Thursday, May 31, 2012

Eric Potts truly married a lunatic!

I have a quirky, yet oftentimes bizarre sense of humor.  I believe it's this very thing which keeps my marriage sizzling hot.  Ouch!! 

Of course, Eric knew this when he married me. If he didn't know this goofy side of my personality we'd probably be divorced by now.  Either he has to adore my zaniness or absolutely hate it.  I'll give you, my dear friends and blog readers, an example of something I've done in the past which has caused uproarious laughter between the two of us; however, I am attaching a warning to this story.  I've already mentioned I'm silly but can also be...well, a little gross.  I also like umm, well...hmmm...a wee bit of bathroom humor (pardon the pun) from time to time sooo if this sort of business offends you, stop reading my blog now.  If not - continue at your own risk (but it's not really that bad).

When Eric and I were first married, before the kids were adopted, my dear one would sometimes comment on the way home that he desperately needed to use the toilet.  To be a brat, even when I didn't have to go, I'd run into the house giggling hysterically, charge to the closest bathroom, and lock the door.  I'd hear him park the car, screaming in anguish, cursing and laughing, run upstairs, and just barely take care of his business.

As the years progressed or we'd be at home, I would chase him and try to beat him to the bathroom door.  It became a race as to who would get to the restroom first.  As he slammed the door in my face, I'd wait a few seconds and then startle him half to death in "mid-stream" causing him to jump and spray the walls, floor, or toilet.  My laughter could be heard resonating down the street and of course that would make him laugh too.  There were also times he would be doing the other business and he'd yell at me to give him some privacy; however, I'd simply ignore him and talk about the weather or rise and fall of the stock market.

Eventually my man caught on.  He took all of the door keys and would lock the commode behind him.  Sometimes, just to hear his wonderful giggle, I'd torment him, never say a word and instead merely jiggle the door handle making scratching sounds like I was a cat wanting to come inside.

At some point during our marriage - and for whatever reason -  we purchased a mouth cleaning kit with a small mirror dentists use in order to look into the back of mouths.  I once placed it under his bathroom door in order to hear his laughter.  Of course I couldn't see anything but I heard what I wanted.  I love Eric's laugh. 

After this last incident, my husband teasingly promised that I would never "watch him use the toilet again".  "Hmm...was this so??"  I thought to myself.  So, unbeknown to the love of my life, I took the following pictures and taped them to the bathroom walls:




I showed him, didn't I!








   

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Forward March!

Here I go!  There's no turning back now.  I've got the bug.  I stood in front of an audience and for better or worse, I got a taste of making an ass out of myself.

Last night I went to an open mike amateur night at a Denver lounge.  The show started at midnight and it's hailed as one of the toughest crowds in town.  Whoever wrote this review wasn't foolin' around.  I went because I wanted to see what it was about.  Knowing it's a rough show and I'd like to get into stand-up, I thought I should scope it out first.  Absolute craziness.

First of all, I'm a dork.  I'm a middle-age housewife from the 'burbs.  What was I thinking?!  I walked into the bar looking extremely frumpy in my $5 Walmart sweater and cowboy boots.  Right off the bat, a woman approached me and told me my partner, a neighbor and older friend who came with me, looked extremely sexy.  Nice.  Where the Hell was my compliment?  I couldn't even turn-on an old lesbian.  It was going to be a ball buster of a night which is always amusing when one has no balls to begin with. 

Everyone else in the place looked like they were too young to be there.  The girls' dresses were so high I swore I could see pubic hair and so low I looked away to avoid pending wardrobe malfunctions; however, I must admit that the old lesbian was quite focused.  If I'm not mistaken, the young "ladies" had pretty little stencils painted on their faces like they'd been to some sort of street carnival beforehand.  It must be some new fad.  Whatever.  I thought it was totally goofie but then again I wore feathers in my day...oh, wait that's back in style now.  Oops, so sorry.

After I ordered a mixed drink and being extremely impressed that the dude knew how to make it since it wasn't a beer, I started thinking, "Really, how hard can standing up in front of a bunch of drunken, rude kids be?"  I should have thought that through a little clearer but by this point the Vodka had already settled into my upper front cortex.

Fortunately for me, it was amateur night.  AND, other than one or two guys, everyone else who attempted humor before me didn't fair too well.  AND, really - what did I have to lose?  Just my dignity.  I couldn't do any worse than these other fools?  Could I?  Not in my Vodka addled non-reasoning brain I couldn't.  So, I did it. I made the jump out of the plane without the proverbial parachute; either land on my feet or die trying.

I didn't have any huge guffaws but I didn't have any hisses or boos either.  No tomatoes were thrown.  I made eye contact.  I had some audience participation.  I had some applause.  AND I found the bug.  I am now an amateur; an amateur hoping to one day get paid to make a total ass out of myself.  I've been doing it for years.  I can only improve with time. 



   

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"I'ma good girl, I am!"

"I'ma good girl, I am!" 

Eliza Doolitttle
Remember this line?  Eliza Doolittle screeched it out to Professor 'Enry 'Iggins several times during one of their first encounters in the movie, My Fair Lady.  Well, she was a good girl.  Bri Potts, not so much.

As a teenager I must admit, I was a wee bit naughty.  I didn't want to be.  In other words, I didn't lay awake nights planning wild orgies or ways to fire bomb my school.  No, nothing like that.  I left those sorts of things up to my older siblings.  I just wanted to have some fun, live a little - feel alive, be free.  What was wrong with that?  Nothing, but of course if my sixteen year old son were to consider doing any of the things I did as a teen, I would absolutely kill him.

My poor parents.  I've mentioned in some of my prior blogs that I was the fourth of five kiddos.  The youngest was always asleep in the back of the house when the rollicking madness went on.  In fact, I can't even remember Jimmy being an issue back then.  Good grief.  Was I even aware that I had a baby brother?  This is rather disconcerting to me now that I think about it.  Wasn't I supposed to be babysitting him??  Hmmm...I refuse to let my Catholic guilt take hold of me in this late stage of life. 

When I say "parties" I'm not implying an open house, hundreds of kids hanging drunk out of windows, and having miscellaneous sex in bedrooms.  No, not at all.  I was naughty, but not like that.  I had a small to mid-sized group of friends, male and female, who liked to drink (some smoked) and "hang out".  We were actually pretty good kids considering what we were doing at the time.

Needless to say, my mom and dad would not have approved.  God NO!  These "parties" usually happened when either they'd go out for an evening and/or I'd have a slumber party.  My parents owned a very large Ranch-style home in Southern California and the backyard was against a riverbed.  The moment the adults left or went to bed, the guys would come through the backyard, around the pool, and up to the family room where the girls were.  When my parents were gone for the evening, it didn't matter, the boys just needed to leave by a certain time or hide in the back room.

My parties were a huge success up until one fateful Drama Club fundraising event.  As it turned out, one of the guy's mothers went to the same high school with my mom.  Small world, right?  Who knew?  As they were chatting away, Craig's mom mentioned what a wonderful time he had at my parties.

My mother: "Maria, this is Craig's mom and she says he always has a great time at your parties."

Deep swallow.  Uh oh.  "Yeah, mom.  You know, everyone does.  They're very nice parties and my friends really, really behave themselves."

"Well then, I guess we'll have to talk about this later, won't we?"

Catholic School Uniforms
"Yep."

That was the end of some awesome parties at my house. I was grounded for weeks after that incident but the naughtiness just seemed to burn hotter as I got older.  It must have had something to do with 12 years of private school uniforms...I'm certain of it!    







Monday, May 28, 2012

I didn't want the story to end.

His name was James Hartlieb.  He was always getting into trouble and always getting hurt.  Good looking too. Wherever he went the girls would stop and look his way.  He was Bernice's favorite brother, her younger brother, and she couldn't stop smiling when he was around.  Jimmy always had something "stupid" to say but it didn't matter because whatever it was he knew it would made everyone laugh.  He lit up a room with his personality.  He was "cheeky".  He was a "Jack Ass".  He was perfect.

He was his mother's favorite too, most likely his dad's as well though they'd never admit it.  He was the kid on the block everyone loved.  "There goes that Jimmy, wonder what he's been up to..?" was always on folk's minds but never without a chuckle.  He could do all sorts of mischief but somehow it was ok when he was behind it.  After all, with a wink and a grin, who could resist that handsome mug?

When the second World War broke out, it was chaos.  Southern California, especially the Port of Long Beach, was adrift in Navy ships and military maneuvers.  The Hartlieb family lived in the heart of this city.  Bernice and her brothers found it exciting; however, her parents knew that their sons would soon enlist with the rest of the nation's finest and they were right.  The boys were were ready to go almost as soon as the bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor

Bernice never worried about her older brother, Robert.  She knew instinctively he would be fine.  But Jimmy, no - not him.  He couldn't stay away from danger.  It seemed to follow him like a cloud on a rainy day so when the week before Jim was set to be shipped off, he was in a car wreck, a bad one - she almost sighed a sigh of relief.

"Ok, good.  He wasn't killed.  He was banged up pretty badly.  He was drinking, the fool, and wrecked his car, but at least he wasn't dead - the Jack Ass."

Did that stop him from going off to fight?  No.  He was determined and was up on his feet in no time.  With his classic grin and a kiss goodbye to mother and sister, he boarded his US Coast Guard ship never to see his family again.

Bernice, was Eric's Grandmother.  Eric is my husband.  Bernice, Grammy, passed away just last week.  She used to share this story with me often before I moved to Colorado.  Whenever she got to the point in the story where her brother's ship was torpedoed, she would have a tear in her eye.  She said she just knew he would never come back.  "Kids like Jimmy never did."  

Her mother, Eric's Great Grandmother, was a Gold Star Mother during World War II.  This was a club formed shortly after World War I to provide support for women who had lost sons or daughters in the war.  She was given a flag to hang in her window and a pin to wear as a symbol of honor for her loss.  Grammy always spoke of this and about her mother's deep sorrow for the loss of her son. 

I didn't want to go to bed tonight without sharing this piece of family history.  Goodnight my dear friend, Bernice.  I wanted to make sure Jimmy's story continued.  I thought this would make you happy. 
All my love, Bri.


 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Let's give them something to talk about...

As many of you know, I find myself more often than I care to admit, playing Bingo with a dear friend on Friday or Saturday evenings.  Now personally, I find this appalling and I don't hesitate in telling her so.  We are both moderately young, healthy, and attractive women.  Why in God's name are we sitting in a run down Bingo hall eating corn dogs?  This is tragic. We should be at one of Denver's country western bars shaking our booties at tall, rugged cowboys not sitting with the oxygenated infirmed waiting for B11 to be broadcast over loud speakers.  Also - as I'm in the habit of doing when I'm annoyed after losing several close games - I voiced this opinion again last night and rather loudly while sitting across from several of these poor oxygenated, infirmed folks.

This is not how one makes friends at a Bingo hall.  There are certain protocols which must be adhered to at all time:

Never call "Bingo" inadvertently.  This is considered a terrible faux pas.  Depending on the situation, it can lead to significant shame and hissing from other players.

Even if it's the "Big One" - The Progressive Jackpot - one mustn't act smug or superior after winning.  This shows that you're an undeserving ass and no one will ever be happy for you if you win again.

Never talk openly about fun or interesting topics like sex, parties, or drinking.  This proves that you are a person with loose moral standards.  Once this happens, there's no redemption in the eyes of your table partners even if you do offer a periodic blessing when someone sneezes.

Do not be overzealous when calling, "Bingo".  Last night a gentleman had proven himself to be a "clown" and a "shameless idiot" because he had the unmitigated audacity to bellow out his win.  During this point of the evening all pace makers were set on low.  Being a "regular", he certainly should have known better.  The startle factor was enough to set off their panic alarms which - I must say - I found extremely amusing.

Never, ever - regardless of how funny the prior situation was - start laughing when the other players considered it unamusing.  Perhaps it was the bulging blue eyeballs of the old woman when the bellower jolted her awake?  Or could it have been the squeal of the big lady across the hall as her knee automatically reflexed and bruised the corner of the table?  Either way, it was too much for me to contain.  I had the giggles.  My shoulders could not stop shaking.  No matter how many wrinkled or puffy, overstuffed, surly faces stared down at me, I could not stop chortling.  I believe I even snorted at one point, which was apropos, because I was in the middle of shoveling down that damned corn dog...

I can't say I've broken all of the parlour protocols yet.  Since I'm a perpetual Bingo loser, I have yet to scream out my joy at any major win much less gloat over a jackpot but I can say with all certainty that if I do hit the "Big One", I'm gonna stand up, do some nasty dancin', and give those old folks something to talk about...and then shake my bootie on over to a country western bar.


 




Saturday, May 26, 2012

Revisiting "The House at Pooh Corner"

Oh the things we hold on to from our childhood...sorry my friends and blog readers, today's ramble is a jaunt down memory lane. 

As I was sipping my enormous bowl of candy bar in a cup - which, might I add, I was forced to make myself this fine Saturday morning (Hmm umm, Eric - the love of my life refused to be my slave and get up on his day off to bring me it in bed, the bastard.  We'll see who suffers later...*wink*) - I heard my son listening to a "Winnie-the-Pooh" cartoon in the background.

Austynn is 13 years old soon to be 14; however, behaviorally he's more like a kiddo of 9.  This startles me because in the fall he'll be a freshman in high school.  God bless him.  Anyway, I digress.

When I was a little girl, after the Peanuts characters, Winnie-the-Pooh was my second favorite cartoon series.  I had the records, watched the movies on the big screen, and knew the songs by heart.  In fact, just the other day I was holding a friend's baby and found myself singing the old familiar tune, "Little Black Rain Cloud".  It brought a smile to my face as I remembered dancing to the song with an open Christopher Robin umbrella on a rainy day.  I was in my pajamas, running a high temperature, and was home sick from school.  I may have felt awful but I played the big 33 vinyl disk over and over again on my orange Mattell record player until it lifted my spirits like Winnie's balloon.  Eventually exhaustion and sleep overtook me.


Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, even Eeyore; they were my playmates as a child.  I hopped about with Tigger because of course, "Tigger was wonderful fun".  I lamented with Eeyore over everything.  I just wanted the poor fellow to be happy - just once.  And Piglet!  Everyone deserved a best friend like him. 

Thank you for wandering back in time with me today.  I was under my own little black rain cloud and the cartoon music lifted my spirits.  Sometimes visiting with old friends and remembering the good times are enough to make my candy bar in a cup taste just right again - even if I did have to make it myself.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Camp Breezy is Open for Business

Yesterday I wrote, edited, and hesitated on posting a sad blog.  Did any of you, my dear friends and blog readers, lay eyes on it?  Nope.  Only me.  With the miracle of modern technology, I woke up, looked at my draft box, and without a moment's hesitation, hit the delete key.  Poof!  Gone.  An hours worth of rambling evaporated into nothingness.  Thank goodness.

Today is Friday - AND the Friday before a three day weekend - AND the first full Friday of my boys' summer vacation with nowhere to go and nothing planned.  Now, if this doesn't scare the crap out of me and cause me to write a sad blog, I don't know what would.  Yet, I'm going to try and stay positive.  Due to yesterday's sour mood, I went to sleep at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I have plenty of energy to face the daunting challenge of the months ahead.  I'm ready (I think) to face the noisy, uncertain summer with vigor and a positive mental attitude.  Here I go...

Unlike past summers where I prepared prize shelves with lights and ribbons and celebratory signs for positive behaviors, I have yet to come up with a single concept on how to get my boys through a day without calling me or each other nasty names.  Uh oh, I better start my strategy now.

Also, by this time I'd have monthly calendars charted as to what activities the boys are doing and where they're going to be on any given day.  Unfortunately, I have not done this yet.  Where have my organizational skills gone?  I used to be so adept at "Camp Breezy".  Now, I sit here idly slurping my candy bar in a cup (also known as, my morning bowl of coffee) pondering the loss of my once excellent skill set. 

It's also extremely important for kiddos on the autistic spectrum to know exactly what they're supposed to be doing from one hour to the next.  There should be no grey area, no surprises.  Because of this, I always have a daily schedule posted on the refrigerator.  Their therapist recommended this to me years ago and it's truly been a God send.  The schedule is extremely rigid but once it's in place, there's no wavering and what's better - there's usually no arguing.

Breakfast is always at 8:00am sharp or Austynn has a complete meltdown.  Deep breath.  Find my calm, relaxing pool of still, blue water.

Yes, summer has begun.  Camp Breezy is officially open for business whether this camp leader is ready for it or not.  Let the merriment begin!
   

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Let's talk about something personal...

You know what I absolutely love?  I love sitting down in a new or awkward environment with a complete stranger and having the world's most intimate yet informal conversation.  I simply ADORE this.  What makes it more fun is in the evening, when my dear one, my sweet, loving husband asks, "Anything interesting happen today?" and I'll say very matter-of-factly, "Yes, I talked about personal shaving techniques while my dental hygienist was flossing my teeth."

The reaction is exactly what I expect - uproarious laughter.

I don't know what it is about me which draws this information out of people.  Perhaps it's my extremely relaxed attitude.  Very little shocks me and everything has the capacity to make me laugh.  This just may be what folks pick up on when they start sharing their funky secrets in my ear. 

For example, yesterday's 5-razor, bathing suit, shaving discussion.  I believe the gal picking my gums had no problem sharing her horrifying dilemma because I empathized (between mouth spits) that I too have suffered many an hour and multiple razors - not to mention the agonizing ingrown hairs - before having to squeeze my ass into the first swimsuit of the season.  I let this woman know, before she shared the worst of the worst, that I understood what she'd been through and admitted to the hilarity of the situation.

Life is disgusting.  I have an uncanny way of bringing the gross stuff out of perfect strangers.  Why?  I believe it has a lot to do with my time spent working as an aide in nursing homes, a personal home health care professional, and later as a patient volunteer with Hospice.  My opinion is that our time on this Earth is far too short to be uptight about it.  It's messy, and dirty, and smelly, and yes - sometimes a wee bit uncomfortable.  We all have the same business.  We're all made with the same bits and pieces.  In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? 

When I had to assist people in their most intimate moments, I didn't care who they were when they were younger, how much money they once made, or how many people (God forbid) bowed down to them in their lifetime - what mattered to me was who they were as we were standing face to face, then and there.  I would look into their eyes and see someone I chose to love; someone who earned my respect and carried themselves with grace, dignity, and humility.

So you see, I've learned to live life day to day and with a great sense of humor.  I've seen many friends pass away; some beautifully, others refusing to let go, hanging on to every last breath in their body.  Either way, it's a precious thing - this gift of breathing.  I'm annoyed to think of how often my bi-polar has gotten the best of me.  But for today, today I'm loving life.  I'll breathe it in and laugh at the complete silliness of it.  Who knows, perhaps if I have enough razors I'll even consider shaving my sassy legs. 




Monday, May 21, 2012

Mrs. Potts: Today's Modern Homemaker...NOT!

Why do I feel guilty about doing things I want to do?  I mean seriously?  There are a lot of us homemaker parents/partners in the world who feel ashamed when we take a day off, scratch that, even a few hours to do what we want to do.  I think a survey should be taken here to find out why we feel so damned awful about it.

I personally will answer for myself.  I feel like a schmuck.  You see, my husband is wonderful.  He gets up and he hates it (who wouldn't), to a job he's not particularly enamoured with (if his boss reads my blogs, ignore this comment or please give him a raise), and spends his day in front of a dull computer screen or on the phone listening to idiots complain about sitting in front of dull computer screens. When I did this stuff, I hated it too (but I simply ADORED my co-workers - well, most of them anyway).

Now, there are some people who would say that since I'm the stay-at-home half of the relationship, I should have a spotless house, dinner on the table, finances in order, clean, healthy, happy, non-crazy rug rats, an organized schedule, and a libido ready to match Casanova's (my young readers are thinking, "Who'z dat and when can I get me sum?").  I do my best and have even been known to attempt the Betty Crocker, "...meet me in the bedroom after supper, 'cause I'm wearing nothing but my apron..." deal.  On a regular basis; however, I have dinner almost made, the house is kind of picked up, I'm exhausted from running around town from various appointments or sorting out the boys' various autism issues, and the Casanova deal...(I'm grinning as I type this), there's always room for that in my life.  Hmm...perhaps that's why my man sticks around?

I mentioned a moment ago that my husband, Eric is wonderful.  Yes, he is special in that he works hard to support his family but he also understands that my work load shouldn't extend beyond the time he spends at the office.  When he comes home to my amazing meal of Hamburger Helper topped with a ridiculous amount of pre-bagged, store bought shredded cheese and a side of fattening, butter laden, artery clogging garlic bread he actually says, "That smells good."  After dinner, he takes over.  My solo parenting day is officially over and what's nicer, no more housework for me.  Eric does the dinner dishes and oversees school lunches for the next day (deep sigh of relief).

When the dishes are done and lunches are taken care of, my husband and I are a team in all things "home" related.  This includes weekend work as well.  If we're having a party and I, for some reason or another, couldn't get the housework done during the week, everyone pitches in - no bitching, complaining, or pointing fingers at mom allowed.

So, let me reiterate, do I have the right to feel guilty when I want to stretch my body out in the sunshine and take a nap at 3:00 in the afternoon?  Today, I think not.  Sorry Eric, my schmuckdom is seriously overtaking me...




  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

one last cup of coffee...

In our lives there are people who come along completely unexpected, leaving lasting impressions and weaving magical imprints of friendship upon our hearts.  I'm fortunate to have several but one in particular is preparing to leave this place and she's taking a delicate piece of me with her.

I met this friend at a 50th Wedding Anniversary, her own actually, many years ago.  I had just successfully managed to spill brown gravy down the front of my white, knit sweater.  For those of you who personally know me or follow my blogs on a regular basis, you're aware it's unnecessary to bring any additional attention to my burgeoning chest size.  It was particularly important at this party because my fiance, Eric, was introducing me to the entire side of his mother's family.  Add the additional pressure that I was my dear one's first and only great love, well - there was a huge amount of curiosity about me.  Yes, that's right...the overweight girl with the huge blob of brown gravy down her enormous breasts.

"You must be Bri?"  I'd never seen so many wrinkles in my life but every one of them lit up with her smile.  I knew this must be Eric's Grandmother.

"The one and only.  It's so nice to meet you."

"Well, what are ya doin' standing over here in the corner?"

She was right on the money.  I was doing my best to hide behind a large, flowering urn in the restaurant's patio but either the urn was too small or my hips were too big.  I told her the truth, "I spilled some gravy on my boobs and I'm in hiding."

Her eyes opened wide like big, blue marbles and then she said very matter-of-factly, "Oh Hell, at least you have boobs to spill gravy on!"  She laughed - a warm, deep, smoker's laugh.  I was in love.

I believe things happen for a reason; that life doesn't take us places without a plan.  When Eric and I eventually bought our first home, we were within 15 minutes of Grammy (my nickname for Bernice).  Her only son, Eric's Uncle Jim, who had been born with Down Syndrome, lived in a group home less than 8 minutes from us.  During our ten years in Aliso Viejo, California, my husband and I were able to spend quality time every week with both of them.  On his way home from work, Eric would pick the two up and we'd have family meals together.  Other times, we would take her son back home for a visit. 

When Grammy had been placed in a rehabilitation hospital after a series of falls, amazingly - she was located 5 minutes away from my work place.  I would purchase cups of coffee (strong, lots of cream - NO SUGAR!) for Bernice and I would spend my lunch hours with her.  I looked forward to these alone times;  just the two of us.  There were days when I felt sorry for myself but she wouldn't let me get away with it.  She'd just laugh at me (which now that I think about it, I know where my husband gets it from).  Her favorite response was, "Bri, it will always work itself out in the end."

Well, Grammy - the brown gravy never came out of that damn sweater, but I hated it anyway.  As far as everything else, I'm just taking things one day at a time and trying to relax.  I wish I could be there for you  but you'll be home with Grandpa and Jimmy soon.  Thank you for the laughter, your friendship, and our special coffee breaks. 

By the way, I don't think it will bother you now if I say I saw your dentures pop out of your mouth at the bowling alley and that yes, your Grandson, Eric - my husband - is still a jack ass.  You were always right about that one.  I love you.











 





Friday, May 18, 2012

The Infamous Pickle Incident

It's not that I've run out of things to write about - no!  I have an amazing supply of historical comedy if I could just remember what filing cabinet my brain has tucked it away in.  I'm serving the middle slice on my birthday cake.  45 can be such a stifling age and yet it's lovely in some ways.  For instance, when someone screams an obscenity at me I have more impressive words and I'm brazen enough to toss them without hesitation; however, my memory tends to get a little hazy requiring some assistance from time to time.

With this said, I asked my kiddos what I should write about today.  They shouted in unison (which, might I add, is extremely unusual for my boys), the "Infamous Pickle Incident". Well, that settled it.

No one initially knows they're crazy.  Perhaps the word, "crazy" is a little harsh.  Insane?  No.  That's not good either.  Ok, let me try this again, mentally unstable.  I didn't realize I had a mental health problem until I moved to Colorado.  I knew I had issues with anxiety attacks and depression; however, I thought they were random. 

I do recall having a very dark side growing up.  It was at its worst when I was alone.  I could drop my "happy" mask and just be me.  I would sit for hours in my mother's formal sitting room and listen to the Grandfather Clock tick away.  I wrote poems of how I couldn't escape my feelings of emptiness and despair.  I can't recall how many times I poured my father's blood pressure medication into my hand and thought about taking it.  The only thing that stopped me was my concern that it wouldn't be enough and I would end up a vegetable on life support.  My only other option was a gun which we didn't have in the house.

I wanted a stable environment.  I wanted everyone happy, everything quiet.  I hated fighting and I could not stand the screaming.  When there was laughter, wonderful.  FANTASTIC!  But when the Bryant house erupted into chaos, I wanted to make everyone happy; everyone calm.  Impossible.  I tried to hide but like a storm, the rages blew into every room and touched everyone.

As I got older, friends and food comforted me.  In public, I was a clown.  In private, I retreated behind my bedroom door.  I didn't want to be seen or heard.  I ate my food quietly; bags upon bags of fast food.  I consumed enough fried crap - every night - to feed a family of four.  By the time I finished the first two combination meals, I wasn't aware I'd even tasted them.  When I shoved the last bag of onion rings into my mouth, I wanted to vomit but didn't because I might stir up a storm.  I couldn't have that.  No one must know I was home.

Fast forward to Eric, myself, and our two adopted boys years later in the suburbs of north Denver, Colorado.  By this point, I had become a stay at home mom.  Our kiddos' diagnosis' had made it fairly clear that it would be difficult with their myriad of needs and appointments to ever work outside our home again.  With this said, I was alone with my thoughts again.  Those ugly demons from my youth suddenly started to rear their heads with the ticking of my own clock in my own sitting room.

Eric and I had two very behaviorally challenged, adopted boys who suddenly created choas in our once calm and orderly world.  Something went terribly wrong with me and I couldn't explain what it was.  I was angry one moment and laughing the next.  I was throwing things violenty around the house.  I was completely unpredictable.

One night, William was sneaking food out of the refrigerator.  In my silliness, I thought I'd sneak up and scare him a little bit.  Well, I scared him a BIG bit.  He began choking on whatever it was he'd shoved into his mouth.  Instead of doing what any natural mother would do to keep her son from turning blue, I watched in disgust as I determined there were several pickles in his mouth.  As he choked them up - and I will say in all honesty that this is one of my saddest maternal moments ever -  I was so enraged that not only had he been sneaking food, but he had the unmitigated audacity to be a piggy and shove more than three pickles in his mouth, that I threw the regurgitated food in his face. 

Yes!  HORRIBLE MOTHER!!!  The nasty, chewed pickles found their mark.  William, in his shock that one, he almost choked to death, two, that his mama just threw nasty, recycled pickles at him, and three, that they were oozing slowly down the side of his face...well, he - for the first time in his ADHD life - was entirely speechless.  I actually considered having him sit down in case he became light headed.  Then I started giggling.  Then laughing.  Then my laughter became so outrageous that I starting snorting and crying simultaneously.  I couldn't stop.  The pickle juice continued dripping.

It was this particular incident and the fact that the boys started checking in with me in the morning, "Mom, how are you feeling today?", which caused me to seek mental health assistance.  I used to ask my mother this same question growing up.  It was a shock to my system.

My boys have been through enough pain in their short lives.  They need consistency and a loving, safe environment not a mother losing her marbles over a pair of socks being left on the bathroom floor.  I was diagnosed with having Bi-Polar II Mood Disorder in August of 2007.  I'm so glad I finally took the leap of faith for myself and my children.


 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I have no idea what to title this blog...COFFEE!

Halloween 2011
Who gets to draw that lucky lottery ticket in life?  It's a huge crap shoot, isn't it?  I mean, seriously what made me so fortunate?  (Uh oh...Bri is in deep contemplation mode, look out.  Pour a cup of Oolong Tea and get settled). 

I read an article about animals which mate for life the other day.  My brain is addled and I can't remember what they are.  This makes me laugh out loud.  I suppose I should get another cup of coffee - or grit my teeth and join you in that cup of tea - and attempt some research but I'm too lazy to do either.  I remember one of these critters are pigeonsWho knew?!  Wolves, maybe?  Hmmm?  Penguins, I'm certain of it.  Eric and Bri Potts, definitely.  We weren't in the article but I'm sure we could have been classified as a pair of unique mammals mated for life.

I know with as much certainty - as I'm sure I'll be breaking into the bag of Fritos in less than an hour - that I'll be happily married to Eric until one of us bites the dust.  There's no question about it.  Now, God bless my ex-husband, but when we were married there were moments when I dreamt about divorce; I longed for a reason to see us go our separate ways.  You see, when I was young I jumped the gun and bought into the fairy tale that everyone had a soul mate in life.  Well now that I'm older and wiser, I don't think this is entirely true.

Jeff and I had nothing in common when we stood in front of a Catholic priest and exchanged vows.  In fact, shame on me for even allowing it to happen.  Poor guy.  Not only was he "jonesing" for a cigarette but half the church were tried and true Wiccans.  I'm surprised God didn't strike the steeple with lightning that beautiful December morning.  I planned the whole ridiculous circus though I must say it was a very pretty event in its own hypocrisy.  Jeff and I are friends today in every sense of the word.  Odd friends, but friends none the less. I love his family and will always consider them a very special part of my life.

Soul mates are rare.  I don't believe everyone is intended to find the "perfect fit".  This sounds sad, I get it.  I used to tell people, "Just hang on, he or she is out there waiting for you."  I'm not so sure anymore.  Perhaps not everyone is meant to live "happily ever after" with a nice house in the suburbs.  Maybe some folks are meant to have several great loves in their lives.  So what if they don't have a ridiculously big wedding (and trust me ladies, it's a huge hassle and expense for a divorce four years later).  I think both options sound lovely and I believe too many people die lonely because they're waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right to pass their way or panic and make the wrong choice.

Men and women need to take a deep breath and relax.  The question I hear all the time is, "Bri, how did you know Eric was the one?"  Funny, I didn't.  I knew him for years; fourteen to be exact before God whacked me on the side of the head and said, "WAKE UP DUMB ASS!"  Then, I just knew.  I felt in the core of my being that I didn't want to spend another moment away from him; if I split a nail, had a funny joke to share, or just wanted to be - it needed to be with him. 


 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wednesday's Blog Topic: Baby Poop

Jimmy, Maria (Bri), Paul, Ellenmary, Kathleen
Christmas 1979
I tossed out a request for blog suggestions and this seems to be the hands down favorite...baby poop.  It's going to be a very good day.

I'm the fourth of five children.  The fifth and final baby was born to my parents eleven years after myself.  I wanted a dog for Christmas.  Instead, my mother had the audacity to announce I was getting a brother named, Jimmy.  Really?  This was supposed to be funny?  This was a good thing for an adolescent tomboy?  Nope.  Try again, please.

Where was this screaming, pooping bundle of obnoxiousness supposed to go anyway?  Everyone had a place in our house.  How were we possibly going to squeeze another human being into an already crowded home?  What in the heck were mom and dad possibly thinking?  Besides, how did this happen? 

Needless to say, I knew nothing about how babies were made.  I was absolutely clueless.

My dear friends and blog readers, imagine my shock and dismay when the naked bumps of a couple of Ken and Barbie dolls were unceremoniously slammed together in explanation. I was in the back of a van on the way to a Catholic school junior league volleyball game for Pete's sake!  I was not expecting this information.  It was a startling revelation to say the least.

"NOOOOO!!  My parents don't have bumps like that?!"
"My bump doesn't look like that?"
"Geesh, wouldn't that be uncomfortable?"
"That's totally DISGUSTING! "
"How does a baby happen out of that
"Is that why my mom has been wearing those stupid Hawaiian Muumuus lately?"

So many questions left unasked, unanswered, or totally and completely communicated ass backwards.  No wonder I wandered through most of my early sexual years completely baffled.

On Easter weekend, 1978, my brother James Robert came home.   He was raised by five people; his parents, Richard and Maryellen, three sisters, Ellenmary (age 16), Kathleen (age 13), Maria (myself - also known as, Bri - age 11), and brother Paul (age 14).  What a crazy, mixed up family this little boy grew up in.  Surprisingly, he seems to have turned out alright. 

Of course, he suffered through all the major indignities; being dropped on his head (that would be my fault, times two), dressed like a sissy in mini tuxedos (mom owns this one), and having acquired the talent of sucking his thumb while publicly twiddling his "woohoo" up to the awkward and tender age of three.  The horrifying part is that we - his siblings - are old enough to remember these events and will never, ever let him live them down (i.e., this blog).

You see, I believe that we owe him a wee bit of pain.  When he was born, my mother was in her early forties.  Mama was quite done with changing poopy diapers by the time we older ones were out of them so she felt we needed to learn the skill...and we certainly did...the hard way.

The first time I changed kid brother's nasty business I remember thinking, "Didn't I just feed him this jar of peas?"  Once I managed to accidently smear some poop on my chin.  I didn't notice it for several hours because I was alone with the baby.  When my sister came home, she pointed at my face and howled with laughter. Lovely.  And the SMELL!  It never truly leaves, does it?  It's like cat pee; it hangs in the air and on your clothes forever.  I'd go out with friends and the smell of a baby's ass covered in Desitin would follow me everywhere. 

There was a time when I couldn't imagine what Jimmy would be like when he grew up.  Would he be a spoiled, entitled adult?  After all, my parents gave in to his every whim and his brother and sisters spoiled, loved, and coddled him every chance we could.  I guess we did something right because he represents the best of each and every one of us.  I couldn't be prouder.  I love you, little brother.

By the way kiddo, I'm glad I didn't get that dog after all.


   




 





Monday, May 14, 2012

Who doesn't want to play, Hide-and-seek?

Hide-and-seek.  Remember that game?  I've always been terrible at it - even as an adult - because I get too excited.  I'm one of those geeky people who when someone gets close to my hiding spot, I start squirming and giggling to the point of giving myself away.  I've actually been known to get so incredibly nervous that I, umm, oh...personal confession time - wet myself a little.  How embarrassing, right? 
So what does this have to do with this morning's blog?  I'm getting there.

Over the weekend, a friend and former lover celebrated his birthday.  When this happens, I tend to remember fondly some of our goofier moments.  Happy Birthday, Tinsley.  This one's for you...

Before Eric and I married, I made it a habit to find, date, and latch on to men who were the extreme polar opposite of myself.  One of these guys happened to be a Marine.

Most people know me today as "their liberal friend from California".  Back then, at 19 years of age, I was the most conservative, stuck up, pain-in-the-ass who no man in his right mind would ever want to date.  The very idea of going out on a blind date with a Marine appalled me (Military folk, please take no offense.  I was young and naive).  Since I was doing someone a favor, my thought was I'd go with a mutual friend, take this fellow to lunch at a mall, and that would suffice.  If he smoke, drank, or spoke stupid I was going to leave his sorry ass at the restaurant.

When I arrived at the meeting spot, this was my first impression; a tall, goofy guy with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, wearing a Jack Daniel's t-shirt, yelling in a thick, southern drawl, "Hey, y'all must be Bri.  I'm Tony!  How the Hell are ya?!"

"Holy Shit!"

Needless to say, our first encounter was a disaster.  I didn't leave his ass at the restaurant only because my friend had the good grace to talk me out of it.  After dropping him off, I literally forgot his name and tried to put the entire experience behind me.  Apparently, Tony didn't.  Soon afterwards, he started calling my house from Camp Pendleton almost on a daily basis.  I didn't remember who he was.  He begged me for a ride in from the local airport.  Anything to stop the calls; however, something strange happened.  We hung out.  He was sweet.  He was sincere.  He asked for a kiss.  That was the beginning of a romance and now a friendship which has continued to this day.

Long opening to get to the Hide-and-seek story...here it is.

Whenever Tony came up from base, he stayed at our mutual friend's house.  Our friend still lived with her Mother and Grandmother who were Portuguese.  Her mother was wonderful and treated Tony and myself like her own children.  In fact, I practically grew up with her daughter so her mother had known me for years.  My friend's grandmother (Granny), was extremely old - close to 100 years of age.  She could barely see (wore very thick lenses), couldn't hear, and moved extremely slow with a walker.

One particular evening, Tony, myself, and Granny were alone in the house.  Tony and I were watching TV in the den.  I don't believe we were misbehaving; yet, knowing Tony and myself we most likely were.  Granny was very old fashioned.  She didn't like girls unsupervised with boys in the house and she let me know this very clearly.  She waved her walker at me and told me in broken English, "GO HOME!  BAD GIRL!"

I was ready to do so but Tony just laughed and said it was ok. Granny was heading to bed.  I should wait it out in our friend's room until this sweet lady settled down for the night.  Fine.  I stood waiting in the dark waiting to hear Granny's door close.  It didn't happen.  Instead, I heard the shuffling of her walker slowly coming down the hallway.

"Tony!  What's Granny doing?"

"Maybe she's going to use the restroom?"

I waited in Marie's room a little longer.  The shuffling steps down the hall got louder.  "Tony, is she going into the bathroom?"

"Uh, Maaayybe not.  I think she knows you're in Marie's room."

"What?!"

"Just hide in the closet!"

Marie's bedroom door swung slowly open.  There was no sound for a moment.  I knew Granny was standing in the doorway trying to figure out where I was.  Now I started getting nervous.  The old woman moved towards the closet. "Oh my God, Oh my God!"  The door slid opened...I screamed and pee'd simultaneously.

"YOU BAD GIRL!!  BAD GIRL!!  GO HOME!"  She whacked me with her walker.

"TONY, YOU BASTARD!"

For a deaf, nearly blind and crippled centurion, she scared the Hell out of me!  And what was Tony doing?  Laughing downstairs in the den.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

All women should be celebrated today.

What does it mean to be a "mother"?  I've been throwing out a lot of definitions this week but this one - in particular - is wrong in all the dictionaries and online resources I've referenced so far.

I've been excluded from Mother's Day celebrations in the past.  I knew it was because I hadn't experienced the movement of a child within my womb or decided to become an adoptive parent yet.  So why had I felt so slighted?  What was my reasoning for this?  As I've matured over the years, this is what I've concluded...

I've seen all sorts of mothers; good, bad, adoptive, foster, special needs, step-parents, and children far too young to be raising babies of their own.  Yes, there are many types but aren't all women instinctively maternal?  Whether or not they choose to give birth or raise a child is purely coincidental in my opinion.

Motherhood should not be qualified as giving birth or raising a child into adulthood.  Not having been a "mother" on these terms for most of my life, I find today's holiday, Mother's Day, a little offsetting.

As this day rolls around every year, I too honor the amazing women in my life who've mentored and guided me.  I make it a point to thank everyone, because in essence, they all had a role in shaping my foundation; teachers, aunts, friends, and yes - even some of the infamous grade school Catholic nuns.

What I'm trying to say in my weird, convoluted, Breezy way is that I believe all woman are maternal to some extent or another; that we're the gentle, peaceful sex of this magical place called Earth. 

So, congratulations and happy Mother's Day to you if you're a 20-something woman on the cusp of beginning your new life.  It doesn't matter if you've decided to have a family or not because if you've been touched by the sound of a newborn kitten, seen the fear on a lost child's face, or been angered by the reality of war, then you've earned the right to take a flower and say, "You're welcome."  Yes, the world is a much better place because of you, dearest mother.


 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

An Angel or Hero Defined.

We are often told of heroes in today's world; some of whom, in my opinion, don't deserve the title.  What defines a hero?  In Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia which I reference on a daily basis, it's defined as:

A hero (heroine is usually used for females) (Greek: ἥρως, hḗrōs), in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion.[1] Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity.

Wow, pretty amazing stuff.  So why are some athletes and celebrities lumped into this category?  What display of courage and/or self-sacrifice are they showing for the greater good of humanity?  There are several entertainers who use their power, wealth, and influence to do some amazing things AND more importantly, they're not shouting it from the rooftops.  I concede, these folks are incredible; however, I tend to look towards the every day folks to find my inspiration.  It's easy to do what's right when you have the resources but when someone can find enormous strength out of thin air and still make a difference, this person - this human being - is my inspiration.

I have the personal honour of knowing someone like this.  No matter how dire the situation, she never asks for help.  She never complains.  Her name is Angel and this is her Mother's Day Story.


Angel was raised by a single mother and is the oldest of three girls.  She's unmarried and in her early twenties.  When I met her, my friend had a four year old toddler and was pregnant with a second baby.  Her younger sisters are also unmarried, have babies from previous relationships, and until recently lived with their mother and Angel.

It was pouring rain the afternoon Angel first walked into our sons' therapy office.  I'd been looking over some paperwork waiting for Austynn when her stroller blew through the doors packed with soggy plastic grocery bags and a very unhappy toddler yelling at the top of his lungs.  Despite the fact that all her belongings were soaking wet and she looked like she was ready to give birth at any moment, she had the most beautiful smile on her face.  I couldn't help but grin.  Methodically, she started pulling little outfits from the bags to dry them on the backs of chairs.  We struck up a conversation.

It's amazing how much God allows you to learn about a human being within an hour:

"Bri, I'd like to introduce you to Angel and Aaron.  They're homeless.  She's trying to get away from her unborn's father whom she believes is hurting her son.  That's why she's here.  She needs to get her little boy help.  He seems angry.  Something's wrong.  She's working with her parole officer to get temporary housing for tonight.  She did foolish things when she was younger.  She's going to school now and is looking for work.  She's glad she got away from the man.  Angel, Aaron, and the baby are going to be ok..."

I was touched.  Her smile, her will, her self-confidence...where did it come from?  Here I was moaning and groaning about having the strength to get home and make dinner in my beautiful kitchen.  "Yes Lord, I'm listening." 

From that moment on, Angel and I became friends.  I invited to have her stay with my family until she was able to get settled.  She didn't take me up on the offer but weeks later, after the baby was born, a large and amazing group of other heroes - women from all over the country and my local community - strangers who had never met Angel - donated gifts, money, and time to get this family up on their feet.

These days, I don't hear from Angel often but this is a good thing.  This means she's doing ok.  When I do hear from her, I understand why she's calling.  She's not asking for money or gifts, she's looking for words of encouragemnt.  She'll always have this from me.  This young woman has more courage and determination than anyone I've ever met.  One day, when her children are grown, I'll be proud to share with them what an amazing woman they have for their mother.  Angel; she defines the word, "Hero".

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Mother's Day Story

My Mother's Day references continue.  This one hits a little closer to home...


My Story

I've never hesitated sharing my thoughts online, after all this is precisely why I started this blog to begin with.  My life is an open story.  No secrets.  No skeletons.  This is my way of shaking out the dust and figuring out what makes me tick.  My personal, self-help journal open for the public.  If it helps others, awesome.  If not, oh well.  Feel free to giggle, squirm, or weep beside me as I examine my life.  No one is perfect, I've made mention of my faults along the way.  I've had my share of successes too.  There will be a lot more of both, I'm certain.

Mother's Day is a strange celebration for me.  As many of you are aware, I'm an adopted mother.  I was never able to conceive children of my own.  Some of you would argue that this is one of the greatest types of motherhood, the woman who would open her home and heart to a child.  Thank you for that compliment; however, unless you've been in my shoes don't jump to conclusions.  Adoption isn't always a "self-sacrificing" option.  In my marriage, it was a bit of a selfish decision, we were lonely.  We wanted the whole "Leave it to Beaver" experience; the after school football practice, Halloween nights, snuggling in bed and watching TV as a family.  We wanted the happiness but not the pitfalls. 

When Eric and I discussed marriage, one of our sorrows was knowing that we couldn't have biological children of our own.  Eric has a non-malignant brain tumor which affects his pituitary gland and reproductive system.  I, after having been with my ex-husband for close to seven years, never conceived.  Even if Eric didn't have the tumor, most likely I would have had problems getting pregnant.

As a little girl, I'd written in my diaries about having babies of my own one day.  I wanted to look into the eyes of an infant and see my eyes or those of my ancestors smiling back at me.  It was an incredible thing to believe I would live on through another human being.  I even wrote letters to my unborn children giving them names and telling them how excited I was for their future.  As the years went by, I saved little things for them; for the girls, prom dresses, love letters, jewelry from their great-grandmothers.  For the boys; sweaters from their grandfather, tools, notes, and other things of interest. 

William, Bri, and Austynn 2008
When Eric and I agreed to adopt children, our thought was that we could mend their broken hearts.  We had so much love to give.  The things we stored away would be given to these children if they wanted them.  Our family was now their own.  We would take them and cherish them and bond as a family.

Despite what most people think, bonding doesn't happen overnight with adoptive families.  In some cases, it may never happen.  Our oldest has been with us for over ten years now and there are days when I still question his attachment.  He came from such a troubled, horrific past - oftentimes I wonder if he's manipulating us to get what he wants when he wants it.  He often lacks empathy.  This is both a trait of his Aspergers and a big piece of his trauma background.  He's also sixteen.  He's angry.  He's angry at life.  He's angry at everything.  God help my son.  

My youngest wants to hug, touch, and be held constantly.  Where is that maternal piece of me I wrote about as a child?  She's impossible to find most days with this 152 pound autistic kiddo.  I find myself cringing every time I feel his chunky, clunky fingers grope my back.  Why do I struggle to nurture this boy who obviously needs to be nurtured?

So, Mother's Day.  It's a tough holiday for me.  I don't feel as if I've earned it.  Personally, I'd rather stay in my room and sleep the day away.   

Thursday, May 10, 2012

When Can Austynn Stay With Me Again?

In honor of Mother's Day, I'm dedicating the next few blogs to hmm...I don't know - let's guess...ok, Fathers!  No, Sillies!  You know what I'm going to do.  The stories may be about some of you, my dear friends and blog readers, so keep a weary eye because as my love and dear one, Eric tends to point out, I have a tendency to add a little seasoning to my tales.  This doesn't necessarily mean I won't imply your screaming is over-the-top or you're the spitting image of Grace Kelly in the morning, but you get the picture. 

All my love...  Breezy


When Can Austynn Stay With Me Again?

This question amazes me and yet, coming from my oldest sister, Ellen, it's completely typical.  She, out of all my friends and relatives, is the only person I truly feel comfortable leaving my son, Austynn with.  Watching Austynn can be challenging.  Only a person with an extremely good sense of humor and an excessive amount of patience would I consider leaving him with for an overnighter.  This is where my sister exceeds my expectations.

When Austynn first came to live with us, his behavior was at best - well, awful.  After each foster home move, after living in multiple group homes, his level of anger and mistrust increased exponentially.  Eric and I became his fourteenth and final residence within three years. At every opportunity, Austynn struck out physically and verbally.  We're certain he believed that by controlling the process and acting out, he was able to move on before he became comfortable and was sent away.  It must be an ugly thing to believe you're not wanted by the time your six years old.

Eric and I knew this about Austy before he came to stay with us.  We knew that his relationship with his older, biological brother, William whom we'd just adopted, was extremely volatile.  My husband and I also knew that if we didn't open our home and hearts to Austynn, he'd be jerked around through the system and never have an opportunity for a normal life.  We held our breath and made room in our little California townhouse.  In doing this, we needed help from extended family.

William's behavior was somewhat manageable so we could rely on Eric's parents to watch him for short overnighters, but Austynn - no way.  The boys could never be placed together.  Doing this would simply ensure an emergency phone call within two hours of our departure.  The boys had to have separate providers. My sister seemed to be the perfect fit to look after Austy.  No matter what strange - yet truthful - comments he'd make in public, my sister was able to handle it with grace and humor.  Plus, she seemed to have a limitless supply of patience; something extremely necessary when it came to our youngest son.

On one of her first watches, we left him during Thanksgiving weekend so Eric and I could take care of some holiday shopping.  Because we were in a loud, noisy mall, we missed her eight, 911 calls until we sat down for lunch.  Apparently, during a temper tantrum, Austy had rubbed his eyes to where they swelled up beyond recognition. Later, it was determined that as he was pulling apart my sister's vegetable garden to make a "stew" (he was asked repeatedly to stop which was why he was on a time out), he had used several jalapeno peppers for "additional flavor".  Eventually, Ellen was able to get the swelling down with cold compresses and my son, to this day, has determined that he does not like peppers of any kind.

Another weekend, Eric and I were desperate for a much needed break and my sister took Austy for two nights.  Upon our return, Eric and I were greeted by my sister and mother sitting very quietly at the dining room table.  It appeared that it was not a good weekend.  Lots of temper tantrums, lots of strange, ugly little stories; however the one that was the worst was clearly visible on my sister's arm. 

Since that weekend we have all been painfully made aware that Austynn can not be overstimulated.  In other words, only one interesting thing to do - not a laundry list of activities.  We were new parents, my sister was still getting to know Austynn.  His Autism diagnosis was still several years down the road.  We had no idea how he'd react when someone would try to move him during a temper tantrum, now we do.  He will strike.  He will scream.  He will bite.  My sister's arm was swollen, purple, and raw from where Austynn's teeth had gone through her leather jacket and into her skin.

And yet...despite all of these awful stories and situations, my sister laughs.  She wants my kiddo back.  She adores him.  She tells me he's sweet and fun and keeps her laughing.  Yes, he is sweet and can be fun but really, you want him back??  For how long and when can we ship him to you??

   




Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bri and some of her notoriously bad habits.

We all have notoriously bad habits.  Most people refuse to admit them openly but I'm not so shy.  I've come to the conclusion that life is far too short and funny to pretend that I'm perfect.  I am - in fact - absolutely NOT perfect.  I admit this with all sincerity and goofiness.  That's why I write this blog; to investigate my flaws and as a means to prevent bankruptcy from therapeutic co-payments.  Interestingly enough, I'm still seeing a therapist, taking a plethora of bi-polar medications, and from time to time, hiding from looming storms of oncoming depression.

I have a tendency to say it like it is.  This can be considered as both a good and bad thing.  I've been known to ask people point blank if they're gay.  Normally, one would think, "Oh my God, Bri!  That's not your business!", but I'll ask it in the context of a conversation if I'm trying to understand a situation.  You see, I have a way of becoming immediately familiar with strangers.  I'll be in a grocery store line and within minutes know if a lady behind me is going to an AA meeting down the street.  Before leaving, we end up hugging and exchanging phone numbers. On the flip side, if I see a perceived injustice, I won't hold back.

In an old neighborhood, I saw what I believed to be someone tagging (spray painting) the liquor store across the street.  Oh nooo - this was not going to happen on my watch!  I stopped my car and screamed at the dude to get his ass out of the area before I called the cops on him. (I even believed I threatened to kick his bootie personally.  I get so riled up.  I just may have succeeded.)  I made quite the broohaha until he turned around, screamed at me to shut my "pie hole", and said he was erasing the graffiti.  "Oh, nice job, sir.  Thank you for keeping the neighborhood looking so nice" and off I skedaddled.

I've mentioned several times that I'm judgemental.  This is probably one of my worst traits.  It's a sin to be sure - perhaps not listed in the top ten - but certainly chiseled between the lines.  When I was fluffy, ok - I'll call it like it is - a chunky monkey, I never walked into ice cream shops.  I immediately assumed every eye of every stranger looked at my 347 pounds and thought, "Holy Moses, this lady has no business eating ice cream!"  How sad, right?

The other day my husband and I were eating fast food and a big guy walked in with whom I'm assuming was his mother.  The first thought in my mind was, "Holy crap, he shouldn't be eating fried food!"  Shame on me.  The poor guy.  I judged him the same way I assumed people had judged me.  I'm working on this "in-between" sin.  It's a big one.  No one has the right to judge anyone based on the color of their skin, weight, race, gender, sexual preference, religion, etc.  This madness needs to stop and it starts with each of us accepting our own prejudices and working hard to absolve them.

Finally, another fault, but certainly not my last (you'll learn more of them as you follow my blogs), is not to exert more physical energy than absolutely necessary.  When I should take the stairs, I'm looking for an elevator.  I hate walking but I'll make the additional ten steps to avoid grunting up a flight of stairs.  If I have to circle a parking lot three times to find a spot near the mall doors versus walking ten feet further, I will do so (stop moaning, people..I told you these are awful habits!).  And yes, I have been known to wake my husband from a sound sleep and ask him for a glass of water.  SHAMEFUL!  He loves me my dear friends and blog readers.  What more can I say?