2021/05/25

2021 – Day 145

Da Goddess @ 19:29

We’re just about 40 days shy of the halfway point in 2021 and it doesn’t seem like that’s real or even possible. And that last sentence had a question mark at the end of it in my head. Most things do these days. Have question marks at the end, that is. I’m just not sure what anything means or where anyone stands any more. I’m not even sure when I can use “anymore” or it it’s always been “any more”. I used to know these things and now I know nothing.

My own life and in my own head, I’m Sgt Schultz. Is that not the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard? At the very least, one should be Hogan or — should things take a weird turn — even Colonel Klink or Carter. No one should be the Schultzie of their own life. No one.

And yet, here I am.

I guess it’s better than being General Burkhalter, eh? He was never on the right side of anything and wasn’t lovable like Schultz.

Huh, maybe I am Schultz. And maybe I am okay with it.

Nah. If I can’t be Hogan or Newkirk or Kinchloe, I don’t think I want to be in this sitcom at all. I mean, would you?

2021/05/18

2021 – Day 138: Double Nickel Edition

Da Goddess @ 00:01

I can’t drive; I’m 55.

I made it! I made it. I made it? No, yeah. I MADE IT! I almost said “I made it, motherfuckers!” but that seems unnecessarily profane, especially as I’m saying this to you, my friends. You are not motherfuckers. For the most part. I mean, technically, some of you are literally fucking mothers, though I’d hope not your own because that would be, uh, erm, different and unexpected. Definitely unexpected. And very different. Not that I’m judging you. I have so many other things for which to judge you. I don’t want or need to know that part of your life and I’m totally good with n.e.v.e.r. knowing that part. Not that I’d judge you for it.

Back to this day. This momentous day. This day on which I hit a milestone of fifty-fucking-five years of age!

Mr. Andruski, wherever you are, fuck you. You said I’d never make it. Hell, you didn’t even think I’d be alive long enough to graduate high school. Well, I did graduate high school, college, and while I didn’t realize my dreams as I’d dreamt them high school, I most certainly realize many others I’d conjured along the way. All without your “valuable insight and guidance.”

Can you believe the vice principal of a high school would say such things to a teenager and to her mother? Those words — and “you’re gonna wind up a wasted slut lying face down in the gutter if you don’t watch yourself, missy!” — actually led to one of the worst moments of my life: my dad slapping me across the face and my nose pouring out blood by the bucketsful! To be fair, my dad didn’t intend for it to happen. I don’t think he’d ever would’ve done it if not for my mom and I yelling VP Andruski’s words at each other. My dad only heard me screaming those words and thought I was saying those about, and to, my mom. He stormed into my bedroom and smacked me, just as I was turning my head, which is what led to the spurting of blood from my nose (all over the bedroom, which included the white chenille bedspread and the yellow and orange medium shag carpeting). I was 14, I was angsty, I hadn’t been the most well-behaved teenager (is there such a thing? Has there ever been such a thing in the history of the world?), and I was mouthy as fuck. And yet, despite the fact that I’d been ditching school and had run away at least twice at that point, this was the only time I can recall my dad raising his hand at any of us kids. Definitely the only time he’d ever done so with me. And I was the problem child of the family.

This is where I feel it necessary to tell you a couple of important facts:

1. My dad was a yeller and had a horrible temper. But he wasn’t violent. No beatings for us! He’d just scream and throw vile words our way.

2. My dad did NOT like blood. The very sight of blood made him woozy. Even the mention or, rather, the description of blood was enough to make him go green or ghostly pale.

With these two factors in mind, imagine him raising a hand to one of his daughters, actually going through with the impulse, his hand making contact with my nose instead of my cheek, and a profusion of blood issuing forth from my proboscis. The shock of the violence and the sight of all that vivid red against the white bedspread and yellow carpet caused my dad such agita that he yelled louder, stammering and sputtering, all while going green and turning quite pale. He stomped out of the room, as much as one who is close to fainting can stomp, that is, slammed the master bedroom door, and left my mom and I staring at one another.

Forget our argument (for the time being). I was shaking, crying, and holding my hands over my nose while the blood seeped through my fingers. My mom went into full parental mode. She wrapped her arms around me, doing her best to calm and comfort me. At some point, I don’t remember her doing it (maybe she used some form of maternal magic I never learned), she’d grabbed a t-shirt or dustcloth and had me wipe the blood from my nose and mouth and chin while holding it gently but firmly to my nose to stanch the bleeding. I think she was just as shocked as my dad was, as I was! And I know she was as concerned for him as she was for me. She sent me in to the bathroom to clean my face while she went to check on him.

Long story not-so-much-shorter, we all survived that incident, no thanks to Andruski. It never would have occurred had he not spoken that way to me and my mom. Regardless, we made it through that and many other incidents over the years. Years that asshole predicted I’d never see.

But I have. So, take that and shove it, Mr Vice principal! (I’m sure he’s dead by now, but I feel so much better having said this!)

So, yeah. I’ve made it to 55 and I’m proud of it!

My life has been full of extremely interesting moments. Some were terrifying, some exhilarating, some dull as dishwater, many unexpected, but all mine. And that’s more than many people get. To be cavalier about or take for granted any of these moments would be disrespectful to those gave me life, to those who never got to experience what I have, or even to myself.

To quote from my favorite conversation on getting old (from the movie ‘The Guardian’): “Hell, I’ve always been old, Ben. You know what, though? I don’t mind. I mean, if my muscles ache, it just means I’ve used them. If it hurts to walk up them steps now, it’s just ’cause I’ve done it a hundred times to lay down next to a man who loved me. I got a few wrinkles here and there, but I’ve laid under thousands of skies on sunny days. I look and feel like this, well, because I drank and I smoked and I lived and I loved, I danced, sang, sweat, and screwed my way through a pretty damn good life, if you ask me. Getting old ain’t bad, Ben. Getting old, that’s earned.”

I’ve earned this. I’ve been annoyed, tormented, pestered, plagued, molested, worried, badgered, harried, harassed, heckled, persecuted, irked, bullyragged, vexed, disquieted, grated, bested, bothered, teased, nettled, tantalized, ruffled, bent, broken, spindled, and I’ve lived, damnit! I’ve earned all this.

So, hey there, 55. Nice to see ya.

2021/05/16

2021 – Day 136: 19 Years

Da Goddess @ 09:53

Are we who we think we are? Or are we who others think we are? Can both these perceptions exist simultaneously and both be equally true? If you know how others see you — and it gives you pause to reflect — does that invalidate what you thought of yourself? Or, if it changes how you see yourself, does THAT invalidate your previous view of who you thought you were? Should it? Should we then reconsider everything we thought we knew?

Is it possible for our actions to be purely received as we intended them, or is everything we do — regardless of our intent — completely at the mercy of how others perceive them?

These are the things running around my head at the moment.

I’ve been blogging for 19 years as of today. I guess I somehow thought I’d have a better idea of who I am and who I was at this point, but I feel I may never have any answers and I’m not sure if I want them any more.

Of course, I didn’t have any idea when I started this blog back in 2002 that I’d still be at it almost 20 years later. Hell, I didn’t have any idea I’d still be at it even two or three years ago. It makes me wonder if I should continue on; if I should make it a full 20 years of blogging; if I should take it up to May 16, 2023, which would be the end of my 20th year and call it quits then; or do I just keep on plugging away until my fingers seize up or fall off? I won’t make any decisions for now. I’m not in what anyone would call a prime decision making frame of mind at the moment. Have I ever truly been in that frame of mind?

Sometimes I don’t know if the me who started this blog is the same person who is currently writing this entry. I know both of us have inhabited the same body, but is that really all it takes to be the same person? I have no clue.

As I say almost every year, the only thing I know for sure is how much I value the people I’ve met through blogging. Each of you have left an imprint on my heart. Some have taken a bite of said organ, some have helped it grow, some have tried to rip it out and stomp it in to oblivion, and some have returned time and time again to help patch up what’s been bitten, beaten, torn, and bruised. You who have helped me grow, who have nursed me back from the brink of disaster, you are the ones I like best. Obviously. Feel free to tell the others. I won’t deny it. (If you were my children, this would be an entirely different conversation.)

Speaking of nursing, can you believe I was still a nurse when I started blogging? That seems a lifetime ago! It definitely seems like it’s, at least, been half a lifetime ago.

Little Dude was just four or five, and Mojo was eight or nine. Now? They’re grown and off on their own journeys of self-discovery, exploration, adventure, mundanity, heartache, heartbreak, recovery, triumph, and, hopefully, fulfillment and contentment. Instead of the precious, fragile little beings I once held close and fussed over every breath or cry or sigh or laugh, I have to remind myself they’re now capable of wiping their own bums, fixing their own meals (and mistakes, for that matter – steaks and mistakes, anyone?), determining their own lives. In the time since starting this blog, they’ve become fully formed people who no longer need me for, well, anything. It’s both sad and wonderful.

It’s the way the world works. Time passes; living things grow; living things die; we change; we do our best to get from one day to the next.

Using that particular lens, I can see I’m still me, just the older version of me; the me who has seen fire and seen rain (literally, at times); the me who has loved and lost and cried and laughed and LIVED. I don’t think I’d want to be the same exact person I was when I started blogging. Sure, there are some parts of this strange trip I might wish had gone differently, but I can’t say I’d want to have come through all of it and to not have changed in some way or another. I’d be crazy to not want to learn and grow along the way.

And so, with that in mind, I think I’m going to be okay with not knowing if I’m the me I think I am or if I’m the me you think I am or if I’m some mashup of the two. We can revisit this a year from now and see if I’ve miraculously found the answer. See you then?

2021/05/11

2021 – Day 131 – Two-Fer Tuesday

Da Goddess @ 21:06

Show this to some young person in your life. Tell them this was a big hit when you were a kid. In the comments, post a link to the pic you took of them as they listen to it.

And then you can tell them this was another big hit. But nobody ever knew why. Or how.

“And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed
Singin’ and jingin’ the jango
Floatin’ like the heavens above”

That’s a beautiful bit of writing, isn’t it? It has no right being in this song.

If you want to fall down a weird ass rabbit hole, go to YouTube and listen to all the covers of this song. From America to Todd Rundgren and countless others. It’s insaane! But, whatever. At least I didn’t include “Disco Duck” here. I love you too much for that.

2021/05/07

2021 – Day 127: Three Years & a New Loss

Da Goddess @ 15:55

Dad’s been gone three years now. I’m 100% aware of this, yet I still have moments when I almost forget. Almost. Just before I reach for the phone or think “he’d love this!”, I remember. Or the memory becomes less foggy. Either way, I have that incredible split second moment of him being alive again.

I know I’ll never stop grieving the loss. I know the edges of it will dull and the corners round off with time. I know this. I’ve done this before. Just never lost a parent before. Grandparents, sure. But they were old and th…oh yes. That’s right. I remember now. Dad was old, too. It just doesn’t feel like he was old in my heart and my heart calls a lot of the shots on such things.

I miss you, Dad! I love you and miss you and wish I had even five minutes more with you. Even if those five minutes were you yelling. I’d take it.

Dad

* * *

I’d meant to post this other news sooner, but I somehow managed to forget each time.

Jan from the Cascade Exposures blog, who also occasionally posted here, passed away in March. At the beginning of April, I texted her a link to a place I knew she’d want to explore. I didn’t hear back right away as I normally would. Odd. And then I woke up Easter morning to “This is Jan’s mom…” and I knew. I said a quick prayer that maybe she was just in hospital or something, but I knew. I just did.

I didn’t ask for details. I don’t know the exact day she died or the cause. I’ve just felt blessed to have known her and for her mom taking the time out of her grief to let me know her daughter was gone.

Jan had just retired after 30yrs at the same job. She’d loved it. But she finally had the chance to retire and she took it. With the pandemic, work was becoming a hassle with rotating team shifts and such. So, she was excited to retire, hang out with her sweet Lily cat, and she and her mom were planning some trips for the moment they had the okay to safely travel. Jan was going to show her mom Death Valley, which I guess she hadn’t stopped talking about since she and I had gone. I completely get that. It’s a special place for so many reasons.

I wish I could say it gets easier to say goodbye to people as I get older. The simple truth is it gets harder for me. Of the bloggers I’ve lost (Rob, Mikey, Scott, and now Jan), it just seems to me that the world keeps losing bright lights and big hearts. There will always be a place in my heart for these special souls, but especially for Jan. I consider myself fortunate to call her my friend and deeply honored that she called me one, too.

Jan

Okay. That’s it. I’m going to spend the rest of my day tending to my body and soul with some TLC and a warm shower to wash away the sadness.

Please promise me you’ll be here when I get back.

2021/05/02

2021 – Day 122: Kalo Pascha – Christos Anesti!

Da Goddess @ 00:01

CHRISTOS ANESTI! Christ is risen! Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death.

Christos Anesti!

Kalo Pascha to one and all. May the sun shine upon us and warm us for today and always. May Christ’s death and resurrection save us all.

For the first time in many many years, I’m actually sharing a home with another Orthodox Christian. I shall knock on his door in a moment and celebrate this gift.

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