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Sometimes My Son Reappears December 13, 2013

We’ve had growing pains, Kameron and I. I don’t like that he’s not my sweet little boy that he once was, and he doesn’t like that his mom is extremely hard on him. Thankfully, every once in awhile that sweet boy comes back, if even for a moment. Tonight he did, and I thought I would share.

Assignment: Write a letter to a Kindergartner from Santa about Christmas.

“Dear Kindergartner,

I am delighted that you wrote me this letter of your Christmas list this year. My elves are working on making and buying all the other children’s presents for this year, including yours. Mrs. Clause is in her kitchen baking cookies and our feast for Christmas Eve, which is full of mashed potatoes, green beans, pudding, and roast beef. Our weather in the North Pole is freezing compared to Indiana. The polar bears are cold even in their fur coats, the penguins are hiding in their igloos, and even the reindeer are feeling like icicles. Dasher is running all around the house. Dancer is dancing his hooves off. Prancer is not prancing but pacing. Prixen is eating all of the Twix chocolate bars. Comet is trying to fly across the sky. Cupid is showing love to me and everyone else in the North Pole. Donder is bonding himself with joy. Blitzen is sprinting at the speed of light. Rudolph is shining his nose to show positive energy. Meanwhile, I am checking my list to see who was naughty and nice.

I am getting ready with my sleigh, my sack of presents and coal, and I will be at your house very soon.

Thank you for writing this letter of your list to me and have a Merry Christmas.

Sincerely,

Santa”

That’s my boy….

 

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.

 

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.

 

What Mom Doesn’t Want For Mother’s Day May 11, 2013

I know, ok, I get it. I’m guilty of last-minute shopping. It’s not an accident that someone coined the phrase “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody gonna be happy.” Someone went through some stuff to come up with that phrase, let me tell you.

I’m in a giving kind of mood today, so I decided to help you. Here are some things that you should never, under any circumstances, ever get your Mom for Mother’s Day.

* Another hand painted ceramic piece of pottery. I mean it was cute the first time, and if you have grandkids we might give you a pass on this until they’re like five. Seriously, we have enough of those things to fill up an entire cabinet in our kitchen, and we’re running out of room in our kitchen, which makes us really cranky.

* Anything with “World’s Best Mom” on it. We already know we’re the best. Actions speak louder than words. Do a load of laundry, fold it, and put it away if you really want to yank on our heartstrings.

* Another gift set of soap or lotion. Think of the last time your mom took a bubble bath. Case closed.

* Made up coupons. Like the ones that say “1 free car wash” or “1 breakfast in bed.” We can drive through a car wash if we need to. Breakfast in bed? So we can clean up the dishes after you make a mess?

* Cleaning supplies. Even the fancy “green” stuff. All that makes us think about is housework, which we despise.

* An apron. For what exactly? So we can make you dinner?

* A memory charm bracelet. We’ll wear it once, and you’ll never see it again. Remember?

* A planter. Really?

* Any type of kitchen appliance, unless we specifically ask for it, just don’t.

* A scale. Unless you want to die.

 

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.

 

Ashley March 8, 2013

My relationship with my sister Ashley has always been different. I’m thirteen years older than her. By the time she was six years old I was out of the house starting my crazy life, she doesn’t remember us ever living together.

ME AND ASH (2)

There was a little while when we were somewhat close. Before I got divorced from Kameron’s dad and before she started playing softball in high school. After the divorce and softball started our lives just went in different directions. Being thirteen years apart didn’t help. She was doing high school things, I was doing more grown up things – like working 50 hours a week – paying house payments – fun stuff grownups get to do.

One thing we do have in common was my son Kameron. She loves him and he loves his Aunt Ashley. She is his godmother, his confirmation sponsor, acting supporter, WWE update listener, sushi eating buddy, along with many other things.

Another thing we have in common was love for our Dad. There is no question that my sisters and I almost competed for our Dad’s affection. What I think the three of us all came to realize and accept is that he loved all of us very much, but had very different relationships with us individually. There is no question though when my Dad died it drew a line in the sand between the three daughters he left behind. None of us realized how my Dad kept the peace in the family until he was no longer there to do it. Devastation sometimes can bring people together, in my case it drove me further and further away from my family. What was already a different relationship between Ashley and I became strained, and then nonexistent.

All of my relationships changed after my Dad died. It wasn’t just with Ashley. I was lost, so lost that at times I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back.

Since I have made it back something unexpected and nice, very nice, has happened.

Ashley has been very supportive of me not drinking. If you would have told me she would be one of my biggest supporters I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have believed that. We also are big fans of The Bachelor. Ashley has come over to my house and we’ve watched a few episodes together. Next Monday (3/11) when Mr. D and Kam will be at the WWE Event, Ashley and I have our own little Bachelor Finale party planned. We’re going to cook a big dinner, talk at the t.v., and bask in all the drama that The Bachelor provides. I think we should bet too..I’ll have to come up with something. Not like bet on who he chooses, but bet on how many times everyone says “amazing” – an over /under thing on that might be cool.

It’s fun to have my sister to talk to and hang out with, who knew right?!?

I would just really like to say thanks Ash for being supportive, and watching The Bachelor smut with me. It means a lot to me!

I love you!

Ash & me

 

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.)

 

Kameron Goes To D.C. October 12, 2012

I’ve been agonizing over this for weeks. Kameron taking a class trip to Washington D.C.

To Our Lady of Greenwoods credit, they were very organized planning the trip. Meeting after meeting, they had the trip planned down to the last-minute. So why worry right? Kam is in the very capable hands of OLG and their chaperons.

The activities they have planned for the next two days are unbelievable really. A trip to the Smithsonian Institute, the Holocaust Museum, mass at the National Shrine, a guided tour of DC including the White House, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, The Lincoln Memorial, The Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Monument, and that’s just the first day!

Today the kids get to go to Fords Theater, US Capitol Building (tour), lunch at Union Station, Mt. Vernon, Alexandria walking tour. After that, get this, a private pizza dinner and dance cruise on the Potomac!

Tomorrow they get to visit the US Marine Corp War Memorial and are touring Arlington National Cemetery that includes a changing of the guard and a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then they come home.

Pretty exciting stuff right? Kameron was totally stoked going to the airport at 4:30 in the morning, me, not so much. When we got in he immediately found his friends and starting talking with them. I was trying to take a picture of him – this is what I got, annoyed as hell. His chaperone found his group and they started getting their tickets. I could feel my stomach churning as they grabbed their boarding passes.

I thought is he going to be too cool to say bye to his mom with all his friends around?

I get a little wonky when Kameron isn’t around. He’s been to CYO camp but that’s only 45 minutes away. This was a big trip for him, and just another step in the process of those words I really hate; growing up.

Looking at Mr. D I was like well, I guess it’s time to go. Then I heard “Mom.” I turned and Kameron had stepped away from his group and was motioning us over. I walked over to give him a hug (lying to myself that I wouldn’t cry.) He hugged me and then hugged Mr. D. Then he hugged me again, a little tighter than before. I told him that I loved him and to have a good time. “Ok” was my answer, and he was off.

I of course cried all the way to the car.

I was very happy to get a text message from Kam last night that said “We are in Washington D.C.” I asked if the plane ride was ok (he has problems with his ears) “Yes” he said. I was all great, have fun, I love you, text me if you want…I waited for a reply. Nothing. He did his due diligence and was off to monkey around with his friends. Which is fine. I’m surprised I got the text.

I’ll be very happy to see my little man and hear all about his great adventure in D.C. tomorrow, and to have him home.