Friday, November 15, 2013

Haiku #3



Flying buttresses,
           ginger, vermillion, and gold
                      canopy above.






Monday, September 23, 2013

My First Time

Four couples are sitting in the dimly-lit waiting room.  There is no conversation and all eight heads are pretending to read the six month old "People" magazines.  I sit there, with my husband, awaiting our turn.  It seems inhumane to be awake at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday to see a doctor, but here we are.  What is even more punishing is we had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and have intercourse.

My name is called and my husband and I shuffle into the exam room.  There is little conversation in here as well.  Mostly along the lines of "what time did you have relations today?", "feet in the stirrups, scoot your rear-end towards the edge more", and "is the sun up yet?".  Your normal, run of the mill Saturday morning verbal exchange with a physician.  I answer her questions and mention that this cycle I really felt like I ovulated.  She shrugs and says, "Maybe."  Reaching in to take our "post-coital" sample, I feel weirdly like I'm at Jiffy Lube.  That thought makes me giggle.  I am rewarded with a stern "do not move look" and she goes back to work.

I get dressed and we exit back out into the waiting room.  Avoiding the other couples' eyes as they avoid ours.  We all know we had sex with the person sitting next to us that morning and are here for answers.

Post-coital.
Hostile mucous.
Basal body temperature.

These and other fun vocabulary words are all a part of couples who are having problems conceiving.  This doctor I had selected to guide us through what should be a "have sex, make baby, the end" process isn't warm and fuzzy.  She makes me feel bad about myself.  When I have questions she is dismissive.  The post-coital and Clomid trial we are going through she said is not likely to work.

Later that week, I contact a new "Fertility Medicine Specialist" and make an appointment.  I arrive at their office and it looks like they are working out of boxes.  This is not a comforting sight to me.  One doctor moves a stack of clutter, has me take a seat and listens to the litany of what we have been through so far and my medical history; I feel like I can recite this story more accurately than spelling my last name at this point.  I am weary.  He asks who I am "seeing now" (like I'm dating the grumpy doc) and nods a lot.  He calls out loud across the hall and another doctor, this one slightly older, bounces in like Tigger and is very warm and welcoming.

They may not look like they have their shit together, but what the hell?  I want to keep trying.  They write me a slip for bloodwork and give me crazy directions to the hospital lab, which is in the same building, but sounds like it's in Siberia.  I go, they take the blood.  I don't even flinch anymore.  I know what vein to offer so I look less yellow and junkie-like for the next week.

Three days later I come home to a message on my answering machine.  (This is 1999, get over yourself.) Dr. S. is babbling on and on about this hormone being this level and this being that and I barely pay attention until he utters his last sentence of "oh and your hCG levels were very high."   I clutch the arm of the sofa and play the message twice over before calling his office.  I got Dr. J. instead of Dr. S. but I asked him, "So, um, I'm, uh pregnant already?"  Yes, yes I am.  I knew I was ovulating when I was taking Dr. Meanie's Clomid.  Jokingly I ask Dr. J. for my money back as $300 is a lot to pay for a pregnancy test.  He laughs this off and schedules me for regular appointments through the first trimester before they hand me off to the regular OB.

Pregnant.  Expecting.  Thrilled.  I called my husband at work and told him.  I called my brother and told him he was going to be an uncle.  I almost hired a sky-writer.

Hayley came at 37 weeks, assisted by a wonderful midwife and my husband, who pulled her out and onto my chest.  I kissed her all over.  Gross baby goop and all.  She was worth the $300.


Friday, September 13, 2013

The Chosen One

They stood in lines, tall, straight, proud.  They paid no attention to the wintry weather gathering around them.  They were the elite group.  The Fives, The Sixes, and The Sevens.  Standing in their precise lines, awaiting the start of The Ritual.

The Elders told tales of this ancient custom that had not varied much with the passage of time.  One would be chosen from all of the groups.  The elite of the elite.  The Chosen One.

The Ritual would be starting soon.   The sun was just breaking above the crest of the valley, spreading light, but no warmth upon the candidates.

The Others were coming soon.  The Elders could feel the vibrations of their wagons, slowly navigating the snow covered hills to The Clearing.

The Others dismounted their transport and began to walk the line, appraising The Fives, The Sixes, and The Sevens.  Discussions were had whether it'd be a Five, Six or Seven being a sufficient offering this year.  Walking slowly in front of the proud, straight lines; circling each Candidate with an appraising look.

The decision had come. The Others had chosen a Six.  This Six would make a fine sacrifice to the gods.

An axe was raised and The Six was cut again and again yet The Chosen One did not cower or even allow a whimper.  Finally, mercifully, The Other's sacrifice fell to the frozen ground.  Ropes were quickly affixed to the corpse of The Chosen One.  As they drug their quarry through the snow and out of The Clearing, The Six's body left a faint trail to the awaiting wagon.

The Others hoisted The Chosen One onto the wagon,tying it securely for the journey ahead.

* * *

When they reached their destination, The Chosen One was drug into the warm house.  A red ring was affixed to its trunk and secured with screws.  The Six was dead and could not protest as further preparations for The Others' ritual were made.  Tiny hooks and candles were hung from Six's limbs and a metal hat, in the shape of a golden star was placed upon Six's head.

The Others stood back from their now adorned sacrifice.  Satisfied, smug smiles were on their faces, knowing the God in the Red Suit would be very much pleased and The Others would be rewarded greatly for their efforts.

* * *

Back in The Clearing, The Elders and The Former Candidates settled down for a nap.  Not to be disturbed again until next Christmas Eve.





Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mr. Bubble is My Co-pilot

Maureen lay in the tub, letting the warm water envelop her like a down quilt.  It had been quite the day.  She had taken her son to his monthly psychology visit and it had proven to be an interesting visit.  As she took another sip from her now lukewarm Chardonnay, Maureen wondered where it had all gone so terribly wrong.

The therapist asked her to come back, mid-session, to discuss "something".  Vague, but alarming enough for Maureen to surrender her copy of the May 2012 "People Magazine" and follow Sandy from the drab waiting room and back to her small office.

Max sat on a chair, his small legs swinging back and forth.  He was looking through a picture book, not acknowledging Maureen's presence or Sandy's return.  Sandy began, "Mom, Max here was telling me something pretty interesting."  As the therapist continued all Maureen heard was "voices", "compulsions", "referral to a psychiatrist" but no actual big picture was forming in her swimming head.

Being blindsided by "pretty interesting" news about your own child, revealed to your by a relative stranger was more than Maureen could handle today.  She sat on her own chair, now, swinging her legs in time with Max's.  Sandy was talking and scribbling out forms for bloodwork, for a psychiatry evaluation, hopefully a large script of Valium, too, for Maureen, but doubtful.

With the therapist's grin plastered on her perpetually sunny face, she handed the paperwork to Maureen and wished her to have a good day.  Maureen silently wished Sandy to have a horrible day, locusts, frogs, flat tires on the way home.  No one should be that goddamn chipper and the bearer of "interesting news."

Max and Maureen, hand in hand, made their way to the parking lot.  She had pulled him out of school early and while there was some of the school day left, there wasn't enough to bother with.  "Max", she said, "how about some ice cream?"  Max was immediately agreeable and climbed into the car.

She watched him through the rear view mirror on the drive to the restaurant and a thousand thoughts came rushing over her, tsunami wave, after tsunami wave.  Maureen turned off the radio, and before Max could protest, she asked, "So, um, Sandy said you were hearing things?  Do you want to talk about it?"  Max nodded his little blonde head in agreement, but was staring fixedly out the passenger window.  "What do the voices want from you Max?  Are they asking you to do things?  Has this been going on for awhile?  Why haven't you told Mommy about this?"  She could feel the torrent of questions just spilling out of her.  While Maureen kept her voice and tone level, she feel this bile, this lump of fear and rage and uncertainty and other yet to be defined emotions rising out of her.  She was met with stony silence from the backseat.

"Mommy's not mad at you Max.  I am really glad you told Sandy, I am.  I just didn't know about all of this was happening with you and want to understand better.  Can you help me to understand?"  Maureen was grasping at straws.  Walking that fine line between Momma Bear Concern for Max and adrenaline fueled panic. "Don't upset him more", she kept repeating in her own head, "he will talk when he is ready."  Great, she thought with grim irony, NOW I have voices.

Crossing the parking lot to the ice cream parlor, Max reached for Maureen's hand.  She gladly took his small hand in hers, not sure if she was steadying him or her.  God, she felt selfish for her need for comfort at a time like this.  Max was the one who needed comfort and reassurance.  Here he was stuck with a slightly unhinged mother, having sundaes at two o'clock in the afternoon on a school day; way off the routine and expected schedule of "regular" life.

After they ordered, Max started to color his placemat.  He finally spoke, softly, and mostly to the cartoon seal balanced on the ball.  "I have these, voices, I dunno."  Pause, hesitation.  Maureen restrained herself with every available ounce of patience and silence, hoping he'd continue.  "Like, since after Christmas. (the fact that it was September,NINE BLOODY MONTHS LATER, screamed inside Maureen's skull)  It's mostly when I take my medication.  I dunno, it makes me feel, like, funny.  It tells me to touch things and if I don't listen to it the voice just gets louder.  It won't go away until I do what it says."

He dropped the red crayon and looked at his mother.  Maureen took a big sigh and kept her plastered smile on her face,a la Sandy.  "Is the voice scary, Max?  Is it telling you bad things will happen if you don't listen to it?"  Max considered this as he picked up a green crayon and said, "The voice isn't bad or anything, Mom, it just is."

Maureen sat back and stirred her dish of ice cream into a brown soup.  Her mind was not able to focus on the singular issue at hand: her son needed her, went to someone else for guidance, was he violent, would he hurt her, would he hurt himself, would he hurt his baby sister, was the dog safe, could he be left alone, should he go to school tomorrow, what do I tell the school, is this my fault, is this Joe's fault, why did she ever medicate him - and on and on and on, until her mind was a buzzing, firey hive of "not good thoughts".

Max finished his ice cream and they left.  When they pulled into the driveway, Maureen felt relief they were at a safe harbor, their home, but also felt dread of the ensuing phone calls for referrals, bloodwork appointments, more time off from school and work, oh, and to fit a conversation in with her husband about what had transpired.  Max ran inside, greeted the dog, did his math worksheet and began "Minecrafting" for the rest of the afternoon.

The blame game now crept into every corner of Maureen's psyche; what did she eat while she was pregnant? What were those fertility drugs called?  Did she stand too close to the microwave with her swollen belly?  Maybe it was gluten.  People seemed to be blaming gluten for a lot of problems lately.  Maybe her husband was to blame.  Joe was a little off, maybe Max got it from him. Perhaps this was just all a big misunderstanding and Max was making this all up.  Maybe Sandy was looking to pad her calendar with more frequent (and costly) visits.

None of this was "thinking". It wasn't thinking.  It was free association of self-inflicted mental assault.  She fixed a dinner and fed Max and and his sister.  When Joe came home, she threw up the "I Need to Escape Right Now" look and took her bottle of wine and sat in the tub.

Was there anything more humiliating than finding out your child, who lives with you seven days a week, 365 days of the year, holds in such "interesting news" and when he decides to share it, he shares it with a relative stranger?  Maureen took a long drag of wine and looked at the clock: 7:00 pm it glowed at her.

Calls and questions would have to wait for better answer for tomorrow.  Until then, Mr. Bubble would have to do.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First the good news...

Today I was able to wear a belt for the first time in a loooong while.  It made me feel happy.  After putting on my belt (my belt!), I left the house, went to Dunkin' Donuts for a coffee and a pumpkin doughnut. (The calendar says "September" so let all of the foods be infused with pumpkin).  Caffeine was needed this morning for fortitude because I had a 504 Meeting with my daughter's elementary school.

For those of you not familiar with the abbreviations and secret language of a child who has learning difficulties, a 504 is needed when there is a disability and accommodations for that child's disability must be made.  I have more experience with my other daughters' IEP Plans but they're more instructional based than "my child needs to hear the teacher so please provide the equipment, thank you very much".

Darcy failed four hearing exams at CHOP (The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia).  Granted her loss is at the lower end of the spectrum, but it is really hard at times for her to hear us and participate with her friends.  The School District, naturally, performed their own tests and considered her "not failed" but (here is the but) they don't test down to the decibel levels that CHOP does so CHOP's findings "win".

Last year was a nightmare, in so many words, getting the equipment assigned to her, working, charged, teacher non-cooperation - the works.  I blew my top around June (yeah, I am impressed too) and filed a formal complaint that the 504 Plan was not being followed.  I have been dealing with the Special Ed people since Cady was in Kindergarten (she has Asperger's).  I believe, I have given a lot of latitude when things got forgotten or the plan isn't followed to the crossed t's and dotted i's.  The Plan is a guide.

It is also a contract.  The District agreed to provide the equipment and training to Darcy's teachers last year.  It is a real, honest to blue, contract.

I go into my meeting this morning, full of pumpkin and coffee, hoping for the best.  New year, new teachers, newer principal - maybe things will go well.

First, there were lots of excuses (from the people I dislike) on why the system doesn't work or is always broken or why there are limited number of units.  I boldly stated, with the modifier "I am sorry but..." you agreed to provide these things, you are not, you need to do these things you said you were going to do.

Then, the District lady says as an aside to Darcy's new teacher, "Well, you know she passed the hearing test."  I immediately went to level magenta and said that CHOP failed her 4 times and that is what is in the 504 and that is what you will accept.

After a lot of wrangling over that, please don't fall asleep, the fun part of my story is coming up, we discussed "where the heck is the ear piece Darcy was given at the end of the school year?"  I stated we never had it at home, it was offered once via a phone call, there was no follow through.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, we never had it at home."

"Are you really sure?"

"Yes.  They have new backpacks and I helped them transfer their things to the new bags."

"Well, it isn't in the box here."

(blank stare)

"I don't have it.  I have never seen it.  In the classroom or at home."

Thankfully the principal interjects at this point to the annoying District lady that maybe the unit is in her office.  She mused over that possibility.

"Are you certain she didn't bring it home?  You know..."

And this is where I lost it.

"I really resent your implication here.  I have never, ever seen the unit you are talking about.  Darcy didn't bring it home and in reality only wore it for a week before it broke and she had NOTHING for two weeks."

Sigh.

Belt, coffee, doughnut = good.
504 Meeting = not so good.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ruth Mae

I woke up, abruptly, in a cold sweat from some dream I could not and still cannot remember.  The clock read 2:30 a.m.  Five minutes later I got the call that she had passed.

What does do with oneself and that type of information at that hour?  I threw on some sweatpants and walked the half block to the beach.

The moon was high and bright and it led me close to the shoreline.  There, I wrote her name in the sand and her years, like bookends of her life.  Temporary, fleeting, waiting for the tide.

A week later I was asked to speak at her memorial.  I had no idea and too many ideas of what to say.  I am not new to writing and delivering eulogies but I really endeavored to get this one right.

“When I was a little girl, Mom Mom and I would travel into the City for our Annual Christmas Adventure.

We'd board the R5 and take it to Reading Terminal.  The trains and the train house were so big to me.  Larger than life.  Mom Mom would grasp my hand and lead me down the train steps and off to Broad Street.

Hand in hand, we strolled to the Academy, going to see 'The Nutcracker'.  The tall buildings and noisy traffic was a lot to a 5 year-old.  But her hand was a reassuring presence.

After the final curtain call, we'd walk to Wannamaker's for lunch in The Crystal Tea Room and then to see the light show.  One year, Mom Mom must have wandered off to the hat department.  When the light show ended, I panicked.  Running from grown-up legs to grown-up legs, until I found her.  She held my hand and took me back to The Terminal.

Mom Mom always held my hand.

When I was young and scared; when a boyfriend didn't work out; when we were kneading dough – we held hands.

We held hands when we kept vigil as my mother was dying.  She held my hand.

As we both got older, it was me holding her hand more and more.  Helping her navigate uneven sidewalks or in and out of the car.  She relied on me to steady her.

One of Mom Mom's favorite songs was by Bobby McFerrin.  I had once bought her a big, red sweatshirt as a gift.  It said,

'In every life, we have some trouble, when you worry, you make it double.
Don't worry, be happy.'”


Monday, July 22, 2013

Royal, Royal

WordNerdGirl's Prompt O'Day (not to be confused with the fish patty sandwich) is as follows: "A Royal Baby writing prompt: Google your birth date, then write 3-5 lines inspired by what else was happening on that date in history."

With GINORMOUS apologies to David Bowie, ("Starman" is a favorite of mine!) who on July 3, 1973 stopped the Ziggy Stardust Tour), I present to you:

Royal, Royal

You've got your mother in a whirl
We're not sure if you're a boy or a girl
Hey royal, your mum's on the verge
Hey royal, when're gonna emerge
The cameras are ready, now
To take your picture and your soul
Come on royal, the time is now
Make your mum sweat on her brow 
They pull you out, they say you're here
You little royal, you are so dear


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Swiftboat

Saturday night I took my daughter Robin to the Taylor Swift concert.  Fact number one, I am not a Taylor Swift fan.  On the ride home from the concert (which had a two hour thunder/lightning/wind/rain delay) I was tired and cranky (I know, such an unusual state for me) and my co-pilot had fallen asleep.  As I drove, trying to avoid the various "interesting" drivers on 76 and 422 at 2:00 a.m., I was formulating this blog post.

I was going through all the bands I have seen live and was comparing them to the concert I had just attended.  It was a fairly harsh review I was going to give Ms Swift but then I stopped.  I turned my thoughts to what a wonderful evening it had been.

The magic of seeing an 11 year's old face light up upon going to their first rock concert.  The magic of a mother spending one on one time with one daughter when she has four.  The magic of giggles and fun and smiles.  If I wrote the post I had started out tinkering with, it would have sucked the real reason why I went to the concert in the first place.

Was I expecting to have a good time at a Taylor Swift concert?  No.  Did I end up having a good time (despite Taylor Swift)?  Yes.  Because the magic of seeing her little face light up when her hero took the stage and the freedom of two girls hanging out together on a Saturday night was what made it all worthwhile.

$4 water bottles and all.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wrong Number

Generate your own faux texts at iphonetextgenerator!



From WordNerdGirl: "Just got a wrong number text. The message: "Glad you are enjoying it." Sounds like a writing prompt to me! 3-5 on who was enjoying what. Go!"

I could have gone "blue" here but, eh, sometimes simple, clean humor is funny as well.  Have a good weekend and stay cool!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hot :(

It is hot in Philadelphia.  Like Africa hot.  The thermometer says it is in the 90s but the heat index is in the 100s.  The air is thick when you breathe and you get instant swamp ass the minute you go outdoors.  I have central air (thankyoubabyjesus) and it was broken Sunday overnight to Monday.  I grew up without A/C, window units included.  These days (boy do I sound old) I cannot live without it.

A nice (temporary) solution to the hotness would be a nice bike ride but my muffler is still spitting gas all over the place.  For the first five minutes of operation, my little motorcycle decided to start spewing gas from the left muffler all over the garage and driveway.  And then she runs fine.  I have had two mechanics look at it and now I have left messages for three new ones.

She's old (an '82 Kawasaki 440) but I like her just fine.  Anyone out there who likes working on carburetors or old, quirky bikes, drop me a line.

So, no Earth shattering insights into the world today or nothing new going on in my world, but "hi", it's hot, send me a competent mechanic.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gleeful?

Okay, first some good news.  After riding around with renewed permit after permit, today ended 21 years without a motorcycle license.  Considering it was also about 1000 percent humidity today and I had to ride around a parking lot for 5 hours in full gear, I am patting myself on my back.  Feels like I accomplished something pretty big in my life.  Two decades and three bikes later - I am legit.

And now, the not so good news.  My eldest daughter and I visited Laurel Hill Cemetery last night for "Cinema in the Cemetery".  It was a fun night, despite the ginormous mosquitoes.  On the way home we turned on the radio and heard the "breaking news" about the Travon Martin/George Zimmerman trial.  We were both pretty dumbfounded.  It was a good chance to discuss race and our criminal system (if any silver lining can be found in this fiasco) but it was heartbreaking nonetheless.

This morning before my big parking lot/frying pan test I hear the news about one of the "stars" of "Glee" had passed away.  Instantly, my feed was blowing up with more information and analysis of this 31 year old actor passing away (most likely he contributed to his own death by his habits) than news out of Florida.  Each life should be honored - I am not that callous.  But a "D List" celebrity is not more news-worthy or tragic than the death of Travon.

Travon's death wasn't drug or alcohol related.  Travon wasn't glamorous or on television.  His "sin" was being born black in America.  His death makes no sense to me.  This isn't the most eloquent post you'll read about this whole travesty but I did want to get my words out tonight.  You know, before another "celebrity" dies or has a nip slip or gives birth to a weathervane.  Travon isn't the first or last black kid to be killed for no reason (or very, very, very faulty reasoning) at all.

We should really sit up, take notice, and take stock as a Country and society about what garners our attention.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

End Game

"Robin, get me a toothpick?", I asked as I was trying to unknot someone's shoelaces the other day.  "You banned me from using those," she replied.  "I did?" "Yes, right after you banned gum, again."

Sigh.  I ban things on a regular basis in this house; I can't keep track of what is allowable and what is forbidden anymore.  It reminds me when I took Hayley and her friend to mall around the time of the A&F "no fat people clothes" debacle (read my post "Ubercrummie").  I had given her all the "pre-flight, walking around the mall by yourself instructions" when I said, "Oh yeah, remember no A&F."  Hayley turns to her friend and says, "My mom bans lots of things.  We can't go to Chick-fil-a.  We can't use BP gas.  We aren't allowed to have gum."  And off they went.

There are different levels of my "banning behavior".  The gum and toothpicks are due to the fact if they chew gum I find it in the clothes dryer and stuck in various, inappropriate surfaces.  Toothpicks and glitter get everywhere.  They are a nightmare.  The business boycotts are generally due to my politics.  Word usage is due to my wanting to bring up decent human beings.  Now there is a new conflict coming at me and I am not sure what to do about it.

I loved, loved, loved the book "Ender's Game" and all the sequels.  A movie version, which so far looks pretty cool from the previews, is coming out November 1.  What I hadn't know before is the author, Orson Scott Card, is a pretty vocal critic of homosexuality and advocates for a group called the National Organization for Marriage (anti-same-sex marriages) and believes homosexual activity can be a part of or lead to paraphilia (sex with objects, children, animals...).  So, now before me lays another possible thing to boycott, a movie of a book I own and have read.

Is it easier to boycott a fast food restaurant because they are 10 others down the road to choose from?

Is it easier to boycott a clothing company because they are not within your family's budget?

Is it easier to boycott Tom Cruise because all his movies suck anyway?

Are my boycotts really creating a sacrifice for myself or are just meaningless bandwagons I appear to jump on?  I am not sure what the right thing to do is.  The old axiom "if it feels good do it" can also be "if it feels bad avoid it".  I would feel bad the whole I time I was watching the movie.  Just because it was a beloved book in my library, the new insight I have gained into its creator makes me to not want to spend $11 to support his life choices.

Here is a link to a site called "Skip Ender's Game".  They have quite a bit to say about Mr. Card, offer alternative activities for November 1, and there is a pledge to boycott to sign, if you so wish.  Cory Doctorow, author and blogger over at BoingBoing, wrote a bit about why he is not boycotting the movie and you can read his piece here.

What do you think?  Do boycotts work?  Who are they for?  What do they do?  Who do they harm?  Who do they benefit?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Days of Future Passed

Over this past Winter, my good friend Dallas told me a mutual acquaintance of ours was getting his own reality show.  I nearly pissed my pants laughing.  If you haven't seen or heard about Philly Throttle yet, watch it.  It is fairly tame and cool if you're a local Philadelphian who likes to see Philly on your TV.

Adam is the star of this newest reality series.  I met Adam about 21 years ago; my then roommate Kris, Dallas' ex, set met up on a blind date with him.  Did I mention Philly is a super small town?  Adam and I didn't exactly hit it off and I ended up mooning over the bassist who was playing in the band we saw that night at The Underground.  The Underground used to be (not sure how she is these days) a really awful bar.  It was literally underground, had less than 10 chairs, was extremely narrow, and was low ceilinged.  Anywho.  West Philly in the 90s was a good time to be young and free.

Adam, Dallas, Kris, and Will (aforementioned bassist) and a motley crew hung out, (people with names like Slo and Wrong Way John) worked at, and stored bikes in a sort of collective garage in West Philly.  It is where my love of motorcycles began.  Will was determined to get me riding and I bought my first bike, a little Suzuki 125, for $100 out of a beauty salon window.  That bike took me places; metaphorical and physical alike.  I loved that bike.  There is a certain freedom from going to be the girl on the back of the bike to being the rider.  Slightly heady and powerful, there is nothing like a motorcycle ride to clear your head.  You have no choice but to be in the present.  Any daydreaming can lead to big issues.  Motorcycles and the guys who introduced me to them were and are, live in the moment kind of people.

I moved onto bigger bikes and different choices in my life.  "The Lost Boys" of the garage, as Kris named them, remained in stasis.  They were all about 10 years older than I was but chronological age doesn't count for much in their world.  Since the late 90s I have had several different careers, got married to a stable, mostly mature man, gave birth to four daughters, lost a mother, and in general, pretty much "grew up."

About 2 months ago, my past and my present came close together.  Will and I had stayed in touch strictly via email and Facebook.  He knew I was looking to ride again (I had been a pretty bad accident in 1995 and sold the wrecked Honda CM400 to Adam) and he told me about a bike he had seen for sale.  It was a 1982 Kawasaki 440 KZ.  It was $300.  It was perfect and I was ready to be back on the road.  Over those weeks of buying it and having Will get it road ready, he and I got to hang out. He has not changed since 1995.  Frozen in time, going nowhere.  Should I be describing someone who helped me out in a more positive light?  Am I an ungrateful bitch?  Yes and no.  In the end of the deal, he tried to pull a fast one and I balked.  I ended up with the bike and a legit, local mechanic.  Having to deal with Will for those 6 weeks I saw what my future could have been and I didn't like it.

Seeing Adam on TV last night was like having an out of body experience.  I guess it is always a little weird when you see someone you know on TV but the unsettling part was how much Adam hasn't changed.  Like Will, he seems to be still living hand to mouth in a fantasy world of Neverneverland.  These people, who I thought were in my past, popping up in my very different present has provoked some good memories and some not so good memories.  Another friend of mine from the Wild West Philly Days, who is married and blogs and has some children like mine wrote about the experience that is Adam as well.  You can read her story HERE.  (fyi, Chris is another guy I went out with, but he was a class act.)  Jo seems firmly in her present, even while still tending bar at "The Glinch", as she did in her past.

I feel a lot more removed from those days.  Time?   Moving away from the City?  Different priorities?  I don't have a good answer.  The reality of it all is, I had a good time, I did some truly dangerous (and fun) things, I got out alive and mostly unscathed, I don't regret a second of it, but I am glad where my reality is now.  I don't see my bike as a mid-life crisis cry-for-help.  It is the way I am able to still connect with "fun Jenn" and still be "grown up Jenn".  Seeing people from my past, in real life and on cable TV, lately, has put quite a bit in perspective.  I had been pining for those days: I was young, cute, thin, responsibility free.  Seeing what the end result of had I continued down the past's future path makes my present all that more a gift.



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mxyzptlk

Julie, aka WordNerdGirl, asks us to: "grab 3-5 random sentences (I used the newspaper) & rewrite them backwards from last word to first. Lots of cool wordplay emerges. And... Yoda like sound you make will prompt writing this."

###

From Augusten Burroughs' "Possible Side Effects", p246

  • Me to mystery a was, Meats specifically marked drawer the of instead, drawer crisper salad the in meats the kept mother my why.  Crisper Salad marked drawer sliding the opened and refrigerator the to went I.


Hmm, more caveman than Yoda.  Let's try another source.

From David Rakoff's "Don't Get Too Comfortable", p128

  • Held am I which in pity or contempt the of reminder physical the becoming somehow or, welcome its overstaying object the about think to want don't really I and.  Ego artistic of sense any of out them keep they if care much don't I but, make I things the unwrap people watch I when moment lovely a it's.

Well, this is better.  Let's (um, me) alter some of David's words and see what happens:

  • Held, am I, in pity or contempt.  The reminder of the physical becoming the object I don't want to think about.  Ego, artistic sense, they care much, but I don't. Unwrap people, watch the lovely moment.

Eh, it's an experiment.  Grab something you enjoy reading or don't enjoy reading and discover a new way to play with words.



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Oh, Bother!

Prompt 40 from Creative Writing Prompts : "List 20 Things That Annoy You".

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There aren't enough gigabytes to store the long, long list of grievances I have with the world.  I am turning 40 on Wednesday; my whole life people would joke I was "5 going on 40" or "12 going on 40".  Now I am just "39 going on 40 becoming Andy Rooney".  Grumpy Cat has nothing on me :)


  1. People who text or "secretly" look at their phone screens during a movie in the theater.
  2. The mockingbird from last Summer who has found his way back here this Summer.
  3. Baby corn.
  4. The looks I get at the market when I am loudly correcting or corralling my children.
  5. The word "moist".
  6. Parents who don't teach or enforce manners with their children.
  7. Hipsters.  I saw one last night who looks like he lives on kale and drinks his own urine.
  8. Drivers who fail to use lights and wipers when it is raining.
  9. Drivers who do not know the difference between "stop", "yield", and "come hit me".
  10. Drivers who are mad at me for pulling over for emergency vehicles.
  11. Um, I guess any driver aside from me.
  12. Butter on bagels.  Cream cheese is the only acceptable condiment; lox preferred but optional.
  13. "Lite Beer".  A) it is gross and B) any product using "lite" is teaching my kids to spell wrong.
  14. Raisins. Especially sneaky ones hiding in baked goods I was noshing on.
  15. Your/you're, there/their/they're, alot/a lot abusers.
  16. The word "like" as a constant interjection.
  17. Pantyhose.  But I hate that people who don't wear hose when the occasion dictates.
  18. Small portions of food you eat in one sitting only to discover it was "4 portion-sized".
  19. Smugness.
  20. Complaining, making lists, and irony?

from Grumpy Cat's Official Facebook Page




Monday, July 1, 2013

Ho, Ho, Ho

I have approximately 50 more hours of "being in my thirties".  My earlier post suggested I am okay with this; in general, yes I am.  50 hours out?  A little panicky :)  Today's writing prompt from Julie at WordNerdGirl is as follows: "My son made a Christmas in July list. It includes a cash machine that prints real money & a hovercraft that floats 6 ft off the ground. Today's writing prompt: 3-5 lines of your own Christmas in July wish list."

Consider this a mash of a Christmas in July Wish List with the Mid-Life Crisis Bucket List, if you will.

###

  1. Learn how to play "Great Balls of Fire" on the piano - well.
  2. Drive coast to coast across America.
  3. Become a "Massage-a-Week" gift program member; and invent such a program.
  4. Visit Thailand.
  5. Finish my short story which is getting older than myself.
  6. Go to a proper "High Tea"; gloves, hat, clotted cream - the works.
  7. Conquer my addiction to Candy Crush Saga.
  8. Learn how to sit back, look around, smile, and realize what I really want I already have.


Oh, and a pony.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Get Uncomfortable

Nigger.
Kike.
Faggot.
Dago.
Chink.
Wetback.
Mick.
Raghead.
Dyke.
Retard.

Uncomfortable yet?  Good.  This recent Paula Deen debacle is boiling my blood.  Do I care she used the "n word"?  Do I care that her (god fucking awful) cooking led to her and countless others' diabetes?  For the record, I am white; half Italian, half Mutt and overweight, but not due to Deen's "food".

Making the blog and Facebook rounds today I was in kind of shock at the arguments put forth by my white friends.  One friend, who is white, male, and gay is more angry/concerned about how the black community should be upset Deen hid her diabetes from her followers and since a lot of African Americans are diabetics, "they" should be pissed off about that and not the whole "slang word" issue.

Um.  Where to begin...After my head stopped exploding, I asked well, wouldn't you be upset if someone was using a pejorative about your minority group?  All I got in  response all day, from people who should be pissed about language mattering, was "she's older", "she's Southern", "it's only a word", "who cares what people say in private", "she only used the 'n-word' when she was mugged", "it was a long time ago", "what about free speech", "diabetes kills, words don't" and other mind blowing shit.

These responses were from women, men, whites, homosexuals, some blacks.  Am I over-sensitive when it comes to language and labeling people?  I think it matters, it really, really, really matters.  Not because she is a public figure or because she's white or whatever lame excuse you can come up with it is because there are certain words that are heavier than others.

They carry with them a weight of history and of hate and of not just being an adjective.  These are the basest of words.  Do I have a sense of humor?  Yes, juvenile and gross mostly.  Do I have a sense of humor about hate language?  NO.  I have zero tolerance.

I am so angry and saddened by the people who are subjected to intolerance and to fear and to hatred on a daily basis just brushing this whole "slang thing" off.  Why are we willing to look the other way when it's "not me"?  If anyone thinks that "nigger" is just a word, how much wincing do YOU do when you read the above list of "slang" words?  I do not expect the whole wide world to be PC but Sweet Jesus, think before you open your mouth.  Words are powerful.  I spoke about this a little on my Ubercrummie post.

"We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary.  Thoughts live; they travel far." - Swami Vivekananda

Sunday, June 23, 2013

T-Minus 10

10 more days until I hit the magical middle aged birthday marker of 40.  Why is 40 such a big deal?  I remember when I turned 30 and what a hard time I had with that transition.  Maybe losing the "coolness" of having a "2" in the prefix of your age is a lot more traumatic than rolling the tens position from 3 to 4.  The 20 to 30 leap is akin to mourning your childhood, carefree, young days.  When you're 30, you are already old in the world's eyes; 40 is just the next logical step I suppose.

I spent my 20s with all the life I had in me: the early part of my decade was spent with great decadence.  Like Caligula on perpetual Spring Break.  My mid-20s brought the death of my mother, followed quickly by owning my first house, a job change, moving in with my (future) husband.  I went from Jagermeister hangovers to lawn mowing and mortgage payments.  Maybe your 20s are where you practice being an adult and your 30s are where you apply all experience and knowledge to actually living like an adult.

It is a big mental leap.  You look around you and see a home you have financially committed to for 30 years, a person whom you have promised a lifetime to, and little persons you have given your heart to forever.  Gone are the selfish indulgences and now are the selfless imperatives.

Going from 30 to 40: you are already there.  You have been a decent adult for 10 years at the minimum.  What is the fuss about 40?  That the party is half over?  It's not though.  At least not for me.  It is another 20s.  Where 20s were the practice for the 30s, 40s will be the practice for the 50s.  Daughters turning into teenagers, making their practice for their 20s, preparing myself for their coming collective angst, college drama, first loves, possible weddings and the inklings of their children, my grandchildren, to come.

40 doesn't have me freaked out, it is simply what is coming next.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tea Rex

I would never invite a T-rex to tea,
it would cause too much anxiety.

The tiny cups he would lose in his claw
so he'd have to use a bendy straw.

I would never invite a T-rex to tea,
he would eat all the doilies.

The thought of him
with clotted cream running down his chin
is much too grim
to bear.

I would never invite a T-rex to tea,
for fear he would eat me.

His arms are much too short
to reach the linzer torte.

I would never invite a T-rex to tea,
they are as foreboding as the sea.

He would be cute
in a navy sailor suit
and his cowboy boots.

So perhaps I would invite a T-rex to tea,
it would be an interesting opportunity.

-Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions

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Never say never writing prompt: First, finish this sentence: "I would never do [BLANK]." Then write 3-5 lines describing a situation in which you would, and why.  Oh, WordNerdGirl, you have made me think silly thoughts this Thursday!





Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Coffee and a Schmear

WordNerdGirl Prompt: "3-5 lines today describing your perfect morning routine. My must-haves include "a damn fine cup of coffee" & a crossword puzzle."

###

When I was Single In The City my perfect Sunday was to roll out of bed and roll into some found clothing and make my way to the local deli.  I'd order my everything bagel, toasted, with a schmear, nova, tomato, onions, and capers.  Sipping my hot gallon of coffee while my order was assembled with practiced precision I'd browse through the Sunday Edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer; always starting with the Comics.  If the weather was good, I'd brown bag it and take my picnic to the local park and people watch.  If the weather was less than good I'd stay at the deli and do the crossword.  Always happy to battle with Will Shortz in pen I miss the smell of newspaper ink.  Things have changed since those bagel mornings.  With four kids and two dogs, it is early rising to dispense kibble and cereal.   Rushing about to get people to lacrosse, Tae Kwon Do, birthday parties, supermarketing - nothing patterned or predictable, nothing very quiet or relaxing.  There were those middle years; between babyhood and up to four years ago where weekend mornings involved a party of six, cuddling in one bed, prolonging the magic of the early morning hours before rushing about.  Someday I will return to a nosh and a coffee and a crossword and a silence but I cannot predict it will feel the same.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Haiku #2


on my iron horse
following curves as they come
leaning into smiles

-Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions

*someone bought a motorcycle for her birthday

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sexy Tomato

WordNerdGirl prompts us to write about a favorite food and share that visceral experience with our readers.   I am tending to a large vegetable garden this Summer and my favorite thing is eating tomatoes from it.  Enjoy.

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Grasp
with a gentle twist
and free it from its vine.

Rinse
under the running tap
watching swirls go down the drain.

Examine
its ruby beauty and bruises
inhaling its warm dirt aroma.

Pierce
its skin with sharp teeth
streaming forth juices on your chin.

Salt
the inner tender pink flesh
still warm from the Sun.

Savor
the sweet and the salty
fruits of your garden.

Body Heat

From WordNerdGirl: "A "Senseless" writing prompt today: 3-5 lines describing a rainy scene. Be detailed. The twist: No visuals. Describe your scene using only smell, taste, touch, sound."

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It was a moonless night, dark and still and thick with humidity.  There was no way to mark the passage of time other than tossing and turning in the limp pile of damp sheets.  Left, right, back, left, right - sweat trickling down my skin but making little progress as even it was too exhausted to make the journey down my body.

The fan made useless movements against the tide, gently whirring above me.  The evening stretched on and on and when I had just about given up hope of any rest I felt the drapes next to me rustle.  Their crisp, cool cotton whispered of a hope of a breeze.  I could feel their dance intensify and started to smell a shift in the air.  The blowing increased and with it brought a faint tap-tap-tap of rain onto the tar shingles.  The smell of the sizzle the cold making contact with the still too warm roof reminded me of a sauna.

As the drizzle up tempo-ed into a shower I felt little compunction to leave my nest of a bed and lay there, listening to the pops and sizzles and eventually drum beat of the storm.  Sweet relief from my heat induced insomnia blew across my soul and I drifted into a peaceful, cool slumber.

The morning will be damp again but cooler, greener, and alive with possibilities.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Student Becomes the Master

I was driving home in god-awful rush hour traffic yesterday with two of my daughters.  We had some doctor appointments to attend and after we went to the mall (or as King of Prussia Mall  is known "The Mall" and a quick Chinese dinner. It was a nice day despite the traffic and torrential rain.

While I was stopped on the highway behind the man with no taillights or brakelights, again, I asked a general question of my kids.  "Do you guys think it's weird that my dad and I haven't seen or spoken to one another in a year?"  I could see the glances between them, calculating an answer.  "It's a not a trick question, ladies, I really want to know what you think."

The eldest, my 13 year old, hems and haws a bit but tells me this really doesn't bother her or the other three. I ask, "But don't I have some sort of obligation to respect my parents?  No matter how selfish and weird they are acting?".  She turns to me and says, "Mom, is he showing you respect by not calling or emailing or anything?  He is acting like a big baby."

She blew my mind.

I am going to be 40 next month.  Feel a little better about this than the 29/30 transition.  But this will be the first birthday ever I will not hear or see from my dad.  The best gift I have received so far is (aside from my motorcycle) the gift of perspective from my children.

Best gift ever.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday

From WordNerdGirl: "Today's prompt: 3-5 lines just describing your normal Tuesday. But the twist is... As many words as possible must begin with the letter "T." Take time to think it through!"

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Tuesdays are a terrifically busy day on my turf.  Two daughters take Tae Kwon Do at the local dojang or training center.  It is also Trash Day; an excellent time to throw away trash and take care of the recycling.  Thoughtfully, the triplets gather the trash and take it to the garage.  Tonight, I shall take time to relax and watch some television.

Ergh.  5 sentences, 24 instances of words starting with "T".

Monday, June 3, 2013

Haiku #1

The heatwave (as it was, maybe four days of 90+ temps in the Philadelphia area) is broken today.  Looking at my vegetable garden a lot of things went a little brown except my hearty little sugar snap peas.  I saw them there on the trellis, damp with the morning dew and thunderstorms.  Decided to try my hand at a haiku since I did not do one during NaPoWriMo.

###


Green shoots from brown earth,
                 snaking and vining upwards,
                                reaching for the sun.


-Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions

Friday, May 31, 2013

Letting Go

Recently, I was at a gathering with some people I haven't seen in over 18 years.  One of the women there, a lovely, elderly, soft-spoken soul was there, sitting on a sofa.  I purposely avoided making eye contact with her and busied myself at the buffet.

As the afternoon passed it was inevitable she would notice me and finally she did.  She started by telling me how good it was to see me after all this time.  She spoke of the time I took a leave of absence to take care of my mother when she was dying.  This woman was all lightness and joy, telling me about her retirement and her grandchildren.

I hesitated to bring up the thing that was bothering me so much, but I mustered up some guts and did.  I had known, after a merger the company we had worked for was going through, that this kind lady's job was getting axed.  I was in a position of knowing a lot of top-level information and also being obligated to secrecy.  When the merger was first announced, my co-worker was over joyed and had many plans on how to integrate her department with the other company's sister department and the like.  My boss, the department vice-president, had me working on org charts, salary reports, and other data driven mapping for the future, with little regard for the human casualties.

Day after day, my doomed friend would stop and ask me about my day, invite me out with her group for happy hour, or simply chat over a cup of tea.  I felt like the underside of a shoe that had been afflicted with the lowest levels of whale shit.

At the party, I said to her, "I am sorry I never said anything about your job being in jeopardy after the merger.  This is no excuse but I was young and hadn't developed the sense of when to employ discretion and when to listen to loyalty."

She looked at me and took my hand and said, "No, no, no. You did me a favor.  I took some time off, started a company, had grandchildren, closed my company, traveled.  Every experience in life is an opportunity."

I felt like a six ton weight of guilt I held on to for 18 years being lifted.  I was free.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lost in the Supermarket

WordNerdGirl gives us a prompt after our long holiday weekend: "After-a-long-weekend prompt: Write 3-5 lines that start with, 'Right now, I would much rather be...'"

I took the spirit of the prompt and got what I got, below.

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With military-like precision, the collectors stood in row after unwavering row.  Patiently (mostly) waiting to pay tribute to the one who could release them from their detainment and send them on their way home.  Muzak, tunes from their former days, turned into ceaseless, tuneless monotone jingles playing as the waiting continued.  Some of the collectors had brought their young with them.  These collectors were perhaps the most miserable of all.  Their mission had been punctuated with unnecessary items added to the bounty, some added by subterfuge, some added after protracted bargaining.

###

That is all I could come up with for today.  I am suffering a terrible head cold (yea Spring).  I know when I am at the supermarket I always think of places and things I would much rather be...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Beauty Crowds Me Till I Die

Prompt from Creative Writing Prompts:  "Wax some poetics and take your cue from Emily Dickinson.  Start your poem with the line 'beauty crowds me till I die'". (prompt #335)

###

Beauty crowds me till I die
upon entering the palace of marble floors, mirrored walls and glass cases.


Proffering their wares to the masses
in an unholy cathedral.


A heady swirl of fragrances
dispensed by painted ladies
in medical attire wrap me in their cloak of jasmine, vanilla and desperation.

The dazzling lights reflect upon their whitened enamel
and their soulless eyes.

Beauty crowds me until I die
gasping for relief.

- Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Labradoodle, Labor Doula

From WordNerdGirl: "Today's Prompt: Write 3-5 lines about a small thing someone did that was meaningful to you. Who did it? What'd they do? Why'd it matter?"

###

My first client as a labor doula was a pro bono situation.  In order to become a Certified Labor Doula from Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)  I had to attend three births and get three references from each birth (the doctor/midwife, a nurse and the client).

"E" was an interesting mom-to-be. She was a first timer; young, funny, whip smart and about 6 feet tall.  (For mental illustrative purposes, I am five feet, two inches; we were an odd couple.)  I first met "E" through a "crisis pregnancy center", ie: a place where they talk you out of abortions.  A lot of new doulas advertise their services everywhere to "get" those three births.  While I am pro-choice, I am also pro-getting-employed.  Her boyfriend was "S"; short, stout, white, looked like Barney Rubble.  We were an odd trio at the local hospital where "E" was giving birth.

Needless to say, attending my first birth was a heady mix of wonder, awe, and excitement.  I was up for 2 days straight with little sleep and loads of coffee but remained "in the zone".  I, at times, felt like there was a lot of doing nothing and then a lot of supporting.  Labor is an ebb and flow situation as it is.  I was slightly nervous about the hospital staff; in training you would hear horror stories of nurses and doctors versus doulas, thinking we're all nosy, interfering, bored housewife, birth junkie, vegetarians.  While I am, to this day, a leg shaving, meat eating, medicine is a good tool used properly in birth kind of doula, I tried very hard to tiptoe around the hospital staff.  I even brought Dunkin' Donuts to the Nurses' Station on the maternity floor.

When all was said and done, "E" and "S" had a new daughter, "J".  Perfect and round, completely healthy.  I received the following "endorsement" from "E" for my certification packet:

"Jennifer Mossholder is a wonderful, caring, sincere doula coach.  I am more than happy that I got in contact with her.  I don't know what I would have done if Jennifer was not at my labor to support my partner and I.  She spent hours on hours at the hospital with me.  Took my hand and held me through every contraction.  Any expecting mother who gets Jennifer as a doula is getting more than a coach, they are getting a friend."

I was bowled over.  I use this reference to this day; not only for new clients looking for a reference, but a reference for myself, my own self esteem when I think I am doing everything wrong.  Validation is as necessary as air.

EDIT:

Here is the doctor's review of me from that same birth:

"I initially thought she was a knowledgeable family member because she had such a good rapport with the patient and her husband.  This patient in particular benefited greatly from her presence."



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rhymes With Orange




Saw the above photo on a tumblr site and it inspired the following:



Arms glistening with sweat of labor
Rolling the ball from fingertips into hoop
Its descent echoing the star,
Shining,
Setting,
Over Barnegat Bay


- Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Help Miranda Kick It To Cancer

This is a total cut and paste post today, folks.  A local teenanger has been battling bone cancer for four years now.  Miranda and her family are strong, resilient people but they need our help.  Below is a cut and paste from an IndieGoGo Campaign to raise funds to assist this family through their journey.  Thank you for reading!

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MIRANDA'S STORY

Seventeen-year-old Miranda has been battling Osteosarcoma, a rare and aggressive bone cancer, since she was 12 years old. She is truly one of the strongest and most courageous individuals I have ever met.   

I was blessed to meet Miranda through a wonderful actress, Tara Strong, who had worked with her on a movie through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.  After hearing about Miranda's passion for singing and voiceover work, I cast her in an animated movie that I was producing.  I was completely taken with her incredible spirit.  Miranda is wise beyond her years and has a wicked sense of humor despite everything she’s been through. 

Recently, Miranda learned that her cancer has recurred -- in her spine, chest and kidney. Her doctors at her local hospital in Wilmington said there was nothing more they could do except relieve some of the pain. Miranda told them that if that's the best they can do, she would go somewhere else that offered hope. 

Miranda and her family decided to go to M.D. Anderson Cancer Clinic in Houston where the doctors have not only offered her a treatment plan, but also... HOPE.

Miranda just completed the first phase of her treatment, which involved surgery to remove the majority of the tumor from her spine. With her typical indomitable spirit, Miranda was soon up and walking, and convinced her doctor to discharge her for a week so that she can attend her high school prom. Miranda will return to Houston May 20th to undergo chemotherapy, radiation and additional surgery. 

I love Miranda and pray everyday that she will live a full life and realize all of her dreams. She is my hero.

Faith is beautiful...

 

THE GOAL

Our goal is to raise $50,000 to help cover the many treatment expenses not covered by insurance. 

Although money doesn't cure cancer, your donations will give Miranda and her family the support and encouragement to pursue the best possible treatment. It will also give them a break from the constant financial stress they have been under. (Miranda’s Mom, Diane, is attending nursing school so that she will be able to help support the family.)

Every donation helps. Every single dollar counts. Please share this story so that it reaches as many people as possible. 

With deep gratitude for your support, generosity and caring...

Elizabeth Daro and the “Cancer Doesn't Rule Miranda” team!

 

A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT MIRANDA....

  • She is the beloved (and occasionally tormenting) big sister to Rebecca and Matthew.
  • She sang practically from the moment she was born.
  • She’s like super smart.
  • She’s a chocoholic.
  • She has a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do.
  • One of her goals is to teach self-defense to battered women.
  • When getting her driver’s license (and still bald) she wondered if she should put “clear” for hair color.
  • She’s had voiceover roles in two animated movies, Twinkle Toes and Barbie: Princess Charm School.
  • She has a mega metal prosthesis where the doctors removed part of her leg bone.
  • She named her IV pole, Lindsay.
  • Cancer doesn’t rule her! 
 

From Miranda's Mother's (Diane) Journal...

Miranda has grown into a person that I admire. She has developed character, grace and strength. Of course, she has caused me more worry than one parent should ever have, but I would not change a thing.

I have learned a lot from Miranda. Every day when I think about what she has gone through and what she has accomplished, I think to myself that she is an amazing young woman. Few of us could walk her walk with such grace!

Fighting cancer is hard, emotionally and physically.  I don't know why cancer has decided to get ahold of my daughter again, and I certainly don't know why it had to grab her this hard.  This is her last chance, her last effort to have a life.  And she wants this life, here on earth for a while longer with her friends, and family.  She would like to do normal things, like have a boyfriend, and someday have a family.  She wants to go to college and go to a prom. She'd love to take a trip for fun.  She wants to look cool in her clothes.  She wants to feel whole and not sick.  She wants to know what God's plan is for her and what he has left for her to do.  She wants to hang out, go to movies, shop, and laugh. So many things that are taken for granted that Miranda has not experienced.

I want to help my daughter have the chance to live, because she wants to try.  I will need help with this, so I am very grateful for every person that has offered.  

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Ubercrummie

I am sure by now most of you have been tuned into the drama that is Abercrombie & Fitch.  Their CEO, a darling of man named Michael Jeffries, when questioned about not offering sizes larger than "Large" offered this public relations nightmare of a reason: "We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends.  A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

Does Mr. Jeffries have the right to offer the sizes he wants in his store?  Is this all not a public relations gaffe but one that is brilliant in its offense?  Who doesn't want exclusivity?  When you're in high school and Jenny who is a size "0" (what the hell is a "0" anyway?) and Mary who is a size "14" come in wearing the same $38 t-shirt emblazoned with a company logo who would you rather emulate?

I am not in the business of thin bashing (although my previous remarks on a size "0" say otherwise) or fat shaming.  We are the size we are.  I am bashing the Machiavellian Marketing of Jeffries and the Stupidity of the average teenaged shopper.  Paying $38 for the privilege of advertising a clothing company across your boobs is insanity.

I was a teenager once, despite what my daughters believe.  Our Summer fashion crisis were shirts from Banana Republic that had their logo and an exotic animal sketched on the back.  Each month a new animal shirt was "released" for purchase.  Girls would flock to the then tiny store at the local mall and compare who had what animal.  If my weary mind serves me correctly the shirts sold for about $10.  Needless to say I did not own one.  My mother offered the same argument I am laying out here:  why are you paying to advertise for a company?  This is not a sour grapes essay, by the by, did I envy those girls?  Sure.  Then it wasn't a "size-ism" issue, it was a financial divide the clothing company was creating.

A&F does both and does both brilliantly.  Most sane parents would look at a blue t-shirt, whatever the saying or logo, and scoff at paying $38.  The fact these items now don't go beyond a "large" (I am guessing an approximate size of 8/10) creates a new layer of divisiveness.

Some interesting things have been born of this story, namely a college student, Greg Karper, made hay of Jeffries 2006 interview (weird how this is coming to light 7 years later) and created a YouTube video gone viral.  Karper's campaign against A&F includes donating all of the brands' items to the homeless.  On the surface, donating gently used clothing to the homeless is an Awesome Thing To Do.  One could make the argument the cool kids only get to wear A&F but now also do dirty, grimy, underfed homeless people do too.

Taking clothing discards as part of a social/political campaign and giving them to the discards of society, well that doesn't sit too well in my stomach.  Why?  It is the intent behind the action.  It turns, what could be a feel good action of donating to the less fortunate into a sideshow of sorts.  Remember the story early last year about the South by Southwest Festival using the homeless as WiFi hotspots?  Oh, well the homeless are sitting there doing nothing anyway, why not use a human, a human being, as an inanimate object useful to the not unfortunate masses?

In the end, Jeffries and Karper come out winners for their causes.

"There is no such thing as bad publicity" - P.T. Barnum

Monday, May 13, 2013

Horoscope for May 13

Today's WNG writing prompt: Rewrite your horoscope for opposite day. If you have time when you're done, work that up into a poem or use it to jump into another 3-5 line paragraph. No pressure.


From Horoscope.com:

You generally enjoy your dreams, Cancer, both the dreaming process and analyzing them later. But tonight you might have too many to keep track of. While you will probably recall the most significant ones, it may be frustrating if you forget any of them. This might be the day to start a dream diary, if you don't have one. Have fun!

Me:

Your life is an unending series of nightmares.  There are too many to remember and record but they are there haunting your subconscious night after night without end.  Today may be the day you call up a therapist.


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From The California Astrology Association:

This is an excellent time to begin a new business enterprise or any new venture. You have the drive and courage to make your vision a reality. You feel great physically, and your confidence and optimism are high, so whatever you attempt now is likely to succeed.

Me:

Keep your head down at work this week and your nose to the grindstone.  Your continued fear and lack of imagination will ensure your employment in middle management for years to come.  Expect your ulcer to act up but do not expect to get a doctor's appointment for at least two weeks.  Everything you touch turns to shit.


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From Cafe` Astrology:

Today, you may be playing a supportive role to someone, but you could be feeling taken advantage of. Unwittingly today, you might reveal a secret or too much information. Otherwise, it's a good day for all things creative and for imaginative undertakings. You may be a tad withdrawn now, and possibly quite sensitive, so try not to schedule activities that require competitive or demanding energies. The Moon does enter your sign this morning, and this brings emotions to the surface as well as more visibility (others take note).

Me:

Today, others will be lifting you up and cheering you on.  People place their faith and trust in your discretion.  Today will be a good day to utilize your logic and practicality.  Go out for Happy Hour with your co-workers and have a carousing good time.  You will party into the wee hours with little repercussions.  The Sun is shining on you today.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Monster in the Room

The creature slowly turned its thick, green neck from side to side, its scales scraping against one another making a terrifyingly musical sound.  The child cowered behind the water heater, not daring to breathe, blink or cry.  The boy's shoulders were barely broad enough to fill out the shirt he wore, much less broad enough to have the fate of humanity rest so heavily upon them.

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Our friend Julie over at Word Nerd Girl has provided a quick prompt for us today.  She writes, " A monster walks into the room where you’re reading this right now. Write 3-5 lines of a poem or paragraph about what happens next."

Above is my less than three minute paragraph.  Writing, even a tiny bit, a rough paragraph, everyday keeps your creative chi flowing.  Is it a perfect 3 sentences?  No, but it can be improved and expanded as I wish.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Writing Prompts!

I have been looking for things to inspire me to write more frequently.  Not just participating in NaPoWriMo or sharing snippets of my life, but a chance to stretch my writing skills a little.

There are a ton of sites out there offering prompts and projects; the one that spoke to me the most was this tumblr site, http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/.  Check it out!

Hopefully I will have time this week to try my hand at one of them.

Read, write, share, enjoy!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Crack

Today is my mom's birthday.

Today was my mom's birthday.

Past tense, present tense, when do we stop using the present tense to speak of those who have passed?

My mom died from lung cancer five days after I turned 24.  Those five months from diagnosis to death were agonizingly long and brief.  Anyone who has had a loved one go through the special hell that cancer is knows of what I speak.

May is always a hard month for me:  my wedding anniversary is the first, my mom's birthday is the fifth, and Mothers' Day, the worst holiday ever conceived, follows shortly thereafter.

You would think after 16 years I would be getting Better At This.  I have in many ways, in others I have not.

Today I will share with you a heartbreakingly funny story from her last day at the hospital.  I was getting her discharged so she could die at home, with as much dignity as death allows.  Her husband and my brother had gone to fetch the car from the lot and I was helping her use the bathroom and get dressed.

This was June.  I had yet to cry a single tear over this situation; my stoic self would like to attribute it to there was so use in expending tears over a terminal situation.  Maybe my emotional self was in shock.  At 23 (2 weeks before her death and my birthday) we, as many mothers and daughters, had just started to get along again after those long, dark, dramatic teen-aged years.

My mother, barely five feet tall and barely eighty pounds at this juncture, is perched atop the toilet.  I am crouched between her knees, making sure she doesn't fall over or have another stroke.  She is silent, as the most recent series of strokes have robbed her of her speech.  I look up into her eyes and I waver.

"Mom", I say, "When I was little and very angry with you I would go out front on the pavement and stomp on all the cracks hoping to hurt you.  Ma, I am so, so sorry for trying to hurt you."

She cautiously reached out and stroked my hair and I cried for us both.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

All's quiet on the poetry front...

Aside from NaPoWriMo concluding and the gorgeous Spring Pennsylvania is (finally) having I have not been blogging.  I also started a book club (in my spare time) ;)

I started taking kickboxing.  (This is not about to turn into a weight loss/health blog - I hate them.)  I do want to share my story a little though.

I was always always always the underweight skinny kid.  I barely broke 100 pounds in High School even with all the Aqua Net.  I am 5'2" and have a fairly small frame.

Fast forward to 2013, I have had two pregnancies resulting in four daughters, my eating habits never changed from my 20's and, well, now you have a woman who is wearing a size she never thought she would.  Seeing a reflection that is alien.  That is purely aesthetics, I guess.

My daughters are really rather precious to me and I don't want them to be without me or get the wrong message about diet and exercise.  I am changing my language to "healthy" versus "thin".

I never exercised when I was younger because I didn't have to.  Working out was to lose weight, not stay/become healthy.  Well, now I am overweight and becoming unhealthy.  I have 5 bulging discs in my spine, fibromyalgia, and today I received the gift of a blood pressure medication.

I need to get serious.

I have, in the past two weeks, started to take, of all things, kickboxing.  If you knew me, this is quite a hilarious picture.  I am sore.  I am sweaty.  I am unhappy.

However, I am unhappier that I weigh too much, which is causing my hypertension and the joint pain to be worse.  I am becoming motivated.  It is tough work and the class is so intense I pretty much don't care I am dripping sweat, huffing and puffing and beating the crap out of a canvas target.

I have been going back.  I have poor follow through when it comes to "exercise".  I hate to say, for fear of jinxing myself, but I think I may like the class.  I have a brain that never shuts off.  I have no choice in this class BUT to think about breathing and punching.  That is all I am able to keep in my noggin.  There is no room in there for anything else when I am there.

I hope I stay with it or find another activity to guide me to health and the body I want.

Led Zep I

When I was 13 I went through a pretty heavy Led Zeppelin phase.  Bought all the vinyl I could and when I was out of funds, I would rent the records from the local library.  With the nice weather lately, I have been out getting my vegetable garden ready for Spring and Summer and have been listening to some tunes.  One of the selections has been "Led Zeppelin I".  I no longer own a turntable and all of the vinyl I do have are my mother's old 45s collection.  I could blather on how I miss the scratchy record sounds and skips, but this is poetry entry, of sorts.

I noticed that all the first lines in "LZI" are a type of love/hate/lust poem when combined into one grouping.  So, mostly from my memory, I compiled them here, below, and present them to you as a poem, even though we are done with NaPoWriMo for the year.



Led Zeppelin I -

In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man.
Babe, baby, baby, I'm gonna leave you.
You know you shook me, you shook me all night long.
Been dazed and confused for so long it's not true.
Lyin', cheatin', hurtin, That's all you seem to do.
Hey, girl, stop what you're doin'!
I, I can't quit you, baby
So I'm gonna put you down for a while
How many more times, treat me the way you wanna do?
How many more times, treat me the way you wanna do?
When I give you all my love, please, please be true.

First Lines Poem (all materials are attributed to the band and are not my original work)


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Edo Ergo Sum


Day 29 of NaPoWriMo - it is getting down to the wire but I am really trying to write everyday, even if I do not "publish" what I write.  Some things need more than ten revisions :)


Yesterday, the Day 28 prompt was a "color poem", write using a color, your favorite color, synonyms for your chosen color...

I didn't do it.

My favorite color is orange.  In addition to nothing rhyming with this poor word/color/citrus delight, there are not many good synonyms for orange.  The thing I like about orange?  It is vibrant, happy, strong.  A strong color.  Ever notice traffic cones, pill bottles, safety vests, and pencils are a variation of orange?   That is one workhorse of a color.  Anywho, couldn't really come up with a poem so I skipped.

Today's prompt is to use at least five non-English words in a poem.  Fairly straightforward.

Did you stop and think about how many "foreign" words we use every day in our speech?  Not just words that are derived from other languages, Americans using these phrases in their entirety.  (and not always lawyers and doctors)

"Prima donna".  "Status quo".  "Bon voyage".  "Khaki".  "Kudos".  "Deja vu".  "Bona fide".

Words and languages have always interested me deeply.  To communicate is innately human.  I have taken Latin, Italian, German, Spanish for Medical Professionals (okay the last one may not be helpful when ordering food but I can tell you what hurts after I eat it.)  The teaching of foreign languages in the typical school district is usually the first thing to be cut.   English is the language of the world, it seems, but for how much longer?  Colleges are cutting the typical Romance Languages while adding Chinese and Arabic classes to capacity.

Are Business (with a capital "B") and global terror threats (real and imagined) our driving force to learn a second language?  Why did we all take Italian and French in high school and college?  We all weren't planning on moving abroad but it impressed our dates when ordering food or reading articles in "The New Yorkers" with it French Word Dropping For No Reason in the Middle of an Article.

I enjoyed Latin.  Not just for SAT prep, it helped in life.  When I was studying any other subject I had a glimmer of a clue what was going on.  Latin is like a secret handshake and is on the serious decline.  If you caught Pope Fever earlier this year, all the news outlets learned one phrase and were very proud of themselves.  And that is how many people view the importance of languages we don't use every day.  Pope Electing, What Body Part is my Doctor Going to Fix, What Meat is in the Cassoulet, Is that German Angry or Asking Me to Hug...

Anyway, long ass entry for me today.  End result = no poem (good for you), long diatribe on why I believe language is important.  Challenge yourself today, go read some poetry in the language you took in school.  See how much comes back to you.  See the beauty in the rhythm of words.