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In Surviving on March 15, 2016 at 10:07 pm


You don’t know hell until you’ve seen your kid walk through the flames without you.

You just don’t. There is nothing on earth that can prepare a parent for some things. Things that let you know: they are on the downward slide, and the smell of sulfur is creeping up, coming for your baby.

And you never know. You never see it coming.

You’ll spend a lot of time wondering. Wondering if you did know. Wondering if you (or somebody else) did see it coming. Wondering what you could have done differently/better/more of/less of. You just will. There are a lot of people out there who will tell you that yeah, you did see it coming. That yeah, you could have done a lot differently, done a lot better.

They’re right, but that doesn’t matter because they’re wrong.

They’re horrible for having an opinion, much less for expressing that opinion out loud. To you. Let’s be clear about that. Not one single person on this earth, regardless of their experience, their status as a parent, their age, their gender, their relationship to your child, is remotely qualified to have an opinion about how you handle it when your kid is dangling just out of reach of the thorns and the harpies. Go ahead, be angry about it. They don’t know you. They don’t know your kid. They don’t know where you’ve been separately or together. They don’t know one damn thing about how you feel. And you really, really, should not be put in a position to have to tell them any of that. They should just know.

Now, take a breath.

Because they mean well. It may be coming from a place of oh-my-god-so-none-of-their-fucking-business but 98.6% of the time, they mean well. They mean to be supportive, or understanding, or helpful, or even just kind. Does that make it suck less? No. Does that make it less uncomfortable? Nuh-uh. Does that make it any of their business? Nope. It is what it is, though. And they’ll have an opinion. And they’ll share it with you. They just will.

Fix your eyes on the important things. Worry about your kid; let the rest of it roll.



In Surviving on November 6, 2014 at 8:22 am

It’s just insane, how quickly time passes. Monday to Thursday is a blink, and then, before you’ve even registered that three and a half days have flown by, it’s Friday and you have to add another full day to the total count!

I can’t keep track anymore.

It’s impossible to think that it’s been four years since we moved back here, that our fifth anniversary is right around the corner (because six months is right around the corner), that there’s a gaping maw of history behind today. I know I lived through every one of those days. I was there, obviously. But what on earth has happened?

My grandmother told me once, when I was young, that the days drag on, but the years fly by. I think she was only half right. I think that everything flies by. You get so consumed by doing the next thing that needs doing, the seconds and minutes and hours just vanish. You think there’s all the time in the world to accomplish Task A. Then you get distracted by Task B, which comes up from nowhere and is so infinitely more pressing. Before you know it, Task A has fallen by the wayside, and it’s just too late to pick it up again.

Or maybe that’s just me, and an optical illusion generated by a semi-twisted mind.

Sharkman brought home some kind of evil stomach virus on Tuesday and then shared it with the household, which had me incapacitated and unable to think all of yesterday. Today is Thursday – Thursday, can you imagine – and my entire week seems out the window.

It’s finally cooling off and turning into what passes for fall here. The leaves don’t change colors; they just drop from the trees. The sun shifts position just enough to change the color of the skies, and reduce the temperature to something that approximates a change in season. This will last for three weeks, maybe, and then we’ll be into freezing temperatures and blustering winds that peel the skin and leach the heat from your bones. Before we know it, Christmas will be on us, and then New Year, and then birthdays and Valentine’s Day and the madness of the Little League pre-season.

What a strange cycle to be caught in.


In Mouthy Broad, Surviving on October 27, 2014 at 11:45 am

If you could do your whole life over again, what color parachute would you pick?

This is my question lately. Since I don’t know if my job is actually going to be protected (a whole FMLA administration mess at work, plus not necessarily reliable administrators), I’m trying to decide what to do with myself. I’ve applied for about a zillion jobs locally, but I’m having trouble with the pay scales. (They think I’m too expensive; I think they’re insane. And then I remember that the majority of their talent pool is barely high*school educated.)

If I could freelance, editing or writing or whatever, I would, but I have zero network or contacts for the kind of work I’m qualified for (or can stand doing without running a red pen through my eardrum).

I’ve spent my entire morning creating a freelancing profile, applying for about a dozen more jobs, and generally just trying to figure out what comes next. Which makes a nice change from just whining that I don’t want to go back to my actual, current job.

No closer to an actual answer, but at least I’m DOING something.

…Several hours later…

I’ve updated my Monster profile, taken a career aptitude test, and a personality test (INTJ – who knew?) and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

The funniest recommendation so far? HUMAN RESOURCES!!!

Yuck, I say. This is one of those jobs like sales, for me. I’m really good at it, and really loathe it. I dislike being the office mom, the universal bartender. I don’t want to know all these inappropriate personal details about the people I work with. Plus this field is where the General Office of Repetitive Redundancies was invented.

Maybe HR from a MUCH bigger-picture perspective, like developing training or writing policies, but the actual, line-work, implementation, touchy-feely stuff? Ick!

Unfortunately, I don’t live in a big-picture kind of place.

Let’s see what else I can scrounge up. It can only go up from here, right?




In Surviving on December 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm

They didn’t take my Oxford comma; they can’t have my “e” either.

There’s no picture postcard photo ops here in December. The sky turns grey, the wind kicks up and knocks an extra 20 degrees off the temperature, and everything dries out and becomes even more horribly static-charged than it was before.

I started to type “staticky” instead of static-charged because that’s what I usually say. But it turns out that spell check says “staticky” isn’t actually a word, even though I’ve used it my entire life. Who knew?

At any rate, it’s not a fun place to try to get in the holiday spirit. I’ve had maybe three white Christmases in my life.I spent 17 years here the first time around, and think we had snow ON Christmas once. I had a beautiful white Christmas on the Olympic Peninsula one year with WB, and a mountainous white Christmas when we lived in northern NM.

That’s it.

In a lifetime of mainstream media propaganda of television, cards, movies, and songs about what we’re supposed to dream of this time of year, I’ve gotten the reality three times out of more than 30 holiday seasons.

I’ve been gypped.

When I was a kid, my mom talked a lot about wanting to go on vacations for Christmas. She wanted to travel up north to Denver and spend a week in a ski lodge. My dad’s protest was always that we should be home with family for the holiday. Mom always said that we could have Christmas there, and then come home to have the family gathering afterward. No dice, and I never got why she wanted to go, anyway.

I think maybe she was just trying to find a place to have the picture postcard Christmas, one time.

I get that.

I’m not the type to get stressed about the holidays, really. I like doing all the baking (if I have the time and money, which does not happen every year). I like all the decorating (if I have the time and the help). I like the music, and the crazy people out and about, and the general furor that fills the air at my store. I loathe and despise the actual shopping, of course, but that’s mostly Rhett’s job now, and thank the powers that be for the internet.

I’m hosting a cookie exchange for my employees, for pete’s sake. And a tacky Christmas sweater contest. I’m no grinch.

But New Mexico is not friendly to the tender holiday feelings. She just wants to remind you that she was never really meant for human habitation, and tries to get everyone to stay inside, out of site, for three months out of the year.

Maybe, one of these years, we’ll be someplace where it feels a little more real to be ticking off the day’s until Santa’s visit. Maybe we’ll end up someplace with four seasons instead of one and a half. I’d like to try that, for a change, but I’d probably just find something else to complain about there.



In Mouthy Broad, Surviving on December 13, 2012 at 6:02 am

Part of growing up, I think, is understanding that, no matter what you do, there will be people who don’t like you, and accepting that as the way things are. The second part of that is understanding that it doesn’t matter.

Every so often, my life comes under attack from one direction or another. Whether it’s [edited for inappropriate exmarital referential content], or some loony fundie troll who reads blogs and sends nasty emails, or just another queer with a problem with my take on life, the universe, and everything, sometimes my blog becomes a weapon to other people. These moments always make me stop and wonder if it’s really worth it.

Is it worth putting so much ammunition for hateful people out into the ether like this? I write very personal things. I write nonfiction. I write fiction. I write soul-searching self-analysis, and I write out my frustrations and my fury. These pages hold my pain and my happiness and so many miles of my journey over the last three years. That’s a lot of arrows to leave lying around for someone else to pick up and sling.

It makes me think. It makes me vulnerable to someone who wants to cause pain, who wants to manipulate, who wants to interfere in a life they know nothing about.

It also makes my family vulnerable to the same kind of damage, by proxy.

For the first year and a half of writing here, I was careful – oh, so careful – to keep everything in my real life completely separate from my blog. No one knew I wrote, much less knew that I wrote here. And then, one person at a time, I started allowing cracks in that wall.

I started this post on February 22, 2012. The original draft ended here. I don’t remember where I was or what I was thinking about, but I do know that I came back with a bloody finger when I was poking around the dusty corners of TSOC this morning.

The cracks in the wall led to a flood, as they so often do.

First, [edited for inappropriate exmarital referential content]. Then, a friend or two decided to cut ties because my take on shared experiences was just a little too much to bear. Next, [edited for inappropriate exmarital referential content].

I wonder if I didn’t use all those events as mental justification for not writing anymore. If some little stubborn corner of my brain decided, nope, it’s just not fucking worth it.

Sometimes, I am capable of a level of self-sabotage and passive-aggressiveness that shocks even me.

I hadn’t been blogging a lot by then anyway – lots of reasons – but then life handed me this big, fat, juicy excuse.

And being a chickenshit at heart, I took it.

I’m not proud of it, but I’m pretty sure that’s how it went down.

I’ve developed a nasty habit, over the past couple of years, of curling up into a defensive fetal ball of goo instead of standing up and taking the hits head-on.

I wrote yesterday. I’m writing today. It feels good to stretch my fingers and beat on a keyboard that’s not work-related or to accomplish something adult and productive and responsible. It makes my brain tingle in good ways and makes my breath come a little easier.

It also reminds me I need to trim my fingernails. Desperately. I’m going to wear out my backspace button, fixing the “extra” letters that these claws keep inserting. I type too fast to be this manicured.

It’s hard for me to imagine a me in a universe where I just give up and give in. That doesn’t seem like me, does it? But that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

That. Sucks. Out. Loud.

What sucks even more is admitting it. And really facing everything I’ve been hiding from. That’s some big, scary shit.

But I guess there’s no time like the present to get the hell off your knees and stop blowing the game.

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In Surviving on March 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

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In Mouthy Broad, Surviving on February 16, 2012 at 8:39 am

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In Surviving on June 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm

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