Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let's try a little harder...

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I've been told I'm a nice person.  Ok, thanks for that.  I'll take it.  Some folks will go so far as to say I "have a heart of gold"...*cough, sputter, choke* (sorry, my coffee just came up through my nose)...um, nooo - not really.  I'll let you, my dear friends and blog readers, think what you'd like.  I'm not going to debate you point by point.  My personal opinion is that I'm quite ornery; I do what I can to help but I contribute a lot of background grumbling while I'm doing it.  This is something I need to work on.  It's definitely a long term goal.

People annoy me.  This is rather a blunt statement but unfortunately it's true.  There's a huge sense of "entitlement" which seems prevalent anymore.  "I've worked hard for 65 years, I'm "entitled" to retire in my recliner and to Hell with the people who don't have health insurance or need public assistance."  Yes, you've worked hard.  But what if these folks desperately need a doctor or have nothing to eat?  What if they were your children or grandchildren?  Not everyone is dishonest.  People need help, so what do we do?  Leave them in the streets?  Run up our health care costs by utilizing hospital emergency rooms?  Let them starve to death in the back alleys?  Ultimately, what is the right thing to do?

When did opening doors, giving up seats for the elderly, or assisting someone stranded on the side of the road become such a major inconvenience?  When did smiling at a grocery clerk or offering a kind word of encouragement to a stranger end up such a quirky thing to do?  My husband and I tell our boys everyday that they are neither above or below anyone else on this earth.  By the luck of the draw, we've been placed where we are; we could have just as easily been born into poverty as wealth.  The size of a person's billfold does not determine the depth of character; instead, a person's greatness is measured by the number of lives he or she impacts in a positive way.

When I see an obvious omission of polite behavior, I become incensed.  Where has human decency gone?  I don't have a heart of gold; however, what I do have is a normal, every day expectation that people should treat others with courtesy and respect.

Those who have hearts of gold are those who have an amazing conviction in people as a whole; who despite what they see on a daily basis, still believe that the human race is inherently good.  These incredible individuals, in my estimation, are saints because they're willing to look past our flaws and continue to pray for humanity in all our ugliness.  They trust that we'll pull through somehow and come together for the betterment of mankind.  Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., are just a few examples of people whom I aspire to be like.  

There are still others whose names will never be famous; folks more inspiring because they make an amazing impact on the lives around them without fanfare or glory.  They hide in the shadows and volunteer their love and assistance because they know in their "golden hearts" that this is simply the right thing to do.  They give without asking anything in return, never complain, and oftentimes leave this earth without so much as an acknowledgement.  God bless them.

So, as I sit here typing, thank you for saying that I'm a good person; however, I do not have a heart of gold.  There are many in this world who deserve the title more so than myself.

Friends, let's always remember to do the following:
  • When we see servicemen, servicewomen, or veterans, let's walk up and say, "Thank you."
  • When an elderly person or a pregnant woman needs a place to sit, regardless of the inconvenience, let's give them our seat.
  • Always hold the door for the person behind us, whether it's for a man or a woman.  It's the polite thing to do.
  • If someone needs help carrying packages, their child is having a temper tantrum, or they look like they're having an awful day - don't judge, simply offer them assistance or a kind word.
  • Finally, teach our children to do these things and above all, to be courteous towards people who appear different.  Our children must learn tolerance and empathy.  We're all in this together. 

Thank you.


Monday, July 30, 2012

$1.50 earrings and a million dollar machine.

I tend to do goofy things.  These goofy things embarrass the heck out of me.  Now granted, no one likes to place themselves into goofy situations; however, somehow I always manage to squirrel my way into them.  Thank God I have a good sense of humor and can bounce back quickly after humiliating myself.  I'm also grateful to be surrounded by friends and family who put up with my nonsense. 

As I've mentioned before, Eric my husband, has a benign brain tumor.  Every other year or so, he's required to have an MRI (magnetic resonance image) taken of the tumor to ensure that it's either remained the same or hopefully decreased in size since his radiation.

At this point in my story, I'd never been allowed in the imaging room with Eric.  I had always stood in the technician's room.  On this particular day, my husband was having a difficult time with the shots.  Eric has a terrible fear of needles.  For the procedure, a dye is necessary for detailing the contrast of the tumor.  I was asked to go in and help calm him down.

I knew the process.  No jewelry, no metal.  MRI machines are huge million dollar magnets.

I walked in, helped settle Eric down, and stood beside him for the next series of images.

After a few moments, my ears started to ache.  My first thought was that it was the noise of the machine.  The technician didn't hand me earplugs.  A couple of seconds later, it became worse.  My hand instinctively went to my ear to rub it and without so much as a thought...KERCHUNK!

The machine shut down as if by some sort of mechanical failure.  The overhead speaker turned on.

"Mrs. Potts?"

"Yes?"

"Are you wearing earrings?"

Oh my God!  Those pieces of shit $1.50 earrings I bought last week..!  "Ummm..."  I checked my left ear, no earring.  I checked my right ear, piece of shit $1.50 earring..FUCK!...Come clean, Bri...

"Uhh..Yes."

"Please leave the room immediately."

Eric's voice came muffled from the MRI machine, "What's wrong?  What's happened?"

I responded meekly to the technician, "I am soooo sorry."

"Bri?  What did you do?"

"Mr. Potts, your scan will have to be rescheduled."

"WHAT?!  NO WAY?!"

This was bad.  It was all I could do to get Eric to go to this appointment and the shots took their toll today.  Three failed attempts in the arm and finally the nurse managed to find a vein on his hand.  My husband will not reschedule.  Are we going to have to pay for the repairs, Oh my GOD!

"A mechanic will have to come out and repair the machine.  Once it's fixed, we'll call and reschedule your appointment, Mr. Potts."

The tech was purposely not looking at me.  That's ok.  To Hell with him.  I don't care.  No talk of costs yet...that's good..

"Mrs. Potts (uh oh..), when we find your earring we'll call you so you can retrieve it at the front desk."

I almost choked on my gum.  Seriously?  I'm never coming back here again.  You can throw that friggin cheap ass earring away! 

"No, that's ok.  Not necessary.  Just toss it.   Thanks."

He looked at me as if he were going to say something else; however, I didn't give him the opportunity.  I turned my back, clutching the other half of my piece of shit $1.50 earrings, and ran out the door as fast as my humiliated, goofy legs could carry me.






Saturday, July 28, 2012

Eric is snoring...what to do?

It's about 9:00am MST and I'm listening to my beloved, my dearest, my husband, Eric snoring in bed beside me.  His snore is sweet.  It's not like my dad's growing up, his was horrific.  I could hear my pop's howling from my bedroom which the down the hall and through two thick walls.  I honestly don't know how my mom managed to sleep next to him all those years.  Even with Eric's quieter rumbling, I still need earplugs from time to time.

Now, I'm not perfect.  When I was at my heaviest weight, I was informed I roared like a freight train.  I made Eric suffer to such an extent that he would literally poke and push me while I was sleeping in order for him to get a few moments of peace and quiet.  I have no doubt I caused many dark circles under his eyes; however, he is supplying me with more than enough retribution these days.

As I mentioned, I was desperate enough at one point to actually purchase earplugs; "Quiet Time, Comfort Foam Ear Plugs" - a 50 pair container.  I am down to my last 2 pair.  It's time to buy more.  At this moment, he is wrapped with the sheet around his bare shoulders and his lips are flapping with every exhale of breath.  As he inhales, he's using both his nose and mouth making a very high pitched, bizarre whine.  This noise actually woke the dogs and frightened them off the bed.  Tank is hiding in the bathroom and Tulip, well -  I'm not sure where she is.

In the past, I've been extremely naughty and placed my finger just below his air passages to see what would happen.  I tend to do these sorts things to my husband.  I set traps, tease him, go out of my way to devise new and interesting practical jokes - I can't stop myself.  I'm simply diabolical.
 
I once wrote a very long and creative "ode to poop" on several sheets of toilet paper in our master bathroom.  It was agonizing because I'd never considered that Eric would take care of his "business" at work and that of course, being a man, he wouldn't otherwise need toilet paper.  It was necessary to use the guest bathroom until I heard his laughter resonating through the house on Saturday morning.  It made my inconvenience thoroughly worthwhile.

Eric gets ready for work early in the morning and like most folks, it's difficult to get moving.  The shower is what tends to jump start his day soooo there have been times I've assisted in this department.  There's always the cold water dump over the shower door..I LOVE this one.  I can't count how many screaming water fights I've started at 5:00am on a Tuesday morning; however, one of my personal favorites is the simple, startle-Pottsie-to-death technique.  Eric tends to shower with his eyes closed.  What I love to do is walk quietly up to the shower door, have a stupid bug-eyed look on my face, and when his eyes open for a split second, he jumps out of his skin with terror.  This gets us both howling with laughter.

So..this brings me back to his snoring..right here, right now.  Do I hold my finger under his nose or should I crawl under the sheets and wish him a hearty good morning?  Hmm..I've held his breath before.  I thinkin' I'll be a little kinder today and crawl under the sheets.

Until next time... 

Friday, July 27, 2012

I AM Bri.

When I'm alone, I love fussing about my home; baking, organizing, planning, cleaning, etc.  It gives me a sense of peace and control over my life.  As many of you, my friends and blog readers know, having two adopted teenage boys with Aspergers syndrome along with severe emotional trauma, I need a break.  No, I need more than that - I need a blood transfusion with fine Irish Whiskey

I'm also Bipolar.  I didn't know my diagnosis until I moved to Colorado six years ago.  I knew I was quirky; I had periods of severe mood swings but I dealt with them as best I could.  I immersed myself in work and slept the rest of the ugliness away.  It wasn't until I was alone with the boys that I realized there was something terribly wrong with me.
  
Our first summer in Colorado, Eric was here with us.  He hadn't found work yet.  It was the second summer that was frightening.  I couldn't go a week without screaming, crying, being manic, or sleeping non-stop. 

What I mean by manic is by getting started on one project and then becoming re-directed on another.  For instance, I would start vacuuming the hallway, open the coat closet, and see that the jackets weren't lined up neatly.  Then I would stop vacuuming, straighten the jackets, and see that the games stored above were a mess.  I'd start pulling the games down and find cob webs in the corners of the closet, etc.  By the time Eric would come home from work, I'd have nine different projects in mid-process, and the house would be torn upside down.  At this point, the boys would be fighting, the TV was on, and everything chaotic.  Pure mania.

Thank God I had the courage and foresight to seek help. 

There are still times - even with my medication - I sink into depression or have anxiety attacks; however, my moods swings aren't nearly as bad as they once were.  I can see the depression coming.  I call them my "Deep Darks".  They'll always be a part of me because after all, Bipolar doesn't just go away.  When I start pulling out the Q-tips and getting funky with cleaning details, I'm not even aware that I'm doing it.  I've asked Eric to let me know.  Tell me gently to slow down and relax.  I'm heading into a spiral and I need to prepare myself for the dark days ahead.

I have to admit something right here and now..if you're reading this and have known me for some time, please don't question or invalidate me.  I told someone - someone I'm very close to - that I'd returned from my psychiatrist's office the other day.  She laughed at me.  She told me I didn't need to go - that there's never been anything wrong with me, that basically it's just a bunch of nonsense.  I was devastated.  How could someone who's known me my entire life invalidate me?  I was crushed.

If there was nothing wrong with me, how did I almost eat myself to death?  How did I become a morbidly obese woman at the age of 39 years old?  What prompted me to do that?  How did a fifteen year old girl weigh close to 250 pounds before she was even a junior in high school?  I needed help.  There was and there is something wrong with me.  I weighed 347 pounds before I was 40 years old.  I could not tie my own shoes.  I could not walk more than fifteen yards without breaking into a sweat.  I ate jars of cake frosting, entire loaves of french bread with sticks of butter.  Yes, THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME but I'm healing myself one day at a time.   

I am beautiful.  I am strong.  I am powerful.  I am Bri.            

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another missed Wednesday whine...

Breezy after biting my lip one too many times!
Again, I missed my Wednesday whine!  How do I manage this?  It's not that I'm not a seasoned whiner - in fact, it's one of my of best traits.  Here I go.

For those of you who missed it, my youngest son, my sweet, precious, wonderful, (hold on - I'm just getting started here), my darling, fascinating, and most endearing 14 year old deflated the air out of my front two tires on Saturday evening.  Lovely.  Why did he do this my dear friends and blog readers ask?  Because he was mad at me for doing my job; for telling him he'd been naughty at a friend's house.  Ahhh..so he turned around and did the next logical thing; he let the air out of my tires.  "Humph..that will show her!"

He was extremely lucky he was safely secured in my husband's truck as I walked into the garage.  When our eyes met, Austynn immediately bolted the doors on Eric's Ford.  That was the smartest thing Austynn did all day. 

Eric later told me that our kiddo used the excuse that I loved my car more than him.  Interesting.  Is that why I planned on taking him to a children's movie for his birthday the next day?  Oh, and by the way, nothing is comparable to watching a movie with my autistic son, Austynn.  He hollers his appreciation throughout the movie, tells the adults behind him to stop coughing because they're spraying germs into his hair, and trips people walking in front of him because he's annoyed by their constant badgering.  I must love my car more than him because afterwards I was going to take him to Dave and Busters, meet his dad and brother there for dinner, and spend a fortune on tokens so he could eventually win a $1.20 plastic mug with the restaurant's logo on it.  I must really, really love my car. 

Needless to say, his decision to deflate my tires cost him his birthday celebration.  We spent a quiet afternoon at home.  A homemade cake, one gift, and grilled hamburgers.  Sometimes bad decisions come with a rather hefty consequence.

Bring on my second gripe...droopy thighs.  Ok, really?  I realize that I have a lot to be grateful for.  Since January I've dropped 50 pounds.  I'm not working at it, it just seems to be doing its thing.  I'm content.  My spirit has quieted down.  I'm not focused on what I'm eating, simply eating less and only when I'm hungry.  I've been kinder to myself; however, I've obviously not been kinder to my thighs.  I seem to look at this part of my body and think, "Holy crap, they have a zip code of their own."  I don't intend to be so harsh on myself but this year my husband bought me a full length mirror.  I've never had one before.  I've never had the opportunity to see these two limbs in their shocking "completeness".  Damn, gravity is not kind to 40+ gals, especially ones like myself who've lost and gained hundreds of pounds throughout their lifetime. 

When I move one way, my thighs continue to move in several opposing directions at the same time.  Cellulite pops hither and thither while mounds of flesh move side to side or up and down.  It's horrifying.  I have a confession to make, I haven't worn a pair a shorts since I was fourteen years old.  This was the last time my legs didn't rub together when I walked.  Wearing a bathing suit absolutely makes me shudder.

Finally, the "Biting Lip Syndrome".  What's with this?  I hate it when I bite my lip one silly time and then that same stupid swollen spot finds its way back into my bite's path 4 to 5 more times throughout the day.  OUCH!  By the time I'm done finding and hacking on that tender spot, I look like like a deformed, drooling monkey and what's worse, I'm talking like an idiot.  Oh yeah..then I forget and order a lemonade and some salty french fries with my dinner.  Way to go dumb ass! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Team Building? Oh No!

I was reading an article on the Internet this morning about corporate team building experiences which went terribly wrong.  I absorbed the article with glee and laughed heartily with every horrifying story.  It's not that I enjoy other people's misery, no - not really.  It's just that I can empathize with it on so many levels.  You see, I came from the corporate world before settling into my homemaking responsibilities here in suburban Colorado.  My husband, Eric - God bless him - is still immersed in it.  When I was employed, I was a supervisor of a small group of individuals and had to plan the outings.  I completely understand how team building days can go badly.

Personally speaking, I was never a "team" sort of gal.  I was a sit-in-the-corner-leave-me-alone sort of employee.  Sure, I talked and laughed with my co-workers.  I had lots of toys and gadgets to keep my brain occupied during long, tedious conference calls, but seriously - I despised office politics.  I hated dressing up for work when I sat in a cubicle all day and worked on Web content.  I had no interaction with the "outside world" so why be miserable in uncomfortable clothes?  I came to the office, worked my butt off, and expected the same thing from those around me.  This was never the case.  All I heard was whining. 

"Why is she making more money than me?" 

Really?  First of all - you shouldn't know how much she's making.  Secondly, she works harder than you do.  And finally, how late do you show up for work every day?  How long do you take for your lunch breaks?  What?  You're not a salary employee??  Wow!  You had me fooled!  Heeeellllooo?

Scheduling a team building exercise with people who complained or didn't like one another, well that's easy (sarcasm).  BUT THAT'S WHY IT'S DONE, RIGHT?  To assist co-workers to co-exist efficiently and peacefully?  Hell, I'd rather be stapled to a dry erase board and shot with poison tipped #2 pencils than to endure the agony of playing miniature golf with a bunch of people I wouldn't share a tuna sandwich with - and I don't even like tuna.

Speaking of miniature golf - I'd like to close this blog with a team building story which went terribly wrong for someone whom I love very dearly; my husband, Eric Potts.

*************************************************************************************

Many years ago, when my husband, Eric, was quite a bit more conservative (uptight?) than he is now, he along with a large contingency of his co-workers attempted to build a stronger and more cohesive work group over a challenging game of miniature golf. 

My dearest has always been very competitive.  Even a friendly game of Cribbage between us can turn into a blistering, bitter competition counting and rechecking the peg moves and card points.  He was no different on this fateful afternoon.

To be honest, my husband has never been a good golfer.  Even the simplest of courses have always eluded him.  If the hole is a par 3, meaning the ball should be hit into the hole within three shots minimum, it can take Eric upwards to six, seven, or even more possible attempts before being successful.  This was the case in front of his manager and friends.

Needless to say, he was mortified.  By the time Eric reached the 18th and final hole, he was thoroughly demoralized.  As he attempted to putt the ball for the tenth time merely inches away from the hole, he missed badly.  My normally calm, mild-manned, never-uttered-a-bad-word-at-work-goody-two-shoes husband raised his miniature golf club over his head and screamed in front of everyone..."FUCK!" 

Oops. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rage: No thank you --- Marley: Yes please.

Rage.  That awful moment when I look at another human being and think, "I'm going to commit homicide."

I know I'm not alone in this horrifying feeling.  Unfortunately too many people act out on it.  This is one of the single factors why I oppose owning personal firearms.  I don't believe people can control their anger.  Hell, I know I can't.  I'm a lit firecracker.  If I had access to a gun in my moments of rage, Lord only knows what I'd be capable of. 

I understand the Second Amendment argument to The Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  But if these "arms" are locked away safely in your home as they should be, then what happens when a bad guy breaks into your house in the middle of the night?  Would you have the foresight to find the keys, unlock the guns, get the ammunition, load the weapon, and have the wherewithal to use it in those first few terrifying moments?  And - what if - God forbid, that bad guy wasn't a bad guy after all?  Perhaps your drunk teenager came stumbling through the door after a party?  Guns.  They terrify me.

So, back to the word, "Rage".  Another 4-letter word which I excel at.

I'm embarrassed to say I've had many experiences with it; some I've already written about.  One was the infamous pickle throwing incident which involved my son, William.  Another was the time I almost strangled a gas station attendant over purchasing a pack of cigarettes - and no, I was not having a nicotine fit.  I wasn't even a smoker at the time.  The cigarettes were for my ex-husband.  AND still, my dear friends and blog readers may remember the horrifying "Ugly American" story whereas I created an international incident at London's Heathrow Airport.

Yes, believe it or not, there are still stories that have yet to be shared of my nasty temper; my unchecked rage which can be sparked within seconds.  One moment, I can be the sweet, laughing jokester whom you've come to know through my blogs - then - one misguided, disrespectful tone from an unsuspecting stranger or disgruntled relative and BOOM!  KAZOWIE!  ZWACK!  OUCH! POP!  I'm off the deep end and into the raging waters of scorching, hateful pissiness - an ugly transformation to behold.

My former husband most likely will never forget a lead crystal vase being hurled at him with such ferocity that it left permanent divots in our hard wood floor or being whacked by a pillow for nothing more than giving me a curious look (I will not explain the reasoning behind the vase.  That will remain our secret).  I've left people dangling on the other end of phone lines with strings of such shocking 4-letter expletives they'd make the devil blush.  Oh, and my writing - don't ever get on my bad side.  I can pen letters so vicious, so vindictive that I've been known to make people cry, have employees terminated, or destroy relationships.  Do you hear howling?  Yes?  That's me, my alter-ego...Breezy Bitch.

These are not proud admissions.  I much prefer the calm, peaceful, sunset-at-the-beach-watching Bri.  I'm a pacifist at heart.  Make love not war.  Smile don't frown.  'Let's get together and feel all right'; HOWEVER, when I ask sweetly for a soda with my meal, please don't act as though it's too much of an inconvenience.  Really, trust me...no one ever wants to go there.



Friday, July 20, 2012

Someone, please find me. Fast.

I need an editor, manager, and publisher; anyone willing to take me on?

My professional life is at a stand still.  I seriously don't know what I want to do when I grow up.  Isn't this a silly thing?  I know I love to write.  I believe that I'm somewhat ok at it but I hesitate that I'm good enough for the professional world to say, "Hello Mrs. Potts.  I'd like to offer you a weekly section in our online such and such...".  Wouldn't that be lovely?  I think I'm funny but only for folks in and around my age group.  Forget about those homeless stand-ups kids I was performing in front of a few weeks ago.  Those babies are barely old enough to drink let alone understand my comments about hot flashes.

So here I am, in a year or so my oldest so will be moving out.  When this happens, a portion of the adoption assistance Eric and I've been receiving will stop and lower our monthly income by a third.  I'll need to find employment again.  Without a college degree and having been out of the corporate world for some time, my skill sets are at an all time low.  Back to being a file clerk again?  Waitressing?  No.  Absolutely not.

Where do I go from here?  Six degrees of separation.  I haven't been sitting on my laurels.  I know that every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.  I've been patient.  I've been looking, working, and putting myself out there.

Someone, please find me.  Fast.

     

Thursday, July 19, 2012

...speaking about being naughty

Why my awful past is coming back to haunt me now is a moot point.  Perhaps this is some sort of public confessional; a way of avoiding a face-to-face apology to my mother who is alive and doing well in California.  Besides, she has a way of slathering guilt on me so thick it would set me back at least several years in my faith. 

My religion plays a huge role in this.  We Roman Catholics are immersed in it.  It's delivered to us at our Baptism.  Once the Holy Water is poured over our infant heads, I'm certain the priests mutter under their breaths, "...going forth you will be cursed with the brow of guilt from your Catholic ancestors for the rest of your lives..."  Uggghhh.  Now you non-Catholics understand why we're shamed into the Confessional every so often.  It pulls us in like candy from a stranger.  I'm tellin' ya my dear friends and blog readers; it's much easier to confess to a priest than it is to your own mother.

So what is it that I've done that's so horrifying I'm confessing to the virtual reality of the Internet world?  Well heck, a lot of things, but they'll come out slowly.  I don't want to overwhelm the lovely lady - one thing at a time for goodness sakes.

The two front bedrooms of my parent's home, including my own, faced the front of the house.  Both had large windows facing the street.  My parent's bedroom was behind mine towards the back of the house.  If I wanted to sneak out or better yet, if someone wanted to sneak in, they had ample opportunity to do so.  Oh, do I dare continue with this blog?  I'm getting squirmy in my Catholic guilt. 

In my late teens to early twenties, I was dating and seriously involved with a US Marine.  Every so often my boyfriend took advantage of my large street facing window.  Oh such a naughty, naughty daughter!  I can't believe I had the nerve to actually attempt this dangerous maneuver; however, Tinsley and I did so on many numerous occasions.

One early Sunday morning, my boyfriend needed to use the restroom.  My dad was playing golf, my mom was on the phone in the kitchen, and my younger brother was watching cartoons in the family room.  As he stepped out of my room, Tinsley jumped and almost gave our secret away.  It just so happened that at the exact moment he opened my bedroom door, Kathy's boyfriend was leaving the restroom.  Oops!  It seemed that my mother raised not just one naughty daughter but apparently two.



  
 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's Wednesday..time for a little bit of whining.

It seems that rant day arrives before I know it.  Wait is this my first rant?  No.  It's actually quite comforting to have Wednesdays roll around as quickly as they do.  In fact, last night at 4:00am MST, I was ready to hop out of bed and start typing.  Let's begin:

First off, sleepless nights - hate them - AND I've been having far too many of them lately.  My lower legs have been aching so much that I find myself inadvertently rubbing the muscle of each calf with the other foot constantly.  They feel as if they have charlie horses.  Yikes!  What's this all about?  I know, I know..go see my doctor and quit my whining already.  Well, I don't wanna!  So I guess I'll continue waking myself up with this annoyance, dousing myself with Tylenol PM, and waking up grouchy and irritable.  Bleh! 

My sixteen year old's stereo.  Parents in this virtual reality, we must come to terms with what we've done; we've created monsters.  We've given them the means to play their annoying music by purchasing these monstrosities.  The speakers are ridiculously huge.  The bass rumbles through the walls creating vibrations which, might I add, literally knocked the water bottle off my nightstand last evening (another reason I did not sleep well yesterday).  We are responsible for the dark circles under our eyes.  So, what did Eric and I do to combat this evil?  We went out and purchased our youngest son a matching sized stereo for his birthday to compete with his brother's bass level.  Yes.  Yes, we did.

Tammy Faye Baker
Speaking of dark circles under my eyes, I'd like to question the validity of my make-up remover.  When I apply the lovely, moist wipes to my face and eyes, I'd like to believe that they're doing their job; removing all of my make-up I am not a slacker.  I take my time.  I enjoy seeing the wipes covered with as much dirt, grime, and make-up as possible.  I find it interesting - almost pleasing in a sick and twisted way; however, when I walk past the mirror in the morning and to my horror see raccoon eyes, I become incensed.  Where did that additional make-up come from?  Wasn't it removed the night before?  Did some make-up troll come by during my sleep and pull a Tammy Faye Baker on my face?  This is not to be borne!  Ugggh!

Well, that's all I have time to rant about today.  I am in dire need of some toast and peanut butter.  Until tomorrow...  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yes, I've done a few crazy things...

Friends often ask me what are some of the craziest things I've done.  In 45 years, I can't clearly remember to be honest.  I've done a lot of stupid things and, as I reminisce, the stories will eventually come back to haunt me.  Some make me laugh out loud, some I'm ashamed of and would rather keep locked away denying I had any hand in them.  Even as I type this morning, I'm struggling to remember the worst of them though I know there are dozens tucked away in my vaults.
Bob Big Boy

It helps too that I came from a rather wild family of siblings who always had something naughty in the works.  My poor parents, or I should say, my poor mother.  I believe my father revelled in our stories - of course, after the fact.  As long as his hoodlum kids weren't caught and/or arrested, I believe he relished in our deeds.  We, the four older kids, would sit around the dinner table months later laughing hysterically recounting the dangerous situations which we placed ourselves in.  My dad would listen in rapt attention, eyes gleaming, and giggling along with us.  My mother, on the other hand, would look horrified that her children had been driving around the streets of Los Angeles creating such havoc and chaos. 

One night, my brother, sisters, myself, and some friends caravaned to a local graveyard where we were going to toilet paper the head stones.  Now, I realize this sounds awful; however, this was all we'd intended on doing.  We had no spray paint.  We weren't going to deface property.  It was a very foggy, macabre night.  It was an old, unattended graveyard in the center of town, and of course - it was October.  We felt it would make the place look frightening to passersby and, certainly - it was terrifying for us as we were doing it.

I happened to get stuck in my sister's friend's car who was a college transfer student from Iran.  He was completely out of his mind with fear.

"Let me out of the car, Hamid!"

"NO, Maria!  Dis is terrifying!  I will not let you go!"

"WHAT?!  What's wrong with you?!  Let me out, I'm missing all the fun!"

"NO, MARIA!!!  DERE IS BAD KARMA IN DIS! NO!!"

"OH MAN!  Hamid, you are such a total bummer!"

I ended up watching the experience being trapped in the back seat of a fogged up Toyota Hatchback.

Another time, my oldest sister, Ellen planned a "Mystery Kabal".  The idea was to get a large contingency of our friends together, separate them into teams, and with clever clues, lead them to unique spots throughout Los Angeles.  The first team back to my parent's home would win a prize.  This was a fantastic idea; however, LA isn't the safest city in the country.  Also, we - us - our friends - were mainly white, upper to middle class, privledged kids from the 'burbs.  Has anyone caught my drift yet?  Obviously, we didn't think this through very clearly.  We were very lucky to have made it back without any major problems.

Unfortunately, my mother felt the night of the party was the best evening to force me into a date with a "nice young man" I went to grade school with and he wanted NO part of the scavenger hunt.  He wanted to go to a Christian Rock concert.  LOVELY!!!  This was not one of my better dates; however, I did have a chance to set up the clues earlier in the day with my brother and sister which was an adventure in itself.

Clues were hidden in open crypts at the Hollywood Cemetery as well as other well known landmarks throughout the city.  At one point we attempted trespassing on Houdini's property off of Mulholland Drive.  When my brother Paul saw the first small dog, he convinced Ellen and I that the little feller was nothing to be afraid of - that was until a swarm of 15 little fellers chased us off the property and over the fence.  The final clues were taped underneath the Bob's Big Boy statue outside of the restaurant in our home town of Downey, California.

My great disappointment was not being able to see the reactions on the customer's faces when groups of wicked young adults began groping at the statue's crotch while they were eating their meals.  No - instead, I was at a concert where the band members were trying to have their fans "reborn" with water.  Drat, what a devil of a night I missed!!



Monday, July 16, 2012

Never trust a little noise in Austy's room.

I am not one of those mothers who take kindly to miscellaneous sounds in my autistic fourteen year old's bedroom.  I understand that there are many mothers who would allow the sound of clankering to bounce off their ears at 6:47am MST.  They would simply ignore it and think that this is nothing more than their child's curiosity with some anonymous toy or object.  I'm trying my best to be one of these parents.  I'm trying to pretend that it's not a piece of metal being drilled into the window pane or perhaps a contraband battery Austy managed to dislodge from a household appliance which is now sparking an electrical fire.  I'm trying.  My teeth are grinding.  Breathe, Breezy..breathe.  I've already asked what the sound was and of course his response was, "nothing".  In a few minutes, if it doesn't stop, I'll casually walk by and check it out.
Bri and Austynn 2005

I have - on many occasions - smelled smoke coming from his room.  His bedroom door has long since been removed because of this.  All toys with batteries and electrical cords have been confiscated.  His father and I request that all gifts be "fireproof".  No tools, batteries, cords, or engines of any type.  Dad and I will get him these gifts and then they are strictly monitored by Eric in the garage.  Because of his interest in how things work, I'm the first to admit he has never kept an electrical toy/gift in tact for longer than a day.

I'll never forget my shock after seeing the $100+ robot Eric and I bought him being promptly dismantled by the next afternoon.  Never again.  We learned our lesson.  Austy is not a kiddo for expensive electrical gifts.  The next year, I thought - ok - even better, I'd buy him a box of electronics from the Salvation Army and he could take them apart in the garage.  Maybe he'd build something out of them.  My hope was that it would take him all summer.  Three days, a pile of scrap, and four new tires later, he was finished.  Epic failure.

I have hot glue in one of my kitchen outlets.  When I asked him why he did this he said he was "curious".  When he cut the cable lines and grounding wires to the house he said it was because they were "sticking out".  He switched the hot and cold faucets in his bathroom sink because they could be "unscrewed".  He opened his toilet bowl and and unhooked the flushing system because it was interesting.

One day, in the back yard, in order to destroy an ant colony, he ran the hose under our cement porch for over an hour.  This was not a good idea.  Eric's cussing, after the discovery, was classic.

So you see, my dear friends and blog readers, I can no longer sit still.  It's time for me to check out the noise and check it out fast.





Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Get-Away Grannies

I've made several past references that I've worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in a nursing home.  I received on site training and found that this job, though extremely difficult, was rewarding on so many levels.  One would think that this type of employment would pay more than it does.  After all, the aides are caring in the most intimate ways for our loved ones.  Not so.  This is a very low paying position.  One either does this work because they love it or they desperately need employment.  This is frightening because I've personally seen what happens when aides don't love what they do.

I've written that I would share my memories of these beautiful people from time to time.  Their names have been changed to protect their privacy but their stories live on.  I vowed to one of the dear residents that I would never forget them.  Here's another piece of their story...

*************************************************************************************

The Get-Away Grannies

Each week the aides would be re-assigned to a different hallway.  We would be responsible for between 8-10 patients on one side of each hall and be available to assist the other aide (our hall partner) if his or her patients needed a 2-person assist and for end-of-day rounds.  This process allowed the aides to stay familiar with all of the folks on each side of the building. 

Whenever I was assigned to Judy's hall I knew my afternoons were going to be somewhat hectic.  You see, Judy was the ring leader of a band of three women who had serious dementia.  Every day these ladies hatched a very elaborate scheme to escape from the nursing home.

Now what made this interesting is that Judy and her two cohorts, Trudy and Mabel, never remembered what they had done the day before.  The concept was always the same; Trudy and Mabel were to pack the bags (on the "sly"), Judy was to keep "a look out", and when everything was ready, they were going to "get the Hell outta here!"  It all sounded innocent enough.  I knew that Judy didn't have a car.  I knew that once the announcement was made for dinner, they would decide to eat before they left and go to bed afterwards.  Later, I would unpack the odd assortment of 8 sweaters, pair of miscellaneous dentures, 2 socks, 15 underwear, and some random necklaces and the process would start again the next day.  This continued until I caught Trudy and Mabel mistakenly going through another resident's closet.   This is when I needed to step in and become an unwitting accomplice to their plans.

Let me describe Judy.  She had a full head of shockingly white hair and no matter how much I combed it, it always insisted on standing straight up on end.  After her hair, her eyes were the next thing which caught my attention.  They were bright blue and almost popped from her face.  She repeated herself when she was frustrated or annoyed which was almost all the time.  She was in a wheelchair but she could shuffle her feet which gave her some mobility.  AND she cursed when she felt the moment deserved it, which seemed more often than not.

The day I discovered the packing mishap, I quickly knocked twice and wandered into Judy's room looking very unaware that anything was in the works.

"What the Hell are you doing in here, in here?!"

"Oh I'm sorry, Judy.  I was looking for Veronica's sweater.   Why there it IS!  Miss Mabel, why is it in your suitcase?  Are you going someplace?  I hope not.  I'll miss you!"

If there was a possibility that Judy's eyes could have exploded out of her eye sockets at Mabel they would have.  Mabel, was a tiny, frail little mouse of a lady and never spoke more than two words out of confusion and nervousness.  This time was no different. 

"It just so happens, so happens that we're hightailin' it outta' here and you can't stop us. Dammit!", muttered Judy who was clearly agitated by the way her feet were shuffling the wheelchair back and forth.

"Ok.  I get it.  I can't stop you if you're determined to leave.  Who's driving?"

I thought Judy was going to fall out of her chair.  Her frown turned into the widest grin I've ever seen.  It reminded me of the Grinch's grin from the classic Dr. Seuss holiday story.  It filled me with joy.  "I am.  I am.  I have a '57 Chevy.  It's parked 'round back, 'round back."

"Very nice.  Do you have enough provisions?"

Just before she answered, the evening dinner announcement was made.  All three of the ladies made a comment that they were getting hungry and that perhaps they should eat first.  I offered to help them one by one towards the dining room which they gratefully accepted.  During our walks, I wished them safe journeys and told them how much I enjoyed their friendships.  The next morning, when I arrived for work, the three Get-Away Grannies were at it again as if the day before had never taken place.

Post Script:  Weeks after I had been moved off that hall, I had the unfortunate surprise of seeing Judy in her wheelchair at the intersection of the nursing home.  I pulled over and managed to get my dear one back safely.  The CNA on her hall that week was obviously not keeping an eye out for her.  This is one of the frightening results of employees working because they need a job - not because they love what they do.




 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My rant is a day late.

I was so caught up in thinking about my sissy yesterday, that I completely forgot that it was Wednesday - Rant Day.  AND to make it all the more irksome, today is my sister's birthday of whom I wrote about yesterday.  Sooo what I will do is write as if today is Wednesday and pretend that I posted yesterday's blog today.  I'm confusing myself as I'm typing but yet it all made sense as I started this diatribe.  Just try to keep up with me if you can.  Alriggghty then.

My first rant is why do mosquitoes bite me in the center of my back where it's impossible to scratch?  If you, my dear friends and blog readers, have been following my postings for some time you'll know that one of my major summer nemeses are wee nasty, blood suckers...MOSQUITOES.  I dread these flying bastards.  My newest and most annoying bite is yes, on my back, beyond reach, and just under my bra.  Every time I shift it's touched mercilessly - not scratched - but touched.  This is an impossible situation.  It's as if someone is teasing me with a drink of cold water on a hot, sweltering day.  Now I'll ask a rhetorical question.  Was this a premeditated nibble?  I'm thinkin', yes!  Oh, yes indeed it was.

My laptop and I have a love/hate relationship.  The only time I don't save a draft is when I'm three quarters of the way through a blog and my computer decides to automatically shut off for a system upgrade.  This always pleases me (sarcasm is simply dripping off my fingertips).  No one needs to hear the cacophony of 4-letter expletives which spew from my mouth.  It's a good thing I type with my bedroom door shut.  I don't want Austynn to accuse me of teaching him how to curse.  Seriously? 

Everyone in my circle of life knows that I am a lover of animals.  Very rarely do I complain of a pet bothering me.  If this were the case, it's normally the pet owner who's at fault.  Well let me tell ya'...there is a local pet neighbor who is making me a very "unhappy camper".  Dogs bark.  I understand this; however, single barks which continue on for hours do not make for a calm, smiling, relaxed Breezy.  Eric, my dearest husband, went absolutely postal a couple of nights ago.  The poor man jumped out of bed and screamed out our open window at 10:43pm MST to "SHUT THE *&%@ UP!".  I don't believe the dog understood or cared for that matter because immediately following Eric's rant, the dog responded with two simultaneous barks and continued on until at least three in the morning.

Why is it that when children hit the tender age of sixteen, they believe they are entitled to sit with your friends and participate in adult conversations?  Also, let me add this to the question, what makes them think that they are remotely funny or genuinely interesting?  I realize as a parent that this may sound harsh but seriously, I love my chiiiillllldreeeeen.  Now gooooooo awaaaaaaayyyy.  SCAT!

This is all I have for today.  I'm certain it's enough.  I'm feeling thoroughly refreshed.  Adieu mes amours.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mental Warfare. The Battle of the Sisters.

Picture of the sisters from the movie, White Christmas
Choosing roommates between a household of five children and fewer bedrooms can never be an easy task; however, when my mother placed the two most volatile and opposite of personalities in one small bedroom, it was as if she were asking for trouble on a grand scale.  When it came to sisterly battles, those between my older sibling, Kathleen, and myself are of epic legend.

Kathy was physically older than myself yet I'd like to say that her year and a half had nothing on me in the way of mental warfare.  Certainly she had a cruel streak that brought the devil out of me.  When it came to vicious opening attack sequences, she won hands down yet I always claimed the final victories.

Take for instance the time I was sitting directly behind her while my mom was cruising on a Southern California freeway at the height of rush hour traffic.  Kathleen, who was conveniently sporting a pony tail, made a rather snarky comment to me about my "fat butt".  If I remember correctly, I'd had a tough day at school.  Most likely I failed another fourth grade spelling test and was the "fat butt" joke of my teacher, a Catholic Nun, Sister Mary Jose.  I was not prepared to listen to my sibling harass me for no general reason.  It felt so liberating to see Kathy's back arching over the front passenger seat as I pulled her pony tail firmly down to where I was sitting.  I avoided my mother's right slapping hand and ignored her screams to let my sister go.  I knew I would be punished severely when I got home but home was still twenty minutes away - longer if we hit traffic - and I had no intention of letting her hair go.  If anything, I twisted and pulled harder.  Victory was mine.

Now before I go any further, I'd like to preface the remainder of this blog with some sort of explanation as to my personality type.  I'm actually a very laid back sort of gal.  When I was young, it took a lot to set me off.  Kathleen, my sister, knew exactly what buttons to push to make me angry.  I'm not necessarily proud of these stories but alas, I'm writing them to warn young mothers of little girls of what might lie ahead...these are simply precautionary tales. 

If any of you around my age remember the lovely Brady Bunch scene of Marcia and Jan placing tape down their bedroom to divide their "space" - my sister had this same notion after watching the episode.  You see, my sister has always been compulsively neat and I, on the other hand, lean towards, well - relaxed.  I'm certainly not a slob, but I don't always hang everything up if you catch my drift.  This type of sloth could not be tolerated by Kathy and so with masking tape down the center of the room she went.  "You can't cross the tape.  This is MY side of the room!"

"Fine dork!  So that means you can't get to the closet,  leave the bedroom to go to the bathroom, and when a pervert crawls through the window to attack us, you're the first one he'll get.  Way to go brainless!" 

The tape was removed within minutes.  Victory was mine. 

When our older siblings eventually moved out, Kathy and I were given our own rooms.  This solved a lot of grief for my parents.  No longer did they have to walk into screaming battles where Kathleen was clawing her fingernails through my skin and I was using my unusually large front teeth to draw blood from her arms.  I can't image how it must have looked when they opened the door to find mattresses overturned, bookshelves flipped, and their teenage daughters on the floor with clumps of hair in each other's hands.  We were like feral animals.

As we got older and bought our own clothing, Kathy often asked if she could borrow some of my things.  I had no problem with it.  Again, I was pretty easy going.  One day I asked to borrow something of hers.  She responded with a scathing, nasty remark to the effect that I was too fat and that I would destroy it.  From that point forward it was war.  Because of her paranoia, she asked my parents to place a key lock on her door.  One day, when I was alone in the house, I took the key from my parent's bureau, made a copy of it at our local hardware store, and well - the rest was history.

When Kathy wasn't home, I'd enter her room and move her shoes about just enough to make her wonder what was going on.  I'd shift her diary angle to keep her guessing if someone was reading it.  I'd mess up her lingerie drawer.  And yes, when I wanted, I'd sneak out a shirt and wear it out on a date.  Victory was mine once again.

Perhaps this is the time to say whole heartily how much I adore my sister today.

Kathy - I'm sorry for stretching out that one shirt.  You always accused me of stretching it out and I denied it emphatically .  For argument's sake, you were right.  My big ole' boobies probably did make it a wee bit larger for you; however, you must admit, it was most likely more comfortable.  And yes, I did borrow those navy blue pumps for Father's Day Brunch but calling me a bitch in front of every one was a little over the top, don't you think?

We've seen each other through some pretty hard times and we'll be together until the very end of our lives because we're sisters.  We're family.  We don't give up on each other but please don't call me a bitch at the next brunch, ok?   I love you.


  





Monday, July 9, 2012

How do you like your attention? Rare, medium, or cooked beyond recognition?


I tend to like mine pretty well done.  I'm spoiled you see.  I like to be pampered and loved and told how perfectly wonderful I am often if not on a daily basis.  When I don't receive these things, I start wondering what I've done wrong.  Where I've failed as a wife, mother, friend, and lover.  I've been called, "over dramatic" on several different occasions because I tend to perseverate on my perceived deficiencies well beyond what is considered obsessive.  To be quite honest, I'm a pain in the ass.  I own it.  I feel badly for any person who has ever attached themselves to me, a paranoid, needy individual; however, in my opinion - and theirs I hope - the perks far outweigh the disadvantages.

My youngest son, Austynn, needs a lot of attention - he always has.  He came to our home at six years of age having received little or no consistent affection in his short life.  I can't begin to imagine the sadness surrounding my kiddo's early existence.  By the time I was six, I was in an environment immersed in birthday parties, play dates, extended family get-togethers, cuddling with my parents, and having positive interactions with my siblings.  Austynn had none of this in a normal, functional time line.  We've been playing "catch-up" ever since.  It must seem odd to strangers when they see my 160 pound fourteen year old - who's two inches taller than his mother - asking for "side-hugs" or kisses.  Emotionally, he's 9 years old.  He'll catch up when he's ready.  Until then, he snuggles with me at home while I read stories to him in the afternoons.

My husband loves the attention I pay him.  I do believe I've created a monster.  He's sweet in that he doesn't demand anything but I've spoiled him for so long now that I feel a certain amount of pressure to keep my game on.  He has an expectation that the house will always look neat when he walks through the door, things will be quiet and under control, and dinner will be cooking on the stove.  Harrumph!  What have I done to myself?  I'm surprised he doesn't expect me to greet him every night in silk stockings and a French Maid uniform.  Geesh!  I only did that a couple of times.  He needs to set his expectations a wee bit lower.

My dogs are overcooked in their attention.  You can ask any of my friends and neighbors just how much attention Tank and Tulip demand and how much they receive and well, ummm..ahhh, it's quite frankly embarrassing.  I have no control over my dogs.  They have complete control over my heart.  There is nothing I wouldn't do for them if they asked me and, yes they speak to me very clearly, "Ma, I want a treat." 


Tulip (Tootie)

"Isn't this your third one, Tootie?"

"Yes, but I deserve one 'cause I'm adorable and you can't resist me."

"You're absolutely right.  Here you go."
Tank


"Tank, you don't need to go into the bathroom with me."

"I need to go everywhere with you.  Besides, I protect you from that awful smell monster in there."

"Well, I can't argue with that logic, come on in."

"Thank you, mama."




Saturday, July 7, 2012

Not a Colorado native but I love it here.

I have a massive, not-ready-for-popping, bright, shiny zit on my chin.  Totally random thought, I know;  however, it seems that this is all I can focus on at the moment.  My right hand keeps wandering to the awful bump to investigate whether or not since my last visit it's increased in diameter or juiciness.  This is ridiculous.  I'm too old for obnoxious pimples on my face.  It's time to apply the age old remedy of toothpaste to the offender.  Now if I can just keep the dogs away from me and remember to wash off the "remedy" before I go to the grocery store, I'll be fine.  Damn my vanity anyway!

I love Saturdays.  They're such slow, lazy days in our home.  When my husband and I lived in Southern California, they tended to be a terrible rush.  Both of us worked during the week and we attempted housecleaning, laundry, and entertainment in the short span of the weekends.  Now, here in Colorado, we have fewer obligations on our time.  Eric and I can choose to lounge about slowly in the mornings and allow our afternoons to merge quietly into the evening hours.  Even when we do have plans, we never feel hurried or breathless.  There's a tremendous difference in the way we move now.  It's hard to describe but it's almost as if our bodies sway with the wind, not against it.

A few years ago, my husband, children, and I came out to Los Angeles for a spur the moment visit.  We needed to see a friend who was undergoing a serious medical procedure around the holidays.  During our stay, we visited a major LA museum and while doing so, we were waiting in line to take a trolley up to the main gates.  While standing and chatting with other folks in line, someone made an observation that we weren't "obviously from Los Angeles".  I wanted to laugh out loud.  My husband and I are LA natives.  It just so happened that we'd lived in Denver for the last 5 years.  I had to ask why they thought we weren't.  Their answer was interesting.  They said it was because we were so relaxed, so calm, and so very extremely nice.  Wow. 

View of the Rockies from my backyard
It was if a light bulb went off in my head.  These people were absolutely right.  As I stood and watched the other folks waiting for the trolley, I could see palpable anger on their faces.  Impatience that they had to wait longer than a few moments in line.  They were getting hostile, rude in fact.  Then I looked at their clothes; upscale, expensive, name brand.  I stared at my boys and husband.  They were wearing the same clothes we wore for weekend outings back home; baggy shorts, comfy t-shirts, muddy shoes.  I smiled. 

At that moment, as I stood by my husband and kids, I was never more proud to say, "Yes, you're right.  We're not from here.  We used to be, but we live in Colorado now."

If I had a choice to do it all over again, I wouldn't hesitate.  Moving away from the hectic, busy world that is Southern California and into the slower life of Colorado was the best thing we could have ever done for our family.




 

  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Breezy has no rhythm.

It is a stunning admission, but yes - an admission none the less:  Breezy has no rhythm.  With even the most primal of hip hopping beats, this girl can't seem to swing her big bootie in sync.  It's simply mortifying.  What makes this situation even more embarrassing is that I've married a white guy who loves music as much as I do and is just as bad  - if not worse - at the process as I am.  Good Lord, put us on a dance floor at a wedding reception and it's as if the entire event stops to stare at the spectacle that is Mr. and Mrs. Eric Potts.  Oh the shame!

I even recall as a child that this was a horrible challenge for me.  My mother attempted every scheme to teach her little girl how to move her tookus.  She enrolled my older sister, Kathleen, and I in a Jazz and Tap class at the local park.  With every beat of, Bad Bad Leroy Brown, I in my tie-dye leotards and little tap shoes, attempted the shuffle ball change steps until I thought the dance move would magically roll off my feet.  It never occurred.  I would ride my bike home in shame twice a week and consider the irony.  Why couldn't I manage the steps after hours of practicing while my sister, with little or no practice, was becoming the next Ginger Rogers of my Southern California suburb?  I was devastated.

In high school, I signed up for a dance elective hoping against hope to avoid the more stressful typing class.  I sat in the back of the gymnasium on my mat with a few selective overweight friends and did my best to keep up.

"Bri Bryant, I see you back there.  Move those legs."

"Yes, Miss Murujo.  I'm trying."

She grinned (she was always grinning at me).  "Come on Bri, I know you can do it!"

"Yeah, but do my legs know it?"

I didn't last long.  Miss Murujo was very sweet and eventually let me off the hook; however, I didn't fare well in typing either.  I've never done well with timed tests.  Needless to say, to this day, I'm a henpecker.

Fast forward:  How many weddings was I in before my own?  Countless.  And how many of these weddings was I paired up with Eric as a groomsman?  Oh my goodness, too many.  Eric and I had the same friends in high school so therefore we attended many of the same ceremonies.  This only means one thing; we danced together at these weddings.  Eric spun me, threw me across the dance floor, and actually broke my high-heeled shoes on several different occasions.  Yes, that's correct; he actually broke my shoes.  I'm surprised he didn't break my ankles.

Today - we're married.  We're still geeks.  We still can't dance.  When we make a concerted effort to look "Rico Suave" (my dorky term for, "sophisticated"), we end up looking like jack asses.  I try to stand as still as possible and bend my knees towards the beat and Eric does a gyrating hip thrust towards me which looks like he's ready to penetrate me on the dance floor.  Es no bueno (Spanish for, "no good").  What's also disconcerting is that he tends to bite his lips making him appear like Chester the Molester.  Uggh!  Our dancing looks like bad 80's foreplay.

One would think that after close to 30 years, Eric and I would finally figure it out.  I guess not.  If dancing is the hardest thing we can manage as a couple, or individually for that matter, I'll take it.  There's a lot worse things out in the world to be terrible at like golf for instance.  No one wants to play a bad game of miniature golf.  Now that's just friggin' embarrassing!


   


   

Thursday, July 5, 2012

No one wants to fade.

Growing older is a quirky thing and how one chooses to do it is equally as strange.  I'll use myself as an example.  There were a lot of things I didn't do in my twenties and thirties because I lacked self-confidence.  Also, my weight played a huge factor in what I believed I couldn't do as well.  For instance, I was too heavy to enjoy long walks with my husband without my knees aching or being able to squeeze into roller coasters at amusement parks.  I missed being able to shop for age appropriate clothing and was intimidated to wear a bathing suit at the beach.  All these things and more I missed and have since been trying to catch up on since I've hit my forties, found myself, and lost a considerable amount of weight.

Other women (or men), my age and older, are catching up for similar or different reasons.  Perhaps they didn't have the financial means to purchase that amazing sports car in their youth but now they can.  Maybe a divorce or separation has granted someone more freedom than they've ever known.  Does a fifty year old look a little ridiculous driving a hot rod with red, fuzzy dice hanging from their rear view mirror or sporting a nose ring, hot pants, and a cleavage exposing top?  I'll leave this as a rhetorical question.

We all cling to our youth or try to relive it through our children.  It must somehow taste richer and feel more luxurious than it was the first time around.  We don't want the "rush" to end.  To be sexy and young is to be alive.  To be desired is not to be invisible.

Interestingly enough, I understand this better than most.  I was a ghost for years.  Being an obese person for the majority of my life, I was invisible to society.  No one saw me.  I would walk into department stores and was never offered assistance.  Doors weren't held open for me and seats weren't made available if I appeared exhausted.  I was a walking shadow in life.  People choose to ignore others whom they find awkward or ugly.  This is never the case for the beautiful, young, or apparent well-to-do.

I completely understand the need, the ache, for people in today's society to attempt to stay young and lovely.  I'm aware of why others also want to obtain status symbols as they age.  Yes, they're fun to own, but there's a deeper reason too.  We all know it - "Hey, look what I have!"  No one wants to fade.  It's a terrible feeling.

I'm rambling this morning.  I suppose what this all boils down to is that no one will remember my red hair or blue eyes when I'm gone.  No one will remember my oddball sense of humor a couple of generations from now.  My physical presence will have no lasting effect on this earth in a hundred years so why should I invest so much time in worrying about what I look like or what I have today?   Maybe if I/we take this energy and focus on genuinely helping someone else, just one other human being, we can make a lasting impression on this place.  Then, perhaps - we will not disappear.