right Jerry?" Steve then looked to Jerry for support. Crap. Now we are both in it. Thanks, Steve. Thanks a lot.

Jerry stepped in to try and mitigate the damage before Steve made it even worse.

"What's wrong, Sarah? What happened?" Jerry used his concerned voice. There was a line to be walked here. Too detached and he would be the uncaring bastard. Too comforting and he would be the condescending bastard. He was trying to avoid all bastardization at this point. If only he had a hand signal or something to give Steve. Some sort of get behind me and don't say a word and I might just get us out of here alive thing.

Sarah thrust her iPhone at Jerry. He was looking at a picture of a lovely view of the city, but he knew it couldn't be just a lovely view of the city. There was a piece he was missing. Now how to get the answer without stirring the pot?

Steve looked at the phone as he was passing it back to Sarah, "Nice picture. Great view."

Steve, just shut up!

Sarah turned on Steve, "It is a great view. Of my secret spot. And it's not my picture. What do you think of that?"

Steve looked at Jerry with fear in his eyes. Oh now you realize you've stepped in it? Now will you shut up?

"I'm sorry, I don't understand, Sarah, I think I have missed something." Jerry went back to the calming voice.

Sarah took a deep breath, "This is a view from a picnic spot I found. It's not easy to get to. You have to park in a certain place and hike in. Nobody goes there. I took Keith last summer for the first time. We had a romantic picnic there and went back a few times after that. Today this picture shows up on his new girlfriend's Facebook page!"

"Why are you looking at his new girlfriend's page?"

Steve, really dude? Just really?

Jerry stepped in front of the bomb, "He took his new girlfriend to your spot?"

Sarah shot a dirty look Steve's way, "Yes, can you believe it?"

Steve nodded his head slowly, "Yeah, I totally can. Dudes are like that."

Jerry looked at Steve, maybe he could be salvaged after all. That wasn't a terrible thing to say this could go okay for both of them.

"I mean, I bet he got laid when you all went the first time right? You said it was a romantic picnic."

Or maybe not.

"You are saying that he took her there because he got laid when we went? Not that I am saying he got laid. But you are saying that's what he was doing? Jerry, what do you think?"

Oh hell, and here it was. The point where he was going to have to not only walk a fine line to get out of this alive but walk that line 30 feet in the air over a pit of fire. Thanks, Steve, owe you one buddy.

"I think Steve is right. Wait, wait, hear me out. There are some guys out there that would do just exactly that sort of thing for exactly that sort of reason. Men are simple creatures, ladies, I am sorry to say. And we tend to follow simple routines."

"Yep, got me laid, didn't get me laid. It's a two folder filing system in our brains."

"Well, yes, Steve, sort of like that. But it's really more basic. Men like to make the women they are with happy. What your ex knows is that you were happy when you went to that spot so he has it tucked away in his brain as a happy place."

"Or a got him laid place."

Jerry closed his eyes for a second and took a breath, "So when he took his new girlfriend to this spot all he was thinking was that it made you happy so it would make her happy as well. Now, I know, that's a horrible thing to think. This was a special place to you and you were sharing it with him which made it a special place for the two of you and now he's shared it with someone else which has ruined it for you. But I would bet that he didn't think that way at all."

"So what you are saying is that he doesn't think of me at all anymore?"

Oh wait, that is not what he meant to say. Shit. Shit. Shit.

"He probably doesn't. Or at least he tries not to." Steve again.

"What? We dated for over a year!"

"Exactly. You dated for a long time. You both probably thought you were the one, right? It didn't work out. Men don't like to focus on their failures."

"So I'm a failure now?"

"No, no, no, you aren't a failure. He would view it as he was." Jerry tried to give Steve a look that said thanks for the assist, "He blew it with you and he knows it. By taking the new girl to this spot he is probably trying to fix what he did wrong with you. Trying to recapture those moments when he knew he was doing something right. But probably all subconsciously. Because he doesn't want to think about how he screwed it up with you. He just knows he wants to get something right."

Okay, this could work. Sarah looked calm and thoughtful. Her girlfriends were giving each other the looks that said, "this is something to think about" and lunch break was just about over. Not bad, not bad at all.

"Or he was just trying to get laid."

Oh for fuck's sake, Steve!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Random ideas that then need plans....

I had an idea today. Well, I have ideas most days, but this was more than a normal idea. It was a big idea. Triggered by something I am already doing. But this was an add on. And new. And kind of cool. And I was completely enamored with the idea...

...for about a half hour.

Then the realities started to set in. To do this thing I would need money. Lots of money. And time. Lots of time. Well I have time and Brent has money so that could be covered. And since I would be doing it over a long time maybe I could do it a little cheaper than I had originally thought.  But...

The details. If I was doing X then someone else would need to do Y. And does that work?

And it wouldn't just be me. But what if I'm the only one who thinks it's a good idea?

And is it really? It seems kind of cool in that, I did this, sort of way, but what is the point really?


So now I'm not sure if this is a big idea. Or just a fleeting thought that got stuck. Which is why I'm not really saying what the idea was. It's still percolating. Still forming. I'm still deciding if it's an idea that will come to fruition or just passing through.

Which of course lends itself to thinking about how many times we talk ourselves out of big ideas. Though I'm not ready to commit to that always being a bad thing. Sometimes a big idea is really just a bad idea....

I'll let you know if this one ends up being a real idea.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Who needs sleep?

As most of you know I don't sleep like a normal person. Though I have discovered that most people don't sleep like normal people. In fact I am not even sure where the idea of normal sleep came from since I have yet to meet someone who always gets those 8 hours a night from 11-7 or 10-6 or what ever.  Anyway...I don't. Never have.

I have chronic insomnia. It manifests itself in a few different ways. A good night's sleep for me means a nice solid block of uninterrupted sleep. Like 3 or 4 hours. Then catnapping for a couple more. That is perfection. The only time I get more is if I am sick or drugged and neither of those is good so I will stick with the good solid block plus some extra. But most nights it's not like that.

There are the nights where I have what I think most people are familiar with as far as sleepless nights go. The nights where you just can't shut down and go to sleep. We call this busy brain in my house. You just can't stop thinking about everything long enough to get some sleep. Work stress, home stress, money stress, not sleeping stress all of these things make it worse. For me I don't have to be stressed for it to happen. Just sometimes I can't get things shut down. That's when I try using meditation techniques. Slowing down my breathing. Focusing on relaxing each body part in sequence. Just laying still. Sometimes it works to at least help me relax, sometimes it doesn't.

Then there is hormonal insomnia. Some women get insomnia as an added gift in their package of PMS symptoms. I am one of those. Sleep just isn't going to happen some months. Not tired, not a bit. I rest those nights and try not to think about the fact that it could last as many as three days before I get a really good night's sleep. And you wonder why some women are cranky and emotional around their periods? You try going without sleep for a few days and see how you do.

And then there is just not sleeping. Brain isn't particularly busy. Hormones aren't raging. I'm just not sleeping. Or I am doing the patchy sleep thing. Cat napping all night instead of a nice solid block. I used to say I'm not a good sleeper. I am trying to change that dialog in my head to I just sleep differently than most people. Since I've always been this way then it's probably fine. Though it's hard to maintain that thought when you read all of the articles about how bad sleep deprivation is for you.

So what do I do about it? I have tried a myriad of sleep aids. Natural non-habit forming aids. I don't take prescription sleeping pills because the side effects are not something I want to deal with. When I was younger I was a sleep walker and a sleep eater without the drugs, I can't imagine taking a pill that can bring that on on purpose! I've tried self-hypnosis. HGC pills. Melatonin. Valerian Root. Chamomile Tea. Peppermint Tea. Yoga. Getting up. Staying in bed. No TV. No books. TV. Books. Tracking my sleep on my phone with an app. Laughing at the results.

A friend of mine started using the UP tracker by Jawbone and I have thought about that. What it does is tell you when you are and are not sleeping and if it's a light or a deep sleep. For him it was good because it showed him that times that he thought he wasn't sleeping he really was in a light sleep. By tracking he has been able to get in to that deep sleep area more frequently. What I am afraid of is that I have done this no sleep thing for years so I've learned to keep very still when I am in bed. I don't want to toss and turn and keep Brent awake. And I know if I lay still and calm it's almost as restful as sleeping. So will the UP register that as sleep or will it be able to tell that I'm not really asleep? And if I am aware that lying still makes it think I'm sleeping will I start shaking my arm every once in awhile just to let it know I'm awake? Yes, I really do think like this. Welcome to busy brain.

I don't get up when I am not sleeping, even though you will read over and over that you should, because if I do it's game over. I know as soon as I get up the night is through. If I go to the living-room and read I will read all night. If I log on to the computer I will find friends in Australia to talk to. If I turn on the TV I will watch cheesy movies or infomercials until everyone else gets up. And I will be exhausted the next day. So I lay in bed. And most of the time it works out fine. It's only bad when I reach a few days in a row with truly lousy sleep that I get desperate for a solution. That and when I read articles linking insomnia to dementia, obesity and early death.

But if I slept like a normal person then you would miss out on gems like this one...

Last night in the middle of the night some noise outside woke Brent and I up, not completely for him, just drug him out of the deep sleep he was in and in to a light then back to that deep sleep. For me I was awake. So anyway, as we both came up out of sleep we rolled over. I had been laying on my side facing the window, he was on his back. When we were coming out of the sleep I rolled to my back and he went to his side facing the wall. Synchronized Sleeping. The thought popped in my head and I almost laughed out loud. And then the short story images started to form. A couple in their bed sleep dancing all night. Matched but sound asleep. And then George stretched out to remind me that they should have animals in their bed as well. So I added a cat and then a dog just for the comedy of it all. These two people and their animals rolling and turning in sync all night without ever being awake to realize it.

Then I started thinking that I didn't really have enough for a story. And really it was more of a visualization thing. It would make a good time-lapse video for YouTube. But that's not really where my talents are so what should I do with it? Should it become part of a longer story about a couple? Or maybe just a short story about sleep? Or...maybe you should stop thinking about this and actually get back to sleep. How would that be?

So I pushed the thoughts of synchronized sleeping out of my head and started to follow my breathing and relaxing back in to sleep. Which I did. Off and on for the rest of the night. Each time waking up to the thought...what music should be in the background? or...should it be one big dog or two little ones? or...would the couple be in the old fashioned split pajamas her in the top him in the bottoms or would that be too cute? Then finally...well at least I have something to blog about tomorrow...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's a weighty rant...

It's another one on weight issues so you can skip it if you want. God knows we are all tired of me bitching about weight.

Still here? Okay, let's get started then.

As I have been planning out my summer schedule one of the things was to figure out what workouts I could do without aggravating my foot and potentially bringing that surgery closer instead of farther away. So as I thought about it and what I really wanted to accomplish I thought about my 6 Month Fit Challenge from last year. You remember that one right? The one where I discovered that in my mid 40s I can't push myself like I did in my 20s and not pay a price? And the one that abruptly ended when I bashed my toe. So anyway, I have the book from where I was tracking results and I thought I would take a peek and see how far backwards I've fallen. And I was shocked and surprised to see that I haven't. I've lost another 5 pounds since I had to end the challenge. My push-ups are still in the excellent range, though since I can't be on my toe in full plank my dream of doing full on push-ups is pretty much over.

So I was pretty pleased. Until I looked at the BMI chart. According to my BMI I am still overweight. I am 11 1/2 pounds lighter than I was last August when I thought I would try and lose around 10 pounds. I wear a size small in tops. A size 8 in jeans, and honestly I bet depending on the cut I could wear a 6 there. I am right on the happy edge for me where I fit all of my clothes, still have a figure and am not being told by people that I am too thin. See Skinny Bitch would like to be about 100 pounds. Genetics, love of food and general laziness mean I could hit 200 easily. I try and split the difference and hang between 140 and 150.  Eek! Have I ever actually told you my numbers before? Scary...but that's kind of the point for this blog so there they are. As of right now I weigh 145. Which for my 5'5" frame is overweight. According to the fitness book I am tracking in. According to this website it's just in to the normal range.

And this is where my problem is. If the books we look at, the information we are trying to make decisions from can't agree then what are we supposed to do? It's one thing to deal with growing up having not seen 100 pounds since elementary school to constantly be bombarded with images from magazines of women that always seem to have 125 listed at the "ideal weight" no matter what their body shape or height. You learn to adjust and accept (some of us just take longer than others) and you turn to other ways to measure. my clothes fit?

And here is where it makes me crazy. I posted a picture yesterday on my feed. I'm in a small top, a small cardigan, size 8 jeans. You can see my clavicles because of the angle I am holding the camera. I don't look heavy in that shot by any stretch, but I am also not small. I'm not a small person. Just not built that way. But everything I am wearing is "small" but it's not. Not really. Those size smalls would have been mediums when I was growing up. The size 8 jeans? At least a 10 but quite possibly a 12. Vanity sizing. It's nuts.

I was first aware of it when I was in my late teens and early 20s. My mother-in-law, bless her heart, tried her best to upscale my wardrobe choices a bit. Wife beaters, shaker sweaters and torn jeans just weren't her idea of flattering. So she took me shopping. And Dillard's carried Liz Claiborne. Which at the time was a more upscale brand than it is now. So she grabbed an outfit off the rack for me to try on in the size that I knew I was and it was HUGE on me. So we went down a size. Then down another. How could this be? How could I be two sizes smaller than I knew I was? I wasn't. But Liz had figured out that if a size 10 woman had a choice between buying a size 6 dress or a size 10 dress they were going to choose the size 6.

I also saw this when I worked in retail. Women would latch on to a size and not let go. "This brand runs small, I would suggest trying on at least two sizes larger than you think you need, right now I'm wearing a 14."  (I wasn't I was wearing a 10 but if the woman I was looking at was going to try and force her way in to an 8 because she had ALWAYS been an 8 then I was going to end up with ruined clothes and no sale) So brands saw this, and changed.

I have known for years that women's clothing did it. When I dropped weight after getting to my biggest I still had jeans in the closest from before I had C. I couldn't wait to put them back on. So as I hit that size in my new jeans I dug them out and...couldn't pull them up! I remember laying my old jeans on top of my new ones (same brand, supposedly the same size) and making Brent look at them. There was no way they were the same size. The waist was probably an inch to two inches smaller. The legs were cut completely different. And these weren't "relaxed fit" versus "skinny jeans" these were just jeans.

So you start to realize that size doesn't mean anything and you have to try things on and not get hooked on what the size is on the label. Which is good because I have everything from a 4 to a 10 in my closet. A friend of mine posted yesterday that just recently she went shopping and bought a range of 5 different sizes! In one shopping trip! In ONE store! So you shift to; How do you feel? Are you healthy? Is your BMI in a good range?

D'oh! There is that pesky BMI again! If I lose the weight to get in to the range the book says I should be in it's another 5 pounds and when I start knocking on 140 and less that's when people start worrying about my weight. Which is CRAZY to say because we all know that 140 is a pretty big girl. But see, I'm solid. Always have been. Good strong bones. Legs and butt are strong, which also happen to have big heavy muscles, I have boobs, I have hips, at least I cut my hair off so I'm not carrying that weight.... But still, I'm not a small girl, I'm a solid woman. Aren't men lucky to not have to deal with this?

Oh wait, they do too. When I posted my picture yesterday I heard the male voices of frustration as well. One friend is the same size he was in college (after working at getting fit again, Congrats!) and yet his pants size is a size smaller and his BMI rating is overweight. Though I would say he's thin if you asked me! Another was the same way, he has been working out, playing water polo, fit fit fit...and can't fit his old jeans even though they are the same size he is wearing now. What do people do who really are thin? One friend of mine shops in the young men's section for his jeans. He's not a super small guy, just super fit and thin. So a small adult size has been relegated to medium sized adults so a large adult can wear the medium and feel better. It's crazy.

So what do we do? Stop worrying about sizes. Take even BMI with a grain of salt. Be happy with your level of fitness. How are your blood test results? How is your over all general health? Are you comfortable in your own skin? For me I watch my weight because I'm vain. Well okay, I also watch my weight because I am genetically predisposed to obesity and heart disease and all of the other complications that come along with obesity. I know how easy it is for me to gain weight. And I know the health risks that go with it. I also know how easy it is for me to get obsessive about my weight, which is why the BMI thing yesterday triggered the crazy switch. So I watch that as well. Healthy weight for me means not too high, not too low. As my friend Tiffany said, if you feel good in your clothes (or out of them) then you're good!

But I'm still going to bitch about the sizing issue...what is someone who hates shopping supposed to do if you have to try every stinking thing on??
Me at 18, (wiping pie off my face) I weighed about 125 in this shot
Me yesterday. 145 wearing the "same" sizes as I was at 18