Round 2

Writers Write

Nano-Whine-Mo!

Nanowrimo begins tomorrow. My trick for completing this in the past focused on preparing at least a month early. That involved outlining the majority of my story, taking gobs of notes on any parts that might give me issues during the month-long writing competition, and preparing my household for the inevitability of a month’s worth of moody bitchery. Like good (or scared) minions, household residents began stocking favorite sweet and salty treats as well as good coffee. The differences between those Nano months and the one beginning tomorrow are extensive, but they come down to three major issues:

  • I wasn’t working at the time, so I could write my draft all day.
  • A simple text or frantic call worked wonders for replacing dwindling supplies.
  • I hadn’t jumped into an intense lifestyle diet two days before Nano started.

I know others balance work and Nano, so complaining in any way that I have a JOB *sniff* and might be somewhat stressed or stretched this month would be a total third world problem if my work didn’t revolve around content and copywriting. I’ve been working with new clients, and most of my monthly requests are expected to roll in within the first half of the month. Crazy bitch mode is inevitable.

I’m in a completely different stage in my life, so I have no idea what I’d do if someone was at my beck and call. I don’t rely on others to do things for me and I love it that way. But if I run out of Greek yogurt mid-month and can’t get it for whatever reason, people might die.

My best friend has lupus and multiple autoimmune issues. We live across the country from each other, but we try to offer as much RT support as possible. So when she asked me to do an intense endocrine diet with her that is supposed to balance hormones and strengthen the immune system, I agreed immediately. I just didn’t think about when it would start. When she reminded me and I mentioned work and Nano to get my head wrapped around it, she insisted I could postpone our plans for a month–but she’d do it alone for the first 30 days. Nope, not happening. Note: Day two of no sugar, gluten, or caffeine was *fun*.

This month may be rough, but I’ll get through it. I have the best support possible, and losing weight before the holidays will be nice for a change. Oh, but there’s also the election. OK, November may end up being the month from Hell.

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Mental Info Dump

It’s been ages since I’ve checked in here. Honestly, I thought I posted something trivial in April. Apparently not. No bother. Blogs come and go. People continuously post bits of their lives to complete strangers without a second thought and then carry on with their day. I’ve had plenty to post about… births, relationships, random mental attacks, work challenges, etc. And yet, I remained silent. Until now.

Now I’m scared. Proud… but nervous. I re-started this blog a couple years ago to post things that made me happy. Life intervened and forced me to spew random thoughts anyway. Well, on one hand, I am happy about this… happy about certain peoples’ resolve. On the other hand, I’m terrified that it will end in anguish. I shouldn’t be, but regardless of how left I lean on certain issues or how optimistic I try to be, I’m a realist. Pride, however, overshadows everything.

This is not a nice world. America is not a nice culture. Not right now. And anyone who thinks otherwise is living under a rock. But sometimes people surprise you. My son moved back to the states two years ago. He met a young woman, and they became best friends. After a year, they began dating. They took their time and met several challenges. She’s his first adult girlfriend… his first serious one ever. He’s her first “boyfriend”. They’re both in their early 20s.

I had a baby and disabled husband at my son’s age. My son has a much more mature and secure grasp on life than I had. However, there are issues. His girlfriend is smart, hilarious, kind, open-minded, independent, stable, and a hard worker. She doesn’t even want to consider motherhood until her late 20s or early 30s. I’m telling you, she’s practically a mother’s dream. But with those traits come labels like black, Muslim, and LGBT member.

Each trait and label is just a part of her, and they melt together to create a beautiful young woman. But those who glance upon her have no clue how brilliant she is. They have no idea how easily her smile lights up a room or how quickly her deep giggle can make you crumple in half from laughing. What they see is that she’s a black woman who wears a scarf on her head is damn proud of her sexually open friends, relations, and personal leanings. Right there, she has multiple strikes against her in today’s fucked up society.

I mentioned there were issues. Those issues are not mine. They are not issues of my family members or closest friends. But they are issues of a society built on the backs of millions of cowardly, prejudice, trigger-happy homophobes. I’ve seen several memes lately sharing the wise words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The man was killed in 1968 for being an outspoken black man. Why the hell are we reliving the 20th century? We really should have mastered this shit by now and moved on.

So many people want to “make America great again”. America was never great. A country is only as strong and stable as its people. And let’s face it, we’re little more than a joke in the big scheme of things. Half of the population is supporting a bigot who wants to get rid of anyone who’s not white while encouraging and rewarding the senseless brutality that culminates in the most recent, and unfortunately ongoing, destruction across the nation.

This isn’t a political rant. I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass who you vote for and nothing I say is going to convince someone bent on their convictions to switch teams. America was built on the premise of open debate. That’s great. But brutality or death of its citizens shouldn’t be the end result. It’s a fucking shame when I look back on the past decade and think “Well, sure, my ex was a complete bi-polar, narcissistic asshole who cheated on me for the last two years of our farce of a marriage… but at least my son was safe in Canada.”  How about a new slogan: “Stop Persecuting and Killing Innocent People, Douchebags!”  Then again, that probably wouldn’t fit on a hat. Damn.

 

 

 

 

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WhoD — ‘Amn It!

Let’s clarify something: Not everyone in Ohio is an asshole. With that said, last night’s game ended with the right NFL team winning. But it didn’t have to go that way. The Bengals, MY team, had the upper hand. They could have gone all the way and made Ohio shine again. Instead, the state’s a laughing stock… due to 11 little boys on the field and a slew of stupid-ass groupies.

But it all began with Burfict. That bastard should have never played. As soon as he took the field it was clear he had a vendetta. Look, I get football is brutal, especially during playoffs. And let’s face it, it’s not the American past-time if someone doesn’t make a complete ass of themselves on national TV. But last night’s spectacle didn’t just look bad on a singular player or even the team. It made the entire state of Ohio look like assholes. And the majority of us are PISSED!

Moving passed the viral pic of the weepy chick in the tiger bandanna… yeah, the loss sucked. But it was well-deserved. They had the power. They had the strength. The team worked so hard to build their reputation in local communities. That wasn’t overlooked. They weren’t angels entering the field, but they were decent. And then Burfict started the lunchroom brawl crap. I get it. Fights happen in pro ball. Players antagonize and start shit to get the upper hand. It happens. But keep it in the back. Whomp each others’ asses in the locker room or after the game. Do NOT bring it on the field where you’re bound to get penalty after penalty for being an idiot.

And then the Big Ben trash upheaval of 2016. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! There’s PROTOCOL in football. Sportsmanship is paramount. When a player, ANY player, is injured to the point of being carted off the field on a stretcher, the teams bend a fucking knee!! You DROP to your knee and give that player respect! You don’t fucking throw trash on them and get the idiots in the stands to do the same!!

It was over at that point for me. Over. At first, it seemed to be fan-related trash pitching. Although completely “trashy”, I just thought it was rude and idiotic. But no. My sister, a Steeler’s fan, informed me that Bengal’s PLAYERS started the trash toss. And then the laughter fits started over my shaking… alternated by her shaking… followed by our screaming rants – which I’m surprised didn’t wake up any neighbors who weren’t still watching the game.

Nonetheless, the idiots still had a chance to win. It was close with one point up and less than two minutes to go. Focus was essential. Porter’s bait worked when Jones pushed a ref and verbally assaulted him, earning another penalty in the last minute of play. Sure, it earned a fine for Porter, but that’s nothing compared to winning the playoff game.

And if they had somehow managed to slide through and make it to the Super Bowl after all of that, I wouldn’t have bothered watching it. They’re still my team – always will be – but they’re temporarily disowned. We’ll see how they do next year, but they’ve lost a lot of fans over this crap. Ohioans are serious about football. Those of us who were raised in football families respect the hell out of the game. Fucking with that – big mistake. This is the biggest blunder since the Browns’ shut down. It will take a long time to recover.

Boomer’s response at the end of the game spoke for the rest of us: “I’m a former Bengal and I’m embarrassed”. We are, too, Boomer. We are, too.

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So THAT’S What It’s About…

With all the violence and fear-mongering going around, it’s nice when people act human for a change. My state had its own recent shooting scare 15-minutes away from where my son used to live. And a week later, some stupid bitch walked into a pizza place 10-minutes from my sister’s house and shot the cashier in the face after getting the money. But a few days later, all of that evil diluted when two businessmen decided to pay off 60 Christmas layaways out of the blue. And just like that, hope restored. But it still teetered.

I believe wholeheartedly in paying it forward. You hear about it all the time – or used to anyway. But being a part of the big ones? That’s rare. I’ve done little things as I could – paid for gas fill ups behind me, fast food bills, etc. I’ve never gone beyond the $50 range, though, because I just didn’t have more to spare. However, the big ones are random at best, and being a part of a significant one in any context is about as common as spotting a peacock in full plumage walking down a country road – which I have seen once, so I know how unusual that is. Nonetheless, strange things do happen.

Well, my sister was in a holiday slump this year. She recently changed jobs, bills were piling up and added marital issues haven’t helped. After 20 years as a waitress, she found herself working retail because that’s all that was hiring before the holidays. Pay was less, hours were longer, and stress mounted. A couple days before the holiday she had just finished her grandbaby’s shopping and worried no one else would get anything… until one person’s kindness reminded her that none of it mattered.

A woman came through her checkout line. Her hair was scraggly, she had no makeup on, and her clothes were loose and baggy. She pulled a cart full of toys through the area and fought with her purse, checking everything against a list while muttering. My sister was sure at first that the woman was a crackhead. She wasn’t… she was just frazzled and desperate to get her shopping done in time.

The woman looked like she was about to cry as she put two items back and pulled out two Visa gift cards. One had $2 and change on it and the other had just over $10. The rest of the bill came out to over $120 after coupons and discounts. Half of the contents of her purse landed in the cart as she searched for her correct debit card to pay the balance. The story played out like a memory. Goodness knows I’ve been in that position as have many people I’ve known. It’s maddening, especially when you’re in a rush.

My sister was getting annoyed, but she just smiled and offered to help as the woman brushed her off and became even more agitated. Her purse dropped onto the floor to a chorus of curses and probably a few tears. And then it happened. Out of nowhere, a man standing behind her whipped out his own plastic card and swiped it saying, “Here ma’am. This card should work.”

The woman stood up and spun around looking like she had been struck. My sister gave the same expression with a dropped jaw. The man calmly replaced his card and smiled as his wife placed her hand on his shoulder and nodded. The woman remembered she had a voice and said, “No, no. I have money. Really. Let me repay you” as she pulled out some twenties and a fifty to cover her total. Both the man and his wife simultaneously shook their heads as he said, “No. Ma’am. Keep it and spend it on your kids. Just repay me by having a Merry Christmas.”

The shocked woman whispered her thanks, nodded and tore out of the store without another word. Whether she was embarrassed or afraid he’d change his mind, my sister didn’t know. She also couldn’t see her with eyes full of tears. Seeing her crying, a manager ran up and asked the only thing he could: “Honey, are you crying because I asked you to stay late?”

My sister in all of her glory yelled, “NO! I’m just so fucking emotional. I mean, why couldn’t I have been standing in front of him?!”

The couple burst out laughing as my sister cupped her mouth and then joined in. Turned out when they entered the store the wife said they needed to pay off someone’s layaway. The husband agreed. However, my sister’s store didn’t have a layaway department. The man explained that he happened to have an especially good year through work. It doesn’t always happen, but he felt the need to pay it forward – and they were fortunate to find someone who could use the help right then. My sister ran around the counter and hugged both of them to a round of applause and more tears.

My sis just kept hugging both of them while stammering, “Thank you for reminding me what the holidays are about. I just changed jobs and was worried about shopping for my loved ones. I help others get their stuff here, but I’ve been stressed out of my mind about getting my own. But I have a warm home… loving family… a new grandbaby on the way. I am blessed beyond measure. And YOU reminded me of this! So thank you.”

And after all of that – all of the stress, worry, and impromptu disclosure to complete strangers, everyone here managed to have a great holiday.

As for the woman who was paid forward… I hope she had a wonderful Christmas with her kids and is in the position to one day help someone else. The world needs more kindness.

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Surprise!

I almost forgot how intense holiday stress can be since I haven’t been in the center of a boisterous family for years. Last year was easy. They gave me space. My return home was a novelty, and they handled me like they would a new kitten. No one petted me too much or forced me into the drama too deeply to avoid potentially having me hide away for days on end or worse, extend the claws.

But over the past year, the novelty wore off. They’re more comfortable around me and usually that’s returned on my end. But not on the holidays. I’m calmer than I used to be. I can’t stand the drama and stress that every little issue seems to cause. I just don’t understand it. Why get all bent out of shape and swap insults when there’s an easy fix?

I loathe how the other women in my family can be so real one minute and so fake the next for appearances. I never could stand that crap. And moreover, I despise my desire to drink whenever I’m in the thralls of it. Well, that stops now. My family’s prone to alcoholism, and that’s often induced by stress. I didn’t touch a drop of the stuff for ten years outside of college. Methinks it’s time to revisit that habit. Sorry ma.

I learned a long time ago how to handle holiday stress, but I haven’t needed to worry too much about it in years… at least not to this degree. It involves two simple items: a cd player and music. But it can’t be just any type of music. At one point, my family just came to expect it. I’d bring in a stack of cds that I knew they’d like. However, they were all a specific music genre that worked to keep my stress at bay. It worked for my mother, too, which was essential since she always hosted the holidays.

The brain reacts differently to certain tones and tempos. But each person is different and has their own unique tastes. My sisters react well to country music. I can’t stand most of it. My mom’s pretty easy going on the music front, so she tends to trust my tastes as long as they’re not too heavy. That’s not an issue for serious stress-control. My go to for basic relaxation is big band if my mood is controllable. But for serious issues I pull out the big guns: classical. Mozart, Beethoven, and maybe even Vivaldi. However, those don’t scratch the surface on my holiday needs.

Holiday stress requires a major charge. That doesn’t happen instantly, but it does eventually occur if I follow the necessary steps with the right piece. I will put the specific piece in my player and listen once. That reminds me how to breathe. The second play is so I can hear it. The third is so I can feel it… and I’ll often conduct to it to get my entire body involved. And on the fourth listen, my eyes are closed, face cools, and stress melts into the music. That is what Haydn does for me, especially Symphony No. 94, “Surprise”. I discovered this when I was 16-years old.  It still works.

This is the entire symphony led by the late, great Leonard Bernstein. But 9:33 – 16:07, andante, is the part that digs deepest into my soul. If I catch the stress wave early enough and listen to the entire symphony, midway into the finale: allegro di molto, 21:48 – 25:29, I feel almost human again. Otherwise, I focus on andante.

As much as I love writing, it simply doesn’t begin to match the power that music has over me. And it never will. The next few days will involve locking myself away from the world and reconnecting with my first love: music. It’s the only way my remaining sanity will survive the rest of the holiday season. Enjoy the Surprise.

 

 

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Life is Short. Get a Divorce.

Life has a way of making me forget I have a blog. But I remembered today, so I’m taking advantage of this random moment.

The last few months have been rather hectic – dealing with work, family, and personal needs. And through it all, I’ve kept up with that Ashley Madison bullshit. I used to write a shit ton of divorce articles for law offices, and a few articles dealt specifically with cheating websites and their effects on marriage. I was still in Canada at the time and had no clue my spouse was an active member of anything like that. I knew he had a recurring porn addiction, but I assumed he was smart enough – and loyal enough – to stop there. I assumed the same thing when I later became temporarily enamored with another guy who was addicted to porn and cam sites. So much for assumptions and douche bags.

The point is, I had no clue of the irony and the relevance of writing those articles until I lived through it and recognized the obvious connection to my own life. And this is what pisses me off: for each person who says the hackers were simply instant karma and the cheaters (whether physical or just mental) deserve to be exposed, someone else insists no one has the right to judge anyone else, blah, blah, blah. While outspoken opinions are a major part of American culture, unless you’ve lived through that your opinion is immaterial.. because as much as you may THINK you’d know what you’d do, you have NO CLUE what you’d do until you’re in that situation.

It’s far too easy to judge others for their behavior. Obviously people who opt to betray loyal and giving partners are twat waffles, but adultery can be driven by a number of reasons. It’s still shitty. Why not just leave the marriage or change the terms of the relationship? Why not seek counseling or actually *gasp* talk to your partner about your needs? While it takes two people to make or break a marriage, it often only takes one person to cause the betrayal shit cycle. Sometimes a cheater is just a cheater. It’s ingrained. It’s like a moldy seed that’s planted so deeply there’s no way for the partner to access and remove the damn thing. Once it’s fertilized by their bullshit behavior, it sprouts and quickly suffocates everything worthy in the cheater’s life. Of course, that’s not always the case. And each relationship is different.

I get the hackers responsible for the info dump were trying to make a point. They made it. There were crap loads of politicians and celebrities on that member list. Something like 90% of the clientele were males, so this was definitely a targeted hack. After all, life is short: Why not get a divorce and drag your rich, cheating, fucktard of a hubby’s name through the mud while draining his bank account in the process? But what about the rest? What about the cuckold husbands who are married to ice cold bitches who fuck around with their friends? What about the women seeking affection and protection outside of an abusive and destructive relationship? Divorces are one thing. Get the divorce. Never stay in a relationship where you’re not loved, appreciated, and valued beyond measure. But one has to wonder – did the hackers consider the amount of suicides this info dump could cause? What of the spouses who would potentially be beaten or killed after the cheater found them packing their shit and attempting to remove the kids from the household? How about the new level of fucked up parenting and the new generation of fucked up kids this could cause? This isn’t a personal judgment call. I’m honestly just curious. There are so many possible outcomes here.

It’s so easy for everyone to judge. Hell, when I read about the *potential* hack, my inner demon cackled until she passed out. And then I thought, “Oh, fuck. There’s so much more to this.” AM fucked up by not shutting down when they had the chance. Because of their greed, this mass karma hit is just starting to snowball. And if hackers can get this group, they can get elsewhere. Watch what you say. Watch what you do. If you love someone, DON’T treat them like shit!! Mistakes happen, but for fuck’s sake get out of a bad relationship before it kills you. Because whether you believe it or not, bad karma is a boomerang – while it may take a while to reach its target, it never misses.

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Snow White 2.0

I was four-years-old when I saw my first movie. A fancy local theater hosted a special matinee showing of Snow White, and it was a BIG deal at the time.

My mom was a single parent. She worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. We were always going places – she was a wiz at finding fun FREE things to do. But actually spending money on an outing was a rarity in our world. Things changed as we got older and we went to that specific theater several times for fine arts-related events, but none of those had such an effect. That single outing resulted in a vivid memory that still loops 40 years later.

So when I found out a local ballet company was performing Snow White at that same theater a couple weeks ago, I jumped on it. I ordered 2 tickets, called ma and asked her to be my “date”. The squeal on her end that sounded vaguely like “AyoayoayoMEE? That’s soooo nice!” answered my question. It had been too long since we’d done something special – just the two of us, and it needed to happen.

The night arrived and I heard the familiar honk. I went out to the car to find my niece talking my mom’s ear off, and heard mom say “Oh, wow – she’s so pretty!” My heart melted when my niece replied “To hell with pretty, she’s gorgeous!” At that point, I just wanted to hug both of them and never let them go. I’m not a girly girl, and I don’t want, need, or expect constant compliments. But after all the shit I’ve dealt with over the years, occasional sincere flattery like that from those I truly love goes a long way.

We got to the theater and I let ma give me the tour and point out all of the restorations that occurred in the past 12 years or so. When we finally found our seats, ma asked me the question I was waiting to hear.

Ma: This is lovely. But I do have a question. Why Snow White of all things?

I reiterated the memory, and she just smiled slightly and nodded at first. I mentioned who went with us and pointed out where we sat – above our seats to the right in the balcony. Her jaw dropped. Then I pointed out areas where the walls had deteriorated (since restored), and said I remembered the small bag of popcorn and getting a candy apple on the way out. She cried, cupped her face, and nodded.

Ma: I can’t believe you remember that so vividly.
Me: Of course I do. It was a really good memory.
Ma: You have no idea how much you were missed. I’m so glad you’re back home. I almost feel whole again.

Seeing my look of confusion, she grabbed my arm and added “A few more outings like this one, and I’ll be complete.”

And then I looked away to keep my makeup from running. But it was a lovely evening and one that I’ll hopefully remember 40 years from now. Those really good memories are so rare.

 

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Sex and Altoids

I thought about doing a Valentine’s post the other day. Upon comparing the act to drunk texting my ex while watching The Notebook, I decided to pass it the fuck up. OK, in all fairness, my drunk texts are usually quite entertaining. But in this specific case, not posting right then was probably one of my best decisions. Ever.

– It’s not that I’m against love.

Oh, hell no. I adore love. I want love – the real stuff that’s mutually devoted, monogamous, and is built on trust, respect, and the three A’s: acceptance, appreciation, and attraction. Yes, attraction at some level is important. If you’re ugly inside, that radiates outward. And if you continue being internally ugly, you’ll attract the same in return.

– It’s not even that I hate Valentine’s Day.

I don’t. Not in its pure form. And not when it’s “celebrated” for the right reasons as opposed to being a requirement or test to prove your, or your honey’s, worth.

What do I hate? Commercialized guilt days that force one partner to feel like he or she needs to step up on a financial and gift level to avoid being a bad partner. And I loathe the fact that in this day and age, there are still more and more people who expect their partner to take the reins and “do it or else!” There are 2 people in a relationship. Do your part or GTFO.

Look, if you want to get your sweetie something, do it. Meaningful surprises are wonderful. But you don’t need Hallmark to tell you what to do and when to do it. And you sure as hell don’t need to feel like shit over being alone on a commercialized force-fed “holiday”. If you’re feeling lovey, be lovey. But don’t forget to love yourself as well. Show yourself that you’re worthy and enough, regardless if anyone else chooses to declare their love for you at the time. In other words, do something nice for yourself.. even if it’s just watching back-to-back rom coms that would normally make you want to poke your eye out with a spork.

On that note, I have to wonder how many couples came home after watching 50 Shades and wound up at the hospital over trying shit they had no business trying. Thoughts like not only make me giggle, but they totally make me grateful that I’m single right now. Experimentation and fantasies are awesome. But if you’re stupid enough to emulate a bullshit fictional story that completely twists and degrades a specific lifestyle based on safety and trust (and thereby get something stuck up your keister), you deserve to be part of a medical team’s favorite story that they’ll tell for the rest of their lives to a bar full of drunk coworkers.

Speaking of which, once work settles and I finish beta reading a friend’s wip, I may be able to finally get back to my own wip. An awesome friend gave me the breakthrough I needed to crush a two-year block. Now I can almost smell the beginning of my second draft brewing.

On a completely different subject, I don’t think I’m supposed to pop Altoids like candy. But damn if they don’t keep me awake!

If you’ve gotten this far, enjoy this brilliant ditty. You deserve it.

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Flutie, the Flutist, and Football Fanatics

I’m from a football family. Men, women, kids.. doesn’t matter. We all love football. It’s in our blood. We’ve coached (great uncle), played (uncle and kiddo), cheered (nieces), twirled (aunt), led pep squads and performed in nationally competitive marching bands (me), and enjoyed the vice every Sunday or Monday night for years – or at least when we can (practically everyone else in the family). However, we tend to love different teams – which just adds to the fun.

Ma, bro-in-law, and niece’s fiance are Browns girls (see what I did there? Exactly) all the way.

Sis and nephew (and ex hub – kiddo’s dad) are Steelers fanatics.

I love the Bengals and the Patriots.

I refuse to be a Brown’s fan out of spite. Same with Steelers. There are reasons for this.

First, the Steelers. They’re a good team. There’s no doubt about that. Their Super Bowl record alone proves that. However, they were my ex husband’s favorite team. He picked on my Bengals whenever they played the Steelers. And since my guys SUCKED ASS at the time, I learned to loathe his team. When my sister and nephew joined the ranks and began the shit, the fuckers had to go. I left the country just in time to avoid killing all three. OK, it probably had very little to do with the football team, but still.

My dislike of the Browns has everything to do with the team, though. While married to my first hub, we were active in sports activities. We supported state football champions and hit the H.S games as often as possible. We went to the Football HOF inductee ceremony every year. And one year, we went to a Browns exhibition game at the local champ stadium. Having a VIP pass at the time allowed us to roam freely. That’s when I learned what overpaid babies those fuckers really were.. and how willing they were to cheat not only on the field, but their fans as well. This was right before Art Model fucked Cleveland up the rear. But still, he wasn’t the one telling his starting line to whine over it being too cold and not having the right lighting for their closeups; followed by threats to leave if fans didn’t cheer louder for them on the field, and then making little kids cry by getting into fights with the parents over refusing to take pictures or sign autographs. It was a demo game. THEY WERE THERE TO MINGLE WITH THE FANS!!

Oh, I know the team has evolved. But they’re still the same spoiled fucktards in my eyes.

On the other hand, when I really like someone, I tend to be their biggest cheerleader. It’s just one of my quirks. I met several of the Bengals in the late ’80s. I knew Boomer Esiason personally for years and I loved him. Sitting in the stands and having him wave or wink at me, or getting a quick surprise hug after meet-n-greets, helped make a loyal fan out of a teenage girl. He wasn’t just a good player, he was a good guy. And he led the fuck out of his team. My heart broke when they lost the ’89 Super Bowl.

I became a Pats fan later that year. My college marching band was asked to play for a Buffalo Bills home game. They played the Patriots that day. I sat in the front stands with my cohort – mostly Bills fans. We met Jim Kelly, and he was nice but cocky as hell. As we all walked off the field after the game, a cute Pats player ran up to me and offered me his arm. I looked over, offered a coy smile, linked his arm, and noticed the name. Flutie. Immediately, the giggles started as I held up my instrument and made an ass of myself…

“You’re Flutie and I’m a flutist. We already have a connection!” (In my defense, my flirting skills have improved. Somewhat.)

I melted at his smile and shrunk at his chuckle. Covering for my idiocy, I said “It’s OK. I really don’t ride the short bus”.

*record scratch*

This is when it pays to:

A. Think before speaking, and

B. Say something completely idiotic a year or two before the cute football player who makes you a stammering mughead has an autistic kid.

So, bullet dodged. I still felt like an idiot for saying it and for flirting with a very happily married man, regardless of how fine he looked in spandex. When he transferred to the Bills the next year, it totally threw me off. I’d root for the Bills when they didn’t play the Bengals or Pats, but I remained a Pats fan in the hopes he’d return. Besides, they just rocked. He gave me my wish in 2005. Unfortunately, I had already moved to Canada and I couldn’t catch most NFL games where we lived.

And then he did the unthinkable – he transferred to the Canadian Football League! MF’er! As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t bring myself to root for the CFL.. even if they did play a version of American football. Instead, I hid out among the French *spit* and whined every year over not being able to root for (or cuss at) my guys. Flutie may have left the NFL, but I remained a Pats fan nonetheless.

It’s been over a decade since I’ve been able to watch my teams. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure I’d bother with the Super Bowl this year. And then the text came. As I was working, sis sent: “The game just started. Your fucking team is up. Want wings?” Well, let me think for half a second. The rest was history.

Was it the best game ever? Not even close. But it was a good game, even with the constant family and friend rubbing of “The cheaters shouldn’t have been there in the first place!” True. It is. I don’t condone cheating and they deserved more than a fine for that shit. But they made it and they won. The rest can shut it. I’m not making excuses, but football is not an innocent game. It’s nasty and competitive as fuck. And some of the players are real douche bags. So that petty final minute brawl? Give me a damn break.

**How about the biggest baby of all, Jim MacMahon’s 1986 Super Bowl moon on national TV towards a helicopter camera crew?

**Or how what about when good old Eugene Robinson won the Bart Starr Award for “high moral character” (a “Christian” moral award) in 1999, only to get arrested within a few HOURS for soliciting an undercover cop for prostitution. Whoops!

Sorry, but deflategate and a pissy fit were child’s play. And that’s pretty much what most of these players are anymore: overpaid babies. But damn, they’re fun to watch!

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You’re lucky. He’s lucky. I’m lucky. WE’RE ALL LUCKY!

My family can make me want to pull my hair out at times. But other times, they’re brilliant and enlightening. If I told my sister she was brilliant yesterday, I’d never live it down. So I swear I’ll lie my ass off if it ever gets back to her. BUT..

Her husband has some personality issues. She assumes he’s bi-polar. He very well may be, but he’s never been diagnosed. All he knows for sure is that sometimes the tight family thing is too much for him. He wasn’t raised the way we were – with traditions, respect, and family loyalty being prized above all else. Sometimes all those emotions and demands smother him. So he has learned to distance himself during those times. If he doesn’t take a break early enough, he ends up saying mean and hurtful things to people he normally loves. I say “normally” because he admits that sometimes he doesn’t feel like he loves the people he knows he should. It’s more than just a normal feeling of distance. He actually goes numb to his own wife at times – the woman he usually loves more than anyone in the world.

He shuts himself alone in their room for the night (she works nights anyway) when he’s feeling that way. And by the next morning – or sometimes the next night after work – he’s feeling much better and acting better as well. My sister has learned how to handle this. She knows when to give him space, what NOT to say, and how and when to pick her battles. He’s not innocent in all of that – not by a long shot. And sometimes his mouth escalates and things can’t just be ignored or set aside. Still, not everything needs to be taken to heart or commented on when the moods occur.

He knows he’s saying cruel or unfair things, and he even means some of it at the time. But it’s his battle and he needs to get over it on his own. If an apology is required, they discuss that at a later date when he’s in the right mindframe. She loves and trusts him enough to know he’ll accept his responsibility and make amends when his brain chemical levels stabilize. And it’s brought them closer together because he appreciates how she’s learned to handle his needs.

She won’t take serious abuse, though. And if he goes off the rails with trash talk, she’ll take his ass to divorce court or marriage counseling before she puts up with that bullshit. But the improvements he’s made with her love and support over the past fifteen years together give her hope that he’ll never get to that point. He has told her she makes him want to be a better man. And it’s more than words. He’s proven it because of the smart choices she’s made – after learning a few hard lessons. Talking to her about this has alerted me to some of my own mistakes. Maybe my sister is still teaching me about life and love. She made me realize how and when to begin picking my battles better, and that’s so important at any stage.

HOWEVER

Her daughter and I may end up winning a dual battle against Mrs. Know-It-All.

My youngest niece is my mini-me. We look nothing alike beyond being short, having doe eyes, and big boobs. But we have practically identical personalities – except for her super quick-sparked and long-lasting temper when she’s PISSED (she gets that from her mom), and heartbreaking sensitivity (she has my old overly sensitive nature before life happened). Unlike their mother, all of her children love my goofy, campy interest in certain cult movies and plays. After moving back home, my niece found out I have one of her favorite movies. Upon hearing that information, plans were promptly made to go to a live show relatively soon-ish. Her mother cursed as my niece and I screamed – matching pitch – and jumped up and down.

My sister finally said, “Rocky Horror? Really? It had to be that?! OK, who are you going to be?”

My niece looked at her mother dumbfounded after claiming Columbia for herself (she’ll be a redhead by then) and said, “Have you met Aunt O? Have you seen the hair? She’s Magenta. God, Mom!”

Ya know, the idea of portraying a sexy, incestuous, time travelling vamp at 44 years old sounds fun. But the reality.. let’s just say there are public decency laws for reasons. And leg fat oozing through fishnets can potentially land my ass in jail. BUT we went to a party store and found boas, glitter, and theatre makeup, so it’s pretty much on. This means I have most of the year – if we don’t put it off until next year – to ensure my junk stays in its own trunk. Besides, IF I can pull it off.. daaaamn!

Therefore, I’ve been hitting online sites to see what I can piece together. I found an adorable Columbia costume for her. But the Magenta sets are crap. I don’t need the wig, and the outfit is cheap looking and gross. I shall work my magic to create my own ensemble that will look far better than that. Hopefully. So far, I’ve found a great (somewhat short, but not overly trampy) French maid’s uniform, a black corset, fishnet hose (not stockings, though that might change later), black lace boy shorts, and d’orsay heels or sexy maryjane pumps that would look amazing – and probably not kill me as I attempt to walk in them. Once the hair, makeup, and nails are done and the right feather duster is found, I’ll be set. Might not get the boa since Magenta isn’t in the final dance sequence. We’ll see.

A friend asked me if I knew her lines? Um.. 6 lines and a song verse in the entire show. Methinks I can learn the bit I don’t already have memorized by then. Now it’s time to jump to the left and transform the body so I can have fun driving Mrs. Know-It-All absolutely bat shit crazy with this. Oh, it’s been too long since I’ve had such power. I can just imagine the pictures that will inevitably be taken. I feel like I’m about to enter a time warp.

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