Monday, April 30, 2012

Someone stop spinning the Lazy Susan, I wanna get off!

I still haven't found my reading-writing-what-the Hell-am-I-doing glasses.  This disturbs me on so many levels.  I'm farsighted so when it comes to working on something up close, for instance, computer work, I tend to squint and therefore require a bottle of Tylenol by my side throughout the day.  Back-up glasses?  They would be great too if I remembered where I stored them (and, I have two pair).  They should be some place logical.  Not so.  Logic left me three weeks ago Tuesday.  Why then?  I can't be certain.  That's the day (if I'm seeing it correctly) the word, "LOGIC" is circled in red ink next to a big question mark on my calendar.

As of late, things have been slightly amiss in my life.  Now, I'm not complaining.  No, not at all.  I don't want to tick off the great Karma gods that be.  I'm just curious as to why things are not lining up neatly.  I'm the kind of gal who likes my fork and knife just so on a dinner table.  Do you, my dear friends and blog readers, know what I mean?  The salt and pepper shakers must be in the same location and my bottle of cold water within reach.  This is not happening for me.  I'm sitting at a table with a Lazy Susan, all helter skelter, spinning out of control.  Eeek Gads!  
Lazy Susan

Eric, my dear one, the love of my life, my husband and advisor of most things practical, would say, "Is your monthly cycle about to start?"  Why, after as many years as he's known me and through as many horrifying months as he's encountered Banshee, is he willing to ask such a silly question?  God bless his gonads!  The fact that he still has them shows the incredible patience and depth of love I have for him.

Banshee, having just arrived this morning, is merely a coincidence.  (Eric was extremely lucky he was at work when he asked his routinely ill-timed question and laughed at my response).  I'm strung out on chocolate, Tylenol, salt, and water retention.  I'm perimenopausal and sweating to death in a house with every window open and the thermostat registered at 63 degrees.  I have dry mouth, indigestion from Fritos smothered in melted cheese and leftover coffee from yesterday (...or should I say chocolate syrup with a bit of leftover coffee from yesterday...), and embarrassing gas from too much Tylenol.  At least I've taken a bath.

Is this normal?  Am I going crazy?  Where are my glasses?  What's wrong with me?  Eric has ticked me off for the last time with that damned Banshee question!  To Hell with the Karma gods.  They're all against me anyway.  I'm 45!  I'm too old for this nonsense.  Someone stop spinning that Lazy Susan!  Who invented those damned things anyway!?
 





Sunday, April 29, 2012

The ghosts of friendships past.

One was as recent as last week, some as old as twenty years ago.  I hate wondering where these people are now, how they're doing, and if I still haunt their dreams like they do mine.  After all, I own a piece of the heartache.  Then I start thinking, am I even an issue in their lives?  How arrogant to think that I may be.

I have...had a friend whom for years was a constant companion growing up.  We were inseparable as little girls.  In fact, when I catch up with grade school friends on Facebook, I'm often asked how she's doing.  Folks assume we would be joined at the hips forever.  Not so.  Somewhere along the way we lost one another to ugly gossip - a nasty, behind-the-back betrayal.  When we tried to resolve things, it was too late.  The damage had been done.  Years later, we met for lunch.  She was quoting Bible passages and I, Middle Eastern philosophy.  That was our last and final visit.

Another was lost to the violent gangs of East Los Angeles.  I couldn't and still can't comprehend this.  She wasn't Latina, she was of Italian decent and yet she'd talk about her new "men" with gangster names like "Spider" or "Ghost".  I was quietly disgusted as she'd explain how her "familia" looked out for each other with an accent which belonged in the back alleys of the city.  What happened to my friend?  Where did she go?  Why was she dragging her actual family, "Mom and Pop", into this dangerous, ugly world?  Several of her boyfriends who'd been on parole had - at one time or another - lived in her parent's home or she had visited them in county lock-up.  She started calling people "whities".  What was with that all about?  Finally, I had enough.  If these people were who she wanted to call family, then her decision was to exclude me.

My recent break is still too raw to visit.  It's packaged and placed in a box on a shelf.  One day I'll try to sort through the pieces.  For now I'll leave it be and remember why it's safely tucked away.  I miss this friend and am tempted to call and make amends; however, it's over for a reason and, it may be a moot point anyway.  Forgiveness may not be an option. Better to leave things where they are; locked and secure.  Enough bricks have been hurled.  Enough misunderstandings have occurred.

So I'm haunted.  We all have people in our lives who've entered and exited under sad circumstances. I wish them well.  When you love someone, you obviously never let them go.  They'll always be a part of you.  They know your secrets and dreams; they've shared your laughter and tears.  If any of you are reading this, I wish you well.  Now it's time to place your boxes gently back on their shelves where they belong.      



 

      

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nothing that a good dose of love and laughter won't help...

For a few hours a couple of times a week, I have the pleasure to hang out with a friend and catch up on some laughter.  I've mentioned her before in my blogs or at least referenced her.  She's my Wednesday morning coffee, Friday night Bingo compadre.  I grin because in all honesty, with the money we spend at Starbucks and Bingo every week, and the lack of return on our investment, we'd be better off having coffee in my kitchen and listening to live music as I've only won $8.50 since I've begun clutching my sparkly ink dobber.

The companionship is truly what it's about as it was painfully brought to my attention last night.

My friend, Judy* and I became friends through our sons who met in grade school. When her kiddo first introduced me, I must admit, I was a judgemental asshole.  I hate that about myself.  Since I've moved to Colorado, I've been working hard at shedding my stuck up, LA attitude but it's been a tough road.  I own it.  Even though I wasn't the "richest of the rich" in my private schools or neighborhood, my family still lived an entitled life.  We stayed in Maui several summers and lived there in an ocean-front condo for a month at a time.  We rented out three story beach-front houses in Ventura County, California and were allowed to invite friends to stay with us.  We were given season tickets, three rows behind the Lakers bench, during the Magic Johnson era and field seats at Dodger Stadium close enough to hear catcher, Mike Scioscia, talking to the umpire behind home plate.  We, I - was spoiled, and as much as I believed I felt empathy towards others, I never truly saw people at eye level until I had to struggle through my own life.  I needed to walk through sub-freezing temperatures in summer clothes, sit across others and sell plasma for money, and move back to my parents saying, "I failed", before I barely figured it out.

So now I get it.  Slowly, after everything, even after coming home to Colorado and being judgemental once again, the light bulb turned on.  Everyone is on the same playing field.  No one is above or below my eye level.  Sometimes it takes me a few knocks but I figure things out eventually.  I'm glad I finally learned this lesson because you see, Judy has Cancer - Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

When I first met her, my assumption (oh, I hate that word!), was that she was a druggie and an awful mother.  Uggh!  I'm so ashamed.  You see, her face was constantly marked up, she was sleeping non-stop, and never around for my son's friend.  Dammit!  I feel like a total asshole as I type this!  She hadn't been diagnosed yet so this explained the constant sleep.  The marked up skin is the result of something else, something personal.  I love her son and referred to him as my third kiddo because at this point, I had him sitting at my dinner table almost every night.  She had no energy to cook for her family.  Her daughter was always at a friend's and her husband was just making due.

Thank goodness she reached out to me.  We talked one afternoon on the phone.  It turned out, she was one of those down to earth, funny, in-your-face, kind of women whom I just absolutely adore.  She's tough and resilient and couldn't figure out why she was so "fucking tired all the time".  I started cooking extra meals for the family.  Offering to have her son come over on the weekends.  Checking in on her.  Taking on some of her laundry.  Then the news hit - the "C" word.  Her iron was non-existent, she was anemic.  They were going into bankruptcy - losing the house.  She needed chemotherapy.  They had no health insurance.  Her dad was in the hospital.  It was an awful time for her.  I'm glad I was there to help.

Last night, after another losing round of Bingo, with dobber ink smeared all over our finger tips, she treated me to an early morning breakfast (this former Los Angelean has $4.50 in her checking account until Tuesday).  She confided in me that I'm her only friend; that outside of her family, I'm all she has.   I audibly gasped.  Our friendship almost didn't come to pass because of one judgemental glance, one ridiculous assumption. She could have been alone through all of this. 

Thank you, God for giving me the grace to stay on the phone that afternoon and listen.

"Ya know I love you, Judy and only a true friend would tell you to go outside and smoke your 'Cancer Sticks', right?"

Judy almost choked on her eggs when I said this.  She laughed loud and hard,  "Totally!"



*Name has been changed for privacy purposes
  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Me? Frustrated?

I've been building fairly thick skin lately as the mother of two Asperger's kiddos.  I've explained their autism before but just as a reminder as to why I continuously re-dye the grey roots popping out from my lovely red hair, I'll restate my conundrum. 

Aspie kids are honest.  They're painfully honest and at the same time completely unaware as to how awkward their comments can be in social situations.  Now consider the most embarrassing thing one of your own children has said in public.  Are you with me?  Good.  Now, multiply that by 20.  Double that.  Welcome to my world.

Here's an example:  My oldest son, William is sixteen.  He thinks he's older and therefore qualified to discuss "adult content" with adults.  How he concluded this is beyond me; however, when he decided to make a loud comment about the size of a waitress' "rack" (he's partially deaf so everything is LOUD), my thought was, "oh, so not cool!"  Of course, Eric, my husband - Will's dad - is a gentleman, and was completely flabbergasted.  Out of the restaurant our son was immediately escorted.  Holy Moses! 

Austynn is no better.  Another restaurant (always restaurants, why do we even go?), the waitress had an obvious facial birthmark.  Don't do it, Austynn..don't!  "What's that ugly thing on your face?"  Ugggh!  Dammit! 

The look on the poor girl's face was enough to make me weep for her.

It doesn't matter how many times we talk with the boys about empathy.  We're constantly reminding them about people's feelings.  How would they like it if someone pointed out their flaws or deficiencies?  Autistic kids are also impulsive.  They say the first thing that comes to their minds - good or bad - they'll just throw it out there.  And the hardest part is my boys don't look like there's anything wrong with them so people assume my kiddos are being rude or impolite.  No, my kids are being typical, Aspie kids.

So I have a favor to ask...if you're ever approached by a kiddo with an awkward comment, just smile, nod your head, and agree with him (statistics imply that Asperger's kids are typically male).  Chances are they're telling you the truth anyway.  I can't tell you how many times Austynn has told me how gross my dinners are or William has said I have bad breath.  Yeah, and you know what?  They're ususally right.  Now, where are my breath mints?






Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Everything is Beautiful!

I love to hear people's stories.  I'm mesmerized by the tales; how people met, where they fell in love, the great adventures of their lifetimes.  If I could, I'd spend hours in a museum's picture gallery - in particular - the historical sections, reading the captions or looking into the eyes of the settlers who came before me.  Perhaps this is why graveyards have always fascinated me as well.  There's usually information about the people buried there.  I'll read the details and sit amongst the markers, quietly considering the lives surrounding me.  We're not long upon this Earth, this I know for certain.

I've always gravitated towards senior citizens having worked as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) in a geriatric facility and later as a Patient Care Volunteer through Hospice.  There are too many lost memories wanting to be told; relived just one more time.  These thoughts get swallowed up in dark, still hallways where family members forget to record them or worse yet, forget they have someone waiting to ask.

Here's a memory I refuse to dismiss.  A story from my time as a CNA.

Alexandra*, when not at meals or resting in her room, sat every day alone on a bench against a wall.  She spoke to no one but always smiled and nodded when residents or aides went by.  She still had teeth, but not by much.  What little she had were broken and black.  Apparently she didn't seem to mind and honestly, neither did I.  Alex's smile made my day complete.

After working at the nursing home for several months and finding my pace, I discovered I had more time to sit and visit with Alex.  She was extremely shy at first.  The only way I could communicate with her was talking about my life; what I was doing from day to day, making for dinner, or silly stories from my past. 

Eventually I broke through.  She started sharing her life in bits and pieces.  Little stories at first, things which didn't bother her; however, I could see by the shadows in her eyes that her past was difficult.  When things got tough we'd start to sing the song, Everything is Beautiful, then we'd scratch each other's backs.  We only knew three or four of the lines yet we'd repeat them over and over again.  Aides or nurses would walk by, roll their eyes, and make us giggle just to sing it a wee bit louder.

One day, her sad story finally came out.  She had learned to trust me.  It was a story she held for over 80 years.  She finally let it go... 

Alexandra's story:

She lived on a homestead on the eastern Colorado plains.  Her mama and baby brother had taken a train east to visit relatives for the holidays.  Her papa took the wagon into Denver to pick them up at Union Station.  On their way back, a blizzard blew through.  The worst one in years.  It was believed that the wagon got stuck so her papa must have unhitched the horses and tried to pull them with her mama and brother on top.  It eventually became whiteout conditions.

By the time the storm blew past, a search party went out to find the lost group.  Alex waited at home with some of the women.  News had spread that the family was found dead three miles east of their homestead in a ravine.  The horses were gone.  Alex's papa was face down covered in snow but her mama and baby brother had their arms wrapped tight around each other frozen stiff.

The bodies were brought home and due to possible new storms and the need to get Alex back East to her relatives, the funerals were held the next day.

When I asked Alex how she managed through this horrible situation, she smiled.  She said, "Mama and Jimmy looked like angels.  They were still frozen solid together.  They were going to be buried that a'ways.  I'll never forget staring at mama's face in the candlelight and see'ng a tear on her cheek.  Well, now that I'm older, I know it was her defrost'ng a bit, but as a little girl, I figg'erd she was shedd'ng a tear for me and somehow that made me feel like she was miss'ng me already.  I felt I was gunna be ok, and I was. "

I let out a sigh and wiped my tears quickly away.  She started scratching my back, nodded, smiled her lovely, broken smile and let out a roaring chorus of, Everything is Beautiful.

*names have been changed for privacy purposes


 




       

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Raising boys...raising two very special boys.

Oh, the joy of having adolescent boys...AND then add in boys who aren't interested in taking care of their personal grooming habits...AND who have absolutely no clue about social etiquette because they have an Autisic disorder called, Aspergers.  Yay!  Perhaps one day my kids will be able to enjoy a warm afternoon without being assaulted by flies or insulting looks from strangers because of their offensive body odor; however, currently these days are few and far between.  Often times, receive the awful, accusatory looks; "Why doesn't that woman make her children bathe?  Use deodorant?  Wash their hair?"  Oh, people judge not what ye don't understand.

It's a horrible thing when I have to ask, "William have you used shampoo lately?"  Oftentimes, I question this even if his hair is wet.  So why, my dear friends and blog readers ask, can't I assume that my sixteen year old has washed his hair?  One would think this is a logical assumption.  Not so.  In my line of maternal work, I've discovered that a wet head can merely be a ruse for my son walking in and out of the shower; getting his body wet, and not using the soap or even a towel.  He doesn't brush his teeth, apply deodorant, or wipe up the 3 inches of floor water after leaving the shower door open.

When I pull his week's worth of dirty laundry to begin the arduous task of sorting and washing, my nose is assaulted with a stench so horrifying that I'm almost knocked backwards.  Really?  How many changes of pants did he make?  Two, three?  Oh, dear God in Heaven?  I must have Eric talk with him again.  Why purchase prescription acne cream if he doesn't change his clothes? 

My son doesn't know how to talk to girls.  We've tried to work with him.  He's taken peer interaction classes.  He doesn't understand social situations.  There's a phrase I've read once about an awkward Asperger's kiddo.  His mother used to say something to the effect of, "You're failing as a teenager, but you'll grow-up to be an amazing adult."  I totally understand this statement.

Austynn is similar but different.  He too has no concept of self-care.  He'll be 14 years-old in July and Eric and I still find ourselves coaching him on how to appropriately shower.  We know for a fact that he stands under the hot water and considers this sufficient.  He'll place shampoo on his head (I've learned to purchase the 2 in 1 brands) and let it sit for a few moments and then simply rinse it out.  Hence, we've now requested that he wash his hair 3x before finishing up.  We figure what he doesn't get the first couple of times, he'll hit by the final rinse.  If we're extremely lucky, he'll break the soap and play with it.  This way he gets some soap on his body.  He too fails to use his deodorant and hardly ever brushes his teeth.

I use a lot of scare tactics on this little guy.  "Austynn, If you don't brush, your teeth will fall out and you won't be able to eat popcorn at the movies." 

This is a good one.  Food as an incentive for brushing?  Who knew?  I also comment how orange his teeth are looking from time to time.  He hates this so I'll see him scrubbing after he realizes that there's a bit of truth to my statement.  The deodorant thing is killing me though.  Just yesterday, after I spent an entire Monday on laundry, I walked into his room and saw the following on his closet floor;  two t-shirts, swim trunks, shorts, a tank top, a pair of socks, and two school shirts. 

"What's going on?"  He calmly stated that they all stunk or that he'd sweat too much during the day so he'd changed his clothes. 

"OH NO!  This is NOT going to happen!!  It's called DEODORANT/ANTIPERSPIRANT and you'll be using it IMMEDIATELY!  AND, you'll be doing laundry with me all day Sunday so you can figure out how much work this business causes me."  (Little piss ant!) 

Austynn whimpered.

Adolescent boys.  I get them...and THEN SOME!



Monday, April 23, 2012

Breezy is starting a new career...

I've discovered something over the weekend, I love telling a good story.  I love sharing something funny or interesting and knowing that I have an audience's full attention.  Now, this doesn't mean I'm going to run out and get a degree.  Hell, no. You see, I know my limits.  I don't have patience for more than twenty minutes of it.  After I'm done talking, I'm done.  I'm totally over it.  Finished.

Eric and I were co-catechists for a First Communion retreat at our Catholic Church on Saturday.  We were given the responsibility of teaching over one hundred 7-8 year olds about the sacrament they'll be making next weekend.  The groups were broken down into segments of over thirty kids and we taught four, 1-1/2 hour classes throughout the day.  Two of theses classes included the children's parents.  We added a lot of humor and had the kids and parents rolling with laughter.  Certainly if I had to sit through an 8-hour retreat, I would have appreciated attending a fun class; however, it was exhausting for Eric and myself.  By the time we went home, we were completely brain dead.

Stand-Up Comedian, George Carlin
So, all of this standing and talking, talking and standing got me thinking.  Most of what I do consists of telling stories.  When I stand up in front of kids or friends, I always make an attempt at humor.  Attempt is the key word here.  I add a lot of drama and of course, my husband, the love of my life, insists I tend to insert a bit of flavor here and there.  Who, me?  Impossible. 

Once catechism is over in a couple of weeks, I'll be immersing myself in amateur stand-up comedy throughout the Denver area.  (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph let the drunken idiots be nice to me, I beg you!  This is a much different crowd than the snot-nosed innocents I teach about Moses partin' the Red Sea during the week.) 

I look at it this way, it's like jumping out of a plane but without a parachute.  I'm already on the ground so if I'm going to fall, I'll just trip over my own stupidity.  Hell, I do that every day and I'm pretty darn good at it too.  Besides, if I'm down, they might miss me with the tomatoes.  Might is the key word here.  I think I look nice in red... 

   

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's closing time.

"Closing time.  Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." 

This is one of my favorite lyrics sung by the band, Maroon 5.  Oddly enough, this weekend they ring sadly true as I've ended a friendship which I'd hope would never end.

I don't end things well, I never have.  As most of you have guessed, I'm extremely dramatic.  I wallow in the should of's, could of's, would of's until my brain is ready to self-destruct.  I played a huge role in the "why" this particular relationship imploded.  I broke an established "rule" for which I apologized, again because Lord knows it wasn't the first time I crossed the line.  I was foolish and impulsive...my goodness - doesn't that sound like me?

Without going into detail as to what was said, I carry a huge amount of self-doubt.  I've been working on my self-esteem for a long, long time.  My history and past relationships have done a number on me.  It doesn't take much for the "ugly voices" to come out and play.  One problem, one comment can send me into a spiral of self-loathing.  Last Thursday, a text was made, unintentionally - but it was a stinger.  I responded with a stinger.  Then, I was betrayed.

Betrayal is the final straw.  This is the point in my life when I close the door and turn the key.  Sadly, I've already lived through this with friends from my past.  I ignored their circling by whispering to others what I'd done; "Can you believe Bri did this and that?"  They destroyed more than just our friendship over it.  It took me years to repair the damage done to the other loved ones in my life.


Yes, I screwed up, but dammit, someone circled my back yet again.  This is a huge betrayal of my trust.  I'll have a chat with the person contacted and explain what led to the end of this other friendship. At this point, they don't want to know the details but it will have to come out eventually.  One day, when things settle down, we'll have this chat because after all, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." 



Friday, April 20, 2012

Big Brother - Go Away!

Social Services.  Two words which place the fear of God into me as I type them.  Ok, let me type them again to see if it makes it any easier...Social Services.  Hell no, I'm still quaking in my old, worn out slippers.  Why is this you ask?  Well let me tell ya.

I'm an adopted mother.  I'm also a mother who's children receive Medicaid.  Oh my God, no!  Say it isn't so!!  It is.  (Uh oh,  I'm getting really nervous now.  The state agency is starting to sit up and read my blog.  Some one is going to tattle on me.) We receive assistance because between our two kiddos - their psychiatric needs and medication would completely bankrupt Eric and myself.  There is also no way in Hell I would be able to find employment which would allow me to come and go for the myriad of school issues and doctor/therapeutic appointments our two boys need.  Eric and I are always wondering how to pay off our next credit card bill.  My hope is that one day my writing or body will pay for itself.  This hasn't happened yet.  So until some rich sicko makes an offer for my boobs or I figure out how to get advertising back on my blog site, we're shit out of luck.

If you're a parent of a non-adopted child or don't take Medicaid payments you will never feel the shudder down your spine from the two ugly words mentioned above.  Now, don't get me wrong.  They're a much needed organization but unfortunately I've found they go after the wrong families. How many times have we heard horror stories of lost or dead children because of their ineptness of following up on reports of screaming children from next door neighbors?  Quite a few.  Yet, I post a blog which includes my son's name and I'm warned that I could possibly get into trouble for breach of privacy?  What?  Really?  I'm his parent.  I'm posting a blog.  Go investigate a missing child why don'tcha?!

Do I sound annoyed?  You bet!  Not more than a year ago, I posted a video blog whereas a concerned viewer contacted - uh oh, Social Services, for what?  I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one...my safety?  I guess someone was concerned that I was in fear of my life from my own children. Either that or they didn't like the fact that I was loopy on Tequila.  So I had two complete strangers traumatize my boys by pulling them out of class for interviews and afterwards show up unannounced at my front door to scour my house and interview Eric and myself.  How awful.  I don't believe this would have happened if we weren't adoptive parents.  They would have merely contacted us and asked some questions first.  We're definitely on their radar.

I'm tired of this treatment.  When does the bullying stop?  When can we just be parents and not have to worry about what we choose to do and what not to do?  TV shows like Kate Plus 8 have her children on the air without worrying about exposing their names and faces.  Why should I be concerned about my son's name on a blog?  Good grief.  When will this nonsense end?  When can I stop looking over my shoulder and not worry about whether or not Social Services will show up on my doorstep and say, "This has been a breach of privacy Mrs. Potts."

Big brother, go away.  Go hunt down the real bad guys.  There's plenty of them of out there.  We're just an adoptive family of four trying to survive.  We have lots of problems without you making things more complicated.  I blog about our craziness to keep me from losing my mind and hopefully to help a few other folks who may have a few things in common with us.  If I happen to make people laugh along the way, terrific.  Social Services, if you want to search my house for funny bones, go for it.  You'll find lots of them.  Otherwise, leave us the Hell alone already.
    

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Regrets? Yes, I've had a few...

Oh, to coin the phrase from ole' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, my blog title tells it like it is and yes, "I've done it my way."

I certainly could have done a few things differently but then again, it's not what you, my dear friends and blog readers, are expecting - or at least, I suspect anyway.  Here's a list of things I regret in chronological order:

  • I regret the Dorothy Hamill haircut my mother insisted I get in the 4th grade followed up with the tight permanent shortly thereafter.  I looked like a hideous poodle for two years.  There was no saving me from this humiliation.

  •  I would reconsider allowing the anonymous gangster cruising Whittier Blvd. in East Los Angeles to be my first intentional kiss.  Just because I was fifteen years old and wearing a button which said, "Kiss Me, It's My Birthday!", should not have entitled a stranger to stick his tongue down my throat.  I seriously miscalculated the situation.

  • I regret my clothing choices during my teen years.  To say that I was a "Geek" is a huge understatement.  Yes, I wore plaid skirts and ruffled shirts to go dancing in Hollywood.  While my sister looked like a cool cross between Billy Idol and Madonna, I looked like a dorky Sister Mary Knick Knack.  I don't know why the bouncers let me through the doors half the time.  They must have really felt sorry for me.

  • I should never have called the number, 8. This is a silly game in which the driver of the car (which was a good friend of mine) was required to circle Avenida Revolución in Tijuana, Mexico. It's a hectic traffic area which is normally not a problem but only if the passenger in the backseat - which was myself at the time - hadn't smoked two cheap cigars and finished off three pitchers of Margaritas earlier in the day.

  •  I should have spit out my gum before placing myself in a rather intimate situation with my boyfriend.  Details are too embarrassing to recount; however, it was necessary for him to pull out a pair of scissors and a jar of peanut butter after our date. 

  • I wouldn't have worn my favorite leather boots into the ocean the night everyone else went skinny dipping. Dammit, I should have just stripped naked, peed in the sand, and howled at the moon with the rest of my crazy friends.

  • I will never attempt  Tommy's Chili Cheese Fries with Onions after a night of heavy drinking again.

  • I would never have purchased those bumble bee skorts when I worked at the Gazette Telegraph's billing office in Colorado Springs.  The static electricity pulled those darned things up and over my granny panties every time I stood at my desk.  Another unfortunate clothing miscue.

  • A spiral perm.  Really?  What was I thinking?

  •  From now on I will double check my bag for large knives and not blatantly argue with security checkpoint officers denying the fact that I might indeed have a large knife in my bag from a ridiculous office holiday party.

Yes, in my life..I did and unfortunately will  - continue to do it my way.








Tuesday, April 17, 2012

There are no third class carriages.

I've made mention that I've been pulled into the wild and woolly world of the professional Bingo circles of the area.  I'm truly freaked out by this.  I would never go on my own; however, I have a very dear friend who loves the game and seems to get me to go with her at least once a week. 

It's gotten to the point whereas I've developed nicknames for some of the regulars for instance, the "Butterfly Lady".  This is a lovely, sweet older woman who wears everything with what else? You guessed it -  Butterflies.  I love seeing her in her familiar chair.  I always hope she wins but she's so frail and shaky I can't imagine she even sees the numbers being called. I desperately want to help her but I believe this would embarrass her so I simply leave her be. 

There's the mother and daughter "Team", both on oxygen and extremely pleasant.  We chat about their dogs during intermission but when the game starts up again, it's all business.

Last night, my friend and I sat across from the "Woman".  I've always dreaded sitting across from her but when my friend chose these seats I couldn't comment or this lady would have picked up on it.  She's very sharp.  This gal is the type of person who has a comment about everyone and everything.  She's not pleasant either.  I consider her very toxic. 

From the moment we sat down, everyone was within her target range.  "You see that girl?  She thinks she's so good, but her pants are too short.  She must buy them at Goodwill.  And that lady?   She's so old.  I think she's crazy." and so on and so forth.

Why?  Why do people have to be so cruel?  It made me paranoid to get up with my $20 watch and my $5.00 Walmart sweater.  I know the answer.  We all do, don't we?  It made her feel less adequate.  How sad.  When I was growing up, my friend and her mother were like this.  It was almost a game to them.  I remember being appalled by the way they openly mocked other people.  I couldn't wait to remove myself from the situation. 

There is a quote that I try to live by and it goes like this:  The great secret...is not having bad manners or good manners...but having the same manner for all human souls; in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there is no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another.  ~George Bernard Shaw      

Monday, April 16, 2012

The everyday moments.

When I was younger, I mean younger - like sixteen or seventeen years old - I couldn't wrap my mind around comments from people when they'd say, "I still feel like a teenager".  "How's this possible?" I'd think to myself.  "These 40 somethings get up from sofas moaning about how sore the are.  Their bodies pop walking up staircases.  They go to sleep at 9:00pm.  They have funky hair growing off their chins.  They're gross and ancient.  They must feel like they're on death's doorstep."

Yes, I remember thinking these thoughts waaay back when.  How sad.

At 45 ancient years of age, I often forget that I'm not seventeen any more.  I push myself to get through a list of projects longer than a notebook page itself.  No wonder I'm dozing by the weather forecast.  When I was young and judgmental all I had to worry about was the burgeoning zit on my forehead and whether I was going to pass Algebra.

Today, I wake up in the morning, throw on a pair of jeans, a tie-dye, boots, and head out the door just like I would when I was a kid.  The only difference now is that I'm hurrying another kid out the door and into my car.  Hey, this is my child!  When did he happen?  When did my mother's words start bubbling out of my mouth? "Hurry up and get your shoes on or you'll be late for school." and "Where's your backpack?" 

I see sprinklers on a hot summer's day and I want to run through them.  There's no holding me back.  I'm not worried about my age or falling on my fannie because in all honestly, I forget that perhaps tomorrow I'll be a little worse for wear for having done it.  Afterwards, I'll pop a couple of pain relievers and think, "Oh yeah, my body can't jump about as easily as it used to any more."   We're only as young as we feel and I forget how old I feel until the next day (probably because my brain is decrepit), but dammit in that very moment, in that instant, I'm seventeen again ready to jump off the roof into a swimming pool below (yes, I've done this too).

Regret is an awful word.  It would be a 4-letter word if it didn't have 6-letters in it (did you follow my meaning?).  When I'm old and grey I don't want to be one of those people sitting about saying, "I wish I had done this or that."  Sure, money keeps me from wind surfing is Australia or climbing the Himalayas but I'm afraid of sharks and out of shape for the big hills anyway.  As long as I get outside and do a few goofy things every now and then I'll be content.  I need to cherish the every day moments, even what some would call the mundane, then I'll have absolutely no regrets in life.

I knew a young lady once who was waiting for the "perfect" soulmate.  She told me she was dating a guy who was nice but seemed content with watching the "crabgrass grow".  Oh, how lovely a man he must have been and what a perfect opportunity she missed out on.  Watching the grass grow is a miracle when you're with a nice guy especially when you're running through the sprinklers. 

The every day moments.  Cherish them.  Revel in them.  You'll have no regrets, I promise.    





Saturday, April 14, 2012

Good Day Sunshine!

I got nuttin'.  When this happens my absence of thought is so enormous it's like a black hole capable of swallowing what little brain matter I have left.  In fact, just writing this ridiculous first paragraph took me far too long to consider. 

So, instead of rambling about a bunch of nuttin', let's just have a nice day.  I'll finish my coffee, throw on a tie-dye, some ratty, old jeans, and go hang out in the warm morning sunshine.  After all, this is Colorado.  If I don't get out there soon it will probably snow.

Enjoy your day everyone!

   

Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm doing the best that I can.

There are hundreds of thousands of women in the world raising angry sixteen year old boys, some single-handedly.  Some of them have been hurt by these young men; they've been slapped, pushed, and/or beaten down.  I know this.  I've heard the stories yet listened from an outsider's point of view.  She needs to take control of the situation.  She needs to teach him how to treat people with respect.  As a mother, somehow she's failed to teach him right from wrong...somehow she's failed.

Last night my point of view was altered when I joined this circle of women.  With one horrifying nose-to-nose moment, as William stared me down and bellowed that I leave his room or he would physically make me, I was instantly initiated.

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD):  A severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma.

30 years ago, a young girl stood outside her high school gymnasium after performing in a stage show.  Her former boyfriend, who had repeatedly sexually assaulted her while they were dating, appeared and demanded to take her home.  She said no.  He started yelling, insisting that she leave or he would physically force her.  She said no again.  He grabbed her arm hard and twisted.  She pulled away.  The sound of a sharp crack across her cheek could be heard across the courtyard.  Shock, humiliation, and grief.  She tried to slap back but his rage had taken over.  He was stronger, taller, and showed no respect for this person standing before him.  She started screaming...

William's anger was developed and thriving well before he came to live with us.  By six years old he had seen and experienced more horror and violence than most of us will ever encounter in our lifetimes.  He's been professionally diagnosed with PTSD.  He takes medication for it.  So yesterday, when I confronted him about something - something so utterly insignificant - he flew into a rage. 

There we were, two individuals standing toe-to-toe, each now escalated into our own personal PTS war.  Mine was standing against a predator - a bully, ready to hurt me again.  His was knowing that he'd done something wrong, was backed into a corner, and terrified of the consequences.  Fight or flight.  Obviously, he's a fighter.  Years later, I was ready to protect myself.

My son's been warned in the past; under no circumstances does he lay a hand on me or anyone else when he's angry.  There have been previous times when his anger was within punching range of my face or when I've ducked to avoid a flying object.  He knew if it happened again, I'd call the police.  I meant what I said. 

My calling the police wasn't because I was afraid of him hurting me.  The memory of my adoloscent battle is still as fresh as it was the day it happened.  That day, I swore I would never allow someone to physically assault me again - at least without properly defending myself.  Last night, the police were called to keep me from unleashing thirty years of shock, humiliation, and grief upon my little boy.  When my broken, fragile kiddo - the one I held as a six year old foster son - placed his hard, heavy hand on my shoulder and pushed me roughly away I wanted fight back.  How dare he touch me?  I'll show him!  No, I won't.  I'll never push back.  No matter what he does to me, I can't allow that hurt girl to retaliate no matter how desperately she wants to.

I don't know how other mothers do it.  There's no key, no magic trick, or in my case - no handbook.  One day at a time.  I need to hang on to the hope that things will get better but when the ugliness shows itself again - and it will - I have to pull out the sweet, priceless memory of the first time I heard him say, "Mama, I wuv you". 

I'm doing the best that I can.  I have not failed.  As long as I'm living, my baby he'll be.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What did I just say at Starbucks?

Every night before falling asleep, Eric and I curl up and share the great triumphs, tragedies, and tear-inducing humor of the day.  Sometimes hours melt away between our giggles and quiet discussions before we realize how late it's become.  This morning, I'm rather groggier than usual.  In addition to our laughter last night, Tank - our brave and fearless dog - crouched quivering between our heads due to a large thunderstorm.  Oh, life with small critters in our bed...our lovely, wonderful bed which seems to be getting smaller by the hour.

Madeline Kahn
Last night's topic was about me.  I laugh as I type this because I realize that many of our conversations rotate around what ridiculous situations I commonly find myself in and trust me, I've been in some doozies.

I would never presume to be like the great comediennes, Madeline Kahn, Lucille Ball, or Rosanne Barr; however, if you've never met me, my personality is a bit of these three characters rolled into one.  I'm a hard duck to describe.  Truly, to know me is to love me - or not.

Rosanne Barr

I can be obnoxious.  This is a hard admission to make but I'll own it.  I'm also dramatic.  Again, I'm conceding this trait too.  I talk with my hands, make facial contortions, roll my eyes, and shamelessly insert a wee bit of exaggeration every now and again.  Add this to my relaxed Southern Californian, "Hey Dude, chill out!", 4-letter vernacular and I have a neighbor who lovingly introduces me as, "her liberal friend from California".
 
The reason for this litany is that it's occurred to me I've become quite the character at my local coffee house.  You see, I meet there on a weekly basis to catch up with a friend.  Additionally, every so often, I'll hang out there with other individuals or groups.  Yesterday I was at Starbucks twice; early in the morning and after dinner.  Now, my dear friends and blog readers, before you start judging me - I do have a life outside of drinking copious amounts of caffeine.  Amazingly, I manage to vacuum my house every once in awhile, ok - well, maybe once a month.
  
Lucille Ball

During last night's chat with my husband, I explained to him that for the first time in my many, many, far too many visits to the coffee house, I've noticed that I tend to clear entire sections away from where I'm sitting.  It's also apparent how quiet and lovely Starbucks is when I enter; baristas are brewing little cups of happiness, patrons are diligently working away at their laptops, reading material, or enjoying their own quiet, subtle chats with friends.  Oddly, everything transforms once I kick off my shoes and get settled.  Suddenly, mothers start shooing their children towards the end of the room, monitor screens slam abruptly shut, chairs rudely scrape across the floor interrupting my perfectly jovial, naughty conversations. 

I shared last night's coffee house topics with my husband and wanted his opinion on why he believed the abrupt atmospheric changes occurred.  Well, at least he thought they were funny anyway.


     


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Underdogs are the "handsome" men in life.



Underdog!!
I had the great honour last Wednesday of meeting a friend for lunch whom I hadn't seen since grade school.  In fact, I hadn't personally spoken to him since fifth grade.  God bless social networking sites.  During the past year, we managed to meet again through Facebook and hit it off immediately.  Ironically, and I didn't find this out until we were dribbling Carne Asada down our chins, he couldn't remember who I was when I "friended" him on the Web site.  I must say this information somewhat befuddled me.  I've always considered myself a rather unforgettable character. 

This is Bri (or Maria Bryant as he knew me back then).  You have to remember me!  I'm the little girl who used to hold hands with Peter in the 2nd grade?  I was the tomboy who developed boobs in Sister Mary Jose's class and ran awkwardly with my elbows pinned against my sides so they wouldn't bounce?  I was the chickie who always had something goofy to say?  No, nope, and not at all.  D'oh!  Now, isn't this awkward?

He explained that he didn't remember much of this time period.  I don't blame him.  Some of the Catholic nuns and kids were very cruel.  As an adult, it was determined that he suffered with ADHD and had severe Dyslexia as a little boy.  Also, he wore horned rimmed glasses in elementary school and was the butt of the "mean girls" jokes.  Today, he's extremely good looking (no blushing, my friend) and I know any single lady would jump at the chance to hook up with him.  He's smart, self-assured, and fun to hang out with.  How I'd love to watch the reactions of some of those mean girls if they saw him now.  I'm so proud of him.  He had a rough start but pulled himself through some horrible times.  Amazingly, he holds no grudges - except for some of the nuns but this is another blog entirely.

I've always had a habit of rooting for the underdogs.  I mentioned the 2nd grade, hand-holding romance earlier.  This little boy was also the subject of classroom gossip and teasing.  Why?  For so many reasons it's sad to recount but one in particular was that he had warts.  I remember this because I was given so much grief for touching his hands.  "Oh no, Maria!  Warts are contagious.  Don't touch him!"  I refused to acknowledge such nonsense. When he gave me a little ring (probably from a box of Cracker Jack) and a special card on Valentine's Day, he sealed my devotion forever.  I met up with him and his wife at a reunion about ten years ago. He's such a nice man and his wife is lovely.  Why are kids so awful growing up??  He survived.  I'm glad for him too.

I had a discussion with my husband and friend just recently about the guys in my life.  How I'd never been interested in dating popular or extremely good looking men.  My attraction led me to funny, intelligent fellows; ones who had something quirky to say - who caught my attention.  The physical stuff; the bulging muscles, the chiseled face, the steel blue eyes..if they had some of these traits, that was nice - if not, I didn't care.  It was always the personality I fell in love with.   Looks fade eventually.  I'd rather die laughing with my partner than being worried about how good he looks in a casket.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I've been blessed.  Not only for the gift of my husband, Eric, but for the many experiences and loves before him.  Without these guys helping me become the maniac I am today...well, that's just it - I'm special and unique because of their funny, intelligent, interesting, and quirky personalities.  They've kept me laughing and questioning, discerning and passionate.  I'm glad I've always rooted for the underdogs, because after all...they're definitely worth it. 

P.S.  For my dear ones, and you know who you are, I pray that the women around you recognize the wonderfully quirky, loving, and incredibly handsome underdogs right before their very eyes. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My thoughts as I hurtled through the night sky...

Date:           April 9, 2012
Time:          8:06 pm MST
Location:   Somewhere, someplace far too high in the atmosphere for a human being to logically be drinking a cup of coffee.


I'm in the "friendly" skies.  Who the Hell coined this phrase?  Friendly my ass.  I'm hurtling through the air in an aluminum capsule (Are these things aluminum?  Now I'm really panicking...) flying thousands - no hundreds of miles per hour (Silly Breezy, this is not a supersonic type deal..) over the Earth.  (Where are the birds?  Damn?  Can't a single, stupid pigeon bring an entire 747 down?  Oh Hell, this is why I don't sit next to the window.)  

I'm strictly an "aisle" girl.  I clutch the arm rests pretending to be brave while secretly monitoring each bump to determine when I should pull out my handy, dandy, prescription bottle of Valium.  I try not to rely on medication especially when flying alone.  There's a very good reason for this - I get confused.  There's always a strong possibility that I may not get off the plane at my appointed destination due to my happy, calming, zen-inducing, orange pills.  I could easily sleep through the connection and instead of hopping off at Denver International, I'd find myself discombobulated at Chicago Midway.

This has also been a tough week for my digestive track.  I've been battling the flu in California.  I'm fairly certain I'm over it; however, just prior to leaving my sister's house, I had a rather unfortunate incident in the restroom.  At this precise moment, my stomach is making sounds louder than a freight train.  On a positive note - and there are very few as I write this - the plane engines are louder.  No one but my sweet, merciful Lord, my dearest God in Heaven, and I are aware of my conundrum.  Add to the fact that I ate - in its entirety - a garlic chicken with pesto panini just prior to boarding this crowded plane (with only two restrooms), well then...I'm in a bit of a dilemma.  Can I possibly hold it?  Perhaps, but only if I don't take a Valium which of course is a muscle relaxant.  No explanation necessary here.


TV Entertainer and Bri's Personal Fantasy:
Mike Rowe
We're getting ready to descend over the majestic and magnificent Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  For those of you, my dear friends and blog readers, who've flown east into Denver, perhaps you'll understand this flyer's next 15 minutes of panic.  Once the descent begins, there are pockets of air pressure which sometimes make for impressive turbulence even for the most seasoned of travellers.  I dread this part of the flight.  This is usually when I'm either blissfully unaware of my connecting flight to Chicago Midway or clutching my Rosary beads begging forgiveness for last night's naughty dream of Mike Rowe.

Oops, here we go!   Time to find my prayer beads.  I'm not certain they'll help this time.  Last night's dream was a doozy. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why Breezy, what great big boobs you have!

"Why Grandma, what big teeth you have!"  Duh!  Now I suppose I should cut Little Red Riding Hood some slack because after all, she was a dumb kid hopping about in the forest wearing a red hooded cloak. Now, who makes this fashion faux pas anyway?  Obviously, a stupid, silly girl not recognizing her nemesis, the wolf, in her grandmother's clothing waiting to pounce on her as an hors d’œuvre.

I absolutely hate it when people state the obvious.  I have a friend who was the best man at my first wedding.  He's 7 feet 2 inches tall (please correct me dear if I'm wrong) and it's completely incomprehensible to me when some moron says, "Hey dude, you're tall!"  Really?  How does said moron have the gall to utter such a ridiculous phrase?  If I were my friend, I'd want to squish the pest like the inconsequential mosquito that he is.  However; I'm not my friend and yet, I get it.  I understand the awkwardness of the situation because I - in my own way - have also struggled to overcome a couple of obvious physical attributes which have haunted this tomboy for years.

I know I've mentioned my bust size before.  It's no secret.  I'm not ashamed of it any longer.  Yet, when I was a kid in grade school, I was mortified by their continuously burgeoning cup size.  What made it more distressing was that I lived in a family where teasing about anything and everything was the standard.  Cruel words and nastiness were flung out as quickly as pokes and punches.  I could take the physical stuff but when an older, thinner sibling called me a fat heifer or a pig, I found my arms starting to wrap around my growing chest.  I wanted to hide the fact that I was becoming larger breasted than my sisters.  There was something wrong with me.  I started to believe the words.  I wanted to hide beneath layers of clothing.  I didn't want to be seen in dresses or bathing suits.  I started mutilating my body; first with food.  By the time I entered high school, I weighed over two hundred pounds.  I had no self-worth.  I allowed men to assault me and did not report the crimes.  I believed I would never deserve or have anyone better. 

Throughout the years, I went on incredibly strict or insane diets.  I lost the physical weight but my mind was never convinced that the fat girl was gone.  People would tell me how beautiful I was and yet I believed they were trying to be nice - lying to spare my feelings.  I didn't see a beautiful face looking back in the mirror, only an insignificant, fat slob.  The fourth in a line of five children; the first was smart as a whip and funny, the second was the oldest son and athletic, the third was the beauty, the fourth, me -- mediocre in everything I attempted.  Finally, the fifth, eleven years later - he is the final and the best of us all.

I don't cry often as I blog.  Perhaps, I place myself in another realm, another space and type from outside the heart where it doesn't effect me; however, this evening I'm surrounded by my siblings.  Old hurts have come pouring out.  Even when I think they've been healed by years of therapy, one of two comments about the enormity of my breasts - lighthearted jokes my mother insists - have brought my arms folded tightly against myself once again. 

By the way, the second mutilation was the cutting.  When I was thin, though certain I was still tremendously fat, I would pull out tweezers and start tearing at the sides of my breasts.  I had - and still have - several tweezers hidden throughout my house for those desperate moments when I feel the compulsive need to pick at myself.  I had to leave my tweezers in Colorado due to the flight to California.  I found a pair of tweezers yesterday in the bathroom.  Tonight, after the last lighthearted joke and watching home movies of me as a little girl sitting quietly in the background, trying to hide from the camera, I was desperate to find those tweezers and start ripping at myself once again.    

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cause and Effect. The snowball that created the avalanche.

One lousy event; one miserable moment can start a snowball effect so horrible, so out of control, that one might as well just lie down and roll with the avalanche.

Cause and effect. This is the only way I can possibly describe Monday’s awful, terrible, chain of events. The irony was, I was partially responsible. I was, in a sense, daring Karma to bring it on.  “God,” I repeatedly asked, “can it get any worse?” I couldn't hear the snow crackling in the distance.  No.  Not at all.  I was constantly whining and weeping over the current calamity at hand.

I’ll take you back over 48 hours ago to Monday morning, April 2nd, 2012. My thirteen-year old, 153 pound, Aspergian son determined that he wanted a longer Spring break from school. The best way, in his mind, to avoid returning to 8th grade was to trap himself underneath his bed. I wasn’t falling for it. My maternal instincts told me that if my genius son could squeeze that big ole' body under his bed, he was going to squeeze that big ole' body out.

Screaming that he was stuck and I was a horrible mother for not collapsing in fear did not persuade me in the slightest to call 911. I merely explained that his breakfast was getting cold and warm (in that order) downstairs. Nothing inspires my kiddo more than hot food getting cold and cold food getting warm especially when it comes to Pop-Tarts, orange slices, and a cup of milk. Within moments, a miracle occurred in Thornton, Colorado!  Austynn Potts appeared in my kitchen without serious bodily injury; however, there was one small problem, he did not adhere to the house rules before coming down; he was not dressed and ready for school.

“I HATE THOSE RULES! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO BACK UPSTAIRS! I WON’T DO..”

“Get upstairs this very minute before I eat your Pop Tart AND DON’T YOU DARE USE THAT TONE OF VOICE WITH ME, DUDE!” I guess I wasn’t in the mood for Austy's sass on Monday. He ran upstairs screaming in terror. My bellow can sometimes have that effect on him.

Until 8:15am he hid in his closet refusing to cooperate. I completely ignored the situation. I knew what my next move was. At 8:16am, I very calmly, yet loudly stated; “Austynn, you have 9 minutes to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, and get ready for school. At 8:30am, either I’ll be driving you or the Thornton Police will drop you off.” At 8:30am we were on our way to school.

Following that lovely exercise in nastiness, I had a hair appointment at 9:00am. My friend, who normally styles and colors my hair, is on vacation so it was necessary to schedule with someone new. This was truly the beginning of my avalanche. Obviously, my morning had started out rough. I was looking forward to a quiet couple of hours getting my hair done and then settling into the day - picking up the house, working on laundry, and packing for my trip. All my plans flew out the proverbial window with the crackling of snow up above.  Dammit, I still couldn't hear it.

I have no problem with anyone being late for my appointments. In fact, I'm notoriously late myself so when my stylist showed up 20 minutes past due, I was ok with it. My issue was when she walked in with no apology, no recognition, nothing. I went with it.  The owner of the hair shop is a friend of mine. I’ve been going to her shop for years and I could tell that she wasn't happy with her employee. When the stylist asked me what I wanted to have done, I tried to explain the color and style as best I could.  She didn't understand and didn't hesitate to let me know it.  She was awful to the extent of being rude. She walked away almost disgusted with me. No, absolutely not acceptable. I told my friend and owner to please reschedule me later in the day with someone else. She knew that I was beyond annoyed.

As I was stepping out of the hair shop, my boot caught a crack in the cement and I went down. Not a little slip, but a full on, down-goes-Bri-knees-over-ankles-fall. As I laid there contemplating how ridiculous I looked on the sidewalk, my friend the store owner and her husband came running out to check on me.  Did the hairstylist in question show any concern?  I think not.  This was just the beginning of a seriously fucked up (pardon my Sudanese) day.

After years of breaking and spraining this same ankle, I’ve become very proficient at how to take care of it before it becomes a major inconvenience – which, might I add – it already had. The moment I came home, I put it up with ice, took Ibuprofen, and stayed off of it for the rest of the afternoon. I laid on my bedroom recliner with a bowl of buttered popcorn for lunch (a terrible no-no for my personal sewage system but was the only thing I could make on my foot) and watched hours of afternoon TV re-runs in tears. I hated that stylist. I cursed her name. I secretly hoped upon hope that she was having as bad a day as I was having. More metaphorical crackling overhead.  I called Eric and wept to him. I was pathetic.

Since the only other available appointment was at an inconvenient time during the afternoon, I did what all selfish, horrible mothers do..I took my youngest out of school early to accommodate my needs. YES I DID!  He’s in a Special Education Class so for all of you mothers out there tsk, tsk'ing me, please hold your tongues. Besides, it did come back to bite me in the ass, Karma that is.

My day was getting a little better. I was attempting to find my quiet, serene pond of still, blue water.  The awful stylist must have been sent home because when I arrived she was gone. My foot was still aching but the swelling was down.  The new stylist was a sweetheart and did a great job. Things were looking up. Wheew..was I dodging the proverbial cosmic bullet?  No, I spoke too soon.

When Eric came home, he was a love and picked up some tacos for dinner. The avalanche started to roll again but this time it was in an oh-my-God-what-is-happening-to-my-stomach? sort of way. Before bedtime, my stomach started to toss and turn like a great rocking sea. The boys started arguing. Go away! Leave me alone! Stop looking at me!  I hadn't started the laundry.  I hadn't packed for my trip the next day. Oh, gosh. I’m going to be sick!!

From 8:00pm to 4:00am I was hovering between my bed, a bucket, and the toilet. By the time I finished, my final contribution was…yes, that's right - buttered popcorn. I finally heard the thunderclap of snow sliding down above me.  I broke into uncontrollable sobs.

“What’s wrong now, sweetie?”

“Oh Eric. Banshee just arrived!”