Friday, January 30, 2015

January Reflections

January is a month of milestones for me. Happy ones like starting this blog and some truly difficult ones like taking the first steps toward ending my marriage. Ten years ago this day was the calm before the storm. A time of personal emotional turmoil that would land me in a months long period of depression. A dark time followed by counseling that helped me restore order inside my head and in my life. Counseling that helped me recognize my strengths that would carry me through the difficult times ahead. In the last ten years I have lost my two brothers and mother, my twenty-year marriage, a significant love relationship, and endured through the loss of my job after a work related injury and a still unresolved lawsuit. Despite the negatives I choose to continue to focus on the positive things in my life. My two wonderful sons are the best thing in my life, and the elder one has married and given me the best daughter-in-law possible. With the exception of the injuries to my hands and wrists and the ongoing challenges associated with loss of function and chronic pain, I otherwise enjoy good health. I have terrific sisters and friends who are more loving and supportive than I could ask for. I wake up in the morning ready to embrace the possibilities of each new day. And as each day ends, I'm grateful for the small things. Some days it is enough to have held a steaming cup of coffee and breathed in its delicious aroma. To have laughed to the point of having my face down on the table, often thanks to the younger son.  To receive an unexpected text or call that brightens the day. To take a nap with a cat snuggled close by. Who knows what milestones may be accomplished in this year. All I know is, I'm still happy to be here.

Blog Birthday

Yes, I have been at this for eight years. Thanks for showing up, bigger thanks for comments. I have broken some records this last year, among them breaking through the 2000 page views in a day ceiling! That was fun. Meanwhile, let's all have some cake.

Friday Flashback

Yes, that is me. A photo unearthed in a recent archaeological dig through my office. Naturally I did not locate the photo I was looking for. So I'm posting this one instead. I seem to be confused as to how to properly operate Duplo blocks. A skill, I am happy to say, I have since acquired from from my children. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cause a Ruckus! Spread the Word!

Life Lesson #1187

I just finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy. Lacking another seriously appealing book close at hand, I decided to paint the laundry room. Lesson learned? Always, always have a tantalizing book on deck or this fate could befall you, too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


One day last week a friend on Facebook posted a very detailed dream she'd had, including remembering that she was aware she was dreaming and influenced how the dream progressed. Lucid dreaming! One of the coolest things about sleeping is dreaming. And the ability to have an awareness of it is even cooler. Reading this article today gave me deeper insight into the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. I have often experienced an awareness that I am separate from what I am dreaming, like I am observing what is going on. Thus far I have not been able to speak in a dream through myself or another person and alter its progress but I wear I am this close to making it happen! I often use meditation as a component of pain control. It is effective and has helped me tremendously. Maybe my focus has improved because of this and any night soon I will speak in my dreams! I love having a brain. Maybe someday I'll know how to use it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It's a Process

I have begun writing shopping lists on envelopes that I cut open and flatten out. My transformation to little old lady will be complete when I start carrying a fat coin purse around and hold up the checkout line by insisting on digging around in it and paying with exact change. The next stage would be obtaining a Sophia purse. Then have it with me at all times. Did she sleep with it, too?

Mine Doesn't Sparkle

I've been carrying one around in my purse for the last two days.

La Luna!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Too Old for the Tooth Fairy

Most of the time I have not a smidgen of awareness that I have four porcelain crowns residing in my mouth. They rarely call attention to themselves. The first one came along in the mid-nineties and was followed by the other three at approximately three year intervals, the fourth one arriving about ten years ago. One in each quadrant. In Dentalese, they occupy positions 3, 14, 17, and 30. They get along well with my natural teeth and function like them. Which is how it's supposed to be. Until yesterday afternoon when, for no apparent reason like chewing a huge wad of sticky bubblegum or deliberately poking around in my mouth with metal prying tools, #17 came off its mooring. For a moment I thought, why am I rolling a small marble around in my mouth? as I became aware of a slightly metallic taste. No. It's not a marble! It's one of my crowns! Holy shit! Fortunately I neither bit down on it nor did I swallow it. Tomorrow afternoon I'm going in to have it cemented back in place. Meanwhile, I'm chewing on the right and avoiding getting cold liquids on the left. I won't make the mistake of putting it under my pillow or in a dish of salt water on the kitchen counter. It is safely wrapped in a tissue in my purse. If the tooth fairy does happen to get her little paws on it, all I have to say is, she owes me about two thousand bucks.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It Also Contains The Furnace and Water Softener, But We Affectionately Refer to it as The Laundry Room

My laundry room is totally discombobulated. Just over a week ago I was cleaning in there. Disassembling a rickety old cabinet and hauling the parts out to the trash. Two pieces are too large for the garbage bin and will have to wait for the April clean-up. Until then, they will hang out in the garage. Once the cabinet was out I started thinking. Dangerous, I know. Pondering about when was the last time this room had a fresh coat of paint. It occurred to me that I had never painted this room! I have painted every room in this house at least three times (and the exterior twice before we installed color-loc siding) but somehow the laundry room always was passed by! There is an extremely faded and funky looking single coat of paint in there that was originally something akin to white. And in the interest of sprucing up all the corners of the house in preparation to putting it on the market, a plot began to brew in the darkest reaches of my brain. A faint, squeaky voice percolated up to my conscious mind. Paint the laundry room, Carla! Do it! Paint the laundry room! It will never be beautiful but it could be neat and bright and clean! Against better judgement I heeded this voice. Which is why discombobulation currently reigns in the laundry room. Since I must pace myself, it has taken a week for my cranky hands to move stuff around and prep and paint the longest stretch of wall. I am taking tomorrow off. I am pleased with the results so far. And I would much prefer that a prospective buyer would open the door to the laundry room and go aaaaahhhhh rather than ewwwwwww. Oh, don't look up or down, just straight ahead and from side to side. Up will still be an unfinished ceiling of various pipes, wires, and furnace vents and down will remain a rug on concrete with a floor drain off to the side.


Netflix, Y'all Don't Know Me!

This afternoon an email landed in my inbox from Netflix. Teasing me in the subject line with the words, Carla, we just added a movie you might like. I had to open it to find out they were recommending The Interview. The Interview?!? Seriously? Such an assumption indicates that the Netflix people don't pay the teensiest amount of attention to the ratings I have bestowed upon various series and movies with their cute little stars. Because I have zero, yes, zero desire to see this movie. Based on viewing the trailer prior to a movie I wanted to see, I figured I had seen the high points of the film already and did not choose to invest any more time in it. I expect that The Interview has garnered a bigger audience and made more money than it would have had it been released in regular studio fashion. The brouhaha surrounding Sony pulling it from theaters and then putting it back made it seem much more intriguing than I suspect it actually is. Which leads me to believe That Sony employed a similar marketing ploy to the New Coke/Classic Coke debacle of 1985. Thanks, Netflix, but no thanks. Now please recommend a movie that I'll actually enjoy. And do alert me if Glee, Season 5 ever shows up available for streaming.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Pagan Mom Speaks

Sometimes it's very heartening to find validation when you're not looking for it. This is a terrific op-ed piece from the Los Angeles Times that I found thanks to advice columnist extraordinaire, Carolyn Hax. My two grown sons, aside from being my two favorite people in the world, have turned out to be exceptional young men. Kind, intelligent, goofy, thoughtful and just plain wonderful. I know, this isn't something I can be objective about. But if you have met either of them you are likely to agree. In choosing to raise my sons without the involvement of a church or religion, I (and my ex, their father, deserves credit here as well) made a point of instilling in them what I later discovered is called a strong moral compass. Which is primarily teaching right from wrong and good from bad absent the whole heaven/eternal reward, hell/eternal punishment, all-seeing deity concept. They treat others with respect and empathy because that is what they were taught and what they observed while they grew. And even if they choose to follow a religion as adults, that is their right that I will respect. We all have our own path to follow. Most of my life I have lived in something of a self imposed closet where I keep my spiritual beliefs to myself. Reading an article like this makes me feel like I can crack that door open a little more and speak a little more freely. This country was founded by people fleeing religious persecution. Which means freedom from religion just as much as it means freedom of religion, a distinction that should be recognized and remembered.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

Organized? Yes. Anal? No.

In the space of five minutes I saw two, really!, two videos on how to fold and neatly store those pesky plastic grocery bags! As a girl who has a bag of reusable canvas bags in the car, I still need a few plastic ones for cat poop disposal. And I store those in a plastic grocery bag hung on the inside of my pantry door. When it gets full, I tie it off and replace it with a new one. The full bag of bags goes either near the litter boxes or out in the garage for future use as packing material. I might be a neatnik, but the day I start folding the plastic grocery bags into neat little triangles is the day I should be institutionalized. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

East End Girls

I know, I universally mocked this show after viewing the pilot. Then I blew through the remaining nine episodes in true Netflix, binge-watching fashion. Now I have to wait for more. All the while being careful what I witch for.

Math Funny

Monday, January 12, 2015

Do You Wanna?

I know some people who are trying to get a local dance club going. They have a venue in mind that's available and at least one band that plays some rock, jazz, and oldies. The whole idea is to get enough people together who are willing to throw a few bucks in the coffer every month to make it a sustainable thing. The main fellow behind the dance club even has a name for it. Brookings Area Dance And Social Society. Not exactly poetic, if you ask me, but I do like the acronym.

Je Suis Charlie

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Let's Do It!

Think for a moment about falling in love. Then consider that it's a choice, a pragmatic sort of process rather than something that happens to you without your consent. Over twenty years ago a social psychology researcher named Arthur Aron constructed an experiment using a list of thirty-six questions to see if getting closer could be facilitated with their use. I'm a big believer that genuine intimacy is the crucible in which love is forged. I think sharing your deepest darkest as well as your fondest wishes fosters trust, another essential for love. I also hate small talk. I like getting to the heart of the matter and these questions take you there. I especially like the four minutes of silent eye contact Aron used at the end of the experiment. I can't wait for a test subject to try these out on!

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you're going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell you partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you've dreamt of doing for a long time? Why haven't you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people's?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true "we" statements each. For instance, "we are both in this room feeling..."
26. Complete this sentence "I wish I had someone with whom I could share..."
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them: be honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you've just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven't you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner's advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

January Thaw

There's a dance party tonight. One that I have been invited to. The band that's playing is one whose music I enjoy and there will be a handful of people I would like to see. But I won't be going. And this is why. The location, the other guests, the atmosphere, even in a sense the music, they are all in the past for me. A past I have let go of and moved on from and have no desire to return to. On the off chance that you haven't guessed what's going on here, this group of people are the core of the social group I was central to when I was married. A year ago I attended a similar gathering, and it was to prove a point. Despite the open hostility some of them still display toward me, despite some anxiety over the flood of unpleasant feelings that might occur, despite the fact that my presence may incur gossip and judgement, and despite the fact that I was walking into a room loaded with baggage from my former life as half of a married couple, I was going to go. Not just show up, mind you, but to dance my ass off with a few friends and stake out a table with them and laugh and enjoy myself. To show them, and me, that they didn't break me. They came close. This is a little town and the judgement came down hard and mercilessly when the news broke that my marriage of twenty years was ending. Lines were drawn and sides were taken and I was banished while my ex was taken into the fold. It took a very long time to heal and to find a new group of people I could reclaim a social life with. I am here, and for the most part, here is a pretty good place to be. I have accepted that there are a few people from the past that I have no desire to make nice with, and they will be in the room tonight as they were a year ago. This isn't about withholding forgiveness and clinging to anger. It's about recognizing that some individuals, that I used to be close to, treated me in a vicious and calculated manner. They have shown me their darkest side and done their worst to me. I have forgiven but will not forget. For my own protection and peace of mind I keep these few at arm's length. After reminding them a year ago that I'm still here, I have no desire to go back. I'm moving forward and have long since let it go. There is an enormous sense of peace in knowing I have nothing left to prove.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Congress is Now in Session

And in honor of this occasion, I give you the recently reelected Speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner of Ohio. 

Seriously, people, if the man dyed his hair green he could slip into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and nobody would notice.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wouldn't You Like to be a Witch, Too?

Maybe I am, maybe not. I've been fascinated with witch culture and its roots pretty much forever. It might have something to do with my Scottish heritage and all those powerful matriarchal tribal women who took care of business in the British Isles way back when. That is, before they were denigrated and dethroned by the patrons of a burgeoning Christian church. Maybe it has something to do with my maiden name. Imagine the witch jokes the kids on the playground can hang on you when your last name is Broome! And, okay, I adore a number of movies where the main characters are witches. Practical Magic, The Witches of Eastwick, Hocus Pocus, Bell, Book, and Candle. And now I've been watching The Witches of East End on Netflix that had its first run on Lifetime. Did I mention how much I love Halloween? It was kind of fun to read this today. Maybe you're a witch, too, and just didn't know it. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Damn. I Looked

Don't make eye contact. Don't make eye contact. Don't make eye contact. Don't make eye contact. Don't make eye contact. Shit. Sometimes you're walking through the mall minding your own business and the guy at the kiosk that peddles the magical wrinkle eliminating cream does a little jig right in front of you and you pretty much have to stop and chat with him. It's so excruciating to be polite in these situations. He tells me I'm beautiful (Ha! I'm thinking, I got caught in the blizzard overnight and this is yesterday's hair and makeup!!) but asks me if I don't perhaps want to do something about those deep lines. He gestures toward my nasal/labial lines which I do fret over occasionally. He gives me a free sample of hand cream. He holds up jars of two products that I simply must buy and tells me there is a special deal today just for me! The two together retail for over three hundred dollars but if I buy right now, only $199.99!! Just to mess with him I make a counter offer of $150. He regards me slyly and consults the touch screen on his computer. I can't possibly do that, he tells me sadly. I really want this to be over. So I say, okay, if you can correctly guess my age I'll buy both. I smile witheringly as he assesses my face. He frowns. I am going to be brutal, he warns, and says forty-nine. I thank him, tell him I'm fifty-seven, and walk away. He has no idea how lucky he is. If he had said one word about the soft jowly things developing along my jawline he would have been a dead man. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Not Guilty

This has been occupying too much of my brain for too many of the last forty or so hours. Experience tells me that if I write about it, the offending subject will fade to the background and plague me no more. Let's hope so. Even though the people in question don't frequent this spot, I'm going to do my best to be general enough so those involved may remain anonymous but specific enough to clear my brain as well as my reputation. Man (hereafter referred to as B) walks into a bar, a man with whom I am not acquainted, but he appears to be with people I do know so I assume he is with them. A woman (hereafter referred to as A) who is a friend of mine leans in and says something to me which I don't hear clearly due to the music and general loud bar atmosphere, but it seems to be in reference to B. She gives me bit of a raised eyebrow expression and smiles. I have no idea what she said so I return the smile. Asking her to repeat the comment seems pointless due to the ambient noise. A proceeds to the bar presumably to get drinks. I stand up to go and request a song from the DJ. In the process of standing and looking for the most opportune route to take through the crowd, I find myself pretty much face to face with B and he leans in and kisses me. I briefly smooch back and continue toward the DJ thinking nothing of it. Drunk, overly friendly bar behavior. I return to the table and my requested song comes up. Group singing and dancing ensues. I notice that B and A are engaged in close conversation by the bar. Soon last call arrives and the patrons are instructed to drink up and depart, which we do. It seems that A is giving us a ride home. B is ushering us toward A's vehicle and opening doors and tucking us inside and closing doors, reserving shotgun position for himself. I am amused by this. I am dropped off first. Fast forward two weeks to the most recent Friday night where a number of us converge for happy hour at A's house. After some initial niceties A informs me somewhat curtly that she and B are now officially an item. She gives me a pass for my inappropriate behavior (ie, kissing boyfriend) two weeks prior but it had better never happen again. A can be a bit terse at times, so I don't take it personally. I cover with a whatever, fine sort of remark and laugh because as far as I'm concerned, B spontaneously smooching with me is a big fat nothing. The stern, disapproving look on A's face tells me she's serious. Fine. Sure. More friends arrive and a pleasant evening follows. At some point A, after either a message or call from B, announces that he will be coming over later. A waggles a finger at me and tells me she expects me to behave. I don't find B the least bit attractive so I figure this will be easy. When B arrives my flatline of attraction toward him is confirmed in my head, which is a genuine relief given the circumstance. Goodnight and thanks, and we all, with the exception of B, depart. Then my brain won't shut off. I consider A a dear friend. I beat myself up for what is essentially a misinterpretation of something that is forgettable to me that lasted maybe two seconds. How could this possibly be so important? Did B deny initiating? Are available men in such short supply that I must be made a villain in order for B to remain appealing? Is A truly so lacking in confidence that she considers me a threat? She is a beautiful, successful, educated, fun and funny person whose company I truly enjoy. I will own that I flirt and that I'm a pottymouth and that I'm not shy as far as making the first move is concerned. What I don't do is make passes at men that I regard somewhere between meh and insipid. At the same time I must admit that I'm a bit on guard. If A has reservations about B she has no right to leave them at my doorstep. At this point I'm choosing to let it go in light of preserving my friendship with A. I wish her well in her budding relationship with B. At some point an apology from A would be appreciated, but as these things go, it doesn't seem likely. I may not be innocent, but in this case I plead most definitely not guilty.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

And Found

If you will recall, after completing the holiday decorating, this particular Santa Claus was nowhere to be found. Fear not, he and his sleigh and reindeer have been found. Lurking in the bottom of a random box under the stairs, I still haven't figured out how they got there. They will be packed away with the rest of the Santas and with any luck, will be found and properly displayed next year. Which has me wondering as I put away the baubles and tinsel if this was my last Christmas celebration in this house. As I'm beginning the fifth year of my five year plan to move to Colorado, the question is, will this move be accomplished on time? We shall see, 2015, we shall see. The lost but now found Santa may be flying in his sleigh across a whole different piece of sky. 

It's All About The Dress

Remember this from last month? And how I thought it was a great idea  for dressing Miss Tallulah for the holidays? Never mind that this execution is classy and glamorous, sometimes you have to make do.

This is what we did. After manicures and pedicures and lunch, DiL Liz and I hit the post-Christmas sales and found the components for the tacky version of the first photo. If you ask me, Miss T can really light up a room. 

Let's zoom in for a closer look at all Miss T's sparkly glory. I know, I know, it's kind of the trailer court version of what inspired me. Sometimes you just have to go with where the available materials take you. Instead of uptown we ended up on the wrong side of the tracks. Go with what you know, that's what I always say. Nobody know tinsel 'n trash like moi.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Hangover Story

I was nineteen. It was New Year's Eve. I had a Big Mac for dinner at McDonald's. Then proceeded to toss back three, yes, three bottles of Boone's Farm Country Kwencher over the next few hours. I didn't make it to midnight but I did make it to the kitchen sink after discovering that the only available bathroom was occupied. My friend's tiny apartment was wall-to-wall people. Those who observed what I had deposited in the sink began to sing the two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun song and attempted to identify said sandwich ingredients. I found my way to the bedroom and pushed aside the pile of winter coats on the bed so I could lie down. I desperately hung onto a bedpost hoping it would make the room stop swirling. I thought I was going to die. I couldn't eat for a couple of days. I didn't drink again for about six months. I didn't eat a Big Mac again for nearly twenty years. And probably never will again. I remember Country Kwencher tasting like Squirt. Even if the Boone's Farm people still make the stuff, trust that I will live a long and happy life without drinking a single drop of it. I have imbibed to the point of barfing only a couple of times since and have suffered with a hangover on only a handful of occasions. As life lessons go, this turned out to be an easy one to learn. Somebody help me like exercise!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Don't Need Much to be Happy

I kicked off 2014 with a song from my favorite lady, Mary Chapin Carpenter. A grand tradition has to start somewhere so let's begin 2015 the same way. From Ashes and Roses, a song of appreciation and contemplation. The last four lines just kill me.

I had to learn to be grateful
I had to learn how to see
Mistakes that might have proved fatal
Are gifts I now receive

Embark on the good ship 2015 with an open heart. Embrace the possibilities.