Whelp, 2017 was a rough year, filled with icky, stupid people making horrible, hideous choices that have and continue to affect us all… but I don’t want to focus on that. Today is my birthday so focusing on good things that happened to me this year. Sadly, I’m a hacking, sniffing, coughing mess so stopping at six(ish) good(ish) things and then heading back to bed. Age ain’t nothing but a number until you can’t breathe without coughing, swallow without pain and your nose is as red as Rudolph’s….
1. I started the year walking. Considering the boxer broke my ankle in three places and I have a plate and eight screws, I think this is a major achievement. Now I can tell when the weather is below 70degrees and sometimes walk like a drunken pirate but I am walking. Apparently, my right side is now a hair shorter than the left but that adds to the pirate-like aesthetic. I’m still considering getting tattoos on the scars. No idea what kind of art I’d get, the scars are pretty nasty… But since my last one had to be done twice and – and this is a thing – the screws in my ankle might WORK THEIR WAY OUT (!!!) - I might wait on the tattoo.
2. I’m still married. YAY!!! Considering we’ve been without a master bathroom and closet since the end of September, this is a big deal. Sharing a bathroom with someone who doesn’t share the same views about toothpaste in the sink is hard! Somehow, how he chooses to use the toothpaste or leave the toothpaste is not as tragic when there’s a second bathroom to escape too. Not to mention trying to find your clothes in the mess that is a pile on the guestroom bed can be a challenge. It’s a good thing he’s funny. It’s also a good thing he’s talented with a saw and paint. If it weren’t for his abilities, we’d still be in the 1960’s pink moldy bathroom, fighting over the sink. If it weren’t for his abilities, we’d still be in California and not in Nashville. Pretty much everything is his fault – good and bad.
3. We still have three dogs. This is a major thing (see above) because I’m pretty sure they keep trying to kill me. Joseph, the boxer – again – pulled me over and bounced my face off the sidewalk, Pepper constantly stands behind me and tries to trip me up and Tigger the Dog is actively trying to push me down the stairs. So far they have not been successful but they are ever hopeful. Joking aside, it astonishes me how many folks have asked if we’ve gotten rid of Joe. I never know how to respond to that. He’s a pain, has caused me pain, has covered the house in drool but he’s ours. Our dog. Our family. If your child is annoying or wrecks the car or gets bad grades, do you give them away? It’s nutty to think that people would think we’d do that. Broken ankle and face aside, he’s a good dog.
4. I quit social media. First I limited my time sucking each day, found that wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped so I quit. Cold.
And lasted twelve days. Twelve days without Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.... I wish I could tell you I spent my time in a much better way than scrolling through folk’s pages, judging them or judging myself but, nope. Most of those twelve days, when I wasn’t reading trashy books with happy endings, were spent loudly proclaiming to all who stood near me how awesome I was that I wasn’t on social media. The rest of the time was trying to figure out how to get information for folks who were on social media so that I could stalk their lives.
5. I lost 14 pounds. I’m hoping this lose is more permanent than my social media vacation. I’m pretty sure the weight loss started because I spent the first few days of the year lying on the bathroom floor since our 2016 New Year’s Eve was a lot more liquid than it should be for our age. My doctor was very proud of my weight loss. My cardiologist though, was only slightly impressed. I was just sad that he wasn’t as cute as I thought he was two years ago. Apparently my standards for heart health have changed. I’d like the guy feeling me up to be good looking enough to affect my heart rate. I realize that this is counterintuitive but it must be that I’m lightheaded from the lack of sugar in my diet.
6. Finally, I am still creating trees, albeit slowly and only when the mood strikes me. I am still writing, albeit slowly and only when the mood strikes me. I am still trying to manage my social media addiction albeit slowly and only when the mood strikes me. And I am still working on seeing the silver lining in every dark corner…
As the Lakota medicine man I met last Thursday told me, the year has been full of lessons. I hope I am able to take these lessons and grow forward. Heck, I hope we all are able to grow forward - especially the stupid icky people.
Be well. Be happy. Be healthy. Be joy.
So – I took a social media break for August because my social life was more virtual than physical. Also because August is, according to Brother, when I go crazy. I thought going social media free would be a step in the right direction to living a better, more creative life.
And, for the most part, it was. I remembered that my free time used to be spent reading books and not down the time suck of someone else’s awesome or not so awesome life. And yes, I realize that reading is a time suck of a different kind but it felt a healthier choice for my soul.
Of course - because whoever is running things has a wicked sense of humor - it got interesting on day one of my self-imposed break; the allergist thought that my massive hives attack in July was likely due to alpha-gal, otherwise known as a meat allergy due to a bite from the Lone Star Tick.
Seriously. That is a thing, a meat allergy to anything with a hoof.
Sooooo, I go on a social media break and I can’t talk about being possibly allergic to meat. And that, if I were to test positive for alpha-gal, I would need to carry an EpiPen in case of an allergic attack because of accidental meat contact.
Seriously! An EpiPen in case the knife that cuts my turkey meat first cut roast beef and the roast beef meat juice cooties got on my turkey meat and I swelled up like an itchy balloon...
Welp, turned out I am not allergic to meat. (PHEW!!!) Or Penicillin. (DOUBLE PHEW!!!) My hives were due to an autoimmune issue. (WHAT???) But the allergist only covers allergies so, not his department. What’s wrong with me is still a mystery…
Unless you ask Brother, because he’s sure it is because it’s August.
And that was week one of August; ticks, meat allergies and an unknown autoimmune issue.
Of course, the rest of the month was just as random – I had a fascinating conversation with transgender country songwriter in short shorts, with a bad wig, an NFL ex-husband and major delusions. A mom I know was killed by logging truck, while jogging and now her 5yr old has to navigate life without her. I was cast in my forth ‘of color’ role ever. My Father-in-law is visiting. Again. A kitten decided the under carriage of Husband’s SUV was a perfect place to live. It took him two days to get it out from under the SUV, two days to get it out from under his sports car, one to get it adopted before we got our cat pee smelling garage back - just in time for yesterday’s tornado warnings, flash floods and my near drowning on my way home in the Smart Car because the roads were mostly rivers...
Turns out a social media free August was as random as my life often can be, just not as creative as I’d hoped. September, you must do better. Life is too short for anything less.
A random assortment of lessons from the roller coaster that has been 2016:
When a 64lb dog is running at you at 30mph, stand still. Do not shift to the right thinking he’ll run past you, leaving your body intact. He will not.
Friendship at my age is exactly the same as friendship when I was first in school.
Some ‘friends’ will only play with you if you play the game exactly the way they want you to. Those people are not friends you can rely on. They never were, they never will be.
People can and will always surprise you. Not always in a good way.
I - a light skinned, mixed race female, raised in one of the wealthiest areas in the USA - am some people’s only ‘black’ friend.
Regardless of my age, I will always need my mom. And even though I’ve prepped myself for her eventual end, I will be shattered.
Everyone wears a mask. It is rare and lucky to find people who will show you their real self. Treasure them.
Eggplant emojis are not just about eggplants. Taco emojis are not just about tacos. And Eggplant Fridays is a thing that can make me, a person who’s seen everything, blush. I’d put links but I’m scared to.
I will put this link to things people have put in their bodies because I find it fascinating. Especially those who tell the doctors and nurses that they “fell” onto them with a straight face.
Sometimes, sitting on the couch is the best medicine for the blues. Sometimes it’s the worst. No matter how old I get, I don’t make the right choice.
No one couple’s marriage is like yours. No ones. So when people share advice, or get divorced or their partners do something crazy good – like fly you to Kenya for a safari for your birthday - or crazy bad – like dump you over the phone - it is not your marriage. Don’t treat it as if it were.
I don’t like strawberries. I have never liked strawberries. But for most of my life, I’ve eaten the strawberries because someone gave them to me or they’re in the damn fruit cup and I know I should eat fruit. But am old now. I am big enough and ugly enough to not eat the stupid strawberries.
A Gnome on someone’s front lawn is apparently a symbol that Swingers live there. Yup. Don’t ask me how I know. I’m not ready to talk about it yet.
I bet your grandparent’s love of gnomes taking on new meaning?
Some people keep score. If you forget an event or say the wrong thing or don't answer a flipping text message, they will put you on the 'dead to me' list. Forever.
If someone is a scorekeeper, they will always keep score. Always.
You cannot win against scorekeeper. Ever. So don’t even try.
No matter how healthy I try to be, a bag of potato chips can tempt me into that dark place where I don’t breathe between mouthfuls and will bite the fingers off anyone who tries to take one.
A bad day can be warmed up with a giggle and three dogs can irritate anyone into a giggle.
No matter how intelligent Husband might be, he cannot load the dishwasher in the most logical way. In fact, not one of my very intelligent family members – by marriage or by blood – can load the sucker in the most commonsense way. And if you want the damn dishes to be stacked in the cupboard in color order, load the dishwasher in that color order. Especially since that someone isn’t the one to UN-load the dishwasher.
Sometimes dishwashers mean more than just dishes. Sometimes, not.
If someone tells you they are not judgmental. They are.
If someone tells you they aren’t sexist. They are.
If someone tells you they’re not racist. They are.
Life is full of do-overs. The clock is the same time twice a day, every day. A diet can start whenever - or in my case, after almost every meal. I can decide on a plan, change my mind and then change it back. That’s what makes me me. Life is not an absolute so I need to do my best to keep on moving forward and not getting stuck in the mess that is my past, appreciate the present and not eat the effing strawberries.
Bring it on 2017. I am ready for whatever lessons you have to teach me - though I would prefer to ace the year so be gentle and make it an easy one, please. Not all of me is held together with Titanium.
This spectacular art - which expresses my brain/heart/soul - is by Ingo Maurer. This is a great article about him/it here and the product page should you wish to go shopping, here.
No idea who took the photo - I snagged it off Facebook - but love the light and imperfections of the shot. Wabi Sabi, people!
Yesterday was my day of birth. Again. Birthdays, for those of us lucky to be born before, on or after a major holiday usually suck. Like “Here’s your birthday Christmas card/present/wish” suck. Like, would love to celebrate with you but I’ve got way more awesome stuff to do. Like on my 5th birthday, when I invited all my classmates - and not one person showed up. Granted, this was in Kenya and everyone one of them went home to the UK for the holidays but whatever.
I'm still working that through in therapy.
Only slightly kidding.
As I've gotten older - and my expectations have gotten WAY lower - my day of birth has become more of a reflection of the year behind me and a convoluted plan about what the year before me will look like. This year - a year that has seen a lot of people I love go through some pretty rough times - my day of birth was full of gratitude. I have good people in my life and their humor and common sense can soothe me even the darkest days.
And, while I did break some pretty substantial bones and put myself flat on my back and deep in medical debt, I did NOT lose a parent in a horrific accident, have my husband demand a divorce in the most callus way ever, get committed to a mental institution, get dumped in a five minute phone call, have a heart attack, lose a sibling, abandon a friend, end a long term relationship three days before Christmas, get diagnosed with cancer, get fired two days before Christmas, have to put my parent in a home…
And those are just the ‘highlights’ of the 2016: Things That Have Gone Wrong List. I didn't even cover the death of Prince and Alan Rickman and George Michael and Carrie Fisher and, and, and, all the other people who shaped my world.
My mom’s birthday ‘wish’ to me sums it all up: “Perhaps you shouldn’t answer the phone or check your email or go online until the year is over.” My mom is wicked smart and usually her advice irritates the poop out of me but I will be taking her up on this. Four more days left.
This is a Worry Tree I made for a friend. Worries are written on the ‘leaves’ and become part of the tree. In theory, once they’re written down, they’re out of your head. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out regardless of its effectiveness. Because at the root of it, we all need to work on getting the ick out of our heads and hearts and moving forward into 2017 with hope and health and happiness.
Be well, people. Be well.
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me