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Arise, Muffin, Arise from the Dead

dom the magician 1

 

The talent show happened on Saturday. I have to say, Stink was hit! What wasn’t to love about food and jokes? I give you here half of his performance. The first half, well, my spouse erased it by accident. Sometimes you just have to laugh your butt off and enjoy a good memory. I can honestly say I haven’t laughed so hard in months. It was well worth the headache of carting that box back and forth from rehearsals.

 

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Nerd Alert

nerd alert

My bff is going through a divorce. Watching your spouse move out of your home apparently is not a lot of fun, so the kids and I took her out on Saturday night. My first hope was to hit a museum, because when a marriage breaks up, it seems like an appropriate time to look at pictures of naked cherubs and drink over priced lattes in a cafe. But we ended up shopping instead.

For those of you who know me, shopping isn’t really something I do. Thrifting? Yes. Malls and stores? Not so much.

But this experience was different. We took in the sites and sounds of downtown Pasadena. The brick buildings, window displays and bustling coffee and trinket shops were balms for our weary souls. She took a mental break from her worries, and frankly, I took a mental break from mine.

As we sat down to dinner at a place that served over 100 forms of burger, it dawned on me that I really don’t have as much fun as I’d like. THAT needs to change. And whose fault is that? Mine. Duh.

For that evening, I didn’t worry about the prices of food. I didn’t say no to my daughter’s request for a $6.95 bowl of frozen yogurt. I didn’t complain when she threw it in the trash five minutes later. “This isn’t like the yogurt I’m used to,” she whined.

“Yes, Stink, you CAN have that set of black nerd glasses. Along with your muppet hair and Pikachu hat, you look AMAZING!”

My kids are 11 and 10. It’s time that they got out of their little suburb bubble. It’s time for me to get out of mine.

Pip and I will be a bit harder to convince, but not Stink. He was exceptionally jubilant that evening.”I LOVE the city!” he said. “I could live here!”

“Me, too,” I thought, “Me, too. Maybe one day I will. Why not dream? A book could lead to a play which could lead to a movie. Why not dream? I used to dream. It’s never too late.”

That night, Stink was exceptionally twitchy and ticky. The waiter likely noticed, because at the end of our meal, he came up to the table. Stink had just finished showing T his talent show magic act.

“Kid, I have to tell you, you are amazing. I mean it. You are so funny. You are awesome!” the waiter said.

Stink responded in kind, “YOU are awesome! I always tell people that! Stay awesome!”

The waiter just smiled and told Stink he was going places. That just lit up my grinchy little heart.

I love my wacky, big haired, over -the-top performer. He’s teaching me to have fun. He’s teaching me to be awesome.

On that note, readers, stay awesome. Because you are awesome. It’s never too late to dream.

We can’t always change tics, but we can change our minds about how life can be. We can accept what we can’t change, change what we can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Who is with me? Who wants to sign the “I’m doing something new each month pledge?”

Sign in with a comment. I’ll hold you to it.

PS: I actually get two points because I took Adelia’s kid to the movies on Friday. Two events in one weekend. It was a big deal and so worth it! Yay for me!

 

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Magic

happy haunting 2

Hello! Given my last post, I can promise you that I have NOT been on a bender.

I have not run off with gypsies.

I have not gone on vacation to the Bahamas. (But that last one? Sounds like a good idea.)

My job at Believe is finally winding down and I hit a bit of a “Now What?” rut.

Such thoughts that have been cluttering my mind have included, but are not limited to:

* Do I want another full-time writing job?
* Am I better off with benefits at a local company?
* Do I take a few freelance writing gigs and Ebay on the side?
* Do I take down Happily Ticked Off and start a more ‘fun’ blog?
* Do I continue to push my book out there or just let it go as a cathartic memoir experience?

It’s dawned on me – in the way that only a crushing depression exhaustion can – that I’ve spent an awful lot of my mothering doing what I “should” rather than what I’d like. On one hand, welcome to reality, right? Not all of us women are taking the path of Elizabeth Gilbert and eat, pray, loving ourselves across 3 continents in search of a new lover and soul. Some of us – okay, me – are attempting to find transformation from the sacred walls of our own little suburb.

With the balm of time, it’s becoming clear that things don’t have to be black and white. It’s not “make major changes for happiness” or “stay stuck.” For me, it’s being open to the possibility that despite a tough walk through the desert, there is indeed a well of water waiting.

After a meeting I attended last week, a woman came up to me. I had spoken at the podium – sharing the story from the previous post. She was in a wheel chair. Her hands were crippled. She wore a hat that threatened to fall into her coffee cup at any moment. Her eyes danced as she put her twisted fingers over my own.

“You are just like me,” she told me.

“An over sharerer?” I ventured?

“No… well, yes. And listen, sweetie, sharing is good. It’s the only way.” (Take that, Mom.)

“I guess so,” I said back. “It sure feels good in these rooms. But in the real world, it’s kind of looked down on. I mean, apparently my kid’s sixth grade teacher doesn’t need to know I had the kind of day where if I smoked doobage – which I don’t – I’d be lighting up in the carpool line.”

“This particular 12-step isn’t for doobage, sister,” she said. “But on a side note, I will say… it helps these hands.”

I smiled back at her. “Are you glad you gave up wine?” I asked her.

“I am,” she said – and I could tell she meant it. “Feelings are never fun, but when you realize that your connection to God can be so much more powerful than an escape, you’ll realize that in giving stuff up you gain so much more than you ever could have imagined possible. It’s life on life’s terms. It’s a way of living fully and richly. It’s relationship vs. hiding.”

It sounded so good. But I’d only been at this for four months. I was still suspicious. “You really believe that?” I asked her.

“I do. And you do, too, or you wouldn’t be here.” she said.

“Look,” she continued, “I was a mother. I had a husband and a job and all the shit that comes with this chair. And I can promise you that nothing – NOTHING – has ever been more magical than taking my life for what it is, connecting with other people who want to do better, and living a real, authentic, amazing, grace filled life.”

Then she handed me a bouquet of flowers.

“Really? But… why?” I stuttered.

“I always bring them to meetings. I never know who will need them. Today, that person is you.”

What could I do? I took them, hugged her, and passed on her kindness to a fellow gal in the room.

From what I gathered from her share, this gal was a single mom – a waitress – and she was bummed about working on Halloween. I wrote my # on a ┬ápiece of paper, gave it to her, and told her if she wanted she could hang at my place for a few hours that evening. She gave me the same look I must have given the wheel chair angel.

“Really?” she asked.

“Why not?” I told her. “We’ll make pumpkin shaped quesadillas, light some candles and let the kids jump on the trampolines before getting jacked on sugar.”

Two days later, on a chilly October 31, my new friend and her two-year old showed up at my door. And despite some anxiety about life’s uncertainties, I became more certain of one thing: connection. We humans need each other. We are not designed to do life alone. It’s in giving back we forget about ourselves. It’s a one day at a time life…sometimes a one hour at a time… sometimes a one second at a time.

If you’d have told me last year that I’d be without a job, dealing with bigger tics than ever before, and attending AA meetings, I’d have told you that you had lost your mind.

Or maybe, like the little acts of kindness I’m learning to receive and give, I’d just say it was magic.