too much growing up


To be filed under the “isn’t it ironic” files there was just too much growing up happening here under The Big Top today.

I came home from work this morning…YES!…I worked last night which is indeed some kind of record for 2014 where I worked the last three consecutive scheduled nights rather than be cut or placed on call. It’s a good thing. We’ll just ignore the health stuff going on because I’m working on it as best as I can right now and a paycheck is better than no paycheck as that has been a real reality of late. Not that any of this has anything to do with too much growing up going on.

Back on topic, I came home from work this morning to find this handsome young man…

yes, this handsome guy dressed and ready for school eating his breakfast.

I made my breakfast, Mom. Abby and Jodie are STILL sleeping.

yes, he did roll his eyes. For the record, it was 7:30 AM and both were soon up because of school and work. Meanwhile, this boy of mine made his own breakfast…a simple breakfast, but a good breakfast to start his day with.

Impressed I was!

This kid is growing up!

And just when I was feeling pretty okay with this, he hands me this flyer at the end of the day.

Yes, yes my sweet little boy is old enough to attend those monthly Middle School Dances sponsored by the Manteca Youth Advisory Commission with security provided by the Manteca Police Department (?!). The ones his sisters would BEG me to let them go to and as I would drop them and their friends off, I swear to god it took all that was in me to not jump out of the mom-car and pull them back in for so many reasons…reasons which were definitely confirmed today when I shared this flyer with them.

YIKES!

OMG, NO!

Nope, he’s not allowed to. I forbid it.

Well this could be fun if he wanted to go. I mean IF he wanted to go.

“Did you see this, Daniel?”

“Yes. I don’t want to go.”

Thank goodness!

That’s enough growing up for today.

 

 

 

what he said


Found this today and all I can say is yes…hell yes.

I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience. ~Jose Micard Teixeira

And now the hard part, to take those words and make them mine because…yeah.


From Ripon’s Annual Color The Skies, 2014

the sunshine peeking through the dark


The world continues to turn, life goes on even when you find yourself stuck in the muck and mire of depression and anxiety…which I have to say only adds to the isolation, loathing and fear, yes, fear.

August has been a month of suckage personally and globally, hasn’t it? Someone I know suggested perhaps someone should unplug August, wait a minute or two and plug it back in. Who knows? It just might work.

But in the midst of the fear, turmoil and shit-fuckery in and around our world right now there has been some good things too. We should try to focus on those things…with all our might. I know that I am…with all my might.

In perhaps one of my blackest of black moments yesterday I received the kindest comment from someone I know thanks to our children. She wrote:

The dark periods are always tough. Feels like the sun will never come out again. But it will. Hang in there and know that you are loved and appreciated. Have I told you how much I enjoy your blog? Even when you write about the rough times I somehow find it encouraging and inspiring. Maybe that’s the point. You write even when what you are writing is hard. I think that is the sunshine peeking through the dark.

And then I cried. Rest assured, friend, they were happy tears. These words came at just the right time, thank goodness. So did the call that I have an appointment in three weeks….yes, three weeks because that is how awesome and easily accessible mental health care is here in the Central Valley. We’ll muddle on that another time. We’re focusing on the sunshine peeking through right now. Truthfully, getting the appointment was another bit of encouragement and whisper in my head to just keep on hanging on because we will get through this. And so hang on I do.

I even smiled just a little because of this:

My little sister, who is taller than me, is ENGAGED!!! Even better, for the first time ever, I get to be a bridesmaid. 53 (my age when she and Matt will be wed) is most certainly NOT too old to be a bridesmaid! I’m kind of excited. Of course I’m excited for Ange because that smile of hers says it all. But I have to also say that I am excited to finally be a bridesmaid. No more Wedding Singer or Guestbook Girl for me…Kim Robbie, do you remember the conversation we had  some time ago with Jacquie Henry about “Guestbook Girl“? For those who might not know, Guestbook Girl is the job the bride gives to someone she is friends with or close to…but not THAT close to. Of course we concluded then that it was good to be Guestbook Girl…for so many reasons. But today, right now, I am pretty happy and more than honored to be one of my sister’s bridesmaids especially because the colors she has chosen are perfect for me.

And then today this:

Oh yeah.

The nanny-boo-boo haters may hate on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because they seem to have so much time to spend putting down something good happening right now rather than maybe all the crazy, shit-tastic things happening in the news right now but I still accepted the challenge put out there by Christy.

Ice cubes inside your underwear, so not good. But this, this was good.

But just in case one wonders if something like this viral giving movement that has raised to date over 31 million dollars since July 31 is really a good thing, check out THIS ice bucket challenge…watch the whole video too.

Oh and if you have yet to be challenged, I challenge you…yes, you. Do it and be sure to give if you can too. If you accept my challenge…you have 24 hours…please leave a comment so I can share with you the sunshine that having icy cold water dumped on you and giving brings.

surrounded yet alone as the world goes on


I’m still here. Don’t be afraid. I promise I’m here and hanging on…barely, but hanging on. And meanwhile, the world does go on as it should…even when it seems to be a big shit storm happening like it has this past week in the news.

I forced myself to go to a small gathering the other day and pretty much as soon as I got there I thought to myself that it was a big mistake. It’s was not because of anything or anyone there. Not at all. It was me. It was the oppressive black cloud that lately has become all the more dark and oppressive in my heart and my mind. Sitting there surrounded by acquaintances, celebrating good things, I forced a smile on my face and the occasional laugh while thinking the whole time of that quote from World’s Greatest Dad that everyone is sharing all over social media because Robin Williams and depression and suicide.

I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.
~Robin Williams as Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad

My life, my world, my reality, my story right now. There’s so much more going on in the world around me that I should be worried about, that I should care about, that I should want to try to understand and to change:

  • The “serious” homeless problem in Manteca especially the scourge in Library Park…yes, the same Library Park where the homeless actually helped Abby and her friend to clean up in and around the gazebo before Hollie and Ben were married there four years ago.
  • The fact that there isn’t a homeless problem in the town of Ripon, just 7 miles south of us if I am to believe a local reporter’s opinion. Never mind there isn’t a problem because those who are homeless know that the police will pretty much chase them out… I learned that the last time my brother, the one who is homeless, visited here. It was amazing how he knew through “networking” where one could go and where one should never go…courtesies or no.. Ripon was on the don’t go there list.
  • Two recent drive-by shootings, one in the middle of the day literally in front of a friend’s home in the “good” part of our city and police won’t comment on whether or not they are gang-related or even related to each other.
  • Michael Brown and Ferguson and the police and race relations and who is affected and who is not and white privilege.

Don’t forget Gaza and the Ukraine and the Ebola outbreak…

Is it any wonder no one else is as depressed and nearly panicked as I am right now?

The homeless problem here in Manteca is indeed a real thing. It’s real pretty much everywhere else…except Ripon. I’m not so sure if it as serious as what I have witnessed in San Francisco or San Jose or Chicago or New York. I do know that there seems to be a lot of assumptions made…drugs, crime, danger to us good citizens who have a roof over our heads and no longer feel comfortable to use the restroom in Library Park or walk along the Tidewater Bikeway or hang out at the Historical Plaza at Spreckels Park. Some of that is real but then I recall the 5 homeless men who offered to my daughter and friend to pick up in and around the gazebo and then remained sitting quietly in the background as witnesses while we celebrated Hollie and Ben’s wedding. I think of my brother and his friends who regarded their lifestyle as adventure traveling from job to job, town to town, state to state. Listening to friends discuss how serious this is here in Manteca and how awful they all are in plain site, I can’t help but think this is a problem that won’t be solved anytime soon especially with this perspective.

The same is probably true with regards to Ferguson. I tried to follow the story this week when I had the energy beyond just getting up. I’ll be honest, I don’t understand. How can I really? I am a white woman raised in a white privileged world…yes even growing up on Food Stamps and Welfare living in a single wide in a trashy trailer park I still enjoyed a certain amount of white privilege. I can try to sympathize with what has been happening in Missouri this week but I won’t understand. It’s not my world. It’s not my reality…just as being homeless is not. That point was driven home in a big way this morning reading what a friend shared on Facebook of his experiences 30 years ago as a young, educated, hard-working BLACK man being pulled over while driving his nice car TWELVE times and handcuffed SIX times with no probable cause. Being the positive, thoughtful man that he is, he continued to share that he would like to think that things have improved over the years but it hasn’t…perhaps it is worse…perhaps it will get even more worse.

I just can not imagine.

Nor can I understand the way that this reality has affected brilliant people like Karen.

It’s all part of this “burden” of white privilege that really isn’t a burden for me or my daughters or my son unless I don’t school myself and my family about it and its reality that is our reality and not the reality of people of color in the ghetto and in the “good” neighborhoods. We must become aware of how racial privilege and our unconscious bias perpetuates a system of injustice. No, I don’t pretend to understand completely now. I can’t imagine that I ever will because I am not a black man or a black woman or a woman who has given birth to a mixed race baby or a mother raising a black child. But I do know that my eyes were opened a little bit more and I listened a little bit harder.

it’s still raw


A year later….a year after a friend and colleague, and her husband were so suddenly, cruelly, violently taken in such a shocking manner, it is still raw. I didn’t think that it would be. Like everyone else who knew her, I’ve hitched up my big girl panties. Yes, cried sometimes. Laughed sometimes too imagining what she might have said or done. Cried a little when it seemed that she said hello at work that one time. I still catch my breath and gulp back a tear or more when I see her garden outside of Room 3 when I get to work…when I get to work.

A year later we remembered because I can’t imagine that we will ever forget someone so remarkable. We all remembered and honored her and her husband in our own ways. We all were not together but we all remembered still. Some of us gathered with her daughter tonight and remembered.

God that was hard!

Her little girl’s physical, emotional, spiritual, psychic pain was so real, so raw. I just can not imagine. I don’t think any one of us could ever understand, ever know unless we too lost someone we have known and loved our entire lives taken so violently away from us. The mommy in me wishes I could take that pain away from their daughter. The mommy in me prays none of my children ever know that pain I witnessed today.

Those of us who gathered with their daughter stood together in Jacob Myers Park in Riverbank before the tree planted in their memory with a plaque placed before it. Dwarfed right now by 14 trees in what is known as Bicentennial Grove, it will soon enough someday catch up to their towering grandeur as it guards the entrance to that beautiful grove here in the Central Valley.

It’s a place to pause, to sit and reflect. A place for us to remember. A place for anyone else to just take in the cool of the shade these trees provide, the green-ness all around, the sounds of nature and families at play and the occasional startling rumbling overhead from the trains passing on the bridge nearby. It’s a place where I am reminded that we “hitch up our big girl panties“, as Janet would often say in some of the most stressful times in the NICU and we do that which we must do…we don’t forget, we don’t let go and we don’t stop.“…as her husband’s business partner reminded us tonight.

It’s still raw. It’s still so real. We don’t forget. We won’t let go. But we also don’t stop living as, I would imagine, our friend and colleague would expect of us all.