Life Isn’t Fair, Get Over It!

My blog page has remained a politics free zone and it is my intent to keep it that way.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter who got elected Tuesday, this country is a mess and the fix comes from the bottom up.  Yes, the bottom.  The People.  We can now sit around and whine and cry about how unfair everything is, or we can pull ourselves up off our apathy and do something about it.

The first thing we can do is accept that life is not fair.  Go on, pull out your birth certificate and look for the fine print where it says “life is going to be fair”.  I’ll wait. *hold music plays*  See? NOT there.  It never has been fair and it never will be.  Sure some folks are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and more power to them.  It isn’t their fault that someone a generation or 3 ahead of them in their family managed to make a ton of money.  Or maybe they themselves busted their tail and made it.  It’s THEIR money, get over it they do not owe you a damn thing.  Make your own money!  And it isn’t my fault that I was born into an average family with a cop for a dad and a stay at home mom.  Yep, we weren’t rich.  4 kids on a cops salary and guess what, we didn’t have it all.  The thing is, we didn’t KNOW that.  We had 2 parents that loved us, fed us, made sure we had a roof over our heads and that we got an education.  Some of it in private schools, some in public schools.  My dad worked a lot of details and over time shifts to ensure his kids could go to a Catholic school.  Want more for your kids? WORK for it.  We didn’t have medical insurance that paid for most of our doctor visits or prescriptions.  We had the major medical insurance, the one that pays for most of your hospital and surgery when something bad happened, but when one of us got sick, it was paid for by my parents.  That meant we didn’t go to the doctor for every hang nail or splinter.  And we all survived just fine.  We saw the doctor when we were really sick, not just because our nose was running.  Suck it up, so junior has a cold.  Believe it or not, unless there are extenuating circumstances, he is going to be fine.  Rub some Vick’s on his chest, put him to bed and lots of fluids.  Take a few pages from the way our grandparents and great grandparents treated illnesses, it worked. We wouldn’t be here if it didn’t.

Learn to tell your kids NO.  NO, you cannot have a cell phone, iPad, Xbox, whatever.  We did just fine without them and guess what, so will they.  When more parents start deciding that there isn’t a NEED for that stuff, less kids will have them.  When I was growing up, I didn’t play video games, I had a skate board, roller skates and a bicycle.  We had FRIENDS, outside not online, and we got dirty.  The more dirt on you the better the day from what I remember.  Chalk on the sidewalk, crayons and coloring books, and I read, a lot of books.  Sorry but Hollywood cannot do what your child’s imagination can do when he or she READS Harry Potter, skip the movie read the books with them!  We went to the library as kids about once a week, and we WALKED because we had ONE car in our family.  Mom walked with us because she set the example and read, a lot.  We didn’t have cable and guess what, we didn’t care.  Heck we grew up without central air conditioning and as this blog is my witness, we lived! I know, miracle of miracles.  There was one window unit for my parent’s room because dad was on third shift back then and slept during the day.  It was more about noise to drown out 4 kids and neighborhood dogs than it was cooling the room.  You know what else? We didn’t get sick like kids today, and adults.  Maybe because our bodies adapted to the changes of seasons better because we didn’t have A/C to go in and out of, we also played outside in the dirt, probably did our immune systems a world of good, cast iron immunity.  3D??? I’ll tell you the absolute coolest 3D thing I ever saw as a kid.  Remember the 1974 tornado outbreak?  Well the one that took out parts of Sayler Park and areas on the far west side of Cincinnati, we watched it form! My dad took pictures hanging out of the 2nd floor windows while teaching us what was going on as we watched.  Let me tell you what, you cannot duplicate that on the big screen.  Yes, I love the movie The Polar Express, in 3D, but let me tell you what, that $12.50 I paid to watch it, doesn’t compare to being outside on a very quiet night and HEARING snow falling.  In case you don’t know it, you can hear it coming down, it is amazing.  And the smell of it is equally awesome.  Nothing compares to being there in the  middle of nickle sized snow flakes falling around you, a chilly breeze and experiencing the snow fall.

We played with Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs and electric football games on the table in the dinning room.  We made our Halloween costumes (okay dad did cause he was the artistic genius in the family) we didn’t buy them at the party store.  Mom made our birthday cakes and a good portion of our clothing.  Yep, she  sewed, on a machine!  We wore designer attire, designed and hand made by mom.  It beat what we buy in the store not only because it was made with love, but it stayed together and was better made!  OH and we got to pick the fabrics and patterns.  REAL designer, one of a kind clothes!

We said ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ and other polite responses.  And heaven  help us if we got in trouble in school.  Nothing Sister Rose Looks-Like-The-Walking-Dead could dish out was going to compare with what happened when we got home.  Parents didn’t sue the school, they disciplined their kids!  I got a swat at school once, and let me repeat that, ONCE.  Because I sure as heck didn’t want that to happen again.  A little humiliation on the walk of shame back to the class room with my butt stinging was good for me.  I never punched anyone in the face again!  My folks weren’t afraid to discipline us either.  Mouth off to mom you better duck and run.  Guess what, we were swatted when bad, had our mouth washed out when it needed it, and none of us went to jail.  And it wasn’t child abuse it was training for the real world where there are consequences for your actions.  I’m pretty sure none of us even has a speeding ticket on our records.  And we aren’t in therapy with our mom being blamed for all of our ‘syndromes’.

And that is another thing.  Stop labeling all this bad behavior and treating it with drugs.  I am sure ADD is real, most of the women in this family would be diagnosed with it, adult and teens.  It is why we drink so darn much coffee, as ADD drugs are stimulants and work the opposite in an ADD person (in the simplest terms).  We had kids in school that probably had ADD, but more often than not, they just needed a good swat on the butt from the principal and they could suddenly sit still and stop acting out in class.  Wonder of wonders.  Of course, we played outside at home, and on the playground and ran off a lot of energy too.  We didn’t get to eat fast-food meals except as a rare treat and candy and soda pop was also a treat.  Gee, anyone else wonder if there is a connection?  OMG mom MADE us eat our fruits and veggies.  I’m here to tell you, I lived.  I even like them now.  Desserts were Jell-o pudding, or fruit.  Wow, and we played outside all day.  There weren’t many over weight kids when I was growing up.

We didn’t go on fancy vacations to exotic places.  My folks bought a pop up camper and we camped all over this great country.  Sure, eventually they saved up and took us to Disney World, but that doesn’t begin to compare to sitting on the sand looking out at the vastness of the ocean, the waves tickling our toes, seeing Mt. Rushmore, or the Smokey Mountains, or the Badlands of South Dakota.  Walk through the cemetery holding row upon row of white markers for those that died fighting right here in our own country if you want to really FEEL something.  I’m told you can hear a pin drop at the USS Arizona Memorial.  If you don’t know what that is, shame on you, time to get out some history and study up.  There are so many amazing, historical and educational, places to see that cost a lot less than an over priced theme park.

Okay yes it matters who is running the country, but are we even paying attention?  Did everyone that didn’t vote for this candidate (and don’t even get me started on those that didn’t vote! 52% of registered voters in my county bothered to get off their butts on Tuesday grrrrrrr…..) go back to their regularly scheduled lives yesterday after moaning about it?  WHY???? DO something!  Start getting informed, 2 sources for your news, not just FOX News or CNN, watch or read both!  Take time to READ, get informed about our country, our government, our HISTORY and start doing something about it besides bitching about what is wrong. FIX IT!

Your budget tighter? GOOD learn to get by with less!  This holiday season folks aren’t getting a lot from me, but it will all be done or made with a lot more love than it takes to buy someone an iPad.  Every morning I pull out one of 2 cups for my coffee (because being OCD it has to be in one of those cups).  These cups were purchased as Christmas gifts from my niece, one each of 2 years, on her college budget of next to nothing.  And you know what?  They mean the world to me!  I think of Sarah every time I pull out one of those cups!  Simple, $1 store coffee cups but they were chosen specifically for me with thoughts of things important to me and I love them!  One year my mom got an idea for our extended family Christmas Eve gift exchange.  Instead of buying someone candles or socks, buy them something YOU like.  Or a few small things, and include a note about why those things are favorites or important to you.  It was the best gift exchange ever!  I learned an uncle of mine has a thing for jazz music, and I have a CD of one of his favorite artists.  Oh and he loves Zero candy bars!   Who knew!  Another year I received a hand made scarf from an aunt.  She buys them from a lady who designed the pattern with the help of her son, as he laid in his hospital bed dying.  She makes them in his memory and donates the money to whatever disease claimed his life.  These things mean a heck of a lot more to the people receiving them than any gift purchased at Macy’s ever will.

If you are someone who believes in God, get to church.  I know, church is full of hypocrites, go look in the mirror you are one of them too!  We all are! Church is for the sinners not the perfect folks and there isn’t a single one of us walking around that couldn’t benefit from some solid teaching.  If you don’t believe in God, great, then read the writings of Gandhi or Budda. Whatever, get some positive moral influence  in your life.  Turn off the crap on TV start reading more.  Start with some basic government learning, then some history. You’d be amazed what you will learn.

Tighten the budget, get involved in the world around you, volunteer some time, shut off the TV and talk to  your family (the best times in this house are spent on the deck in the evenings when the weather is nicer), read to your kids, have the kids read to you, see this country (look around, lots of history happened any where you live), bake cookies for a shut in, etc etc etc.  And again, get involved.  Bitching and whining doesn’t  make a change.  But right there where you are and I am, we can change our corner of the world, and just maybe if enough of us stop allowing all the distractions of things that do not matter into our lives and start interacting with each other and being a part of the world around us, it will change!

Life isn’t fair, but it can be what you chose to make it.  And if we all start getting more involved and cutting back, it won’t fix everything but it will be a good start!

Okay off my soap box.

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If You Weren’t Looking Yourself You Wouldn’t Know!

Growing up as one of 4 kids I learned a lot of good information from encounters with my siblings and mom playing referee.  Even when we were not getting into it with each other, mom always had wisdom she shared with us as we went through life thinking we were invincible.

One of my favorite sayings of my mother came usually during long trips in the car on vacation, or when we were all in various places of time out throughout the house because of some squabble that drove her to her breaking point.  Every parent that has 2 or more offspring has said it at some point, or will one day.  It starts with one child poking at another:

Child A: “MOM!!!! He touched me!”

Mom to Child B:  “Stop touching your sister.”

Child B: “MOM!!! She touched me!!”

Mom to Child A:  “Stop touching your brother.”

Child A:  “MOM!!!! He touched me again!”

Mom to Child B: “I mean it, stop touching your sister.”

Child B: “MOM!!!!! She touched me!”

Mom to Child A & B: “If I have to say it again I’m going  to be touching both of you with a paddle, now stop it!”

*crickets*

Child A: “MOM!!!!! He’s looking at me!”

Child B: “She was looking at me first!”

Mom to Child B: “You wouldn’t know she was looking at you if you weren’t looking at her! Stop looking at her and you won’t know she is looking at you.”

Sound familiar?  It rarely ended there but you get the idea.  You would never have known your sister was looking at you if you had not bothered to look at her.

The same holds true in today’s world of social media.  And despite growing up, getting older, maturity doesn’t come with age.  Some people just have to poke and poke and poke again.  They cannot walk past a puddle without grabbing a stick and stirring it.  And we’re ALL guilty of this at one time or another.  I have a former family member that I have, on occasion, enjoyed stirring that puddle.  Sometimes I just cannot help myself.  A former friend too, we both enjoy poking at each other.  But sometimes those pokes can become direct attacks, and grow into Fatal Attraction style behavior, the stuff of bunny boilers.

I’m kind of an ‘out there’ person.  I have this blog, my spiritual journey blog, and one for my direct sales business.  In the past I posted blogs on the MySpace account I had.  I love writing.  I’m a social media addict using Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, GetGlue and others.  I have never been one of those people that was all private about their life and I certainly don’t fear the boogie man.  I rather openly share my thoughts and opinions over the Internet.  Heck I’ve even done some nude photos over the years, professional, tasteful ones, that were on a website.  Because of this very open way of life there is no aspiration of running for a political office.  Though if I did I’d just stick it all there myself before the haters could do it for me.  I don’t take the haters seriously when they have left unkind remarks, their opinions are not relevant to me whatsoever.

In the past year I’ve had to deal with being cyber stirred by several individuals.  It goes with being so open.  Most are pretty harmless, if you ignore them, they move on to someone else.  Reality, those aren’t truly stalkers, just shit stirrers.  But I’ve dealt with one individual that I am starting to question their need for mental help.  It began when I posted a video on Youtube at Christmas time, and got up one day to a really snide remark about someone in the video.  I was able to backtrack through the ID and some Google searches and discovered who it was and after asking the person targeted by the remark learned there was a love triangle issue going on there.  Said target moved on to better things, leaving the triangle.  But the commenting person could not.  They kept up a constant flow of comments on things, texts to the target, voice mails, even having friends text and leave voice mails.  Oh and they tweeted nasty things.  And yes, the target and I  launched a few return remarks.  I can be less than kind when provoked.  I know, you are shocked!

After a while it just got old, and my advice to the target was that of my mother’s, don’t look and you won’t know if you are being talked about.  For the most part this worked, though the harassing party would go through spurts and send texts or have someone else do it, and a few other things.  Thankfully the target continued to ignore the attacks and they’d fade away again.  But what do you do when they start leaving comments on your public spaces, commenting ‘at’ you on Twitter, or leaving very unkind comments on your pinboards on Pinterest?  I am of the opinion that when you are cruising life’s highway, enjoying your life and minding your own business and someone starts this sort of behavior, again, that they are stalkers.  Cyber bullies.  They need help only a professional can provide.

When someone has to go in search of you to find you and start following you, means they are not only “looking” at you but they are obsessed.  They are stalking you.  To seek you out, watch  what you pin or post, only to comment on it takes effort on their part.  They don’t just log in one day and accidentally start to follow and comment on someone’s Twitter account or Pinterest boards.  That is purposeful, deliberate and frankly does indeed make one a stalker.

The target in this case took my advice sometime back and saved everything. Every text, every email notification of a comment left (those are nice as they usually include the comment itself so you have it as evidence even once the stalker removes the comment), screen shots of the actual comments or posts whenever possible, email notifications that the stalker is now following on Twitter, or requested to be a ‘friend’ on Facebook.  Keeping these items is very important for documenting the stalker’s behavior and proving that there is indeed a case to be made should you need to file charges.  Most people are unaware there is such a thing as electronic harassment, cyber stalking etc.  It can land someone in jail.

If you think you are the victim of a stalker, document it! Keep screen shots, texts, IM’s, friend requests.  Never delete anything that might help establish a pattern that can later be used.

In my case, I know from 28 years in Corporate America that employers are getting more and more picky about what their employees do outside of the office.  They are asking to see Facebook pages, following their employees Twitter accounts etc., looking for anything that would reflect badly on not only the person they employee but the company as well.  I know of a number of folks who have been passed over for jobs, and even been fired for “behavior unbecoming”.  And I cannot imagine too many employers willing to hire someone who is proven to be a cyber stalker.  So, CYA folks – cover your ass.  Keep documentation if you think you are being targeted, and then don’t be afraid if need be to file charges.  Sometimes, it is the only thing that works.

If it isn’t truly stalking, just keep in mind, unless the stuff is being posted on your ‘spaces’, if you don’t look, you won’t know what they think or are saying about you, and it won’t matter. They only make themselves look bad.

Living And Loving Plan B

Recently, while browsing the hospital gift shop, my sister found this birthday card that had a piece in it called, “Life Is All About How You Handle Plan B”, by Suzy Toronto.  We both loved it.  Next to the cards we discovered calenders for 2013 with a different piece for each month, like “Never Under Estimate The Power Of A Hissy Fit”.  We both bought one of the calenders, we plan to frame each piece because they are fantastic.  We also plan to read the book, The Sacred Sisterhood Of Wonderful Wacky Women”.

The piece is too good not to share:

Life is All About How you Handle Plan B
Plan A is always my first choice.
You know, the one where
Everything works out to be
Happily ever-after.
But more often than not,
I find myself dealing with
The upside-down, inside-out version —
Where nothing goes as it should.
It’s at this point that the real
Test of my character comes in..
Do I sink, or do I swim?
Do I wallow in self pity and play the victim,
Or simply shift gears
And make the best of the situation?
The choice is all mine…
Life is all about how you handle Plan B.

It got me thinking about my life and how pretty much it is a series of plan B.  And we never planned for Plan B, it comes with it’s own charted and uncharted waters.

Plan A was just get through high school and stay under the radar. Plan B, I ended up pregnant and gave the  baby up for adoption.

Plan A, I got married with Cinderella dreams and it ended in divorce a few years later and Plan B was I found myself a single mom.

Plan A, I got married again, this time with somewhat more realistic dreams to the man I called my Hero, but later found out I spent 22 years married to a man who had never wanted to marry me in the first place (his words not mine) and the  last few years living what I felt were our best years, while listening to him daily lie to me about his love for me.  Plan B became single again in my late 40’s and a sincere lack of trust for much of anything that any man will now tell me as far as how he feels about me.  To say my views of the male side of the species is jaded would be spot on.

I could delve into a lot of other examples but those are the primary ones that come to mind.  It sucks when Plan B pops up, at least initially. However, if life is all about how you handle Plan B…well honestly over all I think I’ve done well.  Oh I didn’t always just accept it with arms open wide, and sometimes fought against it a bit, but eventually I came to realize that Plan B can have a lot more to offer.

When the current Plan B first began, I spent some time wallowing in self pity and honestly I don’t feel I played the victim, I WAS the victim.  And I jumped into far too many relationships really fast looking for a balm for my wounded heart.   But I started to embrace being single and now I see the benefits.  Trouble was then along came the Biker and now I am stuck at a fork in the road with entirely too many paths to choose from.  And I’m not sure that I’m ready to ever again be Mrs. __________ (fill in last name of whichever man is vying for my hand).

I’m currently living the Plan B dream of sorts.  No, not making the kind of money I WILL be making (trust me I will). But I’m working for myself.  I get up when I feel like it, go to bed when I want too.  I have FREEDOM.  I dyed my spiky locks auburn for a while, now they are bleach, skanky blond.  I am saving for some new tattoos (having ink envy big time looking at my daughter’s gorgeous, latest tattoo that wraps around her body).  If I want to walk around in the morning with bed-head, scratching my butt, farting and then pee in the shower, I have no one to worry about offending with the unladylike behavior.   I’m finding it difficult to nurture a relationship along when I am the only person I really feel the desire to nurture.  I’ve been told I’m selfish and self centered for  my “life is all about ME” attitude right now, and for not being able to give my whole heart to another, because I am still mourning the loss of the man who truly was my Hero.  Well then I suppose I can carry that label too.  Because right now, that is Plan B – ME!

I’m re-examining my faith and getting back into my Bible study and finding a church home.  Not one I can go to with someone else as a couple.  Some where to go ALONE.  I don’t want to be “Marti & _____” when I go there.

I am building my business and have taken on another that has even greater earning potential to have me sitting very comfy in a short time financially.  Those take up a lot of time right now and I LOVE what I am doing.

I want to be free to enjoy the friendship I have with several male buddies.  Not booty buddies, they are FRIENDS.  One is a former lover (Mr. Wonderful) but our friendship stayed very much intact and his wisdom offers a sweet balance to my ADD and OCD ways at times.  I want that freedom to go enjoy a drink and help him mend his relationships, share about my faith walk etc. with him.  But that causes waves in my relationship with the Biker.

Marriage is off the table with the Biker and every other man, and not sure it will ever be served as an option again.  Marriage  honestly isn’t a side dish I want with my meal of life with any man at this point.  I’m not at a place where I want to deal with “why haven’t I heard from you yet today” when I wake up and don’t text a good morning until it is now “good afternoon”.  I don’t want to cause waves in the relationship ocean because I went and saw a movie, or checked out a band, or had a drink with an old male friend who I may or may not have slept with at some dot on my timeline of life.  I’m just not happy being tied down, my spirit wants to soar the skies right now.

I’m not seeking other options or wanting to keep my options open.  The only option I want is to explore Plan B MY way, in MY time, on MY terms.  I get that it is not what the man in my life wants right now, but we are not at the same place with wanting a relationship.  And if that is selfish, so be it. Then I guess I am self centered.  When one is independently owned and operated, it IS all about ME!

My Life Is One Big Slumper Party

MY life is one big slumber party.  I just realized that laying in bed this morning debating getting up.  I really have a great, FUN life!

For years, while married, I was just a tiny bit envious at times of my baby sister.  I had a great life, good marriage, fantastic husband, great kids, nice house with a pool and hot tub, nice cars etc.  We weren’t rich but we certainly were comfortably blessed.  I had a great job, good medical insurance, and my husband could fix just about anything that broke or needed tweaking.  There was a very sweet contentment in my life. Don’t get me wrong, it was not perfect by any stretch but I honestly had little I could complain about.  At the top of the hill, when all was ‘good’ or so I thought, my sister had one thing I did not have….mom.  She and her two girls were living with my mom.

I think I can safely speak for all of my siblings when I say we are close to my mom.  For myself, I talked to her just about every day if not on the phone, via text.  I was raised by a mom that had a father who taught the value of family.  My gramps was the best in my opinion.  He taught all of us growing up that no matter what we lost in life, if we had our family we had everything.  I would learn that lesson many times over starting in my teens.  Family doesn’t have to agree with you, in fact they’ll often be the first to tell you what an idiot you are, but they still stand behind you and love you through support.  Or they should.  If they don’t, I honestly think you might want to trade them in for a new one.  Too bad you cannot do that!

Long ago it used to be quite the norm as the kids came along, grandma and grandpa were close by, if not living with one of their children, taking care of the little ones.  Families farmed, or held jobs ‘in town’.  There were no daycare centers and moms worked at home.  And it was work!  Everything was done by hand in the old days.  Grandma and grandpa helped out and families were much closer geographically as a means of survival.  Kids KNEW they grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Sure, many will make remarks now about “Oh, he is 53 and lives with his mother…” and I think, yeah? So???  Maybe it is necessary for both to have a comfortable life, or maybe he is a mama’s boy and a loser.  Whatever the story he is fortunate enough to still share life with his mom.  And that is how I viewed my sister.  She had a fantastic job, made great money, and she got to share life with my mom.  I know, it was not all coming up roses, the girls were teens and 4 females under one roof spells DRAMA anyway you slice it.

2 years ago I was spending every available moment over at my mom’s house with her, my sister and my nieces.  I was about a month into accepting that my husband wanted out off the marriage and the plan was for me to move out.  In hind sight there are a few things I would change about my divorce agreement…like since he was getting ALL the toys, the house, pool, hot tub etc, that he took ALL of the debt.  I had no way to see down the road that I’d end up laid off from another job and the other company would go under, and that finding work in this economy is damn near impossible.  My credit is shot to hell because I just cannot quite make ends meet at the moment, having lost 3 of the little ones I was babysitting because I don’t (and won’t) take vouchers.  It sucks.  But I’m hijacking my blog, back on topic.  The Divas had determined I was moving in with them, and the hunt had transpired for a house suited to all 5 of us.  Who knew the  second house we looked at was our dream house. It was one of those that, had I gotten bored and went a looked at houses while happily married, I would have wanted a reason to own it, it is such a cool house.  So, 2 years ago today we were all sitting around mom’s table on a Sunday afternoon just dreaming that all the pieces were going to fall into place and we’d get the house.  And we did!

Fast forward and welcome to our ongoing slumber party.

No one that heard what our plan was thought this had a chance of working out, but inside me somewhere I knew it would.  Maybe it was the one night 2 years ago when I left my mom’s to go home (I had to text them when I was in safely), and when I was crawling into my bed, the big one I had shared with hubby that I now slept in alone, I was sad and lonely until I received a text from my youngest niece.  It said, “Don’t lose your green card, we want you back!”.  It made me laugh and cry all at the same time.  I felt wanted at a time when I was feeling humiliated, rejected and worthless.

The past 2 years in this house (our 2 year anniversary of the official establishment of the Diva Den/Estrogen Central is 5/1/12)  has been FUN!  Really, most days we laugh a LOT.  Laughter is healing, trust me on this.  I noticed there is an over all JOY in this house.  My daughter loves coming over to visit because she laughs til her mascara is running down her cheeks.  Drama happens, but very, very rarely.  I’ve lost my temper, sure, 3 times.  Once with my sister, twice with my niece.  That tells me something when I know the number of times.  It may sound like a lot until you break it down, that in 630 days, give or take a few, I’ve lost my cool 3 times.   The two nieces are good for driving each other bonkers and some drama, but not often and usually not much at all.  Mostly, this house, this HOME, is filled with JOY.  We all love the house itself, it just is awesome.  And we all enjoy each other.

We stay up late some nights, like little girls at a sleep over, watching TV, talking and laughing.  We enjoy mornings on the weekends of extended coffee drinking with bed-head and jammies.  We support each other, hug each other, eat meals together, break into song and dance together, tease each other, and laugh together, a LOT.  We help each other, cry together over chick flick moments on TV, encourage or discourage each other as needed, and help each other out when money is tight.  A need was there that turned out to be the greatest of blessings.  When I was shattered emotionally and mentally at the end of the marriage, I was wrapped in the protective love of the women in my family.  I was able to heal with on site support.  We’re the true “girls next door” and we’re one big ole laughing, good time!

And the best part is that I get to live with my mom.  I’m not embarrassed to say it at all, I am about to turn 49 in 88 or so days, and I live with my mom.  And my sister and one of my nieces (one has since moved out on her own to be closer to school and work).  I get to tap into her wisdom, live, laugh and love with her, and enjoy moments that I’d have never had if my life and not taken the turn it did 2 years ago.  I’m not content, I AM HAPPY!

Here is a little treat, what happened in the middle of playing Farkle on Christmas night at the Diva Den. Featuring my sister, nieces, and my daughter.  It is pretty typical of the fun we have on a daily basis (mostly without the beer).  A song comes on and suddenly everyone has a spontaneous sing along. Though we don’t often need the song on the radio, we just kinda break into song because our life is like a very bizarre musical some days:

Life Isn’t Fair

What’s a saying or piece of advice your parents often repeated to you when you were growing up?

I chose this topic from the 2 suggested for Monday ‘ME’ Hop at Cinful Cinnamon’s place because it’s not  only something mom used to say frequently, but I said to my own kids all the time.

When I was a child, growing up with 3 siblings, 2 brothers squeezed in between me and my baby sister, there was periodic chaos and squabbles.  Okay likely it was far more than periodic.  Without a doubt there were going to be days when someone got the red cup for the second day in a row, or got to sit in the front seat and ride shot gun next to mom, or maybe was permitted one more library book than the rest of us, had a bit more Kool-Aid in their cup or slightly more pudding for dessert.  Try as she might, mom was never going to be able to equally square things between all of us.

Sooner or later, seems like every single day, one of us was yelling “but that’s not fair!”.  Mom would turn and say to that whiner, “no where on your birth certificate does it say life is going to be fair”.  Trust me, I  looked, all over that puppy with a magnifying glass for some kind of fine print that guaran-damn-teed my life should be fair.  No such luck, it simply isn’t there.

As I have  grown up and grown older (okay the grown up is debatable), I’ve learned it is a good thing that life is not fair.  Grandma used to say if you piled everyone’s problems in a huge pile and had to chose, you’d take your own back when you saw what others were dealing with in their lives.  It might not be evident by their happy faces, seemingly happy-go-lucky road, but count on it, they carry burdens too.

My kids would roll their eyes as I repeated mom’s revelation about their birth certificates,  but now they too know it is true, and a good thing.  And some day I have no doubt they will repeat it to their own kids.  Heck, they’ve periodically fed that morsel of wisdom back to me!

Featured Friend Friday – For The Love Of Fathers

Featured Friend

Friday


Welcome to Featured Friend Friday!

The following blog was submitted anonymously.  Well okay, I know the author, but you do not.  However what she wrote about hit me hard, it needs to be read and shared.  I hope  folks walk away with the idea that there are two sides to every story, especially divorces, and never be too quick to judge based on one side of the story, coming from an emotionally charged up ex or soon to be ex spouse.   Remember that their words are biased and should be taken with a grain of salt.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~


With Father’s Day coming up soon, I have been thinking about the fathers I have known in my life.  My own dad, my brother, the father of my child and many friends.   Some married for many years, some co-parenting with the mothers of their children.  I can honestly say most are good or great fathers.  I don’t think I have ever known someone who fit the definition of a “deadbeat” dad.  I hear many people say women who are divorced with children are “single moms.”  The most common description of a single mom is a woman who has been left by the father of her child to raise their child(ren) alone.  That definition evokes much sympathy and compassion towards the woman who chooses to tell people that she is a single mom.  So those women who choose to use this term to garner sympathy when there is an active, willing and supportive father in the picture are disrecptful to other divorced mothers and fathers who are alone in raising their child(ren).

I know one such father who is co-parenting with the mother of his children.  From the beginning of the end of their relationship, he has insisted on shared parenting (or having his children 50% of the time).  He has never faltered on this request and continues to fight for shared parenting.  He has provided financial support beyond what was ever required or would have been ordered by any court.  His children are in his thoughts from his first waking breath in the morning to the last moment before he sleeps at night.  Raising their children has not been easy for either one, but so many things have been said in social circles about him being a father that does nothing for his children.  I can say with confidence that this father does not deserve the things being said about him.  He has spent hours helping his son keep his car running, sacrificing his hands and body all the time.  He has shed tears and spent countless time worrying about his daughter’s happiness.  He sits at the table and helps with homework, flashcards and reading.  He has dropped what he is doing  to pick one of them up when they need a ride.  He worries about what his children eat and drink and insists on dinner around the table each night.  Not fast food, not dinner on the run, not eating in the kitchen, but sitting his family down together for conversation and bonding.  He wants to help them pursue their interests and guide them even when they don’t want to be guided.  His love for his children can be seen in his face when he speaks about them.  His proudest moments are when they achieve or excel in one of their goals.  They are happy and safe when they are with him.

Now here is when you are expecting me to say this father deserves a gold star or some special recognition.  No.  He is simply doing what a father should do.  What I am saying is that anyone who spreads gossip or untruths about this man should stop.  You have no right to judge what you don’t know.   You do not live his life or spend any time with him and his children when they are together.  You have never asked his side of the story (yes, there are two sides to every story).  He is a good father and provider and anyone who says anything contrary is simply lying.

I feel lucky to have so many great dads in my life.

Happy Father’s Day to the dad’s out there.

More On The Pause…

Yesterday I posted a scattering of feelings and thoughts that have been springing up.  Much came to a head over the weekend when I woke up and realized my current position in life.  There isn’t one.

Oh  yes, I am still a daughter, sister, mom, aunt, friend etc, but things are suddenly very different in my head.

It used to be that any decisions I made had to be weighed against how it would impact my spouse and children.  At 22yo I was divorcing and a single mom, trying to keep my  head above water and had a little boy that was very dependent on me to keep it all together and balanced.  I wish I could say I was a smashing success but the reality is many days I was functioning on auto-pilot at best.  Sure I had lofty goals as a mother, early to bed, bath every night, healthy foods and lots of quality play time with my baby boy.  Reality was more in line with “here, have a Twinkie, please just stop hanging on mommy’s leg and whining for 5 minutes so I can make dinner.”  I wanted to be the greatest mom walking but I was lucky if I made it through the day with minimal dribble on my shoulder and the poor kid had on a clean diaper.

I remember one night, after being sleep deprived for weeks, when I finally snapped.  He was in bed, crying, dry diaper, well fed and I was beyond my last reserve nerve.  I was a rattled zombie.  I checked on him, closed his door, picked up the phone book and stretched the phone (days before cordless) out on my apartment balcony and shut the door so I could not hear him.  I was crying my eyes out and flipping through the phone book for a frazzled parents hot line.  Nothing there, go figure.  I ended up calling the suicide hot line.  I wasn’t suicidal, but I was getting to that moment where I knew how parents might snap and really smack the crap out of a kid.  So I did the only thing I could think to do, remove myself from him and call someone who cared or could at least pretend too.  Guess it was a really slow night in the ‘hey I wanna off myself’ realm, because the nice guy talked to me for well over an hour.  I spilled my heart out about my frustrations with being divorced at 22, a single mom, at a job that had just cut our pay 10% when I wasn’t able to make  ends meet as it was, in an upside down loan on a new car and more debt than I knew what to do with.  I told him how frustrated and tired I was and how I just wanted one glorious night of sleep, but this toddler kept crying and kept getting me up and I just couldn’t take it anymore.  He listened, said all the right things…then after about an hour and a half suggested I go check on the baby.  I came back to report he was sleeping soundly, at which point the nice man suggested I go do that same and wished me well.

Later I’d remarry, have another child, and find myself the bread winner during an agonizing 17 plus surgeries with the ex hubby.  I hated my job, hated carrying so much responsibility and hated my life.  I couldn’t blow my nose, it seemed, without wondering if it would be a good thing for my family.  Jobs, homeschooling, doctors, college at night…everything had to be weighed.  Even divorcing there were so many decisions to make that had to be in the best interest of my daughter more than anyone.

I  have been the victim of the economy 3 times now when it comes to employment.  26 years at one job, then barely 8 months at the next 2.  It is why I opted for childcare and Avon.

Because of my current living arrangements, I am fortunate not to have to be so concerned about what I do.  I just need to make enough to pay my bills.  I have no spouse, my kids are adults, and no one is depending on me, no one NEEDS me.  Yes the Divas would miss me but if someone erased Marti from the face of the earth, on a financial level and responsibility level, there would be little if any impact on anyone.  No one’s life would change dramatically over it as far as their standard of living.

It was a piece of cake when I went to college at 37, I  knew what I wanted to do.  Then life threw a curve ball as I was one class away and we ended up kinship foster parents to 4 kids for a year.  I lost the drive and desire to be a sign language interpreter.  I love the language still but just not sure I could ever do it for a living.

Right now I am in a new place in my life, and I’m terrified.  No sense of direction, no clear path, heck no path at all.  I am free to make any decision I want for my life and for the first time it is all about me.  No way to see what is around the bend, and yet no real need to know.  I am sitting still and not sure what to do.  No sense of anything big or small about to happen….just nothingness.  And I have NO idea what to do.  I should relish the stillness but it is not something comfortable for me.  I NEED direction, plans and goals.  And I got nothing.

I do not like this at all.  😦

What’s Growing Under My Feet???

Mama's Losin' It

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise man grows it under his feet.” — James Oppenheim

LESSON LEARNED

 

I am no stranger to adversity, pain and a broken heart, my life path has encountered these on more than a few occasions and sometimes, through my own fault.  But one thing these bumps in the broken road have taught me is that happiness is right where I am.

I married the starter hubby at 19, full of Cinderella dreams that came crashing down soon after the engagement.  Hey, when the groom shows up to the wedding drunk, it MIGHT be a sign that you should yank up those skirts and run like hell for the hills.  My daddy even leaned over and whispered something to the effect that it wasn’t too late to kick off those heels and bolt if I was so inclined.  I missed that less than subtle hint, and I guess everyone thought I was aware that my very soon to be husband was plastered.  I wasn’t even remotely aware that the ridiculous grin on his face had zero to do with making me his wife, and everything to do with  over consumption of alcohol until communion, when he downed the entire chalice of wine himself.  We had already said our vows, were legally wed….EPIC FAIL!

Then I met and became legally bound again a few years later and once again had blissful dreams of happily ever after.  While married I was happy, and loved him very much. But it was all a dream while I slept for those years.

When Sleeping Beauty awoke from that beautiful dream, a shattered heart was the reality.  But it didn’t take me long to pull from memory and stop dreaming of somewhere over the rainbow in the distance and start finding happiness right there in my own back yard (thank you Dorothy).  There, in my present reality, I found happiness.   In those people that chose to wrap around me in love and support, I found comfort.  In the little things like the sun shining, a great song on the radio, a scoop of my favorite ice cream, or a special text from my niece* when I went home before we all moved into one house, I found happiness growing under my feet.  As it grew like a vine it wrapped around me, and on bare branches roses of hope and joy bloomed.

I am a fairly easy person to please, pretty low maintenance.  I don’t need a lot to make me happy.  A favorite candy bar, a warm hug and a really deep kiss, my hand wrapped in someone else’s, the giggles of the kids in the neighborhood as they play outside, the purr of my cat in my ear when she wants me to wake up and scratch her head, my daughter’s dog running at me all excited to see mommy (gotta love visitation with the pooch!), curled up with a cup of coffee and the Divas on a winter morning in front of the fire place, or on a starry night on our deck, a sweet text “good night” or “good morning”, hugs from the twin 6yo nieces, these are the things that are now, under foot, growing the REAL happiness in life, in the current moment.

 

*one night when I left the Divas, while preparing to move out of the Black Hole’s galaxy, my niece texted me, “don’t lose your green card, we want you back!”.  It made me tear up to know someone wanted me.

 

Day 09 – Someone I Didn’t Want To Let Go, But Just Drifted

30 Days Of Truth

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

The first time I met them was in the airport.  They came off of a flight from San Diego,  accompanied by their temporary foster parents.  I teared up when I first saw them, knowing how scary this must be for them.  A few months prior their daddy had put them on a flight out to San Diego from Norfolk, not even knowing if he’d ever see them again.  They flew away to the other side of the country leaving behind all that was familiar including their beloved Nanny.   When they slipped out of the house that morning their mother didn’t know they had left.  She had pretty much cracked down the middle mentally and they were not safe there with her while daddy was at sea.  Her antics and lack of ability to care for the 4 little darlings resulted in them losing their babies, the state of California, who had control since the nightmare started there, ordered the kids returned to state custody.  Intent was to place them all for adoption and we knew no one was going to take 4 kids, ages 2, 4, 5, and 8.

My ex-husband had been raised in foster care until he was 7 years old.  When I first mentioned my cousin’s children to him, he told me no way, we were not taking one of the kids.  My cousin’s sister had hoped a few family members would be able to care for a child or two and at least get them all in one city.   Pete has a tough shell around his heart but there are cracks there, and his memories of foster care got to him.  He decided we’d just take all 4 kids for a few years until my cousin would be state side and able to make arrangements to get his kids back.

That was how we became the Brady Bunch of sorts.  That November night in the airport waiting area we became foster parents to these 4 kids.  I had received a folder on each child, complete with photos and medical history, and anything my cousin could think of to describe the kids.  I suspect the nanny, an angel if ever there was one walking this earth, supplied much of the information.  I would consult her several times in the coming year.  I did my homework,  read the materials over and over, but nothing prepared me for seeing those 4, scared little faces, uprooted for the umpteenth time, clinging to their temporary parents.  My first insight to their fragile state was on the way home.  The 8yo asked me how long they were staying with us, and I said at least a year.  He asked if that was longer than 30 days.  Then again when we got home, and the girls, 5 and 6, discovered that their daddy had brought  me their bedroom furniture and clothes and they were jumping up and down clapping about their things being there. They insisted on calling us mom and dad rather than aunt Marti and uncle Pete, and if that made them feel more stable we were fine with it.

That night my family was there to help welcome them, we had a big feast of pizza, it was complete chaos, and then after they were tucked in for the night and the house was quiet and I was laying next to Pete in bed and said “what have we done”.  I was just as scared as the kids.  He wrapped around me and said “it’s not so bad, 14 people left and went home, only 4 are up there”.

Two weeks after their arrival, Pete came home one afternoon, and the 2yo spoke his first words (the social workers and other foster parents said he couldn’t talk), “oh, dats ome” (oh dads home).  I cried again.  I did a lot of that for the first few months.  Like the day Pete had to break the 5yo baby’s heart.  She asked when she was going to get to see her mommy again.  She had been told somewhere along the way that mommy was very sick and in the hospital.  No one had told her she’d never see her again.  Pete had to tell her that day that she was not going to see mommy again, and she sat in his lap for 2 hours and sobbed her heart out.  Tough old dad held her and cried along with her.  I spent an hour curled up in her bed that night repeating the tears until she finally cried herself to sleep.  Life is just a bitch sometimes, and to all the wrong damn people!

For Christmas my sister found an ornament, after searching everywhere, that had 8 snowmen on it and had it personalized.  Me, Pete, our 2 kids, and our 4 babies names, one per snow man.  I hung it on the tree, and later noticed the 8yo boy standing there just looking at it for the longest time.  Then I heard him whisper “wow, we really are a family now”.  No one told me I needed to stock up on tissues for this adventure, another boo-hoo moment.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, being parents to 6 kids is not easy, especially when you go from 2 to 6 over night.  2, 4, 5, 8, 15 and 21.  We had our hands full.  But we did the best we could to make it fun.  Hubby home schooled the 8yo to get him up to speed, and rather than the 5yo going to kindergarten we held her back a year to give her time to adjust to her new life without her mom.  I changed my hours at work to 3 days, so I had 4 straight days with the kids.  We had fun days each week, like crazy hair day when we’d wear our hair in wacky styles.  Or pajama day when we stayed in our jammies all day because we could.  We had dessert first nights on Friday, if you didn’t eat all of your dessert you didn’t get dinner.  Needless to say it wasn’t long and we quit making dinner at all, it become dessert for dinner night and was a huge hit.  Friday was also movie night, oh Friday mornings we always made what their dad called, Wild Turkey Surprise (and I called Turkey Poop Pancakes), chocolate chip pancakes.  The kids totally loved all the ‘special’ days we could come up with, it gave them fun and we all looked forward to them.  And Pete and I found our inner child again.

The kids became Bengal fans (hard to avoid living with us), and were a huge part of our life for a year before dad divorced mom, got the nanny to join him in Virginia and was able to get his kids back.  We stayed in touch at first frequently.  They came to see us for Christmas that next year and then again in the summer.  I stayed in touch with the nanny often at first but over time life went on and little by little we lost contact.  We’re on each other’s Facebook and so I get to see how the kids are doing.  I never intended them drift away, they took a big piece of my heart back to their daddy’s when they left.

Every Christmas that ornament is carefully unpacked and I hang it in a visible spot.  Every time I see it I pray for the kids, and for the nanny, Crystal, now their mom.  Yes their fairy tale had a great ending, daddy married the nanny and she rocks!

Me, Pete, our daughter and our 4 'babies'

Wine & Cheese – 10th Serving

Every week on Wednesday I  devote a blog to whining.  Despite being a really happy, positive person, I do have things that annoy me at times.  I never let anything grate on my nerves for long but thought it would be fun to vent them periodically in my blogs.

I also feel that good things, the cheese in life, should be acknowledged as well.

I’m even going to throw in a bit of dessert, a piece of virtual chocolate, something that made me laugh or smile  just a bit more than normal.

WINE

Mobile Nasal Minners

I follow a blogger, Kristina, over at The Ten Minute Missive and she blogged about observing things people do in their car seemingly unaware they are being watched. Much to my surprise, one she left out that drives me bonkers is nose pickers!  Or nasal miners as she put it and I’m borrowing it because that is funny stuff right there.  And don’t you know, after commenting on the blog Monday, I am then headed to work on Tuesday morning and stop for a red light.  Glancing back in the review mirror I was treated to the vision of a man in his mid to late 20’s with fully half of his index finger buried in his nose!  I tried to look away but when I again glanced up at this train wreck he was holding his nostril open with both hands, trying to peer up his nose in his review mirror, then went mining for more!  SERIOUSLY???? Do you not realize that everyone around you is watching you while you dig in your facial cavern?  OMG and then? YES dear readers, you guessed it, apparently this is where he hides his breakfast because he proceeded to consume whatever morsel he found encased in his sinus cavity! AHHHHHHH!!! For crying out loud, if you must pick your nose, do not do this in the car and please, deposit the goods in a tissue, wipe it on your pants leg, whatever but please do  not eat it!!!!  I was tempted to walk back and offer him some wheat bread and a napkin from my lunch bag as I was pretty sure after that display I was not going to be hungry again anytime soon.

Tanning Bed Tell Alls

When I have the luxury of paying to fake-bake my ample rear in the tanning bed at the local vitamin D salon, I go there to relax.  I turn OFF my cell phone ringer, put on some bronzer, turn on the radio, the fan and lay back for a relaxing, 20 minute warm, naked nap.  NEVER fails as I’m in my virtual paradise watching Juan, the hot ass pool boy clean my cement pond, that a drama queen lands in the room next to mine and,  while worshiping the imitation sunshine on her side of the wall, she gets on her cell phone and launches into a minute by minute update on her soap opera romance to her totally bestest girlfriend….at the top of her lungs!! Just when I am about to seduce Juan out of his swim trunks the vision is gone as the Lindsay Lohan wannabe screeches out details to the entire establishment of her misguided love.  First if you must talk on the phone while tanning, lower the volume on your highly irritating voice.   Cats fighting is more soothing than the sounds coming forth from your vocal cords.  UV rays are bad for the phone display, and though mommy will likely buy you a new one right away if you ruin that one, you could miss an important text from lover boy if the screen ceases functioning, so maybe put that thing away?  Besides, some of us are trying to sleep and enjoy our well mannered, sexy fantasy guys over here, so STFU!!!!

Daddy Daycare???

I have a bone to pick with the dads out there.  I am SO sick of hearing dads refer to spending time with the kids, while mommy is away, as babysitting.  News Flash: YOU are dad, YOU are the other half of the parental unit, half of their biological gene pool.  Your time is called PARENTING. You are  not a babysitter.  You are their father, you are just as responsible as the mother for changing the kids diapers, feeding them, getting their meals, changing their clothes, kissing boo boos and applying a band-aid, anything that mom can do you can do too! You can load the dishwasher, do laundry, and care for the kiddos too, dad, your job did not stop at ejaculation.  Start acting like a parent and get involved with them, daddy!

CHEESE

SPIRIT WEAR In The Mail!

YIPPIE!!! My personalized Bengals jersey is  definite  cheese for me!   Made my whole day to come home and find it had  arrived,  as ordered.  I cannot wait to wear it! 🙂

Money In The  Mail!

Who cares if  it is only $2?  It is cash and with no strings attached.  Okay a small guilt string, a poll about beer (oh darn the luck) and they hope that the cash will be an incentive to respond to the poll.  And I will!  But yeah for money in the mail!

Banana Split!

We broke down and tried this new Mayfield ice cream we kept hearing about, and we in the Diva Den are SOLD!  This is good stuff, especially the Banana Split!!!  AND we get a free carton as the company is so sure you will love  their  product that they buy the first one!  Sure you have to send in the receipt and UPC but so what?  It was that good we want more!

DESSERT

While shopping for vacation clothes, my husband and I passed a display
Of bathing suits. It had been at least ten years and twenty pounds since
I had even considered buying a bathing suit, so I sought my husband’s
Advice.

‘What do you think?’ I asked. ‘Should I get a bikini or an all-in-one?’

‘Better get a bikini,’ he replied. ‘You’d never get it all in one.’

He’s still in intensive care.