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Soapbox * Disclaimer – Opinions Are My Own December 23, 2013

soapbox

Anyone that knows me personally knows that I have a slight, if not significant dispute with God.

Actually, it’s quite significant.

I sometimes feel like a hypocrite because I send my son to catholic school, even though I haven’t been to church in years. Not because I don’t believe in God (even though our relationship is very strained.) It’s because I don’t want to sit in the back of church sobbing, that’s why I haven’t been to church in years.

Look, I have rules. The two things I don’t talk about ever on Social Media:

  1. Religion
  2. Politics

Because honestly to whatever, whomever, you do or don’t believe in… I seriously don’t care. If I care about you personally, I will do whatever I can, whenever I can, if you need me I will be there to help you in any way I can.

Then I’ve seen all this crap spewed over Facebook and Twitter over these Duck Dynasty assholes,

Congratulations, you’ve got everyone talking about you. Good for you A&E!

I’m sure the hillbilly’s have never blown anything except a duck call device.

So I suppose I’ll break one of my own rules. Look, my parents paid a lot of money for me to go to catholic school, and I AM PAYING A LOT OF MONEY FOR MY SON TO GO TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL. That, by the way, does not mean that I agree with all of people that call themselves “Catholics” or “Christians” or whatever the hell they like to call themselves these days. It’s been my experience that all the heavy handed “God Squaders” (as I like to call them) are the biggest sinners. They’ll look you in the face and stab you in the back; unfortunately I’ve experienced this first hand.

Shame on you.

That’s right.

SHAME ON YOU.

Have you ever heard the expression “people that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?” While you’re preachin – you might start thinking about practicing what you’re actually preaching.

So why don’t you (that would be all of you barking up this tree)  just shut up?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t the idea be to LOVE?

Love – Beyond – Politics

Love – Beyond –  Religion

Love – Despite differences.

It’s easy if you try.

I think someone wrote a song about that once…..

 

I Hear A Pounding In My Head September 16, 2013

Then I hear silence.

The silence I’m grateful for, it seems peaceful in this cluttered mind of mine.

What I am grateful for today:

I have my husband, my son, and my stepdaughter. They have believed in me beyond measure, for that I am truly grateful.

I have work at a place where I believe people truly care about me. For that I am immensely grateful.

I have friends, some I’ve known for 30 years, some I’ve only met via the internet. For those friends I’m truly grateful.

The loss, I haven’t overcome it, and I don’t know if I ever will.

I will do the best I can for everyone I can (including myself) – please, if you feel like I’m not giving you my best tell me. I promise I will make it right.

 

Flakes, Impossible To Duplicate July 25, 2013

basementAnd why would you? I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my best friend of 33 years, Brandy. (Disclaimer – yes, she still admits to knowing me and being my friend.)

I know I met Brandy when I was about seven, but I don’t remember much of it. I just remember that if I wanted to get out of my house and go somewhere else she was about nine or ten houses away, and I was almost always welcome. We grew up together. We went through everything together, from the first time I kissed a boy, to hanging out in a camper when it was well over 100 degrees (just to avoid our parents), a leaky basement that became my home when my youngest sister was born, Maid of Honor in my first wedding (that didn’t last a year), her family moving to Louisville (I felt like I lost her), later looking her up and finding out that she was literally five minutes away from where I lived. We’ve always been together, she has never left my mind or my side when it really counted. There is no one else that I could ever say that about.

That’s why she’s my best friend.

She’s also married to a great guy (that I introduced her to – by the way.) I suppose my only regret about our relationship is that I wasn’t invited to her wedding. It was a complicated situation, and I understand why things happened the way they did. I wish it could have been different, I would have really liked to have been there. It was the best outcome of an impossible situation, she’s happy, that’s all that matters. That’s all that has ever mattered to me.

Brandy is a person that I’m proud to call my best friend. I mean, come on, I’m kind of a jerk. I’ve been less than worthy of this friendship many times, Brandy has stuck with me, that means a lot more than I could ever express to her.

So I think I should thank Brandy in a “proper” way. So here goes 33ish years of dirt that I won’t explain, but Brandy knows what I’m talking about.

1. Fly swatters are a multi-purpose item
2. Ramen is good
3. Being the oldest isn’t always the best, but it prepares you for life
4. Plaid shirt are never really in style at our age
5. You can light a cigarette off of a space heater
6. You can watch a movie over a thousand times and it never gets old
7. Distance doesn’t matter
8. Popping zits can be fun
9. Spray paint is good for the soul
10. Licking the stuff off of Cool Ranch Doritoes isn’t weird
11. Bible papers don’t make good joints
12. Purple Passion
13. You can dress up any dress
14. Best friends will only tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter if you want to hear it
15. We’re only a text away
16. We’re not perfect, and we never really planned on it
17. You were the only person my mother ever believed
18. Skateboarders make horrible boyfriends
19. You can light a wall on fire with Aqua Net and a lighter
20. You can loose people too soon
21. You can forget what’s important, but remember before it’s too late
22. We’re parents??
23. You can get lost coming home from a concert
24. Fuzzy navels aren’t as spectacular as they sound
25. ET phone home
26. Restaurants aren’t the optimal place to grow up
27. When someone tells you “it’s a bad idea” you should probably listen
28. Sump pumps in Broad Ripple suck ass
29. Your braces made you more awesome
30. When I hug you I don’t want to let go
31. You believed in me when no one else ever did
32. You’re a great person/friend/mother
33. Let’s hang on for another 30 years or so, we’ll be crazy as shit, our kids
will make fun of us and we won’t care. That’s pretty awesome.

Thank you so much for being my best friend, I love you very much!

 

What I Wish I Didn’t Wear June 17, 2013

necklace sA necklace.

If you work with me or know me you might have noticed I wear a silver necklace. It’s a longer necklace so the charm on it isn’t obvious unless I pull it out or it makes its way out of my shirt. What hangs from that necklace means more to me than most things do. It can’t be replaced. It’s my Dad’s thumbprint.

It’s hard to believe that my Dad has been gone for four years in September.

People leave memories with us that will last for the rest of our lives. Some of the memories my Dad and I shared were the best times of my life. Teaching me about football, and watching me learn to love it. Kameron being born, and what a great Pop he was.  Mr. D and I getting married, knowing that the third time really was the charm.  Going to Lambeau Field together, our first trip together! Watching the Packers play in Indianapolis, tailgating with those silly Indianapolis fans.  Sunday football, coming over to my house every Sunday to watch the Packers play. Catching my first fish.  Teaching me how to jump a car. The difference between a flat head and a phillips head screwdriver. How to check a breaker and change a fuse. How to buy a car. How to make home made french fries. That Mikesell’s Rippled Potato Chips work best with Dean’s French Onion Dip. And the way to his heart was through my deviled eggs. Those are just a few of the millions of things that he taught me.

The selfish part of me missed my Dad, even though I know he’s in a better place.

The worst part about it for me now is that I know he would be so proud of me (not that he wasn’t before.)  He would be so ridiculously proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. It really has been awesome, and I thank sincerely the people that have (REALLY) supported me (Firebelly Team – Duncan Alney)  -my gratitude and your belief in me is immeasurable. I sincerely from the bottom of my heart thank you. I’m so happy!

Without my Dad there is a space in my heart that can’t be replaced. I don’t get to tell him about the awesome day I’ve had. I don’t have that smile, or pat on my shoulder anymore, he was the one person who always believed in me, no matter what the circumstances.

Things aren’t the same without you Dad, I love you and miss you so much.

I’m kicking ass Johnno, I hope you know.

 

Dogs and Spirits April 22, 2013

Johnno at Lambeau

Johnno at Lambeau

While I was dishing about my Food Network addiction earlier on Twitter something else happened. Some of you might find this a bit bizarre and that’s ok. By now I’m use to the questions or comments I get sometimes after I spill my guts all over the social media world. Don’t mind me while I spill, again.

I’ve heard more than several times in my life that dogs can see spirits, or ghosts, whatever you care to call it. I don’t like the word ghost, especially after my dad passed away. I’m sorry, I just don’t see Johnno floating around in some Casper-like state. Whenever I think of him I always think of him in jeans and a Packers or green golf shirt. That was standard issue Johnno garb. Another thing I don’t see my Dad in is wings. I can just picture my Dad entering the gates of heaven and giving a big “Hell No” to St. Peter as he tries to give my Dad wings. Wings the group he liked, the feathery things, not so much.

I believe in an after life. I believe when our time comes that we will see the loved ones that we have lost in our lifetime. I have to believe that, I have to believe that A LOT. I also believe that every once in a while spirits like to have a little fun with those of us here on earth. Us and our pets.

I have a leather couch it seats three comfortably. When my Dad was over watching a Packers game everyone had their “assigned” seats. They weren’t really assigned, but you would have thought they were if you came over to my house every Sunday. I sat in the middle, my Dad to my left, and Mr. D to my right. I still sit in the middle, and Mr. D still sits on the right. We don’t do it on purpose, we’ve just did it that way for a number of years, I guess it’s a tradition. My dog Shayla takes up Johnno’s now empty spot. It’s where she crashes out for 18 hours a day. Seriously, I think my dog is part cat.

Anyway while I was confessing my Food Network addiction on twitter Shayla was nuzzled up right next to me, which is weird. She really only does that with Mr. D or Kameron, Sam when she’s home. I really hadn’t noticed she was there until her tail started the happy thump. Then she looked up in the air and started licking the air, like someone had put their hand in the air in front of her and she started to go to town on it. I sat and watched her thinking she had lost her mind, but she kept at it, for like two minutes. I said “Shayla what are you doing” she stopped to look at me but went right back to it. I thought of my Dad, he would always pet Sha-na-na (as he called her) when he sat down and she would lick his hand. I decided to put my hand above her to see if she would lick it, nope. When I took my hand away the tail thumping and air licking continued. I closed my eyes and placed my hand on the left seat of my couch, expecting it to be cool to the touch. It was warm, like someone had been sitting there. Then Shayla stopped her licking and put her head down.

I think my Dad can sense when I need him around. Sometimes it’s an unexpected penny. Sometimes the lights go off. Sometimes he plays with my dog. Whenever those things, and other things happen I smile because I know he’s with me. Someday we’ll be together again.

 

It’s Serious Business People February 22, 2013

Tuna Salad. I take it very seriously.

Until today I had one true love, one location, no other tuna salad existed. I’ve had others and always felt guilty afterwards.

Today…. A new tuna salad rocked my world and I’m not ashamed to say it.

My friend Jenn Lisak invited me to lunch at SoBro Cafe yesterday. I’ve never been to SoBro before so like any good food lover I checked out their menu before I went.

The first thing I noticed on their menu was their claim to have “Impeccable Chai” for a sorta spiffy price. I said out-loud (to myself) “they must be pretty damn proud of that tea.” When I arrived at the cozy spot I ordered the Impeccable Chai straight away. I think the server could sense a hint of sarcasm when I ordered it, she just smiled sweetly as to say, yeah, you’ll see. So.. I’m an ass because it truly is impeccable. Perfectly creamy and the right hint of warm spices. I was almost transported to another place when she asked if I “liked it?” I said “yes” sheepishly, and took another sip.

The lunch menu has a wide variety of sandwiches, soups, and such to nosh on (lots and lots of Gluten Free and Vegan options here my friends.) My eye went directly to the Tunisian Salad which I noticed after perusing the menu the night before. The Tunisian Salad is tuna salad with potatoes, lemon caper dill sauce on texas toast with harissa, boiled egg, and melted cheddar cheese. Ordering this meant I was going out of my tuna salad comfort zone. I’ve only been out maybe half a dozen times and have always been disappointed. Then I thought, if the Chai is that damn good, the sandwich has to be good. I asked the server if the sandwich was good, she said it was “excellent” – that’s a done deal. Chips came with it, but I opted for a kale salad. The kale salad was dressed nicely with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

When the sandwich arrived it looked so delicious. So much so that I lost my head and didn’t take of picture of it before taking a bite! Wow, that’s all I can say. There is some love in that tuna salad. Salty from capers, acid from the lemon, sweetness from the mayo, and heat which must have been from the harissa. It’s safe to say a changing of the guard happened in my tuna salad world. I’ll have fond memories of my old tuna salad, our times together, as I drive past it to go back to SoBro Cafe.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s more. After we finished our lunch the owner brought out a piece of cake for us. It was a slice of banana (thanks Gwen Stefani) cake with peanut butter icing.  It had the consistency of a carrot cake, it was sweet but not too sweet. I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t typically order a piece of banana cake, it was a very nice surprise.

I’ll definitely go back to SoBro Cafe. They have brunch on Saturday and Sunday which always perks Mr. D’s ears up. If you’re not a fan of tuna salad, get the Chai and thank me later.

SoBro Cafe

SoBro Cafe – Menu, Hours, Etc.

SoBro Cafe on Facebook

SoBro Cafe on Twitter

 

Why I Don’t Like Halloween October 30, 2012

Most of the names in this post were changed to protect the guilty.

 

Right now the kids are getting all geeked up about their costumes, plotting out which houses they will be hitting for the best candy. Every year that passes, I get less and less enthused. I mean Halloween was fun when Kameron was little, now it’s like when is enough enough? You’re thirteen, I’m thinking next year he will be passing out candy instead of giving it away.

When is enough enough?

This post isn’t about candy, it’s about something that most people don’t know about me.

Imagine a 19 year old girl. Just graduated from high school. Worked full-time selling shoes for Nine West because I wasn’t interested in going to college right away, and when your parents tell you they’re not paying for college, you need to explore other options. The options were, live with my parents (yuck), continue working (yay), anything else could just come my way. I was young.

I don’t remember where I met “Chris” it must have been at a party somewhere. Chris was 21, so he could buy alcohol for all the parties . Chris also had just graduated from an in state college with a degree in electronics. He had a fast car, a charming personality, an apartment that I was welcome to stay at whenever I wanted (which pissed my parents off.) He would me make me  feel like I was the only person in the world, and he did for awhile.

We had been dating for a while and Chris decided it was time for me to meet his parents. Terri, his mother, was a nurse. She worked third shift at a hospital in southern Indiana. Chris’s dad wasn’t around. He never paid any child support, never saw Chris, the typical dead beat dad story. Terri got remarried several years later to Bob. Bob, Chris, and Michael (Chris’s older brother) never really got along. I don’t know if it was the stepfather thing, or that he just seemed to be in a rotten mood whenever we saw him. Except when I was around. Bob and I had and instant connection, we both loved IU Basketball. It just happened when Chris and I were dating it was basketball season, and I was able to get tickets for a ballgame. Bob had never been to a game at IU, so that carried a lot of weight, besides the fact that he liked me already. What he didn’t like, and that I really didn’t notice until later that Terri was giving Chris money under the table. I remember Chris being on the phone with his mother asking her how many extra shifts she would be working because he had some bill he had to pay. I should have thought there was something wrong with that, now that I’m 30ish I would totally think there was something wrong with it. It just happened so often, and it never seemed to be an issue that the 19-year-old me didn’t give it a second thought.

That should have been a red flag right?

You have to remember I was 19, and when a handsome guy gets down on his knee to ask you to marry him, it’s pretty overwhelming. My parents weren’t happy. Not that they didn’t like Chris, they just thought we were too young. Then I reminded both of them how old they were when they got married, that pretty much ended the conversation.

We decided on a Halloween Wedding. How much fun is that right? A traditional Catholic wedding, and a costume party reception.Chris even went through the RCIA to become Catholic, I think he did it mostly to please my parents. People loved it. Even my parents warmed up to the idea. So the plan began. We were married on October, 31 on a perfect fall day. Everyone showed up in costumes. The diner was delicious – my family cooked it. The music was scary and fun. It was a fun wedding.

In the mean time Chris and I moved in together. It was a town house on the upper west side of Indy. It was odd, because he worked on the south side, and I worked downtown. While we were in the townhouse we began looking at houses. I think it took us less than three days to find the lovely chateau in Whiteland. Our backdoor lead us right to the park, where I imagined our children would play someday.

Dealing with mortgages in the 90’s was just as difficult as is it now. I took months to get the financing (which Chris fudged the numbers a lot, he was getting his salary and added the money he got monthly, sometimes weekly from his mother.) We begged my grandmother for the down-payment which was $5,000.00 that we promised we would pay back. I somehow knew Chris would never let happen, he talked her into it, he was conniving.

I suggested that maybe we should wait to move, that maybe borrowing money wasn’t the best idea.

That was the first time he hit me. I was in shock. Then he grabbed my face and said “don’t ever question my motives again, I’m doing this for you bitch.” It scared the shit out of me.

We were approved for the house, and the excitement of starting in a new space made me have a little hope that things were going to get better. When my sister was over helping us pack for our move she said something to piss Chris off, I don’t even remember what she said. Chris choked my sister, and came after me. I threw my rings in the snow and swore I would never come back. I went to my parents to stay for a little while. I think they knew what was going on, but I was too ashamed to acknowledge they were right. On the day of my wedding my Dad said to me “you know you can hold my hand and we can walk out of here.” I knew then he was right, but I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I was young and impressions were a big thing to me.

Chris crawled like a dog, promising counseling, a new life in our new house, and he had finally got a full-time job, so the stress was going to go away. I was still 19, and I still wanted to believe him.

So I got married. Not too long after the abuse continued. He would hit me in places that people couldn’t see. Never my face, always my legs, ribs, upper thighs. He would taunt me, “who are you going to tell, no one will believe you, because everyone knows what a whore you are.” This from the man that suggested that I have an abortion after taking a positive pregnancy test six months after we were married. It turned out that I wasn’t pregnant, thank God I wouldn’t be attached to him for the rest of my life.

I began a plan. I don’t know if that is exactly right, I decided that I was going to leave Chris, but I was tremendously afraid that he would kill me .He held a shotgun to my head and swore that he would kill me if I ever left him.  I knew in my heart of hearts that he would kill me. I lived in fear everyday.

I met a friend Susan thorough another person that I worked with. Susan did nails, and from what I saw from Teresa they looked beautiful. Chris and I were making a little more money, so he encouraged me to get my nails done – he was always about appearances, I was living in a fog.

I remember the first time I met Susan at her apartment, she pulled back my sleeves and looked at me. I think she said “are you ok?” I said “no” and “could you just do my nails?” About an hour of getting to know each other Chris showed up to her apartment, just to make sure how things were going (actually checking up on me to see if I was where I said I was.) After playing twenty questions with Susan he decided to leave. After he was gone, Susan asked “are you ok?” I think the expression on my face told her all she needed to know.

The next weekend Susan asked me to go with her to the Bob & Tom Lake Monroe Party. I spoke to Chris about it. We fought, it was bad this time. He kicked down the door, threw everything off the walls, and left me in a corner of the bathroom with fresh bruises and a bloody nose.

When Chris would beat me that severely he would leave all night. I decided when Susan came to my house I was going to the lake. I was going to think long and hard about divorcing Chris. I figured that if was going to get the beating wrath when I got home, so why not have some fun for a few hours? When Susan knocked on my door, it fell right into the living room because Chris had kicked it in the night before.

When I did get home I found the door still kicked in, all of my things knocked off the walls, the coffee table on it’s side..and a note from Chris saying “I made him do this and he wouldn’t be back in the morning because he had to work, but he would deal with me later.”

Then the phone rang, it was Chris. He said” have you been listening to Bob and Tom?” I said “no.” “Turn it on” was all he said, and hung up. I immediately turned on the radio, my friend, Zack Steinke, who I went to grade school and high school with was dead. Dead at the age of 17. The cause of death was the life loving child was wanting to go on a bungee jumping in South Carolina. The elevator that took Zach up to where he would jump snapped and Zach fell to his death in front of his parents. Zach was a thrill seeker, outstanding student, he was the Ferris Bueller of Chatard High School.

I got beaten because I wanted to go to his funeral. “You whore, you probably slept with him didn’t you?” I was paralyzed with fear, but went to the funeral anyway.

After Zach’s death I decided the life I was living was no longer for me. I was going to get killed. So when Chris left for work at a very early hour I left. The only things I took were my clothes, I called my friend Susan, and she just asked where and when. I asked her to meet me at my house between 8:30 a.m and 9:00 am. That way I knew he would be gone. I shoved all of my clothes into Susan’s car and kept saying “I’m sorry.”

Months later we got divorced. He got the house, I got the clothes on my back and my day bed. And my life, I got my life back.

You are stronger than you think, and even then, you are stronger.