Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just Another Day in Paradise

Today while I was standing in line at a department store, my mobile phone rang. It was my Mom. Crying. Because my brother and his wife are moving a half hour away from her. And because her goat ran off.

Yes, that's right. The miniature goat that she bought a few weeks ago and put in the pen with her chickens had loaded up his goat belongings and headed for the hills (or, more likely, the farm behind ours).

Despite being somewhat used to dealing with my family's brand of crazy, I was at a minor loss as to how one should console one's mother when said mother's miniature goat of less than one week goes on the lam. If I still lived in Tennessee, I would probably have immediately formulated the appropriate response. However, seeing as how I have spent the past decade outside of the magical boundaries of Bradley County, some of my Southeastern Tennessee social skills have slipped.

Soon enough, through the tears, I managed to learn that it was much less the missing goat and much more the missing Dad that was causing the drama. Now THAT I can understand. Yesterday marked sixteen weeks without him, which is an eternity for a close-knit family like my own. The hardest part is accepting the finality of it all--it isn't like missing someone who is away where you can count down the days until you see him again, like I see the military wives who live nearby doing every day.

People say, "Nothing is forever," but, well, yeah...some things are.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Got a Couple of Couches, Sleep On the Loveseat

I have one sofa. One love seat. I sleep on neither (oh, the woes of an insomniac). However, Beck is on the iPod, so there you have it. Ready-made title.

I'm restless today. Restless in my house, restless in my skin, restless in my life. I used to have this feeling a lot, but haven't had to worry about it for a while. It comes, it goes, it never means anything except that I eat less and spend a lot of time looking out the window. Sigh.

I've never had a year of changes like this past year. A new city and home (and all that goes with that), a kid starting school, losing my Dad--it takes its toll. Used to, there were things I feared so much (like another snake in the kitchen--it's a wonder I didn't have to be institutionalized after that happened). Now, I pretty much feel like, "Whatever, dude. Nothing can feel worse than losing Dad." I mean, yeah, there are things that would feel worse--anything happening to my children, for example. But you get the gist of what I'm saying.

There are the good moments too. A week or so ago, Bellamy and Sutton were wrestling on the bed. Bellamy pushed Sutt down and sat on him and we heard her scream, "You're my bitch! Sutt's my bitch!" Blaker and I froze and looked at each other, then turned to Belly. Blaker asked her what she said again, and she replied (very matter-of-factly), "Well, Daddy, I sat on Sutton and he's my bench." Oh, bench. Whew. (Now I keep telling Blaker he's my bench. It makes for an excellent inside joke.)

I'd like to have told Dad I made Blaker my bench. He would have gotten a kick out of that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Breaking Up Isn't So Hard To Do

Today we're going to talk about Break-Up Sex.

Until I met Blaker, back in 2001, I had never heard of Break-Up Sex. You know, the kind where you and your partner decide that your relationship isn't working, somebody decides to end said non-working relationship, then as a parting farewell, you decide to celebrate with coitus.

Yes. Break-Up Sex. Sounds pretty fucked up to me (no pun intended).

Now, maybe I just stayed in all of my relationships too long. I mean, by the time each one ended, I didn't want to breathe the same air as the other person, much less have to see him naked AGAIN and pretend I wasn't way the hell over it. Even the times that I have been on the receiving end of the break-up, rather than the all-powerful break-upper, I was smart enough to realize that hooking up with somebody who had just broken my heart was a bad damn idea. How sado-masochistic does one have to be to not realize that?

Blaker apparently has had break-up sex with pretty much every girl he's ever dated. Thinking he must be some freaky sex oddity, I polled a few friends. They, too, had imbibed in break-up sex. Which means I am the oddity (imagine that). Break-Up Sex is occurring left and right, all around us, hidden and unseen (which is actually really comparable to alien abductions, now that I read that description I just wrote). Dude. I can't believe I never even knew.

It seems that we have yet another thing to add to my list of THINGS I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND. And if Blaker ever decides to trade me in for a younger, faster wife, there will be no carnal good-byes on this end. Not a chance.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stranger Than Fiction

I am repeatedly getting tagged on Facebook for "25 Things," which, if anybody who tagged me actually cared enough to see, I filled out long ago. However, as a concession to those tag-a-holics who just won't give up, here is the Starr Trippin' version of:

25 Things You Don't Know About Me (although there is no way in hell that I am putting 25 things up here that NOBODY knows about me, because then I would probably end up either in jail or locked in the loony bin, so this is the condensed version which should still suffice for pretty much everyone except Blaker, Ray, and potentially, Jenn):

1. I hate squirrels. Hate them. They are creepy and they carry diseases. Give me a chipmunk and I will cuddle the hell out of the little sucker. But squirrels? Oh, hell no.

2. My best guy friend has tried to drown me on more than one occasion. Actually, twice that I can remember. He says it was an accident both times, but do you REALLY almost kill somebody twice and still have the privilege of calling it an accident? I think not.

3. I have a lingerie collection that would rival that of a porn star. Yes, I do. Ray can vouch for that, because she has seen a small portion of it, and was overwhelmed just by that one suitcase full, and it wasn't even a fraction of the whole thing. It comes with the territory of being a girlie-girl.

4. I once got out of a speeding ticket by showing a state trooper my tattoo on I-40. I was twenty years old and very adverse to getting the ticket, so I distracted the officer with my new tattoo. I left ticketless and with his card.

5. I refuse to do anything without my toenails painted. I don't think anybody but me has ever seen them unpainted. However, I prefer my fingernails to be unpainted.

6. I love, love, love asparagus.

7. The Kindle (you know, the little machines that you download books onto and then read from) send me into a blind rage. My Mom has one, and goads me with it because she knows how much I hate them. I love books--the feel, the smell. I don't want to fucking DOWNLOAD my books, I want to stumble upon them in a nice bookstore while sipping coffee. Damn you, Kindle!

8. I own both an Edgar Allen Poe bobble head and an Edgar Allen Poe action figure. Nobody but me is allowed to touch them. They are sacred.

9. I can recite a large number of Lewis Carroll poems, and tend to do so for no reason whatsoever at random times.

10. I absolutely, positively refuse to sing in church. I can't sing worth a damn, and I don't want to ruin my (or anyone else's) religious experience during hymn time because I'm so off key. I will, however, occasionally burst into song (loudly) in other public places, much to my husband's dismay.

11. I sleepwalk. Not all the time, but every now and then. One day, I'm probably going to sleepwalk myself right to the airport and fly to Mexico (at least, that's going to be what I tell Blaker when I call him from the beach in Cancun where I'm camped out with a margarita).

12. Since drowning is a mini-theme here (see #2), I should add that I nearly drowned in my Grandmother's indoor pool when I was four. We were at a family reunion and I was sitting on the side of the pool watching some of my relatives swim. I accidentally fell in and was fished out by a random cousin who happened to see me fall. After that, my parents put me in swim lessons.

13. I nearly died again when I was four because I choked on a yellow Lifesaver at my other Grandmother's house. My Dad saw me turning blue, yanked me up by my feet, and whacked me on the back hard enough to knock the candy out of me. I cried for hours afterward because I couldn't understand why Daddy hit me. (Yes, I remember all of this.)

14. I can peel a banana with my toes.

15. I have been engaged to be married 3 times.

16. Once when I was a kid, I climbed a tree and got stuck in it. I was there for hours until my aunt found me. When she found me, she convinced me to jump out of the tree and into the creek beneath, at which point I got stuck in the mud up to my knees and couldn't get out. (Ironically enough, the EXACT SAME THING happened to my dog, Gus, many years later. Weird, huh?)

17. I was supposed to skip the sixth grade but my parents decided at the last minute not to let me because I was very small and they worried that I would get picked on. I was FURIOUS when they told me they had changed their minds.

18. I've flown a lot, and most of it has been in small planes because my Dad and my Grandpa both had their private pilot's licenses. Blaker also has his pilot's license and I've been flying with him as well. I have NO FEAR whatsoever of flying, but I get very nervous riding in cars.

19. I once sat next to a priest on a flight from New York to Rome, Italy. He spent the whole 8+ hours telling me stories, praying with me, and blessing pretty much everything I had with me.

20. I have a freckle on the palm of my hand. My dermatologist says that said freckle is perfectly healthy, but that it's unusual to have a freckle on your palm.

21. I have never expected that I will live long enough to be old. I think I will probably never make it out of my thirties (although I hope that I do).

22. I can't ride a bicycle to save my life. Me+bicycle=ER visit

23. Ponchos (and the people who wear them) make me nervous.

24. Once in Old English class, my best friend, Ray, and I learned about a medieval tradition called a "Mancutte" --keep in mind that that isn't exactly how it's spelled, but I had to substitute t's for thorns, which are no longer letters in our language--where warriors would trek across the land picking up chicks. We thought it was a cool idea and that we would take our own version of it, so we did. The end result is something I will someday write a book about, at which point people will read it and never believe it actually happened although it will totally be true.

25. I am a closet pyromaniac. I love setting things on fire, particularly when I'm angry.

The Road Not Taken


Today fucking blows.

Last night I was awake most of the night with Sutton, who had a stomachache. During all that time of wakefulness, my mind started to wander to all the paths my life could have taken--all the wrong turns, all the potentially disastrous detours--and how lucky I am that I managed to get to the point where I am today. I'm not rich. I'm not famous. But I'm happy.

This morning that "I'm happy" has been a mantra, because living in THIS EXACT moment, it's hard to remember I'm happy. I have a terrible headache. I'm very, very tired from being up all night. My Mom left at 5am to go back to Tennessee. My Dad has been gone fifteen weeks today.

I can take Advil. I can go to bed early tonight. I can call my Mom and look forward to her next visit. There isn't much I can do about my Dad.

Which leads me to another choice I made in the past that I can't help but wonder about. Could I have done anything to save my Dad? Could I have gotten him to better doctors in the beginning, before the cancer became so advanced--doctors who could have chosen surgery as an original choice or used different chemotherapy or even some option I could never even have dreamed of? Could I have listened to my gut when everyone said the cancer was "no big deal" and thrown a godawful fit until somebody treated it with the seriousness it obviously deserved? Could I have changed the outcome and still have my Dad today, but back to his healthy, happy self?

It's rare that I allow my words to make me vulnerable. But today. Today I'm defeated.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meandering Through A Wednesday

You know what I'd really like right now? A glass of good red wine. Something spicy with a hint of oak, full-bodied and rich. Maybe a good shiraz/cab mix. Yep. That sounds pretty damn good.
Instead, I'm drinking Vitamin Water (the new, 10 calorie version) and wishing I had had time to get to the Y last night or this morning before I leave for NYC. I am HIGH STRESS right now, and could use that oh-so-sweet endorphin rush I get from a solid session of cardio.

It's been a frustrating morning because packing these days in a fucking pain in the ass. I plan to carry my bag on, so I have to follow those ridiculous guidelines about no liquids over 3.4 ounces and putting things in quart-size bags....I'm getting pissed off again just thinking about it all. If I didn't have kids to worry about, I might just up and become a terrorist to spite the airlines. All 5'3", 115 lbs of me would make one bad ass terrorist, y'all. I can tell you that. I wouldn't even need weapons. I could take down an entire country with my Jedi Mind Control and mad Ninja skills.

It's just one of those days. I miss my Dad. My Mom keeps wanting to snuggle me (as many of you know, I am not a snuggly person--I like to think of it as "elusive snuggling") unless it is with one of the kids or a lover (aka, Blaker, unless you count the UPS man, FedEx man, and all those other hot guys I like to hook up with on a daily basis). The dog keeps trying to stare me down (which in Mimi-speak means "give me more food," but alas, poor Mims is overweight and thus must stick to her Mimi diet of one cup of food a day).

Maybe I should have that glass of wine after all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh, Yes. It's Time.

MORE THINGS I SECRETLY THINK BUT (USUALLY) DON'T SAY OUT LOUD (EXCEPT OCCASIONALLY BY ACCIDENT WHEN I THINK I'M TALKING TO MYSELF BUT THERE ARE ACTUALLY PEOPLE AROUND ME WHO ARE THEN AT LEAST MILDLY OFFENDED, DEPENDING ON THE DEGREE OF MY SWEAR WORDS, AND FREQUENTLY THINK I'M SCHIZOPHRENIC, WHICH I MAY WELL BE)

(My list titles just get better and better.)

1. I want to have Rob Zombie's baby. Well, I do. I mean, he's the epitome of FREAKY. Just being able to say "I had sex with Rob Zombie," would be awesome. But bearing his crazy Zombie offspring? Total sweetness. He may be dirty and somewhat frightening to look at, but he's probably a big softy underneath all that crazy and crud. You know VH1 would want to do a Behind-The-Music special about me and Baby Zombie, which would be a definite high point in my life. Lastly, I'm quite intrigued by the challenge of finding a first name that goes with "Zombie" as a last name. I'm thinking, perhaps, "Zulu."

2. I think I might be an Orchid Whisperer. You know, like the Horse Whisperer and the Dog Whisperer. When I received the orchid from my Dad's service, I was told it would survive a max of six weeks in my house before it needed to be shipped off to a greenhouse or just keeled the hell over and died a horrible orchid death. But alas, the orchid lives! Fourteen weeks later, and three new blooms (with an additional two nubs-to-be-blooms) the orchid is flourishing atop my piano. Is it a super orchid? I think not. I firmly hold steadfast to the belief that my Conversational Orchid Skills, combined with feeding it a steady diet of ice cubes is the secret.

3. Obama gets on my last nerve. Now, don't get me wrong. I voted for him. I'm ALL over some stem cell research. I would have sold my soul to the devil (among other things) to avoid having Sarah Palin in office, but DUDE. Obama is annoying as all hell. Mr. President can't speak worth a damn. He always looks like he's trying really hard not to look vaguely confused and totally overwhelmed. It's totally fucking with my head, particularly if I'm watching CNN while I'm on the treadmill at the Y and he's on tv but the volume is muted so all I see is his facial expressions. Mind fuck. (*Disclaimer--this could be because I usually take a shot or two of vodka before I go to the Y. Mind fucks come easier post-vodka.)

4. It kills me, KILLS ME, that New Kids On the Block has made a comeback and people my age ACTUALLY CARE! Seriously. It's a huge pet peeve. It makes me want to drill a hole in my head, stick a teaspoon in, and dig out part of my own brain just so I don't think about it. Why does it annoy me so badly? Well, truthfully, I don't actually know. It just DOES.

5. I have a hidden addiction to the blog "Fuck You, Penguin." It doesn't matter how sad or sober I am, I can pull up some "Fuck You, Penguin" and be laughing so hard I'm crying within a few minutes. I have a really messed up sense of humor, and he just GETS it. If I EVER locate the "Fuck You, Penguin" author, I'm going to have his baby too. Right after I deliver Baby Zombie.

6. I do not like children. I may have mentioned this before, but since I think it so often, it's on the forefront of my mind. I love MY children. I frequently LIKE them as well. However, I would never have had the opportunity, had it been left up to me and not to Blaker's super sperm. Additionally, there are a handful of other children that I am ever-so-slightly fond of on a regular basis. However, as a whole, I do not care for little people. Not midgets. Not dwarfs. Not jockeys or gymnasts. Not kids.

7. People who wear visors freak me the hell out. They aren't real hats! They don't cover your head! I don't care if they shade your eyes--get some sunglasses. I have a practiced speech Blaker refers to as "The Visor Talk" (it's really more of an intervention) that I am not afraid to thrust upon random visor wearers as I encounter them in public. Visors. They're just wrong.
Trust me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Life Less Expected

Last night as I was lying in bed, I was thinking about how different my life had turned out than what I expected. I never planned to have children. I never planned to lose my Dad when he was so young. I never expected to live in Suffolk or to get published or to have agreed to have Boudoir photographs taken and included in a photography portfolio, particularly after carrying and having two children (I still owe you, Ray). Life is made up of the good and the bad--sometimes the very good, or the very bad--and you never, ever know what ratio you're going to get from one year to the next. This year has been a lot of bad. But I've had many years that were so full of good it almost seems sinful.

I'm leaving on Wednesday to go to New York City for four days and I'm very excited. People keep asking me, "Are you going to see a show??" (What IS that all about? I swear, EVERY SINGLE PERSON who finds out we're going asks that question.) No. The answer is NO. We thought about it, there are things I wouldn't mind seeing, but you know what? I just want to walk and walk and walk. I want to eat lots of great food. I want to inhale Central Park. I want to sit in St. Patrick's Cathedral and just think about my life. I want to get lost in the Met.

For four months now, 2009 has seemed like a year of sadness. But I'm trying to turn it into a year of contemplation instead. A year to be thankful for the wonderful twists and turns my life has taken and for the blessings I have been given. A year to think about what I want to do with my future as my children grow (I've narrowed it down to CIA Operative or Dominatrix, I think--at least for today). A year to grow myself.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Egg Roll, Anybody?

AN AMALGAMATION OF MEMORIES I HAVE OF EASTERS PAST, WHICH SHOULD GO A LONG WAY IN EXPLAINING WHY I AM THE WAY I AM:

1. Easter 1985: I decide that it isn't fair that my brother and I receive Easter Baskets but my parents do not. I persuade my Grandma to take me to the discount store where I proceed to spend my allowance buying a basket, Easter grass, votive candles, rabbit figurines, and Old Spice. After my parents go to bed I make their Easter Basket. I am furtive and very excited. The basket doesn't appear full enough, so I swipe my Dad's Michelob from the fridge to fill in the holes. The first cheap-cologne-and-beer basket is born.

2. Easter 1987 (I think): I receive ALL of the New Kids On the Block "big buttons" in my Easter basket, along with Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl" cassette tape. ( I learn later it's because my Dad didnt' t know which New Kid I loved the most, so he felt he must purchase ALL the buttons.) I spend the next three months making up dance moves to "Cold-Hearted Snake" and lusting over Donnie Walberg while dressed as Madonna (the Madonna dressing was a phase that I finally grew out of in the sixth grade). I wonder how on earth the Easter Bunny managed to be both a bunny AND extremely hip. (Shut up. I was only nine.)

3. Easter 1996: After church, I drive down into the farm where we lived to invite my Grandpa to Easter lunch. I found him cutting back brush at the edge of the fields. When I got out of my car to talk to him, he silently handed me a pair of hedge cutters and put me to work. I missed lunch, and spent approximately four hours cutting back brush while wearing my Easter dress and heels. My parents thought I had been abducted.

3. Easter 2004: Blaker and I decide to dye eggs with 9-month-old Bellamy at my parents' house. Being the Type A person that I am, I have to dye eggs IN A CERTAIN WAY. I HAVE A SYSTEM, PEOPLE! IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW THE SYSTEM, THINGS GO ALL TO HELL!! Blaker and I have a huge fight about my egg analness, and refuse to speak to one another for approximately 24 hours.

4. Easter 2008: I finally learn, after many, many years that the only way to survive coloring eggs with two small children is to be drunk ahead of time. I figure this out AFTER we have already colored the eggs.

5. Easter 2009: A glass of Merlot. A very strong Cosmopolitan. Coloring eggs is actually enjoyable for the first time I can remember.

Praise God for alcohol.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Online Confessional

I've been thinking about confessions--how Catholics, to my understanding, are supposed to confess individual sins to a priest, who them absolves them; how Protestants confess their sins directly to God (usually as just one big block o'sin, to save both time and guilt).....you get the idea. Being a nice BaptiPresbyMethodist girl (raised Baptist, baptized Presbyterian, now attending a United Methodist Church) I figured it would do me good to do a little confessing. And lucky, lucky you--you have a front row seat.

HALEY'S LONG OVERDUE CONFESSION FOR APPROXIMATELY THE PAST TWO DAYS:

Forgive me, Father (Cosmos, Fates, Allah, Karmic Ruler, etc.) for I have sinned. First of all, I stole a US Weekly from the YMCA yesterday. Now, I would like to say it was an accident, O Lord. But it wasn't. It really wasn't. I was tired and sweaty and needed to get the kids from the childcare area and the pull of learning how Julianne Hough consumes no carbs but orange juice was just too great for me to withstand so I TOOK IT. I just took it and walked out. WHY MUST THEY ADVERTISE SUCH ENTICING THINGS ON THE FRONT, DEAR LORD???? WHY?? If they had put Nancy Pelosi on the cover instead of the Dancing With the Stars chicks I would have never been tempted. But, no. It HAD to be pseudo celebrities, which will get you every time.

Also, Saturday night when I was stuck alone with the kids all night while Blaker went to the March Madness Extravaganza, I didn't just have those two glasses of Chardonnay I had allotted myself. You know my children, Dear Lord, and I really don't feel as though you can really fault me on this one. They were fighting over whether or not Sutton smelled like a cookie (he said no, she said yes) for over an HOUR. AN HOUR, LORD! A fight which culminated in them rolling around the floor whacking each other screaming, "No sisser, I DO NOT smell like a cookie! I smell like a big boy!" (Sutton) and "Yes, you do, Little Man! You smell like a big, stinky, chocolate chip cookie!" (Bellamy). Which is what led to those two glasses becoming four (oh, let's be truthful, five) and a Cosmopolitan. I was still drunk when I woke up at 4am to use the bathroom. But, once again, I don't really feel that you can take issue with this one.

Let's see....what else? Oh, yeah. While grocery shopping at Wal-Mart yesterday I harbored serious thoughts of violence and ill will. Wal-Mart on Sunday--I shouldn't have to elaborate.

Last night I blackmailed my little brother to call me. He's been avoiding my phone calls for a while now because he gets tired of listening to me bitch or be sad (re: Mom, Dad) so despite over two weeks worth of phone messages and emails, I had heard nary a word. I had to resort to pulling out the big guns, Sweet Lord. I told his wife if he didn't call me I was drinking the nice bottle of wine I had bought and put aside for his upcoming birthday. And I would have, too. You know I'm half a millimeter from being an alcoholic, Lord, and you also know it's because I'm trapped with two small children and approximately seven loads of laundry a day. I don't think you condemn me for that. My liver, perhaps, but not me, myself. But it worked. Oh, yes, how it worked. The thought of losing an excellent Merlot was more than enough incentive for him to begrudgingly call me and, correct me if I'm wrong, he freakin' enjoyed it. I'm fun to talk to.

That may be all....wait, nope. Please forgive me for secretly laughing so hard that I lose my breath every time I start praying for the paranoid man and his dwarf protector from the prayer list. I know it's wrong. But, dude. REALLY.

Oh. Please forgive me for just calling you, "Dude."

I'll try to be better in the future, if you can just cut me a little slack for now.

Most sincerely,
Haley