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: the great debate :

Aaaaaand this is just one reason that I haven’t written in a month….”poof” skittery birds!

the whirly girl

Coming up with ideas is a crap shoot. I’ve no clue where they come from or where to look when I need one. Ideas have a mind all their own and follow their own sneaky, backstairs schedule. Sometimes they drop by, but more often they don’t.

You can’t force them, either; I’ve tried. It scares them off.  Ideas, I’ve decided, are like birds, very, very skittery. Attempt a sudden grab and, fwip, away it goes. Gah, so frustrating and so typical. The better plan is to ignore how desperately you need a spark, a notion, any sign of brain activity whatsoever and go on about your day. Which, for me, means sitting on my keister and obsessing over stuff I can’t control.

Which I was doing when, shazam!, two ideas landed in my brainpan at the very same time. Lucky, lucky me — two bona fide possibilities.

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She Blinded Me With Science

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“She” being Marie Curie.

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When I was young(er) I wrote a paper about the mother of modern physics. I was FASCINATED by her, and found her death both tragic and heroic. For a while I wanted to be Madame Curie. I pestered my parents until they bought me a chemistry set, but lost interest when I found that none of the compounds would explode or render my baby brother invisible (or mute).

Just kidding. Maybe. I’d like to tell you that I am a huge science dork. I would like to, but I’ve recently learned that one definition of “dork” is  “whale’s penis” or just “penis” and I’m definitely not a science penis, whale or otherwise.

I did well in science, but only because my mutant superpower was the ability to know what would be on the test (and no, I didn’t cheat). My husband, on the other hand, is enamored of all things scientific (which is incredibly weird for a musician). He loves quantum physics and can spend hours watching programs about string theory. He’s my own Sheldon Cooper, without the creepy smile.

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TBH Science usually makes me yawn, but it’s caught my interest once again. Science has made the news a lot this week. I have to admit I squealed like a fangirl when I heard that The Doctor joined the worldwide march for science. I was equally impressed by the story of a strange light named Steve:

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image credit to dailynewsglobal.com

A new type of light discovered in the night sky has been named “Steve.” Eric Donovan of the University of Calgary initially discovered the light when he did not recognize it as a cataloged variety. The European Space Agency used its Swarm mission to further examine the light. The light is 25 kilometers wide and flows 600 times faster than air. Scientists named it Steve after the 2006 animated movie “Over the Hedge.” – YAHOO

 

and now I find out that the Death Star is REAL

I might have to dig out the old chemistry set and invite my brother to come help me with an experiment.

Last, but not least, because some of you are probably too young for the earworm my title triggered for the rest of us:

Dear Kids, When I fail…

I didn’t write this, but I wish I did – does that count?

WONDEROAK

Dear kids,

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I see that you’ve grown over night. Your face is more defined, your eyes look older. A part of me is excited and in awe; I know you have so much ahead of you. Another part is scared because time is racing and I can’t slow it down. I’m afraid that I haven’t always been awake and noticing, and that somehow I have slept through the magic of your growing. I wonder, have I enjoyed you enough? Have I given you what you needed? Is your heart still whole? Is your spirit unbroken?

I’m not always good at this. I’m not always as good as I want to be at being your mom. I want to be great; and sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m not.

Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes I do it right, and sometimes I completely miss it.

Everyday…

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Happy Holly Daze

th99omay8cSo here it is, the first day of the last month of the year. I would have posted earlier, but I just woke up from my Thanksgiving food coma.

 I don’t know about you, but the year flew by. Not that I’m complaining – it’s easier to deal with all the sh…stuff when it hits you quickly and runs away. Or maybe that’s what you’re supposed to do when you fight – hit quickly and run away. I get confused.

In any case, 2016 has not been my favorite year for a whole slew of reasons. Like the last or least favorite child, I’m not sad to see it leave. Not that I have a least favorite child. I only have one, so I suppose she’s my favorite. Then again, she IS a teen, so some days she’s my favorite, and some days not so much.

Where was I? (told you I’m easily confused). Ah. First day of the last month. I don’t have much to say, but I wanted to take a moment to thank you for following me, and to wish you a safe and sane holiday season. Do me a favor – don’t let the holiday season make you crazy. Yes, there are a ton of things that Need Doing – cards to address and mail, presents to buy, wrap and mail, decorations that need to be put up (Here’s a tip – leave them up and tell your friends/family that you like to celebrate the spirit of the season all year long). OMG there’s so much that needs to get done, why am I wasting time writing? Trust me, it’s just not worth playing demolition derby with your car just because someone took your spot.

 

Be nice to each other, and have a happy holiday season

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Hope

 

OnceYouChooseHope[1]It’s been a rough week – on top of everything else, my poor little limping-along Volvo went to the scrapyard in the sky (well, not literally – today it’s sitting in my driveway, like a giant paperweight or car shaped sculpture).

I came across this reminder (huge shout out to Livehappy.com), and wanted to send it out to all who are feeling hopeless this week. Sending love and light your way –

Life! Some things bring you closer & some tear you apart. I've been there, i've walked through the storm. Hope & Love made this Life Stronger than it has been in a long time.  Follow: https://www.pinterest.com/recoveryexpert/:

 

The Accidental Mother – Redux

thutbowvp4I am trying to get into the habit of writing on a regular basis. It’s so hot that my brain has melted and I can’t think of anything new to say –  but I HAVE managed a revision of one of my first posts. I also came up with a word other than “revised” for the title (guess the heat hasn’t completely melted my brain).

re·dux

[rēˈdəks, ˈrēˈdəks]

ADJECTIVE

  1. brought back; revived:
    “the 1980s were far more than just the ’50s redux”
 ORIGIN
late 19th cent.: from Latin, from reducere ‘bring back.’
 THE ACCIDENTAL MOTHER -REDUX

Some women are born to be mothers. You see them at the park. They lounge on benches or under a tree, talking and laughing with the other perfect parents. They are seemingly oblivious to the activity in the sandbox, but at the smallest cry, their heads whip toward the playground. They can tell at a glance whether the cry requires attention or pretended indifference. Their hair is perfectly coiffed** and colored, their nails manicured and painted, their clothing stylish and unstained. Their bags are stuffed with small Tupperware containers (carefully color coded for each child) filled with vegetables, cheese and fruit. These are the women who spent their childhood playing with dolls, parading up and down the street in their mothers’ high heels, pushing their “babies” through the neighborhood in a pink or blue stroller.

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They spent hours bathing, feeding, changing and burping their dolls, treating their “offspring” with the utmost care and respect. These girls grew up to become perfect older siblings. They were excited by the idea of being a big sister and wanted nothing more than to help feed/bathe/change/burp the baby. They paraded up and down the street, pushing “their” baby in a pink or blue stroller, their mothers’ heels left at home for fear they would trip and hurt their baby brother or sister.

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I am not one of them. I decided at an early age that dolls are creepy and weird. The dolls that well-meaning friends and family members gave me were re-gifted or donated to Goodwill. Dolls that were “too nice to donate” were relegated to a special shelf or corner of the closet, where they were left to gather dust and cobwebs. The ones that I found especially creepy (i.e. my mother’s Raggedy Anne doll) were stuffed into the bottom of my toy box and buried beneath blocks, balls and mismatched socks.  I joined the other girls in their neighborhood parade, but my stroller was filled with stuffed animal “babies”, and my feet were clad in tennis shoes or cowboy boots. I grew up to become an indifferent big sister. Actually, I was an angry big sister. I wanted a puppy or a pony, but my parents brought home a brother. It made me mad. If I had to have a sibling, I wanted a sister. I refused to let his sex keep me from playing dress up and having tea parties with him, but my favorite game to play with my brother was Hide and DON’T Seek.

I went into marriage knowing that I didn’t want to have children. It’s not that I hated children, per se. I liked children. I liked cats and dogs too. They were fun to pet and snuggle with, but they were so much more enjoyable when they belong to someone else.

My husband went into our marriage thinking that he would like to have kids “someday”, but (by plying him with romantic vacations and football-filled Sundays) I managed to convince him that being an uncle was a better choice. We loved being DINKS*, and laughed when our friends told us that we were “missing out.”

Then I had an accident. No, not an “oops, it broke” accident, an I-turned-my-sedan-into-a-compact car accident. I was taken to the hospital in a neck brace, and my car was taken to the scrapyard…along with my birth control pills. I didn’t worry. I remembered my friend’s fertility struggles and her doctor’s explanation that “If you’ve been on birth control for years, it’s hard to get pregnant.”

She needs a new doctor.

My friends assured me that pregnancy would be easy, and that parenthood was the most amazing thing they’d ever done.

I need new friends.

Pregnancy was rough, and not just physically (the smell of meat cooking could chase me from the house), and emotionally (FYI, Budweiser commercials can bring a pregnant woman to tears, especially when she’s craving a beer).

There were just too many damn choices to be made. Who do you tell first? (side note to newly pregnant women – men get pissy when they find out via social media)  What do you name the baby? (I wanted to name my boy either Justin Case or Justin Time. My friends were relieved when I had a girl) How do you decorate the nursery? What type of crib/carseat/stroller/diapers should you buy? How do you want have the baby? Yes, you have a choice. You can have a doctor and a C-section, or a midwife and a birthing room – you can even have a baby in a bathtub! After hearing labor horror stories from (I assume) well-meaning friends, family and strangers, I decided not to have the baby. At nine months, it wasn’t really an option, but that’s what I decided (side note to mathematicians – in what type of math does forty weeks equal nine months?).

In spite of my decision, at one week past my due date, I showed up at the hospital to have my labor induced – my OB was going on vacation the following week and he “wanted to have (your) baby”. My husband and I were ready to Become Parents – or so we thought.  We were turned away by the triage nurse.

“We’re really busy right now, I’m so sorry. Could you come back in a couple of hours?”

It was a perfect Southern California evening – 76 degrees with a light breeze off the ocean – so we spent some time walking (or, in my case, waddling) down Main Street looking in shop windows. Every display seemed to feature products meant for our baby (“OMG look at those shoes! They’re so tiny!”).  The people we passed nodded and smiled at my swollen belly.

“When is your baby due?”

“Last week. I’m being induced tonight. We were supposed to be admitted at 3:00, but they were too busy. We’re headed back at five.” I’m sure that this was more information than anyone wanted, but evidently the hormones surging through my bloodstream thought that strangers needed to know ALL THE DETAILS.

We returned to the hospital at 5:00, as requested.

“We’re really busy right now.” This time the nurse was not apologetic. Apparently the fact that my doctor wanted to induce me irritated her. “Come back at 7:00.”

I groaned. My feet hurt, my back hurt, and I was tired of being pregnant. Waddling down Main Street for a second time was out of the question. My husband smiled apologetically at Grumpy Triage Nurse and steered me out to the car. He drove down to the beach, thinking the waves would relax me. The only thing they relaxed was my bladder.

“I need to pee!”

We headed back to the hospital so I could relieve my bladder and wait. Fortunately, Grumpy was gone. The triage nurse took pity on the pregnant girl and started the admitting process.

They say that you forget the pain of childbirth, and it must be true, because I don’t remember much. I remember being uncomfortable, and feeling better when I walked the halls or stood in the shower. I remember my husband falling asleep during Jay Leno’s monologue, as I squirmed and panted beside him (for some odd reason, people have decided that breathing can replace medication in controlling pain. Trust me, it can’t). I remember the doctor coming into the room around 2:00 AM. His smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“Your baby is in distress. We need to do a Caesarian section immediately.”

The rest is a blur, memories distorted by time, pain and panic. I remember seeing my dad and stepmother as I was being wheeled to the operating room. I remember gripping my husband’s hand so tightly his fingers turned white. I remember waiting a lifetime before we heard our daughter’s first cry. I also remember the way my heart expanded to ten times its normal size when they laid her in my arms. Mostly I remember the feeling of panic that arose when I signed my discharge paperwork and realized that I was going to have to take this tiny baby home, even though I wasn’t a natural born mother.

I needn’t have panicked. The many choices and sleep deprivation that come with pregnancy helped prepare me for motherhood. My friends may have lied about pregnancy being easy, but they were right about parenthood being amazing. As strange as it sounds, my husband and I will be eternally grateful for my car accident, and for the little girl who stole our hearts and changed our lives when I became an accidental mother.

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*DINKS – Dual Income, No Kids

** Special shout-out to Rachel, who reminded me that the word is not “quaffed”

 

I’m Baaaaaaaaack

thgluoeo7zIt’s been a while since last I wrote (I am, however, doing much better at blogging than I am at journaling – my last journal entry was from 2011). I am usually derailed by

  1. writer’s block
  2. depression
  3. taking care of friends/family members
  4. taking care of myself*

In this particular instance, the reason is

5. Being too busy to sleep, much less write aka overextension syndrome

“5” comes with being a mom to a busy teen, impounded by my inability to say “no”. I’ve spent the past few months shuttling the girl and myself to/from rehearsal and performances, assisting with lighting design, running lights, working the renaissance faire (even though I SWORE I was taking a year off), volunteering at the animal shelter and going to the hospital. Not personally. I mean, yes, PERSONALLY (not quite tech savvy enough for a virtual/skype visit), but I wasn’t the one who was IN the hospital.

It’s been a rough couple of months for family and friends. TBH it’s been a rough couple of years for many of the people I know. Too many people sick and injured or recovering from being sick and injured. I keep telling people “please stay healthy, because worrying about you is exhausting”, but nobody listens to me.

Evidently the stress of being a caregiver caught up with me. I’ve told you before that it’s very important to “feed the well” and that stress is a killer. I should have listened to myself. Two months ago I was diagnosed with a minor medical issue** (minor to everyone else, including the ER staff). My brain took the issue and raced down the “what if” path to the worst case scenario, cackling like rabid goblin.

When I write on a regular basis, my overactive imagination is busy creating fiction, or expanding on reality in a fictional environment. When I don’t write, my brain has nothing better to do than to take the most mundane situation (a trip to Starbucks, for example) and twist it into some odd/one in a million scenario (“Why are there so many people standing around? I bet one of them is robbing the store, and nobody is able to leave, and OMG is that a GUN?”)

So when I was advised to follow up with a specialist, my brain immediately bypassed every logical explanation and went directly to “Oh, everyone is only pretending that it’s a minor issue to keep me from panicking” and I panicked. Big Time. As in, no sleep/eating everything in sight/calling-everyone-I-know-to-tell-them-how-much-I-love-them panic.

After weeks of testing and multiple reassurances from the specialist that everything, is in fact, fine, I have returned to normal (whatever that means). For me, it means that I’m able to sleep through the night (when not being forced awake by Midlife Insomnia and/or the Need to Pee) and that I’ve returned to my Regularly Scheduled Activities (including, but not limited to, eating something that isn’t chocolate, writing, and the dreaded E word).

So I’m back, and I’m better than ever* – I’ve missed writing – I’m happy to be back and I’m looking forward to catching up with you (yes, YOU). What have you been up to?

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*Actually, I’m a little rusty, and I can’t seem to be able to link to anything other than my own blog pieces. Hopefully I’ll remember soon. Any help is greatly appreciated.

And just because it’s TBT (Throw Back Thursday) here’s a little Back in Black for the Rock-n-Rollers out there:

 

 

The Problem With Aging

th1KQI53BFI’ve decided that the worst part of getting old isn’t the life lines near my eyes, or the laugh lines that bracket my mouth. It isn’t the little white hairs that pepper my hair (or would that be salt my hair?). It’s not even the fact that the snap crackle and pop I hear in the morning aren’t just sounds from my cereal bowl…it’s the fact that I’ve developed Sometimers Syndrome.

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I have a theory – I believe our brains are hard drives, and that by the time we reach “a certain age” they are full. We can’t defrag our brains to free up extra space, and we can’t download old memories/useless facts to an external hard drive, so new memories aren’t stored to a permanent file. What we really need is Professor Dumbledor’s pensieve. Although Dumbledore uses his to find patterns and habbits, I think it would be an excellent tool for freeing up space when our brains are full, or removing a painful memory

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Sometimes I forget little things, like why I came into the kitchen, my husband’s cell phone#, or where I put my car keys.*

Sometimes I forget bigger things, which is why I’m happy for the little voice in my head which reminds me of Important Things. She’s pretty good at reminding me that I have a doctor’s appointment, or that I need to pick up my daughter after school. Yesterday she reminded me that I needed to call my mother, so I picked up the phone, and then remembered that my mother is dead.

I mean, I didn’t forget she’s dead, exactly.

Ok, I did.

It’s odd. I mean, it’s not as if she JUST died. It will be 21 years this June. Which is surreal. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long ago. Then again, 16 of the past 21 years have been spent raising a kid, and, as Camille at Crunchy Parenting says, parenting time FLIES.

My mom was an amazing woman. She was funny, and smart, and had a huge heart. I’m not saying it just because I’m her daughter – I’ve had other people tell me the same thing. She volunteered with AYSO for years, kept a great house, called (and wrote to) her friends and family on a regular basis and was the first one to jump in to help when someone was in trouble. She was a true southern woman – meaning that she had strong shoulders and a soft heart; it also means that she ate weird foods, like okra and fried green tomatoes.

Maybe that’s why she was on my mind. I was hoping that 2016 was going to be a better year, but I have too many friends and family members who are struggling with loss. I may claim that I’m not a people person, but I’m a liar. I grieve with them for their losses – loss of employment, loss of health, loss of life. I may not keep a great house, or write or call as often as my mom did, but I’m proud to say that I have her soft heart.

I miss her. I am sad that she missed meeting Lauren and the rest of her grandchildren, but I’m still heartbroken that she’s more than a phone call away.

I would pay the surcharges, no matter how high, if only I could make that long distance call.

 

*special shout-out to my spouse, who bought me a key locator for Christmas. You push the remote, and your keys chirp like a car alarm…now if only I could find the remote…..

 

15 Shades of Grey* **

I had a busy, wonderful weekend, filled with rain, puppies, family and friends – so of course, today I am feeling sad and grey. I understand that it’s just Monday Moodiness, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. Yes, I am FINE, thanks for asking. 🙂

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*Please note, there’s no sex in this post, just mild profanity. If you’re offended by profanity, you’ve come to the wrong blog (I swear like a sailor. In fact, sometimes I swear like a ship full of sailors). If you’re looking for graphic sex, you should look for the other Grey book…or the adult bookshop.

** This post was prompted by Robin’s Williams birthday. He would have been 64.

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 “Well, here we are, halfway through July, more than halfway through the year, and what do you have to show for it? You’re a little older, a little fatter and your house is still a mess…..”

And there you have it, the EIC is in fine form this morning. I’ve talked about him, more than once, but I don’t think I’ve talked about his girlfriend – she’s a soggy, wet, warm, mildew-y wool blanket. She’s heavy and smelly and ruins…

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I Am Not aMused

th5HHDH7O9There’s a voice in my head. For once, it’s not the voice of the EIC, nor any of his BFFs (Doubt, Fear, and Insecurity). It’s a new voice, one that is meant to be helpful, but is proving to be just as annoying as the Fearsome Foursome. I’m pretty sure she’s my muse, but she must be new to this, because she’s not being helpful at all. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure she means well. Maybe it’s me. I always assumed a muse would spark ideas. Mine seems to be poking at me instead.

She started last Tuesday.

“You should write.”

“I can’t right now – I need to visit my friend in the hospital.”

That stopped her for a couple of days.

“You should write.”

“I can’t right now – I’m busy celebrating the girl’s birthday.”

She was quiet for 3 days (I think the birthday celebration wore her out too).

“You should write.”

“I will – I need to drop the girl off, then I’m going to come home and clean, and after that, I’ll write, I promise.” I had the best of intentions, but instead of cleaning and writing, I came home, closed my eyes “for a minute” and woke up several hours later.

Evidently she took pity on me (or maybe she was pouting) because she took three days off. She’s back today, but instead of gently suggesting that I write, she’s been chanting.

“Write! Write! Write!”

“O.M.G. Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“Doing what? Write! Write! WRITE!

“I’m WORKING!”

“You should be writing instead. WRITE! WRITE! WRITEWRITEWRITE!

I’m not sure how muses are supposed to work, but I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to do more than just nag. Do you have to get kissed by a muse to light the spark of creativity? I kissed a girl, but it was a long time ago*, and she didn’t look anything like Olivia Newton John.

In my limited research on the muses, I learned that Clio is the muse of history and writing

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At first glance, Clio seems to fit, especially when you take into consideration the fact that I considered changing my name to Cleopatra when I married Marc Anthony (Yes, really. No, not that one). I would have changed my name, but didn’t want to make an asp out of myself (bwah hahahaha).

She’s a little too serious looking for me

Thalia is the muse of comedy and poetry. She’s more relaxed than Clio.

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She looks like a lot of fun, but I’m not very good at poetry, and the days of baring my boobs are behind me (not even for really, really nice beads). There’s also the fact that, when it comes to comedy, some people just don’t “get” me.

Then I came across Kuriositas’ post on The Modern Muses – and found a new pic of Thalia

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What’s this? A muse for stand-up comedians? Why didn’t anyone tell me? I would have kissed HER in a heartbeat 🙂

*It was an on-stage kiss, way BM (Before Motherhood)

So tell me – who’s your muse? How does she talk to you? Does she whisper? Does she nag? Does she give you full fledged stories or glimmers of ideas?

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