Monday, December 17, 2018

Life moves fast

I used to have reservoirs just a few steps from my wee cottage's front door. Full of bears, squirrels, deer, foxes, and a few animals I dare not think about. I had half a dozen delish restaurants a few more steps from my back door, which is why those pesky fifteen pounds never disappeared. I also had four and a half brutiful years with my monkeys in that house, as we healed from our hearts breaking, then broke and healed a couple more times.

And now.

                                                 Now this. I have this out my front door.

               
                                                            And this out my backdoor.


        And this at my island- messy and beautiful, all at once. Brutiful, as Glennon Doyle, says.

I guess my point is, nothing stays forever. Things change, and this is proof that change can be the best thing. As Ferris Bueller says, life moves pretty fast. If you don't look around once in a while, you might miss it. Soooo, look around. Love the mess. And if you are broken, know that your pieces will be put back together into something different and better.

Peace and love and healing the pieces, buttercups. XX

Pigs in Tutus.

This time of year is so hard for so many people. The world tells us it is supposed to be full of glittery goodness and perfection confections, but the raw reality is that the holidays have a ton of baggage.
So I am suggesting that you ignore Pinterest and Instagram influencers and just do you. Most of that rubbish is meant to sell you something, whether it be a literal product or the idea that someone else's life is grandiose and perfect- fuck that shit. You probably do not need the product and that Instagram person has pimples and issues just like the rest of us.


Do YOU. If that means making cookies, great. If that means binge watching Criminal Minds, also great. Cover your tree with the tattered homemade ornaments your kiddos made. Refuse to put up Christmas lights if they stress you out, or go all in with inflatable Christmas dragons and pigs in tutus if they make you happy.




No holiday spirit? That's okay- indulge in self care, and try to do something nice for people who might also be struggling at this time of year.

No money? Write them a letter or a note, telling them your favourite memory or why you love them.

No time? Write them a short note, letting them know that they matter to you.

All the money and time and holiday spirit in the world? Do the above, and attach it to a baby blue convertible, a la Santa Baby.

Even though I am posting this via social media, I am also going to suggest that you turn away from your Instagram and Facebook these next few days. We all know they are going to be full of beautiful pictures that are designed to make us feel less than. If you do insist on looking, at least remember that the artful sunrise was taken a hundred different times with a 10K camera, and that the perfect family portrait also involved a hundred takes, bribery, tears, and maybe a shot of whiskey. Embrace your present imperfection, be kind to yourself and your people, and know that these days are more than what is being sold to you.

Peace and love and present imperfection, buttercups. XX

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ice Cream Cookie Cakes

Whore.
This word has so much weight, but only if we allow it.

A bit of a backstory here. Actually two backstories. The first one involves He Who Must Not Be Named's best friend, whom we shall call Good Ol'Boy. The man likes his beer. And his Malibu. And his Crown. He gets really mean and mouthy after he drinks, which is far too often. I have been blessed in that I have very rarely had to deal with him over the last few years. After the end of my relationship with He Who Must Not Be Named, I might see him occasionally at a town council meeting or a farmer's market. He was no longer part of my daily life, so I no longer had to try and gauge when he would go from funny to abusive.
Second backstory. NextDoor, everyone's favorite app, where "neighbors talk and good things happen." I love NextDoor, even when it makes me want to tear my hair out. People find their lost pups, get help when their car batteries are dead, buy and sell things to keep them out of landfills and so many other amazing things. Several months ago, I became a Lead, which is a volunteer position. I absolutely love being a lead most of the time- I have gotten to know so many people and learned so much. And then.
Then you have the problem people. The people who are more like YouTube commenters or who NextDoor While Drinking. The people who write posts on NextDoor that they probably should have kept to themselves. If their posts break rules, they get reported, voted on, and removed. These posts usually involve hate speech, abuse, name calling, or threats- contrary to popular belief, they do not get removed because leads don't like the opinion or the person. This is where the two backstories converge.
Good Ol'Boy likes to post OFTEN, especially in the evening, which leads one to believe he is probably NextDooring While Drinking. Because he is He Who Must Not Be Named's bestie, I steer clear of his posts. Even when they are nasty, abusive, and breaking every NextDoor rule out there, I let other leads and members report and remove his posts. He has been banned from the site twice now. Pretty impressive to be banned, not once, but twice. Both times that he has been banned, he has blamed me, and threatened me via Facebook and texts.
The first time, his threats were bad enough that I called the police. Other people alerted me to his Facebook rant where he vowed that I was going to get what was coming to me. The second time, I woke up to this gem.

Having not voted or had anything to do with his craziness, I had to dig a little to figure out that he had been banned again. I texted back that he needed to get help. He continued on his text rant with "bitch" and "whore" and other pleasantries that I bet would surprise his pastor, for several more texts. His final rant included that I was "the ice cream cookie cake of bitches."

Hard stop.

Huh?

Ice Cream Cookie Cake of Bitches? I was messaging a friend as all of this was being texted because I was so mad at being subject to the abuse being spewed at me for no reason. Then I got called this. Imagine my confusion.
I asked my friend, "What does that mean? Is he lactose intolerant? Does he hate ice cream and cookies and cakes? Because everyone knows that ice cream cookie cakes are fucking delicious!!!"
Then I went from being so mad to laughing so hard that my sides hurt. I had already promised myself that I would not respond because it is not cool to mess with the mind of someone who is obviously not okay, but I finally had to respond with, "ICE CREAM COOKIE CAKES ARE FUCKING DELICIOUS!!!"

Crickets after that. I tell you all of this for a handful of reasons. One, be grateful for your NextDoor leads because they put up with more drama than you can fathom. Two, I now lock all my doors for the first time in four years and if anything ever happens to me, Good Ol'Boy's doorstep should be the first step for law enforcement. Three, calling someone the Ice Cream Cookie Cake of Bitches is seriously perplexing. Am I delicious? Am I layers of delicious? Am I cold enough to give you a wicked headache? Am I sweet enough to give you a touch of the diabeetus? What does that mean? And four, calling someone a whore who is not in fact a whore, says much more about you than it does about them. While I am pretty sure he meant to shame me, he actually gave me a pretty hearty laugh. Made my attorney laugh too, especially with the threats.

Peace and love and whores and ice cream cookie cakes, buttercups. XX


Hazy summer

I remember the water- murky lake water that smelled like summertime. I remember being blissfully happy, thinking that we were having fun. That I finally had a "real" boyfriend, a nice guy. I had never had that before- I was an "easy" girl from the wrong side of the tracks with serious daddy issues and a penchant for looking for love in all the wrong ways.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

August

Do you ever have one of those moments when you do something so incredibly stupid, and
you have only yourself to be furious with? Looking back, I like to call that particular
moment August. I ignored my intuition and let my boundaries be trampled over, but I can
really only blame myself for the approximately 720 hours of hell that was the month
of August. Let this be a cautionary tale, friends.
We were supposed to be moving to Castle Rock, and thought it would be the end of
August to mid-September. An employee at a local restaurant overheard me say that I was
going to be renting my house when we closed on the Castle Rock home. He was
super-interested and told me about what an absolute great tenant he was,
how he was so clean that you could eat off of his floors, and on and on. I worked
with him, he seemed to have it together at the restaurant, and he talked a great story.
After several conversations, I decided that I would rent to him.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Adulting truths

This adulting thing is, in Glennon Doyle’s words, brutiful.
I remember when I was little, I just wanted to be an adult, all grown up. I wanted to eat meatloaf and ding dongs all day long, without anyone telling me not to take seconds. I wanted to marry Prince, so he could sing songs about my raspberry beret. I wanted to be able to wear suntan colored pantyhose from those weird plastic eggs, because that was what pretty women wore. I wanted to avoid the hazards of quicksand and tornadoes, while being a famous artist who owned her own sandwich shop.
And then I grew up. Into an an adult.
Granted, there are some wins with the whole adulting thing. I can indeed eat ding dongs all day long, with only my jeans scolding me. I have come to terms with the loss of my dear Prince, and am satisfied with my Spotify where he sings directly to me. I wear pantyhose to corporate holiday parties and funerals, and am fairly certain that no self-respecting woman ever wore suntan ones after 1987. I have managed to steer clear of quicksand, while also managing to give birth to my daughter during an F4 tornado that compelled me to get the hell outta Oklahoma as soon as possible. I will never be a famous artist but I have made a dollar or two writing. I have never owned a sandwich shop but will make you a wicked roasted tomato and pesto grilled cheese.
Every January, I want the new year to be easier. It has taken me forty-three years, but I am realizing that life does not get easier. Adulting continues to mean losing some people I love, and seeing others whom I love hurt and fall down. In 2014, I asked my immensely wiser-than-me therapist how she dealt with seeing her loved ones hurt or hit bottom. She told me that she had trust in her loved ones that they were strong enough to do the hard things and get up after falling.
What a concept. Apparently, one that I forget as I tend to take on the weight of the world, but my people can do the hard things. And so can I.
So, in closing, this adulting thing is brutiful. 2017 has been a hard year. Full of loss and mourning and fear and hurt on so many levels for both me and so many of my loves, but it has also been so full of truth and transparency and life lessons and reminders that it is all worth the work. I realize that 2018 is going to be more of the same, beautiful and brutal all wrapped up in a glittery bow. I am making an early resolution to be okay with this, but don’t you dare try to tell me to give up my ding dongs.

Peace and love and brutiful truths, cupcakes. xx

Monday, October 23, 2017

Shift

Shifts can be huge seismic shifts, where things rip apart and seem to upend the world. Or they can be almost imperceptible shifts, where nothing is readily apparent but things simply shift a quarter of a degree to a different path. Sometimes, a shift happens in the form of a phone call at 5AM, with words that will seem to stop the earth’s rotation- “Your daughter is in ICU. You need to come.”
And just like that, I have a before and after. Before the phone call and after. Before the phone call three weeks and fifteen hours ago, I was sleeping like a babe, with nothing more on my mind than taking Belle to the dog park and remembering to pay my toll bill. And after the phone call, bills and “grownup stuff” all fades into the distance, as I wonder if anything will ever be okay in the world, if my grownup baby girl will open her eyes again.
Two hours of driving, all sorts of questions in my head with no answers. I arrived at the hospital and raced to the ICU. Stepping into her room, seeing how tiny she looked in a sea of white sheets, tubes, and wires, with whirring machines keeping her alive, I felt my world flip upside down. It continued to flip as I held her hand through the hours, as neurologists and pulmonologists came and went. Her father and his girlfriend sat on the other side of the bed, and we didn’t let go of her for hours, as much for ourselves as for her. When night came, and they went home to get some rest and be with our son, I stayed. Holding her hand, unable to find words except for a prayer a dear friend had sent to me, and just willing her to stay with us.
This went on, and somehow the world continued to rotate on its axis as it has always done, even as my world felt so topsy turvy. Tubes came out, machines turned off, she woke up, not like Sleeping Beauty, but more like a pissed off newborn, wondering why everything was so loud and bright, why her body hurt so badly, and why we were all staring at her.
Now,  a few weeks later, the shift probably seems like nothing to others. She has a long hard journey in front of her, but she is the strongest person I know, so she can do it. And I have this shift. Everything looks the same on the surface, but everything is actually so different. Money and bills and career advancement, tax write-offs and to-do lists seem like they belong to someone else. All I want to do is soak people up. I want to grab onto the people I love and just tell them- I don’t want to waste one more second on the unimportant stuff that clogs up our everyday life. I want every person I love to know how loved they are, and I want to spend less time working and more time connecting. I have to balance this with going back to work, doing the necessary stuff without drowning in it. Every day is a little more of a shift, little earthquakes that shape both me and my girl.

Peace and love and seismic shifts, buttercups. xx

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Messy Jumble

Oh, my heart.

I remember, about six years ago, standing on a rock in my back yard, talking to my therapist, who was on speed dial at the time. I was simultaneously going through one of the happiest and one of the most shattering times of my entire life. I was feeling, at the exact same moment, unbelievable wholeness and joy alongside a sadness larger than the oceans. I remember standing on that rock, arguing with her, about how I liked to feel one emotion at a time. I wanted to feel all happy or all sad, not this big jumble of every emotion all at once. She laughed, gently, and told me, "Life is a jumble. Life is messy."

I'll be damned, but she is right. These last few weeks have, yet again, been full of a jumble. A good man, a sweet friend, died a violent death, probably even as he tried to help the person who meant him harm. Another neighbor, a gentle father and animal lover who wanted to save everyone in sight, died quietly yesterday. Both men live less than a block from me, and I can scarcely breathe when I think about how our little universe has shifted with their loss. I also recently lost someone who meant the world to me, and I have to learn how the universe and the world go on even with all of this loss.

And yet, even with all of this sadness, I feel so much joy that my heart overflows with it. My son makes me laugh until my side hurts, and I stand in awe of the person he is. My daughter, my cupcake, keeps showing up and trying, even as life knocks her down, and I am overcome by her tenacity. My friends text me out of the blue and show up with hugs and wise words, wanting to make sure my heart is still beating through the hurt. My bestest friend in the world knew I needed the beach this weekend, and gave me space to put my toes in the sand and just be. My dogs sensed the sadness and just became snugglebugs, chewing on not a single shoe over the last few days.

Life is a messy jumble, all sadness and joy mixed together in a big confusing swirl. And we just have to embrace it, choosing to acknowledge the sadness and heartbreak, respecting it, while also choosing to focus on the joyful bits and pieces that make life count.

I have meals to make for families who are hurting, and a memorial service to attend. I have friends to hug and squeeze, and kiddos to smother with my love. I have life to embrace, all of the messy and chaotic moments that collide, and I hope you do the same.

Peace and love and messy moments, buttercups. Breathe in every moment. xx

Thursday, August 31, 2017

My Home State

I was driving through the panhandle of West Texas
last Sunday afternoon, thinking about all of the
things I love about my home state. Driving along a dusty two-lane highway, I thought about things like big pickup trucks, slow twangs, Taco Villa's peppery taco sauce, "yes ma'ams and no ma'ams," barbecued green beans, real iced tea, family ties, miles of corn and cotton under brilliant blue skies, and a million other small things.
And then Harvey happened. As I drove north to safe Colorado, my mama drove to my sister's house in the metroplex area instead of to her home in Houston. Not because she did not want to go home but because she could not go home. She stayed north for days, blessed because she had a safe place to go to even as many others did not.
Harvey was/is horrifying. While I am over a thousand miles away, my heart hurts for all of the suffering and loss that Harvey has dropped onto so many people, heartbreak that will continue long after the news stories disappear. While Harvey did not discriminate, and managed to hit every demographic imaginable, those with the least may suffer the most in the long run. Even as I watch all of the sadness, read the stories, and speak to people suffering as I work each day, I am struck by the big thing I love about my home state.
Texans pull together. In a time of tragedy, Texans pull themselves up by their bootstraps, wade into the water, and pull others up and out of harm's way. All that other stuff, politics and disagreements, that can all wait when there are grandmas to be rescued from rising waters.
All of the people flocking to danger, without a second thought, have brought me to tears more times in the last five days than I should admit. Every video of grandmas being rescued from their flooded homes in jetskis, people using monster trucks to pluck others out of rushing waters, human chains putting themselves in harm's way to help strangers- they remind me that good and grace still abound in 2017.
There is a reason, after ALL of these years in Colorado, that I still identify as Texan. A little of it might be the Big Red sodas and the barbecue, but this last week reminded me what it means to be Texan.

Peace and love and big blue skies and brave bootstrappin', y'all. XO

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Love


I keep seeing "this is not who we are."

Ummm, yes it is. We created this, with our silence, our quiet acquiescence, our turning off the news because it is too "negative." I have loved ones who have said they cannot watch because it is too negative and too upsetting. My friends, this is the very definition of white privilege. I know the words  "white privilege" make you bristle and they set you on edge. I know, I know, you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and you worked hard for everything you own. I know, I know, no one "gave" you anything. I get it. We grew up together, went to school together, worked together, our kids played together- I know you. I get it.
But our silence and not wanting to be uncomfortable created this. We created this madness. We let it be voted in. We let it seep in, so that people who might have hidden their evils underneath starched white hoods feel comfortable enough to parade with no masks, with their alma maters emblazoned across their chests and their Pepe pens on their white Izods. 
So, my suggestion is to be honest about your white privilege, and stand up for the people who have been denied privilege and equal rights for centuries. You have "white privilege." If you get stopped by the police, and you feel irritation instead of fear- white privilege. If you have not been stopped twenty-eight times for a broken taillight or matching a description of something bad- white privilege. If you have a teenage boy and you have never had to explain to him how to react if he gets stopped by a policeman for no reason- white privilege. If you can walk around Sephora with a Starbucks in hand and a big handbag, without being followed by an employee- white privilege. If you can leisurely walk through Target with no purpose, and with no employees following you- white privilege. If you pay lower rates for your mortgage and your insurance, as played out in the news with one bank that shall not be named but that rhymes with Fells Fargo- white privilege. If you can make a reservation with an online home-sharing site without your name causing the host to tell you it is full- white privilege. If you can hail a taxi easily even as people near you get passed by- white privilege. If you can scroll by the icky news and go straight to the cute animal memes that are not upsetting- white privilege.  If you can live your life without being compelled or driven to pay attention, you, my loves, are enjoying the fruits of your white privilege. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. 
Now. Now what? What to do? 
Hell if I know. Maybe the first thing is to be honest. There is a huge problem in our world and failing to acknowledge it makes it fester and grow. Do not scroll past. Read it. Empathize. Cry. Get honest. Get woke. Educate yourself. Commit to be an ally. Vote. Show up. Let me know what I can do. Be better today, and then be better tomorrow. Be brave. 
Charlottesville shone a light on the cockroaches scattered amongst us. Now, we have a responsibility. Because, unfortunately, this is who we are. But it is not who we have to be. We can be better and do better. We can be louder and more full of love. We can do good things, because love trumps hate. 

Peace and love and shining the light in the darkness, buttercups. XX


Monday, April 24, 2017

American Gods

"You are an analog girl, living in a digital world."
                                                      -Neil Gaiman



Peace and love and excellent novels and countdowns to American Gods, cupcakes. xx

Life moves fast

I used to have reservoirs just a few steps from my wee cottage's front door. Full of bears, squirrels, deer, foxes, and a few animals I ...