Thursday, December 29, 2011

My New Year: Resolved

At the end of each year, as most people in America do, I make a New Year's resolution. Here are a few of my resolutions from years gone by:

1.) Eat less cake (Yeah, that was a terrible five days)
2.) Buy new underwear and socks (I am still unsure on this one...I think 2007 was a year of low expectations.)

3.) Fold and put away the laundry... everytime, right after it is washed and dried (This lasted a week.)

4.) Lose weight (This one I accomplished, but it was three years after I made this resolution)

5.) To live in the woods like Thoreau, and fulfill my lifelong dream of living a very transcendalistic lifestyle. (I am confident now that I wasn't intoxicated when I made this resolution, but maybe I should have been.)

Of all the resolutions I have made, I have maybe accomplished two of them with any kind of efficency. Personally, I think New Years Resolutions are wonderful ways for people to live with a purpose...for a little while.

We make resolutions to lose weight. We stimulate the economy by purchasing Slim-Fast, kettle balls and Jillian Micheals' workout videos. Until someone has a birthday, and you see the cake. We resolve to save money and eat at home more often...Until the first evening that we don't want to wash the dishes or we get home from work late.

People! Wake up and smell the disappointment hanging in the air!!!
 Our resolutions are decided for us by the media, television commercials and those strategically placed end caps at Wal-Mart. Frankly, the people behind these products do not want you to succeed. They don't want you to lose that extra fifteen pounds you put on over the holidays, because if you do it...You won't need them anymore.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this:

If you resolve to enrich your life in some way in the year of 2012. Resolve to do something that not only enriches your life, but the lives of those around you. The money you spend on a monthly amount of Slim-Fast products could feed a hungry family for a month. I think people will be amazed at how motivating helping others can be during their quest to help themselves.

With that being said, I will now reveal my resolution for the year 2012:

I resolve, in the year 2012, to care less about how I look. I have resolved to wear make up rarely, or if at all... and I am currently in the process of letting my hair return to it's natural color. I will worry less about my outwardly appearance, and focus on my emotional and spiritual development. I resolve to find my natural beauty without the help of cosmetics or enhancers. (This does not mean that I will go without my day to day hygiene products because...Ew...That is ten different kind of skanky.) It does mean that I am working toward loving myself just the way it is. Without adding things or taking them away... (Except my eyebrows because...well...Eugene Levy)

I believe doing this will force me to look at my dirty-dishwater hair, and find the positives. (I've been working on this for two weeks and I have yet to find anything I like about my natural hair color, but...maybe by next December I will give it glowing reviews.) I hope in the year 2012 to be able to look at myself in the mirror, and love everything that I see without changing it or wishing it looked another way.
I am fully aware that it will take a full twelve months to accomplish this, but I feel it is something that I must do.

I urge each of you to make your New Year's resolution something that is life it your life or someone else's.

I apologize in advance to anyone that I unintentionally terrify by going into public without cosmetics. Self discovery isn't always pretty, folks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Abby Turns Five

Five years ago today, I gave birth to my lovely daughter, Abigail MaeLynne Hicks.

It's amazing how time just slips through your fingers, like grains of sand. It seems like it was only yesterday that I resembled a swollen manatee laying in a hospital bed, awaiting the arrival of my tiny, little newborn.

Abigail was born at 9:16 in the evening and weighed 7 lbs 6 ounces, and was 19 inches long. She looked like an angry, red butterball turkey with a head full of shocking, jet-black hair. She came out screeching and with a deformed head, but I, of course, thought she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.

When I think about the last five years they swirl through my head in a blur of beautiful moments...

Abby in her baby swing, laughing at Jerry. Taking her first steps. Brushing her teeth by herself for the first time. Seeing Christmas lights. Reading stories. Chasing bubbles. Tucking her in, and singing her songs. The way she used to play with her belly button when she was nervous. Seeing her hold Sammy for the first time. Birthdays. Haircuts. Spankings.  Her first day of school.
Part of me wishes that I could just pause this moment. Hold her so tightly and never let go. Keep her five forever. Smelling like sunshine and sweetness for eternity, with her tiny hands and sweetest brown eyes. Eyes that are still blind to the injustice and scariness of the world. Eyes that still see each day with wonder and curiosity.

There is another part of me that can't wait to see the amazing young woman I know that she will grow to be. There is a comfort in knowing that not only am I raising a daughter...I am creating a deeper bond; A friendship, rooted in the greatest kind of love there is.
My daughter is a remarkable human being, she has changed me in more ways than I can describe and I love her more than she will ever know.

The happiest of birthdays to my sweet, Abby. I love you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Battle With My Butt

The first time I cried over my physical appearance, I was five.

I remember it like it was yesterday...I was playing quietly on the playground at Springdale Elementary School, when Buddy Lewis, all rat tail, freckles and glasses, ran up to me and said, "Lucinda's got a big butt! Fatty, fatty two by four!!!"

Of course, at the age of five, boys do this sort of thing just to irritate girls. If Buddy Lewis would have said that to twenty-six year old Lucinda I would have laughed in his face and told him to blow it out his ear. However, I wasn't twenty-six...I was five.

 I was also socially inept and very self conscious at such a young age. So, instead of telling Buddy to screw off, I simply got up, and without wiggling my big, five year old bottom, walked as stiff as I could to the bathroom and cried.

This was the first time I cried over the size of my bottom, and it certainly wouldn't be my last.

Throughout my elementary and junior high school experiences, I would see things about other girls that I found fascinating. Their braces, their long perfect hair, the way they walked or dribbled a basketball. I would try to emulate these girls by flipping my hair, walking with an extra bounce in my step or arching my back. Most of the time I ended up looking like I had a sprained shoulder and epilepsy, but I continued to try.

In junior high, I noticed that all of my friends were losing their "baby fat", but mine apparently had some sort of vice grip around my stomach and ass. I joined track...because my friends did. Yeah, while all of my friends were entered in the running events, I was entered in the Shot Put. (Go figure)

It was the summer of my eighth grade year that I decided I would just stop eating. At first, it was difficult, but after about four days the hunger pains subsided. I drank a lot of water to keep my stomach full, and allowed myself one cup of grapes a day. For the first two weeks, it was easy to hide the fact that I wasn't eating. My mom worked a lot, and it was mostly just my sister and I at home. Whenever I went to someone's house, or to my granny's I would feign sickness so I didn't have to eat.

It was incredible. The weight just fell off. I remember one day my mother stopped in the kitchen, looked at me and said, "Wow. We need to buy you some more clothes. You're losing your baby fat."
I continued eating only grapes and crackers for two months. If I was forced to eat because I went out with my family or friends, I only ate a small amount and would normally get sick quickly afterward. Four weeks before my first day of high school, I weighed a shocking one hundred and ten pounds. At the beginning of summer, I had weighed one hundred and forty pounds.

I was unable to continue with my anorexic behavior because I couldn't hide it during school. I liked the fact that I was able to control my body by not eating, but I didn't want the world to find out about it. Most of the time I would eat a bag of popcorn or Funnyuns at school, and about twenty minutes later would have spastic vomiting in the girls room. It was during one of these vomiting sessions when the thought occured to me that maybe instead of not eating anything, I could eat, but then force the food out quickly.
In one day, my Anorexia morphed into Bullemia.

A few weeks went by and instead of hearing, "Wow, Lucy. You lost a lot of weight over the summer! Have you been on a diet?" I heard, "I guess your metabolism changed, huh? You can eat whatever and you don't gain any weight."
In addition the purging, I began exercising vigorously. Almost always at night, in my room. I would do one hundred or two hundred sit ups and run in place for hours while everyone else in my house slept.

Every thought I had revolved around what I ate, and when I ate it. I can't even begin to count the hours that were spent in front of my bedroom mirror, examining my bony body, and wishing that I could just get that last little bit of fat off. There were times I would poke my little invisible fat places so hard that I would bruise myself.

The truth is, I looked like Skeletor with a big poof of blonde, curly hair on top. I smiled, and hid my bony little body under my blue,school jacket, and hoped no one would find out.

I learned, over time, that my anorexia was something I would do in stages. I would realize what I was doing was wrong and I would stop. I would eat healthy and be a normal teenager, and then I would catch sight of myself in a shop window and think, "Geez, my legs look huge", and the cycle would begin again.

Countless hours were spent standing in front of my mirror turning this way, then that way and sucking in my stomach and pushing my collarbones out. It was exhausting.

My Senior year of high school, I came to terms with the fact that I would never be svelte. I liked chocolate too much, and I had, what my Granny liked to call, "The Barr Butt". (Sadly, it's a family heirloom and we can't get rid of it.) I was never what I would call fat, but what most would call "curvy". I had big breasts, an enormous backside and a weird, little waist...but it was the only body I was ever going to have, and I had to learn to love it.
Since that fateful day in 2003, I have carried and birthed two children from my body. I breastfed my children, which, as most of you women know, turn your breast into flat banana boobies when you're done.
The good news is, I married a man that has loved my body in every shape it's taken on. When I was in high school, he liked my big butt. When I was pregnant...Well, maybe we'll skip to post partum.... After I had the children, he liked the enormous ta-tas. He is able to make me feel pretty regardless of my size, and for that I can never thank him enough.

 I have ballooned up to a startling two-hundred and fifteen pounds, and shrunk down to a scary one-hundred and twenty. I have been in a constant tug of war with my body since I was five, and I'm putting my foot down to say, "Enough is enough."

I have been to one side of the scale and back, and I am finally at peace with my body. I can honestly say, that I look and feel better now, than I did at sixteen.

 I know now, that there is nothing I can do about the fact that my stomach looks like a Sharpe's face or that my breasts look like two sad bananas. I'm also not going to wax poetic about how stretch marks are symbols of your journey through life, because that is bullshit.

Stretchmarks suck. No one likes them, almost everyone has them. Shut up with your poetic, stretchmark crap. No one cares, and you're stupid if you believe it.
The main reason I am sharing all of this with you is because...there are people you know and love that are probably struggling with these crippling illnesses. They are terrible diseases, and it's hard to overcome them alone. If you even suspect that someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, don't question yourself. Talk to them. You could give them the gift of time spent away from the their lives to the fullest.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Extra, Extra...Read All About "IT"...

My grandmother was one of the most empathetic, caring and thoughtful people that I've ever met, and one of the funniest. When I was little, she taught us the standard nursery rhymes like, Little Boy Blue and Little Jack Horner and when we learned them (and could say them back perfectly), she would teach us her "Grandma Nursery Rhymes". These rhymes almost always entailed the main character of the nursery rhyme pooping, splitting their pants or passing gas. I guess it is fair to say that I come by my offbeat sense of humor naturally.

Recently, I recieved a ton of feedback about my writings. (All of it freely given, none of it solicited)

I can't believe she posted that!!!
Well, what kind of an example is she setting for her children by talking like that?OH! She said, "Penis" and "Handjob" in a sentence and posted it on the internets!!!!

Bless her heart.
And my personal favorite, which was short, sweet and to the point.


My answer to these comments:

Most of the people who dislike my writings are extremely conservative, Christian people. You know what my favorite thing about Christianity is? I'll tell you, friends. My favorite thing about Christianity is the fact that Jehovah, God and Creator of all things living... gave us free will. Can I get an Amen?!  The will to choose our path, and make our own decisions. Ye-esss! The WILL to choose what to do! And whena to do ita! AMEN! WHOO!!! Hallelujah, hallelujah....hallleellujah. Shadamakanda!!!! (Sorry, about writing like an evagenlist there...I just get into it.)

 So...with that being said...I hardly feel bad for offending your beliefs or sense of rightousness with my writings when I make a preface to the blog that reads, "If you are easily offended or have no sense of humor...Don't read this."  You chose to read it.

You chose to continue on through the paragraphs after reading words like "vagina" and "penis" and "fart", and then you come to me and try to make me feel bad for writing it. Hello?!
I didn't tie you down to a chair and read it to you out loud against your will. You're an idiot.

You read it yourself. Of your own accord. Making your own decision.

You could have read the second sentence and said, "Whoops, this is a blog about (whisper) P.O.O.P... Can't read this one."

Now, on to the people who question my parenting abillities because of my sense of humor. You are probably the same bitchy women who idolize Marylin Monroe, and put her at the front of line for the busting through the door of Women's Suffrage. Puh-lease...the only door Marylin Monroe busted through was the green room door. and she usually waddled in on her knees. parenting skills are in question? Your skills as a human being are in question.Get a life.

Have you ever thought that maybe part of the reason that I post poop jokes and penis jokes on the internets is because I don't talk about those things (ever) in front of my children?
 I'm kind of like Bob Saget. He played the good old American dad on television, and then his standup was just filled with jokes about sex and poop.

With all of that aside, even when my children are older, I will not censor myself. I'm sure when they are older my humor will evolve and not be quite so crude, even so ...I am not going to teach my children that if they do not talk about things that they aren't out there. I am not going to teach my children that they need to be what society wants them to be. I am not going to snuff their creative rights.
I have come to the realization that bigger, more exciting things can happen to those who are open with their ideas and thoughts. I do not want my children to feel inhibited by their own personalities, like I was. Trying to blend into what kind of proper person that society wants them to be. There isn't a single person in history that made an impact on the world by keeping silent. Period.
 I want my daughter to look at women who were shunned for their thoughts and prevailed against it. Women who changed the world with single, inspirational sentences. I want my daughter to look to women who said things, and did things to make a difference in the world.

When my son gets older, and begins to court the ladies, I want him to look for a girl that has her own ideas, imagination and backbone. I want him to be an entrepeneur of thought and expression; gaining his fortune through life experiences. (Look at that word structure! I'm a freaking wordsmith.)

I will not stop being creative, and funny for three reasons:

1.) The world is obviously lacking in people with a sense of humor. I'm like part of the workforce's racial quota only for funny things.

2.) It is my job to show my children, that there are no such things as bad creative ideas. It is my job to encourage them to be whoever they want to be, and how can I do that if I stifle my own creativity?

3.) Because being funny, and writing about it... is who I am. Always has been. Always will be.

Also, to give you some insight on where this all stemmed from: I leave you with these nursery rhymes. Taught to me by one remarkable lady. Betty Lou Massingill. My granny.

Jack and Jill
Jack & Jill went up the hill,
Each with a buck & a quarter.
Jack came down with 50 cents,
Do you think they went for water?

Mary Had  A Little Lamb
Mary had a little lamb,
Her father shot it dead.
And now it goes to school with her
Between 2 chunks of bread.

Note: Almost everything I post is advice intended for squirrels. Except for this. This was for the people who will read this all the way to the end, and then bitch about it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Possible's Haircut

My grandmother, who was quite the wordsmith,  always used to say, "You gotta get your possible clean. You wash as far up as far down as possible, and then you wash Possible."

My latest adventure began in the shower. I was washing Possible and I noticed she needed a haircut. Normally, this is a task that I can accomplish in a matter of minutes. I have become quite deft with my lady bic, but like every other aspect of my life...The childrens manage to make the most menial tasks difficult or near impossible to complete.  Regardless of my reason to enter the bathroom; be it to poop, brush my teeth, shower, or pop a pimple... the childrens yeild an interest in whatever is occuring in the tiniest room of our house.

So, there I was, giving Possible a haircut, when from the other side of the shower curtain I hear, "AHHHHHHH!" The lady bic slipped, and before I could stop my hand...I wacked half of Possible's mustache off.

 Normally, I give Possible what I like to call "The Hitler Mustache" hairstyle, but thanks to my children and the slip of the razor...Possible had a new hairstyle. After shrieking at the kids, I bent down to examine the situation, and came to only one conclusion. The other half had to go. In my mind I was going over the terrible disadvantages to having a bald Possible. Razor burn being second, and trying to explain the whole incident to my husband being first.

Well, I will skip the details, but the Bald Possible led to what I like to call, "Sexapallooza". It was ten of the most passionate, and fun days of my life. My husband made me climax. In my genitals. Sexually. A lot.

Anyway, on the tenth day I started to feel a bit strange in my lady parts. I attributed this to Possible's five o'clock shadow, but we'd discussed it, and she wanted to go back to her old hairstyle.

The eleventh day I awoke with discomfort comparable to what it must feel like to have a centipede in your vagina, making a home. I thought back on the last ten (terrific) days, and after recounting the evening six nights prior...  adult fun time in the pool ...I realized I probably had a yeast infection of epic proportions. The mother of all yeast infections. I suffered through the agony for four days.

I went to the Urgent Care facility in town, and I was diagnosed with a yeast infection and a UTI. Okay, a week of antibiotics, and I'm square. The antibiotics that were prescribed to me had to have been manufactured by Satan himself. It made me violently ill, and after taking an antibiotic pill I felt the way Ke$ha sounds.

 So, today...I headed back to my regular doctor. After a quick vaginal and pelvic exam it was decided that I had a bacterial infection inside of my Possible. Otherwise known as Bacterial Vaginosis or BV, otherwise known as "Honeymoon Syndrome", otherwise known as "Too much fun with your husband".

 Anyway, according to my doctor, Satan's antibiotics wouldn't have been helpful against this bacteria, and after two pills today and two tomorrow, I should be back to my old self. My doctor threatened to put some velcro on my Possible, and advised that my husband and I ease back into our sexual activities in moderation after a week.

So, kids, what did we learn? While it might be fun to copulate several times a day, for ten days in a row, and while it might be revitalizing to one's marriage...Too much of a good thing, can be a bad thing. Take it from me, and Possible.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Missing Moments

Being a parent isn't always fun.

Actually, it's almost never fun.

At times, I will look at my single, childless friends and think, "Wow, just for a minute. It would be nice to have that back." My daydreams are ususally interupted by my children saying things like, "Momma! Sammy keeps putting his race car in my ear." or ,my favorite, "Mom! Sammy took his pants off again!"

To be honest, my children were bad today. They fought constantly and created a wake of messiness everywhere they went. Nothing pleased them, and they were downright grumpy. It was the sort of day that I wanted to just do over or skip entirely.

Sometimes things happen that force us to look at our lives and realize how lucky we are. Good days or bad days...children are a blessing.
So, despite the fact that my children were holy terrors today...I forced myself to be calm, and to enjoy the good moments that were few and far between. I had to remind myself constantly that even little people have bad days.

This morning, I learned of a tragic, unimaginable event that affected a family that I consider very much my own family. This tragedy left two women without husbands, children without fathers and siblings without the connecting link in their family.
There isn't a way to prepare yourself for loss like this. There isn't a course you can take or a book you can read. There isn't a training video you can watch. We live our lives operating under the notion that we are invincible. We forget how fragile life is until those around us experience loss. For those of us on the outer of edges of tragedy, it is like a wake up call.

I've also found that while it is kind to say, "I'm sorry for your loss. I'm praying for you."

The words tend to all blend together into one big pile of empathetic mush. The grieving hear you, but they don't. They appreciate the gesture, but they are numb to anything outside of their broken heart.

So, today, after learning of this accident....My children had a bad day. Normally, I would get short with them, and lose my temper, but today my mind kept drifting back to this blinding fact:

I am lucky that my children are alive. Every single day with my children, good or bad, is a blessed day. A wonderful day.

I am aware of my good fortune and my blessed life even as I type this sentence.

 My son is sitting next to me...Wearing his Optimus Prime shirt and staring intently at the Transformers movie playing on the television, interrupting occasionally to say, "Oppotimus Pwe-ime! Robot truck!"

My daughter, my sweet Abby, who is the same age as the little girls who lost their lives not twenty four hours ago, is tucked tightly in her bed. Lulled into a restful sleep while I sang, "You Are My Sunshine" over and over.

Again, I cannot imagine enduring a tragedy like this and living to tell the tale. It has been proven time and time again that while life is fragile...people are not. People are strong and resilient; and most, have a capacity for love that extends beyond the physical realm of our lives.

I urge each of you, as you read this...Take a look at your surroundings. Your spouse. Your children. Your siblings. Close your eyes and think of how lucky you are, and how much love resides under your roof. Then I urge you to take those feelings of hope, love and peace and send them out...To those that need it.

Ogden family. I love you all.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Beautiful Birthday- The Big Two-Six

Today, I turned twenty-six years old.

I woke up, and didn't feel much different than I did the day before. I didn't feel older or wiser. I'm not sure when birthdays changed for me. As a child, I remember the distinct feeling of anticipating my birthday weeks in advance...Picking out my gifts and making sure everyone knew that my birthday was coming up. Doing the marking of the days on the calendar.

 However, this morning I woke up and felt the same as the day before.

I felt like a tired mother that stayed up entirely too late. My hair was extra wild, my mascara had created dark streaks under my eyes, and when I sat down on the commode to pee, I realized my underwear were on inside out... Yes. This is what my mornings are like, birthday or no birthday.

However, something was different today. I walked into the kitchen and realized that my husband had washed dishes. He had made coffee. He had wiped down the counters and put everything away. He then cooked breakfast and played with the children after working a twelve hour midnight shift. When he layed down to take a nap, I recieved a phone call from my sweet friend, Alicia. The conversation went something like this:

Alicia: "Hey, are you home?"
Me: "Yes, I have no intention to leave the house."
Alicia: "Okay. Well, Sam needs to drop something off for the kids."
Me: "Okay."

*Three seconds later...*

I open my door to find Alicia and Samantha, laughing maniacally, bearing gifts, and holding what appeared to be a large cake. Upon closer inspection I realized the cake was, in fact, a penis cake.

 Not just any penis cake...It was a chocolate penis cake.
Not just any chocolate penis cake...It had silver sprinkles on the scrotum... Indicating that it was an elderly, chocolate penis cake.
Alicia and Samantha had made, decorated and delivered to my doorstep a "Bill Cosby Penis Cake".

I ate the tip of the Bill Cosby Penis Cake, and Samantha and Alicia each ate a sprinkle covered ball-sack.

 Alicia then made the moment perfect when she said, "Man, those pubes are really crunchy."

In that moment, as my two friends and I sat around my table laughing and eating a penis cake...I felt fifteen again. The excitement of having a birthday was brought back to me in an instant. It didn't matter that I was a hot mess, and still in my pj's... For a moment, a beautiful moment...I felt like a queen.
The rest of my day continued beautifully. I went to the theatre and was greeted by endless happy birthdays from castmates and friends. The show went amazingly well. Everything was just perfect.

 I was then told we needed to have a special meeting on the stage after the show. As I entered the stage, I was pushed to the center of the group and 60 of the most amazing people I know sang, "Happy Birthday" in my honor.

I was the reason for the special meeting.

Today, I was taken back to my childhood, my birthday was, in a word, beautiful ...Regardless of the fact that my underwear were on inside out for a large part of the day.

I am one lucky lady. Thank you to everyone who made me feel special today.

Hooray for beautiful birthdays.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rose of My Heart.

I once read that writing your spouses eulogy ,before they die, can help to strengthen your relationship. It is an exercise that is said to take you beyond what you value about your spouse, and to make you think about what life would be like without them.

What you would miss. What you love the most about them. Their best qualities, and so forth.

I don't often write about my husband, mostly because he would be annoyed with me if I made blatant, public declarations of love, but also because I believe that relationships...friendships, marraiges, torrid love affairs, even, are private.
Whether they are happy relationships or relationships that are struggling to stay afloat...I think that those moments, good or bad, should be kept within the boundaries of said relationship.

So below I have, per the instructions of the article, written my husband's eulogy.

Did my husband really die? No.
Is it morbid? Maybe.
Is it mushy? Yes.
Do I care? No.
Jerry's Eulogy- A Last Declaration of Love

I met my husband a few months shy of my fourteenth birthday. I got a summer job working at Callaway's Catfish, washing dishes. Jerry was seventeen. He had just graduated from high school. Frankly, Jerry was quite a dorky looking fellow in his teens, but had a heart of pure gold and a wonderful sense of humor.

 When I asked Jerry what he thought the first time he saw me, he said, "I thought...Well, I thought this was going to be interesting." It wasn't too long before Jerry and I became really good friends.
Although, I fought our blooming relationship tooth and nail at times...Jerry was a persistant fellow.
He didn't put up with my crap, and he didn't mince words. If he thought something, he said it. There was something very endearing about someone who wasn't at all afraid to say what they actually felt.

Our relationship wasn't one that just caught fire, so to speak. It grew, and changed as we did.

 If I sit and think about my life with Jerry...It plays back in my head as this montage of heart breakingly, beautiful moments broken by the occasional argument or harsh word.
I know I was hard to live with, and I know that I broke his heart more than once.

For the tears that were shed because of my actions: There simply are not enough words in the English language to describe the sorrow that haunts my heart. There are not enough words I could speak that could tell you how sorry I am for ever hurting you in any way. The most amazing thing about Jerry was his amazing capacity to love me despite my faults, and my shortcomings.

Jerry was an amazing father. Eager to wake the kids up, and staying up with them after he worked a midnight shift. Changing those first tar-like poop diapers and rocking them in their sleep. Kissing boo-boos and tickling them until they were out of breath. My children had the most amazing father in the world. If they inherited even a fraction of the beautiful qualities that Jerry had within his heart, then they are sure to be some of the most amazing and loving people in the world.

My husband was, and will always be, one of the most wonderful people I have ever met, and I was the lucky duck who married him.

Of course, looking back, there are things I would do differently. Moments I would take back. Things I would undo, but overall... I had and will always have something so wonderful that it cannot be contained or shared. It was a real love. The kind of love that continued regardless of how ugly or scary things were. The kind of love that flourished and grew through the hard moments, and stayed constant through the calm.
There are very few people that can look back on their life, and say that the best decision they ever made was marrying their best friend. It wasn't always easy, but I wouldn't change a single moment.

Conversations With Abby

This conversation took place last night while I was working on my costumes for the play.

Abby: Mom. Whatcha doing?

Me: Oh you know, just working on my costumes for the play. What's up?

Abby: (sigh) Nothing.

Me: Abby, are your feelings hurt?

Abby: (bigger sigh) I guess they're okay...They would be better feelings if we had some of Sammy's cake.

I freeze.
 REO Speedwagon and a montage of all that various times I've eaten cake begin to roll through my mind:

"And even as I wander,
I'm keeping you in sight.
You're a candle in the window,
On a cold, dark winter's night.
And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might....AND I CAN"T FIGHT THIS FEELING ANYMORE

I'm shaken from my daydream by Abby's sweet little voice.
Abby: Momma, Mom...But there's no cake. I guess there is something else that will help my feelings.

Me: What's that?

Abby: When you hold me and I hug you and I smell your hair. It smells beautiful.

Once again, my child just melts my heart.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Sidewalk is fixed....finally.

Webster dictionary defines routine as, "regular procedure or a mechanical performance".

 I am a creature of habit. I generally wake up at the same time everyday, eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, (some kind of cereal containing a lot of bran) drink my coffee out of the same cup...You get the idea.

In short, I'm boring. I'm fine with this. I've tried to be exciting and doing different things in the past, and it didn't work out so well. Thus, I have been securely rooted in the idea and thinking that being a creature of habit is fine...I've also found that the more I tell myself this, the more I believe it.
Over the last year I have been through many emotional and physical changes. I have also been operating under the delusion that I can control everything in my life to a certain degree.

I worked very hard to get control of my body. It worked for a while. My body ran like a well oiled machine.However, I found out about three months ago, it didn't matter how much meat I didn't eat or whole grains that I did...sometimes your body just can't resist sickness.
I tried to apply this same process to my friendships and relationships. Again, I found that it doesn't always work. I spent a large part of the year trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

Where am I going with all of this?
I'm getting there.

I am a runner, and being a creature of habit...I always run the same path. From my house down Maxwell, to Commerce, to Northwest, to Harris, through Broadlawn Park, down Mt. Washington, and back home. For the last six months there has been this little patch of sidewalk and road that the city has been sort of working on. When I would get to the little patch of construction I would hop on the curb, and do a little running balance beam sort of thing until I got to the other side. Instead of acknowledging that the construction was there, and revise my path, I integrated it into my routine. Every time I ran, I would hop the curb and think, "I wonder if they are ever going to get this fixed..."

 The construction became a part of the scenery. It went unnoticed. Another unfinished area of my life, ignored.

I had gotten so used to it being there that when I went for a run two days ago, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw that the construction was finished. It took me a moment of staring at the road to pick out what it was that looked so different. Now, what I'm about to say may only affirm the idea that I'm a complete weirdo, but I couldn't run on the sidewalk. I just couldn't make myself do it. I hopped up on the curb, and did my little balancing beam thing, and then...when I reached the other side. I began to cry.

Standing there in the road with no explanation or reason why. I cried like a baby. 
Looking back on it, I think I related the fixed road with my inability to change even when my surroundings change. So while I have tried to control various things in my life, I was reminded, once again, that everything will get fixed time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Moment I Can't Remember...

I have an amazing memory. It's quite frightening what I remember.

The earliest memory of my life is me standing on the inside of our screen-door, I was two or three, and I watched my brother get on the bus for his first year of school. I remember crying, and looking down at the crack in the screen door where the weather stripping was peeling away, and wondering when my brother was coming home. I was wearing a pink shirt, and my underwear. No pants.
 I fell asleep and when I woke up, my brother was home.

There are several other things that I remember from my childhood with such stunning clarity. I can tell you what I wore, what other people wore. I can tell you how the light filtered through the mini-blinds, and highlighted their face just so. I can tell you a plethora of minute details about nearly everything in my life, except... How Bart Howell and I became friends.

It started with a trip to Quinton, Oklahoma. I traveled there to help my high school speech coach with her new team. I was blocking out a monologue, and when I came out of my "directing haze" I spotted a man with black framed glasses and a wavy, comb-over hairdo smiling at me. A text message here, a text message there. Emails. Phone calls that lasted for hours. More emails.
For the life of me, I cannot tell you how, but our friendship grew and blossomed, and before I knew it...I had a friend that I'd known for only a short time, but really...I felt as though I'd known him all of my life. It was almost as if he could have been standing next to me as I watched my brother get on the number five bus that August morning.

I don't remember all of the sordid details of the beginning of our friendship, but I do know that I have been forever changed because I can say that Bart Howell is my best friend.

Although we are miles and miles apart, not a day passes that I don't think of him, and appreciate the fact that he is the other half of my brain. We have celebrated, plotted, cried, laughed, and cussed together. We have even developed our own form of Ebonics that we use quite liberally.

Of all the things I can remember, I am so very thankful for the moment that I cannot:

The moment that Bart Howell became my very best friend.
Although we will both see it, and pretend it never happened, I am going to write it anyway:

You are wonderful and amazing. Thank you for everything you do for me. Be it a phone call, naughty birthday card or something on a grand scale. I love you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Simple Elegance

I am the kind of person who is easily pleased.

Little things, like… new sheets or finding a forgotten five dollars in a pair of jeans while doing laundry.

Simple moments of sheer delight that just make the world a little brighter.

In addition to being easily pleased...I’m also a creature of habit:
Same breakfast every morning, followed by a cup of coffee, followed by a nice, relaxing poop.
The same activities. Just a different day.

In short, my life is boring. Most of the time, nothing life-changing happens to me.

This is why I find such delight in the little surprises that life brings us.


1.) Trying on a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in six months only to discover that they are too big.
2.) Digging through the medicine cabinet in search of the Vagisil, and finding an unopened box of bath fizzies.
3.) Finding the remote after two weeks of manually changing the channel?
Today, like any other day of my life, was mundane. Routine. Monotonous. Humdrum.

And then, as I was leaving the coffee shop, I felt my foot graze something, and I heard
 it roll across the tile with this metallic click.

I glance down, and what do I find?

A pen! It was a pen! But not just any pen. It’s the kind of pen that has eight different color ink options at the top.
I didn’t even think they made these anymore. I asked everyone at the shop if it was their pen, and they all said no. ..So, you know… Finders keepers and all that.

I remember in school these were the pens that everyone had to have, and we would write each letter of our names in a different color.

Writing your name with this pen was an all day activity.
Today’s nice surprise was being reminded of a time when things were simple.
A time when my biggest worry was what to eat at lunchtime.
Turning my math in when it was due.
Staying outside until the street lights came on.
The smell of freshly cut grass.
 Keeping my farts in all day at school so kids wouldn’t make fun of me.

You know, little things like that.

It’s funny how the strangest things take you back.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Luckiest ...

Yesterday, late in the evening, I went for a run. The air was lighter, and the sun was almost down. I tuned into my easy listening Pandora station and away I went. The first song to play on my Pandora radio was Norah Jones ,"Don't Know Why".

I thought to myself, "Hmm, maybe easy listening is not the way to go. We'll try this, but if James Blunt shows up...I'm changing the station."

I had made it about a half a mile by the end of the first song and I was depressed. Severely.

Before I go any further, I have to tell you about the park where I run. In the late evening it is beautiful. The trail that I run is one mile from one end to the other. In the late evening, running toward the west it's like looking into heaven. The sun is setting and it casts a soft, glow on everything. The simple beauty of the trees are magnified by the delicate, golden light.

One Adele, and one Lisa Loeb later, I cross the street, and am making my way to the trail when I hear Colbie Callait begin to sing,
"I miss those blue eyes...How you kiss me at night..."
I felt myself give an audible sigh, and my eyes rolled into the back of my head. I'm pretty sure I was talking to myself about what a terrible decision easy listening music was for running... The idea of easy listening music sounded great in my head, but after only three songs I realized, every song that played was not one I really wanted to hear.

 On the path where I run, people frequently walk their dogs, and there is an older couple that I see nearly every time I'm at the park.They have two dogs, a dalmation that is fifteen years old and another mutt-dog.  When I see them, I normally stop and visit for a few moments and pet their dogs, but yesterday's musical selections had me in a really grumpy mood, and I decided if I saw them that I wouldn't stop. In the distance I see my little elderly couple, but their dogs aren't with them. They are holding hands and walking along the path. In my ears I hear the last strain's of the Colbie Callait song, and through my headphones emerges the beautiful beginning of Ben Folds' "The Luckiest", and I'll be damned if it wasn't almost fairytale like.

So, while I had not intended to stop and chat...I stopped anyway, and watched. They were talking, and laughing, and it looked like she was telling him about her day. Her free hand was moving around wildly in these grand gestures. After a moment, they both laughed and he brought their intertwined hands to his mouth and kissed the back of hers. There was something about the scene before me. Maybe it was the combination of the beautiful music or the golden light... but, even as I type this I'm realizing it was the comfort and ease that the two had fallen into. The rhythm of their steps, their even gates as they made their way down the path. The way she picked lint from his shirtsleeve, or the way he patted her on the back to let her know her shoe was untied. I'm a little embarassed to admit this, but I followed them around the loop.

Last night, I realized that being in love is more than just wanting someone and it's more than a physical desire. Love is more than friendship and companionship.While I think that the afforementioned characteristics are a vital part to falling in love with someone, they aren't the base or foundation of lasting relationships. I don't know a better way to describe it other than this:

If people stop in their tracks because you and your beloved are exuding micro-love waves then you are most definitely doing something right.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Perfect Moments...Sometimes Go To Crap In 2.5 Seconds

I write often of the fragile combinations that make up a child's life; The irresistible upward motion of precariously stacked building blocks...The smooth symbiosis of peanut butter and jelly...The glory of playing in the rain, but the chill of the wind that follows.
While I normally write of these moments in the lives of children; Today I found, these moments can also be applied to adults.

Today was one of those days for me.
Today was the kind of day where I looked at people galavanting around without children, and thought, "Man, I wish...Just for a minute....Wouldn't that be nice?"

Don't wrinkle up your nose at me.

Every parent has those moments... and if you try to negate that...Well, I'll say're a lying sack of crap.

Everyone has moments like that.
 The vacations and spur of the moment trips that you can't go on.
 Trips to the grocery store that shave twenty years off of your life.
The worry.
The constant battle of keeping the toys in the toybox and the shampoo in the bottle, instead of down the toilet.

Folks, sometimes...having kids sucks.

Today started off a great day. Abby went to school, and Sammy took a long nap. I got a lot accomplished and we swam in the pool. It was really fun...until about an hour ago.

Abby asked if we could go to the splashpad and play, and I agreed. We loaded all of our stuff into the car and away we went. When we arrived there, my daughter (who is afraid of her own shadow) ran toward the water at a dead sprint.  She was laughing like a maniac. I sat down on the cement barrier sort of shocked and amazed, pulled out my book and started to read. After a while, Abby yelled, "Hey, Mom! Look at me!"

When I raised my head, I found myself almost blinded by the beauty of the moment. My children, bathed in the golden- end of the day sunlight, smiles beaming from ear to ear, running through the water and having the time of their lives. Without care or worry. They were living in the moment. Their laughs floated toward the sky with a heavenly grace that only children possess. It was, to say the least, one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. They played for quite a while, and when Sammy approached me, shivering from the cold I decided it was time to go.

This is where my great day begins to unravel at the seams.

Dressing a shivering, wet two year old is difficult. What normally takes me about a minute or less took me five. I'm not sure what it is, but whenever an opportunity presents itself for my son to streak through the wild outdoors sans clothing... He does this with much gusto. It took me forever to chase him down, and then I recieved vicious looks from the fat woman sitting across from me when I spanked him with my wooden spoon. So, Sammy is crying and snot is flying everywhere, and...I still have to drag Abby's reluctant butt out of the water and dress her in some dry clothing. The conversation was sort of like this:

Me: Abby, come on, sweetie. Time to go.


Me: (eye starts to twitch) Abby, I am going to ask you one more time to come here so I can dress you. If I have to come get you I am going to spank you very, very hard with my spoon, and it will hurt. A lot.

Abby: THIS ISN'T ANY FUN!!!!!!!! I NEVER GET TO HAVE FUN IN MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!! I DON- ..Okay, Momma...No...No...No...No...No spankings. I'm coming. Please don't whoop me.

Me: You are gonna get a whoopin' when we get home. Come here and get dressed.

So, after much arguing during the redressing process and retreiving Sammy from the mud puddle by the splashpad, we were ready to go home. Now, keep in mind that during this whole redressing, get ready to go home period ...Abby continued to argue with me. Silently, and with her eyes, but still arguing.

There I am.
My eye twitching, wrestling with a muddy two-year-old blue eyed demon, mud caking my, "Bart Howell...The lesser of two evils." shirt, when I hear Abby let out an ear splitting scream. I look behind me to see her splayed out on the concrete like a crash test dummy. She tripped and skinned her elbow.

 The conversation went something like this.


Me: Abby. You are bleeding, but you are going to be fine. I promise. I will fix it as soon as we get home.


(This is the part where I sound like an insensitive ass, but you really had to be there. She was being excessively dramatic and it was hardly bleeding.)

Me: Abby, you are too big to cry this way. You fell down, but it's going to be okay. I'm going to make it feel better, but now...I want you to put a bubble in your mouth, and get in the car. I love you, and you're pretty, but you are being silly about this.

Abby: I'm not silly. I'm hurt.

Me: I know!!!!!!!!!! (Now I start to cry) But I'm tired, and I don't feel good and your brother is muddy and you keep arguing with me and all I want is for you to listen and not argue and just get in the car. Please?! PLEASE!? WILL YOU JUST GET IN THE CAR?!
Abby: Okay, but just don't cry for me like that. I'll do it, just don't cry.

Believe it or not, the very short ride home was one of complete silence that was broken occasionally by one of us sucking in air between our sobs. I bathed the children, bandaged their wounds and then... I ate a piece of chocolate.

Chocolate is like an emotional band aid... really, it is.

Today, I realized that, eventually, every cool thing starts to suck.

 Now, I'm not saying that every day with my children is laden with emotional breakdowns and paddlings with a wooden spoon.

Only clarifying that the idea of fragile combinations can not only be applied to the lives of childrens, but to adults as well.

I love my children, but today kind of sucked. That is all.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Man, My Foot Tastes Terrible

It's funny how tiny moments can transport a person out of the adult realm in their life, and make them feel like a kid again. However, this isn't always a great thing.

I had several small, and one huge, "Open Mouth, Insert Foot", moments today. I won't go into great detail, but needless to say...I think being in a rush, and failing to pay attention to minute details, were probably the two main causes of my faux pas. Needless to say, I feel like a total ass. I have felt like an ass all day. I will probably still feel like an ass tomorrow.

With that being said...I went for a run today. In the rain, and it was AMAZING!

Halfway through my run, I stopped and realized that I had actually been jumping in the puddles of water.Not in a casual, "Oh-I'm-Running-And-Stepped-In-A-Puddle" way, either.

I was two-footing those puddles.

 I was having so much fun that I didn't even realize that I'd ran past my turnoff, and I had to double back. Time seemed to stand still, and for a short amount of time my stress dissovled, and I forgot about my blunders earlier in the day. I forgot about the laundry and dishes and worrying about all the menial garbage that bogs down my day. I forgot about it all, and just jumped from one puddle of water to another. It was wonderful. By the time I got to my house I was soaked through, and my heart felt lighter.

There is no deep meaning behind this post. Just to say that puts a sad face on my heart, and the tiniest of moments that are shared with no one...Can make it happy again.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shut Up...You're Annoying

I would like to take this time to clear the air on a particular subject.

My weight loss. I'm not anorexic, bitches!

My weight loss journey began in November of 2009. I was feeling a bit under the weather around Thanksgiving and went to the doctor. We went through the motions of  a regular doctor visit, and then my doctor says, "Whoopsie! We forgot to get your weight. Hop on that scale."

To give you an idea of what my life was like a year and a half ago...I wore a size 16 pants, a 36DD brassiere, and had the energy of a dead slug. I wasn't going to "hop" anywhere. My "hop" was more of a, "clomp". I gingerly stepped on the scale and held my breath. For some reason, I felt that doing this will, somehow, make me weigh less.

Holy shit. 209 lbs... Surely, that wasn't right.

At that moment, I had an epiphany...It was something like this:

Jeezus, I'm fat. I'm really, really, really fat. Man, I need some chocolate.

This visit to the doctor, and having a minor surgery(had my appendix taken out) sort of jump started my weight loss.

I began to set small goals for myself. The first one was to run to the end of the road and back.
I didn't make it.
I made it about ten houses down before I turned around and walked home.
 Each day, my goal was to to go a little further than I did the day before.
 I did this everyday for six weeks, and one day I looked up and thought, "Wow, I just ran all the way to 12th Sreet without stopping to pretend to tie my shoes! I'm doing it!"I then began to modify my diet. Eating salads with vinegar and oil, and cutting meat out of my diet. I cut down on my dairy products and started taking vitamins. I found out that potatoes and breads are really an essential part of a balanced diet, but, much to my disappointment, chocolate is not. I learned that I really could live without eating those waxy Little Debbie chocolate donettes and chocolate milk for breakfast.

I began to notice, almost immediately, that my clothes no longer fit.
 My boobs were escaping out of the bottom of my brassierre, my underwear had a chronic saggy butt, and my shoes were roomier! I was unaware that one could lose weight in their feet.

After six months of working out five days a week, and eating a primarily vegetarian diet I had lost forty lbs. Running was now a part of my routine. Take care of the childrens, clean the house, cook dinner, and run. Before I realized it, I was enjoying the foods that I had forced myself to eat. I was vaccuuming my living when room when I had a sudden moment of clarity. It was something like this,

This has been more than a "diet", or a workout program. This is a lifestyle change.

It has been a hell of a journey. With a lot of ups and downs, and tears and sweat and injuries. However, since that fateful day in November of 2009, I have lost a total of 80 lbs.
I did it all by myself. I didn't use diet pills, meal replacements, or hire a trainer. (Although, with the exception of the diet pills, I endorse using meal replacements (sometimes), and if you have the money and need the all means, hire a trainer. I would have if I could afford one.)
Now, on to why I blogged about my weight loss journey. Contrary to popular belief, I did not write about this to be all, "Look at me, look at me. I'm skinny now."
I didn't do it to inspire anyone, or to guide anyone through their weight loss journey.

I wrote about this because today, someone that I care about, a lot, gave me a hard time about my workout routine and my eating habits. I believe her exact words were, "Well, I don't see why you're still excerising, and eating cucumbers and shit. You don't need to be any skinnier. You look anorexic."

First of all... No, I don't. I'm healthy, fit, and I look that way. I am secure in the fact that I look better, at this very moment, than I did before I birthed my childrens. I feel at ease with how I look, and I know that I am making healthier choices for my life...Which helps me make better choices for my children.

Secondly, I know you're reading this and I want to apologize;

I am sorry that you are such a hateful bitch that it is a physical impossibility for you to be happy for others. I am sorry that you feel the need to bring others down when you are having a bad day. I am sorry that you don't have enough, "oomph", to motivate yourself to be a nicer human being.
In short, I'm sorry that you are annoying and spiteful, and that you delight in making other people feel like poop.

Thirdly, shut up. You're annoying.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Mountain Woman of the Universe

Time is a concept that humans have no grasp on. I mean, sure…We think about the minutes in the hour and the hours in the day and the days in the weeks and the weeks in the months and the months in the year, but…We really have no clear understanding of the value of time, and it’s direct relation to our lives.

Sometimes, things happen to us that will alter our concept of time... Forever.

My grandmother was an amazing lady.
A stand up lady.

Shit, she wasn’t even really a lady. She cussed like a sailor and smoked a pack a day, and had no filter between her brain and her mouth. She said what she thought and she almost always said what she meant.

You know, it’s funny because when you’re little you don’t really think about your parents and grandparents dying. Sure, parents leave…they walk out…they get divorced…they lose jobs…they forget to pick you up from school or go to your graduation…but dying?


I never told my grandmother that I thought she was amazing.

I told her that I thought she was crazy.

I told her that she was controlling and needed to cut the invisible umbilical cord and just let me grow up. Let me worry about my own bowel trouble, and my own band aid application.

I told her that she needed to stop smoking.

I told my grandmother everything except what I needed to tell her.

I should have told her that I thought she was beautiful, and elegant. I should have told her that my favorite childhood feeling was her cool hands on my forehead when I was sick.

My favorite day of my life was with my grandmother. It was the day I started my period, and she said,
“Well, no one wants to feel like a goddamn menstruating walrus. Let’s go get ice cream.”

We spent the entire day just being together. Hell, half of the time we didn’t even speak. I was twelve and I let her hold my hand and I didn’t care that people were watching. At the end of the day, she tucked me in and said, “My little dumpling…I must’ve done something really, really, really great to deserve you.”

I should have told my grandmother how much she meant to me…and I shouldn’t have screened my phone calls. I should have taken her out to eat more, and lectured her less about her bad habits.

And these, memories… Her telling me about some third generation gossip that I cared nothing about…Her telling me to put vinegar on my sunburn…Singing Bee Gee’s songs and dancing around the house. These memories are all I have left. I listen to her voice, and I close my eyes, and I miss her.

When my grandmother had a heart attack…It was a shock. It shouldn’t have been, though.
She smoked a lot, ate a lot of hamburgers and exercised never.

She was in the hospital for five days.

There’s a concept of time for you. How do you tell someone everything you want to tell them, ever, in just five days. The day it clicked for me that my grandmother wasn’t coming home from the hospital was the day I walked into her room and she couldn’t press the button on the remote control for the television. She asked me to do it.

My granny, the goddamn mountain woman of the universe…The strongest woman I knew… Couldn’t even press the neoprene button on her remote control to change the channel on the television.

The funeral was really nice. It was simple. A lot of people I didn’t know were there. I guess I never realized that she had so many friends.

More than anything…I just hope that my granny knows that I loved her.

I loved her more than I ever told her.

I can’t believe it’s been seven years.
Time…It just gets away from you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fragile Combinations

Bejamin Franklin is credited with saying, "In this life, nothing is certain but death and taxes." Most of us, live our lives under the notion that we will die late in our lives. We marry, have children, set up house and march through life at a steady, comfortable pace.

Occasionally, things will happen to us that will cause us to stop and evaluate our surroundings. The unexpected occurences often make us cherish each moment that we have....At least for a little while. Eventually, the shock wears off and we fall back into the comfortable rhythm of the hum-drum.

Today, I saw a friend of mine while running some errands in town. I had to look twice to be sure that it was her. She'd lost an unhealthy amount of weight, and there was something very different about her. It took me a moment, and I realized that she didn't have any hair. No eyebrows, no hair. Period. She told me four months ago that she had cancer, and I have spoken to her on the phone and on Facebook frequently, but the shock of seeing how sick she really was...Well, it was like a punch in the stomach.

My friend is young; 35. She has an eight year old daughter that worships the ground she walks on. I could wax poetic about all of her majestic qualities, but I will simply say, she is a marvelous human being.

When speaking to her today, she told me that she forces herself get out of the house three or four times a week even though it depletes her energy. We talked about the weather. I told her a few funny stories about my children, and throughout our conversation I couldn't help but notice how peaceful she seemed...

Until we started talking about her daughter. She asked me, "Lucy, how am I supposed to answer every question she will ever have, about just a few months?"

As I sit here typing this, my son, Sammy is stretched out on the couch beside me and my daughter, Abby, is playing in her room.

 I am, at this moment....This very mundane and ordinary very,very lucky.

I am healthy...mostly, and my children aren't in immediate danger of losing a parent to an ill fated disease.
Today, I am overwhelmed with the privilege it is to parent another human being, the luxury of love, the decadence of caring. Being a parent, raising these children...Well, it is the only thing in the world that only I can do.

You know, a child's life is made up of fragile combinations. The irresistible upward motion of precariously stacked building blocks...The smooth symbiosis of peanut butter and jelly...The glory of playing in the rain, but the chill of the wind that follows.

My heart is breaking today for my friend and her daughter. Today, was a reminder for me:

 You must treasure your family.
 You have to take the good with the bad.
Don't mince words... say what you really mean.
The sticky smell of pickles and cookies on little hands is the sweetest smell in the universe.

And most importantly...Ben Franklin was right. Nothing is certain in this life.


            Greg has a poster in his office that depicts two penguins standing side by side on a glacier in the Artic somewhere. Above it, it reads, “Truth. The first step to healing.”

There isn’t really anything else to look at in this office. Greg doesn’t have any personal pictures on display, or self help books stacked haphazardly in a corner somewhere. He does ,however, have one of those pendulum things on his desk. I lift a ball on the right side and send it into motion. I do this every time that I am here because it irritates my therapist. He makes me wait in this dreary office because he knows it irritates me. This is our way of bonding. Every week it is the same routine. I come into his office, swipe peppermints out of the mesh container on his desk, and look at that stupid poster and think, “Really? Why on earth would the people who designed this poster put penguins on it?”

It makes no sense. They aren’t even the cute little black and white penguins. They are those ugly ones with the yellow sticky out things on their heads.

Greg comes into his office after I have been waiting for ten minutes. He is drying his hands on a paper towel; it looks like an expensive brand.

Brawny, probably.

Greg isn’t married, and I don’t think he is gay. I haven’t quite figured him out. From the waist up he looks like a Ken Doll. His hair is perfectly combed over, and his shirts are all very starched, but once you begin to look below his waistline everything begins to unravel. There is a small stain on his khakis, and he is wearing white socks, black shoes, and one of those hideous braided belts. It’s brown
“Hello, Lucinda. How are you today?” I don’t know why he asks me this every time.

Of course I try to deflect any questions with humor, “I would be doing better if my boobs were bigger.”

I say this to shock him. It worked for the first month, but I think he is used to me now.

He sits in the chair across from me and crosses his leg ankle over knee, notepad ready. He rubs his hands over his eyes, and looks at me.

“You know that I am hear to listen. You don’t have to entertain me. This joking about your breasts isn‘t healthy”

I shrug my shoulders, “Who said I was joking? Probably, I would be in a better mood if my breasts were larger and higher up on my body. That’s all I’m saying.”

He puts his glasses on. This is about to get serious.

“I know that your less than ample breasts aren‘t the problem because you are actually talking about it. The things we don’t talk about. The things that we suppress and keep inside. Those are the things that cause us the most discord in our lives. You must learn to speak the truth. Whether it is tiny, insignificant things that you believe to be true or big secrets from your past. Speak your truth.” The clicking of his pen is the sound that signifies that it is now my turn to speak.

I’m not sure how much time passed before I said anything. It could have been five minutes, it could have been fifty. I pay for an hour and a half, and I am pretty sure that I annoy the hell out of him. He is probably happy that I haven’t said much today.

“So, what? So you want me to tell you things that I know to be true? Okay-Well, um…the sky is blue. I’m not sure if you know this, but you have a small stain on your pants that, actually, is in such a place that it draws attention to your crotch. Your socks are both white, but they don’t match. I hate that poster on your wall, with the penguins. It doesn’t make any sense. You should really decorate more in here.
You expect people to talk about their feelings and you don’t have anything personal of yours on display for us to look at. It’s kind of crappy, I think. I know you aren’t married, but I haven’t decided if you are gay. You have very effeminate hand gestures, but at the same time manage to have a very manly stance, and I am pretty sure that I saw you looking at my cleavage the first time I came here. I hate commercials with a burning passion. I hate the sound of the Oxy-Clean info-merical guy’s voice, and I actually feel bad about it now because he is dead. I feel like I am disrespecting him because I hate his voice. I hate it that I wasted so much of my life working at the jewelry store. I have a terrible ability to just say things without thinking about them first, which is usually never a good thing. I wish I could talk to my husband more, and that he would really listen to me. I love my children, but wish I would have waited longer to have them.” I stop speaking suddenly, because I realize that I don’t really want to talk to Greg anymore. He didn’t write anything down which is a pretty good sign that he was listening to me talk.

I can tell when he is really thinking hard about what to say because he begins making a sucking sound on his teeth. This, in turn, causes my eye to twitch. When he does this, I could kick him in the forehead and not feel bad about it.

He uncrosses his legs, leans forward with his elbows resting on his knees, and removes his glasses.

“I don’t have anything personal in this office because I don’t have much of a personal life. I’m not gay, but I have kissed a guy before. The stain is from my hot dog that I ate at lunch,” he takes a deep breath and rubs his hands across his face, “I was married, but we were both too young and it didn’t work out. I hate it when you play with things on my desk, and when you crunch on peppermints during our sessions. I feel really, really sorry for your husband. I like long walks on the beach and fruity, frozen drinks when I go to the bar.” He says the last part with a half smile on his face. He sits back and crosses his arms across his chest.

 Like a challenge.
What is this? Some sort of psychological dance-off?

This is weird.

 I have to go. I stand up and gather my things.
“So, um- thanks for listening to my…you know. I’m sorry, about the…I’m sorry if what I said about you was somewhat inappropriate, but it was all true. I guess that’s a start.” I gather my things and turn to leave. I have tears in my eyes, and I just don’t understand why I am crying. I have never been a graceful crier. Demi Moore, in Ghost, now that was graceful crying. A little red nose, and one tiny tear, just trickles down her cheek. Perfect. I, on the other hand, cry like Julia Roberts.
Snot literally flies out of my nose when I cry. It isn’t pretty.

I grab a handful of Kleenex from the small table by the door and shove one up each nostril. I feel like I have to tell him something more. It’s like a pull from within me, and I can’t stop it. I try, but something inside of me spews the words out against my will.

Vomit of the mouth.

“I try to make everything a joke. I figure if I can make people laugh then they won’t see my troubles. I am really insecure about everything that I do. I look at my life, and say, “What have I accomplished?” I haven’t been anywhere, I haven’t done anything that will change the world. I’m twenty-three and I feel like I have nothing to offer anyone, but I do a great job of making it look like I do. I actually like coming here. I look forward to it even though I try to tell myself that I hate you. I think you are really nice, and even under different circumstances we could be friends. I don’t want to talk about my childhood. At least, not for a while. I’m- um…I’m going to go home now.”

I leave. I shut the door too hard, by mistake. I should probably go back in and tell him that I didn’t mean to shut the door so hard. I decide to stop by the receptionists desk and just tell her.

 I tap on the glass window, with rapid, Morse Code like taps. Janet, the receptionist slides the glass back and is looking at me strange. I’m still crying, sort of. I’m trying to stop, but it isn’t working.

“I’m sorry to bother you, but could you just tell Greg that I didn’t mean to slam the door. The window in his office was open, and I guess it just shut louder than I expected it to. So, could you just let him know that I didn’t mean to slam the door.”

Shut up, Lucy. You are an idiot. Just go home. Stop talking.
I don’t. It gets worse.

“I mean, I could go in there, but I got really emotional and I’m afraid if I look at that poster in his office again I may just have to rip it off of the wall. I think I am going to go and get some ice cream, and just calm down. So, yes, please let Greg know that I didn’t mean to slam his office door shut, and that I am fine. I am of sound mind. I will not be drowning my children in the bathtub today. Ha, ha, ha…hee, hee…um, okay. Have a nice day!”

I wince as I realized that I sort of shouted the last part.

I turn quickly to leave, but am stopped by the sound of Janet opening her little side door. I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around and she hugs me. Janet releases me from the embrace and holds me at arms length, and then very gingerly she removes the tissues from my nostrils, pats me on the cheek and says, “I don’t think you are crazy, but other people might. It would be better not to have the Kleenex dangling from your nose, just in case.”

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, and All That Crap.

Today is Mother's Day, and I am the mother of two amazing human beings. Therefore, I should be enraptured by everything that is, "Mother's Day"... But I'm not.

To me, Mother's Day is just another day of the year. Personally, I think it is a sensationalized holiday that greeting card companies, jewelry stores and flower shops all use for financial gain. They're in cahoots, I tell you!!

When we think of Mother's Day, we think of what we see on television; Mothers being awakened very gently by neatly dressed children, only to discover a perfect two-egg breakfast beside their bed. We all know that this doesn't happen. I don't know about the rest of you, but when I wake up in the morning, I look like I've been on a three day bender, and my children are almost always in various states of undress with snot running from their nose. I don't know about the rest of the world, but the mornings at my house are not all sunshine and roses. Mornings at my house are hell on Earth.

 While I think it is wonderful that there is a special day set aside to honor the mothers of the world... I also believe that this holiday, like any other, has become downright outlandish. While I was purusing the Mother's Day cards, I noticed that they have Mother's Day cards of all sorts.  They have cards to mothers from children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, god-children, husbands, wives, (yes, I really did see one that read: "From your loving wife." Which, I think is great news.) friends, neighbors ,co-workers, and here's the kicker...I found a Mother's Day card with the closing line of, "Love, Your Four-Legged Friend"... I can only guess they are referring to the animal-child of the house.

While people celebrate their mothers today, I don't think anyone truly understands the holiday until they have children.

I now understand that I have a special power within me.

When I'm singing my daughter to sleep and she says, "Mommy, sing "You Make My Sunshine"...

 I know that I not only have the power to guide her into a peaceful slumber just with the sound of my voice...I have the power to understand her heebly-geebly made up language, and to heal boo-boos with a single kiss and a tickle.

 Being a mother is more than what one imagines in their head. It isn't all cuddling and side-walk chalk time. It's sort of a mess. It's actually an enormous mess.

It's getting puked on, pooped on, and snotted on...All in one day.
 It's soothing tears and cleaning up messes.
It's doing the before-bedtime-scavenger hunt for the "one" toy that the children can't sleep without.
It's saying something, slapping your hand over your mouth and saying, "Holy shit, I sound just like my mother."
It's knowing that for at least sixteen years of your life your name will be changed to, "Whoevers-Mom".
It's the constant worry, and the constant love.
It's wanting to choke your children, but at the same time wanting to hug them.

While there are a lot of terrible, terrible, terrible things that go along with being a mother... I think it's the single most important thing that I will ever do with my life. If I can raise my children to become great people, with good hearts... then I have made a huge contribution to the world.

In closing, I would like to say that when we celebrate Mother's Day, we shouldn't celebrate the fact that people are mothers simply because they birth children. We should celebrate the women who have lost sleep, kissed boo-boos, and have taken the time to raise us into the people we are today... and we should do this everyday...Not just one day out of the year.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Working Class

For reasons that escape me, I always end up at the grocery store on the first of the month. I don’t receive food stamps, WIC, or any other sort of state assistance. Also, I know that there are times when people really do need help, but most of the time the system is abused, and we all know it.
In short, I should know better than to go to the store on the first of the month.

Needless to say, there I am: dodging people with carts piled to the ceiling with soda, oven pizzas and screaming bare-footed childrens. I have two goals while I’m at the store:

1.) Avoid anyone I know because I was looking FRIGHTENING.
2.) Not spend more than $127.00 because that is how much cash I had in my wallet.

I accomplished my first goal with flying colors. Now, it is entirely possible that they saw me in my frazzled, un-kept state and thought, “Wow, Lucy is lookin’ rough. I better stay away from her.” Anyway, here’s where the story gets interesting.

As the checker lady is ringing me up, I begin to unfold and count my very large, but extremely organized stack of one and five dollar bills. From behind me, I hear an obnoxious sigh, and in a voice that probably shattered the eardrums of dogs oceans away, someone says, “Jesus Christ. Now this is really going to take forever. She’s paying with ones.”
I stopped counting my money, (which was already divided into ten stacks of ten, by the way) gathered every bit of it back up, and began to count it like a little, senile old woman. Licking my finger and everything. It probably took me a solid five minutes to count it out, and then…here’s the kicker: I dug around in the bottom of my purse to find exact change. She sighed and coughed and talked obnoxiously about how sometimes people could be so annoying.

Let me tell you something, lady. I am part of the working class that is paying for your food stamps, Bitch.

Sure, it took me a while to count out my money while I was paying for my groceries, but at least I did actual work to get them monies…You know, aside from popping out children. (There were 6 children with her, by the way.) So, my advice is to you is this:

1.) Don’t piss off the people that are a part of the working class that pay for your damn groceries….when you do, you are biting the hand that feeds you, literally.

2.) Homemade marijuana leaf tattoos are SO last year

3.) Bitch, when it’s 50 degrees outside… booty shorts and a translucent t-shirt aren’t the wisest of clothing choices.

Have your pets spade and neutered. That is all.

Can't Run Away From Yourself

Merriam-Webster defines clarity as: The quality or state of being clear. Free from mist, haze or dust.

I often write about these, "moments of clarity" that I have from time to time. Sometimes, they come to me slowly, and other times they fall upon my perfectly shaped head like a ton of bricks. Today, was a ton of bricks sort of day.

It was cold today. Too cold to run, but I hadn't been in two days and I have this terrible fear of being fat again. Thus, I made myself go. I was running along, nodding my head to the Adele song playing, but not really digging it. The song ends, and I hear the unmistakable opening bars of a Bob Marley song come through my headphones...And I think to myself, "This is good. A little Marley on a cold cloudy day will help boost my spirits..."

Bob is singing to me, in his little reggae-ganja-laced voice, "Ya running and ya running, But ya can't run away from yourself,Can't run away from yourself -Can't run away from yourself..."

And you can guess....I stopped running. Dead in my tracks.

I was running away from myself. I have had an inner struggle over the last year. Trying to find my place in the world...Wait, did I really just use a Micheal W. Smitch song lyric? Yuck.

Anyway, for the last year, I've been trying to find out who I am. Aside from being quite the domestic goddess, and an outstanding mother, I have lost sight of who I am without those things. Of course, I tried my hand at a lot of different activities:

Scrapbooking- It didn't go so well. I lack the patience required to document every moment of my children's lives.

Being a "room  mom" at Abby's school-  This didn't work out for two reasons: 1.) I'm not put together. I'm the mom that's running up to the school at the very last minute in my pajamas. 2.) Aside from my own children, I realized that I don't like kids all that much.

After the previous two hobbies were unsuccessful, I thought I would focus on fixing up my house. I was actually really great at this, but I found that my weekly budget was depleated with just a few trips to Hobby Hell, and that this actually turned me into a Cybill-esque type of mother. Wire hangers anyone?

It wasn't until I exuded a lot of energy trying to find a hobby, that I realized. Duh, ya dumb shit. Being good at a particular activity does not define who you are as a person.

I went about this completely wrong, and spent a lot of time and energy working in the wrong direction.
So, there I was; wearing my "Property of Bart Howell" t-shirt, listening to Bob Marley and crying in the middle of the road.

Bob was singing, "Ya must have done... Somet'in' wrong... Ya must have done.... Wo! Somet'in' wrong... Why you can't find the place where you belong?"
And that, my friends, is when the brick fell on my perfectly shaped head. It was something like this:

Holy shit! I'm an idiot.

I sat down and made of list of ingredients, or inherent qualitites that made me who I am. The list is as follows:

I'm funny.

I have two amazing childrens, and they are the most important thing I will ever do with my life.

I almost always look for the good in people, and often blatantly refuse to see the bad. Which, in turn, almost always lead to disappointment.

I am a writer. That is really what I was born to do.

I am the product of a highly disfunctional family.

I love cake, and I think I need help. I'm addicted.

I struggle with being alone, and even though I like doing things by myself... I hate the idea of being without anyone.

So, that's "who" I am. I've realized that we don't have a place or a purpose. We must simply be who we are, and do the things we enjoy. That's our purpose...or, at least, my purpose.

Now, when I run, I can honestly say that I'm not running from myself. I'm running for myself.


Conversations With Abby- Peepers and ShyShys

My daughter is four, and her curiosity about everything on the planet varies from being the most adorable thing that you have ever heard in your life.... to annoying in about 3 seconds.

My son, Sammy, has recently taken to streaking through the house, naked from the waist down...(Apparently men develop an obscene fascination with their man-parts at an early age.) While Sammy's new pastime bothers no one else in our home... Abby becomes infuriated whenever Sammy runs around naked with his doodles "bouncing all over the place."


Mom: Okay...Abby, please don't scream like that. It's not a big deal. I just have to put his diaper back on.

Abby: But...Mom? Why do little boys want to run around naked?

Mom: Because, Abby...they like it. Little boys are kind of weird, and we're just going to let your brother be weird and run around naked.

Abby: Why can't he get in trouble today for being naked?

Mom: Because...that's what Sammy likes and he's little and he isn't hurting anyone so...we're just going to let him do it.

Abby: Why?!!! I don't want him to be naked, why can he do it?

Mom: did it too, when you were little. When we were teaching you to use the potty. We let you run around naked, and it wasn't very long and you were using the potty.

Abby: Yeah, but Mom! (Long pause) His peeper is just bouncing all over the place!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Torpedo Breasts and Dirty Crocs

I wait tables.

Let me elaborate, I wait tables at a buffet that serves mediocre, cafeteria grade food and caters to an older clientele; Old women who carry little plastic baggies around in their oversized purses, and men with arthritic knees and grumpy demeanors.

 Unfortunately, we also attract another type of customer, Window Lickers...Also known as:

Paste Eaters
Spam Eaters
Banjo Ticklers

Everyone knows the kind of people that I speak of:

 Women with chin hair, no brassieres and dirty feet shoved into even dirtier Croc shoes.
Children with mullets, temporary "Mom" tattoos and dirty faces that are in a perpetual state of stickiness.

Window Lickers invade a space like a pack of Wildebeest being chased by a Cheetah through the Serengeti.

To be clear, I do not think that I am above anyone in any area of my life. I do, however, have enough good sense to be a fly on the wall. I'd rather be Plain Jane and go unnoticed my entire life than be noticed because I'm not wearing a bra in public.

I would like to take a moment to tell you all about a woman that visited my workplace just yesterday.
Her name: "Amazon Titties"...

She was, the tallest woman I'd ever seen in my life. After getting over the initial shock of how tall she was, I noticed she was wearing a floor-length zebra print dress.

My first thought was, "Man, there's a whole safari under that zebra dress."

 After a moment, I came out of my trance only to see her enormous, propellor-like breasts which were propped up like two round canteloupes on her chest.

My second thought, "Man, that's a whole lotta boob."

This woman would've had cleavage in a turtleneck sweater.

Of course, there was a tattoo on her left breast, that read, "BabyDoll" in a hard to decipher, garbly cursive script of some sort.
I want everyone to know, that all of this... the height, the dress, the breasts...the tattoo.
All of those things....I could deal with, but I looked down and happened to notice...Amazon Titties wasn't wearing any shoes ,and it looked as though centuries had passed since she last cut her toenails.

A recap, my friends:

Not only,was the bitch dressed like an oversized zebra in heat...
Not only, was she in a restaraunt without shoes...
She had fuckin slasher blades on her phalanges!!!

However, even with her plunging neckline and the way she ate the food off of her plate as she meandered around the buffet line, I still refrained from putting her in the Window Licker first.

As Amazon Titties was leaving the restaraunt, I saw that she carried in her hand... dirty, white Crocs.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Conversations With Abby

Tonight, I was cuddling with the childrens in the chair and Abby said in a very serious tone, "Mommy, I need to ask you something." I said, "Okay, baby. You can ask me anything." She sat there for a minute and said, "Ummmmm....Why can't we eat the Sun?"

I sat there for a moment, very confused, and asked her to repeat the question. She then... rolls her eyes, sighs loudly and says, "Why-can't-we-eat-the-Sun?" She says it like I have an undiagnosed mental handicap.

Let me be clear. I am very intelligent, and quite creative, but never in my wildest dreams (and believe me, there have been some wild ones) could I fathom having to answer the question: "Why can't we eat the sun?"

I thought for a moment and said, "Abby, we can't eat the Sun for a lot of reasons, but the main reason we can't eat the sun is because...Well, it isn't food."

The conversation then proceeds as follows:

Abby: looks like food. It looks like an orange and oranges are good snacks.
Me: It does look like an orange, but it's actually a hot ball of burning gas very far away. It's a star.
Abby: No, the Sun is not a star.
Me: Yeah, it is.
Abby: No, the Sun is a circle!
Me: Actually, the Sun only looks like a circle...It's actually a sphere.
Abby: Sometimes the Sun looks like a spider.
Me: The Sun doesn't look like a spider. Now you're just being silly.
Abby: Yes it does!!!!! When I draw the Sun at school, it looks like a spider before... when I draw it at school!!!!
Me: can't eat the Sun because it's not food. It's too hot, and it's too far away. I love you,and you're very pretty but...Watch the movie.
Abby: But, Mommy... Why is it too far away?
Me: Because Abby...Optimus Prime put the Sun very far away a long time ago.
Abby: Ohhhhh...He did? That's because he is a very big robot. Optimus Prime did it all by himself!

And that is why... I am the best mom in the world.

Breaking Up With Facebook...

Until last week, I spent an unatural amount of time logged into Facebook.

In fact, Facebook was the first thing I did in the morning, and the last thing I did before falling asleep at night.When I acquired my new smart phone, Facebook was suddenly available to me everywhere that I went... To make matters worse, I felt... compelled to "check in" everytime I walked into a restaraunt.
I wanted my three hundred and fifty six friends to know, "Yes! Look at me! I'm at Braum's with my children! I have a full social calendar! See? I'm not a pathetic loser!"

I was in a state of panic when the realization struck that my online relationships were overshadowing the relationships with those immediatley around me. I was losing touch with reality. Instead of calling my friends or family on the phone to arrange lunches or playdates... I would Facebook them.

Sick friends? Facebook.
Death in the family? Condolences via Facebook.
New baby? Congratulations via Facebook.
Birthday wishes? Phone call. Okay, I'm lying. I didn't even know it was their birthday. Facebook told me.

 Interest in what "Susie-Whatserhoosit" was making for dinner superceded my own dinner, and it had to stop. On April the 2nd, one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of what appeared to be a Facebook vaccinne. I was drinking my coffee, and I had a sudden moment of clarity...It was something like this:

Holy Shit. I need a Facebook Vaccinne.

I needed more than that... I needed a Facebook colonic. I needed to flush Facebook out of my system, and learn to live without it. It was time. So, on April the 2nd at 8:35 a.m., I deactivated my Facebook account. I once read, when a person survives a tragic event or suffers through a tramatic time, they must tell one hundred people their story before they can begin to heal. ( I, apparently, felt the need to send out a mass text message informing everyone that I was quitting Facebook. I included a Howard Thurman quote at the bottom. It was downright poetic, to say the least. )

Soon, I recieved severeal reply text messages:

"April Fool's Day was yesterday."
"Was it something I did?"
"I don't blame you...Facebook is silly."

(and my personal favorite)
"Wow! That was quick... By the way, that Howard Thurman is a freaking wordsmith."

The first two days without Facebook were awful. I would see something hysterical and think, "I need to post this on Face-... Wait a minute. No more Facebook." 

I've seen friends in the grocery store over the last week, and they asked, "Did you give me the X?"
I explained to them that I was breaking up with Facebook. Of course they asked why, but the thing that startled me the most... Every person that I've talked to about it has asked, "What's life like without Facebook?" People have not only asked me this question, they've asked with a heart full of wonder and hope.

Frankly, life is the same as it was before Facebook. My children are still hilarious, I still silently hex people when they are rude to me, and I still wonder about the absurdities of life... They just go undocumented for my three hundred and fifty six friends to see... Which is sort of nice.

In short, my sabbatical has forced me to interact with people more. I've made more phone calls in the last week than I have in a month. I've had two lunch dates, and I have only opened my computer three times.

 When I'm having a great day, I enjoy it... and when someone pisses me off, I no longer look for the perfect quote or lyrics to vaguely express to the world that I'm mad.

Nope. I just tell them, "Now, you've pissed me off, sucka."

I feel more expressive, and I'm definitely getting more sleep. I've done some volunteer work, and watched new movies.  Believe it or not, I've actually lost a little weight since being off of Facebook. Oh. My. God. Even as I'm writing this it's being affirmed that I really was in a relationship with Facebook... Yuck.

In short, turn off your Facebook for a week. I dare you. See what life it like around you, or in the words of Howard Thurman (a.k.a The Freaking Wordsmith)... "Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”