Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Lessons

Lessons I learned from my Gram:

1 - Your husband better always be your boyfriend

2 - It's better to be single than wish you were

3 - If you cheat at cards, your Grandad will NEVER play a game with you again

4 - It's bad luck to have 2 people change the sheets

5 - Looks fade & money doesn't always last, find someone that makes you laugh

6 - Homemade lemon bars are great, but Betty Crocker is easier

7 - If your problems can be fixed with money, then they're not that bad

8 - There are no exes in this family and there are no steps

9 - No is a complete sentence

10 - When in doubt, stay out of it

11 - Take your time to find the perfect cove

Today marks one year since my tiny Grandmother shuffled off this mortal coil. She was a pretty rad lady, all 4'10" of her. She and my Grandad were relationship goals. They were married for 47 years, raised 4 kids, umpteen grandkids and a few great grandkids. She lived through the Depression, an alcoholic husband, and raised my Dad & My Auntie on her own until my Grandad came along. Their story is one that I read about in my books. She was small in stature and huge in spirit. If you've ever seen That 70s Show, Red & Kitty Foreman are my grandparents.

My Gram was working at the phone company and so was my Grandad, Jack. He asked her out a lot and she said no a lot. She said "I have two small kids at home and I need to be home with them" Sick of being rejected, my Grandad said o her "If I bring the meat will you cook it?" and that was that. Fast forward 6 months, she comes home from work and he's sitting on the couch with a big ol dress box. "Jack", she says "what's in the box?" and he looks at her and says "it's all our bills, and I'm trying to figure out with all these bills, and all these kids how we can afford to get married." And that... was that. They drove to Vegas on 5 bucks and got married. They had a really beautiful life, and they set a foundation for the rest of us, an example of what relationships are supposed to look like.

I've been blessed with a bevy of stellar women that shaped and molded me into the woman I am today, I'm eternally grateful for the strong, take no shit ladies that taught me how to live, and were always there to carry me through my messes. So, today, I honor my Gram with my words, I celebrate her unique personality and I value the lessons that she taught me.

This picture is me in the 7th grade, astride my mare, Foxy.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Mother's Day

May is not an easy month for me. It's my Mom's month. On May 30th, she would have been 64, and she celebrated her birthday all month. A tradition, that my Dad seems to have picked up as well. In between May Day and her birthday is Mother's Day. My Mama was a Diva to her core, and she liked to be spoiled, and I liked to do nice things for her when I could. Right now, I wanna hurl shit at the television every time a Mother's Day commercial comes on or I get an email or some ad on Facebook "would Mom love this?" yes, yes she would have. It's been almost 2 years since she died, and I still miss her every day. It's not the same gut wrenching, sharp pain that I felt at the beginning, but it's still there. This constant ache and reminder that something important is missing.

I am my Mother's child through and through. I am the embodiment of a flower child and a construction worker. I am the best parts of these people, and I am so grateful for the parents that I was given. I know a lot of people don't have it so good, and I was and am always happy to loan out my folks. Even though it's been almost 2 years, I'm still getting used to being motherless.. Most days it's okay, but lately with all the Mother's Day brouhaha everywhere, it makes me wanna break shit. I'm so aware that she's not physically here and it's like... glaring.

* Sideyes everything and internalizes Hallmark holiday bullshit*

Don't mind me. I'm just feeling sorry for mahself.... The reality is that I'm not the first person to lose a parent. Many people have been through this. In fact, just in my circle of friends alone there's like 5 of us who have lost a parent in the last few years. It's a level of grown up that I don't really think I'm ready for, and I don't feel all that equipped to deal with big things like Mother's Day or her birthday or the anniversary of her death.

My Mom was the balance between my Dad and I. She softened us, she made us better. She was funny without meaning to be, she was calming, and kept a peaceful home. She had a heart bigger than Texas and she always had room at her table. She wasn't without fault. She was human, and she was . . . . Special ;-) But my Mom embodied true love. She met EVERYONE where they were. She didn't judge people, or ask them to be anything different than exactly who they were. She was never quiet about her faith, but she didn't hit anyone over the head with it either. She was just fuckin' cool. In every way a person could be. So yeah, I miss her. I miss doing stuff with her. I've talked it about a lot here, but this is my little space in the world, where I can vomit out my thoughts.

So, nothing new. I miss my Mommy. Hug yours if you can, make Sunday special for her in some type of way and to all my friends that are Mamas or soon to be <3 I have all the love in the world for you. Raising kids does NOT look easy, and I know raising me was not a walk in the park. I'm rebellious and cantankerous on a good day, but my Mama saw through all that to the core of who I am and loved me through it. I miss her, but fuck am I grateful for the 36 years that I had with her.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beware!!!! Super rambly post ahead ;-)

I spend a lot of time in the car. For the record, I LOVE my car. It's vain and ridiculous but I love it. ANYWAY - I do some of my best thinking while driving and listening to music that stirs my soul, and today on my morning commute I was reflecting on how damn lucky I am to live the life that I live. The world is burning, and there is so much ugliness out there. I'm not getting into it here, because we all read the same feeds on the book of face and the twitters and the snappy chattys. There's no need for me to dissect it all. If you read this, or you know me at all, you know I lean left.

I am coming out of the worst depression of my life. PTSD & high anxiety absolutely crippled me from 2015 on. My go-to coping skills used to be drugs, booze, and sex, but I never had to deal with anything real before. So, when life hit me over the head with Thor's hammer, I didn't know what to do with myself. Prayer, meditation and meetings gave me a little bit of peace, but the pain that I was in was immeasurable. I ate my feelings and spent too much money on crap I didn't need just so that I could feel better for five fucking minutes. As a result, I'm heavier than I have ever been and I've got some substantial debt. But these are things that I can fix. And for the first time in a long time, I want to. I'm ready to make the changes that I need to make in order to be my best self. I've set some goals already - finishing my book and getting a new job, and these are goals that I've reached, and it feels good! Setting attainable goals, conquering them, this has done WONDERS for my self esteem. I'm back on a healthy eating plan, and paying down my debt as best as I can. I'm pretty open about who I am and the stuff I go through, life is messy, and weird and needs to be talked about. We all put up our highlight reel and that's what we show the world, but my highlight reel has some glitches in it, and those glitches have made me who I am.

But this is all old news to anyone who follows me or reads this stream of consciousness. It's been 2 years since I left Zappos, and just like I stumbled into that job, I've stumbled my way into this one too. It's kinda perfect. Beautiful, messy, and fitting.

I can't describe how it feels to feel like myself again. For so long, I was a shell. And there's a few people who carried me through that. We weren't meant to walk this world alone and I literally have NO idea how I got so lucky as to have the relationships that I have, but I'm forever in gratitude about it. I think that that's something that we all need to remember, especially now when things in the world are so uncertain and scary.

I'm grateful for my sobriety, I have felt awkward, insecure, and uncomfortable in my skin for as long as I can remember and getting sober changed a lot of that for me. I'm always grateful for my Dude. Everyone that I ever "dated" told me that I was too much. Too loud, too opinionated, too extra, just too. And Philly has accepted me exactly as I am from jump, he challenges me in the best ways, and he makes me want to be better. My Dad, my constant strength in this life. He forever has my back, has always been present. I married a rockstar dude because I had a rockstar Dad. I have the best friends in the whole wide world, seriously. Both in person and online, my friends believe in me, and give me the strength I need to face every day. My authors and books have given me a much needed escape and a safe community where I feel okay not being okay. I'm grateful for great music that sounds great loud as hell, and my midlife crisis car.

I feel like this is similar to my last post, but I don't care. It's important to me to counter all the yuck in the world with something loving. I say this ALL THE TIME and it will never ever not be true, I have been blessed with abundance, and born into privilege that I absolutely do not deserve. I strive every day to be a better human, and to make my little corner of the world a better place. Thank you to each and every soul who has stood by me and guided me on this journey.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Stuff and Things. . .

Man, I am 100% terrible about keeping up with this blog, and life events . . . Jeeez. So, some new stuff is happening and I thought I'd share with my 12 followers what's going on!!

First - I finished my book!!!! I did I did! It's with an editor at the mo, but as soon as I get my edits back and revised that sucker is going up on the 'Zon. I am going to self publish, not for any other reason than I just want to get it up and out into the world. I don't know if it'll reach anyone or if anyone will like it, but writing my story has been the goal of my life for as long as I can remember and it's done, yo! So, if you're into the way I spin words, give it a look see. I'm hoping to have it up within the next month. I'll post the buy link here there and everywhere.

Next, I got a new job!!!! YAYHAY!!!!! I have been looking for somewhere to land ever since I left Zappos and while I loved working in treatment, at the time I was suffering from PTSD and depression, and was not in a great mental place to be dealing with alcoholics and addicts in their cups. However, that job was the most fulfilled I had ever been while at work. My next gig in recruiting was pretty much terrible in every way, and I was looking for something new almost immediately upon starting there. I am not a job hopper, hell, I was at Zappos for 7+ years. I like to bloom where I'm planted and grow with an organization, so having two different jobs in the span of a year was not awesome. I gave it the old college try though, I did. The money was good and the schedule was something I could live with, but my soul was dying. I'm not being dramatic either, so don't go getting me a fainting couch just yet. Through the boyfriend of a friend I have landed as an assistant in a law firm. Some days I feel really out of my depth but I've been here a little over a month and I gotta tell ya . . . I love it. I'm learning so much and everyone is super nice, there's a lax dress code and some schedule flexibility. It feels good to be happy at work again. I like the work, I like the people and I think they like me, but who knows really.

I'm coming up on the 2 year anniversary of my Mother's death and I'm just now starting to feel like myself again. I had always prided myself on my strength and fortitude, and my ability to face life on life's terms and do it with an attitude. My Mom getting sick really threw me in a way that made me question everything I thought I knew about myself. I am just now starting to feel like me again . . Funny, and happy, and positive.

Mental health is a hot button issue in our country at the mo and there's this inherent American belief that everyone should be able to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and handle shit. I was the queen of handling shit, and I crumbled under the weight of my grief. There were days that I couldn't get out of bed . . . Much less put on pants and face the day. Some days I would sleep until late in the afternoon, and eat my feelings or spend money just to feel fucking better for a little bit. That's depression, kids. And it crippled me in a way that I had never experienced. I thank God for my husband, who I will never ever stop gushing about. He's the damn best there is and he carried me through that time in my life with humor and love and a modicum of patience. My crew, my friends, Katie, Pania, Amanda, Miguel, Charlotte, etc... Too many to list but that core group of people got me out of the house when I was barely functioning. There's a group of people that believed in me and without that support I don't know where I'd be.

I was off work for 9 months. From April 2015 to January of 2016 and I was home . . . I spent most of that time reading and losing myself in really good books and connecting with other readers online. I can't say enough about my book friends. Those wonderful people who I may never meet in person but who loved me through that time and gave me a safe place to land. There's a lot of yip yap out there about "safe spaces" and I'm living breathing proof that having a place where I felt comfortable enough to be myself and talk about books and life helped me heal. I've connected with some amazing people over the last couple of years and built solid relationships through the wonder of books.

Book friends are the best friends!!!

You never know what battle someone is having in their life or in their own mind, so be kind. The world could use more of that . . . Love and kindness.

Baseball season is just around the corner and I'm fully prepared for my Bums to break my heart just one more time . . .

So that's my check in - life is in session and I face every day to the best of my ability, but I don't do it alone and for that I am forever grateful.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Work Work Work Work

Is anyone else singing that Rhianna song in their head right now? I'm totally thinking it. . . . Like, still. So Happy New Year!!!!! 2015 was pretty brutal, 2016 was like Chernobyl levels of awful, so I for one am super happy positive and way stoked to see what 2017 has in store! I have big hopes and dreams and goals for the coming year. Mainly to get my book finished and published by next month. I really need to get that mother done. It has been the biggest goal of my life and I'm so close to the finish line and now I've let off the gas and I don't really know why. I'm easily distracted by my husband, and good books, and online friends, and shiny things and CAKE!

So, if any of you follow me on the Twitter ya'll know I hate my job. Like haaaaaaaaaaate it. Like, I have a sense of impending doom every time I leave the house to come here. The money is decent and the hours are good, but the work itself is soul sucking and competitive and cutthroat and just.. wow... Not for me. I've never been sicker than I have been since coming to work here, like legit, my health is baaaad. No one really laughs, everyone is all laced up and serious and conservative and numbers oh god numbers! I just can't with it. CAN NOT. I started this job in July and began desperately seeking new employment in like.... August. Mayyyyybe September. I've applied so many places, I have reached out to every contact I've made over the last decade. I've hit up people I don't know on LinkedIn. . . . Legit. I've scored a few interviews but other than that? No dice. I haven't been rejected this much since High School . . . No lie.

New Year new searches, yeah?!!! I applied for I think 8 more places today. Short of taking out a billboard I'm at a loss as to what to do. So here I am . . . Pleading to my friends, the universe . . . Anyone who will listen who might have a friend or know someone who maybe might need an administrative person, an Excel boss, an HR assistant, a copywriter, a personal assistant . . . A receptionist, whatever!!!!

I'm not sure why this path has been so rocky for me. Trust me, I know how good I had it at the big Z. I miss it. I miss the camaraderie and family atmosphere that I enjoyed while there. There's a lot that I DON'T miss, mind you, but it was a great place that served a wonderful purpose for the time that it did. I refuse to give up hope, I refuse to stop trying. Some company SOMEWHERE will take a chance on me. I'm asking all of you to put those positive thoughts out into the ether for me. I'll take whatever help I can get. . .

I'm not above sacrificing a chicken.

Seriously

Monday, November 7, 2016

Words

I'm a neglectful and inconsistent blog type person. It's been damn near a year since I've posted anything new. Bad JoJo!! Bad!!!! I'm currently working on my NaNo project from LAST November that I failed to finish but got one helluva start on . . . I'm such a good starter, but my follow through is for shit. Obvs. This year, much like the one before it and most of the one before that has mostly been bananas with a few great moments splashed in between. The most notable thing has been the passing of my Grandmother, and getting used to life without these amazing women who have molded and shaped and inspired me has made me into a different person. Back in 2011 right before my Mama got sick; I was this happy, carefree wild soul. And it seems like ever since then I've been trying to get that person back. It's painful, and difficult, because ultimately I'm not the same person anymore. I've lost the two most important women in my life inside of a year, I left the career that I loved and it's been nothing but a struggle to find my way since.

So, I have internalized a lot, retreated into my own head, which is not a neighborhood that I want to be in after dark. I miss my Mom. That sounds so simple, because what I ACTUALLY feel when I think about my Mother is more than missing her. It's aching and longing for her. It's feeling completely untethered and lost more than a year later. I'm still struggling with basic life skills, I'm STILL struggling to find my new normal.

I left a career at a company that I loved and while I believe that I made the best decision for me at that time; it's been a struggle to find my fit ever since. I'm on my 2nd job of 2016, and if any of you follow me on the Twitter or know me IRL, ya'll know I am wicked unhappy. I've applied for a number of jobs and I swear, I haven't been rejected this much since high school. It's not an awesome feeling. I have to trust that God has a plan, that if I keep doing the footwork that He'll take care of the rest. One of the few things that I haven't ever questioned over the last yearish is my faith. It's always been there.

I'm not going to get political, because that's just not me, but I will say this . . . This life needs to be about love and service and it seems like most of us have forgotten that along the way. We need to love one another, better than we love ourselves . . . We need to serve one another and practice kindness, and I need to do this especially. My bitch switch can get flipped with a quickness and that's not the version of myself that I want to be. Last week, two people passed away that were both impactful in my life at very different times. Both of these men were loved, cherished, important and will be grieved for a very long time. And it's a reminder of how short and fragile this life is, and that the petty shit that I get hemmed up about doesn't fucking matter.

What matters is the time that I get to spend with my Dad. What matters is the way my insides flutter whenever I see my husband. What matters is the unmitigated joy that I get from spending time with my friends, what matters is the community of online friends that I've made through the amazing and wonderful world of books and reading. These people, most of whom I've never met, have kept me going on days where I have felt so completely alone. I get a lot of joy from reading, I always have, and to have made friends with authors and other readers who help me remember the joy and expand my spirit has been an amazing experience.

So, a lot has changed in a year . . . but maybe not that much at all. My book . . . It's getting there, much like I am <3

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Grieving, Loss, Living

This year . . . Man, it's been kind of the absolute worst. Oh, there's been moments of supreme happiness and warmth but these last few months have been the most trying for me. Every day I feel like I take one step forward and two more back. To say that this time has been trying is putting it lightly. You see, grief isn't this this thing that I can take on and off or leave at home when I don't feel like dealing with it. It's this constant weight that lives with me. And I don't know that I'm managing all that well. I know that I'm not the same person I used to be, not by a stretch . . . But I'm trying. I'm really trying. Losing my Mom was like losing a part of myself that I will never ever get back, and I know that I'm not going to be the same after that. She was one of my brightest lights in this world, and she was one of my anchors. There was no one like my Mother, there was no one I can talk to like I could talk to my Mama, and I just don't really know who I am without that. Losing Mom was kind of the tip of the iceberg with this depression/grief situation I've got going on. There's so much more tied to loss of a loved one than planning a memorial and saying goodbye. There was dealing with her stuff, her clothes, furniture, jewelry, etc... Watching the sweet life that she created move on was difficult, but I'm not working and I need the money, so there ya go.

The other thing . . . That I never put on FB or shared with anyone outside of who already knew, was that I had a miscarriage right after losing Mom. When I found out we were pregnant; we were over the moon. I had this fu**king fairy tale built up in my mind, like God took my Mama from me but left me with this beautiful gift. When we went in for our first appointment, the baby didn't have a heartbeat. A whole new devastation took place after that. I remember holding Phillip's hand, so excited to hear that flutter and have the room go quiet because there was nothing there. All I could feel at that point was sorry, sorry to my sweet husband, sorry to my Dad . . . Just sorry. After that we needed to get the F outta town, and we did. Took my Pop to some Dodger games, and went to Laguna . . . Released my sweet Mother back into the universe, and went to Disneyland . . . Where I proceeded to full-out miscarry. It was the most physical pain I have ever been in in my life, but like all physical pain . . It passed, and we were back to enjoying our lives the next day. I'm crying writing about this . . . 1 in 4 women lose their babies and no one really talks about that . . . I find it ironic, really . . . I spent my 20s trying NOT to get pregnant and now all I want to do is have my husband's baby. He takes it all in stride because he's wonderful and amazing in every way, but losing mom, losing baby, not working all of this is taking it's toll on me. And I want to be better, I want to be the me that loves life and truly lives. I want to be the me that's happy joyous and free. I want to be the me that my Mommy would be proud of. I feel like I've become a shell of my self, and I gotta tell ya I don't love it.

So, I'm running out of money, which is just fantastic!!! And I'm trying to go back to work. I've been trying really, but not getting any bites. Thankfully, I got a job offer that I really like. I'm just not crazy about the hours, but I'll do what I have to do in order to contribute to my household and not be more of a burden on my sweet husband, who I'm sure should be sainted by now, really. I have an interview tomorrow for a position that I reaalllyyyy want, but the way things have been going lately . . . The things that I want really haven't been panning out. Today was not a good day for me. It started out sad and just got worse from there. I write, that's my outlet, this is the only thing that takes some of the sting out. And I still hurt . . . I constantly hurt.

I'm feeling really lost, and a bit hopeful . . . If that makes sense at all. Because if there's anything I've learned in the last years it's that this too shall pass.