Plebian Etiquette?

Currently reading:  The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff, The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell, The Tong Wars by Scott D. Seligman and Dracula by Bram Stoker

Weight:  Not a clue.  But I squoozed myself into some hottie mctottie shorts the other day so yay me

Current mood:  Peaceful.  Dad has been moved closer and is settling in beautifully into new facility.  A huge thank you to all involved in this endeavor.  Our world feels a little lighter.

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I have little going on that resembles an exciting life.  My life is more what I would consider utilitarian.  It’s functional and full and rich and wonderful but hardly exotic and exciting.  I work, I cook, I spend time with my family, I read a lot, I talk to my dog.  I go food shopping and shave my legs.  I run when I can and do yoga and I also will hoover a box of Cheez-It’s when emotionally necessary.  Function.  It runs and rules and rocks my world.

The other day I noticed the trailer for the new Netflix comedy special for Iliza Schlesinger (if you haven’t seen her comedy specials – I highly recommend them) in her profile and was trying to find it again after viewing it a couple of days prior.  If you were ever tempted to peruse what social media “suggests” to you as something of interest, don’t fall for it.  I would like to humbly submit the evidence….

No offense to anyone else in the human race that subscribes to acupuncture; I commend you on your outside the box thinking…

But this individual humbly suggests to the rest of us ordinary Joes, us mere mortals, us PLEBS that our life somehow lacks due to inadequate funding and/or time to suck our butt fat out of our bodies into a gold lined bowl of which half should be designated to whip up a low cal ranch dressing for our arugula and moonbeam salad and the other half is allocated to plump our lips via holistic injection that leaves no carbon footprint while writing a cookbook featuring a diamond crusted rack of lamb with a jade egg up our hooha on the seventh day of the seventh month when a Buddhist monk rings a gong in the pitch of b flat whilst draped in designer clothes or caftans or body stockings, whichever is trendier.

It’s exhausting to keep up with the likes of Gwennie.  And I can’t lie; the first thought I had when I saw this picture was the fervent hope that someone may hit the nerve with one of the pin thingies that would make her forget her self importance, but then I read the caption.  I admit that I only know a little about a little and not everything about everything; but I do know pretentiousness when I see it.  Must be the all the books I read…

I don’t want to relate…….stop pretending I dooooooooooooo and that we should bond and braid each other’s hair.  I dislike you as much as I dislike opening my AmEx bill.

I’m gonna go work on a cookbook now…

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I’m a Rebel

A maniac

A loose cannon

A rogue

A rule breaker

I throw caution to the wind

I sneer in the face of convention

I buy two kinds of fruit that have a five minute window of ripeness before they rot completely and all you’re left with is a sweet smelling pile of mush.

In one day

A rebel I say….

Flying the Coop

Currently reading:  The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, Potsdam:  The End of the World by Michael S. Neiberg, Mozart’s Wife by Juliet Waldron, and re-reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Current Weight:  164

Current Mood:  Stressed / Hopeful / Debating if I want to be an adult

Finally, for the first time since April, they have stabilized my father.  I know that doesn’t sound like an inordinate amount of time, but when your family is receiving call after call after call demanding action on a situation we have no control over; trust me, it’s a long damn time.  This has involved multiple hospital visits, arguments with health care professionals who may know more than me in a medical sense, but sorry I pull rank in terms of medical history and knowing the patient.

We have begun what I have started referring to as the Dementia Dating Game which involves various facilities coming to interview him to see if he’s a good match.  That’s fair.   I screened my husband in a similar way…

matchmaker

Does it work?  Does it mesh?  Does it fit?  Does it ripple the water in the most minimal way and if it does ripple the water, is the pattern at least a pretty one?

My job at this point is to be the safety net and sometimes kick in the head to my mother.  She had a meltdown last week about some dimwit who in the big scheme of things, should mean nothing.  This person has been a perpetual thorn in the side; a naysaying, one upping, decades of judgment, straight outta Nagville – queen of petty.  Yet somehow, someway, my mother is upset because after 50 plus years she realized this person doesn’t care.

Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

ORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, this is complete misdirection and what my mother is really upset about is the fact that her anniversary is around the corner and her husband is there but still M.I.A.  Let the rational me ponder on this for a minute and see which one wins out.

So in a nice, kind, gentle and loving way punctuated with a couple of F bombs and a jab or two about said queen of petty…I made my point and my mother made her silent but undeniable stand.  She’s had enough.

There are times in life that we are handed toxicity.  We all know that the news is fraught with it – except you Thailand – well done.  Even if said toxicity is served up in a pretty etched margarita glass with a tricked out, colorful paper umbrella peeking jauntily up from the drain cleaner cocktail that was handed to us, it doesn’t mean we need to drink it.  Sometimes said cocktail is handed to us by a stranger, sometimes it’s a friend, and sometimes worst of all – it’s family.  Dealing with family crises is hard enough without embracing the sheer idiocy of the clueless lot of rare individuals that need to insert themselves in a given story or a feeling or a life that has nothing to do with them or worse – they somehow make your moments of weakness a bitchy commentary like something out of TMZ.

My mother comes from a generation which thrived on guilt.  She’s not quite a baby boomer but qualifies to be their older sister.  Her mother was instilled with a sense of guilt and doom and gloom and a feeling of wrong doing that permeates the very air she breathes by her own mother.  In her own way, she tried to hand that down to me, not out of cruelty but out of a sense of this is what mother’s do.  My generation was coming up in the time of post war, post hippy, semi-Watergate, post blind faith in government.  We watched the news about Gloria Steinem and women going to work and the morphing of free love as what was interpreted as a morally void movement to the actual empowerment of women having the same choices as men in whichever path they wish to take.  I accepted much less of the guilt that my mother’s generation did.  And to keep this lunatic familial line going, in my own way, I guilted my daughter a time or two as she came up in age of Clinton-gate and impeachment hearings and Britney Spears working her good old good old stuff in a school hallway while looking like a little Lolita.  Again, there was a difference in translation in actions for her generation as we saw the rise of marketable and profitable women.  Powerful women.  J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, Indra Nooyi, The Spice Girls, Mae Jemison, Madeline Albright, Janet Reno, Hilary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg who all in their own ways showed strength, power, resilience, and grit.  My daughter’s generation (the Millenials) level of clarity was so much more than mine and more jaded than mine and she effectively bought into it that time honored maternal tradition of GUILTING even less than I did.  But ohhhhhhhhhh doubt, it’s in our DNA.  We speak guilt fluently.  And while I was systematically breaking this revelation down to her while on the phone – I sensed the inaudible click in my mother’s thinking that noted that she, for the first time, decided that she simply didn’t need to take this crap anymore.  We have issues going on that don’t require input whether passively or actively.  Or passive aggressively.  Or passively flaunting or whatever the hell the agenda of nastiness is these days.

In life I tend to be rather solitary in problem solving.  I believe that you knuckle down and do what needs to be done.   I also don’t invest a lot of time in blame.  If you did something own it.  If you didn’t, open your mouth and defend yourself, but for the love of chocolate and Harry Kane’s kickin’ foot – stop blaming everybody else.   I’m old school – I know.

I believe in dealing with your own and letting others deal with theirs.  I’ve seen enough to know that I can’t change anyone’s mind, only my own.  I’ve had enough of toxicity this year.

Come hell or high water, my father will be moved.  I could waste my time worrying about the fluff that doesn’t matter, or I could be his champion and advocate.  I could choose to look forward and not back.

I don’t really think it’s much of a choice.  I don’t doubt what I will do.  I don’t feel guilty about defending myself or my family.  I don’t choose to continue sipping toxicity.  And while I don’t always enjoy these choices, because they bear the weight of family loss and struggle; they are the choices I have made and will only alter if needed.

Matchmaker, matchmaker…make me a match….just don’t give me a guilt trip.

PS:  Mom, I know you’re reading this….I love you.  We’ll be alright.

Mommy’s at Work and I Hacked Her Blog

Hi, I’m a dog.  My name is Ladybug.  I like chicken and sniffing butts.

I just feel like I should put that right out there so we get off on the right paw.  You guys should know…..my mom…

She’s a real pain in the, wait, what was that?  Did you hear that?

Never mind, that was just Amazon….again….and nothing for me…..whatever…..

Daddy came home really early this morning from a trip to Caleebornya?  I think?  I don’t remember.  I heard Mommy tell the small hoooman that last night and she said he was gonna fly.  I’ve never seen Daddy fly, except for that one time Mommy freaked about the big red bag that he uses when he goes away sitting in the kitchen for three days, well that’s what she said anyway.  “Three flocking days”  Does that sound right?  He really ran fast that day.  So he was in Caleebornya and he said it was warm and brown and I was like, “Daddy you know what else is warm and brown?  Let’s go for a walk!  Now, right now, now.  I don’t care about a red eye!  Your eyes are fine!  The bright glowy thing is up Dad!  Let’s go!  What is 5AM?  I don’t understand.”

So Daddy tried to climb into bed with Mommy?  And she smiled.  She hugged him tight and said she missed him and I’m so mad.  I got right in between them and huffed just to let them know just how ridiculous that hugging and kissing stuff is.  Unless they’re hugging me.  I love that. Until I don’t but when I do, I really do but I don’t but I do…

So Daddy didn’t even take me for a walk.  He went to sleep.  You believe that?  He went to sleep.  Mommy scooted me out the door and went downstairs and said that I have to go with her even though I butted the door with my nose like a seal in the PBS show we watched last weekend.  Mommy said it was a duckuhmenturry.  Mommy doesn’t like TV.  She watches boring history stuff and shows where the women wear poofy, heavy dresses and drink tea and fan themselves.  Daddy says Mommy was born on the wrong comtifent.  I don’t know what that means but I know he’s right because he’s Daddy.  She’s okay, but I like him more.  She likes my puppy dance though and I don’t know how she does it, but when she gets home from work or from running or from the groffery store with lots of bags of food that she won’t let me eat.  I want to try hummus too.  Anyway…she starts singing this song, maybe you know it, Lady Marmalade?  I like marmalade, I think…but I just start dancing and I can’t stop.  She’s singing and I’m dancing and she laughs and starts dancing with me.  Maybe that’s how she gets me to dance.  Anyway, what was I talking about?  Oh, yeah, Mommy is okay but I really love Daddy.  He plays hide and seek with me.  It’s my favorite game, except when he hides in the shower and I can’t find him.

So it was 7:06 and she finally fed me.  My breakfast is a 7AM.  Obviously she doesn’t care. And she was making coffee in that gurgly thing on the counter.  The same counter she won’t let me jump on when I’m trying to reach the cookies.  And how can I possibly walk by that gurgly, burpy thing?  So I would eat a bite and then cower and you know what?  She didn’t even feel bad.  She told me to get over it.  Over what?  I don’t get her.

So I finished my subpar (Mommy uses that word when talking about Daddy’s dusting skills and she always looks like she smelled something bad so it must mean something icky) breakfast (she didn’t even put Cheerios in there or cheese or chicken – honestly – I don’t know why I ever kiss her or do that stupid puppy dance.)

Anyway, I have to nap now.  Don’t tell Mommy that I figured out her password and bought a new princess bed with a canopy on Chewy.com.  Daddy finally got up and took me for a walk and I pooped and sniffed my friend Sadie’s butt to make sure she’s feeling okay and chased my fluff duck that squeaks and I barked at that Amazon guy and scared him and I’m just exhausted now.

In Teh Muh See

I do weird things.

Like I’ll turn my head while my dog poops because I believe she deserves her privacy.  This privacy rule, however, does not apply when it comes to barging in on my husband while he’s in the shower which I believe is his penance for leaving his socks on the floor….RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE HAMPER.  In some terms, this is absolute intimacy.  He’s utterly vulnerable and naked and I’m all jacked up over a shirt.  Weird, n’est-ce pas?

So what does intimacy mean?  Is it always physical?  Or is it that deep seeded comfort of being together and knowing the literal good bad and ugly?  The other night my husband got home from a long fishing trip.  I know, très demanding life has he.  He was snoring so loudly that he woke me up from a dead sleep and a dream about calorie-less ice cream and something to do with Channing Tatum’s tush.   I flopped over on the bed trying to see him in the darkness and weighed out the likelihood of jail time if…

smother

But then I decided that I don’t like institutional food and would look like a stretched Oompa Loompa in an orange jumpsuit and rolled back over to mutter indecent and inappropriate things about his lineage in true passive aggressive splendor.

This is wedded bliss.  My daughter gets all pissy regarding the nights we sleep apart.  It’s not a matter of loving him or not loving him.  He’s what keeps me sane in some pretty tricky situations.  He challenges me and keeps me honest and pops my balloon when necessary and also inflates it when necessary.  But I need sleep, so there are nights when he is banished.   He travels for business quite often and on the nights he’s gone I sleep sprawled out in the most unladylike fashion, smack dab in the middle of the bed.  His work schedule is a blessing for both of us.  I get my much needed solitude and he gets a break from my….

But my daughter gets all lofty and snippy about how she can’t wait to sleep regularly next to her beau hunk man.  And unicorns will only eat flowers from their yard before skipping off into the sunset to issue forth rainbow colored sparkle farts and every fight will end in him whipping flowers out from behind the couch and Hallmark cards will be written about their love and did I mention the unicorns and…

I have a never ceasing case of the dafuqs on some notions that people have about experiences they’ve never had.  It’s like a man telling me what labor feels like or breast feeding or menstruation or dealing with societal misogyny.   That would be like me telling someone who has lost their spouse in 9/11 that I understand completely and somehow relate because of my divorce from years ago.  It’s like a death notice being delivered via singing telegram…some things are best left unsaid or unsung.

So here young ones, here’s my advice to you as you go forth into the world of IN TEH MUH SEE.  When you are married, you don’t get to go back home to your respective corners to cool off after or during a fight.  You have to stay and work it out which is infinitely harder than running away. When you are married, you have to choose that person over and over and over again even when you doubt your choice in them and you surely see their doubt in you. When you are married he or she will see sides of you that are utterly awful as you wade through the pressures of life.  When you are married, you often times have to keep things in your head because even when they are said flippantly, they can cause wounds that fester.  When you are married, remember that sometimes (oftentimes) being fair is more important than being right. When you are married, you must remember that what you tell your family and friends…sticks.  That is what they will remember, so be very judicious when telling the rough stuff.  When you are married, that person is all.  They are your conscience, your nemesis, your cheerleader, your everything and they love you through the good and the bad.  When you are married, the beginning and end of you meets the beginning and end of them; only the two of you know where that is and why it works.  When you are married, you don’t always see the many ways that they are loving you, but if you’re lucky at times it washes over you when you get out of your own damn way and take a good long look at them and realize that they loved you when you wouldn’t have loved you.  And one day, you will look across the room at your spouse and they will hear everything you didn’t say and you will truly understand IN TEH MUH SEE. It’s not about sex.  Sex helps to be sure, but that is not what intimacy is.  It’s so far from carnal it’s not even funny.  It’s an understanding and a trust level and the knowledge that whenever you jump, the hand you’ll be holding onto is theirs.  Whether that hand is them jumping with you because they need to be on the same adventure you are or them grasping your hand and struggling to pull you up from the proverbial cliff and from certain disaster depends on the situation, but make no mistake – it’s a knowledge as deep and vast as the ocean and that’s where you really see the fireworks.

My husband is full of concerns for the upcoming lessons Mei Mei faces in moving out of our nest and into her own.  The other day he worried and pondered and pondered and worried and he followed me around our kitchen as I made dinner.  I simply reminded him that my guess was that his mother and my mother probably had the same concerns.  “Our job”, I told him, “is to kick them back into play and let them fix what they break.  Our job is not to fix it for them.”  He stopped and looked at me like I suggested feeding Mei Mei to a hungry bear.

We live in a world where everyone feels entitled to have equal access to everyone else’s feelings.  It seems that instant validation and agreement are equated to acceptance and popularity.  I disagree.  My feelings are mine and my stories are mine and my experiences are mine and my lessons are mine and I can’t teach anyone else what they are because

They

Are

Mine

And having said that, the lessons that face my daughter are hers.  All I can do is allow her the dignity and luxury of living her life without interference from me.  I don’t have to validate her every move or decision.  Nor do I have to like them.  I’ve done my job.  I’ve given her the best foundation I was capable of giving.  And dare I say…I must have done it right because she’s flying the coop.  I will miss her but this is the way it was intended to be and the way it should be.

Fly little girl…..fly.

The line continues through you. I’ve watched your grandfather carry on through me. His legend and legacy continue as long as we hold onto the values our family has held dear for generations. Love your family above all. Be honest, work hard, love freely -don’t hold a trace of it back because in the end that’s what people will remember you for. Be kind. Be sincere. Love God. Love yourself. Don’t be afraid to fail – it teaches you humility and humanity. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it takes you on a new path to learn from. Admit when you’re wrong and don’t gloat when you’re right. Have more faith than fear. Laugh more than cry and when you cry make sure the tears are genuine. And lastly make sure your hands are the ones that lift people up, and not the ones that smack people down.

Fly baby girl, fly.

When You Feel the Air

Currently reading:  Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel / The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd / Forever by Pete Hamill which one day I may finish….

Weight:  IDGAF

Current Mood:  I used to be funny.  That’s my current mood.

Current Temperature:  Approximately the temp of Satan’s thong during a spin class

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It’s utterly oppressive outside.  I can feel the humidity cling to me like wet, muffling spider webs as I walk around my tiny garden, obsessively checking the progress morning and night; willing it to grow and show me something tangible.  This palpable heat, this heaviness, is apropos and so is my single minded drive of growing a garden.  On some level I realize that this stems from the need to bring life forth and nurture it; but it also stems from the need to take control of something…anything.  If these plants grow, I can take solace in their beauty and the success of a joint diversion and accomplishment.  If these plants wither, it’s because I did or did not do something.  I didn’t fertilize or water or watered too much or planted them in the wrong place with too much or too little sun; but control.  I can assume the blame or credit as is fitting.

My daughter is in the process of buying a house with her fiancée.  I will have an empty nest shortly and will have to fill my time that is currently occupied by Wee Baby Child and Mei Mei.  I will have to rediscover….me.  In some ways, though I relish the opportunity, it’s a scary thought.  Who am I if not…

Wee Baby Child’s grandmother?

Mei Mei’s mother?

My dog’s sorry ass substitute for my husband?  She’s a one hooooman kind of dog.

Magilla’s wife?

My parent’s child?

My cousins’ daily source for eye rolls?

It’s amazing how much my identity is invested in the health and joy and well being of these individuals.  I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world, but it’s the first time in a long time that I will have the opportunity to live a life for me on my terms.  My husband and I are just fine, thankyouverymuch, but he has never been one to tell me what to do.  Nor do I tell him.  We are incredibly independent and singular people and have struck the magical balance of togetherness….autonomously.  I’ve always been the kind of person that can only handle so much togetherness before I start to gnaw at the restraints.  I need and covet my alone time, mostly because I’ve always lived on some level of organized chaos.  I seek some level of solitude on a daily basis.  Well…I’m about to get it aren’t I?

On Sunday, I posted a picture on Facebook of me with my Dad.  It reminded me of happier days, of easier days when I didn’t have to watch him struggle.  Do you see that smile of his?  That smile told me every day that no matter what this life threw at me, I’d have the strength and humor to bull through.  His humor and that smile were amongst his gifts to me.

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A young Mrs. Magilla on her way to a prom

I also took the opportunity on Sunday to go see my Dad.  Without betraying his right to privacy, I’ll let it suffice to say that he is in a place which is for his own protection and those around him.  He is violent now – physically and verbally and they are desperately trying to find the magic combination of medication and therapy that works.  He didn’t know me.  Do you want to know the definition of irony?  I wished my father a happy father’s day and he didn’t know me.  It seemed to me, that if I had to take a guess at it, he was in his twenties in his mind.  I, literally, wasn’t a glimmer in his eye yet.  I struggled to converse with him, desperately trying to find something, anything that could keep a conversation going.  We mentioned family and friends to no avail.  We spoke about the weather.  I made shit up just to keep the conversation going in a positive direction.  It’s a two hour drive one way to see him because he’s in a highly specialized facility to help him get through this violence.  A part of me was performing some quantitative exercise to figure out how to extend the time with him.  If we drove four hours round trip and he’s only capable of a half hour visit, can we drive around again for an hour and come back to get another decent half hour visit?  These are the kind of mental calisthenics we went through.  My mother was diving through the decades as well and we both realized that any control or authority we may have once wielded is effectively mute.  His hands started twitching restlessly, one chasing the other in a display of burgeoning agitation.  I watched it growing in him as he wrung his hands and then tapped them rhythmically – all fingers tapping at once with a gradual intensity.  Finally I saw him drumming his fingers over and over and over a gesture I remember from my youth which inevitably meant I was getting a lecture about whichever transgression I had committed that day.  It was a measure of control he used to keep focus on the task at hand of disciplining his once again (and again and again) wayward daughter.  It prevented him from saying things like, “Well, if you weren’t such a stubborn _____”, because he knew how much words matter and how much they can either wound or heal depending on how they were used.  He always tried to use his wisely and they were always memorable.  My dad knew how to turn a phrase.

The picture below is from his last diagnosis in February 2017; in addition to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, he was also diagnosed with Lewy Body.  The doctor who was evaluating him and asked him to draw a house.  Then the doctor instructed him to write down the instruction just given in it’s grammatical entirety.  Then the doctor asked him to write down what was on his mind.  He had labored to accomplish the first two lines, but when the final instruction was given, he looked down at his hand which started to slacken.   When he looked up again, he looked right at me and right through me with that famous smile and wrote the last line.

Dad note

I realized then and there, that as gentle as my father is/was; he has the heart of a lion and the soul of Henny Youngman.  One day, it may be my turn to stand where he is now.  I’ve got a 50/50 chance that my loved ones will battle this unseen force and debilitation.  In keeping with the lion’s heart, I will probably face it roaring.  Maybe that’s what Dad is lashing out at with what little rationality he has left.   And while I am filled with sorrow at this loss of gentility, I will rage on with him if this is the last vestige of his ability to fight.  I started this wondering, who am I if not….

I am the lion’s daughter.  Which makes me a lioness.  With an attitude.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Rock the hell on, Dad.