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Social Media Is About Friends January 25, 2014

Remembering Gordo

My Uncle Gordon “Gordo” passed away on Monday. Our family knew he was not doing well, but the undeniable event landed right in our lap Monday around 3 p.m. When my Cousin asked me “what do we do? We have 30 people coming into town and I have to handle the funeral arrangements. Can you get the food together? I said yes, and without a thought I messaged my friend Russ . Inside info on Russ, he’s an awesome guy, his wife Kate are completely adorable.

All I did was message Russ that I needed his help, I needed this to be a seamless, low key, no problem type of deal, Russ delivered in a huge way, for that my family that we will be forever grateful.

The ceremony was truly beautiful, but the execution at Thr3e Wish Men was as good as it gets. Everyone had what they wanted, food was awesome, drinks were full, it felt like there was nothing else that could have possibly been done.  http://www.thr3ewisemen.com

Thanks Russ, you came through for us when we really needed it!   gordo3

mjk

 

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…..

 

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….

 

What’s The Big Deal? December 5, 2013

Changing your profile picture.

I see people do it every day. I see people change their pictures several times a week, and I think if they can do it why can’t I?

Well the answer is simple to me. It might seem irrational and ridiculous to you, but I can assure you as I sit here writing this, it is not simple. It’s gut wrenchingly painful.

Then you might say to yourself, what the hell is she talking about? Stephanie has changed her Twitter and her LinkedIn profile picture this week, and I would look at you and say, you’re right I have, but not my Facebook picture. In fact there have only been a few variations of my Facebook profile picture over the last four and a half years. You might recognize them.

Image Image Image Image

Image

Ok, so let me stop you right there. In your mind, if you don’t know me, hell maybe if you do, you’re thinking c.r.a.z.y. To me it’s not, I’ll explain. Twitter is where I go to blow off steam, have some fun. I’ve seem some crazy stuff on twitter, and I’ve been a part of some of the crazy on twitter…I’ll be the first to admit that. LinkedIn is a business page and I treat it as such. I share information and updates about social media, hardly ever about my personal life. I mean if you were stalking me LinkedIn is probably the last place you’d want to go. I’ve even been quiet on my blog, not intentionally, but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to actually sit and think about things like this. 

The other night I was writing a blog about social media and resolutions for 2014, which made me think, what should I change next year? The thought came almost immediately to me, like my Dad was screaming at me. I ignored it and pressed on, I have deadlines you know. Then again, like he was standing right in front of me saying “enough already, change the damn profile picture.”

I stopped, looked around, and started to cry.

Facebook is where I reside now, it is where I spend most of my time. I do most of my work on Facebook. Facebook is also my personal space. It became really personal a couple of months ago when I found out that my space had been violated.

But I’m Stephanie right? I like challenges. I thrive on variety and change. Dullness and routine is the quickest way (if you’re trying) to get rid of me.

So why can’t I change my profile picture?

Because it’s the last thing.

I have changed the picture, but it’s only been variations of Dad and I together. If I change that profile picture it’s almost like (to me) I’m saying goodbye to my Dad forever.  If my Dad were here today he would say “isn’t that the dumbest god damn thing you’ve ever heard?” If it were someone else I’d say “hell yes.”

The problem is it’s not someone else, it’s me.

So I tried this week. I had Angela take a picture of me in the office this week with my new “geek” sweater on, saying it was to “prove to my sister” that I had a sweater that actually said “geek” on it. Then I tried again, until I found out it was “Unselfie Tuesday” or some kind of crap like that. So I figured it just wasn’t time for me to change it. Until I racked my brain trying to think of a blog to write last night and came up with “Social Media Resolutions.” Clever I thought; until I started thinking about my own social resolutions and the Dad interference.

First on the agenda for 2014, a new profile picture for all of my social media platforms, including Facebook (GULP). I can’t do it because I take terrible pictures of myself and Mr. D is pretty much useless with a camera. I need a picture, and I know exactly what it looks like in my head, and my Dad would be proud of it, and of me, I think he would be proud of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Wonder If It Will Burn Down October 1, 2013

The church I mean.

Tonight will be the first time I’ve gone to church since my Dad’s funeral.

It’s not for a funeral this time, it’s for a celebration. Kameron is getting confirmed tonight. Although, I still don’t know what the hell that means.

Kameron went to a retreat last Saturday to talk with his fellow classmates and other ministry type adults about confirmation. When I asked him about his day he was pretty nondescript. I went through the usual questions “Did you have a good time” “What did you guys do” – you know the typical questions any parent might ask. He mentioned that they broke into groups to talk about confirmation and what it meant to them. I asked, what does it mean to you? He sighed and rolled his eyes at me and said ‘they asked me why I wanted to get confirmed.” Looking at him, I could tell he was annoyed, but I pressed on, “what did you tell them?” He said “I wanted to get confirmed because both of my parents are confirmed” (sidebar – parents meaning me and Mr. D for anyone that might be confused.) I asked “is that all you said?” Knowing that the catholic church or their ministry type people probably wouldn’t accept that answer. He said “NO” sounding frustrated, “they asked me why I wanted to get confirmed.” (Here comes the big eye roll)….”I told them it was because I wanted to strengthen my faith.”

Sounded pretty good to me, I guess they bought it.

My memory of confirmation was my mom threatening me – “if you don’t get confirmed you’ll go to Broad Ripple High School because I’m not paying the tuition at Chatard unless you get confirmed.” I can remember that conversation like it was yesterday. I’ve never told Kameron that he had to get confirmed or he couldn’t go to Roncalli.

I hope tonight is more about a spiritual thing than a threat. About a year ago I promised Kameron that “we” as a family would go to church more often. I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain. It’s been too hard. I’ve told Mr. D that I didn’t want to sit in the back of the church and cry. I still haven’t found the answers as to why my Dad isn’t with me anymore, and even if someone gave me answers it wouldn’t be good enough.

Maybe I should just sit in the back of the church and cry, someday, but not today.

Today is Kameron’s day, as it should be.

`

 

The Question I’ve Avoided For 14 Years.. September 24, 2013

me and kam

Until tonight.

“Mom, why did you and dad get a divorce?”

Honestly, I’ve prepared myself for this moment for the last three or four years. I’ve gone through the situation in my head over and over again until it was completely exhausting. I’ve read books, watched so many Dr. Phil shows it’s almost embarrassing, but nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for tonight when my son asked me that question.

We were just sitting around the dining room table finishing up dinner and doing social studies notes when he looked at me straight in the face and asked “why did you and dad get a divorce?”kam glasses

I sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity, it was probably only a couple of seconds, but it felt like the last fourteen years of my life has suddenly passed before my eyes. I looked across the table at Mr. D who looked as surprised as I was, anxiously waiting for me to answer. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I got my son into counseling about two months ago. He was having some anxiety about being in the eighth grade, high school, puberty, girls, friends, stress – I’m happy I found him someone to talk to, but I wasn’t expecting my usual non confrontational son to ask me about the end of our “happy” family at 7:30 on a Monday night.

The truth is, I should have seen this coming. He was questioning his dad (I use ‘dad’ very loosely) about why he didn’t get any one on one time with him. Why he wasn’t as important as his other kids. Why his “first son” wasn’t as important to him as his other children. I mean I gotta tell you, I’ve always encouraged some kid of relationship with his dad, no matter what it was, but his dad is a poor excuse for a dad. He’s an embarrassment if you want to really know the truth. If you don’t know me, I’m kind of a loud mouth, but I have made the exception with my son’s father, no matter what he says. I’ve watched enough Dr. Phil to know that children learn what they live, and saying something detrimental about his father would someday come back to bite me in the ass. He would resent me, it’s just a fact. I’ve kept my mouth shut, bitten my tongue more times than you can imagine, and it all comes down to that question.

I sat there and looked at my son waiting for him to look away, but this time he wasn’t looking away. He wanted answers, and I suppose it was high time I gave him the best answers I could. So I did.

kambo

I told him that his dad and I were married and that we were both very mean to each other. I told him that when I found out that I was pregnant with him, his dad and I were very excited and optimistic about the future. I told him that when he was born it was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me or his dad. I told him that when he was about a year old his dad and I started having problems, grown up problems, that didn’t have anything to do with him (even though I know kids have an amazing way to feel like everything is their fault.) I told him that we tried the best we could, but in the end, his dad and I decided that being together wasn’t the best thing for him. I did tell him that his dad and I did not do everything we could do to save our marriage. If I told him that we did it would be a lie, he was looking for answers, not lollipops and rainbows. I asked if he ever remembered his dad and I being together, he said no. Which I think is a blessing. I’ll admit I made mistakes, but I honestly gave my best effort the last time with his dad. In the end, he decided other things were more important, which reflects how he is today, and the relationship he has with his son.

The best part of this story is that my son has my husband Mr. D. He’s everything any kid would want in a father. He’s loving, appreciative, patient, kind, funny, responsive, active, I could go on and on, but I don’t want to inflate his ego…

Being in this position is terrible. It’s just a bad situation. The worst part is that I don’t have any answers for my son except for the answers I gave him tonight. I don’t know if that is the end of the questions, I doubt it. At least my answers now (I hope) ensures that he won’t hate me later. Maybe those answers he’s looking for he will figure out for himself, if he hasn’t already.

I know I’ve done my absolute best, I know it. I’m good with that.

 

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.

 

It’s Wicked August 22, 2013

Tonight I was chatting with my best friend Brandy that is celebrating her 18th wedding anniversary this year to her husband Lonnie. I introduced them by the way… I should get some kind of best friend credit for that.

Anyway, while we were chatting she mentioned that “Wicked” was coming to town and tickets will go on sale in September.

August and September are sketchy months for me because of my Dad. I’m over the top emotional, I take everything personally. I smile, and hide my emotions. Honestly, I just do the best I can, for everyone I can, until after September 15th.

Anyway, this was not supposed to be a “feel sorry for Stephanie moment” because there are times I can laugh about my Dad. I can remember things about him and appreciate the times that we had, and the times that were especially funny. Which brings me back to Wicked.

You see Johnno was never a “let’s go to dinner and see a show” kind of guy. He was always “there’s a football game on, and where is my damn beer and onion dip” kind of guy. So when my mother started buying tickets to Broadway shows like Wicked, well, my Dad was less than enthused.

There are many moments with my Dad that I won’t forget, and this is one of them. (If you never met my Dad you could never really appreciate this, but you could see the humor in it.)

Wicked was at the Murat, we (Dad, Mom, Mr. D, and I went.) The conversation after the performance went like this….

Mom:  Wow, what a great show!

Me:  It really was great.

Mr. D:  It was awesome!

Johnno: Yeah…

Mom: (Asking everyone) Did you cry at the end?

Me: Yes!

Johnno: I cried too..

Mom: Really? You did? (more interested in my Dad’s response than anyone else.)  (Sounding hopeful..)

Johnno: Yeah, I cried…. I was just so happy it was finally over.

Mr. D said tonight that was one of his favorite memories of my Dad.. “Johnny Carson couldn’t have written a better script, that was one of Johnno’s all time greatest lines.”

That’s a memory that still makes me laugh.

 

I Am My Father’s Daughter August 14, 2013

johnno volume

I caught myself today driving with the top down in my car, listening to a “Wings” CD thinking to myself what a great moment, then reality (the bitch that it is) sunk in.

My appreciation for music, the “British Invasion”, and why I turn the volume all the way up in my car and pretty much embarrass Kam while I dance and drive in my car came from my Dad.

My Dad loved music, he loved it so much.

I don’t imagine my Dad ever being a musician, he never wanted to be a headliner. He was much happier behind the scenes. Truth be told, my Dad always wanted to be a DJ.

I’m not kidding.

I remember when I was a kid him making tapes of “The John Eppich Show.” Transferring albums to cassette tapes, adding his own improvisation between cuts. I can still see him sitting on the floor at our old house on Norwaldo making those tapes, yelling at me and my sister if we stomped across the carpet covered hard-wood floors. “The record skips if you walk by like that, walk softer damnit.” I can still see him in his huge headphones hunched over his cassette recorder with his microscopic microphone recording his favorite songs. Maybe he was living out a dream he had for himself that never came to pass, or maybe it was just a fun hobby. Whatever it was, “The John Eppich Show” didn’t survive the several floods that we had on Norwaldo. At least that’s what I think. If there was a cassette that survived I would want to have one of them. I would find a damn recorder to play it.

I am grateful that I have my Dad’s albums, and that I have a record player to play the records on. Sometimes it makes me sad listening to the songs that are so familiar to me growing up. Wishing I could look at my Dad and hear him say “that’s a helluva song baby, some day someone will be impressed that you knew that song and who sang it.”

Truth be told, the only person I was out to impress was him.

 

“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.