Left, Right, Center

Have you ever played this game? You have die that are marked L, R, and C. If you roll the L, you pass a chip to the left, R to the right, and C...well, obviously to the center…..

Either way, you are giving to those around you, or to the big pot in the middle. This kind of reminds me of life in general. If you win, you get that big pot. Otherwise, you are empty. And really, it’s all up to chance. You roll the die and have to go with what is given to you.

Some times when life happens, I can lose my center.

I give so much to those around me, and I don’t get that big pot. It’s easy enough to do, to lose who you are. You give so much to others, you forget.

It doesn’t take me long to get my center back though. For me, giving to those around me, eventually comes back. I’ve also learned to know myself. I know who I am, and what is needed for me to be a whole person. When I feel out of sorts, I remember my foundation, my base.

I have three levels in my foundation of self.

My foundation begins with who I am. I know what you’re thinking…shouldn’t your foundation begin with Howie and Jilly and your support system of friends?

No, because if I base who I am on other people, I will always be disappointed. Certainly, they are part of the next level, but the first level has to be me. I have learned what makes up the me that is happy. I like who I am. I love my personality. I love how I look; I love what I represent as a woman, a mother, an atheist. I think I try to do as little harm as possible to others, and I try to help as much as I can. I like my brains. I think I’m fairly smart, for someone that never attended higher education. These (and many more) make up what gives me that “high”. You know what I’m talking about, when you feel really good about yourself, and you have a great day. I have that “high” most days, because I know who I am.

Part of my foundation is my morals, my ethics, and my values. I need to know what makes me, well, me.

When I feel out of sorts, I’m betting that I’m doing something that goes against my foundation. Or I’ve been exposed to something that is battling my core. For instance, someone telling me I need to lose weight can make a blow. If you know your foundation, you are immovable.

The second layer of my foundation is my family, my friends, my loved ones. I mean my closest friends, which is a small inner circle. These are the people that I make some of my decisions around. They are the constant in my life. When one of them waivers, I usually stay strong, because I know who I am, and who I am entwined with each of them. We make each other strong.

I draw strength in their strength. I know who they are to me. They are mi familia.

The third layer of my foundation is my environment and my experiences. There is a little connection with my inner core of being, because I feel that I am who I am because of my experiences. What has happened, currently happens, will happen, can strengthen, or weaken me. My 1st and 2nd level help me to determine which of those experiences I will choose to continue to make me super Lisa, and which I will gain knowledge, but ultimately discard. For example, I grew up in a rather harsh setting. I could have let that base make me into a bitter person, but instead I learned to love more.

There aren’t too many things that move me from my center of self. If my first level gets a bump, the waves come through to my core, and I move.

This week has been one of those times my center moved.

The reason why I lost my center, well, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I did. What is important is that I became introspective to find out why that reason made me move from what I know. It took me being distracted by mini crises to be able to come back and see myself from the outside. I examined my constants. What are those things I know to be true and ever present? Once I went back to those constants, I identified a new constant that I hadn’t integrated with the others. I was able to take a look at this new strength, and mesh it with the others, plotting where in my core it belongs.

Viola! Centered once again….

Well, almost. Part of my foundation is my connection to my friends. When they hurt, it affects me. This week was a rough one for friends.

Not one, but two friends passed away. I felt so sad, that I questioned everything I did, everything I said.

The first was a beautiful woman named Linda Potter. She and I would go out to have a smoke when I worked at DSS. She became ill, and didn’t tell anyone, but she had been diagnosed with lung and liver cancer. This woman had a heart of gold. She would encourage me at every turn to take as many civil service tests. We would talk about some of the injustices at work, and she would just tell you at a moment’s notice how she didn’t give a shit about something or someone. She was set to retire in a few short months. I will miss her.

The second was a lovely, strong brave woman named Christina Knapp. So young, with a 5 year old, and a husband who adored her. This woman was always smiling. Even in her later pictures, with oxygen being fed through her nose, she smiled. And not a little smile either. It was a sea of comfort to tell you she was fine. When you read her Facebook pages, you would never have known what pain she was in. When we held her benefit, you just felt that this was going to be beat. That she was going to live forever. I guess that wasn’t quite accurate….

These two beautiful souls are gone. In the same week. Yes, that shook my center.

Both these women taught me that life is too damn short not to do what you need to do, that it is too short not to show love every day to the people that are around you as hard as you can, and to appreciate everything in life, ups and downs.

Life is too short to not be with the ones you love. To tell them what they mean to you. Don’t let obstacles keep you from them.

These same women that sent a blow to my center, are also are the same people that put me back where I belong. I remembered them as they were, by the message they gave me when they were walking and talking to me, and by knowing that how they were in life is how I intend to be.

A strength added to my foundation.

It’s times like this that I wish I could believe in an afterlife, especially for them. Who wouldn’t want people like these two strong women to cross over into a beautiful world where they meet their relatives that they also loved? I wish I could. It’s ok. To me, my memory of them is their afterlife for me.

I know my strength. I know my core. I am centered. And it doesn’t matter if I keep rolling L’s or R’s, because my strength is giving to those around me. I always win the pot.

Do you know what makes you, well, you?

Mi Alma Gemela

It's funny term, soul mate.  It's holds a different meaning for me, I suppose, than the rest of the world.

Merriam Websters describes it as such;

1: a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament
2: a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs <ideological soul mates>

Which is quite different than what I thought I would find as a definition.  I think if I were to take a survey, people would define soul mate in a variety of ways.  The majority of people would say it is their spouses, or their boyfriends, significant others...etc etc.  I guess I don't subscribe to that.
I mean, if you take the word 'soul' alone, it indicates a life force beyond what we actually are.  And that to me goes beyond what I'm willing to accept as a standard for this word.  And mate, well, I guess that is pretty much understandable.

So what really does it mean to me?

I'm really not sure.

It's not a term I use at all.  Never.  But I find myself attaching it to a couple of people in my life.  And, amazingly enough, none of them are my husband.

Alright, calm the fuck down.

Going by the above MW definition, we are not soul mates.  We actually have differing views on many things.  He believes in a higher power, I do not.  He is extremely calm, I am not.  We really are not the same nor close to it.  Well, maybe a little close.  We are definitely two different people.  And that makes our life really fucking interesting.  Which I think leads to a pretty good partnership.

I do find there are a couple of people out there, that are incredibly close to me on a same level, same ideas, same thoughts.  It's almost eerie to a degree.  It's almost as if we were separated at birth, twins.  Like, we belong in each others lives.  Not in a sexual kind of a way.  Just...tethered.
It actually is unnerving, because I don't believe in a soul.  I don't believe in an afterlife, but here I am experiencing huge coincidences.  Which is what they probably, really just are.  If you think about the number of people that have been born on this earth within your time frame of life, there is bound to be more than just one or two people that are incredibly similar to yourself.  And if you find them, you don't necessarily have to marry them.  Perhaps you can.  Perhaps some have, and are having an incredible life.

I'm content that there are a couple of people that are my coincidences in life, and we share a very cool bond.  You know who you are.  I kind of like the term soul mate, better than my coincidences.  It just has a lovely tone to it.  So, I think I'll start using it.  Hah!

I'd be interested to know; what is your definition of soul mate?  Who is yours, and what it is that makes them your soul mate?

Daddy's Day

So, I've been watching all day. All of you sentimental peeps, changing your pictures to your dads, your dad figures, etc., etc., etc.

And, yeah, I didn't.

Oh, sure, I did when it was mom's day. I respected her as a woman. She did what she needed to do, as best she could with the resources she had. I had no reason to not honor her.

Not so much with my father.

First of all, I never really knew my real father. His name was Carl (I assume with a C) Waiters (I assume that is how it is spelled.) and I only know that because my mother introduced him to me when I was 14 years old. It was the oddest damn day for me. I was thrilled that the step-father I had wasn't my real father. Thank goodness I wasn't related by blood. However, I was fucking mad as hell that such a thing was kept from me.

What I later learned was that he was diagnosed with an unknown sickness, the beginning of cirrhosis of the liver, brought on by his heavy drinking, and he knew he had a child out there (me) and wanted to see her before he passed on.

My mom tried to force me to get to know him. Talk about awkward. One day, she left me with him at a meeting place. Can you imagine? He had no idea how to entertain a teenager. So he took me to his bars. He showed me how to play pool. Sort of. He had me fetch drinks for him while he hustled men for their money at those same pool tables. What a summer vacation this I watched him. I watched him slowly get drunk. And drunker. And drunker yet. Until he fell while trying to put up a pool cue. So he decided it was time to go.

We went outside and got into his car, him driving of course, since I had no idea how. Yes, he got behind the wheel, three sheets to the wind.
We were lucky we didn't crash, or kill somebody. We did get stopped by a cop. Who knew him. Who knew what what he had been through. He let him go, but followed us home, which was only a few blocks away.

My mom came and picked me up at his house, which he shared with his mother.

You see, he had another child, a boy, who at 25 was killed in a car crash. He never got over it. Carl literally drank himself to death, with his depression that he encountered from his son dying.

I can kind of see that. Should something ever happen to my child...well...let's just say, I understand.

I saw him maybe 2 or 3 more times over the next year, because I was forced to. I never really wanted to see him, know anything about him. Carl eventually stopped calling. I didn't know it but he had been hospitalized. The next call we received was from his brother, to let us know he had died.

I really wish I could say I cried, but I had no idea who he was, what he was about. I felt nothing. My mom, however, was so unbelievably sad. She made me and my step father go to the funeral. They drank the whole way to Pismo Beach from Santa Maria, so they were good to go when we got there.

I remember going up to the casket, and still, feeling nothing.

I saw his flagged draped casket go into the hearse, remember the the guns shooting, the flag going to his mother...but I don't remember much else.

Even now, I feel nothing. There's no longing. Well, it may have been nice to have known him more. I'm sure my mother had her reasons why she never let him see me. I never knew what her thought process was about.

So, I don't have a picture of him, I don't even remember what exactly he looked like.

I see all the great pictures that my friends are posting about their fathers. I am so thankful that you were able to have a great experience filled with wonderful memories. I'm sorry I can't share in the same emotional high that comes with thanking your dad, but I so appreciate you sharing it so I can appreciate what you share/shared.

My real father and my step father made me what I am today. I hated my step father, never knew the real, but that's cool. They showed me the kind of man I don't ever want to be with. I went looking, and somehow, all of the choices were just wrong.

Until Howie, that is.

Sure, he's a great mate, but man, let me tell you about what a dad he is...all you have to do is look at Jillian to know that he must be a good man, with a gentle soul. She has his humor, thankfully his brains too. He holds her when she cries, he's says "I love you" every day. He used to read to her when she was little, and now they just tell each other about their day...and he listens. He still tries to fix everything, but he's learning. He eats at our dinner table EVERY night, and helps me put her to bed as well.

And the best thing he does?

He loves me in front of her.

Oh, sure, she wrinkles her nose, and says "gross!" or "my eyes!!" like they're burning. But you know she's watching. She learning. She's making notes on who she wants in a future mate.

By Odin, I hope some day she finds a man just like him.

Happy Father's Day Howie. Thanks for showing me what a real man is all about.

H & J

Fear, it's a mind killer...

One of my favorite books ever is Dune, written by Frank Herbert. My most favorite passage is The Litany of Fear which was created by Mr. Herbert, and it is one I use every now and then:

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing......Only I will remain."

Although I generally will leave out the first sentence. I fully think our feelings and emotions are there for a reason, so I don't deny fear when I feel it. I do recognize that it isn't necessary for me to stay fearful. The Litany is probably more like a meditation tool, to calm me down a bit.

What brought up these thoughts of fear, you say, especially after I've recently said there was nothing I fear?

One of my high school buddies recently wrote on Facebook about a fear he had when going onto high bridges. It reminded me of one of my fears that I do have. It's not one that I experience too often, so I don't really think of it much.

Tall bridges over large bodies of water.

Weird, right?

Not werewolves, not zombies, not ghosts, spooks or specters. Goodness no. Those things are not real...sheesh. Driving on tall bridges over water. I do kind of chuckle just thinking of it.

There is one bridge in particular...a demon bridge. Let me explain...

I used to live in St. Petersburg, FL. Every now and then, I would drive to Bradenton, FL. To get there, you had to go over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

The Skyway is a HUGE expansion bridge over the Tampa Bay. When I say huge, I am as serious about that as I am about chocolate. When you approach the bridge, it stretches out before you, like a giant, venomous snake that is about to open wide and suck you whole.

skyway 3
Driving into the mouth of Demon Basilisk

As you drive towards Bradenton, you drive onto concrete, which seems so goddamn flimsy, the bridge goes higher and higher until you swear you need an oxygen mask just to make it across. At least I would run out of breath while driving.... Below you is the darkest, depths of the Tampa Bay. So deep, you just know that Atlantis is below, unseen because it is so deep.

Off to the right, you can see the old bridge.

skyway 1
Both Bridges

Ah, yes. The old bridge. Let me tell you about the old bridge:

It really is just the old Southbound bridge. The Northbound bridge was dismantled back in 1993, made into an artificial diving reef.

What's that, you ask? Why was the Southbound saved from a watery grave that the Northbound was not? Well, the Southbound bridge was made into a memorial, museum slash fishing pier.

And this is where we get to my fear.

The Southbound span of the old bridge was hit by a boat at 7:30 a.m. on May 9, 1980. A freighter, actually, called the Summit Venture. This behemoth of a boat collided with a support column during a storm. This caused over 1200 feet (!!) of the bridge to fall into Tampa Bay. And, what, pray tell, was on that bridge? Cars. Cars that were driven by people just minding their own business. People that were probably singing along to Blonde's Call Me or Queen's Crazy Little Thing called Love, just going to work, home or where ever....six cars, and a truck, AND a friggin' Greyhound bus!! They all fell. 150 feet into the deep, dark water, killing 35 people. I imagine some died from the fall, some drowned, and some were pulled under by the pissed off manatees that were tired of the humans trying to make them extinct and made them into their manatee bitches....ok, maybe not the last one...

This is what you see as you drive across Tampa Bay on the "new" Skyway Bridge. The reminder that steel and concrete can fail. And you are on steel and concrete.

skyway 2
The wreck...oh the humanity!

And have a nice day.

I moved to St. Pete in 1985. I had never really driven over a large bridge like that before then, having lived in the Central Coast of California most of my life. I've only been on a couple of bridges over troubled waters since living in St. Pete, and I've experienced that same feeling of dread. I don't know if it really is a reflection of my own lack of driving ability, or a fear of drowning. Either way, the feeling is a little unnerving, to say the least. So I would say my Litany of Fear, to get my mind off of the bridge driving. To keep myself from bridge diving.

Obviously, nothing happened. I'm alive and here to tell the tale of fear.

I've forgotten about that particular, specific fear, since it isn't one that I have to encounter on a regular basis. It has been years since I've driven over such a bridge. I've been a passenger in a vehicle on similar bridges, but it doesn't bring up the same feeling of dread. So, maybe it does have more to do with my confidence in my driving ability...


So what scares you...and what (if anything) do you do to overcome it? Or do you succumb to the fear and roll up in a ball?


Sometimes I get so weird, I even freak myself out.
I laugh myself to sleep it's my lullaby.

Those are the first words from one of my favorite songs that came from Avril Lavinge. Back when she could be different.

I often ponder those words. I think I'm weird, not in a "stay away from that chick" kinda way (although that could depend on your point of view). I'm not in the norm. I don't agree with a lot of mainstream. Heck, I'm happily married to Howie and we don't live together, that right there puts me at the top.

It is epic to me that our child doesn't embrace the norm either. I will confess, however, that I sometimes worry that she is too far out of the norm...what parent want their kid to be lonely? Then I am able to meet some of her friends that actually look up to her, and I'm cool. I also reflect on my own weirdness, and know I have good friends and it's all good.

I don't really care that I don't go with the flow. Why should I? I am unique, an I want to experience life through my own eyes, and not through someone else. Although there is something to be said about another person's point of view.

I was thinking this morning about my friends. I have quite an eclectic group of friends. I just love them all. And they (for the most part) accept me with my weirdness. They may think, "Really? That's kind of weird," of some of the things I say and do. I don't embrace the norm much. Each one of my friends have a unique point of view about the world, their world. I have learned something from each one. I don't always embrace what they have into my own life, but sometimes, I do.

When I was Jilly's age, I had no clue about myself, what I could accomplish, what was "normal". Until I met my first best friend, Gail McNeil (now Speers). I then learned my family wasn't in any way or shape or form, normal. She had the whole Walton's mountain thing going on at her house. And her parents were incredible. They let me be there as much as I wanted. They friggin' shared meals together without someone either being drunk or abusive!! What madness was this?? And she learned from her parents to be faithful, and caring. I learned from her that life if worth the living.

It wasn't until I met my current best friend (and sister) Monique Torres that I learned I had it in me to be a confident, beautiful intelligent woman. She taught me that people are what they are, but I am spectacular. She at least gave me the ground work to build on my own self worth by watching her. She taught me that beauty isn't about size, except for maybe the size of your heart.

I was never so open minded about learning before I came to New York. Howie had a lot to do with that as closest and bestest friend ever. He taught me that life just isn't as serious as many make it to be. And being so mad at the world because of how I grew up will not get me anywhere. He out logic-ed me. I love his brain.

My friend Jack (my brother, really) took me to Shoreleave and taught me how to be a Trekker. He also taught me perseverance. He has stayed with me through all the weird shit that I ever allowed myself to get into...we've been with each other through divorces, children, weirdness, marriages (best flower girl ever) and La Vida Towaway in both our lives. He has taught me that you can always look on the bright side of life, even with a broken arm. The love and respect I have for Jack extends beyond any relationship I've ever had. And that's all I have to say about that.

Over my life, these are the types of "things" (sorry Deb) that I have learned from my friends.
The list goes on and on of what I've learned from my weird friends. I can only hope that they've come away with something from me.

When we think something is strange, isn't it mostly just that we don't understand it? I've always been one for education (not having received higher education myself), but as I get older, I see the real need for it. And not just that higher education, but a cultural education, or a global education that teaches us how others have been taught, so that it doesn't seem so weird. Life is too short to not embrace weirdness...our own and those around us.

The last part of Avril Lavinge's song is the one that describes me the best:

Let down your defenses
Use no common sense
If you look you will see
that this world is a beautiful
accident turbulent succulent
opulent permanent, no way
I wanna taste it
Don't wanna waste it away

This world is wonderful. Yeah, there is bad stuff. I just remember what I want to to achieve in my life, and act upon that instead of the bad. The only thing that can make me happy is me, I will make that choice to be in a perpetual state of happiness. I am happy. It doesn't mean bad things don't happen to me (did you see what happened with my tires?? Arrrrgggghhh), but it is a matter of me keeping my life in check, keeping it in perspective.

I'm sure you think that means I'm weird. Why yes!! Yes I am! And I'm proud of it!

Interested in what I've learned from you? Just ask...but be ready for an honest answer!
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My good friend Dr. Smarty Pants (aka Amanda Willey) posted a pciture with a quote from John Waters, which said:

"We need to make books cool again.
If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books, don't fuck them."

I, of course couldn't agree, simply because Howie is not a fan of reading. At all. And would like to continue to...anyway, he doesn't like books.

But I did comment on how I love my books, and how they have special meaning and memories, similar to people who get tattoos for special occasions.

I started looking at my bookshelf, and I did notice that this was indeed the case. For example:

Dune by Frank Herbert. In fact, all of the Dune books. When I was in 8th grade, my parents were going through a particularly rough spot, well, that was all the time, but I needed to go live with my brother and his wife for a time. I had to go to a completely different school at the age of 12, and it was scary and terrible. All of those kids had known each other since kindergarten, and at that age, hormones were telling them to be extremely selfish....

I was miserable. My brother, knowing how much I loved reading, dug into his college books, and found the first two books of Dune. I picked up the first one and promptly forgot my misery. Water planet! Sand planet! Spice Melange! I still today will recite the litany of fear when I feel a little anxious....

Watchers, by Dean Koontz, as well as many, many other titles. My ex-mother in law introduced me to Dean Koontz. It wasn't a bad time in my life. I was really happy, a good man and a great family. She and I just clicked over books. We would share, and trade thoughts about the books. She got me hooked good with Koontz. I have a huge collection, and I just can't give them up, even though I've read them all. He is the kind writer that grabs you and doesn't let you go. Even now, I can't wait for the next Odd book....

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. In high school, it was another situation of me going to a different school, in fact, in my senior year I attended 4 different high schools. This was the last one I attended, good ol' Santa Paula High. I was a miserable teen. If it weren't for a few great friends who made my loneliness go away, I would never had made it. But they also had their own lives, so in my down time was torture. Except I checked out many books from the library. This was the first one that introduced me to Adam's worlds. He gave me the power to travel though time and space and still laugh out loud. Thanks Doug.

The Bible-NIV edition. This was my rock during my Christian years. I've read it front to back three times. Maybe more if you count all of the different sermons, devotionals, and just searching I did. I'll never get rid of it. It has notes that I took like crazy. I thought God was talking to me through that book. Once I realized that it was just me, it didn't have as much impact. Even without that spiritual hook, it still had value. Not just in the recording of where I was at that time, but also in some of the beautiful prose, the entrancing literature that it is.

Touch the Earth-TC McLuhan. This is one of my prized possessions. My sister Carm gave this book to me on my ninth birthday. My nephew signed it as well. And in his six year old handwriting ended it, "your friend". So cute. It's a book about native culture, which she was trying to get me more information, trying to get me to accept my background more than I ever had previously. I was just too young to understand it, really. But now, I'm able to appreciate it so much more. Now the pictures and the words mean so much more to me. It is so beautiful.

Contact by Carl Sagan- In the early days of my relationship with Howie, it was apparent to me that he wasn't interested in books. But he was interested in movies. We knew Contact was coming out, so I wanted to read the book first. I'm sure Howie could see that I was disappointed that he wasn't a reader, so he let me read the book to him. We would sit on the couch, a most uncomfortable one at that, he would lay on my lap and let me read the book to him. How great a man he is.

There are so many other books on the shelf as well as packed up. Ray Bradbury (signed!!) Madeline L'Engle, Stephen friends, my escape buddies. Jilly is a mixture between her dad and I, which is probably a good balance.

I love opening them up, smelling the paper, which stirs the cauldron of my mind, sending waves of memories, some calming, some as a reminder of where I've been. All are tattoos on my soul.

Now I want to get another tattoo....

What are some of your favorite books....and why?


So, I work in a psychiatric hospital.  Been there for a time.  I don't have direct contact with patients, but rather light contact with those that have privledges, some times brief encounters with those that require a therapy aide's vigil.
Today, for some strange reason, I had an epiphany about my mom.
She was a psychiatrist, a mental health therapy worker, and a social worker.
She didn't have any of those degrees, but that is what she did.  All of her life.  Because of the man she married.
I'm sure you recall me talking about my step father.  A strange, mean, bitter man.  He would say and do terrible things to us all.  My siblings and I hated him growing up, hated him as adults.  He was in my life since a few months of me being born, so his way of living was all I knew, what I knew as "normal".  Now as an adult, I can recognize that he really had a mental illness, an instability that was a block to him being able to exist in a some what, not abnormal way.  I recognize it even more walking around the hospital, talking with some of the professionals about the patients. 
I remember my mother and him always fighting.  Oh, the fighting.  One time my mother physically kicked him out of the apartment.  She was a big woman, and a Native that, when mixed with alcohol, was a forced to be reckoned with.  She physically pushed him out.  He screamed, ranted, raved, then decided he was going to get in.  The avenue he chose was to shove his fist through the window.  That was the first time (and not the last) that I saw bone.  Kind of just dangling there.
There are so many more stories, which I'm sure I'll relay at some point.
So, today, I saw a group of patients, and the therapy aide, guiding, watching.  Leading them a little.  Kind of like what my mom did with my step dad.
She would do what needed to be done for our family, where he lacked.  He had no idea about welfare, food stamps, unemployment when he was laid off, how to figure out my mom took care of all of that.  Kind of like social workers do.
She would sit and listen to him for hours, prescribing vodka and orange juice and the beach for his depression, and his anger. Kinda like a psychologist.  I suppose if he were to get proper care he may have been diagnosed with minor retardation, although I have no idea.  He was really smart when it came to basic numbers.  I don't think he was ever taught how go beyond the basic knowlege.  Common sense couldn't stick to him for anything, he would become enraged by the smallest issue.  My mom knew what to do though.  She tried to sedate him, but the alcohol just made it worse after the initial sedation.
She just had one patient.  I think of my friends that are psychiatrists, therapy aides, social workers....etc etc, and how big of a case load you guys have, and I'm in awe.  Granted, you don't have to go home and live with those patients, like my family did with my step-dad.  But you're awe-inspiring, none the less.
I can now not be as angry at him as I once was.  Partly, it is recognizing his illness, another for the fact that he is deceased.  It is a difficult road though, being a child and being told I was a fucking whore and a bitch, that stays with you.  Thankfully, I've learned that it is a place that I don't have to reside in.  I can look back at it and observe, but not live there.
My mom was incredible.  I think about what she could have done if she had been given the opportunity to go to college, what she could have acheived.    I think she tried to get us to be better, but she really didn't know how.  I hope that I am empowering Jilly.  I try to raise her the opposite of how I was raised, but you know there really isn't a handbook.  So  I try.  Hopefully, she'll see she needs to be her own person, and that I'm here to help, but ultimately, it's up to her to keep and learn (or discard) from whatever her experiences give her.
Which, really, is all any of us can do.

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Peace Train

Some peeps have asked me why I choose to celebrate Christmas, being an atheist and all. I guess I don't see it as celebrating as much as I see it as participating.

I love this month. It is chock full of holidays and different cultures, as well as being full of peeps trying to be on their best behavior.

I love the tradition, and I like sharing tradition with Jilly, so she has memories that are positive from her childhood. I love giving presents to people, although granted it's a little tough to give a present to everyone.
I love the Christmas holiday in particular, more so than Hanukah or Kwanzaa or Yule because it is more familiar to me. I do love a pretty Christmas tree though.

I suppose I like to participate in Christmas, because it represents more of what I wish people would be like year round, not just one day a year.

It isn't real to me, the whole virgin birth concept, but I like the magical quality of it, the same way I like Harry Potter.

So, why not?

I'll put up my pagan tree, sing some carols (poorly, but with gusto!) wish all Happy Holidays and join in the Peace on Earth train.

Care to go for a ride?

The Bad Day

So, once, there was this bad day.

Wait, wut?  Me, have a bad day?

Yeah, I know.  Unthinkable.  There it is though, it happened.

It was just one of those days.  Not so great a day a work, I tried to find a dress that didn't look like a mumu for the wedding.

Side bar:

 Ever notice that when you go shopping, you see a dress on a mannequin, or displayed on the wall, and you think, oh!  That's cute!  then you get it on and it looks like shit?

Also, when you pick up a pair of pants, or a shirt, and you think, damn, that's fucking huge!  You take same shirt to try it on..and, funny enough, it's not so big after all.

 Carrying on...

On this same fateful day, I got to thinking of my mom.  She'll have been gone a year in May.  I was more reminiscing than sad.  I really haven't been sad since she's been gone.  More on that later...

A bit later, same day, I heard that song "We Are Young" by Fun.  You know that song:

That song hasn't really done anything for me.  Until this day.  I listened to the words.  Really listened.  It hit me like a friggin' blaster shot to the chest.  This song describes my twenties.  I thought back then about how I was going to blaze a trail, do something amazing.  I had all the time in the world. 

But I didn't.

I turned 25.

I turned 30

I turned 35

I turned 40

I turned 45......

I was turning around in circles, chasing my tail like a fucking dog, not going anywhere.  "Youth is wasted on the young."  No truer words were spoken.  On this day, those words stabbed me in the fucking heart.

And I cried.

Harder than I ever cried at the death of my mom.  I was bawling at the death of my youth, death of my hopes.  The fact that I was bawling harder about my doused fire than my mother made me cry harder.

Thankfully, the nasty, fog like creature known as Chemical Imbalance finally cleared.  My friend Wes posted something on Facebook.  He was commenting on a video,  how it made him " ponder how sometimes we are more in love with who we wish to be, than who we presently are."

That little fucker.  How dare he make me think about myself.

Granted, most of my dark curtain had a lot to do with wacko hormones.  I'm sure there is something of a truth there.  So I really started thinking, pondering about who I wish to be.

I have an incredible daughter.  A good man.  Great friends.  What else do I need?  Well, I could use a few thousand to get completely out of debt, but you's manageable.

Who do I wish to be?  Me.  Just me.  There were so many years when I was something else.  Trying to find myself.  I tried finding myself in husbands, in religion, in partying.  Turns out, I was right here all along.  To quote the philosopher, Katy Perry, "this is the part of me that you'll never ever ever take away from me".

I have the life I want. 

Let's take that trip back to my unsadness about my mom:

Once I could start thinking right again, I revisited that strain.  Why wasn't I sad?  I know why.  I know that ultimately, when she needed something, I helped her as best I could.  I talked to her every weekend, let her talk to Jilly as much as possible, and told her I loved her as much as I could.  To summarize, I had no regrets in my relationship with her when she died.  There was, and is,  no reason to be sad.   I do think, though, that she was unfulfilled in her life.  It's probably what caused her alcoholism.  Her need to run away from problems.  I can see where I could follow in her footsteps, if I didn't take hold of my own worth,  as well as the worth of my circle of family and friends.  She did the best she could, with what she had to work with.  I'm just lucky to have more to work with than she did.

My mom.

So there ya go.  I know, impossible to believe that I might actually have bad days, but I do.  Like I tell Jilly, it is ok to be sad, or mad.  Our feelings are there for a reason.  But don't stay in that place of sadness, or madness.  Get it out and grow from it. 

I still need to find a fucking dress.

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Wedding cliches

Well, finally.  Howie and I are doing the nasty.  No, not THAT...we're getting married.  Not that either one of us really believe in it.  We're both pretty much under the belief that it's a control mechanism for government and religion.  For two people to really love each other and are bound to each other, the piece of paper means  nothing.  It goes back to the early days when it was all about merging of properties and controlling the power.  (Do the research, you know it's true)

However, there is the fact that it DOES give a better tax rate.  And it does protect us if (FSM forgive) one of us passes away. 

Wills are great to a point (yes, we have that too), but, should something happen to one or the other, that piece of paper that says we're bound holds great power.  He needs immediate access to my benefits, my funds, my estate.  And vice-versa.  So there it is.  If anyone is having a "traditional" in the sense of merging of properties, it is us.

So our wedding will not be traditional in most senses.  It isn't that we're mocking weddings, we just don't think they're necessary to show one's love and commitment to one another.  Since we're doing it anyway, may as well have a party.

Which is what I want. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to throw parties.  Because I love my friends, and I love my family.  And that's what we're doing.

I am sorry, I will not be hosting the Cinco de Mayo party.  But that's ok.  We're making up for it with a wedding before the world ends.

Back to the cliches...

These are all the things we will not be doing:

Expensive white dress.  Really??  Do I really need to look like a princess?  I'd rather be dressed like Indiana Jones, an adventurer.  However, I don't think Monique will let me...

Big wedding party.  No. 

Bridesmaids dresses that look too frilly and, guess what?  You won't ever wear them again.

Tuxes.  Really?  Have you met Howie?  Is he a tux guy? No.

Live doves.  Sorry Villate.  It isn't happening.

Huge ceremony.  Uh uh.  It starts at six.  It might last 10 minutes.  Fifteen, if you're really lucky.  So don't be late cuz you may miss it....

Expect people to be dressed up.  Are ya kidding me??  Be COMFORTABLE!!  No one gives a shit what you're wearing.  Howie and I certainly don't.  It's all casual folks.

The reading of 1Corinthians.  "Love is..blah blah blah" Howie and I know what love is.  It's digging in and not moving. It's being there but not smothering.  It's know when to shut up with each other.  And besides...duh.  I'm an atheist.  You may get a reading from Hitchens...

The Wedding March.  No frikkin' way.

I'll be adding to this list periodically.  So you may want to check back.

What you will find:





Non alcohol for my non drinking friends



Flying pigs.

And food.

So, yeah, you need to be there.  It's going to be LEGEN...

Wait for it, and I hope you're not lactose intolerant because the next part is..


Don't's going to be a great wedding


Limos.  Seriously?  A cab is cheaper.

Chicken dance.  Ah hell to the no.

First dance.  Why?  You may as well call it the first and last ever dance

Feeding each other cake.  What kind of craziness is that?!?