Mama Bear

My middle sprog texted me a picture last night, and my blood has been boiling ever since. Someone took it upon themselves to throw a container of food at him while his car door was open, and yelled, “Faggot” while doing so.

Jeremy March 9 2019

Was he draped in rainbows? No. Dressed in drag? Pretty sure that’s a ‘no’. He was simply getting into his 1985 beige Volvo sedan (the most Portland car you can own besides a Subaru Outback). He was going about his own business, which involved no one else but him.

Can we report this? No – it happened so quickly that middle sprog didn’t get a plate number. Will the police care? No. Nothing was damaged. No one was hurt. Would the media care? No, it’s not sensational enough to get any attention.

But think for a minute…what if they had yelled ‘Jew’? Or ‘Bitch’? Or ‘Jap’? Or ‘Nigger’? Or ‘Whitey’? Or any other offensive slur? Would anyone care then? What if they had thrown a brick at his head? (This Mama Bear needs to lie down for a moment after typing that…)

I’m back now.

I am beyond glad that both he and Lola (the Volvo) are okay. Nothing was broken or damaged this time. But the climate of hate is heating up to the steaming point here in, what many believe is, Liberal and Easy-Going Portland. Instances of hate crimes are increasing alarmingly. And that’s my point – these things escalate very, very quickly. It doesn’t take much to let the perpetrators of these crimes think they are getting away with it. By ignoring, we are condoning.

I. WILL. NOT. CONDONE. THIS.

Call it Tough-Love. There is no excuse for this behavior. If your toddler did this, you would put them in a time-out for a century and explain to them why what they did was wrong. Just because some parents have dropped the ball with teaching human decency doesn’t mean I should have to worry every FUCKING day about my sprogs.

No more. NO MORE. Mama Bear is fed up to all fifteen of her chins. Sprogs, consider me mobilized. I will help as much as I can. I’ll give rides. I’ll volunteer with PFlag. I’ll attend Pride. I’ll be the mom giving out hugs to kids whose families have disowned them. Whatever I can do with my middle-aged, middle-income resources, I will do.

Love is love is love is love – help me protect love.

Checklists

I love checklists. I’m an accountant by education and trade, so I love linear things – I write that way, I count that way, I look at things that way most of the time. Thoughts that pass through my mind inevitably end up as mental checklists, and I thought I’d pass along a few of them to you. Welcome to my mind-pantry.

Parenting Tips- because all my sprogs are alive (thank Bob) and I’m old:

  1. Please stop giving tiny humans phones/iPads/video screens to occupy them. Please. While we were on our cruise last week, we saw a little girl actually coloring while in the dining room waiting for dinner. It was awesome. On the flip side, we also saw a toddler (on a leash) cry because the iPhone he was holding wasn’t doing what he wanted.
  2. On that note, don’t feel that you need to provide entertainment to kids all the time. If they throw a fit in a public place, they throw a fit. It happens/happened to us all. Kids have to learn patience, and a constant diet of instant gratification does no one any good. Help them learn to wait by talking to them, playing little games with them (i.e. let’s look for the color green), interacting with them. Show them.
  3.  Talk to them like they are the people you want them to be. I can’t stress this enough. Small brains are sponges. They will learn how to communicate based on YOU. Smart tiny humans are made as well as born.

Things I am Grateful For – and I know I ended the sentence with a preposition:

  1. Two ply toilet paper. Whoever invented this should be canonized. A week without (I’m looking at you, cruise lines, though I know the reason you don’t use it) made me very happy to be home.
  2. Hollandaise sauce. It’s good on everything except maybe ice cream. A gift from Bob.
  3. My oncologist and her tiny hands. It’s a long story, but she’s a Gyn-Onc, so you can take it from there, I think.
  4. My incredible sprogs, my darling husband, my amazing family, my stupendous friends. And adjectives.
  5. Snow. Which we haven’t had this winter and are forecast to get tonight. But here in the lovely Pacific NorthWet, if it’s predicted it never happens.

Things Kevin said this week:

  1. Meow?
  2. Reooooooowwwwww!
  3. Mierf…
  4. Mrrr.

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Silence

There is beauty in silence; tranquility, peace, and letting yourself just BE for a little bit. It’s also very difficult for most of us to get to any silent place given families, occupations, hobbies, pets, annoying neighbors, nice neighbors, cars, car alarms, planes, trains, trucks, cell phones, computers, video games, television, movies, squirrels and chickens.

It’s amazing our ears don’t go on strike.

I’m going to be on what I like to call (in my old curmudgeonly way) ‘radio silence’ for the next week. No internet. No phone. No email or texting or viewing anything. And I am completely okay with it.

Consider yesterday’s scenario: I was driving between Job 1 and Job 2, scrambling to get everything done, and I realized I hadn’t heard from one of the sprogs in a week. An entire week. I hadn’t seen anything posted by him on social media of any kind, so I sent him a short message asking him to check in.

And nothing happened. No reply.

It seemed like ages went by. Years. Eons. After about twenty minutes, I decided he’d been kidnapped, or was being held as a hostage in his apartment, or he had had some kind of tragedy, or that he and his fiance had been done in by Lola (our somewhat-sketchy, totally Portland 1985 beige Volvo sedan). I sent a message to sprog’s fiance asking if everything was okay.

Nothing again.

Now Worst-Case-Scenario-Mom was amping up into full crazy-pants mode. It was time to check the hospitals and morgues, as soon as I could get off the damn road. Or maybe I’d done something so horrible, so atrocious, the two of them had decided to eliminate me from their lives. Because the only thing that explained a no-response was death, serious injury, or shunning me like an Amish stripper. (Full disclosure, I did NOT text while I was driving, nor did I check the phone while I was driving. Only at stoplights. I promise.)

I started the Litany of Motherhood, which we all know by heart, ” Please-let-him-be-okay, please-let-him-be-okay, please-let-him-be-okay…” My head knew I was being ridiculous, but the rest of me was in full panic. What if I never saw him again? What if I never got to tell him how amazing he is?

Then my phone beeped, and he texted me saying he’d been really busy and that all was well. Of course it was. It always had been. And that’s my point, here. (I do have one, really.)

We get used to seeing and hearing things constantly, with no wait time. We have no patience because we are instantly gratified at almost every turn. We all (and I am using the royal ‘we’) need to relax, unplug, and be grateful. Try it for a little while. You’ll be surprised how lovely things are when they aren’t on a five inch screen. Go outside. Take a hike. Or stay in and have a sun-bath on your couch while reading an actual book. Sketch. Run. Write. (And for me, switch to decaf.)

But make sure to check in with your mother first, so she knows that you haven’t been abducted by space aliens. Seriously, she will get to Def-Con 2 crazy-pants worry mode in a heartbeat.

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Back to Random

I saw something while working out this morning that made me smile/grimace.

(Yes, I was working out. Really. No, there wasn’t a piece of toast dangling in front of me like a carrot on a string. No container of Rocky Road either. Now stop – you’re distracting me…)

Working out. Smile/grimace. Wanted to share with you.

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What the ad said, out loud, was that these particular drugs cause a risk of a flesh-eating, genital gangrene.

Let that one sink into your mind-camera.

First, I am SO sorry that anyone, anywhere had to endure this enough to make it onto an ad. Second, I think we have a new punishment for rape. And third, they said ‘genital’ on early morning television. Right before a ‘Parks and Rec’ repeat.

Reality

Sometimes you get extra Magic Passes at Disneyland by asking a cast member an innocent question.

Sometimes you get a much bigger order when handed the bag at the drive-through.

And sometimes you get bad news. News that knocks you to your core and makes you reassess your life, your choices, and everything you’ve done for the past *mumble-mumble* years.

One of our friends from camp died a couple of weeks ago, someone we hadn’t seen or spoken to in maybe 25 years. He was a lovely, kind, talented man – gentle with kids, but honest in a way that never looked down on them. His music shaped camp while we worked there in college, and shaped the lives of hundreds of other young people both at camp and at the school where he taught for 30-plus years.

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This is Odo playing guitar and singing at a Sunday assembly at camp in the early 80’s. Darling husband and I were both counselors – he worked on the waterfront teaching sailing and I worked in the barn teaching riding. Being a fellow Oregonian, Odo always treated us with a conspiratorial wink, nod, and smile. We carpooled to and from camp a couple of times. We talked about the best stuff in Portland. We sang his songs and laughed at his jokes.

News of his death struck me hard. We weren’t best friends, we hadn’t seen each other in years, as I said before. But Odo had been really sick and I never knew it. I’m not trying to make this about me, honest… but I would have loved the opportunity to help him. To offer support, to offer comfort, to say, “hey, dude, I’ve got cancer too. I know how you feel.”

And that’s my reality now. Watching people die, or preparing to die myself. Is it going to happen soon? Who knows? Am I sick now? I don’t think so. But every time I get cocky and say I feel fine, stupid Timmy the Tumor pops back up, mocking me.

I love life. I love my friends and family, my darling husband, and my three delightful sprogs. I do NOT want to die anytime soon. But if I should head down that path, I hope that those close to me will lift me up with love. Odo was sent on his way with hundreds of people at his Celebration of Life. There were awesome stories about him, some of which we had never heard. There was music, wine, food, and laughter. So much laughter.

I think he would have loved it.

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Hello? Is anyone there?

*tap-tap-tap* Is this thing on? Am I doing this right?

Howdy, y’all. It’s been FOUR YEARS since my last blog post. FOUR YEARS. Wow. On the upside, I’m not dead yet. So there’s that…

What’s happened in four years? Let’s see… My sprogs are all well and doing okay. Oldest moved to Georgia with his fiancee and their daughter. Middle son is still local, working and planning a wedding with his fiance. Youngest is living with us and saving money so he doesn’t have to live with us forever. The Springer Spaniel of Eternal Badness left the earth a couple of years ago, and, oddly enough, we miss her. Kevin the Kitten is a middle-aged cat and acts the same. My darling husband is exploring new options in his teaching career, and has spent this current school year substituting in local classrooms.

Me? I had another cancer surgery in June of 2017, and am scheduled for one more this coming February. Stupid Timmy the Tumor keeps popping up here and there, which makes my delightful oncologist very cranky. I’m not terribly pleased, either. But it could be SO much worse – don’t believe for a second that I don’t know that. I’m healthy, but I happen to have a hitchhiker, kinda like the ghosts at the end of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

Writing? What’s that? I’m not sure what happened, but somewhere I lost my writing mojo – or maybe I left it in the dryer and it shrank. It wasn’t that I didn’t want or need to write, just that I didn’t believe I had anything worth saying. And then, over this past week at least five or more people have asked me to write. To reactivate this blog. Not to give up. To keep pursuing and keep going.

So, my six readers, I am returning to blogging. To writing. To talking about my boring life as often as I can scrape off the imposteritis and sit my ass down and type something. Life is short, and it could very well be that mine will be shorter than the norm. I’m doing everything I can do about the cancer, I’ve lost weight, I’m working out, and the medical profession seems as pleased as they can be with my ginormous 56 year old self.

The Universe has spoken. I ain’t done yet.

Long live the Queen.

Metolius lightened

 

A Dweam Wiffin A Dweam*

Darling husband and I have been in each other’s lives for more than (I can’t believe this) thirty-five years, and have been married for twenty-nine. I often get asked how we keep our marriage going; how we keep the flame alive in the day-to-day drudgery of work and family and chores. How is it that we’ve managed to stay together when so many marriages and partnerships fall apart?

Beats the hell outta me.

Remember the first time you kissed someone? Remember that electric feeling all the way down to your toes and back over your scalp? Most people think that spark will be there forever, if you find your true once-upon-a-time soul mate. I’m here to tell you this idea is a fallacy, a myth, and a hoax. Don’t buy into it because it won’t happen. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy kissing (and other fun things) with your significant other, I’m just saying that particular thrill wears off in a hurry.

But there are other things to replace it.

When you are absolutely gross and schlumpy and two days away from your last shower, and your darling still wants to smooch you. When you don’t have to draw straws to clean the litter box, but both of you volunteer. When a fight turns into a discussion, and then turns into laughter once the issue’s been resolved. But the big one is this: when you realize the other person knows everything about you, and still wants to stick around anyway.

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That’s magic. That’s the thrill that will last a lifetime. He or she knows all your secrets, all your bad habits, all your petty still-act-like-a-toddler hot buttons, and yet they still CHOOSE YOU. No matter what. It’s way better than any first kiss, my friends. To know, with certainty, your partner isn’t going anywhere? To know they want to be with you? To know that freedom?

It keeps the flame alive. It’s a blessing from all the pixies and fairies. And it’s truly a Dweam Wiffin a Dweam. (*credit to William Goldman, The Princess Bride)

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