Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My 2012 New Year’s Resolutions…

Every year, I say I'm not going to make a list of resolutions, but then I do. I'll probably fail at better than 50% of them, but hey, at least my intentions are good, so here goes...

1. I resolve to color outside the lines more often, and use the brightest most obnoxious colors in the crayon box.
2. I resolve to eat more desserts, especially anything involving chocolate frosting.
3. I resolve to be more playful in mind and in spirit...and in bed.
4. I resolve to dance like no one can see that I dance like a middle-aged white woman who can’t let go of the 80's.
5. I resolve to stop wearing black all the time (doubtful this one will come to pass.)
6. I resolve to give up my hidden stash of chocolate (also doubtful.)
7. I resolve to quit hounding my daughter about cleaning her room, and just shut the door once in a while.
8. I resolve to try to stay up til at least 10pm every night (instead of crashing at 8pm.)
9. I resolve to stop sweating all the small stuff, thus saving more energy for the really big stuff.
10. I resolve to make time for the things that I love that I never seem to have time for anymore.
11. I resolve to stop procrastinating about I don’t--never going to happen.
12. I resolve to engage in more heartfelt belly laughs.
13. I resolve to let go of relationships that are 75% effort on my part, and 25% effort on the other person’s part.
14. I resolve to spend more one on one time with my daughter, whether it be playing chess, or rummy, or just hugging her extra tightly.
15. I resolve to hold hands with Bill whenever I have the opportunity, and make every kiss count.
16. I resolve to call my family more often.
17. I resolve to let go of life’s pettiness and drama, and concentrate on what is really important.
18. I resolve to focus on my contributions to the world around me, instead of just the lack of contributions of others.
19. I resolve to breathe more deeply, and stop to recognize the beauty around me.
20. I resolve to make every moment count, good, bad or otherwise because the sum of those moments are what makes us who we are.
To each of you, I wish you every a new year filled with joy and laughter, good health and happy moments. We have all earned a good year, I think, so let's try to make it as wonderful as possible.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

And that’s Why Christmas should always come with cocktails…

I love Christmas. Want to know why? Because a couple of decades ago I decided to remove the real stressor of the holiday season – people who piss me off. Christmas for me has come to mean time with my daughter and my husband, my animals, my friends, my family when we can get together, although we all have our own families now, so it's a little tough. I fill my holiday time with laughter, and long heartfelt chats, and cocktails...lots of cocktails. For me, Christmas is a celebration of life and all that with which I have been blessed. I’m not a religious person, but I do love to reflect on the spirit of the holiday. I’ve even been known to go to a Christmas Eve service once in a while. Is there any time of the year that is more wonderful than Christmas Eve? Not for me.

It makes me sad to hear how completely frustrated and anxious people become this during the month of December. I understand that for some, their angst may be family or other people who loom large in their life. And yet, for others it’s the endless cadre of idiots behind the wheel of a car, or barrelling through the shopping malls without a thought or a care for anyone who gets in their way. It's all about them, no one else. Everyone’s “trigger” comes in a different form. Whatever form it comes in for you, you should exorcize it from your holidays, LIKE RIGHT NOW.

I think somewhere in the holiday mayhem, it is easy to forget one simple but profound tidbit. No matter what you celebrate – Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus (pick one) – that time of the year is supposed to be, well, fun. It’s a time to reflect on your life and take stock in all the things that are near and dear to your heart. It’s not about dreading the arrival of your in-laws, or dealing with your great aunt who insists on intruding into every aspect of everyone’s life, or listening to your grandmother ask one more time about when you are going to settle down. It’s not about the gifts, or who makes the best cookies, or whose spouse has been the most overzealous in his gift purchases. Take my word for it, no one really cares. Quite frankly, there is little more irritating than those who are constantly trying to “one-up” everyone around them in order to make them feel better about themselves. Not only is it annoying, it’s just plain sad. Those folks need to just be thankful they have someone in their life who cares about them that much. Chances are, if they need to declare that loudly what they have or what they got, then I am guessing the one thing they are sorely lacking are real friends.

Holiday shopping your stressor? Don’t do it. Order what is absolutely necessary (say, for your kids) online and leave it at that. Years ago, my family made a decision that the adults would not buy each other presents. The only presents we buy are for each other’s children. You know what? It took about 80% of the holiday madness out of my life. And really, what do any of us really need anyway? I know, as for myself, I can go out and get anything I really need on my own. And eliminating the endless gift buying cuts down on what ends up being everyone exchanging the same money between each other, be it a present, a gift card, or cash. Really feel like giving someone something for the sake of giving? Bake some cookies, knit a scarf, or better yet, how about giving some of your time to that person. I guarantee it will mean more to them than any gift you could possibly give.

If it is family that sets your hair on fire and makes you wish Christmas would just go away then I have an idea. Don’t spend Christmas with your family. Plan a trip, or just stay at home and spend the holiday with someone who DOESN’T make your life hell. If you’re not enjoying the time, then you need to do something else with it. There is one thing the holidays are not supposed to be, and that is miserable.

The holidays are about children, and watching their faces light up on Christmas morning. It’s about meeting up with friends for some special time together. So often that little bit of time spent together reminds you of how lucky you are to have such incredible people in your world on a day to day basis. I am blessed with some amazing friends, and an extraordinary family. I wish the same for everyone else. I make sure that every Christmas is exactly how I want it to be, and that it is a happy and joyous occasion. Tomorrow is promised to none of us, and that simple fact is not lost on me. Make the most of this holiday season, and do the things YOU want to do. I promise you will return to work on January 2nd not feeling drained and exhausted.

May the peace and joy of this holiday season fall like snow on you and your families. To my closest and most trusted friends, I could not imagine my life without each and every one of you crazy fools. To my family, you will never know how much I love and appreciate you, not just at Christmas, but every single day of the year. To my daughter, thank you for making every Christmas since you were born the most special holidays of all. And to my Bill, thank you for loving me unconditionally, with all your heart, and allowing me the room to be who I really am. You are my one true love, and you always have my heart in your back pocket.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Ballad of Shakira

Ok, it has taken me some time to get over a somewhat traumatic situation that occurred, but I think I can get through it now without tearing up. It should be noted that the perpetrators of the horrible crime still have not been apprehended, but if I ever find out who caused me such worry and heartache, I shall make their lives a living hell, and I totally mean it. Paybacks are a bitch.

So I shall start at the beginning. I am in LOVE with the writings of a woman living in Texas known as The Bloggess. The first time I read her hilarious online column, it was a particular blog about a big metal chicken that she purchased in what I can only assume was a Homegoods store (the only place that would sell big metal chickens, or so I thought.) It made me want a big metal chicken of my very own. She named her big metal chicken Beyonce. I would name mine Shakira, keeping with the musical theme names. She tortured her husband Victor with this ginormous big metal chicken. I could see it adding a whole other dimension to my relationship with Bill.

The Friday after Thanksgiving my friends, Sherrel and Rich, left with me on what can only be described as a road/field trip to hunt down the perfect big metal chicken. I had seen an antique store in Lucketts, Virginia with literally hundreds of metal chickens, even one as tall as a house, but I didn’t have time to stop and look around. It was perfect thing to do on a bright sunny day. We decided to leave before we started drinking, probably a wise decision. And our road trip was indeed fruitful. Sherrel and I both purchased a metal chicken. While not as large as I had hoped, my metal chicken was completely adorable at about 18 inches tall. (Sherrel's was much smaller, more of a baby metal chicken. She named hers JayZ by the way.) So $36 later, Shakira was sitting in the back seat of Sherrel’s jeep, happily looking out the window. We went directly to one of our local watering holes, Shakira in tow, and ordered some wine (and a beer for Rich.) Shakira sat on the bar, and was the STAR. She’s a very social chicken.

I took her home so I could show Bill my chicken score. Funny, he wasn’t as excited about it as I was, nor did he find the hilarity of the situation of owning a metal chicken. I let him read the Bloggess’s blog about her Big Metal Chicken…still nothing. I would not be deterred. I put Shakira on the front steps of our house so I could show her off to the entire town of Manassas. Everyone would be so jealous, I just knew it.

The next day, I patted Shakira on the head as I walked out the door and went shopping. Upon my return, Shakira was GONE. A ransom note was wedged in the door, stating that Shakira had been kidnapped, instructions for payment of the ransom would follow. Damn my friends. Heads would roll for sure. I paid 36 bucks for that damn chicken. This wasn’t funny. Ok, it was mildly funny.

That night, I grilled them all over drinks. No one knew anything, and they all lamented about Shakira’s disappearance. The next thing I knew, Jackie, our server, came over with a POSTER SIZE board with cut out letters:

“We have your cock in our custody. We demand one million chicken feathers and a lifetime supply of wine. If you don’t meet our demands, the cock dies a terrible death. Hopefully this will teach you not to go around Old Town bragging about your cock. Good-bye Bitch. The Farmer.”

Note, there were three photos of Shakira at the bottom of the poster – one of her in an oven, one in a dumpster, and one of her with a noose around her neck hanging from someone’s porch. Shit, the porch was unidentifiable. I looked for other clues in the phots...nothing. Damn, these kidnappers were good.

My first thought was, who the hell has time to put this much effort into fucking with me? My next thought was, crap, it’s going to take a while to get my $36 chicken back.

Two days later, as I was leaving for work, I found a KFC bucket with another ransom note and some metal pieces in it. The note instructed me to go to the local SERVE food donation center and leave the wine. The feathers were to be left at the Habitat for Humanity store. Receipts should be placed in the bucket and left on the steps. Fucking great. Now I have to go make a food donation (the food bank obviously wasn’t going to take the wine) and a furniture donation in order to get blank receipts so I could get my $36 metal chicken back. I considered driving back to Lucketts and buying another chicken.

I was having trouble finding the time to get to either location to make donations and collect receipts. I would do it Saturday. That damn chicken better come back in one piece, that’s for sure, or someone was going to pay for that chicken in flesh.

Saturday was the Manassas City Christmas Day Parade. Everyone met at my house heading a few blocks into Old Town for the parade. We stopped at one of the local restaurants for some breakfast. As we sat down, suddenly my friend Bruce walked over and handed me - you guessed it - SHAKIRA. He said she was left at the front door when he arrived early that morning. I was elated. I was also slightly pissed that someone would leave her at the front door at the risk of being stolen again. But she was there, right before my eyes, and sporting a new red feather boa, an elf hat, and holding a small leopard purse in her beak. In the purse was note detailing Shakira’s adventures with the Farmer and his lovely wife. (Seriously, who the hell has time to even come up with this stuff???) Also attached to the note was a $20 bill for a round of shots. Beautiful. The farmer knows my love for a yummy cocktail.

Now Shakira is relaxing next to our Christmas tree, in her festive holiday outfit. I will never leave her outside again. I love that cock.

So the moral of the story is if you don’t want someone messing with your cock, best to keep it someplace safe.

the end.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yep, she's the black sheep...baaaaa...

I don’t fit into the mold of a certain “type” of woman. I never have. I used to think that it was me, that it was a bad thing. I thought that for years. I saw the way people looked at me, and I wished I could be different. But I am a woman dictated by my emotions. I feel what I feel, and I am very bad at faking it.

It’s difficult to always feel like you are on the outside looking in - the different one, the one who just has something wrong with her. I really tried to be just like everyone else, I really did. And then, I would fail miserably, which allowed the depression to kick in, rendering me completely useless for weeks, sometimes months. I am excellent at withdrawing from life, pulling shut all the curtains, crawling into my bed and refusing to venture out for any reason. Or, as my manic side would sometimes dictate, squirreling myself away with my paintbrushes to paint – all hours of the day, sometimes seemingly non-stop. Yes, I am probably unmedicated to some degree. It’s ok. I’ve been medicated sufficiently before and it was miserable. I hate not feeling anything at all, so I will deal with myself just they way I am.

So (there is actually a point to all of this) when people hurt me, it cuts to the bone. They may not mean it. They may not realize they are even doing it. But it happens, and when it does it is painful in ways that physical injury is not. One thing I have discovered is that most hurt stems from people trying to exercise control over your life. So today, when someone I care for lashed out accusing me (albeit passive aggressively) of failing as a family member (not my own family by the way) I was devastated. For years, I have tried so hard to please this person, and now I realize that it didn’t matter. No matter what I would have done, the outcome would have been the same, because I had deprived her of control. And she would never forgive me of that. My first reaction was anger, then hurt, then utter heartache. Again, I had failed in my efforts, even though there was really no way I would have done the right thing in her eyes, other than to completely set aside everything that is important to me, in order to handle what she deemed important.
It’s always worse when this crap happens around the holidays, but inevitably it does. It sucks the life right out of you, makes you feel like inadequate, unwanted, unnecessary. The one thing that keeps me from falling down the rabbit hole is the fact that I have this incredible network of friends who would walk on fire to be there for me, in whatever they could. I also have my daughter and my own family, and they are more precious than gold. They don’t always understand me, but they always believe in me…daughter, friends, family…and in the end, they always save my heart and my soul.

I know this has not been the cheeriest of blogs, but sometimes the best thing a person can do is empty their heart onto a piece of paper. It’s cleansing, cathartic, a spiritual experience. For me, it helps me to understand myself a bit better, without paying a therapist (I’ve done that enough in my life.) So thank you for listening, for caring and for being supportive. You know who you are, and I love you with all my heart.

Next blog will be funny, I promise.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why can’t you be like all the other moms?

This question has been posed to me more than once by my 12 year old offspring, Patricia. She says it with such conviction that it immediately causes me to look at her in disbelief. Really? Really??? My first thought is always to wonder exactly what “all the other moms” were doing so differently than me? Hmmmm...ok, admittedly, I have a much more active social life and a wide circle of unmedicated friends. No, we are not the type of people who sit at home drinking coffee and comparing stories about our kids. Hell, most of my friends don’t have children. Most of them don’t even really like children, although they adore my daughter - mostly because she is just like me with the same sense of acerbic wit, but shorter. We are also not the people you will see hanging out at their kid’s soccer games every weekend yelling like lunatics when the ref makes a bad call against our child’s team. I get it. My friends are a bit “different.” We drink, sometimes to excess. We curse. We like all kinds of music, including what she listens to (except for Taylor Swift and Justin Beiber, but that's just me. I can't speak for the rest of my friends.) We are loud and obnoxious and we really really like to just “hang out” together, mostly because we just enjoy each other’s company. Truth be told, I am thankful for my slightly insane friends. Bill and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But is that really a bad thing? Apparently, in the mind of a 12 year old the answer is a resounding “yes” at least on the surface. She tries to convince me that she would be much happier if I sat around in my pink track suit and extra forty pounds, baking cookies, and devoting every moment of the day to her well-being. What she doesn’t get is that I do devote the most significant portion of my time to her well-being, I’m just doing other things at the same time. I am a master multi-tasker.

If you ask most people who know me, they would never use the word “traditional” to describe me in any sense. I don’t fit the “mom” mold. For a long time, I felt really bad about that, but honestly, the whole June Cleaver thing was just never right for me. I tried on the “stay at home mom” routine, but to me, it just plain sucked. Maybe that comes from having my daughter when I was a bit older (I was 34) and having experienced all the great things out there in the world, like a fulfilling job, and a life of my own that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was always in awe of the moms who could pull off the traditional mom persona with such ease. I can tackle some of those mom tasks. I am a world class baker and I’m way too artsy craftsy for my own good. I also make a healthy and nutritious dinner every night, one habit I’m fairly sure my child wishes I would give up because she is always bitching about not liking vegetables. But in the end, I’m never going to win that “Mother of the Year” award. Maybe that is why I only have one child. And maybe that is why I don’t have a crapload of friends who also have children. I love my daughter to death and cannot imagine one moment without her, but my patience with other people’s children is almost non-existent. You'll never see me begging to hold someone's infant,that is for sure. At some point (I’m guessing of course) Higher Powers looked down on me and said “ is enough for that girl. She’s already going to put the child she has into therapy at an early age.” It should be noted that Tricia is not in therapy...yet. I’m sure one day she will be, and I’ll be happy to contribute monetarily to her sessions, since it is likely that I will be the source of her neuroses. I hope it brings some clarity into her life as to why her mother is a nutcase with the attention span of a two year old. I never said I was perfect, or easy. I’m not even very mature when you get right down to it.

But I’d like to think that my certain level of immaturity is what makes me fun and sets me apart from all the other moms. I’m letting Tricia get a pink or blue streak in her hair (to me, if that is the worst that I have to give into, I’m doing pretty well.) I give her a fairly wide berth of independence and I am what I consider a good listener when it comes to difficulties that crop up in her day. She’s not afraid to say the word “boys” around me because in my mind, knowledge is power, and I’d rather she be able to talk to me about anything rather than experience the fear of reprisal for bringing those taboo subjects up. When I’m not yelling at her to clean up her room, we actually get along quite well. I’m not sure that would be the case if I was a “traditional” mom. I’d be too over-protective, too worried about what “might”happen. I’d be more of a pain in the ass than I am now, I’m fairly sure about that.

So while it’s true that I have some “challenges” in the parental department, I think the good actually outweighs the bad. No, I’m never going to be one of those moms who doesn’t care about her personal appearance (vanity will most certainly always rule the day) or never leaves the house on the weekends. I’m not going to dote on my child endlessly and I’m not going to obsess about what she is doing every single friggin moment as long as I am breathing. I trust her, and I think I’ve instilled a healthy dose of common sense in her which will help a lot when it comes to making the right choices in her life. If you never give your child the opportunity to make a decision for themselves, then in the end, doesn’t that render them completely helpless without any real world coping skills? And while I will always have a ton of friends, a busy social calendar and an appetite for a good martini, there will always be time to listen to her and dispense some much needed advice that will help her get through life relatively unscathed. She knows I love her, and secretly I think she is glad I’m not June Cleaver...not that she knows who June Cleaver is, but you get my point.

Friday, December 9, 2011

What's that sucking sound???

Recently while out and about one night, someone mentioned that she had liposuction on her waist and hips. I was surprised since she was already an very attractive woman with a knockout figure. Now I am certainly not one of those people who shuns cosmetic surgery, unless of course it is to the extreme and you start to resemble something out of Madam Trussard’s Wax Museum, or your skin is so tight, your eyebrows are hidden in your hairline. Indeed, I have been contemplating a little Restalyn or perhaps some Juvaderm for my upper lip which is starting to resemble that of a woman who has been smoking for 30 years (no idea why, I’ve never smoked in my life.) I’ve had breast reduction surgery and to this day, I can say without hesitation it was the best decision I ever made – not because I was worried about my back failing under the weight of my 38DD’s. I had it done purely for vanity's sake. Let’s face it, there is absolutely nothing attractive about breasts that enter a room before you do on a 5’3” frame. At least men will now look me in the eye. Alas though, poor Bill. I married a “boob” man, and now he’s got a wife with teeny tiny, albeit perky, boobs. He keeps threatening to buy them back for me. I keep telling him he needs to become a leg/ass man.

But liposuction? Liposuction is the one procedure that conjures up some really horrible images. I’ve talked to people who have had this procedure and apparently what happens over time is that the fat you had sucked off one part of your body will appear in another area entirely. This is not an urban legend, I swear. I have anecdotal evidence. So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you have liposuction on your stomach. Does that mean you’ll eventually grow a butt as big as Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez? Not like that’s a bad thing, mind you. I’d kill for J Lo’s rear end. But what if the fat comes back, let’s say, around your neck and you look like you have goiter for the rest of your life? I like scarves and all, but that would be a tough one to cover up. Or what if you have liposuction on your thighs and the fat comes back on your arms and your look like you have curtain valances instead of well-toned triceps? Worse yet, it comes back around your ankles and you then have the dreaded cankles for all eternity? Think about it, there are worse places to have a little “cushion” than around your fanny or your tummy. This fear of lipo has helped me to develop a happy and satisfied relationship with my “pooch.” And it has helped me develop an appreciation for a strategically-worn pair of Spanx under certain outfits.

It sucks to grow old for a lot of reasons, not all related to physical attractiveness… memory loss, eyesight issues, the inability to sneeze or laugh without wetting your pants are on the top of my list of complaints. Wrinkles? They definitely suck, and I work hard to ward them off by whatever method necessary. But you know what? Eventually they will come and you realize IT WILL BE OK. I don’t want to look like I’m 20 again. Hell, I still had acne at 20, so really, there is nothing even remotely enticing about that prospect. I’ll settle for looking ten years younger than my age and that is just fine with me. I’ll be forty-seven in February. Recently, a gentleman guessed my age to be in my late thirties. I was so elated I nearly kissed him right there on the spot. Really, what more could I ask for at this point in my life? And when I’m 60 and someone tells me I look 50? Hell, I’ll be REALLY happy about that. While 50 may seem a bit old now (it’s definitely closer than I wished), someday I will look back with great fondness and remember how young 50 really was.

The goal for this girl is to grow old gracefully, with dignity, and with a twinkle in my eye, and probably a cocktail in my hand. I’ll take a bit of help here and there and I will still work to “maintain the buffet”, but in the end, I want to appreciated not only for who I was years ago, but for who I am right here, right now. And that folks is the lesson in growing old. Time can either drag you along with it, kicking and screaming, or you can dance along side it, and enjoy every moment. I choose to dance.