Friday, October 29, 2010

2 boybarians. 4 cats. 1 piano.

when i was little we didn't watch tv. i mean REALLY little. by the time i was 9 & 10 & 11 i knew the theme songs and formula to every show worth watching. but when i was really little, when my mom was still with us, we got to watch Little House on the Prairie. i want to say it came on only on sunday nights, and that it was a big deal, and that i had to have my bath first, and be in my pajamas already, with wet hair brushed, and lots of anticipation. but i may be just remembering that the way i want to remember it.

anyhow, i DO remember very clearly when they packed up and left the big woods for the prairie. i remember the wagon and the stuff and the kids and ma and pa. i remember seeing all this and thinking, but they live in the big woods? that's their HOUSE. that's where they LIVE. and i didn't know about the magic of tv at such a young age, but i couldn't help but thinking this was just, well, magic. something that would happen and then it would all get changed back. you know, BACK. to where it was before.

so i watched this for awhile with my mom and dad and my two sisters and eventually i turned to my mom (and shit for me to remember this moment is magic in itself. believe me. magic.) and i said

'but they are going back. right? next show? they'll be back in the big woods, right? that's their house! that's where they live!'

so it's time for the sillymortalfamily to leave the big red house. i'd be lying if i said it was 'entirely' voluntary; that it's not forced at all. that i had 100% certainty of where we will end up.

but i do have 100% certainty that it's all going to work out. that this is just part of the adventure i never planned on myself having. and how fun is an adventure that's planned for, anyway?

see, i am not a cautionary tale. no. i am not. i'm just one more person part of one more family who tried to do it and got caught up in the rising tide of crap that so many other families got caught in recently. not because we were stupid trying to bite off more than we could chew but because after awhile there wasn't anything left to bite. let alone chew.

we fought so hard and so long and in the end we came up short. we gave it everything we had. and it wasn't enough. but, this is not personal. i know that. in the end it just didn't work. and while my heart breaks with the loss, i get the situation and i am so rich in all the ways that actually count.

please allow me for a minute to offer a smidgen of advice. whatever it is you are facing, please do no be afraid. however hard or scary or unfamiliar, nothing ever comes of climbing into bed and pulling the covers over for the duration. maybe for a minute, sure, we all need a break. but after a bit it begins to get hard to breathe under there.

and no one ever got to see a beautiful sunrise or the magnificent sunset with the covers over their head. and when things aren't going the way you may like sometimes it's the break of a new day, the eventual rest of a day gone by, the leaves changing on the trees, the way the air feels different as a season changes. sometimes it's the the little things you notice...that you may not have so much before. because you were preoccupied. or because you were so busy doing something close to nothing that you just.never.noticed. how special it is to be alive. to notice colors. to breathe. to just be able to breathe.

losing a house is like a death, in this regard. it puts A LOT into perspective. boils it down. makes the little things count.

the big things? well, perhaps sometimes the big things are made bigger just because we can make them bigger.

but it's slow, this death, and it gives one some time to gather themselves. so i use this time to count my blessings, to fully understand and to know with all the certainty in the world i am luckier than most. wine helps. ;)

so. i am leaving a house that for all intents and purposes is the family gathering spot. holidays and sundays and birthday parties and saturday afternoons. a house i bought so young and so excited and so full of the future. a house full of possibility. and a house i fully expected to die in.

toys haphazardly 'stored' in the basement for the grand kids, grand plans for skylights and a wrap around porch and a mudroom that would actually be functional and be the envy of all mudrooms everywhere. i got married here. right in the back pasture. with so many who were ever important to me gathered in one spot. my kids and nieces and nephews and kids special to my heart all have graduating heights recorded on the wall between the kitchen and living room. maybe we could get someone in to help us make the gardens what they should be. what they could be. it was all there. potential. the future. love at first sight for a falling down house that i thought i had time with. but there was never enough money. and now, we've run out of time. we always expected that would come later. the money and time. that it would all come. later.

but, sometimes things just don't work out how you want them to.

and this is just the way it sometimes goes.

and so i am sitting here trying to figure out how i move a life nearly 16 years in the making. nearly 12 in this house; complete with 2 boybarians, 4 cats, 1 piano OH MY GOD I HAVE A PIANO TO MOVE! HOLY SHIT A PIANO! and one mama and one papa who have thus far kept it together but are getting so very tired of keeping the world up and spinning, of making it all work out of nothing. who are more than willing and ready to move towards MOVEMENT FORWARD. whatever that looks like.

and regardless of what their hearts have to say about it.

i am at once scared and interested in the great wide open and so very very very very sad.

but, i am going to let go and jump in. both feet. the hugest fucking leap you ever did see. round and round she goes where she ends up nobody (including her) knows. with eyes wide open. because i can still see through the tears, and also because even in loss and as your heart is breaking ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN...and sometimes it does.

everything is possible.



be blessed,


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

your moment(s) of zen.

years ago i was moving from one place to another, 'back home' really. as if that place actually existed, but that's a story for another day.

so i was leaving the desert southwest to go 'back home.' and the day before i left a friend, with whom i had laboriously forged a tenuous and somewhat difficult friendship, placed a wonderfully beautiful pendant in my palm and closed both our sets of hands around it and said

"i want you to have this. but whatever you do, do NOT lose it or i will be really upset."

and i held on to that pendant for the drive halfway back across country to the first place i thought was 'back home.' and i held on to that pendant for the short drive to the next city that was the second place i thought could be my new 'back home.' and when both of those didn't work out i drove two states north to the place that had become 'back home.'

and then i stopped driving.

and when i came to the first big body of water, which just happened to be the puget sound, i tossed the wonderfully beautiful pendant in with many blessings, good wishes, and good riddance.

and with the knowledge that i will never lose it because i know exactly where it is.

which brings me to this installment of your moment(s) of zen.

there are a million ways not to lose something. a million ways to hang on.

and a million ways to let go.


Thursday, October 07, 2010


so i went to the doctor on tuesday for a follow up on a minor issue from earlier in the month. and my blood pressure was high. even for me. who has high blood pressure. i was instructed to keep an eye on it for a few days and make a follow up appointment.

i was appropriately nervous, but figured the sinus headache, lengthy cold, minor issue from earlier in the month, all in the last month and lack of exercise from all those all in the last month and oh yeah, the last few years just was rolling all together, and contributed to the reading and i just needed to take it easier.

so i went for a walk after the doctor to clear my head and get some fresh air.

now, the walking trail we've been going to for years is 4 or 5 miles from our house. it's a bike trail, too. one big loop, flat and wide, a boardwalk over the wetlands. it's pretty and quiet. you go through trees and meadows and wetlands. there is a little creek. and in the fall you can even see salmon.

so i'm walking along and i'm thinking about what i can do to get healthier, but sort of on the abstract. despite all evidence to the contrary, i feel like a pretty healthy person. i eat well, i exercise, i like my body. all the things you're supposed to do. sure, maybe i could do more of this and less of that, and not every curve is the one i want to flaunt. but all in all, i feel like i'm doing what i'm supposed to.

at this point i get to the spot on the walk where the trail cuts through a tall meadow. and at the edge of the meadow there is a stand of trees, and beyond the trees is the highway.

some time ago i was walking along with my family and right there at the edge of the meadow where it meets the trees there was a giraffe. just out of the blue. just standing there. and yes, at first i thought it was real.

oh, there's a giraffe!

and that's when wingman said

it was here last time, mama.

oh. i honestly did not remember it being there last time. and then every time after that i would see it and it would shock me. this life size giraffe just standing there. and i would wonder, is it flat? or a real lifelike replica? part of a drama set? who put it there? and then as time went it shocked me less and less and i would look forward to coming upon it. and i would register it and keep walking.

and then one day i noticed someone had mowed a path through the meadow to the giraffe. you could walk right up to the giraffe and check it out.

oh, there's a path!

and i didn't take it. not when i first noticed it. not the next time. and not tuesday when i was walking after my doctor's appointment. i can't say why, i just never did. i registered the giraffe and the path and kept walking. i felt good, i ended my walk, and i went home.

and the next morning, yesterday morning, i went to the emergency room with all the symptoms of a heart attack.

i got put in a wheelchair and saw my kids' faces in the waiting room as i was taken back through those double doors.

i got put on a bed and hooked up to a bunch of machines and saw my husband's face as he stood next to me.

they put in an IV for blood draws and took my blood and my blood pressure and stuck stickers with snaps all over my chest and snapped me in and measured my heart rate and asked me all the questions you ask someone who comes in with shortness of breath, chest pains, shooting pain down the arm, all the questions. they put me in a gown. i knew then it would be a long day.

'have you been under any stress, lately?'

and that's when i started to cry.

obviously, they don't read my blog.

and my blood pressure? 193/116.

they ran the tests one runs to check for a heart attack. they watched the monitors. i held my husband's hand. i held my breath.

the first tests came back negative for a heart attack. but they cautioned about a false positive. they would do another test in three hours, that would give them a better estimate.

my blood pressure came down. still high, but way way down. my heart monitor and oxygen saturation and respiration and heart rate looked good.

my lab work was excellent. i am, apparently a healthy young woman. (i put in young, the doctor never said young. ;) )

i sent my family home to eat lunch and come back for the next blood test.

and i just rested in the hospital bed and listened to the beeps and the commotion around me and wondered how in the hell i got there. not that i didn't know. but life seems to become a bit more transparent and beg for a bit more self examination, WITHOUT all the bullshit, when you're confined to a bed and can't move because you are hooked up to machines that are there to measure your life. and what you may have left of it.

funny how that works.

the second test came back negative. my blood pressure was still down. no heart attack. it was chalked up to blood pressure and stress. i am to monitor, talk to my doctor, and only change my blood pressure medication if it doesn't stay level through the weekend. come back with anymore symptoms.

and then they unhooked me and took out the IV and gave me my clothes and i took off the stickers all over my chest and i got sent home.

my family was scared, it was traumatic. i'm only now realizing how much harder it is to be the one in the waiting room. the one standing by the bed, rather than the one in it. harder still when you're 9 and 13 and that's your mama. or you're 45 and that's your whole life.

fuckin' giraffe.

i have known that i have high blood pressure. hell i take medication every single day for it. it's not some big surprise. it's not like it hasn't been there a few years. it's a family curse, one of them anyway. i'll take the sharp wit and the gallows humor. the blood pressure sucks, though.

but i can't just blame that. i'm right where i am because of me. i know what i need to do and i don't do enough of it. the bottom line is while i am happy with who i am, my heart is not. my frame is simply just too damned small for the weight on it. i'm not supposed to be a size 2, but i'm not supposed to be as 'curvy' as i am.

and it's been such a stressful long stretch and i can be as positive as i want, and i am, but that stress finds a home somewhere. i did NOT do enough to give it an outlet. stress builds. and it kills. i know this, and i could have done more.

but even when you know something it's easy to disregard it. like the giraffe at the edge of the meadow it's easy to become accustomed to seeing it. even when a clear path is created, we are content still to just see it at the edge of the meadow. no need to get closer, we know it's there, manageable. and look at me! look how i manage!

but that's not how we get healthy. by managing. we get healthy by doing. less of this, more of that. it's never been rocket science.

i am not a stupid person. i know this. what the fuck.

and all of us has a giraffe. whether it's related to health or relationships or finances or addictions or whatever, we all have some thing somewhere we know is there and needs to be addressed. and we don't, or we do very minimally. enough to convince ourselves we've got it covered. and even when we do see a path to it, we just walk by. and we keep going on the loop. seeing the giraffe, registering it, ignoring the path, moving along the loop. lather, rinse, repeat.

it's so easy.

but i will tell you what, and you know where i'm going with this, lying on a hospital bed bargaining with god is NOT the time to start dealing with the giraffe. your odds, at that point, are not very good.

so there you have it. i could go on and on about changes and plans and preciousness of life and all that. but unless you're on oprah and she's touching your knee and handing you a tissue that's just boring. and, i think you get the gist.

i am still the luckiest girl in the world. but i know now that luck can and does run out.

and when atlas shrugs it's a big fucking deal. so secure your goods and find your hard hat before this happens.

above all, take care of you. and quit ignoring the parts that need the most attention. life is too goddamn short. and it's only getting shorter every day.



Friday, October 01, 2010

your moment(s) of zen.

when i was in jr. high i was bullied. by two girls in my grade with whom i seemed to have an AWFUL lot of classes. for two years. every single day. and it sucked. and i think about that now with all the recent news of kids killing themselves because they were being bullied. for being gay. or being perceived as gay.

i wasn't bullied because i was gay. i was bullied because i was poor. and shy. and strange.

and the day i left 8th grade was the day it ended. even though i had high school for the next four years with those girls they never said one word to me ever again. i don't know if they found somebody else or what. but, it got better. i found friends, the best friends a girl could ask for, who knew me and accepted me. i was still poor. and shy (i know y'all balk at this one, but it's true. i still am shy. really. i promise you.) and strange. but it didn't matter.


i will never understand why people think being gay is wrong. in my life i will never understand why people even give a rat's ass? it's not like it's some new invention or fad dreamed up just to bother the bigoted and unkind. it's not like it's not BEEN AROUND FOR FUCKING EVER. who are we to judge? nobody.

we are NOBODY to judge.

my 13 year old son has endured his fair share for the past year or two from teammates and others who 'suggest' that he is gay. and they like to shove this at him. and say things. and call him names. as he is home schooled it's not daily or all that intense. but really, at 12 and 13 how intense does it need to be to make an impact?

and my 13 year old son is sharp and strong. but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. and doesn't make an impact. now? it's pretty much a joke to him. he could not care less what those assholes think of him. but when it first started happening he did care. he's 13. an age when it can all turn on a dime. so we talked and talked and talked about it. talked about how he felt. talked about how it doesn't matter to bullies if something is true or not. talked about how people are miserable in their own lives so they pick on other people.

and not just weak people, but people they are afraid of. people who they can't figure out. the duke is an anomaly out here in the sticks to some of these boys who are raised in a whole different culture than he is. and of course if he dresses like he does and refuses to talk smack about girls' bodies with the rest of them then he's gay. clearly.

and we talked about what it meant to be gay and more importantly who in the hell cares? we don't. and i reminded him that kids can be assholes because they haven't been taught *not* to be. and that these boys won't be around forever. and that it sucks but you've just got to ignore it. and get through it.

then i reminded him that some of the adults he knows, people who he thinks are cool, were bullied. and how they had to get through it. and they did. that they made it. and how awesome they are. and how awesome THEY THINK HE IS. and that meant a LOT to him. it's impossible not to feel good about who you are when you know there are cool people who think YOU are cool. especially when you're 13.

and that helped. and boosted him.

and now he likes to say who cares? i don't. and he likes to remind people that in ancient greece they thought that the love between two men was the highest form of love. and in sparta they would strive to put male lovers in the same army regiment because it was thought that the men would fight harder to impress each other. (history is awesome.)

and he takes the comments in stride. and comes up with more outlandish fashion choices. partly to push the envelope, partly because he just plain likes the idea of wearing lavender skinny jeans. and a lot, i suspect, because he's figured out the chicks really dig a guy wearing something out of the norm. young mr. smooth. he is not stupid.

so my 13 year old son is getting through it. and it breaks my heart that there are mothers out there missing their own 13 year old sons. their 11 year old sons. 16, 18, 21 year old sons because they weren't so lucky. life is so very cruel sometimes.

people are entitled to their own opinions. i respect that. but that's what they are; opinions. they are not gospel and they are not the *only* truth. and in some cases they are hate disguised as personal belief. and that is tragic and shameful.

and i only wish everyone got to know that. before it's too late. because too late comes for some. and may they rest in peace. and may god or someone somewhere have mercy on the souls of the bigoted and the unkind. may something positive come of these tragedies.

when i was 12 and 13 i couldn't imagine life getting better. i was at the mercy of cruelty and circumstances beyond my control. but, it did get better. and continues to. and there was a moment the other evening when i was sitting with my two boys and the papa and we were all busting up in laughter at something and couldn't stop. and i remember seeing that moment so clearly even as it was happening. and i remember thinking life doesn't get any better than this moment.

and i wish that every child or teen or young adult who feels that life won't get better could have a glimpse of a future moment to convince them that it can. it gets better. and it is in that spirit i bring you this installment of your moment(s) of zen.

be blessed.