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That Weird Writer Friend

I am that weird writer friend, the one who sends out cards (and will even to people they don’t know!). Recently, I leveled up my game.

In my defense., I’d been thinking about it for a minute or two. And I did message her before doing it. Essentially, I created a character to write a letter… to a character that entrances and bedevils my sister from another mother. If you’d like to see what they’re up to, Rie posted about it on her blog which you can find here:

If you’d like to learn more about Jo and her companions, you can find them on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, to name a few (I originally had links but spaced and lost them! Oh no! Look up Rie Sheridan Rose, you’ll thank me? She has lots of different types of stories, including Jo’s escapades. Want poetry? She writes it. Horror? Yup. Fantasy? She has you covered!)

If I had a nickle for every card I wrote, it’d be a lot of Nickles! This one was different– Ive written poems in cards, or short short stories for kids. But creating a character to write to another character was a new one for me. Not sure what made me do it, bit I’m glad I did.

And extra happy that I have writer friends who roll with it!

Christmas

Its a little early, but I love me some Christmas, especially when I am a little down. 2020… well, its been a year. I wrote this for a group I’m in.

Way back when…

Santa loves me… he always brings me the bestest Christmas Stocking (that’s a lie.. I know it’s Mom—I believe in the magic of being Santa but not one person.. I have known since I was tiny, when Christmas was on a Sunday and Miss Teacher brought in a birthday cake and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus).

Mom’s stockings rocked. They were…. They were LOVE. She knew me, she got me. It was a mix of silly and sublime, books and toys and hair pretties… even as I grew older. The stockings were designed for each person, thought and care put into each one. And a grand design—what would occupy us until everyone was up on Christmas morning so we could do the family thing.

One year, as a teeney bopper, I thoroughly ruined my own Christmas. I love hints, but I never want to actually know what I’m getting. Why? Because one year all I wanted were some gherkin (????) Boots. Thunk low heeled ankle boot, totally 80’s. She would not tell me, not a clue nothing. Then I told her “I hope you got the x style and not y, because you know I hate y.” she responded with “Of course I bought you x!….. oohhhhhh….. you……!” I got them early. I also got my stocking early—10 or 11pm, she said “Don’t open till Christmas!” I was a good girl—I toed the line. I stayed up watching “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and opened up the stocking at 12:01 am. I loved it. That satisfaction lasted mee until…. I woke up in the morning with no excitement. No expectation. I already had the present I wanted and the stocking. I never did it again.

Too few years passed, I stayed at home while going to college…

And then she died.

I was 24, still at home, going to school. But Dad stepped up, stepped out and made me a stocking so amazeballs that I cried. I didn’t think I would get one. He loved me. He got me. I can still remember the porcelain doll peeking out of the top of the stocking, the Meatloaf CD tucked inside, they Tylenol with the gift card addressed to Daddys little headache. Oh my gosh, the TAGS that man created!

But then Dad remarried and she had her own grown children and grandkids as a priority. I was still at home until I graduated, but… I left soon after. The last time I went home for Christmas ,, her daughter got diamond earrings in her stocking and I got perfume that was someone elses favorite. That I was allergic to. That shit show ended when her daughter told me, in my mothers kitchen, that I was the redheaded stepchild.

I didn’t celebrate on Christmas morning with my Dad until I moved back in with him. And the stocking and christmas love was back. Because its not about the money, its about someone who gets you. Who turns up and shows their love. A well thought out Dollar store stocking means more than diamond earrings. Because it was never about the earrings— I cant wear them. I don’t wear much jewelry, although I love necklaces and hang them on my wall.

On Mothers day, a few years ago, my son found my dad on the ground unable to use his legs. Massive stroke. He recovered, but his driving and shopping days were over. I bought every damn present under the tree, and in the stockings. It took all the… wow, the anticipation, out of Christmas.

The next year, I signed up for the Santa Exchange in the Chatting group. I finally had something under the tree that I didn’t know what it was. I put that Priority Mail box under the tree and it drove my family nuts. I didn’t shake, didn’t peek, nothing. I kept it until it was the last gift to be opened. My delight in the presents was… it was wonderful.

Since then, I keep the tradition of keeping that gift for last. I broke down in Walmart one year, just sobbing “I want my mommy”. My best friend stayed with me in the candle aisle until the storm passed and she asked me what was going on. So I dumped it all on her—and it amazed me that someone who had a close knit family, whose parents were still alive, felt the same way. For the past 2 years, we take our boys to Walmart and they have whatever we can budget and I take her kid shopping and she takes mine. (I’M SORRY 20202 IS MY FAULT BECAUSE I WANTED AND GOT A SUITCASE FOR OUR TRAVELLING WWAAAHHHHH!!!!!!) However, my kid gets me. And she reigns him in to a certain extent. Just like I do with hers.

Still, that Chatting gift stays under the tree until everything else is opened. Everyone wants to know what’s in that box.

I want to make the anticipation last…..

#becausewecan: 82 Cards

A lot of things are going on in the world right now, and what we need is inspiration. The docotrs and scientists need inspiration to find a way to navigate us out of this mess. And we need inspiration to help us remain human and connected in a world of social distancing.

Some things happened the weekend of March 20th that inspired me. Some people inspired me. The first was Jennifer Pastiloff. If you dont follow her on Facebook or Instagram, you should. In the face of losing her livlihood, she decided to hang on by asking “How may I serve?” She did one of her classes online for a donation… to help feed others. To buy diapers, food. To help. She could have set it up and done her confrences that way– Zoomed her way into a paycheck. I still think she should consider it. But at this time, when we needed help, we needed to remember that you can always find 5 beautiful things right here and now… she gave me that reminder. That hope.

The other person that inspired me was Jon Bon Jovi. He did a video of the start of the song and asked that the people watching help write the rest. I don’t remember the name of the song, but i do remember thinking that he has already made an anthem for these crazy days. Because We Can. And also Army of One.

Those who know me know that Bon Jovi wrote the soundtrack to my life. At one point I toyed with writing a monologe set to their music. Is it any wonder that when I was looking for inspiration and comfort and the “Hell yes we can do this!” I turned to them, to the band that I grew up beside?

So.

How many have seen the meme about writing cards to seniors in rehab care facilities? On Monday night i got a wild hair and called the one Dad had been in here locally.  They have 82 people there. Writing cards is my super power. I dont just sign my name, I write. 

And then God laughed. I wrote Tuesday. I came home from work Wednesday and crashed (essential employee). I wrote Thursday. Ended up on the phoen a lot Friday, still wrote thouh. I wrote on my breaks. I wrote on my lunch. I wrote on Saturday and on Sunday morning. And at some point, your brain goes to sleep and magic happens and you’re just creating.

I delivered 82 cards on Sunday. All the cards opened with “To My Special Friend” and ended with the note that they are special and they are loved. I signed only with my first name. No phone number, no return address. Because while it would be great to know if the right card got to the right person… I am fighting my need for positive reinforcement.

I did it because I am an #Armyofone, and #becausewecan.

And also because Jen Pastiloff asked “How May I Serve?”

Hey you

Hey you. Yes, you. I see you there. I know you’re scared, and I don’t want to tell you not to be afraid…

And yet…

Here I am. Telling you it’s OK to be scared, but you still have to go on. Maybe it’s something you’ve wanted for a long time, something positive even, but it’s such a huge change that you’re scared to death. 

It’s OK. Let’s breath through it. We will make it to the other side, and you might even wonder after all is said and done why you were so scared. You might even feel a bit silly, but that’s OK too. I’ve been there.  You’ve been there too, so remember to just breath. And maybe giggle a little. 

It releases tension.

Truly. 

And even if it’s not ok, I’ll sit with you on the darkest night and light a candle for you. Call me and I’ll just breath on the other end letting you know I’m there. Maybe it won’t be ok again today, or tomorrow….

But things will be ok again. And after they’re ok again, you’ll be able to search for the good days. The awesome days. 

You’re not quite ready to believe in them, but they’re out there. So I will hold the dream for the both of us.

Plans go awry

I have the house to myself.  The Princeling is with his father, and my father is off on a road trip. This almost never happens. I don’t think I’ve been alone in the house for this long of an extended period in…. well. Since becoming a mom.

I had plans. 

Grand plans.

Writing and crafting and this ingredients and thating.

Instead, I’ve been binge watching Say Yes to the Dress on Hulu (nope, no plans to ever get married lol). And sleeping. I fell asleep at 7pm last night. I wake up at 4pm, so that’s not as bad as it sounds.

But I haven’t been writing. I’ve been perking and idea, and I’ll have to start it soon. I have an essay or 2 that I want to write, and a market I want to submit Sins of the Mother to. 

Part of it all is just getting back to it. I know I do better, mental health wise, when I’m busier. I’m OK right now, but I’m trying to keep the darkness at bay. I had a Scentsy party and thought to myself I can do that. But I prefer Partylite Candles. The reasons are a whole other post worth, but they are important to me.

Thankfully, I know a Partylite consultant who has a team (hi Christie!). She is the mother of one of the Princeling’s very best friends. So I’m gonna get myself busy with a product I love, meeting new people and also getting over my fear of public speaking. She tried to get me to sign up right after the holidays, but I was in the middle of my rough patch. It would have helped, but I was too far in to see that.

Yes. I am a walking contradiction. The busier I am, the more I write. With the Princeling going with his father more often… I need something to keep myself busy so my brain will wake up. If I can get a product I love, meet new people and get a little travel money to boot?

Yah. We’re going to try this. 

 

Uncle Mark #wemissyou

You were involved in some many firsts, although not *that* one lol. You were the first grown up friend we made, one outside of family, school or church. 

You called us the Katzenjammer Kids.

We called you Uncle Mark.

Which is utterly ridiculous because you were only 5 years older than us.

But you had a house. We were in our early twenties, and that seemed so far away. That’s the only thing I can think of, because you were wholly and unapologetically there for us. 

We met at Danny’s, of all places. In Milpitas, off Calaveras. It was our non bar hangout, and your dinner stop on your commute home from work. I still order the Super Bird, with a side of ranch. Dipping it makes all the difference,

You weren’t one of my college buddies, but we talked about everything. From motorcycles to midevil knights, books and bars. Your interests were so wide ranging, I think you could talk to anyone about everything. 

You found love, and lost love. Always painfully, and sadly, once, tragically. And yet you still believed, still put yourself out there. And found it again, with Lyn. I could tell when I met her that she was going to be good for you. That twinkle was back in your eye. You, Sir Knight, had found a Lady worthy of your wooing and you enjoyed it.

I didn’t make it to your funeral. Damp, winding roads scared me too much. Instead, I did something I know you’ll approve of. I went and spoiled my great nephew, visiting from afar and sicker than a dog. He napped while I dropped the stuff off, but spoiling doesn’t happen because you need approval. It happens because they need to be spoiled. 

Regina and I will miss you terribly, Uncle Markypoo.But we know that when you see you again, you’ll share all the best spots with us and have some amazing stories for us.

Santa Mom

I felt my mom close to me this weekend, as if she were with me while I shopped. She was there as I found the special soup spoons she used when we were sick, and the babmoo grippers thingees that she used to pull toast out when it got stuck in the toaster. She was there with me in a tractor supply store (don’t ask), as I started bawling.

I started bawling, the first time, because of a day planner. The year my mom died, she kept a day planner, and used the spaces for days of the week as a sort of journal. The comings and goings of us kids, all grown, and her little trips with dad… all in the little journal. Some weeks were full to the brim. Some only had a few filled out.

Then she died.

I couldn’t look at that blank planner, so I started filling it in for her. Comings and goings, a little glimpse into life right after she died. It was 20 or so years ago, but I still remember that journal. I think I still have it somewhere. But I know it. I know the cover, i know the feel of it, and I know what it looked like on the inside.

And in the tractor supply store, right with all the calendars… was a copy of that same damn planner, only for 2017. Same. Damn. One.

I bought it. I will put it into my stocking, and I will write in it. Buying it means that I now have 2 but one will be for my writing and one will be for my adventures in mommyhood.with my boy.

And then Walmart happened.

In talking with a friend, I told her I don’t know why I’m so emotional today. I don’t know why this is happening, but…

But I’m tired of being the one to do for everyone. I do stockings for everyone in the house, because Mom did. Because to me, that stocking shows time and attention and love. Dad used to do mine, and help with his current wife’s stocking… but since the stroke (and maybe a little before), it hasn’t happened.

I know every single present that is currently under the tree.

Even mine.

And it sucks. Because my son would love to do it for me. And wanted to. But I didn’t think to think outside the little house. But next year, next year… I have 2 different people who have said that they will take him out shopping for me, and help him do my stocking too.

Friends and family are a blessing. But sometimes, you have to stop being so strong and powering through… at least enough to ask for help.

I fell Mom close to me right now. Not just because of the stuff, but because of people willing to come together and help out.

Love you guys.

If you know someone who is a single parent, if the child is old enough, offer to take them shopping for their parent. Both the child and the single parent will appreciate it. Being strong and keeping it together, especially under the pressure of making the perfect holiday is tough.

 

 

Christmas Card Explosion

I think I’ve sent out well over 50 Christmas cards so far. At first, it was 14 ( or 15) for a great group I belong to plus those family and friends that I had their addresses for. That was a total of… 40 something.

Big family.

But then I did something different. I went on Facebook and tagged a whole ton of people, telling them to PM me their addresses so I could send more. I’m still getting responses, one today from a very dear friend I’d lost contact with.

She’s getting a letter. SSSHHH. Don’t tell her.

One friend PM’d me and said “You didn’t tag me, but I’d love to have a little good mail.” I may have also mentioned random cards that I send out. I always try to write my auntie, and then a few other cards to other people. My little rays’ of sunshine going out to the world.

Apparently, people need more sunshine. I’m willing in my own little way to give it to them not just at Christmas time, but all through out the year.That’s my challenge for myself and for you for 2017.

Go forth and spread your sunshine. The way you make people feel special may be different than mine. That’s ok. The sunshine in Hawaii is great, as it is in Santa Cruz, Ohio, Florida and every place on earth.

Spread those rays, let the sunshine out.

Do you ever…. #sketchorama

Do you ever have a project that you’re scared to start? I do. I am.

I signed up for Sketchorama with The New Bohemian Gallery.

I am not an artist.

I am a writer. Who is sometimes inspired by her photographs.

And who got a crazy idea to join in with all the other artists.

The writing is easy. Much of it is done. But do I hand write it? Or print it out and glue it in? That seems like cheating… but I will have to figure out a way to get the photos in the book (I’ve been thinking of trying a clear, matte sticker/label). I feel like I should use my handwriting, as it’s more personal… byt will anyone be able to read it?

I’m doing something outside my comfort level. Much of the writing is done, it just needs to be put into the sketchbook.If only…. If only I could draw. BUt then I’d be an artist of a different stripe.

And yes, I asked first if written words would be ok.

It is.

And still… still I’m frozen. I’ve written the opening page– and I love it. I’ve hand written it in a card and sent it to my Aunt who is magnificently artistically talented . (Hi Aunt Mary!) But actually putting it into the sketchbook? Ummm…

What if I make a mistake?

My sister, another magical artist, says just to do it. That sketch books are meant to be personal. And still I freeze.

But that’s ok. I have a secret weapon— Regina is coming down on the holiday weekend. And I know that if she reads this, before she leaves to go back home that first opening page will be written in the book before she leaves. And as much is already written (going with the theme of water: ocean, river, bay, etc) and some will come new…

But I bet it will have that first page, handwritten, before she leaves.

 

Gearing Up

Tomorrow, the dyspraxic, the agraphobic, and the single mom going through ish are going on an adventure.

For the dyspraxic, I need to remember to reign in my spinning annoyances. Deep breaths, because he’ll pick up on it. I’m also praying that it will not be sensory overload– he ended up in the ER after trying to see Jurassic World, 3D with the great sound system. So… also need to make sure we plan a place to meet just in case. Then there’s the motor skills portion– hopefully he won’t have any major falls or spill but if he does it’s just like at home: Shake it off if you can, don’t let it ruin your day.

I made certain sure my son knows how to pick himself up and dust himself off 🙂

The agraphobic… well, that part’s harder. Because I don’t know what to do for her. I am straight up kidnapping her tomorrow. She said she was up for it. I bought the tickets. It’s our adventure, darnit! But I think she’ll be fine.

I think sometimes that she doesn’t know when I’m falling apart. That I’m full of fear but I’ve gotten really good at hiding it. Well. It’s what mom’s do, right? We carry on, make sure the show doesn’t get cancelled. Clean up the messes, sooth the savages… er… children LOL. But she knows now. Because I told her.

So that leaves me. The midlife crisis person going flipping crazy with what I want to do and what I know I can do and what will test me beyond my limits. But I’m gonna do it anyways. My hair is in the process of being dyed PINK as I type this. PINK! HA!

For me, I’ve already started running what I need to do for tomorrow. I wanted my hair done for the Willie Wonka Sing Along because really? If you’re going to do it, you need it for that! Clothes are in the dryer.I know where the tickets are, I emailed the box office and they were kind enough to send me lots of information and really great directions.

I’ll pop a note book in my bag. Because the people I’m travelling with know, without a doubt: Wynwords will Write about it.

Ta, my lovelies! I’ll speak  with you soon!