Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Update on Project Humanity

So its taken me a few days to process and get my mental ducks in a row but here is what happened this weekend...

As you know I have been cooking up this "let's make a difference" thing for a while now and decided part of our funds would be used for homeless outreach. I wasn't sure how or when or what was going to happen and I had mused about McDonald's cards.

Well last week on Facebook my friend posted that he and his wife were going to distribute socks, gloves, hats, blankets etc, as well as sack lunches to the homeless that weekend. So I decided to team up with them. I had a budget, and some coats that you all had donated. So we got organized that morning and after some hunting found some people in need. (We had to do some looking and recon believe it or not, but then found more than we expected.)

By the time we met up with our friends most of the lunches were gone and the socks had been blown through as well as the blankets. The coats I brought went in a hot second!! My handful of blankets disappeared quickly. Then they decided to hit a park down the street. meanwhile I of course befriended the man with the dog. Those who know me will not be surprised by this. I asked him how he was. He was not old enough for the walker he was using but said he'd had a few strokes etc. I asked if he had a warm coat etc. and if his dog had food. He said they'd just run out. Cutest dog you ever saw...butt up in the air and playful...no more than a year old at most. So I told my friend Timothy that I would go get a few things and be back.

So I went to Food Max and nervously left my car to go shop. (Not a great neighborhood). I grabbed a bag of dogfood and then deliberated over the smaller bag. I opted for the slightly bigger bag but regretted it later. Anyway, grabbed some blankets, some beef jerky, some trail mix etc. It took foreeeeeever to get out of there because the poor woman and her mother in front of me were trying to find their food stamps and load up their little walking cart with their groceries so they could walk home. I patiently waited, counting my blessings. Checked out, then headed to the Salvation Army to get coats, sweats, shoes and whatever else I could find.

I headed back over, having missed the trip to the park and the heartbreaking homeless children, I'm told, and found my friend Tim. He was very grateful, though I felt bad about the bigger bag of dog food because he opted to carry it around. not a huge bag but not walker friendly. Anyway, so that was about it for that. It was one of the most rewarding and fantastic days I've ever had. I want to do it every day. It was awesome and overwhelming and beautiful. And I was UTTERLY EXHAUSTED later that day.

When I told my parents about my adventure later that evening my dad pulled his sweats out from under the bed and some pants he doesn't wear and they are waiting for me as well. :)

I will continue to collect any coats you have, as well as blankets, and outwear like scarves, hats, gloves etc. Gloves are a really nice thing!!

So if you have any, please jing my bell. :)


THEN earlier this week I gathered up my toys both purchased and donated for the mom and kids in Northern Cal and boxed it up and got it shipped off in time for Xmas arrival!!! COOL!!!! Seriously cool!! I didn't expect to be able to get them anything in time for Xmas!!

I will still be driving a CAR LOAD of stuff up on New Year's. Lots of stuff. You guys are so amazing!!

Thank you so much for your generosity. This was so great and fun and fulfilling and amazing and heart warming and touching and...COOL!!

I love everyone. Which is way better than cursing humanity. Look how that works!!!

I have one more facet of this and I'm still working on that. Stay tuned.

xo,

SBD

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sidebar

We interrupt all this goodness and warmth with a rant!!

I've made it no secret that I am sick of the government oozing into every aspect of my life and this law is on the top of my list. I have blogged and ranted about it at length.



http://thesoapboxdiva.blogspot.com/2011/03/irony-is-so-annoying.html

Just for the record, I sing in my car, I pray in my car, I talk to myself A LOT. shocking right? right. I talk to other drivers like they can hear me "go right ahead jackass, I wanted to test my brakes anyway, thank you! asshat!" I rehearse imaginary speeches accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. I tell off people who've wronged me so I don't kill them for real. So how is a cop going to tell if I am doing any of these things or using my speakerphone?? And does the State of California not have more pressing issues than to deciper my singing with myself from my conversing with others? I owe the state of Calif. money from the year I was unemployed. (please explain that one to me) but we can NOT reach them on any of their phone lines because they are on furlow every 10 minutes!!




Really big brother...PISS OFF!!!!
(see article for more articulate and informative yet less entertaining information)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/16/cellphone-ban-ntsb_n_1153453.htmland this is going on my whiney blog too, for obvious reasons!

HMPF

Friday, December 16, 2011

Update on Project Redeem Humanity

Ok, after a few days of blah-ness I am excited again. I am usually a bit superstitious and hence hesitant to disclose things before they happen. But I have to share with you guys what YOU are doing.

So here's the latest scoop on what your generous hearts are doing via my project.

First I'll recap where we are in case you were sleeping. So I bitched about how much people suck cuz they bludgeon each other for $2 waffle irons on Black Friday. I handed humanity its ass, via my humble blog here, and then YOU inspired me.

So I decided I could so something besides bitch. Cuz let's face it its not going to be "instead" of bitching. I will always bitch. But I'm backing my bitch up with love this time.

So I asked for names and stories and a couple have risen to the surface as my focal points. I have been calling it "Project Redeem Humanity".

My primary project became a woman with several children who needed Christmas and some clothes. The story was that Santa might not show up at their house this year. The oldest child is 8. This became sub-project "project Santa"

And then Y'ALL started bringing me stuff, and writing me checks!!! and you have NO idea how...amazing that is. To be that kind of conduit.

So here's what's happening. With your checks and cash I have been able to purchase toys for all her kids, and for her. I was going to take this haul up there by car AFTER xmas however your generosity I am able to ship the toys now in time for Xmas!! and then I will take the clothes and equipment/stuff up there on my trip.

I will purchase some odds and ends to complete the package this weekend, and get it shipped out asap.

The other part of your donations are going to go to a hard working family. I am prayerfully contemplating which direction to put the money so I'm just letting my heart decide. This project, while it would be beautiful to deliver for Xmas, is a bit less time sensitive. So if you feel moved to donate, its not too late. Whatever money is left after I get the toys etc for the kids will go to this family. Wherever it ends up I know it will be very appreciated. This project doesn't have a name yet. It needs one!

The last part of this project is the "coffee and coats" project for the homeless. I have been waiting for Divine direction on this, or enlightenment in some form. :) I have allocated a small portion of your donations for this purpose and been waiting for a need. So coincidentally I found that one of my facebook friends and his wife have decided to do a similar homeless ministry this weekend. I needed help in doing this myself so this is perfect. So we are teaming up this weekend to distribute socks, hats, coats, blankets, coffee, and whatever else may be needed to the homeless in the downtown area. God uses facebook, I'm telling you!

If you'd still like to sacrifice your pizza fund so someone else can be warm or have Xmas or have a decent meal, please scroll down my blog for my paypal link, or contact me at redgreenhurricane@gmail.com

I love you all, and I'm so grateful to have this opportunity to pull my head out of my own ass.
I can not thank you enough, those of you who have donated!!! You are amazing!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Getting more organized. Giving ROCKS!!!

My heart is so full!!! The cup of Christmas spirit runneth over!!! Beautiful stuff.

My friend in Ireland tested my PayPal link- It works. ;)











cash donations made will be used for:

the kids who up north who have no Santa this year,

2 women,

1 family

and cold homeless coffee drinkers

not necessarily in that order.

If you want to specify where your donation goes feel free. If you donate $10 and want it to be used for a toy, or a homeless person or a mom just let me know.


I am collecting donations of:

baby clothes (nb girl plus girl and boys 2t - size 6-8)

coats in adult and child sizes

kids winter shoes

adult outer wear

toys for ages 1-8
(kids are as follows: girls age 8 mo and one to be born in the spring, boys age 2, 3, 5 & 7)

and mcds cards

email me at redgreenhurricane@gmail.com to arrange something or ask questions.


Love you guys to pieces for doing this with me!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beautiful People

Y'all...I am so excited.
My job is a...job. (read: pain in the ass that provides little reward). I am very busy doing a whole lot of nothin. This thing WE are doing is making me feel so awesome.

So here's the deal: We have some definite possiblities and needs. And there are a lot of causes out there and organizations who help families in needs. But there are always gaps and cracks. And there are always needs.

Here is what I am working on:

My friend "A" has several children and has been in an abusive situation. The circumstances are difficult and stressful. She has a need for a lot of things, but I am primarily focusing on clothes for the kids. They age from newborn to 8 years old both boys and girls. I am taking clothing donations starting now. There may be a need for some small equipment type items...I am checking. There is always a need for shoes, coats, diapers, formula, that kind of thing.

Here is the hard part of this story...her kids need Xmas presents and I'm told she is contemplating telling them the "truth" about Santa. I put it in quotes because I still absolutely believe in Santa myself. :) I don't know if I can swing it in the time frame. 5 kids in need of a toy or 2 to save their Christmas innocence. I can't deliver items to Northern Cal by Xmas.

But the clothes will go with me when I go visit my Diva Friend Carol at the end of this month. Its on my way and I'm thrilled to donate some my own kids clothes. Damn children won't stop growing!!

I have 2 other hard working women who just need help with bills and Christmas and life in general and I'm working on something for them.

And then there is the homeless coffee/coat drive as I'm calling it now. McDonald's cards in $10 or $15 denominations, winter coats, small blankets, maybe small toiletries, socks, gloves, hats. That kind of thing...ya know? I will be distributing those items anytime I get enough accumulated but hope to take my kids to do this with me just before Christmas and maybe just after.

Please consider helping me. This feels a little more personal to me than just a nebulous charity.
If you have any questions please email me at redgreenhurricane@gmail.com

The Paypal link below is active, but if you'd rather put the money in my hand I get it and I will arrange a time to meet up with you.

For those of you with clothing and kid/household items to donate (nothing too big as i have to squish it into my car for a trip) I will start taking those any time as well.

I can't even begin to tell you what my heart feels like at those of you who have reached out. One of you specifically who has been very generous and I'm so grateful that you are extending yourself to my silly wild hair up my ass charity idea.

This is becoming something amazing. you guys are awesome. Keep it coming!!

xo!!

Soapbox Diva!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Button The Button The Button

Ooh I'm getting excited. I have a couple names. More. Think. Think about the people you encounter every day. And if you don't have a name for me please start to consider what you do have. Toys your kids don't want (or that you hate and want out of your house). I can almost promise a child will be part of the picture. Don't know age yet. Clothes you are ready to donate. Stuff you're accumulating for the yard sale you'll never have (lamps and household items). Think about donating soaps and stuff like that. I'm telling you a fabulous smelling body wash can make your day! A nice shampoo is a luxury. Stuff you take for granted that would make someone else feel like queen for a day. Consider the pizza fund you really don't need this month because of the holidays. $20 is a lot when you have nothing. You won't really miss that pizza. XoOK here it is.









You click that donate button and donate your monthly pizza fund and when we get to a point where we have accumulated some stuff I and my people will be taking whatever we collect to the person we've chosen to make smile. I have a couple names. If the names don't work out I will be contacting the local Women's Shelter (Alliance Against Family Violence) and seeing what kind of one-on-one work we can do there.

My heart is full of possibilities here people. This has opened up something that I need to act on, and not just once. Please join me. Let's do this. I need names, and I need your pizza money, cuz someone out there needs to know that people give a shit about more than $2 waffle irons. We don't know what this act will ripple into. And we can't not do it now.

I love my Diva Readers. Let's have a Love Fest...not the porny kind, pervs! the help out other humans kind.

xo!!

SB Diva


(If you have any questions please email me at redgreenhurricane@gmail.com. The paypal account is processed through my Mean Girl Designs business PayPal account, which none of you know about because its my deep dark secret. lol Yeah. I do business cards and websites and stuff. Your donations are secure and you have my solemn word about the destination of funds and donations)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ok so we'll DO something!!

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause.

Yes, Angela...you are so right. We ARE going to DO something.

My people in the Bakersfield area I need your help. I need you to privately email me the name (first name only) of a person, and their story if you think this individual needs some TLC this Christmas season. a single mother? (a cause close to my heart obviously). an older man or woman trying to find work but struggling? a struggling Veteran? a kid in a bad situation? a couple who is busting their collective butt and just not able to make ends quite meet, or can't figure out how to do Xmas for their kid(s)? a friend of your kid?

I need their story. And I need it soon.

And THEN we are going to raise some money...me and you. yes you. I'm going to create a paypal link for this and collect donations for the story that tugs our heart strings the most. Or if I am able to select an individual and we know their needs, we will just coordinate delivery of said items to the person.

First we need a person in need.

THINK.

email me at redgreenhurricane@gmail.com

-Diva

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dear Humanity

I'm just going to say this quickly and sternly to my fellow humans. I'm short on time, patience, and hope. And I'm optimistic that the Universe will help me with the latter...
So I'm going to address all fellow humans (only about 12 of which read this and y'all aren't the problem that I know of, but it starts with each of us...)

Dear Humanity,

What the fuck is wrong with all of you?? It is NOT okay to pepper spray your fellow shoppers on Black Friday!! It is not okay to trample someone for a $2 waffle iron! It is just ridiculous. Its wrong. Its disgusting. I hope those waffles are really friggin tasty with the bitterness in your soul! We have SO MUCH!! And we hurt each other for minor kitchen appliances!!? REALLY? CHARITY AND HOPE PEOPLE!!! LET'S SEE SOME!!! Drop and gimme twenty!!!! NO!! Give him $20 and her $50 and that single mother you know down the street...slip her a twenty in her mail slot or something. GIVE. Don't TAKE!!

Seriously, I don't care what your religious beliefs are, it is abhorrent to behave this way EVER, let alone this time of year. Its the birth of Jesus Christ, y'all. Shepherds left their fields, Kings came from Afar with precious gifts, Angels perched in wonder...the King of Kings was born in a stable among stinky animals and slept on pokey hay. His pregnant Holy Mother rode on a DONKEY in the last hours of her pregnancy!! HELLO!! If you have never been pregnant, let me just suggest to you that this was probably really fucking uncomfortable!!!! So even if you don't believe in Jesus, open your heart to the story itself...a story of humility and service and gratitude and wonder and grace. And if you do believe in Jesus, well then take a moment to think of your own child sleeping on hay with stinky animals while you duke it out with some silly bitch at Kohl's over the last cashmere scarf. Are you buying trinkets for every single person you know, or are you giving gifts from your heart for the people you really care about? Have you considered buying a goat? Or a couple of ducks? Or a water faucet for somone in Africa...?

And I now address our public servants...it is not okay to abuse your power. It is not okay to use pepper spray (is there a fucking theme here or what?!?) on peaceful protesters. And you all should be ashamed. This country was founded on free speech. PEACEFUL protesters. Pain in your ass, perhaps. But peaceful. Not laying down in traffic or "occupying" for some nebulous "cause". Whether we agree or disagree, peaceful protesting should never be discouraged or punished. Even obnoxious protesting has a place. I think if we directed our angst and disgust at the right place it might do some good, but that's another topic.

Public officials, you should really sit down and think about what it means to hold an office representing the people of your city/county/district/state/country!!! This GREAT country is going to hell in a handbasket...a handbasket that was crafted in China or Indonesia on the backs of children. I know a few Americans who would have happily made that handbasket for a few bucks. REPRESENT, damnit!!!

Humans of Earth, you are better than this. You were made by a loving being who wants you to love each other. Get a frickin clue. Does your identity depend on that waffle iron? Or your credit score? or your bank account balance? Or your salary? Or how pretty your house is? Or your weight?

If everything was stripped away from you and you were in an armageddon type movie with Will Smith and you had nothing but you yourself...who would you be? The banks were burned down, the fossil fuel crisis turned into a world war and there are no cars and there is only electricity where its solar powered etc. Grocery stores have all been looted. You have only what's on your back. Who are you?? Do you stop and help the other screwed over people, or do you zip by them on your skateboard so you can be the first to get into the newly broken into Albertsons downtown?

Who are you, really? without all the numbers we define ourselves by...who are you?

BE THAT PERSON!!

and quit honking at me all the time too, damnit. Its really fucking rude. I'm driving damnit. I'm doing my best. Sheesh!!

Happy Fucking Holidays! Get your shit together people. Find some hope and charity and humility and quit being assholes.

Thank you, and good day!!

-SoapBox Diva

Friday, November 18, 2011

Movies and Anniversaries. Yeah this post is a stretch.

Try not to Whine Kelly. Try not to whine. Don't whine. breathe....rant....go...


I watched 2 movies this week that provoked actual THOUGHT in me.

The first, if you promise not to laugh, was Eyes Wide Shut. whatever. I had never seen it. I am not a fan of Kubrick, however...I have to say this movie was really ...um...GOOD. eek. yuk.

really. I mean, the whole cultish sex thing was icky. But what jumped out at me was the bond between the husband and the wife. And I could see why Kubrick chose a husband and wife to play the couple on screen...because the bond translates. Something about monogamy, which I don't think is for everyone, sings in this movie. Oddly. I think whatever works for a couple works for that couple. That may in fact be a whole other rant if anyone wants to throw things out there. My thought is thought that if a couple choses monogamy as the model for their intimate relationship. that there's this sort of self correcting thing that happens...the "invisible hand" of capitalism becomes the "elephant in the room" of monogamy. Guilt convicts us faster and harder than anything a partner could say. Actually I take that back...its not guilt...its shame. Guilt is a healthy emotion that guides you back onto the right path. So yes, guilt can play a role. But guilt is what you feel when you know you are looking at someone the wrong way, or when you are almost screwing up. Shame is what you carry around with you until you have to unload it or explode. Paranoia, shame, guilt, anger. Those things all step in when a person steps out. If those things don't exist, then neither does love. IF you are talking about chosing monogamy. Just sayin. All intimacy models have rules. Monogamy's is obvious.

The other movie, on a heavier note, was Rabbit Hole. Must have been a Nicole Kidman week for me.

This movie is one that I couldn't have watched a couple years ago. But this film is beautifully done and portrays a couple struggling with the overwhelming grief after the death of their young son.

It will be 9 years ago this week that I lost my very first baby in miscarriage.

I would NOT have been able to type that sentence out even a year ago. All the shit I've been through has, in fact, given me strength.

9 years...it seems totally impossible to have been that long ago. my mind just races at that number. NINE?? really? I remember each second of that day as though it was yesterday. I remember the crucial moments as though it was a movie I watched last week. I can still feel what I felt.

But time, bitch that she is, is merciful. And I have not forgotten or moved past it, its just healed...mostly. The movie Rabbit Hole gorgeously portrays each person's grief so perfectly. How the husband and wife grieve together. How they grieve individually. The anger, the completely ridiculous things that one does to get through it. The crazy ways we reach out. And how reaching out to someone else who hurts is somehow the greatest way to make your own hurt feel better. There is something about merging your hurt with someone else's on an intimate level that instead of making it bigger it makes is so much less black.

Not a movie I would recommend for anyone fresh out of the grief closet. But a really really beautiful movie about how we as humans deal with grief, and with each other, and for some bizarre reason, I found it really inspirational instead of sad.

Now I'm gonna go watch some pirate movies and drink vodka. :) If I find something to whine about, I'll post it on the other blog.

That wasn't much of a rant was it. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Can we invent a new word...

for the disgusting, vile, low, putrid, abominable behavior taking place at Penn State?? Because "disgusting" doesn't really seem to paint the full picture, does it?

How people could be aware of this and let it go is beyond me. Vile Vile Vile. Vitriolic.

Oh hell, let's just make it into a vocab lesson.

VILE:
Synonyms:
abandoned, abject, appalling, bad, base, coarse, contemptible, corrupt, debased, degenerate, depraved, despicable, dirty, disgraceful, disgusting, evil, filthy, foul, horrid, humiliating, ignoble, immoral, impure, iniquitous, loathsome, low, mean, miserable, nasty, nauseating, nefarious, noxious, perverted, repellent, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, shocking, sickening, sinful, sleazy*, stinking, ugly, vicious, vulgar, wicked, worthless, wretched

And even that doesn't cover it. We need new words for the lows that we have reached. Or maybe we don't. Maybe the greats of the past have the right words for us now.


The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. - Albert Einstein

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pared Down

Hey Friends,

You may notice that some of my posts are missing. That is because I have decided that THIS blog is not going to whine anymore. I have another blog for that. :) This blog is going to be repurposed to its original purpose...a Soapbox. I kinda hate politics, but occasionally when I peek out from under my rock, I feel the need to rant about them. There are a plethora of social and womens' issues I could rant about. So I'm going to. I'm officially pulling my head out of my whiney ass and I'm going to use my voice about something other than myself. Well its still all about me, but its about the things that I feel like I could say that might matter, not just me wah wah wah divorce wah wah waaaaah money wah wah waahhhhhh jobs. Wah.

I still need a wah-wah outlet, and I've created one. My whiney posts are there. I'm determining, at this moment, if that blog will be public or not. I probably will, because let's face it, its more fun to whine publicly. Whining privately...well that's what cat people do. My cat died, so y'all are the chosen ones. Anyway, I'll probably publish a link soon.

I can tell you this...this nebulous threat I keep making about a book etc...I am working on it. Its going to be a project that will take some time, as its become more than "a book". I can also tell you this, its going to be freakin funny. Why? because truth is stranger than fiction, that's why. There is stuff that happens in my life that you couldn't make up, and its hilarious in its ridiculousness!!

So in this vein, I will be making a brief post about my current beef.

ta-ta,

The Diva (is back)
In fact, I may go so far as to post my chapter titles here soon-ish.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gifted

So when you volunteer for hospice they ask if you can commit to at least 6 months because that is the maximum prognosis for a new hospice patient. Granted, some go off and on hospice care as their condition ebbs and flows. But basically, they want you to be there for the patient and the family for at least 6 months.

My first patient was a feisty gal. She was alert and fairly perky for one dealing with pancreatic cancer. I had visited with her 3 times. The fourth time she had obviously taken a turn for the worse very quickly (I see my friends once a week and a lot can happen in a week). There was a thermometer by her bed and she was on oxygen. She was already on comfort meds (morphine). The nurse confirmed my thoughts...she was 'actively dying'. This was my first patient so it caught me off guard. I felt a little silly crying although we all know that's perfectly natural.

I had become fairly close to her daughter during this time and in the last days of her life I visited her every day, mostly to check on her daughter, who had been through much of the same irritating life situations as I have the last couple years. But add to that the fact that she was raising her 3 year old niece and caring for her dying mother. I wished I could whisk her off and give her a vacation. So strong.

My friend died about 4 days after I visited her and found her much declined.

My 2 new friends were a stroke patient and a woman who was basically healthy but just suddenly took a turn. She was 89, lived totally independently and was disease free. Her daughters were somewhat confused by the whole situation because it happened so quickly. The two sisters clearly had a great relationship and responded immediately to my personality, even though their mom, my patient, was fairly unresponsive and on heavy morphine already. We all clicked readily and I felt so great being able to support them with little funny stories and hugs and encouragement that they were doing great by their mom.

The next time I saw my friend, the sisters, her daughters were not there. This was just my 2nd visit. My friend was more alert (possibly less morphine but I couldn't be sure) but was very very agitated. My feeling from my training and my practically non existent experience was that she was very close to the end. I was a little bothered by the lack of answers I received from staff but I talked to my friend, held her hand, stroked her hair, and told her it was going to be OK soon. I didn't know if it would be or not, but I had a strong feeling. She passed away 3 days later. I'm very relieved about her. her condition was distressing....in part because it had no disease based explanation and it happened so very quickly. I haven't been able to talk to her daughters but I wish to contact them.

so I have 1 friend now. She is the sweetest lady ever. She is a stroke patient. She can only say 2 phrases but she smiles fabulously at my stories of my mischievous children, pictures of my new shoes, my friends, cute boys, and other tales of my life. she sits up, is mobile, feeds herself, and cries when I leave. yeah. I know. She can't tell me why she is crying obviously but I think my heart knows. So far, she is the one I have connected with the most and I am anxious to see her again.

Given the fact that my patients so far have passed so quickly, and because of scheduling I can only see them once a week, I am very anxious in between visits as I don't want to miss anything.

I don't really know what to make of the fact that in just a few short weeks so much has happened. I guess I thought I would be with one patient and family for at least a couple or a few months.

Its frustrating only in that I wish I could be there more. I still find it odd that I am able to do this and that yes, I still find it beautiful. I finally was able to figure out why I feel that way I think, other than it feels like the ultimate act of humanity...It makes me feel closer to God. Its like because I know they are nearing Him, I'm closer to His presence.

Which possibly makes me very selfish. :)

But I thank my friends so much for allowing me to be a part of this beautiful journey's end...the sunset part. Not always romantic, but still really profound. I feel really blessed. This is a gift...

My Perfect Match

Its a sign.

My Match.com membership expired. So like they always do they use all sorts of ridiculous tactics to get you to join. They suddenly are pimping your profile out all over to the most desperate and responsive of assholes so all the sudden you have winks and emails and you can't see who they are from. Its a tactic that annoys me no end.

Well yesterday they sent me an email...that they had matched me...with...(wait for it...wait for it...)
ME.

Yes I'm not sure how they managed to make this magic happen but *I* am my perfect match. Is it any wonder? I'm hot, intelligent, sexy, playful, passionate, romantic...and broken. I'm perfect for me.

The first thing I will do with my new love, is discover all of my weaknesses. What do I like to eat? I will cook it for myself. What do I like to smell? I will wear that perfume. Frankly its working already because I am totally smitten with myself.

Next, I will set out to fix and change my self.

This is the greatest plan ever.

I highly recommend Match.com! I'm very sure me and myself are going to be very happy together!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The greatest thing to emerge from my kitchen since...





ME.

OMG these cupcakes are so amazing...I impressed myself...and that's saying something!

so I got a wild hair to make chocolate cabernet cupcakes. I googled for a recipe and as usual, took about 3 recipes and mushed them together to make my own. What I ended up making was a blackberry cabernet cupcake, one in a chocolate version and one in a vanilla version. the frosting was blackberry merlot home made buttercream.

I have vacillated somewhat in calling these blackberry cabernet and blackberry merlot. I'll tell you why in a minute.

So first thing I did was make 3 metric tons of blackberry merlot frosting. The recipe called for cabernet. At the store I found this "blackberry merlot" "wine". Its not at all wine-y but it has a great blackberry flavor and a hint of fizz. Its like strawberry hill basically :) I combined that WITH cabernet and had a hybrid.

At any rate, I started with blackberries on the stove, simmering in a mixture of blackberry merlot and cabernet.

these have to be the happiet blackberries ever.

Then I mashed and strained them so I only had the reduction "syrup". I added some of that to a massive buttercream batch that I struggled with a good deal. the end result was a huge amount of fantastic frosting! But I still hate making my own.

The cupcakes are a basic chocolate recipe, with part of the water being replaced with more of the blackberry wine reduction.


For the vanilla version, which ended up being just a blackberry cupcake, I just used a white cake recipe and added the leftover blackberry mash to the mix (I could not stand throwing it out!!! I had originally planned to just use the blackberry wine reduction for the white cake mix but the pulp of the blackberries just couldn't go to waste!)

I frosted them both with the same blackberry merlot frosting and topped some with fresh blackberries. OMG they are SO amazing!!!!!


so was the mess. I was covered in a thin layer of powered sugar and most flat surfaces of my kitchen had some form of blackberry or wine stain on them.


but well worth it...these are truly a masterpiece I have to say. YUM!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Customer Service

Ooooooh my. What a week. I have had things to blog about but no time. And I have to admit that I got a little sideways and depressed and just said Eff it to blogging for a few days.

So back at the Metropolis...my laptop has been broken since the winter. I thought it was out of warranty because we purchased it in the summer of 2009. I figured it had one year on it. Well I found out from the ex-hub yesterday that he purchased an extended warranty on it so its up next month!!
WOOT!! this is great news!!!

SO, All I need is the "service tag" off the bottom of my laptop. cool!

well guess what. the service tag is MISSING!! FML.

so I call customer service. What I attempt to transcribe below can not be properly conveyed in written text. I am considering making it into a one-act play.

various mouse clicking and windows, me entering my cell number for the magic program to call me.

ring/buzz...ring/buzz

me: hello?
consonant heavy Indian accent with long distance delay in line (CHIA): Hello thank you for calling the Dell Customer Service Reception Desk. I will be asking you some questions so that I can best direct your call for an excellent customer service experience. hello?
me: (dazed) yes...
CHIA: yes, hello...m'am. How are you today? thank you for calling DELL. Briefly can you tell me what you are calling about?
me: a warranty service issue
CHIA: OK m'am. yes. you are calling about a warranty service issue. I am sorry to hear that...and um...(as he tries to find his place on the printed "if they say this, you say this" script that is taped in front of him) yes. i am sorry to hear that. Let me direct you to an agent to help you with this. And thank you for calling Dell.
me: yah.
CHIA: Ok so m'am I am going to connect you with an agent now. OK?
me: yah...
CHIA: Ok so m'am please hold while I connect you with a Dell agent to assist you with...your...warranty service problem. Again I am sorry to hear that.
(side note: I didn't get that much fucking sympathy when my 18 year old cat died!!)
me: ok. thanks.
CHIA: ok connecting you now, m'am.
(side note: I don't get this much warning or lead up to like um...*#$%@^^... or...like shots and big needles jabbing me and stuff! good lord, just connect me already the anticipation is killing me!)
me: um...OK thanks!!!!
**hold music** praise the lord.
for
a
l
o
0
o
o
0
n
g
TIME

**hold recording telling me to expect 2 clicks and a tone and then an operator**
(giddy with excitement)
new CHIA: Hello and thank you for calling Dell. how can I help you today.
me: I have a laptop that needs warranty service. however, the service tag on the bottom is missing so what is Plan B?
new CHIA: Ok I am happy to help you with that, m'am. Can I please have your phone number starting with the area code?
me: 123-456-7890
new CHIA: thank you m'am. and can I have the service tag number that appears on the service tag on the bottom of your computer?
me: um. that tag is missing
new CHIA: Ok m'am. That tag is missing. Ok. so can I have the 5 digit number from that tag?
me: the service tag is MISSING. its Not....Therrrrrre.
new CHIA: Oh. the service tag is missing?
me: yes.
new CHIA: the service tag is on the bottom of your computer located near...
me: its not located anywhere. its NOT THERE. GONE. NO SERVICE TAG
new CHIA: Oh Ok m'am I see. Ok well let me try a phone number that you used when you placed the order
me: well I didn't place the order, my ex husband did...2 years ago. But we can try.

(so I proceed to give him FIVE phone numbers that all make sense have having possibly been used to place that order and he has NO luck. address. no luck. birth marks. no luck. there is NO order history)
new CHIA: ok m'am I am rrrreeeally sorry but I am not able to locate any service history for that computer in my system. Can you please hold on while I connect you to a specialized agent who can help you?
me: (eyeore-like) sure (Pooh)
new CHIA: Ok m'am please hold while I connect you. Do not hang up. Please hold on.
me: oookaaaaay.
new CHIA: thank you and have a nice day

**hold music and recorded voice wisdom**

brand new shiny CHIA (BNS): Hello. thank you for calling Dell. How can I help you today?
me: I have a lap top that needs a repair but no service tag
BNS: Ok m'am I can help you with that. Can I have the service tag number located on the bottom of your computer
me: THERE IS NO SERVICE TAG. that's why I am talking to YOU.
BNS: ok m'am I understand. Can I have your Dell account number?
me: you're kidding, right?
BNS: sorry m'am?
me: I don't have the account number, nor the phone number. My husband placed this order 2 years ago and we are no longer married. Can't you look it up with the serial number??!? I HAVE that!
BNS: Ok m'am I am sorry to hear that. Can I have the phone number associated with your account
me: no. I don't have it.
BNS: can I try the number you are calling from, m'am?
me: sure. why not. there is no reason he would use it, but sure!
BNS: Ok m'am I am very sorry but that number is not coming up. M'am can you power up the laptop and as soon as you see the Dell logo, hit F5?
me: I can't power up the laptop!! it won't power up! that is why I am needing to have it repaired!!
BNS: It will not power up, m'am?
me: NO!
BNS: can I have your full address m'am?
me: 1234 Filler Rd. Bakersfield, CA
BNS: ok that was 1234 Fioledr Red in Eajespeld, California?
me: um. no. 1-2-3-4 FILLER F as in Frank, I-L-L-E-R. BAKERSFIELD. B as in boy, aaay, kaaay, E-R-S-FIELD
BNS: Ok ma'm so I have your complete address as: 1234 Fioler (I don't even know how he can pronounce that!) Red Bekarsfield California. Is that correct?
me: *head desk* yes.
BNS: Ok m'am I'm going to place you on hold and connect you with a service specialist, ok m'am?
me: no. actually I'll call back when I have more information. Ok? Ok. thanks!
click.

*head desk*

aaaaand....blackout...cue curtain.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Bullying of Phoebe Prince and other nearly tragic tales...

So in case you haven't seen the story, one of the big headlines today is the sentencing of the bullies that led to the suicide of a young woman in Massachusetts.
As I watched the bullies apologize to the dead girl and her surviving mother, I was not moved. The girl cried as she said "I'm sorry Phoebe" blah blah blah. The other bullies had similar statements and sentiments. Really? You're sorry NOW? Well that's handy. Were you sorry or even touched when Phoebe probably begged you with tears to stop bugging her? to stop tormenting her? to stop threatening her? to stop torturing her? Nope. You had no remorse or human feeling at that time. Only now do you get it. Now you have to carry this burden with you forever...that you had a hand in a young woman's death.

This is a topic that is very close to home for me, and one which I have not really spoken on much because its still very painful. In this story about Phoebe, one of the many details is that after Phoebe briefly dated some boy, a group of girls took to harassing her and calling her a whore and a slut. I had a visceral response to this story...

So let's go back about 25 years. Its 1986. Punk is all the rage. Spiked hair of various colors, ripped clothes, skulls, dog collars, and a LOT of black eye liner. On the flip side, Esprit, Converse, Benetton, and The Limited. Guess which side our protagonist falls on? Yes. A young, pretty girl with long, blonde, curly hair. She is somewhat naive. She has been popular with her friends. She enters Junior High to find herself the target of a great deal of undeserved hatred. Her first kiss was in January of 1986; she didn't lose her virginity until several years later so she is innocent and still looking up various sexual terms in the family encyclopedia. She's mostly quiet and unassuming, though outgoing and funny. She's smart. She's cute. She's followed to class. She has headless barbies hung on her locker. She is called whore, slut, dirt bag, skank, stupid, ugly, disgusting. She is followed to school. She is followed home from school. She is cornered, alone, in the park by 3 girls with skull jewelry and spiked dog collars. She is threatened. She is afraid every single day. She asks her friends, those who have not abandoned her for fear of 'guilt by association', to walk her to home room. She dreads every school bell, for when class is over and its time to walk to another class or the lockers, she is vulnerable. Administration does nothing but pat her on the hand and tell her its ok. Her mother is infuriated and reassures her. But she is not comforted, she does not feel safe; She feels totally alone, hated, isolated, humiliated.

She is frequently home alone after school since her mother worked part time during this era.
One day she gets one of the big carving knives out of the kitchen drawer. She puts the tip on her wrist to see what it feels like. She digs it in a little until the skin breaks just a bit. It hurts. For some reason, that hurt feels good. She drags the tip down her wrist a little, not really with any real intention, just ...because...

There is no blood, just a red scrape. More of a scratch or a welt than a cut. She lays the blade against her wrist and imagines slicing it. She finds the courage to move the blade just enough to lift a layer of skin away from her flesh the tiniest bit. There is blood ready to surface. She stops. She puts down the knife and walks away. She is numb.

She finds a large safety pin and repeats this exercise. The sharp tip of the safety pin presses into her arm enough to just barely pass through, and then she drags its along. She continues in this fashion for probably an hour. Her wrist and forearm are a mess...a tangle of scratches and cuts. She applies some medicated ointment and puts on a long sleeved shirt.

When asked about the cuts, she tells people that her cat scratched her. Clearly no one believes her but why would this nerdy, beautiful, honor-student brace-face lie about such a thing? No one really pursues it, including her. The bullying and torment continue, but some where in her, by the Grace of God, she find the courage to stand up to them, little by little.

By today's standards, this story would have ended much differently I'm sure. Because if you stand up to a bully now, it incites them. It enrages them. Because our children are sick. They are broken. Tears mean nothing and strength is viewed as a threat.

If this story took place in the present day, I would not be typing this. I didn't realize I had written that whole account in the third person until just now. Its the only way I can tell it. ...Because its obviously about me.

A year or two into my High School career, my mother purchased a tiny hand gun because my dad traveled on business a good deal and she felt she needed some protection. I remember one day finding it and holding it in my hand. I had no intention for it that day. I just held it, flat in my palm, terrified, and just sobbed. I knew without a doubt that if my mother had owned that gun a year or 2 earlier, I would have used it and tried to kill myself.

To this day, I can clearly see the faces of my bullies. I know their names. Some of them are on facebook. Some of them are friends with people I have been friends with on facebook. But so deep is that hurt that I have unfriended people who are mutual friends of these now inconsequential persons who probably do NOT remember my name, or my face. But I remember theirs...

This story about Phoebe, the Columbine story, all the stories of bullied young teens who hang themselves, shoot themselves, poison themselves...they all hit me in the gut. Whether they were teased for being gay, or popular, or pretty, or ugly, or short, or fat...no matter. It all makes me sick.

We have to teach our children to stand up to this kind of behavior from the get-go. Once bullying gains momentum and courage, there is little to stop it. And we all know that school Administrations do little or nothing except placate angry parents. We have to teach our children how to be strong without stripping them of their humanity, or their innocence. We have to teach them to stand up for not only themselves, but for other kids, who can NOT stand up for themselves. Had ONE person who was friends with my tormentors said to them "dude, chill out and leave her alone, let's go smoke weed in the bathroom, this is lame" it would have halted them. That's all it would have taken. I've seen it happen. Had just one of my friends stepped in and stood by me, that's all I would have needed.

I have tried to teach Cliff that being mean is wrong. He is short so he gets teased about it. I tell him it doesn't matter what they say and I elaborate on all the reasons why he's awesome and why eventually it just doesn't matter. And I also tell him that when he sees other kids being picked on for being different in any way, he needs to either step in, stand up, or tell an adult, pronto. And I am begging school administrators and teachers who read this...step in. over and over and over and over. You can't just step in once. You have to always step in. If bullying meets resistance everywhere it is seen, it will stop. But like water flows, this hatred will flow until it finds a leak in the resistance. And it almost always does. As a society we need to take this much more seriously.

Teach your children empathy, and strength, and courage. Teach them acceptance and tolerance and most of all...love.

All it took was ONE person to tell that aching blonde girl that she had no reason to try to hurt herself. That she was awesome and beautiful and really stupid for listening to stupid jealous bitches. It just took that one person to keep her from trying that ever again.

I have tried to reach him, to contact him, to thank him. But I have been unsuccessful. Its on my bucket list, for sure...

Thank you, Nathan. You'll never know how much you did for me...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where were you when...

I was talking with a friend this morning about the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. My mother called me the morning of 9/11 and told me the news. I was doing my hair. I went to wake up my husband and told him. And at the office we all brought little TVs and were glued to them.

Sunday night my mom called me to tell me about OBL. I then called my husband and told him. Full circle kinda.

(Strangely, the friend I am talking about is my husband, although we are going through a divorce. Thought that was an interesting side note. )

we were talking about where we were when we heard the news of various big things in our lives.

When President Regan was shot, I was in line coming in from recess in the 2nd grade at Nichol's school (where my son went to kindergarten). There was a boy line and a girl line. I think my teacher was Mrs. Thompson. Her reaction is what made the memory stick.

When my elementary school principal committed suicide, while we had been playing Scooby Doo trying to figure out what was going on all morning, it was our 5th grade teacher Mrs. Bond who told us in the early morning hours. She had this odd way of standing with her feet crossed but parallel and her hands in the pockets of her skirt. She had a pot belly and she wore school marm-y clothes with apples and such embroidered on them. She was not a warm person but she cried when she told us, though we could tell how hard she was trying not to cry.

When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded with Christa Mcauliffe on board, I was in 7th grade science class. Of all the classes I could have been in...I was in science class. And we were watching it LIVE. Our teacher, Mr. Freeman, had actually applied for that spot on the space shuttle and he was visibly shaken as he watched her die, along with the rest of the crew. As 7th graders we didn't fully understand how much this shook him, but we all sat in horror and stunned disbelief as the news commentary went from excited to choked up.

When my mom came over to tell me that Paul died, I lived on Christmas Tree Lane and I sat on the mauve couch as she told me the news. I remember nothing else except Henry holding me as I screamed into his shoulder.

I remember when my best friend told me that she was going to have a baby...I was sitting at my desk at Oxy.

I remember when I heard about getting my job at Oxy...one of the best days ever. I had interviewed once or twice and was in Chicago visiting aforementioned best friend (before she got pregnant!) and I stopped at a pay phone in the train station in downtown Chicago to check my answering machine messages (what?!). My answering machine code was 924. I called Judy, the woman who interviewed me from the same pay phone and she made me the offer over the phone. I hung up and we danced around squealing in the train station. That night I had my first shot of tequila ever. :)

I remember where I was when my dad told me my sister had twins...a surprise twin experience as her ultrasound showed only one baby! I was on the payphone at the convenience store near the apartment on Christmas Tree. that store is still there. the pay phone is not. I don't know why I was on a payphone to be honest...weird.

I remember when my mom told me that my cousin was going to have twins. I was standing in my apartment (on Mohawk) living room talking on a land line phone (what is that?) near the little bar that looked through to our kitchen.

I remember the look on the nurse's face when she told us we'd lost our baby. I said "I'm sorry...WHAT?" and she repeated it. And I said again "WHAT?" and she repeated it and touched my leg. And I just looked at her as though she was speaking gibberish and she was the stupidest person on earth. And then I don't remember anything. I was in a daze for about 30 minutes. And then I was a shell for about 4 months.

I remember where I ate lunch the day I was scheduled to pick up our newly adopted dog, Dixie. Bill Lee's Chinese...I was eating with co-workers and I was chomping at the bit to go get that dog.

I remember when Obama was officially elected. Cliffy said I woke him up and made him watch the news for a minute. :) Full circle...

You might be a human if...

I think this woman's voice has pinpointed my conflict, and based on her readers' comments, the conflict of many others. It seems like a no-win. There was no easy answer. But if you felt conflicted hearing the news of Osama Bin Laden's death...relief followed by fear or sadness, followed again by pride, followed by anger...followed by elation, followed by shame...
you might be a human. No matter how you slice it, we are an US. not just the U.S. us. The human race US. And we do nothing but fight with our selves. We are the ultimate schizophrenic.
Deep thoughts for a Tuesday. But ultimately, regardless of your beliefs, we ARE all connected. Whether we all came from the matter of exploding stars, or we were formed by the hands of a loving God, we all have one origin, the same chromosomal definitions. We all bleed, we all breathe, we all experience fear and love, we all love our children, we all eat, sleep, and in some form, we all pray.

Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Surely you know that. I wish we could just love the hell out of bad people...literally.

Love the hell out of some part of your life today. I have my first divorce court appearance tomorrow. I hate that part of my life. I hate the pain and fear I have bathed in until my fingers are wrinkly. I hate that its hurting all of us. But I adamantly believe everything happens for a reason. Cliche, yes. Well kiss my ass. cliches exist for a reason. Because I believe things are unfolding exactly as they should, no matter how much it hurts, I'm going to try to love the parts of myself, and my life, that I don't want to love. I want to hate them. I've been through hell. I'm going to love the hell out of my life...

Monday, May 2, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words





I find this picture particularly uh, disturbing because of the volume of the black smoke. And the fact that both towers are still standing which means there are a lot of people in both towers trying to get out. This is why we hate Osama. Just like Pearl Harbor is why we hated Japan for so long. Just like Hitler is why we distrusted Germany, and fascism, and men with little mustaches, and blind allegiances and...


The USS Arizona should never be forgotten.




The holocaust should never be forgotten.
The events of 9/11/01 should never be forgotten...
and the principals on which the United States of America were founded should not be forgotten.

God is merciful. Justice over evil is satisfying. But hate spreads like wildfire and does nothing but destroy.

Ding Dong the witch is dead!

What a week of headlines. The Royal Wedding, the death of Osama Bin Laden.

I have mixed emotions. I see his death as the harbinger of a new era, I hope. But the "celebrations" of his death seem...well for lack of the proper word...just icky. I think this is a great day for the U.S. It was heartening to see people gathered impromptu in DC and feel that sense of unity and pride that we haven't seen or felt since the days immediately after 9/11. You can't mess with us and get away with it. It may take us a decade to get our shit together but we will find you. The acts of 9/11 were dispicable. It was our duty to kill him. But the wooting and the fist pumping seems...well ICKY. I think it just goes to show that we as Americans are desperate to celebrate something and to feel united!! Obama's speech was beautiful, with an intact Pledge of Allegiance at the end (ONE nation UNDER GOD) and I think his words glued us all together for a few moments. I wish that we could have reacted with more thought. Perhaps with a bit more maturity and somberness. Not that I wish OBL would "rest in peace" but I wish we could have marked this grand accomplishment with our heads bowed in memory not of that hateful man, but of the thousands of people he had a hand in killing. Instead we were rallying and ...I don't know. I get it. I really get it. but its icky.

Then again, in 1945 on May 1st when Hitler's death was announced (weird coincidence huh?) I'm sure there was much rejoicing.

When is it ok to rejoice in the death of a bad person? We didn't defile his body. We buried him at sea quickly as per Muslim "rules". We weren't completely without regard for him as a human, it seems. Is it misplaced for us to celebrate? Not entirely. I just with Americans had more couth.

But then again, we kill each other at baseball games and what not. We're pretty retarded sometimes. As a country we are such a teenager.

but anyway, I am so grateful to our military for their ceaseless efforts. I am grateful to all who had a hand in making this operation to take down Bin Laden a success. cheers to you all!!

This year the anniversary of 9/11 will be just the tiniest bit less bitter. Those lost will not come back, but at least the man who devised their deaths has met his maker and it is God who will judge him accordingly. I don't know what will happen to him. I doubt he'll have...how many virgins? to party with. But I know that I'm relieved that he has been removed from earth and can't kill anymore.

God Bless America...we need it. Now more than ever. Brace yourselves, y'all. Those who hate us do not like seeing us revel in our victory. Airports will still violate us and will are still not safe. But we have won a great victory and we are still a great nation. And we will rise back up and find our greatness again.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A snippet from the Royal Wedding Sermon...

The Sermon from the Royal Wedding was really lovely. I can't stop using that word. Its not a word I normally use and yet, today, I can not stop saying LOVELY. sigh.

Anyway, I am just going to paste this first paragraph and tell you that this resonates so deeply with me. This is why I made some very hard and...um...excruciating choices in the last 2 years. Because I feel that "we" were holding each other back from just this very thing...

Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.


The whole text is here.

The Royal Wedding. Oh I know I know...so cliche!!

Ok I'm going to admit right now, as I drink my sugar free almond rocha mocha, that I am crying watching this damn royal wedding. why?? A week ago I couldn't have given 2 splendas about this event. But my friend over at Middle Aged Diva got me all sucked in!!

I'm watching the replay of it now, as I am not so dedicated as to have watched it live at 3am.
They've just come out onto the balcony to greet the people. First of all, I am impressed and awed by the crowd control. The enormous crowd was so classy and well behaved. There was an arial shot and the sheer number of people was just a little overwhelming. I can't imagine being her and trying to fathom basically the whole world wanting to just get a glimpse of me. The Royal Guard or whoever they are that were handling the massive crowds that poured into the space outside Buckingham Palace were ever so composed and unrattled. The crowd itself was just classy. There was no political nonsense or outbursts. Just excitement.

I asked myself why I am a little misty about this whole thing that I didn't think I cared about. I think its the buried part of me that still believes in fairy tales, in magical love. Do Kate and William stand to make it work? It feels good, doesn't it? She seems more confident than Diana did. I adored Diana, don't get me wrong. But she was so painfully shy, I could see why her role overwhelmed her. And Charles...meh.

Anyway, there is so much excitement around this wedding. The people in the streets, a nation coming together to celebrate something...unlike the US who just fights with itself like siblings in the backseat on a long car ride. Its what it all represents.

here's a few of my favorite moments:

Kate's sister "Pippa" (Phillipa) looked absolutely perfect. This sister moment was lovely. Shout out to my "sisters". Sisterhood is a beautiful thing.



Pippa's dress was just gorgeous.



In other news...the Princesses of York...look like effing comic book characters. They are caricatures of themselves! The word that immediately springs to mind is...HIDEOUS. And they will go down in history for these looks. Girls...seriously?!! You couldn't get some input from someone?? OMG.


"Sis, does this absurd hat make my ass look big?"
"No, but your 80's dress makes your hat look good. I have a headache from this bloody bow on my forehead"
(The Duke of York is thinking "I'm just the dad. No one asked me...")



Prince Harry is the cutest thing ever. And I love this brotherly moment before the ceremony.
They both looked like the definition of dashing, and handsome.


Wow. That's some yellow. The Queen is just an icon. Her purse, her shoes...only the Queen of England could carry off that YELLOW ensemble...well...and the Royal Clergy guy she is greeting.
The Queen is the epitome and grace and class. She is so composed. She is so...Queenly. And yet on the balcony after the ceremony there were little bridesmaids and flower girls flitting about, following great Grandma or whatever she is to them, around as though she had candy in her pockets. She just might...


Perfection.



A lovely shot of her dress. And I love the expressions on both of their faces.



(note the little girl in the bottom left corner. The crowd is loud and she is annoyed. lol)
The crowd was chanting "kiss kiss kiss!" (again) and after some grinning and giggle words exchanged, he kissed her again, and they are both smiling as they kiss. The crowd erupts into cheers again. Everyone loves love!!!! We all hope for it. We all root for it. Its the essence of life....LOVE!

Happy Lovely Friday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Accidental Depth


As much as I love to post a good rant, and a funny anedote or story about my kids, I have been given a reminder in the form of a painful realization. I am not able to post details here, but I am grateful, though heart-wrenched, for the validation. I have moved from a place of confusion, returning to a place of certainty that I haven't seen in awhile. And I grieve in the process. Again. more grief.

I swear I know so many people who celebrate a birthday of a lost loved one, or observe the memorial of a death in April! Its like THE grieving month. April showers bring May flowers...do our tears count too? If so...its going to be a glorious May. I hope it brings great healing and restoration to all of us.

Among the many I have bumped into that seem to be grieving this month, I was linked to this blog by my friend. This story is one that takes courage to read, and an unfathomable amount of courage to write. This blog belongs to a man who nearly lost his wife, and did lose his just-about-to-be-born 2nd daughter. A slip, a fall, a ruptured placenta, a still born, and a wife that nearly bled to death and whose kidneys came *this* close to failing completely. This is grief. wow. I am humbled. I have felt the pain of the loss of a child. I have watched others go through it in varying forms. Its life's greatest pain I think. The courage of this man to write his feelings as he journeys through this process is admirable and beautiful. You have to scroll back several posts to March 24th, the day "it" happened, to read the full story. It is my request that as you read their story you would please pray for them to be comforted and healed, That seems an impossibility doesn't it? But I know its possible. For one I have experienced it. Even in the midst of horrible pain, a glimmer of light and hope can do wonders for the human spirit. Its those little tiny droplets of relief that combine to form a glorious drink of love down the road. Look at Tobin and Joanne, a couple I posted about a couple months ago. She was 37 when she had a debilitating stroke. She is tweeting and blogging and making great progress and THEY have felt the droplets of hope in their lives. What a difficult time, and so many people have been moved by reading their experience. This couple, Kari and Josh...their pain must be so very great that it hurts me to conceive of it. But I'm hoping that our prayers will bring them droplets of hope and peace...

I hope this is the last somber entry in this blog for some time. I hope to be funny and anecdotal and swearing about minutia again very soon.

Blessings,

The Diva

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grief

The last few days I've been trying to put my finger on exactly why Inky's disappearance and assumed passing are weighing me down so much. First of all, the lack of closure, cliche as that sounds, is difficult. I really truly believe that he got out to go find a lovely bush somewhere to die. In 17 years he has never even really tried to get out, much less succeeded. And believe me he's had ample opportunity over the years! Its just a gut feeling I have. But despite any certainty or lack thereof, his presumed death has been very difficult. For years I have wondered what this period would be like...when I lost him. 17 years is a very respectable stretch for a cat so I've been gritting my teeth for a few years now...wondering. About 3 years ago I ordered a special urn for him so I could have him cremated. Now I just have things that remind me of him in the urn. Maybe he knew I couldn't afford to have him cremated right now.

In the day after his disappearance, henceforth to be referred to as 'the loss', I heard this little voice in my head. Not one of the amusing ones. One of the little ones I'm supposed to take seriously. It was as though Inky wanted me to know that it was time for him to go because I can do it by myself now. Hell I've had him since I was about 21 or 22...perhaps I am a grown up now and I CAN do it by myself. For one I don't feel grown up, and I also don't WANT to do it by myself. damnit.

Anyway, the conclusion I've come to is that Inky's passing...'the loss'...symbolizes much more than just a dear friend leaving. Its the end of a long chapter of my life. His loss encapsulates the grief of losing my job, my self, my marriage, more jobs, love, dreams unfulfilled, hopes shattered, hearts broken...grief itself.

I have become well acquainted with grief.

As I typed that I was reminded of a verse that is apropos this time of year with Easter coming up this weekend...
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3
I guess no one would know better about grief than Jesus. That was a point I had not intended to throw into this entry. Which brings me to a point...I write for myself (Jennnnaaaaaayyyy). I am honored that anyone reads this and takes anything away from it. I hope that "the book" someday will be able to touch people in a meaningful way. But when I write it, it will be for me, as this blog is. As I'm writing, things have a way of sneaking in. And it is in that way that I know somehow I am being used. That is why I bug you guys to comment...so that my fleshiness can be satisfied that it is useful.

Anyway, I have become quite familiar with grief over the last couple of years. Which is one of the reasons (warning: life story spoiler) that I am seriously considering getting my grief counselor certification. Those whisperings of my calling I referred to back in August of last year and earlier this year...that is a tiny part of it. itty. The whole picture is much odder and Van Gogh-like. I hope to be accomplishing some of it before I let you in on its strange beauty.

But back to my point...it occurred to me that one of the reasons I am having such a hard time with Inky's passing is not just because I loved my pet cat. I did of course. He was my baby kitty. But I have not come home to a home without that cat in it for 17 years!!! That is almost half my life and nearly all of my adult life! I have never lived in a home without him since I left my parents house! No wonder I don't want to be in my apartment. No wonder I don't want to sleep in my bed. I have known that cat longer than I have known my husband. He has been a constant in my life for 17 years! Something that was ALWAYS there no matter what I was going through or what was passing through my life. No wonder my heart hurts. I can still talk to my husband, even though we are separated. Inky was my silent partner. Without his presence in my home, it feels empty. And I can't pick up the phone and talk to him, or even visit a grave.

Closure.

Which brings me to another interesting point. My grief process after Paul's death was similar in some ways. I was wrecked when I learned of Paul's passing. And because of the nature of his death, and that I learned of it a month after the fact, I had no closure in that situation either. There was no obituary for me to read, no grave to visit. Just a fact hanging in the air. Very difficult. It took me years to come to terms with it. When I finally did, I realized that Paul is around me a great deal. Its not something I can explain, or care to. But I feel him around me. I miss him desperately.

Happy Birthday Paul...guess what I got for you? a CAT!!!! a big fat stinky gato! :) You are both very hairy. I suspect Inky will enjoy Bukowski and The Doors.

Love you guys.

Grieving Moi

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rest in love and laughter...






My best friend of 17 years disappeared this weekend...my cat, Inky. I believe he was born in April as he was about 6-8 weeks old when I claimed him as a stray in June. He has been with me through everything. My first apartment, every single relationship I've had since I was 21, every major change, victory, defeat. everything. Always under my feet, under my bed, on my head.


Years ago he ran out of water for a day. so we had a chat. and I said Dude, you gotta tell me these things. I have a baby now and I've got my head up my ass. tell me when you need something, OK?

from that day on, he would follow me around for no apparent reason ONLY if he was out of food or water or his catbox needed attention. he was telling me. as I had asked. He listened to me. He heard and understood me.

Several nights ago he slept by my head purring in my ear and pressing his cold wet nose right into my sleeping ear. I rubbed his neck and pushed him to the foot of the bed. I now believe he was saying goodbye to me that night.

He had been through a lot with me. First I brought a man into my life to stay. then dogs. then babies. then moves. He didn't appreciate the last move and left some scars on my arms. He never was interested in my son, but took a special interest in my baby girl. He always loved her and loved her love.



Sunday morning I realized I had not seen him since Friday. That's not that uncommon since he's 17 years old and mostly sedentary. But Saturday night we had made tri-tip so he should have been out begging like a dog. None of this occurred to me until Sunday. We looked all over the complex.

I remembered about 2 days prior Amanda told me that Inky was outside on the grass. We shooed him inside. I quizzed her about how far away he was etc and she, being 3, just repeated dramatically that "he was out there on the grass!"

I believe that was his first attempt to escape and we thwarted him. I do not know when he actually succeeded, but he did. And he is no where to be found. Having what I believe is a bond with him that only I have, I intuitively believe he has gone off to die. I wanted to be there with him in his death. I have a special made urn for him. But I guess he didn't want to do it that way.

So I'm trying to make peace with this huge absence in my every day life. I wandered aimlessly through my house, crying, and filling his urn with things that remind me of him. I felt lost without him there. I could not even sleep on my own bed.


I am more and more convinced that like many animals, he knew it was his time and wanted to get out and did not want to be found. Or we would have found him. He has a loud odd meow. and he never ventures far from the door. He was strictly an indoor cat. So I hope he really enjoyed his last great sniffing journey and found a place to rest peacefully.

I will miss you forever Inky. Catflaps. Inkidoo. Take the wub, catflaps. We all loved you so very much. come back to me someday, ok?

Stinky Gato...



This week, Wed, April 20, 2011 also marks what would have been the 49th birthday of my dear Paul. My love, Paul, died too soon sometime in 1998 (I think May). It was a monumental struggle with grief and confusion I will never understand. We dated when I was 20. I turned 21 while I was with him, and he was 32. He took me places, he always had 2% milk for me in his fridge, in his "shitty little apartment". he drove me to Disneyland in his "shitty little red car". he had more hair than any one man should. I had to shake out his bathmat and well...it was just so so wrong. He had this crazy wavy brown hair and beautiful brown eyes that smiled even when he didn't. He drank too much and was fond of removing his clothing in public. he liked to cook for me. He would drink wine out of the bottle and make me spaghetti. he reminded me, in those moments, of the Swedish chef on the Muppets, tossing utensils around as he took swigs of wine out of the bottle...crazy hair dancing around on his head and singing some song from an era I couldn't relate to.

He had this amazing contagious laugh. No one ever made me laugh so much. I literally thought he would kill me from laughing. He had the gift of deranged laughter. And once I got laughing he would commentate on my fit as though he was Howard Cosell and I was Marvin Haggler in the ring. "Oh and she's got a snort...right there!" I laughed until I cried. Until I hiccuped without control and cried more. He'd laugh at that too. Then I'd get mad. And he would laugh at me being mad.

Watch out for that bird!!

Stinky gato

just a couple of random phrases that I remember sent me over the edge.

Paul was a free spirit of the greatest kind. No fear, no sense, no inhibitions. Tried to put a rusty hoop earring found on the beach through his barely pierced nipple. Horrified, I removed one from my ear and gave it to him. I think that was our first date.

He brought home cow and coyote skulls he found on his route through the meadows and they frequently had tissue still on or in them. Flies, maggots. he thought it was cool. I instructed him to get a bucket and a gallon of bleach, post haste.

he made the scariest looking woman I ever saw (I am wishing I could find the picture of inky dressed up in a dress when he was a kitten and I'd post the 2 pictures side by side!!)



He loved cats and would have loved Inky.

Paul and Inky, I love you both. I will be thinking of you all week, celebrating your beautiful lives and hoping I get to see you both again. reincarnate or something, eh?
Take care of each other up there, OK, my loves?

I love you, my April Birthday Angels. come play with me.

all my love, always,
Kelly

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Horrible Pulchritude

Pulchritudinous. Perhaps one of the ugliest words I've ever heard. But it means just the opposite.
It means "having great physical beauty".

LOVE.IT.

Today I'm blathering on about contradictions. Self contained contradictions. Dichotomies. The duality of human nature. (heeeehee. there it is again. )

In my high school honors English class, once I tried to write a poem about a girl who was a walking contradiction. I couldn't articulate it. I didn't know myself well enough. I also didn't know I was writing it about myself. Ultimately I scrapped it and wrote a poem about the color blue in the first person. Anyway, I have come to know and love the walking contradiction that is ME.

First of all, I'm a woman. To quote my current Muse, Christina Aguilera from her song "I Am":

I am timid
And I am oversensitive
I am a lioness
I am tired and defensive
You take me in your arms
And I fold into you
I have insecurities
You show me I am beautiful

Love me or leave me just take it or leave it
It's not that I'm needy just need you to see me
Take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

I am temperamental
And I have imperfections
And I am emotional
I am unpredictable
I am naked
I am vulnerable
I am a woman
I am opening up to you

Love me or leave me, just take it or leave it
It's not that I'm needy, just need you to see me
Take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

Now I stand before you with my heart in my hands
I'm asking you to take me just the way that I am

Please lay down your arms
Do you know me?
Make me feel safe from harm

Oh just take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

I am temperamental
And I have imperfections
And I am emotional
There'll be no more pretending

As women, we desperately want to be understood, and yet we do love being mysteries and beautiful enigmas, don't we? We are so strong, and yet we want so badly to be taken care of...and then we rail against the men who try to take care of us with well manicured fists! We want to be admired for our beauty but adored for our minds. Loved roughly. Hated softly. Feared just a little.

I take a sick sense of pride in the fact that no one can quite figure me out, or put their finger on what or who I am. That includes me much of the time. Other times, I see myself pretty clearly, but you kind of have to look at me with only one eye so you can see the 2 halves clearly...

First of all, I am the true cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius.
For those many of you who are not astrology geeks like myself, I'll explain. Each sign of the zodiac is the exact opposite of the sign before an after it. Yin and Yang. So Capricorns are driven and organized and rather OCD and practical and somewhat serious. They like relationships and predictability. They are financially successful and gifted with investments. Aquarians are freewheelers who dislike rules, authority, boundaries, and confinement. They seek to upset things are re-do them. They are chaotic and messy. They are artisic rather than logical. They are funny and sexual and not relationship oriented at all. They detest predictability and boredom.

There I am.

I'll take this a bit further just because I'm amused now.

I'm German and French. Robust and delicate. Brazen and romantic. BRATWURST and BEER! goat cheese and petite syrah.

I'm also Scottish. I'm very proud of my Scottish ancestry and its the one I relate to most. But are there any people more innately confused than the Scots? They have spent must of their history killing other Scots. They eat and are famous for HAGGIS!


And kilts. hello. confused much?

(totally in jest. I love kilts and I adore the bagpipes....they both make me cry. Haggis probably would too. I was going to try it once, plied with much tequila but it turns out the Scottish don't stock much tequila. And I don't like stout. go figure.)

I'm a redhead. You know, YES...I color my hair. BUT, I'm certain that God meant to make me a redhead and some freckled girl jumped in front of me! But my skintone screams redhead. Moreover I colored my hair to match my personality.

Redheads...the most dichotomous creatures ever to grace the surface of the planet. coy. brazen. shy. brave. meek. outspoken. sweet, and yet famous for their tempers.

Furthermore...I am a dancer. Which means I am inherently a klutz. Really. Ask any dancer. We are hopeless without music.

Its really no wonder I'm confused about whether I'm a bad ass or a kitten.

True story...every day of high school, my parents sent me out the door with these words:
Mom said: "give em hell honey!"
Dad said: "Be nice!" (sometimes "Be good").

and ever since then I have been trying to bring hell to earth in the nicest way possible. I try to make chaos as convenient as I can. I fall down gracefully as I deliver you a verbal lashing with hands flying...while I cry.

A volcano and a tornado in one. well, actually... a hurricane. A hurricane with a heart of gold...with matching gold barbs. :)