Like many of you, I went to a party this weekend. Like many of those parties, this party involved a pool, a barbecue, drinks, food and friends. This party was different in only one way…
I knew when the invitation was given, that it would be attended by many women……many gay women. That’s not a big deal to me. I don’t tend to think of people like that. It’s none of my business and besides, people are people, y’know? I mention it only because of where this post is going.
I’ve been to other parties where I only know one or two people. There is usually that initial awkwardness, you know, the one in which you get a feel for the humor (or lack of). The one in which you get to know the boundaries, so that you don’t cross it….
I didn’t need to do that this time.
As soon as I got there, I felt as if I were a long lost friend. My friend Skittles and I were the only two straight women there. We tend to get carried away with our laughter and joking and I was a tad afraid of making an inappropriate joke. I was secretly counting on Skittles to keep me in check. But immediately upon our arrival, the laughs began and they never stopped.
The sun beat down on us and the pool was too inviting. A few girls went in and I joined them. If it were another party, I would have hemmed and hawed. I would have been self-conscious about my ‘bathing suit body’. Not here. If it were another party, I would have been on the look-out for the ‘judges’…..those women who, whether on purpose or not, judge the amount of skin that shows, making judgements that “she’s a whore” or “she’s a prude”. Those women who watch every person you talk to and make judgements that perhaps “she’s flirting with my man” when in reality you are discussing sports. Those women who mentally tally up how long you have known the hostess to assure themselves that they are “better friends” with her.
Like I said…if it were another party.
All of these things were a non-issue. They didn’t worry about their bodies and by extension, neither did I. We discussed all kinds of things. I spoke to the significant others and didn’t feel like I had to time the conversation out of fear of what their mate would think. We put sunscreen on each other. You know how touching a man always seem to skew into a ‘sexy touch’? Not here. It was simply women making sure no one got sunburned.
I relaxed….truly relaxed. This was so incredibly different. Even with family, I am tense. I worry that I will say or do something to earn Mom’s disapproval, or I will hurt my sister’s feelings. I feel the judgement – even after thirty years of marriage – of my sisters-in-law. Even with some friends, I feel like my house, hostess skills or cooking doesn’t measure up.
These women accepted me for who I am, and I felt the love.
And then I felt the heartache of knowing that they could be themselves…..but only among others of the same mindset. They discussed how hard it is to find a club that is ‘gay-friendly’. How hard it must be to have to plan a get-together based on where they will feel ‘welcomed’! It made me sad to know that so many people will never know these wonderful, smart, funny women because they can’t set aside the issue of sexual orientation. It made me sad to know that they will go to other parties and be the ones who are judged.
Getting ready for Graduation-pictures, party and the arrival of family-is a huge undertaking.
When Son1 graduated, we weren’t so rushed. He wanted to wait for his party until the very end of June, because he was leaving for the Army. We chose a date midway and held a ‘graduation/going away’ party. Family was all there, but nearly all of his cousins were younger than he was. None was married or had any kids.
When Son2 graduated, we had a Party. (Notice the ‘capital P’) We had doubts that he would finish school at all so it truly was a celebration. By that time, the oldest of the cousins were beginning to have families of their own. Our house was full, but we were blessed with gorgeous weather. We prepared by clearing some bushes that were lining the back yard. The house was cleaned from top to bottom. I still watched kids in the daytime so the house cleaning was a massive undertaking.
Now that Babygirl is graduating, Hubs has finally moved his ass on getting rid of the dead hedges from the front of the house. I am repainting the bathroom (slowly but surely!) And the house cleaning? I have taken a room a day and I am very happy with my efforts. I have gotten rid of things that I had previously just pushed aside. I started things early enough that I can work, take a day off, work some more, take another day off, etc. This is the way my life should have been for a long time.
The odd thing is that I have energy. Normally, I would get up in the morning, have some coffee and lay in bed to watch two hours of “Reba”. Then I’d get in the shower and procrastinate on whatever job I had planned for the day. When all was said and done, my house looked the same when I went to bed at night.
For some reason, now I get up and have coffee- no “Reba” or “Frazier”. I skip the shower, jump into clothes and begin my day. The washer churns with laundry and curtains. The dishwasher is running full. The vacuum is running and all day, I run up and down the basement stairs, switching out the washer and dryer or just putting away boxes of stuff pulled out of closets.
By the time I begin to get tired, my back is telling me to quit. Two ibuprophen and a hot shower later, I am good as new. Dinner is done and look around my house with satisfaction.
But the question still remains: Where did the energy come from? I didn’t have nearly as much when I prepped for Christmas. Sometimes I think that the day after the party, I will crash….hard.
Well, until that day comes, I’ll just enjoy my days full of honest, hard work. I’ll relish my day off in between, when I just watch movies or read a book.
And maybe I’ll do more writing…….
The “20 Questions” Bitch
I’m sorry if you think I was rude. I was sweating my ass off in the sun. I was picking up grass divots while you stood there asking me if “it’s a hot job?” You may be a professor of Criminal Justice, but you are as stupid as a rock. I tried to be polite….really I did. I just didn’t feel the need to tell you how hard Hubby and I were working when it was obvious that we were soaked with sweat. It was obvious from the shovels and the bags of mulch.
I also tried to be nice to your kids, who kept coming over to ask why we were digging in the dirt, where is my dog, did I squirt Hubby with the hose (Is that how he got wet?) They are kids and I really couldn’t tell them to go the fuck away. Besides, how could they know any better when their mother was the one who started the game “20 Questions”?
When you finally went away, I could still hear your whiny, nasal voice cajoling your kids into behaving. “Wanna go in the house? Wanna put on your bathing suit? Why don’t we go get your bathing suit? If we do, you can play in the pool. Do you wanna do that?” WTF? You say, “Get in the house and get your bathing suit so we can swim. No? Fine, get in the house and take a nap!” How could you let them walk all over you like that? Why let them get into the pool with their clothes on? You’re a spineless jelly-fish.
Your spiel never let up. “Here’s the rules! Here’s the rules!” and then “Take turns or else! One…..Two……Eric, take turns now! One…..Two…..” THE NEXT ONE IS FUCKING THREE!!!! Now smack his ass and take him into the house, for Chrissake!!!!
Every day we are out there and every day you say, “I should borrow your husband to do my yard” No, bitch. You have the asshole landscapers who mow your lawns at 8am on a Sunday morning. They are the shitheads who blow all the leaves from your property onto my lawn, which gets cleaned up BY ME!
Don’t you dare ever ask me why the neighbors are so ‘standoffish’ I may have to tell the truth and tell you that it’s all you baby!!
You know that saying, “Good fences make good neighbors”? I wish I could build a fucking brick wall.
Not So Cordially,
Alone and Quiet
Finn asked, “What do you think about when you’re alone and it’s quiet?’
Okay so, I was sitting here last night. I had taken off my headphones because I wasn’t finding music that matched my mood. Hubs had gone to bed hours before and the kids were also in their beds. Stupid Me had decided to have not one, but two, cups of French Vanilla coffee after dinner and it looked like I was up for a while.
At one point I looked at the clock. It was midnight. My mind was just….buzzing. I don’t know what you would call it, but that’s it. No words, no full thoughts, nothing but static. I wanted to write. If I could just find a topic, somewhere to focus that mental energy, I would be fine.
Nothing. And so I asked my questions.
This morning, I sat to answer them. The television is off and I am alone. All I can hear is the songs of birds and an occasional car going by. Some of the things on my mind are fairly normal…..What to have for dinner? What is the dog chewing on? Where is my other shoe? Where can I find a Bunny for Grant?
But I also noticed something else.
There are alot of ‘shoulds’.
I should do laundry. I should mail those invitations. I should exercise. I should get rid of that chair.
So I turned them off and changed to “I wish”
I wish I could travel more. I wish I had some skills that I could use for employment. I wish I could see my friends more. I wish I had something to do this weekend. I wish Hubs would quit smoking (more than anything in the world.) I wish I could punch Grant in the junk so he’d focus on something other than ‘bunnies’. I wish I wasn’t so lazy.
Well, I can’t change alot of those things overnight, but I can do two of them today.
I’ll call my friends and see if we can do something together this weekend.
Who has a question?
What do you want to know?
Where can I find inspiration?
When will I have something worth posting?
How long will I be barren?
Who Has An Eye For Color?
See that hot mess above? That is one wall in my bathroom. I am planning on stripping off all that nasty wallpaper and painting what I find underneath. The problem is the tile. I hate those colors, but I shouldn’t complain. My parents and Son1 both have pink and black *shudder*. I’d hate to deal with that!!
This is where you can help me. I am not blessed with an eye toward decorating or color ‘match’ . So I am looking for suggestions. I am not even going to try wallpaper. I don’t have the time or money. I just want to paint before the graduation.
I don’t even know what you would call that….Peach and Beige? I guess that’s about right. And the floor is the same two shades. *Gag!* The opposite wall is this one:
Nice bright shiny white. That will stay. There are lots of trees, and that means that even though there is a window, shade will dominate, so I don’t want to go too dark.
So there you have it. Any suggestions? Anyone?……Anyone?……Beuhler?…….
I walked for three days in a row. That isn’t a big deal, really. Once or twice a week, I manage to do beginner’s pilates. Basically, it is lots of stretching. Two or three times a month, I throw in a shot at the treadmill. This is not a lot of exercise and it looks like even less when I see it printed out in front of my eyes likes this.
When I do the pilates, I feel great. Even the stiffness is good because I feel like I accomplished something. But then, Hubs has a day or two at home and I cannot do it. I cannot roll around on the floor without the comments like “Oh yeah, baby! It looks good from here!” or “See? I knew you could bend like that!” It makes me laugh, and then I lose my concentration, and then I feel self-concious. I ask him to stop and I can see that I’ve hurt his feelings. “I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the way you look.” or “I’m just trying to encourage you.” There is a better way to do that, but coming from him, it would sound fake, forced.
Walking – on the treadmill, or on the street – makes me sweat. I hate the feeling of sweat but I have learned to tolerate it. Walking also gives me different pains. An ache in the hip, a pinch in the back, and then my shins. It makes me stop because the hip pain makes sleep difficult. The back pain could escalate into months of shit. The shins? Well….
I’ve mentioned it to my doctor. He tells me to be sure to stretch. Take some ibuprophen. I have done that and still the ache. I last walked on Thursday and even now, on Saturday I can feel the pain. It is almost like a constant leg cramp. If I walk it out, it gets worse or it spreads to my ankles. Is it shin splints? I think so, but I still don’t know what to do about it.
I feel so weak. Why don’t I have the fortitude to go on? As a kid, and even as a young adult, I played hard. I played softball, ran track, walked for miles. I moved from a town that used to laugh at walkers and joggers to a town where they are a constant presence- rain or shine. I now have a dog for company. Why can’t I get motivated? Why can’t I get past the fear of pain? I know that exercising can help get rid of so many of my problems and yet, just the thought cripples me. I think of the people I know who lost weight due to heart problems, the people who soldier on through chemo treatments, the people who have been through physical therapy to learn to move all over again. And then I feel ashamed of my weakness.
I need a partner. I have no problem doing anything – exercise, walking, dieting- with a partner. I’ve asked a few friends and it just hasn’t worked out. A gym is not an option.
How do I get motivated? I can think of a million reasons why I can’t exercise today. And I can also think of a million reasons why I should get off my ass. How do I get rid of this defeatist attitude?
3D Job Walk
I’ll keep it short and sweet:
ONE: I went out with a friend on Saturday night. We saw “Clash of the Titans” and had some good food and even better conversation. Even though I had heard less than glowing reviews of the movie, I enjoyed it alot. This time, I managed to remember my earplugs. I heard the entire movie and avoided a nasty headache. Bonus!
TWO: I have a ‘mini job’. Just before Christmas, I had taken a little girl, Mackenzie, to school and picked her up afterwards. Well, now because of new ‘custody arrangements’ , her mom is needing me every day. I take her to school, get her afterward, and keep her for a few hours. This is a good thing because it brings in a few extra bucks….and who doesn’t like that?
THREE: I took my dog for the first ‘long walk’ since I finished having my back procedures. I walked for about half a mile before turning around to start going home. I will say that I am very happy that I was able to do that without aching, crying or whining. I wish I could say the same about my lazy sweet fatass doggy. Halfway through the walk home, he decided to sit down for a bit and then tried to get me to pick him up and carry him. No way! If I am going to walk away my fat ass and flabby thighs, then he will too!
So, that’s it. Not a whole lot new. Just enough to keep me on my toes. I’ll probably have a bit more in the days to come (Mackenzie is a little spitfire!)
Oh yeah…..one more thing…..
“Alice in Wonderland” was a high grossing movie. Now “Clash of the Titans” is also making tons of moolah. Well, of course they are making lots of money! I had the option of seeing COTT in regular or 3D. The difference? The 3D ticket cost almost double!! Worth it? To me it was, but do they make adjustments for that when they announce that a movie is a high grosser? I don’t know. I just wondered……
It Was Avoidable
This morning around 10 am, two teenaged girls were hit by a train and killed. The suffering of their parents, I can’t even begin to imagine.
I mention this because both of the girls went to school with my niece. They were killed less than half a block away from her home….a home which also faces the tracks.
Every day in school, their absence will be felt by their friends. Their desks will be empty as well as their spots at the lunch table. Their friends will walk past their lockers expecting to see their faces or hear their laughter. They will walk past “that place” and always remember what happened there.
I know. I lost a friend at the same age. He slipped on wet leaves and fell under a trolley. To this day, when I pass that trolley stop, I say a prayer for him because I remember that tragic day.
For me, his death made me more aware of standing back away from the edge of the platform. I learned to respect the rolling steel box that took us to and from school every day. I tried to impart this lesson to my own kids. They also walked along the trolley tracks and sometimes the train tracks. I would beg them to stay away. When I caught them, they were grounded, but they continued to walk the tracks with their friends. They thought I didn’t know, but they were “immortal” teenagers.
This is not the first time that a train has taken such young lives. Each of my sons lost a classmate in this way. No matter that Amtrak places fences along the rails. Kids will find a way to take a shortcut. Such a steep price to pay for saving a few seconds.
I don’t understand why we can’t learn from these tragedies. I mean ‘we’ as in ‘humans’. Living in an area close to two major train lines, I hear these stories more than once or twice a year. It is not only children who cross where they shouldn’t. It isn’t only teenagers who take a shortcut when they are out walking. Adults are guilty of this behavior also.
I’ll prayer for these girls and their families. I’ll pray for my niece and all of her friends.
And I’ll pray that someday, maybe someday soon, the message will sink in…..Keep off the tracks.
Peace and Happiness
Peace – that was the other name for home. ~Kathleen Norris
My friend Hilly has returned to California after trying to live in Florida. It seems that Florida is just not where her heart is happiest. Yes, she has her very best friends there and she is definitely surrounded by unconditional love, and yet….something was missing. And so, she went back to California, a place that gives her both happiness and peace.
I have read the posts that she had written about her inner struggles with this choice. I have read what her friends think about this subject and it has led me to wonder…..Where is your heart happy?
I know that we are all going to say, “I am happy with my family/pets/children” But on that spiritual level, what gives you peace?
My soul, for some reason is unbelievably peaceful in the historic district of Philadelphia. I don’t why this is. I can stroll the streets, visit museums, see the birthplace of America and I am perfectly content.I feel an unexplainable connection. I don’t need anyone to be with me when I am there. I just….am.
I am also very happy to be on a beach. All the troubles that I may feel, all the worries that may be in my head, are washed away – even for a moment or two – by the constant ebb and flow of the tide. My mind can go absolutely blank as I drink in the vastness of the ocean. On a cold winter’s day, I can feel the wind whip a frigid mist that will spray me. On a hot summer’s day, I feel the sun shine on me. And both times, I will be happy and at peace with the world.
Where is your home?
The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there. ~Ellie Rodriguez