Monday, October 31, 2011

A Good Scare Will Shut You Up -- A True Halloween Tale

I awoke that morning in March 1989, with the very same thoughts I had had all month long.

I lay in bed, uncomfortable, but not wanting to get up. It had been a month since my grandmother passed away, and the heart ache of living without her still felt like a fifty pound weight sitting on my chest.

As I stared out the window, full of sorrow for myself at the thought of what this first year without her would be like, I felt the energy leaving my body, even after ten hours of sleep. 

I sighed as I looked at the clock on the dresser that faced me. In the middle of the dresser there was a pink bedroom lamp, and next to the lamp there was a framed picture of me at eight years old sitting on my grandmother's lap.  The sunshine was coming in now, strong -- and there was no need for any lights to be on. The brightness of the room made me remember what my grandmother would always say when we'd put the lights on in the house on a sunny day, "The sun is out! What a sin to have the lights on when we have the Lord's light!" She'd then furiously walk through the house, flicking off every light switch with her determined hand.

As I thought of her I pulled the covers up to my nose, and knew the thirtieth day of beginning my mornings in sobs was seconds away. The familiar bottom lip trembling began, and right on time, the floodgates opened.

My tears were hot and they spilled out of the inner corners of my eyes with no forced effort from me. I was home alone and gave in to the luxury of loud, heaving cries of emotional pain that felt so good.

How I wailed, how I self indulged; "Oh, grandmother, what will I do without you? What will I doooooo? I miss you so much. I don't want to do anything but just lay here and cry..." The clock on the dresser said seven, I disregarded it. I didn't care about anything. This was how it had been for four weeks now.  

I was full throttle on with self pity. I had been crazy about Shakespeare in high school and took to memorizing any lines that spoke to me in my sophomore angst. I knew even back then, with the melodramatic mindset I was developing, that there'd be plenty o'times a Shakespeare quote would come in handy in my lifetime. Like just this very morning, "My grief lies all within and these external manners of lament are merely shadows to the unseen grief that swells in my tortured soul." 

Dude knew what he was talking about.

I continued on with the wails and chest thumping and thoughts of how no one had ever suffered a broken heart like this. 

Remember Smokey Robinson? You think Smokey was singing about losing a girl in "Just To See Her Again?" no no and no. You would be wrong. He was singing about my grandmother. 

I lay in bed, ten feet deep into my one woman show of offering up croaked bars of "...I would give anything...just to see her again..." and decide to call in sick to work -- once more -- and spend the rest of the morning wallowing in this personal pain. "Why, gramma, why?? WHYYYYYY???"

As I enter round three of woe-is-me, the pink bedroom lamp on my dresser begins to flicker off and on like a strobe light. I gasp and stare wide eyed, incredulous at what is happening. Time felt suspended, and what may have been a just a millisecond felt more like minutes.

I have always been a kid, then later on the type of person, that responded quickly to a good, swift kick in the ass.

I shuttup.

Tears, gone.

I knew who it was. I spoke to her, tremulously, "Okay, gramma, okay..I'll get up. I'm scared. I'll stop. I'll get up..."

Just to make sure I did get my sorry wallowing butt out of bed, she then decided to knock down the picture -- the one of us together -- to the ground.

Holy cow, you've never seen anyone throw back covers and jump out of bed faster than me that morning.

"Okay, Okay, Okay, I'm all done with Smokey, no more Shakespeare. Loud and clear." I raced through the house, got dressed, found my shoes, grabbed my keys, and slammed the door behind me.

Up and at 'em. From bed to door in twenty minutes flat.

And this is my true Halloween Tale for you today.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Aiming Low ....Just Wear Them Down

I have a note, where I had written blogging goals for myself. One of the goals, marked with a bullet point:

Why the crush on Aiming Low? because of their About page:

"We are a group of women/men/moms/dads/bloggers/friends/writers that believe that there’s no shame in serving mac and cheese for dinner three nights in a row, Febreeze was created to make a questionably clean shirt smell ready-to-walk-out-the-door-fresh and that slack isn’t a way of life…it’s an art."

My kind of people. Reason enough to join up.

I am so very proud, excited, happy, to have my first post up at Aiming Low, where I tell you about one way that my wonderfully not normal family members helped keep me fed during lean times.

I'm also thrilled to tell you that I'll be featured as a monthly columnist on the Aiming Low Family channel.

I'd love to have you pop over and say hello.

**If you're new here, Welcome!! I hope you poke around, check out the Best Of Page. If you like what you read, please join my GFC -- but don't be surprised if you start getting weird tweets and emails. That's how I roll.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Made Up Blue Hair Costume Lady
Unnerving Faceless Phantom
War Machine (random character from IronMan)
Brain Man
and Made Up Mullet Hair Costume Man

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Living Through Childhood Halloween Nights

Happy to be at FunnynotSlutty today, where I get to go on and on about how Halloween nights of old done me wrong.

But, you can get the details here.

Thanks for following along, I have so much fun telling these stories.

**If you're new here and following over from FunnynotSlutty: so happy to have you. Please check out the Best of Page, and I hope you leave with a good laugh at or two.

Totally at my expense..

FunnynotSlutty is:
Funny not Slutty features comedy for women created by female producers, writers, humorists and comedians. FnS Original Productions have been featured by Funny or Die,, and Internet Video Magazine.

We Make Women Laugh

Monday, October 24, 2011

How Do I Talk To My Body?

A Prayer for my Post Baby Body.

I'm being featured over at Studio30Plus today, with words sent up to the goddess of all post bearing children.

I hope she hears me.

Wanna chant along? [couldn't hurt] I hope to see you here.

Very cool website for bloggers 30 and over

**If you're here from Studio30Plus: Welcome! and thanks for following me home. Look around some of my favorite posts on the Popular Posts page, hope you like them.

Want to know more about Studio 30 Plus? S30Plus is a place where you can read interesting, out of the ordinary posts, and meet bloggers that you may not have met otherwise.

They also have thought provoking weekly prompts that kick your bloggy brain into inspired mode: this week: "These Things I Know."

If you're not a member there, join up. Register, then click on Magazine, and Create a Blog: have others read something a little different from you.

Make your Maudlin Monday something special today.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whatever You Call It, You All Are It

Call it a tribe.

Call it a support system.

Call it a network.

Whatever you want to call it, you all are it.

I posted of my nephew this past Sunday night, asking that you hold him in your hearts, think on him, send prayers, well wishes, and true love his way...and you did.

When speaking to my sister today, I asked her how he was doing. She said he reads the comments here for him every day, and that he's doing great.

Just think what it feels like for him, to look and see almost 100 people promising to pray for him.

Just stop, and really think, what that feels like to a person about to begin this part of his life. 

I can't thank you without my eyes misting over.

Thank you.

You are more wonderful than any words I can ever put together, to tell you.

Thank you.

"We cannot hold a torch to light another person's path without brightening our own."

-- Ben Sweetland

You guys are the best.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Does Spanish Look Like?

I'm at TikiTiki today, where I proudly contribute monthly. I bring up the question, "What does 'Spanish' look like?"

Really? You Don't Look Spanish : this is what someone said to me when they first met me this past summer. I want to know what you think:  do people think that all Latinos look alike? Do you expect them to all look alike?

I really want to hear your voice on this, especially with the Hispanic population growing more and more visible in TV, movies, in the news.

What do you say?

I'd be interested in your comment at TikiTiki.

Thank you!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why People Pray

Why do people pray? 

The reasons are many.

There is the strength and endurance that comes from the rock solid belief that prayer works.

But there is also the way prayer makes us, the ones praying, feel.  Like we are doing something -- when we are blessed as being present in someone else's life, and find ourselves with nothing else to offer.

There are times that prayer is requested, sometimes begged, of us. We do it to honor that person and to lighten their load in any way that we can, when we are humbly asked to participate in their life. What greater honor is there than to be called in as a part of someone's life, in such a trusting and intimate way, with the strong conviction from them that we can help.

Prayer changes those that do it, and those that request it. Prayer makes us a participant in another being's walk on this planet, prayer changes our heart toward those we pray for, prayer puts us shoulder to shoulder, step to step, with someone on this part of their journey they've now entered.

Prayer offers solace, helping the one reaching out asking it of us to be able to close their eyes and feel what it's like knowing many, many  hearts are praying along with them.

We are united, we whisper their names and lift up their burden, distributing the weight of this moment in their life among all of us, the ones giving words to their pain. 

I am requesting prayers from you today.

There are many things I keep private. But this one is too heavy for me and my family to raise up in our own hearts alone.

My nephew, my sister's son, is going to begin his chemotherapy for a cancer that has returned.

We beat it with a course of treatments 3 years ago, and we believe we can beat it again.

We stand an even better chance of the same successful outcome this time: I've assured my sister of this.

I told her I was calling in the biggest army I've ever had.

And that's where all of you come in.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

That Which Doesn't Kill Us

Have you seen the FunnyNotSlutty redesign?

It's beautiful.

And have you checked out the new columnist there?

She writes of the funny growing up hispanic in a time of the not so hispanic in America.

As they say, that which doesn't kill us, makes us funnier.

I hope you click over, see the new look of FunnynotSlutty, and leave me a comment on my intro post there. I'll be writing there twice a month, for my column "Memoirs of My America."

Thank you for all the support you've always shown me.

See you there!

**If you're visiting here for the first time from FunnynotSlutty, Thank You. Please check out my "Popular Posts" page. If you like what you see, maybe you can buy the house for sale across the street, and we can be friends? OK, then, well, I'll settle for a wave back in the school pick up lane.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crazy Lady Will Fall For Hard Luck Story If You Keep Her Company

I hear tell thar's a woman in town who'll feed us if'n we sit with her a spell

At 5:15 every morning this week, the kids and I have been woken up by some crazy a** relentless tapping on our front glass door and windows.

After sitting up and freaking out the first few days I finally dragged my coma sleeper husband's body out of bed by his arms and pulled him down the stairs. You'd think he'd be more at the ready to protect his castle. He quickly summed up the rhythmic tapping:  it's birds. Red Cardinals.

Birds who are pecking on our windows, and the glass front door. And doing it without stopping. Tap. pause. TapTap. pause. Tap.

I called our Nature Reserve Center and I was blessed with this bit of *isn't nature AWESOME!* explanation for the birds' predawn calling.

They are attacking their own reflection. These Cardinals see their glorious threatening reflection in our glass front door and are defending their territory from themselves. Can you imagine that bit of inner dialogue? ::Must.Attack.Self::

Holy Moley and I thought I had issues.

The conversation naturalist at the reserve center quickly became concerned: clearly, I did the right thing by calling. I could feel the joy she had at how indispensable her services were. She told me with intensity I could feel in her voice that what I needed to do was place masking tape in a big X over all the glass fronts to our house. Now.

My family is used to me doing things that appear to make no sense on the surface; but I had a live voice on a phone line with me this time, one that others could hear, too. Forest Ranger Mary was shouting directions: "Just X out all the reflective surfaces on the front of your house! The birds could get hurt!" I didn't want any birds hurt, I wanted to sleep, too, so I X'd away at our reflective surfaces. From space, our house must've looked like a pirate's treasure map.

We went outside to see how bad it looked.

Oh, it was bad.

Painful mortification for the two teens, for sure.

Tearful pleading from the 9 year old, "the school bus will be here any minute, mom, please take it down!"

My husband's lovely affirmation of love for me, "why the surprise, boys. It's your mom."

I stood on the sidewalk in my slippers, staring at the front of our house, shaking my head, looked like a crazy woman lived there.

"It looks like the hobos got us, mom, with those signs they leave for each other, like in the book you read to us."

Yup. It did. Exactly like train hoppers saying, "stop here."

Hobo signs were used by hobos to talk to each other, letting them know of what they could find in a home. They'd carve signs into a tree, or fence, or garage, or assemble a sign with sticks and stones, using coal or chalk.

Could be about hospitality found there:

A cross made with two sticks meant the hobo could talk Jesus and get a ham sandwich in return.

The letter "M" meant "a hard luck story gets them every time."

A diamond shape with an upraised stick "arm"  meant RUN! gun on premises.


Here's a hobo sign you'd never see outlined on our driveway....

Maybe something more like this:

With this one right below it:

The old boys would be putting this one up, if'n they came on a Saturday and my husband was home.

 This sign here I would save them the trouble and put up myself:

Before you start thinking I'm a bit out there worrying that hobos will find us, let me tell you, I googled it: The Knights of the Road today communicate via cellular phones, and e-mail.

And, you know, instagram.


Monday, October 10, 2011

How Kids Can Pick Out Good Games To Play

Me and my brother, Xavier

Monday, Baby E Post Day.  Today, he and his brother, have tips for your kids on how to shop the Bargain Bin for Video Games, Wii games, Nintendo games. I always wondered how they knew what to get, just by me holding up a $5.99 game box and asking, "this one, boys?" "Mom! No! Look at the box!" Here, the secrets to how they know:

*new to Baby E? Read more about him here

It's me, Baby E.

My mom takes us to buy games and we look through the Bargain boxes. She'll hold up a box and say, "How do you guys know what to get, maybe it's a good game, how do you know it's not?"

Because, mom, here is why we know:

  • Anyone can make a game. That's why some are dumb.
  •  If they misspell words like Enneymy, that's not a good game.
  • Usually, $4.99s are bad. Sometimes the $9.99s aren't too bad. The $15.99s are the luckiest.
  • Fake quotes on the back will tell you if it's bad. Like "Captain Smith says Smooth Sailing!" and "Major Jones says Victory is yours!"
  • If they show just pictures of the characters, but no game levels pictures, it's bad. It's just a screensaver for $4.99 then.
  • Don't buy dumb titles, like "Tank Builder Blow Up Guys." Because the game will be one tank that you blow up and that's all.
  • If it's a 1/2 star review, not even a full star, it's a bad game.
  • If it says, be the first to review this game! It's a bad game.
  • We have to tell you again to not buy dumb titles: like "Vehicular Combat." Titles are the biggest clue. My mom can't get that.
  • When you see a game you might want, always ask the helper in the store how long the game is. Because if it has 40 hours of playing time, that is a GOOD GAME. Get it. You want a long story to play.
  • $4.99s last two seconds.
  • Two Player games are good. Party Games are bad. Especially if the box says, "WooHoo! Have fun with all your friends with this Party Game!" The more fun they try to make it sound like the more you know they're trying to get you to buy it.
  • Really don't listen if they say on the box, "Addictive!" and "Can't stop!" and "You won't put it down!"
  • Some lame party game titles are, "CampFire Story SmackDown." Don't get it, even if your mom tries to get you to buy it and says, "but this sounds like so much fun!"

The biggest clues are:

  • Wienie comments like, "It'll make you explode from fun!" and "It'll give you enough courage to climb Mt. Everest!" 

  • Cheesy graphics. When it's a 2D picture trying to look 3D.

  • Extremely cartoony. Like it's trying to have too much fun on the box.
  • ALL MARIO GAMES ARE GOOD. If you see a Mario game on sale, probably not, BUT IF YOU DO YOU SHOULD BUY IT.
  • One main character maximized on the cover and nothing else on the cover with it. Like ONE GIANT CHESS piece. That is a lame game. My mom still won't believe us. Like there is a picture of ONE HUGE CHESS piece on the cover of the ChessMasters Nintendo game she got us. That was so bad. 

  • Fake names are bad. Like "Transbotters" and "Robotformers" or "Powerbots" or "Megaformers." Then they say, "Play MegaFormer and transform into a Roboton!" It's a trick to make you think it's a Transformers game. Real Transformers will say TRANSFORMERS.

  • The games your mom thinks will be fun are not. There is a game called "Paper Boy Defender" and it says "Get your papers delivered before the Evil Paper Robber stops you!" Your mom will like this game. Don't Get It.
  • The biggest clue is the name: like DomeBuilder. PirateFish. DetectiveBug. SargeantDog.

  • When you look for games in the Clearance Bin, dig to the bottom. The good ones are sometimes stuck in the cracks on the bottom. (once my brother lifted me up and I fell in and that was funny.)

I am sorry to say that the most expensive games are the best. That's why they cost so much. They are good.


Next week I want to tell you snippets of the good week I had this week.

Your kids can write these ideas down and take them to the store with them.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Zero To Funny In One Minute - Friday Funny

Huge thank you to the incredible Joann, from the one of a kind awesome blog, Laundry Hurts My Feelings, for today's Friday Funny.

(watched this over and over and just kept loving it. Thanks, Joann.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Strong Start Day 2011- PostPartum Progress

For those of you who follow me, you know I've written often of my fight to overcome Post Partum Depression seventeen years ago.

I never would have made it out of that nightmare without the help of a Post Partum Depression group that worked out of the hospital where I gave birth. It was a professional there who literally held my hand and pulled me out of the dark sea that my life had become.

While others told me I had to get out more, sleep more ( kidding...) and even that all I needed was "a new dress." I'm sure they meant well, but they did not understand. People who know, people who understand, realize that ways to be connected to those that get it, are what's needed. 

Because of professionals, and their knowledge of what I needed, I survived, and am here today to spread the word of StrongStart 11.

I want to ask you for your help and support for a newly founded non-profit organization. This post is for Strong Start Day, for Katherine at Post Partum Progress, who reports that only 15% of all women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders ever receive professional treatment.

Her mission: Postpartum Progress Inc. (PPI) to improve the health and well being of women and children by increasing access to and quality of support for women with postpartum depression and other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth.

There are many women at this moment, right now, who have no one.

Awareness is key, being knowledgeable of resources is key, extending a hand is key. Knowing where to go, is key.

I love the awareness that social media is able to create.

This PPD slayer of a woman, Katherine Stone, of PostPartum Progress, tirelessly works and cares about PPD and helping people pull through, by providing information, resources, building a hub of connections.  She has built a community of love and support for women, @postpartumprogr on twitter, hashtag #PPD #PPD chat  #PPD army, for anyone to find someone at any time. We no longer have nowhere to turn.

Please take note of this organization, of Katherine and her website, keep this information in your pocket to hand to someone who is grasping for that hand.

Donate to Postpartum Progress. Visit Katherine's site--see what she does there, daily, for so many.

There is so much more that needs to be done, but funding is necessary to do this lifesaving work. And Katherine can't do it alone.

Whether you’re currently fighting your own battle, have survived, or are fighting along side someone else for their life, please think of donating, so that Katherine can reach these PPD goals:

 What $30k in donations to Postpartum Progress can do:
  • Develop a compelling national awareness campaign for postpartum depression
  • Create and distribute new and improved patient education materials for distribution by hospitals
  • Translate our English information and support into Spanish and other languages

I'll be donating, because the memory of my PPD experience is still so frighteningly fresh, even though it was 17 years ago.

I will never forget how it felt. 

Every little bit helps.

THANK YOU, Katherine! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Only Way To Make It Through This

Quick. What's your Rorschach reaction to this picture of teens living in your house?

Does Amazon still sell No-Bite by the dozen?

Keep 'em comin', ladies. Yoga class can wait.

Me and Ziggy, we got this--piece of cake.

Don't judge me!
Wow. Who knew. This retail therapy really works.
Wake me when it's over.
Oh...bring it!

Hey, kids, look--I'm still young and cool. In my head.

mmmkay....says here you'll be entering a self absorption phase...

OK, just listen to me, only three more stories...I've been on this planet a long time and have been around the block not just once but a few times here's what worked for me why don't you try this and see what you think though it's better to just be in the moment and then you will see what works for you because to arrive at your own insights is so much more meaningful although my way is best but you have to learn by experiencing it in your own skin because we are all so wonderful and made of little rays of light and just see what I mean and watch the magic happen but you might want to do it exactly the way I did it then I'll listen to you in a minute but I'm still making a point and let me just finish because what I'm saying is really important

Just do what I say. End of it. and...shhh.

Hi, honey. I redecorated your room while you were at school...

Rule #312: On Saturdays, from 8 am to 11 am you will...

That bush rustling over there, not your imagination.

Being the mother of teenagers, it'll happen.

It does happen. When you're playing trains on the train table, or dressing up barbies, you don't see that day ever coming.

The days creep one at a time toward it: an extra stick of deodorant on your shopping list for the first time, requests to see a dermatologist, being asked to drop them off at the mall--without you.

You can read books and still there is no preparation for the day you pull the clothes out of the dryer and find yourself folding a pair of jeans with an inseam longer than yours.

No one can get you ready for that day. But it comes, and when it does, try and remember what it's like to desperately want to fit in. Know that your teen is doing exactly what they're biologically made to do: grow independent.

Accept the fact that you will never be more uncool.

And you won't be right again until they call home from college, when they realize just how much you suddenly know. 

Think of your own teen years, the pimples, how you were positive that everyone was better than you, at everything.

Be there for your teen.

Make memories while they're still home.

Find the time to talk to them, so that your only communication isn't about what they did wrong.

Decide how you want to walk into this stage of parenting, because parenting isn't static. And we will all enter this phase of it-- of being the parent of a teenager.



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