Monday, December 15, 2014

My Lost Mind

I was going to look up something on Google. 

But I don't know what it was. 

Was it food related?

Or a trip destination?

I've tried backtracking in my own mind. 

Like retracing my steps without getting up. 

The steps in my crowded mind. 

Geesh, it's standing room only full in here. 

I keep getting stuck on salted caramel fudge bites. 

Not stuck like I stepped on one. 

Like one I ate an hour ago. 

And I can taste that bright sea salt meshed in with the fudgey caramel as it oozes out from the chocolate shell. 


Was I going to look up a turtle?


Not a turtle.

Why would I be looking up a turtle?

My Christmas shopping list?

I don't want to think about that. 

Can't be that. 


I'm bound to think of it sooner or later. 

Bound feet. 

How did those Chinese gals wear such small shoes?

In that book I'm reading their feet bleed. 

From being bound. 

I have huge feet. 

I would have been single. 

What's that smell?

Is the dog sitting by me?

Oh gawd, she is. 

She stinks. 

I should tell the vet. 

Was I going to look up the wounded warrior project?

Or was it project runway?

I really love that show. 

I wish I could make clothes. 

I can't even sew on a button. 

Well, kind of. 

Don't look too closely at my buttons. 



My butt is getting big. 

Too big. 


I was going to Google exercise classes!


I thought I was losing my mind for a minute there...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Trying To Find The Calm

Today is one of those harried days. 
When I feel we are rushing around here and there and here again. 
Why do so many things have to happen in December?  
I feel frazzled and I'm hungry (did I miss lunch?) and I'm tired. 
We have a dance performance tonight.
There's a rehearsal this afternoon.
I'm sitting in a balcony at the Masonic Temple watching a rehearsal that I was not supposed to see. 
Well, I'm sitting. 
Because I'm tired. 
Tired of running everywhere. 
My six year old has the flu and I'm tired from watching her be tired. 
She's missing her dance performance tonight because of her feverish little body. 

Before we came to this rehearsal we had a rehearsal for Tuesday's piano recital. 
I hated to rush out of that to get to the dance rehearsal.
I love (with a capital L!) listening to young kids play their instruments. 
Piano, violin, sometimes a trumpet, singers. 
Zoe has been playing piano here for 3 1/2 years. 
So I sat in the back. 
Ready to rush out to get to the next thing. 
And she played her two pieces. 
Home on the Range was first. 
Followed by Silent Night. 
And I got the chills.
From the song. 
From the lyrics. 
All is calm. 
All is bright. 
And I could feel it seep into me. 
And I saw my brave and resilient girl up on the stage doing something she works hard at. 
Something that makes her calm. 
And I got tears in my eyes. 
Because she's my calm. 
She's my bright. 
And then we had to quickly go...

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Real Friend To Someone

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. 
Who said that?
I'll look it up later. 

The soul of a person contains what those eyes see. 
And by seeing what they see, what the voice then says. 
And what the heart feels. 
Children are joyful to watch.
You have to STOP and really watch. 
Stop rushing so much and just watch already! 
See their world through their innocent eyes. 
Eyes that haven't seen anything yet. 
And how they interpret what you've seen hundreds of times...a leaf, a police car, a banana. 
Sometimes kids see things, or someone, that we won't ever see. 
We won't get to interpret it for the first time.
Because it doesn't exist.
An imaginary friend. 

My daughter used to have an imaginary friend. 
Before she had a sister named Gigi, Zoe had a friend named Fajanna. 
I really have no idea how to spell her name. 
It's pronounced something like "Fah-jahn-na."
Fajanna would come over for dinner and I would set out an extra place for her.
And talk to her. 
She loved spaghetti. 
She would call Zoe on the phone.
I wonder if she's gone on vacation with us?
Fake kids always are the cheapest to take out of town. 

Zoe has never really described Fajanna to us. 
If I remember, I have asked her and her response was "she just looks like Fajanna."
Ummm, okay. 
Not helpful. 

Zoe's eyes are older now.
And she has a sister to play with. 
But every once in a while, I hear the name. 
The name of Zoe's old gal pal Fajanna comes out of the girls' bedroom. 
She's come for a visit. 
Zoe still sees her. 
And now Gigi does, too. 
Gigi also plays with her great-great grandmother Hazel. 
Who passed away in our living room in 1953 at the age of 57. 
I wonder what Hazel thinks of Fajanna. 
And if those two will ever truly leave our lives.  
Even as our girls grow up and view the world through eyes that get older and older every day...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Trying To Be Your Own Cool

There's a new pop song blaring across the radio waves. 
I always wonder, who decides which songs are the "good" songs?
Is there some GOD-like radio being who points his or her finger at cassingles and declares "this is THE one for the month!"
Remember those?
A cassette single of a catchy "it" song that you could play over and over and over until you had all of the words memorized and could then sing along flawlessly to over and over and over. 
Now you can buy a song single on your phone and play it over and over and over. 
And annoy your husband. 
Because he "doesn't want to hear Gypsy by Lady Gaga anymore today thank you!!!!"
So, the song that keeps blaring out of my car speakers this week is called Cool Kids. 
I think. 
But I'm not exactly sure. 
But that's all they sing about. 
Over and over and over. 
Lyrics that don't extend beyond this...
I wish that I could be like the cool kids. 
Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.
Is there a message that I'm missing?
And if there is, am I just not cool enough to hear it?
It's got a catchy beat and I found myself humming it today at lunch. 
And I felt all dirty inside.
Because I hate it when songs like this become popular. 
And the kids all start singing it. 
And judging each other some more. 
Because they will do these things. 
They will start looking around to see who is cool and who is not cool. 
All because of a song. 

What makes a kid cool?
What in the hell does cool even mean anymore?
I'm still stuck in 1987 and I try to be hip, but my kids often roll their eyes at me. 
But, I do try to saturate their little minds with my ideas of fabulousness. 
I've told my daughters that the cool kids are the ones that stand up to bullies and defend those that can't defend themselves. 
Cool kids are respectable to adults and say hi to the students at school that sit by themselves at lunch. 
Cool kids say thank you and don't laugh when someone falls in the hallway. 
Cool kids aren't always the kids who play every sport and are first chair trumpet in band and student council secretary. 
Cool kids can be the artist who draws amazingly realistic dinosaurs. 
Cool kids can be the girl who gets the highest level of points every month for reading the most books. 
Cool kids are everywhere. 
Look around. 
Popular doesn't equate to cool in my house. 
And I try to share that with my girls. 
I always stress to them that "fitting in" isn't all that great. 
It's actually kind of boring. 
Be yourself. 
Dress how you want. 
Speak your own unique thoughts. 
Do your own thing always and forever. 
Because if you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?
RuPaul said those words. 
And I don't know anyone cooler than a drag queen with a wise and loving soul. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Don't Like December

As the month of December works it's way with me, I remember. 
As I scrunch my nose at all of the stuff I'm supposed to buy for everyone, I remember. 
As I take the cross looks from some members in my family because I want to stay home instead of go to the mall, I remember. 
December has become my least favorite month of the entire year. 
Everyone wants my time. 
Our dwindling stack of money. 
I feel stressed that there's so much to do. 
I have started saying no to people asking for my body to be in different places at all times. 
And I remember. 

I remember that a few years ago my daughter was enduring a hell I can't comprehend. 
I remember that she had years of drugs ahead of her before she would be cured. 
IF she could be cured. 
She missed many functions at school. 
She was exhausted as if she had run four marathons one after another. 
She barely ate.
She still barely eats. 
Two Christmases later, she's still tired. 

My husband and I are trying very hard to keep her strong. 
Both physically and mentally. 
She has a personality that can turn on a dime. 
She gets frustrated very easily. 
She snaps at her sister. 
At her mom. 
At her grandma. 
My thoughts wander to the two years of chemo, did they alter her personality?
Or was it the radiation to her brain?
Or is this just who she is?

All of the wants and stress of the Christmas season are really wearing on me this year. 
Last year wasn't much better. 
I'm a humbug about this month now. 
The FB posts about people and their little, tiny complaints. 
I have a cold. 
My eye hurts. 
I am out of Elf on the Shelf ideas (something I refuse to participate in!)
Why do people need to cram so many presents, good deeds, donations into one month?
And I remember. 
That Jake and countless other kids aren't here for Christmas anymore.
Because cancer was too strong. 
And they were too tired.
And those moms and dads are the ones who really struggle during the holidays. 

I feel a depression settle into my body. 
Can I hide?
Hide in my house with my kids and husband?
We can hibernate like a Christmas groundhog and come out after the holiday is over. 
We can do what WE want to do instead of what everyone thinks we are supposed to do. 
Because for me, Christmas has become unfun. 
It's become stressful. 
And my ho-ho-ho has been lost. 
I need to figure out how to fix things for my family. 
How to take back this month. 
Maybe my cheer IS there and I need to close out everyone outside my home and look deep into my Christmas tree. 
I wish we could go away during the holidays. 
To our own secret space where the outside world is left there. 
And try to find the real joy of the holiday and remember that what we have gained is the most important gift of all. 
A second chance. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Movie Set In Real Life

Cold Winter Afternoon
11:54 am
Scene 1:
Take 1:

Wide lens on school playground. 

Children aged 7 years running by from right to left of frame. 

Slow zoom into monkey bars.

Camera moving very slowly to the left. 

Catching group of girls giggly and flipping perfectly curled hair. 

Stopping for 2.3 seconds on the single boy with finger in nose. 

Slowly moving to left again. 

Another group of boys run by close to camera lens. 

Another finger in nose is noted. 

Camera stops on bench. 

Four boys and two girls are seen sitting. 

One has body buried inside own coat.

Child can't be seen other than legs and feet. 

Camera pans up and over bench to two adults standing on other side of bench. 

Two women. 

First female wearing black coat. 

Second female wearing gray coat. 

Whistles seen around their necks. 

A few girls looking down and kicking rocks next to two women. 

Women laugh together and one shakes her head. 

Boy in dark coat walks up to women from stage right. 

Background noises fade out to hear direct dialogue...

Kid: "I was sick all week."

Woman in black coat (WBC): 
"Well, I'm glad you're back at school!"

Kid staring at her...
staring, staring. 

WBC: uncomfortable smile. 

Looks at woman in gray coat and both shrug shoulders. 

Kid: "I had diarrhea."

WBC: "Wow, I'm so glad you told me that (note sarcastic tone in voice)."

Kid: staring at her...
just staring...

Kid: "no, right now. I had diarrhea."

Woman in Gray Coat: slinks away out of frame while whistling. 

Camera pans over to swing set. 

Children screaming while swinging. 

Camera pans up to sky and 

End Scene...

*true story that happened today at my place of employment. 
But there were more fingers in noses than in above scene. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

T-Rex and Toilet Paper

The Tyranosauras Rex had noticeably tiny arms. 
Like, itty bitty useless arms.
Two little floppy sticks with bony phalanges stuck out from it's upper torso. 
Unable to do much of anything. 
I bet it couldn't pick up socks off of the hallway floor. 
Or an old used-up dryer sheet from last week's laundry that managed to make it's way to the kitchen floor. 
Maybe it's head was too big to look down at these things. 
It wanted to use those puny arms to pick up the string cheese wrapper on the living room end table that's been there since Monday at 3:15, but couldn't move it's massive head to look down. 
Couldn't look down to see that used tissue that missed the bathroom garbage, but instead landed right in front of the toilet. 
The toilet that everyone uses numerous times a day. 
Because three other people *I mean T-Rexes* live in the house and they use the toilet. 
But their tiny dino arms and their giant dino heads don't see these things. 

One time the head dinosaur had a plan. 
Place a sock in the main hallway. 
A sweet pink and yellow sock. 
All alone and without it's mate. 
Surely someone else in the kingdom would see the sock and pick it up.
Surely someone would notice the shock of bright color upon the dark wooden terrain. 
Three days. 
The sock was trampled over for three days. 
Disregarded for three days. 
Until big mama belted out in her best Jurassic roar "WHAT IN THE MESOZOIC ERA IS WRONG WITH YOU SHORT SIGHTED SHORT ARMED BEASTS?!"

A sudden burst of the universe's quickest evolution occurred. 
The tiny arms of the T-Rex shot forward. 
Into a length capable of picking tiny objects off of the floor. 
An opposable thumb was present. 
Where had that been?!
And the sock came off of the floor. 
And the dinos slinked away. 

There's a sheet of toilet paper on the bathroom floor right now. 
It's unused, calm down!
Just a sheet that floated off of the roll when a 6 or 9 year old used the john and quicklywentforthetoiletpaper

And the dino arms have re-emerged.