my plus 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5


Do you remember your first?

Seriously, get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about politics. Do you remember your first political experience? How about the first time you voted? And the best personal political experience in your lifetime ever? This weekend I had the opportunity to hear some pretty amazing, smart women, women who when they speak politicians listen, share some of their first and best experiences as we gathered together to talk politics…naturally…and women…and women in politics…and healthcare and politics…and elections…and the upcoming midterm elections…and why a dear friend sitting next to me needs to someday soon put herself out there to run.

I remember my first political experience. I was 13 years old. Mommy Dearest dragged me to a political protest against then Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter because of his non-stance on abortion at that point in his campaign; which was kind of awkward and strange all around since Mom was a life-long Democrat and a self-proclaimed feminist because it was the 70s and because she scarcely could talk to me about periods at that time much less the mechanics of where babies came from. Yet there I was, standing next to her holding a sign declaring that God was at war against abortion. I was thirteen years old. My picture appeared on the front page of the Pittsburgh Press holding that damn sign as Mr. Carter walked by smiling and waving. Mom was standing next to me smiling and waving too. Oh gawd, I was mortified!!! I was thirteen.

My best political experience was the 1988 General Elections. I was in college working towards my nursing degree and taking care of prereqs like Political Science. Since we were just four months away from the General Election, our professor deigned to focus on taking us through the California ballot for that year studying each and every candidate and initiative on the ballot that year so that each of us would be able to go to the polls truly informed and voting as such. I aced the course and yes, I entered the voting booth for the very first time as a truly informed, confident voter. I brought my +1 too before it was even cool to bring a +1. Of course we wore our matchy-matchy acid wash jeans and big 80’s hair because 80’s.

I am so sorry Hollie! Truly.

But I will never apologize for taking you and Zoë and Abby and Jodie and Daniel to the polls.

Then again, perhaps my best political experience were the days Hollie, Zoë, Abby and Jodie all voted for the first time. When our government mucks up things that affect these ladies I love to remind them that my kids care and my kids vote. Yeah, my greatest political accomplishment is my kids vote…my kids think and my kids vote. Okay, fine. Four out of five of my kids vote…for now. Then again, 2020 will come soon enough.

Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to, laugh with and share with some extraordinary women who are committed to encouraging and training women to be leaders in their communities. Breaking bread with some of them we discussed healthcare and politics and what I believe to be a poorly written, tugging at your aching-breaking heart proposition that will appear on the California November ballot.

The biggest takeaways from political suite talks I engaged in this weekend? Politics is indeed personal because politics affects us all… we women…our access to healthcare…our children…our community. We can indeed be part of the change and we can make a difference with our words and our actions. We must. Anything we say or do, no matter how big or how small.we might imagine it to be can and will and does make a difference. Discussing what I learned this weekend with my +1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 I know I am because 4 of them vote.

In 100 days is our U.S. General Election. Regardless of which side of the debate you find yourself arguing, it’s imperative you are part of the process — along with your +1. In fact, your +1 may vote entirely opposite from you but what matters is you are both at the polls on election day.

 

when the bee stings


As far as I can recall, I have only been stung by a bee twice in my lifetime. Am I lucky? I don’t know. I don’t really care. The first time was enough for me. I was 7 years old. That little fucker came out of nowhere and stung me for no reason other than to sting me. Really. I was minding my own business walking home from school with my little brother and my 1st grade best friend, Kerry Klower when that bee flew out of a bush as I walked past right into my arm which it stung. Stupid suicidal bee! It hurt. It hurt so bad. I’m sure some of the pain was also because my little brother was screaming then laughing hysterically along with my friend as I stood there frozen letting that stupid bee end it’s life causing me such extreme pain. Kerry’s mother digging the stinger out only added to the pain. Remember I was 7. But I was a smart 7 year old because I resolved to avoid bees at all costs. And I did until I was in my 40s and again literally ran into a bee while I was running. That one hurt too. Stupid suicidal bee!

Sitting in my car in the school pickup queue yesterday afternoon the last thing I planned on was running into a bee. No. I was re-reading Nicholas and Alexandra, which I read years ago when I was in junior high, while enjoying some iced green tea, a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis playlist, and the hot, 90° breezes blowing through the open windows of the mom-car. Suddenly…bzzzzz…

OH DEAR GAWD!!!

This huge bee flew right into the car and was buzzing like crazy around my head…my face.

OMG!!!

Screaming, I swatted it hard back out of the car and proceeded to roll all the windows up at once. Of course that only served to piss off the suicidal little buzzer as it began to hurtle itself against the closed window of my car. I’m sure no one else in the pickup line saw the bee when I consider the way that people were staring at me like I was off my meds or something. I wanted to roll down the window and yell out, “OMG! Did you see that crazy, giant bee! He came right at me!!” But that would have meant that I would have to roll down the window and that crazy, buzzing fucker was still trying to somehow get into the car banging up against the window of my car. Let the other parents continue to think I’m crazy. I am not getting stung again…not today!

Did I tell you that it was 90° outside? It got a helluva lot hotter in the closed up mom car that was protecting me from the suicidal, crazed bee. So I start up the car and turn on the AC because I wasn’t about to die from heat exposure waiting for Daniel. He still is one of the last kids to come out to the pickup because he must say goodbye to each and every one of his teachers, present and former and all the yard duty workers before he leaves school. God only knows how long I would be waiting and it seemed that that crazy bee wasn’t going anywhere as it still was repeatedly flying up against my window. Eventually the crazy bee left as kids began to come running out of the school…possibly to look for another victim…who knows. He was gone; that’s all I cared about, I thought to myself as Daniel climbed into the now cool car.

Ahhh! Air conditioning! Thanks Mom!! It’s so hot outside. This is perfect.

Lucky for you a bee was trying to get into the car otherwise I wouldn’t have had the AC on.“, I tell Daniel as I start to drive down the street.

You mean this one?

WHAAATTT!!!

:::hysterical laughing:::

I got you, Mom.

Oh my god, Son!

:::more hysterical laughter:::

using the semicolon


When one becomes a person of a certain age, one sees their doctor more regularly…unless one is my darling husband who would rather hide from what the good doctor is recommending for him these days. He’ll wait until he’s bothered by his daily hacking-up-a-lung cough that becomes even worse than it already is or until his wife’s nagging becomes unbearable. Me, on the other hand, I do try to see my doctor annually and not just when I am sick. Just trying to walk the nurse talk of the importance of maintaining one’s good health, building trust with a good doctor-patient relationship and stuff like that there. So today was the day. The good doctor sits down with me going over the results of the physical exam and ordered tests. The physical exam…perfect. Cardiac function…perfect. Lab work…in his words his 30-something patients should have labs like these.

“You’re a perfect patient!”, he concludes.

“Yes, except for the depression, anxiety and panic attacks.”, I answer back.

“Yes, there’s that.”

And that is why I use a semicolon all the time.

A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. Every single day of my life I choose to use a semicolon.

No, not usually with my writing. I know my use of punctuation could easily be criticized…and sometimes is. Have you seen how often I over-use an ellipsis?

No, the semicolon here represents the fact that my story isn’t over yet. Far from it. I am my author and the sentence is my life and as long as I choose to live this life I will choose to use the semicolon…every day.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Some days it is a struggle. Some days it can be almost a knock down, drag out fight. The fight to choose the semicolon, to keep myself grounded in the love others have for me instead of the hate I feel for myself, remains a struggle…and one I don’t always share for so many reasons. I hate being viewed as weak or less than or even just as someone who struggles. I hate being compared to the parent who far too many times in my lifetime tried to put a period at the end of her sentence. I can imagine her pain and her struggle. I lived survived a lot of it with her. It was so hard for her. So very hard. Still, no child should ever be the one to call for help because mommy won’t wake up…again. No child should ever have to try and get her younger siblings out of the house before the ambulance comes to protect them from seeing mommy this way. No child should have to run down the hill that was Davis Lane to flag down the ambulance because you can’t see that gravel road very well in the dark of night. Add that to the many reasons why I, every day, consciously choose to use a semicolon.

I should be stronger than this.

I should be braver than this.

I will always have anxiety. I will struggle from time to time with debilitating depression. I will sometimes become frozen in panic for no rational reason whatsoever. I will, at times, choose poor coping mechanisms. But I will always choose the semicolon.

My story isn’t over yet.

The Semicolon Project 416

with love to the people we practice on


So apparently today is Siblings Day.

Yes, I know some of you are rolling your eyes, shaking your head and muttering under your breath…as you some of you sometimes do over things like this that you might find silly.

Whatever.

The day was created by Claudia Evart, who lost both of her siblings earlier on in life. She chose the date to honor her late sister, Lisette. After losing her two siblings to separate accidents early in life, Claudia realized the importance of remembering our siblings, both living and no longer with us. She has dedicated herself to ensuring the bond of brother and sister is forever recognized as the special gift it is.

Like many, I have these pictures of my brother and sister, who are both gone, but remain with me daily, not just in these pictures, but in my daily thoughts and in my heart. I lost both of them in tragic accidents, making me understand the everlasting bond we have with our siblings.

Yes, I am sentimental, and sometimes very emotional when I remember my late brother, Randy and think of where the consequences of life, our choices and others’ choices brought Randy, Billy, Valerie and me.

Sigh!

So many memories…good, bad, ugly and even WTF parents?! But they are/were ours and as Randy once told me, they are the one thing that we share and share only with each other. No one will ever get any of it and that is okay. Memories like that romper Billy is wearing…that haircut of mine which would be in the WTF parents? column. But ultimately the good is what I think of looking at this picture and other pictures of the four of us. Anything else would likely have destroyed me as it crushed my younger brothers and sister. And so I focus on the magic we created together, the four of us and I give thanks.

Then I celebrate some more because, yes, I have more siblngs!

Sisters…so awesome are they! So much younger than me, so much more smarter than me, more amazing than me and even taller than me now. Our memories are different, still they are good and always make me smile. I’m pretty lucky to have you, Angela and Elana both, as sisters.

But not to be left out, my own clowns began to share today celebrating their siblings.

Nobody tell those kids of mine that this is a dream come true especially when I recall the knock-down-drag-out fights that always ended up in tears, blood drawn and a broken nose or two in the past and maybe even last month.

Honestly, kids!

Zoë shared

And because only siblings are great in that way, Hollie declared this to be probably the worst picture to share.

Oh kids!

So I offer perhaps a better picture.

I have more…lots more…Hollie found some.

Oh the secrets, promises, laughter and tears these four have shared…and the fighting…with blood and a broken nose too that these sisters have shared!

Hollie shared: “Hey Daniel, thanks for being our brother. You kind of didn’t have choice in the matter (does any sibling ever have a choice, I wonder?). But you are literally the best thing to happen to this family. You’re crazy, and awesome, and weird in the best way. You’re brilliant and inquisitive, and so much like the four of us. You’re going to drive mom and dad crazy when you’re a teen (next year, OMG!). You were meant for us. And I love you so much. Happy Sibling Day!”

My heart just exploded with glitter and rainbows and unicorns.

Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way. – Pamela Dugdale

 

 

 

#thickhairproblems


I have thick hair. No, I have REALLY thick hair. I have the kind of thick hair where perimenopausal hair loss is no big deal; once you adjust to the fact that, no, you are not dying because although it is a lot of hair there is so much more on your head. I have the kind of thick hair that most hairstylists hate. At least I have been told that…by a few stylists through the years…except for the one who does my hair now…whom I gave birth to. Perhaps she doesn’t complain because of the fact that I am her mother.

Nah!

Come on! This is Hollie we are talking about! No, Hollie insists that although there is a lot of hair to work with there could be worse problems that a stylist can have…

Like maybe a toddler with super thick hair sitting in your chair?

Perhaps so.

Little Miss Fallon decided that she wanted short hair. Yes, little Miss Fallon Elizabeth with that epic, thick, gorgeous, strawberry-blonde hair. Where in the world would this girl with the gorgeous hair get an idea like that? Damned if I would know! Lucky for her she has a mama who is quite skilled at cutting and styling epic, thick, hair with a stubborn life of its own.

Unlike some of those less fortunate ones whose mommy dearests would literally scalp them because they had no clue how to cut and style epic, thick hair with double barrel cowlicks. The photographic proof through the years would make you weep. I know it did for me.

Oh why?!

As for this little pixie, she is lucky and very adorable.

And clearly she approves.

You’ll excuse me now while I go and make a little pillow stuffed with baby angel hair.