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I Have Nothing To Do With It, Well Maybe A Little

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I don't do controversy much because, well, because I have enough shit in my life that raises my blood pressure and makes me consume Xanex by the handful. I certainly don't need to add to it but I got an interesting comment on my post "I'm Uncomfortable With That." If you haven't read that post you may want to give it a quick look through. It's brilliant, really. And to know what this post is about you really need the background.

The comment came from a friend of mine that went to school with my oldest daughter. Her name is Candace. She also has a blog that you can find here. Candace is beautiful, smart, funny and she's black. You may wonder why I even mentioned that she's black. Well because it has everything to do with her comment on my post. The post was on raising black children in a white family, racism and ignorance.

So here's her comment:

'"It's not in our culture to adopt. European-Americans adopt." ' Ugh. I hate it when ignorant people are in charge of things. Would she rather all those children remain in foster care then? You know, cuz black people don't adopt? Ugh. I'm SOOOO glad you're daughter is confident and smart and stands up for herself. I am so glad that you were offended by the picture in the pediatrician's office. (WTF). I also love that the guy was like, "I'm not European American. I'm white." I am like him. I'm black. Still an American. I have so many reasons to be jealous of your daughter's confidence and the way she was raised. I love my parents, but they emphasized my differences more then anyone else in my life, which made me extremely sensitive to the discrimination I did face later but completely unable to speak up and claim my ground as an awesome, unique individual who is black and American and loves being black in America no matter how many ignorant people I meet who are not black and black. I'm proud of you and your daughters.

And then she left a second comment:

I also loved this comment "What feels important to me is that your children learn at age appropriate times about history of different groups (racial, cultural, religious) in our country and in the world. And it feels important that their sense of self-confidence is nurtured. I hope that they know that they can speak from their hearts." Something that was totally missing in my life...and I love that you have given that to Nikki! (Sorry for the second post!) 

Then we began messaging via Facebook. Here's part of one of her messages to me:


I really liked your friends comment about teaching children about history and the shared history of American people, the good the bad the ugly and to be proud of who you are every day as a member of this country. I don't think schools do this too well (there is just soo much to teach and not enough resources or time) and I think that was a missing component in my home. My parents wanted to protect me from people (all people, but mostly white people) whom they thought would treat me differently because the way that I looked (tall, black, dark skin, thick hair, kinda chubby, non athletic). I think this is odd, because usually in households like this (or at least I think so) there is usually an equal emphasis on the origins of those differences (ancestry/family history/genetics/etc) are awesome and that you are awesome.

I think ancestry provides an important frame of reference for the founding of our country and our individual family histories. I think that there is a lack of education that as Americans, we share our ancestry because we share our history. Slavery belongs to all of us, persecution of the Catholics belongs to all of us, women's rights belongs to all of us, the emerging men's rights movement belongs to all of us, Japanese internment camps belong to all of us. I don't know if this is the way things are now, but its how I want things to be for my kids. Does that make sense? 


Candace brought up some awesome points. We share history. Good or bad, it belongs to us all. Most of us had nothing to do with that history but we have everything to do with continuing the ignorance. We CAN stop it. We CAN educate our children. We CAN make a difference.  We segregate ourselves, we segregate our children, we segregate our lives. It's not always someone else separating us, a lot of the time that responsibility falls on our own shoulders.

My kids have had an advantage I have to admit. They were raised in a multi racial family. They accept our differences and know that people are people and that there's good and bad in everything in life. 

Like my friend Andrea said  "embrace your differences with your friends.
They may be the most solid foundation on which you stand.
Give a damn." 

Oh, and if you haven't yet visited Andrea, go check her out. She's awesome!

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Tell Me It Isn't So

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I saw it as soon as I left Starbucks. There appeared to be a chip in the paint on the passenger side door of my car. I could feel my blood pressure on the rise remembering the incident at Best Buy a few months earlier when a five year old threw her mom's car door open and creased my car door. The mom looked at me and walked off. Just thinking about that now makes me crazy, freaking, screaming mad.

I'm careful around other cars. I respect things that belong to someone else, and I want my things respected. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is. My car seems to be a magnet for idiots. Just weeks after I got it someone scraped the entire bumper while I was in the gym. There was no way in the freaking world that they didn't know they'd hit my car. No note was left. Nothing was left at all except a huge scrape on my brand new car bumper. Tears. Major tears. 

That's what was going through my mind as I neared my car. I kept my eye on the spot hoping that maybe, just maybe, it was a crazy reflection, a piece of a leaf, anything but a chip in the paint the size of a pea.

The closer I got the more sick I became, literally. It wasn't a chip at all. My paint was intact. I reached down to rub off whatever it was on the door.  My fingertips were millimeters away from the object when I realized what it was. Someone had SPIT on my car!

I snapped my hand back so fast I nearly hit myself in the face. I could feel my stomach rising and I thought that any minute I would puke. I mean, I nearly TOUCHED it! The. Diva. Almost. Touched. Human. Spit. Just seeing it was enough to make me gag, I would have so lost my latte had my hand actually come in contact with the disgusting, sticky, body goo.

Respect people! Have some freaking respect!

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Valium, Muscle Relaxers And Beer

Monday, March 21, 2011



Yeah that's what I said, valium, muscle relaxers and beer. It's been that kind of, uh, year? Oh and be forewarned that all grammar, punctuation and spelling are in harm's way during the duration of this post.

I began the morning with a physical for life insurance which totally stressed me out. I mean, who in their right mind is going to insure the life of a bipolar Diva? They assured me that it "should" fly but who in the hell has a clue?

Then I decided to tackle the bills. You all know that we're general contractors and business has been crappy due to the economy and the fact that last year we lost more money on jobs than we have in all of our years combined.

We're in a hole, a gigantic hole.

Just a minute, I need to get the chips and Tapatio sauce.....


Ok, I'm back.

Where was I? Oh yes, the hole, the black hole of debt, and lots of it.

It's so much debt that just being in debt, singular, would be a great thing. The sun would be shining and all would be right with the world.

Long story short, or as short as a valium, muscle relaxer, three ibuprofen, two tylenol and a beer later (now I know how my Dad felt all those years), it may be longer than shorter, anyway back to my whining. That sentence really sucked, oh well. I thought, for about an hour, that we would be able to fill that hole in a bit. That's until I found this MASSIVE bill from a sub contractor buried in email.

SHIT!

I wrote the check, re-tallied the amounts and stared at what was left over. I have a week's worth of money to last for the next month.

My daughter is sitting by me chattering on the phone. I'm going to freaking kill her. I've totally lost my train of thought while she gabs on about "The One Hundred Monkeys." My son is walking around in circles talking to himself and I, well, I'm under the influence.

Oh yeah, another thing. Did I happen to mention that I opened my cell phone bill this afternoon? $950! So not only did I spend all day trying to figure out a way not to borrow more money I tried to figure out, with AT&T, how in the hell a 17 year old can run up a phone bill that has unlimited talk and text.

Ok, the valium, muscle relaxers and beer are winning so I guess that's enough for tonight.

Kisses and all that shit, 

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Forget The Goo

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It surprises me how people that have never met can become “real” friends online. I think that part of that is the ability to be ourselves, to say what we want and not fear the retribution of those we see on a daily basis.

I have a friend that reads both of my blogs and we correspond through email as well. He said something the other day that really made me think. He said that in my blogs something is missing. He said in my email he sees my “softer side.”

I really had to think about that for a few days. I believed that I pretty much tell you everything between my two blogs. It set me back wondering what I’m not doing, what part of me is being hidden.
I then realized that I know exactly what’s missing. I’m missing. I tell you stories of my family, my chaos, my demons, but I don’t really tell you about me, the real me.

See, through the years I think that part has been hidden away for my safety. That part gets hurt, that part cries, that part is closely guarded. I think that all I tell you is a deflection. I’m deflecting you from knowing that barb wired part of myself.

Part of it, I think, is that people don’t want to read “goo.” Part of it that I must be guarding myself, even from you.

I’ll try to give you a few glimpses today of my more vulnerable side and hopefully in future posts I will be more sensitive to my true identity.

I’m not sure how good I’ll be at this but I’ll give it a go.

My mom was killed four years ago. I’m still in shock, I still can’t look at her pictures.

After mom died I flew home to Texas for a week every month for 13 months to be with my Dad. Dad needed me, not in a care giving way, but in a caring way. He was lonely, he was afraid.

When he died I felt like a kite that had the string cut. I had no base, no foundation. My brothers and I were alone in the world.

I made sure when my grandson was dying that he was never laid down, that he was always in someone’s loving, warm arms. When he died I broke, part of me died, part of me was locked away. When the doctors called the final meeting I knew what they were going to say and I “missed” it. I couldn’t face the truth, I wouldn’t accept it, I couldn’t hear it. I can't look at the cemetery, that I have to pass nearly every day, that holds my tiny grandson.

I’m the woman that has given the last 20 years of my life raising children that I didn’t give birth to.
Two of those kids turned on us and another part of my heart was closed off. I’ve barb wired my heart from that pain.

I think that’s enough for now. I’ll try to let more out as I go along. If you see the humor, the anger, the pain, you’ll know I’m deflecting something.

If you wonder about anything let me know, I’ll answer. I’m open as you all know, and I’ll try to be more so but I’m not going to get all gooey and sentimental.


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Cupcakes And Tattoos

Thursday, March 10, 2011



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I'm Not Sure How It Started

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

That was a lie, I do know how it started. It started with a simple statement, "go clean your room before you play video games."

Sounds easy enough right? Well I guess it wasn't. Door closes and I hear guitar music.

"Hey kid, put down that guitar and clean your room."

"I wanted a break. I was tired."

"You were told to clean your room, not play your guitar."

It went downhill from there. Have you ever tried reasoning with an autistic soon to be 18 year old? It doesn't work and my temper flares, which in turn makes his temper flare.

This is a kid that scares me when things get heated. He's sent both of us to the hospital on more than one occasion. I have pepper spray and plastic restraints on advice of the deputies that have frequented my house during his outbursts.

I won't back down. Backing down only strengthens his resolve the next time.

Luckily his father was at the house and was able to diffuse the situation somewhat, but not before one of my kitchen cabinet doors was slammed so hard that it broke in half.


I left with the rest of the kids to celebrate my baby girl's 21st birthday, leaving them to sort things out.


I'm not usually in a situation that I'm not sure how to handle. This kid throws them at me all the time. He's put a huge wedge in our relationship. I don't want to be around him, I don't want to see him,  I don't want to deal with it. I'm angry, I'm hurt and I'm scared.

Does that make me a bad mom? No, it makes me realistic. 


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21

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Today my baby girl turned 21. I wrote the following post a year ago. Many things in my life have changed since then. Some things have ended, some have been added, but my daughter is my daughter forever and always. What follows is the beginning of our journey. 


Nikki's 21 today.


We were shopping, shopping for a kid. We looked through books, huge, heavy books filled with pictures of small, smiling faces. Under the pictures were labels. Each label had all of the ingredients that went into making each “product." We checked each picture and each label against our list, our shopping list.

That’s how it felt with our third adoption. With our first two adoptions we were the product. We put together marketing campaigns. Those campaigns were distributed to the shoppers and the shoppers made decisions based on our ingredients, our nutritional value and our expiration dates. I think it was easier for us to be the product and not the shopper.

We already had kids, seven all together, so we went about making a list of what we thought we wanted. It was like choosing fruit it seemed to me. “Do I want the green grapes, or the purple grapes? Seeded or unseeded? Organic or not?” We thought we had a simple list: girl under the age of three living in Washington or Oregon. That was it. We looked at hundreds of pictures of girls under three living in the Pacific Northwest that that were free for adoption and not just a “maybe." How could we choose? The more we looked the more confused we became.

We had tunnel vision. We were shopping for the child that would fit into our lives. We weren’t searching for the child whose life we would fit into. Quite by accident we saw a profile of a child that didn’t match our list. Yes, it was a girl. Yes she lived in Washington. Yes she was free for adoption, parental rights had been terminated. She was six years old, three years over what we wanted. Jeff and I exchanged uncertain glances. To be polite we agreed to look at the picture.

We stared at the smiling face in the school photograph. We turned and stared at each other. We were looking at our daughter. I’m not sure how we knew, we just did. The “label” didn’t matter. It had all sorts of warning signs listed in bold print:

Crack baby

Fetal Alcohol Effects

Neglect

The list went on. We were shown police records of the people whose rights had been terminated. We were shown the hospital records of our daughter. The phrases that stood out were “smells like brewery, positive for cocaine, three pounds, fragile preemie." None of that mattered. Our list didn’t matter. What mattered was bringing our daughter home as soon as we humanly could.

A week later we sat in a Burger King waiting to meet our daughter. The caseworker was late. We kept checking our watches, looking out of the windows, and pacing waiting for our daughter to be delivered. The minutes crept by, each one longer than the last. I had to get to a phone. I had to see if there was a problem.

I had just left a frantic voice mail for the caseworker when this little sprite of a child burst through the door. She was in white tights, a white turtleneck and a blue jumper. Her ebony hair had been pulled into many braids. Her braids had been secured with hair ties that had brightly colored balls attached. She bolted through the fast food joint. She was screaming “My Daddy, my Daddy, my new Daddy!” Every head turned, every face smiled. Every one there watched a child meet her Daddy for the very first time.

When she got to where Jeff was standing she leapt off of the floor and into his arms nearly knocking him over. She touched his tear stained face and traced the path of his emotion with her little brown hand. Then she threw her skinny little arms around his neck and pressed her cheek against his.

Suddenly she maneuvered herself around in his arms and yelled “Where’s my mommy?” Then she saw me. Our eyes locked and I saw a smile, a smile bigger than I’ve ever seen on such a small child. In an instant she was out of Jeff’s protective arms and into mine. “You’re my new mommy!”

“Yes, I am your mommy.”

She burrowed her head into my neck and giggled. She reached out for her daddy. He put his strong arms around us both. Jeff and I cried, she giggled. Time stood still. Our daughter was with us at last.

That was fourteen years ago. This past March Nikki turned 20. She graduated high school last May at the top of her class. She will begin college this fall studying Criminal Justice and Art History. I can’t imagine our lives had we stubbornly stuck to our list. I can’t imagine our lives without our daughter. I don’t want to imagine what would have happened had we heeded the warnings boldly posted on her “label."



With Nina

Riding with PaPa

She's 20!

Cruising with mom

Graduation!

 Just look at that smile.


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Am I Turning Liberal?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why? Because it's my freaking life and of course nothing could ever be flat lined.

I got up this morning and told kid number 27,642 to take the dogs out.

"But mom, there's a coyote in the driveway. He won't leave."

Great fucking shit! These coyotes are beginning to piss me off. The mangy things seem to be getting a little more bold lately and I wasn't about to take any coyote shit off of the little bastard.

I looked out of the window and there he was, only I could see he was hurt. Being the shallow person I am my first thought was, "How in the hell can I get my car out of the garage to get to Starbucks with a damned hurt coyote in my driveway?"

Time to think. Just who does one call to get an injured wild animal out of your driveway? Nikki and I both got on the phone and were finally directed, after about 20 minutes,  to a number that actually worked.

Within minutes our street was swarming with police, trucks and men standing around taking pictures and scratching their heads about what to do. Finally a bright one decided to put a lassoed type thing around the animal's neck and drag it across the street to the neighbor's yard. Sorry Deanna.

With the coyote being safely away I went out onto the front deck to say thank you.

"Wait right there ma'am."

BANG!

Uh oh, poor coyote. I'm not sure why hearing them shoot the damned thing affected me like it did. I knew it would have to be euthanized. The animal was severely injured and wasn't going to live anyway but I didn't expect them to shoot it right there. I mean, I could have done that.

And that's what I told them. The main guy didn't seem to like me saying that and went into this dissertation on why I wouldn't want to shoot it myself.

Truth is that, even with all my pro NRA talk, I'd have a hard time shooting an animal that was just lying there, where's the sport in that? I guess Andrea's blog post is still with me. Had the animal charged me, or had it been a bad guy I would have had no problem shooting to kill.

Am I turning liberal? No, banish the thought! The poor coyote just looked so sad.  But then again I think he ate my cat. I should have shot the thing.

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Give A Damn

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

 I have this friend, Andrea, that's so different than me that it's funny that we even like each other, but we do. She's awesome and a pretty damned good blogger. I asked her to guest post for me tonight and I think that this post will amaze you and certainly leave you thinking. I think you'll love her no matter what your political persuasion is.

Andrea has a great blog called throughbrowneyes. Go visit her, she's kinda new at this whole bloggy thing, and subscribe to her VIA email if you like. She doesn't have Google Friend Connect but does have an email option. Don't worry, she's not going to overwhelm your email and you'll enjoy her posts. Like I said she's awesome!  Please be sure to read her post "I Miss You To The Bone." You'll be glad you did. Also, please leave her a comment. Tell her I sent you  :)

Now here's Andrea!


I am really fucking cranky tonight.

So I’m going to write about guns.

For those of you who have ready ANY of my previous blogs, you have probably inferred at least the following about me:

1. I am a viscous liberal (not the hairy armpit, tie-myself-to-a-tree kind, but more the anti-FOX, pro-Obama, “let men marry men and women marry women for goddamn sakes” kind).
2. I love Peeps.
3. I fucking love to swear. I’ve tried to tame it, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far. Until now. Sorry.
4. I am loyal. To a fault.
5. I am a mischievous, melodramatic pleaser.
6. I cry at the random memory of my grandmother.
7. I hate guns.


Let’s focus on the latter, here, for just a second.

Because see, I have this friend. I swear, she probably should not be my friend, in the natural order of things, because we are so damn opposite, it’s stupid.

_She drives a wicked new Harley Davidson, I drive a 1988 Porsche 911.
_She a Texan who has raised 8 children. I’m a Utahan that could barely hold onto myself raising one.
_She is bipolar, I’m… well, I don’t know what the hell I am, but she had the guts to figure it out.
_Her husband can build anything with his hands. My husband can sway anyone with his mind.
_Her drink is a Tanqueray and Tonic. Mine, a Coors Light.
_She’s got some serious… ummm… well let’s just say she’s got a figure to die for. I’m flat and ill-proportioned.

You get the damn point. We are different.

And Teri, her name is Teri, she loves guns.

And I hate guns. I think.

I don’t know. I have this weird thing with guns.

Was in Arizona this Fall, on an offsite with my team, and we did this 4 wheeling Hummer deal out in the desert (I was assured by the bumper sticker on the vehicle it was running on biodiesel, and it better have been the truth, goddamnit).


Some kind of ex-ranger dude was running the operation. He was packing heat (can I say that? Can I say “packing heat?” or is that some really lame-ass totally juvenile expression one doesn’t use anymore, I don’t know, I DON’T KNOW!!!).

Anyway, it was all I could do not to stare at that thing. It was like this uber-masculine metal machine that I at the same time totally feared and revered.

So after all the boys went for their 4-wheeling joy ride in the desert, he was driving us back and I asked him if I could fire it. Me. Miss anti-gun, fuck the NRA, girl.

I couldn’t help it. I really, really, really wanted to fire that thing.

And he was totally into letting my try, even though it could have cost him his job, but then my love for “keeping him employed” got the best of me and I didn’t take him up on the offer.



Back to my point.

Here I am, friends with this woman who writes about her love of guns and firing guns and the smell of gunfire all the time and I get stupid pissed.

But what I have realized, now, is that I’m not pissed at her. I think I’m pissed at myself because I have this internal conflict about guns.

I am obsessed with the power in them, but at the same time hate the thought of one even NEAR my family.

So for all of you reading this that stand on whatever moral issue it is that you stand on… ask yourself, do you stand on it because you’re supposed to, or because you really do???

I’m telling you. I WANT to hate guns. It is in my half of my DNA to hate guns (father excluded… wait… is that why???). I want to get really goddamn angry at Teri for her passion with guns, for taking her KIDS to the shooting range. It seems, it feels, it TASTES like blasphemy.

Yet I can’t. For several (ok, four) reasons.

First. I think I love guns. I’ll NEVER EVER EVER own one or have one in my home. I know that with absolute certainty. Don’t question me on that because you will be wrong and I will lose all the crazy mad respect for you I have right now.

Second. I love that Teri and I can be completely different women from a totally different background and have entirely different values and I can still love everything about what she stands for.

Third, I trust that anyone reading this, from her social circle to mine, can judge us equally and respect both our sides. Better yet, those of you that don’t judge but rather embrace our differences, I adore you even more.


And finally, I’ll just say this.

I’m going to shoot a motherfucking gun someday, and when I do, I’ll be channeling the Teri Worley vibe the entire ride.



embrace your differences with your friends.

They may be the most solid foundation on which you stand.

Give a damn.

AC.


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Lattes

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I stopped by Starbucks the other day to pick up a latte for me and one for my parents. There were only two cup holders in the POS rent car so I got them a venti to share.

When I got there I began the walk up the drive. Memories came flooding back.

I remembered seeing my Dad crying under the awning where a hearse was parked.

I remembered them putting my mom’s coffin in the hearse and driving to the grave site.

I remembered flashes of people and how beautiful the weather was. 

I remembered Dad and I placed roses on Mom’s coffin before it was lowered into the ground.

I remembered Dad being devastated. I'd never seen my dad cry. I watched him cry enough that day to last for years. 

I remembered being there a year later watching as my brother roared up on my Dad's motorcycle with America's and Texas' flags flying.

I remember my father was taken out of the same hearse and carried to his resting place beside my mother.

I stood there looking at the headstone, tears streaming down my cheeks, while I drank my coffee and talked to them.

Then I poured their latte on the double grave site, cried some more, talked some more and left them once again, alone, together, forever.

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