Friday, June 16, 2017

Kings and Daddies

There's a meme out there that tell us that you can tell when a man was raised in the arms of a Queen. I was a daughter, raised at the knee of a King.

I've been having a lot of conversations lately about why I am the way I am. I've always been blessed by the men in my life. They are the standard by which I measure the men I date. And trust me when I say that to date me, you've got some pretty high standards to achieve.


To me, my grandpa was Superman! He could do anything! Leap tall buildings in a single bound, save a neighbor girl from certain danger, melt a Tupperware bowl with butter in it on a hot toaster. *G* He and I had such a special bond. I was his only granddaughter.



He was determined that I would grow up to be a lady. He taught me the proper way to hold my silverware and how to wear my hats so I didn't get "cauliflower" ears. If it had an engine, he could fix it. His grease-stained t-shirts and green pants stick in my memory. Every time I had a chance, I'd make him cherry pie and take it to him. It was his favorite. What I wouldn't give to make him one more cherry pie and sit for a Sunday afternoon visit...


Some girls are lucky enough to be raised by their heroes. I know I was. This happy boy in this picture had more demons to deal with than he ever imagined. However, he taught his daughter what it means to be strong and to play the hand that Life deals you.


His teasing ways taught her to take a joke and enjoy the little things in life. He worked hard. I don't remember a time when Dad wasn't busting his ass for something. He, like Grandpa, could fix anything with an engine. He might have to cobble it every now and again, but he'd make it work. I can't begin to count the times when he'd call me and say, "I'm changing oil in the cars today. I may as well do yours while I'm at it." His knuckles were often scraped and bloody, his hands calloused. It couldn't be said he took the easy way out of anything.


And his sense of humor knew no end. One year, he made a "sponge" cake for the minister's wife. He frosted it with Cool Whip and made it quite pretty. We were having a dinner at the church that day and Dad carried it in with pride, telling her how he made it himself. The poor woman felt so bad as she tried cutting it with a butter knife. I remember Dad sitting there laughing so hard with tears streaming down his face. The minister's wife was so relieved to find the sponge under the whipped cream! She didn't want to hurt his feelings. Then, there was the year of the balloon cake. He blew up balloons, coated them with Cool Whip, and refrigerated it for his girlfriend's daughter. He was damn proud of himself! The girl cut into the cake and whipped cream flew everywhere! When it was all over, Dad was on the kitchen floor, laughing so hard he couldn't stand. (Yes, he did clean up the mess!) He loved to make people smile. 



I've been told that I'm a Queen because I was raised at the knee of a King. Actually, I was raised at the knee of a couple of Kings. They were my heroes. They were the center of my world, even when they didn't know it. They were the first men I ever loved. They have both left this earthly realm and I miss them so much! They taught me what it means to be loved and to not accept anything less than I deserve. They were men among men and I am so blessed to be able to call them mine! Happy Father's Day!!





Thursday, June 8, 2017

Step into the Mind of an Overthinker...

I had a blogpost all set to go entitled "It's Not Easy Being Me...", then I put it aside and thought about it. Okay, I overthought about it and pressed the delete button.

This is my problem: I tend to overthink. Every. Single. Thing. I'm talking about things that happened back in high school. Things that happened 10 years, 10 months, 10 weeks, 10 days, 10 hours, 10 minutes, 10 seconds ago. I replay every little detail and pick it apart, telling myself that I am an idiot for the things that I've done or said.



Truthfully, very few people from high school remember me and those who do only remember the quiet girl who always had her nose in a book. If I knew you 10 years ago, then I am a much different person than I was then. I behaved much differently and was more unhappy than I have ever been. I know people rarely think of the things I've said or done, but the introvert in me believes she is the most awkward person out there.

Let me give you a shining example of my awkwardness: Mr. Charismatic Smile (from my math class?) sat beside me one day and said "I'm not getting this." It was a pretty basic algebra problem so I attempted to explain it. Now, I could have said simply "What you do to one side, you have to do to the other", then showed him the way to do it. Instead, what came out of my mouth haunts me to this day. I said, "Think of the problem as a menage a trois. What you do to one, you have to do to the other." Yup, that's me! Don't ya just love it?


This is what led to this blogpost. I'm an overthinker. I tend to second guess every move I make until the moment has passed. (Now, I can tell you that the above explanation led to a very interesting conversation that went WAY off the algebra trail and probably told Mr. Charismatic Smile more about me than he needed to know, however, I keep thinking that he had to have thought I was an idiot. He didn't, for the record, but still...) 

I have received the rights back to both of the books in the Cedar River series. I've been re-designing the covers myself. (Are they good enough? You aren't talented enough! You're an idiot!) I've been re-reading the books, deciding what needs to be fixed/added/removed. (You're a hack! You'll never make it as an author! Give up the dream!) With the books being removed from the various online book sellers, the reviews have come down. (No one will ever want to review those pieces of trash again. You're lucky they reviewed them the first time! HACK!) I had some very lovely reviews written about these books. I've had one horrible one. Care to guess which one I dwell on? Bingo! The horrible one!

My ability to overthink everything has me second-guessing every move I make, every word I say, and every path I take. I'm beginning to think of this particular "gift" as a talent. I know people who overthink, but to this degree? This has to be a special talent in and of itself.

I try my usual tricks when I can't shut my brain down. I meditate. I burn candles. I light incense. I walk barefoot in the yard (which is dangerous with an English Mastiff). I attempt to write, then delete every word because it isn't good enough. I cry. I rage. I decide to never write again. I open my journal and write it all down, then I cry some more.

Commiserate with me! Are you an overthinker? How do you cope? Any secrets? Better yet...wanna share your awkward moments with me? Let me know that I'm not alone? You can even email them to me. I won't tell a soul, I promise!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Woman of a Certain Age...

This posting was going to be funny and silly, but I've had something on my mind lately. It has to do with age and I'm tired of holding back.

I'm celebrating a birthday this week and it's a milestone. I've fussed over it. I've cried over it, but no matter what, it is going to happen. Honestly, I'd rather have that than the other option! However, someone said something to me the other day and it pissed me off. They hurt my feelings! They said, "Remember how old you are. You aren't 20 anymore!"

You know what? I know that! I look in the mirror every single day and I know I'm not 20! I feel the aches and pains in my joints. I know I'm not 20! I don't need your reminder that I'm older than I want to be!



I was talking to my darling sister the other day and actually said the words, "I thought I'd have more time!" When I was younger, I wasted time. I gave time to people who didn't deserve it. I allowed people to take from me without giving back. I let people take my spirit, steal my thunder, and break me until I was less than I wanted or deserved to be! I made mistakes that cost me more than I should've allowed! And, trust me, I'm paying the price now.

I'm not a woman who regrets the decisions she's made. There's no point because I can't change the past. Every decision has led me to the spot I am now. I was beat down and degraded. I lost my voice. I still have a few issues to work on, but I'm trying. And I love the woman I've found under years of breakage and hurt. People buried my fire until it was almost out. Unfortunately for them, the ember still smoldered. I've been digging through the wreckage of my soul for a while and the fire is back to roaring.

I know I'm not 20! I wouldn't want to be. Being 20 would put me back in a place I wouldn't want to be with people I don't like all that much. I don't have to "act my age" or be reminded that I'm not a teenager. I color my hair whatever fucking color I feel like. I wear whatever fucking clothes I want. I wear as much or as little make-up as I want. Most days, I'm mistaken for 28-35. I'm okay with that! Hell, I'm ecstatic over that! When someone asks me how old I am, I love watching their mouths fall open because they think I'm so much younger. And that's on a college campus! After a lifetime of being the geek who has her nose in a book, I've had some students actually tell me I'm the "coolest chick" they know. I've been told I inspire them.



So here's a piece of advice: The next time you get the urge to remind a woman of their age or say "Well, a woman of a certain age would...", shut your damn mouth and blow your opinion out your ass! Why? Because women of ANY age can do whatever the hell they want and they don't need  your permission to do so!


Thursday, May 18, 2017

"All That is Gold Does Not Glitter,


Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."

If you know me at all, then you know this is one of my favorite quotes. It comes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I've had a rough week. Something fell into my lap at the most opportune time, but for what ever reason the universe has, it didn't work out. It would have been a dream come true, but alas, it wasn't mine to have. I fell apart. I posted on my personal wall and got the normal "Keep positive," "When one door closes...," and "It will be alright," from people. The words help because they came from people who care about me and want me to be happy. But the ache in my chest was of sheer disappointment. Truly, I was disappointed in myself. Maybe I said the wrong thing. Maybe I didn't look right. Maybe there is merely something wrong with me. My overthinking was destroying me. So, I paused for some reflection.

I found this quote on the internet one day and it struck me to the very bone.


Then, I remembered Tolkien's words. This fulfillment of my dream glittered like a lake on a sunny day, but it wasn't golden. It wasn't perfect. It merely was. And as lost as I felt, I'm not lost. I'm wandering on my journey. (I'm going to mix my stories here, bear with me.) The yellow brick road is still beneath my feet. Toto is still faithfully by my side. Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow are walking with me, even if it is only in spirit. After all, they have their own journeys to take. The flying monkeys are trying to get to me, but they will only succeed if I allow them.  

This dream is mine and mine alone. The fulfillment will happen when it is supposed to and not a moment before. I need to improve myself and be the best me that I can be so that when the perfect opportunity arrives, I'll be ready. I've got some plans in place and I'm working on what I need to. Unfortunately, it will mean saying my goodbyes to places and people who are a major part of my life. It is time for ME to be the major player for a change. I've let others take over the spotlight so I didn't have to worry about it. I hate being the center of attention, but in my own life? How sad! This is my life and I need to live it for me! Not for my friends and family, a job, or anyone else. I've been so focused on others that I've lost track of myself. I've let others dictate how things are going to work and while I've been so busy helping others with their journeys, I've gotten lost in the shuffle. 



I'm taking time to get things adjusted and to focus on what matters. My passion has been pushed aside to make room for other people and that just isn't right. The smoldering ember is there, I've just got to find it under all of this rubble. Bear with me, please! The phoenix isn't reborn from the ashes into the vision of glorious beauty we envision overnight. It takes time. And time...well, that is the one thing I still have.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Some Days I Open My Mouth and My Mother Comes Out

Have you ever walked past a mirror and catch your reflection out of the corner of your eye? I did that today and I caught a glimpse of my mother. At an earlier point in history, that would have terrified me. But now...it's a badge of honor.

In my last post, I posted some pictures of my mom. One of the comments was how much I look like her. I used to hear that a lot as a teenager. It drove me crazy! Not that I didn't think my mother was beautiful...I just wanted to be seen as my own person and everyone was so busy comparing me to her. "You look just like your mother," I'd hear more often than not. Not "You're so beautiful" or "I love your outfit." Just "You look just like your mother" or even worse "You're just like your mother was at this age."



Not too long ago, I sent my mom a picture of my hand. Never mind why, just that I did. She sent me a picture of hers back with the question "Whose hands do you have?" I had to laugh because aside from some cosmetic things, our hands are identical! But I know those hands of hers. They've held babies, comforted people, worked hard, been cracked open from cold, calloused from carrying buckets and hay bales, kneaded countless batches of bread, made so many cookies, and loved. Mine haven't experienced that much wear and tear, yet I look at our hands side by side and there they are...almost identical.

As I age, I notice more and more of my mom coming out. I opened my mouth to say something to someone just the other day and my mother came shooting out! It happens more and more. It's not always positive. Especially when it comes to my body. I hear her words emerge from my mouth when I tell people how I feel about my curves. I watched my mom struggle with her body issues all of my life. There was no size small enough to make her happy. I remember looking at her stretch marks and thinking they were beautiful because I was one of the reasons she had them. Yet, I look at my own and there hasn't been a person born from these marks. She hated her stretch marks and I, in turn, hate mine. As she's aged, she's become more positive about her body. I've still got a ways to go.

We've had our ups and downs through the years, but when it comes to my mom and all that she's done in her life, I look up to her. She taught me a lot and I'm sure I'll keep learning from her as I go. Hopefully, she can forgive the child I was and see past that to the woman I'm attempting to become.



Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers! Fur kids, feathered kids, fin kids, scaly kids, or skin kids, you are a mom and you are loved!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

To My Mom...

I've been a bit quiet lately. I had a blogpost all set to go, but it was simply me, standing on my soapbox, wondering where the fuck respect had gone. So, I left it to sit because I don't think anyone else gives a shit like I do. And I can only write so many posts about respect.

So, I'm back and this is more than a bit premature, but after the past few days, I need to make this blogpost. I realize not everyone is as lucky as I am, but I don't feel like it is up to someone else to teach our children how to be good human beings.

Here it goes: 

To my mom:
I don't often take the time to say "thank you" for the small stuff. You know, the stuff like leading by example, teaching me to cook, bake, sew, file taxes, balance a budget, live on a budget, respect (like how I slipped that in there?), compassion, understanding, and love. I realized the other day (after watching a video on FB about how the schools should be teaching our children this stuff) that I learned how to be a woman from you. From putting on my make up and picking an outfit suitable for "going to town" to showing people respect even when they don't deserve it, I learned it all from you. Now, if you saw me today you may doubt you taught me anything (I arrived at work set to clean. I am sporting pigtails, sweats, an old ratty hoodie, and no make up. Then, I was informed I had to make a run to the bank...as in go inside and interact with people...sigh).

I was 11 days old here. Those boys would grow up to be the only big brothers I ever knew, even though we were cousins.

You gave me a love of books. Maybe it was by accident because you wanted to have 30 minutes to get ready without a baby crawling up your leg. Maybe it was intentional. However, it was meant, I appreciate it. My love of books led me down the rabbit hole with Alice and stumbling into Wonderland, into the Swiss Alps with Heidi, into Yorkshire with Dr. Herriott, and down the banks of Plum Creek with Laura Ingalls. That love led me to create my own worlds and share them with people around the world! It gave me a dream! While I've stepped back so I don't overwhelm myself, I get to live that dream every time I sit down to my computer.

Your love of cooking and baking has led me down some different culinary paths. I've become quite proficient at Asian cooking. I'm not afraid to try different things because you gave me the basics. I've become more daring in my flavor combinations and am not afraid to combine my savory with my sweets (on occasion you may get a taste of heat from chiles in my chocolate cake or cocoa in my pot of chili, salt in my caramel, black pepper in my pumpkin recipes...). I can make a meal for one or 40. I can make it as fancy or rustic as is proper. You taught me fractions! Oh gods, I thought those things would be the death of me! Now, I do it in my head!

As we've discussed recently, I wasn't an easy child. I had a will of my own and seldom wanted to heed the advice of others. I am impatient and frustrate easily. There are times when I don't follow through on something because I simply get so overwhelmed. I always have more irons in the fire than I can deal with. Finishing one task before starting another is something I never learned. It would be nice to focus on one thing at a time. Unfortunately, my mind doesn't allow it. My teen years were fraught with arguments, but we always worked it out in the end. Mistakes were made on both sides, but by your example, I learned to say the words "I'm sorry!"

You taught me to keep a clean house, though my anal retentivness goes beyond most. You taught me to sew a button at such a young age. I even take the extra buttons and tuck them in a button box for my "just in case" days. You taught me to mend holes in clothing instead of simply tossing the clothes in a rag pile. I remember my first job at the truck stop and having to file taxes. I sat at the dining room table and filled out that 1040EZ asking you about every single line. I was so proud of myself. I now let a company do them, but I fill in the blanks :) You taught me how to grocery shop. There are very few name brand products I purchase. You taught me how to live on a budget and how to save for the important things. Some people in my life (you know who you are) think I'm cheap. I prefer the word "frugal". And on that same topic, you taught me the difference between "I want" and "I need". I will overthink a purchase for months before deciding on making a purchase. (How bad do I need this? If I wait for a bit, will it go on sale? How often will I use it? Will I use this more than once a year? Is it absolutely necessary? Can I use it for more than the one thing it is intended for? Will I be able to find it cheaper somewhere else? Is this something I can find at a discount store/Goodwill/St. Vinny's/Salvation Army/Re-store/ garage sale/ flea market?) In turn, you taught me how to let go of things. You made sure I didn't become a hoarder who holds on to things that she has no use for. I hang onto the things that matter. You taught me how to make a home on the simplest of budgets.

You can't tell where I get my sense of humor, can ya?

For all of these things (plus my goofy sense of humor) and more, Mom, I say "Thank you from the bottom of my heart!" My experiences may have molded me into who I am, but you, YOU, showed me how to handle the shit Life throws at me with grace, faith, and a smile.

Your card is on its way to you. Your gift, I'll save for your visit! However, this is the best gift I can give you for now! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MOM! I love you so very much!

My silly, goofy mom!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Spring...

It appears as if Spring has finally arrived to stay here in my corner of the world. The grass is growing. Birds are singing. The trees have buds on them. Green shoots are pushing through the dirt. The chipmunks have invaded with a vengeance. Rabbits have overrun my yard.

Yes, you read those last two things right. Let me explain. I love these fuzzy little critters, I really do. But here's my problem: They seem to think that they should be in the house pets. Two times now, a chipmunk has had to be relocated (no, they're not allowed to be killed!) to a pine tree across the street. *hangs head* I may have named him Alvin (Honestly, Simon and Theodore would NEVER get into this kind of trouble!) I have two that live in my garage. My neighbors have got to think I'm insane because I stand in the garage and tell them, "Simon, Theodore, you can stay in the garage and hide from Oreo (my neighbor's cat), but I swear to all that I hold holy, if you get under the hood of my truck and chew on the damn wiring, you're cat food!"



The rabbits have built a den within the walls of my second bedroom. The way that room is laid out, a couple of them have made their way inside. The adult was shooed out fairly easy. The baby, on the other hand, was more difficult. Never mind, that as this is happening, I have 175 lb. dog thinking he needs to get in on the fun which only aggravates the bunnies more! The fact that neither of them had a heart attack impresses me! Now, they've taken to lounging on my front steps. How do I know this? Because there is rabbit shit all over my steps! This is a place where they have to go up three steps to lie down! Nothing like stepping out there in bare feet in the morning and having those little surprises. (I'm usually on autopilot and forget until it's too late. This is pre-caffeination.)



However, I have finally found the way they're getting in the house. Before this is, it was a mystery. Now, to get some wood to board up the hole. Getting the landlord to do it is not an option since he's not reliable on anything except complaining if the lawn isn't mowed on his schedule.



Did I also mention that the damn chipmunks have taken to climbing onto my bedroom window screen to chitter at me at 4 am? And no, they're not singing. If only... Uh huh...I'm thinking these little beasts don't understand the human way of living. Just because the sun is rising doesn't mean this human is getting up...I just need another hour.

Yeah, Spring has arrived and this author's world seems to only get nuttier every time the season changes. Maybe this is what city living does to a country girl! It makes her crazy :) Oh wait, I was already there.

Happy Easter!