Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Made it. I wasn't sure what to write about for this momentous occasion. Should I leave it until I had something really profound to say? Should I write a short story about someone who met all of their goals and then in a surprise twist found out that meeting all of her goals meant that she had nothing left to live for and ended up on the street eating grass clippings? (spoiler alert!) Should I just write a normal blog and then casually mention as I posted it that it was the 165th blog of the year, like, you know, no big deal...whatever... Brent suggested I just write the word DONE then the stress would be off and the next blog could just be it's own thing.

What I eventually decided to do was just write the blog about writing the blogs that reached the goal and stuff...

Actually this week I reached two goals, the other one was for my Goodreads reading challenge. I'm now 2 books ahead of where I set the original goal. I hadn't realized I had met it until Dana poked me about it. Ta da! I read a lot! It's funny to me because last year I actually kind of stressed over it. I set an original goal that seemed like a lot of books. Then as I realized I was going to make that goal by June I started tweaking the number. I read graphic novels, do they count? I decided that two or three counted for one book depending on the length so I added to the goal number if I read a lot of graphic novels. Then I stressed over if re-reading a book counted. Yes, if it has been at least a few years since the first read, no if it hadn't. And if I started a book and didn't want to finish it would that count? No. You have to finish to get the star. This year I picked a number (lower than 2013 knowing it would be a busier year) and then sort of forgot about it. I checked once around mid-year to see how I was doing and left it alone.

The blogs were different. As you all know I realized in September I wasn't going to make it unless I did a big push. So 31 blogs in October happened to catch me up. Now any I do in December will be cake. Or I guess frosting since the 165 is really the cake part right? Anyway...extra.

So what did you think? I've gotten a little feed back that less is more. In other words when I am cranking out a blog a day some of what you get is, well, let's face it, crap. I've also gotten a little feedback that more is better. That when I am cranking out a higher number of blogs consistently you know there will be something here to read. So what do the rest of you think?

And what about the mixing I have been doing. I sort of think I should pull my fiction off this site and make a blog specifically for that writing and leave this one for the rants and ramblings. But then I change my mind because the fiction is part of my rants and ramblings. It's all what is bouncing around in my head. What do you think about it? Do you like it that you never know what you are going to get or does it bug you?

What do you think of the throw back Thursday posts? Do you read them, or re-read them as the case may be or do you ignore them cause they're all stale and stuff.... I kind of like seeing what was going on on the same (or close) date a few years ago, but I find myself fascinating...  (oh and just so you know they didn't count towards the goal number, darn it!)

I'm still a little bugged that Facebook has throttled back my reach from my page, but you all still find me eventually so I can't be too mad. I've also added a few new readers, so HI! glad you all are here. I hope you enjoy your stay.

All right, that wraps that up then. Blog goal for 2014 met! Ta da!

Hmmm...35 days until 2015, 35 blogs to meet the stretch goal...interesting....

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I don't have a lot to say on this. People have strong opinions and there isn't a lot of sway in them. I also don't think there was any real surprise in the decision, no matter where you stand on the issue I don't think you were surprised.

If you are of the belief that the system is rigged against people of color you knew it wouldn't go to trial.

If you believe that the officer acted properly you knew it wouldn't go to trial.

If you believe that officers rarely get put on trial when they shoot someone in the line of duty you knew it wouldn't go to trial.

So I don't think anyone was surprised.

I guess what I do have to say is what I said before, if you think the anger and the tension about this case was just about Michael Brown and Darren Wilson then you need more friends who are darker complected than you are.

I find it interesting to read comments from people who I know for a fact have posted long rants about government oppression because it was suggested they register their guns. They will tell you that that sort of oppression just shows why they need to have them. So they can take up arms against their government. You know, for all of the oppression. And then to see them absolutely not get the anger from the black community boggles my brain.

You think registering your gun is infringing on your rights? How about getting stopped and searched because the color of your skin made you suspect. Not a suspect. Not for a specific crime. Just for walking while black. Or driving. Or, god forbid, shopping. Spend your life being seen first as a color, then as a suspect, then as a person and tell me again about your rights being infringed.

A few months ago I wrote about yelling at a sheriff who yelled at me. My middle aged, middle class, white lady self was only worried about getting pulled over and getting a ticket later as revenge. I have friends who are much more successful than I am. Higher on the economic food chain. Drive nicer cars. Live in nicer neighborhoods. Who would NEVER yell back at a cop. Ever. Because they know that the odds of them coming out of that experience unscathed are slim to none. Because their experience is based on growing up a black man in America. Very different than my experience.

That's where the anger comes from.

There was a shooting this week of a 12 year old boy. He had a toy gun he had been playing with. There was a 911 call, where the caller even says the gun is probably fake, and the police responded. The kid reached for the fake, the police shot him. He's dead. Twelve years old with a fake gun. Dead. Now the gun looked real (a blog rant for another day and time, guns shouldn't be toys or fashion accessories) so how would the police know? They will be cleared of any wrong doing. Don't be surprised. I'm not even sure it's the wrong decision. But here is where it gets tricky. If it had been a white kid would they have assumed the gun was real? Would there have even been a call to 911? The fact that this isn't an out of bounds question to ask speaks to some deep truths.

That's where the anger comes from.

You've seen the memes right? The listing of black men and women who have been killed by the police for minor crimes put up against the listings of white men and women who have killed people who were arrested. Not killed. Arrested. Sure you can cherry pick your facts for a meme. But the fact that you really aren't surprised when you see the pictures says something.

That's where the anger comes from.

So yeah, there is a lot of pent up anger. And when you get something like the Brown case it can explode like a powder keg. Do I think it's the right way to react? No, not at all. But have I ever reacted by coming out swinging when pushed against a wall? I have. Did it do me any good? It didn't. But I'm human. And that's a very human reaction.

I have friends who are cops. They have a really difficult job. They are faced with things most of us cannot even imagine. They have to react in an instant and then we have all the time in the world to pick apart what they did and how they should have handled it better. Is it fair? Absolutely not. Do I understand their frustration when they feel like they are doing their jobs to the best of their ability and they get branded as thugs and criminals? Sure I do. But that doesn't mean we should stop asking the questions and looking at what was done and why.

When you have an entire community that feels like the system is rigged; that there isn't a space for them. That no matter what happens the world they live in is going to view them as suspect because of the color of their skin. And that when they try to discuss it they know they are going to get accused of playing the race card when they know full well that the race card is real and the deck is stacked...


When you have that situation maybe it's time to look for the reasons why. And how do we move forward. And how do we fix this?

I don't have answers. I have questions. But at least I'm asking them and trying to hear what is being said. That's a start.

And we have to start someplace.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Oh that's so creative...

I still have a hard time getting the "I'm a writer" sentence out of my head and through my mouth without stumbling. So much of life as adults is geared around not what we do, but what we get paid to do. And I don't get paid to do this. I just do it.

Last week at dinner a friend said to me, "I didn't know you wrote!" Because I had posted something on my main Facebook feed about writing and that was her first indication. I said, "Well...I blog." and then felt stupid because who blogs anymore? Well besides me. I still blog. And then she asked what I wrote about and I had to try and explain and I stumbled again. For someone who likes words as much as I do the one time they seem to fail me is when I try to explain that I write. "Nonfiction? Fiction?"
Yes, those. I told her that I had written about common core that day and the day before a fiction piece about how people are different colored lollipops. Which I followed with, "It all made sense, really." And then I tried to explain the bar people and realized how very crazy it makes me sound...

Then she said she used to write, which made her fiance say, "I didn't know that." And made me relieved because then we could talk about that instead of me.

But then it made me think. There are a lot of "I used to write" people out there. Heck, for a number of years I was one of them. Sometimes life just gets in the way of being able to sit down and put words on paper. Sometimes confidence shatters and you think it's not worth it anymore. Sometimes you just have nothing to say.

And then today while I was cleaning house I thought about when I started writing again. The first few things I put on paper. All nonfiction on the blog at the start. My stories. My life. My past. And people liked them. I got feedback from people I knew who were glad to hear the stories. And people that were in them who liked being a "featured performer." And that feedback gave me the courage to actually share complete fiction. Stories that were just out of the air. And I got good feedback on those as well. Which was great, because that was really hard to do.

Not just to share them, but to unlock that vault again. To open that pathway back up. Because I used to write.

My head is busy. I've written about it before, I've talked about it before. People who know me in real life see it in person. I have a busy brain. I can and will switch topics mid stream of a conversation because there was a random connection that flashed for me and I ended up on that tangent instead of the one we started's crazy up in here.

Reading and writing keep me sane.

Reading gives me a space to become absorbed in someone else's world. To focus on that life. That drama. That story. I can get sucked in to that and it calms my head. Reading is meditation to me. It's the way I have to keep my brain occupied and calm.

Writing lets the voices out of my head before they drown out everything else. When a fiction piece comes to me, most often it comes almost fully formed and wanting to be written NOW. Stop what you are doing and write me NOW. And if I don't then it plays over and over in my head until I get it out. I think that's why I end up with so many short stories. They just come to me. And since a group of them are my bar people they just keep talking louder and louder until I have to let them out to shut them up.

But I will let you in on a little secret. If you ignore them too long then they stop talking to you. And it's awful.

When I was little I was always the storyteller friend. I was the one that came up with our games of make believe. I was the one who told you what your character should be doing. I was the one that remembered where we were and what we were doing at recess the day before. I made up stories on the bus when our youth group would travel. I wrote stories at school for creative writing and just to share with friends. I was dramatic.

When I was in high school my brother found a box of things that had been stored in his garage. In that box was my diary from elementary and middle school. I read it and just had to shake my head. Anyone else reading it would think I had led a very different life than I really had. I didn't write about what was really going on. There wasn't a single page on any of the abuse. But there were long passages about this boy or that boy. And they were much more umm...intense than the reality. I even wrote at one point about a worry over getting too attached and getting pregnant! I was 12 when I wrote that and I was still a virgin while I was reading it! Crazy. But the reality wasn't all that exciting so I punched it up.

Because I was a writer.

But then I stopped. Lots of reasons. No time. No faith in my talent. No time. And did I mention no time? But what happened when I stopped was first the stories went back in to my head. Quietly. I was still able to sit and entertain myself for hours in public spaces imagining what people were doing, who they were, what they might be thinking. But then the longer I stayed away from writing the quieter those voices became. I could call them up when I was playing with C. But the stories running in the background of my daily life were gone. Just gone.

I used to be a writer.

I can remember one day at work at the agency (the first time I worked there) I was at the front desk with our receptionist and a new hire. There was a KFC meeting going on (this was when I was the bookkeeper not the AE so I had to be available for questions but not sit in on the meetings) and they had had lunch catered in. There was a big bowl of salad left and it had baby corn in it. Courtney asked what made the baby corn so small and I popped off, "Low self esteem" then wove an entire story about it out of thin air. They laughed and laughed, Jack gave us stink eye from the conference room and I said, "See? Don't you feel yourself shrinking right now?" And we all had to cover our mouths to keep quiet.

As I was walking back to my office Diana said, "You should be a writer." And I said, "I used to want to be."

A few years later I thought about that story and I thought about how easy it had been. That it had all come to me just like when I was younger and would tell stories on the bus. Or when C was little and we would tell a story together. It was still there. Someplace. So I thought, I will try again. And for a little bit I did. I would come up with something I wanted to write. Something I thought was interesting and I would get a few sentences out and then....nothing.

I used to be a writer.

It took a long time. I think the voices stopped talking to me because I stopped listening. I think it took them awhile to trust that I would pay attention again. And I think that's why they can be so insistent now. The story has to get out before I decide that I used to be a writer again. And so usually I do stop what I'm doing and write.Because I like the voices in my head. And I missed them when they stopped talking to me.

And I know that still sounds crazy when I say it out loud. Which is why I stumble over the words.

But...when I was telling Raquel on Saturday about trying to explain my blog to someone who hadn't ever read it and what I do and how hard it is for me to explain it she said something that made me smile...

"You're a writer."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What were you thinking?

This past weekend I went with my friend Raquel to see a production of Frankenstein. In this one the story is told more from the point of view of the creation. It was outstanding. (Not just because the creation was played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Victor Frankenstein by Jonny Lee Miller but that sure didn't hurt) As I was watching one really moving scene I was riveted by what was going on and then I thought..."oh that's so going in a blog."

Basically the scene boils down to the creation asking Victor why? Why did he make him? Why did he do it? Why? Did he ever even consider what it would mean, not to Victor, but to what he created? And he hadn't. He had done what he did to prove that he could. To show that he was right. That he was brilliant. That he was in control. And he never once gave thought to what it actually was that he was doing. Creating a living being that would have its own feelings. Its own struggles. Its own life. He never thought about it.


I had written down something my friend Marcy had posted on Facebook earlier in the week. I knew I would go back to it. She had posted a status asking if anyone besides her had ever gone back and read something they had written and realized how awful it sounded. Just rude or mean or dismissive. And then she wrote, "The thing is, I was usually thinking of myself, not going so far as to be thinking of someone else to want to offend them. Hence, I can go around offending people without even meaning to."


That to me speaks to such a great truth. How many times in our daily lives are we rude and dismissive only because we are not even considering the person we are interacting with? Not just that you aren't considering their feelings or that you disagree with them but not thinking about them at all. Just projecting your own feelings on them like a blank canvas. You weren't even considering them enough to be rude on purpose.

I've written before that I have a real distaste for people who try to use "I'm not PC" as an excuse for being an asshole and I think that fits here. When you are saying "I don't care if you are offended" usually you are saying, "I'm not really thinking about you at all." And this dovetails right in to that. You are saying what you want because you want to. Never considering the person in front of you that you could very well be talking about.

One of the things I've been working on over the past few years is to remember that just because someone disagrees with me doesn't mean they are wrong. It just means they disagree. And just because I disagree with them doesn't mean I should go tramping in on their conversation and shit all over them. Now sometimes they are wrong. But I need to be really sure I am considering that they are wrong. That there is a person there that I am conversing with. Not just a point that I need to make. Not just an opinion I feel needs expressed, but that there is a person on the other end of this conversation and how am I treating them at this moment?

Am I considering them enough to even offend them on purpose?

Which seems sort of odd when I put it that way. But sometimes I really do want to offend you. I want to disturb you. I want you to be rocked to your core by what it is that I am saying to you. Because I want you to think. And  maybe change your mind. Because I'm hoping that if you are offended enough you stop to think about why it's offensive to you. Are you offended because you think I implied you are a bigot? Then look at what you said, was it bigoted? I know that the times I've actually changed, shifted my perception, is because I've been bothered by something. By what something I said or did said about me. And then not liked it enough to change.

But I promise to really try and think about why. Why am I saying this? Why am I doing this? Am I thinking about you at all? Am I concerned at all with you? I promise to ask myself those questions.

And then offend you on purpose.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Heart You....

A bright red heart on the white tile floor. That's what the drip looked like. A perfect little heart. It was like a personalized valentine. A faint smile played across her face. She always did like finding these surprise hearts.

When she was little she would bring her found treasures to her mother. Heart shaped rocks, leaves, flower petals. "Look, Mommy! A heart for you!" And her mother would ooh and aah over each gift as if it was the first time.

When her mother lost her battle with breast cancer a decade ago she had found a little box filled with these trinkets tucked in a drawer with her socks and underwear. All of the rocks, dried out leaves and flowers. All of her found hearts. Plus a few hand drawn ones. And the big gaudy earrings she had bought her for Mother's Day one year. They were for pierced ears and her mother only wore clip on earrings but she had said she loved them anyway. And there they were. She took the box to the cemetery and left them there for her mother.

Her husband had said, "You know some punk kid is just going to steal the earrings and toss the rest away right?"

She had smiled and said it would be fine.

Her mother had just died so he hadn't argued with her about it. Though she knew he was probably right.

She remembered the kitten she got when she was nine. She had been so excited when her little black ball of fluff turned over and she saw the white patch of fur on his belly. A small secret heart. It had made her love him even more. When he had run away a few years later she had been devastated. She had looked for him for weeks. Putting up signs. Phoning the animal shelter daily. Calling out for him over and over again as she walked the neighborhood. Years later her mother admitted to her that he had been hit by a car. She had thought she was protecting her by letting her believe he had run off. Giving her a chance to imagine a better life someplace instead of a brutal end. She knew her mother had meant well, but it had made it worse. Pretending things were better than they were was a lousy idea.

When she was in high school she remembered laying on the grass watching the clouds with the boy she had a crush on. When he pointed out a cloud that looked just like a heart she knew it was a sign they were supposed to be together forever. It wasn't.

It also wasn't a sign when she met that cute college boy who had a freckle shaped just like a tiny heart on his hand. Though they had a fun summer finding other heart shapes. And other freckles. When Fall came and he went back to school she had smiled and waved at the car pulling away, he said he would write but she knew he wouldn't. He would go back to school and the smart funny college girls waiting there. Why would he write to her? She would be the summer fling story, not the girl you come back to. Pretending things were better than they were was a lousy idea.

On the first Valentine's Day she spent with her husband he brought her a bouquet of long stem roses and a box of chocolates. A square box. She thanked him and then said that she thought all boxes of chocolates on Valentine's Day were heart shaped. She should have just been quiet. She couldn't blame him for being hurt and angry. Nobody wants to feel like their gift isn't good enough. And why did she feel the need to criticize him anyway? The chocolate was just as good no matter what shape the box was. It had been rude.

She learned to keep her mouth shut about what she thought things should be like.

But it didn't stop her from noticing her surprise hearts.

A puddle in the street.

A patch of ice melting on the window.

A drop of water on a bar.

A spilled beer on the floor.

A bruise on her arm.

A cut on her cheek.

A spiral fracture in an x-ray.

A drop of blood on the tile.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I was told there would be no math....

My mother was a math genius. We would walk through the grocery store and she would add up the groceries as we put them in the cart. When we got to the check out line she could give you the total within just a very few cents. Looking at a menu in a restaurant tell her what you are ordering, along with the other kids and her and dad and she knew how much the bill would be. She could figure out a discount in a shopping mall in her head. Tell you the before and after tax total on a shopping trip. All without once breaking out a calculator.

And when I was in middle school she bitched about the "new math" that they were teaching kids today. Because it wasn't the way she was taught so she didn't understand intuitively what it was she was seeing. So she taught me how to do math her way. Which I still use today. Back to that later.

My son is a math genius. He could tell the answer to a complex math problem just by looking at it. Just knew the right answer. Boom! Human calculator. When he was in elementary school his TaG teacher made him learn how to actually do math the long way. Showing his work and each step of the process. It was boring and pointless to him. He already knew the answer why should he have to do all of the steps? But if you don't know how to do the steps in basic math you end up not being able to do the more complex math later.

By the time he was in middle school he was doing math that I had no idea how to do. And I couldn't really help him. Though I took algebra I didn't like it. I took statistics which I did enjoy but that was the end of my higher math. He was already looking at things that I just didn't understand. They made no sense to me, and I have a degree in accounting. So when he needed math help I was not the one he turned to.

I have friends with school age kids now and every once in awhile they will post a math homework problem that they are trying to help with. We all take a crack at it and usually can figure it out. I do have some other math genius friends around who can do the complex things and I'm pretty good at this super complicated crazy "common core" math. I put common core in quotes there because common core isn't a method, it's a standard. But just like our parents hated "new math" we hate "common core" because it's different than what we learned. Well, except for me. Because see I learned math from my mom.

Take that discount at the store. If you are figuring out a 25% discount the math we learned would have you multiply the total by .25 then subtract that answer from the total and that leaves your answer. Which would involve moving decimal points, carrying down zeros as place holders and all sorts of things that you would need to keep in your head to figure it out. My mother's way? Take ten percent double it and halve it. $150 sweater with a 25% discount? Easy. Ten percent of that is $15. You know that because you just have to move that decimal one space to the left and you have 10%. Easy mom tricks. Then 15 and 15 is 30. That's 20% easy peasy. To get that last 5%? That's half of ten right? So another $7.50 so your total discount is $37.50. Want to do the easy math in your head? Subtract that $37.50 from $150, but it's easier really to subtract $40 and then add back in the $2.50 to make it right. So the sweater after discount is $112.50. Would have taken me less time to work it in my head than write it all out. But that's basically what I see in "common core" commotion now. It's the bringing things up to tens and even numbers to make the base math easier. The old math my mother knew, before the "new math" they taught me. (by the way, my mother taught me how to figure out the discount my father taught me that I still wouldn't pay $112.50 for a sweater)

Now why did my mom hate "new math"? Because she didn't understand it. Why do most people (from my observance) hate the new math of today? Because they don't understand it. We feel like we should know how to do what our kids are learning. Especially when they are younger. And if for some reason we don't, we blast the system. I mentioned C earlier and being a math genius because I had to let go of the idea that I would know more than he did at a very early age. He was smarter than I was and that was apparent. I might know more in certain areas, I might have a lot of life skills to teach him, but he was flat out smarter than I was. It's a blow to your ego as a parent when your 9 year old knows more than you do. Or when your 7th grader has a question on their homework and you have to say, "I have no idea." Nobody likes to feel dumb. Luckily for me I had a lot of practice with him so I got really good at it.

But guess what? It wasn't about what I was comfortable with. If I had only let him learn what I knew he would never have had the opportunity to know more than I do. Get it? It's not about you. It's about them. They are learning a new way because our old way wasn't working. We bitch and moan about falling behind the rest of the world in skills and test scores and then freak out about trying a new method of teaching. "The old way was good enough for me!" No it wasn't. I'm saying that as one of you. It wasn't. We didn't learn enough. We didn't learn as much as we should have. Math stopped for me in high school after one year of algebra and one year of geometry. And I had to retake the algebra in college because I couldn't remember enough of it to move along. If we want our kids to be able to work in math and science fields we need to find ways of teaching them math and science.

Is what your school is doing right now the best? I don't know. I can't really answer it. But I can tell you that just because you can't do it doesn't mean it can't be done. And it doesn't necessarily mean it's the wrong way to do it. If you don't understand the new math how about scheduling a session with your kid's teacher to have them show you? Wouldn't that be more productive than posting online about how stupid this or that test is?

 Like I mentioned, I have a degree in accounting. One of the reasons I really liked doing accounting is because numbers don't lie. The other thing I really liked was cross footing. That's when the numbers all add up to be the same no matter how many ways you look at them. And that's what you need to remember when looking at this "common core" nonsense...yes 2+3=5 and it's just that simple.

But guess what?
So does:
And you can represent it with a graph. Or a number line. Or a pile of donuts. Or dots on a board. Or....

Lots of ways to get there...don't discount all of the others just because you didn't learn it that way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


"Why aren't you going with Jonas to the wedding? He told me he invited you and you turned him down."

"He just broke up with his girlfriend and he doesn't want to go alone. I'd rather not be a fill in date, thank you very much."

"But you like him! You've liked him for years. This could be your shot."

"It's not. It's an 'I don't want to go alone' invite. I'd rather not be just someone he takes when his first option doesn't pan out."

"Who cares about what happened before! This is now!"

"Spoken like a red lollipop."

"What?" Grace loved her best friend Carla but sometimes she confused her.

"A red lollipop. Okay, people are like that basket of suckers at a doctor's office. Reds, oranges, yellows and greens. You are a red lollipop."


"Red lollipops are always the first ones chosen. Everyone loves a red lollipop. You know you are getting cherry, or maybe strawberry, but definitely something fruity and sweet and lovely. The oranges are obviously orange so people choose them next. Yellows have their fans. They are either going to be lemon or if you are lucky pineapple which is like a nice surprise. That leaves the greens. The one nobody chooses unless all the others are gone. Because even though you really want that green to be an apple you know it's most likely a lime. And nobody chooses that on their own."

"And you think you are a green lollipop I take it?"

"Yep. I'm a green lollipop. We are the ones huddled together in gym class praying we aren't the last ones chosen. And even if we are better at kickball than Julie Smith will ever be, we know she will be picked first because she is a red lollipop and we are greens. We are the ones that go to parties as someone's plus one. We are included on guest lists to even the numbers. We are the fill in dates, the booty calls, the last minute plans. Never the first choice. Always the also ran."

"Well that sounds depressing..."

"It is. Horribly. When you are growing up. But eventually you hit a certain point in your life where you realize that being someone's last choice, the one they make when there aren't any choices left isn't good enough. I don't want to be the only sucker in the dish before I get picked. So I pulled myself out of the bowl."

"You can't just pull yourself out of the bowl. You are making yourself a green lollipop by doing that."

"You don't make yourself a green lollipop. You just are a green lollipop. And red lollipops are reds. And oranges are oranges. And yellows are yellows. That's just the way the world works. You just don't see it because you've always been a red and no matter where you go you will always be a red."

"I think you are just being negative."

"Okay, let's look at something that was always firmly the territory of the green lollipops. Comic books. We all read them. We all loved them. It was our thing. Sure, some oranges and yellows might slum it a bit, but you never saw a red in a comic book store. Until it all suddenly became cool. Which is great, don't get me wrong. I love that I have movies and books and TV shows and so much more now than 12 year old me could ever have imagined. But you would think that my years, YEARS, of knowledge would have put me at an advantage right? But that cute yellow lollipop will sit and talk with me for hours over which is the better X-Men story line and then leave to have dinner with the orange lollipop who says she is a 'geek' because she saw Spider-Man in the theater."

"Hey, I saw Spider-Man."

"I know, and it's adorable that you think that means something."

"Fine. So you think you are a green lollipop and Jonas only invited you to the wedding because his red lollipop left him?"

"Please...his ex is an orange at best. But yes, I know that's why he invited me. And I know that's not good enough for me anymore. The one thing I want in a relationship that I have decided is non-negotiable is that I be the first choice. I can work with anything else. But I have to be the first choice."

"But nobody at our age is anybody's first choice. We all have people in our past."

"I don't mean first ever. I'm not looking for someone with no history. I mean now. If they are presented with a bowl of candy they move past the reds and oranges and yellows and pick the green. No hesitation. No getting turned down by an orange and settling. When they have the choice, without hesitation, they choose green."

"I still think you should go to the wedding. So what if you are his second choice. Maybe you could show him that green is really his favorite and he just didn't know it."

"That's the point. I don't want to convince anyone anymore. I am tired of trying to up-sell lime. I am exhausted. I have spent too many years with people disappointed that I wasn't apple. I am lime. I am a green lollipop and I'm okay with that. And I don't want to spend another moment with some guy who was hoping for a red and settled for a green after being turned down by an orange."

"Maybe we just need to find you a guy who is color blind."


Carla loved her best friend Grace but how could she not, Grace was a red lollipop after all.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Years ago we bought a ficus tree. It was a scrawny little thing but I thought I could bring it around. After a re-potting, some fertilizer and time it turned in to a lovely tree. Then the leaves started to drop off at an alarming rate. I picked up a few and they were sticky to the touch. Then I looked at the tree and saw that it had bumps on the undersides of the leaves as well as these little pockets of fluff where the leaf would meet the branch.

Uh oh.

Quick online research and yep. Bugs. Bugs feasting on my tree. Oh no, this was not going to happen. So I washed each leaf with a mild soap and water concoction. I treated the soil with a lovely concoction that would get rid of the bugs without adding a poison to my house. And then painstakingly nursed it back to health. Trimmed the branches that didn't survive. Cleaned up the leaves that fell anyway. Bought a dowel to help prop it up in its weakened condition. And eventually it came back nice and healthy.


And then a few weeks ago I noticed the leaves starting to drop again. "It's fall. It's okay. Even in the house there has been a temperature shift, this is going to be fine." That was the pep talk I gave myself. Until I picked up a leaf and it was sticky. And then I looked at the tree and saw the signs that they were back.


Okay, well, I did this before I can do it again.

Prepped the soil for the treatment and the light caught it just right so I could see all of the little tiny wormy things that had hatched in my soil. That were going to climb my tree and lay their eggs and eat the leaves. Partly fascinated by the sheer number writhing in the soil and partly grossed out by the sheer number making the soil move with their writing I watched for a few minutes.  How long had they been breeding in that dirt before I noticed they were killing my tree again? And how long could I keep them at bay this time?

Back online to do more research and I found that they like not only the ficus but the two trees I have in another part of the house.

Uh oh.

Go to check those out and they are clear. For now.

So now I was left with a dilemma. Do I go through the wash every leaf, tend to the soil, nurse it back to health routine again or do I realize that unless I am willing to spray everything down with a good layer of poison I'm really fighting a losing battle?

So my ficus went away. Bagged and tagged and sent to the great dump in the sky.

No matter how lovely that tree had been, no matter how much work I'd already put in to making it healthy, the infestation was too great. And the chance of spreading to the healthy trees too much for me to risk.

I'm sure there's a metaphor in here someplace....

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Who are your people?

This morning I stopped to get gas after dropping Brent off at work. As I pulled in to the station the sun was starting to really break over the hills and there was this just gorgeous golden glow happening in the clouds. Then to make it even more breathtaking there was a rainbow. Golden clouds, brilliant rainbow, just gorgeous. One of the attendants was walking across the lane and saw me staring ahead. He thought I was trying to get his attention so gave me one of those "what?" looks. I pointed behind him and he turned to look and...shrugged his shoulders and moved on. Not my people.

As I was pulling out of the station a man was walking out of the gym next door and he was looking toward the rainbow and tripped over his own feet he was so enthralled with the view.  I smiled. He is one of my people.

And on the drive home I picked out those that were and those that weren't. The sky got even more golden and the full rainbow was present for a bit. Stopped at a stoplight the people with their heads turned toward the left staring with a smile on their faces, my people. Those that either looked and then looked away or didn't even notice. Not my people.

I came up the hill towards home and there is an old out of business nursery next to a field. The clouds and sun were breaking in such a way that there were pockets of highlighted golden areas and then that brilliant rainbow behind. Gorgeous. I wished I had my other camera with me as well as the skill to be able to totally capture what I was seeing. It was just so lovely. There was a man pulled over digging in his trunk getting out a camera. My people. There was a woman waiting at the bus stop not even looking toward the gorgeous sky show that was going on. Not my people.

In life we find all sorts of ways to divide those around us in to "my people" and "not my people." I like artists. But I don't like mopey artists. I like people who create because they feel it bursting out of them. That they just cannot contain their ideas, or the beauty they see or what ever it is they want to share and it just bubbles out. I like that. My people.

I like smart people. But more importantly I like people who are not content with what they already know. I want to be around people who are not only willing to listen to new ideas but driven to do so. I have very little patience for people who are set in what they believe with no room for discussion. No matter how intelligently they can argue their point. Not my people.

I like funny people. If you can make me laugh then you are in. But I don't like people who make jokes at the expense of those who already have a hard time in life. My friends and I tease each other constantly. About egos, odd personality traits, weird shoe fetishes, whatever. All of it is fair game. But if you make a joke or post a meme or think it's fine to laugh at someone who is truly at a disadvantage in life already? I have no time for you. You are not my people.

Sometimes it takes awhile to really discover who your people are. You get to know people through work or online or through friends and think, are you my people or aren't you? It can be tricky sometimes. But there are shortcuts. Like coming home and finding a picture on your newsfeed like this.

Charles is my people. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Tom Magliozzi died yesterday. For some of you this means nothing. For others if I said Click and Clack the Car Talk brothers then you would know who that was. He died from complications due to Alzheimer's disease. Which then explains why the show went off the air two years ago. When the show ended it made me sad. When I heard the news yesterday about Tom's death I was sad again. Over a car show.

I discovered Car Talk in the early 90s. It was on Saturday afternoons. Someone recommended it to me but I can't remember who that was. At first I thought, why would I listen to this? I don't care about this. But after one time listening I understood. It wasn't about cars. It was about relationships. And bad jokes. And corny puns. Now, don't get me wrong, there was a lot of knowledge there as well, they really did know cars. But it was the rest of it that hooked me. Because for me it was like spending an afternoon working on my car with my dad.

Knowledge and corny jokes and car talk.

And I missed that when I left home. When you drive a beater of a car it needs work. And most of our cars were beaters. And when you have the smallest hands you get to work in the tighter engine areas. It's very important that you fish out that screw that was dropped or hold that nut still. Or whatever the very important job was that only you could do because Dad said so and then the car would work again.

My dad fixed pretty much everything. He was handy. He was also an inventor. If there was a problem that needed fixed he figured out a way to fix it. I've told the story about my first car and how no one could start it but me because it had a manual throttle. It was easier and cheaper for my dad to invent a way for me to open the line and close the line in the car than it was to replace the entire system. So he did. That was my dad.

So when I first started listening to Click and Clack I didn't just hear two brothers sharing car repair stories and bad jokes I heard my dad.

When they would tell the same joke every week and laugh just as hard as the first time. I didn't just hear them laughing I heard my dad.

When they were truly concerned about the people that called in and wanted to help them with their problems, but still found a way to make it fun and light I didn't just hear them. I heard my dad.

The show wasn't just about cars. It wasn't just about jokes. It was a way for me to spend time with my dad when I moved away. And a way to spend time with my dad once he was gone. I cried a bit two years ago when they cancelled the show. And I cried even more yesterday when I heard Tom had passed.

It wasn't just about the show. It was about my dad.