Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dear Farrah - A Decade of You

Dear Farrah:

I am writing this while you are still a single digit, but only for one more day (and only for a couple more hours).  Tomorrow marks the anniversary of you entering my life and being the best thing I've done.  It has been ten years of amazingness with you.  What can I say that I haven't already said a million times about you?

You make me smile, you make me cry, you make me laugh, you make me think, you make me mad, and you make me thank god every day that you are my kid.  There are times you make me want to rip my hair out and question everything I'm doing wrong as a parent, as a woman, and as a mother - but you also remind me of everything I am doing right.

You are an old soul.
There is wisdom that comes out of your mouth that astonishes me and I'm not sure where you're getting it because it is beyond what a normal child your age says or thinks.  You know more than what you let on and I see it in your eyes.  Your little mind questions everything and you don't let anything get past you.  We have had conversations that you don't like to have and you get mad at me and I get mad at you and you blow my mind when you say things like, "I'm allowed to have an opinion."  I am forced to stop and actually look at you like you're almost a young woman and not just a little girl and it freaks me out!  Yes, honey.  Yes, you are allowed to have an opinion and I am so proud of you for saying that.  (However - you're just not allowed to have one with your jaw jetted out like that with fire coming out of your eyes and your hands on your hips.)

You're a nerd.
I love this about you!  You read and read and read!  And you are so excited to tell me about the book you're reading, how many pages you read today, how much you love the author and you want to read more and you're sad the series is almost over.  What will you read next?!  You enjoy sharing what you learned at school and you love when I add more knowledge to the subject.  (Remember when you said you were learning about Mars and I told you there was a face on it?  Cool stuff, huh.).  You complain that you can't do math and you don't like it.  But guess what?  You can do it and you might like it!  You're embarrassed that you had a day or two when you went to your teacher 15 times to ask questions about long division?  Oh my god, kid.  I'm so proud of you for knowing that you can ask your teacher for help because after the 15th got it and it clicked!

You've got style.
You love your clothes, but more importantly - you love to make your clothes into your own unique "look".  I'd never step out of the house with mismatched knee high socks going over my leggings with combat boots, but you somehow pull it off and make it look cool.  It's like you've looked at the pictures from when you dressed yourself when you were 3 or 4 years old and said, "Hey, I can make that work again."  And you do!  What??  You're like the 21st century Punky Brewster.  Don't know who that is?  It's okay.  Anyone reading this will know and get what I mean.

You're bullheaded as hell.
While I'm working on this personality trait of yours and it makes me see red most of the time - there's a part of me that is glad you're this way.  You will learn to channel this as you get older and use it when it's more appropriate, and that's why I know you won't take shit from anyone.

Then there's all the things that you're not aware of that make you, you...

When we're driving and listening to music, I'll sneak a peek in the rearview mirror and watch you sing along to my music that you claim to hate (and notice that you know the words by heart).

I see you walk around the house with a book in your hand, reading, and trying to do whatever chore was asked of you.  And I just don't have the heart to ask you to stop reading so you can do what you're supposed to do faster with two hands.

Almost everything I cook is "your favorite" and I'm grateful that I can cook and you actually enjoy it.

When you don't feel well, you need me to be with you and snuggle with you.  I hate it when you're sick, but my heart melts that you need me, still.

Sometimes you want to sleep with me and I don't say yes as often as I used to but it's because you're getting so big and you kick harder now.  Now, you have to make a little fort next to my bed for you to sleep so we're still in the same room.

And my favorite...when you're asleep, sometimes I still come and check on you and steal an extra kiss good night like I did when you were a baby.  I whisper how much I love you and comb your hair out of your face with my fingers and look at you like I did the day the doctors handed you to me.  I'm still in awe with you.  I look in your eyes and I see mine reflected back and I am simply amazed.

I can not believe my little girl is turning double digits.  My heart is tangled by so much joy and a little bit of sadness because of the realization that time goes by so fast.  When we talked about this being the last day she will ever be a single digit ever again for the rest of her life, even her face reflected that of sentimental sorrow.  I remember when she was a baby and I couldn't wait for her to talk so we could carry on a conversation.  Now, I want the clock to slow down because now she has so much to say!!

Farrah, I see only great things in your future but that's because you are so great.  You've seen and experienced quite a bit in your young age and I'm sorry for some of it, but grateful for most because all of it has shaped and molded you into who you are and who you will become.  While you've earned the extra nickname "Turd" the older you've gotten, you are and will forever be my "Kitten".

I love you, Farrah Raquelle the stars and back, forever, infinity.



Friday, August 05, 2016

Just A Lil' Story

Today, I was driving home with Farrah and there was a little Mazda Miata riding my ass.  I was busy talking to her while keeping an eye on the guy behind me, trying to be sure that I kept things safe on my end the best I could.  While taking the turn off the bridge, he was still on my tail until he went up the hill next to me, driving fast and wild while waiving a fist and middle finger at me.  (Don't forget...Mazda Miata, pshhh).

Having it be the end of a long day and an even longer week, I couldn't help what I said..."Fucking ass!  I hope he crashes."

I looked back at Farrah and said, "Oh wow, honey.  I can't believe I just said that.  Oh my god.  What if he crashed because I just said that?  Do you realize how powerful that would make me?"

And we laughed and laughed and laughed...because that would be amazing.

The end.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

My Neighbor, Bob

So, I'm a little choked up tonight because I had a knock at my door at 8:30, and standing there was my neighbor, Bob.  And just like every summer, he has a plastic baggy of various vegetables that he brings to me.  Usually, it is jam packed with tomatoes and zucchini…I wasn't disappointed tonight.

Bob has had a "For Sale" sign outside his house for about 20 days, and today there was a "pending" sign added to it.  When Bob dropped off my vegetables, I had to ask what the deal was and why he was going and when.  He has grandchildren, ages 2 and 4, and one more on the way out and he simply can't stand being away from his family, so he and his wife are going to move to Phoenix, "Of all places." he said.

It was in that moment that my asshole dog came down the stairs and barked her vicious bark and I pushed her away with my toe and he ignored the 8 pound shitty purse-dog like he always has…and this made me sad.  Twig has always barked at men and Bob just got used to it and would either talk to her in the back yard or ignore the noise until she realized he wasn't a threat.  Bob would see me busting my ass in the back yard digging up weeds, mowing what living grass I had left, cleaning the patio, whatever I was doing and hang over the fence and remind me, "You're like a real home owner.  Doing a good job."  And I know he was being nice because those who've graced the presence of my home know the yard is a shit-show and should be burned.
My neighbor Bob, has been kind to me since the day I moved here with Farrah and in his own right, kept a look out for us.  I never truly had the pleasure of meeting his wife except for a note that was left taped on my door one night about my dog that had been left out all night and barked non-stop and kept her up (only it wasn't my dog, because Twig was inside with me)…so that small interaction was, meh. But Bob was and is a very good man and I had no idea how much I'm going to miss him until I put my vegetables in the refrigerator.

Who will these new people be?  Are they going to cheer me on about my awful yard or are they going to write letters to the Home Owners Association?  Are they going to have kids Farrah's age that can play with her, or will they have teenagers who have parties when their parents are gone?  I have no idea what to expect except that I know I am really going to miss him.  Whenever I'd talk about him to James or to friends or other neighbors, I'd refer to him as "Old-Man-Bob".  Because he is…he's old.  But I love having old neighbors and he has turned out to be one of the absolute best.

I suppose Phyllis across the street should prepare herself for some unexpected visits from me from time to time, now.  She's a little older, so she'll do.

Monday, May 02, 2016

From 60 to 0 - Panic at the Disco

I am one that suffers from anxiety attacks and on the rare and shitty occasion, a panic attack.  If you've never had the privilege of experiencing either, bless your fragile little heart.  God knew you probably wouldn't survive either one, so count yourself lucky.  I've talked to enough people that find it "odd" to say that I encounter the occasional tail-spin-out-of-control drama that my body likes to undergo, but hey not everyone is perfect.

When I have an anxiety attack, my heart rate starts to slowly climb, my hands start to shake, my stomach feels nauseous, and I can't focus on anything except desperately trying to calm down.  Sounds like anyone's way of dealing with stress, right?  Except for me, my heart rate doesn't slow down, the shakes don't stop, and the nausea lasts and lasts…all of it continues for hours.  It's quite awful and my brain ends up being scrambled eggs for the longest time and by the time my body has cooperated with me to be somewhat normal, I'm exhausted.

But it's the panic attacks that truly are the worst.  I've had a handful of them in my life and I know others that have had them, too.  They can all be different.  One of my friends swore she was having a heart attack at the age of 24, like an elephant was sitting on her chest.  Nope…panic attack.  Mine are weird.  It can start off like a normal anxiety attack but it goes up about 20 notches.  So my breath comes in faster and my heart beats so fast I can feel it pulsing through my eyes.  What I tend to do is notice the fast breathing and force myself to slow it down, which is actually more like barely holding my breath and breathing fast all at once.  Can you see how this might become a problem?  Then the fun stuff begins…my whole body's reaction to the chaos of my brain…
My fingers start to tingle and so do my toes.  The tingling turns into a slight numbness that creeps up my whole body as if I've been given an IV of lidocaine that is dripping into my entire system.  And the final destination of the numbing effects goes into my eyes and finally into my tongue and lips.
I can't speak when this happens, can barely swallow, blinking is weird, and all I can focus on is the tingling that has taken over my entire body.
If you've never experienced this, can you imagine?  It's awful.  You aren't paralyzed but you are unable to move correctly or do much of anything to fix the problem until your mind and body decide to cooperate and settle down.

A week ago, I almost experienced one of my panic attacks.  I was very upset and could feel my breathing coming at me in the weird waves that they do, the heart rate spiking, and my muscles tensing for the inevitable numbness to come.  But the fantastic thing that happened next, astonished even me.  I actually talked myself OUT of having the attack.  I closed my eyes, told myself I'd be okay, even said "fuck it" to the upsetting situation, forced more balanced breaths, and calmed my heart.  The dizziness in my head was there and the numbness in my fingers began climbing up my hands, but that's where it stayed.  I simply allowed myself to be upset, allowed myself to be pissed, accepted my emotions for what they were and stopped trying so hard to control it.
While I was proud of myself for being able to settle down, I was more excited that I didn't have to take a pill nor explain to anyone around me that I couldn't speak because my tongue felt like I'd been poked in the mouth with a needle 100 times by a dentist.  Embarrassing moment averted!

It takes a lot for me to have a panic attack, and the anxiety attacks run on several different levels.  However, it's good to know that I can simply find little mantras to settle my nerves…

Or if all else fails, take a pill.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016


At what point in time did people stop loving unconditionally and start putting rules on the ones they cared about?  Why do we find that we get devastatingly disappointed in people, simply because they didn't follow the script in our heads?
I've witnessed this on numerous occasions and unfortunately, I've found myself to also play in the role of this self-destructive behavior.  However, the fact that I can observe when others behave that way, I am reminded when I catch myself being disappointed when a friend doesn't call back, or a boyfriend doesn't respond just right, or a family member doesn't do what I'd hoped they'd do…a voice in my head tells me it doesn't matter.
I am far from perfect when it comes to heeding these words, but I work hard at following them to the best of my abilities.
But what I have discovered is it seems so easy for people to condemn others simply because whatever idea they had in their mind of how a situation should be played out, didn't go down that way.

Unconditional love.  What is it?  It is love WITHOUT conditions.  Without rules.  Without expectations.  It is a love that is real and that you never have to ask permission for nor to apologize for.  You love, simply because you do!  Love does not look at you through envious eyes for what you have and carry a bitter taste in their mouth for what they don't.  Real love boosts you and cheers you on for how great you are and because they truly are happy for you and wish you nothing but joy.  Love does not set limits and expectations on how much you will or will not sacrifice for them.  Real love knows and feels that you do all that you can to give the love in return.  Love does not keep a score card, and the biggest reason it doesn't is because it's so damn easy to miss all the points that were made time and time again.

So, I ask again…when did we stop loving unconditionally?  Loving unconditionally is the freest and best feeling ever.  It is natural and it is pure.  Love is found in every relationship, too.  Not just romantic love, or the love of our children, but also the love of our friends, and our families.

The next time you look at a loved one in anger and disappointment because you have set rules in your mind of what love should "look like", or what that person "should've said" or done, or you try to compare how your love might be better than how someone loves you…you have to take a serious look at the relationships around you and how you may have completely damaged what was once a great love or friendship.  Be careful with the people around you when you feel like you're guarding your heart because it's so delicate…because so are theirs.

When it comes to the love you have for your partner, your children, your family, and your friends…the second you start adding up points of rights vs wrongs, of good vs bad, and of give and take…bear in mind, you are setting expectations and limits for those around you.  And with that being said, you will forever be disappointed because no one will ever live up to expectations put on them.

If you are going to choose to love those around you, do it for real.  Don't hold back and certainly, don't make up rules as you go along with this roller coaster ride of life.

Love is awesome…100% unconditionally awesome.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Culinary Artist

A long while ago I had had a conversation about "what I wanted to be when I grew up" with Farrah.  I told her I'd wanted to be a Flight Attendant and it's a good thing that didn't work out since I'm afraid of flying now.  Back when I had this conversation, Farrah told me she wanted to be a chef (I'd never told her that was what I went to school for) and a singer.  She said, "But mom, what if I don't get to be a chef or a singer?!!"  No worries, I told her.  I explained that I went to school to be a chef and "look at me now!"  This didn't  make her feel very good at all but she did say, "I want to go to the chef school you went to!"
And I proceeded to tell her a story...

My Chef instructor was, well, a douche bag.  Mind you, I revised my story to tell to a child.  Continuing...
Picture Chef Ramsey, but 6' 6" tall with grey hair and a grey goatee and a tall Chef's hat making him a straight 7' tall.  And me?  I was 18 years old and 5' 4" in a man's (if you can believe it) industry.

Anyway, the importance of the two stories here is one was my first time swearing at an "adult" or someone older than me, and once when I stuck up for myself.  They were VERY important moments in my life that helped mold me into a person that can, when needed, stick up for themselves when necessary.  But also, I am a pro at swearing now.

One day, I was responsible for the "Sauce Station" with the rest of my crew.  There were 4 of us (The 'A Team').  We named ourselves...because we'd get As.  So, I was working my station and Chef came up and saw that I didn't have the right size pot to boil water.  I'd gone through several and it was the only one I could find.  He started shouting at me, telling me how dumb I was, swearing, screaming, and finally throwing the pot across the room.  My face was red.  But not red with embarrassment. I was shaking mad.
He finally said, "I think you and I need to step outside."
"I agree."
We stepped out in the hall and he asked me if there was something that I wanted to say to him.  The whole time I was standing out there I didn't realize I was punching my fist into my palm.  Hard.  Finally, I said, "You're such're such a... YOU'RE SUCH A FUCKING ASSHOLE!!!"  I couldn't believe what I'd said.  I had been raised to "respect your elders" even if the person was only a month older than you.  Surely this guy was going to go find a pot and break my skull open with it!  Instead, he laughed.  I think he was testing if I could take his shit.  I could.  To a point.  I was still a pretty sensitive girl.

My final run in with him was my final year.  I had dealt with his verbal abuse and constant outbursts for almost 2 years and survived.  Mind you, they weren't all toward me.  They were toward everyone.  I'd even tell him when he was watching over my shoulder to go away because I couldn't work with someone hovering.  He asked how he was supposed to know I was doing it right, and I told him he'd find out when my product was finished and perfect like always.  It worked and he'd walk away.
But there was a time that it went too far.  We had been preparing for a holiday banquet and so the whole class of 30 students had been busy for weeks.  Well, Chef came up to me one day and told me he had failed me in a rotation.  A rotation is 2 weeks long and the same price as a typical quarter class.  It was because I had spaced turning in paperwork.  I had spaced it to prepare for the stupid banquet.  But an "F" for me was like someone shot my dog...and my whole family.  I'd received all As until this moment.  And I didn't have an extra $450 to take the class again THE NEXT YEAR!!!

I panicked and started to cry.  That's what I do when I freak out.  I cry.  It was uncontrollable crying and I was pretty sure I was heading home for the day and screw whatever I was responsible for in the kitchen.  I went out and called my dad on the school pay phone (no cell phones yet), so people could see me crying.  It was humiliating because not only was I crying (more like sobbing with difficulty breathing followed by hiccups), but I was dressed in my whites (chef clothes with my stupid hat - there's just no way of making that entire mess to look remotely attractive or cute.  Not a hot mess….just a mess.).  I spoke to my dad about what had happened and he asked if I wanted him to come over to my school and deal with it.  I KNEW if dad came there, he WOULD take care of it and I'd come out smelling like roses, but I actually refused his assistance.  I wanted and needed to do this on my own.  I was 19 now, and it was time for me to start behaving like someone who was getting ready to graduate and enter the real world.

I took a couple deep breaths and my friends from class had asked me if I was okay and if I needed a ride home and all that crap.  Nope.  I just needed a moment alone with Chef.  I pulled myself together, checked the mirror to make sure I didn't have a bright red nose and glossy eyes or any aftershocks that I'd always get after a hard cry.  No, I was in perfect condition to confront this situation head on.  I walked into his office and asked to have a private word with him with a smug look on my face.  He said okay and I closed the door which wasn't what he'd expected, but I wasn't planning on being an asshole in front of any passer-byers.  I've never forgotten what I said:

"Let's get something straight.  YOU work for ME.  Not the other way around.  I pay YOUR salary!  This is NOT the god damn military and you can treat me with some fucking respect because I've always treated you with it.  Also, this is a community college, not a university.  You have 30 students, not 300.  So, you can get off your ass the moment you notice that I've fucked up and tell me because you KNOW I will take care of it, instead of waiting 3 weeks after the fact when there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  You need to do something to help make this right!"  At this time, his face was now red and he was shaking in anger.  I knew I had him by the balls whether I had to do the rotation over again or not.  The fact was, I had just said to him what every student had always said under their breath or amongst each other at lunch.  I made a mental note that there was a bottle of blood pressure medicine on his desk and as I walked out and closed the door behind me, I hoped I didn't just give the man a heart attack.

Well, I packed up my stuff and made an excellent exit, headed home and prayed I hadn't just made it so my year and a half spent working my ass off just got it kicked out of the program.  I showed up the next day and all seemed normal until we were all sent off to our stations and he pulled me aside.  He told me I could double up on my rotation in one rotation, but the highest grade he was allowed to give me was a C.  I doubled up on my rotation and aced them both, but one had to be a C.  Fine with me because I didn't have to pay the extra $450.

Fast forward 10 years...

I had contacted the college to ask them about my certificate of completion or diploma because I'd never received one.  It just wasn't that type of school.  I wanted something to frame and hang in my kitchen.  Why?  Because I'd earned the damn thing.  The lady on the phone said, "Oh, we don't have anything to give you because we show there was one rotation that still needed to be completed."  WHAT?  And which rotation wasn't completed?  The one I bitched about and received a C that was never recorded.

Touche Chef B.  Touche.

P.S.  Leaving out his full name because people would know who he is because it's an usual name.  Also, he'd known he won.
He can never know.

Friday, February 05, 2016

My Immaturity Knows No Limits

The other night I went out with James, Farrah, and my parents to Leavenworth for dinner to celebrate my birthday.  We went to one of the very nice restaurants that serves amazing authentic German cuisine in a lovely atmosphere.  Candles were lit at every table, Mozart was playing in the background, and everyone was dressed nice.  Cocktails were ordered, presents were opened, and we were enjoying fun conversations about mine and James's upcoming trip to Cabo.

And while my father discussed golfing at the golf course next to our hotel with James, the speaker playing the music above us went suddenly quiet and then made a fairly loud scratch noise.

That's when the one thing that I found completely appropriate to say in this beautiful restaurant around strangers and my family was, "Excuse me."

While yes, I received a slight chuckle from my boyfriend and father, my mother laughed a little and then gave me a fake scolding…it was my 9 year old daughter's reaction and my own that was the best.  Farrah laughed.  I, on the other hand, lost my shit.  Mind you, I did this silently but uncontrollably.  I was laughing so hard and so quietly, I couldn't breathe and I started to cry.  And no one seemed to notice!!  Farrah left her seat to come stand next to me and she wanted to be sure we were in fact laughing at the same thing.  All I managed to get out was, "Oh my god.  I'm so funny." and continued my silent hysterics.

Farrah informed me that when I said, "Excuse me." a man at the other table looked up at me and laughed to himself.  This made me laugh harder.  The best part?  No one knew I was losing my mind laughing so hard.  How did I manage to hide it?  Why did I think it was so freaking funny?  I honestly believe it's because it was so out of place and unexpected that something like that would be said in a place like that but seriously, at the absolute perfect moment…I couldn't pass up the opportunity.  Even if it really was only for my pure entertainment and enjoyment.

Because I really thought I was the funniest person alive in that moment. It's true.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Funny Things Happen At My Work

I work with the elderly.  I love this job and I have fun with it every single day.  But the best part, besides the fact that I have 100 grandparents…are the stories I get to walk away with from time to time.

You might think the stories I would come across would be those that are shared by the fascinating individuals I have the privilege to work with every single day…but no.  Those who know me well, know that it's not in my nature to simply look at all the "normal" good things in the people around me, but rather all the funny things.  Little by little, I'll share some stories of what I encounter.

But yesterday was one of my favorites…

There is an old man that doesn't "live" in this community, but he lives OFF of the community.  Eating our food, staying all day and night, bumping into our walls while driving his wife's electric scooter that she needs but he's always using.  He also loves the ladies…not just his wife…but ALL the ladies he encounters.  I don't care about his personal life and the fact that his wife also doesn't care, but I don't like that he hits on every single old lady in the place (including one a week after her husband's death).
The thing is, this man is very, very, very old. Do you remember the movie Poltergeist 2?  Remember the actor that scared the shit out of you?  Well, um, that dude is at my work!!

Let's call this man "Kane" (you, know…like in Poltergeist 2).  Kane rolled into my boss's office in his wife's scooter yesterday to talk about some white noise, until she just interrupted him and said, "You know, Kane? It's time we get you in here and classify you as a resident because the state basically says you are and you can't just keep on coming in here and saying you're visiting your wife when you're actually living here.  By law, we have to have you pay for your stay and put you in our system."  Kane's best way of getting out of being put on the spot was to say, "Well, I guess I'll get my information together for you tomorrow." and proceeded to make his exit.  Badly.

You know when someone says something to you and your response is, "Pshh. Whatever."  That was what he was saying.  But when we say it, we usually walk off with an exit that leaves the person who we left behind bewildered and a little dumbfounded.  

Kane left us bewildered, that's for sure.

He started to back up with the scooter and bumped into the wall.  Went forward and bumped into a chair.  Back to the wall.  To the desk.  Then the door.  This whole time, mind you, we aren't a bunch of assholes just watching and letting it happen…we were moving things and telling him, "Oops! Almost, Kane." But we needed to allow him the dignity to leave on his own terms, however that ended up happening.  So just ease up on thinking how evil we are…you don't know.  Did you see that picture?  Yeah…Kane from Poltergeist, okay?  

Also, the reason this was funny to me when it all went down and still is when I type this is because there was another movie that came to mind.  "Austin Powers:  International Man of Mystery".  Remember the scene when Austin Powers was in the Underground Layer and he's in that cart stuck in the hall and trying to turn around and went one inch at a time back and forth?  Yeah…that's pretty much what was happening with Kane.  All the way down to him switching the button over to reverse, back to forward, back to reverse again.  Over and over and over. 

Again, those who know me and who don't even need to know me all that well…know I am not an asshole.  But shit like this makes me laugh and makes my day.  We watched him struggle to get out and we tried to do more, but he was having his quiet temper tantrum about not getting to mooch off of every person who lives and works there…so we let him make his awkward exit.

Don't feel bad.  This will probably be said to us when we go back into work next week: