Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yup, It's Broken...

There are a lot of bummers about broken bones.  One of which - oddly enough - is happening as I type.  I'm siting in an empty house, listening to one of my dogs puke someplace.  Can I offer her/him/it comfort?  No.  Chances are someone, hopefully not myself, will slip in it and break one of their own bones.  Sympathy?  I'll consider it later.

Another annoyance is the simple act of using the "facilities".  I've known folks who've broken toes by missing the "know-it-all-asses" of their children and instead planted them firmly into an inconvenient - but strangely enough - consistently placed wall (a sad, but true story shared with me by the mother of the "know-it-all's ass in the hospital waiting room).  Not I.  I break bones by just being an idiot.  Also, my choice of cracks, fractures, and chips always seem to occur on my driving ankle.  This is my 4th fracture and 3rd sprain; however, this time it's different - it's a combo situation.  Yep!  I did it gooooood!  A chip, a fracture, and possibly more than one multiple break which may culminate in surgery.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph preserve us!  I'll find out this coming week.  Anyway, I digress.  There's nothing quite so romantic than staring into the beautiful blue eyes of my husband when I say, "Ok Eric, my granny panties are down.  Is the toilet seat ready?  I've got to go!"

Of course, this isn't sexiest moment of our marriage to date.  In all the years I've loved, teased, and slowly danced with my husband beneath the Christmas Tree; I've never, EVER thought I'd wake him up to announce, "Eric, I believe I just shit the sheets".

For better or for worse, you youngin's coming up behind us better have stomachs made of steel and complete devotion for one another.  Your spouse will be there for you and you'll need to be there for them.  This thought came up today when I was alone with my barfy dogs and swiping candy out of my son's Halloween bag.

My parents were committed to one another like Eric and myself.  When something gruesome happened, the other stepped up, no questions asked, and took care of it.  Yes, they giggled and laughed but what else could they do?  Marriage is a partnership in all things good and bad - for better or worse; for richer or poorer.

It seemed to me, as I was sneaking my greedy child's candy, that I had every right to it.  When did this relationship between children and their parents change so horrifically?  When did we - the Lord's and Master's of our own domain - have to ask PERMISSION to take a cheap piece of candy from our kiddos' Halloween bags?  Growing up in my house, it was understood that all suckers from cheap Dum Dums to prized Blow Pops belonged unequivocally to my father, no questions asked.  The same was to be said about boxes of Milk Duds.  To this day, I've never tasted the candy before.  My dad didn't have most of his own teeth either but well, these were the choices he made in life.  Mom, of course, could just help herself to any salty/chocolate combination when her "unfortunate time of the month" came blustering about. 

When did this alteration in candy rights occur?  I'm the grown-up now dammit!  I shouldn't have to slither about snaking bags of mini M&Ms because I have an occasional craving for chocolate!  I have broken bones dammit!  I'm crabby!  Nobody should be allowed to scream at me especially when I allowed him to use half my box of aluminum foil to dress as a bizarre and highly unlikely 14 year old robot.  Good God! 

Broken bones.  I hate them.  I've suffered through too many of them but as I consider that being an adult now with a broken bone leaves me with loads of laundry that I don't have to do, two bottles of pain killers, and meetings cancelled because I've been told to stay off my foot for 6 weeks.  I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't feel so bad about broken bones.  Guilt free bed rest, a dirty house, loads of laundry and miscellaneous dog barf somewhere.  Hmmm..  I think my pain is acting up a bit.  Time to take a pain med and a nap.  This may not be such a bad thing after all. 


Saturday, November 17, 2012

I like Q-Tips too.

I'm still hung up on that little "Thankful" game going around on Facebook.  I wrote about it a couple of days ago and I found myself pondering a few more just this morning after I had just posted two fresh ones. 

One, I was extremely grateful that my dog, Tank was asleep after I had stepped out of the bathtub this morning.  You see, for some unknown reason, he finds the suds from my bubble bath extremely tasty.  No matter how well I manage to dry off my legs, he still manages to locate random bubbles to lick off my calves or thighs.  I must admit that this is not a pleasant experience.  Before Tank's visits, I always feel clean and relaxed; afterwards - violated and dirty.  There's no door between the my master bathroom and bedroom so please don't offer ridiculously obvious advice.

Secondly, I love Q-tips.  They are a gift from the Gods.  They can be used for such an amazing plethora of activities.  Sure, they reach those intense itches in one's ear that our doctors forbid us to scratch; however, they are an OCD's housewife's dream come true.  Corner dirt and dust bunnies have no chance against a bottle of wood spray and one of these cotton swabs.  I almost listen for desperate screaming, "Heeeeelp meeee!  Heeeeelp meeee!" as I attack the offenders with relish.  Dirt and wayward bird seed should know better by now with me.  Nothing escapes my eyes especially when my bi-polar manic cleaning side kicks into full gear.

An old friend called me Thursday afternoon.  It was nice to hear his voice again.  I should actually reiterate that it was Tinsley who called me.  Tony Tinsley is my former US Marine "boyfriend" from years ago.  He was my lover before I met and married my ex-husband.  It's so nice that we've remained friends after all these years.  He still has the ability to make me laugh and I him. 

It's been a goal of mine to hold on to the men in my life and maintain friendships with them.  My theory is that I've loved them for a reason, why let go of that love?  There's some whom I've lost track of.  The first, was my "first".  A very sweet man.  Another, I hurt tremendously and I don't blame him for never contacting me again.  One accused me of dating "trash".  My response was that I hadn't dated "trash" until I met him. The last was a friend who seems to have dropped off the planet.  I still think of him fondly.  I hope he's doing well.

I'm thankful I had the wisdom and grace to learn from my past relationships.  Why let these friendships go?  Granted, some of them ended painfully with misunderstandings on both sides; however, I've given my heart to them as they've given theirs to me.  We've cried, laughed, and shared our dreams with one another.  This is a sacred trust given to me and I don't take it lightly. 

Most of all, I'm thankful for my current relationship - my best friend, Eric.  How many husbands would allow their wives to continue friendships with past loves?  I can't imagine too many and yet he does.  He tells me his honest feelings, and yes - he's jealous but understands that these men are part of my life.  Letting go or saying "good-bye" would be like removing a limb.  Tinsley, Jeff, and the others, are a part of who I am today.  They've developed my sense of humor, my "kick-back" attitude, my zest for life.  Without one of them, I would be less than who I am.

Last night my friend Cindy, her brother-in-law, and I went out to a country western bar.  Eric hates country music so it wasn't a huge sacrifice on his end to stay at home - that is until he saw me ready to leave.  I looked good.  I've lost a lot of weight recently, my hair was done last weekend and is back to it's perky red, I was wearing a shirt which accentuated my curves, and I was wearing lipstick.  Eric's little green horns came out to play.  He was doing his best but I could tell he was unnerved.

I have a secret, Eric.  You have nothing to worry about.  I'm grateful for you.  This past year, in particular, you've given me reasons far more than any wife to stay by your side, remain faithful, honest, and passionately in love with you.  You own my heart and soul.  They are yours forever. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

There should never be a "formal" way to show our gratitude.

Maple Tree
There's a "Be Thankful" game (for lack of a better term) on Facebook making it's way across the pages right now.  People are posting - on a daily basis - what they're grateful for up until Thanksgiving Day.  This is all very sweet and humbling in a Norman Rockwell "Americana" sort of way.  With everything I do, I tend to poke fun and not take it too seriously.  I suppose I should but it's virtually impossible for me not to have a little sarcasm come to the surface.  I'm thankful for many things, believe it or not, even those that I appear completely irreverent about.

For instance today, I made reference that I was grateful for the romantic break-up of Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber.  I'm not necessarily a celebrity stalker; however, from what I've seen of this young man, he's an annoying, spoiled brat.  This young lady seems lovely.  Why would she want to be seen with him?  Leave his sorry ass and as of this morning - good for her, she has.

On one post, I was grateful for my Maple Tree in the backyard.  I believe I rendered that in a somewhat sincere and beautiful prose: 

On this 10th day of November I'm grateful for the Maple Tree I had the foresight to plant outside my bedroom window. The leaves are gone now but it's lovely to watch the four seasons come and go with it. In the evening hours, when I can't sleep, the wind whistling through it is like a lullaby.

What most of my Facebook friends don't realize was that I held back most of my true feelings.  It was painful.  I suffered on a grand scale that morning.  My dear friends and blog readers, you should all know by now that I'm a smart ass and last week wasn't a particularly stellar one for me.  Instead of being a Negative Nellie, I was trying to stay positive.  If I had my druthers, this is what I would have written instead:

On this 10th day of November I'm grateful for the Maple Tree I had the foresight to plant outside my bedroom window; however, had I known that Eric would refuse to rake up the leaves, I would never have chosen the damn thing. 
So you see, it's all in my perspective and how I choose to bring my friends into my morose sense of humor.  I feel sometimes it's too early in the morning for such large doses of Breezisms'.  I have too much compassion for the people I love therefore I attempt a bit of restraint.  Strong coffee and massive quantities of fried foods - in particular - greasy apple fritters could always help my attitude as well.

To return to being thankful for things, my way is often silent, almost prayerful.  Grandiose has never been my style.  A simple letter, a gentle hug, a wink, a warm touch, a secret kiss, a passing blog when the moment strikes me - these are my ways of saying, "thank you".  To be honest, these quiet gestures should be done more often than during the holidays or when times get rough. 

Last week, my husband and I taught our first graders how to pray.  To be honest with you, this is our favorite class.  There should never be a "formal" way to show our gratitude.  A smile, a groan of pleasure when we taste something delicious, taking a moment to enjoy the beauty of a rose, and yes, the simple act of saying, "Thank You."  Whether you're religious or not, gratitude in its simplest form is an amazing gift unto itself.

I'm grateful for all that I have - but today, today I'm thankful for these words I was inspired to write.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Because I Got High

On Tuesday, Colorado was one of only two states in the union to pass the "Pot" law, in other words giving my neighbors and I full permission to pull out our hidden pipes and come out of the "stoner closets" so to speak.  My state has had medicinal marijuana laws on the books for a couple of years now; however, it's been fairly silly to enforce because all my "sick" friends share with their "not so sick" friends (cough, cough..hmm, excuse me).

Now, before I go any further, I will clarify to you, my dear friends and blog readers, that I'm not a stoner in the sense of the 1980's fictional movie character Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  No, I'm not "Hazy Girl".  Even if I had access to it, I wouldn't smoke it all the time.  To me, it's an occasional party indulgence.  Pot smoking is like alcohol drinking.  I see nothing wrong with it, I never have.  In fact, I much prefer smoking pot over alcohol.  I don't get sick with it and there are no nasty hangovers to contend with in the morning. 

So, I guess my secret is out, I have partaken from take to time.

If any of you have known me personally, you might find this somewhat shocking.  Breezy?  Denver Druggie in Disguise?  Noooo!  In my younger days, I was a huge nerd, geek, square peg, whatever term one would apply to a person such as myself.  The very idea of my touching an illegal substance was completely out of character.  It wasn't until I met and married my first husband that the thought crossed my mind.  Ironically, now Jeff is repulsed by drug users of any sort - alcohol included.

When Jeff and I lived in Colorado Springs, one of our upstairs apartments was inhabited by a couple whose life revolved around Top Ramen Noodles, Green Bay Packers Football, and bongs of weed longer than my forearm.  The gal was my only friend and confidant during this short period of my marriage and time in Southern Colorado.  She knew my heartbreak and overheard (how could anyone not) the horrible screaming battles between Jeff and myself.  Whereas he had a group of close friends to play Dungeons and Dragons and confide in, I had Carla to share my grief with. 

Friends come and go; some stay throughout our lifetimes, participating in every major family event whereas others arrive when we we need them the most then move on never to see them again.  This was how it was with Carla.  The last time I saw her was the day I drove the U-Haul away from our apartment building.  My mom was waiting for me in the passenger side of the cabin and I was staring back at my husband in disbelief.  Carla, knowing what was going through my mind, walked up to me, put her hands on my shoulders, and said, "Fuck him, Bri.  You're doing the right thing.  Hell, you're doing more than the right thing.  If I were you, I wouldn't have left the fucker anything.  I would have taken the light bulbs and emptied the ice cube trays." 

I burst into laughter.  I loved her for this last bit of humor because we both knew that was the last laugh I'd share with someone for a long time.  We hugged long and tight.  I've never seen of heard from her again.

So, back to Marijuana.  Cheech and ChongAnimal HouseReefer Madness.  Let's not freak out about pot smoking everybody.  I believe we need to teach our kids the same thing about pot as we do about alcohol.  First, it's addictive.  Second, it's illegal if you're under 21.  Third, don't smoke it and drive.  Fourth, it's not good for you (um, hello..just like some forms of binge drinking).  So, will this keep minors from smoking it?  No.  Of course not.  Has it yet?  No.  Have these same theories kept kids from drinking?  No.  Will it cut down on the time and effort spent on the little drug dudes and allow the police force to work on the bigger issues out there.  I think so. 

Will I have half the state of Colorado - heck, half the nation - disagreeing with this blog?  Probably.  These posts are just my opinion, nothing more.  Everyone can relax.  This liberal chickie, formally from California, will never run for politics.  I'm just one annoying voice in millions.  Let's agree to disagree shall we?  Or better yet, when the law becomes official, why don't you come by and join me for a smoke?



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pay It Forward

I've learned a lot of things from my dad while he was alive.  When I was little, he held me up on roller skates, taught me how to hook a line with a worm, and how not to pee behind a tree.  Later in life, I stood by his side and learned the fine art of loading a Crap Table in Vegas and impressing the hell out of the old dudes chewing on cheap cigars and clinging to their dollar bills.  However much this last lesson might have cost (or won) me in gambling money over the years, I wouldn't take back a nerve wracking moment with him.  There is, yet - another legacy he left me and last night it came roaring back into my life through someone else; "Pay It Forward".

It's amazing what children pickup from their parents when their parents aren't watching.  I've learned some of my best swear words from Richard and Maryellen Bryant.  Also, my marriage is a gift from my parents; their laughter, their communication, their friendship...yes, I watched it all growing up.  I expected the same when I eventually exchanged vows.  When it wasn't in my first marriage, I knew something was very, very wrong.  My mom always told her daughters, "Marry a man like your father."   Jeff was a wonderful man, but he wasn't my soul mate - he wasn't meant for me.  Eric is my life partner.  I've also learned the fine art of how to get what I want from my dear one (thank you mama).  Watching her kanoodle dad was nothing short of miraculous.  No matter how big the request or problem, he always ended up agreeing with her (I'm grinning ear to ear as I type this).

The biggest take away; however, were the meals he'd pick up for young couples in love, desperate looking families, or senior citizens in restaurants.  He never said anything.  The only way I knew what he was doing was when he would quietly tell the hostess and she'd give it away when they were making the arrangements.  He didn't want any fanfare, he didn't want any big deal made out of it, and he definitely didn't want the recipients to know who he was.  He just wanted to do something nice.  What makes me smile is realizing that these are just the gifts I'm personally aware of.  How many more random acts of kindness did he perform without my knowing?  I can only imagine. 

Because of this, Eric and I are great advocates of random acts of kindness.  We "Pay It Forward" whenever we have an opportunity to do so.

Last night, a complete stranger rang our doorbell and gave us an envelope with money in it.  I won't deny that Eric and I have been going through some difficult times lately with our oldest kiddo in Juvenile Hall, our garage in shambles, and our other kiddo driving us to the brink of insanity.  The gentleman indicated that he was asked to give us the envelope by another stranger.  There was no name, no indication of who it was from - just our names on the envelope, cash inside, and the statement, "With Love".

The sentiment made us weep.  To have someone care enough to do something so kind.  Eric and I have been wrapped up in our own little world of problems and concerns that we've forgotten how blessed we are to be surrounded by a blanket of comfort and love.  The money will certainly help but it was the kindness, the "Pay It Forward", that will pull us through these tough days ahead.  There is a warm glow coming from our house on the top of the hill in Thornton, Colorado.  It is one of friendship, contentment, and peace.

Eric and I keep a picture of my dad on the table in our Family Room.  Below it reads a quote by Dr. Seuss, “Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."  It could never be more true than it is today.  Thank you dad for your what you've taught me and thank you once again to our anonymous friend for your warm and comforting blanket of love.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Bryant Family: A Comedy Show Unto Ourselves

A few days ago I wrote a humiliating blog about my sister, Kathleen and I being captured on video trying to snorkel for the first time.  My mind hasn't left the beautiful Kaanapali Beach shoreline in Maui, Hawaii yet and the "endless summers" my family spent there during the 1980's.  Most families would have lovely memories of calm afternoons lying on white, sandy beaches or quiet dinners at open air restaurants with little umbrellas spiked with fresh pineapple slices in their blended fruit drinks.  Sure, sure, we experienced these moments too - BUT my dear friends and blog readers - we were the BRYANT family; nothing ever went according to plan.

My mother loved scheduling special outings for us.  This, of course, was when I first discovered that I was the "weakest link" in mi familia.  In other words, yours truly does not have a strong stomach for boats, trains, airplanes, or twisty roads.  THIS is a horrible discovery within a group of siblings whose primary function it is to tease and torment one another at every Thanksgiving Meal for the rest of our adult lives.

On one particular vacation, my mother rented a small Cessna touring plane to fly over the island of Kauai.  That was fun (sarcasm); however, Kauai is a highly mountainous island and to fly over it is extremely bumpy.  Uh oh - yep, you guessed it - barf bags?  I didn't enjoy the flight at all.  All I remember was my brother Paul laughing his ass off from the front seat and my sister Kathy saying, "Eeew, gross!"

Another summer, my mom wanted the family to sail around Maui on a catamaran, a type of fast, multi-hulled boat which skims across the water.  Another hilarious future story for the holidays.  You see, my mother wasn't informed that the lovely sailing craft wouldn't be docked.  I don't blame her for not asking.  I would have assumed that a fully staffed boat would be moored and waiting for our family upon our arrival.   Nope.  Not so.  How foolish of her to assume especially having paid such an exorbitant amount of money for the excursion.  I'll never forget the anger on her face when it was explained that one, we would have to split up in pairs and take a "dingy" out to the catamaran and two, swim past enormous waves to get to "said" dingy.  Oh my GOD!  Woe to the man who had to deal with my mother that afternoon.

Let me set up the visual.  Lahaina seaport is a huge tourist destination in Maui.  The beach was packed with tourists and sunbathers.  We kids were wearing swimsuits beneath our shorts and t-shirts; however, my parents had not planned on swimming.  My dad was wearing slacks with suspenders and a golf shirt and mom was in her classic, long Hawaiian mu mu dress.  It was a disaster.

My sister, Kathy and my mom attempted boarding the dingy first.  It was windy and as I had previously mentioned, the waves were huge.  Mom barely made it into the raft with her mu mu weighing her down but with the help of the itty, bitty, blonde crew member hoisting her in, she conquered it.  My sissy, on the other hand, wasn't a good swimmer and could not pull herself up.  Much to her mortification, my other sister, Ellenmary and I were left watching the spectacle on the beach.  We started with a low chuckle and as the scene became more intense, our laughter increased to loud, hysterical cackling.  Soon, the tourists were standing along side of us watching the horror show unfold before their eyes.  I couldn't hear Kathy over the wind, the waves, and our laughter but I'm certain she was throwing out words which could have easily excommunicated her from the Catholic Church.  Eventually, the itty, bitty, blonde crew member had to jump out of the dingy and literally fist Kathy by the ass into the boat.  Eeew.

Next, it was my turn.  Dammit, why did I have to draw so much attention to the situation?  I was sure as Hell not going to have the itty, bitty, blonde crew member fisting my ass into the dingy.  I waited patiently and timed the waves.  One, two..I took a running leap into it and...OH FUCK!  I almost fell out the other side of the raft in my excitement to make it in!  Hysterical cackling.  Shit!  I guess I had that coming...

I had mentioned it was a windy day.  The boat was a rockin'.  To and fro - fro and to.  Barf bags?  No such luck.  Just Bri hanging off the side of the rails for most of the trip, my brother, Paul laughing his ass off, and my sister, Kathy saying, "Eeew, gross!"

Land HO!  Finally.  No more movement under my feet.  The nice, soft, white sand and again - hysterical cackling.  I turned around to see what my sister Ellenmary was laughing at this time.  It was my mom and dad dripping wet, clothes hanging off them as they were walking towards the parking lot.  My mother was screaming at my baby brother to stop running away from her, my pop was yelling at my mom to stop screaming, and my brother Paul was throwing chunks of wet sand at my sister Kathleen during which was drawing a huge amount of attention from the crowd of folks on the beach.  The Bryant Family.  We were a tourist attraction and entertainment unto ourselves.  Wherever we went, we should have charged admission - we could have made a fortune.