Saturday, March 3, 2012

Getting Older

So this is typically my work out time….but for the past two days I have had to skip it because of a pain in my hipL Which is making me feel really old…I turn 45 this year…I will pause a moment while you gasp in disbelief…I know! I can’t believe it either! Now I know what a lot of you are thinking….especially those who have already reached that milestone…you are thinking “age is just a number”….”you look really good for you age”…blah, blah, blah….nothing you say can change the fact that I have a pain in my hip!

Now I have never been one to shy away from my age….I have celebrated mightily for years the day of my birth with weeklong celebrations, tattoos, tequila shots and the occasional naked girl…and of course this year won’t be any different I am sure.  But I am definitely more pensive about this one than I have in past years.  Funny thing is the last one that really hit me was when I turned 25 (OMG – that was freaking 20 years ago…WTF!) I remember having the same feeling approaching 25 as I do now…that somehow my “life” isn’t where it is supposed to be.  At 25 I was a stay at home mom with two young kids with a longing to be anywhere other than where I was.  I felt like at 25 I was finally a “grown up” and I should have a much better grasp on life than what I did.  I felt like a complete failure.  I won’t bore you with the story of what I did in this blog but I did change my life completely with a lot of regrets and guilt but also with a lot of hard work and persistence all of which got me here 20 years later.

I turned 30 and 35 nine months pregnant and about to give birth any day so those milestones passed without much thought or revelry…I really started celebrating with my 36th birthday…my first one single in decades….that one was epic with the naked girl storyJ I went to Vegas to celebrate my 40th and even though we melted every time we went outside it was awesome! There has been dinners at Sushi O and Don Pepe’s and nights at Babes and Have a Nice Day that were spectacular….if there is anything I know how to do it is too celebrate! I never much thought about it…I had hot young guys who were interested in me so I figured what was the big deal…it was just a number.  Even having grandchildren didn’t make me feel old…I actually got a kick out of when people asked who’s picture that was on my laptop I could say that is my grandson or granddaughter….the look on their faces were always priceless.

But this year is different…it isn’t so much that I feel “old” which I do….it is more the feeling that I am running out of time.  There are only so many birthdays left….and while I am lucky that I have crossed off most of life’s “expected” events I feel like I am supposed to be somewhere else than where I am.  And for the first time it doesn’t have anything to do with the externals…I like my surroundings and the people who make up my life.  But I feel like I should be different “inside”. 

At 45 you should not be crying over someone who broke your heart.  One would hope that by 45 you would have finally figured out how to not get your heart broken. 
At 45 you shouldn’t be dating.  If EVER there was a process better suited for the young it is definitely dating.
At 45 you shouldn’t still be questioning how you ever got to be in charge of anything living.  Experience and a proven track record of keeping people alive and well should be an end of self-doubt.
At 45 you shouldn’t still be caring if someone doesn’t think you are pretty or smart or whether or not they like you and want to be your friend.  You should have worked all those issues out in high school.

I hope I haven’t offended anyone older than 45 or scared anyone younger than 45 – these are just my thoughts at the moment.  It is possibly in the next 6 months as the big day approaches I will feel better about things…I would hate to think that I am shallow enough to be this apprehensive because I am currently still single with no chances of that changing any day soon.  I hope it is deeper than that – a reflective time to look over the past 45 years at what I have done well and what I haven’t and to remember that because there isn’t as much time too waste as before that I need to make better choices and live life each day to the fullest.  I do know that I have been stuck in a major rut for a very long time and  I am open to any suggestions as to how to get out of it….Sharing my thoughts with the universe helps…hopefully the pain in my hip goes away soon

Monday, February 27, 2012


No time or energy for a full fledged blog so this will have to do for now…snippets of thoughts in my head that deserves to be fully developed at some point soon.

What is the distinguishing characteristic that makes the difference between those that give into the darkness and those that may visit and wallow but always find their way back to the light? Is it chemical? Environmental? And if we could figure it out can we fix it?

At what point do I admit that maybe in that speech “it isn’t you it’s me” that maybe it really is me?

Why is it when faced with making a household purchase I panic and am totally rendered incapable of making a decision….a recent purchase of a slipcover gave me a full fledged panic attack.  What is even more strange is that I have no one to answer too….there is no one at home that if I pick the wrong thing will yell at me…and what exactly is "the wrong thing"?

Isn’t life sometimes strange when you look at the people you have remained friends with and there are one or two on your list that make you ask yourself “how the hell did that happen?” but you are very blessed that it did.

Who would have thought years ago when I was sitting in my house looking out my window thinking life was passing me by as I was wasting time being a mom that the one thing I thought I was crappy at would be the one thing that today some 20 years later I am pretty sure is the best thing that I do.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11th

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  It is also Ty's 14th birthday. I do not plan on watching any of the tribute shows.  I don't need too. The images of that day are forever with me.  To this very moment I can not even think about that day without sobbing.  It became a very common question in the days and months after that day.  "Where were you...." I was at work.  In the Fredericksburg site of Capital One.  In a pre-calibration meeting which won't mean much to those not familiar with Capital One.  It was Ty's 4th birthday.  And the first one I had to miss....because of the stupid pre-calibration meeting...which back in 2001 I thought was very important...which I know now wasn't....
One of our trainers interrupted our meeting with the news that something was going on...because of the "important" nature of our meeting we sent her back to her class with the admonition to just continue teaching because nothing was more important than a Customer Service training class at Capital One.  Soon she came back...and told us we really needed to come see....

By this time both the planes have hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been hit.  Fredericksburg is practically a suburb of DC and there were tons of people who worked in F'burg who had family and friends who worked in DC.  The site was in full on panic and soon closed. 

Beth was at home, sick from school.  She was giving me updates.  Joey was at school.  Ty was at his sitter's house.  All I could think was is that I needed to get home. I was in the car driving to the Richmond when the first tower fell.  I was in the cafeteria of Knolls' 1 when the second tower fell. 

In the days following I devoured all information from that day. I read everything and watched everything. And everything made me sad.

Ten years later everything still makes me sad.  I was never one of those that felt any anger or had the need for revenge.  There were people in my life who when they learned of this accused me of not caring or not supporting my country.  I tried to explain that extreme patriotism on either side was dangerous....but they didn't get it.  I never thought we needed to be in Iraq or in Afghan in the grand scale that we are.  But that is just me.  I feel like we have had too many young men and women die needlessly....but that is just me.

Today as we remember the 10th anniversary of 9/11 I have one of my very best friends in Afghan and my son is in Iraq. I love this country and think it is the best place to live.  I also think what the terrorists tried to do in 2001 is fast becoming what we are doing to ourselves today.  We are destroying ourselves with our divisiveness. We are becoming less like the America that the terrorists hate us for and more like them.  Our intolerance of others and blatant in-fighting is doing to us what they never is destroying us.

On 9/11/2001 we came together as a country.  It is time to do it again.  We are the greatest country there is....and the reason that we are is summed up in three simple words...."We the People".....not we some of the people...or we the white people...or we the straight people but 'WE THE PEOPLE".  And the people are not the members of Congress.  It is not the President of the United States. IT IS ALL OF US! And we need to start working together....not against each other. And if we don't our biggest worry will not be another terrorist attack. It will be us destroying us....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Starting at the beginning (Originally posted on Monday, June 6, 2011)

I was born a poor black child…oh wait that is Steve Martin….not me….I was born a poor white girl…I was the first of five girls to be born to parents who were too young and too ill-equipped to be parents.  But then again isn’t that the story of just about everybody.  I have hardly any memories from my early years.  We lived in Petersburg before Petersburg was Petersburg.  If I HAD to I could probably find our house on Mulberry St but that is due more to my superior directional abilities than my memory.  I went to Walnut Hill Elementary.  I have absolutely no memory of any of my teachers…I have some of my report cards so I can tell you their names.  But I can’t tell you if they were any good or not.  What I remember most from these early days is that there was always a ton of children around all the time!! There were 5 of us and my mom watched other people kids and all the neighborhood kids would have to come to our yard because the over-protective mom wouldn’t let us leave the yard…we were not allowed to be in the house but we couldn’t leave the yard either! So at any given time we are looking at 10-15 children just hanging out.  An inevitably I was the oldest or the most mature.  So my ‘mothering” skills were ingrained in me from an early start.  Catty-cornered to us lived the Smiths – Laurie and Karen and CJ – what was cool about the Smiths was that their parents both worked so they seemed so cool because they could pretty much do whatever they wanted.  A few houses down was Robbie and Cole…they didn’t get to leave their yard much either so they had to watch all the kids play down at our house.  I always felt sad for them.  Around the corner were the Meadows.  They were Korean/American.  And JR was my first boyfriend.  He was older than me – probably 14 to my 10….basically our “dates” consisted of walking from his house to my house with the twins in their double stroller.  I think we kissed maybe twice. Life was simple.  There was school and during the summers there was play.  We were put out the house as soon as we woke up and were let in when it got dark.  Lunch was served on the back porch….sandwiches and a jug of kool-aid. Even when it was raining we seemed to be outside.  Sundays we went to church.  Pretty much whatever church bus came through the neighborhood first that is where we went.  I remember one of them was Baptist…another time there was a Church of Christ.  I don’t remember being very in awe of church.  I don’t remember being impressed by it.  It was just something to do on Sunday morning.  At this point I don’t remember my mom going to church or being religious…that would come later.  I don’t remember much about my dad during this time either.  He was working and if the drinking had started it wasn’t obvious to me as a 10 year old. 

Every weekend and every summer from the time I can remember I spent with my maternal grandma and granddaddy.  She was so very different from my mom.  My mom was quiet and shy to the point of being practically paralyzed.  She didn’t talk to people she didn’t know. She really never said much and always seemed to fade into the woodwork.  My grandma was loud! She talked to everybody.  She yelled, she cried, you knew exactly what she was thinking.  She was the oldest of a very large German Catholic family.  She never learned to drive so she was reliant on others taking her places.  She wasn’t well-educated but I always remember her seeming to know bunches of stuff.  She loved to fish. Loved to play Bingo.  And she was a great cook.  She watched TV, she read romance novels.  Everything opposite to my mom.  She was the one who took us on our vacations.  Nags Head two or three times a summer.  We went to Orlando.  We went to Mississippi once.  We would go to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge pier and fish all night.  Life was good at this time.  My granddaddy was a simple man.  He also was an alcoholic.  However I wouldn’t know this until years later.  They also fought all the time.  All the time! If she said the sky was blue he would have to say it was gray.  At the time it just seemed normal and I preferred it to my parents’ relationship where my dad would say mean things to my mom and she would just let it go.
The defining moments of the time were first and foremost when the twins were born.  I was 10 and it had been 6 years since she had had a baby…one would assume that she was done.  I remember how HUGE she got while pregnant.  And how her doctor kept insisting that she was having a boy….a big boy! I remember my dad picking us up from school after she had them and telling us she had twin girls.  And I remember not believing him at all! That was kind of our established relationship….I was always very critical of everything he had to say.  It wasn’t until my grandma verified it that I believed him. And with that the dynamics of the house changed.  There was all of a sudden 2 different groups.  There were the older two kids who were capable of taking care of themselves at 10 and 8 and the younger 3 kids who were not….these trend would continue to this day.  The twins seemed to never stop crying.  They developed an unnatural attachment to mom…or maybe it was the other way around.  She could not leave the room without them crying.  It annoyed me to no end.  Even at 10 I was critical of her parenting skills...once again a trend that continues to today.  The other event I remember the most was when I was made the main caretaker for my granddaddy who had really bad cataracts and was awaiting surgery. He was losing his vision pretty bad and for some reason my parents thought it was best that he not be alone while my grandma was away and the best possible choice was to take me all of 10 years old over to spend the night with him.  At this time he lived on a farm in Petersburg in a great big white farmhouse that was a great place to be in the daylight but at night it took on that spooky farmhouse persona.  So here I am getting dropped off by my dad, who I am pretty sure did not stop the car all the way.  Everything was fine until the sun went down.  Remember I told you Granddaddy was an alcoholic even though it was unknown to me at the time, looking back it explains a lot.  When you combine someone whose vision is going cloudy with cataracts with whiskey well you are looking at a recipe for disaster.  As the night wore on he was getting more and more “blind” and more and more hysterical.  And I was trying very hard to keep it together.  I remember at one point saying if we just went to bed it wouldn’t matter whether or not he could see! I was logical beyond my years.  At some point in the night a call was made, I can’t remember if he called or if I did but somehow my dad showed back up.  Of course he yelled at me for “not taking care of your granddaddy”! But by this age I was very close to realizing that both of my parents were dumb as bricks and that leaving me with this responsibility was a very bad idea destined to fail so it didn’t matter.  He took me home and my granddaddy to the hospital and all was well that ends well. 
So this was my life until age 10.  More random memories follow as such:
This was the time before much thought was given to vehicle safety and kids.  We had a green station wagon.  The twins would roll around in the back of it pretty much.
I was really good at kick the can but not so much at red rover
My mother “taught” me to ride a bike by making me get on one and pushing me down a hill….the gate at the bottom stopped me.
My sister Shannon fell a lot! And got in trouble for falling a lot!
My dad taught us to play poker and we bet with real pennies.  He let us keep them if we won but most of the time at this age we lost.  We also had to “call our hand” and play what we called.
I think the reason why I never have to pee on trips is because there was a lot of pulling to the side of the road and peeing in the bushes at this time….or in a bucket…and I was doing neither!
Summers were spent shucking corn and snapping green beans….and eating homemade ice cream.
Holidays, birthdays and Sunday dinners were a big deal.
Kids could buy cigarettes; my mom would send me in the store to buy them for her.  You could also smoke everywhere even in grocery stores.
My dad thought it would be a good idea to take us to see Jaws
Every Sunday during football season I would watch football with my dad – he hated the Redskins.  A Skins fan was bornJ

More beginnings..The Lost years part one (Originally posted Friday, June 17, 2011)

So to continue on with the story of my beginning we have moved into the years of 5th-7th grade.  I am calling these the lost years because I do not have very good recollection of these years...part one is because there will be other years that I do not have good recollection of either.  As Petersburg began to "decline" my "concerned" father made the decision to move.  This decision would have a greater impact that what could have been known at the time later on down the road.  You see up until this time we were not poor...while not well of we could have been thought of as lower middle class. I don't recall ever being hungry or not having the stuff we wanted through these years.  That was to come later.  My dad put our house on Mulberry St in Petersburg up for sale and we moved to Colonial Heights.  I do not recall the name of the street but I remember where it is located.  It was a nice house in a nice neighborhood.  I recall it having 4 bedrooms, a really nice screened in patio, a greenhouse(!), and a really nice front porch.  The best part of the house was that I got my own room....even better was that my room used to be a car port so it set off from the rest of the house....I was away from everybody and I loved it!  Funny how life goes.  Anybody who knows me now knows how much I hate to be alone....hate, hate, hate it...but back then I loved it! Much like Ty I spent hours in my room alone...I would read or write or just daydream.  I am not sure when I lost this ability or why.  Maybe through this journey I will remember and possibly be able to recapture that quality about myself. 

Like I said at the beginning I do not recall much about the three years we lived in Colonial Heights.  I went to Tussing Elementary for 5th grade and then to Colonial Heights Jr High School (what middle school was called back in the day) for 6th and 7th.  I remember this was the beginning of me feeling like an outsider.  Back in those days families didn't move around like they do today.  Kids started school and finished school with the same group of kids.  So coming in at 5th grade was rough.  Relationships have already been established.  I do not remember making any friends during this time. I remember on the street we lived on there was 2 other houses with kids.  I remember going over there to play but I can not recall any names.  The house behind us had a boy named Alex who loved KISS and had a crush on Shannon.  

Some free association thoughts of this time include:

We had a skateboard and roller skates and a lot of concrete....I don't remember being good at either one.  Shannon was better but she still fell a LOT.
My mom was still watching kids.  There were these 2 girls that I remember most...Misty and Alisha - sisters who did not look anything alike.
We went to this big Baptist church right around the corner. We were baptized there. Not sure why.
I had the Grease OST on vinyl and played it constantly

The significance of this time was that while we were living in the nice house in CH the house in Petersburg would not sell.  So eventually we lost the house both the house in Petersburg and the nice house in CH - this would set up the future level of poverty to come....more on that in the next chapter! 

Taking ownership, forgiveness and moving on... (Originally posted on Saturday, July 9, 2011)

Being able to speak publicly on things in this age of technology also means that one loses a bit of privacy.  Conversations online that you think are only between you and those you would like to actually be having a conversation with is not always the case.  In using words and liking words and finding enjoyment with sharing those words with others also comes with responsibility of what happens when those words get out into the world.  And if your words hurt someone else's feelings - even if that was never the intention then one must take ownership of those words.  I am sorry if my words hurt someone in my attempt to make myself feel better about a crappy situation.

Forgiveness is a funny is always more about the person that gives the forgiveness than the person being forgiven.  And forgiveness does not necessarily mean forgetting.  It just means you are letting go of the hurt feelings that are holding you back.  You can forgive a person and never ever talk to that person again.  Forgiveness is an internal thing and has nothing to do with the other person at all.  Some people forgive easily and for others it is a lifetime struggle.  But for all it is necessary for peace.  And I am truly at peace...

Moving on can be hard.  Holding on to the past is easy but it doesn't serve any purpose.  Moving on can be helped by many different activities.  Changing your location, changing your decor, meeting new people and spending time with those in your life that encourage you to be a better person.  It is hampered by revisiting past events or experiences that keep you stuck in place. It doesn't do any good to stay sad or to be angry.  Moving on involves accepting that the old way of life is over and that a new life must me forged out of nothing that is familiar.  Moving on is freeing and wonderful and scary all at the same time....And I have moved on.

Father's Day thoughts and such (Originally posted Sunday, June 19, 2011)

This one is going to be a downer...I am warning you now so that you have the opportunity to jump ship if you here goes.

As some of you know the boys' father passed away in Feb 2005.  Since then Father's Day has taken a turn.  I can't imagine what it must be like for them to not have a dad.  My dad God bless him is still alive and kicking.  I always wonder what they are thinking about on this day but too afraid to ask because the last thing I want to do is too upset them and then I worry that maybe this is the wrong thing to do...I live in a constant state of "what should I do" when it comes to this topic.  Like I said I have no idea what it is like so I don't know what to do.  We spent this morning with Jay's dad Grandpa John.  He is a really good man. Jay was his only child.  I can not fathom what today must be like for him.  Hopefully I will never know what it is like to lose a child. It is entirely possible that could be the one thing I could never recover from.

So every year since as some of you moms' know at the end of school they always make Father's Day stuff.  This year Jaden came home with a card that had "coupons" in it for washing Dad's car.  I just wonder what he was thinking when he made it.  Last year he told me he gave the card he made to his friend to give to his dad..who he had never met. 

I never imagined in a million years that I would be doing this alone.  And most of the time I wonder what kind of job am I really doing.  As some of you also know my kids are mixed and am I doing a good enough job of bringing up not only boys but boys of color.  Considering they are surrounded by mostly women...white women at that....lesbian white women as well I just don't know.  I am trying my best...hopefully that counts for something.

I am thankful that I personally know some great dads out there.  And I hope this day was great! And for all those out there whose dads are still around I hope you took a moment to appreciate what you have...and for those who's dads have passed on my thoughts are with you on this day. 

Happy Father's Day!