F.E.A.R.*

 

 

fear2The girl and I are volunteering at Voodoo on the Bayou – a Halloween haunt being putting on by The 13th Gate Asylum and the Simi Valley Rotary. This post was prompted by the fact that I came thisclose to letting Fear stop me from scaring people. 

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I’ve written about FEAR before. So many times, in fact, that I was (almost) afraid to write about it AGAIN (“What if they think I’m a coward? What if they think ‘OMG doesn’t she have anything NEW to say?’”) – but then I decided that I’m not going to let Fear stop me.

There’s nothing wrong with being afraid. In fact, as Angela of Beradiant2 tell us, having some fear is healthy, and even essential:  “Having some fear is healthy. Fear plays an important role in our psyche.  Without the fear flight survival response – the instinctual urge to run in the face of danger – our species would have been hunted into extinction long ago.

But that’s fear with a lower case f, not Fear, the scum sucking pig who makes up one half of the not-so-dynamic duo (Fear and Anxiety are BFFs).

Fear (capital F) is an asshat – a sneaky, no good, lying bastard who tells us lies to keep us stuck and afraid.  He sneaks into our room at night and slips nightmares into our dreaming mind. He whispers lies into our ears that stop us from pursuing our dreams (“what if you fail?”) and wraps his blanket soft arms around us, pulling us back into the waking sleep of our comfort zone. We tell ourselves that it’s “better to be safe than sorry”, but that’s just Fear speaking through us.  

But Fear tells us lies to keep us stuck. Fear is not our friend. Or maybe he is. Fear is the passive-aggressive/abusive friend who separates you from your family of heart in an attempt to convince you that you’re “less than.” Fear isolates us and keeps us from moving forward. Fear prevents us from taking new opportunities and trying new things.Fear doesn’t want us to grow and change. Fear fears change (see what I did there?).

Fear not friends – we can beat him. Thankfully, the wonderful people at Unstuck have provided a list of 9 tips to help you move past the fear. Here’s the most important thing to remember about Fear. Fear is a bully. Like most bullies, Fear runs away when we stop running and face him head on. Fear remembers what we have forgotten – that courage isn’t a lack of fear. Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

As for me? I’m choosing to breakup with Fear.

 

*False Expectations Appearing Real

 

 

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

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image courtesy of quotesgram.com

I’m back, like a bad penny

I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but I got derailed. Derailed by stress, grief, loss, depression and change.

FYI – I hate change*.

The changes have been Good, Weird, Sad and Not Fun. My husband’s status changed from “Waiting for work comp claim to settle” to “Looking for work” (Good). My daughter changed from a high school senior to a college freshman (Weird. I distinctly remember being a college freshman 5 years ago). Any moment now I will be changing careers – my office is being moved to Kansas City and I am not a KC girl (Sad). On top of everything else, I am in the midst of The Change (I’m not sure what I’m changing into, but I hope it’s a unicorn). The hormonal rollercoaster that comes with menopause is Not Fun. My hair is both falling out and growing in new and unusual places. OOOOOOOOOhhhhhh – maybe my next job will be as The Bearded Lady! (My dreams of running away to join the circus are finally coming true!) My “once a month cravings” last all month long, and sleep is a thing of the past. The good news is that almost all my friends suffer from hormonally induced insomnia as well, and thanks to FB we can all hang out at 3am in our PJs without people complaining.

But the train is back on track. Well, it’s not really a train. More like a hand cart. That’s ok, I can use the exercise. Trust me – the whole stress/grief/menopause cycle has “fluffed out” my figure. The good news is that my boobs are HUGE (is that TMI?)

So I’m back on track, sort of. I’m writing again (yay!) but I have no idea where I’m supposed to go from here. When I started Twisting Suburbia, I pictured myself as a poor man’s Erma Bombeck (yes, I had huge dreams and a bigger ego). My daughter was  a tween and I planned on sharing little tips and tricks for surviving the perils of parenthood with sanity somewhat intact. How’s that saying go? The best laid plans of mice and men…..

The good news is that I’m not alone in my hatred of fear of aversion to change. I came across an old post by Bruce Sallan that resonated with me:

We all have our weak spots and change is one of mine. I know change is good – much of the time, but that doesn’t make the fact that I like things to be a certain way, in a certain place, at a certain time, certainly! I resist change. And, change fights me. We simply don’t like each other.” 

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image courtesy of Brucesallan.com

He’s right – not all change is bad. Just today I heard that Atlanta is going to change the names of streets that honored confederacy

It doesn’t matter whether change is good, bad, sad or weird. It’s not like I can avoid it. Heraclitus told us that “change is the only constant in life.” When I started blogging, I had Specific Plans For My Blog. Things have changed since then. I can still offer tips and tricks for surviving suburbia and the perils of parenthood,  but I’m not so sure if I can tell you how to maintain your sanity. I’m changing. I’m sure my blog will too. I hope you’ll come with me as I begin again.**

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*I prefer dollars. Please send some (preferably tens and twenties)

**I love Keira Knightly 

So tell me – how do you handle change?

P.S. No post about changes would be complete without a little Bowie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time is NOT on Your Side*

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image courtesy of gospeltoday.com

Hello, my name is Tracey. I thought I’d introduce myself since I’ve been MIA for a while.

I know, I know, you’re disappointed in me. You think I lied when I said I was going to write on a regular basis. I didn’t. Not really. Lie, that is. I said that I would TRY to write on a regular basis. I’ve been trying. Extremely. Trying, that is (ask my teen).

Look, I don’t mean to be a disappointment – I can’t help myself. It’s just…well…I suppose it’s in my nature (ask anyone). I had every intention of writing on a consistent basis. I even tried to make it a more manageable task. I changed “write something every day” to “write 2-3x/week” and then revised it to “or once or twice a week” in an attempt to make my goal more realistic.

I know, I know, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I realize that the proverb is supposed to be a warning against  good intentions, but I’ve started to think of it as more of a roadmap. The road to hell is paved with good intentions? It’s ok – all my friends are there.

The good news is that Today is a New Day, and we can start whenever we choose. It sounds like sappy pap, but it’s true – why wait for January 1st (or even tomorrow morning) when you can begin again at any moment?

Trust me – you don’t want to wait. You never know what tomorrow might bring.

Facebook was kind enough to remind me that four years ago, we almost lost our daughter. Well, not lost, exactly (it’s not like we took off on vacation and left her home alone, or that she was taken by strangers). Four years ago she was hit by a perfect storm (of growth spurt, sleep deprivation, wheat sensitivity and drug interaction) that almost carried her away.

Three years ago, my husband was rear ended on the freeway by someone driving 70+. He was battered and bruised, but walked away from the crash (well, limped).

Two years ago, the same spouse developed multiple life-threatening pulmonary emboli.

Last year I lost my brother-of heart to undiagnosed P.E.

Two months ago, I lost a forever friend.

A month ago, my uncle passed.

I’m not sharing to elicit sympathy (but I won’t turn down a hug) – I wanted to confess, but the priest wouldn’t let me*. I have let grief, loss and stress stop me from writing. They built a writer’s block so long and tall that I was certain that I couldn’t jump over or walk around it. I believed that my only choice was to Wait For Things To Get Better.

I realize now that waiting is a mistake. Ferris was right – Life moves pretty fast.

Or it seems to, at least. I’ve been listening to Why Time Flies by Alan Burdick. In the company of scientists, he visits the most accurate clock in the world (which exists only on paper); discovers that “now” actually happened a split-second ago; finds a twenty-fifth hour in the day; lives in the Arctic to lose all sense of time; and, for one fleeting moment in a neuroscientist’s lab, even makes time go backward.  It’s an interesting “read” on the nature of time. What I find most intriguing about the book is that the flow of time changes depending on the content. Time flies when I’m listening to the author’s personal anecdotes and slows to a snail’s pace as he shares information on the science of clocks. Or maybe it’s me. The NY times book review advises us that “physics teaches us that physical time happens to be astonishingly different from how we intuit it: runs at different speeds, at different altitudes; is distorted by matter; is not organized in a straightforward past, present and future.”

I think the Universe (aka FB memories) has been trying to remind me that life is short, that tempus fugit, and that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. I need to Stop Waiting and Start Doing.

Forget New Year’s Resolutions. I’m choosing today to make a New Day’s Resolution. I’ll make this one easy on me.

Hi. My name is Tracey. Don’t fret – Today I resolved to write on a regular basis.

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image courtesy of jerinsantosh.wordpress.com

P.S. For those of you who are thinking of emulating Ferris Bueller, by skipping school to catch a Cubs game keep an eye out for your principal.

*No matter what Earth Wind and Fire may claim.

**Evidently you’re supposed to be Catholic

OLB*

th5HHDH7O9Today’s quickie post brought to you by my attempt to fulfill a promise to TRY to write every day. The Evil Inner Critic tried to convince me that I should wait until I have more time. I told him to STFU. I tend to swear a lot.

I was very excited by this morning’s prompt. My overly caffeinated brain was running at 125% and I was in full Writer’s Mode. Ready to write and planning on being Exceptionally Clever. I’m sure you know what they say about “the best laid plans“….

I was going to start today’s post by saying “I have Bad Tendencies (not the band)”. I was disappointed to find out that I was thinking of Suicidal Tendencies. I don’t have any of those, but if YOU do, please call/text/talk to someone.

Then I thought “Ah, I’m confused. I’ve mooshed Bad Republic and Suicidal Tendencies together to form a new band.” Evidently Bad Republic isn’t a band either. It appears that I have developed Old Lady Brain. I could blame the lack of sleep that comes with parenting a teen or the hormone changes that come with The Change (they don’t call it Mental Pause for nothing). It doesn’t matter really. I don’t like this new trend.

Well hell, the EIC just reminded me that today’s word is “tend”. Hey, at least I was close ;-D

 

 

Time is….time

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image courtesy of katehilton.com

I know that I promised that I would try to write on a regular basis. I’ve been meaning to write more often, but somehow, I never quite seem to find the time. I’ll try to do better. I promise.

When I read this morning’s daily prompt my heart started racing, my palms got sweaty and I started crying.* Then again, as a woman who is in the midst of The Change, most of my mornings start that way. FYI, I’d much rather Be The Change  than go through the change. BTW, what exactly am I changing into? My husband tells me I am becoming a witch (at least I think that’s what he said), but I’m hoping that it’s something more fun, like a mermaid or a unicorn.

 

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ANYWAY, I was a little more emo than “normal” this morning  (whatever THAT means).

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patsyclairmont.com

Today’s prompt was yet another reminder that my daughter is going to enroll at our local college this fall. When our daughter was born, friends, family members and even complete strangers told us “She’ll be grown before you know it.” I laughed, because I could vividly remember how long it took me to reach 18 – it was an entire lifetime away!

I’m not laughing now – the crazybusy schedule that comes with senior year of high school doesn’t leave me time to breathe, much less laugh. We have pictures to take and performances to see and parties to plan and winter and prom dresses to buy and applications to file and OMG SHE’S TURNING 18 IN TWO MONTHS!! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!

It’s Time’s fault. Einstein said that time is relative. I say that Time is A relative. He’s that weird relative who always ruins the party. You know the one – the one who brings up politics and/or religion or corners your cute friend in the corner after he’s had one too many martoonies. He’s more than weird. Time is an asshole. He races at supersonic speeds through moments of joy (my wedding day was a blur) and slows to a crawl on Mondays. My most awkward and painful moments are completely frozen in time.

I suppose it’s my fault. I’ve been wasting time, and he hates that. Lewis Carroll reminds us that if we keep on good terms with him, he’ll behave.

“Alice sighed wearily. ‘I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’ `If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting it. It’s him.’ `I don’t know what you mean,’ said Alice. `Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’ `Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’ `Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!”Lewis Carroll

So thanks, Daily Post, for my moment of panic. Fortunately, I was able to move past it by researching today’s word. OxnardDictionaries.com tells us that

en·roll

[inˈrōl, enˈrōl]

VERB

enrol (verb) · enrols (third person present) · enrolled (past tense) · enrolled (past participle) · enrolling (present participle) · enrolls (third person present)

    1. officially register as a member of an institution or a student on a course:

“he enrolled in drama school” ·

Well, that wasn’t helpful. Now I’m panicking about the “enrolling in college” thing again….

I did a second search and came across enroll.com – it’s a resource for parents, students and educators. You can search for schools and scholarships, look for and become an online tutor. I felt all my stress melt away when I found this one-stop shop…until I clicked the registration link and got a 404 error.

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image courtesy of blog.inkyfool.com

 I think the only way to reduce stress from a 404 error might be a 420….

I just realized that I have spent far too much time talking about time (and the lack of it). For those of you who have been following along for a while (THANK YOU!) – I owe you an apology for this third (fourth?) post about this four letter word. I promise that I’ll move on to something completely different…if I can find the time ;-D

As for the rest of you, welcome to the party, and don’t forget – tempus fugit. Whatever you do, don’t blink!

*Ok, I didn’t really cry, but I DID get all verklempt.

So tell me – do you get along with Time? What’s your secret?

Nothing Funny to See Here

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image courtesty of reductress.com

Seriously, if you’re looking for something amusing, you might want to come back tomorrow….

 

When I read that today’s prompt from The Daily post was “stifle” I was immediately thrown back in time to my childhood. Literally, with the really cool crossfade from color to B&W and retro music.

Open on –

Family, gathered around the television, foil wrapped tv dinners TV trays in front of them.

Camera pans faces. Mother, father, son all smiling/laughing.

Camera pans to and tightens on daughter, 14, not smiling. She looks from family to television and back to family curiously.

“Stifle yourself Edith!” comes from the television, and everyone in the room laughs. Daughter’s expression darkens.

“This is NOT FUNNY” the daughter snaps as she runs from run the room.

Ok, so I’m never going to get a job in Hollywood as a screenwriter – but I still don’t think that All In The Family was funny. I understand that Archie Bunker was supposed to be a caricature – a laughable buffoon of a man, whose ideas and comments were mocked and ridiculed as being boorish. I think that those involved with the show (and many of them who watched it) believed that the days of racism and misogyny were on their way out – that we were moving into a bright and shiny future where people where nobody was judged solely by their race/religion/sexual identity. Archie Bunker’s stubborn insistence on living as if time was standing still was supposed to be funny.

I could write an entire post on how the past year has shown how little things have changed. That sexism, racism and the bitterest of hatred towards anything “different than me” are alive and well and living in suburbia.  I could, but I won’t – not because I find this behavior acceptable. I won’t, because I can’t. When I think about how “far” we’ve come (HA!), I am hit by an icy wave of despair.  My brain freezes, and I find that that I can barely breathe, much less put words together to form sentences*. My 14 year old self runs from the room, screaming and crying hysterically once again (why, yes I was a Teenaged Drama Queen, why do you ask?).

TBH I’m not sure why All In the Family bothered me as much as it did. Was it his racism? Possibly, but I doubt it. Although I didn’t know anyone whose hateful language equaled Mr. Bunker’s, I was intimately familiar with people I considered “friendly racists.” “Black people sure do run fast!” “Yes, Grandma, and Asians are really good at math” (FYI I spent a lot of time in my room thinking about my “smart mouth”). Could it be the way he picked and chose and misquoted the bible? Maybe, but I didn’t spend much time with The Book either. If I had to choose, I would say it was the way he spoke to his wife. He was forever admonishing her to “stifle yourself” or “dummy up”. It rankles, even 40 years later.

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But the “lovable bigot” isn’t the only man who would prefer that women stay quiet. Over the weekend I became aware of efforts by Conejo Valley Unified School District board of trustees president Mike Dunn to silence Anonymous Mommy blogger Jess Weihe. The president of the Conejo Valley Unified School District board of trustees went so far as to threaten retaliation against her employer. Unfortunately Mr. Dunn’s tactics have worked – at least one person has pulled his business from Mustang Marketing.

I was appalled (but not surprised) that a local politician would go so far in an attempt to silence an opposing viewpoint. Curious about his mindset, I sent him an email. I didn’t expect him to respond, but he did.

“In my opinion, Jessica Wiehe is a cyper (sic) bully. For months and months she has been attacking republicans, conservatives and Christians on her website…the purpose of my email was to encourage him to stop the abuse.”

I’m not quite sure how  threatening someone’s livelihood can be construed as “encouraging”, but maybe his dictionary is different than mine.

IMHO Archie Bunker and Mike Dunn are both assclowns. The difference is that Archie Bunker was a character on TV (superbly portrayed by the amazing Carroll O’Connor). Mr. Dunn is a character who has made it to 2017’s Top Free Speech Offenders and Defenders.

I probably shouldn’t have, but I responded to Mr. Dunn. “It always amuses me when bullies believe they are being bullied….It can be scary when a woman speaks her mind, but our country is supposed to allow us the freedom to speak up. It does not allow us the freedom to threaten others.”

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in my room, thinking about my “smart mouth”.

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image courtesy of janevoigts.com

*Appropriately enough, the first definition of “stifle” from Oxforddictionaries.com is “(to) make (someone) unable to breathe properly; suffocate

My life is Trilling

question-marks-picture[1]Writing is hard, but it could be worse. I could be in charge of The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt.  I don’t envy Krista Stevens, Ben Huberman et al. It can’t be easy to come up with a word of the day (unless, of course, you use the “word of the day” app which is what I would do. Is it cheating if you don’t get caught?).

I have to admit that today’s prompt left me scratching my head. When I first saw today’s word, I misread it as thrill – and I started a post about how much of a thrill my daughter and I get when we scare people at Deadzone805 (complete with a link to Deadzone’s creator Nelson Cooper and his appearance on last season’s FaceOff).

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the little scaractor

It wasn’t the first time I’ve misread or misremembered a prompt. I could blame pre-coffee brain or the fact that I cannot see well enough to find my glasses without my glasses, but it’s irrevelant. Evidently I need to double-check triple-check the prompt before I start writing.

I’d like to think that I’m a fairly intelligent person (I’d like to think that – but, now that I’m suffering from Menopausal Brain, I might have to reconsider), but today’s prompt had me at a loss. Trill? Is that even a word?

Thank goodness for Google and the freeonlinedictionary.com.

trill

   (trĭl)

n.

  1. A fluttering or tremulous sound, as that made by certain birds; a warble.
  2. Music
  3. The rapid alternation of two tones either a whole or a half tone apart.
  4. A vibrato.
  5. Linguistics
  6. A rapid vibration of one speech organ against another, as of the tongue against the alveolar ridge in Spanish rr.
  7. A speech sound pronounced with such a vibration.

On second thought. The dictionary wasn’t much help. Who wants to read a post about songbirds or the fact that my daughter failed Spanish because she can’t trill her Rs?*

Urbandictionary.com was far more helpful. I learned that trill can be an adjective used in hip-hop culture to describe someone who is considered to be well respected, coming from a combination of the words “true’ and “real”.

But my inner nerdy sy-fy geek squealed with delight when they reminded me that Trill are also a species of alien from the famous “Star Trek” series of movies and television series. They look rather human with the exception of black spots going down the sides of their body, and along the sides of their head… 

For those of you who aren’t die hard Trekkies:

The Trill are a fictional species of symbiotic life forms, depicted in the Star Trek media franchise. First introduced in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the species became a major part of the spin-off series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which featured a Trill named Dax as one of its main characters.

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Trill are depicted as comprising a humanoid host, and a worm-shaped symbiont that is implanted in the host’s abdomen. Their personalities are a combination of the host and symbiont, with the symbiont’s memories providing continuity between hosts. Their home world, also named Trill, is a planet in the Alpha Quadrant, the primary setting of most of the Star Trek series.

You can learn more about Trill here or you can follow me to the dork side and discover your Trill name.

And now you know everything you could possibly know about trill (or at least, everything I know about trill), isn’t that thrilling?

And for those of you who were disappointed to find that this ISN’T a post about songbirds, here you go:

*I lied. My daughter didn’t fail Spanish, but it’s not because she can’t trill her Rs. I mean, she can’t, which is weird to me. It’s not hard, in fact, you can learn to roll them (contrary to popular belief it is not a genetic trait). She took French and ASL instead – because there are so many deaf French people living in California.

 

If at first you don’t succeed….

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“If at first you don’t succeed, give up” – Homer Simpson

I know I promised I’d try to write every day. I could lie, and say that I’ve been journaling, but the lie benefits nobody (well, it soothes my fragile ego, but lying to myself doesn’t help, because even I don’t believe me). Instead of spending the rest of the month in my blanket fort, beating myself up for failing to keep yet another New Year’s Resolution, I’ve decided to start over.

I realize that, at 3 weeks into the new year, I am getting a very late start to All Things New, as promised by a fresh and shiny New Year. I am #tardy* to the party. I refuse, however, to beat myself up (any more than I have already). I may be late, but at least I’ve shown up.

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image courtesy of digitalbloggers.com

Happy New Year! I am well aware that we are more than two (3) weeks into the new year, but you know what they say – better late than pregnant! How is 2018 working out for your so far?

So far 2018 has been 2017 (cont.) – not bad for our little threesome (not THAT kind of threesome, cochina!), but filled with too much heartache and loss for those I love.

IT NEEDS TO STOP. RIGHT NOW. I’M SERIOUS 2018, I’M NOT PLAYING

That’s not true. I am playing. Or I’m trying to. My daughter and I have been spending our evenings playing cards, Boggle(tm) and other games. It hit me that my daughter, who was born 2 1/2 Momyears ago, is turning 18 in March. She’s leaving the day after graduation to spend her summer in the mountains, catering to the wishes and whims of a group of tweens (she thinks she’ll be working as a camp counselor. Same difference),  We’re three weeks into the new year, and it will be June before I know it and I’m not even close to being ready for a teeny tiny taste of empty nest syndrome. I’ve only JUST gotten used to being Suburban Soccer Mom. WTF Time, slow your ass down!!

I have friends who have been preparing for high school graduation since their child(ren) started kindergarten. Others started making plans the first time their surly teen slammed a door. Oh, there have been a few holdouts. Those who waited until the first day of high school to start working on the blueprints for their new mancave/sewing room/gym. And then there’s me. The former DINK turned accidental mother. The woman who JUST REALIZED that there are less than 5 months until graduation.

I may be late, but I’m here now…and I’m going to do everything in my power to make Time slow down after work so we have time to play.

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image courtesy of likesuccess.com

*Better to be tardy than tarty

tart·y. (from Oxforddictionaries.com)

[ˈtärdē]

ADJECTIVE

BRIT.

informal

  • (of a woman) dressed in a sexually provocative manner that is considered to be in bad taste.
  • (of clothes) contributing to a sexually provocative appearance.

 

 

 

 

I’m Shocked!


th[5]Happy New Year!

I am well aware that we are more than two weeks into the new year, but you know what they say – better late than pregnant! How is 2018 working out for your so far? Most importantly, how many New Year’s Resolutions have you kept? According to the Huffington Post The first two weeks of the year are the easiest to stay committed, with 75 percent of people maintaining their resolution through the first week and 71 percent through the second. 6 months into the year, that number drops to less than half.

I’ve decided not to make any this year. It’s not because I’m afraid to make a commitment (the fact that it took me 5 years and one false start to marry A Very Good Man notwithstanding). I’ve simply reached a point in my life where I refuse to set myself up to failure. Every year I make resolutions, and every year I fall short. Even the idea of making “new daily habits” feels like an opportunity to set myself up for failure. This year, I am making vows instead. Even if I fail, it’s NBD – people break their vows ALL THE TIME.

Actually, I have one vow this year. I vow to try. I will try new things. I will try to break out of old patterns which no longer serve me, and create new ones which do. I vow to write on a daily basis, even if it’s only to say that “I have nothing to say today” or “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.

Sigh. I can see myself breaking my vow already. Writing is hard. I have vowed to write every day before, and I haven’t succeeded yet. The past few years have been hard, but last year was one for the recordbooks – a year filled with loss and heartbreak that completely derailed my creative endeavors.

But it’s a new year, and I’m starting again. So far this year I have started 3 new pieces. I might, one day, finish them, but I doubt it. As a procrastinator and a perfectionist, finishing what I started is a hard vow to keep – which is why I am vowing to TRY.

Most importantly, I vow to use The Daily Post’s #Dailyprompt as a jumping off place. Somewhere to start a piece every day, whether or not I finish it. In fact, I vow to post something every week, even if it’s not “finished” (what? Submit something for public view that isn’t perfectly polished? How shocking!)

Today’s prompt surprised me. I thought “shock” would be an easy jumping off place for my New Year’s Resolution my year’s vow. I assumed that today’s post would be cake (mmmmmm. cake!) until I saw the definition of “shock” (courtesy of mirriam webster)

shock.

[SHäk]  

   1 : the impact or encounter of individuals or groups in combat

   2 a : a violent shake or jar : concussion

      b : an effect of such violence

   3 a (1) : a disturbance in the equilibrium or permanence of something  (2) : a sudden or violent mental     or emotional disturbance 

     b : something that causes such disturbance ·the loss came as a shock

     c : a state of being so disturbed ·were in shock after they heard the news

 4 : a state of profound depression of the vital processes associated with reduced blood volume and pressure and caused usually by severe especially crushing injuries, hemorrhage, or burns

 5 : sudden stimulation of the nerves and convulsive contraction of the muscles caused by the discharge of electricity through the animal body

The EIC started in right away –

“Oh, this is going to be hard – there are a lot of topic choices! Way too many choices! How can someone who’s having trouble getting started succeed when faced with so many choices? Which one of them is the “right” choice? You should wait until tomorrow. As Scarlett told us “Tomorrow is another day”.

The Evil Inner Critic is an asshole, whose voice gets louder if you try to ignore him. It’s best to address him/her calmly yet firmly.

“Bite me (so much for my vow to remain calm).I vowed to write every day, and I’m starting today. I’m not letting the multiple definitions stop me. I choose to think of all the possibilities they provide”.

“Good luck with that.”

“I could write about the increased number of concussions in youth sports and associated health risks”

“Been done to death” replies the EIC.

“I could write a piece about a shock of corn”

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“Yawn”

“Maybe a piece about the phrase “shock and awe” (with its own subset of trite phrase, movie and/or book”?

“Snore.”

“Or I could write about ECT (aka electroshock therapy).”

Silence (he must be sleeping).

As it so happens I am currently listening to Carrier Fisher’s audiobook Wishful Drinking*. She opens by admitting that ECT caused her to lose some of her memory. It’s just that ECT has forced me to rediscover what amounts to the sum total of my life. I find that a helluva lot of it fills me with a kind of giddy gratitude. Some of my memories will never return. They are lost—along with the crippling feeling of defeat and hopelessness. Not a tremendous price to pay when you think about it. Totally worth it!

At least she has a valid excuse – the only excuse I have for my CRS (Can’t Remember S…stuff) disease is Oldtimer’s Syndrome. I prefer Sherlock Holmes’ explanation that our memory is like a mind attic – and that we only have so much room to store stuff (time to get rid of those boxes filled with childhood games and nursery rhymes). For those of you too young to know who Sherlock Holmes is, think of the brain like a hard drive. Evidently mine needs to be defragged to free up some memory (on another note, you need to watch Sherlock immediately, if not sooner. Benedict Cumberbatch is AMAZING).

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Where was I? Oh yeah, having a whole slew of definitions makes it difficult to start a piece, and not starting makes it hard to finish – which brings me to here and now. Without a good “jumping off” place, my weasel brain flits from thought to thought, and everything is put down on paper. I usually spend most of the day editing a piece – spending so much time deleting and searching for the perfect word that I am unable to polish a piece to my satisfaction, which is why I have 3 unfinished pieces this year (for a total of 6 in my “drafts” bin).

But I vowed to publish a piece, and (seeing that we’re still in our honeymoon phase), I’m not ready to break it. So here you go. My first (completed) piece for the new year. It’s far from perfect, but I’m going to try giving myself permission to make mistakes. After all –

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*That’s not exactly true. I finished it last night.

 

 

 

 

Time is a four-letter word

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image courtesy of forevergeek.com

I was late to work this morning. It was 7:08 as I started up the onramp. When I pulled up in front of my office ten minutes later, it was 7AM. Evidently I drove through a wormhole on the freeway; either that, or my car is powered by a flux capacitor.

 

 

Sir Isaac Newton told us that time was linear, while Einstein argued that time is relative.

The doctor tells us that, “it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly…time-y wimey..stuff.”

I say tempus fugits. Yes, I am quite aware that I’m saying it wrong. For some reason (the length of time since my last English class, perhaps?) I always say “Tempus Fugits”. I’m sure it irritates people no end. I know it makes me crazy when people abuse the English language (My husband’s insistence on saying  “6am in the morning” makes me cringe every time) – but there you have it. My own personal …what? malapropism? made up word? faux pas? issue? What the heck would it be?

But I digress. I wanted to remind you that Time is an asshole. He speeds up when he should slow down, races when he should crawl and generally doesn’t do what we want him to. Time flies.  Not that we need a reminder. Or I don’t, at least. We’re halfway through November, and I still have a stack of last year’s Christmas cards waiting to be mailed.* They say that time flies when you’re having fun but I disagree. I agree with Mary Engelbreit.

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I spent last weekend with old long time friends. At one point my daughter asked us “How long have you known each other?” As it turns out, we have been friends since before any of the “forever 27” friends were born.

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I didn’t need a visit with friends to remind me that time is flying by. My daughter, who is only 8 years old in Mommy Years, is getting ready to graduate high school. It’s weird. I can clearly remember my senior year of high school (yesterday, on the other hand, is another matter). I remember dances, and high school crushes, being Done With High School (on the first day of my senior year) and fighting with my mother. I don’t know why we fought. I’m sure my friends and family members would tell you it’s because I was a Horrible Teen. I’d like to think I was a Typical Teen, but (seeing that I gave my mother grey hair and shingles) maybe they were right. Or maybe fighting with your mother is a rite of passage. My daughter and I fought last night, because we were ______.

I thought she had lost her mind, and I have no doubt that she thought I was insane. It’s entirely possible that I am, but I wasn’t crazy Before Parenthood (no comments from the peanut gallery). It’s a chicken and the egg thing – which came first, the crazy parent or the crazy-making teen?

She might want to pick up this book:

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Because I’m the mommy, Michael J. Bradley’s other book is at the top of my reading list:

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I’m the mommy. That’s weird.  I don’t think anyone expected to ever hear those words coming from me. I know I didn’t. It’s not that I dislike children, it’s just that I prefer being The Fun Aunt to the Rules and Responsibility of parenthood. Parenting is a four letter word (yes, I’m aware that “parenting” is a nine letter word, but it’s work, which IS a four letter word).  Parenting is not for the weak or faint of heart, trust me on this. And there’s no preparing for it, nobody what anyone tells you. You can read all the Parenting for Dummies books you’d like, and listen to hours of advice from well meaning friends and family members. No matter what anyone says, PARENTING IS LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER EXPERIENCED.

Unless, of course, you’re a rock star:

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I have no doubt that I’ve made mistakes (evidently using sarcasm as a parenting tool is a Bad Thing), but I’ve tried to avoid making the same mistakes my mother made. Not that she was a bad mother (because she was AWESOME, as all my friends would tell you), but I decided to make new mistakes in an effort to raise my daughter to be Different Than Me and an attempt to avoid becoming my mother.

I failed. I have become my mother, despite the best of intentions. The good news is that I’m not alone and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. This paragraph from F Diane Barth LCSW’s post resonated with me:

For example, when I was young and my family teased me about being like my mother (who I did not resemble physically), I felt criticized and resentful. I wanted to be different from her, to have my own personality, separate from hers, and besides, I did not like the things they were commenting on (for example, my bossiness!). But today I am grateful to her for having passed onto me numerous characteristics, including her love of books and her interest in writing, her empathy for others, and her incredible stores of energy.

Of course, there is also plenty to be learned when you don’t become your mother. You can read an excerpt here but don’t come looking to me for tissues. My box is empty.

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I’m sad that my mother wasn’t here when my daughter was born – I have no doubt that she would have had some great parenting advice (not that I would have listened), as well as tips for my daughter on how to drive her parents crazy (not that she needs any tips). I wish she were here to watch her granddaughter/grandchildren grow into amazing young women and men. I know she’d love the fact that my Saturdays for the past three months were spent on the soccer field, volunteering wherever they have a need, and that she’d been thrilled to know that the granddaughter of one of her best friends was on my daughter’s team. If nothing else, I know she’d get a kick out of the fact that her mother’s curse  worked, and that I have a daughter just like me. I hope that one day, my daughter will be proud when someone tells her that she’s just like me.

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Mostly I am happy that my “forever an 8 year old” still tries to climb into my lap at the end of the day. She’s 4″ taller than I am, and doesn’t fit very well, but she tries.  One day, when/if she becomes a mother, I will give her the advice my mother couldn’t give me

Tempus fugits (sic) – whatever you do, don’t blink

(and not just because there are Weeping Angels)

I think Kenny Chesney says it bests.

*Note to friends and family – the printer gave me a discount on my Holiday Cards when I pointed out that they were dated 2016.