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

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sons of Anarchy VS the Flowerdy Purse

I was sitting in the ER at the hospital waiting to hear about my friend who had a pretty good bump on her head and was getting looked at. The parking Lot was full of all kinds of motorcycles. The lounge had groups of bikers in and out. Some of them were  "Bikers for Christ" wearing a vest or a shirt with the logo on the back. Some of them were in what you would expect. Lots of boots, denim vests with the sleeves cut off and giant patches with the club name on the back,  bandannas on their heads, kinda like Sons of Anarchy, only more worn out more "real" less Hollywood. There were a few women,  mostly sitting together comforting each other but not staying long,  not hanging out like the guys. Sitting in a chair across from me all alone was a unshaven crew cut fellow, next to the phone chargers with his plugged in. He was wearing a "Prospect" patch.

As I understand it ( and don't quote me on this it may be much more involved but since I'm not in a Biker Club and not well acquainted with the politics and rules except for what I have heard or seen on TV a  "Prospect" is usually someone who is in the process of becoming a member, kind of like the go to for the club. He hasn't "earned" his membership yet. So in other words he does all the stuff nobody else wants to do.

Now let me digress for a moment. I have not had tons of encounters with bikers. And most of the ones I have met were "retired" and had regular jobs. Really sweet intelligent guys who were a lot more Hello Angel than Hells Angels if you know what I mean. I'm sure there are some really bad, bad ones. But I have been lucky enough to not encounter any.

 I did meet one when my car got a flat tire and a biker stopped and changed it for me and then made sure I got to the tire place to get it repaired. He asked for my phone number and I told him I had a boyfriend and he said "OK call me if you get tired  of him." winked and rode away like a knight in dirty leathers. So I guess I have a secret fondness for them because of that one big fella and his being a gentleman.

Well I'm sitting there biker watching trying to figure out whats happened and the Prospect catches my eye. We smile at each other and I ask if I can plug my phone into the public hospital charger next to him and he says sure. I put it on the rack and then this happens.

Prospect:" That's sure a big purse."

Me: "It sure is. ( Its actually not as big as most of my friends but you know to the untrained eye it probably looks like a suitcase.) You wanna borrow it?"

Prospect: "Ha no I gotta bike bag to keep all my tools, I got everything in there you need. I'm a prospect so if someone needs it I gotta have it, tools, nuts and bolts, superglue, even socks." ( He was proud of this which I thought showed a go getter attitude on his part.)

Me:" You sure you don't wanna borrow it, the flowers would bring out your feminine side."

Prospect: Laughs,  "No Ma am I better not carry a flowerdy bag."

So we sat in the uncomfortable plastic seats of the hospital and shared a moment.

Just two people, charging our phones, people watching , and hoping our somebodies were OK.

Me with my flowerdy purse, him with his biker bag.

Hospitals, the great equalizer....

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Searching for "The Best Dog in the World." from 2005

Tuesday July 5, 2006

I am a 43 year old woman with a 5 year old son who has the energy level of the EverReady Bunny.

He gets sick of trying to explain to me how to play rescue heroes, hot lava jumping, and placating him with book readings in all the different voices which is not satisfying him either.
He is bored playing alone and has started asking me for a baby which i am not too enthusiastic about most of the time.

So I got the idea ( mostly because of my own fond remembrances of my past with dogs while growing up)  to possibly find him a dog. I approach the subject with my husband who wants to remind me that we had an agreement to wait til the oldest cat in the world has passed on to get a dog. I bring up the fact that she is now in her eleventy millionth year of life and senile their is no sign that she will be passing on soon. so if we wait our boy may well be into college before he gets a dog.

This conversation is taking place in the car where our boy mentions he wants a brother to play with so could we PLEASE get married again and have a baby? It makes sense in a way at least in his little mind because that's the usual procession of things. My husband looks at me with his mouth and lips pursed trying not to spit diet Coke out of his nose as i try to explain it all to the fellow in the back seat but finally give up and whisper to husband "Its about the dog...'

So I enlist the help of my best girl who is a HUGE dog lover and we begin with the help of the boy to wear Dad out, or down as you will.

Its a short trip, but he finally relents and offers up the terms of the deal which may be renegotiated at any time according to him.

1. No Yappers or dogs under 30 pounds. No taco bell dogs, or teacup or anything that's under 30 pounds because they are just to small, like a bug.

2. No dogs that are notorious for snapping, escaping, or higher energy than our boy as if that's possible.

3. No breeds that are high strung or runners that will be really clever back yard jail breakers and run away like a beagle, or a hound.

4. No gold miners, no chain saws, no unhousebroken or so smart they can use the cell phone to call in a order of steaks to be delivered.

5. No car chasers, cat harassers, or that pull your arm out of socket during walks.

6. No dogs who think that the midnight bark from Lady and the Tramp should last 24 hours a day simply because someone the next block over started it.

My dreams of a teeny ball of fluff in my designer bag are out the window....

Queen of starting over #More than the gym

Oh the pool how she beckoned. 90 plus degrees outside and that cool blue water, cutting though it,
doing laps like Diana Nyad in the ocean. It was so refreshing to dive in. But the vision of a calm lap pool is gone. Its more like kid Olympics. Marco Polo, diving under water for dropped toys, trying to balance on the water board, more playing, playing, playing.  Cannon Balls, splashing, lots of fresh air, lots of sunshine. I was so exhausted I could barely keep my head up to get undressed for bed that night.

So I'm learning Fitness can be more than the gym.

It can be putting on dance music and boogie buttin around the house like a wild monkey hula dancer til I can barely breath.

It can be swimming with a bunch of crazy kids having a great time like your 11 again.

It can be fixing that flat tire on my bike Gypsy and getting her roadworthy so I can ride next week.

It can be so much more you just have to keep yourself open.

Because its all about getting moving, and staying moving, and honoring what it brings out.

Sometimes it brings out all the anger and I swing those ropes til my arms can't lift them again.

Sometimes its frustration at things I can't control but I CAN control and focus on stepping up and stepping down, stepping up and stepping down, during my Cross Fit.

Sometimes its a workout where I just don't have any energy left and I just sit in the car on the way home and cry because I'm so exhausted and all the sadness I have bottled up comes out.

Sometimes its that quiet smile and satisfaction at having done something. that I
did it JUST FOR ME.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Queen of starting over " A broken scale and a new me."

When I started training with Stephanie,  I wanted to only weigh in on one scale and since I had one at home I just told her what it said. That was about 7 weeks ago. I had weighed in on Mondays but two weeks ago the scale was not working and I have not fixed it.

 My friend Jeannie used to say "Leave the scales to the fishes and think about how you feel and how your clothes fit." I want to believe that's what I was doing but I could just be in denial that I wanted to look at some freakin number and get depressed because it had not budged in a couple of weeks.

Conor had a Dr. Appt. this Monday I took him to,  and since I was there I just hopped on the scale in the office.
I was floored. I have lost 12 pounds in 7 weeks and so has Conor. I could not believe it. Especially since it was afternoon and I can drink a glass of water and gain three pounds.

I knew I was seeing results because I had 2 pair of jeans I had not been able to get on and could button and zip them both. Now one pair I could wear if I wanted to just stand or prop against a wall all day since they were so tight it took me back to the days of my  Calvin Klein's, when I would lay flat on the bed and use a pair of pliers to zip them up.  They'd be so tight and I thought I looked as good as a Cosmopolitan Cover girl but probably looked like a hooker after I put on all that make up, a disco shirt with no bra ( yes back in those days I had a perky little rack and rarely wore a bra )  and those 6 inch high boots. But the other pair I could actually wear and feel like a normal person not a big haired Disco Queen.

Since Monday I thought about how some places they measure weight by " stones" and wondered just how big would a stone that weighed that much be? Well today I got my answer because I worked out with a medicine ball that weighed you guessed it, 12 pounds.

While I held that ball I was so happy,  my spirit was so full just knowing that I could  lay it aside when I was finished and it was off my hands and I didnt have to carry it,  and then a bible verse came to me.

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh."
Ezekiel 36:26

And I AM starting to feel new.

My friendship with Stephanie is a blessing to me, I believe her when she tells me that I can do something I didn't think I could.

 I am better able to cope with all the stress I have had since my Dad got so sick. Today I threw those giant ropes more times than she asked for and it FELT GOOD to get it OUT.

I get to work out with my son and ITS FUN even though he could run laps around me,  he just hangs out and does what I'm doing and teases me how he's going to out do me and i don't care I'm just glad he's there.

I never knew.

I never knew it could be like this.

My new heart and spirit, welcome, please stay...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pool Watching 07/23/2009

So today was hot. Hotter than a firecracker, hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, hotter than hell. I don't really think so about the last one but I'm sayin it anyway.

Me and Conor went to the public pool today. Not to many people at first, but its interesting to people watch there. I am amazed at what people wear to the pool. A lady had on a t-shirt, a pair of sweat pants with the legs rolled up, and a skirt over it, oh and a bandanna on her head. She was a normal skin color not a albino. Has she not been listening to Al Gore? Doesn't she know the Earth has a fever and its REALLY warm so she does not need to dress like that?

And the guy in long sleeves and jeans with all of his kids. He was MEXICAN I have to say this, why is it always the Hispanic people wearing long sleeves to the pool? Its a P-O-O-L you will be wet, you can wear sunscreen, you already have color, lots of color. I could understand if you were a vampire pale kid like mine. He is covered in sunscreen and neoprene from neck to knee his SPF makes him look like Frosty the snowman only skinny its so full of Zinc Oxide. ( You know the white stuff lifeguards wore on their noses when you were a kid?)

Oh wait you might not know that if you were born after about 1987 or so. That was the birth of REAL SPF because all of those who had been laying out with the Iodine/Baby oil mixture on silver blankets or floating on pool rafts for hours on end, were suddenly being treated for Melanoma.
What we wanted to look like

See we didn't have the luxury of laying in a nice cool tanning bed that just cooks you in 10 minutes, 4 times a week. We did it the hard way. It took hours of tanning for us.

We could sing the jingle from the TV commercial "Bain De Soliel for the San Tropez Tan," because we all wanted to look like that bronze, exotic, sexy...But no it was a job. There was prep. Stacks of magazines, huge glasses of water, beach towels on top of aluminium lawn chairs because you didn't want the ants to get on your oily skin and stick to you and the radio. You had to have the radio. Because about every fifth song you had to roll your basted like a turkey in oil body over so you could be "even",  the KXXY DJ would say "Time to turn over all your tanners out there." It was like a sport. If you didn't have a pool you just doused yourself in the garden hose re oiled and started again. We even got competitive about it.

"What are you doing today?"
"Laying out."
"Oh really me too."
"Oh where?"
"At my house."
"Oh I'm going to my boyfriends."
"Oh well we are going to lay on aluminium foil."
"Well we have these special silver blankets we got at the store so you get burned evenly."
"Well we are going to lay out on the roof so we are closer to the sun and everything."

We were always trying to one up each other. Whoever had a sunburn scab on your nose was the winner. If it was a cloudy day on your weekend you were panicked because you were missing a lay out day. One time I burned my butt so bad I could not sit down for two days. I had to lay on my stomach the whole time. I peeled like the strings off of celery. But after all the peeling I was really dark and tan.

I learned my lesson finally. I was 24 and got such a bad sunburn after house sitting for a friend who had a pool that it left a scar and I was so freaked out.

So I totally went the other way. I never went out in the sun at all. I was so pale my friends nicknamed me the mushroom. I was constantly searching for the strongest SPF. I was like a junkie looking for the best high. I'd go in the store, "OOH look SPF 30, oh no wait this ones 55, AND its thick like candle wax, surely nothing can get through that!" I truly looked like a Bedouin until the sun went down. Everyone else looked pretty and tan. I looked like a frozen chicken. But its a HEALTHY white my sweet pasty friend would say. She was even worse than me. Covered in freckles and pasty too. We were the pair.

Finally after the evolutionary process of skin care I enjoyed a trip to Florida where I played and played outside and didn't burn once. I actually was outside without wearing so many clothes it looked like a Bourka. Its damn inconvenient to swim in a Bourka.