disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fiction: The House

If I could only speak, the words and tales I could tell...

I saw the Hispanic men construct my skeleton as my wooden beam bones grew taller and taller towards the sky, and I came into true being, my walls and rooms like life-giving cells. I had dreams of housing a large family, children's happy squeals as they tried to ski on their socks down the hallway, candlelit Thanksgiving feasts full of the aroma of turkey and cinnamon spice. I made friends with the young black oaks as the bent their branches towards me in the cold winter winds.

I saw an older couple walk into my doorway, smiling, dreams written all over their faces; paperwork signed and hands shook meant I was whole, complete.

Instead, I became a bed and breakfast, which was not my wish but held my interest. Each one of my rooms was decorated in lovely Laura Ashley wallpaper with matching curtains and bedding, I was catalogue-chic. I witnessed honeymooners, movie stars, people in marital trouble trying to rekindle their love. I knew my walls brought them joy, but I still felt hollow.

The economy had crashed, a mini recession, blared the big box television next to my grand fireplace. The older couple frowned and held hands, as fewer and fewer guests trickled in. With heavy hearts, they agreed to sell me.

Another older couple fell in love with my large grassy yard and winding staircase, and I was theirs and they were mine. I watched the woman as she came home at odd hours from the medical clinic, placing her worn comfortable shoes at the doorway as she collapsed on the couch, her husband having given up and fallen asleep in the master bedroom, alone again. I wished I could wrap my beams around her and tell her she was working miracles and it would all be ok, but it wasn't.

A new tv, a flatscreen, again blared on about another recession, military men deployed overseas, fatalistic news on the screen and in the living room as the man served his wife divorce papers and...papers to sell me, the home.

I sat, vacant yet hopeful,  as people trailed in and out. One of the doctor's secretaries came in and polished my stair rail, wiped down my cloudy windows, dusted my mantle. Her hope and despair matched my own. Summer turned into fall, and winter, spring, and summer again. My paint began to chip, my eaves sagged, people came and went. Someone began to sign paperwork to my elation, only to never return again.

Four years passed, so many people but so little...relationships. All I wanted was to be a home.

There was a family I kept seeing a few times a year, smiles on like the rest of them, who finally came with a pile of papers, signed. A handshake. A boy running across the hallway in socks. The windowsills were dusted, my walls painted, and a worn Bible sat on my mantle. Friends visited, in fellowship, hands were held in silent prayer. The children brought over friends who tossed beach balls around and who colored my walls.

Finally, I was a home. Thank God.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

My vagina and I aren't talking

It's not me, it's you, I told my vagina.

Let's first give a disclaimer, because as you can see, I'm gonna talk about my vagina to the strangers of the interwebby world. Why? Well, I feel as a woman that I can't talk about such private stuff so therefore I will.  I mean, if I am to be lady like and not talk about taboo items, well part of what makes us uniquely "lady" is our vaginas so they should be the hot topic. Why can people talk about, I dunno, toes, but not vaginas?

Wait. Because we are so hush hush about this stuff, and because I was bedridden sick the week of "that part" of health class, I am now thinking, half this stuff I'm about to talk about probably doesn't even revolve around my vagina. It's a blanket term for all that stuff inside that I can't see, ok?

I gave my vagina the cold shoulder after years of begging, when she simply refused to listen or even consider listening, for years I tell you. She put me through a lot of heartache, bullying, and self esteem issues solely because she wanted to do things her own way, on her own time and agenda. She caused me to get the term "late bloomer" past the time of being, well, a late bloomer. I know she had a direct hand in making me shop for training bras while my classmates were shopping for prom dresses. I know she just decided to go all punk rock rebel and decide to give me my period finally after we'd not spoken for, like, ever, and then she did it just to piss me off.  Trust me, I was pissed off, being the last girl to ever get her period...a month before I started high school, meanwhile my friends had grown-up sized boobs and had their periods since elementary school.

But then, she was ok with me. Ok, really, she made up for that puberty-will-never-happen stuff... enough that I ended up without menstrual cramps! Awesome! I even had two perfect pregnancies, with no cravings, no morning sickness, no...nothing that pregnant ladies get. I even had two natural births, under 5 hours a piece, with a quick recovery. Yay team vagina!

And then - she decided she'd had enough of this good girl thing. It was just a phase.

Two years ago, I got an abnormal pap smear. You never expect that word, abnormal, and so I quickly brushed it off, while secretly worrying. So they sent me in for another pap and more intensive lab work on the scrapings of my innards and....

I got the call. "You have HPV." You know, WARTS. In. My. Vagina. My husband didn't have them so who, when, where....?

My nonchalant tipsy ditsy college years came back to me, a past I had wanted to forget. I mean, doesn't the Bible kinda say when you're born again you are born anew, you are not your past? Then why the hell was my past coming back full force and then some to haunt me? I wasn't that "bad" in college, only a very few umm, partners, but then one of them... I'm sure he cheated. A lot. Did he give them to me? Was he still out giving out warts for free? He was the worst, and still occasionally haunts my dreams, my soul, heart, and memories, but I had like 99% gotten over how awful that al was and forgiven myself for staying with him as long as I did. And now i'd have a part of his ...his... evil with me, possibly forever. I wasn't, well, one of them, the kind of girl you'd expect to get HPV. I knew women who were like twenty, thirty times more promiscuous and "bad" than I that had got off scott-free.

Then I got the call that it was the most aggressive type of HPV, the type that is responsible for 90% of cervical cancer, and to come in for a biopsy.

Then I got the biopsy and they said they saw something abnormal, that drasted word again.

Then,  with my foot broken (amongst about twenty other really crappy things going on in my life and those around me) I wheeled in for a minor surgery to remove the abnormality.

It was one stage below cancer, but like as "scary" as can be before it is cancer, which is scary enough. Sure, my vagina hadn't killed me or sent me into the world of cancer, but I was not very happy with her.

A year passed, HPV gone, no more abnormalities as of yet, tra la la, a happy life, happy vagina.


Since I don't get cramps, I do consider myself lucky, but then you have to wear pantyliners around your time of the month so you don't end up, I dunno, in the middle of the desert, wearing white pants, surrounded by a judging crowd, as your new red stain grows. And let's say my period as always been a little unpredictable, but predictably unpredictable if that makes sense.

But just ten days after lovely old aunt flo, I go to the restroom and screech out, "Huh? What the hell" as I huff and puff over to the cabinet for a pad. Maybe it is just a random three second spotting.


It lasts four days.

And then, between the fourteen-days ago period began and 38 days afterwards, I've had bleeding for three or more days three times and guess what happened today? Yeah. Oh and I'm mildly anemic so I'm just having a field day, a bloody exhausted field day.

So maybe today has a reason. Yesterday I went to my OBGYN because, well, my vagina hates me and he feels around and has a look see (and  a pregnancy test and another pap as is routine, yay, with extra days to wait on results due to the holiday)  and finds...

A polyp. Like a polyp bigger than a pencil eraser. It could be the problem maker, but he isn't too sure, but isn't worried that he isn't too sure. Meanwhile my low BP (I'm usually 116/65) is at 138/75 because I'm a stress case. I was raised in a home where anxiety was our religion, fear our God, so it kinda stuck. I'm thinking, you aren't sure this is the problem? And you just removed a creepy chunk of flesh from me? And I might just bleed some more?

So today when I discovered I'd be in pantyliners again (might as well buy stock), I looked down and told my vagina, it's over. Its not me. Nope, it's you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Kicked out of the post office (or, alternate title) too hot for meth labs

I grew up near where I currently live, at 5,000 feet above sea level in a small mountain town; sounds kind of like South Park doesn't it?

So today was hot. Like, record-breaking hot. It was all over the news, internationally, with highs an hour away (deep down in the desert) of 125 degrees!

Here it was a nice "cool" 100. Record-breaking still.

I remember back when I was about twelve years old and it was a record-breaking 96. People might foo-foo it, but where we live, few have air conditioning. Even most stores, schools, etc lack air conditioning, so 96 is HOT.

My little town lacked a/c anywhere except the post office. I recall sitting in front of the family fan (we were kind of poor so we had one box fan we crowded around and one small clip-on fan) just melting in place, waiting for a friend to come over. My parents gave us five bucks to go check the mail and so we did and "OMG" it was wonderful! The post office had air conditioning! The only place in town! So we hung out for two hours, bored as hell but cooled off, until we got kicked out for loitering. pshaw.

I also recall roasting in my bedroom, itching from prickly heat rash, wanting for dead every summer, which is why when I bought a home here, I wanted it set for a/c. My childhood bedroom was a loft room, uninsulated, facing west with one tiny window. Most every summer day might reach 85 (most summer says are 75-80) but my room, from 4:00pm until 4:00am, would be 96 degrees no matter what, with a little clip fan to "cool" me. I hated it.

So today I enjoyed our air conditioning when it was 100 out.

I even more enjoyed it when 3,500 acres caught fire about 30 miles west, with drift smoke and ashes filling my hot mountain air.

I remember it was 88 out, at 9:30am, and no breeze- we always have breeze- so it felt sweltering. At noon, 100 degrees, we got a breeze and I thought, phew a breeze but it will bring the fire bugs out. Having evacuated more times than I can recall, well, I hate fires.

So I enjoy our central air because my asthma, my husband and son's asthma, does not have to get too bad because our air system has a filter..because the sky is orange, the sun and sky the same eerie color as a partial eclipse, my cars dusty with falling ashes.

Oh and there was a smaller fire about five miles away. A meth lab blew up. yep. Same thing happened two summers ago.

But anyway, sometimes Los Angeles with bitch and moan, oooooh it's in the 90's we're all going to die (just like they do when it is "freezing" out at 50 degrees) and I'm sorry, LA, but I lack sympathy.

Why? Most Angelinos have a/c. Not all; I had a boyfriend in college from out there and no a/c. But yes, most have a/c. to escape 90 degree heat. The few who don't have options. I bet every Angelinos has within a 5 minute drive and in many cases a five minute walk at least one of the following, all with a/c.....
1. Library  (my town had one, but no a/c)
2. Shopping mall
3. mega-mart store
4. Starbucks, Mc Donalds, some food establishment
5. Grocery store (again my town had one but no a/c)
6. Official cooling center for those without a/c
7. public swimming pool
.... the list goes on....

What's the list have in common? All those places are within five minutes and have a/c so the Angelinos have an option to go to the mall or library or whatever and cool down for the day.

We, the people in my hometown, did not. Even our local swimming holes, creeks, often dried up and the one that didn't was usually filled with naked stoned hippies and drunk teenagers.

We had no choice but to swelter.

I often begged my parents for even a little window a/c unit. I see them all over town nowadays. I don't know if it was poverty, how windows were made in the 1930s (many homes were built around then), the electrical system or what but in the 80s, no one in my town had those window a/c units. It's like they didn't exist and yet they did. What's up with that?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Prairie Home Companion; or, Why My Underwear are on Display

Our dryer finally done broke. (Yes, hick vernacular, you will see why).

My mother in law has a spare dryer but it is 102 degrees out where she is at so....

I'm drying my clothes on a line.

With a husband, myself (duh) and two boys, we have A LOT of laundry. I feel like I am job shadowing Sister Wives.

So we have three lines criss-crossing our back yard with our laundry out for all to see, even our underwear.

What have I learned from almost two weeks without a dryer?

Well, I am indeed curious how my energy bill will fare; how much I will save.

It takes time to hang each individual item. Tossing them in the dryer is so much faster and careless.

But hanging clothes is kind of...Zen.

In a world where it is rush rush rush and now now now- we even get mad if wikipedia takes to long to load..... slowing down and hanging laundry is kind of...nice. You can take a break from kids. You can think to yourself. You can enjoy the sunshine. You realize the time you are spending would've been spent surfing the web or texting or watching tv, things that take up so much time that we don't notice.

I don't like the crunchy towels, wrinkled shirts, stiff underwear, but the time taken to hang and take off laundry is quite nice. You should try it. And, you can piss off your passive aggressive weekender neighbors by hanging underwear on the line closest to their windows ;-)

Friday, April 15, 2016

"I can't, I have a migraine"

This is me on a normal day.
"I can't, I have a migraine"

If you can answer the phone and say this, you probably don't have a migraine.

But you could have prodrome or postdrome, the before and after parts of migraines many of us get in addition to the migraine itself.

Lucky me, I often get all 3.

Not only do I get a migraine so painful that it rivals the moments before transition in childbirth (for those in the know), but I get the prodrome and postdrome.

Last night, I felt nauseous, hot and cold, very sleepy yet troubled. Suddenly my midl headache became DEATH. I stumbled upstairs for some advil. The dark was too dark, the light to light, the fan in the bathroom as loud as a jet engine, the water helping my pills down was too watery, my blankets were too in the way..

I woke up still nursing the migraine, more advil, a bunch of caffeine, and....


I am still noise and light sensitive; my pain is gone until something is too bright or loud, which is basically everything today, especially being that I'm a mom of two young boys. The noise is like a ratchet, click click, tightening a sharp drill into my skull.

And the dizziness. It feels like I am nearly blackout-drunk, when everything spins in circles.

The lethargy, oh, I am so tired, everything is laborious including this blog. I contemplate adult diapers, the bathroom is soooooo far away. I'd sleep but the postdrome won't let me.

Its as if I can feel my neurons spazzing.

I can't quite explain it in words but here goes.

You know how static on a tv looks and sounds? Imagine a faint bit of static in front of your eyes (plus the drunk spinning view). Then add the sound of static, or nails on a chalkboard, how it fills your ears, makes you shudder, recoil. Imagine that while you can't actually hear the static, your body reacts from it, recoiling, ears full.

Disordientation. You feel disoriented as if on drugs, but not good drugs... or so I imagine, having never been on drugs. But I'd say its like a "bad trip". You get body dysmorphia, your foot might feel like its here but really it is there, a body part might feel giant and bloated but look tinier than usual.

Flu. It feels like the flu, without the coughing, barfing, sniffling. That I got hit by a truck please ust kill me now feeling.

Duh. You can't think. Really, I'm lucky to have remembered to put on pants. The milk might be on the stove, dog food in the freezer, car keys in the dryer, I wouldn't be surprised. I barely even know who I am or where I am. Ignorance is not bliss.

The ADD. I don't feel well, so its like ok time to catch up on some TV or read a book, right? But I read a sentence and its as if it is in Greek, or like it is tangible, a little cloud of words in front of you that poof! disappear, so you read the sentence again and it vanishes again. You can't follow the plot of a tv show, because the blazing green color of your sock holds your attention, no, your eyes dart to the clock, barely moving, ouch why do my pants give me a headache, where did I put the milk?

All you want to do is sleep, but that neuron static keeps you wide awake. Lethargic, dumber than a brick, but deer in headlights level wide awake. gzzt. you feel the electricity pulse through your veins, your heart beat drums loudly.

You want to just close your eyes and rest, but you can't.

The static lessens about 10% if you focus on something, so staring into space isn't an option, the static gets deafening, but you cannot focus on anything anyways.

You feel detached most of all.

So to today, just end already. My to do list is increasing, my house looks like a tornado wreck because I cannot keep up with two kids! But I want to do stuff. I'm jonesing to write my book, I have some training to do for a new job, I have a house to clean, garden to water, shopping to do, I have to go to my prior workplace to get some things, I have a bunch of liens to memorize for a play, laundry to fold, friends and family to call.....

But I can't. I have migraine postdrome.


This. This is an image depicting post-drome. Actually, a migraine looks just the same on my face. I think I age thirty years during one....And btw I'm wearing just as much makeup in both my "normal" and post-drone photo.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Selfish vs Selfless

I had a giant awakening, a lesson in selfishness verses selflessness.

I love my job. I work at a small private school, teaching a smorgasbord of subjects for grades 7-12, a jack of all trades. Highlights have included a few students calling me their other mom, dining on a good-as-a-professional-chef-but-made-by-teens meal for Chinese New Year, and being told "thanks for teaching this, how do people live without it", just to name a few highlights. Once my students walk in the door, the day zooms by and I am filled with total, complete, joy. I love my job. Love your job and never work a day in your life, right? I finally found a job with the teaching freedom I desire, along with spiritual growth, and an amazing group of staff and students. I feel....alive. Amazing,


Here's where I go preachy.

God gives you lessons and sometimes they are not easy.

Selfishness verses selflessness seems easy. I am often far too selfless, but, maybe it is selfless through the guise of selfishness. I do XYZ to help people, because, it brings me joy. It is kind of a selfish thing of pride, where I have pride in helping people. I have pride in my super-awesome job.

I feel like God gave me my current job to kind of wake me up after an abysmal few years where I battled major depression, self doubt, and personal and family crises. I believe this job allowed me to think to myself, I'm worthy. I can find joy in things again. It is all good, man...

And then...

My son is mild special needs, and suddenly showed signs of needing more help, things I won't divulge all the details, but, he needs me. It is a sort of situation where only mom, time, and support can help him, and I can only give that if...

If I choose selflessness over selfishness.

So I told my boss, find a new teacher. Once you do, I quit. I told her this, of course, through choking tears.

Then, somehow, some students found out,so I told them my decision to quelch any rumors. I tried to stay strong, but began to tear up.  I will miss my students, staff, job so much. Also, quitting mid year is like career suicide, but, my son comes first. His needs come first.

It seems so easy, doesn't it? Put your children first. I have always believed this, but have never had to sacrifice so much, give up so much, make such a "what should I do" decision as this. But I know it is the right decision.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The cartographer's dragon

I seem to gravitate towards sci-fi or fantasy geeks, and always have. My friends growing up were the boys playing Magic cards and going to Renaissance Faires, the girls also at the Ren Faire; fantasy and sci-fi novels reigned supreme and still do among some of my friends.

But I have a secret.

I'm not that much into fantasy, Ren Faire, Sci-fi books.... 

But then again, maybe I am. Just in my own unique way.

As a child, I loved maps. National Geographic has always been a favorite, and the occasional fold-out map of some far away country was like an origami-folded Christmas gift of sorts. Just like with the Rand McNally Road map my parents carried in the back of the Jeep, or the Thomas Brothers LA County map my grandpa kept in the toolbox (for scoping out rental properties to fix), my fingers and eyes would excitedly trace every hill, river, toll road, and culdesac for hours at end. I would proudly try and twist my tongue to pronounce foreign outposts, memorize street maps of nearby towns, and study facts about the geography of wherever. 

I had a large cardboard child's atlas with cartoon icons n the maps (a four foot wide map of the USA with cacti in the west, oil fields near Texas, some very un-pc "Indian" person near Oklahoma.... I would imagine visiting the oil fields, the Indians, the cacti....I used the atlas as a slide, a building block, a place to nap, a table to draw on. I tried to match the bright icons to places on an outdated, rickety globe I found at a yard sale, and I'd dream of visiting places I knew little about: 12,000 tallest peak, 3 million people in the capital, icons for adobe huts..... I'd spin the globe for hours, closing my eyes, tracing my finger and seeing where I'd end up.

I even drew my own maps, twisty loops of residential streets complete with imaginary street names, home plots, driveways, and trees.

I created thousands upon thousands of little worlds in my minds, some based on reality, some completely fantasy, with made up residents, lives, life stories, adventures, scenic views.

This hobby even spilled over into my lifelong hobby of genealogy and postcard collecting, as well as my newer found hobby of: Google Map Street View. I will do as I did with the globe as a child, scrolling waaaay out, closing my eyes, clicking, zooming in. A rugged arctic outcrop in northern Russia, a busy street scene in Bangkok, rusty tractor parts in rural Romania, a caballero and his cows crossing a dusty Argentinian road. Every square inch tells a story I do not know but can only imagine.  Layers upon layers of history, of love and conquest, pain, beauty, silence. People come, people go, events of history imperceptibly change the environment. Millions of that-snapshot-that-moment scenes, experienced differently by each observer, never to be experienced again.

As an armchair traveler and pretend cartographer, I envelop myself in a fantasy world of wonderment based solely upon an image, a street name, a blank spot on the map.