Friday, August 31, 2018

Can You Hear That?

Whispered voices filled her ears.

"Shhh....I'm listening."

"You shhh...I'm talking."

"Both of you're not adding anything of importance."

"EVERYBODY SHHH! I'm trying to concentrate."

"Concentrate on what?"

She looked at the closing garage door and tried to decide if the whispered fighting was happening on the other side of the door or in the garage. She couldn't see who was doing the whispering, but that was nothing new, she had heard voices that weren't attached to bodies her entire life.

For the most part it didn't bother her. She had gotten fairly good at tuning them out. But they were always there. When she was younger she had tried a lot of things to make them quieter. Ear plugs, drugs, an exorcism. The ear plugs only muffled them and that was more annoying than hearing them talk. The drugs flattened all of her other senses as well. So not just hearing, but thinking and feeling were more difficult. And when she realized that food didn't taste as good that was that. The exorcism was interesting, but the priest had finally come to the conclusion that the demons did not reside inside her and suggested therapy. Which is where the drugs had come from so she declined.

Instead she just tried her best to ignore them all.

Today they weren't making it easy. They had been fighting all day. But controlled fighting. That whisper tone thing that parents used with their kids in church, or the library, or a movie. Where you are whispering and yelling at the same time. It was actually kind of annoying, but she had to admit it was better than when they all actually yelled at each other.

She had also tried to ask them to be quiet. To stop talking to her. She got no answer. It took a few times of trying to engage with them to realize that though she could hear them, they could not hear her.

It was like living with the television on all the time. Background people living their lives without the laugh track. But she couldn't change the channel. She couldn't interact with them. She couldn't do anything but listen.

" heard that right?"

"Everyone needs to keep quiet. Please. I'm trying my best."

"Shhh...listen. Try to focus for a minute."

Okay, so the voices are definitely on this side of the garage door. So that meant they would probably be following her inside. She had hoped that they were in the alley. She might have gotten a little peace if they had been outside and nobody else was talking in the living room. That did happen. She didn't want to make it seem like there were always voices. Sometimes it was quiet. But when it wasn't, she couldn't make it happen. So today she would have the whisper fighters she guessed.

She went in to the living room and sat down. She was reading a really good book and was hopeful that if she got lost in that story the voices would sort of fade away. She didn't like the whispering. To be honest it was kind of creeping her out.

"What should we do?"

"Be quiet. Keep still. Shhh...."

"I really have to pee."


"You have to hold it. Please...shhh..."

The hairs on her arm lifted. Why in the world would she feel afraid now? The voices had never scared her before. Even when she was little. Or when they were yelling at each other. They weren't real enough to be scary. They were real. She knew that. But not really real. She had tried to explain it to her doctor. She knew she wasn't just imagining the voices. That they were coming from...well she didn't know where but it wasn't inside her head. If they were inside her head the ear plugs wouldn't have muffled them. And if they were inside her head the people she had met in her life who also could hear the voices wouldn't have been able to.

Oh yes, she wasn't the only one in the world who heard the voices. Now, to be fair, a lot of the people that heard them were considered crazy by most of society. But if you almost constantly heard disembodied voices it might make you a little nuts too. She wasn't sure why it hadn't affected her like that. Or maybe it had and she just didn't realize it. Did you know if you were going crazy? Or was that part of being crazy, that you didn't know?

"Shhh, sweetheart, just shhh..."

The whispering was quieter now. They weren't arguing with each other anymore, just trying to keep everyone quiet. She could hear something else as well. She tried to focus in. Sometimes that helped. She could sometimes hear things other than the voices. Like street noises. Or a phone ringing. Echoes of another life. That's how she thought of it.

What was she hearing? It was steady. Like a drum beat. A thumping. Could it be? Really? A heartbeat?

She leaned forward toward the sound and put her hand on her own chest. Trying to match the rhythm. Yes, it was a heartbeat. She could hear someone's heart beating. Pounding really.


She was so focused on listening to the heartbeat and the soft whispers that the first scream made her scream as well.

The screaming kept on for a long time. She tried covering her ears but it was too loud. Different screams from each of the whisperers. They weren't whispering now. Not at all.

She could hear the pounding again. Louder this time. More frantic. She realized it was her own heart this time. Panicking.

She tried to calm herself. She couldn't have helped them even if she had known what was going on. They couldn't hear her. She couldn't see them. She could only hear them. And hear the echoes of the screams ringing in her ears now. The whispering stopped.

Except...what was that?

She heard it again. Soft. Barely a noise really.

"I see you."

Her eyes widened...

"You. I see you. Shhh....."

The voices had never really scared her.


What Will it Take?

The President of the United States constantly claims that the press is the enemy of the people.

He claims an investigation in to Russian interference in our elections is a witch hunt.

He claims that our Department of Justice, the FBI and and the CIA are all part of a deep state conspiracy because they agree that the Russians interfered in our last election.

He now wants the government to step in and regulate what search results come up when you look for Trump News.

Any story that is not flattering to him is FAKE NEWS even if he is later forced to corroborate the story. And any news organization that reports on him in any way that is not flattering is the FAKE NEWS MEDIA and again the enemy of the people.

How are you not bothered by this? I mean honestly. How can anyone, I don't care what their politics are or were not be bothered by this?

I keep telling myself that even though the whole country has gotten so polarized lately that I would still be able to look at a progressive doing this sort of thing and unequivocally come down on the side of "That is wrong." And yet, I have conservative friends who aren't. Who are okay with it. Who even if they might not like this aspect of his public life won't condemn it because they like other things he is doing. Which face it what they like is the remaking of the judiciary in a conservative image.

But how can that be so important to you that you are ignoring the authoritarian drum he is beating?

In a meeting with evangelicals this week he warned that if the left wins the midterms they would overthrow the things he passed (never mind that he didn't actually get the Johnson Amendment repealed) violently. So violently. That doesn't even make sense. If democrats take back over the House and the Senate why would they need to be violent in stopping him? They would have the political power at that point. Violence wouldn't even be necessary.

And this has been part of my problem for so long now. Logic. There is a lack of logical reasoning going on almost all of the time. I used to fight with people about the Clintons' and their dead people conspiracy. People want to tell me that if you cross the Clintons you will end up dead. And yet...Monica Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Linda Tripp, Juanita Broaddrick, they are all alive. Wouldn't you think that if the Clintons killed off their troubles we would not have heard from any of these people? Use the logic path.

The flag incident with Trump. He shot himself in the foot with that one and yet conservatives rushed to show that NO! FAKE NEWS! LOOK! and would quote the flag code. Which, yes, does give a prescribed amount of time. And if he had just left it alone it would have been petty for sure but you could argue he just wanted it done by the book, but he didn't. He came back after getting push back from veterans' groups and made a decree and then re-lowered the flag. He could have made that decree as soon as Senator McCain passed, but he didn't. He tweeted sympathy for the family and moved on. Which, I will tell you I didn't have a problem with the tweet. They didn't like each other, anything else from him would have been disingenuous to the point of distasteful. HOWEVER... lowering the flag until Saturday when McCain will be buried is respecting the service of the man and he should have done that without being forced to. Use the logic path. He didn't do what was right automatically, he did what was petty automatically and then backtracked.

The logic trail is not being walked by a lot of conservatives right now. If Trump has nothing to hide and did nothing wrong then why not let the Mueller investigation just play out and finish in a natural timeline? If Sessions is actually implementing his twisted little plans the most efficiently of all of Trump's appointees (and he is) then why keep threatening to fire him, unless it's because he wants the Mueller investigation stopped? He is hiding something. He has always been hiding something and the logic trail keeps walking us to that conclusion. But for some reason conservatives don't want to look at it. They are too busy trying to find side paths that they can take that will distract them.

There was a threat against The Boston Globe where the person used the "enemy of the people" line and tied it to the Mueller investigation. Because the President of the United States keeps saying it. What will it take for people to see this is a problem? When will conservatives see that he's a wannabe dictator?  That his stance isn't "the good of the American people" but "Trump first?"

Follow the logic path. It's actually pretty well paved at this point...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Okay, technically I'm 50 years and 9 days old. I'm a little late writing my birthday blog, it's still birthday month, it still counts.

This is going to be a blending type blog. Talking about hitting 50 and talking about the birthday weekend around it. So buckle in, it might be a long one.

I decided sometime in my 49th year that I really wanted to change the perception around turning 50. I think it really took hold sometime between watching my peers hit that milestone with most of them saying something to the effect of eek...and the number of people asking me how much I was dreading it. I wasn't dreading it. I mean it's 50.



It's a great number. And as I've decided Brent and I are living to 100 it's a significant number. Halfway. The climbing part is over. We are at the pinnacle, baby. The view from here is outstanding. We can see how far we've come and we can see how far we have left to go.

And it's so round. Numbers have a feel for me. It's part of why I love them so much. I not only see them, there is an almost tactile sensation with them. And 50 is round. Round and lush and awesome. No, I wasn't dreading 50.  So #fiftyisnifty came into play. I decided to restart my daily gratitude on my birthday and a good number of them are going to be around that hashtag. Not all of them, but there will be enough that you will probably get sick of #fiftyisnifty long before #fiftyonederful takes over.

Then after people asking how much I was freaking out about turning 50 came the questions of what big thing I was going to do to mark the occasion. Well, nothing. You all know I don't really celebrate my birthday like that. I like to get wished happy birthday on the day, the past few years I've been asking people to compliment strangers and loved ones and eat treats to celebrate the month, but I really don't do anything to mark the day.


Three years ago we went to Disney for my birthday. Technically we went the weekend after my birthday, but it was for my birthday so it still counted. It had been a bucket list type thing. I wanted to walk around Disney with my HAPPY BIRTHDAY  button on and have EVERYONE say Happy Birthday! when they saw me. It tickled me. And we did it. And we swore that Disney in the summer was NEVER happening again. Too hot.

So for my fiftieth birthday we...went to Disneyland. Never say never right?

But it wasn't really for my birthday. I view it more that we went to Disneyland and it happened to be on my birthday, but that wasn't the point of the trip.

The point of the trip was to see my friends from New Zealand. I've talked about them before. Kat and I were in New York together and I have a picture someplace of us at the Empire State Building. Jo I've talked about as well. And her husband Ian. Ian died a year ago in April. He also shares a birthday with me. One of his dreams was to take to the kids to Disneyland, so to celebrate him and his day Jo took the kids to Disney for his birthday.  Kat came along with her two youngest so that it would be easier for Jo to wrangle two older kids and a toddler and still make sure everyone got to have fun. And they let me know they were going to be there and asked me to come see them.

Now I will be totally honest here, I went back and forth for a long time on it. Would I be intruding on a family moment? Would it be too hard to have me there on our shared birthday celebrating a milestone while mourning Ian missing his? First I thought I'd just fly in on Sunday night, spend Monday with them and then fly back out again. Quick trip. But then I started thinking about it and even though we don't really do much did I want to spend my 50th away from Brent? Not really. So I asked if he would be okay going with me to meet people he didn't know. He gave his usual "whatever you want" answer so then it was we would fly in and see them and then fly out.

Then I thought, well, we have never been to Harry Potter at Universal so we could fly in on Friday do that on Saturday, do some Disney on Sunday and then see them on Monday and that would be cool. He, again, was like whatever you want. So I sent a quick text to C to see if he could get the time off and would want to come along. He did not say whatever, it was met with a resounding YES! So a plan was made. My boys and I would spend time together and with the Blackhurst/Stuart clans and birthday weekend was set.

Though I still wondered if it was the right thing to do. One of the things I've learned about myself over the years is that I can overthink things. Especially things around emotions. What would I want other people to do around a monumental anniversary of someone I had lost? Normally I want them to ignore it. I grieve on my own. Introspectively. I write about it, but I don't really want to talk about it. But again, how would the kids feel? Not only would it be horning in on their dad's day, but Ugh...boring adult friends. Right? So I worried about it, but went ahead with it.

Bright and early at Harry Potter

Saturday the boys and I went to Harry Potter and Universal. The feeling I had first seeing Hogwarts? I'm almost embarrassed how happy it made me. I mean, I get it, it's an amusement park attraction based on a fictional place, but still...Those books mean a lot to me. It bonds C and I tightly. It's his childhood. It's our experience. We both shared them and loved them. His generation is the Harry Potter generation and it's amazing how loved they are. But I love them too. And I love the memories they hold for me of reading the stories to C. 

Universal itself was crowded. And hot. Now Universal rides like to dump water on you as often as possible so we kept fairly cool. But hot.

This is part of the aging thing. As I "go through the change" I'm warmer than normal as a baseline. I went from being the person who always had a sweater with me to the person asking why there isn't any damn air in this place! Seriously, it's warm all the time. And then there are the bonus hell flashes. Add those together and I cannot get cooled off easily. If it's warm outside now I'm pretty much toast. The heat makes me ill. Like I'm going to pass out or vomit or both and I can't do this right now ill. So we watch and try to head it off. Or I spend almost the entire Timbers match in a hallway with the AC vent above me and the match nowhere to be seen (as a hypothetical, this could happen). was a hot day but it was totally worth it. And pumpkin juice would be good mixed with ice cream for a shake but on its own it was..well sweet. And Butter Beer tastes like butterscotch cream soda. Again, sweet, but we liked it better than the pumpkin juice. 


Jo, Kat, Me

We headed into California Adventure and saw everyone for the first time. They were still a bit wrecked from the travel so we only spent a little bit of time together. We rode Guardians of the Galaxy and I started the first of the rounds of questions from the boys. Andrew wanted to know my favorite Disney character, umm...that's tricky. Okay, no, it wasn't, and he was pleased with my choice. Tom wanted to know my rankings of the best of (there were a lot here) and I passed almost all of his tests with the correct rankings. I sadly disappointed him on Monday with my belief that yes indeed pineapple did belong on pizza. Michaela and I talked about my love for the shirt she had worn the day before. She let me know I could get it in New Zealand, so really easy. It made me laugh. I love a snarky answer. John did voices and dialog including accents for things...I'm not sure where they all came from but they were still enjoyable and funny. And Emily reminded both Brent and I of Jaycee who at that age believed the reason Brent was 6 foot tall was that would make him more fun to climb on. After a couple of rides we split up as they were going to hit the Incredicoaster one more time then grabs some naps. 

The boys and I spent the rest of the day between the two parks. Hitting some rides and some shopping and then watching the Paint the Night parade. It's kind of a next generation Electric Light Parade, they even play a snippet of the original song at one point. It was a nice parade and I'm glad we saw it. I'm even more glad we did reserved seating so we didn't have to wait a few hours to do so. 

Monday morning! I'M 50! Really, that was the first thought I had when I woke up. I'm 50! The boys wished me a happy birthday and we headed into California Adventure for the early morning access. Only to find that the ride I wanted to ride wasn't running. So back out to grab breakfast before meeting up with everyone else. After regrouping we hit up Space Mountain and then Pirates of the Caribbean, a ride we could all ride together! 

And then my favorite ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It's the wildest ride in the wilderness, don't you know. Much to Tom's disappointment I could not be shamed into riding Splash Mountain with them so we split for a bit and Brent, C and I rode BTMR a second time and then caught up with everyone else. Plus one more!


A birthday surprise! Ish. It wasn't a total shock. He normally nags me about coming to San Diego when I talk about going to LA and he didn't this time and I swear I saw him mention to Jessica that he was coming, though that post disappeared so I think I wasn't supposed to see it. But anyway...half surprise is still a surprise. And I was very happy to see him. 

We rode a few more things and then headed over to California Adventure to get some lunch, ride the Incredicoaster (them), and Toy Story Mania (us) again. The crowds were insane by this time. None of us were expecting Monday to be the busy day, but it was crazy. It was also crazy hot and humid. And so this is where I had to tap out the first time. After grabbing some lunch the main group was going to wander and ride what they could and we decided to seek shelter and AC shopping. It helped, but I still didn't cool off completely. A few hours later we met up for dinner together.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of Kat's first taste of a Monte Cristo sandwich. All of the Americans ordered it for dinner and she just was not sure that it was something anyone should eat. We couldn't convince her to try it with the jelly but without it was rendered, not nearly as disgusting as she thought it would be. Ha!

We got a bit of a chance to visit at dinner and then split for the last time. I could feel that the heat wasn't leaving me so walking around more in the crowd was going to have disastrous results. Which was a real bummer, but it was the right call. With age comes wisdom. And knowing that you are not going to be well if you push yourself is good wisdom. The boys were both about crowded out as well so we decided to wrap it up and go back to the room and pack and relax. They all wandered more, rode some more flipping rides, and had a ball. 

I wish we had had more time to sit in a quiet, cool, spot and visit but Disney isn't really conducive to that. I'm your quiet visit friend. I want to talk to you and hear you tell me about your life. Skippy and I have joked for years that I'm kind of the spa visit place. Mostly sober, early mornings, early evenings, probably a hike, and good food. Therapy on the side. But it was still lovely to see everyone and to give Jo the hug I've wanted to give for ages and meet the kids (most of them, James was stuck with grown-up responsibilities and didn't make it, which is probably good, because I am a lousy role model for the benefits of being a grown-up!). 

I guess I need to figure out a long trip to hit New Zealand and Australia and bring some spa that way. And whenever Justin decides he needs a quiet weekend away I'm a close flight for that. It will all work out. 

That's part of being 50. I think for the most part things work out. Sometimes it's too hot. Sometimes it's too crowded. But it all works out. You get to laugh and share some stories and get in some hugs and learn that you understand the meaning of life when asked which of the Infinity Stones you would take if you could only have two (an Andrew question, not a Tom, it would have been three if it were Tom's). 

It was a good birthday weekend. I got to share time with my boys, with my friends and at...

Monday, August 27, 2018

They Aren't Excuse, They are Reasons..

"First off, I was a little drunk. Second off, I wasn't prepared for her to start talking like that. Third off, I had no idea she didn't know about our history. Fourth off..."

Gabby cut off Renee, "Fourth off, you are making excuses."

Renee shook her head, "Not excuses, reasons."

"Reasons are just excuses with better P.R."

"What. Ever. I'm just saying that it wasn't really my fault that she got all pissed and stormed off."

"No? Because of your reasons?"

"Yes, because of my reasons. I mean, come on, really? She just wants to talk about that stuff without a reaction?"

"That stuff? We were all talking about that stuff. We all always talk about that stuff. You just didn't want to hear about her stuff because of who it was with."

"Well, yeah. I mean, yeah." Renee couldn't believe that she even had to excuse herself for that. There should be some loyalty here.

"You could have said you didn't want to hang out if she was going to be here."

"So you are choosing her over me? Is that where we are?" Renee could feel the anger rising. First off, she was still a little drunk.

"We aren't choosing anyone..."

"We? Who all has been discussing this?"

"Look, you and Augie broke up a long time ago."

"A year ago." Renee corrected her.

Gabby shook her head, "Almost two years ago."

Renee counted back, 19 1/2 months. That seemed closer to a year than two years to her.

Gabby gave her best exasperated sigh, "A while ago, is that better?" Renee waved her hand in a vague go on gesture.

"You and Augie broke up awhile ago. You decided that you would stay friends and you even made a big deal about it. That we wouldn't all have to balance who to invite where and who to leave out. You decided that."

"Well yeah but..."

"There is no but. You had to know at some point he would start dating again and who ever he started dating would end up socializing with us. You brought that Chuck dude from work to a BBQ after all."

"That was different."

Gabby raised her eyebrows, "How was that different?"

"I brought him and he stayed with me. He didn't go out with just the guys and talk about our sex life."

"You never even slept with him."

"So not the point!"

"No, that's exactly the point. We all know you didn't sleep with him because we all talk about that stuff. ALL of that stuff. So you knew when Augie started dating Julia seriously and she started hanging out with us more and more that would come up. You needed to deal with it on your own and not make her feel badly."

"So yeah, you are totally taking her side."

"I'm taking the side of not being an ass. You were an ass."

Renee could feel the tear forming. She wasn't sad. She was mad. Well maybe a little sad too. She couldn't believe that they were all going to take Julia's side. She should have realized that Gabby hadn't come outside to make sure she was okay, she had been nominated by the group to come lecture her. Gabby was always the one who handled the do the right thing portion. She knew this just as solidly as she knew that Lori had followed Julia into the bathroom to make her feel better when she had stormed off. So Julia got sympathetic Lori and she got the lecture from Gabby. And Corrine and Gayle held the table for everyone to come back and finish what was going to be an awkward end to the evening.

The tear made its way down her cheek.

Gabby sort of collapsed in on herself, "Oh don't cry. Look, we aren't taking anyone's side, but it looks like they are getting serious so you are going to have to get used to her being around. You don't ever have to like it, but you have to be polite. Okay? Can you agree to that?"

Renee looked skyward to try and get the tears to stop flowing. "I think I'll just head home tonight. Tell everyone I apologize and leave it at that, okay?"

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure. Go on."

Gabby reached out and gave Renee a hug, "Okay, text when you get home."

Renee nodded and started walking. She only lived a few blocks away and the weather was really nice so she might as well take advantage of it. She pictured the scene at the bar table, Julia and Lori would be back from the bathroom with Julia plastering on a bright smile to show that she was really okay and had over reacted for sure. Gayle and Lori would be waiting for Gabby to come in with Renee with her looking contrite and full of apologies. But...

First off, she was a little drunk.

Second off, she hadn't been prepared for Julia to start talking about what a great lover Augie was.

Third off, Augie really should have told Julia that he and Renee had dated so Julia wouldn't be so shocked when Renee said that of course he was a great lover now. She had fixed all of his lousy habits afterall.

And fourth off? Fourth off she really wasn't sorry that Julia had gotten mad and stormed off. Not really. She had done all the work with Augie, it wasn't fair that someone else got to reap the benefits now without acknowledging that fact. Or at least knowing that someone else had been there before. Augie had been truly terrible when they first slept together after all. And yeah, maybe she hadn't needed to explain it in such detail to Julia but first off, she might be more than a little drunk.

Yeah, she was being an ass.

Fifth off? It wouldn't be the last time.

Renee smiled to herself and walked home feeling much better than she had all night.

I Blew It...

First off, I was tired.
Second, I was a little cranky.
Third, I'm rigid about certain things.
Fourth, I'm making excuses and I realize that.

I blew it last night.

I am owning up to that. It's a smallish thing, but it is bothering me so I'm going to apologize and get it out.

I made Brent turn down one of his favorite things because I was being selfish. And I am really sorry I did that.

It's not a good look.

We went to the Timbers' match with our friend Joe and he invited us back to have apple pie after the game was over. Brent loves apple pie. And homemade apple pie? Forgetaboutit.

BUT...It was already 9 o'clock. I don't like to eat that close to bed, and as most of you know, that's actually pretty much bedtime on a weeknight for me. And it was Sunday night and I generally cut off added sugar by Sunday afternoon. I will make some exceptions, I'm trying not to be too rigid, just rigidish...but we are already having a dinner tonight that will include a dessert so I had that cheat day in my mind already. So I turned down the offer. For both of us.

Now that's not all that unusual. Brent's standard response to "Do you want to...?" is "It's up to you." So I make a lot of the joint decisions on what we do or do not do. But this time I made the wrong one.

Because it's one of his favorite things. Because we don't get to spend enough time with Sherri and Joe. Because they are leaving on sabbatical this week so it will be awhile before we see them at all. What I should have done is said sure. And then declined the pie for myself and just enjoyed the company. But I didn't.

And I regret that.

I actually regretted it right away. I made a couple of jokes about it, my way of trying to diffuse my discomfort but it still bugged me this morning.

I turned in to one of those women who makes everyone put on a sweater if she is cold. (Just FYI I've been super warm lately, so you might want to change in to shorts)

Now, here is where I'm really struggling. I always make the food choices in our house. If I'm on a diet, Brent's on a diet. It's just easier in his mind to eat what and how I eat. It generally serves him pretty well because if I lose a pound he loses 5. I also have the example of my mother running roughshod over my father's diet. Which kept him alive longer than any other male previously in his family line. So I have an example that seemed to pan out. And we are entering the 50s which fills me with a low level of dred.

Brent's dad died of a massive heart attack at 58. Now, we are doing  A LOT of things differently. First off we are aware. Brent has a cardiologist. He's had a few scans to make sure everything is working correctly. He doesn't smoke, we exercise consistently, we drink very moderately, we tend to eat okay. Which is where we aren't doing the best that we could, but better than we used to for sure. Lower sugar, trying to make sure we are increasing our veggies, the fish component is still swimming just out of reach.

So there is a part of me that is okay with the choices, in general. But there is a big part of me that realizes I blew it. And I blew it during cake and compliments month which is even worse!

I should have let him have the pie.
I should have enjoyed the company of friends.

So we all blow it from time to time. Sorry, Brent. Sorry, Joe. Next time remind me that I will regret the choice. I mean, I'll give you the how fucking dare you challenge me look when you do, but go ahead and do it anyway.

(Also, just to add to the true confessions, as I wrote out the beginning of the mea culpa I had a great idea for the start of a short story using the same pattern so even my apology has turned into something else. Brent really did deserve that pie. And all the pie in the world.)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Politics and People...

John McCain has decided to stop treatment for his brain cancer. He's lived longer than the doctors originally said he would have. He's lived a very full life. He's lived a life of service to his country. He's a true patriot. A true American hero. And he makes me furious at times.

People are complicated.

When he ran against George W. Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000 I was a fan. He spoke about things that are important to me, campaign finance reform for instance. He also gave push back on tax cuts that were too beneficial for the wealthy. He favored tax plans that would support the social safety net and not just the most wealthy. The Bush campaign was afraid of him which was clearly evident in how hard and how nastily the came for him. Trump wasn't the first to impugn his service, he was just the most unapologetic. Bush at least has the "good graces" to pretend the worst of the attacks didn't come from him.

But he also showed during that campaign what I feel are the worst of his traits. He had a strong stance on the removal of Confederate flags and monuments but when it was pointed out that racists vote too he walked it back. He made a show of how he walked it back, but he still walked it back. Political expediency over true belief.

And then, of course, when he ran against Obama he brought us Palin and I cannot forgive that. She was the door opener for Trump, after all. He says now he regrets the choice and wishes he had gone with his first choice, Joe Lieberman, but he went with young, super conservative, flashy and female to make a show of his campaign. Again, political expediency over true belief.

He would do it to me time and time again. And yes, I say me. I say me because I liked him. I respected him. I wanted him to be all that he would say he was. And then he would back away and it would feel like betrayal. I want there to be conservatives out there that are like John McCain wanted to be on his better days. I want there to be voices on the left and on the right that are not afraid of saying the true thing, the moral thing, the right thing without first considering polls and donations.

It always hurts more when the people you expect more from disappoint you.

John McCain disappointed me a lot.

And yet...

I respect the man.

I respect his service to the country. He gave his whole life to us. I know it's often in vogue to bash people who have always worked for the government and never in the private sector but I think that's bullshit. I think there are some very fine career politicians who have always believed in serving the public over themselves. He served in the military and was captured and held for years. He could have come home and retreated in to his own world and nobody would have thought worse of him for it. In fact it would have been understandable. But he didn't. He kept serving.

His last few years have been a series of frustrations for me as well. Yes, he gave the down vote to stop one of Trump's tries at dismantling health care, but he also gave the yes vote to even get it on the floor. He voted with Trump more than he didn't. He lectured the Senate about needing to work together and not be so partisan but took part in the obstructionist Congress under Obama.  Political expediency.

So my feelings about what he has done politically are complicated. I like a lot of what he said. I didn't like a lot of what he did. I wish he had had the fortitude to follow through with his higher ideals. I understand that if he had he wouldn't have had the long career he had. I also believe that he struggled. He tried to be better. He seemed to know his own weaknesses and try to improve. He seemed self aware.

And he sees through Trump. Which counts for a lot in today's day and age.

I have nothing but compassion for him and for his family as they face these final days. I wish him as painless of a passing as he can have. I hope for peace and healing for them.

But his legacy for me will always be complicated.

People are complicated.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Oh...Is That My Bellybutton?

People in general are really bad at knowing themselves.

We tend to think that what we think right now is what we've always thought. There are studies about this. People will answer a series of questions, time will pass, they are given the same questions and also asked if their opinions have changed. Frequently they have, but the test results show that they don't think they have. And even when shown their original answers they don't think that's right. They will try and discount what past them ACTUALLY thought because present them doesn't agree.

The other problem is in trying to predict what future us will be like. We tend to think we will be the same. Even though we know that we aren't the same as we were ten or twenty years ago. We've grown up so much since then. You aren't nearly as whatever you were in your twenties as you are now. Or you are much more whatever you are now than you were then. It makes sense. We grow up and we change. Even if we can't seem to keep in our minds that means that our opinions about issues change as well, not just our behaviors. But anyway, we know we are different than we were, but if you are asked what you will be like in 10 or 20 years from now you are pretty sure you will be basically the same,  just older.

Spoiler alert, you won't be.

I've talked before that I feel like I have less of this as an issue. I know I'm not the same person I was. I know I have really different beliefs in some areas than I used to have. I think it comes from having that seismic shift in religious beliefs. I know that the me I was at 15 would not be able to wrap her head around the me at almost 50. I'm a really different person. Now, even saying that, I will also say that there are basics to my personality that are the same. Things that have stuck with me as the foundation of who I am, but what I do with that? How it informs the way I view the world? That has all changed. And the me I am today will continue to change.

I've gotten a little bit of a reminder of that this week as I've started printing and sorting blogs. I started writing what were basically mini-blogs on MySpace. That tells you how long I've been at it. Wait, actually I started before that with a blog that Brent and I shared. My first blog post was a political one (I know you are shocked) and my first commenter on it was Raquel who still reads my blog to this day. The blog was short. It was right after Oregon voters passed a bill that added discrimination in to the constitution by a margin of of something like 53% to 47%. I was devastated. It was 2004 and I was living in a very liberal state (comparatively) and still the vote went down in a way that shocked me. So things that haven't changed, I'm still all in for equal rights. I still write political blogs. I still get shocked sometimes (though much less frequently since 2016) about the way other people think. And Raquel still reads my stuff.

But back to the MySpace posts. They had a feature that was more than a status update, less than a full on blog. I used it for mini-blogs that were almost diary entries. When I switched to Facebook I transferred all of those posts to Notes and then when they changed how they formatted that I found Blogger and moved them all here. So I have a record of what I was thinking about since 2007. Which 2007 and 2008 were really busy years. I was in school for massage therapy, I was working full time at L/N, working part time for DNW (were those the initials or was it DI? anyway...) and doing the mom and wife thing. I remember that time period pretty vividly. And by vividly I mean I remember the overall feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed to capacity.

Which re-reading those posts I was. But I was also sure I was embarking on THE thing. That I had finally found THE thing that I was meant to do. Even though there were one or two more self aware posts where I would tag in the "I don't know why I think this, I mean I've changed things I do so often..." or the "I wonder if I'm just doing this as a way to get out..." but mostly it was this was it! And I know I really felt that way. After all I was leaving a job that paid about 3 times more than I was going to be making in the new career. I was opening myself up to a career that is completely people focused, you don't get to take days 'to yourself' and still earn money. I was so sure that that was it.

And then I got hurt.

But that's not entirely true. I had already figured out that that was not in fact it. That I only liked working on friends and felt weird having them pay me. I didn't want to get out there and market myself and work on strangers and do more shows and company wellness events. The thing that I enjoyed had turned in to a job and I didn't enjoy it anymore. It had been, in fact, a way out. An excuse I could use to get out of a situation I did not want to be in anymore without feeling like a quitter.

So I sort of knew myself, and sort of didn't. I mean there was that little part of me that was like, "girl, you are kidding yourself here" but mostly I was pretty sure that me in ten years would still be working as a massage therapist, probably with a nice solid practice of two or three people a day, maybe still out of the basement, but maybe in a cute little office space sharing with a few other practitioners who did other modalities.

But reading those blogettes ten years later I had to shake my head. I worked so hard for something that I did not retain it's kind of amazing. Sort of like piano. And the first time I took Spanish. And bookkeeping. And advertising. And...

Well, you get the point.

Even knowing who I am, I forget who I am. That core personality that I talked about? The one that drives me to make challenges and set goals and keep Faceboook because there is too much interesting stuff on there. That core personality? Well it's always there. But the rest? It's always changing. I am not who I was ten years ago in a lot of ways. The me who was talking about turning 39 would look at the me who is in her last week of 49 and wonder what the hell happened to our dream of being LMT Extraordinaire! And I am pretty sure the 59 year old me will look back at those two and wonder how I could have ever thought, believed, done, something. I don't know what just yet, I mean I'm pretty sure I'm perfect right now, but I'm also pretty sure I won't think I was when I look back.

I'm loving these blogettes. And now that I'm in to the bigger blogs I'm loving them too. I am going to be able to watch the shift in a fast forward. I've already seen changes in who was commenting back then, and how. And I'm looking forward to the days where I decided to be a brave little toaster and start publishing my short stories. Because I'm pretty sure that being a writer is THE thing. The one that I am supposed to be doing with my life.

It couldn't be anything else right?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Hey! Did You Know It's Almost My Birthday?

No, really. It is! Eleven short days away!

This isn't actually the yearly birthday blog where I talk about the past year and do some reflections there, or at least I'm not planning on it being that, it's just a bonus birthday blog, I'm turning 50 this year, I get bonus blogs!

A friend of mine who is turning 50 this year as well asked me today if I'm freaking out about it at all. I thought about it for all of two seconds. I'm not. But most of you know that. I don't freak out about age and birthdays. My parents had me when they were older so my view of "old" is really skewed.

A lot of my friends have been hitting this milestone over the past two years as well. Some of them have taken it in stride, some have freaked the fuck out and one labeled 2018 Birthday Year which please believe if I had thought of it I TOTALLY would have done! How brilliant is that? A milestone birthday needs a whole YEAR to celebrate! LOVE!

But for me? It's just a number. It's a good number. Nice and round. And since I'm planning on living to be 100 it's solidly middle aged. Halfway. Which is pretty cool.

Fifty! I like it. Fifty is Nifty. Corny but I'm also liking that. I'm actually tossing ideas in my head about how to mark the year ahead. Maybe even the decade. The norm has shifted right? Fifty really isn't old. People do all sorts of things at 50 that they wouldn't have done 30 years ago. Look at pictures of your grandparents or parents (depending on how old they are) at 50 and then look at your peers who are that age. We aren't as "old." So maybe it's time to celebrate the decade instead of dread it.  I am also slightly manic and have been in an insomnia patch so I am not committing to ANYTHING right now because right now my eyes are bigger than my stomach so to speak.

Now...don't get me wrong. There are things that make me realize I'm older. My knees. Which have gone from early onset arthritis to perfectly age appropriate arthritis. Brent mentioned that he also realizes his age when he sits down in a quiet room and hears the crackle of his joints. I have a scar on my arm right now from a small injury that wouldn't have left a mark 20 years ago. I cannot push through injuries at the gym. When I told the doctor that I was gaining weight this year and hadn't changed anything she told me "yeah that sucks." I said, "you are supposed to give me help." and she said, "That's my help. Getting old sucks."

Well fuck...

And yes, I've been posting about the trials and tribulations of menopause because I don't think we talk about how women's bodies change nearly enough. And yes, that is a part of getting older that sucks as well.

And well, there is the skin thing. Like I have weird little dry wrinkles that I never had before. Also greeted with a "Getting old sucks" from my doctor. She's blunt but I do really dig her. And I have a few little brown patches that I never had before. Not the dewy faced tot looking back at me in the mirror.

But that's all part of aging. And it's okay. It's natural and I have hair dye to cover the partially gray thing until my hair all goes gray and I wear it like a silver shield. It's fine.

I'm not even kidding or being sarcastic.

It's a reminder (and at times a "This SUCKS!" reminder) that I am almost 50 years old. That I cannot recover from misusing my body like I used to. That the signs of that misuse are starting to be shown. But I still don't feel old. And I still am not bothered by another birthday. And I still get enough "you can't be old enough to have a son that old" or "YOU are retired? HOW?" or "You guys got married as babies right?" So my vanity gets fed as well.

I have a lot more birthdays to go.

Compliments and Cake month in full effect!

How are you doing, by the way? Have you been telling people nice things that you are thinking about them? Have you been eating the yummy treats? It's fruit season here, the part where berry season and peach season meet as a nice Peach Melba and...oh my...

So tell someone how great they are today and have some treat soon. You deserve it. And don't freak out about the number. It's fine. Really it is.

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Paul Giamatti was on the Late Show this week and Stephen Colbert was talking to him about being on a list of people with BDE, Big Dick Energy. Basically it's a sort of quiet confidence. Not really showy, but completely in control of themselves and confident in a solid way. You know you have a big dick so you aren't really in the position of needing to prove yourself to anyone. I was talking about it to Brent this morning and how much it appealed to me even though it falls squarely in to the sexist "Male Traits Good" language that makes me crazy. But Cate Blanchett was on the original list so at least the list wasn't only men...and I have to think Maya Angelou is the font of BDE...

BUT ANYWAY... I was telling Brent I liked the idea and it had really stuck with me and as he walked away from the car to go to work he said, "It's because you have it."

Now is that a great compliment or what? And it has to be in the running for best Cake and Compliments Month compliment already!

So of course I started thinking about it some more. And what gives someone BDE? And I think for me, the part that made Brent think I have it is that I don't care if you like me. I really don't.

Now don't get me wrong, it's nice to be liked, but I know that not everyone is going to like me. I'm not everyone's cup of tea. I'm just not. And I'm okay with that. Some people REALLY want to be liked, they NEED to be liked. And they will twist and contort themselves in all sorts of ways to make sure that happens. I won't. If you meet me and you hate me then that's okay. We don't all have to like each other. If you like me for awhile and you get to know me better and decide that I am actually pretty awful, that's okay. You are free to change your mind. I don't care. It's not my job to make sure you like me. It's my job to be me and if you like me then bonus, but if you don't that just means you are free to go find someone else that you might like.

I like me.

I mean I have my things that you all know about. The things I'd like to change, the areas I'm a bit crazy about, but overall even with all of those flaws I'm pretty great. I'm funny. I'm smart. I'm compassionate. I'm passionate. I'm dependable. I'm kind. I take no shit. I give no superfluous fucks. I can write a decent story. I can write a crap story and put it out there to be read anyway knowing it will only make me braver to post the good stuff. I'm solid. I really am interested in what you have to say. Not because I think it will make you like me but because I find you interesting.

I like me.

As things do in life this actually blends with a conversation Marcy and I had while hiking yesterday. We've both been called "know it alls" or that we refuse to change our minds by people when we post on social media like these are bad things. And it's funny to me. And puzzling to her. And we had a good discussion about it.

I'll give you an example of what I mean.

Say you post something you believe strongly about. Then someone posts an opposite opinion and so you say, "I don't agree and this is why..." and then they say, "You are a know it all who won't listen to reason!" Ummm...what? Or "You just believe what you want to believe!" Well, no shit, I believe this or I wouldn't post it. Why in the world would I post something I didn't believe? That makes no sense. But what they are really saying is "You did not automatically change your mind to my way of thinking so you suck." Which is really them saying that they are a know it all who won't listen to reason. Right? I mean that's really it, isn't it? If you post something and someone thinks that you will change your mind as soon as they post a difference in opinion they are pretty sure they know better than you and you should just fall in line.

People with BDE don't generally just fall in line. I'm really confident in the positions I take. I rarely post things I haven't thought through. And when I do, when I do change my mind, I post about that too. I clarify, I shift, I own up to wrong ideas. But I don't cave because one person who thinks they are right tells me to. That's ridiculous. Marcy is incredibly strong in her posts. More so than I am, really. She a Democrat and a Mormon. Basically a Unicorn. So she gets a lot of push back from friends and family about some of her stances. But she knows what she believes, she knows why she believes them, and she stands by them. Even when there are people who try their best to tell her that she's wrong because they know better...

In the same vein I quite often have people try to tell me how often to post on my page. Or what to post about. Or that I need a job or a hobby or whatever. And then when I call them on it they get huffy because I'm not doing what they want me to. Like they have some sort of controlling interest in my life.


So I'll take the compliment that I have BDE. I will keep finding people like Marcy to be friends with because I know that she believes in what she believes in very strongly and won't cave just because I tell her that I don't believe in her religion any more than anyone else's. (I'm smiling and winking here, you just can't see it) I will keep people in my life that like me because they know who I am and are cool with that. And I will continue to be okay with it if they change their minds.

Give fucks in life, but only about things that matter. Otherwise do not waste your precious fucks on things like if people like you. Do you like you? Good enough. BDE.