Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Losing friends..oh my!

When I first started this blog I was a lot more diligent about posting.  I set up several pages and had some links to some really good places.  I had a link to a great place.  Apparelyzed.com.  We've recently learned that as of December 15th, all of that will be gone.  Apparelyzed simply will no longer be.  Thousands of pages of advice, posts, friends, posts from friends who'd moved on, and some no longer living.  All of it gone in the blink of an eye.

There was always a game to play, a post to groan over, a plot to be hatched and a friend to be made.  We were the school yard of misfits hanging by the swings or slides, we were the jocks and the preppy kids, we were the nerds.  We were the modern day Breakfast Club.  We were a bunch of unlikely people all blended together due to a common cause.  An injury bound us all regardless of how affected or unaffected we were by the injuries.  On that site we found others who could understand the complex feelings and thoughts we locked away inside.  With one or two words hundreds of people could read between the lines and know our hearts.

Sure, there are other sites out there dedicated to the same conditions, but no site will ever be like that site.  No friends will ever mesh the way many of us meshed there.  There were differences of opinion, we didn't see eye to eye, We often argued, sometimes it got nasty, but it was just something that happend in a family.  I felt a sense of community there that I've not found in any other place including groups I've started.  There was something about "that place" something about the people.  That site was a testament to our growth, it was a tissue for our tears, the popcorn for our laughter and hundreds of friends all waiting to give advice, a shoulder to cry on or a kick in the pants when needed.

A wonderful man, a very kind and generous man created that site out of nothing over 10 years ago.  He saw a need and without much, if any, question he jumped in and started filling that gap with his own emotional, physical and financial investments.  The place took an enormous amount of time and energy.  I could see in the 5 years I was there how much it was taking away from him and his enjoyment.  It was a labor of love.

There are times when all good things come to an end, it's sad this is one of those things, but that's the way life is.  It's a series of loves, losses and growth.  I've grown from my time there.  I've grown in ways I'd never imagined.  I know people now I never would have met before.  We've shared our details and have started to make our way in the world.  Our "Boss" has pushed us from the nest and we're hoping we soar.

Maybe one day another brave and kind soul will take a seed from one of us and create a new safe haven to shelter and nurture those who need community.  Maybe one day there will be others like us nurturing, wise cracking and loving each other in their own twisted ways.  Maybe one day we will see the new garden or the nest that will rise from the past and forge a new path.

I am thankful I had my time there, I am so grateful for the people I've met and bonded with.  I'm grateful for the brothers and sisters I've met, loved, lost and kept.  With rose tinted glasses I will look into the past and remember only the good times because what use do I have for bad times?  With rose tinted glasses I will greet the future, but I may move them aside for healthy skepticism and trolls....oh those trolls!!


Saturday, October 15, 2016

I don't make good choices when I'm sick

I've been accused of not taking care of myself before.  I've been told that getting the flu isn't a good thing.  I decided I'd take care of myself and do the "adult" thing.  I got a flu shot.  I am now sick.  I have a cold.  While I can't directly blame the flu shot, I can't rule it out.  I can't rule anything out especially things that might not be so good at this point.

Take tonight.  I was sitting around feeling horrible.  I saw a photo of some Italian Wedding Bean soup.  I thought, "Oh my, that would be wonderful tomorrow.  I shall make some"  I probably didn't think the word shall, it's not something I'd normally say, but the recipe my illness addled mind concocted is nothing I'd ever come up with on a normal day.

Beans-check
Meat-check
Greens-check
Broth-check
Pasta-check


What it should look like is a lovely light bowl of soup with tiny little meat balls, white beans, maybe some small pasta like orzo, pearl couscous, or pearl barley.  All lightness and delicate flavors in a soothing warm soup, easy on the tummy, packed with love, feel good and vitamins.

What my mind concocted was something far darker.  It's something no mind should ever contemplate, no crock-pot should be forced to hold or bear witness to and something no child or sick person should ever have to eat.  What my mind concocted was this...

Beans---hellz to the yeah!  Cannelli beans, Kidney beans and Black beans!! right on  (evil mind!!)
Meat--- I got you man!!  Turkey friggin hot dogs man!! No?  Bun length regular hot dogs!  Aight!!??
Greens---Like totally! Right on, there's like 3 pounds of kale or something like that in the fridge, kale is fun, it sounds like snail...kale...
Broth---oh like yeah I have some of that!!  It's in the box in the thing where the spices are!! I have some chicken broth totally!  It's not even out of date yet!!
Pasta---I got some spaghetti, some orzo, some pastina, some campanelle, you name it I got it!  I've even got.....spaghetti-o's!  YAY Spaghetti-O's!!!!
Tomatoes----OMG that would be like so totally cool to add some tomatoes, this will be so friggin healthy.

My husband stopped me.  We have something in the crock-pot.  I know there is garlic, chicken broth, some dry beans and some kale slowly crock-potting.  I have gnocchi on the counter waiting its turn tomorrow and I'm sure that someone sane will think for me when it comes to adding spices and things that make food good and stuff.

Oh heavens I can't think.  I think i still want soup with hot dogs, spaghetti-o's, kale and maybe some blueberries.

It's 3 am, cold medicine has left my mind a feeble little mass crying out for guidance and sleep.  While my mind's darker more sinister core keeps telling me to go add the hotdogs (I don't even like hot dogs!!) to the innocent soup.  It's a good thing I can't walk down stairs very well or that soup would be so screwed right now.

I think I need professional help.  Campbell's soup??

Saturday, May 21, 2016

My biggest regret in life

While sitting here pondering my life and thinking back over the years, the mistakes I've made, the chances not taken, words left unsaid; I've realized I don't have too many regrets.  Of course there are a few regrets, a few more chances I'd take, more I'd have said, less I'd have said or done, but one of my biggest regrets centers around two friends and a night of drunkenness.


It had to have been around 1996.  We were young and crazy.  We were in the SCA, a medieval recreation group.  My husband was a fighter, and I was an unbridled mischief maker and, at times, soldier for truth and transparency.  Above all, I enjoyed the revels.  We were at this huge event, Gulf Wars, people from all over the US come to Gulf Wars.  Every so often I get misty eyed and wish on the one  hand that we were still in the SCA and still doing the event circuit with friends.  So much time has passed, so many friends have passed or moved along.  I think this is where part of the regret stems from.  I never had another chance to mischief make with these friends on this level, that was the last Gulf Wars we attended and the last time I saw a great many friends and beloved acquaintances.  We soon after left the SCA and left many of those friends behind, some of us not speaking for years.  Some we never got the chance to speak to ever again.  Gulf Wars has grown into a much larger event than it used to be, granted we only went for the weekend usually, but I don't recall it being as large or as long in the early 90's as it now is. 

Our household was called the Bluebonnets.  We were a Scottish clan, though my persona was German and my husband's persona had been Mongol.  We were loud, proud and so very annoying at times to those with more delicate sensibilities and people who were in it solely for arts, crafts and the history aspect.  We were in it for the fighting, revelry, and camaraderie.  Some of our fringe members wore table cloths as kilts because they spent their money on armor not garb.  We just teased them a bit and didn't care that they weren't "proper".  Our leader "Big Nasty" would usually be blowing his cow horn and yelling or something.  We often used the horn to stir the Bluebonnet Plague drink we created.  Our household had our huge tent city going, my husband and I had spaghetti-o's and plenty of water.  We learned over the years that dehydration and hunger could really get the better of you.  I normally toted around some Boone's Farm and Kit Kats along with several packs of cigarettes.  I had my priorities.  We arrived on a Friday afternoon, late.  Our friends were looking like starving refugees, as they came to greet us, they still had yet to learn the importance of water and food.  They had gotten there a day or two before to select a campsite for us and to start setting up the party tent and stake our area out. 

I did my own thing during the scheduled fighting, shopping on merchant’s row with friends, hanging out with some of the merchants I knew well, gossiping with friends I’d not seen in months, I did sit on the sidelines and watch the battles.  I loved the social aspect so much.  These large events were wonderful when it came to connecting with friends who’d moved to other kingdoms (regions).  We made friendships at these events with people from other kingdoms and might only see them that one weekend per year.  When we saw them, it was like no time had passed. 

Now the regret. My husband always left the partying earlier than most.  I was a bit bitchy that evening, there was a whiny girl dating one of our household members, she was such a whiny snot…really couldn’t stand the girl after the first few times we hung out.  I threw my cotton hat to a friend sitting near whiny girl and it happened to miss and hit whiny girl, she claimed I hit her on purpose…with a cotton sunhat!  I can’t hit the side of a barn door with instructions.  Naturally I burst into gales of laughter at this haughty accusation of my tossing prowess and the supposed damage my floppy cotton sunhat must have done.  It did have that hellish ring of bells tied on the band, those could surely have put an eye out!  In my defense, other people were laughing too, it really was hilarious.  She stormed off.  The evening was looking like a huge success.  Then a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time sidled up next to me and we took off amid giggles.  Her husband (now ex) took one…ONE of my finger cymbals because I was obviously way too happy with both of them.  I still only have one of them to this day.  It stares at me balefully from the top of one of our wooden chests.


As the evening progressed we party hopped.  We parted ways at some point in the evening when I met up with two friends I’d also not seen in a while, Ananda and Flounder.  The three of us attended a party at an encampment called Asgard.  We’d been partying with that group for years.  This year, however, they had spared no expense and had this nifty cool gate/bridge you had to use in order to enter.  It had the name Asgard on a sign attached to what would have been the keystone in a regular arch.  Theirs was cut from wood.  It was a fantastic entrance.  The arch was the main gate, but they had gone all out and made a plexiglass rainbow that actually lit up with the rainbow colors.  The plexiglass was kind of frosted.  So, these two impressive arches were the sides of the bridge.  The idea was to cross (pass under) the rainbow bridge to Asgard.  Some of our drunk fringe members tried climbing across the rainbow bridge, but the angle was too steep so they kept sliding down.  They wobbled off drunk somewhere.  We were chatting up various friends at the household party and having a good time.  I got cornered by a chatty drunk friend who went on and on, gushing about the bridge and how it was made.  We left the party when the music stopped and they started boasting.  Flounder, Ananda and I found a porch at the main building (this was the main building of the camp and is a year round wooden structure, the SCA rents out sites for events) we were lying there passing around a few bottles while talking.  Then I noticed something truly amazing.  The porta-potties!  The porta-potties were named “Pot o’ Gold”  I got this wicked feeling and probably a mischievous look to go with it.  I blurted out.  “Guys, GUYS!  What’s at the end of a rainbow?”  They answered a pot of gold.  I said EXACTLY and pointed to the porta-potty nearest us.  We hatched a plan to wait until the party was largely dead, then we’d make our move near dawn.  We were going to grab a porta-potty and put it at the end of the rainbow!  We chatted, giggled, sung and reminisced.  Then the rain started.  Not a gentle rain…a down pour.  In that one moment, we lost a chance we’d never get back. We lost the chance to right things with the world, to release the leprechauns from their quests, we lost the chance to place a pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow.  Alas, the ground turned to slushy mud and we’d have fallen.  Plus it was already being used by many drunken souls.  We didn’t want to drop a “used” porta-potty on ourselves.  They don’t smell bad at all when fresh, but mix in a weekend of bad food and too much booze…yuck.  We left one another's company at dawn, feeling hollow about the rainbow and the pot o’ gold, but probably would do it the next year. That is my biggest regret.  I never got to have shenanigans with those friends, a pot o’ gold porta-potty and the rainbow bridge.  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Catty, honest or bitchy?

(none of these names are real)

I was under the impression that my pointed comments, teasing friends about faux pas with snarky or cutting comments was catty. I expect catty banter back and forth with friends of either sex. Maybe I don’t really understand what catty is. I can be catty (provided I understand it) when discussing someone I really do not like, but I don’t show false friendship to them either.  I keep my distance from them and don’t pretend to be friends.  I will have a pleasant exchange with them but won’t really hang out with them.  I can’t in good conscience not respect someone that I spend time with.   I am catty when people say “I have great attention to detail and I’m a fast learner” when half the words on a form are misspelled and no care was taken.    

So, in my special little world, this thing is going on.  A few of us are all attempting to do the same thing.  More specifically a few of us are all interviewing for the same job.  We are in a small office, and we agreed not to be catty about it, actually our manager told us not to be catty about it.  We agreed to go have a drink after the decision is made to celebrate the person who gets it or to plan pranks if it’s an outsider.  Perhaps I don’t understand the “real girl” meaning of the word catty.  I don’t tend to spend a lot of time with other women because I don’t get the mind games.  I assumed those games were part of being catty.  I’m too old for those games. I’m a bit older than the manager, and about 15 years older than each of the other ladies interviewing.  I honestly don’t even want the position anymore. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing, helping people, supporting, and enjoying the work.  At first I really did want the job, until I learned there was a bit more to it than what was actually written on the paper…..like another job entirely came along with the one listed, I feel very misled. When I learned that, I lost interest, but now I’m locked into this interview.

Now, the catty, bitchy or honest part…..When asked, and repeatedly asked who told me to do something, who gave me something, how did I get this..I finally said “I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus, we are all a team, but I got if from Alisa”.  Then the questions started, the manager feigned shock.  Marcia, the other lady in the office had my back as we sought to clarify exactly what Alisa’s role is in the office and if we can ask her for help.  We were, and still are, a bit unclear.  I met with the manager on an earlier day, because I am a very literal person when it comes to procedures and work.  I want to know exactly the direction things are progressing, exactly what our order of importance is, the exact steps we are to follow in the day to day structure, and the backup plan on days that are chaotic.  We need to operate within the law.  The rules change on a daily basis or at times even hourly.  I need to have clarification so I can refer to that when demands are made.  Things have to stay on some sort of track moving in some logical form of order or really important things can get lost in the shuffle making us look bad, getting us caught in a legal bind and potentially could cost us clients or a lawsuit. I shared the details of my meeting with Marcia because I think she got the wrong idea and the info was useful, I made copies of my notes for her.  I am very open, usually very honest and often very transparent.  I don’t do secrecy unless it’s a harmless secret or something hurtful.  If people entrust me with something, I don’t share it unless it’s very clear that I can share it.  If it’s something I can’t share but I need advice on, I will approach a close friend in another state who has no connection to the parties involved. I do not kiss and tell for lack of a better phrase. 

I overheard today, that we are apparently “being catty”.  I really have no idea how seeking clarification on procedures and divulging a name under duress can be construed as catty.  I was literally being hit with rapid fire questions and was badgered into answering.  I said I didn’t know who, I don’t remember, It wasn’t me, I tried to avoid answering because it really wasn’t important who did what, it was only important that my part was done correctly because my part dealt with the legality of something.  I don’t know how clarifying our roles is catty or being pumped for information by the boss is catty when it’s clear neither of us wants to get the other girl in trouble with the boss, we just want to know if we can ask her to help with parts of our processes and what her processes are. We need a team approach. 


I really don’t know if that’s catty, honest or what…but I can tell you it’s making me quite bitchy at this point.  There is no room for spite, conflict or backstabbing.  We have got to work as a team.  From all I’ve seen it would appear that our boss is trying to create strife rather than help build a winning team.  This is a management style I am not used to or comfortable with.  I will not play those games.  She can lead me to the Yahtzee cup but she can’t make me shake it.  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

undeserved angels

Life makes no sense.  The time we have on Earth is not as cut and dried as it seems.  When people die, we lose the ability to touch them and feel them, to speak with them and have them answer, to challenge them to hot sauce tests and win, we lose the physicality of them.

When they die they pass on from our physical world but then they become so much more, hey are very much still with us.  A lot of people believe the spirits we interact with aren't the spirits of loved one but something darker.  I know the people who've touched my life, I also know people with incredible darkness in their lives who've been part of my world and their energy feels very different from a loving friend or family member.  Maybe the friends and family who stayed have permission or have different beliefs and expectations about the afterlife.  Maybe heaven for them is staying close to us until we can all be together again in the beyond.

I have a friend who pops up at the oddest of times, he popped up today and all day I've been rehashing certain things in my mind.  I contacted his widow only to find out that he has been very active lately, even going so far as to pull her mother from a serious car accident.  We reminisced about some of the ways he's reached out and it's 100% him.

I don't know the reason, or the rhyme, I don't care what anyone says to me, I know what I feel and I know what I know and I know the people who care about me still watch over me.  I can see so many things I shouldn't have walked away from but did.  I see so much of my life has been a gift and a miracle, I took it all for granted until 2011.  I am blessed, yet I feel such guilt because not everyone has this same level of blessing.  I''m not special, I didn't save children, puppies or kittens from burning orphanages, I am snarky, I'm a smart ass, I'm not even that great of an example of humanity and I'm certainly not the best example of a Christian, I have a short temper and don't see it changing anytime soon.  I'm just an average person and I don't deserve the angels/spirits sent to watch over me.  I love them, I love that they have watched out for me and that they have gotten me out of some terrible scrapes.

I can use all the help I can get to make it in life and do my best to spread more good than bad in an effort to honor those who've passed on before me, especially those who still help protect me.

Monday, February 15, 2016

I Know Nothing

What I have learned about parenting a gifted child is that I desperately need stronger anti anxiety medications, a steady supply of cinnamon bourbon, perhaps a week in a high quality asylum and at least a degree in hostage or contract negotiations.  Deep pockets, a sound proof padded room and a straight jacket might also help, but those would be more for subduing the child in question.

Child in question is a perfect mishmash of both my husband and me.  The arrogance, the stubbornness, the intelligence, the fear of failure, the procrastination, the abstract ideas, the overwhelming ability to walk past something 15 times and not notice it, the lovely habit of putting things in perfectly logical areas with zero recall of where those places are.  He's just as afraid of trying and not succeeding as I am.  He promises himself he will do his work and concentrate on it, just like I did only to reach the same blocks I reached back in 1987 when I too was 17.  He has the cocky arrogance born of insecurity that my husband has.  He has every negative quality both of us have, they might even be slightly magnified.

He has so many wonderful qualities that few people ever see;  his keen sense of humor, his masterful arguing a point, his empathy with others, his need to connect and help others feel welcome and secure.  Some of those traits have gotten him made fun of over the years.  He's been called so many names because he comforts those in need or in despair.  He wants to be the person people count on (aside from his parents and teachers).  He really is a remarkable child in his sense of wrong and right and his inability to watch suffering.  He'd give his last dollar to a hungry person without thought.  He almost got suspended from school for giving his friends lunch money.  The administration accused him of purchasing drugs when he was literally only giving his friends lunch money for the day.  I intervened and supplied the proof that my son was clean.  His sense of right and wrong won't allow him to watch another be bullied, (good natured teasing among friends is fine) He argues points for other people.  I'd swear that he'd make an excellent trial lawyer if  he could only spend his time arguing cases without doing the legwork.  Then there's the whole commitment to going to school for years that he's not very enthused about.  The word filibuster should have his photograph in the dictionary with the definition.

I have learned that I know exactly nothing when it comes to raising my son because it's like raising me or my husband.  I can identify with certain aspects of his personality, my husband the other parts.  Both of us are at a total disadvantage when it comes to actually convincing him to do what we'd like him to do.  I realized the parenting books were excellent fodder for the compost bin.  Our first lesson in that was pretty straight forward.  Give your child a choice between two acceptable items.

 (please hear these words in dreamy disney princess detached voice with vacant eyes)

Teaching your growing toddler to make decisions is easy!  With gentle direction they will do as you ask while still retaining control.  Give your child a choice between two approved items such as:

Do you want to wear the yellow shirt or the blue shirt?
Would you like oatmeal or eggs for breakfast?

Your child will choose from two healthy safe choices and feel more grown up!  You will get what you need without the fight. Just keep reminding them what the choices are calmly.

The reality???

(said in the closest to vacant voice I could muster)

Honey, do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt?

NEIDER of DEM!

(this went on for an unreasonable amount of time before I just let him wear the same filthy pumpkin sweat shirt he'd been wearing for weeks on end.  Fail on trial one.

Dear, would you like scrambled eggs or boiled eggs?

NONE of DEM!!

(this too went on for a really long time)

Eventually he had either bologna and pickles or perhaps grits.

Anything was met with his immediate and strong refusal to choose either thing even when the choices involved his favorite things. He wanted to argue for a different outcome as early as 2 or so.

His development is asymmetric meaning he's much more advanced in some areas than others.  That's a total ball of fun there.  Sadly it's also very much like his parents.  I can't count the number of teacher's who've called home because this tiny dictator had the ability to take over the entire class room and reroute the teacher's lesson to one he wanted.  I'd warned them to never ever argue with him, never to enter into a debate and never answer a question not directly related to the material at hand.  Not one of them listened.  Poor saps. One day an entire hour long Algebra lesson turned from actual Algebra and devolved into a discussion about why we use  Arabic numerals than Roman numerals.  The call home about that one was the same. Teacher felt he deserved an answer so she started down that long and winding detour to avoid the work he didn't want to do.  In that regard he's pretty mature and calculating.  At the same time he believes everyone tells the truth which is a pretty immature attitude to have especially when he's seen that isn't the case.

For all of you parenting or dealing in any way with a gifted child please understand, all gifted children are different and they don't automatically translate into the educational superstars you'd think they would be, gifted doesn't mean " all A's"  Gifted children actually struggle and fall through the cracks limping along at barely passing while basking in under achievement.  They are often dreamers and make plans that they know won't come through just to avoid having that opportunity then failing or facing mediocrity.  They hate to fail publicly.  Their development will never progress at the same rate as that of their peers.  Each child is totally unique and they must find their own motivation.  My son is intrinsically motivated.  The surest way to get him to dig his heels in and not do the work is to offer a reward, extrinsic factors do not work on him even if it's something he truly wants.

All I can do is try to identify trouble spots before they become too hard to get out of and work with him to find the best way to finish his tasks.  There is a wealth of information online, but don't count on any teacher taking the time to read it and work with your gifted child.  They do not have the time.  This is your job and your child's job.  Many of these kids get a label slapped on them that doesn't fit.  They do it for extra funding, they rarely label them as gifted, their go to words are "AD/HD" "OCD" or the new catchall "high functioning autistic".  The schools get extra funding for these classifications yet they still don't work to reach your child because there is no one system to learn that works for all kids in this boat.

I'm along for the ride and hoping that he reaches something in his life that helps him feel rewarded, keeps food on the table and a roof over his head while still allowing him to retain his own uniqueness.

So at 45,,,,I must admit that I know absolutely nothing because the rules keep changing and the arguments are endless circular logic paths.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The hundred dollar donut

$100 donut

I heard about this donut this morning as I was sitting on the sofa, trying to hold my rowdy cat, sipping coffee and wondering if I should brush my hair before work.  I asked myself if I had all the money I wanted and could spend it on anything I wanted would I buy the hundred dollar donut.  I cursed a bit as I noticed the ink line on my shirt, I had no time to change it so I decided to ponder more on the donut as I gave up on trying to tame the Siamese lion on my lap.

If I could just toss money about without a care, I don't know that I'd buy a hundred dollar donut.  If it were a regular donut and the hundred dollars went to a reputable charity I would be very likely to buy one, but to actually eat a purple yam donut covered in gold, with champagne icing deems a bit weird to me.  When I was a teenager I'd have been all over trying it.  Now I just think what else I could do with a hundred dollars.  I could buy A LOT of coffee and donuts.  I could buy enough coffee and donuts to make it a few weeks of treating myself daily.  I forget to eat, but I never forget my coffee.

Coffee...I don't think I could drink the cat poop coffee (Kopi Luwak) despite my love for both cats (yes I know civets aren't really cats) and coffee.  I've watched a few videos and listened to the comments people make about the civet coffee, noticeably different, tastes like paper, and horrible

Best Coffee Taste Test

Then there's the question of how they get the beans (stones, seeds).  I know this is a growing trend and I've seen some videos showing the palm civets in cages pacing around, trying to escape.  I think that all the little civets should be free to frolic in the trees eating as many coffee berries as they desire then seeking out a carb laden treat to go with the morning joe.

I wonder how the hundred dollar donut would taste when paired with the Kopi Luwak?  I wonder if this has been or will be done?  I wonder if there will be a cervil uprising with brave little civets, over throwing the evil coffee barons?  If the hundred dollar donuts were being sold to stop civet unrest and over throw the coffee capos thereby creating civet freedom and peace I would definitely buy the hundred dollar donut.  I would like to share it with a civet.