Saturday, March 31, 2012

Life is like a fire pit...

This morning on Facebook I referenced another fire pit evening in my backyard.  For those of you who aren't familiar with what this is, it's basically a pit with fire.  That seemed rather self-explanatory.  Ok, I'll be nice and provide a little more detail.  What this usually consists of is friends and/or family members - basically whomever you invite or sometimes, in our case, lovingly invite themselves - sit around a fire, tell stories, eat, listen to music, dance, talk, drink, and/or laugh.  These are not specific requirements.  Some or all of these can happen on any given evening.  It truly depends on the mood of the group and the set of circumstances.

Last night's fire pit was not planned.  At 7:00pm, Eric and I were chatting with a friend in our sitting room when another mutual compadre called and requested a fire.  Why not?  It was a beautiful Northern Colorado night.  It's too early in the season for my nemesis, the mosquito, to start feeding upon me.  There was no wind to start a wild fire - at least one that could be pointed back to this residence.  Hanging out in the backyard with my friends and husband - what a lovely suggestion.

It doesn't take long to move a party outside; Eric sets up his music, a few patio chairs are taken to the center of the yard, and the carcinogenic, faux fire logs with a three hour life span are lit in our stainless steel tub.  Evening to commence.  Whatever will be, will be.

Last night's party was fun in that my husband and one of our two guests needed to let off a lot of steam.  This is why I love spontaneous get-togethers; it always seems to be cathartic for someone.  I'm glad.  My only criteria for these backyard assemblies is that there's an abundance of laughter.  I don't care about the mess.  I'm not worried about people drinking too much as long as they're within walking distance to their homes.  If someone's had a crappy week, feel free to get it out by dancing goofy around the fire.  No one is ever judged at my home.  We may laugh our asses off and tease you at future parties but that's a given - it's part of the cover fee.  My theory is quite simple; leave happy.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with my criteria.  When the magic hour of 10:00 pm hits, I become much more sensitive to the noise level and number of f-bombs being dropped during any one topic.  My children are never anywhere near the activity.  The boys are upstairs watching TV, playing electronics, or asleep to be even remotely aware of the hedonistic craziness going on outside; however, the three adjacent yards closest to our house, who aren't normally involved in the neighborhood festivities, are extremely close to the action.  I cringe remembering some of last Autumn's adventures.  No wonder they slam their windows when I try to talk with them.

I suppose I brought this long ramble up for a single reason, one of these adjacent yards also has a fire pit.  These folks moved into their house the same day we moved into ours.  In the six years my family has lived here, I've only seen their fire pit used once and that was for a special occasion.  Eric and I just purchased our second pit because the first one was too small for our needs.  Life is like a fire pit my dear friends and blog readers - it needs to be burned constantly and with passion.  Don't wait for a special occasion to light it because after all, isn't life reason enough for a celebration?


Friday, March 30, 2012

It's time for me to give something back.

As I do every morning, I scan the Internet news headlines, check e-mail, and catch up from overnight Facebook and Google+ comments.  Most days, I have a blog ready to go in my mind; a silly thought, a rant, or a memory to write about.  Today, a startling picture from the Middle East caught my attention.  It wasn't something that I particularly wanted to see while drinking my coffee.  I suppose that's what it was intended for, shock value.  My blog, in its own right, can sometimes be shocking in a somewhat bawdy, inappropriate sense; however, this picture would not be something you'd come to expect from me first thing in the morning.  For this reason and because it's political,  I won't detail or attach a link to the picture.  I will say that the photograph has seared my memory the same way pictures of Nazi concentration camp victims left indelible marks on my mind. 

There are such ugly things going on in the world which I, like many people, tend to shut my eyes to.  I live in my little suburbia and cry, "woe is me" every time there's a snag in my day.  Darn it, the dog pee'd on the carpet again!  I have a flat tire!  I'm running late for an appointment.  Austynn is having another temper tantrum.  William failed Math again.  Whoa, Nellie!

In the grand scheme of things, seriously?  I have a home.  I'm not living in a tent like the people under the bridges downtown.  A flat tire?  I have a car.  My friend, Angel, struggles everyday with two babies on the metro.  She barely arrives to work on time after getting the kids to daycare; however, she rarely complains.  I'm always running late.  Who's fault is that?  And Austynn, at least he isn't kicking or biting us anymore - and, by the way - he had a lot to be angry about.  His temper tantrums are much less violent since the adoption.  Finally, William will survive.  It's time for us to let go and have him accept the responsibility of his own actions.

So today, I won't rant.  There will be no complaining.  Today will just be today.  I'll pray over the ugliness going on beyond my safe little haven of Thornton, Colorado - or in reality - beyond my front porch because truly, what do I know is happening in someone else's home, across town, or on the other side of the world in Pune, India

Perhaps today I'll put aside my negativity and instead work on some healing, positive thoughts.  There are too many people who need it, far too many to count.  I've done my fair share of whining this week.  Time to give a little back for a change.  Anybody with me?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I must have been a very bad person in my former life.

I have absolutely no problem with multiple families living in one house.  God bless them.  I know from experience that oftentimes this is a financial necessity.  Currently, within my own family, my two adult sisters share a house, some of the expenses, and help raise my young nieces while my mother resides in a separate residence on the same property.  I completely understand.

When I was twenty-eight years old, after my divorce, I was thousands of dollars in debt and came back to my parents with my tail between my legs.  I was mortified.  Not only did I come back home, but I had to stay in the same childhood bedroom with the sister I shared it with when I was a small.  Really?  Could my life get any crappier?  At the time, I didn't think so.

In a nutshell, I completely commiserate with adult children and their youngsters living with older parents.  In today's economy, it's almost a necessity; HOWEVER, (did you sense this coming?) I do take issue with how many children and grandchildren are living in a single family home.  (Uh oh, Breezy's on a rant!!)  Good morning dear friends and blog readers.  I haven't finished my coffee yet so I tend to be a wee bit pissy in the morning.  Shall I proceed?

As everyone who reads my rambles know, I have many issues.  Some, I deal with well.  Others, not so much.  One of my many grievances is loud noises.  Plates crashing, babies crying, autistic 13 year olds throwing temper tantrums, cartoons blaring, etc., so you can well imagine that I suffer from my own personal share of noise here at home.  Eric and I do our best to keep the house at a quiet, calm decibel level.  It doesn't always work, but it's something we constantly strive for.  This makes Breezy, moi, happy.  This keeps me non-grumpy.

Enter the single family dwelling which resides directly next door to us and has more than five adult families living with their aging parents.  Yes, that's right, our neighbors.  The other night at dinner, as I was mulling over my plate of steamed peas and grilled chicken, I mentally counted 15 screaming children in their back yard.  Now, let me write for the record, this is how many I could see from my kitchen table.  This may not have been all of the children living there.  Granted the kiddos were playing.  Yaaaay!  How lovely.  How equally nice for their parents to have such happy monsters.  This; however, did not make for a peaceful Breezy.  This did not make for a pleasant meal.

During Spring break, the screaming is non-stop.  In the summertime, it's equally as bad.  There is a small one over there who is rather klutzy.  She's always falling therefore her screaming is not happy screaming, it's ugly screaming.  Though really, screaming is screaming so no matter how one slices it - it's awful.  I often find myself blogging with my study doors closed and clenched teeth.  I take a lot of aspirin.

This is what I have to gripe about this morning.  I realize that this is a nasty ramble but one which I needed to express.  I wanted you, my dear friends and blog readers, to understand my occassional grumpiness...that when I attempt to find peace from my own screaming children, I'll walk outside to my lovely backyard, looking for my quiet zen, then - without warning, my neighbors release their gaggle of happy screamers upon me.  Oh, the irony.  I must have been a very bad person in my former life.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Never mess with an old lady's oatmeal.

I made a promise about 20 years ago not only to myself but to some exceptional friends that I'd never forget them.  I've kept my end of the bargain.  I think about my friends almost every day.  When I made this promise, I also made a separate vow that I'd write these memories down on paper.  My hope was that eventually I'd publish a book.  Unfortunately, I've discovered that I'm an impatient soul.  If I can't complete something and see the final results in less than an hour I tend to lose hope that I'll ever finish it.  Perhaps blogging their stories is a better route; short, sweet, and simple.  This will be the first of what I hope to be many of my Sunnyrest rambles:

Dedicated To Sunnyrest Nursing Home
and to the Many Loves of My Life

Claree Day Middleton* was a beautiful, old, southern black woman who lived in Sunnyrest Nursing Home long before I had the honor of being employed there.  I had absolutely no experience at being a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).  This residential facility gave on the job training and certified their aides through their wonderful nursing staff. 

When I was hired, my life and bank account were at an all time low.  My first marriage in Colorado was falling apart and I had absolutely no friends or family with whom I could count on for emotional support.  I was a train wreck.  I needed something, anything, to show me that life had meaning.  Claree Day Middleton was my "something" and ironically, she entered my life at the end of her own.

Claree had serious dementia.  She had no concept as to where and when she was.  In a way, after working with seniors for as long as I did, I truly believe this can be a blessing.  My only hope, if I live as long as this lovely lady, is that I whistle Jingle Bells in the middle of July.  I don't believe I'll want to know what's happening to my body.  I don't think I'll want to remember who I've lost in life.  This plays a major factor in the story I'm about to share.

Before and after lunch, many of the dementia patients enjoyed sitting in the nurse's station to watch the activity of the aides unfold around them. As we passed by, the residents would shout out bizarre comments or scream profanities which could make a sailor blush.  I do believe I learned some of my finest string of curses from a 98-year old angelic looking lady named, Wilma*.

One day, as I was practically running passed Claree to attend an urgent call, she yelled at me in her magnificent, southern accent, "Girl!  Where'd you get them big tits?!"

Without missing a beat, I grinned, placed my index finger to my lips, and indicated that this wasn't an appropriate thing to shout in the middle of the hallway.

Another afternoon, as I was bending over to pick up a lap blanket beside her, her voice boomed clear and bold, "Girl!" (clearly offended this time) "Get that big, fat, white ass out of my face!"

Oh my, Claree Day Middleton!  There was never a dull moment around this lovely lady. 

Not only was she in residential care due to her dementia, but she also had a very painful extended bowel problem.  Her pain was so intolerable that oftentimes she had no idea what was wrong with her.  On my side of the building, there were two groups of patients; one which needed assistance with eating, the other who only needed help getting to the Dining Room.  Claree was in the first group.  She needed a CNA at her table to make sure she stayed awake and ate her food properly. 

I happened to be the aide sitting at her table on a day when she was in an incredible amount of bowel pain.  She was having her meal with the group of patients she sat with every day and unfortunately, Claree was extremely verbal about her discomfort. She was confused and started making her breakfast partners very uncomfortable and rightfully so.  Claree thought, at her advanced aged, that she was in labor.  

"Oh sweet, Jesus!  I feel the baby!  He's a'comin!"

"Claree, honey - you're not having a baby.  You're having gastric pains.  Please stop yelling.  You're frightening the other patients."

"Oh Lordy!  It's a'coming!  The heads crownin'  I know when I'ma having a baby.  I've had plenty to know!"

"Claree Day, sweetie!  Pleeease!"

In a voice that sounded like a broken needle being scratched over an old 45 recording, Grace, an ancient, wrinkled resident crounched across Claree who never uttered more than two words grumbled hoarsley, "Will someone tell her to hurry up and have the baby already!  She ruining my God Damned oatmeal!"  

*names have been changes for privacy purposes 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Being Bi-Polar. What do you want to know?

Today I get my double doozy of happy.  I get to meet with my therapist at 10:00am followed shortly after by my psychiatrist at 11:20.

I don't mind meeting my therapist so much.  She's a nice lady, a little quirky but she listens to me without being judgemental.  After all, that's what I pay her to do.  I can throw out a string of impressive 4-letter words inside a self-righteous monologue and one would think she would pass out from all of my hot air.  Not so.  She simply nods her head, jots down notes, and asks intriguing questions related to my rambling.  I'm amazed at the sense of peace I leave with.  So, in as much as I dread my bi-monthly appointments with her, I know they must be doing some sort of good.

My psychiatrist appointments, on the other hand, good grief.  They cost me more in gas than anything else.  He's an uncaring asshole.  Why can't I call my needs in, seriously?  I drive twenty minutes to his office, he barely looks at me, and asks me the standard five questions.  "Yes doctor, everything is fine."  Because, God forbid, if I tell him I had a double dip in depression this past month, he'll just increase my medication and that's a complete hassle.  No, I'll stay the course.  I know what happened.  It was a strange month for my bi-polar.  I'm not going to change a thing.  If it happens again in April, I might mention it but for now, I'll be ok.  Two minutes later, he'll hand me my prescription for Adderall, I'll give him my $20.00 copay, and I'll be on my way.  I can't stand the man.  Change psychiatrists?  It took me months to find him on my insurance.  No thanks.  Most of them are jerks anyway.  All they do is dole out prescriptions.  The amusing thing here is that I'm actually more depressed after our visits.

As much as I don't like my doctor, he did diagnose me correctly with having Bipolar II symptoms.  For more information, click the link below.

When the disorder was explained to me, it opened my eyes to so many things.  When I was young and living at my parents' home, there were days I would go into these crazy periods where I couldn't slow myself down.  Everything was a race.  I was non-stop and then, boom; all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep.  I was so tired.  I couldn't get up.  I didn't want to get up.  Please, everyone just leave me alone.  I remember sitting for hours, especially when no one was at home, in my mother's formal dining room listening to the grandfather clock ticking away.  I used to think about taking my father's blood pressure medication in the kitchen cabinet.  Several times I poured the pills into my hand and contemplated it.  Obviously, I'm still here.

Cutting.  I hear so much about girls cutting themselves nowadays.  I never believed I went to that extreme until one of my past therapists brought it out of me.  She asked me if I ever hurt or picked myself in a violent way.  It took three sessions but it finally dawned on me that yes, I did.  For years, without realizing it, I would pick at the sides of my breasts with tweezers until they bled.  I picked at spots where no one could see the ugly scars.  I picked at the part of my body that I was most ashamed of, the part of my body that I was constantly being teased about.  I picked so badly that the blood would go through bandages, past my bras, and into my clothing.  I still have those scars today.  I'm still tempted to pick.  Sometimes I do.

When I speak with my mom from time to time about my disorder, she's completely baffled.  She doesn't remember me as being a "manic" child.  She remembers me as "happy".  When did this happen to me?  When I adopted my troubled children?  When I moved out of state?  Why do I have to take so many pills?  I always sigh.  Bi-Polar runs in the family.  Life at home wasn't always easy.  There were manic moments growing up.  I ask her if she remembers any of them.  No.  Not at all.  Perhaps she was menopausal..?  She remembers her mother being hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.  Bits and pieces.  That's all I seem to get.  My nieces and nephews will be luckier.  I promise to share what I know with them.  After all, we're woven from the same cloth.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Good Morning, Sunshine!"

I often wonder what someone would think if there were a secret camera following me about all day.  I was considering this as I unceremoniously dribbled coffee down my sweatshirt not once but three separate occasions this morning, yawned at least half a dozen times (including now as I'm typing), and warned Austynn to stay away from the remainder of my coffee bowl (he likes to finish it for me).

Good Morning Sunshine
I'm also not a very pretty specimen to be sure.  After a day and a half without a shower, I'm certainly feeling it.  My teeth are sticking to the roof of my mouth, the cold coffee is thick on my tongue, and my hair is lifted off my forehead in a nasty I've-been-sitting-at-my-keyboard-in-a-far-too-long-look.  Also, I just generally smell.  It's a smell I hate admitting to but will for the purpose of this blog.  We all know the smell.  It's the gross close-my-legs-smell.  As soon as I finish writing, I'm feeding the boys and heading to my warm, sudsy bubble bath.  Camera there?  I think not.

Sleeping is just no bueno (no good) anymore.  Our dogs, in particular, Tank is the culprit.  He insists on sleeping between Eric and I, up front, and in the center.  All night long, his ass or face is in mine.   Tank is a sweet Lhasa Apso but really?  Every time he moves, he licks me up the nose.  I'm exhausted.  Dog drool all night long. 

When the dogs were ten weeks old - just puppies - I was setting out to crate train them for sleeping purposes.  Yes they were adorable and yes they whined.  Eric brought them on the bed to snuggle.  They've been with us ever since.  So I blame Eric for everything this morning.  I blame him for my cold coffee bowl.  My ugly hair.  The snoring Shih Tzu, Tulip, who is distracting my blog writing.  I blame him for Austynn, our 13 year old son, who woke up before 7:00am on his first day of Spring break and asked, "What's for breakfast?"  Are you kidding me?  Have an apple and leave me alone already!  I blame my husband for the state of the economy and finally yes, I even blame Eric for the smell between my legs (though I swear he had nothing to do with it last night).

So, if you are watching me on a secret video know that I'm giving you a double bird and that I'm extremely grumpy this morning.  If you happen to be my dear one, the love of my life, the apple of my eye, plan on my ignoring you for at least the first five minutes upon your arrival tonight.  Afterwards, I'll forgive you for everything, even the state of the economy -- but only if you bring home some conciliatory flowers.  The economy is at an all time low.  You're going to have to work a little harder in the way of an apology. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I don't like sand in my food...

Last night, I was reminded of something rather embarrassing.  I'm a no-sand-in-my-hot-dog-kind-o'-gal.  But am I alone in this?  I wonder...?

Now for those of you who live in the heart of Siberia or dead center of Kansas who've never experienced a bonfire at the beach complete with hot dogs roasting on sticks and marshmallow s'mores, you may have no idea what I'm writing about.  But there are many of you, my dear friends and blog readers, who are laughing your asses off. You're currently thinking to yourselves either one of two things: one, Bri and I are compadres in an obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Is that really a problem?  Or two, what the Hell is wrong with this woman?  For those of you living in Siberia or Kansas, I'll explain. 

As I have often referenced, I grew up in sunny Southern California; home to movie stars, terremotos (earthquakes), and the beach.  To celebrate the beginning and end of every summer, my friends, family, and I often found ourselves huddled around fire pits at local beaches.  After long days of playing in the surf and working diligently on future cases of skin cancer, we would pull out our coolers and prepare for our grand feast...roasted hot dogs, potato chips, sodas, and s'mores.

When we were younger, without children, we were in control of our own sandy destiny.  Someone would hand me a hot dog bun to place my perfectly skewered, hot dog in - perfection!  I never requested condiments such as mustard or pickle relish because I knew, without a doubt, that some fool either dropped the bottle in the sand or - because it's always windy at the beach during sunset - inevitably there would be sand in the condiments.  Why be miserable?  I would simply enjoy my food without relish.  Also, I would secretly carry sanitizing wipes in my bag to remove the nasty thin coating of sea salt on my hands before I ate. 

S'mores were a little more difficult to control regarding my sanitary standards.  This is where my job came in.  For those of you who are not familiar with this campfire dessert, the recipe is such:  One roasted marshmallow placed between two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate.  Yum!  However, this can be extremely messy if not handled with great care.

I would sit like the Mother Goose of supplies.  When someone's marshmallow was ready, they would turn to me and I'd have the graham crackers and chocolate ready to perform the delicate task of sliding their hot marshmallow off the stick and into the sandwich.  This made for a lovely, neat situation.  No one ever questioned my position.  It was automatically assumed that I was going to take care of it.  Granted, this meant I never roasted my marshmallow until everyone else was finished but it was a small sacrifice to make in order to enjoy my dessert as it was intended to be - sand free.

Years later, add children to the equation.  All Hell broke loose.  It was if the adults lost concept of Bri's need for order and cleanliness.  Sand everywhere.  Sand on the blankets.  Sand in coolers.  Sand in hot dogs bags.  Fuck it!  I'm going to McDonald's for dinner. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The grossest job in the house.

I hate cleaning bathrooms.  Who doesn't, really?  Even if you live alone and the disgusting business belongs to no one but yourself, it's still the most vile of household chores.

I dread walking towards the door with my bucket of cleaning supplies.  I can put it off for weeks  sometimes secretly hoping that everyone will drop dead of E. Coli  before I actually have to face the nastiness.  I know what you, my dear friends and blog readers, are thinking.  I too, must use this room for my personal use.  It's quite simple actually.  I hold my needs and go to the local gas station where I expect it's much cleaner.

Yesterday, I had to face the daunting challenge of facing my sons' bathroom.  This is the worst chore of my housewifely duties.  This project produces nightmares.  Every day, as I walk past this door, I know what awaits me inside; dried toothpaste on the counter tops, smeared, greasy fingerprints with smiley face attempts on the mirrors, a broken light bulb which one of my genius, Aspergian sons attempted to fix on his own, a tub with miscellaneous adolescent pubic hairs attached to the soap (eeewww), and finally and most gruesome of all....the toilet. 

What is wrong with boys and making their target?  I ask you mothers, of the world - why can't our boys aim squarely into a large, oval receptacle without spraying the back walls, shower stall, and even - now this is the impressive part - the door a few feet behind them?  What's with that?  Now, this may perturb some of my male readers but I'm going for it.  You are not innocent in this either.  I realize that you have to do a little shake at the end, but for the sake of your wives, girlfriends, and mothers, could this please be over the bowl and not on the floor beneath it?  Guys, talk to your sons.  Teach them.  Pleeeeaaaase.

Before I entered their nasty restroom, I actually had to psych myself up.  I did some jumping jacks.  I took deep breaths.  I promised myself a reward at the end.  I haven't given myself anything yet; however, based on the level of grossness I encountered, my prize will be impressive.

Of course, everyone in my house knows when I'm cleaning this room.  I hold nothing back.  I moan.  I groan.  I hiss and utter such sounds of disgust, one would think I'm cleaning the locker room of a professional football team.  Nope, just one small bathroom of two teenage boys of which I had thoroughly cleaned not more than a week ago.  Oh, dear God in Heaven!!  Do you think someone would apologize?  Offer their poor mother a bottle of water?  No, William simply walks by and says,  "It's pretty disgusting, isn't it, Mom?"  Do you think?

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Potts' House - A Weekend of Adventure Awaits

"But..,"  "Well...,"  "Actually...,"  These are the three words that will drive me quite literally insane. 

Those of you who live within walking distance to my house, no strike that, within the city limits of Thornton, Colorado, I'm certain have often heard a scream so inhuman that you've often wondered if some sort of animal is being skinned or tortured alive.  I apologize profusely for that noise.  That would be me.  That would be your friend and fellow comprade listening to these words being uttered repeatedly throughout the day by her thirteen year old Aspergian son, Austynn. 

As I explained many times before, Aspergers is a form of social autism whereas both my kiddos suffer from difficulty in understanding peer relationships, social cues, and know-it-allness.  Feel free to look it up one day if you're curious to see why Austy is so obsessed with electricity.  I believe I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs how my youngest trimmed the cable and grounding wires to the house one summer day out of boredom.  Ho hum...

Kids without this diagnosis, especially teens, are known to be - and please pardon the term - "smart asses", but now I have a couple of surly, certifiable "smart asses" in my home.  Some days it can make for an unpleasant environment. What makes things tough, especially with Austynn, is that he'll correct me in front of other people.  I'll say something, he'll interrupt me mid-sentence (because he's socially awkward), tell me I'm wrong, repeat exactly what I said, and rephrase it differently.  Or, if he doesn't rephrase it, he'll make up some strange, convoluted, nonsense story which can go on for a good 5 to10 minutes. 

"Mary, did you know that yesterday I went to the grocery store and..."

"Well actually Mom, that's not true.  You went to the grocery store yesterday and..."

Oh my gosh!  Where's the straightjacket?  Someone hold me back from my child!  Oh, not necessary.  I can't see him.  An eyeball just popped out of my head.

For the most part, most of my neighbors know that if they hear screaming coming from my house it's nothing to be alarmed about.  It's usually Austynn standing at the top of the stairs refusing to go to his room and hang up his sweater or he's calling me a "bitch" because he's lost TV privileges.  Sometimes it's William screaming that his younger brother offended him by asking him how his day was at school.  This is the latest and greatest issue which seems to set the house off.

Another Friday at the Potts' home.  Another full weekend of fun house madness.  Two Saturdays ago, Austynn's foot went through his bedroom wall because he was mad at Eric.  Last weekend, William told me to stop talking (while I was complimenting him) because he hated the sound of my voice.  Why thank you dear.  How very Aspergian of you.   Always an adventure with my babies.  What can Eric and I look forward to this weekend?  We can only imagine...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I know how to speak a little Spanish but that doesn't mean anyone will understand me.

Having been born and raised in Southern California, I shudder everytime I see a breaking news story about a major earthquake event.  Of course, my first concern is the location.  The majority of my husband and my familes live in the Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernadino County areas where there always seems to be a little shakin' going on.  I'm constantly concerned for their well being.  Also, because of this phenomenon and my earliest memories of being jolted out of bed as a child - next to gang warfare, smog, traffic, and the high cost of living - I considered it a pretty good reason to move to a more stable environment, so to speak.

I have my fears.  One of which is airplane travel.  Just knowing that I'll be boarding a plane in a few weeks has already begun my panic attacks(Lovely.  Let's not dwell on this, Bri.  Place your fear securely in its appropriate box and tuck it away before you begin hyperventilating.)  My second one, well - of course, you've probably guessed is the dreaded, Oh-my-God-I think-I-just-felt-the-2.3-Earthquake-in-Mexico-City anxiety.

Everyone has irrational fears, for instance; falling, bugs, or halitosis, (oh my - I'm a walking bundle of nerves ready to go postal) the solution is how we deal with them.  My answer for tremors was to get the Hell out of Dodge City and into Denver; however, this was after I proved myself to be the biggest wimp and worst speaking Spanish student ever to have survived a major non-Earthquake in Los Angeles county history. 

When my father was alive, he was the Operations Manager of a steel foundry and manufacturing plant.  All of his children, save for my youngest brother, worked there during our summers and as young adults.  The business was located in an area where the majority of employees spoke only Spanish.  My sister Ellen, the Personnel Manager, had taken her high school language classes very seriously and therefore was able to communicate fluently with the employees. I, on the other hand, was her assistant and never quite applied myself with as much fervor to Ms. Duvall's Spanish 1 and 2 courses.  Frankly, the only reason I passed was because some goof ball sold me the teacher's manual in error.  Of this - I am not proud.  AND karma always finds a way to come back and bite me in the ass.

Like most businesses, we were mandated by law to have safety precautions in place in the event of an emergency.  With my father's company in particular, due to employees handling molten metal, it was critical to protect them immediately if there were a major earthquake.  Oftentimes, front office employees could feel the quakes much faster than the warehouse folks due to the enormous machinery they were handling. 

After the Whittier Narrows Earthquake in 1987, my quake anxiety was hyper-sensitive.  The city of Whittier was very close to my parents' home where I was living at the time.  When our house started shaking, I heard mom scream from the kitchen.  The rule was to get to the front hallway where the house frame was the strongest.  Without shoes (since this experience, even in Colorado, I always keep hard soled slippers next to my bedside), I jumped out of bed, dodged glass pictures flying down the hallway, and remember the surreal moment of looking out the back window and seeing three foot waves leaping out of the swimming pool.  Watching your mother, a sister, and younger brother cling to violently shaking walls, crying, and praying the "Our Father" does not sit well in my memory bank.

Months after this harrowing experience, my older sister needed to leave the office to run an errand.  She reminded me of the safety drills.  If there was an earthquake or fire I was to immediately get on the overhead speaker and read an evacuation notice in both Spanish and English.  No worries.  Yeaaah..right.

No sooner had she left when the building started to shake.  Oh my God!  EARTHQUAKE!!!  THE BIG ONE!  The San Andreas Fault is ready to give way and drop us into the Pacific Ocean.  Damn, and I haven't made it to Australia yet! (Maybe I could catch a wave on the Tsunami?) 

Since I didn't share an office with anyone else but Ellen and she had left me in charge, I had no time to confirm what I was feeling.  I knew what it was dammit!


I may have been cowering meekly beneath my steel, industrial green desk but my voice was calm, steady, and extremely loud on the overhead speakers.


At this point in my story, I will sadly admit that this is where karma bit my ass.   I continued reading the evacuation plan in both Spanish and English; however, my Spanish accent was so horrific (and still is) that I could hear laughter resonating off walls in the front office.  Later I was told it was so awful that I confused some of the female employees and brought them to tears.

During this lovely display of my professional ability or lack thereof, the company foreman, Dennis, whom I had a debilitating crush on since I was a little girl, stuck his head into my office door, saw me cowering meekly beneath my steel, industrial green desk, and said, "Girl, what the Hell are you doing?  That was no Earthquake.  That was a couple of 18-wheeler rigs goin' down Atlantic Blvd." 

Damn, my phobias anyway!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I screwed up again. D'oh!

I've been saying, "I'm sorry" a lot lately. Even as I type this, I'm pondering the significance of yesterday's blog about making mistakes. Now if my assumption to make errors from time to time was correct, by my calculation ratio of errors to apologies yesterday, the moon and planets should have aligned perfectly at 3:34am MST. What gives?  D'oh!  Wrong again.

At 3:37am MST, precisely three minutes after the miraculous event failed to occur, I stared at my bedroom ceiling and considered the situation. Why am I in a constant state of "uh oh", "re-do", or "undo"?  This is my conclusion...

I'm emotional.  I react with words or actions before I stop and think, "Hmm, perhaps throwing a glass vase during a temper tantrum isn't the best way to get my point across."  If I'm not destroying dishware, then I have verbal diarrhea.  I'm a pouter and a baby.  Waaah!  Good Lord, help the people who have to put up with my nonsense especially during Banshee week. 

This is the dawn of technology.  Texting is a frightening form of bickering with me.  I love the written word.  I can type out nasty barbs and stingers oftentimes with little or no effort whatsoever - except, of course that I can't spell to save my life. Naughty, awful, emotional Breezy.

The other part of my problem is that I'm a doer.  When I start writing a blog, for instance, I go full speed ahead until it's finished.  I proof it (usually too quickly and miss ridiculous errors), add Web references, content images or video, and hit, "Submit".  Do I stop to consider that my readers in Belarus will be shocked that my bra size is 42DD?  No.  Do I hesitate because I used five 4-letter words in a run-on sentence?  No.  Do I consider that a topic might hurt, startle, or shock one of my very best friends.  Again, sadly no. 

For these reasons, and these reasons alone, I could never apply for work as a cleaning technician in a nuclear missile silo. One of my overseas Facebook friends would get me riled, we'd have a texting duel, and I'd hit the big, red button out of spite.  Uh, oh.  Re-do?  Undo?

So for those of you, my dear friends and blog readers, who were on the constant end of my apologies yesterday and for those of you who have received them in the past, I will work harder at being less of the robotic "doer" that I am.  I'll also make sure that all glassware is out of reach when my temper flares.  Finally, when my feelings get hurt or I have a misunderstanding, someone will be assigned to take my phone texting pad out of my hands before I hit the big red button and say, "Uh oh!". 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Make a mistake, it might fix the cosmos.

Totally random, but I'm the world's worst whistler and I just scared the crap out of my poor sleeping dog.  I must have hit a note that pierced her ear drum.  Sorry little one.  No wonder you have such awful nightmares.

I have a few wayward thoughts today so I'm supposin' I'm meant to ramble this morning. 

Now that I've totally startled Tulip awake, my first concern is whether my Shih Tzu is sniffing about the room because she didn't finish her business outside or she's looking for a dirty sock to chew on.  Either way, I refuse to react.  Damn, my whistle anyway. 

Eric, my dear one, the apple of my eye, my, well...fartmeister..(seriously, last night was something awful), took today off and chose to spend it with me, his lovely and ever supportive wife.  I'm suffering terrible guilt over this.  Why?  Where is Eric?  Is he snuggled up beside me as I write insulting comments about his gaseous evening?  No.  He's taken Austynn to school and has driven our oldest to an interview for a summer job.  This was not planned.  The interview was arranged last evening.  Later today, Austynn has occupational therapy after school.  Oh, and yes..then Eric and I teach our wee 2nd graders Catholic catechism and how not to curse to like sailors.  SHITE!  Poor love.  My husband would have been better relaxing at work today.  I know!  I'll shave my legs.  That will make him happy.  Perhaps I'll even go beyond my kneecaps.  I'll have to make this a shorter blog though.  Thigh shaving takes me awhile.

I was watching a presentation about "wrongness" and how it's actually a good thing.  I had a Starbucks mental moment afterwards - strike that - more like a ten minute sit-down-at-a-cozy-overstuffed-Starbucks-chair-break to consider it.  This is what happened in those ten minutes of staring off into space... 

I remembered my shock and amazement in my early twenties when I was told that there was no such thing as a "Pickle Bush". I recall my friends faces when I learned that cucumbers and pickles were the same thing.  That was the day my food light bulb was lit.  Suddenly, my brain was awash with strange new facts..raisins were grapes?  Prunes were plums?  Sauerkraut was cabbage?  I was almost dizzy with the miracle of information.  To this day, I still smile at my wrongness.

Yes, divorce is admitting that a mistake has been made.  "To err is human, to forgive is divine."  I've seen the situation on all sides.  I've been party to my own divorce.  No matter how it boils down in the end; who cheated on whom, who got the house, what ugliness was said, etc., there was a day when you looked into one another's eyes and thought it was right.  Afterwards, we all face our inner demons about what drove us into signing the paperwork.  There are lessons in every mistake.  I will never go into a public tirade about my divorce because the court decree required two signatures.  Do I regret the mistake?  Never.  Every choice we make brings us to where we are today.  Every decision, right or wrong, molds and shapes the character of who we become.  The hugeness of this amazing cosmos, the craziness of this masterpiece called life is do we choose to use the lesson to better ourselves or do we dwell on the negativity of it?  From some of these unions, came children.  How can life from life be negative?  Just ponderin'...

And finally, yes - I've thought often in my past and quite honestly, lately about the biggest mistake I could make in my own life - ending it needlessly.  As I've mentioned earlier, I'm Catholic and I have the irreverence to actually teach small children Catholic doctrine.  I do my best to stick to the guidelines but decided next year to take a break and let some of the older ladies with the statues scare the kids half to death. As many of you can guess, I'm extremely liberal in my spiritual views.  I try not spew too much religion into my blogs because quite frankly, like politics, it can be a difficult topic to cover.  This is my thought of the "Biggie"..

Yes, I'm bi-polar.  There are days when my deep dark is unimaginable and all I want to do is shut out the ugliness in my head and go to sleep.  Do I want to die?  Oftentimes, no.  I just want to burn down into a resting ember where in a few days someone can stoke me and I'll burn bright again.  The danger to this is how I put myself out.  Prescription pills are not the way to go, I understand this; however, it's my method of choice.  The suicide thoughts are deeper.  I haven't had too many of those, thank God.  When I do, they're eery.  I feel calm, almost "out of body".  I don't want to go there because of my, not my faith.  There's a difference.  It's hard to explain but I'll finish my silly rambling blog on a serious note (how the heck did I get from there to here??)

Lately I've been writing a series of private spiritual pieces based on personal meditation and self-reflection.  Here's a sampling of one: 

"Killing myself will never be an option. I know what purgatory is. I've seen it, or at least different versions of it. It's every one's concept of their road to perfection except for one thing..their final happiness..the presence of their Christ, their Allah, their Light, their Buddha, whatever they conceive their total Joy to be. If I killed myself, that would simply be Hell. The deepest sadness. The realization or knowledge that I would never experience that great and overwhelming sense of peace."

I hope today's writing has given you, my dear friends and blog readers, not only some laughter but at least a metaphorical ten minute sit-down-at-a-cozy-overstuffed-Starbucks-chair-coffee-break to consider it.  Have a lovely day.  Oh, and by the way, make a mistake or two.  Who knows, it might fix the cosmos.  Just ponderin'...




Monday, March 19, 2012

The Terrible Bathtub Tale

Who knew that for the Potts' clan the prerequisite for buying a new home was the size of the master bathtub?  For most families, it's the location of the home.  Are there decent schools nearby?  What does the neighborhood look like?  Is it sitting on top of a recycled county dump?  These are important questions and some of which, for a moment, did pass through our minds. 

When Eric and I where in Denver looking for a new home, we were under a bit of a time constraint.  As we pulled in front of the model homes, we had less than an hour to reach a 30-year decision which would force our hand in leaving Southern California and all that we knew behind.  It all boiled down to the size of the master bathroom tub.

Yes, my dear friends and blog readers.  You are correct in assuming that there is a story behind this story, but then again, isn't there always?  Before I begin, I must set two specific and very strict guidelines:

1:  Children under eighteen must have their parent's permission to read any further. (Yeah, right!  Now I'm going to get thousands of hits from thirteen year olds around the world and screaming "disgusting" by the end of this blog.  Kids, you've been so warned.)

2:  To my nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and immediate family members, I swear to haunt you and your ancestors 'til the end of eternity if this becomes an annual Thanksgiving Day story.

The Terrible Bathtub Tale

As many of you know, I'm a bathtub girl.  I've always been.  If I could spend my days cooking, chatting on the phone, and typing my blog in a tub of hot, sudsy water I would be an eternal blob of wrinkled, pruney skin.  However; of course, with all things magical, there are curses.  I remember hearing something or other once about "never frying naked".  This would be the ultimate mistake and water and oil could also make a bad combination worse, so therefore the attempt will never be made.  Secondly, confession time.  I have - on more than one occasion - chatted with people while soaking.  This has proven to create awkward situations.  When a quiet "bubble" becomes an explosion or the sound of the drain empties while discussing your son's suspension, well - it's uncomfortable.  Finally, I've often contemplated typing my blog while relaxing in the water but the idea that it would become my final eulogy is a rather sobering thought.  So mainly I use the tub for what it is intended for..washing and soaking.

My dear one, my husband, the love of my life, Eric, has always been a shower guy unless I'm in the bath.  Now this is where the fidgeting begins, myself included.  My man loves to join me.  In our earlier wedded days, the concept disturbed this modest woman to no end.  I could barely change my clothes in front of him much less crawl into such an intimate space.  After time, things have changed.  Eric and I are very comfortable with each other now.  In fact, one our favorite places to talk and work things out is in the tub.  There's a certain intimacy and depth of love between us there (depending on how deep the tub is of course).  So far so good?  Still squirmy?  Hang on to your chair.  The story gets really funky from here.

When Eric and I were first married, before we adopted the boys, we lived in a small, 2-bedroom townhouse.  My husband is somewhat overweight, but not by much.  As we lived alone together those first years, my weight started ballooning.  I was becoming one very big, fluffy girl.  In Eric's eyes, I wasn't changing at all; however, something odd was happening...OUR BATHTUB WAS GETTING SMALLER!  Unfortunately, one day it was brought to our attention in a very bizarre and twisted way.

The tub in our master bath was a little bit longer and just a tad bit wider than standard sized bathtubs in new homes.  When we sat and soaked together, I would sit in the back and Eric would rest against me, between my legs, in the front.  It was a lovely Autumn day.  Our bedroom window was open, the breeze was blowing through, and Eric and I were giggling over something silly as we often do together.

For some ridiculous reason, one of us released the water before Eric stood to get out.  Now, let me set the frightening visual up for you dear friends and blog readers; two large bodies with many, many folds of flesh suddenly being sucked to the inside of a bathtub (which barely contained the bodies to begin with). 
Hmm..well, this is kind of silly.  "Uh, Eric?  I do believe I'm stuck."

"Oh my gosh," Eric is laughing hysterically, "me too!"

We attempted to unpressurize ourselves but unfortunately it made the situation much worse.  Eventually, Eric's laughing stopped.  There was a bit more concern to his voice.  "Let me try to wedge myself up a little and see if that works."

For twenty minutes, Eric inched his suctioned cupped fannie upwards to see if he could get enough air between his ass cheeks and the bathtub floor in order to stand up.  Are you still with me folks?  Eric's back had a bit more flesh on it than his ass at the time.  Oh dear God in Heaven, hold on to your chair, if you haven't fallen off of it yet, you will.  After a horrifying amount of time which seemed like hours, all he managed to do was suction his back more securely to the bottom of tub.  Now his head was between my legs (Hello, Bri's vagina, I do believe we've met), with his legs cramping straight up against the shower wall with his danglie bit o' not so danglin' (remember, there was a bit of a breeze).

...And what was Bri thinking?  Why the Hell haven't I shaved my thighs for two weeks?  They look repulsive.  Sasquatch lives in Aliso Viejo, California!

Go ahead and laugh.  At the time of this horrifying incident, Mr. and Mrs. Potts had stopped seeing the humor of the situation.  With no way to reach the phone, we actually considered hollering for someone to call 911.  Oh the shame!  Imagine our mortification!! 

Obviously, we made it out of that horrifying predicament but to this day, the size of the bathtub will always be a prerequisite for any home we buy now and in the future.  Oh, and by the way, if you hear an unexpected "explosion" or the draining of water while we're conversing, that is one thing I will continue to indulge in...having a telephone right next to my bathtub.     

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life is too short to hold off, hang back, or huddle out from meeting me.

Martini...Diablo's Drink
I went to dinner with a friend last night whom I had the pleasure of meeting only once about a year ago at a party.  When we met, we were three Martinis into it, and instantly liked one another.  It's wonderful when this happens; when life draws two people, drunk or otherwise together, and you can immediately find something to laugh over.  At this particular party (it was an all ladies celebration of a bad marriage and a wonderful divorce), this gal and I immediately commiserated over our naivete on gay men during our younger dating years.  This is when my series of "Handbook" ideas came about.

Since this party, we haven't actually seen one another.  We catch up on Facebook all the time and promised to meet for lunch or dinner with the host of this notorious party with the 6 foot inflatable penis (which every girl needs after a divorce which I assumed when I brought it through the front door) but the opportunity never arrived.  So last night, we took it upon ourselves to meet on our own and I'm so glad we did.  We had a wonderful time.

We talked like we did at the party, even before the Margaritas kicked in.  Sex, kids, husbands, work, and once we got through the easy stuff, we broke it down even further - orgasms, divorce, the big bang theory - we covered it all.  We were in tears.  When we were leaving, she said something interesting.  She mentioned she was afraid we wouldn't have anything to talk about.  Since we didn't know each other that well, she was concerned we'd sit in the booth and stare across at each other.

George Michael
RIDICULOUS!  At that amazing Martini party, we discussed some serious issues. We discussed our passion for the same gay band member on the Village People (the Cowboy).  She and I concurred and lamented over George Michael being caught open handed (pardon the pun) as being gay (How could that be?  We were so young and in love?).  But we both knew - without a doubt - about Boy George.  Absolutely no question there.  We both dated gay men.  What's with that?  We became instant sistahs.

Besides, I have never, ever been one to sit across and stare at another human being.  Once I fall in love with you, be it at a bar when your name is Gigi and your arm is covered with tattoos, or at a Mardi Gras party and I repeatedly say, "Hey, you look like my friend, Linda Pearson.  Who the Hell are you?" (Troy Family, FB me that gal's name.  I'm thinking since we hung all over each other at your party, we're meant to be friends too.), or I meet you at a blood bank and we strike up a conversation, it's destiny we become buddies.

Shannon and Bri
The Notorious Martini Party 2011
Life is too short to hold off, hang back, or huddle out from meeting me.  If I exhaust you, so be it.  Don't jump in.  Hell, I poop myself out.  BUT, if you hear me chatting with myself at the grocery store or I tell you I love the purple streak in your hair, seriously - don't be afraid to laugh and jump right in.  I've been known to go to the market for a loaf of bread and not come home for over an hour because I have a date to meet a new friend for coffee.  Word of warning though, once I get to know you, I love you.  There's no going back.  I'll tell you like it is.  If it's a pink hair streak and I hate it - I'll let you know.  If I'm in a bad mood, you'll see my grumpy side.  But then again, that's what friends are for, right?

P.S.  Thank you, Shannon.  You're awesome!  How did we end up at a Mexican Restaurant on St. Patty's Eve?  Also, a wee bit embarrassed..couldn't drive home.  What did that dude put in my Margarita?

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm baffled. Sixteen year olds should know better...?

Warning:  Swallow your coffee.

I thought as children got older, they learned how and where to vomit.  (Sorry that was a rather startling opening comment).  My sixteen year old is still figuring this out.  I don't understand.  I'm baffled by this entire concept.

Now I thoroughly understand the confusion that comes along with six, seven, and even ten year olds not knowing what to do for Pete's sake.  I get the bewilderment especially when they're asleep; HOWEVER, when my big, 240 pound, 6 foot 1, sixteen year old stands at my bedroom door at 8:33pm MST and says, "Mom, my stomach doesn't feel so good."  What gives?

"Okaaayy, aaaannnd...weeeeeellll....go to the bathroom and wait it out, dude."

June Cleaver, "The Perfect TV Mom"
I know I've mentioned this before but I'm not the most maternal of mothers.  Some June Cleavers of the world would jump up, take the kiddo's temperature, escort him back to bed, and show a little empathy.  I, on the other hand, was knee deep in an interesting book, noticed he didn't look flushed, and made the earlier suggestion about waiting it out by the porcelain throne.  Some of you are shocked and appalled.  So stop reading my blogs already and get over it.  This is just who I am.

Did my son follow my perfectly good advice?  No.  He went back to bed with his sour stomach and waited until the last possible moment to get up and run to the bathroom. 

William's room is the furthest from the commode.  Without going into gruesome detail, he didn't quite manage to get to where he needed to go.  Fortunately, he made it to the sink and partially to the toilet. Lovely. Also, my boys do not believe in chewing their food before swallowing so this was not a simple sanitary operation.  Finally, who do you think has the only iron clad stomach in the house which can tolerate such disasters without contributing their own Subway sandwich to the clean-up? Yes, my dear friends and blog readers, you're correct.  Yours truly.

Since William takes sleeping pills for insomnia, at this point the medication had finally kicked in. He was standing over the toilet like a big, drugged-out lug with vomit dripping off his t-shirt, chin, and sleeping pants completely unaware of what just happened.  Oh, this couldn't get any more comical.

"William, are you going to be sick again?"

"I don't know."

"Swell.  Let's get you cleaned up and sitting on the tub like I suggested earlier just in case."

With speed which surprised even me, Eric, my husband, was outside the door with clean PJs, a T-Shirt, rags, cleaning spray, trash bags, wash cloth, and maintaining as much decorum as possible as I handed him bags with instructions to either toss or set on the washing maching for me to rinse out the next day.  All I was thinking was, thank God Austynn was asleep or this would be an incredibly hectic situation.

Then, out of guilt, and guilt only, I pulled out my thermometer.  No fever,  Just as I expected.  Sour stomach.  Eric and I had left the pantry unlocked and unattended downstairs for about 20 minutes and William had taken full advantage of it.  I don't know what he ate (all I saw was Subway, eeeww) but he made himself very sick. 

I looked at William and reiterated one more time...

"I'm not mad at you, kiddo.  This happens.  But when you feel sick, hang out in the bathroom.  Don't wait..PLEASE!  You're a big boy now.  You don't have to tell Dad and I when you're feeling sick to your stomach.  If you feel hot or think you have a fever, that's different.  Are we clear?"


Good night, William."



"I don't feel so good."

"DUDE!  Stay in the bathroom!"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moonlight Serenade

*Play while reading blog

For the last week or so Eric has been playing soft music on YouTube, stroking my hair, and quietly talking to me trying to ward off my bi-polar demons before I fall asleep at night. (Sorry, folks he's mine.  Go find your own Eric.)  Having worked with seniors in my mid-twenties, listened to their World War II stories and the beautiful music of the era playing through the nursing home hallways during the late afternoon hours, I've become captivated by the magic.

I believe our younger relationships took for granted what our grandparents had to live through.

When I remember the moments I shared with boyfriends at a beach or passionate hide-a-ways where not a breath escaped between us, I'm heart broken that I didn't take a deeper realization that those moments might have been our last together.  Stolen moments with lovers in exotic places, dance floors, fire escapes, or a single hour that might never come again.

So now, with Eric, I've become rather sentimental.  When he asks what music I'd like to hear before I fall asleep at night, I've been asking for the oldies; the sweet, dear, favorites that our grandparents might have listened to in their stolen moments because you see, my time with Eric is no longer taken for granted.  I understand what it's worth.  I look at him every night and value his presence.  I breathe him in.  When he's not looking at me, I watch him.  I see his crystal blue eyes staring off into the distance.  I know what his fingertips look like, the way his neck smells, the way the touch of his palm feels against my back, and the way his breath sounds when he's asleep.  I know him.  I know what he's thinking...I've truly become captivated by the magic.       

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sometimes I'm allowed to be sad.

Sometimes blogs are going to be sad because after all, this project started out as a self-help journal of sorts.  All of you, my dear friends and readers, are along for the ride.  So, with this said, I suppose this is my way of warning you.  If you're expecting a hearty laugh over morning coffee it won't be today. 

There are no violins playing in the background, just the sound of my finches nibbling away at their birdseed and the soft breathing of my dogs sleeping below me.  Yesterday was a tough one for this lady.  I've been suffering through a double-dip of my "deep dark"; what I somberly refer to as bi-polar depression.

I was climbing out of the first one last week.  It's hard work, not as hard as it is for others, but everyone has their own battles.  I see the depression looming off in the distance like a dark, storm cloud.  Sometimes I can hold it off for a few days. I try to stay as busy as possible. "Manic" is a great way to describe it.  If you're one of my close friends this is when it seems like I have everything together; a spotless home, dinners on the table at 6:00pm every night, cookies in the oven - and then - I crash.  I'm in bed.  Usually 4-5 days of absolute nothingness.  I can't function.  All I do is sleep.  It's not that I'm exhausted, I just don't want to think.  Thinking makes me sad, so I prefer to sleep.  Medicine doesn't help.  It's just what it is.  These are the bad days.  If a bi-polar person is going to take his or her life - this is when you watch them like a hawk.

There are lulls in the madness.  Nice, long periods of time where we're at even keels.  That's when the medicine helps.  It helps keep us balanced but unfortunately, this past month - this past week, I had a double valley.  It was ugly.  Last night was awful and this is what I'm writing about today.

Some bi-polars can't sleep.  They're insomniacs.  I have a friend who suffers from this. When she's in her valley, there's no escape.  She's in constant search for an "Exit Door".  I know it sounds unimaginable but I can only describe it as being trapped in a black room with nothing but hideous demons screaming ugliness.  At least those of us who can find sleep do it through medicine.  I'm one of the lucky ones.

Just as I was just pulling myself out of last week's valley, my friend the insomniac, couldn't listen to the screaming any more.  And, as usual, one of the ugly voices told her no one cared.  Thank God someone caught her before it was too late.  But this horrifying thought pulled me back into the muck.  My voices shouted louder.  I didn't do enough.  I wasn't there for her.  I failed again.  I'm worthless. 

I take a lot of pills to drowned out the voices.  Vicodin, Valium, and over the counter sleeping pills.  Whatever it takes to knock me out and keep me out for days.  I don't do it all time, only when my "deep dark" hits.  My serious manic depression kicks in perhaps 4-5 times a year.  Yes, I see a therapist and a psychiatrist.  Eric has tried to take the pills away but there's no point.  I'd only find more.

So last night, I was sad.  I was driving and because I had no pills in my system, I cried and - strangely enough, I beat the shit out of myself.  I started south on I-25.  I considered driving from Denver to LA to see my sisters and mom but I grew weary.  Eventually I turned around and headed home to my little suburbia.  With my windows down, I screamed all the ugly names people have called me over the years.  Pig.  Whore.  Worthless.  Fat.  Ugly.  Then I started on my own degradation, Loser.  Piece of Shit.  Fat AssPathetic. Then I raged.  I slapped and tore at myself.  This morning I have a fat lip, a swollen face, and torn shirt to prove it. I'm sore, beaten, and bruised.

Eric was waiting for me on the front porch when I drove up the hill.  He held me gently in his arms and thanked me for coming home.  He knows everything.  He knows where I've been, who I've been with, and what I've done.  He doesn't care.  All he wants is my happiness.  All he wants for me is to not be anyone less than who I am - this is the battered and broken woman he married.  This is the woman he loves.  He tenderly kissed my fat lip, dried my eyes, and helped me into bed.   

Monday, March 12, 2012

Confession time again, I was once an UGLY AMERICAN.

My oldest son, William was asking about my overseas trips yesterday.  I'd love to say I've been a huge world traveler but truth be told, I've only made three trips abroad and all to the same destination - the British Isles.  The last trip I made was over to 25 years ago and that was during my honeymoon with my first husband, Jeff.  We had a lovely time but unfortunately on our final day I have a confession to make...I became an UGLY AMERICAN

My first trip was to London and surrounding areas during the Christmas holidays.  I was fifteen years old and had saved every penny the summer before working at my father's business.  I attended this amazing experience with my foreign language high school teacher and other various students (not that I needed to know Spanish for this trip.) I had a wonderful time; however, it began my awful fear of airplane travel thanks to a little Polish lady and horrifying turbulence.

The second trip was a ten day excursion during my senior summer with a group of friends and a few chaperons.  We were initially scheduled to perform the musical, "Godspell" throughout Europe but due to some fundraising difficulties, the show and the tour fell apart.  What did end up happening was about fifteen sexually active, European age drinking teenagers travelled to England, Scotland, and Ireland for ten days with about four to five adults who allowed us the freedom to roam the city streets of London, Glasgow, and Dublin when we weren't on tour buses. Youth in Great Britain; our first taste of freedom.

Now finally, the "Ugly American" story.  Jeff and I had, for the most part, scheduled some of our honeymoon on tours, but since I had seen much of London several years before, we took our time the first week roaming the city on our own. 

We were never very good financial planners.  (If you're a dedicated "Rambling Lunatic" reader then you may have picked up on this from past blog stories.)  In my relationship with Jeff, I took care of the money.  My idea of balancing a checkbook was to round the dollar amount up and when I lost complete control of how much money we had, I'd simply open a new account at another bank.  I thought that made sense.  At the time, Jeff was even worse than I was.  He once saw money in the account and pulled it out never thinking I had written checks against it.  We bounced thirteen bills that month.  No bueno (no good).

Anyway, we spent a little too much money the first week in London so by the end of our trip, we were literally sustaining ourselves on bags of potato chips and sodas.  We were broke.  When we arrived at the airport on New Year's Eve we were ready to go home.  I was hungry, dammit!  Of course, I flubbed the check-in time.  The clerk took one look at us and shouted, "RUN!"  Thank God we traveled with duffel bags. 

So we ran through Heathrow International Airport...Fluffy Girl and Tall Guy who Smoked Two Packs of Cheap Cigarettes a Day.  As we ran, we dropped our passports, nice people picked them up, and passed them along for us.  Huge groups of Asian tourists stood stock still in the middle of the way.  We barrelled through them and apologized as we did; two hippie Americans running for their plane.  Fluffy Girl's face was flushed because her duffel bag was too heavy and she started feeling fluffier with every tourist she encountered.  Tall Guy's lungs started to give out on him but he was healthier than Fluffy Girl.  He was pulling her along.  THEY MADE IT!  The plane was still docked to the gate. 

But where was the Custom's dude? 
He just left?
Get him back! 
Page him, please! 
He's just around the corner, isn't he? 
He can come back?! 
What do you mean. he won't come back? 
This is stupid! 
That is our plane! 
We have no more money! 
I refuse to sleep on the floor! 
I hate this fucking place! 
You are not going to keep me here another moment! 
You can't get the Custom's dude over there to say I can board this plane? 
What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Oh, it was nasty.  I was nasty.  The entire time I had been waving Jeff's marble tipped souvenir cane in the face of the front desk clerk, a puffy faced, bald-headed little Englishman.  When he refused my pleas for the last time, I had thrown everything (except the cane - I think I held on to that in case I needed it for self defense) - my duffel bags, which exploded exposing my dirty laundry all over the airport floor, my coat, and my purse - which also exploded.  I became the dreaded, UGLY AMERICAN.

I have to hand it to my ex-husband, he handled it like a professional.  While I was weeping, clutching at the window glass watching our plane depart from the gate, Jeff managed to get us a local hotel room, a taxi, and rebook us on the next day's flight.  We used our American Express card - which we had forbidden ourselves to use but at this point it seemed like a moot point.  He wiped my eyes and somehow managed to get me back onto an airplane the next day.  Quite honestly, I don't remember any of it after scratching my nails down the window, perhaps I saw the pilots laughing at me...I can't be too sure. 

I'm giving it a few more years before I make another attempt to travel overseas and I think I'm definitely going somewhere other than Great Britain.  I'm certain they still remember me over there.  How horrifying.