Monday, November 25, 2013


If  you're one of the not even ten people who's read my not-yet-published essay "Wyrd," you know I believe in signs. Fervently. If you're not, let me tell you a little something about me: I believe in signs. Fervently.

In fact, I'm such a fervent believer in signs, I don't believe in just the everyday, garden-variety kind of signs but in something much bigger. I believe in the universe's, or what I like to call The Power's, ability and tendency to manipulate energy and events in an effort to force people to do what it wants. And I believe in that (guess how. Can you guess? Can you?) fervently.

Without going into any detail whatsoever, I'll tell you that a little over four years ago, I witnessed this Power firsthand. I witnessed it when, wanting me to do something so badly, it manipulated everything literally and figuratively close to me until somebody ended up dead, and, well--that was more than enough to get me to believe.

And it's at it again.

You see, I've been going through a crisis. A big one. Huge.

A little over a month ago, maybe about two, I decided that I was done teaching high school. I decided that it was way too stressful and even more thankless and absolutely not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I decided that if there were something--anything--else I could do with my degrees, I would do it, and if there were something monetarily comparable I could do without my degrees, I would do that, too. A little over a month ago, maybe about two, I would have done anything--waitressed, cashiered, peddled my wares on the corner--to get out of the high school classroom. I was absolutely through.

After making my decision, I updated my CV, and I set out to find something else to do. I read classifieds and went on job boards for people with English degrees; I even went to a presentation given by a newspaper to apply for an internship position. Because remember the thing I just said about being willing to do anything as long as it was monetarily comparable? It totally wasn't true. I was so desperate to change careers, I would have taken something not remotely monetarily comparable. I wanted out, and I didn't care about the route.

But then--

But then, The Power.

But then a student who I've done, without going into one detail whatsoever, a lot, a lot for, told me I was the best thing that ever happened to him.

And then I got to drive that same student to an interview with an admissions officer for the University of Pennsylvania, an interview that I could pretty definitively say never ever would have happened if it weren't for me, and get a message from him about how well it went and how happy he was and cry in the car while I was driving home because I was probably almost as happy for him as he was for himself.

And then later that night I got tagged in a post on Facebook by a former student who's now getting her BA in English and going on to get her MFA in creative writing and thanked for being the person who got her into writing.

And then I remembered the other former student who posted on my wall on Facebook a few Mother's Days ago saying that when she got pregnant, she wanted to drop out of school, but it was because of me and my encouragement that she didn't and that she was eternally grateful for the effect I had on her life.

And then I thought about some quote I'd read about teachers not knowing the effect that they have because it's immeasurable and not immediate which led to me thinking to myself that even though that's true, in these three cases, it wasn't, because I did know. I knew exactly how positively I'd impacted these people's lives, and I thought of several other similar cases, and I realized how much I love what I do. I realized that a bout with bad leadership and other negative factors almost changed the course of countless lives, including mine, and I decided that I'm not going to let that happen.

The instant I made my decision--about thirty seconds after seeing that post by the student studying English--I felt better than I had in a little over a month, maybe about two. I felt like I had clarity once again and a distinct purpose, too.

Whether they know it or not, these kids need me.

And I need them, too.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I went to a baby shower today. Not exactly earth shattering, I know, but definitely more than a little thought provoking.

Here's why:

You know that feeling you get after being hopped up on coffee (or whatever it is you've been hopped up on), once you've come down? Or after going to a concert or some place you really wanted to go, when the thrill has worn off? Well, crazy as it sounds, that's kind of the way I feel now. A little sad, a little depressed, a little let down. 

I realize I'm making it sound like the shower was bad, but that's wrong. The shower was


Here's why:

1. The shower was different because the shower cake depicted a baby's head coming out of a bloody vagina and the mom-to-be wore a t-shirt with baby doll arms protruding from her belly with the words let me out written in faux blood


2. That's not the kind of different I'm talking about


3. The kind of different I'm talking about is an atmospheric kind of different


4. The kind of different I'm talking about is an overwhelming-presence-of-love kind of different


5. The kind of different I'm talking about is a presence-of-light kind of different

Never in my life, that I can recall, have I felt love and light as present as I felt them today.

I know there are people out there who think I'm ridiculous, people who think love and light can't be felt. Those people are wrong. Love and light are both energy, and anybody who wants to argue that energy can't be felt is just dumb. 

I'm not one-hundred percent sure what gave the shower the energy that it possessed, whether it was the people, the guest of honor, or a combination of the two, but if I had to say, I'd say it was the middle one. Renee, she of the bloody baby arms, is kind of amazing. I don't know why, and it's not really something I can explain (in all honesty, I barely even know her); it's just something that I feel.

She is composed, to put it simply, of love and of light.

And she's not the only one.

From my life, I can think of two others. North Star, of course (I know you had to see that one coming), and coincidentally, another woman whom I barely know and whose presence I was in just yesterday. From this other woman, I feel the same feeling I feel when around Renee.

This other woman, too, is composed of love and of light.

And it makes me feel bad.

Here's why:

1. It makes me feel bad for the same reason the shower left me feeling bad


2. I want to baskrevelreside in the love and the light


3. I'm so rarely immersed in the love and the light


4. I firmly believe that the love and the light
   cannot be taught
   cannot be copied
   cannot be faked


5. People composed of love and of light just



6. I am


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Teach Your Children; Well--

It's my belief, and I'm pretty sure everybody else's, that when we have kids, it's our responsibility to teach them right from wrong.

It's our responsibility, as parents, to mold them into good, decent people and to not only preach preach preach from the time they're old enough to understand what we're preaching, but to model exemplary behavior, too.

As a parent, I've often found myself in a situation where I'd really, really like to do one thing, but because my sons are around, I do another thing--the right one.

These right things range from small things, like maybe not calling a kid who made one of my sons cry in preschool or elementary school a stupid motherfucker (at least not while my kids were around), to larger things, like telling a cashier she gave me too much change or forgot to ring me up for an item at the grocery store, to even larger things still, like not saying anything bad about their father in their presence while he and I were separated.

When I'm with my kids, I always try to look at things with an open mind, even when I truly feel they or I have been slighted. It's my opinion that irrationality is not a good lesson to pass down to younger generations.

It's because of my strong belief regarding the roles we have for our children that I'm so baffled when parents demonstrate questionable behavior. As a teacher and a parent, I've witnessed, or been a part of, many situations where parents not only fail to do the right thing, but do the wrongest thing possible.

The soccer field is the first place that comes to mind. In the nine years since Keifer's been playing, I don't even know how many kids have quit the season midyear because insert bullshit excuse here despite the fact that they committed to a season and an entire team relied on their being on the field (we even had a goalie quit, for god's sake. A goalie! How the hell are you supposed to have a soccer team without a goalie?).

The classroom, of course, is the next place that pops into my mind. I seriously couldn't tell you how many times children have tried to get out of teachers' classes--and no, not just mine--because they didn't like the teacher, and their parents have supported them. Or how many times parents have tried to get their child out of a specific teacher's class because the child is doing poorly, and rather than demand that the s/he study or go to tutoring to better understand the work and meet the teacher's expectations, they demand to have the child placed in an easier class. Or how, this year (and this is actually a new one for me), a certain teacher decided to have her daughter bypass my class, a requirement of the program in which she's enrolled, instead placing her in her best friend's much less challenging English class. Or how, when parents have had outright evidence that their child has insert inarguable offense here, they've tag team bullied a teacher, treating her as if she's the one who's wrong and questioning every aspect of what she does.

Readers, to you, I pose this question:

What kind of examples are these people setting for their children?

Take the case of the parent who fights to get his or her child moved from a teacher's class who the child doesn't like. What the fuck kind of lesson is that? If I don't like my boss (but of course I do. All of them. My bosses are gentlemen and scholars, each and every one) or my coworker, do I just quit? Do I call my mommy and tell her to come and fight my battles for me? Do I complain to a higher up that my boss is being mean? Of course not. I suck it up, and I do my job. Because that's how the real world works.

Now take the case of the parent who moves a child because s/he isn't doing well in a teacher's class instead of encouraging studying and learning. What exactly is the lesson there? That when things are difficult, we just give up? That there's always a way out? Well, if you're an adult, you know how useful a lesson that one is.

The teacher whose daughter bypassed my class? That doesn't even deserve discussion. If that's the lesson a teacher wants to teach, I don't even know what to say (actually I do, but I try to keep this blog PG-13).

And, lastly, let's take the case of the kid who commits an inarguable offense, but his parents blindly argue the inarguable. What, I repeat (yes, again and again), is that teaching? That Mommy and Daddy will always hold our hand? That we can do no wrong? That we could hoodwink the 'rents till the cows come home? That, as adults, we can manipulate people if we obstinately refuse to give in?

Yes, yes, yes,



Friday, October 11, 2013

A Strange Pain Inside

I'm not one to post somebody else's writing, even in the way of lyrics, on my own blog, but I think it can't be helped.

About a month or so ago while I was at a show, the band I went to see did a cover of "Joey" by Concrete Blonde. It was the first time I'd heard it in ages. If you don't know it, it goes like this (lyrics-wise, of course; if you don't want to imagine the tune, you're going to have to do some YouTubing):

Joey, baby,
Don't get crazy,
Detours, fences,
I get defensive.

I know you've heard it all before,
So I don't say it anymore,
I just stand by and let you fight your secret war.
And though I used to wonder why,
I used to cry till I was dry,
Still sometimes I get a strange pain inside.

Oh, Joey, if you're hurtin', so am I.

Joey, honey,
I'll save all my money,
All is forgiven,
Listen, listen.

And if I seem to be confused,
I didn't mean to be with you
And when you said I scared you,
Well, I guess you scared me too
But we got lucky once before,
And I don't wanna close the door
And if you're somewhere out there
Passed out on the floor

Oh, Joey, I'm not angry anymore.

And if I seem to be confused,
I didn't mean to be with you.
And when you said I scared you,
Well, I guess you scared me too
But if it's love you're looking for,
Well, I can give a little more
And if you're somewhere drunk and
Passed out on the floor

Oh, Joey, I'm not angry anymore.

Well, the song made me sad. Really sad. And it made me even sadder when I went home and listened to it a few days later. Coupled with thoughts I'd been having (which turned into musings that turned into a small amount of Facebook stalking), it made me realize--really, really realize--that I missed something--someone--I hadn't expected to miss. While not everything in the song applies to my situation, the sentiment does one-hundred percent.

I had a friend. I was angry. I was confused. I'm neither of those things any longer.

What I am is sad. I'm sad that a week ago today, I listened to my newly-deceased cousin's best friend of over fifty years, Richie, talk about her in a way that only a friend of over fifty years could and that my Richie no longer exists.

At least not for me.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

This Is How She Disappeared

My cousin died today. Or last night. Sometime between when my mom talked to her at 8:00 Eastern Time and 2:00 Central Time when her body was found, blue, on the bathroom floor.

Don't give me your condolences. I hated her.

I can't be sure, but I may have written about her before. Paulette and I have always had one of those relationships that, if it were described in a book, would read something like this: Kelly and Paulette could barely stomach the thought of being in the other's presence. They occasionally erected a facade of civility, but to be sure, there was no love lost between those two.

(I didn't say the book was well-written.)

I knew her death was coming. Not that it's so old, but she turned 72 in August, so she was getting up there, and on top of that--and way more relevant--she'd known she's had cancer since right after she turned 70 . Ovarian, I think, but since we hadn't spoken in six or seven years and all the news I knew of her was news from my mom, I can't be sure. But it was serious cancer. That I know.

I repeat: I knew her death was coming. And I also repeat: No love lost. And I won't repeat since I haven't said this yet, but when I found out she had cancer, I didn't feel bad at all. I'm not saying I was cartwheeling around my living room, but I really didn't care. Paulette had done enough bad things to me and many other people in my life for her sickness not to faze me.

It wasn't tragic.

It just



today when I was sitting at my kitchen table and my sister's phone rang and about two seconds later blurted out, Paulette's dead, her death didn't feel expected, and it didn't feel like I didn't care.

It felt like somebody who had been a part of my life for pretty much the entirety of it--albeit not in a very positive way--never would be again. Don't misunderstand me; I hadn't thought she ever would be a part of my life again, and I certainly hadn't wanted her to be a part of my life again, but her dying, well, that made it so that, no matter what, she never could be again.

As much as I didn't like her, it felt like something significant was gone.

After my immediate shock, I thought of Paulette, who has no children and no husband, no one really to call her own except maybe my mother who's been one of her best friends for their entire adult lives, dying alone in her house, and I thought of her possibly lying there, possibly unable to move, possibly knowing she was dying, not possibly, but definitely knowing she was all alone, and I thought of Paulette lying all alone, dead, on her bathroom floor for minutes or hours or half of an entire day, and let me tell you something:

It was pretty fucking tragic.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I'm a Jerk, I'm a Punk

"Be thankful for the difficult people in your life, for they have shown you exactly who you do not want to be."

I came across this quote, not for the first time, today. A friend posted it on Facebook. I think I'd be being a little on the paranoid side if I said that she posted it specifically with me in mind--although god knows it's a possibility--but I'd be in total denial if I nodded my head and was like, Yep. I know exactly what you mean.

So the thing that's funny is that I do know exactly what she means, only in a strike-that, reverse kind of way.

You know how some people find so-called difficult people distasteful? Well, that's exactly how I feel about people who aren't difficult at all. You know the type. The person who likes everyone. The person who's all zippitty-do-dah 'round the clock. The person who doesn't have a strong opinion about anything.

That kind of person? That kind of person makes me sick.

I may have told you this already (stop me if I have (um, stop me in your mind. Duh)), but once I got a massage from a masseuse named Jackie who knew my mom. At the time of the massage, I wrote for a newspaper called The Wahoo News, and when she was annoyingly talking to me during the massage (um, bitch, I'm paying for a massage. Shut the fuck up and knead me), I mentioned it. She then asked me to e-mail her something I'd written, so of course I did, and when my mom next went in for a massage, I came up.

She said you're awfully opinionated, my mother told me in that voice that people use when they're saying something negative, and rest assured, I'm sure that when Jackie called me opinionated to my mom, it wasn't supposed to be a good thing.

My response to being called opinionated?

Fuck, yeah.

Who the hell wants to live life a namby-pamby mother fucker?

To just go with the undiscerning flow?

To be all, Today is the best day ever! I woke up in the morning, so I am blessed?

Jesus, can you hear my retching and smell my vomit?

Can you see the little mouse running on the treadmill in my brain as I reformulate the quote, Kelly style?

"Be thankful for the sheep who lack the capacity to think; appreciate the vapid and insipid people in your life; it is they who have not only shown you exactly who you do not want to be, but it is also they whom you can mock."

Now who knows how to make a meme?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Going Away to College

Yes, I know. It's been a while. For those of you whose happiness and sense that all is right in the world depend on my blog, I offer my sincerest apologies. I'd love to say I've been busy at the banquet, but the truth is, at first I was doing a whole lot of nothing, which has since been replaced by a whole lot of working. I've nothing exciting to report.

What I do have to report is what seems to be the imminent end of my world. Remember in Inertia when I wrote about how I really, really want to do something until it's time to do it? I talked about going to concerts and other events and even my close friend's wedding? Well, a pattern's not a pattern for nothing, so here I am again, about to do something I once was so excited about and now out and out dread.

So what did stupid me get myself into now? College. Goddamn mother fucking college. Like a damn fool, I went out and got myself a job teaching college, and now I have no choice but to do it.


Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

Did I mention fuck?

Or how about the fact that I hate doing things I've never done before, that no matter how prepared I may be, when I haven't done something before, I totally don't feel like I know what I'm doing and just know I'm going to come across as a complete fool, Lucy-wrapping-chocolates style? Or how about that I hate to drive yet took a job 40 miles away from home that's going to keep me out of the house not thirteen, not fourteen, and no, not fifteen hours on Mondays and Wednesdays but a whopping sixteen? Or that I still don't know the best way to get to or from work so I keep taking different routes every time I go, one of which I'm sure will end up getting me so lost I'll have no idea how to get found?

Did I mention any of that?

All right, fine.



I might be overreacting just a tad. Maybe exaggerating my dread. Perhaps hyperbolizing the severity of the situation.

It might not really be as bad as I'm projecting.

Admittedly, this is something I desired. It's not like people came into my house, forcing me to teach college at gunpoint (to be clear, I mean I wasn't held at gunpoint, not that somebody is forcing me to teach a college class equipped with a loaded gun. And to be even clearer, I would NEVER do that. I don't even believe in guns. I mean, I believe they exist because, well, what kind of a crackpot would I be if I didn't, but I don't think they should. All right, before this gets out of hand, let me just go on the record as saying guns are bad. I am not going to shoot anyone. Ever). I filled out the application entirely on my own and drove myself to the interview, no coercion required. I even bought myself a wig, for God's sake! I wanted this job. Badly.

Admittedly again, it's a great opportunity if I want to segue from high school to college, and I think I do. It's a chance for me to actually use the degree I went to school for so long to earn and do something I feel proud of. It's a chance for me to make a difference in the lives of people who are in school because they want to be, not because they have to be.

It's a chance. what if I'll be super exhausted from now until mid-December? If I'm going to drive more in the next four months than I have in the last two years? If I'm going to miss Griffin's debate club meeting on Wednesday and who knows what else? If I'm going to be grading papers while I sleep?

Good things don't come easy or life is a struggle or something like that, right?


Thursday, July 18, 2013


I wouldn't exactly call myself a bore, but let's just say that if you ever find yourself at a function where I'm the most exciting person in the room, I can't even begin to imagine what kind of function you'd be attending. You may have heard or read this story before, but for demonstrative purposes, I've got to tell it again. When I was about fifteen and told my cousin, Paulette, that my goal was to be like Auntie Mame (if you don't know who or what I'm talking about, do yourself a favor and watch the movie. Seriously), the wildly exciting woman who said, Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death and insisted that people live, live, live!, she instantly replied that I was more like Auntie Babe, my seventy-something-year-old great aunt who wore sequined short outfits and told my mother she drove like a cowboy. I wish Paulette were just being mean, as is her M.O. when it comes to me, but she wasn't. I really was--still am--more like Auntie Babe.

Actually, maybe boring isn't the right word. I am, after all, often in the midst of something crazy and zany, and I could tell you stories--holy moly, could I tell you stories...

Maybe what I should have called myself is...stodgy? No. Dull? Uh-uh. All right, wait. I'm going to need to access a dictionary for this one.

Okay, here we go. I've got two:


A person who likes to stay at home, esp. one who is perceived as unadventurous.


  1. Anxious or fearful that something bad or unpleasant will happen.

Now, what I'm going to do is, I'm going to put these two words together to just kind of describe my very own personal kind of, for lack of a better word, boring. When I call myself boring, what I mean is that I totally crave fun and excitement (hence the desire to be like Auntie Mame), but when given the option of having it, I hem and I haw, and I think of a million reasons why I shouldn't. I hear about potentially fun and exciting things and get anxious as they get closer, but then the closer they get, the more I dread taking part. Take concerts, for example. I love music, and I've been to probably between 75 and 100 shows (we'll make a list soon. It'll be funnnn), and for the most part, I've had a really good time at every one of them, but for every show, invariably two things happen. One, the day of the show, I find myself in absolutely no mood to go but then once the show starts I have, like, the best time ever, and two, by the third quarter of the show, I start to get really, really bored and want nothing more than just to go home (unless it's a Blink-182 or Angels and Airwaves show. Then I want oh so much more than just to go home).

(Hmm. I think what I am is actually a noodge.)

Okay, so now you have the background. It's time for the current.

One of the closest friends I've ever had, one of the four people in my life I've considered a "best friend" got married on July 1 in Rhode Island. The day she got engaged, about a year and a half ago, she called me to tell me and asked if I'd come to her wedding if it were in Rhode Island. I still remember the exact words that came out of my mouth. Of course I'll come to your wedding, I said. And I meant it, of course. Then.

Like with coming concerts, I was super excited. Before much time had passed, I was googling Rhode Island to see what things I could do while I was there for her wedding. By the time the summer before her wedding rolled around, I'd talked to my sister and the two of us made plans for her to come with me and turn the wedding into a vacation. Neither of us had ever been to Boston and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to go. Somehow, that plan fell by the wayside.

Come January, though, I had another one. On our way home from Universal, Glenn mentioned to me that the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg was in 2013 and the city would be hosting all sorts of events. You and Griffin should go, he told me. Because I'm such a huge American history person with a love for the miniseries North and South that most people wouldn't believe, I decided right then that, yes, Griffin and I would go and find a way to incorporate Erin's wedding into our trip. I then spent the next week, until the initial excitement of being part of a commemoration of a major Civil War event wore off,  researching Gettysburg and its proximity to Rhode Island. In the end, my research left me overwhelmed, I decided there'd be way too many people in Gettysburg for the anniversary events, and the idea for that trip was abandoned, too.

In its place was the idea for--I can't even believe I considered this--a camping trip. I, who went camping once in my life and slept in a van because the ground was too hard, decided Griffin, Keifer, and I would camp our way up the Eastern seaboard. I started researching all the sites where we could camp on our way from South Florida to Rhode Island, calculating prices and mapping out a route and everything. I realized I was insane in about three days' time.

If you're following the time frame of my story, you know, I'm sure, that Glenn and I were separated during this time. You probably know, but not definitely, that in the beginning of our separation everything was amicable; at that point, there was never any question of Glenn watching the dogs while I was gone. After a few months, however, things took a major downturn, and Glenn watching the dogs was not going to happen; because they're complete psychopaths who can't be trusted with anybody but us, it didn't seem there was any way for me to go to Erin's wedding. I resigned myself to not going.

But then, as you all also know, Glenn and I reconciled. Erin's wedding was once again a possibility except for one thing--me. At this point, typical Kelly got in the way: I had become so used to the idea of not going that when able to once again, I was totally unprepared and found a ton of reasons why I shouldn't. Our money situation had changed over the past six or so months, and flying to a wedding in another state and having to pay for a hotel and a rental car seemed totally irresponsible; even if we could afford for me to go, there was no way we could afford plane fare for more than me, so I'd have to go alone and, therefore, be alone in a strange place; I'm terrified of flying; I didn't want to leave my family; I could get lost driving from the airport to the hotel; the hotel could have bedbugs; my dress would get wrinkled en route to the wedding; I might stub my toe.

So I looked up airfares around the clock, and I looked up hotels and motels and bed and breakfasts, and I told Glenn and my mom and Griffin and Keifer exactly why I couldn't go while sitting at my computer looking up airfares and hotels and motels and bed and breakfasts, and I told Erin I was sorry, I just couldn't go to her wedding, and then I bought a ticket and rented a car and booked a hotel and flew to Rhode Island, and you know what? I had probably one of the best times of my life watching, and being part of, one of the best friends I've ever known having one of the best times of her life.

And because of my homebody/anxious ways, I almost missed it. That, though, is not going to happen anymore. Last year, 2012, was my year of yes. Although I didn't say yes to everything, I said yes to a lot more than I normally do, and this year, and for ever year of the rest of my life, I'm going to do it again. No more skipping events because I'd rather sit around in my movie-watching pants, because my hair is gray and green, because ginger lemonade has too many calories. When I have the option to live, live, live!, I'm going to take it.

I am not starving to death.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dysentery Icky

I read Miss Manners all the time. She's sarcastic and funny and has absolutely no tolerance for people's tom foolery when it comes to etiquette, and I love her.

One of the things Miss Manners is always writing about is people in today's society's tendency to expect, expect, expect. People throw themselves birthday parties, housewarming parties, and engagement parties, expecting gifts at all of these things; they send graduation announcements to distant relatives and casual friends expecting money in the mail; they invite people to wedding ceremonies but say there's no room for them at the reception; they--and this one, to me, is the most shocking of them all--write on their wedding invitations that instead of gifts, they would like cash.

Almost every week, Miss Manners writes about contemporary society and our growing sense of entitlement.

It's my turn.

My sister has this friend. Let's call her Icky.

Icky is having a wedding. Now, please notice I said Icky is having a wedding and not Icky is getting married. That's because Icky is married and has been for a year and a half. Icky's actual wedding, though, doesn't seem to have been enough for her, so she's having another one; a "real" one. One with a maid of honor (my sister) and an entire bridal party.

I don't know all the details, but from what I understand, the wedding's going to be quite a big to-do. It's going to be somewhere fancy, and Icky--who has two kids already with two guys other than the guy she's been married to for the last year and a half--is going to wear the big white dress. The other two things I know, besides that my sister spent almost $200 on her maid of honor dress, are that I was talking to my sister yesterday, and she was out with Icky and Icky's fiancé, scouting--get this--places to have their bachelor/bachelorette parties (their bachelor/bachelorette parties! Even though they'll have been married, by the time of their wedding, for almost two  years!) and that my sister and Icky's sister are dividing the cost for--God, it makes me so mad to even write it--Icky's bridal shower. Her fucking bridal shower! You know, even though she's been married for nearly two years. 

I cannot explain to you how much this whole scenario disturbs me. First of all, I feel infuriated on my sister's behalf. My sister, a single mother who's not exactly rolling in the dough, is the kind of person who does almost anything for her friends, whether they're the greatest of friends or just a step above friendly acquaintances, and Icky's wedding is no exception. My sister would never say no to any of these things--and please don't think she in any way wants to; she's not the indignant one; I am--and I find it maddening that she's participating in the ridiculousness that this wedding is.

But it's not just that. Forget my sister. What about Icky's friends? Why the fuck should Icky's friends be expected to go, not only to a wedding, but also to a bachelor/bachelorette party (my sister decided on a combo affair) and a bridal shower for a couple that's been married for nearly two years? So they could buy a bridal shower present (for a non-bride) buy a wedding present (for a non-marrying couple), and spend money at a bachelor/bachelorette party (to celebrate what's not the last big hurrah for a non-bachelor and a non-bachelorette)?

Please don't get me wrong. I have no problem with Icky having a "real" wedding. My wedding was a tiny little thing, and I've often thought it would be nice for me and Glenn to renew our vows in a somewhat more spectacular fashion with a real reception-type thing this time around. But if we did that, it would be just that. A celebration of us with friends and family and no gifts, and that would be the end of it. Certainly there would be no accompanying festivities like a bridal shower (which I never had) or bachelor/bachelorette party. And you know why? Because we're married! And those are clearly things for people who are not.


I know this post probably annoyed some people, people who are thinking that this has absolutely nothing to do with me, that I'm just a big malcontent, complaining just to complain and that my detailing Icky's wedding is just as bad, if not worse, than what Icky is doing herself.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stop Banging away on My Kaleidoscope

Last week I went out to dinner at a restaurant where people could write with chalk on the tables, and I posted this picture on Facebook. 

Not long after, a friend of mine commented, Y’all give me sooooo much hope, a comment which made me think of a message a different friend sent me about a year ago saying Glenn and my separating and managing to overcome things and get back together despite our problems was inspirational to her in her new marriage. I’m sure right now there are plenty of people in total disagreement with these two people, people rolling their eyes, people thinking, Give me a fucking break, those two people have no business being together. Some of those people, people who know me personally, may be thinking that I’m crazy to stay with Glenn after everything that happened when we were separated; other people may be thinking that Glenn’s crazy to stay with me after everything that happened in the years before; and still, other people may be thinking that we’re both insane, that we both deserve more, that this relationship isn’t good for either of us. Those people are, as always, more than welcome to their own opinions. Nevertheless, to those people, I figuratively shout a resounding, reverberating, Fuck you! at the top of my lungs.

Figuratively, can you hear it?

Now, by no means do I think my marriage is a model for what a marriage should be, and the idea that it’s been an inspiration and provided hope to people is pretty shocking, but when I think about it, I can see it. Most people give up at the drop of a hat nowadays. A friend with a divorced mother told me once that her mom told her that if her husband ever gave her any trouble, ¡divorcite! Just like that (Spanish and all). And that mentality is not at all uncommon. If it were, the number of divorces wouldn’t be so staggering. Say what you want about my marriage, about the two of us, but we’re nothing if not tenacious. To people who want to believe that despite the problems and crises two people sharing a life will face, staying together is possible, I can definitely understand the inspiration thing. We’re definitely not people to just throw up our hands and walk away.

Not only are we not hand throwers and walkers away, but we’re also not so different from anybody else. Throughout this whole ordeal, especially after it, I’ve realized that in a lot of ways, my relationship is typical of a lot more relationships than people think (read: admit). The only real difference is that with my relationship, the problems aren’t hidden behind smiles and a bunch of bull. In my relationship, when there’s a cataclysmic event, it’s a cataclysmic event for the whole world to read. Just because we’re not reading or hearing about the cataclysms in everybody’s household, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

(I don’t want to name names (that is so not true. I really want to name names--but I won’t), but I can’t tell you how many people I know who have lied to significant others; cheated on, or are currently cheating on, significant others; been cheated on by significant others; hidden money from significant others; have significant others with substance abuse issues; have significant others who are so controlling, they dictate what their partner eats and drinks; have significant others who won’t, or can’t, have sex—I could go on, but I think you get the idea.)

Still, as much as I believe my marriage is no different from anyone else's and that anybody with anything bad to say can stick my words where the sun don't shine, I have to admit there was one person I was afraid to tell about my reconciliation: North Star. North Star lives half the country away--more than half the country away--and the only thing she knows about me and Glenn is what I tell her. As you can imagine, as aligns with human nature--at least my human nature--she hears a lot of the bad and barely any of the good. As a result, I've been avoiding telling her the news. 

Yesterday, though, I told her.

I sent her a text about something unrelated, and she text me back, asking, Are you and Glenn back together?

With total apprehension, I told her that we were. I also told her I'd been afraid to tell her, not because of her, but because of all the horrible things I'd said. I told her I knew they depicted a relationship that couldn't--shouldn't--be saved. Because I know how much North Star cares about me and my well-being, I thought she'd think I'd made a horrible mistake. 

But North Star, being North Star, surprised me. (She really shouldn't have--it's partially because of things like this that I love her as much as I do.)

I always support love, Kelly, she wrote.

I guess I do, too. 

And I really can't imagine why anybody would not.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Griffin is graduating from eighth grade tomorrow. Based on the dread you probably know I have regarding his growing up (if necessary, you can catch up here), you probably think I'm a basket case. Surprisingly, I'm not. Surprisingly, I'm not upset about it at all. Yes, Griffin graduating from eighth grade means he'll be starting high school in two months, and Griffin starting high school in two months means he's one step closer to college, and Griffin being one step closer to college means he's one step closer to leaving home, and Griffin being one step closer to leaving home essentially means he's one step closer to leaving me, but that doesn't sadden me. At least not today.

What it does do, though, is force me to think about the passage of time. It forces me to think about the fact that my son is thirteen--thirteen!--and a mere two months away from fourteen. It then forces me, since his birthday is in the summer, to think about other summer birthdays, and when I think of other summer birthdays, the first one that comes to mind is my sister's; after all, ever since I've been on this earth, her birthday has been a part of my summer.

And you know what?

This summer's birthday is a big one.

This summer's birthday is a milestone.

This summer's birthday is  

Did you see that?

Did you comprehend it??

Do you understand???

My sister is turning 40.

My sister, who used to wear crazy leopard-skin-patterned spandex and concert shirts, is turning 40.

My sister, who used to try to smother me with a pillow when I snored too loudly, is turning 40.

who used to ride her bike to the mud track with me
who slept with a snake cube in the shape of a cross after seeing Salem's Lot
who used to dress up, alongside me, in her ice skating dress, and pretend she was in an evening gown
who used to sit with me, looking at catalogs from JC Penney and Spiegel and Burdines, planning every single detail of our house down to the place mats
who threw herself on the ground and tore up her Bon Jovi ticket because my dad wouldn't let us see them at the Sportatorium for Slippery When Wet
who lost her virginity while I was in the same room
who shared her first apartment with me
who had her heart broken by fuckface Bily Bowin
who went to Antonio's for pizza once and disappeared for over 8 hours
who used to come home from school and tell me about the cute boy named Paul who liked her Megadeth shirt
who used to go to the Edge with me almost every week and sometimes fall asleep
who once got so sunburned after slathering up with baby oil, she drenched her body in milk
who loved Scott Baio and Simon LeBon
who panicked and abandoned me at Hollywood beach after I passed out on the broadwalk
who danced with me on the bar at the Shuckums Christmas party
who sings Kiki Dee to my Elton John
who taught me the Chantilly Lace dance
is turning 40.

My sister, who's a mere 17 months and 3 days older than I, will be 40.

How, I ask--
how can this be? 

How can it be that in 77 days--that's less than 3 months, people--my sister, hallmark of my childhood, symbol of my youth, who will forever be an awkward preteen blow drying the curls out of her hair beyond repair, will turn 40?

And what does that mean for me?

(Shh--don't speak.)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Let's Go, Don't Wait

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
                                       -Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

For twelve years, I've been driving almost the exact same route to work. (I say almost because for the first year of this job, I lived in a different house, but even then, the drive was essentially the same. It just started a few miles closer to work. For simplicity's purpose, the drive to work I describe will only be the current one.) It goes like this:

1. Leave my development.
2. Turn left on Nova Drive.
3. Turn right on University.
4. Turn right on Miramar Parkway.
5. Turn left on Douglas Road.
6. Arrive in Hell (ha! Just kidding. Maybe).

Sounds simple enough. And it is.
But there's more to the drive than that.

In addition to turns and straight shots, there are lights. So many lights. In the beginning, even after I moved here, there weren't quite so many of them, but in the last few years, they've added a few around my house, and holy crap are they annoying. I know all lights are annoying, but these are the annoying kind of lights that are there for no apparent reason, lights in low-traffic areas where no lights are needed, lights that turn red to let one single car cross the intersection and then stay red long enough for a procession of babies to crawl across the street, lights that seemingly do nothing but interrupt the flow of traffic, causing commuters to waste gas and minutes as they idle for a long enough amount of time to go from amiable to not.

But these aren't the lights that interest me.

The lights that interest me are the other lights. The lights that have always been there.

In this order, heading south:

Davie Road Extension
The light at Memorial Pembroke
The light at Pembroke Commons
The light where all the Broward County school buses are
The light at Sherman Circle
Miramar Parkway

You may not have ever noticed this, but lights have a pattern. My lights' pattern is

depending when I leave the house, Griffin is sometimes red although usually it's green. Stirling and Davie Road Extension are green; Sheridan is red as I approach but turns green just as I get there; the light at Memorial Pembroke, Taft, Johnson, and Pembroke Commons are green; Pines is red; the light where the school buses are is green unless a car driving out has triggered it to be red; Pembroke is green; and depending on how on time I am for work, Miramar Parkway can be green or red (this is due to the amount of traffic in that area. If I'm running late, there's enough of a traffic backup to affect the cars moving through the light).

In my description, I purposely avoided using "always," but it wasn't easy. A few times I wrote it and then went back and took it away. If I'd written this blog a year ago, I wouldn't have had to do that, but in the last year, something crazy has happened.

The pattern has changed.

No, that's not true. Not has changed. Changed, as in was briefly different on more than one occasion, but is the same once again.

The first time it happened was earlier this school year when the light at Pines was green. I know a change in whether a light is red or green doesn't seem like it would garner much attention, but if you stopped at the same light every weekday from August through June for eleven years and then one morning sailed right through it, believe me--you'd notice. I certainly did. Every time I drove through it, it was something of which I was very aware, but it didn't last for very long. After three or four days, the light was back to being red, and my mornings were back to being normal.

Not ever again at Pines, but over the school year, the same thing has happened a few more times. The light at Pembroke has been red although usually it's the green I've always been accustomed to; Taft and/or Johnson are red once in a while (though never ever will they both be red on the same day); and once or twice, the lights must have shorted at Sheridan because the light's been red and stayed that way. But really, no matter what happens to shake up my morning and disrupt the flow between work and home, no matter how long the change lasts, making me think the pattern will be different for good, it eventually goes back to what I've always known. 


Whatever you're thinking right now, the answer is yes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I have a little problem with magazines, and what I mean when I say little problem is that I subscribe to Cosmopolitan, Self, Glamour, Allure, Marie Claire, the Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Cooking Light (I let my Redbook, Fitness, and Shape subscriptions lapse. Shame on me).

In years gone by, I'd read each one the night it showed up in my mailbox, but for some reason, even though this is the first year in the last five that I'm not in grad school and the first in the last ten that I'm not teaching night school, I don't feel like I have time to do that. Now when they come, instead of reading them, I take them out of their (unnecessary) plastic bags and find them space on my increasingly cluttered coffee table, fully intending to get around to them later in the week.

Last Saturday and Sunday I read about seventeen magazines.

During my magazine-a-thon over the weekend, while I was catching up on the last 3 issues of the Atlantic (a magazine, along with Vanity Fair, that I subscribed to in an effort to convince myself that I'm at least a little bit highbrow, but which did nothing but convince me that what I am is decidedly lowbrow), I came across what I soon realized was a monthly feature: a pie chart. These monthly pie charts take a subject, presumably survey people about different aspects of the subject, and then present statistics.

At a time when I was struggling with major decisions regarding my marriage, the subject of February's pie chart, the 3-month-old issue that I just happened to be reading in the middle of May, was marriage.

Because I no longer have the magazine, I don't remember the exact premise of the pie chart, but because I took a picture of the section that interested me, I do know the exact focus of one piece of the pie:

Which one of these marriage vows is hardest to keep?

The choices (or at least all the choices that fit into the picture on my phone)?

To be faithful
For better or for worse
In sickness and in health
For richer, for poorer

I repeat

To be faithful
For better or for worse
In sickness and in health
For richer, for poorer

Wait one cotton pickin' minute.

There are vows other than the vow to stay faithful?

I've been married so long, I guess I must have forgot. 

I know you probably don't believe that. I barely believe that myself. It is, after all, pretty unbelievable. But really. Marriage vows are something I haven't thought about in years. Probably 15 of them.

You'd think that, being an adulterer, the adultery part would be the part I'd home in on.

It wasn't.

Probably, if I had to guess, the reason for my lack of interest in that statistic is that, unlike vows in general, which I hadn't thought about in practically forever, adultery is something I think about all the time. Marriage vows in their totality, though--I think about them never.

And one of those that I think about never, well, after seeing it in that pie chart, I couldn't stop thinking about it:

For better or for worse

For better


for worse

For worse
For worse
For worse


Things are definitely worse.

Over the past four years, they've been "worse" a lot. And you know what I do every time they are?

I tell Glenn I want a divorce.

I can't do this anymore, I say.

I can't live like this, I cry.

I seek escape because I can't deal with worse.

I can't deal with worse, but-- 

I made a vow*.

From the beginning, worse was a possibility, and still--

I made a vow.

A vow.

*Vow: a solemn promise or assertion; specifically: one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition (Merriam-Webster)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You're All Mixed Up Like Pasta Primavera

Let me tell you a story about (a man named Jed--I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself)--

Let me try this again.

Let me tell you a story about (not Jed not Jed not Jed!) karma.

About a month ago, Griffin signed me up to make cracker candy to sell at a fundraiser called Relay for Life. The night before the event, after my weekly Friday coffee outing with the kids, I walked over to Publix from Starbucks to buy the ingredients: butter, brown sugar, crackers, and 2 bags of chocolate chips. I also bought pizza dough for that night's dinner.

It was pouring like crazy, and I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but nobody (but me) has any idea how to drive in the rain, so the 3-mile trip home from Starbucks/Publix took about twenty minutes. Between the rain, the so-called drivers who for some reason seem to not understand that the gas pedal is on the right, and Keifer being his usual charming self, I was in a horrible, frustrated mood by the time I got home. As soon as I walked through the door, I dropped the paper grocery bag on the counter (nothing had to be refrigerated since the butter was going to have to soon be melted and the pizza dough had to sit at room temperature for an hour or so) and went upstairs to Griffin's room so we could watch an episode of Mad Men. After it was over, I went downstairs to start prepping for the cracker candy; naturally, the first thing I did was empty the bag. Out came the pizza dough, the two bags of chocolate chips, the box of crackers, and...nothing else. The butter--the goddamned fucking butter that I just paid almost 4 dollars for and absolutely could not make the cracker candy without--was not in the motherfucking bag.

I wanted to kill.

Now, before I go any further, I should tell you that there's a Publix closer to my house than the one where I'd bought the butter, and it would have made a lot more sense for me to go to that one, but I was so incredibly angry, I wanted to do nothing but take out my wrath on the people at the Publix that fucked me. Plus, I planned to not only get the butter I wasn't given but also a full refund for the butter because of my trouble. Since I had my receipt, I knew getting the butter wouldn't be a problem, but I wasn't so sure about getting my money back at a scene different from the crime. So despite the rain, the bad drivers, and the fact that my kids were waiting for me to bake them a pizza, I got in my car grasping my receipt and my fury and drove off to a Publix where I didn't need to go.

I know from the description I just gave, you probably think I stormed into Publix screaming like a maniac, but that's not true. I was a waitress for 7 years and worked in retail/restaurants for 2 years prior, so I know better than to talk to people the way I always hated being talked to. I calmly went in with my receipt, walked up to the customer service department, and explained my situation. When I said I wanted a refund for the butter, the woman behind the counter told me she couldn't do that and would need to call her manager; I said fine, and when  he came over, I repeated the story to him.

...and I don't just want the butter. I want something for the trouble of having to come back in the rain because somebody here made a mistake.

What do you want? We'll give you the butter.

Of course you'll give me the butter. But I want something else. I'd like the butter comped.

Are you sure you left the butter here? That it didn't fall out in your car? Nobody reported any butter being left.

I was, in fact, sure the butter didn't fall out in my car. First of all, I got a paper bag, not plastic, and once you set one of those suckers down, it stays pretty much the way you  put it. Second, before I left the house in a huff, I had Griffin check my hatch. Butter was nowhere to be found. Did this man really think I went home and drove back in the pouring rain to try to steal not even 4 dollars and a few sticks of butter? Mister, please.

Yes, I'm quite sure.

Okay, I can do that for you.

About 45 minutes after I left my house, I got back to it. I walked into the kitchen and, having decided to make the cracker candy in the morning because I was in no mood to make it that night, I went directly to the refrigerator to put the butter away, and I know you know what I'm going to say, I know you know that I'm going to say I'm the biggest fucking idiot, and I know you know that I actually am the biggest fucking idiot because the first thing I saw when I opened my refrigerator was the goddamned motherfucking piece of shit butter. It was right there on the top shelf like it had been all fucking long.

Apparently, not only am I bitch, I'm a stupid bitch, and not only am I a stupid bitch, I'm a stupid, thieving bitch. A stupid thieving bitch who had (still has since she only used one stick) stolen butter in her fridge.

My initial instinct was to get in my car and return the butter. I called my sister and told her the story, and she told me that I absolutely could not do that. It's just butter, she said. Yeah, it might just be butter, but I'm not a thief. Still, I let the butter sit.

For the next week, I told the story of the butter five or six times. I'm not entirely sure why--I guess maybe I thought the more times I told it and the more times people told me it wasn't a big deal, the better I'd feel. And it worked. After a few weeks, the butter incident just kind of disappeared from my mind.

Until yesterday when it came back.

Last week when I went grocery shopping, I was looking through my receipt on my way to the car and realized I was charged twice for some item (I don't remember what it was) of which I only bought one. After I put my bags in my car, I went back into Publix with the receipt, told the manager I was charged twice and got my money back. It was 3 dollars and change. Probably right around the same amount as the pilfered butter.

Yesterday while I was standing in the kitchen eating a hard boiled egg, I picked up the receipt from this week's trip to Publix and noticed that I was charged 3 times for prepackaged mahi-mahi even though instead of 3 packages, I'd bought 2.

My immediate reaction was annoyance. Why was I too dumb to look at the register when I was being rung up? Did I really have to go back to Publix to get my $7.99? And what if the manager was the same one from the previous week? Would he even believe me? What was the likelihood that something was rung up an extra time for the same person two weeks in a row? Why the fuck did things like this keep happening to me?

And then I knew.

It was (the Dukes! It was the Dukes! God, I'm sorry--I just cannot stop doing that)--
the butter.

The motherfucking butter.

Karma had come.

The first time it came, the price was right around the same as the original price, but too blind to see what was really going on, I swatted it away. The second time it showed up, the price had doubled. I knew if I went back and got my money for that motherfucking fish, next time the price would be even higher.

I didn't go back.

We think the things we do won't catch us.We think we can outrun them, outsmart them


We're wrong.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Time Will Come Someday

I went a little crazy last week, I have to admit.

A couple blogs ago, I told you that I found out Glenn went on a date and was on a dating site (OK Cupid if you're curious). The date I didn't really care about--the dating site I did, but probably not for the reason you think. The dating site I cared about not because of the possibility of it facilitating his going on a date--if you saw his profile, you'd know there's no danger of that--but because for months he'd been accusing me of doing shady things, which I absolutely was not, and meanwhile, there he was, on a dating website.

Hypocritical much?

You know how a couple paragraphs ago I said I didn't care about Glenn having gone on a date? Remember that?

I kind of lied, and by kind of, I mean I absolutely, positively, one-hundred percent lied.

But if it makes you feel any less lied to, it was the truth at first.

At first, when I was snooping around Glenn's Facebook messages and saw that he went to meet some girl--Randy Cocks, people--

Randy fucking Cocks!

(all right, the spelling of her name may be a little different, but phonetically, it seriously is Randy Cocks. Have you ever?)--

I wasn't very worried. I saw that she has kids, which is totally not Glenn's cup of tea, and after reading their messages, it didn't seem like Glenn was terribly interested. And even if he was, even if something did happen, would it really have been the end of the world? He wouldn't have been doing anything I hadn't done in the past.

For a few days, that was my attitude. Seriously!

But then, a few days later, I went on his Facebook again, and there she was, Ms. Horny Organ, leaving comments and liking things all over the place, and even worse, friends of his were liking the comments she was leaving. And we all know what that means.

So last week, Griffin and Keifer were out of town on a field trip from Monday to Friday. Monday and Tuesday were pretty uneventful but on Wednesday and Thursday, things were...not.

I don't remember what started our fight on Wednesday, only that it was me. Same thing on Thursday. (Seriously, I'd be shocked if any fight you ever hear about involving me and Glenn is started by him. If it were up to him, we'd talk never.)

We fought for hours on Thursday--hours--and by the time I went to bed at 2, a picture had been pulled off the wall and beaten on the floor repeatedly, a lint brush thrown at the tile floor, my bike violently turned over and hurled at the floor hard enough to crack the wood, and in a fit of madness, screams were screamed so loudly they terrified Jazzy into having diarrhea. (I don't want to point any fingers, but Glenn was the perpetrator of none of these things.)

I guess if you want to get technical, you might be able to say I kind of had a breakdown.

But that's not important. That's not what this is about. This is about Glenn, Frisky Love Shaft, and their (non) date.

What started out as me not caring had become almost total paranoia in the week since I'd found out about their meeting, and I kept bringing her up. Glenn, who kept insisting it wasn't a date, told me that if he did go on a date, it certainly wouldn't be with  Lascivious Member who has three kids from different guys, and I knew he was telling the truth; after all, that had been my instinct in the first place.

As soon as he said that sentence, I felt better. Less tense.

And that lasted about a minute. Maybe two.

I may be safe where Hot Prick is concerned, but I think an exclamatory whew! uttered while exaggeratedly wiping off my furrowed brow might be a little bit premature.

It might not be Lustful Penis.

But it's coming.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Me Gotta Go Now

The weekend I turned seventeen, my friend Chris, her boyfriend, Fra, my then-boyfriend, Louie, and I went for fondue at St. Gregory's. While we were switching through the radio stations on our way to the restaurant, we heard the song "Louie Louie." I love that song, so I'm sure we left it on, but I don't remember the exact circumstances surrounding our listening to it. We either got to the restaurant before the song ended or switched radio stations as soon it was over, and the reason I still know that now, more than 20 years later, is that it wasn't until later in the night that we realized "Louie Louie" was the only song being played on that radio station at all. After dinner as we drove in whatever direction we were headed (most likely toward the beach or down US-1), we heard it again.

Hey! "Louie Louie" is on again! I said.That was in 1992, back before the days of on-demand anything, and to hear a song twice in one night that I liked but barely ever heard demanded notice.

I think they're having some sort of "Louie Louie" celebration because I heard this song earlier today, too, Chris said. We definitely didn't change the radio station that time, and as a result, we heard "Louie Louie" over and over and over again.

It turned out that a new radio station had come to South Florida, and to mark its beginning, "Louie Louie" was played twenty-four hours a day, three days in a row.

ALL LOUIE ALL THE TIME, the DJs exclaimed for three days straight. Since my boyfriend's name was Louie and I was seventeen and a fucking idiot, I thought it was the neatest thing ever.

Did you know there are over 1,000 versions of that song?

Well, there are.

I didn't hear them all that weekend, but I heard plenty, among them The Kingsmen's original version, a big band version, a marching band version, a gospel version, a country version, and a metal version by Motorhead. (I know there were more, but  in my old age, those are all the versions I can remember.)

I remember Louie saying, I've never been so sick of hearing my own name because, as we all know, I'm a crazy person and being a crazy person, I refused to change the radio station.

After the first few hours of ALL LOUIE ALL THE TIME, of course the song got kind of tiresome, but no matter how tiresome it became, I just could not bring myself to turn it off. Maybe it was because the song playing over and over shared my boyfriend's name, maybe it was because the experience was just so surreal that I didn't dare interrupt it, or maybe it was because I have a tendency to get attached to certain things and can't bear for them to be away, but despite the protests of whomever happened to be around me that weekend (mostly poor Louie), I kept the Louie Louie station on around the clock.

For three days straight, I heard, in part, this:

Me catch a ship across the sea
Me sail the ship all alone
Me never think how I'll make it home

Funny how life works.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Let Me Clear My Throat

"There was this man. He would never talk. He'd just sit there all night.
They say to him, 'What's the matter? Don't you say anything?'
He says, 'What am I going to say, that my wife two-times me?'
So she says, 'Shut up! You're always talking!'"
                                                -- Goodfellas

Today when I was leaving planning, a teacher a little bit down the hall waved and, like a civilized human being, said, "How are you doing?"


My husband, who went on a date last night, has a profile on OK Cupid soliciting long-term dating, short-term dating, and casual sex; I haven't slept more than twelve hours, total, in the past three nights; last night I learned that a woman who I thought was a friend, a woman who I had a great deal of respect and admiration for, who I believed to be one of the most genuine, most amiable people I'd ever met and who, in some ways, I aspired to be like, actually loathes me and has spent a good portion of the last few months writing back and forth to my husband talking up my flaws, offering to take pictures of him for his OK Cupid account, mentally cheering on people who belittle and insult me publicly, and basically saying things someone should never have to find out that a person--especially a person who's been posing as a friend--thinks about her (you're a gentleman and a scholar, Heather Baird, and even though I know you won't be reading this--you know, because I have to keep starting new blogs since once people read my blog for long enough, they catch on to how full of shit I am and can't stand me, forcing me to find new readers--thank you so much for reaffirming my faith in the goodness of people. Well done); as I learned that this woman pretty much has the same feelings for me that most people have for, say, Snooki or Anna Nicole Smith, I also learned that she and my husband came to the conclusion that I'm afflicted by Histrionic Personality Disorder, which pretty much means I'm nothing more than an attention-seeking, manipulative, shallow slut who's so provocative, she can't even keep female friends; I have to fill out financial papers and child-sharing papers and agree on things with a husband who doesn't think there's any reason to speak to me; I dropped my entire lunch on the linoleum floor in the 240 corridor, leaving myself not only lunchless but also in roasted-vegetable-tamale-splattered pants; and when a student tried to give me a hug, I started crying in the middle of class and couldn't stop.

"Fine," I answered. "And you?"

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pony Boy, Things Are Rough All Over

It's just… You never really know what's going on inside somebody--do you? You think if you care about them--you know. But you never really do."
                                                        -Scott Hope, "Beauty and the Beasts," BtVS

So I have this friend. 

(Yes, I know. But really. I do.)

This friend, who I've been friends with since I was 8, has easily been the best friend I've ever had. When I say that from the time we were twelve until she went away to college when we were seventeen, save for a rough patch here and there, we were as close as people can be, I say it with complete honesty and no exaggeration whatsoever. When I say that throughout her years in college and the subsequent years she's spent living half the country away, our friendship has remained as strong--though admittedly different--as it was in our younger years, I'm again speaking as literally as I can.

This friend of mine has been so constant in my life and been such an inspiration to me, I think of her as my north star.

(Let's call her that, k? It's a lot less clunky for me than repeatedly saying, "my friend.")


Maybe you've been reading my blog for a long time. Maybe this one is your first. If you're the former, you might remember reading I'm Okay (I Promise), the blog post I wrote when I found out that somebody--well, more than one somebody--was inspired by me. As a girl who's been given an extra-heaping helping of inferiority issues mixed with just the right amount of jealousy, finding out people were actually jealous of me was shocking. It was a possibility that had never remotely crossed my mind. 


The first thing you should know about North Star is that she's beautiful, one of those girls who doesn't need any makeup or primping to be beautiful, one of those girls who's beautiful in the eyes of everyone, and that she's been beautiful forever. In middle and high school when everyone was living in Awkwardsville, hiding their pimples underneath bangs that were fried to a frizzy crisp by too-hot curling irons and overly-aggressive blow drying, North Star had perfect (I-hate-to-say-it-because-it's-so-cliche, but yes, perfect) alabaster skin and flowing black hair . Also, North Star was thin.

The second thing you should know about North Star is that she's smart. People have this stupid notion that if a girl is beautiful, she probably isn't smart; I can assure you that for North Star, that's not the case at all. 

The third thing you should know about North Star is that when we were younger, I never met a boy who didn't have a thing for her. See, North Star wasn't (isn't) just pretty and smart, she was cool--raunchy and crude but not overly so, the furthest thing from a priss you'll ever meet. I guess she acted a lot like a guy, only she was hot while she was doing it. 


Just like I never imagined that people could be jealous of, or inspired by, me, there are certain people I would never imagine to be unhappy at all. I mean, yes, of course I know nobody is happy every single moment of every day, but I mean overall. But sometimes you learn the darndest things.


If people were to ask me about my relationship with North Star when we were growing up, I would tell them, like I told you in the beginning of this post, we were as close as two people could be. I would tell them that we spent Friday nights at my house and Saturday nights at her house, talked on the phone all day and night after school on weekday nights, and when we weren't having solo time with our boyfriends, were together. I would tell them that there was really nothing I didn't know about North Star, and there was nothing North  Star didn't know about me.

If people were to ask me about North Star's life back then, not from my perspective, but from the perspective of North Star, I'd say she'd say her life was wonderful. Not in those words, exactly, but wonderful is what it would boil down to. She was thin, she was pretty, she was cool, she was smart, she was funny; she was on the upper upper side of middle class; she was confident, she was self-assured, she was unselfconscious; and everybody liked her. I never, ever would have said that North Star wasn't happy. And I knew her as well as I knew me.


I was on the phone with North Star a few days ago, and we started talking about my shyness. When the subject came up, she asked me when I got to be this way. When I first moved to Miramar, she reminded me, I was outgoing and friends with everyone. What had happened to make me change?

At first I thought her question was ridiculous. When I moved to Miramar, I was eight. A person's personality changes a lot in thirty years. Why was my being so shy such a big deal? Why did something have to cause that?

But then I realized...

(what I realized is not important)

...and when I realized what I realized and told North Star what I'd realized, she said something akin to, Yes, and that was at a formative time. That year was really hard on me, too. But luckily I realized it early on and did some work to try to get  past it.

My reply to North Star was not nice. It was sarcastic, and it was hurtful. See, North Star was part of the problem, part of the hurt that I'd experienced and to which I was referring. It's a long story that I don't want to go into right now, but let's just say I underwent a great deal of pain, and the idea that anybody else, especially North Star, was experiencing pain at the same time was completely foreign to me.

She then told me some things. Some things that I knew in terms of events but not so much aftermath, at least not the extent to which they'd hurt her. She told me some other things that I really had no idea of at all. 

She talked about alienation, exclusion, desperation.

She talked about feelings that, in regards to North Star, I never would have dreamed.


You think you know someone. Maybe you don't know them at all. Maybe you know just a part, a small part, that part that the someone saves just for you.


You also think your life is worse than the lives of others. That girl is so pretty. That boy is so smart. That girl has the most beautiful voice. That boy drives such a nice car. Everybody loves X. Everybody wants to be Y.


You think those teenage movies and books with their everybody-experiences-pain-and-sadness-and-has-problems-of-their-own, the-prom-queen's-life-isn't-perfect, and the-popular-jock-is-going-through-something-at-home messages are a bunch of bull. 

Or at least you did.

(And by you, I mean I. You get that, right?)


I don't wish unhappiness on anybody else, but I'd be lying by omission if I didn't say it's nice to know that in my sadness, in my insecurity, in my questioning and doubt, I'm not alone.