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.
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!
Ooooh wee have I been quiet on here. Not that I haven't had lots to say. On the contrary, I've had too much to say. I've started several dozens posts - some lie dormant on my computer, some still spinning around my head - but none of the words have been perfect. None of the brilliance that spews from my angst has been able to perfectly express my feelings. My raw, painful, angry, frustrated feelings.
And there is so much sh*t on the Internet, in the news, in the air, what is my part in that? Do I really need to add my voice, my raw, painful, angry, frustrated feelings, to the masses of negative blurts? What sort of contribution am I making to the world if I do? There is so much that is icky out there, why fill that bucket with more?
So I've been quiet here and verbally volcanic at home. My jaw is clenched at night I dream of monsters and toothless attackers and crying babies and thunder – though that last might be the popcorn I ate just before bedtime fighting with my stomach to stay...
The random blurts about my life with Husband, does that further the human race or hold it back? I mean, really do you really need to know about the current disaster going on in our house right now? Is your life incomplete until you find out about how utterly horrible it is that the folks that make Husband’s toiletries have discontinued the line he uses and we had to spend an hour in Target last week testing all possible replacements.
Change is not good when it means listening to the pros and cons of a smell – for. an. hour. Even if it is in my happy place.
And the possible replacement ‘smell’ - which is something called Island - has a coconut spice bouquet that is blending in the most horrible way with the smell of death that the dogs are tooting after eating whatever was in the yard.
And speaking of dogs, Tigger the Dog fended off a coyote the other day. Barked the sucker off the property to the other side of the crick to stand staring, threatening to come back when she wasn’t looking. And then it did come back this morning while TTD was asleep on the dog bed in the sun. Is that really news that will make your morning move?
Is it necessary for you know, for me to share that the surgeon has said Broken Ankle is 100% healed. (Or heeled if you’re me trying to be funny.) And how totally disappointed I was with his lack of celebration for all I’ve accomplished. Learning to walk again is hard, ya’ll. Where was my blue ribbon for that race? How about a certificate for a free dance class or a list of places to hike in Nashville or a discount for a tattoo that will cover the Halloween scars that line my ankle? He could have at least given me a lollypop. I mean, Broken Ankle paid for his summer vacation and braces for his kids.
Also, Doc, if I’m healed, how come the sucker still hurts when I walk or when I drive or when the weather changes to thunder and lightening or when I’m just sitting about and the freaking Pain Tourette’s kicks in for no damn reason? How come I can’t walk down stairs unless I turnaround and go down backwards, reassuring myself the whole way that I can do it? How come the stupid Right thing is still swollen and a whole different color from Left thing and the only thing that makes it feel better is a freakin’ leg warmer thing that I’ve cobbled together? And when oh when will my tippy toe come back on that side? Screw doing Ballet, I want to be able to reach things on the top shelf again.
Yeah, Doc, healed, my ass.
As you can see, just lightness and joy over here… So, until I figure out how I’m contributing to the positive, I’m going to keep my negatives to myself and just be present in my very small world for a while. The mom is coming into town tomorrow and I’ve got stories to listen to more than once, tippy toes to practice, nature to stare at and candles to light to try and combat the smell of Hawaiian death… It’s the little things, apparently, that smell the worst.
My first dollhouse in America wasn't made out of wood and it didn't resemble a Country Estate or a Victorian mansion or even a Disney Castle. No, my first dollhouse was made out of a cardboard box wrapped in wrapping paper with construction paper doors and aluminum foil windows and origami birds on the roof and snails on the side of the house.
And my first dollhouse wasn't for Barbie and her friends. I didn't even have a Barbie let alone any of her friends. No, my first dollhouse was home to four clothespin dolls with glued on outfits and drawn on marker faces. Which meant my clothespin dolls didn't have fancy pink cars or removable shoes or the dozens of outfits that I could change them into to. Heck, my clothespin dolls didn't even have an outfit that could be removed.
We didn't get any of the fancy toys we saw on the many millions of commercials that hypnotized us from dawn to dusk because we were poor. Very poor. Came from Kenya with two children, two trunks and none of her twelve-years at IBM money to live on in her mother's house and try and rebuild a life poor.
Now, when you're expecting a Barbie and friends and pink beach castle and a plethora of other shiny things, a cardboard house with clothespin people is quite a bit of a letdown. But so is finding out years later that your father was using you as a bargaining tool and threatening to kidnap you and stash you in an orphanage until your mother did what he told her because rearranging her face didn’t work. That the hush-hush, “Bring only what you can pack in one bag” trip out of the country to live in America suddenly made sense.
I did not know that when I got cardboard dollhouse. I just knew, like the un-afro, un-accented kid surrounding us, that it was 'different' like me. And because the un-afro, unaccented kids let me know that 'different' was not good, a cardboard dollhouse was not good. And clothespin dolls were definitely not good either. And because they were 'different' and not good, I wasn’t very nice to Mom when she gave me the dollhouse.
There have been lots of not very nice to Mom moments over my years but this weekend when we found Cardboard Dollhouse, I remembered that one. And I after I apologized for being a shit, I took a moment to thank her. Because of her, I can look at a cardboard box and see a house or stove or UPS truck. Because of her, I have a backbone and innate frugality and a sense of humor that finds a snail on the side of a cardboard house amusing and absolutely necessary.
And sadly, because of her, I still have damn Cardboard Dollhouse because who can throw out a memory of a love like that?
Husband, make room, I’m bringing home a lifetime of memories. And you get to hold me while I pack them away.
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