Monday, December 31, 2012

So where did I go wrong? My mom planned the perfect wedding, we were young and had the world ahead of us. It lasted 18 months. And at 22 I was a divorcee. And pretty much asset-less. I walked. I took nothing with me, except some unwanted wedding gifts (my daughter from a subsequent marriage now owns the uber-expensive china living in Athens, OH attending college - go figure - I secretly hope her friends decide to have a "frisbee" contest with the Mikasa). No kids, no mess. It seemed to be the right thing to do. "Here, you take it all...I just want out." In some weird twist of fate, I ended up in a conversation recently with the ex I had not even thought of in 30 years. Bad idea. He was still angry. After 30 years. Which is ok, as long as you have the facts straight. But he did not. Even close. The weird conversation turned ugly as he proceeded to accuse me of infidelity that never existed. Not that I care about the infidelity part. After 30 years, why do I feel the need to defend my decisions? On a different note, I apologize to said "Tim Zwork" living somewhere in Florida who was blamed for my indiscretions and whom I have zero knowledge of. Really? The Ex went through the last 30 years with the belief that I left him for someone that doesn't even exist to me. wow. So what do we take from this? I now realize my actions created great emotional stress and suffering for someone else. When I left I was not clear on this. Probably because I was the one who wanted out - other's suffering is more easily dismissed. And...more importantly, we assume people change and grow when we haven't been a part of their day to day life. Do not ever assume this. Or you will end up in weird phone call hell and crying on your kitchen floor because you never saw it coming. But in the end, allowing someone to vent their pain at your expense as long as it didn't cost more than a few minutes off your data plan...ok. Yeah, my feelings were hurt but maybe he gained that closure he thinks he needs. And my feelings always reel back with a vengeance. No one keeps me down long. And Hall & Oates songs will now be my secret reminder of my past relationship with said Ex. He didn't appreciate my remembrance on a mature level. Fuck him.

Monday, December 17, 2012

When "time out" doesn't fly....

The Newtown massacre. A devastation. A mess of citizens across the country calling for everything. More gun control. More guns. Arm the teachers. Arm the 6 year olds. Ban the guns. Less guns. Let's kill deer with BB guns. It's a mess. Then there's the mental health call. I shared an article from Liza's take Slate wrote an article in response. That article really unhinged me. Written from the perspective of a person who doesn't understand what daily life with a mentally ill person in your life consists of. She completely undermined Ms. Long's parenting skills and also managed to perpetuate the stigma of mental illness by accusing the mother of stigmatizing her son by calling out his mental illness in a public forum (she did not use his real name). Ms. Long is trying to bring awareness to a much needed forum. I spent a few years of my life helping to raise a child who was brain damaged and struggled with aggression issues. Before my daughter was born (this child was 13 years older than her)he was a part of my life. He attended Junior High while living with me...his teachers and I decided after one unfortunate incident that his male teachers should refrain from neckties. I also was very lucky to live in a community that made it a point to afford him with resource education. After my daughter was born I initiated some rules while he lived in my home; I told his mother he was welcome as long as he did not pose a threat to my daughter. At 16 this imploded. He tried to hurt my daughter. He was booked on the next flight back to his mother. I was lucky. I had somewhere to send him when he proved to be a threat to my other children. Most families don't have this option. Liza Long was left with "we have an emergency plan if your brother threatens to kill you" for her children. Lock yourself in the car. What. the. fuck. Slate, shame on you for perpetuating the "let's hide the mentally ill person and not talk about their needs" because....well, yeah, we don't get it. Better moms, tougher parenting will fix it? No. They need help. And acceptance. And resources.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The pain we want to forget....

Today...a very good friend posted about a photographer who lost his wife to metastatic breast cancer.  That's how I lost my mom almost 30 years ago.  Yes, I was only 22. And motherless.

Here's the website: The Battle We Didn't Choose

I found the link because Wendy Blyth was pissed off.  A Cancer support facility had an Art Gallery and was prepared to present his show.  But then decided to cancel; because it was too painful for some of their patrons.

I will tell you, I clicked over to his website and photos when I saw Wendy's post.  I was at work.  And crying.  Every thing was flooding back into my brain.  Watching someone physically die from cancer is nothing I would ever wish even on my worst enemy. It's devastating.  And guess what? I didn't die or feel the pain...I just watched...helplessly. It's a pain that you never recover from.

My reason for this post is this: Nothing creates positive marketing like negative viral internet attention. I would have never seen this website or their struggle in life without Wendy's site . I think the Gallery is dick for not honoring their contract.  But Angelo will be more widespread and popular for this setback. This I know.

 In honor of Carole Ann Nelson (my mother)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reason #a bazillion why I love her so much...

Last night's conversation:

photo: Jann Bond
Me: I can't find your passport.

Cee: mmmkay.  Remember when we moved?  I handed it to you as we were taking apart my desk and said "keep this in a safe spot" (said without malice or judgement).

Me: no, I was in a state of shock that day.....

Cee: *sigh* I know, I kinda had to takeover.

Me: let me think; it's in a leather thingy, right?

Cee: yes, it's red leather.

Me: ok, I'm gonna try and remember where I would have considered "safe place" that day.

Cee: mom, this is important...I'm going to Spain in 3 weeks.

Me: I know.  Let me think.  I'll call you back.


Me: Tell your mother how amazing she is.

Cee: OMG, you found it???? I was freaking out. You should see my room; we were tearing it apart thinking I might still have it.  Where was it?

Me: you know that black leather zipper book where I keep your SS card? (Franklin Planner). In there.

I don't know what possessed me to look in that Planner.  But score one for the low-tech approach to storing important data :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Be Happy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

That Girl...

I grew up in the late 60's, early 70's watching "That Girl"with Marlo Thomas.  She epitomized every thing I wanted to be.  Independent, beautiful, adventurous and sought after.  She comes with a few quirks I am afflicted with as well - but we will leave those to your guessing.

It's funny how one stream of media can define you,  later, in my teen years, I totally connected with Mary Tyler Moore on her show.  Somehow, I always knew I wanted to live in an urban neighborhood and on my own.  Not with the absence of a functional relationship (Ann Marie always had Donald and Daddy to be there in a pinch).  I would like a Donald.  He was cool and handsome.  Her Dad was a bit over-bearing - but perfect for the time-culture.  My Dad isn't too involved, but he's a generous guy, I'm glad he's not trying to tell me how to live my life at 51. But, here I am, downtown, more like "in the 'hood" and without "Donald"...this works for me momentarily, but I really would like to fall in love some day. I never have to worry about my Daddy walking into my apartment to find my "boyfriend" walking around in his boxers (very risque for TV land in the late 60's) . But I do wish he would get to meet Mr. Right.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Work Ethic 101

Extracurricular sports.  When your child is involved, so are you.  To an extent you never imagined possible.  My daughter played club/ HS soccer, club/HS swimming, HS track, club Lacrosse, played Violin in district Orchestra and participated in Art Club. Year 2009 added an American Foreign Exchange Student , my incredible girl, Inken who played soccer, diving and lacrosse.  All of which I showed up to participate in. And actively supported with my checkbook .

And I am not complaining. Some of the most important moments of my life happened on the field/at the game.  Winning goal against Madeira daughter(assist). Alternate for State Swim team (she ended up having to swim because 3 members of the team got suspended).  She  received the Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award and also the Warrior Award (most leadership oriented player) her 2009-2010 season. The Most Improved award for Inken who learned something like 17 dives to compete in the High School District meet (she had not been a Diver before).

All this time and energy and expense.  Is she a collegiate athlete now?  NO.  Do I care?  Maybe a little.  But very little. She loves college and she actually has 2 jobs and likes "working".  Imagine that, a young woman who says, "l would rather work enough hours to pay back my loans than take a partial scholarship, which probably wouldn't cover my time to run on the track team".  She still may decide to run track at some point - I know she misses the team effort - and if so - I will probably make the 3 hour trip to watch. I'm so tired of listening to politicians bitch about over-spoiled college students who don't want to work and slide through on loans. But the message any parent should take from this...extracurricular matters. Encourage it. Pay for it. Do it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One of those Swimming Moments

 Driving somewhere with my daughter in Winter 2010, a song comes on the CD player and she starts giggling. She explains, "mom, I forgot to tell you about this, it was one of those true swimming moments". She swam for Mariemont High all 4 years and started her swimming career at 6 with our municipal pool in the Village. The song on the player was "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus.  She went on to explain.  At their Toledo Invitational meet she reminds me how the first seeded swimmer in the final heat gets to pick out a song to walk out on deck to.  It's the last race of the day - Boys 400 Freestyle Relay.  She says 4 young men saunter out onto the deck to "Party in the USA", then she says, "the most amazing moment happened...everyone in the natatorium stood up and started doing the "Miley dance" - hands up, swaying their hips...", she kinda sing-songed.  We were both laughing so hard.  When I caught my breath, I said, "you know that only happens with swimmers, no football player would ever be caught dead "swaying their hips".  She said, "I know, it was awesome, swimmers are so cool."

The photo above is a capture of the first time she broke a minute for her 100-Free - she was the swimmer in Lane 2.  Watching your child attain their goals is precious time spent. Few things are so gratifying.  The date on this picture is February 14, 2009. That's how a swim-mom spends her Valentine's the meet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Just Stuff and Things

only hearts


it's green...


Sunday, January 15, 2012

I am Danger Girl; where's my damn cape?

I had another little mishap with glass, my old nemesis, last night.  It wasn't very pretty and this time I decided to drive to the ER (I didn't last time; ended up taking massive antibiotics only to find out I was allergic to Penicillin which really messed my system up, it took months for me to feel healthy again). 6 stitches, a very sore ass and bruised ego.  Fun.

Am I accident prone?  I remember my dad having lots of these "mishaps" as I was growing up.  I'm a lot like him.  I think it comes from not paying attention to our own good sense and trying to do too much at one time.  Last night, I showed some of my photography at Arnold's downtown.  I drove home, stopped to get a bottle of wine (no, it wasn't the wine bottle this time), got out of my car and attempted to carry the wine, all 9 of my glass framed photos and my 25-lb camera bag into the house.  Common sense was dictating in my brain "take TWO trips" but did I listen?  Nah.  My front stoop is small, probably around 4 feet wide by 3 feet deep - with 3 steps.  I have a heavy old wooden screen door which sticks.  Pull on the door, lose my grip, step backwards - to nothing there - with a 25 lb bag on my back.  Physics apply here.  I go down backwards with a whole lot of glass following me. To the camera bag's credit - I didn't lose one lens or damage my camera (it's an Emera bag) and it broke my fall a bit.  But one of the glass frames broke and ended up lodging in my outer wrist.  It's been almost a year since my last encounter with "laceration" and when I looked into the cut, made an instant decision to listen to the inner voice screaming "Emergency Room".  See? I can be taught. I'm just stubborn about it.

So the packing will go slower today.  With a wee bit more deliberation in my thought process. Glass is sharp, flesh wounds bleed, bones can break.  I need to be more careful with me.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

There's one advantage to being 102. There's no peer pressure. ~ Dennis Wolfberg

I like old.  Functioning, for sure.  But old. I guess that should translate to people as well.  But the population of humans that send me over the edge are usually those over the age of 75.. especially if they aren't functioning properly. This probably makes me sound mean. I'm pretty sure this animosity comes from fear.  I really don't want to be them.  But I guess it's just a matter of time.

My new/old oven is original to the house.  My landlord told me they tried to move it to their part of the house - but they couldn't get it through any of the doorways.  It's destined to be in my apartment.  Like me.  Matches made in heaven.  I like those.

Friday, January 6, 2012

"It's a good day when no one is shooting at you"

This piece of perspective was given to me by someone I used to know: "It's a good day when no one is shooting at you." He said he was a Marine, so I felt it was a relative statement.  I don't know if he really was, a whole lot of things about him turned out to be lies, but these words stuck with me.  And I have used them more times than I care to remember in the past 5 years.

Perspective is all relative. When I told someone that my move is taking place in February, she looked at me kinda horror-stricken and gasped "oh my god, what if it SNOWS?"  Really?  That's the worst possible scenario that comes to mind for her?  Wow.  She puts into perspective for me that saying about "we aren't given more than we can handle".  But then, I did move from California to Pagosa Springs, CO in February of 1993 during the biggest snowstorm the San Juan mountains had seen in a couple of years.  I'm pretty sure I drove into town as more than 20 inches of snow fell; as did my mover. I had a 1-year old and a 13-year old disabled child to care for by myself. I remember there being so much snow packed up in front of the front door that we had to enter through the garage, open the front door from the inside and dig out to clear a path for the movers. So, I've "been there; done that". I'm certain that snow isn't really an issue for me. I also remember that was the first time Ceeanna ever saw snow and she squealed with joy playing in it.  She still loves it. I can count this as a good memory.

I recently ran across a blog that linked back to this First World Problems collection .  I laughed so hard I cried the first time I saw it.  My favorite on that list is "My laptop is low on battery, but the charger is over there..." How many times a day do we say these things in our head (or some of us out loud so we can truly prove what whiners we are)?

In my favorite movie  the character, Richard from Texas says to Liz from New York (or as he called her; Groceries) "Groceries, you need to learn how to select your thoughts, just the way you select what clothes you're gonna wear everyday." I'm going to add that we can learn to choose our perspective as well.  You can see the world through a dark, grimy window or the beveled glass one that produces shards of beautiful refracted light.  It's a choice.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thank you notes.

Thank you notes.  Write them. Make your children write them.  I know, it's no fun being a nag.  For years, I have made my daughter sit down and take the time to write a simple note to people that have given her gifts, helped her, employed her, etc. Up until a year ago, I always had to remind, prod, cajole - "please, send (insert person here) a thank you note - they were so generous with you, it's kind to let them know you appreciated it."  Even though some of the Christmas thank you notes went out in April, they still went out! This year has been a nuclear fall-out in my house for the holidays.  Moving boxes everywhere, pictures off the walls, her stuff home from school, her packing up stuff to get rid of for my move.  House a'la refugee camp Zulla.  That's us.

She wrote her thank you notes without a reminder from me.  They sat on the kitchen table - un-addressed - until she left for school on Monday.  "Mommy? Will you mail these for me, I never got to it..."  Of course I would. I took them to the office and started to address envelopes for them.  I read the one she wrote to my Dad - who has helped her pay for college and went in on an iPad with me for her Christmas gift. Along with the thank you for the iPad, was this:

"you should come up to Athens with my mom some weekend and see the campus of OU so you can see the school you are helping me to get through, you would like it."

My eyes filled with tears.  I didn't tell her to write that.  She gets it.  All those years of nagging about the thank you notes paid off.  She has mastered the art of gratitude.  It's a tough one; but so worth learning.  I know that her life will be full of joy.  When you receive back so much more than you ever dreamed. An amazing circle.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Raise Your Hopeful Voice

I've mentioned my obsession for Eat Pray Love before.  At one point in the film, Ketut, the elderly (or not so) Balinese Fortuneteller tells Liz she should "smile" through her meditation.  I have failed miserably at any form of meditation, prayer or mind-travel.  Always. The scene in the movie where Liz tries to meditate and all she can do is think about decorating her new meditation room doesn't even come close to how lousy I am at focusing my thoughts. Years ago, when I was responsible for every toilet in our company (around 50; I was the Property Manager) someone arranged a "mini-vacation" brown bag lunch at our home office.  I thought that sounded nice.  So I packed my lunch, arranged to fix toilets in the morning and showed up for the "mini-vacation". Wow.  What a mess that became. As the "mini-vacation guru" described my beachfront destination I quickly descended into desolate, inconsolable depression. And began sobbing uncontrollably. In front of my entire HR department.  It was pathetic.  I had to run out (never ate my lunch) and sat outside for at least 45 minutes to calm down.  When I returned to my office, the mini-vacation lady (read: evil negative thought provoking lady) was waiting for me. I actually made eye contact.  She started: "Are you ok?"..."um, yeah."  "This happens every time"..."Really?".. "Yes, really. There is always someone in the room that is running so hard they never let anything catch up with them...when they finally slow down enough for that to happen, it washes over them like a wave and they are swallowed up by it."

I was laying in bed tonight with my headphones on and listening to music and I realized I had a smile on my face.  Maybe we just need to find our proper form of "mini-vacation" to escape to.  Maybe mine is music.

"Words fall through me and always fool me and I can't react.  And games that never amount to more than they're meant will play themselves out.

Take this sinking boat and point it home; we've still got time.
Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice;
you make it now. Falling slowly." ~ Glen Hansard