Sunday, October 15, 2017

Spontaneous Adventure In Chicago Gotham Style

Its been raining here in Chicago nearly non stop for over 24 hours.  Everyonce in a while it stirs itself up into a thunderstorm with lightning and big boomers, but for the most part, just rain.  Gray skies and rain.  I spent most of yesterday, after weekly errands, just gaming, watching documentaries and drinking coffee or tea depending on my mood.  The coffee mood continues as we type.  If I could hide again today I would, but I have promised to go on an adventure with  my landlord friends, Rachel and Ross  (nicknames of course as I never use real names). 

Gotham's version of a comic con is in Chicago this weekend and we are going to go today on a lark.  See if we can get tickets and see if any photo ops or autograph ops are still available.  They are not the same company as Wizard World so I can't use use my free admission or I would.  But we really love his show and since there was not any advertising for it and the weather sucks, we are hoping that it wont be as busy as a comic con where there is a diverse supply of talent for fan girls and guys.  With only the one show and the only guests being Riddler, Penguin, Alfred and Hammer-hand, and lots of vendors we might still get in.  (Cat-woman and Ivy were Saturday but Rachel and I really didn't care as much about them, cant say the same for Ross).  If not we can go on an adventure in Schaumburg or come back into Chicago.  Its always an adventure with Rachel and Ross.  Never a real plan, more of a guideline.  And its always fun.  Either way we will have a great day today celebrating Rachel's birthday fan girl style.  She was so caught up in the excitement and happy for me when I went on my first con, that now that there is one here she is interested in she has decided to spend her birthday funds getting autographs and photo shoots.  I may have opened the door to lots of cons for us all in the future.  Pictures will follow as usual.

Next weekend my daughter and best friend and her husband, who is also a best friend, and their kids will be here.  I should have lot to discuss in next weeks blog.  Both about what happened today and with all of them.  Wish us luck.  We many need it. 


Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Fun Day In Chicago, (with plugs for places to see)

Last weekend with Firstborn Son and Daughter-In-Law was amazing.  We spent a fun-filled day together on Sunday, starting with brunch at a brand new place.  The place I wanted to take them was in my neighborhood, about an hour from where they were staying, by train.  We decided to save time and go to somewhere in-between.  My son and I were anxious to see each other and she was still waking up.  So I high-tailed it to them and saw the beautiful bed and breakfast they were staying at on the southside.  Now I didn't know Chicago had any bed and breakfasts, and we don't have many, but the one they stayed at, called Welcome Inn Manor Bed & Breakfast, was full of the neighborhoods history of civil rights and jazz.  (unfortunately I just read this article where it says the owner is selling because of the neighborhood.  Sad.  )  Trust me, they do it up right there.  They have a free breakfast every morning.  Sit down in the formal dining room not a stale donut and hotel room coffee. Safe places to park your car and a free shuttle, which the owner took us in to try to eat breakfast at Wildberry's.  But by the time we got there it was a two hour wait so we decided to try and walk a short distance to the next cafe or breakfast joint we found and we found a gem.  Toni's Patisserie & Cafe.  Just two blocks from Wildberry, they get a lot of their overflow business and weren't surprised to see us switch it up with them.  I may have to take First Daughter there on her trip here.  It's a bit more expensive then my favorite place for brunch, but what the hell.  It was a special occasion. 

After breakfast their friend, we'll call him Philly that flew in from PA to see them and experience the Final Fantasy escape room with another local friend, (who shall remain nicknameless as he stood them up twice, bad form), joined us at the Shedd Aquarium  I have always wanted to see Chicago's aquarium but never found anyone to accompany me, and knowing it was on my kids hit list I waited for them to visit to see it.  And I'm glad I did.  It was beautiful.  And not overwhelmingly large like a lot of museums in Chicago tend to feel.  It felt almost intimate, and was so relaxing to see all they types of marine life our planet has.  I even petted a stingray, which I'd never had the guts to do before, but my Daughter-In-Laws excitement to do it brought out the curiosity in me.  They feel like fine course sandpaper.  

After the Aquarium we were all feeling the pull of solitude.  Too many people for us, so we decided to head back to my neighborhood so they could see how quaint Lincoln Square is and my studio.  Unfortunately for us Applefest was going on in the square and too many people was still in our hearts.  We wanted to be alone together or close to that, so we checked out my studio, which they loved and then went to my favorite neighborhood pub, The Red Lion Inn  And of course had some legit English munchies of fish and chips and bangers and mash to accompany our great ciders and beer.  I'm a wine and beer drinker, well actually I'll drink just about anything that isn't gin.  But I don't like cider.  And I LOVE their ciders.  Never had a bad one yet, but I stick to my chocolate organic stout and sample everyone else's choices.  

We stayed at the Red Lion Inn after eating, for a long time just chatting.  It's that kind of pub.  Where you feel like your in your best friends living-room rather than a business.  And it's so full of everything British that it reminds me of my fandom full studio.  I also highly recommend checking it out for lunch or Friday night all you can eat fish and chips.  Which I like to do when I need people around me. 

We made plans to see each other for brunch on Tuesday before they left town, but unfortunately Flower Girl got stomach flu and I had to come in early since she couldn't go to school.  But it's ok.  They had fun and I'm sure they will visit again, and I will be with them for two weeks at Christmas/New Years this year.  And I'm sure they'll be sick of me by then.  Here's hoping you get to spend so much time with your loved ones that they can't wait to see you again too.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Funday!

My first wave of company is here in Chicago.  They arrived on Thursday and have had plans with both local friends and friends that flew in since they arrived.  With a rest up day yesterday from their events before my full day today.  I'm excited to get started with a brunch and then possibly the Shedd Aquarium and maybe another nice meal later tonight.  Who knows.  I want to show them my neighborhood and where I live and just sit and talk with them for hours.  I've missed them so much and this is their first trip here since I moved here three years ago.  We try and see each other at least once a year but never here.  So I'm super excited to show them My Chicago.  And since I have a tiny studio with no real room for company of more than one, they are staying at a bed and breakfast near the south loop.  About an hour south from my neighborhood. And since they are late sleepers and even the call of Chicago Sunday Brunch, might not stir them until 10 am.  I will try to busy myself with other things until they call.  Unfortunately I'm an early riser and sleeping in for me is 7 am.  And I'm not going to wake them on vacation.  Although the temptation is very real. 

That's the hardest part with adult children.  You can't treat them like they are your children anymore.  You have to step back and see what you did.  I'm lucky.  Most of the time I'm not shaking my head in confusion wondering what my adult children are thinking.  When they were young adults in their teens and twenties I did.  But now that they are both approaching thirty or in their thirties, I find that I don't worry about them near as much as I used to.  And I trust their judgement so much, that slowly they are becoming the people I ask questions of.  I feel like the circle is becoming complete and they are assuming the role of caretaker with me. 

I know someday, if I'm unlucky and don't just die in my sleep, I'll be living with my daughter as I become too old to live alone.  She has promised me I'd always have a place to go. And I know she's sincere.  I don't ever want to be a burden to her or my son but you just don't know what life will deal you so you have to be prepared.  Unfortunately most of my being prepared was lost during the last melt down in the stocks, and at my age it is nearly impossible to get that back.  But worrying about retirement when you don't even know if you'll live that long will for sure cause you stress enough to cut your life short.  hum... I may be on to something here.  But you know how that works too, right?  The best laid plans...

I hate talking about death with my grown children.  I know it's something I have to do and I do.  I tell them where all the important papers are, and the combinations.  But they get that look in their eyes.  All glossy like the way I get when men talk about most sports.  I know they aren't listening.  Not really.  I mean they are.  But they hate talking about what happens when I die.  As an only child with both parents gone, they are my only family and the burden would probably fall to them even with siblings.  And hopefully they will have each other to lean on.  Time to to stop thinking about this and get some coffee and get ready to hurry up and wait. 


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Silence is Golden

Its funny.  I'm finding I have less and less to say of anything that feels important, the longer I live alone.  Don't get me wrong, my mind still flows at a thousand miles per hour from subject to subject.  It's just all in my head.  Like talking to yourself in silence. 

I like my weekend silences.  I try to see if I can go an entire day without uttering a word.  And I've been able to do it.  It's usually Sunday.  It's an easy day to hide from the frigid, harsh world.  My little escape from it, is my favorite place in Chicago.  I almost have it looking like I want it to.  I can't afford new furniture or anything like that, so I make it look as much like me as I can; with all the odds and ends and pieces of lives, I've collected along my journey.  Shrinking down is always good for me.  And getting rid of trinkets that no longer mean what they did, or before they mean nothing, is a form of healing that all water signs are not only proficient at, we're almost ceremonial.  I blame the gypsy witch in me.  She really can't sit still for long.

But other than sage-ing my studio again on the autumn equinox and watching season four of Doctor Who.  (really Donna's season is one of the best, in my opinion.  Everyone makes an appearance that year.)   I'm trying to relax this weekend in preparation for my first bit of company this fall.   I'll tell you all about after.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ferris Wheel....Not Bueller

Rearranging my studio, and shopping later today for some additions, is helping my wanderlust.  I am now nesting in for winter, and looking forward to visits from both my grown children this month and next  Also She of Little Combat Boots and her family are taking a trip to Chicago and I am one of the reasons to make it a family vacation.  End of September and October promises to be full of fun and surprises and I can't wait.

And it also just goes to show you that when you are feeling your most vulnerable and alone, life can sometimes show you just how wrong you are.  And I love that about life.  The unexpected changes.  I know sometimes they seem to be horrible changes, but when I reflect upon my past, I understand how all of them led me to a brighter future. 

Some people who believe in religion would call that faith or the presence of a higher power that is gently, or not so gently, guiding you to where you should be.  Others might say you are always where you should be.  I personally feel that it's just Fate.  Life is like a big ocean and you have to learn to swim at an early age.  It's a sink or swim existence.   The wheel of life constantly turning.  Like a giant Ferris wheel.  When you're up, enjoy the view because you will be at the bottom again.  But when you are at the bottom try not to be sad or depressed because you will rise up again.  (Ferris Wheel, and Ferris Bueller....Now HE know how to live life in the fullest....I wonder if that name connection was on purpose...discuss)

It's hard to remember this and enjoy life in the present.  To try to give life the opportunity to be wonderful every moment that you are awake.  Life has it's own demands on our time.  Some might feel unfair demands of work over pleasure.  But it's, unfortunately, the way our society chosen to grow up.  And now we are so ingrained in working for a living, that we have forgotten how to live.  Our down time becomes more precious to us than the all mighty dollar that we work so hard to achieve. 

So when a family member or friend decides to spend some of that time with me, I am overjoyed and honored.  Because I know how precious that is.  When I was younger I used to get jealous over the time friends would spend with other friends, without my inclusion.  And at times I would try to force myself into the event.  So sad.  So alone.  And you'd think as an only child I would have been used to being alone.  It has become my natural state.  But I believe when I was younger I did this because I didn't want to be alone.  I wanted siblings and children and a large family in my future.  I got the children.  I never did get the siblings, even though I gave the honor to 'brother' or 'sister' to many in my past.  That honor was never really accepted in the vein that it was given, and the ones I chose to bestow it upon, proved unworthy of my love or acceptance as 'family'. 

So reluctantly, I moved on, and eventually, in my forties, stopped adopting friends as family.  And had to realize the heartbreaking truth that the ones I had, didn't really return the affection, and abandon them.  Leaving is not something I do well, even-though I do it often.  Being alone I don't have to ever face that again.  I wont let myself down the way others have.  So the friends I have chosen to keep or the new ones I try to make, are not only very special to me, but I understand now how special I must be to them as well.  Or they would be gone by now too. 

Look upon your life with the eyes of a child and be amazed at all you see.  For you will only see it once in that way.  And once you start to see the world with a jaded and cynical view, it is very hard to change that lens. 


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Run You Clever Boy!

Do you ever feel like you need to just walk away from your life? 

Not because you have a double life or because you have no life, but just because you feel like you know your life so well that it's time to change it up before Fate does that for you?

I've had that feeling. 
That wanderlust that good Hobbits just don't get. 
That south wind stirring the gypsy in my soul to flee before whatever the wind brings, arrives.
That sense that something is just behind you, or around the corner that you will meet, but perhaps you really don't want to live through.  At least not without a TARDIS, and The Doctor.

Something is in the air again. 
Fall is coming, and then soon winter.
And as usual, I'm not ready for the winter.

I always feel this way in the late summer and early fall.  But once autumn comes I traditionally leave my comfort zone and move to higher ground.  The mountains of Colorado.  The oceans of the Pacific.  The open prairie of the west.  They all beckon to me.  The landscape of my childhood, try to call me home. 

Chicago is the furthest east I've ever lived.  And while I've been apartment shopping in my city, I decided to stay and instead of moving, just rearranged my dwelling. I have a small studio so there is not much I can do with it.  But even small changes seem large enough to temper my restless soul.  For now.

Watching Star Trek and Doctor Who also help.  Perhaps all that traveling is what does it.  All that running to the next adventure quiets my inner voices.  Feeds my active imagination.  And calms my adventurous spirit into accepting something more relaxing in life than the drama that I create. 

Find your tonic of peace. And imbibe, liberally.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Are Secret Affairs Good For You?

Why are adult, human relationships so difficult?  Were we truly made to be with one person forever?  I've had my share of marriages fall apart, that I truly thought would last forever.  And I've watched friends who I thought would be together forever, fall apart.  And it makes me wonder if the fault is not our nature but our society of what is considered to be acceptable and what is considered to be taboo. 

For example, to me it would seem more honest and respectable, to both parties, to have an open marriage than to lie to each other and cheat.  But society would reward the cheater for not getting caught, while thinking nothing of the deceits told to the loved one to actually get away with this behavior.  Wouldn't it be wiser, to be able to express your love when love comes knocking, freely without guilt; than to express it under the cloak of secrecy and lies?  Or to not express it at all and always wonder or regret not having the experience?

Statistics say that finances split partners up more than anything.  However in my lifetime I've never heard a couple say that they split up because of debt.  I have heard over and over again about infidelity.  Weather brought about by an addiction like alcohol or drugs, or just a person, that by their nature, isn't able to love only one person in this world of possibilities.

It takes a special person to be able to not get jealous over this mindset.  I haven't been that person in the past, and being single now, have no idea if I would be, if in a relationship now.  I can only speak to what I do know about myself and that is that I divorced two men for cheating on me rather than try to work through it, and discover if it was a real threat to what we had, or an addition to what we felt.  Most affair last three months.  Mine tend to last more like three years or more.  Three years or more of lying and being together in secret is not an enjoyable experience and it destroys the initial attraction.  It also can make you psychically ill, as well as mentally.  Causing nervous breakdowns and self hatred which is a destruction of an already fragile ego.  Living a double life is stressful and stress kills.  Because love is not meant to be experienced in secret, whispered about or denied.  Love is meant to be shouted from the rooftops for all to hear and be happy in your good fortune.  Love is meant to be celebrated and shared with all your family and friends.  Love will not be denied no matter how far you run away from it.  It always catches up to you and makes you ache with longing.  Love makes you afraid of death for you never want your loved ones to die.  Love can also make you selfish and jealous if you love for the wrong reasons.   For example, getting married because you don't want to die alone is the wrong reason.  We all die alone.  We all face death alone.  Even with someone holding your hand in the end, if you are lucky enough to die in bed, you are still experiencing death alone.  If you weren't we'd know what happens after. 

I wish I'd been smarter in my twenties.  I wish I'd had the experience I have had in my fifties, so I could tell my young, hurt, and possessive self what not to do.  But I can only watch my friends make the same mistakes I made and smile and wait and hope they will ask me, "What would you do?"  Which they rarely do.  So I tell stories of my past.  Not to brag or to hear myself talk.  I talk about my failures in the hopes that they will not make the same mistakes I've made.  But I've found most don't listen.  Most know more than I do, or think they do.  Don't we all?  Or they have already made up their minds and my sage advice falls upon deaf ears.  The older I get the more I find that my parents knew a lot more about life than I ever gave them credit for when they were alive.  I hope my children will come to this realization before I die.  My friends may never understand it or be able to put my lessons into practice. 

But life is a journey we also take alone.  Even if we are in one or more relationships, we still are alone inside our heads and make up our minds by our own individual experiences.  So it shouldn't surprise me that my more experienced friends could only smile and watch me make mistakes and hope I'd ask 'What would you do?" 


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wizard World Con, Chicago!

What a roller-coaster ride of motions at Wizard Con this year.  Friday night while we were all sung in our hotel rooms or scoping out the con we all heard via Facebook, with a sad video from a very thin and tired looking David Tennant that he was just 'gutted' that he couldn't be with us this weekend, due to a family illness.  Which made us all immediately sad for ourselves and worried for him.  Wizard World is reimbursing us all for our VIP tickets and giving us free tickets for next year or any other con we'd like to go to this year because it was such a disappointment.  This meant that in our sorrow we were basically still VIP and there for free.  This enabled us to spend some money with vendors, which I did.  In fact it looks like a Doctor Who convention on my table right now. 

Not being able to meet David was rough, but I added Catherine Tate photo op and autograph, and Alex Kingston photo op to my already purchased John Barrowman photo shoot and Alex Kingston autograph.  (Niki and I wisely shared photo ops and the costs)   It made up for it, getting to meet Catherine, she and Alex are wonderful.  Alex is quite chatty and our autograph session went something like this:
Alex:  Hello me!
Me:  Hello Sweetie!
Alex:  But I never had blue hair before.
Me:  You will.  I'm the next regeneration.
Alex:  Fabulous!
Alex: This journal is lovely, where would you like me to sign?
Me: Anywhere you like.  Did you wish you could have had more story/screen time with David as the Doctor?  I feel like he got cheated out of your story-line.
Alex:  Yes.  He did get cheated didn't he.  Well ,I do get to see him usually at conventions so there is that.  And I see you have the sad VIP. 
Me: Yes.  But I hope all is well.  I will see you again at photos
Alex:  Good I'll make it up to you then.

She took her time signing everyone's autograph, which she didn't have to do, considering a late flight caused her to be an hour late to her signing.  This caused some to leave and try again.  But not us.  She was quite pleasant and chatty. 

After Alex, we high tailed it over to John to get our pictures taken and the first thing he said to me was "Hello Sweetie" and I lost the power of speech, as he put an arm around each of us, (Me and Nikki) and our photo was done.  The photo ops are great, and once the lines start moving are so fast.

After John it was time to eat and be overwhelmed by all the vendors and people.  SO MANY PEOPLE.  I don't like crowds and each night I needed to unwind from them.  There was so much to see, and the food wasn't that bad.  But next year we are going to plan ahead better for food.

Then it was time for us to line up for Alex's photo shoot, which was just as quick as John's but when she saw us she said, "Hello again.  How are you?"  And I lost the power of speech again. 
Unfortunately the powers that be when rescheduling Dave's time, didn't plan the Doctor Who talent very well and John's panel was at the same time as the time we had for our photo shoot with Catherine so we had to skip him.  I'm sure it's on YouTube and I can catch it and him another time.  We ran on to Catherine photo shoot.  There's a lot of running to stand in line at comic con. 

Nikki had met Catherine while I was at work on Friday and got her autograph for me, so I didn't get to say much to her, unfortunately.  But she was very pleasant to us both an looked us in the eye and said hello to us for our photo shoot with her.  It was very late in the day by then.   I'm sure they were all much more tired than we were and my feet were killing me. 

So we called it a day, but got all our standing in line done on day one.  Which left day two to shop and be relaxed as we people watched.  And see the band Critical Hit who does all rock songs of our favorite video games.  They were the warm up band for the only panel I had time to see, which was the one panel I really wanted to see with The Doctor's wife and his two companions.  Alex, Catherine and Jenna.  I hope its on YouTube as well so I can watch it again.  No I didn't film it.  I wanted to experience it.  And they were funny and being in the front row, I felt lucky and intimate.  And when I turned around the room was packed.  SRO. 

After the shopping and all the people we called it a day.  Nikki left for home and so did I.  And now I'm unpacked and playing with all my new swag, and getting ready to watch GOT season finale.  I can't wait to see it.  And be sung in my own bed with my fabulous memories of my first Comic Con.  It won't be my last.


Sunday, August 20, 2017


I must be very excited about my first time at Comic Con, because for the first time in seven years I forgot to blog on Sunday morning.  Or maybe I'm finally happy enough in my life not to need this diary of healing. 

I was busy this morning getting ready for a brunch date that stood me up. 

And then a tentative lunch date that also stood me up.

But don't worry constant readers, I ate.  I won't starve myself for friendship.  LOL 

And I've been looking at the Wizard World Con schedules and getting very excited for the time when Nikki and I can plan all our events that we MUST SEE TOGETHER, together.  :)  I feel like this week is going to drag until Thursday.  Which will be one of the busiest days for me both personally and professionally, in a long time.

For Thursday is not just the opening of Wizard World, but it's Flower Girl's first day of preschool. She will go twice a week starting Thursday.  Which will be a wonderfully exciting day for her and me. I can't wait to pick her up and have her tell me all about it.  After work I'll be going straight to Wizard Con to meet Nikki and check in to the hotel and the con.  Then after check in we are going back to my place to load up about five totes for First Daughter.  Nikki lives in the same city as my daughter and has graciously agreed to take some things of hers back to her.  This will give me some more room in my already crowded studio. 

After all that, with the driving from O'Hare to my place and back with said totes, I imagine we will want to just chill with the hotel chill goodies I'm bringing and plan the weekend events.  Working Friday will be so hard.  Knowing Nikki will be at the con without me until I can arrive after work. 

But once I get there our three day weekend of GEEK FUN will begin.  I really can't wait to get all dressed up as River Song and fly my geek flag. 


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Twelve Days Until TARDIS

Twelve days until Wizard Con and my friend Nikki Styx will be here to help me celebrate.  Well, I'm actually helping her celebrate, because it's her birthday, and it was her idea that we should go, and her idea won over my anxiety.  And I said yes.  Yes to the crowds of strangers,  the fact that they are geeks and nerds like me is what makes me ok with this.  Because in eleven days I'm going, by myself to the venue, after work, and checking in.  All alone.  At my first con, with my anxiety held before me like a giant shield against the world.  The reason I want to check in on Thursday night is because I work on Friday too and they aren't open for check in by the time I'd get there; and I'd have to wait until Saturday morning, which will be crowded with others that waited.  So less crowds, get my swag and checked in early, and make my anxiety shut the fuck up! 

When I was younger I never felt like this.  Prior to the rapes I never was afraid of crowds or people.  I'm sure its how my PTSD from the events, presents itself.  As long as I'm with one other person, I'm fine.  And my daughter doesn't understand why I talk to strangers, when I'm alone.  When the situation is new, It's become a comfort to me to make a friend on the train, or bus.  Just to feel less alone and invisible.  Less afraid of the men.  My goal is to beat my anxiety to the ground until it no longer is a control over my social life. 

I have everything I need for the con, and I'm super excited to meet David Tennant (got his VIP package, before they added a Doctor Who Gold with Alex Kingston also John Barrowman, Kate Tate and Jenna Coleman packages)  SO we got a photo shoot with John and autograph session with Alex.  They added a lot of talent, TWD, and Firefly and Stranger Things, even Gene Simmons of KISS and John Cusack.  Here's a link for any of you that are just curious or might like to come along.

Needless to say I Can't Wait!  And my first con to boot.  My costume is mostly borrowed from Nikki's amazing seamstress friend.  I have my own boots, River's journal and sonic screwdriver and of course handcuffs.  I'm even debating on curling my hair the night before so it's super curly like River Songs' (not River from case there was any confusion among my fandoms)  I wish I could afford to meet them all.  But Doctor number 10 won.  Now if they get Smith and Capaldi too...i might have to spend too much. 


Sunday, August 6, 2017

I Feel Like Fate (TRIGGER ALERT)

I talked to the mirror yesterday.  Really looked at myself and talked about the past.  Talked about the rapes and how they really effected my choice in men.  From my husbands to relationships to just sex partners.  I was brutal about the lessons each had to teach me about the rapes.  But I was honest.  Honest with myself about what I learned and forgave myself for the necessity of having to learn anything about experiences that are so hard to revisit.

And I realized why I'm so scared to try again.

The last lessons, with Mr. Charisma and the final endings of Mr. Hopeful, this year (my New Years resolutions two years running) and Mr. Practical seven years ago, were personal worst moments for me.  And that's not their fault.  The last lessons are the hardest. 

But if these were personal lows, the 'married men stage'.  I don't want to know what comes after that.  It can't be good.  And I personally don't want to know anything worse than being a mistress.  Secret love is not sexier its just secret.  You can't be seen together so you can't do anything in the light of day or even the dark of night, in public.  It's stressful.  SO STRESSFUL.  Not worth the payoff.  If you get my meaning.  Because no matter how much you don't want to admit it, you're just sex if they don't chose you.  And that being said and not being chosen and finally seeing the line they use, "You deserve so much more" as truth... well, you have to end it then.  Right?  And in each situation when I saw that, I did.  I had rebuilt my pride enough to say, "You're right." and leave.  Now in two of those situations, I didn't realize it first so it was so much more painful not being chosen.  Mr. Hopeful still contacts me once a month, as a friend.  And Mr. Practical and I are writing again, and good friends.  And while I trust the friendship part I am equally glad both are long distance.  I am not ready to trust male friends very far.  This is probably because we don't marry strangers do we? 

Let me tell you about what you do to yourself when you choose to be a mistress, or are made a mistress, if you don't know they are otherwise taken, you lose your identity.  Being a mistress kind of overtakes who you are and slowly erases you.  You become cliche and it take a lot of will to rebuild yourself after one experience.  But I do things in threes, always have.  Three marriages, three kids (two living), and Three major career changes, Clerical, Sales, and Service and Three chances at Mistress.  Maiden, Mother, Crone. No wonder I feel like Fate. 

Now I know what some of you will say, you deserve to feel bad about making that choice, but I'm not so sure I do.  As intelligent as I believe myself to be I'm also very gullible, and especially when in love, I tend to believe what I'm being told.  Its really unfortunate.  I should know better.  But perhaps it's because I try to be an honest person with everyone when I start out with them.  I just assume they are being honest with me as well.  To find out that a prospective love is suddenly engaged or worse yet married, is a heart-breaker.  But to know that a lost love, who comes back and still doesn't choose to have a real second chance with you is devastating to your delusions.  For that's what this kind of thinking really is.  Delusional.  Re-watch When Harry Met Sally, because it's true what Carrie Fisher's character says over and over in that film, as she's learning her hard life lesson as a mistress, "He's never going to leave her." 

I'm not proud of most of my past decisions where men are concerned.  I know I chose some of my husbands because they reminded me of my father who wasn't there, and they loved me and would protect me from the men who raped me.  Like my father couldn't, in his absence.  I know that the men I chose to have affairs with were more like the men that raped me sexually.  That's a hard thing to admit, but not all rapes are violent, as Oprah has reviled from her past experiences.  And my sexual awakening came too young and was neither violent or unpleasant in it's actual act.  Was I forced?  Yes.  But because I was twelve you might say I was tenderly lead, and groomed not to tell.  In an forced, sexy playtime kind of act.  I became a young fantasy for my rapist and well on my way to being groomed into a damaged little stripper.  Perhaps this is why I don't trust older men and feel sorry for strippers, seeing most of them as damaged as I am.

I am scared to try again with any man, because I don't know a good man when I have one.  Since I had no good men in my youth or childhood to look up to and how a caring and giving marriage to plays out.  I know all about bad marriages having witnessed my mothers and my own.  I'm not saying the men I chose to marry were bad men, but they were bad choices for me, because I was trying to find protection, rather than marrying someone I loved deeply.  Probably the best choice I made was my second husband, but because I didn't know what a good man was, I thought he was boring.  How wrong I was.  When I tried to find that friend ship again in life I screwed it up again and let him try to help me make it more.  Fortunately Mr. Practical and I got smart quicker than any of my failed experiences and it's not painful at all anymore.  In fact I feel quite sorry for my very brief affair with him.  It will always be that thing we did that was both wonderful and such a bad choice, hanging quietly over our heads.  I still wish Mr. Hopeful the best and hope he will leave me alone.  For him not choosing me is the most painful in my life.  And Mr. Charisma I don't think of at all, much like my first and third husbands.  While we had a lot of geek stuff in common, the hurt they put me through, saying they loved me when they really just were using me for whatever they needed from me, was eye opening.  The children I got out of those marriages and the growth were the good things that came from those experiences.  I wish I'd had the children without the marriages.  I never should have married anyone until I could face my own past pain and heal through it. 

Facing pain is not easy.  It also is not quick.  We think we are growing with every experience, and for the most part we are, but what we are really doing is facing demons and trying on lifestyles.  Shedding old ideas for new and hopefully learning from mistakes. 

Should I try again?  I don't think so.  Am I sad about this revelation?  Not really.  I'm relieved.  For I finally understand that I will not only feel any more pain, but I will cause none either. 


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Reverse Prejudice Does Not Exist

Have rhetorical questions gone out of style?  Rhetorical questions in my status on Facebook has caused me to unfriend two very specific people, and because they were acquaintances and not close family or friends, I decided to get rid of a lot of 'friends of friends' as well.  Just in case my style of expression is out of their cultural experience or at worst, goes over their heads.  These two people in question I felt were and are very woke to today's issues.  As people of color they have been woke far longer than I.  BUT they are not woke to how I express myself as a writer or a human, and grossly misunderstood a post I had shared about a young black man trying to play the race card on me, as prejudice.  I had mentioned in the post 'the readers digest' version of the events, knowing that most of the people that know me would know that I am first and foremost an ally.  Of many if not all of the groups of people that have, in this country, been abused, jailed, beat up, and murdered for expressing their God given rights to civil rights.  Yes it's a God given or whatever you believe runs the universe, right.  It's not a law, it's a basic human right.  And in this young man's situation I believe he had/has a problem with authority, not the fact that I'm a woman and he's a man or the fact that I'm white and he's black.  ANYONE that would have turned him in on the train for breaking the rules and being loud enough to be disturbing, he would have come down on.  And when HE tried to play the race card with me, by accusing me of it being 'personal' well, I laughed.  Out loud.  In shock.  No one had ever accused me of that, and I was at a loss for words for a moment.  His using this lame excuse to try to get out of breaking posted rules and being rude and uncaring, (a statement that he said, "I don't care." over and over to anything I asked) was probably what pushed me over the edge. 

I posted the event, and at the end closed with three RHETORICAL questions.  Here they are, as well as I can remember: "As he left he turned it back up and called me an ugly bitch.  Was I an ugly bitch because I'm white and he's black?  Or was it because I'm a woman telling a man what to do?  Or was it because he was young and I'm older?  We may never know."  These are rhetorical questions.  Not meant for information or needing an answer but just posted to make my readers think.  And perhaps to stop the mansplaining before it starts.   As a woman I find that over explaining things helps with that, sometimes.  So I've gotten in the habit of it. 

After these two people, one a man and one a woman of color, jumped on me about my post saying that if I wasn't trying to claim reverse prejudice why would I even mention race?  Did not understand that since he tried to play that card, not I, that it was important to the story.  I tried to explain to which the man then said, I don't even know why this is a status just delete it.  So I did.  I actually deleted it because they asked me own words, about my own experience, on my own wall.  And all my friends responses.  I honestly think she was more upset that I didn't call out my 'mostly white audience', as she put it, for expressing and sharing their personal stories of similar things happening to them, by people of color.  They weren't trying to bash people of color, they were trying to make me feel like I wasn't alone.  You know. Like friends do.  It's not my fault what my friends choose to say to me.  And in all honesty, I didn't even notice.  And this is where I was wrong.  I didn't notice.

I should have.  It's a subtle way of allowing negative talk about people of color, on a mostly white wall.  And this is an area where I need to be woke more.  It's very subtle.  Like a headline I read on this topic recently on my feed.  Where it said, "We don't even realize the racial profiling that is going on around us because it's so subtle, but once you see it you can't unsee it.  For example:  The shooter was a white male, a loner, or mentally ill.  Where the same situation if a person of color did the murder would be, The killer was a black male, or the thug, or terrorist."  Notice how not just the descriptive word of the suspect is much more of an attack and 'fake news' but the verb...shooter vs killer.  The media does this on purpose to keep us scared of each other.  White murder is mentally ill while a black one is just a terrorist.  Doesn't make sense to me.  And that's just the tip of the ice burg.  Most of the murders in this country are mentally ill.  I don't care what your color is.  If you take someones life that isn't attacking you, you are crazy.  Not a terrorist, not a thug not a loner (how lame is loner as an excuse??) You're crazy.  Period.

So now I'm back to posting my blog every week, and perhaps NOTHING else on my wall.  Because I don't want to risk upsetting the fragile people out there that look to me for compassion and understanding.  Has the Facebook world shut me up?  Nope.  They just proved their level of ability to deserve my complete thoughts. 


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Poilsh Wedding of The Year!

Rachel and Ross's wedding was so beautiful and surreal I felt like I was in a movie.  There was a video camera and two major photographers, dressed in black and trying to be invisible but among all the ivory, pink and grey they stood out more than they intended. 

The church was a catholic one so it was resplendent in gold, marble and immense stained glass.  Everything was polished to a sheen and the large TV screen for full Sunday Mass, seemed small and almost hidden within the full sized statues and praying alcoves of Mary and five other saints I would never have been able to guess.  The crucified Jesus was enormous at the end behind the communion alter, and of course the church was decorated for a wedding so you might say it had it's 'Sunday best' on.  Speaking of Sunday best the Mother and Father of the bride, as well as the musicians, were wearing their traditional Polish wedding outfits from who knows how many generations.  Very hot and humid day and I'm sure they were exhausted in them, but love and tradition.  They of course changed for the reception into beautiful evening attire, but I really admired their traditions.  I wish I could have understood what they were saying.

But the part that made me really feel like I was in a scene from the Godfather was that the entire service, with the exception of one reading, was all in polish.  I know the Godfather was Italian, for all you mansplainers out there, but I don't know either language so I was just as lost.  But listening and trying to understand was exhausting.  I also felt like it was a beautiful service even if I couldn't understand it.  I've been to church enough to get the gist. 

After the ceremony we went to her mother's house for food for about another 45 minutes until the reception began.  And there were a lot of polish foods to try and I tried many of them and loved them all.  Hoping to discuss the wedding and find out some of what was said in their traditions, I quickly found out that most of her relatives don't speak English.  So I ate, smiled a lot and tried to communicate without words.  Which worked much as you would expect, only when something funny happened around me with one of the kids.  I was hoping there would be more friends like me at the reception that spoke English.  Her mom had had me ride with her to her house from the church and one of her cousins took me to the reception.  "You need not take a bus.  Momento."  And 'poof' a ride was provided.  Better than Uber.  Which I'll get to later. 

The reception was also a fun time for everyone, and I generated to the table with the only people of color and I don't mean just skin, one gal had red hair as red as mine is blue.  And I was right this was the cool table.  Unfortunately it was also the young table.  Not as in children, they were too busy dancing to be at a boring table anyway, but about mid to late twenties.  And not as cool as my First Daughter or her friends, but cool enough for me.  And they spoke English.  A language I could understand.  I wished the people there my age spoke English or wanted to speak it with me, for some spoke some, but it was a family gathering and I was a stranger to everyone there except the bride and groom.  So I tried to let my personality shine and make some connections but they seemed to be more interested in going outside to smoke cigarettes or take many, many more shots at the open bar then I felt inclined to do.  After all I was in a west-side neighborhood I didn't know, and had to get myself home on the two buses I had used to arrive.  I needed to keep my head.  Now the wedding started at 3 and the reception at 6.  I left around 10 and got home by 11.  So I had felt that I had made a strong appearance for someone who knew no one and spend the majority of the time just listening to a language I didn't understand.  And polish is not like French or Spanish where even uncultured American's can pick out a word here and there.  It's more like a German/Czechoslovakian mash up to my ear.  Beautifully full of hard consonants and round vowels.  I was tied and alone most of the time at my table, and while the bride did come by once or twice to check up on me, I certainly didn't expect that.  But she's a dear.  And was disappointed that I was the first to leave.  But I assured her that I'd had a good time that I was just bored and tired and I felt like I should get home before it got too late, and then was when I found out my table thought I was cool and they had liked me, as a few of them who were outside smoking anyway, decided to wait with the bride for my first ever Uber ride home.  (who got lost on the way, and called me for directions in a neighborhood I had only been in once before with Rachel two weeks prior.  But he made up for it and was a safe and and reassuring ride home.  I gave him five stars)  I even had to download the app and get started which I did before all the drinks.  I sampled the homemade lemon drink the father and mother of the bride warned me to sip, which I did, out of a shot glass.  I sipped three of them and boy were they strong.  Then a red label whiskey with the kids.  Ouch that stuff is harsh.  And I settled on red wine the rest of the night.  Not hung over this morning, but I did drink a lot of water.  

All and all I'm very glad I attended and got to see them exchange their vows, (That part was in English and I recorded it hoping it would be) and very honored to be included in such a close knit family and friends event. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Another Birthday Gone

Well, constant readers I'm a year older.  And all in all it was a very good birthday.  I didn't hear from my son for the first time ever, and it made me just a little sad to realize it, until First Daughter said that she didn't think it meant anything since he never celebrates his own birthday, it just doesn't mean anything to him.  And I know she's right.  After all, you get to a certain age and it really is just another day.  But what a great day I had.  So many of my friends and family reached out over facebook to wish me a happy day.  And in person. 

The wee ones finger painted me two masterpieces, and gave me the most yummy red velvet cheese cake.  I don't how they kept it a secret but they did!  :)  And first daughter called and texted more than once which was wonderful.  And Second Daughter took me out to dinner at my favorite English Pub and brought me a bottle of wine and made me my favorite lemon cupcakes.  And Rachel and Ross gave me surprise Krispy Kremes.  It continues to be a treat filled weekend.  You have to understand with my kids living in a different city I never expect anything on my birthday.  And I feel very loved a blessed.  I heard from almost everyone. 

The ones I didn't hear from always make me a little sad, until I realize that it's probably because they just forgot or they have drifted so far from my life that perhaps it doesn't matter.  And with my birthday being on Friday the wishes are still rolling in late.  Better late than never I always say.  :)


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer Fun!

I had the most fun yesterday running around with...,hum... lets call them Rachel and Ross, and planning their wedding.  We had a makeup trial that Rachel hired even though she wasn't as experienced as we would have liked.  We could tell she knew her stuff but as Rachel put it, "Some things will have to change by wedding day..."  so we'll see.  And two weeks before her wedding the photographer cancels on her?!  How unprofessional.  She's hoping she'll see her deposit back.  But my friends on Facebook came to her rescue and suggested over six different photographers and one I know for sure is available and they have already talked and are continuing to discuss.  Fingers crossed for her.  It was a very stressful day for her and I was glad I could be a calming effect for her and help her with her littlest one.  We even had time to stop at Ulta and get my makeup collection a much needed update.  I even have blue lipstick and mascara for Wizard Con with Nikki Sweat in August.  I shall be a Tardis blue vision.  lol  I can't wait!

I even got to meet her parents and see her old neighborhood, "We are in the hood now, girl!  You can tell everyone you spent the day in the hood!"We wedding shopped at this little shop and stopped for lunch at McDees.  Nothing like drive through to quiet little ones.   they invited me to a birthday bbq for one of their friends but I was feeling like I'd had enough people so I took my swag and stayed home.  It was a very pleasant day, and I'm really looking forward to their wedding in two weeks.

It reminded me of the time that She of Little Combat Boots and Mr. Myah got married and I was maid of honor.  All the things that went wrong at the last minute and how we got them all fixed.  I knew everything would come together, it always does.  But the memory made me miss them and their little family even more.  Hopefully we shall be able to see each other soon.  I hear there is rumor she might be coming to Chicago for a conference in October and saying with me.  Fingers crossed again.

I also might be going home to see First Daughter and First Son and Only Daughter-In-Law over Labor Day which I'm also looking forward to. 

What a difference a day makes.  Last week I was feeling sorry for myself and had the blues over a date in personal history that always makes me sad, and this week I'm looking forward to future events with none of my past invading.  I like it like this so much better than being chained to the past either with bad memories or toxic current reminders.  Some people just can't leave me alone, and one day I may have to just stop responding.  Oh for the strength!  But I am weak in this one area.  And always have been.  I chalk that up to my childhood.  It was lonely and quiet, as my adulthood has become.  And I longed for a sibling or a best friend to relate to.  But my father moved us around so much that I never had that until high school.  And didn't really have a best friend then.  Only thought I did.  I was always the third wheel.  It wasn't until my early thirties that I found She of Little Combat Boots, and she has been my best friend for over twenty years now.  Good things do come to those who wait.  But that doesn't mean to shut yourself up and remain alone.  Unless being alone is what you desire. 

Remember to live your life for you and not for anyone else.  Even if that means you have to be a little cruel to be kind to yourself.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

You're Own Worst Enemy

It will be the fourth of July soon.  A traditionally explosive time of year for me personally.  Pun intended.   And one, that since my move to Chicago, has been put to rest.   Which I'm happy and grateful for.  Most people have a time of year that is hard for them.  Could be because of a tragedy that they could not control, or maybe even an act of God that changes their life forever.   But for me it was a powder-keg of a situation, that in my youth and selfish pride, I had to light a match to.  And in the end broke not only my own heart but three others.  Yep three.  Just over thirty years ago I made some rash choices, mostly out of fear and regrets, that set me on a path of discovery.   That path has not been easy and for most of it, with the exception of my wonderful children, it's been alone.  Oh I've had relationships.  Bad ones.   And I've had times when I thought Fate was on my side.   But I was wrong.  Knowing what I know now I'd do it all again to have my kids just the way they are, but that's not what this blog is about.  If you know me at all, you know that already.

No.  This is about me trying to do what most of my friends would say is 'Get over it.  It's been thirty years'.

Not saying they are wrong. Just that they have had a different journey, perhaps.

For you see, to them I'm a nice, older woman, who seems to have lived a great life full of experiences and always has an opinion on what to do.

Not saying they are wrong.  For I changed so much in that time.

Karma is an interesting event to watch unfold.   I'm sure you've had your share of cheering silently in your mind or out loud when someone, like me, has hurt you and gotten what they rightfully deserved. And it's true what they say about evil coming back on you ten fold.  For in the thirty years since that fateful day, when I hurt the young heart, too inexperienced to love me in the way he believed he did; and I hurt the more experienced heart that truly loved me.  (Thank the fates that he found real and true happiness in my wake). But, I eventually was the architect of my own karma. By choosing, once again, the worst choice of the three before me.  (This has been my life curse.  To always be part of a triangle of love and pick the person most like me.  The most broken.  Instead of the strongest.  I guess birds of a feather really do flock together, even if the best for you, is the opposite that attracts.).

But as I said, I would do it again, because not to would erase one of my children. And I couldn't EVER want that.

So here I sit.   Wondering when the fates will stop putting this choice before me.  And I believe, since my move away from any possible temptations and my self imposed exile to solitude, I have finally beaten her.   If I can't make the right choice, I shall remove all choices from me.

It's always best, in the end, to dungeon up the real monsters.  Because then they can't hurt anyone else.  And truth be told, I'm much happier without the guilt or the temptation to give into my own selfish needs.  While I grow and learn from my mistakes in life, I can't help but wonder, if they wonder, if I've had enough bad karma; or if they truly still wish in their heart of hearts that I still suffer as they did.

Since I still hope the worst for all the men that came after, that did to me what I did to the three of them, I can only say that my real test of karma is forgiveness.   Well, it's easy to forgive some of them.  But painfully hard for me, to this day, to forgive them all.  Completely.  Two or three are still chained up in my mind being slowly tortured by life.  And, much like you, if you're reading this and I happened to have hurt you in the past, I secretly enjoy their 'bad luck'. As I'm sure you enjoy mine.  And hope that as they experience their own karma, from my hurt, that it lessens my own bad luck.

I know.  I know.  "Karma doesn't work like that." I can hear you already saying it to me.  But you know what?  We make our own reality.  And in mine, it does work like that.  The more good choices I make the better my life has become.  And I can't ignore that fact, when I compare my past to my present. 

I hope this fourth of July won't find me in the company of any of my past.  Either on line, in life or in my head.  That last one is the hardest to control, for my head is always buzzing.  Anxiety sucks.  But if you have to have it, I guess I'm glad that mine manifests itself with rage instead of being paralyzed with fear, or unable to get out of bed and do my work.  You see I get angry.  I plot revenge.  And I leave your life.  I don't forget.  And sometimes, I don't forgive either. 

This is the real problem.  Because if I can't forgive you, how can I forgive myself? 

Cheers, and Happy Fourth.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Did You Know You're My Hero

Every Sunday I get up, and I make some coffee and I open up my blog and look at the white page before me and wonder 'What should I talk about this week?' 

There always will be political issues that effect our human rights, or terrible disasters both man made and not, to debate or discuss.  But I become exhausted quickly, and not just by the thought of the naysayers, but with trying to get all my thoughts wrapped around all the 'evidence' coming from the media.  I know giving up is just what they want us to do, but sometimes it's just too much to sort through, and even in some cases believe.  Watching my country quickly change after decades of warnings from Martin, Robert and John.  It really does seem like our hope for a better future for all of us, and our innocence died with them.  But the more I think about the Big Money that has controlled our country and has our poverty and working poor in a death grip, while the middle class has joined the ranks of paycheck to paycheck living, the more angry I get.  This is not the world my parents wanted to bring me into, and it's not the life I wanted for my kids either, but here we go.  Third generation working poor.  Had the Kennedy's and King lived I wonder if we would be any better off, or if our blind following of such charismatic leaders would have doomed us to an even scarier unforeseen fate.  Who knows.  But it's interesting to debate.

Unfortunately, the internet is not the place for intelligent debate.  How sad.  We are connected by the most ingenious world wide web of information and what do we use it for?  Most of us don't use it for the information.  I have three Facebook friends that actually use it to try to educate, with their hobbies.  Two are married to each other (Darth Vader and his wife) and post many articles on their SCA events and interests in that time period and the other is my best friend (She of Little Combat Boots) and she posts about food nutrition which is a passion of hers.  And what do I do with my big brain?  Post cute pictures of the kids I nanny for and update friends on what I'm's enlightening. 

Why am I not using my Facebook and my blog only for the things that I'm passionate about?  I guess in a way I am.  Sometimes when I blog and I'm free writing like now, I'll stumble upon an idea and run with it.  When it touches a friend personally, and they reach out to me and thank me for it, my heart swells when that happens.  I feel less alone in the world and happy that what I hope is a positive and uplifting blog, helped someone else.  It's hard to be positive and uplifting when your passion is about surviving rape and abuse and how it has effected every choice in your life.  But I do try.  Because I have survived and for those still struggling, I need to help them know they are not alone in what they are feeling and that they are not crazy.  Or broken.  As I have so often been accused of by men who were quite broken themselves. 

So when I sit here and write I'm writing to you.  Because you are my hero.  You got out of bed this morning, no matter how hard that was, and you are trying to overcome all the demons and voices that tell you you can't.  And you are beating them.  You beat them every time you get out of bed.  You beat them every time you go to work or get your house cleaned or do you chores.  You beat them every time you don't reach for that pipe or that drink or whatever it is that you think helps you get through the night, or day.  It's all a crutch.  Now I'm not saying you can't have some social fun, but there is a big difference between social fun and waking up every morning to a pipe or a bottle. 

For me, if you can, today, try it without anything to numb yourself.  Unless it's a prescription and you're under a doctors care, let it go.  I'm a big believer in psychiatry and learning coping skills, because it helped me.  And meds to help you curb your anxiety or depression also helped, but they are temporary.  Sooner or later you do have to learn how to do it without the pills, in most cases.  Those of you that know you will be on meds for life know who you are and can ignore that part.  We are all so lucky that we can afford our meds.  So far.  I see so many homeless and for most of them, they just need meds and they could be a functioning part of society.  And I shudder at how close I could have been had I not had state assisted insurance during my break down. 

Just try to remember to look outside.  Look up.  Keep your eyes open and breathe.  The easiest things can be the hardest when you are dealing with PTSD or any fear and flight triggers.  Most of what we fear isn't real in the moment.  And once you can get past the fear you can control it.  Don't let it control you.  Cheers.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Self Talk Works.

Have you ever been so content with your life that you started to wonder what was going to go wrong?  I do that all the time.  Creating my own stress is what my mother used to call it, being a worrywort.   I try to quiet my thoughts, but I usually have to distract myself with a good book or movie or TV series.   Maybe a video game.  They usually work too.  Wine is good. But too much of that and I'm left in a fog of comfortable numbness.  Not a completely undesirable state and certainly not the most productive.   I'm not one of those people that can function under any influence.

But some days you just need to relax.  Learning how to quiet my mind without drink or prescription drugs took me many years.  And many failures in life.  And one breakdown.   I come back to my breakdown quite often in this blog because it's something many people with depression and anxiety worry about.  Having a complete breakdown.  The self talk goes something like this:  "I can't lose it!  Who will take care of my family?  What if I lose my job?  What will everyone think? ".  Sound familiar?   You're not alone.   I still sometimes worry about these things but not nearly as much since I let it go and fought down the inner demons that were chasing me.   The ones I'd hidden from in my youth.   The ones that plagued me throughout my young adulthood and made it next to impossible for me to have a lasting trusting relationship with any man.  Because in my fractured mind men were a dangerous species that if you didn't do what they said and be a good girl, rape was the punishment.

Some of us are submissive by desire other by design.  I was not by choice.   But learned how to avert my eyes, walk quietly but quickly, become invisible and not say what's really in my mind.   Because I spent many years trying to fit into an unnatrual mold as a scared and confused child, I can recognize almost instantly, a child in an unhappy life.   And I also speak my mind too much as an adult.  As if since the breakdown I've discovered that I can disagree and wont be "punished" for that.  You have to understand that when the punishment is something unthinkable, losing a friend over a disagreement is nothing in comparison.  People think I have a hard heart because I can let go of relationships that have lost their meaning or give me nothing in return, and maybe my past has given me that strength to walk away from anything that isn't causing me joy.  I mean what other power do we really have as adults with each other?  You can't change anyone else.  So the most you can do is have the strength to walk away if you aren't happy, right?   And you only have that power as an adult.    Children can't run away because when they do its usually into an entire world of more scary problems.

The best self talk sounds the most cliché.   But it's true.   You have to believe in yourself.  However you do that.  Weather it's through the belief in a God or just in yourself.   You have to be able to believe your inner voice of reason.  The breakdown's come when you can't believe it, hear it or even say it to yourself anymore.  Those are the times when we can't even reach out for help.  Often I'll see a post from a friend of a friend about being lost or scared or alone and I'll always comment with something positive but secretly I'm happy they can still reach out.  You see this is why suicide is so surprising to the loved ones.   Because when people are deciding to do it, they get really happy right before because they know their problems are almost finished.  Because once they are dead the problems stop.  And if they have come to grips with death and aren't afraid of it, or are planning it, they become at peace.  The people that discuss it often are still ok, but need help.  You see they are still deciding.  And want to be talked out of it.   So please if you have a friend who is quite often depressed or even chatty and they become quiet, check on them.   Force them to talk.   You may be the one person that changes their minds.  For me it was Mr. Practicle and Mr. Hopeful that listened to my mind as it snapped and was glued back together.  And even though to some extent they represent poor choices for love, for me, they have become good friends and life savers.

Friends ask me why I even talk to them anymore and this is why.   Not just because of history or friendship but because in my darkest moments they were still here.  Listening.  And trying to understand and help me keep it together.   Sometimes your best counselors are the ones you've disagreed with the most.    Maybe it's because we've seen each other in our best and worst times.  That we understand who we really are.  We see past each other's demons.   Even the ones we may still be fighting.  And those friends you hold on too.  Even if it's sometimes painful.  Life is pain.  So is love.  But without love life is meaningless.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Stop The World I Want To Get Off!

What if you could just stop the world?   Stop the responsibilities.   Stop the pressure to fit in with your daily people.  You know the ones you work with.  The ones you did not choose to spend a third of your life with, but do.  Hopefully not the ones you chose, I've been in marriages that started off beyond my wildest dreams and ended up an impossible nightmare. 

My mom was full of advise, but the best advise she gave me was this,
"You spend a third of your life working, and a third of your life sleeping and a third of your life with yourself.  So you better love your job, and the person you are sleeping with and yourself,  because if you don't you're gonna hate your life.   And you only get one."  
And I used to think wow, really a whole third with just me doing just what I want?!  It sure doesn't seem like the math works.  I mean I see where she came up with it.   Eight hours sleeping and with an eight hour work day leaves eight hours for me.   But for me it works out to more like seven hours sleeping, ten to eleven hours working which leaves six hours for me.  But I have a 45 minute commute, one way, every work day, on a train.  So also with people I didn't choose.  Subtract two hours from my time, leaving me with four.   Four hours out of twenty-four to do exactly what I want.  Doesn't seem fair that we work so hard for so little down time.   So little time to express ourselves or enjoy our favorite people when we are awake.  When you do the math its not hard to see who loves you the most or misses you because they fit you in, they remember you, they miss you and make time for you.   I have always felt honored and loved when any of my family or friends chooses to spend time with me because it is so precious.  And when a favorite person who lives far away, and almost all my loved ones are, it's even more precious, because it's harder to remember to tell someone far away what's going on in your life daily.  And those are the relationship building moments.  The great days, and horrible ones, that we experience as we are going through it.  It's the people you surround yourself with when you're on top of the the wheel of life and on the bottom, that really count to you. 

I know everyone's life is busy, most people's are much busier than mine.  I used to live in the rat race, and I chose to slow down when I shrunk down all my possessions and moved to the big big city.  And while it has been much quieter here in Chicago, that is by my own choosing.  I don't reach out or make plans unless I really want to see you because that four hours a day, (sixteen on my days off) are precious to me.  Beyond words precious.

Because I'm one of those ambiverts.   And it takes all my practiced copping skills make it around so many people on a daily basis without running and screaming from either the size of the crowds, the fear of strangers eyeing me, or the sheer mountainous amounts of stupidity I encounter just watching and listening to my fellow man.  And I'm not talking about the wee ones here, I'm talking about full grown adults.  Children are never stupid.  BUT OMG some of us really grow into stupid adults.  The things you hear on a train or bus!  I mean as a writer, the character stream is endless.  My new favorite game on the train is to guess which one is the serial killer.  Or, which one will never be married.  Or which one is cheating.  Or who is the Trump supporter. 

That one is getting scary.  I sat next to a guy on the bus.  Old.  White.  Poor.  With a Trump button from his campaign, on his baseball cap.  I hadn't noticed it before I sat down, as my arms were full of three-year-old.  I felt embarrassed for him.  He didn't speak any politics, he didn't have to.  His hat was YELLING it for him.  He seemed nice enough, just like any other kid friendly person around me when I have my arms stuffed with three-year-old.  I don't know what I was expecting.  Perhaps a pedophile.  It reminded me about the majority of his supporters are the disappearing white middle class and poor uneducated white poverty class in this country.  The ones that wanted so much to believe his lies.  And before when I felt only anger at the betrayal of these people, now I feel only pity for them because now I know it was a mistake.  They wanted to believe.  And voted with trust.  Some still do.  And I have to respect their choice, because I know in time they will come to see what I, and half the nation saw, all along. 

Historically, its usually a religion or a moral ideal that gets a revolution going, and boy we have a lot of them now.  I wonder if these old, set in their ways, white, people with guns and little education, are the right people to piss off though.   Angry because their industry isn't back, and their health care is not better, but gone, and their benefits or social security are also gone.  I mean Trump is playing with fire if he thinks these people wont turn on him and these people, when pissed off, are scary.  I just don't see these people who are quick to judge and quick to anger, sitting still for him going back on his promises to give them something magical and impossible.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Happy Birthday! To Us Both

Today my first born turns 35.    As I look at pictures of him on my walls I find it hard to believe that he's that grown up.   And that our lives have taken us in such different directions.  Its hard for me to believe that we don't still live in the same sleepy town or that I would ever choose a path that would take me away from him.  After all, 34 years ago I fought in court to keep him.   And made a silent promise to him that I'd be the parent that would stick it out.  That I wouldn't leave.    But three years ago I did.   And even though he was all grown up then with a life of his own, I could still see the disbelief in his eyes, when I told him I was moving to Chicago.

It takes some getting used to, this aging process.   We used to spend every day together.  He was one of my best friends and toughest challenges.   We grew up together and the temptation to make him an equal instead of disciplining him like a child was strong.  Especially when he seemed to love to just hang out with mom and watch movies.  As he grew and developed into the kind of man I was proud to have raised, I watched us grow apart.  A time I both knew would happen and never believed would come.  I wish somehow we were closer like my daughter and. I. But he is as distant and as much of a loner as I am.   And while I don't like it I completely understand it.   And so do his best friends, much in the same way mine do.

I have a birthday tradition I started with them both, from the day they were born.  The first thing I said to them both, the first thing they heard their mother say outside the womb, was,"Welcome little one.  You are alive.".   And then it would grow from there.   When they were young, I'd repeat what their year taught them, their accomplishments, how proud I was of them.   Then as they grew up it was a consistent, stop whatever you are doing for your birthday wish from mom.   It always came at the very time of their birth.  And I knew that no matter where their lives took them we would at least be able to call each other on that special day.  Because their birthdays are as special to me as they are to them.   Most of us don't know or don't remember that our own parents feel the same way about our birthdays.  

So if you are luckier than I and your parents still are living, call them.   Call them often because someday you'll wish they were here.   Call them or reach out on your birthday.   Because it's the day they gave you life.    And its the day their life changed forever, for the better.   The day they finally knew what it was all about.  And how it felt to know there was finally something in this world not only worth living for but willing to die to protect.    You don't just forget that day.  


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Going To Hate To Leave Tomorrow

What a great vacation!  So far exactly what I wanted.  Quality time alone with my daughter.  Check.  Quality time alone with my son.  Check.  Tons of fun time with them both and my daughter-in-law check.  Good meals together. Check. Catching up with old friends. Check.  Late night gaming session with my oldest friend.  Check. And even a surprise Pat McCurdy concert and friends I haven't seen in over three years.  There was dancing and singing and so much joy yelling out lyrics and teaching virgins 'stupid dance' steps.  Always a fun time if you know his songs and if you don't the crowd that does, is part of the show.   I have brunch plans later with another friend and my daughter and then checking on a sick friend.   And possibly one more late night gaming session before I leave tomorrow.  I'm slightly hungover and tired but happy.   I may need a nap later.   I'm glad I have Tuesday off to rest from my vacation.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Why Would I Do That To Myself?

So remember those times when your mom or dad used to say to you "If you're best friend jumped off a cliff would you do it too?"  Or the ever popular "What?!  Are you gonna do everything everybody else does?"  Remember hearing Vive La Difference for the first time and wondering not only what it means but how to spell it?   And then remember when you were just small and being taught how to be tolerant of people different from you?  I must confess my parents were very prejudice people.  I am not. I was taught tolerance by my most favorite baby sitter, and her perfect,  to my four and five year old eyes, family; Carol.  Hearing someone say "Wouldn't it be boring if the world was full of only people like you?"  And to hear the answer 'Of course.' Ring out inside your head along side another voice that whispers, 'would it?  would it Really?'  I haven't always liked myself enough to answer "No. I don't think it would be that boring at all. In fact I quite think it might be a perfect world if everyone in it were like me.  I'd never be bored or feel out of place anymore.  Nor would I find it difficult to make friends.  And I know for sure that there would be no suffering in the world because I would never want to hurt myself like that.

And then it hit me.

Like a switch going off inside my brain followed by a computerized voice saying "LEVEL ACHIEVED".   That's why the world is so fucked up.  We all say the right words but no one is actually doing them. We aren't following another one of those important phrases from our parents, and our clergy; or in my case both, "Practice what you preach".  And boy does it show in the way we treat our homeless and working poor.  And it's made itself perfectly clear in the type of people we rally behind in the political arenas.  And the ones we don't and why.  Our country is as divided over the class that needs help and protection against the class that has everything.  This, historically speaking is a growing pain.  We are still a very young country, globally speaking, and this separation of class has always been here.  It's just that this time the Roosevelt's didn't win. This time, Hitler won.  And I get to watch it all happen again.  Watch democracy fail.  Why does it not feel like the first time I've witnessed this?   Oh I know. Because I remember my parents talking about World War Two, or WW2.  As my uncles called it. The stories they would tell me of heroism were always edited for young ears; and even in my wide eyed interest, they managed to impress upon me how horrible and scary it all was. But in their eyes it was also necessary.  For each side truly believed in what they were fighting for. Just like now.  Humans are fighting for their lives not only a lifestyle but a way of life and basic human rights which are protected by our constitution.


Let that sink in.  Just let it soak in your brain a minute.  While you realize on every level of government this president and his cabinet are destroying and dismantling our basic human rights; while we march and yell carrying signs of physical and mental frustration.  Our fear turning to anger will only ignite flames of an already volatile situation. Or as that famous generation that is almost gone from our planet, would say "Like a match to a powder keg."

Something's gonna blow!  You can feel it in the air.  There's an extra electrical tinge in the air.   As if the very trees are holding their breath.  As if all the humans emotions are so high you can actually feel the tension in the air when we gather together in groups.  As if the earth itself, were waiting to exhale.  I find the times I live in to be both fascinating to my observation skills, and  horrifyingly real to my heart everyday. I feel more paranoid regarding my fellow man than ever in my entire life. And at the same time more desirous of wanting to help who I can, as not only a lifetime member of the working poor, but a human.  I was taught that we are all humans.  All connected.  All made of stardust.  All created in his image out of clay.  Or dirt.   By his breath.  Yes I was BUTB. (Cue RUSH song). I was taught a simple golden rule, and I bet most of you were too. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Seems legit.  Seems like just a good way to be.  And the only way to really have it is if everyone were like me.  But that's impossible.  Right?

So what's the next best thing?

To really look at each other as if we were looking at ourselves.  How would we want to be treated?  Judged, or accepted?

I know I'd rather be accepted.  Cheers. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Life Leads On And I Stumble To Catch Up

I skip one day of allergy meds and I sound like I'm dying.  Not happy that I've grown into such horrible allergies.  Couldn't I grow into thin thighs, or a flat tummy?!  I had that once, when I was young.  Thought I was fat then.  BOY you just don't know what menopause is gonna give you.  At least I still have a waist.

My bad knee, the left one, always pops and cracks and tells me in no uncertain terms, when its going to rain or if the barometric pressure is right for a storm.  The more the precipitation the more it hurts.  The right knee hurts too now, but I think that's because I've been favoring the left one up and down the 17 flights of stairs I walk (I walk the escalators too) every day just to get to work and home.  Two trains have lots of stairs and my apartment building is half of it.  Its either that or a tumor. 

Some weeks my back screams at me from my daily back packs to work and back, and some weeks its all good.  But the way my body feels past fifty is not the way my body felt past forty.  And I get why older people get angry at their bodies lack of performance.  The mind might still be sharp as a tack but the body slows down, even when you use it and are super fit.  Which I am not, and if I can't breathe any better than this, never will be.  Asthma sucks.  And that is something else I've grown into.  Instead of thin thighs or a flat tummy. 

But with all my physical flaws, I can still look in the mirror and like most of what I see.  If I concentrate from the waist up.  And only my legs.  Just skip that tummy part.   Or only check out myself walking away.  Which is just impossible!  Believe me I've tried.  I've been told I have a pleasing backside.  But damned if I can see it! 

Don't you wish, sometimes, that the you you see in your head, when you envision yourself, is the you that the rest of the world sees?

I didn't used to, because I used to hate myself.  I used to blame myself for what had happened to me.  If I hadn't smiled at him.  If I wasn't wearing shorts.  If I hadn't let him hold my hand.  If I hadn't innocently asked for company when grieving.  Maybe I can prevent it from ever happening again if I get fat.  If I dress like a boy.  If I stop flirting.  If I stop being vocal and intelligent.  If I carry my straight supporter umbrella EVERY time it rains. . .

SIDE NOTE:  Its amazing to me how EVERYONE leaves me alone when I carry it.  It's like they are afraid of rainbows.  So the more afraid they are the more I want it to rain.  And Beatle Boy and Flower Girl LOVE my rainbow umbrella and they say "It's God's promise."  outta the mouths of babes.  You see why I love being around children as opposed to adults?

. . .Maybe if I become invisible. 

After decades of doing that, and being mostly happy raising my kids, mostly alone.  (I miss you mom, everyday not just today.)  I'm tired of doing that, and have recently stopped caring if I ever meet Mr. Right.  Or if Mr. Hopeful ever leaves his wife.  Or if I ever meet any friends in Chicago.  Or of most anything except my own company.  I wrapped myself into an emotional cocoon and healed as best I could from my pain and karma circa 1985-1995. The decade of epic breakups.  All meant to wake me up, which it did.  But it also caused me to hide for 15 years and focus on kids and career.  Did so much better with kids that it became my career.  Life leads on and I stumble to catch up.  But the minute that I stopped caring, I found friends in Chicago.  And that's a step in the right direction. 


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Find Something You Are Passionate About And Do That

In a past life I must have been one of idle rich and childless. . . and hated it.  For in this life I have been showered with children to love and raise and had to work for everything I have.  And I love it.  I wouldn't trade it.  Not a single day of the satisfaction that I feel after juggling a months pay to cover everything and still have food to eat.  Of knowing that I can face the challenge, alone, and succeed, something the privileged rich never feel.  Not a single day of the little giggles and wide-eyed explanations of something they just figured out.  Or the endless stories or performances they put on for me.  Not a single minute.

The children I've been blessed to raise, both born of my body and all the godchildren and ones I've nannied for, or just loved because they love me, are the bright lights in my world.  I feel most comfortable and at home with them.  They don't lie to me and they don't have ulterior motives for being nice to me.  They love without prejudice and without judgement.  And their quick minds, full of questions, keep me young.  They have all kept me moving in my life when I might have just stopped and given up.

To all my children everywhere both little still and grown, I know you are the future and the saving of this world.  And I'm honored to have helped mold more than one generation on this planet.  To introduce you to the books and movies that will spark your imagination.  And the games that will challenge your logic and thinking outside the box (D&D anyone?) To nurture the interests you find on your own and discover a whole new world of things I never might have tried.  I hope to be able to do what I love, raise children, for many more years before my body won't allow me to try.

Yesterday I had the honor to experience with Beatle Boy and his mom, the matinee performance of his very first musical, Cinderella.  And it was the most joyous thing I have done in months.  It brought tears to my eyes, and I'm sure his mom is grateful to know that they chose a nanny that loves their children as her own.  He was wonderful.  He stayed in character, until he saw me, then he smiled a little, but covered quick.  And didn't look over at us again until he was taking his bows.  A real professional, knowing he'd smile he just took the temptation away.  Smart kid.  And one of only three kindergartners in the show.  He had two parts, 'little boy' and 'horse'.  He had the only spoken funny line in the opening song, and he was a very focused horse.  He was the only one that did all of the choreography, and didn't mouth the other persons lines.  A hard thing at 6.  I was so proud.  And I can't wait to see what he and his little sister show me as they grow up.  I know I wont be with them for too many more years, perhaps one and a half more before they may not need me full time.  I've watched them grow for the last three years now into respectful and polite children.  But I try not to think about the time we might have left and experience every day.  And I try to stay confident that when it's time to move on, much like Nanny McVee, or Mary Poppins, I'll find another family that needs me as much as I need them.

"Hey! Miss Jill, Who's the greatest Nanny in the world?"
"I don't know, Jude, Mary Poppins?"
"Um...Nanny McVee?"
"Maria from the Sound of Music?"
"NOOO.  YOU!" 
"Awe...thanks, Jude."

I am so blessed.  And apparently the greatest nanny in the world. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

You Are Never Really Alone Unless You Want To Be

Here I sit on a rainy Sunday morning, with my coffee in hand and winning a week long battle with my bronchitis.  Did I tell you I have the best doctor.  She knows my condition so well now after two years of treating me, that she just calls in an antibiotic when I tell her my symptoms.  Like the old days.  I really appreciate that she respects my time is as precious as hers.  Having to leave work when I'm sick is bad enough, but having to take time off to see my doctor is worse.  And nanny guilt is the worse guilt.  They aren't our kids, but we treat them like they are, and we feel just as guilty when we can't take care of them as the parents would.  After all, how many times did I take care of my own kids when I was sick? I almost always had some help from a husband or my mom when that happened.  So rarely.  But in any case with only one day left of my antibiotics I'm feeling much better. 

I'm not sure there must be something in the air.  Are we in a retrograde?  My life feels like it's in a holding pattern.  Have you ever felt that?  That things were chugging along pretty well.  No scary ups or downs just pretty even plodding along.  Not a rut exactly, but if a rut a comfortable one.  Now I'm a worry wort, so obviously I'm on the look out for what is going to happen to rock my boat. 

I feel pretty confident in my abilities to keep my job or find another one if something unforeseen happens, so I don't think it's work.  And I'm pretty good at sticking to a budget although I am having buyers remorse from my recent Ipad purchase.  Not because I don't LOVE it, but because I never feel I'm deserving of expensive things.   In fact the only time I don't feel guilty spending money these days is at the grocery store.  So I don't think it's financial.  That leaves the pillar of love and relationships.  You know they say that you never have all three pillars in line.  That if your successful in your career and relationships you have money issues.  And if you are secure in your debts and relationships its a job concern.  I can't remember a time in my life where I was happy in all three aspects at the same time.  And when torn between say a long distance romance or my job, well I'm going to pick my job every time. 

And while there is still no one special in my life I can truly call my own, my heart does soften occasionally, well always, for Mr. Hopeful when he gets in that mood of his.  That mood I've come to call 'the roller coaster'.  It usually starts off slow, when he's been alone too long without any family or friends around to boost his ego or make him feel special enough.  Then it builds into a mutual reminiscing of the past both specific and general of what 'could have been' or the mistakes we made.  Then when it reaches the top its a free for all of emotional ups and downs as he tries to wrestle with his heart, mind and conscience.  Most of the time this is filled with promises to see me that he will cancel when his mind wins.  Until finally it stops and all is calm until the next ride.  I go along for the ride because I love him.  But I also have some earlier experience with this ride.

My first husband who was also an alcoholic at that time in our lives, was the same way.  Up and down.  In my twenties it was sometimes exciting, always a worry, and eventually why we spit up.  Couldn't raise our son in an environment of drugs and booze and when I say he was a functioning drunk, let me amend that after we left, he clinically drank himself to death, at 24, and was zapped back to life at an ER.   He's 10,000 days sober now, and I couldn't be happier for his life outcome. 

Last night I was watching The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on HBO Now or Go or whatever it's called when you have HBO.  So you can pause it and watch what you want when you want.  I was going to watch all by myself when I get a mysterious text from my third ex husband Mr. Selfish asking if I'd seen it yet. Crazy.  So he kept me company as I watched some of our favorite old bands get inducted.  Yes and ELO were the ones that hit the hardest and we found ourselves reminiscing in a comfortable merry-go-round kind of way and both of us missing Darth Vader, my second husband, very much.  And the times we had as kids in high school together cruising to ELO and Rush in the Green Dragon.  Darth's car.  Then out of the blue Mr. Hopeful shows up and I can't wait to share with him Rush inducting Yes into the Hall as well,  but by the time Pearl Jam came up that was more about Mr. Hopeful's times, than Mr. Selfish.  And then Mr. Practical shows up and I'm sharing the same Yes moments with him, in a Tilt-A-Whirl stream of data that makes his head spin.  So maybe this is the the universe or Fates little push to show me that its the relationship pillar that is going to rock my boat.  But the jokes on her.  All of them are ex's and you can't go back.  So for me, while I'm very comfortable FINALLY reminiscing about the past and not letting it depress me or make me feel guilty or not know why it makes me sad, I wonder if they are. 

I think because they all care about me and don't want to hurt me or wish me any ill will they are afraid that I'll get hurt if they have too much fun on the ride, or get too serious about it.  So rather than explore any real feelings because you can't change your life anyway, right?  They don't.  And I try not to either, because I don't want to lead them on or hurt them either.  Sometimes I think people who aren't happy alone, or who are in happy relationships can't understand it when someone is actually happy and quite fulfilled alone.  I don't think I would be without my adult children, or the wee ones I nanny for.  But I am truly happy and doing well.  So far.  Alone.  But last night felt pretty good to be so popular all at once.  And reminded me that I'm never really alone unless I want to be.