Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Finding Grace in love, life, and letting go.

Face down on my bed, crying and holding my hand was my "little sister friend".

Because where else do you turn when your hearts so sad? Her little old black cat had died suddenly

and unexpectedly.

People who have never fallen in love with animals will not understand, but I did. They are so much a

part of your every moment life that when they are not in it anymore it leaves a gaping hole.

Her cat had funny quirks like "guarding" the backyard chasing off any interloper. She would sit by

the front door greeting you when you came on the porch so you automatically look to her spot. The

spot which was now empty.

I sat quietly and patted her back. I was searching for the words to say to comfort her.

"I know Margie, that you feel so sad. That you are going to miss her forever. That when you look for

her it will hurt, that when its night and you roll over and reach to pet her half asleep and realize she's

gone your heart will ache like its been poked with a stick. You are going to cry over things like

finding a toy under the bed, all the funny things she did you remember and how important she was

and its a big loss not having her right here. But animals just don't live like people do. You know we

are lucky to have them as long as we do, we can feed them the best food, take them for all the vet

visits, watch over them protect them, give them the best of all we have in the way of love and care.

But we have no control over how long they will be here. They are only borrowed really. They don't

actually belong to us. You know you loved her and gave her affection and food, and a safe place to

live. She was not scared to go. She shut her eyes and let go. And left you with sweet sweet memories.

And today it feels like you just want to crawl up in a ball and cry forever. It will be awhile, but one

day you will be able to get up, and it will hurt a little less. I promise."

And then I laid down on the bed and held her hand. Because thats what you do when your the big


Loving animals is a risk. Because they love us in a way that human beings never will. They really

don't care what time it is, they will get up when you do, eat what you do, live where you live, and

never complain.

They will lay all day with you when you are sick.

They will be clowns to hear you laugh.

They will always be glad to see you.

Dogs will guard you from everything no matter if they only

weigh 10 pounds like my Yorkie, or are 15 years old grey

faced and stiff like my old girl Cali. I have no doubt that my

dogs would fight til they could not move to protect us.

They even love us when we are at our rock bottom absolute

worse selves, not even our mothers would claim us us, but

there they are ready to give us affection anyway.

And here I am looking at my Cali cattle dog. Where she used to be marked with tan its now all white

especially her muzzle.

She is stiff when she gets up, and took a fall today when she tried to run towards the fence so I am

even more aware of her slowing down and limited movement. She does not chase a ball anymore or

chew endlessly on her kong like she used to.

And I know these are all part of the aging process for her. It hurts me to see them, but Im watchful so

I can keep her comfortable and happy.

She is changing but this does not make her less than.

She has a favorite spot in the kitchen where the sun shines and thats where she loves to lay and sleep.

She plays with Robyn and the cat poking them with her nose til they run under the bench in the

living room where she can't poke them anymore. She still hits high alert when the post man comes.

She ran after a toy yesterday and threw it around after I tossed it to her. She is the bad manners

beggar at dinner time and will steal your food if your not paying attention. She has a endless love

leak that only can be filled with belly rubs, pets, scratches and staring up at you with her ears

tucked back and those soulful brown eyes telling you all the things in her heart.

This is the grace in the process.

I know the time will come when I will have to make the choice to to let her go as peacefully as possible.

 I will not prolong her life if it means she has to live without dignity.

I know she will let me know when its time.

And together we will take that last step and I will hold tight to the lessons of grace and letting go.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

We all have a story the last year of Listen To Your Mother OKC

The last couple of years I have learned so much that I thought I knew.

I mean INTELLECTUALLY I know things. But without the experience of  the situation I don't.

I THOUGHT I knew about parenting. Love, food, shelter, clean diapers.

I'd had a parent. I knew what I was and wasn't going to do.

But then at the age of 39 ALMOST 40 I was handed this ball of wiggling sweet humanity

and realized I KNOW NOTHING.

Some basics but Lord what a learning curve it was!

I THOUGHT I  knew about being strong. But when Conor started public school and I had to go in

5 times that  first year to the principal about the teacher I knew I was not an expert.

I THOUGHT I knew about how to take care of them when they are hurt or sick.

But sometimes you have to call and ask for help, how do you keep a barfing baby hydrated, or

do you get a bandage off of a sunburn.

THOUGHT I knew how to let him go. To let him ride his bike to the store,  to let him go

on a ski trip with his friends, to give him the keys to my car.

But oh boy its SO NOT EASY!

We are all surviving

He's a big ole 16 year old now. Intelligent, growing, full of a passion for politics and rock music.

But the common thread here is that all the help I got was from others sharing their stories

with me.

Through it all I heard, this happened to me and here is what I did.

I heard about that let me tell you.

We help each other with our stories. We all have one.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Caught between a rock and and a hard place.

Ever since I was little I have always been a peacemaker.

A go along-get along-helper-pleaser- do the right thing even when nobody is watching- loyal as your

best dog or the side kick in a buddy movie- love my friends to the bitter end.

Need someones shoulder to cry on, I got the kleenex.

Need someone to help you move, I brought the boxes.

Need a good laugh, I got a million jokes.

I opened my door, my couch, my fridge, the car door,  my wallet, and my heart.

Over and over again.

And it felt good. It felt good to help people.I wanted to help everyone.

 One of the girls I worked with asked me to help her one day in the bathroom because she needed to

change a bandage where she had fallen.

When she pulled open her smock she had bruises all over.  She was in a abusive relationship.

I was horrified. I said "OH MY GOD if you need help if you need a place to go I will let you stay

with me. So she did. She came with garbage bags of clothes and papers and a blow up mattress.

But you know the story don't you? She started talking to him again and then just went back.

Just left all of her stuff and wouldn't call me back about getting her things.

I had her stuff at my house for 6 months when I finally threw away everything but her clothes.

But you know what happened. Murphys Law.

She called and came to get her clothes.

And was  furious didnt have all her other things.  Thought I was hiding them.

I explained I just didnt have anywhere to keep ALL OF IT in a two room duplex.

So she had her husband call and threaten to beat the hell out of me if I didnt give her her stuff back.

But this is where it gets good.

He left the message on my answering machine. (  I am not making this up, DUMB.)

So I called my next door neighbor who worked construction and he and Larry changed out all the

locks on my front and back door.

Then I called the police and a officer came over and with Larry holding my hand while I shook

all over like a tree in a high wind I told him everything. He listened to the tape and then he

called the number. He spoke to the guy who of course denied that it was him it was "his friend".

The officer then explained for him to "share" the message that he would be looking for him and

if he found him anywhere near my house or work he had his name and would arrest him.

Then after that happened the officer had a talk with me.

He said, "There are ways to help people. But you have to stop and think about the best way to do it.

You gotta throw a ring to someone drowning or they will drown you too. You gotta put your own

mask on in the plane to help others. We can all be the good guy. But you need to stop and think

about how to do it you get what I'm saying?"

I think about that policeman often and how he understood I wanted to help.

There are many resources out there to help people, to help women.

Start here.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Great Purge

I watched the show hoarders when it first came out and I decided I needed to purge my house

OFTEN. I'd like to say its a system but really what happens is when I can't shut my pajama drawer,

and I have clothes  in my closet from the 80s I sigh and come to the realization that no, I'll

never wear that again and out it goes. I even got rid of my wedding dress.

 I always donate all clothes to Heart and Hand Thrift because they will actually GIVE stuff to needy

folks instead of charging them for it and with enough notice they will even come pick things up!

One of my rules is anything stained or worn out or yukky goes straight in the trash.

Seriously nobody wants that white shirt with the coffee stain on the boob that won't come out even

if it IS Donna Karan. I don't even want it why would I give that away? Even the dog wont wear it.

I am embarrassed to say I have given away clothes with the labels still on them because I JUST

KNEW I was going to wear that blue and green striped dress/cover up with the glow in the dark

sequined light up palm trees to a pool party someday, there I'd sit with my impeccably self tanned (

cause brown fats better than white fat ya know) legs crossed my hair slicked into a chic messy braid

with fabulous earrings, sandals, a umbrella cocktail in my hand at someones fancy night time pool


Or I just knew I was going to lose 20 pounds and be able to fit into those cute jeans with the jeweled

trim that I bought because they were on sale and I fit into them for five minutes last year after the

stomach flu. Nope. Some people say oh but they are GREAT MOTIVATORS to lose some lbs. Not

for me. I just open the door and they are a sparkly butt reminder of how a year later I STILL haven't

lost enough to get them back on. OUT THEY GO! They will delight some other big butted gal who

likes sparkly shit on her voluptuous rear.

So I kind of get a little crazy this year because we have accumulated so many Christmas decorations.

My friend who just moved in with her boyfriend awhile back and had a baby told me she does not

have much in the way of Christmas stuff so I said "Hey I will give you some stuff to use next year!"

I'm thinking I will have a chance to clean out and organize all the decor and put it into

tubs with labels so I at least have some idea where things are for next year. I tell Larry yesterday

when he gets home to please take Conor and go to the attic and put ALL THE CHRISTMAS stuff in

the dining room so I can work on it. He says "All of it? Are you sure?' I'm all "Did I stutter yes all of

it do it now before it gets too dark and you can't see anything." ( our attic light is not working that's

another fix it project) so up he goes. Here's what I hear,

Larry: Come on Conor Mom wants all the Christmas stuff outta the attic.

Conor: What? You mean all the stuff I just put up there two weeks ago?

Larry: Yes and all the other stuff too.

Conor: NO WHY?!

Larry: (In what sounds like a Scottish accent) BECAUSE SHAY SAYED SUE DEW EAT NAOW.

Conor: Oh my GOD.  I could hear his eyes rolling from downstairs.

But they do.

All to the first floor in the dining room.

I went in there this AM and saw all the boxes and tubs and table full of stuff.

I turned around and went straight to the kitchen where I wiped down all the cabinets, cooked myself

breakfast, did all the dishes, folded three baskets of laundry, rearranged the plasticware and put all

lids on, paid the bills online, wrote two letters, did more laundry, looked at facebook, made the bed,

scrubbed all three toilets, ate lunch, did more dishes.

Larry came home for lunch.

We talked about the project.

He says "Are you scared?" I'm like "ARE YOU KIDDING HAVE YOU SEEN IT IN THERE?" He

laughs and says "I was scared when I started the wall plaster repair project upstairs but its almost

finished." I said "I'm going to work on it a little at a time." Its the process. The process is what I'm

scared of.

I will go in with a timer. I will work for thirty minutes at least. I will do it every day. But today I'm

just going to pretend like we don't even have a dining room.

Dammit wheres the timer!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cause Moms need other Moms

Yesterday night ( as my son used to call it) was pretty wild. I broke from my norm of dance off with my pillow and blanky by ten o " clock,  do you know where your children are to go party at my friends house.

I got there and was met at the door by MC ponytail mom, Boom Boom blanket boy, and DJ fat black cat. The chef of the evening was preparing a buffet to die for of Chicken in the round, Bacon and cheese encrusted Pomme De Terre, Steak Hache, boheme of Hummus and crudites, and a delightful cocktail with lime.

Seriously I can make it all sound pretty fancy. it was actually chicken nuggets, potato skins, hamburgers and hummus with carrots and Lime a Rita.

I thanked Chef for dinner and he said "Well it wasn't much and I said "Well I didn't have to cook or clean up which makes it really awesome!"

 Boom Boom blanket boy got upset with his mom because she told him no more video games ( good for you mom), and stuck with her guns when he went through the 5 stages of loss and grief.

Denial- "No Mom I need to play just one more level."

Bargaining- "Mom five more minutes, OK five more seconds, one more level, please please please?"

 Anger-  "MOM your breaking my heart."

 *This bitty kid reminds me of my 16 year old who does the EXACT SAME THING,  you guys I may have crumpled on that one. I did feel really sorry for his mom who had a look on her face that said, "I'm tired and your hurting my feelings." Even though she didn't even know she had it.

Depression consisted of groaning, growling, and laying under his blanket when his Dad came over and squashed him into a baby ball until he started laughing.

Ponytail Mom and I  went back to the bedroom where she was sorting through her clothes for summer storage, donations to Suited for Success or Goodwill.

It only looked like a closet intervention.

We covered everything from "How old is too old to make a big career change" * never if you can.

"Who used to be married to who and what happened", * it was a long time ago and everyone is  happy now.

"Why its important for kids to see Moms have happiness and prosperity in their job" *Because if you are going to work do something you enjoy and make money.

 AND "Whats the difference between a Tunic and a Dress"  Apparently 40% off in the store.

All the while I was thinking about hard it is sometimes when your kids say stuff that hurts your feelings even when they are still in footie Jammie's like blanket boy, words hurt. Even though your the grown up, even though you know better,  even with all that...Some days its harder than others.

 So I took a deep breath and told her "You deserve respect. He hurt your feelings and he should apologize, he can't do better if he doesn't know." She said "I know,  I will tell him." And I put my arms around her and I said "I know he's your baby and you love him, but your MY BABY."

Because sometimes it just comes to the point where mothers have to mother each other.

 Because we all second guess ourselves, we are all wondering,

 "How much is acting out because they are tired or hungry or just being a pain in the ass."

"Am I the only one who feels this way?"

"I wouldn't change being a Mom but Damn I AM TIE RED and this shits hard."

"I need a hug because I just do."

Later blanket boy did come in. My friend got down in the floor with him and they talked and he apologized and kissed her and talked about S'mores, and wheres my shoes, and I love you.

And I looked at her and thought "I'm really proud of you good job Mom, good job."

Monday, January 4, 2016

Trial By Fire

It has been awhile since I visited with you all.  The last 4 months have been a blur of settling my Dads affairs ( hopefully fingers crossed nothing comes out of the woodwork), getting Conor settled into his Freshman year of High School ( Dear God where did the time go?), working at the Spa ( busy is ALWAYS good), and trying to get my house in order.

I was struggling for awhile. I quit working out,  I gained weight, I didn't eat as well as I should, and I just felt so overwhelmed with anxiety and FEAR.

I put on a good front. A busy front. A happy, laughing, smiling front.

But it seemed like as time went on I was petrified that something else was going to happen and I would fall apart. Just fall apart like a old crumbly wall.

And stuff did happen. Big stuff. Stress full grown up you have to adult stuff. Oh I had the fear in my head for sure. IN mY HEAD. And I was listening to those dastardly inner voices  "You will not be able to handle it." Things are not going to come together like you need them to." And worst of all, "You will fail."

But the day I had to go to Conor's school for a meeting with his teachers about his 504 plan I went in looked in the mirror and said "This is your kid YOU are his advocate, you will just keep insisting until it gets done." So I did. PPPPPPPPPPoker face poker face as Lady Gaga says. I just kept saying over and over what he needed like a robot. or the Charlie Brown teacher. Of course we have to stay on top of it to make sure things are getting done. But that dragon was managed...

Then we had something happen and really really needed to buy a car. I had never had a big purchase in my name. EVER. Terrifying. How will I know what to buy, what if I get a lemon, what if I can't get financed? Then the Credit union has all these hoops I had to jump through. Bring in these papers, send us this and this and this. GAH. So I get preapproved go to buy the car and its more than my loan. SO more finagling. I was sitting there second guessing myself the entire time. Prepared to have to do the walk of shame because I had not figured in the extra expenses. But as I sat there I thought , "Whats the worst thing, you don't get the car and so what?  You get a different one later."
The sales rep called the credit union and pulled some strings and got the extra expenses covered.
Dragon managed.

So that night I sit watching Game of Thrones. My favorite Khaleesi is in a pickle. Surrounded on all sides by destruction. No way out, fear all over her face. But then out of the blue, her wildest scariest Dragon swoops over, the one you don't know if its going to love you or eat you.  The one she failed to train and make bend to her will. It comes swooping down, gets beaten up, but flies her off into the sky.

That's what my life lessons the last year have been like. Frightening, terrifying, heart breaking, amazing, no knowing whats going to happen, hanging on by the fingernails and then getting caught up, looking down, getting some perspective, feeling the fear, embracing it, letting it be. Learning.

Always Always learning.

Here's to riding the Dragon.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Lamb Fries and Bittersweet Goodbyes 

Fourth of July weekend I took my 15 year old son to San Jose to see my Dad in the Nursing Home where he lived. My father Darrel managed to sit up in his wheelchair two days in a row, frail, hooked to the ventilator, unable to speak but able to write. We had two good days and the last day before home he was sick and so we sat by his bed in that hot little room holding hands and saying everything we had to say, knowing it was the last time we would see each other. On July 23rd my Father passed away from a severe infection. 

I heard someplace that grief is just love squaring off against its lifelong enemy which is death. And love is always up to the job. The rituals of life and death and love always involve food. All my Dads friends had a big party at Smittys bar in Sausalito where he had worked most of his adult life as a bartender. Lots of stories and laughter and tears like a family reunion. And tables and tables of food. All were welcome, even a scruffy little skateboarder hanging outside the bar got fed and more food sent home with him. My husband Larry and son Conor and I were not able to go. But we decided to have our own walk down memory lane and celebrate by going to all of my dads favorite places he loved when he'd come to visit.  SO we started our own food tour.

First stop was a Friday night at La Catrina a great Mexican Place where we had Beans and rice, tacos and enchiladas, tamales, Jalapeno relish, handmade flour tortillas and Mexican Coke.  Once we took my Dad to a brand new hipster  mexican fusion place on one visit. That night after we got home Conor who was a little guy, threw up EVERYTHING he had eaten in his bed and on himself. Larry cleaned the bed up and as Dad held him under the armpits dangled over the tub and I sprayed him off with the shower attachent my Dad says, "Mmmhmm thats why I always stick with the peasant food. You know what I mean, beans, rice, tamales... That fancy mexican
stuff you can keep it. I want a plate of south side workin mans mexican food. I mean the kind where you point to the menu cause you dont know how to say it."

The next Sunday we got up early and went to The Classen Grill. It was fried eggs, home fries, biscuits and gravy and chicken fried steak. My Dad swore he could not get a decent Chicken Fried Steak except here. We actually lived for a long time really close to this place, within walking distance. My Dad loved having his own time with Conor so when he'd visit we would go to work and leave the two of them home. One morning they went for there for breakfast and for lunch too. When they got back Dad got locked out, the alarm was going off, the police came, and somehow between him and four year old Conor they convinced the alarm company and the police they were not burglarizing the house just trying to get in for nap time. Dad told Conor, "We don't need to tell your folks about all this OK? Especially going to Classen Grill twice in one day. Your Mom will yell at me about eating fried stuff all day." Conor didnt tell. He didn't tell until that morning when we were having our food tour breakfast.
That kid keeps a secret better than his ole mom ever could.

On Monday it was Bedlam Barbecue where we had ribs, cowboy beans, potato salad, and laughing. We laughed about how every time we came something happened like one time the woodsmoke was so strong even the Iced Tea tasted like it. Dad said they did have BBQ in California but you had to drive all the way to Oakland, not only was it an hour away, you might get mugged on your way in the door. Not like here where you had BBQ all over town and even the tea was smoky, not that he was complaining mind you, he'd never gripe about BBQ.

Always on my Dads last night in town we would got to Cattlemens Cafe in Cowtown. For 14 years we always sat in a booth, we always had the same waiter a dark haired man named Jon, and Dad always told Conor "Did you know George Bush ate here?, to which Conor would always reply, "Yep Papa D you tell me every time."
Jon would come to the table and say "Welcome back Mr. Papka, would you like to start with lamb fries?" 
From the time Conor could chew he always split a plate of them with his Papa D. So we had to have those. Our last hurrah to my Dad, the only person we ever ate those with, and I'm crying as I write this. Because we can eat them again, but it will never be the same.... 

Last time in OKC with Papa D 2011