The Irony Of Being Prepared

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I confess.

I am one of THOSE people.

For years I have been overly prepared in case of a disaster.

I HAD enough freeze-dried food saved to feed my family for a year.

A water purifier that you could siphon water from the lake (had that siphon too) and have clear clean water? Yes, I HAD that.

Portable solar generator with solar panels and lights. Yep.

Stockpile of seeds. Check.

Portable greenhouse. HAD that too.

Crank radio and generator. One of my earliest purchases.

Rope, flint, fishing hooks and tackle, water proof matches, books on how to make your own soap and butcher a cow…I HAD it all.

You name it and I HAD it.

Be prepared was my motto  It is the motto that I am pretty sure that the Boy Scouts stole from me way back when.

You will note in the above writing, that the operative word is HAD. As in I HAD this or that; which I find to be the biggest irony of all in the cheater saga of the past five years. It is ironic that B has “custody” of every survival item that I ever bought in order to “save” our family sitting in OUR home in Texas while I work my ass off in CA using a breaker bar to pull out all the HUGE rocks in order to install a vegetable garden. The food, the generator, the purifier… he has everything. And while I find comfort in the fact that I know my boys will be well taken care of … it doesn’t help Gracie and I out here in CA not one little bit. Let’s only hope I never find out if he sends the food to his mistress but why wouldn’t he when he sent her $50,000 so she “wouldn’t get gray hair with worry” according to her.

The other day I texted B and asked him to send out the seeds so I could, should times get worse, ensure Gracie’s and my survival. Here is his response:IMG_4765 copy

And so I learned quite a bit from this exchange. First and foremost is that he does not give a shit about us and frankly that is the most important thing. That is what will stick in the front of my mind when we go to court. The other 10 things I learned from this text just aren’t as important as that. Just a friendly reminder to myself that it is all about him. Nothing has changed but then again usually nothing does for a selfish liar.

I hope you are all doing well during this time of social distancing. It is a good time to catch up on all those things that we have been putting off.

May your day be joyful. May you learn something.

As for me…its time to go move some boulders!!! My Fibromyalgia is still kicking my ass so prayers would be welcome that this doesn’t do me in.

 

 

 

 

Grocery Store Blues

Almost every morning I arise and recite some positive affirmations which I find brings positive thinking to the forefront and negative thinking into the further recesses of my mind. Unfortunately, I have neglected to do so for the past several days and it all caught up to me today in the grocery store.

Since I left my home and family I find that the hardest thing is for me to do is to go to the food store. Frankly, it is the loneliest place on the planet and I find this is where these life changes that I am facing knock me flat and kick the shit out of me.

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I used to like to go shopping. When you have a family as big as mine and cook just about every night; the grocery store is a place of endless ideas. It is a positive place that you can go to show your appreciation to your spouse and your love for everyone in the house by getting foods they enjoy and then cooking them and preparing them with love in your heart.

Since I have been single I have found the grocery store to be my own personal nightmare. Sure I get to pick what I ALONE WANT TO EAT but there is a true emptiness in doing so. I really have no desire to cook a fancy meal for me, myself, and I; so my shopping cart looks barren and desolate like the basket of someone getting over the flu.  Few things in it and none of them very exciting or wholesome. Lots of healthy frozen dinners, milk, yogurt, lettuce, carrots and that is about it.

Which is why I became shaken while walking the aisles today. I found that I had a very strong impulse to leave the cart sitting in the meat section and run out the doors. I have never had this happen to me before and it felt disconcerting. At took everything within me to stay and continue what I had come in for. It wasn’t a panic I was feeling. Just an all encompassing sadness. All I could think of as I cruised around was the laughter around the dinner table that I so desperately miss along with the appreciation I felt for a job well done. And all of this exists no more in this life that I am creating. It took everything I had in me not to break down in tears in aisle 13 (coffee) aisle 8 (school lunch snacks) and the produce aisle where golden apples once beckoned like the sun. My eyes were so thick with water that when I opened the freezer door I misjudged and slammed it hard into my forehead almost knocking myself out. WHAP!!!!! Just like something out of an I LOVE LUCY episode.

Some sweet teenage boy looked at me and said, “Hey, lady are you okay?”

“NO, NO IAM NOT.  I AM NOT OKAY. I AM NOT OKAY WITH HOW THIS ALL TURNED OUT. DAMN IT!!!

I am feeling:

Sad

Scared

Weary

Lonely

Vulnerable

Excited at times

And pretty much feeling worthless and unsure of myself…like walking the plank over an ocean full of thrashing sharks waiting to nibble at my bones.

I know it will get better. I know that someday I will be creating new memories of dinners with new friends and neighbors which will make perusing the aisles fun again. But for now the grocery store is the loneliest place on the planet and it is a place I just don’t want to visit anymore. It holds too many good memories and its shelves are stocked with expired items that are not mine to put into my cart. I can no longer taste the flavors of life at the dinner table anymore only the cardboard wrapping that protects what is inside.

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Finding Positive Ways Of Letting Go Of My Marriage

No one said it would be easy letting go of a 30+ year marriage. It isn’t. It is fucking hard. The most difficult thing I have ever done.

B was my best friend.  We had a fabulous history for most of our marriage. He was the father of my children. A talented lover (I WILL take credit for training him well in that department)

I miss the closeness we once shared.  Not hearing his voice is a painful reminder of all that has gone wrong over the past several years. Not hearing his soft breath at night and and meditating with him in the morning are things that I hate about the rabbit hole that my life has slid down into.

Yet, I am trying to find the good in life and since this weekend was my birthday, coupled with the fact there was no where for him to go; I came to my sacred spot while he stayed in my home with the kids.. (Seriously, there is no place for him to go…remember the huge fire in November it left 40,000 people displaced…there is nothing to rent and housing prices have increased 40% since the fire in our area)

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So for the past few days I have spent walking the cliffs to the tune of 3-5 miles every morning. It has been a great way to clear the mind and see the beauty that life has to offer once again. And as I walk I work on letting go of this marriage of mine.

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One of the things I have been doing is to say a prayer or affirmation. It goes like this and is from Angela Montano’s course, 21 Days of Prayer To Change Your Life, found on the Daily OM.

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“I am willing, to be willing, to let go. And so it is. Amen.”

When I first started walking this is what I began with. After six days it has morphed into this:

“I am willing to let go of B and any illusions that I can control the outcome of this situation. And so it is. Amen.”

I must have said this 500 times and I can feel it making a change for the good in my brain. Letting Go doesn’t feel so scary or painful now. It feels empowering and gives me a sense of hope and relief.

Another thing I have been doing is leaving pieces of my relationship behind as I walk which looks like this:

 

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It helps to leave a tangible reminder of my grief and at the same time know that I am giving that past life/love and that grief  away.

I have also been working on my art. Frankly, I am a terrible artist but my therapist says it doesn’t matter…just get the images out…so I have. It is amazing how putting the images to paper helps to reduce the intensity of the emotions.x7RN2U48RBuX9NbMb0zXVA

So this is what I have been up to and it has calmed my soul while taking me slowly to a place of acceptance. I want to leave this marriage as I came to it: optimistic, excited … full of compassion and love.  While it was not my choice to end the marriage it is my choice how I choose to act as it enters its final lap.  Above all, I am trying to choose love. I am working on forgiveness and finding meaning in what I had and what I am left with . I don’t always succeed but I am trying. Thinking bitter thoughts will only poison my own well and when this ends I want to be able to drink clear, refreshing, life-giving water not something stagnant and polluted with negativity.

So, from you my dear reader, I could use a few positive thoughts sent my way in order help me feel the good vibes when the going gets rough. And thanks for hanging there in with me as my life as I have known it changes into something not yet revealed.

Beets And Betty Davis Eyes

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BEETS

Several years ago, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Scotland, I started working ernestly on our family trees and found we are related to many Kings and Queens from France, England, the Netherlands, etc. Needless to say this has provoked many interesting conversations around our house.
Andre: Beets? Beets? You know I don’t like beets.
Me: You are going to have to try them. They will taste great.
Andre: I know what happened to the kings in our family
Me: What
Andre: Their mothers fed them beets
Me: Eating beets has never killed anyone
Andre: Want to make a bet? I bet if you analyzed their stomach contents you would find beets.
Me: Why Do you think that?
Andre: Anything can be hidden in beets
(Not to be outdone) Paul: Yeah the color hides everything
Andre: I am sure they were poisoned with beets
Me: Doubtful. Who would want to poison them?
Andre: Their mothers
Me: WHATTTTTTTTT?  Mothers would not poison their children.
Andre: Oh yes they would
Me: Come on, Andre. You are letting your imagination run away with you
Why would a mother do that?
Andre: Because they want the power.
Me: What?
Andre: Women didn’t have power and they wanted it. It’s been that way through history. Mothers always want to find a way to control their children. You can’t deny it can you?! And beets were the way to power.
Me: You will still be eating your beets.
Andre: Drats. I thought this little history lesson would change my history with beets.
Me: No way, dude.

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BETTY DAVIS EYES

The things your kids share with you in the car.
Andre: I think it would be awesome to be able to read someone’s mind.
Me: Why is that
Andre: Because you could do all sorts of wonderful things for them like buy them the puppy they have always wanted.
Me: Andre, you are the one who wants a puppy
Andre: I’m just saying…you know there would be one time when it wouldn’t be so good to know what someone is thinking.
Me: When would that be?
Andre: When they are sitting on the toilet going to the bathroom. I mean the things that go through your mind when you are on the toilet…well they are just not things you want others to know
Me: Is that why you spend 30 minutes at a time in the bathroom?
Andre: Might be

 

Pioneer Woman

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It is hot here. I mean so F***ing hot that you could cook an egg on the side walk. Like 110 degrees hot and I am complaining like there is no hell for me in sight. Why? My air conditioner went out. Yes, while it is 110 outside, it is a balmy 101 inside and there is no relief in site. Meanwhile I am sweating like a dog trying to install a ceiling fan. That is not going so well either. It has been three hours and it still isn’t up but my blood pressure certainly is! I’ll probably die of my head exploding rather than heat stroke any minute. All of this begs the question….how did those women do it 120 years ago in the Southwest? I mean seriously…how?

Now I consider myself to be somewhat of a tough old broad. I can do a little plumbing, drive a nail or two and can give an evil eye to someone to raise the hair on the back of their neck. I can survive an “almost divorce” and come out of it almost sane. But when I think of doing laundry on a washboard in the sun, tending to a huge garden big enough to feed a family for a year, canning all that food, beating the rugs, sweeping the floors and making dinner in an oven that raised the raised the temperature of the house 30 degrees, well, sometimes I think I truly don’t know the meaning of tough.

Once upon a time women really were tough. They came overland by covered wagon with all their worldly possessions on board; unsure of just exactly where in the world  they would end up. My GGG grandmother’s dresser sits as a testament to her wagon travels in my daughter’s room.  Clarissa was a smart one, I’ve been told. When she married she received a cow for a present which she promptly exchanged for a handsome wood dresser. It was probably a good exchange for any woman during that time. For Clarissa knew if she kept that cow, she would be the one put out of the wagon, walking along beside the beast while prodding it along to lands unknown.

We now live in a world where we no longer know how to grow our own food, grind our own grains, make our own furniture, or have the stomach to butcher our own meat. Which makes me wonder what would happen if the world as we know it ceased to exist. Would it be dog eat dog or would people band together to act as a community in a land that really hasn’t known what one is for a very long time? I would like to think that community would prevail but with all the violence in a world where people tend to look out for #1 to the detriment of neighbors and friends; I cannot be too sure.

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And so this not-so-tough old broad worries sometimes. I worry for my children and my grandchildren making it an a world that gets more confusing everyday. I fear the madmen of the world who would just as soon blow us up as take the time to do what is ethical and just. I an concerned that companies are willing to destroy our environment in the quest for the almighty dollar. I am uneasy that antibiotics are fast becoming resistant and that coral reefs are bleaching out and dying. But most of all I worry that I haven’t done a good enough job making my kids tough enough to survive with less material things and more experienced in the arts of carpentry, making their own soap and butchering a cow should hard times fall upon us.

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Yes, I am a tough old broad…but is my family tough enough to live off the land should they have to?  Could they survive on the six months of dehydrated food that I keep for just this occasion? Could they do the back-breaking work that so many women are forced to do to eek out a living in these times? Dirty, hard work that I have watched women do while I sit in the back of an air conditioned car during my travels. Work the likes of which I most likely will never experience.  And would the few books I have on making your own chicken coop and creating a below ground garden help? I hope I will never have to find out the answer to that question.

 

 

Fixing Things

Usually when I talk of fixing things it is about myself or my relationship. Today there is a new subject at hand.

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The repair man is here. He is fixing my refrigerator which decided a couple of weeks ago that water flowing all over the floor would be a good thing. A button decided to stick creating a flood that was biblical in porportion. We waited three weeks for the part which came and no one at the repair place knew it. Shipped from Japan and slid into the country… quietly ignoring Sears computer tracking system.

He will be there between 8-12. This I am told by a robot on the phone. I put a note on the door. “Be back at 9” knowing the robot cannot relay this information that I might want to give.

I blow through numerous yellow lights determined to make it back home before the service man arrives and then leaves because I am not there. I shoo the kids out the car door getting dirty looks from them as I skid my tires and drive away.

I arrive home… and… he is waiting. Bless his heart. Surprise hugs my face like a water balloon ready to explode. I look as astonished as he does.

I’m typing now while he is banging away at my 5 yo fridge that is suppose to last a lifetime. In the past 20 years I have noted that the lifespan of appliances has now diminished to a period of time that is equivilant of birth to kindergarten. I think he will be done with his work before I finish this sentence. How does that work?

He is gone. I am not…staring at a screen…. which does not self type.

Tomorrow I will be doing the same song and dance. I will be waiting for the repair man to fix my dryer for the fourth time this year. He’ll be here between 10-2. I have to pick up the kids at 3. Which makes me wonder….why is it that people can no longer do more than one thing? Both repairs done through the same company.Why couldn’t this dude have fixed my dryer too?  It appears that these days one repair guy does clothes washers, one refrigerators, one garbage disposals, one dishwashers…and so it goes.

Can’t anyone do more than one thing anymore?

And then it dawns on me…the reason they can’t do more than one thing any more is this…they are men…they aren’t moms…end of story!

Contemplation

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This morning I went to Pilate class in hopes that someday I will be able to bend down and touch my toes with my knees straight. I tell you this with some embarrassment, my face a hazy red even as I write this confession which when spoken aloud might sound something like, “Dear Father. Forgive me for I have sinned. I am guilty of gluttony. Of sloth too. Oh, I forgot to mention acedia. Definitely acedia. Maybe, I should thrown in a little wrath at my lack of impulse control too. Help me!”

Unfortunately, these vices are just the ones that come to mind within 5.2 seconds of the thought. Yes, paying someone to exercise with me feels somewhat tawdry and on the edge of something shameful; like eating a pint of ice cream all by yourself  or having sex in a public place and getting caught with your pants down. In a world dominated by inequity it is the definition of gross irony.

In many other countries I would not have this problem of trying to stay in shape. I could easily be starving. Or walking down to the river to carry water up to my hut for cooking numerous times per day. Maybe I would be journeying five long miles each way to school so I could get an education. Or perhaps I would be picking through trash in a giant garbage heap in an effort to survive. There is no doubt I would be in shape because I would be working from sun up to sun down in ways that tax all your muscles as well as your spirit in order to get the job of survival done. Skinny in these parts of the world is more than just a desire to satisfy cultural “ideals.” Instead, it is a mandatory state that naturally occurs due to too little food and too much work. A choice concerning body image is not found anywhere in the life equation for so many women.

No, this is not the LIBERAL WHITE GUILT that so many speak of. It is witnessing firsthand the back breaking work that is required of so many of millions of people throughout the world on a daily basis. It is trying my hand washing hundred of dirty diapers used in an orphanage in Ethiopia. It is laying brick in a hamlet in Mexico.  It is trying to teach students without the necessary materials. Or laying pipe for fresh water in a remote village. These are the things that have shown me how little I know about hard work, suffering, and how much a dollar means to so many. More importantly, they remind me about the privilege of choice which I possess and I rarely think of as I go about my busy day. A choice that vast numbers of people do not have about what their day brings. Suffering instead of starvation, bombs, vicious gang rapes, and of having to beg in the street for pennies. These are the things of which I know nothing and of which too many know too much about.

So I hop into my car and drive the four miles to my pilates class contemplating the size of my butt and the state of the world, both of which are loose and somewhat saggy. And as I do, I find I have mixed feelings about this life I lead in which I have the luxury of contemplation and not the burden of shoeless feet. And I  begin to wonder about the travels of “the other/my sister/ my fellow human being” as we both make our way down these two very different roads that we both call life and what I can do to help.

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Fibromyalgia

I am a very lucky person. I have fibromyalgia but it is not as debilitating for me as it is for many. It used to be that I had tremendous pain on a fairly regular basis for days at a time but since I started following R. Paul St. Amand, M.D.’s protocols, I have found that for the most part I can live a fairly pain free life. That is why when I woke up in excruciating pain the other morning I was more than a little surprised and very disappointed.

It started with that deep ache throughout my legs as if a truck was laying across them. Moving didn’t help. Shaking my legs didn’t either. Massage didn’t work and beating on them to relieve the pain was for naught.

“Crap,” I thought with a sigh reaching for the aspirin before climbing out of bed. “I am getting old.This sucks.”

It was when I stood up that I realized what was happening. I could barely walk and when I did I looked like a 90 year old lady doing the Downtown Shuffle. I knew that the fibromyalgia had returned with a vengeance and I was pissed. Actually, I was pissed at myself because there are some things I can do to myself that trigger the pain. Yet, the day prior I  had ignored those triggers and ate myself into a sweet oblivion. Yes, sugar is one of my culprits and yet I dive into it like its a cool pool on a hot summers day.

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Usually, I don’t share the pain that I am in. Family members don’t understand why I can feel great one day and a week later be in so much pain. So I usually hide it…until I can’t. The pain makes me grumpy and I either can’t sleep or sleep to avoid the pain. I have serious brain fog (constantly) but I am thankful that with Dr. St. Amand’s help my days in pain are kept at a minimum.

I keep thinking that someday I will “get” it. That I will get tired of feeling crappy. That someday I will care enough about being pain free that I will actually “THINK” about what I am doing BEFORE I put things into my mouth that are going to hurt me later on. That I will care enough about myself to be mindful of what is going in and on my body. And it also occurs to me that perhaps this is some form of self punishment. I mean after all who would knowingly do something when they know they will severely pay for it later?

For now I will do what I can. Drink a lot of water and get out there and force myself to walk…miles. While it used to be I avoided movement when I felt this way, I have come to understand that for me, exercise, even if forced, seems to help alleviate the pain. And tomorrow I will try to stop crucifying myself once again.

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Food And Men

Finding the perfect watermelon is a little like trying to find the perfect guy. In a hoard of either, they are both extremely elusive. While they may both look beautiful on the outside they both are often lacking the sweetness that is needed to be considered “fit for a queen.” And while you may test their ripeness with a slight thump to their sides there is no guarantee that the sound you hear will be pleasant to the ear.

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A good ear of corn is another food that can be as difficult to find as a good man.  When shucking and stripping you often find that there is way more of that impossible to remove tassel hair than you imagined before the sweet treat shed its “clothes”. Often you shuck thinking the niblets will be perfect and round only to find they have shriveled or not developed at all.  And sometimes you find worms embedded deep within the cob that only a psychiatrist can safely remove.

Finding the perfect wine/man is also a challenge. A major problem with both is that one day you might have a craving for a robust red, and the next, a less dense white may fit the bill. Unfortunately, wine and men cannot not be both and plural marriage is frowned upon. But if you are extremely lucky every once in a while you will happen upon a perfectly crafted Rose’ which is a combination of the best of both. Yet, a high-quality Rose’, like a man whose traits span the red/white conundrum, is difficult to find and while a taste test gives you an inkling of what’s inside, how they will hold up over time is anyone’s guess. And of course there is always the issue of corking.

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As we all know few things can bring you as close to heaven as a chocolate bar or a good man. Yet, unsweetened cocoa is bitter and unrefined until it is processed.Same with men.And I can say with total confidence that neither man nor chocolate are good if they are bitter and until you taste the final product you never know whether you have heaven or hell on your hands.

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Finding a good man and finding the “perfect” food are difficult tasks. But if you sample enough, travel far and wide in pursuit, and strip enough of them; there is a chance you will end up with something really easy on both your eyes and your palate. Let the taste test begin!!!

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Food …The Children Should Not Suffer

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I live in one of the poorest most economically depressed counties in the entire United States. It’s a place where English is most often the “second” language and where individuals follow the fruit and vegetables, often picking in 100+ degree heat. It is a place where poverty is rampant but food in the fields is abundant, illegal drug use is prevalent and the gulf between “haves” and “have nots” is wider than the Grand Canyon. Frankly, there is no bridge big enough to traverse this giant chasm.

Make no mistake about it, I am a “have.” I have a roof over my head, money in the bank, and clothes on my back. My life is plentiful. But all around me are reminders that this just isn’t the case for so many. I do what I can…carry McDonalds cards in my car and hand them out to folks who need a meal. But that is just a miniscule drop in the bucket with what is truly needed in the area.

Today on the short drive from downtown I saw three different adults searching trash bins for bottles and cans that can be turned in for change. And while it is shameful that any human being is forced, for whatever reasons to live this way, I am not as worried (though I am concerned) about them because they are resourceful. It is the children that I worry about especially during the summer, for it is the children who suffer.

During the school year kids from low income homes have the opportunity to have free breakfast and lunch at school yet President Trumps budget calls for an elimination of this program. Continue reading