Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas La Crosse Wisconsin! I have returned!

It's a warm Christmas morning in Wisconsin,  mid 30's and expected to be almost 40, but we still have some snow so we do have a white Christmas.  I'm snug under blankets listening to how quiet it is here compared to Chicago.  First Daughters cats are playing cat games and I couldn't be happier snug under blankets in her home for the holidays. 

We, along with First Daughter In Law and First Son opened presents last night.  I had to break down and bring them a little something.  My present this year was in getting to come here again so soon.  After Thanksgiving I didn't think I'd be able to come for Christmas too.  But sometimes the Universe works in my favor.  I hope that continues. 

Last night was a wonderful Christmas Eve birthday celebration at Yesterdaze, one of my favorite hang outs here, and I ran into six old friends and we drank and caught up until much later than I probably should have, but you know how time flies when you are having fun.  I hope to run into She Of Little Combat Boots and her family today before they leave town back to the twin cities.  Many Christmas celebrations and three kids found them too tired to join us last night.

Being here and surrounded by people I've missed and loved makes me so much happier than being alone in Chicago missing them.  I suppose that's an understatement, but when you survive in a big city alone, you tend to get comfortable in your rut.  And try not to think too much about your loved ones you left behind.  For fear of missing them too much and hating where your life has taken you.  I often wish I could have the friends I have here in Chicago.  But I have found making new friends in Chicago to be a challenge.  It's not that people aren't friendly, they are, it's just that when you meet someone new it's usually just that moment.  Never reoccurring.  In the almost three years that I've lived there I've had a lot of really good first encounters that haven't matriculated into much of anything more than that.  People are all so busy with their lives.  I am too.  And I get that it's hard to fit new people into an already crammed schedule. 

I'm lonely there sometimes, but I hide it as well as I can, and thankfully I have high tech communication that seems to make me feel almost like I'm here when we chat.  I know it sounds sad to some of you that I'm locked in a tech bubble for communication with family and friends, but it's certainly better for me than being really alone.  And while I might be missing out on the day to day little things that happen, I eventually hear about it all. And I don't miss the big stuff.  Which is good.  This visit I find I'm not surrounded by bad memories as much as I felt that last month when I returned for Thanksgiving.  And so far I already have plans for today, Monday and Tuesday.  Which gives me two more days to plan fun stuff here before heading back to my city on Friday. 

I hope any of you that are reading this will find joy and peace this day with your loved ones as I am finding it with mine.  And I hope that feeling will last you much longer than the day.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

I'll Be Home For Christmas

What a difference a day makes.  Earlier this week I took the time to tell Mr. Hopeful how sad and alone I've felt over the last two years, with him half in and half out of my life.  This has been a long time coming and part of why I moved.  My depression was so high after Mr. Charisma and while Mr. Hopeful tried to be a good friend and help me through that healing, he's really not the right person to help me.  I had to help myself.  I had to learn to love myself again and stop all the hating.  And to do that I had to really look at my life and see what or who was holding me back. 

Know what I found out?

That I was holding myself back, by choosing unavailable men to fill that void in my life where my husband used to fill.  You know it's easy to say yes when a well meaning, married friend, offers to help you with things around the house that you just can't do yourself.  It's just as easy to allow a friend to be that shoulder you need to lean on or ear to bend when you've had a rough day.  And while my friendship with Mr. Practical is exactly that with no ulterior motives on either side, I wonder if my friendship with Mr. Hopeful will ever be that.  I know deep down inside I hope it will be, but I just don't see it happening, on either side.  I think my feelings for him are too deep and too strong to just be his friend.  So after much deliberation and arguments inside my head and with him, over the last two years, I decided earlier this week to take a break.  I told him no communication until after we both get back from our Christmas and New Year's holidays.  It's a span of well over two weeks and I'm hoping by the end of it we will realize how much happier we both were without trying to force anything. 

It's been a strange two years with him.  After I got over the mind numbing pain of Mr. Charisma and the triggers from my past he awoke, I realized that wasn't the only reason I moved.  Nor was getting away from the Incarnations of Immortality and the constant reminder that I'm not welcome in their circle of friends anymore.  And haven't been for decades.  It's funny how in my heart I always would have welcomed them back with no explanations or apologies needed.  But there is and has been a huge riff and I'm not even sure why it's there.  It may be because of some of those poor choices I mentioned decades ago.  But time has moved on and changed me in ways they will unfortunately never know.  Ironically now that none of them have anytime for me I feel closer to the person they liked than the person they came to not like.  Mr. Selfish, my third husband, has even made the connection, that I'm stronger now again like I was back in the day, than I have been in the last few years. The other part was to get away from Mr. Hopeful and put enough distance between us to see if we had a friendship that transcended the physical.  Like Mr. Practical and I do.  Or like That Guy and I do. 

I've come to realize, after four days, a couple of important things.  The first is that I do miss watching shows or movies or football with him.  Either in person or long distance.  So that is something we may be able to build a friendship on.  I also miss telling him about my day or asking him about his and seeing if there is anything I can help with or that he can help me with.  And just being happy or sad together.  This is good but its also sketchy, because that falls close to the 'boyfriend' or 'husband' role, because we're not just friends.  And with him its harder than any other ex to separate that.  But I have tried.  For six years now, I've tried.  Which brings me to number two, how relieved I was when I told him.  Almost immediately after hanging up, I felt intensely sad, and then incredibly, happy.  Just relieved and happy that I wouldn't have to face another off line or message from him reaching out, and me feeling my heart go from "YEAH, to shit" within seconds.  Yeah, because it's him. And shit, because he's not mine to cherish.  And he never will be.

Three days after making this decision I felt the Christmas spirit.  I bought all my Christmas presents for all the kids I raised and am raising, and I even put up the tree.  Something I didn't love myself enough to do last year.  I've felt so good about this decision.  I've felt mom's presence even more once that tree was up.  I know in my heart of hearts that this is the right path, and while it's intimidating in the beginning it's smooth sailing once you get used to the challenging terrain.  It certainly isn't as boring as the rut of denial I was trapped in.   Goodbye Stranger by Supertramp keeps playing in the soundtrack in my head.  (cue music)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fa-La-La-La-La, La-La-La, Eh?

What is it about the holidays, Christmas especially, where being alone seems so much more obvious.  I'm not rushing home with packages for loved ones.  Or special baskets of baked goodies for all my holiday guests.  I'm not bustling about trying to make everything perfect for my family or kids because this year I'll be alone for Christmas.  I'm not complaining or trying to feel sorry for myself it just is what it is.  With only the weekend off its not enough time to travel home to them and we got to see each other for Thanksgiving.  But I miss the magic of a Christmas morning that you've planned for weeks.  The anticipation of the kids faces as they open up the presents from everyone, including Santa. My kids let me carry on giving them a present from Santa way into their teenage years.  Knowing full well it was always me.  I miss decorating the tree with my kids, but still not enough to put one up by myself.  I think it would make me more depressed than happy.  This will be my second Christmas alone, the first one was in my new studio and a tree was fun that year.  Almost a christening of sorts. 

I think about all my friends and family who are far away for the holidays and I hope they are all happy and having the celebrations they most want to have.  I know my daughter and I will spend a lot of time on line together over Christmas and that is a very good second to seeing her.  We share so much together.  It's an odd feeling knowing you gave birth to one of your best friends.  She reminds me of myself at her age.  Full of ideas and convictions that she'd defend to the death.  Her world is much more black and white than mine has become, but I'm slowly getting back to thinking she and my younger self was right.  If I'd never crossed some lines I'd be a happier person today.  It's funny how the argument of 'Why do you always have to label everything?' or 'Why is everything so black and white to you?' can seem to tear down your defenses.  I think I've had gas-lighting done to me by some of the best manipulators in life.  And you know how hard it is to see that in an individual when you think you are in love?  It's almost impossible. 

I think a lot of my depression now revolves around the decisions I've made in the last six years.  Of course it's related to decisions I made thirty years ago too, but they are only an echo of me not learning from my mistakes rather than any fresh wounds.  No my main wound is one that is twenty years old and I can't seem to stop picking at it.  It will never heal if I don't leave it alone, I know this, but somehow that's not enough to keep me from poking the sleeping bear out of curiosity or boredom or ego.  It's always one of the three.  I think sometimes I've forgotten how to care.  And I'm almost certain I've completely forgotten how to be in love.

I met a nice man again on the train.  Odd place to strike up an intelligent conversation about AI and conscientiousness.  About simulations and matrix like universes.  For both of us.  We spend the entire train ride from the loop to my neighborhood talking about science and fantasy books. (I'm reading the last Dark Tower book on the train right now).  And even as we got off at the same stop and thanked each other for the intelligent conversation, neither asked for each others name or indicated any interest in further conversation.  He mentioned kids.  But wore no ring.  Which to me means nothing.  Every married man that has ever hit on me or caught me wore no ring.  And he seemed way too comfortable talking to a strange woman to NOT be married.  IF you know what I mean.  And I wondered as I walked home with the sky threatening snow and the wind biting my face, if I should have asked for his name.  What if he was the one Fate meant for me to meet?  And yet, am I ready to meet anyone?  I don't think so.  But I didn't think so when I met Mr. Practical, or when Mr. Hopeful turned up again, or when Mr. Charisma forced himself into my life.  And look how great all that turned out?  LOL  As That Guy would say, "You're a player and you played them all."  He's so wrong about me, but I never correct him anymore than he corrects all his friends that assume we slept together years ago and still are.  Which we never have.  I find it so odd how sex plays such an important role in male and female dynamics.  Even if it's not happening it's assumed it has or will.  Like with me and Satan back in the day.  We would both roll our eyes at the accusation.  But it was still there.  People always assume that sex is a part of a male/female friendship.  Most of society doesn't  believe in the platonic friend dynamic.  It's always an unrequited love on one side in books or movies.  Which, for me, are social mirrors to my world.  I feel done with men.  I finally feel as broken as Jack Frost said I was all those years ago when he met me.  He had become one of my best friends, best friends.  I'm not sure how it happened, I was there, and I watched myself replaced in Satan's eyes by Jack Frost.  He had heard a lot of stories about me from Satan.  Most of them I'm sure reflected my wild heart.  I'll never understand why he was so loved and adored by all of them.  He hated me and I hadn't said two words to him.  All my friends told me, Satan, his wife Nature, She of Little Combat Boots and her husband, The Doctor.  Even Mr. Hopeful would probably admit that I wasn't Jack Frost's favorite person.  I still showed up at his funeral.  I liked him.  Even thought his first words to me after I said hello to him, were, "You're broken."  I was stunned.  I didn't want to like him, but the more I got to know him the more I could see why Satan loved him so.  Mr. Hopeful has a friend like this that also hates me and I had done or said nothing to him.  I can only assume these men heard the worst stories about me instead of the best.  And I think that says something about Satan and Mr. Hopeful more than it says about me. 

I never talked negatively about my ex's even though they all had as many negative qualities as I have.  I always had been taught by my mom, "Never speak poorly of your ex husband or boyfriends, because at some point in time you loved them enough to choose them, and it only makes you look like an idiot if all you have to say is how he hurt you or cheated on you or bullied you.  If that's all he way, why did you ever choose him?" And that shut me up quickly after my first divorce, in speaking negatively about my failed loves.  The best thing about time for me is that is changes your memories to mostly good.  I find that the older I get the less I can remember what all the fighting was about anyway.  Thirty years ago, or twenty years ago. . .time seems to have washed it all away under a tide of romanticized fondness.  Or perhaps this means I'm not as bitter as I think.  Jury still out on that since there is still no Christmas tree.  I even watched Scrooged last night.  You'd think that would wake up my joy.  but not so much.  Maybe I need eggnog. 


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Missing Mom

This may be the second year in a row that I don't put up a Christmas tree.  I tell myself it's because I hardly spend anytime here, which is true.  And that we aren't doing Christmas this year because got together last year at Christmas so this year was Thanksgiving.  Which is also true.  But I think the real reason is that my mom loved Christmas.  She always had the tree up by December 1st and never took it down until after New Years Day. 

She would magically become a young child again as she put up our artificial tree and strung all the twinkle lights.  We didn't have the smaller ones you have now, ours were big and we had bubble lights too.  All the bulbs were glass and very old fashioned looking.  All have broken with the moves and years.  I was always allowed to put on my works of art, that I made at school and all the tinsel.  She was very particular on how the tree should be arranged.  "No big bulbs at the top."  And  "Put the tinsel on one strand at a time, that way it looks like ice when the lights hit it." 

And even though we rarely had more that two or three presents under our tree it was always the best tree of all the Christmas trees I would see.  Every year.  To my young eyes no one could decorate a tree quite like my mom.  The last tree she helped decorate broke the second year after she died.  And I never replaced it with a large tree.  I went with very small artificial trees after that and ornaments as well. Our cat tended to leave a smaller tree alone.  And it became nice for travel when I brought Christmas to First Son the year he graduated from Navy boot camp. 

I have a small tree that I put up my first Christmas here and I hardly ever turned it on.  And it seemed silly to put it up just for me.  No kids anymore and no presents underneath.  Why?  It's a pagan symbol which in all honesty should make me want to put it up all the more.  But when I think about doing it I always get so sad that she's not here with me doing her amazing job of teaching me how to do it correctly.  She was big on doing things the right way the first time. 

I guess after 17 years I still miss her more than I can articulate.  She not only was my mother, but she was my rock and the one person I could always count on to be honest with me and help me to not only learn, but be a better person.  And while I can't say we grew up together like me and First Son, I can say that I believe she got a second childhood with me.  A chance to grow and learn about a generation she would have been removed from had she had me in her twenties instead of forties.  I can't deny that the bad romantic choices I've made in the last 17 years have been all my doing, but I wonder if she'd still been alive if I'd have chosen better.  Knowing how disappointed she would have been in me.  I can't say I miss her everyday, but she does cross my mind almost every day.  Still.  Christmas, her birthday in February, which was also my wedding day to my First Husband, and her death day are the days that her memory seems most active.  I also feel her very strongly when I'm with my kids.  She would be so proud of them both.  As I am.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Quiet Morning Inside My Head

Foggy morning here in La Crosse, as I sit on my daughters couch at my laptop.  With coffee in hand and new music in my ear from Benny Sweat, I am contemplating what to write this week in my blog.  After only five hours of sleep from a night of old and new memories with That Guy and friends I find myself oddly comfortable in my skin this morning. 

This visit has been a much needed break from the rat-race of the city life.  I've had such a wonderful time catching up with First Daughter and First Son, who was with us all of Wednesday evening and most of Thanksgiving Day into the evening.  First Daughter In Law is unfortunately very sick and couldn't make it to us this year so First Son had two dinners.  He'll be back today, and we've managed to fill up our four days together with good food and good company, great shows and fun board games.  I'm blessed with like minded kids so no political blowups or tiptoeing.  And we all have discussed our fears and hopes for the next four years.  Having an action plan is important in our interesting times.  Friday morning a brunch with Benny and Nikki Sweat gave us the opportunity to connect and hanging out with That Guy last night made me feel I'd fit in everyone that reached out to me wanting to see me this visit.  I gave up posting on FB when I was in town, since last year none of my old friends bothered to respond.  This year I decided that if they didn't reach out ahead of my arrival they probably didn't have time for me anyway. 

Yesterday, for some unknown reason that I still can't put my finger on or tack down in my whirlwind of a mind, I became sad.  I had no real reason for this, other than not being able to see First Daughter In Law while here.  There is a sadness that will always surround me when I come to this town.  So many good memories with the Incarnations of Immortality that are unfortunately tagged with equally sad memories with them, memories that make me shy away from contacting them.  Afraid that we've grown apart, which of course makes that a self fulling prophecy.  A few good memories but honestly mostly bad ones from Mr. Charisma which only assault me here.  And finally the incredible highs and lows of Mr. Hopeful.  In fact this mornings foggy day brings back a mixed memory with him that if there were snow on the ground would be almost a perfect snapshot of 'then.' 

Then.  I hate that time and place.  Why can't 'Then' be only the happy times, why does it have to be attached to the memories we'd rather not remember?  Wouldn't it be lovely if we could keep the lessons from the bad and after forgiveness, truly erase those memories that caused us pain?  Or words that cut us or cut others? 

I keep expecting the sun to bake off this blanket of gray that covered my world while I slept.  But it seems to be attached to my reality today as well as my memories.  Every time I come here I feel a that tug toward the past, and oddly since I'm coming to my kids home instead of them coming to me, it's a reversal.  They are home here.  I no longer am.  I feel like a stranger in a town I lived in for 18 years.  I didn't make it downtown to any of my old regular haunts, but that's okay.  They stopped being my regular haunts three years ago and even with five days here I just don't feel the need to make time for that scene. 

It's so quiet here.  The hum of the city is gone, and silence is king.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

If We All Just Choose Love

Technology, for the most part, is not my friend.  I'm not as bad as that digger from Jurassic Park who can't even touch something computer-like without it glitching out, but I've been known to have my issues with our wonderful world of technology.  Like for example my phone doing whatever it wants.  For example this morning my alarm went off.  Not my normal Monday morning alarm to wake up but the alarm that says, "Hey...better be getting your ass out the door now because the train will be here in ten minutes" alarm.  Which is odd because I have it set to repeat only on work days.  Did nothing to change its programming.   And yet when it went off this morning, giving me a heart attack that I was going to be late, I noticed it had no programming.  Just that it would go off.  HUM.  No updates recently either.  Although It does have an alarming lack of space for updates. 

So my Sunday morning already feels off.  I hope the week is not going to go like this.  For I have been waiting for this week for months.  This Thanksgiving, First Daughter is hosting for the family and I can't wait to get to her house on Wednesday night.  For six days I will be basking in her, and my son and daughter-in-laws, love and friendship and we look forward to our yearly holiday visit with great anticipation and joy.  Our family is poor so we don't get to see each other often.  Once a year, twice if we are very lucky.  Raising them as I did as a single parent made us closer than most families I've met.  We were (and are) a fun family with as many similarities as differences. 

I've been lucky in life, so far. I've known great love four times in my life and not so great love even more.  I've been married three times and divorced three times.  I've bore two wonderful children and been shown the way to raise many more.  I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, clothes on my back and love in my heart.  My mind is made up and yet very open to suggestion, if its presented in intelligence and rational ways.  Without resorting to fear or gas-lighting.  I'm healthier than most but not in as good a shape as I should be.  I worry about the world but not to the point of being paralyzed.  I feel for the most part that basically I have many things in common with most of my fellow man.  And I'm thankful that I do.  I'm trying to remain positive in the face of much turmoil in my country and around the world.  And I am hoping my fellow man feels this too, and will gather with their families during the next two months of holiday celebrations.  No matter what your traditions are, (We like to eat a lot of good food and then play Spades and watch favorite TV shows or movies and laugh.  There is always a lot of laughter.) I hope that your holidays are filled with love and surrounded by everyone you hold dear.  And if you find yourself alone at anytime during the season, please reach out to me, for if you are reading this you know I'm your friend and will always, ALWAYS be there for you and answer.  I understand loneliness and sometimes just needing someone else to hold your hand and tell you that's it's going to be alright.  I understand how hard it is to just get some friends to really listen to your heart.  I'm really good at listening to peoples hearts.  I think it's because I ignore my own so much, that I understand how important it is to really listen to it and help it help your mind to great epiphany.  I understand what great loss is and perhaps that's why I'm so thankful for what I have in my life. 

I leave with this, no matter your traditions or religions this time of year remember we have one thing in common, all religions are about love.  So if we all just choose love, we'll be alright. 


Sunday, November 13, 2016

They Call Me A Liberal and A Feminist LIke Its A Bad Thing?

Earlier this week I had some flashes into creativity with ideas for my blog this week.  Ideas that came fast and furious as I responded to friends status on social media about the election.  I should have written them down, because they would have been better then this crap I'm typing today.

Last week brought about a lot of changes on my social media, and I'm sure there will be more to come.  I've tried talking to my friends that were/are Trump supporters and educate them on why we are protesting.  How little it has to do with Hillary Clinton and how much it has to do with how afraid we are of his supporters.  Supporters that have allied themselves with him.  Endorsed him.  I had to hide one of my Trump supporter friends, actually more than one, after she decided to enter into a conversation on my wall with democrats.  We tried to get her to listen to our side but was bombarded by one liners and name calling.  She wasn't even trying to listen.  Most aren't really listening to me this last week.  I'm amazed at how many treat my statements of belief or way of life as a stupidity.  They have called me everything from a dirty liberal to a feminist that needs her pussy grabbed.  This became a repeated scene for me throughout the week.  Either aimed at a friend of mine or at me directly.  Name calling, and bullying, just like our President Elect Trump, did in his rallies. 

As another blocked friend this week is fond of saying, "and before you go off on me. . " I know not all Trump supporters are racist and sexist and anti LGBTQ, but there sure to seem to be a lot of them about that are.  And they are the ones that scare us.  We understand that Trump can't do all he promised he will alone, nor does any President ever get everything they want done and it's set up like that to protect us. 

So while I'm still very disappointed in my countries choice for President, I am hopeful that anyone that stands with true human rights for all humans no matter their color, gender or preference, will start to stand up for what they want America to really be.  I hope we will take the time we are using to protest, to volunteer at one of the benefits and freedoms that may soon be gone.  Like Planned Parenthood, or Food Pantry's and Homeless Shelters Nation wide.  I know as Democrats we don't have much money to donate but those of us that do, should. To every LGBTQ fundraiser or awareness march.  To AIDS research.  To anything that will send a signal back to Washington, and do it in Trump and Pence's name.  Let them get the certificates in mass, of the money we are putting into saving our choices.  While I do believe in peaceful protest I think the time for that is past done and we need to regroup and start making our voices heard in real ways.

Stop wearing the safety pin as a sign that you care and do something to prove it.  Stop someone from harassing or bullying someone else.  Never turn a blind eye toward a rape or abuse.  If you feel safe strike up a conversation with the person being verbally abused or call the police but don't just walk away and feel like it's not your problem.  Because it is your problem.  We are all humans and we need to stop complaining and worrying about what is happening and do something to help the people it's happening to.

Hold your families close this holiday season.  Talk openly about your differences if you have them and try to lovingly convince each other of the errors in accepting hate speech and bullying.  How words matter and how they can lead to physical violence.  And if you are not the majority in your family, let them know you hope they are right that a better America will happen, but just in case it doesn't what's the family plan for leaving?  How bad does it have to get before your family, like the Von Trapp family from The Sound Of Music fame, decide to leave because they can do no more good?  Have a system of Def-con One - Four.  With what each Def-con means and what our family will do when that happens.  Where you will meet.  Like a fire drill.  Then watch the news.  Not the news on TV, the media on line.   Watch all of it from the sites you trust to the ones you know are lying.  Watch to see what is being reported and what is ignored.  Watch and see where the media is fanning flames instead of putting them out.  And be prepared to fight or flee. 

I believe my country is seeing the beginnings of a great new divide.  A very visible one that wont get swept under the carpet again.  I'm waiting to see what our Archduke Ferdinand moment will be.  What small news event will send the world staggering into another WW.  And I believe, in this fight, no matter how much you'd like to think you can be in the middle and be a person of peace and intellect and not take a side, you won't be able to do this.  You will have to take a side and then be prepared to fight and lose possibly everything for that belief.  This is what being a Patriot means.  This is what it feels like to go against Christians that have sold their soul to the devil and never saw it coming.  Real Christians couldn't possibly be for this much hate.  No one that believes in love could be and isn't that what most all religions have in common?  It's about love?  The Evangelical, KKK, Skin Head movements that have all endorsed this president are not about love.  And you only endorse someone that shares your beliefs.  While he may not come right out and say he's for it, he pretends he doesn't know the leaders of these movements, and if he doesn't know the leaders of these movements in his own country how can we trust him to know the leaders of other 'movements' or country leaders?  How can he be presidential when he doesn't act presidential?  Why is he giving his VP so much power?  More each day.  You know the answer.  He doesn't want to do the job.  He want's to be Chairman of the Board of the county with his VP being CEO.  Well isn't that just peachy for all of us that Pence openly hates.   Kind of reminds me of Hitler and Himmler, who was in charge of the Gestapo for Hitler and was the second most powerful man in Germany during the Holocaust.  I wonder exactly how much of the job of being President, Trump will do?  Will he be the first president of our country to be only the face of our nation, making memorized public speeches and appearing in public in the 'role of the President 'while Pence runs the country?  It's a great fear, for in my mind he is much worse.  But all of this now is just worry, and I already said we need to stop that and get up and do something.  

So I'm here searching my city for things I can do to help.  Waiting for invitations to like minded sites where peaceful marches will be planned and hopefully carried out peacefully.  Here I sit watching for a sign of where to throw my dirty liberal and grabbed feminist pussy into the ring.  

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Daylight Saving Time - Fall Back To Real TIme

Clocks fell back an hour last night.  I don't own any clocks that aren't tied into some higher artificial intelligence which magically turns all my clocks forward or back on their own.  And before you go there, no I don't own a microwave.  I've always hated daylight saving time in the spring when we spring forward.  I much prefer it in the fall when we go back to real time.  And I've often wondered how difficult is it for American's living in Arizona and Hawaii, where they don't observe the changing of the time, to conduct business with other states in the nation once this occurs.  For them it's added math to know when NY is really awake and visa versa.  I guess that's why Arizona and Hawaii are more vacation destinations than the hubs of Big Money. (cue RUSH song) 

I hope on Tuesday our clocks don't fall back fifty years.  I know I should be writing something important about the coming election but I'm all election-ed out already.  I voted early,  and while I'm sure it will be exciting and historic and tragically boring to watch the election results, I'm equally sure I'll be gaming at the same time or watching some show I missed on HBO or Netflix.  Voting early it feels like it's done for me and I'm just waiting for results.  I'm hoping it will be a landslide in favor of my personal choice but I'm fearful of the outcome of this election.  No matter which way it goes. 

It's split our country in a very real and perhaps dangerous way.  I remember when Obama was elected for his first term and I heaved a happy sigh of relief and wondered if he would be assassinated.  It seemed like so many underpaid white trash (my father one of them) were yelling that it couldn't have happened in their lifetime or country.  I'm happy most of his prejudiced generation is gone, even if they were some of our best remembered vets.  I had hoped when that generation was gone we would be left with hippies and a generation of love but you know there were just as many uneducated white trash from the sixties that fueled the civil war then as they are now...oh wait they just grew older and had kids they taught to hate and the cycle just continues.  I don't blame Trumps podium rhetoric for creating this group of people, I blame him for making it easy for them to come out of the shadows and yell obscenities at us from the backs of pick up trucks again.  I know it never really stopped but since Trump, its become even more frequent now.  Easier for some people to say what they have been feeling all along.  'I guess if a guy running for President can be a bigot so can I.'  Or so I imagine the logic of their thinking process must run.  If you can say bigotry and lack of manners or upbringing has logic. 

I worry about what happens if Trump wins?  How much of his agenda will he be able to achieve towards running our country like a CEO.  Which the President can't do with the checks and balances in place.  But how many of them can he decree, by presidential veto or laws, into changing my America into his America? Or worse if Hillary wins will she be our first woman president and also assassinated?  We've already heard Trump say he may not accept a Clinton victory making him the first person in the history of our country not to have a smooth takeover of power.  What if there is a another civil war between the red and blue states over this election no matter which way it goes? Right now my family and loved ones live in blue states, but what happens if our country goes into a civil war over this?  Will we see bloodshed over this as we did over the salves and industrial revolution? 

This election has made me feel very old before my time.  I'm so tired of disappointment in life, and now I feel a great disappointment in my country that almost half of them are full on voting for a man that I find as dangerous as Hitler.  I wonder how long it takes to get a passport...


Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Dictator and the Pants Suit Queen

I was added to the best closed group a few days ago and once I spent some time in it I quickly added other women of like mind to join.  I initially thought it was just for women, so I neglected to add any of the males on my friends list that think like me, but I might choose to amend that, I might not.   You see it's been really nice to see my Facebook pop up with a heartfelt story about what it's like to be a woman today.  So many of us fight the same battles each day.  I've not shared any of my personal stories there, I don't feel a need, but I know if I did, it would be welcomed and not judged.  Some of the men in the group have shared their stories of their sisters or mothers which has also been so uplifting.  It's been a life saver to my sanity, as the election grows closer, and my Republican and Democrat friends keep posting meme upon meme of what they think is truth or humor. 

Well, it's making my head spin.  And I find my anxiety levels have risen just reading some of them not to mention the comments I get tagged in, which, because of my curiosity I have to read.  The Soldier is a good example and I had to hide his stream for fear of letting my kind nature getting trampled by my feminist side that WILL NOT be pushed around any longer by any white male or female privilege.   It's what will get me stabbed or shot in Chicago.  Not moving out of the way of a younger white woman in the grocery store who believes she has the right of way, of the entire isle, only due to her pocketbook size.  "I bet she dives the same way." I say under my breath.  Or the white young man who wont move to the side to allow a much older woman lugging groceries in a pull cart behind her, obviously out of breath.  Nope I just stand in his way and smile until he moves or gets the point.  And it's not always young men.  I've had men my age not move either. I always move for my elders.  Always.  But I was raised to respect my parents and anyone with more experience than I.   Where have all the gentlemen and ladies gone?  Do we not teach our children to respect our elders anymore?  I know I taught mine to, and I know I teach every child I nanny that important behavior. 

You see manners start young, and if they aren't enforced at a young age, like flossing, people just tend to skip it.  I love the family I nanny for, they never treat me like a servant.  I've been lucky none of the family's I've nannied for have.  But I choose families to work for that I believe don't have the foggiest idea how to treat someone like a servant or grew up with servants and understand that we are people with our own families and not another possession.  It's not hard to spot either, the families that will treat you like you don't matter.  They usually have outlandish rules or no rules for their little ones and expect you to do EVERYTHING for their children so they don't have to raise them at all.  I would never work for people that think this is the norm because I couldn't raise their children to be like them.  Which is what you do as a nanny.  You don't raise them to be like you or your kids.  These rude, and I'm embarrassed of my race to say it, white people must never have been taught that they were wrong, or had to apologize when wrong or that the world doesn't owe them a god damned thing. 

I can't imagine the country getting any better with Trump as president.  I voted yesterday, by mail for the first time in my adult life.  And it felt really good to take my ballot to the post office and send it on it's way.  If Hillary isn't elected, I will be sad for my country.  I might even have to consider leaving it for Mexico, as I can't afford Canada.  Since I'm a white woman that doesn't look like Trumps wives and won't raise my hand in a very similar Nazi salute to his Orangness, I will be pushed under the bus just like all the people of color, or people of fluid genders, or people of every religion other than Christians, or people that get food stamps, or people that believe its a woman's right to choose, or men and women that are gay/lesbian or bi, or people that want water over oil, or people that are tired of war, or people that want our country to be respected world wide not hated because of our President.  This election has turned into a moral one, and I know it's wrong to unfriend people because of political differences.  That would be just like them, wouldn't it?  So I don't.  I hope and pray to the goddess that they might be swayed in the final moments to see the evil he is and how he has cloaked himself in lies and telling the public what it wants to hear rather than who he really is. 

It's not to late to stand up for your gender, your race, your religion, and your culture and fight for what is right.  No one is perfect, I'm not saying Hillary is but she's worlds more qualified for this job than he is.  And if she doesn't win it will be another very obvious promotion an over qualified woman lost to an under qualified man, because he's a MAN. 

Most of the friends I have that are Trump supporters have said they are voting for him because he's a man that speaks like a normal human without the political double talk.  Or that he's not part of the machine so can't be corrupted like the rest.  I say they are living a dream on that last one.  Ultimate power always corrupts, ultimately.  I don't care what your upbringing is.  It's why our best and brightest don't want to run.  They understand this principal and don't want to be tempted or see who they would turn into.  And on the first part of that, listen to him in the debates, really listen to him talk, he says nothing.  His extemporaneous speaking says nothing to answer any question put to him.  It's just rhetoric designed to get the crowd going.  He's an entertainer.  A reality show host.  A con artist businessman that has pulled the wool over so many peoples eyes in this country that I feel like the Germans and Polish in 1938 that didn't support Hitler.  I'm actually amazed he's gotten this far. 

I will, as an American, defend all of your rights to your own opinions on this election.  For that is what free speech is all about.  Please, respect mine. 


Sunday, October 23, 2016

You Think You're Honest, But You're Not

I've reached a very content place in my life.  My kids are grown and doing well.  My career is one I love and while I'd much rather be wealthy and live the life of world traveler and benefactor, I'd not change it to any other.  Raising children is the most rewarding thing I've ever done with my life and apparently raising my own wasn't enough.  My love life is peaceful and honest, always, because I'm single.  I have all the freedom in the world to do whatever I want whenever I want.  And I do.  Sometimes it's a day on the town to explore and be a tourist, and sometimes it's just enjoying my own company,  for I do find that I like the lack of drama that comes with a life alone.  

No more do I have to say 'it's fine or ok' when I'm biting back my real response or hiding from myself the truth of who I am.  No more do I have to coddle a man's fragile ego while he stomps all over mine.  No more do I have to try to find a way to pay the rent because he's spent that money on booze or drugs or the latest gaming cube, or other women.  No more do I have to fulfill all of his fantasies while mine, while voiced, never happen.  No more do I have to try to be his mother, wife and prostitute all rolled up into one.  No more do I have to wonder after doing and becoming everything he desires, where he is at night, or who he's with.  No more do I have to tell myself that he lies to everyone, except me, and believe it.  No more do I have to wear my hair or clothes or anything for him and never for my sense of style.  No more do I have to wonder how those other couples can be so happy doing this.

It's because they don't do this.

They are happy because they have found someone who loves them for exactly who they are not who they think they are.  The biggest mistake you can make in any relationship is lying about who you are to be with someone.  I know you think you know this already, I thought I knew it too.  But it's why I am happier alone.  I'm myself alone.  But the minute you put a man in the mix with me I start to become who I know he needs.  Who he's told me he desires.  And while he becomes happy as a clam, for a while, I become less and less of who I am.  Until I explode out of the shell I've become into who I really am. 

I blame this chameleon ability on my vivid imagination which makes me a better writer, but not a better person.  You see when you do this to yourself you are, of course, hurting yourself the most but you are also hurting the person you are trying most to please.  Because the mask will fall along with the tears.  And heartbreak should not feel like a constant companion.

Be true to yourself.  No matter the cost.  No matter what you lose along the way because you will gain more than peace of mind and mental health.  You will gain your tribe of like minded people as you become who you are rather than who you think you need to be.  


Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Soldier and The Gypsy Witch

Yesterday I had a surprising intellectual conversation with a Facebook friend over politics.  Since I don't use real names we'll just call him The Soldier, since he's a military man.  I know what you're thinking.  And I was stunned too.  Especially because The Soldier is a Trump supporter.  I didn't know he was a Trump supporter until he posted this.  I can't remember why I added him, like I'm sure most of you are with your Facebook friends, but there must have been a moment when I felt we thought the same about something.  And I wasn't disappointed.

Soldier's post had been about how he couldn't understand how a woman would wait twenty years to come forward about an unwanted touch, IE: all the grouping and fondling that these women are claiming Trump did, and that they must have done it for money.  Been paid off by some entity either political side or journalistic...someone. 

Well some of his male friends immediately jumped on that bandwagon.  Some women too.  But there was one female friend of his that used that moment to tell him her own story of unwanted touching which led to rape, and how she had been afraid and told not to tell, and didn't for many many years.  I of course could not let her stand alone; I who had been coached into silence, which was so much more damaging in the long run than the rapes.  So I came forward with my stories about rape as well.  I even re-posted my blog that helped another friend from group titled My Letter To My 12 Year Old Self that is the anchor to my blog.  And then another woman, touched by our stories told her story FOR THE FIRST TIME.  Then more women did, and how helpless they felt and how they couldn't come forward out of shame or the fear no one would believe them anyway since these men were allowed to go along with their grouping and unwanted touching completely unpunished, but everyone knew enough to warn women what not to do.  These were trusted men in power, teachers, parents boyfriends, family members, employers.  It was shameful to me but triggered many feelings of helplessness from the past.  For once I wasn't crying but I had the big shoulders for them.  And I was proud of my progress.

He was true to his nature and wanted to punch them all out when he read our stories and stood on the principle that these weren't rapes only touching.  But he was further educated about rape culture and how that's how it starts.  That his candidate exhibits rape culture behavior.  We may not have changed his mind on his candidate, and that wasn't the point.  But I think we opened his eyes about how women have this kind of thing happen to them every day and we're taught to just let it go.  Because 'boys will be boys' and it 'doesn't mean anything'.  But that is wrong.  Boys should be taught to respect women and men for that matter.  Boys should be taught that its wrong to touch another person without their permission, just like we teach girls.  We should further more not teach a little girl that a boy hits her because he likes her.  Or is disrespectful in anyway meaning that is affection.  It's not.  And it sends a very confusing signal to both of their developing brains. 

In the end, we're still exchanging ideas this morning, and I'm confident his wife has found not only a strong man to protect her from her abusive past, but I have found a friend that would help me stand up to a man who was afraid of my feminist attitudes.  While he showed no fear only actually listened to my point of view,  never tried to talk over me or interrupt me, which is admittedly hard to to on line, but his responses didn't feel like he was just listening to respond.  He was listening.  He gives me hope that other men out there might not be as scary as some of my choices in partner or my attackers or even some of the men (and women) I've worked for.  For this is just another form of bullying isn't?  Pushing your weight around and taking what you want instead of working for it and risking rejection.  Forcing anyone, male or female, to do what you want, weather it's with unwanted touching or verbal abuse or guilt or whatever, is wrong.  And when you respect and love the person it's a helpless feeling that not only slowly kills your love but destroys your ego.  You start to believe the hype.  'I deserved it' 'It was my fault...somehow'

I'm amazed by the men that can't see what my friend sees, and I'm hopeful that he will use his male power to help women in every facet of his life when they are treated as objects instead of humans.  I made sure I told him how great I thought he was to have let us all express our opinions in a safe place and I know I made a friend.  Here's to more great discussions, and making new friends.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

I'm Stronger Than You Know

I figured out why music left my life.  I hated myself.  But I fixed that, and now when I look in the mirror the first thought in my head is not, 'I hate him.'  I'm not really sure when that mantra started but I know it was sometime between when I felt the last straw drop in August 2015, and when the camel's back broke over New Years 2016. 

I've been nursing a broken heart since then, with the hope that every visit would be better.  That he would somehow see me again, just outside the walls.  But to my bitter disappointment, his life that he has chosen,  had finally wormed its way through to us.  To our time.  His worry over his directionless seeming double life had rendered our time together from passionate soulmates with no time for the tech world or cell phones, to paid by a good time party girl and arm chair psychiatrist.  And that is not what I ever wanted or needed from him.  But after this experience I've come to agree with That Guy, "Its the only way he knows how to make friends.  Who has the best weed, booze, and sex.  Not how to actually get intimate with someone."  And like he has himself said, "I deserve so much better than that." 

So after a six year . . .I'm not even sure what to call it other than affair, it certainly didn't have the weight of a relationship anymore. . it's over and done with.  And as sad as I am that I was not the one he chose to be with, that he couldn't see a future with me in it, I am also relieved that I ended it before I was saying, 'I hate you."  I tried to end it back in August of last year, but I became weak with every "I need to see you" that came out of internet void into my cushioned and padded cell.  I had done the same thing to myself that my third husband did when he moved us away from all our friends.  I had hidden myself away from life because my heart was always going to stay invested in Mr. Hopeful. 

So each time he showed up at my door, I'd let him in with hope that the love that introduced us would still be there, but each time he was less and less here.  Less in less in tune with what I wanted and needed as lover in my life or even as a friend. 

I'm hopeful, because of our friendship that we can save that, for God knows he needs one.  And I've been pretty successful in remaining somewhat friends with some of my ex's, even the ones I didn't have children with.  And I think that says a lot for my honesty and ability to be kind as well as firm. 

And pushing him away, is exactly what I'm doing now.  It's not because I don't love him.  I'll always love him, but if we can't be together then it's the only thing to do for us both.  He was never going to leave me anymore than he can leave his life.  But I can.  I can walk away to save us both, and while I know in my heart I will always want to see him.  I will refrain from doing anything except always being here to listen and help if he needs a shoulder or an ear.  Self preservation.  I can't afford to lose it all alone in Chicago.  And after all, wasn't this a big part of why I left?  To rid myself of all the bad memories and relationships that Wisconsin had given my love life?

My only regret is that my kids still live there so going back there will happen.  The holidays fast approach and I'll be with my kids, which makes me so happy my heart soars.  I understand completely how choosing your kids is the only choice you have.   Without them in my life I'm sure I would be dead now.  But with that being said, that doesn't mean you have to also choose their fathers if the life you built together has fallen apart or become negative for you all.  I have no regrets at having allowed love to come into my life again.  I'd be a hypocrite if I did.  For I've always preached that you never walk away from a chance at love, because you just don't know what that love could be.  But in this case I believe that continuing after I moved was what killed us.  That and me trying to move on, unsuccessfully, with Mr. Charisma.    Another thing I can blame Mr. C for in my curse.  (insert evil laugh here).  Cursing Mr. Hopeful is not an option, for I believe we will always be friends and chat about our lives like Mr. Practical and I still do.  It will be much more healthy for us and perhaps in a shorter time than he imagines, he will feel relieved that this double life is over.  Fate has shown me a path I must take, now we wait for Time to heal. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

When Anxiety Wont Shut Up!

Most of yesterday I spent trapped inside my head listening to the chatter.  I haven't had a day or night like that in a long time.  Not since, what I like to call, the meltdown.  Or Life Before The Lobotomy as Green Day would say.  That would have been Christmas 2013 and in that time it took me only two months of intensive group therapy to make a change in my life for the better.  Once the chatter started, and for those of you that aren't depressed or anxiety ridden, the chatter is different for each of us.  For me, it's always doom and gloom about things that might happen in my financial situation but haven't happened. . .yet.  That is to say I can see the house of cards I've carefully built being destroyed by just about anything, and so I'm very protective of it.  So much so that I can't seem to stop my mind from telling myself that it doesn't matter that I have a million opportunities in the city, nothing will help.  It's a defeatist attitude and one I abhor in others and always try to do my best to help them see the bright side.  I'm really good at it when it's someone else that needs cheering up.  I fall very short when it's my own life. 

So in-between trying to stop the chatter by gaming, and watching episodes of Oz and cleaning and errands, I started looking at other job opportunities in my field, knowing that the easiest way to make more money is to get a better job.  I even searched craig's list for cheaper apartments or roommate situations.  I have come to the understanding from my very intelligent daughter that if I want to remain at this job in Chicago that I might need to accept the fact that I will need a roommate.  Now I'm a nanny and not in a live in situation right now, but having a roommate would be like that.  So no matter how hard I find it to wrap my head around the fact that I would be living with someone that is not my child or my husband or for work, I need to do it.  Or resign myself to living in a really bad neighborhood, which I just don't think I can do. 

Once I started looking I found that there are a lot of people looking for someone to help them out.  And I felt so much better knowing I wasn't alone in my situation.  I work full time at what would have been considered a good paying job five years ago, and even in a smaller town where the cost of living is cheaper it would be more than enough, but Chicago is expensive.  I felt somehow validated in knowing that other young professionals were feeling the pinch of our way of life in America.

Other than saving every penny I can and hoping that no emergencies or disasters happen, there is not much more I can do at this point as I love my job and changing it might not be for the better.  I've been with this family for over two years now and the longevity is also very comforting.  Staying positive is the hardest part for me right now, and I need to find a way to get my mind to stop being my worst enemy.

I'm going to try to write and hope I can get lost somewhere in my mind that is positive.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

From Sweatboys to Party Girls

What a wonderful past three days!  I hardly know where to begin.  I usually don't do much even living in a city as full of possibilities as Chicago.  Usually, it's because I'm most comfortable with myself, just me, hanging out and enjoying my own company and my own noise or lack thereof.  After a week of the 'wee ones', I enjoy the silence and the solitude.  Or at least a movie that's not animated or music that's not based on a nursery rhyme. 

First, it started Thursday night with Ben and Nikki of the Sweatboys who came to Chicago for a two-day music even with their Chicago mates.  They made enough time in their schedule to stop by my place and have a wonderful dinner and catching up time at my English Pub.  And to personally deliver the new CD from the band.  I even got a promise from Benny Sweat himself that the song we wrote together would be remixed and on a future CD. I'm so honored that the song is still getting enough play at the shows for it to have a place on a CD mix.  First song I've ever written with someone that got performed, and apparently, it's still a crowd favorite.  The night was filled with laughter and it felt like a part of 'home' had walked through my door.  Wasn't sad to see them go, I know I'll see them again.

Then I was supposed to have Friday night and Saturday morning to get my weekend chores done before Sallyforth came to town for an impromptu Chicago mini vacation with me.  She showed up Friday while I was at work and had fun trying to get lost in Chicago and drive around.  Not the plan I had for her and with our gridlock traffic and crazy drivers she quickly understood why.  But she had fun in the end.  The plan was to show her around my city and we must have walked about five miles throughout Saturday.  First, we tried to go to the Willis Tower sky deck but it was very cloudy Saturday morning so we scraped that plan until later if the sun came out, and walked the over two miles to Navy Pier.  Once we were there we walked along the pier and then ate at Jimmy Buffet's Margarita Ville Restaurant, which was perfect since it was almost noon by the time we got there.  And of course, the sun came out by then.  After that, we rode the Ferris wheel so she could get some great shots of the skyline and did some window shopping.  Since the sun had decided to make an appearance and burn off some clouds we decided to head back to Willis tower by bus.  Fortunately, we had tickets already, so our wait time in line was about and hour and a half or two hours, not bad for a Saturday afternoon which is a peak time for them.  The standing around without walking was the hardest.  Reminded me of standing in line for Star Wars tickets back in 1977.  But once we were in the elevator, that travels 18 miles an hour and takes 60 ear popping seconds to get you to the 103 floor of the tower, we were as awestruck as everyone else.  The views of the city all around us were breathtaking.  And walking out onto the ledge, a plexiglass platform that six people can fit into comfortably was harder than you'd think.  Suspended those 1353 feet above the city, and looking down at it, was an overwhelming feeling of flying or falling or both.  But well worth the wait.

I was so excited to finally be seeing it that my entire personality was present.  I chatted up two couples from Wales who I could have listened talk to me for hours and been so happy.  They were on a tour of Chicago and Saint Louis and 'somewhere in the south' then back to the British Isles.  Then I chatted up a sister from another mister, Plaid Hat Girl with a jaunty plaid hat.  Which is going to be our brand for the bar we open up on the sky deck.  It really needs one.  But the final meeting turned out to be Fate.  Two young gay (100% gay, Momma Jill!)  kids from Nashville, one male one female, who are getting married and perhaps moving to Chicago.  Can anyone say new roommates for me?  Taylor-Tylor and Playing With Fire Woman were a delight and we added them to our entourage of adventure.  After the tower, we decided to try the John Hancock tower and bar but after another long walk and train ride to get there the wait was 30 more minutes, and we were tired of waiting.  So we went to Mity Fine the closest bar and rolled the dice.  After more drinks and more incredible conversations we decided that we met for a reason.  The party continued on the street as Sallyforth and I decided to join them on their adventure instead of calling it a night.  And since they were headed to Navy Pier and I'd never been to Navy Pier at night too see my skyline we went with them.   Back to the pier and back to the Ferris wheel and what a beautiful night for pictures. 

Unfortunately, the time had come where we had to part ways as Taylor-Tylor and Playing with Fire Woman were headed to Boystown and we were headed to my place for some well-earned resting of our tired toes and feeding our tummies again.  After twelve hours of outside air and drinks and long walks we slept like logs and now I must try to walk (NO! scream my feet) to the store for groceries and get the weekly laundry done while hoping to write or watch some shows with First Daughter. 

I may need a day off from my days off. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Post a Song, Safe a Life

Somewhere after the big break up (break down) with Mr. Charisma and the big move to Chicago to change my life two months later, I lost my will to listen to my music.  Not just songs that were our songs but all my music.  I was depressed.  And so I blamed it on that feeling.  Even after I was able to claw myself out of the deep dark hole I had willingly plunged myself into (no one forced me to date him) I still found music too painful.  Too many memories that I didn't think were making me depressed but they were.  Memories from husbands, and Mr. Practical and Mr. Hopeful, seemed the most painful.  Memories I just wasn't strong enough to deal with and find a happy memory buried deep within.  Every time I tried I had to stop after one song. Even when set on random. 

Somehow, and I'm not sure how I lived without another thing I loved.  I had movies and TV shows and gaming to fill the void but it really didn't.  I missed music.  But I was afraid if I listened it would all come back.  The what ifs, the sadness that my choices had left me without a partner, the triggers.  And living alone here away from almost every friend and almost all my family didn't feel like the smart choice.  So I just stopped. 

Then an innocent post on facebook from Benny Sweat of the Sweatboys, asked his friends to post videos of the music they are embarrassed they love.  You know, those guilty pleasure bands we all love.  And I sat myself down, much like Winnie the Pooh on his thinking log, and thought, and thought, and thought about it.  Coming to the conclusion that I have excellent taste in music and love all my music, even my guilty pleasure bands or one hit wonders from the 80's.  But see, Benny Sweat is an old wise friend, we even wrote a song together once, and it was a wonderful experience to actually see it performed more than once by the band.   I felt that I should try to answer, but what song....and what band....and should I maybe listen to some music to see.  These thoughts paraded through my mind as I watched my laptop warily from across the internest.

Recently I got First Daughter to watch Rita on Netflix with me, a Danish dramedy about a strong female teacher that I greatly identify with and the theme song is a real toe-tapper that reminds me of ABBA and makes me want to get up and dance. Here's a link for those of you that are curious, and the lyrics are especially important as they always are to me.

So that's it.  I listened.  I posted.  And Benny and his wife and a slew of his friends loved it.  And the floodgates opened.  Joyful tears fell.  And my music program ran on random most of the day,  while I remembered with happiness that I had had a lifetime of experiences attached to music to remember.  I am no longer afraid of my music, and can even find some enjoyment in the songs that were painful.  I have so much music to discover in the last three years.  Feel free to post any of your favorites for me to hear.  I'd appreciate the additions to my memories.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Writing Yourself Out of Depression

Last weekend, after company left, I was very productive with my writing.  Not the play, that has been shelved for a while, as I think about the characters and how to make them draw my audience in, rather than lead them.  And I feel close to something deep, like I'm standing on the edge of an almost  frozen lake no sure how far down it goes and knowing I need to step out onto to see.  It can wait.

What can't wait is my fantasy novel.  I decided to open it up and see where I could go with it over a five day weekend, well two day after company.  And I was able to edit fifteen of the twenty-five chapters.  It's actually closer to a third draft for the first five but.  I'm liking my novel again, and the characters have changed so much since my original thoughts on them as a young woman.  Now that I've lived some myself I can see more motivations for my evil characters to be evil.  I've never believed in the 'disembodied eye of evil'.  I much more enjoy and evil I can understand and relate to.  The fallen priest without his faith, privileged rich suddenly poor, the staunch military man without a war, and of course the sociopath with psychotic tendencies.  Don't get me wrong,  scary monsters and super freaks, (cue Bowie) are great and my novel has it's share, it's just that my monsters are human monsters.  Much harder to spot, and just as blood thirsty.  

With ten chapters left, I hope I can find the same momentum today.  I certainly didn't find it after chores yesterday.  Which is usually my problem with writing, I love and need to write, but am never focused after working eleven hours a day during the week.  And I not only desire one day to get all the chores done around the house but it's necessary.  Studio living is great if you keep everything in its place.  If you don't it tends to look like a messy dorm room.  That leaves me one day to write and do only what I want to do.  And I deserve that.  So Sunday is my writing day.  I start with my blog and then see where my imagination takes me.  I may never get published and that's ok.  My writing is for me.  And it is one of the best therapy sessions I've found.  In fact after a long week when my emotions may be on edge it is very relaxing and a great anti-depressant to get out of my own head and make my mind jump into the world I've created.  Rare times I've found the strength to dive deeply into my own past hurts to fuel a character with desires or motivations or experiences both joyous and terrifying.  And once on the page, when you know you've gone back there to that sad or frustrating past episode, and you read it during the editing process it can be the most cathartic experience.  Like a two-way mirror opening up to that place where you are there, and yet safely not there. 

Makes me wonder how many other writers take from their own life to find a character, hardly ever themselves, to explore and write about.  Nightmares and dreams are also helpful.  And with that thought, I'd hate to have Stephen Kings experiences and dreams to pull from.  YIKES.  I adore him as a writer but scary thought. 

Now that the first cup of coffee has made its way into my brain and begun to percolate my thoughts, I find the need to visit my world much more interesting than staying here. 

Cheers. . .for now. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Be Your Own Reporter

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a Star Trek episode that went horribly wrong.  Like one of those classic episodes where they go back in time and fall in love with a woman that they have to let die or millions of others will die.  Or the one where the society got tainted by a book left behind and became one of the worst examples of society.  Like now. 

I'm afraid for my future.  And the future of everyone I know.  I remember my mom saying she was afraid for her grandkids, and the world we were leaving them.  But I think it's getting worse much quicker for my generation.  I think we're not just worried about the world we are leaving for our grandkids but for our kids and ourselves.

I see a lot of things on social media which I never know if I should believe, so I look them up, and they end up being true.  Then I wonder why it isn't all over the news and the most important thing we are talking about and I realize the news is run by four individuals that own the four big entertainment conglomerates.  And they own all the stations and newspapers.   And they are in the 1% and back politicians or the government and the government doesn't want the people to panic so they keep us entertained with news that they think will divide us as a people instead of us focusing our rage on them.

New stories that rile us up.  Like the swimmer rapist only serving three months and out for good behavior, proving he's the best of men.  A good guy rapists.  Or the senseless deaths that started the BLM and BLM movement.  See they are the same.  I know its suppose to make it appear insignificant for the movement to say 'all lives matter' so now we have to list them all separately so we don't appear to be either a bigot or stupid.  Because each is saying all lives already except the movements chosen life.  Just like we can get behind a woman being physically abused by her husband, and we mean all people that are being physically abused, men, too.  But aren't we sweeping the problem under the carpet to not mention abusive woman when we don't stop talking about the abusive men?  Aren't we forgetting that in the end that what we really are fighting against is equality?  What is dividing us from focusing our attention on terrorists and wars and my favorite, global warming? That one is becoming so bad weather is changing and cities are flooding so consistently that the maps of Louisiana are wrong now.  They have permanently lost a lot of coastal land area.  Florida is next.  And then Manhattan.  When are we as a people going to start to love each other no matter who we want to sleep with or what color our skin is?     

I know humans don't need any help in hating each other, but I believe our media should not help us hate each other.  I know their job is to report the news unbiasedly.  But they don't do that.  They all have a different agenda.  One of the smartest shows I watched about this was The Newsroom.  It was smart and showed how unpopular an honest newsroom would be.  

We can make a difference.  We just need to ban together as a people and stop listening to raving politicians who only want the free ticket we gave politicians.  That endless retirement and healthcare money.  They get paid for not doing a damn thing to help us and for hurting us more and more.  We elect them and the machine is broken.  It's time for more than a change.  It's time for a revolution.  A political and financial revolution that saves our middle class and protects our lower class, which is most of us now.  I know more people including myself that are living at the poverty level or below.  And most of them are college educated people with jobs.  Hard working people that have full-time jobs and still can't make a decent living and save for their retirement.  We need to focus more inwardly and let the world take care of itself, while we try to mend the mess we have made at home.  We need to be helping each other instead of listening to our media and being afraid of each other.  See the best slaves don't know they are slaves.  And we are doing a bang up job of letting our government force us into a silent workforce.  And as much as I'm in favor of legalizing marijuana, if they can keep us drugged while working and passive as well....well that's a dream come true for a real tyrant isn't?


Sunday, August 28, 2016

When You Hope Your Stories Were Heard

One of the most peaceful and happy mornings I can remember in a long time, as First Daughter is sleeping sounding on my extra mattress.  What mother doesn't enjoy the sounds of her children sleeping soundly.  First Daughter is visiting, and we have had a very chockfull few days of adventures in Chicago.  Nothing too fancy or elaborate.  Doing some errands together, eating at new places, and walking around downtown trying to get lost and see new different things.  We didn't make the Skydeck as planned but the tickets are good for a year, so I will make it on less rainy day.  But we did make it to Second Daughter and Second Son's fifth wedding anniversary party.  And it was touch and go for a while if we would.  I was a bitter reminder of her break up that they were suppose to be at a wedding this weekend and to be going to an anniversary party surrounded by couples, was not an easy thing for her to do.  But she shouldered it much like I or my mom would have.  With grace and no one but Second Daughter and Second Son knowing how difficult it was.  I know her appearance made them as proud as it made me. 

See First Daughter is putting up a good front after a little over a month of tears and fears about the future now that she's single.  This is a serious time for her, and her emotions are on edge.  I don't know if she sees it but I know she's made up her mind about what will be.  As she does with every crisis that she lives through.  Because her emotions so close to the surface she gets like my mom when's shes passionate about a topic.  Loud and always right.  This makes me shrink back, mostly because I shrank back from my mom when she would 'win at any cost' any difference of opinion we might have. 

See I want what's best for her.  And she wants what she wants.  And maybe what she wants is best for her.  Maybe moving back to Chicago to find someone new is what will save her.  Maybe my opinion of staying put and healing and saving money is not what would be best.  Maybe my experiences of loss and love, and finding myself first before trying again, is not for everyone.  She thinks I'm career oriented instead of love oriented because she's never seen me fight for love.  But she couldn't be more wrong.  See she's only heard me talk about my past, could witness how I've fought for love or tried to keep relationships together when they were hopelessly falling apart.  Nor the nights I cried in defeat or fear at being alone forever.  She's only witnessed the aftermath.  The strength that came from finding myself and loving me enough to be alone rather than settle for love. 

I find myself in a place no parent wants to ever be.  Where I must support her decisions because she's not a child anymore.  She's grown up and knows what she wants.  Why wouldn't she, she's my daughter and I always went after love first.  And look where it got me.  Alone.  So while I can say I understand and I feel more sympathy than she'll ever believe.  I'm not perceived as the good guy right now, because I don't want her to make the same mistakes I made.  Break the same hearts I broke because I wasn't ready to love again.  No matter how much I desperately believed at the time that I needed love or I'd die.  She doesn't see that my advise is not because I wouldn't welcome her home but because I remember where the path she is on leads.  Sometimes I wish she could have seen me through all of that.  Then I realize she needs to make her own life and mistakes to grow. 

So I'm hoping our last day together will still be the honest loving relationship we have known instead of me shrinking back.  I want her to know I'm on her side no matter what she does, even if its been against my best advise.  Because she means so much to me, I can't stand to see her so sad.  But I'm lucky that she has chosen me as one of the friends she trust enough to help her through this difficult time.  Some parents never hear anything except, "We're fine," or "Nothing's new."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's All In Your Head

As I sit here writing this I am confronted with an old opinion that I've just rediscovered.  I started writing my novel again yesterday.  Edited five and a half chapters in about three hours.  Then went on with my normal Saturday of working out and groceries and hanging out long distance with First Daughter.  Today has the normal blogging, a long distance movie later with Mr. Practicle, cleaning and cooking for next week on the docket  A typical weekend to a typical week.  And normally by now I'd start feeling like I was in a rut and should go out and DO something.  And then get anxiety about it because I really can't afford to or don't want to be around people.  And that's where the people are...outside.  But not this weekend.  This weekend I'm happy in my rut and looking forward to the down time.  And I asked myself why?  What made this weekend different?  Sure I'm looking forward to seeing First Daughter in four days, but I don't think that's entirely it.

I think it's because I wrote.  I used to use writing as a sure fire way to get over the blues or any situation that felt too normal, thus needing an escape.  I'm sure that if I wrote more often I'd feel better emotionally.  So why don't I just do it?  Because it's not just writing any old word that gives me this high.  It's writing something and then coming back to it and reading it and instead of saying, "that's shit"  I say, "I wrote that?  I like that."  It gives my confidence a boost that is always needed.  And even the 'that's shit' moments are opportunities.

They say, and they say a lot, that knowing your problem is the first step to controlling it.  And perhaps that's right.  But for me, my problems are all in my head.  And I don't mean that in a physician's way of handling a hypochondriac.  I mean, it's all in my attitude.  Which I can control and which is in MY head.  I can be happy or sad or in love or out of love.  All in my head.  All in my choice of what I want to express or feel or not feel.  The mind is much more powerful than we know, and the 'fake it til you make it' philosophy has some merit.   It's how I quit smoking seventeen years ago.  I just told myself I wasn't a smoker, believed it, stopped buying them, and quit.  Mind over matter.  They say that in extreme situations, it can even work with some pain.  I wonder about that but not enough to test it. 

I know this sounds silly but if you find yourself in a bad mood,  or feeling depressed or upset about something you can't change, try thinking your way out.  Try feeling the opposite, just do it.  Try talking yourself out of it.  Use your skill in imagination and will power to feel something until something happens that actually changes your outlook.  Sometimes it is just the will to get out of bed that does the trick.  Sometimes it is taking that nap.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Becoming Transparent

Coffee is doing its thing while I try to figure out what I need to write about this week.  The heat kept me inside after my workout and errands yesterday, not my anxiety.  Which is both good and bad, I wanted to go to the park and see a friend in As You Like It but I'm hoping next weekend or the weekend First Daughter is here will be better.  And also I don't want to go alone.   So my anxiety did play a part after all, perhaps 50/50. 

I wish I was better at this.  At adulting and living life.  I wish I could accomplish all the things in my head that I want to do.  That's one of the hardest parts about living with anxiety is knowing you didn't always have it.  I remember being able to wake up, and plan a day of things to do, some even outdoors with people, and not only stick to it but look forward to it.  Now my mind comes up with all sorts of reasons why I shouldn't get out of bed.  Yesterday it was the weather, and yet I did get out of bed to get the things done I knew had to be done.  Banking, groceries, I'm surprised working out made the list.  I hope it does again this morning after my blog or laundry.  However I feel excuses coming on as I type and wonder if I'll make it.  I also have another chance to see the play this afternoon, in the hot.  Again, I can hear myself making excuses to keep me isolated. 

And while writing feels like a good thing to do and one that if I did I'd feel good about staying in, it doesn't seem to come for me anymore.  Perhaps I'm in a slump.  Or maybe I'm enjoying all the time I'm getting with First Daughter since her break up and deep down I know it wont last.  She'll meet someone new and he will become her life, like with First Son.  Which is absolutely normal in my opinion.  Something is not right in my heart and mind hemispheres, for when its not right I can't write. 

I've been blaming it on worry and life and time but the real reason is I'm lazy about it.  I don't force myself to open up the documents and finish them.  Really finish them.  I read books that I know are far above my abilities,  and I read ones that I know are far below.  You'd think the later would get me motivated but it doesn't.  I sometimes wonder if I think anything is worth the motivation now. 

With the exception of gaming and watching TV it seems all my hobbies have gone away, and while I'm trying to keep them, I feel like everything and everyone is just slipping away.  This is anxiety at its best, it's also the precursor to being depressed.  Which I don't feel but sometimes I worry is right around the corner, lurking like an old addict friend that won't go away after the party ends.  You know the one who crashes on your couch just for the night, but wont leave in the morning? 

Mr. Hopeful was hoping to come this weekend, and then his business kept him from travel.  Maybe I miss him more than I thought.  Maybe that's the reason for the slump.   But I know I'm very good at talking myself out of commitments when I'm alone.  Its like all my life I've waited for someone to do all these fun things with, and not doing them by myself is foolish.  I'll suggest plans and get shot down by some of my own excuses.  He hates crowds too.   But maybe I need someone that loves crowds to get me out more.  Maybe I need to be more confident with my friends and say I'm doing this want to join?  I actually tried that with Shakespeare in the park and both girlfriends either work or had other things going on.  I try to make plans that will get me out at least one day of my day off and when they fall through or can't happen it makes me feel like I should just stay in.  I know I wont make it out of the house today except to the basement to do laundry.  Again its hot and I know I want to write and be alone away from people.  Game and watch an escape I enjoy.  Try to be with my thoughts and get them straightened out before work tomorrow.  You see, it's become my Sunday habit.  I don't wonder why I'm alone anymore.  I know why.  I hide so well, no one can see me.  I think I'm enjoying my invisibility in society.   This is probably not a good thing.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Anxiety. The Personality Killer.

For some time now I've been happy with my life.  It's really an odd sensation for me because with the exception of the last couple of years here in Chicago, I've not been happy.  Now children that I love and love me, don't get me wrong.  You being in my life has been my only real lasting happiness.  When I look back on my life I realize a great portion of it is worry about all the bad things that can happen.  Financial, employment (they go hand in hand) safety, children, (they also go hand in hand) my health, divorce, and breakups (both my parents and mine), fears both imagined and very real.  And I understand that at a very young age I was taught to fear things.  That my parents in teaching me to be brave and be prepared for the worst, put all the worst possible outcomes in my small impressionable head.  And while that lesson has been a godsend in helping me survive in the hard cruel world, and raise my kids mostly alone, I also realize that worry and fear seem to be my natural state.

Anxiety has been my friend for so long it's almost impossible for me to stop it now.  However, I try to relax and stop my brain from imagining the worst possible outcome to every situation.   And as accurate as my gut is I have to admit that most of the time those worst case scenarios rarely happens as I imagined.   I guess the fact that I'm often right that something is off, but rarely right about what or who is what keeps me listening to it.  It's better to be warned than blindsided.  So I sit in an almost constant state of nervous corked action ready to spring, but not knowing what direction I need to pop.

I hate that I'm used to this.  That I've been disappointed in life so much with my choice of careers and employment; or lovers and husbands, that I automatically am in "wait for the other shoe to drop" mode.  Which is so unfair to myself and the people that want to be in my life.  I don't even trust my friends to stay around long because they never do.  No one does, with the exception of my kids.  Which I'm very lucky in that area. 

But for the last two years, I've been trying as hard as I can to stop myself from worrying too much.  And let me tell you it's more difficult than you can know if you don't already suffer from anxiety.  Anxiety is a killer of hope and dreams because the voices in your head that tell you 'you won't be liked,' or 'you are not good enough' or 'you can't be successful at that' are very convincing.  And they keep me home, away from the people that I imagine will fulfill my fears.

Things are better for me here than they were in Wisconsin, as far as trying to keep the fear at bay.  My family and friends are a great comfort in talking me off the ledge.  And as much of an independent woman as I've become over the last twenty years, I do miss a strong man at my side telling me it's going to be ok.   Sometimes I feel like I'm unloading on my kids too much or my friends, but I'm sure they would say 'it's what friends are for', or 'you are not unloading, mom'. 

I envy people that can truly relax without any self or prescribed medication.  I don't take meds anymore because my depression is gone, and my anxiety I have learned to control by meditation and positive self-talk instead of focusing on all the negative.  Also sharing my fears with loved ones helps.  It helps me to hear them say that I'm over thinking or I'll be alright.  Which is true.  I'm not a quitter.  Almost everything I can imagine I can imagine a positive outcome.  So if I focus on that instead of the negative one, I calm down.  I know that sounds very simple and basic, but when your heart is racing and you are panicking because you feel like you are trapped with no way out of a situation, it's harder than you think to quiet that voice.

And yet, to look at me, you'd think I had myself together.  To listen to my advice when a friend asks, you'd think I know the answers.  Invisible illness, we all have one.  And yet we assume everyone else has this life thing figured out.  But you know what. they don't.  We are all just trying to survive and wake up and get out of bed and have a life.  But some days.....that just doesn't happen, or it happens and then that gut goes off, and you are a cat waiting to pounce, watching everything too critically.

And suddenly the great conversationalist or writer or actress or dancer or person I know I am disappears behind a film of, 'they won't like you anyway so why try.'  Self-doubt, low self-esteem, and fear are my constant companions now.  And on a good day, I can see them, and I get up, get dressed and go out anyway.  But I still feel alone in a crowd.  

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Don't Boo, Vote

If we don't pull together now we never will.  If the threat is more of the same vs dictatorship, I'll take more of the same.  If the choice is to stand together for real change just to watch a dictator gain power because we are a split party between democratic, liberal and green, I can't do that.  I've seen presidential candidates lose because a third party got just enough votes to make it impossible for the right man to win.  And Bush won.  Gore did not.  And Nadar walked away with votes that could have gone to Gore.  A man who believes in science and global warming lost to a man who got us so far in debt we crashed and sent us to an unwinnable war for oil.  Had Gore won, perhaps a lot of what Nadar stood for would have found its way into being law.  Just as I believe if Hillary wins a lot of what Bernie tried to do will find its way into law.  I believe Bernie is still a powerful politician for the people and will do more good on the floor than in the Oval. 

I honestly believe that a hot headed, emotion driven man, like Trump should not have his hand on the button to send bombs to countries over a disagreement in business.  He will treat the presidency like a reality show and not as if real lives were at stake or the consequence of his decisions.  We the people won't matter to him as much as it will to Hillary.  Or to Stein or to Johnson.  But we as a party can't even get behind one third party candidate like in the Gore/Bush/Nadar year.  So the votes for a real change will be even further split.  I'm willing to listen with both the hemispheres of my soul in full attendance.   My heart and mind will be united come November when I cast my vote.  But if my chosen party is still divided, I will vote for the person who is most likely to win against a dictator.  I will not be part of THAT problem.  My parents talked of Hitler and his rise to power with great awe and wonder at how it happened so fast, and the poor German people split forever by his tyranny.   They spoke highly of the Roosevelts and never blamed them for their wealth only marveled at their ability to see outside of their birthright and want to help everyone.  They created a middle class in this country when it was unfathomable just how many were unemployed.  For an idea of what FDR inherited watch the PBS documentary on The Roosevelts.   The Clinton's may be the only people in Washington that can save us from a dictator.  The Obama years have been a climb back for many of us, and history-making eight years.  I'm for more history making in electing the first Woman President of the United States and also the first person to have been A First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State before being President.  But let me make myself as clear as I can.  I will elect anyone that is running now before a dictator. 

Here is the problem as I see it.

This means I have to trust my media.

Which I do not.  They will tell us who to vote for and right now they are telling us to vote for Hillary.  That she alone is the only one that can beat a dictator.  When we know her numbers aren't that great against him, not like Bernie's was.  And if Bernie's followers, like me, are this wishy-washy about falling in with Hillary, imagine how close this race is going to be?  She will scramble now to get us all behind her.  She has no choice but to promise us the moon.  And then be called a liar for not being able to deliver it.  No one could give us the moon!  But the only thing the dictator will give us is hate and fear.  He will also give us a police state and take away more of our freedoms than you can imagine and very quickly.  No, he doesn't have supreme power, yet. But the powers he does have, with the right 'event', would surprise you.  He can do many things on his own and the house and senate are his party right now. 

So the real problem is not just the Presidency, but the over 80% of the House and Senate up for re-election.  We need terms  set like the Presidency to get rid of our long term politicians who have destroyed this country and we need to stop electing the ones with all the experience.  All the boys club.  I know what you're thinking.  Hillary is the one with all the experience.  She's a part of the boys club.  And that by my logic the dictator should win.  And that's what scares me.  This logic of mine says that we must run from the experience and embrace change.  But not his change.  We must never forget what can happen when you give a small man with no control over his emotions and rage, power.  We must remember Napoleon, Hitler, and Kahn. 

We have the power to elect a woman with experience that knows how to deal with foreign powers and already has a good relationship with them.  Even if you don't agree with the relationship she has that relationship has kept war from our shores for eight years.  We have the power to give her a Democratic, Green and Liberal House and Senate.  Here is where we can make the right and great change.  The republican party is splitting too.  There are republican's backing Hillary because they see this writing on the wall and realize nothing is more important than stopping a dictator.  That we need to rise together to do this as a nation and sort out other issues after he is not a threat. 

I am amazed at the amount of people in my country that believe a dictator will give them what they want.  And that some of them, most of them, want what he is preaching.  This election has been the saddest of my adult life so far, because it has shown me that the stereotype of the bigot in America is not something from our embarrassing past, but is still running rampant across this great country, driving pickup trucks, shooting automatic weapons, and just waiting for it to be fashionable again to bring out the good linen and the lynching ropes.  The old saying 'the south will rise again' may be closer than you think.