Category Archives: The Zebra

Delving into the Psyche, Depression/Anxiety, Happy Things, Spirituality, The Zebra

Spring

Snapseed-15.jpg

The kids and I have been on Spring Break and it has been so, so good.

Last week, I struggled under a wet blanket, made of wool and smelling of old damp things. Last week I had a flare up of one of my illnesses: this time it was depression. It was triggered by a small (not really) thing and I wound up spending 36 hours crying and trying not to cry at everything and nothing. Things got a little better after that, but I was still wearing shoes of cement and walking through boggy mindfields. It was a struggle to make it to the end of the week with some semblance of functioning, but the knowledge that spring break was on the horizon kept me going.

Things are scant now, we are in the winter of our life’s path and the seasons leading up to this winter were not exactly fecund so our stores were already low: money, goods… mental energy to handle the stressors that continually arise.

We have never been wealthy; we have always been low-income, but we managed to make ends meet and we managed to enjoy small extravagances through careful planning and resourcefulness. My first divorced Mother’s Day, I had only enough gas to get us to Balboa Park where we took a free tour and listened to a free concert and it is one of my favorite memories. But those days I had not yet been beaten down by all the various Systems that are antagonistic towards the poor or the disabled. It is harder these days to find energy to be resourceful like I used to be.

Snapseed-13.jpg

But this week has been such a blessing. Slowly, I have begun feeling like the old Me again. The kids and I have gone on a little hike to enjoy the superbloom of wildflowers, we visited the Wild Animal Park to see butterflies and take a tram ride, we visited my university for GradFest and my children looked on so proudly while I had my graduate photo taken. We have been silly together and we have navigated difficulties together. I have allowed myself plenty of rest and forgiven myself for not doing as much work as I had hoped. We have watched movies and played games. It has been the best week we’ve all had in a long, long time. We all feel happy.

Snapseed-21.jpg

I have felt myself being knitted back together.

I didn’t even realize I had come apart.

Snapseed-20.jpg

In my chest, in a place behind my stomach and nestled just below my heart: this is the place where I am held together by the threads of family and love and beauty and wholeness. Over time, through traumas and betrayals, my threads have been snipped or have come loose. It’s not something you notice right away; it happens so slowly like being boiled alive. And then you are walking around, jostling the parts of your soul until they are bruised. You walk more carefully like you are stepping on a floor of glass and too much movement will send you crashing through into the void below, but still you never notice.

Snapseed-22.jpg

Until you begin being knit back together.

It is a physical sensation. A tightness, but not a threatening squeeze like anxiety. Rather, it is a good tightness, like being swaddled, or cuddled. But more than that, really. It is a healing sensation. I am becoming whole again.

This is not the end, I know. Life is still very hard, things are still tenuous. I will likely come undone a thousand times before I find true and complete stability (if such a thing exists – if such a thing will exist in the future). But right now, I am here in this moment giving thanks.

IMG_6442.png

Ostara (which my family and I did not celebrate because of my flare) is a holiday marking Springtime, fecundity, growth. It is an equinox which is all about balance. In the context of the journey of the Sun, it is a time in between rebirth and death, in between the darkness of winter and the light of summer. If my graduation happening at Yule was appropriate, then so is this. My spring is returning. It may return with winter storms, with mucky flares of swamp walking, but the darkness is already halfway gone and I am facing the return of the Sun.

Onwards!

Snapseed-23.jpg
Delving into the Psyche, New Year New Me, Philosophy, The Zebra

Word of the Year: Nourish

nourish

Oh my. It’s been more than two years since I last wrote here. That’s a record! Life has been overwhelming. There was a time when I was a stay at home, homeschooling mom who enjoyed cooking nourishing foods from scratch and finding ways to make it all work out even though our income was quite low. And then I became a single homeschooling mom and I still enjoyed cooking and making it all work on a meager income. And then my income became frightening small and I went back to school so now I am a full-time college student raising two kids who are both in school now on very little money and let me tell you that the current me has no time nor energy nor money to make nourishing foods from scratch these days. I’ve never been rich – far from it – but even then I was quite privileged compared to my life now.

I wish I could tell you here that I love it and that I wouldn’t change a thing, but that’s not quite true. As it happens, I definitely would not change anything, but only because the way my life is right now, is just the way it has to be right now. I’m finally finishing college and my kids are in schools that suit them well. There isn’t any room to change. I have no regrets in the life I have made for myself right now, but I cannot pretend it’s easy. These last six years of growth have had a toll on me and I am exhausted.

Don’t misunderstand – my life is not lacking in joy. My kids are growing up into incredible people that I am so proud to know and we have a lot of fun together. I am loving every minute of being at university and the fact that my responsibility right now is to read literature and discuss it and analyze it feels so luxurious and delicious that I have to pinch myself regularly to be sure I’m not dreaming. I somehow wound up with the two best cats I could dream of – they are just the perfect mix of quirky and not too troublesome. My apartment, while not my favorite location, is growing more and more homeish and lovely inside as I continue to, slowly, fix it up. There is a lot of joy in my life.

But I am tried. I am so tired.

And it’s made me get too far from my better habits. Where I used to eat whole foods cooked in wholesome ingredients, now I eat at taco shops way too often. Where I used to be regularly connected to my spirituality, now I find myself too busy to focus. Where I used to have time for art, now I find myself struggling to meet the minimums of all my to do lists. Where I used to feel good, now I feel terrible.

So this year I want to focus on the word nourish again.

I love the word nourish. I love the way it sounds and the way it feels to say. I love that it means more than just “healthy” – it means to feed yourself making holistic health the goal. And I don’t mean just food. You can nourish yourself with exercise, too. But also with kindness and better thinking. And sometimes with a break from everything healthy. The psyche is just as important to nourish as the physical body. Sometimes, let’s be honest, trashy TV is exactly what you need at the end of a long and difficult day. The key is to do it mindfully.

So I’ve made this little doodle. I plan to print it out in various sizes and post it in places in my life that will help me remember that nourishing me is the goal. I’ll put one on the fridge for obvious reasons, but also on my bathroom mirror to help me remember to nourish my health by flossing every night. One on my bedside table to remind me to nourish myself by sleeping well. I’ll make one my lock screen on my phone to remind me to use it in ways that nourish me rather than as a means of escape or mindlessly procrastinate (notice the use of the word “mindless” there, because surely some procrastination is nourishing). I’ve made this doodle in black and white so that, during the year when I inevitably fall into old patterns, I can color it up or decorate it in different ways to make it new and obvious again. Art is meditation is prayer. And new things in the environment remind me to refocus. Win-win!

My life is still overwhelming and it will be for the foreseeable future. I can’t simply decide things like “no more eating out!” when, quite frankly, that will be an unreasonable goal for me at times. Instead I want to relearn to take a moment to focus on the word nourish and decide whether eating out is the most nourishing thing for me at that moment. Maybe it is at that moment. The goal is simply to stop acting mindlessly and to start connecting with my whole self on a regular basis. Remembering to nourish me means to remember to nourish all of me.

Do you have a word for the year?

Children of Hoarders, Delving into the Psyche, Depression/Anxiety, Onwards, Spirituality, The Zebra

It’s like that Greek myth where Pandora cracked open Zeus’ brain and all the crazy came out, leaving him refreshed and way less assholey.

The sunbeams were crazy awesome tonight.  Like the sun was grasping desperately before being dragged down into the underworld against his will. Or something less demonic. Whichever.  Adjusted in #snapseed

I’m in the midst of cracking shit open right now. The cauldron of my psyche is boiling and shit’s bubbling up to the surface that I never knew or consciously realized. I feel like I’ve been in that dark forest that a hero is supposed to head into to fight the monsters and I’m finally finding my way to the caves where the monsters live instead of just hiding in the darkness, too overwhelmed with all the new sensations to move.

I think my writing style is to throw as many metaphors into as small a space as possible with the intent to dizzy my prey readers into thinking I’m a better writer than I am?

Ahem.

As a child, I definitely had perfection issues. If I created something and didn’t like it, I considered it a failure. More often, if I created something and never finished it, I considered myself a failure. But when I was around middle school-age I started noticing imperfections in others around me and I saw that they could be beautiful. Messy handwriting, a botched-then-fixed art project, an unconventionally-beautiful body shape. And the more I began to notice imperfections, the more I began to realize that perfectness is bullshit. So I let all that shit go.

Except. Just a few weeks ago I realized that for the past few years I have been clearly and consciously, and very seriously, trying to choose what my character flaw will be. Will it be my flakiness? That’s adorable and forgivable. Maybe it’ll be my various superstitions – eccentricity is quirky and cute. It could even be my anxiety. I fucking love my anxiety. It defines me and I don’t even know who I’d be without it. The anxiety has to stay. (To be clear – there is actually zero sarcasm in that last point. Which is probably super fucked up.) But I cannot allow my other flaws – my desperate need for constant approval, my inability to be there for people when they need me sometimes, the fact that I sometimes miss jokes if they are too dry – those things have got to go.

So. Um. Maybe I still have perfection issues after all?

I have a fear of failure that I have been unknowingly nurturing and nourishing in the dark recesses of my mind. Coddling it and encouraging it to grow by secretly promoting this perfect me I wanted to create. The more I focused on becoming perfect in all the ways I felt needed to be perfect, the more anxious I became. Trying to hold it all together like a 1960’s Tonight Show guest with a few too many spinning plates, running more and more frantically between them. It’s exhausting.

I imagine that perfection is a goal that my Child of a Hoarder self set for me. From one extreme, I believed I needed the other.

I am pretty open about my various traumas, but I am seeing now that there are things I am still unwilling to talk about, at least until I feel I have a more perfect understanding of them, or a more perfect control of them, or a more perfect acceptance of how imperfect they are. I’m afraid to talk about dating in case a guy might not like me and my friends realize that I’m unlikeable, I’m afraid to show my personal creative writings to friends in case they find out I’m no good at it. I’m afraid to ask too much of people in case I become a burden and they stop loving me.

But obviously this keeps me imprisoned with only myself as cellmate, and I’m not always nice to me, or reliable in the things I tell to myself. And I don’t want that life. So I am forcing myself to write about things and talk about things. Transparency keeps me sane.

Those character flaws I considered keeping grew bigger and stronger, became my jailers, pacing back and forth in front of my cell all night long (and all my days were nights). I remember at one point last summer, in my deeply religious fear of Murphy’s Law, I nearly panicked when I dropped something and commented, “Dammit, gravity!” For a moment, I was literally afraid gravity would hear me and, just to prove a point, stop working and everything would float away. I immediately caught the ridiculousness of the thought and laughed it off. Mostly. A kernel of that fear lingered.

It is because of that general thought process, I think, that my entire spirituality has been shattered. Caught between the atheistic beauty of the tangible world and the metaphysical mysteries that also ring true for me, I couldn’t orient myself. And I was afraid to publicly stand for something that might not be understood by everyone. So I turned to science because no matter what science is unfailingly there and real and right. But in the process I lost my faith. After all, if there is no bigger message in the world, than what are the gifts I have been given? Why was I granted sanity when my mom wasn’t? If there’s no ultimate purpose, then maybe I am just a spoiled child? I still don’t know any more than I did before about what my spiritual thoughts and leanings are, but at least I can now see the pieces on the floor for what they are and I can take time to put them together in new ways to see what fits for me.

But I honed the good traits until I was crazy, too. My desire to see all sides of every story is a beautiful and important trait to have, but it grew so strong that I could no longer see which side was my side. Like a tulip made of glass mirrors, each petal was broken and on the floor, reflecting every thought I might have on a subject. I had no sense of north, again with no way to orient myself. I couldn’t find me anymore, lost in a sea of concern for balance and justice that was more important than having an identity of my own.

Over the last couple of years I’ve stopped talking and writing. All of these things were growing like weeds and muzzling me. Sometimes I was too afraid to speak, but sometimes I just didn’t know where to begin. Interestingly, over the last year, I’ve become physically weaker, I’m in more pain, I hardly sleep, my depression and anxiety are through the roof, I’ve been sicker, and I’ve gotten fatter. By coincidence (or divine intervention?), I got the chance to participate in an interview for an upcoming series on NPR about the ACE study. I met with the doctor here who has been working on this for close to 30 years, and we talked about how childhood emotional trauma can affect our physical selves as adults. Science has found a link. It’s there. It’s clear. But because it’s so intangible, I tend to discount it. I feel like it’s crazy to find connections like that, despite the fact that, apparently, they are there. Despite the fact that I have seen connections like that over and over in my own life and body, I still wonder if I’m making up excuses (probably, hilariously, a leftover trait of my childhood trauma. How appropriate).

I don’t know what science might have to say about Louise Hay’s book, Heal Your Body, but I looked up “feet” because I’ve been having various problems with mine – from internal pains to the fact that I cannot stop dropping things on them. The suggestion was that feet problems can mean that you are standing, or lingering, in grief. AND HOLY FUCKING HELL AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH.

All of this has come up in the past few weeks. And a lot of these words came out of my fingers tonight in the past tense, suggesting that I am healed from this Crazy. The truth is that I probably have more to travel on this particular trip into the dark corners of my psyche. Hell, the last few days have been a whirlwind of emotional highs and lows. But I do feel like a major shift has happened. Like I’ve got a map, or a flashlight, or like at least I know the monsters I have to fight on this journey.

I can’t ever stop talking or writing, you guys. It’s dangerous, both psychologically and physically. Now here’s hoping that pain in my foot goes away. You hear that, Psyche? I’m leaving the grief behind.

Children of Hoarders, Delving into the Psyche, Depression/Anxiety, The Zebra

Where I get emotionally naked for you.

oak leaves

For most of my life, I didn’t actively choose my life’s direction. I have often described it as allowing myself to be carried by the current of my own personal river, or by following the strong, yet subconscious, pull of my own Oak Tree. I don’t know if this was a good thing or a bad thing, to just allow myself to be passive about where I went. Is it even passive? Or is it highly intuitive? Is it a result of having been raised in an abusive home? That I had to let go and just go wherever Life took me? Or that my conscious mind shut down and allowed my intuition to guide me? My inner core of self-hatred would tell you that I’m just lazy and undriven. I don’t know what the real reasoning is or whether it is a good or a bad thing – and right now in my life, I’m right on the cusp of fully believing either (or both). Although I may have some regrets and, if I had the chance to re-do some things in my life, I might find that tempting these days, ultimately I do acknowledge that every thing I’ve done had led me to where I was supposed to be.

peaceful river

But I’m a grownup now (it took me longer than most people) and I felt like I should make some decisions about where my life should go. Last year I made some major changes and intentions for what I wanted my life to be and where I want it to continue to go. And this past year has been really, really hard. I feel like I’m suddenly swimming against a very strong current in my River. And I can’t help but wonder if that means that The Universe doesn’t want me making my own choices. I resent that idea. I want to be able to choose my own life now. I want to go to school and find a career and maybe not be broke someday.

And then how much of this is a desire to JUST BE NORMAL FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE? A side-effect of growing up in a hoarder home is that I’ve always been desperate to live in a way that at least appears to be a regular middle-class lifestyle. As I write this I am realizing this is also tied directly to my intense need to always be liked by everyone. My self-worth is the same as my appearance or the appearance of my home. (This is why I need to never stop writing. Remind me, okay?) So maybe The Universe feels I need to live an unusual and quirky life, and it’s trying to steer me from the life that isn’t supposed to be mine?

Fuck if I know.

I just wish I knew what I’m supposed to do next. What my direction should be, or whether I should stop trying to pick a direction at all. When I decided to get divorced, I was heading into a long tunnel I couldn’t see all the way through, but even then I felt more sure of myself than I do now. At least a tunnel only has one way to go. These days I feel more like I’m lost in a misty forest – I can see a lot of way to go, and I can guess at some of the outcomes, but I don’t know which path is mine or if I’ve even stayed to the one path or if I’ve skipped around, confusing the issues at hand. Does anyone know where the manual to my Life is? Can I get another copy from my manufacturer? I think I’ve lost mine.

(If you can count and navigate all those metaphors, you win a cookie. But a theoretical cookie. Unless you’re local and I’ll see you soon in which case just remind me and I’ll bring you some cookies. There are these really good gluten-free ones at Costco these days.)

The Zebra

This is without a doubt the absolute weirdest dream I’ve ever had. You’re welcome. I’m entertaining offers to buy the script for a future summer blockbuster.

The woman’s arms were laden with packages. Old cardboard boxes, rumpled at the corners, edges softened with years of openings and closings. They were long, flat rectangles. She wasn’t sure what was in them, but she assumed they were Christmas ornaments recovered from some attic or basement in an old home on the East Coast somewhere. She walked briskly through the museum trying to find a map that would lead her to her destination. The place, being comprised entirely of marble floors, walls, monuments, and statues, was bright and cool. Her children, chattering, orbited her in gleeful circles as she searched for him. Ted Kennedy had passed away a few years ago, but she was on her way to return these things to him – or to his grave, at least.

But the museum was massive and her path was convoluted. The maps were unclear, the guidance lacking. People milled about in the background, but they did not offer help and she did not ask it of them. The children had run off somewhere, or maybe left entirely, one could not be certain. Around and around the museum she wandered. Possibly in circles. There were other graves and memorials along the main hallway, and in little nooks here and there, but not the one she sought.

That was when things started to go very wrong. Everyone fled and left her was alone in the massive marble halls. She turned a new corner and wound up in some back area, with ramps for unloading new shipments of valuables. Even this utility hall was pristine, built with the same marble the viewing areas were. Fire engulfed the room and raged across her path to Mr. Kennedy’s grave. At the end of the flaming marble ramp, two velociraptors fought. And yet, with such danger around her, the woman stood at the doorway, observing detachedly, merely disappointed that she would never complete her mission.

The Zebra, This is a Woman

I don’t want to jinx anything, but here’s the first introspective psycho-spiritual growth post I’ve been able to write in a long time.

This is the cute side of my head today.

Lately I’ve been introspective, reframing some thoughts I have about my self-proclaimed faults. I have long worked to balanced the good and bad of all things – to find the positive aspects of a troublesome trait or situation and vice versa. So I sometimes try to find the good facets of my faults (although admittedly not always).

One thing that has always been glaringly obvious to me is my need to please everyone around me to the extent that I sometimes sacrifice myself or my needs just to not make people even slightly annoyed with me. They teach you all through school not to give in to peer pressure and this sometimes manifests in that way so I feel like I should have learned this lesson a long time ago. And yet, I still struggle. Sometimes this means I’m really insecure about my tastes in music (which… why music? I’m not insecure in my tastes in books or television or fashion. huh). But, if I am being totally honest, sometimes this means that I listen with two widely open ears to the thoughts and feelings of other people. And so my openness, my need to please people, has actually made me more empathetic and careful and thoughtful.

Of course, just for fun, mix that in with my social anxiety and I become a tightly wind ball of awkward afraid to say any words in any order in the fear that I might inadvertently hurt someone. Thank god I’m cute.

My son is a good reader, but he does not (yet?) enjoy it very much. Once he told me it’s because he can’t see the pictures in his head. I know he’s got a mind that is very different from me. He’s a born engineer, and I suspect he’s got ADHD. So what if his brain is wired in a way that makes reading less enjoyable to him than watching a movie? I feel so strongly that books are important (and they ARE), but I wonder if maybe it’s okay to not like reading sometimes. Maybe it’s okay to have a differently wired brain, one that doesn’t like reading as much as some. It doesn’t make him any less smart, and it sure as hell doesn’t make him any less valuable.

So I started thinking about my faults – about this desperate need to please people – and about how those things mean both good and bad things for me. And I started to wonder if maybe it’s okay to just BE who I am. Maybe needing to please people isn’t something I need to fix about me. Maybe it’s just a part of me that gives me a gift in exchange for being challenged in other ways.

This week I went to a therapy appointment (because I do that now) and talked about my issues with self-hate. Because confession: Even after all the work I’ve done in myself and in the world, I still have this little ball of self-hatred underneath all the self-love and all the goodness that just won’t.go.away. I’ve tried everything. But that hard little core of loathing is just there. So I asked my therapist why and how I can make that stop and she said, “Maybe you don’t. Maybe you just learn to live with it.” And that was really not what I was expecting. But she has recently been doing work with balancing the light and the darkness of the psyche (my words, not hers) and I think she has a point. And I think this is all related to my recent musings. Maybe my little bit of self-hate is just a part of who I am. Of how I am wired (for some reason – maybe genetic, maybe a result of past abuses). Maybe if I just let her be, and accept that she’s always going to be there, maybe she won’t have as much power over me.

And honestly, it’s only been two days, but I feel like I might be on to something.

So here’s my radical experiment: Love my self-hate. Accept and acknowledge that little ball of self-hate. Talk about her when needed, casually, even. Don’t try to erase her, don’t try to hide her, don’t try to fight her. Just love her. Loving my self-hate. When Jesus said to love our enemies, maybe he also meant ourselves.

The Zebra, Vintage Blog Entry Time Yay

Vintage Blog Entry Time Yay: I Need a New Meme

I have this creative nonfiction assignment for my creative writing class. I actually started this assignment like two months ago but now that it’s due this weekend I’m not happy with anything I have written. Naturally. So I’m sitting here scouring old blog entries for inspiration and I am toying with writing about the time I stalked that one actor. Or maybe that guy who was my first kiss. What I had started writing was bleak and basically hopeless because that is kind of who I am right now. I’m doing emotional cosplay of Richmond in general right now and that kind of writing is really better to never ever share with anyone because OMG EMO.

richmond

ANYWAY. I came across this at the old blog and it’s one of my favorite posts because I think I’m pretty much hilarious and I might be my own favorite comedian. I know PBS Ideas channel just did a whole thing about how memes get old and unfunny, but I call very bullshit much disagree wow. So there.

DSC_0073-007

________________________________________________

He seems so nice, Ryan Gosling Meme. He’s always supportive and kind, no matter what. And it’s obvious he’s sincere. He honestly loves the mason jar lamp. And then he and I started to get to know each other a little better. And he started to offer to do things for me. Things like hand massages.

And I started to get a little attached, maybe. Like, I may not be pregnant at the moment, but with a guy as supportive and on the same page as I am, I could be.

So I realized that I needed to marry him. Honestly, I didn’t think it was asking too much to marry the nicest internet Meme ever.

Turns out, it totally was.

The light in my hallway went out. The one above my pantry. So I had to try to find food in the dark. It was horrible. And it stayed that way for DAYS. Ryan Gosling Meme never bothered to fix it. I tweeted my frustrations and Jen, being the wonderful friend and graphic designer that she is, sent me this message. And it was the best thing ever. And, I admit, it totally won me back. (What can I say? I’m slutty for the Doctor.)

But you know what? He didn’t change it after I went to bed. And he didn’t change it the next day either.

*sigh*

And I got really kind of mad at him. No, really. You think I’m just writing this line in character with this blog post, but I so totally am not. I was pissed. At an internet meme. For not changing my lightbulb.

Thank god I’m cute.

I decided I needed a new Meme to marry. So I started shopping around. First I tried John Cusack.

And he has a point. And I’m definitely intrigued. But there are two things wrong with this. First, he’s making promises again. He’s setting me up to get my heart broken again. Second, it turns out Ewan McGregor makes a way better pensive face.

And he’s realistic about his promises.

And he quotes John Denver songs!

And he’s so suave he can take the blame for something without even promising to fix it.

And he totally wants to French kiss me.

True.

Oh, Ewan McGregor Meme, yes Yes you can!

The Zebra, Throwback Thursday

That time I accidentally listened to a sex call.

This is an entirely true story.

Sunday night on January 16th 1994.

No, really. I remember the night.

See, cause it was going to be the world premiere of the new Smashing Pumpkins video, “Disarm,” on 120 minutes that night so we were staying up. And I know the specific date because I woke up a few hours after falling asleep thinking a cat had jumped on the bed, but it had actually been the Northridge Earthquake. (This is life in California where you mistake earthquakes for cats sometimes.) (This is because I am several hours away from Northridge. I am fairly certain the people living in that area were able to tell the difference.) (But since the vast, vast majority of earthquakes are small ones, I really do often think it’s just a cat or a really big truck outside.)

But the point is that it was the 1990’s and I had not yet developed phone phobia (although answering machines gave me panic attacks) and so I was on the phone ALL THE TIME ALWAYS. And I had a cordless phone very similar to the one pictured above. It had different “channels” so that if you got a bad connection you could try a different channel and hopefully it would be clearer. And it might be. If you were within 6 feet of the base. Life was hard in the 90’s okay?

Occasionally, when I’d change the channel I’d accidentally switch to a neighbor’s channel and hear their conversation. 90% of the time that this happened to me, it was to a Spanish conversation which I could not understand.

Except this one time.

120 Minutes was one of the few worthwhile things on MTV at the time. There was also Daria and… No, those might have been the two. I think VH1 was arguably cooler than MTV even as early as 1994. And this particular night was an important 120 Minutes and because it was the Sunday night before a school holiday, I was allowed to actually stay up to watch it and not set the VCR to record it onto a tape. I mean. I totally ALSO recorded it. But staying up not only allowed me to watch it live, but also to press pause during commercials and therefore optimize my recorded copy.

So Kathy and I chatted all night. We usually told each other stories about how we’d meet Natalie Merchant (me) or Morrissey (her) after a concert some night and become besties. Somewhere around 10pm my phone started to go fuzzy so I told Kathy to hang on and I’d see if I could change the channel and get a clearer connection. Only when I changed the channel, instead of Kathy, I heard, “Press 1 if you want to talk to a sexy girl.” And because I was 15 and extremely innocent and naive I definitely did NOT want to hear someone talking to a sexy girl and this is where this story becomes anti-climactic and I am very sorry for that. However, if you followed my cordless phone drama on Facebook while I was writing this post I hope this will help ease the lack of resolution here. This is almost exactly the phone in question:

I found this image in a Google Search and it originally came from an Etsy item that's already sold so I can't link to the source. If you own the picture and want me to link it (or remove it!), just let me know and I happily will!

I found this image in a Google Search and it originally came from an Etsy item that’s already sold so I can’t link to the source. If you own the picture and want me to link it (or remove it!), just let me know and I happily will!

And these, my friends, are the things that I remember instead of what my kids’ first words were.

Just Life, The Zebra, Throwback Thursday

My Thursday was a Thursday so I’m inventing Throwback Friday.

My Thursday was a Thursday so this is throwback Friday.
Me. In the 80’s. Not in a poodle skirt, but rocking the hell out of my Alice dress and flip flops.

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with the 1950’s. I think all of America still is, to be honest. But particularly in the 1980’s I remember a significant amount of 50’s themed things – 50’s day at school, watching Grease at sleepovers, 50’s diners, Barbie even had a 57 Chevy. The same era a Sonic drive-in opened up briefly in town. I made a personal goal to drive there in a 57 Chevy of my own someday while wearing a poodle skirt. And then Sonic closed only a few months later and basically ruined everything. Also I got bored of the idea. But mostly it’s their fault.

Someday you should ask me about how I also planned to have my sweet sixteen birthday on this one floating castle that turned out to be the kind of party boat that’s not really apprioriate for kids. The world conspired againt my childhood dreams.

My mom was born in 1950 and so the 1950’s were her decade in the same way the 1980’s are mine. 30 years apart, each. And, just as the 50’s did in my childhood, the 80’s are making a comeback now (god help us all).

But the thing is that the 1950’s were FOREVER ago when I was a kid, but the 1980’s were basically just a few weeks ago if you ask me now.

Is this how it was for my mom? Did the 50’s feel like last week to her when I was obsessed with them? Do my own kids think the 1980’s are a million years ago? For research I asked them and I got insightful answers such as, “The 80’s were like 100 years ago, right?” and “You mean people from the 50’s are still alive?” Ah, youth.

It’s not news to say that time is relative and that it gets shorter as you get older, but I still can’t wrap my brain around it. This year it’ll be 20 years since Kurt Cobain died (the marker by which I organize everything in my lifetime). But it feels like just a couple of years ago.

As Einstein once said about time, “What the hell man?”

Just Life, Onwards, The Zebra

36

family <3

So it was my birthday more than a week ago and I haven’t even blogged about that yet. Someone should take my temperature.

I was pretty much brokenhearted* that I couldn’t responsibly make Disneyland happen this year so I was trying to heal my soul by finding a suitable alternative. And then I realized I could go to Julian, a tiny historic mining town in our local mountains. If I crossed my fingers hard enough, it might even be cold like actual winter (or, as my frister calls it, a theme park winter). And I crossed my fingers hard enough, I guess because it was about 45 that day. My San Diegan blood was beside itself with excitement over such a dramatic experience. The children on the trip with us were less pleased. They were all, “I’m cold” and “This weather is cold” and also “Can we go inside now because it’s cold.” We even saw snow:

snow
theme park snow

My family and I visit Julian on a fairly regular basis. It’s the place (the only place, really) to go pick apples in the autumn, and there are some good campgrounds in the mountains nearby. But I’d never gone for one of the carriage rides. I was raised by grandparents who had lived through the depression and we were never allowed to do frivolous things like have fun because they were too expensive. Sometimes I stop suddenly and think, but wait. I’m a grownup now. I CAN DECIDE TO BE FRIVOLOUS IF I WANT. So we went on a carriage ride.

kids in a carriage

Did I mention that Bethany and her family were there, too? Cause they were. Which was extra fun because they’d never been before and we took them on the grand tour of important things like the candy store and the cemetery and pie. (What? We like cemeteries, okay?)

What do you mean you don't hang out in cemeteries on your birthday?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here but for about 10 years I couldn’t consume cow dairy. I discovered that it gave me emotional reactions which would cause me to turn into the Hulk and yell and throw a lot of things. Eventually I figured out that I could tolerate dairy from other animals without the same issues. But back when I moved in September I ordered pizza to “pay” people for helping me and they didn’t take the extra home so I had a lot of cheesy pizza around and very little self-control so I wound up eating *cough*anamountofpizza*cough* and didn’t even throw one thing. So, after ten years, apparently I can have dairy again. I FEEL SO FREE OKAY.

clouds

The point of this all is pie. Julian is famous for their apple pies and they top it with cinnamon ice cream. And it is the literal best food in the entire galaxy. And it had been so long since I’ve had any. And I don’t want to go saying anything too crazy here or anything, but it might have been almost as good as a trip to Disneyland.

Cinnamon ice cream. Best.

In the evening we headed back to town and had dinner with some friends where someone may or may not have misheard my story about the farting carriage horse as “whores” and we all laughed until we peed a little.

a good omen on Imbolc, I think

Last year I had high hopes for being 35. I mean. It wasn’t 33. 33 was a load of shit. It was, to quote myself, a fucking motherfucker. And 34 was pretty good. So I figured 35 would be nice, too. And I won’t ever say that 35 was as bad as 33 because no one died, but it sure was harder in a lot ways. So I’m over having expectations for years or ages. I just hope I can survive 36. If it’s not too horrible then it’s all the better. My friend Claire texted me early in the year and asked how my new year was going and I was just all, “Whatever. Who cares. What even is happiness. Joy is overrated.” Because I have partly evolved into a french art film, apparently. And I don’t think I’m depressed, really, I’m just jaded. Life has been relentless and I am tired. I’m taking each moment as it comes and just trying to keep swimming. So I don’t know if 36 will be better – god, please don’t let it be worse – but I’ve let any expectations go. Here’s to another year which will hopefully suck somewhat less! At the very least I can expect to giggle until the end of time about the farting whores of Julian.

Chalked.

*Not EVEN exaggerating. Checking my SoCal privilege. Ahem.