Inspiration where are you?

I often think of writing. I day dream of how therapeutic it is to run my fingers over the keys and have something pour on the screen that is not foreign to my soul. It is not work.  It is not a copy of someone or something else. The words belong to me and me alone. It is my perception of art and mine alone. It is snarky comments and love letters and tales of comic mischief. It is a work of love and passion and inspiration.

So why is it so very hard to connect to the inspiration? My life is certainly not dull. I am part of my very own love story, my offspring challenge my every breath and our travels are nothing if not worthy of a wordy tribute. Yet my collection sits stagnant.

I may seek the answer for as long as the heart seeks the definition of perfection. That ever evasive, constantly changing kaleidoscope of beauty and mercy.

I crave inspiration.

I want to hear the click clack of the keys and see the stark white screen disappear.

So where is it? Where is my muse? Why can’t I just find the magic that makes me move to the nearest electronic and tell my tales? If you’ve found the secret I beg you to share.

I promise not to tell.

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The Family Tree of Life … wait, what?

The Family Tree or The Tree of Life … whatever you call it the symbol is deeply embedded in religious and spiritual beliefs. You will find it popular for genealogy and history buffs, elementary school home projects and with artists of all kinds.

The definition is as wildly varied as is each tree. Rarely depicted in exact form or feature. A basic Google search brought me the following definition:

“In this way, the tree of life is a symbol of a fresh start on life, positive energy, good health and a bright future. As a symbol of immortality. A tree grows old, yet it bears seeds that contain its very essence and in this way, the tree becomes immortal. As a symbol of growth and strength.” unknown

I’m sure you have heard the joke about the family tree being full of nuts. It’s generally the absolute truth and is especially for my own. A few weeks before my epic trip up north my mom sent me photo which would make a permanent mark on us all, literally.

My phone was blinking with a message waiting as it often does, only this time it was my mother. Some people might roll their eyes or sigh seeing another text from mom but not me. I love them. I guess after years of not speaking little blinking lights seem to have the positive power to keep all the old darkness away.

This time she sent a photo.

She had found a piece of jewelry online, or I think that was what it was. I have since lost the texts, little did I know such a simple thing would turn into a worthy story. I don’t remember the words but I complimented the piece. I had just purchased something similar while on vacation. I had hung it in my kitchen window days before our conversation. An interesting coincidence. The symbol she shared was a Triple Tree of Life design.

Whether it was she or I who decided it would look amazing as a tattoo I do not recall. I will give her credit as she is the visionary among us.

She decided we should all get this tattoo of 3 trees and set about to sketch it. She proclaimed her tree to be the middle and my sister and I would be to the left and to the right. Her image came to live in a circle and she began to add leaves separating each mature trunk and expansive branches. She asked what leaf shape I preferred and I chose the hearts. My sister would be assigned the scroll shape leaves.

And so it was shared and agreed, we would get these trees symbolically tattooed to our individual bodies to represent the true roots and togetherness despite growing into separate entities.

That would be that except for the fact that now we needed an artist willing to do the same design on separate occasions and for a reasonable price. Oh, and a tiny detail, I happen to live in another state, they each in separate cities. I was going to be in town for a short window so my appointment had to be scheduled in advance.

Like a true champ mom had her appointment first. I wish I could have been there but alas the miles add up and I wouldn’t be there for weeks.

Second my sister got hers, a little larger than ours, much as she does everything. She laughs louder, is a little taller, and has bigger chickens. (It’s not a competition, sis.)

When it was finally my turn I hobbled in, limping on a broken foot with the fam. Mom, Dad and my sweetheart in tow. For the record I didn’t know the foot was broken at the time, not that it would have slowed me down any more than it did. I didn’t need the entire clan for support either but I won’t lie … I did enjoy the entourage.

Mom introduced me to the artist as the daughter from out-of-state and reminded him she promised to bring me in. Now here I was. She was so excited, proud even to be presenting her family to the man with the needle gun.

It’s a special gift she has, to walk into an establishment and become the official honorary host. She takes charge in the mom-est way ever and she does it so well. She shows us off and takes ownership even though we are moms ourselves and tower over her in height.

It might also be a red-head thing. It’s sort of endearing.

I was invited into the artists chair and I happily plopped down, arm up on the rest and head back taking it all in. There was a glass case to the left against the wall with piercing jewelry in it. On top of the case was an entire brown bear skin with yellowed teeth and claws. The bear skin seemed shockingly out-of-place yet so at home there perched menacingly about 8 feet in the air. I didn’t ask about the bear but may next time.

My eyes shifted to a back room which I suspect was the piercing room. I suggested mom get her nose pierced. She didn’t miss a beat and declined. It was hard to rattle her.

We continued to chit-chat with the artist about my current ink, where I got it and that it was unique. My mom, from her seat in the corner, pipes up with a question. Asks what the oldest person the artist had ever tattooed.

Good question.

Guy covered in ink and wearing purple gloves continues to gently press into the skin on my arm and pauses before he shares his reply.

He begins the story with how he had to help an elderly lady into the tattoo chair. A frail, tiny old woman. He might have said she had an oxygen tank or a walker or something, painted the picture of tiny sweet grey hair granny type. He got her into the chair and she advised she wanted a touch up tattoo. Not kidding. She wanted to touch up the roses on her earlobe. He described being scared to break her, being so gentle as to not hurt her.

She was a champ.

I can only hope to be that bad-ass someday.

Mom was intrigued. She asks if it is harder to tattoo old people skin (yep, said that) and she mentions something about being worried she might be too old for tattoos. It is possible I guess she was fishing for a compliment. I don’t know. Forgive me, Ma, if the words are wrong there but this story is as I recall it. Also it happened.

She got good news however you look at it, she wasn’t the oldest he had ever tattooed (he laughed at her for that) and she was in the fairly young range of people who come in for ink. I think she blushed but it was hard to tell from the reflection in the glass case. I was still concentrating on the insanely large teeth on that bear skin.

He went on to say with plenty of moisture skin will be good for tattooing for a long time to come. She is probably sitting somewhere with some Skin So Soft right now. I know I have upped my moisture game. Old lady skin be damned.

It was over quickly and I marveled at how beautiful my new tattoo was. We paid and tipped well and made our way back for the party that afternoon.

We ate and drank and took pictures and ate some more. We showed off our new ink in singles and in triple to anyone willing to smile and nod.

Our tattoos are a symbol of who we are. Joined at the root but each branched to our own. My mother with her leaves, which symbolize for me life and change. My sisters scrolls symbolizing what I see in her as great wisdom, boundless intelligence and strength. Lastly my hearts, which for me represent love unconditional with a notation on some limbs a barren place for broken hearts for which I am grateful to never forget.

*Thank you to my mother for designing such a beautiful tribute to family, forgiveness and bond. Also for feeding us constantly when we visit. Those baked beans though … yum.

*Thank you to my dad who has kept us safe since we were wee girls. That’s what dads do. They also make safety videos so you don’t hurt yourself playing in the yard.

*Thank you to my sister for being ever-present in my life even when we don’t speak. Also for the moonshine that tasted like paint thinner. You’re the best sister I’ve ever had.

Never trust a heated seat

Decided to take the wife’s car to work today. Not because the cute little convertible would be top down, tunes up.

No.

It was chilly today and I wasn’t feeling the cruisin’ in the little red soft top thing. I drove it because I failed, yet again, to put gas in my fuel guzzling V8 SUV engine. It was literally on E when I went to leave.

I had no choice really but to take her car. Call it lazy if you will but I didn’t have time to go get gas and get to work on time.

Fast forward to thr end of the day. 10 hours later. It’s dark and it’s cold and I just needed to make it 40 minutes to home.

Just 20 minutes on the freeway and 20 on back roads then I’d bein my driveway.

So I get in, I figure out where the switches and buttons are in the dark and I roll out. I remebered there are heated seats … yeah … bun warmers.

Sounded like a solid plan.

I reached into the tiny space along side the seat and pushed the button to begin the warm up count down. “Soon” … I thought to myself “I shall be toasty and warm and speeding home.”

It was a good plan. There’s just one little thing.

Her car shakes a little at high speeds. Like something might fall off it and your life could be in immediate danger. Like an explosion of parts at 75 mph and nowhere to escape. Like a go cart you built with your friends with duct tape and youthful dreams.

The heat works though. I figured it out the hard way.

While I was both hands gripping the wheel for dear life the seat was heating rapidly. To say my rear and thighs were warm would be an understatement. It was getting hot up in there. Like HOT. I was starting to worry my leggings would catch fire.

“How hot does this thing get? Wtf!”

Christmas song on the radio, something about roasting chestnuts on an open fire. I start to worry about my lady bits. I wonder if I will still need to wax if my pubic hair melts off. I’m serious. It was really, really burning down there.

All the while I can’t really lift my thighs from the flaming bucket of hot coal because that would mean taking my foot off the gas. Something I dare not do for fear the car will just fall apart right there in the road. I thought about reaching one hand down to find the itty button to turn off the hell fire but I couldn’t take my hands off the wheel. I didn’t want to release the death grip. What if the steering wheel rattled off? It could happen.

So there I was. Sweating it out to some Country Christmas on the radio, hoping that the strange smell was from the Taco Bell I left in the car at lunch and not the fat melting off my thighs. Which, let’s be real probably smells the same. I don’t have an ass and thunder thighs like this from filling up on carrot sticks. If I am ever on an island alone with a group of people they should eat me first. If you are what you eat I’m prob the first ever meat steak that tastes like freaking cheese fries .

So I finally did it. I made it to the off ramp. At the red light I found the button and turned off the seat heat. I lifted each leg and butt cheek to release the steam and wiped the sweat from my forehead. I cracked the window to let out the stench of 5 hour old taco wrappers and I made the final portion of the journey home.

Never have I ever been so glad to get out of a car. Or have a chilly butt.

Making my own sugar scrub and imagining my death scene

We went to the beach about 2 weeks ago and for the last few days my gorgeous tan has started to peel like glue on a preschoolers fingers.

As I reached for more lotion I wondered how hard it would be to make a scrub.

I’m a tall girl and not tiny. I’ve got curves in the right places (plus some, whatever). The point is you won’t see me buying enough fancy scrub for my whole body. They don’t sell tubs of the stuff big enough anyway.

I did a little search and *voila* a recipe with simple enough ingredients I could probably whip it up and scrub up these flaky legs.

It couldn’t hurt. I mean what’s the worst that could happen?

I grabbed the big container of coconut oil and a spoon. As soon as the spoon touched the smooth white surface it stopped. The stuff is solid. So I think to myself I will microwave it. Pop it in and look for the sugar.

By the time I realized the container was still in the microwave I had found a bowl, measured sugar, spilled some, wiped it up and wondered to myself where the coconut oil went. Ooops.

I get it out, it’s no longer solid but a clearing mess with white globby things of unmelted goop floating around. I scoop the goop chunks and start stirring it in the sugar.

It smells fainternet-meme-of-cat-at-spa-with-cucumbers-on-eyes-and-wearing-a-bath-robefabulous. I start feeling crafty and wonder if I could be famous for sugar scrubs one day. It could happen.

I don’t remember what the recipe called for but I thought it was about half and half so I kept eyeballing sugar and oil scoops until I thought it was just right. I put half into a cute little jar and the other half in an empty plastic container to take to the bathroom with me. One can never be too thrifty.

Plus we only had one tiny jar.

I was feeling extra fancy so I lit the beach scented candle and started the bath.

I perched on the toilet and grabbed a little scrub and started to rub it on my legs. It wasn’t quite liquid, not quite solid, but definitely messy. Some dropped on the floor to make little sugar splats and the rest coated my shins like a sour gummy candy.

I thought it best to probably get over the tub so not to make a mess. I tried to balance with no such luck. My one foot landed into the super scalding running water. In my genius I jump in with the second foot because balancing wasn’t working out.

* pro-tip: your oiled up hands will not hold you up on linoleum. 

I hurry to the front of the tub and turn the water to cold, at this point getting out of the tub seems more dangerous than boiling to death in it.

Remember those dropped sugar globs? Death waiting. I’m not going out there yet.

I get the water just right and settle in. I smoothed the scrub all over my legs and it feels so heavenly I think I should do as much of me as possible.

There is now coconut oil in my eyeball. How does this even happen?

The bathroom is really starting to get a tropical feel. I had closed the door but not turned on the fan so it was getting really steamy. Really stuffy.

Suffocating really.

My entire body is covered in oil and my pores can’t breathe. My lungs are filling with what Yankee Candles considers the beach. This is starting to seem less and less fancy. This might have been a bad idea.

I rinse off. Actually  considering how well water rinses oil I just moved water around but we’ll say I rinsed. I drained the tub and stepped carefully onto a towel in the floor.

Then it hits me.

That light headed, I don’t think I can make it to the bathroom door, dizzy feeling. The one your mother warned you about; the sitting in a hot tub for too long kinda feeling. The one where things get fuzzy and your legs feel weak.

I consider what my dead body will look like when my wife finds me. I’ll be collapsed in a bath towel – right there in the hallway. This will not due.

I wonder if she does find me dead if she will notice my ridiculously moisturized skin.

I have my doubts.

She will probably just wonder where all the sugar went.

Bravely I made it to the bedroom and collapsed into a heap on our bed. I let my body temperature cool while searched for more scrub recipes.

Next time? Adventures in coffee grounds and safflower oil.

I just might make it big one day.

I can’t wait.

Summer sniffles and the zombie apocalypse. That escalated quickly.

If you have ever watched the History Channel or stayed awake long enough in History class you have heard about the worst plagues ever to be recorded.

The Black Death 1340 – 1771

Smallpox  430 BC ‘ish- 1979

Influenza Pandemic / Spanish Flu 1918-1919

The Common Cold Summer Edition 2016

That’s right. I just put a summer cold in with the worst things ever to happen to humans.

Am  I stretching? Maybe.

Am I being a little insensitive? Probably.

It could be the cold meds or it could be that I don’t really care about being politically correct among friends. We are friends after all aren’t we?

It feels a lot like something terrible is happening here, my throat is on fire and my nose is producing an awful lot of mucus. 

I have tissues stuck in my nostrils and I feel like I may need another box of Kleenex soon.

 I can’t seem to swallow and my head feels like it is in a vice.

I have a sneaky little cough that creeps up only when I need to talk.

 

I spared you the picture of the tissue in my nose. You’re welcome.

 

Which is what I do. I talk. All the time.

Right now when I speak it sounds like a small animals plea for help.Kinda squeaking, sorta whispered and definitely muffled.

It feels like giving a speech under water. 

Distorted face and all. 

Just blubbering and desperate attempts at cohesive words. A comical attempt to breathe and speak without the aid of my nose. 

All this open mouth gasping makes delivering oxygen to the lungs I have not yet coughed up very, very difficult.

Then there are the coworkers who don’t dare to cross my doorway. Like there is an unseen germ barrier they are safe from. If they hover just a couple of inches from the safety of the hallway they might not need to be decontaminated.

This can both good and bad.

Sure there are some co-workers I don’t really mind to not see for days but we do have to accomplish things here in the office. Put on your hospital mask and let’s get this meeting over with. We have flow charts and spreadsheets to look at. Let me just wipe off that drool.

I think I may actually have heard the sound of an aerosol can behind me when I left the common room. 

The faint smell of Lysol wafting behind me.

The good news is I am almost oblivious to the uncharacteristic avoidance of my work team as I am the general disgust on friends faces as I shove another tissue into my nostril.

My trashcan is overflowing with snotty little ghosts and the bags under my eyes make me look like a zombie.

Sounding more and more like a frightening history lesson in human suffering isn’t it?

I am barely awake having taken so much OTC cold remedy and barely getting any sleep. 

Sleep is such a generous word. 

I really mean something more like trying to rest in an upright position while ranging from ice-cold shivers to blanket throwing sweats.

 All the while sniffling and coughing and generally annoying my wife all night. She loves it when I wake her all night fighting to fluff the pillows and adjust myself for optimum mucus flow.

I could easily snag the lead role in a horror movie featuring the undead.

While I wait patiently for my chance to be a zombie movie star I will be over here all alone in my office. Half asleep and surrounded by a fog of disinfectant. 

 Whimpering, sniffling and coughing the song of my people. 

The song of the common cold. 

The song of the flu-pocalypse.

 

 

 

 

Parenthood: tales of the lesbian step-mom

My kids are amazing. My wife is amazing. Together they are sorta a train wreck and today I feel a little like a helpless damsel in distress tied to the train tracks with nobody to save me.

This is how it all happened …

My youngest son (preteen) and my youngest daughter (barely a teen) live with my wife (acts like a teen sometimes) and I (always the mean mom) in our lovely rural home while their father lives across the country (we like it like that). This means for the bulk of the year we co-parent in my household with 2 moms. One of those moms never had an actual human child before this relationship, let alone a pair of prepubescent know it alls.

My kids love her, she is an amazing step-mom. She does everything I do as a parent plus more, mostly without complaining.

Like I said she is ahhh-mazing.

The kids absolutely agree, her meals taste better, she is more fun … she yells less. Whatever.

Then there are the days, like today. I get a text as a I exit the shower that the boy child is home. He didn’t catch the ride to school with his sister.

I wonder to myself what happened … is he sick? Should I check on him?

Then the real questions begin …. did I bring a robe to the bathroom?

Is this towel big enough to cover me if he is lurking in the hall?

Will he see me sprint naked and afraid the 3 steps from our bathroom to the bedroom door?

After the wife arrives home from the obligatory school drop off she begins to tell me the tale of 2 children. Of how the female child was dressed, back pack and shoes ready while her younger brother was most definitely not.

She describes for me in detail what happened with the boy.

He was standing in wrinkled shorts and holding his arms wide, in a gesture we can only guess was to make himself look bigger and scarier, like a grizzly bear in an old western movie. He stood there defiantly in support of his inaction this morning, making some desperate argument about why it is he wasn’t out of bed and ready to go. He stood there insanely ranting, thin arms spread wide, arguing about whether he did or did not wake in time to leave by 7:15.

As this was unfolding the wife was processing the entire scene in her head.

This kid was wasting precious teeth brushing time. In her infinite mom wisdom she decides the boy shall stay home. The punishment stood and she left him, in his sleep clothes, red eyed and cranky.

When she returned she checked in on him and found him playing video games. Like any kid home from school (as punishment?) would be doing. I didn’t have the time to argue as I slipped a cardigan over my shoulders and grabbed my bag for work.

A few hours into my work day I receive a Skype from the wife, not abnormal as we communicate periodically like this during my work day. This time it wasn’t about after work plans or when we were scheduled to take the car in for an oil change. No. This time it read like this:

[11:42:14 AM] Wife: Your son is up here looking for borax and glue
[11:58:44 AM] Me: uhhh, no?
[11:58:48 AM] Me: for why?
[12:00:01 PM] Wife: Making messes. Aka slime.
[12:00:14 PM] Me: No.
[12:00:29 PM] Me: Welcome to parenting boys 101
[12:00:35 PM] Wife: He was about to get into the Tide. I said no.
[12:01:09 PM] Me: this is the shit I need to blog about
[12:01:24 PM] Wife: Ha.
[12:02:02 PM] Wife: Yeah. I told him we aren’t making messes today.

I am 99% sure I am going to go home this evening to find no detergent for my laundry this weekend, a slime coating on my kitchen table, an empty potato chip bag and some soda cans mixed in with a beer bottle or few, and my kid still sitting in the same wrinkled shorts playing video games.

The truth is I really don’t think I want it any other way. Except maybe if they didn’t use all the Tide for slime and maybe tossed the dirty socks into the washing matching instead of kicking them under the couch. That would be good.

That seems like the perfect equivalent to untying the distressed damsel from the train tracks …

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These people are my heart. They make me laugh, make me cry. Mostly though they make me shrug my shoulders and smile.

 

 

 

Misadventures in blogging.

I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve written.

I almost feel guilty about it really.

It’s one of those things where you tell yourself you are going to do it more often but in actuality you get back to it about 3 years later.

For me it’s like the thing that gets lost and then found under the couch cushions along with a couple pens, something that looks like your kids sock and a few pennies stuck to an unwrapped sucker. The thing you forgot was lost and then you get excited to find. That’s this blog for me.

I wanted to write about Valentines and what stupid cupid did this time and I forgot. Then I wanted to write about that funny thing my kid said … but again, I got busy and totally forgot.

The truth of the matter is I don’t care that much about being read, or liked, or commented on. Just kidding. People like me don’t publish blogs because we have nothing to say. I have more to say than anyone I know. The wife tells me I even talk in my sleep so that says something.

I’m a list maker, a check mark doodler, a post-it note sticker placer but I can’t seem to organize my thoughts often enough here.

So this my friends is my black and white promise.
For all the like 3 people who read my blogs (when I take the time to write them) I pledge to write more. To bring you more of the funny things that happen, the awesomeness that is learning to adapt and the sarcasm that comes with my life, my idiotic bliss.

** I’ve clearly been watching too many political commercials … that seemed very “vote for me and I will bring you more to laugh at” but I mean it. From the bottom of my sarcastic heart.