Unexpected Baggage…Free pet!

>> Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I have a pet I’d like to get rid of…to tell you the truth I’d love to see it gone forever, never to return. I know that sounds so bad, mostly I’m a lover of all pets, however I just really dislike…ok… Hate her.

There is very little to like about her. Well I guess she is soft and warm, she goes with me everywhere. When I lay down in bed... she lies next to me, and when I relax on the couch... she sits on my lap. I can even rest my ice cream bowl on her…she don’t mind because she LOVES ice cream.

But then mostly she just drive me crazy, like whenever I bend over to tie my shoes or pick up toys…there she is…always in my way.

I’ve had her for what seems like forever; she’s been with me since the birth of my first son. So it’s been 12 years now and its just time to let her go! She can really be quite a pain!

 The other day I was out at the store buying some snacks, (one of her favorites) I was in one of them “self check-outs” do-hickys when I lean over to put my money in the money eating thingy, what a shock to hear the dang thing yelling at me!


What the….I got nothing "extra." 

I look down at the “bagging area”…and there she is, my pet, resting herself on top of the arm of the bag holder thing-a-ma-jig.

My pet…AKA…My belly, was the “unexpected item” the "EXTRA".... just sitting there looking back up at me, I could tell what she was thinking.

“What! Just get the snacks and let’s go already, I’m hungry.”

That's right my belly…and hell Yes  it’s an unexpected item!  I didn’t expect all this extra “Baggage” when I had babies.

But I have to tell you one thing, she sure has been one faithful loyal pet!


Hey Sister! Get your groove back girlfriend.

>> Monday, April 26, 2010

Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weakness. ~Marie de Vichy-Chamrond, Marquise du Deffand, Letters to Voltaire
         What I learned at the 2010 Spring Women’s retreat.
                   “You - More then you think”

I learned that I really really missed my bed.

I learned 22 Women + 4 bathrooms = Shower Rage.

I learned if you’re the first one up in the morning, you’d better have started the coffee or there’s going to be hell.

I learned that the Pastors sister in-law is not apposed to flashing people, or mooning them for that matter.

I learned I may never be able to make eye contact with some of the lady's husbands again, not without cracking up anyway.

I learned the Church secretary is NOT a morning person.

I learned that the Pastors daughter can shake her "groove thing" like she’s on Fire.

I learned that very little sleep and a house full of estrogen makes me a cry baby.

I learned tears can be contagious and healing at the same time.

I learned that laughter is better then wine.

I learned that when I start opening my heart to other Women, I end up with Sisters.

I learned that even the most “Put together” and strong women can feel weak and scared at times too.

I learned I am not alone in having sobbed in the shower when life feels out of control.

I learned that even though I’m ruff around the edges, Fat and Sassy, I have something wonderful to offer.

I learned that God is doing amazing things in my life, all I have to do is be open to it and He’ll take care of the rest.

I learned this was not all about me getting closer to God…Its all about letting Him get closer to me.

And when I got home from the retreat:

I learned my husband knows I matter more then he thought after leaving him for an ENTIRE weekend with four kids, the cat and the Dog.

I learned that the House didn’t fall apart without me.

I learned the most excited one to see me home was the Dog.

I learned that nothing had changed not even the kids, they were even all still in the same outfits I had left them in.

OK maybe one thing had changed…one very small surprising thing…me.

When we can't piece together the puzzle of our own lives, remember the best view of a puzzle is from above. Let Him help put you together. ~Terri Guillemets


I Rock! I make a difference, or do I?

>> Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia

I so rock, and rock hard! In my own head I am even more phenomenal then Twilight, even my kids think so.

See this photo of Edward and Bella?  

Whatever Bella, been there! Done that!

This photo of my husband and I was taken in the very spot Edward and Bella stood; only we did it years before them.
See How I rock?!    

I love this photo of us, and it would have never happened if that nice man…whoever he was…had not stopped to offer to take it.   A small act of kindness I'll never forget.

Well, ok I’m a big liar; I don’t rock, most of the time I think I suck. Not the Edward kind of Suck just the lame ol kind.
It’s actually a major problem I have.
I don’t see the good things about myself.  The Differance I make everyday.

Do you see the Good in yourself??....The differance you make every day?

I don’t see that I make a difference, and I don’t take complements well. When someone shares with me that they think I make a difference, I get a real funny feeling on the inside and it makes me all uncomfortable and goofy. "Naw, whatever... nothing big."  Always making less of myself.

Where I fail big time, is seeing the little things I do every day that make a difference to others.  I always wish I could do more, I'm not doing all I can.

I use to wonder why I’m not rich, why didn’t God bless me with tons of money. I want to help everyone that needs it. But we just don’t have the money to help anyone but ourselves.

God is showing me... that showing love, kindness, or just telling someone you care, is just as important as making a huge difference to millions.

Just being there for someone makes more of a difference then what money can buy them.

Here is Conan doing stand up and bringing Joy to thousands!

Here I am *Scary resemblance I know* last summer,  telling a story at my cousin’s wedding, “the tick was this big.” Bringing, what I hope was just a little Joy to her.
She did tell me later it meant a lot to her that I told that story.   I told her I hate that she put that nasty photo of me on Facebook!
 Love you Kell.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Mark Twain


Life's lessons learned the hard way...Get a BackBone

>> Monday, April 12, 2010

This post brought to you by your backbone.

Do you say what you feel, mean, want?

Or do you say what people want to hear?
Don’t want to rock the boat?
Don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings?

Are you a, go with the flow, yes man?
Don’t want to cause problems, People pleaser?

Are you?...whoever you are?

I did... I was...I let people walk all over me…worried they would be mad, not like me…didn't want to stand out, or up...blah blah blah…I was a people pleasing Sissy la la!

Now being a mother of 4 and on the down side of 30 I don’t take as much crap as I use to.  I'm a much kinder person now...Huh?... go figure.

Sometimes being popular is not always right, and what’s right isn’t always popular. Not everyone likes you…just face it.  If you want to be understood, say what you mean.

Not saying what you feel, mean, want, or not standing up for what you know is right, you are giving a false impression of who you are. If you don’t respect yourself enough to let people really know who you are, how are they ever going to respect you?

If you challenge nothing, never give anyone grief, and don’t express who you really are, you bring out the worst in people. Hiding under the fa├žade of being a pleaser, allowing them to walk all over you sucking your blood dry.

Then what do we do when people take advantage of us? We Bitch…you know you do…bitch about them to anyone who will listen.
What kind of evil person to take advantage of such a giving selfless person as yourself.
How dare they!
Playing the victim are we?

We are such martyrs! Creating the Monster then crying and bitching when the Monsters Bites!

How many times do you give money to the one who can’t budget?

How many times must that boy at the play date bite your kid before you stop going?

How many years do you waste on that guy (gal) that treats you like garbage?

How long will you let them bash your friend before speaking up?

How many times will you say Yes, when you really want to say No.

How many times will you listen to them bitch about being a poor victim before you Tell them to get a backbone?

How many? Just give me a number.


the dog ate my bra

>> Saturday, April 10, 2010

You start out happy that you have no hips or boobs. All of a sudden you get them, and it feels sloppy. Then just when you start liking them, they start drooping. ~Cindy Crawford

I hate it when I can't find my bra! By the end of the day I’m dying to fling it off, don't care were it lands, I just want the girls free.
Until the next morning when I can’t find it, it’s crazy making. Boobs flopping around all morning as I’m trying to get the boys off to school. Sit down to have a cup of coffee and my boobs squish themselves in the crook of my arms. So every time I take a sip of coffee I pinch my own nipple.
Being strapped for cash all the time, bras are not on the top of my list. Truly I need to keep better track of my bras, having only having 3.

The back up, brown beat up bra, it’s lost its underwire. The all purpose, white (more like dirty white and currently MIA) it’s straps fall down all the time. And the sexy mama, pretty salmon push up, my husband’s favorite.

I have know idea where it could be, bras have ended up all over the house! I’ve tossed my bras on the couch, only to find my 7 year old walking around with it on his head, sing "I'm a booby head!" Tossed em over the banister, that one met a tragic fate when the Dog chewed it up. RIP pink floral bra.

Better get looking for old faithful "all purpose bra." I would hate to have to wear "sexy bra" and fight off the hubby all day. Plus all this typing could cause some serious chaffing.

It’s a day of doing laundry.
A normal daily chore. 
Washing, folding, put-a-way
 And picking up the floor.

My toddler’s running all about,
A ribbon in her hair.
Wearing the cutest little dress
With fashion and with flair.

I venture to the dryer
To switch another batch.
My mouth drops open wide
When I open up the hatch.

The one bra I have left to wear
That’s nearly a decade old.
Looks like it’s been rolled around
In some yucky, greenish mold.

Somehow it got sorted in
With all my darks and blues
And now is spotted pink and green
Like smelly bowling shoes.

I just want to sit and sob
When my toddler saunters in
Dressed in too-pricey clothing
And an I-know-I’m-cute grin.

And I realize, right then and there,
How mothering’s meant to be.
So I’ll wear my ugly, tie-dyed bra.
‘Cause it’s no longer just about me.

-Angie Barr


Sandy's smile: a look at drunk driving, through the eyes of a child

>> Thursday, April 8, 2010

My mother’s face looked strange to me. Her normally flawless skin was blotchy, her hazel eyes now rimed in red. Had she been crying? That too was strange. To my 7 year old self my mom was ageless…strong…safe. But now…now she looked almost weak…older…and it scared the hell out of me.

She had called us to the front porch, needed to talk to us, needed to tell us something. Something. She drew a deep breath blew it out, then another. A chill ran down my back, was it the October air or something?

I stood…waited… fidgeted in my boots and scratched at an old scab on my arm, watching with intent as it bled. Not wanting to look at my mom…weak…older.

“What Mom!” My brother shouts impatient, wanting to get back to his Big-wheel and our leaf pile. He’s stomping up and down the paint chipped porch steps that my mom sat on. Mom sat there…just sat there, a blue bandana holding back her blond curly hair…the same golden hair that sat atop my brother Shawn’s head.

Mom looked up and met my own hazel eyes…opened her mouth to speak then closed it in what could only be an attempt to stop her chin from quivering and swallow the pain lumped up in her throat… She dropped her head looking at her hands and the mass of used tissues balled up with-in them.

I looked at my own hands, picking at a hang nail, blood drying on my finger, the blood turning from red to brown blending in with the dirt. I can’t look at her…my heart pounds.

Shawn stumbles on the last step, trips up on a small pumpkin that had appeared on our door step, he and the pumpkin go sprawling onto the cold concrete. In one sweeping move, the kind only mothers can do, mom scoops him up and plops his 5 year old butt on the step next to her. “Didn’t hurt,” Shawn declares eyeing the tipped gored.

The distraction seems to give her the strength, the resolve to speak. Again she looks at me, standing in front of her, in my grubby jeans and floral sweat shirt.

“Last night your Aunt Sandy was in an accident,” she says. This time I don’t look away…can’t, but mom seems to be looking though me at some point behind me. To steel herself? Holding on?

My 7 year old brain sees Sandy falling down the dark basement stairs or flying over the handle bars of a bike, visions taken from my own fears. I see Sandy in the hospital with her arm in a cast…I’m thinking of what I will write on her cast, “You’re my favorite aunt, get well soon, I love you.”

Mom’s head has drops back to her chest…older…holding on… deep breath.

“A very bad car accident, Sandy was hurt very bad and didn’t make it…she’s gone,” her voice cracks on the word gone.

“Gone where?” Shawn asks, picking green paint chips off the step. “To the doctors?”

“No honey,” Mom says putting her arm around him, releasing a mangled tissue that drops to her feet. “She has gone to heaven, Sandy was in the back seat when the car hit a tree and she died.”

Unaware that I’ve stuck the lock of hair I’d been twirling with my finger into my mouth and was now twirling it around my tong. Sandy always told me I’d choke on a hair ball someday. I looked around for a car crashed into a tree, I saw none…fear…holding on. I look to the sky for heaven, I saw nothing. Gone.

“Sandy died? What’s that mom?” Shawn asked kicking at the pumpkin and turning to mom.

I can’t do this anymore; I can’t look at mom red eyed and weak. My mind is flashing shots of Sandy’s bright smiling face, her shiny, dark, all-the-way-down-her-back hair. Hear her voice calling to me, “Come give me a kiss lue-la-bell!”

My chest tightens, my eyes start to sting…my brain freezes on an image of Sandy again in hospital bed, no longer in a cast but coved head to toe in a white sheet. I shake off the image balling my hands into fists.

“You don’t know what dead is!” I scream down at my clueless freckled face brother. “God you are so dumb! Every. One. Knows. What DEAD IS!”

“Michelle!” My mother scolds “don’t be mean, he just doesn’t understand, come sit down.”

My body takes over…running…up the stairs past my grieving mother…holding on… over the wood porch, the screen door slamming behind me as I race down the hall to my room. Gone.

I land face first into my pillow. I should be crying, but I am not, I should be crying, but I can’t. I just see her face…always smiling, always…always happy to see me. I see the brown paper bag she hands me at my last birthday, a rumpled brown paper bag…her bigger then life smile…a brown paper bag with my birthday gift inside. An etch-a-sketch. I don’t remember any other gifts from my 7th birthday, but I’ll never forget that brown paper bag…that etch-a-sketch…and that smile.

I was too young they said. Too young for Sandy’s funeral service…too young to say goodbye.

“Bunny, you’re my favorite Auntie now,” I informed my Aunt Bunny shortly after that day…the day I was too young for. “But when you die… Auntie Jerri will be my favorite Aunt.”

“Oh, great,” she laughs tossing her cigarette butt into the grass and rubbing her smoky hand in my hair. “Lucky me.”

I guess I just didn’t understand either.


Sand, Sunshine, and Shame

>> Thursday, April 1, 2010

The yielding sand was familiar and warm under my fingers. There are no ant hills like this in Oregon, or none that I’ve ever seen. In Minnesota the ant hills are everywhere. They line the streets, mound up in the cracks of sidewalks. Most the size of softballs, some ant hills, if left undisturbed by weather or children, can grow to the size of soccer balls or bigger.

This ant hill was in front of my bio father, Jon’s house. I’m sitting on the sun heated sidewalk, running my hands around in the sugar fine sand. My fingers draw a smiley face, then a sad face that I turn into a bunny. The summer sun beats down on my bare shoulders as I’m hunched over knees up around my ears, trying to get my mind focused on my art.

My new step-mothers voice drifts down to me from the open apartment window. First the words are indiscernible then more animated, now in shouts, words like “liar, embarrassed, and fucking bastard” sting my ears.

The Bunny becomes a unicorn, my fingers forming the long mane in the light brownish sand. Jon had asked me to wait out side, “we're all going out to dinner”, he had said with a wink and a forced smile, “wait out front we’ll be down in a minute.”

I’d known it would be more then just a minute.
I could tell by the look on Liz’s face.
I could tell by the way…by the way she said, “do you know what your daughter shared with Pam today?” She had spit out the word daughter like it left a bad taste in her mouth.

Liz had taken me to her friend Pam’s house for the day. Pam had a horse, three big dogs and a bunch of little kids. As a 12 year old girl, I was thrilled about the horse and dogs…the kids not so much. I spent most of my day brushing the horse and feeding him apples I’d plucked from a tree. Somewhere in all that tree climbing and horse brushing I had done something terribly wrong, and now Jon was paying for it.

On the drive home from Pam’s magical world of Puppies and Ponies, Liz planted a very small seed of shame in my heart. A seed the size of a single grain of this sand I had played in so many times. So small that by its self the tiny grain was insignificant, but left unnoticed it would grow so big there would be no removing it.

“You know Michelle, Liz said cutting off my chatter about what kind of horse I wanted some day, “some times its good to keep things to yourself.”
“Oh sorry, she’s just so lucky to have one.” I replied.
“Not the horse Michelle, what I mean is…you should not of told Pam that your Dad hit your Mom when they were married.” She continued with a hard disappointed look on her face, her dirt brown hair dancing in the wind. “Some things are private and personal and should not be talked about, that is one of them.”

“What…why…she asked…Pam asked me if he...” I must of look like a real snot saying this,  my eyes rolled up into my head and my mouth tripping over my words, trying to think about what I had said and what the big deal was…I was completely confused.

And what a strange thing to ask someone anyway. I was just trying to hork down my PB & J so I could get back to playing with dogs, even if they did smell really bad.

“So Michelle…” Pam had asked me, flipping open and shut her silver Zippo, open…click… shut…snap, click-snap clicksnap "did your dad ever hit your mom when they had fights, you know…slap her around when he got mad?”

“Sure,” I blurted out between bites. “all the time... when he was drunk and stuff.” I chugged down some milk trying to get the white bread off the roof of my mouth then added, “He would hit me and Shawn too… That’s why my mom divorced him and we had to move to Oregon.”

Click-flick…Pam lit a camel and shot Liz a knowing look, then saying something about Jon having a history of this kind of abuse.

Liz shook her head, taking the glass out of my hand and shooed me back outside, (which I was more then happy to do) while saying a bit about me only being a kid, and what did I know.

In the car Liz finished her lecture on why it’s no ones business, and how Jon is a different man now, that he no longer drinks…Blah. Blah. Blah. The whole time looking straight ahead as we speed along the freeway leavening St Cloud.

Confused, I let my head rest against the car door causing my hair to whip out the open window.  I zoned out at the open vistas of dry grass, dirt, and dairy cows, stretching forever…the dry heat of the hot summer sun beat down making the road far ahead look wet and blury.

Thats something else you never saw in Oregon, vistas.  Where I moved with my mom and brother,  every were you looked your eyes ran into something, Mountain ranges, hills full of trees, and even snow covered volcanos.

I was clueless to what I had done that was so wrong…my mom never made me feel bad or ashamed for the divorce… so why had Liz, my step-mom I’d only meet two days ago, why had she made me feel this way? My Father hit my Mother when I was little…it was just a fact and I didn’t know any different.

The rest of the car ride was silent as I pondered these things, and my hair whipped into knots out the car window. I never saw Pam or her horse again that summer, and I never spoke about my father’s abuse to anyone for a very long time.

My stomach rumbled with hunger as I dug both my hands into the mound of warm sand leaving no trace of the unicorn, wishing I could get my whole body down into that ant hill.  The sun fell lower in the sky sending dozens of mosquitoes to buzzed about me, giving them a chance at a snack on my salty skin.

Jon was yelling back at Liz now, voices jumping out through the open apartment window. As their shouts filled the air around me I closed my eyes, remembering the dirty happy faces of Pam’s kids, the feel of the horse's mane… coarse... dry, and the dusty fishy smell of the dogs. Trying to drown out the voices completely, unaware of the tiny seed worming its way deeper into my young heart.


thank you for reading

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