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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…..

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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.

 

“Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee” August 7, 2013

At least that’s what Muhammad Ali said….

How about stung by a wasp, and by the way, your momma is gonna collapse tomorrow?

That’s how I feel.

Sunday may have been the most scared I’ve ever been in a long time. Kam was out mowing the backyard and he got stung by a wasp on his ankle. When he came in he was scared, and obviously hurt, but nothing that he couldn’t recover from. As I was looking at the sting to see if there was still a stinger in his leg he started screaming and ran away from me. What I didn’t know, and found out seconds later, was that the wasp that stung his ankle crept into his shirt and continued to sting him. He became very frightened, which made me extremely frightened. He ran into his room screaming, Mr. D and I literally had to hold him down while he was twisting, screaming, and crying to pull his shirt off and kill that damn wasp.

That wasn’t the worst of it.

It hurts me, I mean it physically hurts me to be this honest. I just can’t lie, it’s just not part of my DNA anymore.

My son is damaged, and after this, there has to be something done. I’ll spare you the intimate details because he’s my son, I love him, and I would never ever do anything to hurt him. He’s hurting and I have to help him, and I’m the “CAN DO” person to the absolute extreme. I will do anything and everything to make absolutely sure that my son has the best life. It’s not negotiable.

I spent two and a half hours on Monday calling counselors. He didn’t want a female counselor, he wanted a male counselor. (By the way if you’re in college and thinking about a counseling career and you’re a upstanding male, that truly cares about children, I would highly recommend it, because you guys are in demand – big time.) The last call I made was to an out of network counselor that was accepting new people. I think the lady that I spoke to had pity on me (because after two and a half hours I was in tears) scheduled an appointment for my son because I basically begged her. I told my son that I had an appointment scheduled for him and he seemed happy about that, I was in turmoil. Questioning every move I’ve made for the last fourteen years.

“You’re only as happy as your saddest child” is what Dr. Phil says. I’ll be damned if that isn’t the truth.

I just have to believe that I’m doing the best thing for my son. I have to pray that the people around me will understand, and know that I have everyone’s best interest at heart.

But my son comes first.

 

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.

 

120 Days….. March 4, 2013

Have you seen the movie Argo? From the outside, watching trailers and such, it’s typically not my kind of movie. With all the awards it won and all they hype around it I decided to watch it tonight with Mr. D.

I’m so glad I did.

It’s based on a true story, so no spoilers here. We all know how it turned out. In 1979 the American embassy in Iran was invaded by revolutionaries and several Americans were taken hostage. Six managed to escape and hid out in the Canadian Ambassador’s house. Time was ticking away and the CIA decided it was time to get them out of there. That’s where Ben Affleck comes in as Tony Mendez. He devises a ruse based on complete bullshit to get the six out of there, and it works! I won’t give away the whole movie, but I highly recommend it if you need your faith in “nothing is impossible” restored.

Which brings me here. I realized tonight that tomorrow March 4th I will be 120 days sober.  Now, you might be asking yourself, what the hell does that have to do with the movie Argo? Bear with me, this post does have a chance.

When the embassy gets taken over by the revolutionaries the six people that escaped were just doing what they normally did everyday. The got up, went to work, and the shit hit the fan. Not unlike what happened to me. The shit hit the fan for me in November. Like me they escaped imprisonment (mine was self imposed,) even death, and found a safe place to hang out for 66 days. They were scared, tired, paranoid, mistrusting not only amongst the people that were trying to help them, but to themselves. I dropped off the grid basically for 60 Days during that time I was scared. I was worried about what people might think if I just told the truth.

While the six people are in hiding the CIA is wondering what the hell to do. They bring in Ben Affleck and after going over idea after idea of what might work, or what they could do to make this situation better Affleck comes up with the crazy idea to produce a nonexistent movie to get them home. He gets a couple of big wigs in Hollywood to back him, passports, new identifications for these people flies over to Iran pitches it to them and they say they’re not going to do it. Kinda like when I told my doctor I was going to “just stop drinking” and he said “do you know how many people say that to me and they end up right back here with me in six months?”

When the six resign themselves to the fact that they really don’t have any other choice than to trust Affleck they decide to go along with his plan. Then it gets hard, really hard. He gives them their new lives, their bios that Hollywood has decided will get them out of hell and back home. They have to become a stranger to themselves and everyone around them. Even to their spouses (there were two couples.) They can’t be who they are because who they are doesn’t get them out alive. By the way, they have to memorize their new lives and be able to believe it enough to blindside an Iranian interrogator (if needed) in two days. I had to reinvent myself. I didn’t know who I was going to be or if I would like who I really was once I (whoever the hell that is) came back. The idea of putting myself out there to other people when I forgot who Stephanie is without her liquid courage, scary.

After Affleck pitches the idea and the six buy into it. They start working tirelessly to become their new identity. When they’re ready to go, when it’s crunch time, the CIA pulls the plug. They tell Affleck not to go forward with the operation, they’re going to send in some Delta Force to get them and for him to come back. Taking the least risk, the easy way out. Trust me, it would have been a lot easier for me to make excuses and start drinking again. Affleck stays up all night, calls the guy at the CIA and tell him he’s going through with the operation and hangs up on him. The moment he decided he was going to go through with his plan, that for him there was no turning back, was a huge moment.

When I decided I wasn’t turning back was a huge moment for me. I wish I could tell you it was that moment with the doctor was when I decided I wasn’t going back, but it wasn’t. It was when I started feeling better, that is when I really had to decide. When you feel good it gives you the illusion that nothing is wrong and you start lying to yourself. You can start making excuses, it’s really easy, trust me. One drink can turn into five, I’m done living that lie.

The really weird thing is I have a crazy amount of will power. I wish I could give someone who needs a little will power just a bit of mine because it’s crazy. When I say I’m done with something, I’m done. I mean that’s it – period. Anyone that knows me can attest to that. I had to be done with drinking.

I am.

I really have to thank Mr. D. He’s put up with a lot and hung in with me. I would also like to thank the people who didn’t think I could do it, because I did.

(If you know someone who is struggling with addiction please don’t ignore it. I have decided not to go through a program, I just don’t think it would work for me. There are programs that DO want to help. It isn’t a no win situation, you can make it back. It won’t be easy, but I promise, it will be worth it.)

 

Are You There God, It’s Me Stephanie, Again January 16, 2013

I wrote a post last year titled: Are You There God, It’s Me Stephanie

I would suggest reading that post first and coming back to this one. I’m really proud of that post. It was probably one of the first times I really opened myself up and let you into part of my crazy world. I’m about to do it again – so here it goes…

Confirmation. So I decided not to have Kameron confirmed last year. The reason I told everyone else, and even myself, is that it would be nicer for Kameron if he waited and got confirmed with his class. He’s the oldest kid in his class. I decided on a recommendation from the pre-school that he attended to wait one more year before sending him to Kindergarten. He needed to develop more socially, and he was sad because his dad and I were starting what turned into a very long divorce process. Waiting for everyone else to catch up age wise and get confirmed with his class was a much better idea….

Better for me, because I wasn’t ready to have God back in my life.

I wasn’t even slightly interested. Even though my first post had a glimmer of hope in it, and I was hopeful, at least that is what I told myself. Honestly, the thought of going into church again made me sick to my stomach. So I sold Kameron on the idea of getting confirmed with his classmates, and he bought it. Which bought me time, because time heals all wounds right?

Sorta.

At least in my case. In that situation and others I was still fighting my secret battles.

Last Friday email – subject – Confirmation. This email didn’t catch me off-guard like last years email did. I knew it was getting close to time to start having meetings about confirmation. The email confirmed that yes, it was in fact time to start meeting about confirmation. Meeting at school (not church) about the confirmation that doesn’t happen until April/May buys me time. I can do meetings in my sleep. I can do uncomfortable meetings standing on my head. Meetings are not my problem. Wednesday night meeting – sure thing! So I had it in my head confirmation meeting Wednesday night, I can be as enthusiastic as I need to be.

A few hours later I get another email – subject – Meeting Change. I thought I hope it’s not a meeting on Thursday, I already have something going on. A change of plans. Instead of the meeting at the school on Wednesday night, we are going to church to have mass with the Archbishop. I put my head in my hands and said (fuck) very quietly to myself. Mass, that’s my first problem.  With the Archbishop is another problem, the bigger the hat in the Catholic Church the longer the mass. I’m looking at a an hour and a half mass easy. At this point it’s fair to say I would rather stick a pencil in my own eye than to have to walk into church tonight.

I haven’t been to church since my dad died, that’s not an accident. I’m still very upset and angry about the untimely death of my father. Where was God when my father died right before my very eyes? I asked for him, I prayed to him, I begged him on that day not to take my dad away from me. Yet my dad was gone that day, and it changed me forever.

Going back to church to me in a way is like saying it’s all good between me and God again. Which it clearly isn’t.

Then of course there is Kameron. Kameron is young and still has faith. He hasn’t had his faith tarnished by life and its unexpected curve balls it likes to throw at us. Even though he was old enough to understand what happened when my dad died, it didn’t break him like it did me. In Kameron’s eyes “Pop” is in heaven with God, having a good old-time. As time has gone on Kameron’s mentions of my dad have become fewer and fewer. In a way that makes me mad, but in a way I have to be happy for him. Knowing that his school is doing exactly what they’re suppose to be doing in religion class. Teaching that we are all God’s children, and that he loves us, flaws and all.

So I’m going, but I am not happy about it. I’m not going for myself, I’m going for Kameron, I don’t want to disappoint him. I promised him that I would try to make an effort and go to church more often. It was just going to be on my time-table, which kept getting pushed back further and further away. Abruptly, it is in my face and ready for me, scorn and all, at 7:00 p.m.

I doubt I’ll have some kind of epiphany, but if I do, you’ll read about it soon.

SED