Complaining 101


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Not cool WordPress …so not not cool. Five minutes ago I had this angry AF post detailing all the bullshit and negativity currently occupying space in my entire being and then a message from WordPress telling me the draft failed to the process of trying to copy and paste ..and POOF all my pessimistic bitching vanished. Let’s face it a little glitch never stopped me from bitching before and it’s not going to stop me now ..I ‘m just pissed I can’t remember what I was a doozie…at least I think it was.

So let me insert a little disclaimer here in case anyone reading this (oh I do crack myself up some days)  is butt hurt or offended because I am annoyed and over sharing with the cope your way and I will cope mine..and YES I have a therapist ..ANYWHO ..I am well aware that I am not woke..that my bitching is nothing more than entitled, first world issues that will not bring about world peace or a cure for cancer .but sometimes a girl just has to take the lid off the pot and let the bullshit steam fly.  So here goes nothing…

Did I mention I just got home from an epic adventure to Italy and France? Well..truth is I needed an excuse to run away from life for just a little while and what better places to get lost than Italy and France?? One of my awesome kids also happened to be doing a summer semester in Florence ..the rest is history because there was no way that kid as much as I love and adore them was going to Italy and I was staying home. And yeah if you can do it GO to Italy ..the food..the wine ..the sexy accents ..the beaches ..oh and in case you are wondering they have these AMAZEBALLS historical sites and architecture that will make you think why don’t we build stuff like this..I was in Venice in a hotel that was built in the 1600s by Italian /Ventian standards and the thing is still standing ..I know people who built houses 10 years ago and the damn things are falling apart…just a quick word of advice don’t be vain like I can be and wear Spanx to the airport..especially one with a full body scanner or else risk being molested by a pissed off TSA agent in front of hundreds of travelers..true story…did I get off track?

By the way before I go farther with this…I GET how snotty and entitled this post is ..I understand that not everyone is so blessed to find themselves able to not only run away from their life for a little while  but also to a place like Italy..However… if you knew me, you would know that once upon a time I dreamed that hopefully one day I would be able to make it to New York City from Boston or maybe past  the East Coast of The US, Italy was a place we studied in a book not a place I knew I could see or travel to ..never once did I imagine hard work and sacrifice paid off to this degree..I am blessed and I know it.

So back to my rant…You can only escape life for so long before reality comes knocking on the door…waiting for me when I arrived home were the same concerns about one of my children, the same question marks regarding my health and the same disappointments lingering for how long I don’t know and the same people who irritate the living daylights out of me and I am working on dealing with..I do try but I have recently been on prednisone and that shit makes me one angry individual and EVERYTHING is a problem or the existing problem is really exacerbated  ..I want to think I have this post vacation hangover that continues persisting and the root of this rawness is jet lag..but yeah NO.  In another thought it is quite possible I am just bitter over the fact my adventure ended and I came home to my life…or it could just be I am an asshole. (psst I am an asshole)

I have a laundry list of things offending my general sense of happiness at the moment..some are beyond trivial and petty..others ..well others involve injustices I can not control. Shall I lay out a few? I don’t expect anyone to actually read this post so I will start with the most trivial and over share in leaps and bounds..

Raise your hand if you see that person on social media whose comments and posts have to ability to simultaneously annoy the living crap out of you and amuse you in a rather demented way…just me? So here’s the thing of my relatives has an ex who seems incapable of realizing the divorce happened in the 8-10 years ago time frame. Now I can get mourning the loss of relationships but eventually is time to move on. These 2 did not have kids of their own ..however 1 came to the relationship with children (and how they got custody was probably more of a lesser of 2 evils situation) and the other developed a bond with the kids and that I will not fault them for..the rest of the situation is one of those that you file under shit I can’t make a most recent comment on a facebook post regarding a possible family reunion ..”I am no longer a (insert last name) by marriage but I am still a (insert last name) in my heart” honey it is time to move on..move out and let it go. This person is a stage 5 clinger dawned on me tonight ..hence the update to this post ..that the lyrics to Drake’s “In My Feelings” describe this person’s  comments on just about every FB post my relatives make …”Kiki do you love me …are we riding? Say you’ll never leave from beside me…Cause I want ya and I need ya and I ‘m down for you always”…this mixed in with their constantly reminding people that they are friends, that they have a relationship with people..that they love them and the stupid fucking emojis at the end..are we 13?  Oh and the need to point out how much they meant to their ex  mother in law (my aunt by the way)’s all about centering the attention on them (and seriously I can pass on the names of a few good therapists) Oh This was a good one…They actually got into a pissing match with the current spouse of their ex when my aunt passed away..on the online guest/condolence book who does that?? It was both comical and horrifying (although I admit I took a page from their book and wrote and anonymous message on my father’s online obituary page and outed his affair with my mother and how he abandoned me..but it was like 8 years after he died..and I did it out of spite) I hope their relationship with my aunt improved over the years..because  my aunt and I used to talk occasionally  before we stopped liking each other and my aunt would tell me just to ignore this person because they were the most annoying and needy person in the house…  I will not fault them for being angry with their ex..but the truth is they brought another person into their home to stay and my relative is not shall we say the most emotionally stable person..and well take a gander at what caused the break up??? Sucks ..and yeah they did not deserve to be cheated on but then again in addition to being a cling -on this person is not the crunchiest chip in the bag. However what bugs me the most lately..they seem to think that they won the family in the divorce ..a clue there family is really not the prize at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box..oh I am full of cliches tonight..I feel like Seth Meyers doing Ya Burnt…Needy ex spouses who can’t accept they don’t belong in the family anymore ..move on YA BURNT

Let’s move on shall we? This same family that humors the cling on ..has a few more secrets lurking in the hole a super secret relative who tested on ancestry DNA ..DNA DOES NOT LIE ..anywho these people seem to know already about the existence of said relative and refuse to have anything to do with them..supposedly they need permission from the absentee parent to actually make contact with this person ..yeah no you do not…IF it is completely acceptable to keep the above mentioned cling on in their lives..allow the children who belong to absentee parent’s sister in law to call them cousin/auntie/nana and yet their own cousin/niece/nephew/grandchild grew up 3 freaking streets away from us in the same freaking neighborhood and no one had anything to do with them (and give presents etc to non relatives who called them nana etc)  and still refuse to have anything to do with them..well I hate to inform you people that you all need to be ashamed of yourselves ..that was a total dick move collectively..By the way  this person is rather well adjusted and doing just fine without you …but like me they know what it feels like to feel the bitter rejection from their family (thank you to my dad and now my sister for that ongoing reason to stay in therapy) and ket me ask this.. why am I the only one who reached to this person?Why am I the one who was willing to go visit them and meet their AWESOME family? It really should not be me ..but you know what people in the end I win because this person and I connected from moment one and I don’t care who their mother/father is I just know they are my know like really my family ..and we bonded over more than just our common circumstances ..I look forward to a lifetime of them in mine and my family’s lives …and you should too because this person IS your family

And finally …the last one I am going to stop over sharing because I realize I would be a Toal passive/aggressive cow for sharing that story ..but the last person I hope they know that they are someone I totally love and cherish and at the same time they are really under my skin at the moment and I want to scream cut the fucking shit but I won’t..stop the fucking games  ..even my therapist is like yeah that is some fucked up shit I know it is not just me but still I will stop before this becomes a total rant

I am going to end this on a more positive note has been a fun weekend ..Friday night the hubs and I met up with an old friend and their spouse for drinks and apps..I even scored some coveted concert tickets in the process …last night we saw other friends for dinner and got to have my nana’s lemon squares..and today we went to a Christening and yeah I got to hold the babies ..we have a busy week ahead and I am kind of hoping we get to see one of my favorite little people for an adventure in the next couple of days ..oh and I am living vicariously through vacation photos of one of my dearest friends and her sisters (who are also my friends) and watching another good friend accomplish an amazing feat while raising money for cancer research..and today I got a Yeti..I put ice in it on this 90 degree evening and it is still in friends will know what I am talking about… know I am surrounded in love and sunshine but those negatives do need to escape

ok end rant and damn this was a long one

Another Date on the Calendar


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I am having one of those moments when in my head I know exactly what I want to say, however when it comes to actually transcribing from thought to “paper” ..the words are for lack of a better cliche ..lost in translation. I hate that feeling when I know I have to say something ..anything and the words that come out of my mouth or my fingers sound nothing like the perfectly (IMHO) constructed sentences composed in my head ..this is one of those moments ..So here goes nothing…

Time undoubtedly marches forward at a pace we cannot control ..days come and go with a marked predictability and a fair warning of what lies ahead for anniversaries or dates with a significant meaning to us. Madeline’s birthday is today..if she lived, there would be 81 candles on her cake and a life map I could look at and determine what alternate routes I need to take and/or avoid. We never got there..49 was the last birthday she saw. Madeline’s forty ninth birthday I vaguely remember ..I was busy being 16..I was busy thinking about the upcoming prom I was attending, about my biology project that was due sooner vs later, about the vital nonsense in my teenaged life ..including why my ex boyfriend was still flirting with me when he left me for that other girl , the one who he was head over heels in lust with, who he met at a party the night before I left for a school trip ..(just a side note ..that ex boyfriend is now my husband..he had to get that train wreck out of his system before dealing with this one)  This was important shit in the life of a sixteen year old girl.  I did not want to think about the fact that we were no longer living on our own..our apartment was vacated, we were living with family that were dealing with their own perspective on losing a loved one..the baby sister of the family and took over and shut me out, expecting me to fall in line and act as if all was well. The whole situation was a recipe for disaster..and eventually it just festered and bubbled up until our relationship collapsed and never really recovered.

I look back at those day  and what goes through my mind is I knew the end of Madeline’s life was close but I was trying to avoid it at all costs..which is something pretty typical for a teen.  To admit your mother..your only parent is going to die and you are not exactly sad are definitely angry ..and you are totally powerless is something way above the pay scale of the average teen …but to be in that place and with people who don’t know how to process their own feelings all I can say is UGH.

Fast forward to 2018 and I am moping around like this came at me out the blue..I hate to break it to myself but the writing was on the wall, written in the sky and showing up in the foggy mirror after a shower.Truth is there was warning..I have known these dates for YEARS. Each passing day chipped away at the amount of time I had to deal with them  like a slow drip in a faucet. The dates and their significance were easy to ignore when there were awesome distractions such as work and babies, then toddlers and at some point a full blown schedule of school, activities, jobs and life ..eventually all that slowed down..1 child got her license and then went off to college..and the rest have followed suit..I was not needed  as much and everything I ignored came bubbling to the has a funny way of doing that to us…catching us off guard and surprising us by what has been in our faces all along. Then …well then I got sick and the world really came to a slow pause forcing me to face the grief at last.

I realize Today I am 37 days past turning 49 … and feel as though I am truly on the road with no guidance…and yet I have to navigate all these dates that are clumped together in a relatively short amount of time…today is the second of 4 that will wrap up on July 15. Today I am once again  gobsmacked by a multitude of feelings..I feel angry, sad, overwhelmed and nostalgic for what never was and should have been.

The past few moths have felt like getting on the Amtrak in Boston thinking I had a ticket on the Acela Express and realizing I am on the Northeast Regional to has been slow moving at times, fast at others, pulling in to every station just long enough to ask myself how many more times do we have to do this? There are 2 dates to get through ..June 10 when I am 59 days past my forty ninth birthday (that makes me +1 day past how long Madeline lived) and July 15 ..the anniversary of the day she died ..I can get through this. I am already.



Deep Breaths


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Deep Breath…my birthday is exactly 28 days away. In 4 weeks I turn 49 and yeah SH** just got real for me. I started this post hours ago ..I do not really need to write it ..but then again I kind of do..time is marching forward and there is nothing I can do to slow its progress or halt that day from coming. The clock keeps ticking and nothing is making much sense. All I can do is breathe and lean in to what is coming.

I keep trying to analyze what exactly all of this means . I have come to the conclusions that On the surface, it is just another birthday is just a date on the calendar that passes once every 365 days, special to me and the others who share this date as their birthday or anniversary but nothing special to the universe. Including the day I was born I have had 49  birthdays .but deep down  I am aware this one is different. This year I am 49 ..I am the same age my mother turned not long before she died. This age, this date has loomed over my head for almost 33 years since I was 16.  When I was 16 ..49 was old..49 was a long time away..49 was abstract.  49 is now 28 days away and I am not ready.

I want to go back 10 years..I want to go back and appreciate the little things .. I want to go back 32 years and I want to take a picture of my mother so I can remember what she looks like before the chemotherapy took away her hair and made her scent change to this rancid chemical smell I can’t forget.  I want to go back and  record her voice so I remember what it sounds like..I want her to take a good look and remember me, I want to hope that she took me with her. I am in the real of what happened ..I don’t know where it goes from here. I want my children to have a tangible record of their grandmother vs her being this abstract person like an undeveloped character in a book they know well but don;t really relate to at all. I want them to understand where they come from..I want to understand where I come from. I know precious few things about who my mother was other than the superficial nuggets I was privy to ..I was her daughter and she shut me out even at the end. I am not sure if she loved me more than anyone else in her life ..I never had the chance to ask her ..when she received her diagnosis I barely had time to catch my breath and understand what was happening and then she was gone..and I was alone.

I have no idea of what aging looks like on the other side of 49. I don’t have that model for what life looks like going forward..when my hair will turn gray or white (it already has started but unlike my mother I am fighting it with every weapon in my arsenal) I don’t know what illnesses or joys are ahead..This birthday..this year is complicated ..the reality is overwhelming. I am realizing all I have missed having been on my own for 32 ..almost 33 years … my wedding dress was something chosen all on my own, my wedding day when a familiar stranger walked me down the aisle babies born and no one to ask was I like this? What do I do? I figured it out on my own and I am not sure IF my mother were alive things would have been different…I just know all of that was taken from me..

My birthday is 4 weeks far as I know I am rather different than my mother ..but I will keep breathing deep until June 10..and I will hold my breath until July 15 ..this is a tough year ..but I am a tough girl and I will get through this ..but I am going to admit right now …I miss my mom



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Normally I do not recall my dreams,  I know I have them, but the details rarely seem to matter or stay with me long after I rise and shine. There are exceptions to the rule.  I can recall having vivid dreams where I am with loved ones who have long since passed away and trying not to wake up so I have just a minute more with them and  worse yet.. waking up feeling haunted and perplexed as to what that all meant. I am not sure if I truly believe that there is much meaning hidden in our dreams, but that does not stop me from trying to make something out of it (kind of like this post) ..however once again I am perplexed by a dreamy episode experience. In the wee hours of last night into this morning I had a dream about my sister Kate. The details of my dream are more fuzzy than not but what I remember was we were having a conversation. You know the polite, rather sterile type of  conversation people have when one participant feels uncomfortable around the other or feels forced to share a space with someone who makes your skin crawl. It’s possible thanks to her loving rejections I am projecting how she feels even in my dreams..who knows. I won;t say who cares ..because obviously I do to sit here and write this post.


A little about this dreamy  drama…What I recall  is I was in her allow me to assure you I have absolutely no idea what the inside of my sister’s house looks like (or what her voice sounds like for that matter)  but this was a dream and so maybe the kitchen was the place I needed to be since we all consider it the proverbial heart of the home, the place where people typically gather. A little side note..this may be a learned behavior on my part because  my aunt H used to contain visits from my mother and her other sisters to her kitchen when the aunts visited H’s home .. any way…the kitchen is a safe zone and I am wondering if  the kitchen symbolically represented my need to be in a safe place when it comes to my sister. In my dream, Kate’s kitchen was not modern and looked like it was a mash up of the kitchens of everyone I ever knew growing up had (you know wood looking cabinets, formica counter tops, and a bright linoleum floor, white appliances)  . The feeling I got was I was not exactly welcome  but was being obliged grudgingly (sort of like the visits my mother and aunts made to my auntie’s house)  SO  there I was in a place that is very strange and oddly familiar straining to talk to someone I don’t know but is related to me… At some point she was no longer there with me.  I stood there cleaning, redecorating and putting my stamp on her space and trying not to let her know I was still there, feeling like I overstayed my welcome and not wanting to leave all at the same time. So much of this experience is obscure but the last thing I recall is picking up paint cans (but was not painting lol), pulling off tarps and hiding the evidence of my intrusion by stuffing trash cans while a voice said “she is going to be pissed” . I woke up feeling haunted and unsettled.

Facebook has a strange way of having random people (at last I think it is random) show up as suggested friends sister showed up recently. FB probably knows I stalked her before or  maybe she looked at my profile..we are both pretty locked down and all one can see is our profile and cover pictures that we post and are public. I clicked her name and she posted a new profile picture . We both wear glasses..something not unheard of since we are both well over 40 (she is well over 50) but damn it we wear almost identical frames..that is actually kind of freaky to me. I could not resist and I read the comments left by friends of hers and a family member of ours ..a cousin I do not know…one comment was left that is public and the person  said Kate’s eyes look sad..the picture was taken/posted just before our dad’s 8th anniversary. UGH in that moment I realized another freaky coincidence..

My father died January 30, 2010. I never knew him so I do not mourn him per se ..I mourn all the things he was and was not to me. What I realized this year..and I don;t know why I did not put this together sooner…my mother in law J also died on January 30 ..19 years before my father did..but if you think oh what a sad coincidence well hold my teacup mother died July 15 1986 ..what does that have to do with the topic at hand? Well let me explain because 27 years later on July 15 2013 my beloved UJ passed away. The mother and father influences in my life all passed away on the same day as one another ..ok my brain was working overtime on that thought process (have I mentioned before that i am about to turn 49 ..the same age my mother was when she died and hence I am losing my damn mind this year???)

It is no wonder I am dreaming about kate..I saw her new picture thanks to Facebook..every single time I see something like this I am reminded there is a living, breathing sibling of mine I am not allowed to know (her choice) that we have weird connections ,that we are tied together by a man who was beloved for his brilliance, charm, wit and complexity. A very flawed man whom I believe harbored some personal demons and lived in a time where society allowed men to be men with limited consequences. It is also no wonder that reading comments on her picture once again awakens the feelings of I am tired of being in the shadows..of being cast aside. I need to celebrate that I share some of my father’s quirks like loving word games (boggle was mentioned in a story a person shared on his Obit..I love Boggle) and knowing the meaning of obscure words ..he loved the NYT crossword and it seems i share his I can do that attitude (except it seems he was for more confident than I and followed through more than I allow myself to)

I woke up on January 30 and my heart was heavy realizing J left us 27 years ago, her son, my husband was at the time 23, our daughter C turned 4 weeks old 2 days before J left us. I mourn her loss for my children and my husband, for her granddaughter J, for her sister, for her nieces and nephews and for myself. J deserved time with her grandchildren..her grandchildren deserved time with J. …I went to bed on February 1 and realized I forgot about my father on that same day and I did not know how I was supposed to feel..and then I saw Kate’s picture and I realize she is still mourning the father she knew ..and I mourn the ghost father I never knew..the father I deserved to know. Oh Sister dear my heart breaks for you on so many levels ..

A Few “Fun Facts”


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According to my WordPress stats I created and published exactly 43 posts on this little site since I started oversharing my life in 2010… for about 5 people to see. In the beginning blogging was a way to cope with some life stressors like a special needs child (I have a different site dedicated to that..that I completely abandoned) and the bitter consequences of dealing with some members of my family as well as being an adult daughter with 2 dead parents who had their own set of issues . Writing was and is cathartic  so I never possessed  grandiose aspirations of my site going viral or anyone caring enough to read what I say..hence why my grammar and writing style are rather lacking. So even with the bar set low for expectations I admit  it is fun to take a peek after I publish and see if anyone actually likes a post or to see if anyone reads it and where they are from here are a few fun stats:

Since January 2010 , I published 43 posts, ( probably wrote and did not finish 143 in all sincerity ) … as a result of hitting the publish button,  my site has been viewed 2562 times ..and that was by me alone…there have been 1725 visits to my site, and I would like to thank each and every one of you for stopping by , you know who you are so I won’t thank you all by name right now. Another fun fact, my best view ever was on April 21, 2016 for a post I titled “Just Another Day”  . In 2017, I published  13 posts for a total of 18,152 words..What can I  say?  I am a bit long winded. Frankly I could sit here and type something like “I never knew I had so much to say”..but let’s face it that is total bullshit. I have a lot to say …the thing is I keep it all in my head and rarely let it rip.  Then again, those who know me in the real world know I can range from rather quiet to could someone stick a gag in her mouth and shut her up because she is giving me a migraine… so my posts being long winded come as no surprise.

During the past 8 years this site has been all over the place, had its focus shifted with each post , had its name changed a time or 2 and seen a couple of major life changes on my part. I don’t think much is going to change going forward..I would love to be one of those people who can focus on a topic and stick to it..offering witty insights to let even one person know they are not alone ..but that is not who I am. Who I am is still a mystery..I do know that I see this little site as a place where we have a conversation..a one sided conversation because it happens to be ME doing all the “talking” ..well in this case emoting..but I say if you are reading along and playing the home game don’t be shy..feel free to join in on the “conversation”. Let me know what you think ..I might not agree with you all the time..and I might have a snotty conversation with my dog about you behind your back (and quite frankly he will take my side) but it would feel great to know I am not just writing to see myself write.

Now that we have that all in the open ..I am going to let you in a little bit and tell you this..actually I can’t believe I managed to publish 43 times. Truth be told, it is not a lack of content because like it or not my brain is always “on” mind is always going and composing posts and finding ways to tell stories from every day life..I wish I could stop it but I can’t. This is nothing new, ever since I can remember I have loved observing people, hearing their stories, reading their tales and knowing what makes them tick. I was the kid in school who really enjoyed when the teacher gave us a writing assignment even if I groaned along with the rest of my classmates.  The reality is I sit down some days and try to translate what is in my head into some form of tangible and lucid sentence structure but yeah that often does not occur. What lurks in my brain is a topic  which almost always starts off in my mind as hey that is a great idea ..maybe I should write this out..More often than not/historically when this idea strikes, or gets in my head I am in the middle of the grocery store, walking the dog, waiting outside a classroom before a parent/teacher conference, sitting at the car dealership waiting for service or in the shower amongst other totally inconvenient places and things get rather lost in translation with each second ticking away until I totally forget what I wanted to say or I talk myself out of dropping the task at hand and just writing.  If I was in the car .and by myself one would think it would be wise to have some sort of voice recorder and  in theory a recorder is  a good idea except a) it would be distracted driving b) knowing myself  I would feel compelled to stick my phone to my ear while I spoke so I did not look like a psycho, c) ideas rarely come to me when I am driving and d) and this is probably the biggest truth..the car is my personal DJ Booth, dance party and karaoke bar (minus the alcohol) I can think of ..nothing comes between me and my jams..well nothing except the occasional phone call from one of my kids wanting or needing something from me..what it this all boils down to is what stops me is  Me. I am freaking terrified about anything and everything you can think of and one of my biggest fears is the potential of being humiliated or criticized for speaking up…this is childhood baggage that I am working on ..hey I actually published 43 times ok ..I just work at a snail’s pace.

Fear and self doubt typically go hand in hand with one another and I have enough fear and even more self doubt to fill a few novels. Every single time I sit down to translate what is in my head into a post those old demons come back to haunt me one wants to hear what you have to say, you are lucky you can string a few coherent sentences together..this topic has been done before and done way better than you can ever hope to do it . I know this about myself and I live with it and honestly ..the fear is crippling and it is totally irrational. So what happens ..well let me tell you what happens..what happens is there are days like today when I just can’t turn it off and the only cure is more cowbell (sorry was watching a clip of Lesley Jones for this week’s SNL ) the only cure is to allow the words to rise up and finally pour out. Hitting  the publish button is agonizing however I have a personal rule..once I publish there is no turning back, no deleting, no taking back..editing is allowed.

I have a lot to say..I have topics that I can’t seem to put away lately so maybe I can kick fear to curb and try on a scratchy brave sweater ( I say scratchy because being brave is like wearing a wool makes me itch and want to crawl out of my skin..but it is warm as well as useful ..thing is the wool sweater it does fit just not comfortably like a soft cotton sweater I have had forever, the cotton sweater  probably has holes and is threadbare but still makes me feel safe and I will always choose safe if given the choice) and just find the inner courage to stop caring what anyone else thinks and finally take a chance..we’ll see. As I wrap up the word salad this now 44th published post is evolving into..I want to finish with a quote from this year’s Golden Globes broadcast..these words have felt rather empowering and have got me thinking ..until the next time..whenever that next time is

“the life that we present to the world that can be very different form the life we live behind closed doors”..reese witherspoon golden globes 1/7/18 time is up

Keeping the Past in the Present


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Little more than a year ago I had a little post here about my grandmother’s table..a table belonging to a grandmother I know only through the stories passed on to me by my cousins who knew her and also through the bits and pieces shared a long time ago by my mother and aunts I must add. Honestly I  was an emotional wreck in the first couple of weeks after the table’s arrival, and the more I processed why I was falling apart, the more I was falling apart.  That piece of furniture is this tangible validation that I actually do have roots and a branch on the family tree is mine, it is me. I wrote about it because the table represents the past, the present and the future and it does not matter that it is not the most glorious looking piece of furniture ever created nor that it has actually seen better days..what matters is I am its caretaker for the moment.

That table still resides in my eating area off the kitchen.  Oddly enough, that table no matter how hard I look to replace it with something that would suit the space it sits in ..for the moment still feels like I have a piece of me in my home. The table is not exactly the focus of this rant..but it somewhat ties in to where I am bear with me and eventually I will get there.

So just a little background noise as we move forward …..My family spent the spring and early summer of 2017 knee deep in renovations to our home.  First thing on the agenda …we gutted the kitchen and the dining area..which lead to all brand new windows, new hardwood floors, beautiful cabinets, quartz countertops,  all new professional looking appliances, all new lighting, floors sanded, walls painted ..and when it was all done the rest of the house looked ..well it looked like we painted more walls and got a new couch, purchased a few rugs at Target (let me just say this can get some snazzy rugs at Home Goods And Target that have incomparable style that works with your budget..and if you have naughty dogs like I do ..if something happens on said need for a heart attack..worst case for $60 you can get another one) and ended up switching all the electrical outlets to new and clean looking white ones, putting in new light fixtures upstairs and finally cleaning up the mudroom. It is overwhelming just typing this out ..but once the ball gets rolling it is tough to stop. So many changes that once and for all erased the previous owners and at long last allowed me to finally say this is MY home. When all was said and done (for the moment)  I finally splurged and purchased matching glasses, plates, silverware (my previous set was an eclectic mishmash of 28 years of marriage and kids.. I believe  there are forks still lurking under 1 child’s bed ) and be still my beating heart…I got all new cookware..well almost all new. I still can’t decide exactly what color Le Cruset cast Iron pots I want to replace my current ones with (again the current collection while BELOVED mostly a collection of whatever color was on sale at the outlet and suited my needs..the old kitchen was an eclectic mess) and one more…what this rant was intended to be about in the first place.

Before we even began the project I had to pack up the previous space ..and let me tell you 25 years worth of living got crammed into those old cabinets. Mismatched plates, mugs from pretty much every place we ever travelled..countless magnets, a Blue’s Clues Plate here and there..cups from the disbanded USFL ..pieces of my husband’s youth all in there. I sent boxes of kitchen things to Savers, gave my college aged child even more and boxed up the things I was not exactly sure what to do with. I opened up a few of the boxes last week ,5 months or so after the project finished (yes I am that lazy if I do say so myself) and inside the last box I opened was my mother in law’s well seasoned pan that she made her son chile in.

A long time ago in the early days of our marriage we lived in the beautiful dutch colonial home that belonged to my in-laws. My mother in-law J lived long enough to see her youngest son’s oldest daughter come into this world and then she left us. She left behind a house full of treasures, but we were moving away to the safety and the security of the suburbs to raise that little girl in a house half the size of J’  many of her treasures were either thrown out , donated or given away sadly. My husband insisted we keep his mother’s chile pan. This ugly, heavy metal pan that is well seasoned, has no handle, is awkward to handle and was bought at a salvage type store was not part of a matching set but he wanted it.Well I think I am pretty obvious regarding how I felt about the pan. As we were packing up and deciding what to keep or get rid of  a rare moment of kindness swept me over, I did give in and we kept the pan. I recall thinking I would never use it but to make him happy and shut him up I would go along with this. So you know where this is going..what I thought was going to happen and what actually happened are 2 different versions of the same story.

At my husband’s insistence I learned to make chile ..a food I do not love that pan based on the recipe J passed down to her son/my husband. For a while that pan was simply  the chile pan, residing in the back of cabinet and brought out on rare occasions.  Then I  realized I wanted to learn how to make risotto and so the heavy bottomed, round pan was not only the perfect size but also the perfect diameter. The pan became known as “your grandmother’s pan”  to the kids, even though I believe it was and is in my possession longer than hers ..somehow it still feels like I am its caretaker.

I easily could have gotten rid of this pan when we packed up the heart of our home..however this time it was actually me feeling fiercely protective and possessive of the ugly pan..J’s pan. I want to add something here …my children just like me only know their grandmother J through stories passed on to them by their cousins, their dad and their aunts and uncle so I am glad they have something tangible that was hers. Even though it was completely unnecessary I packed the pan with the utmost care when it went into storage and did not seek to replace it with a shiny new All Clad version (not that there is anything like this pan for sale at Williams Sonoma) as I cooked in my new kitchen and began creating favorite dishes (still don’t like chile even though my family loves my version of J’s recipe..I had to tweak it over the years to satisfy the palates of my children) I found myself looking for the pan, missing its presence in the  kitchen.

The other day I got through the end of our Thanksgiving leftovers. I was about to send one of our humans back to college and there is no way this mama would send them back without at least 2 days worth of cooked food for the whole house they share with 4 others ..and I made their favorite “leftovers risotto”. That is pretty much what it sounds like it is …whatever this kid will eat is added to risotto (did I mention this kid has celiac disease and is gluten free???) for this particular kid, gravy is a food group so instead of cream and cheese I use gravy. I get the kid’s point because this is actually one of the better uses of leftovers I have come up with ..the other is poutine made with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce topped with gravy and cheese ..can you hear the angels singing and my gallbladder screaming simultaneously??? Getting back on track here…I made leftovers risotto in J’s pan while this kiddo got a little extra sleep and the husband did whatever it is he does on Sunday mornings. J and I were together again, making comfort food for her son and grandchildren ..sharing the love, keeping it real, showing that a little tangible piece of the past can bring happiness, comfort and family to the present.

Recycled Grief


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The first time I became familiar with the writings and works of Elisabeth Kubler Ross I was still in high school and my mother had recently died. I attended an all girls Catholic school and my religion elective that year was called Death and Dying, The class was popular, I think its popularity had more to do with the charismatic male teacher that everyone wanted to take class with than the subject matter itself, (which is on one hand morbid and somber but on the other hand a cause for joy in the Catholic faith for it is in death that we are once again with our Father in Heaven). I was among those who hoped to have a class with Mr. Lewis, but looking back I am not sure if the subject matter was necessarily anything I was ready to conquer at the time. 30 years later,  I do not remember much from that class..nor do I recall much about Mr. Lewis except that I remember the class being interesting and I remember towards the end he was rather irritated with me because I kept falling asleep in his class no matter what time of the day it was held (it turned out I had a rather nasty case of mononucleosis)  What I do recall is I opened up one day in a class discussion and mentioned that  in my mind I knew my mother had died, but I was still having a tough time believing it really happened ..almost like I was expecting to wake up from a dream and everything would be different. I also acknowledged  I found myself really angry that I woke up every day and everything was the same . I talked about how I was making little deals with God at the time..just get me through today and I promise I will be kind and give someone my seat on the bus, or I will do extra chores at home, or think only good thoughts about everyone at home and how I felt let down by God in those days. That was when we talked about the grief cycle and I was introduced to Elisabeth Kubler Ross.

I confess I was not much interested in that book. or any book for that matter. I did not think anyone understood what I was going through and who needed a book to tell me in that moment and the moments ahead and recently left behind that life sucked. My mother was dead, my family was not easy to live with and I held on to a small glimmer of hope that things could and would get better. That book ON DEATH AND DYING is in a box somewhere in my basement. The book has tattered corners and yellowed pages, it has underlines and highlights of passages I needed to know for a high school class and later on from my own necessary interest in the content after another profound loss rocked my world. I find myself going to that book when I need to remind myself that it is ok to grieve even many years later soothe the guilt that I am simply not over what happened , to understand that grief is not limited to death and dying that other losses in our lives are grieved..or if I need to help someone I know and love who is on their own journey of grief ..I am needing to seek its wisdom once again but lack the energy to search through all the crap stacked in the mess that occupies our basement. Thank goodness for the internet and sites like Facebook and Google  where links to the information are easily accessible.

Today I am thinking about that book and all it that it taught me about loss and grief ..I made the mistake of looking at something I know I shouldn’t have and yup I was sucked down the rabbit hole ..out of acceptance and back into bargaining, sadness and worse…anger. I feel the anger bubbling inside and rising up like a pot of boiling water ..only right now I don;t know how to turn down the heat and I’ll be damned if I can find the lid to the is probably buried in the basement with my copy of ON DEATH AND DYING. Anger is that part of the grief cycle that I HATE..anger makes me frustrated and tearful, anger forces me to look through a different lens on things versus the one that makes me comfortable and worst of all anger leaves me feeling guilty.

Yes I feel guilty these days because I am getting angry ..I am angry at my mother because she is dead and she has been dead since I was a child..physically she died in 1986 at age 49..and it was her fault she died..lung cancer took her away from me, but she chose to smoke even when the poison from chemotherapy raced through her veins and radiation burned through her body hoping to buy her a few more months..she walked out of her appointments and lit right up ..nothing mattered to her but her own wants and desires and I get that now..even though I can see just how broken and complex her life was ..still I realize in the end and even before it was all about her. I am angry that whatever happened in the fall and early winter of 1973/74 when I was 4 years old totally derailed the path we were headed on and I do not think she was ever the same again. I am really PISSED that even faced with death my mother chose to keep her secrets regarding my father..that my mother knew she could contact him and arrange a meeting just so I could have some answers and she chose to deny me what I needed to know. I know I am supposed to see past that..I should forgive her and accept that she was a troubled soul with minimal education and probably a host of learning issues and maybe even mental illness.I know for sure 1 thing is she suffered from depression ..I know what I should do..but I can’t right now. Right now I am thinking about me.

I feel this painful sadness that I am learning bits and pieces about my father and who I am via the internet. It’s not the same as knowing someone’s real and theoretical all at the same time.  It’s sad and satisfying in its own way as well. Most people if they do not grow up with their families at least have relatives or friends who relay stories and tell them things like you have your father’s eyes, you remind me of your mother by the way you walk..your grandmother had the same look on her face when she was angry..I have none of that. My mother died and everyone stopped talking about her after the funeral as if she never father, the man who called int he middle of the night and stopped by long after I went to bed (except for once that i remember) the man to whom my mother often said in anger “she is a piece crap just like you” or “I can’t stand to look at her because she reminds me of you” ceased to exist after we moved out of our apartment ..he would remain Tony the lawyer with a wife named Carol and a daughter named Katie .the man who I ached to know, the man who should have rescued me just vanished like a puff of smoke in the air. He died in 2010 when I was 40 years old ..I found his obituary at the time..they did not even have a wake for him, they had a memorial at a later time .I wondered then like I do now..was it a ploy to keep me away. My sister Kate knows I exist..I wrote to her in my 20s..she lives in the same house now as she did then ..I till have the same address as I did then  ..she never wrote back..she never called ..she just left me hanging. I found another relative named John Michael ..he acts as if I have no right to any information about my family that he holds…he and his sister called my father “Uncle Tony” ..I hate to break it to you John Michael but my father as you know was an only child, your mother Trish (I found her name thanks to ancestry research) was his first cousin on his mother’s side …my FATHER is your second cousin and I am more deserving of knowing who he was and how he died than you are. It took John Michael 4 years..that is right 4 YEARS to respond me after I reached out to him..and instead of having an ounce of compassion he came across as an asshole.

I am mostly angry with my parents ..they made a decision to carry on an affair..I am the result of that affair ..Tony got to walk away and go back to his wife, child, career and life mother got to have his child ..I got to be abandoned, I got to be treated as a second class citizen and pitied because I did not have a father (I had/have one he just decided not to be a part of my life) I got to live in the projects in a 1 bedroom apartment infested with rodents and cockroaches, I got to live below a very mentally ill woman who could be dangerous, who stayed up all hours of the day and night screaming and slamming on the floor ..playing the same song on repeat on her stereo (I still cringe when I hear the song ME AND MRS JONES) I got to often go hungry, I got to be told how ugly I was and how much I ruined her my mother’s life. I got to wait to see if my father would show up even to just talk at my mother’s wake and funeral..and as far as I know he did not. I got to be rejected by my father after I wrote to him in my twenties ..I am still being rejected by my sister. My sister does not want to be bothered to have a relationship with me. I spent years feeling guilty that I wrote to her and told her who I am ( I was probably 23/24 at the time and that would have made her 31/32 it is not like we were babies) feeling like maybe I never should have said anything and just stayed in my troll I am pissed at her as well. do not have to have a relationship with me…I get it you see me as a less than person whose mother did something heinous to your mother. (Projecting here I know) and you are right ..I can’t excuse what my mother did or what our father did to your mother ..but let’s get something  straight here.none of that is my fault. I did not choose my parents any more than you chose yours. I do not know the circumstances of your birth but I can tell you this…between the 2 of us..I was not wanted. Just the fact that I was a girl and not a boy was a huge issue ..but even after I was here neither one of them wanted anything to do with me. Here is the difference between us.. I doubt you ever went hungry, I doubt you were ever woken up at 2 in the morning because there was a raging dumpster fire or abandoned car burning in the alley outside your bedroom window and the flames shattered the glass from the window all over you as you slept. I doubt your mother told you how heinous you were simply for existing and that your father wanted you to be an abortion..I doubt you ever lived a day wondering who one of your parents is and looking in the mirror trying to figure out who you look like, wondering why you can read a book in a day (when your mother can barely read) or why your eyes are green when your mothers were dark brown, I doubt you ever wondered what nationality you were or if you had grandparents.  I doubt you ever had to be the one who paid the bills at age 8, I doubt you had to learn to cook at 7 or ever had to eat mustard sandwiches for dinner, learn how to make a dozen of eggs, a stick of butter, a jar of peanut butter (a food I HATE) and a loaf of bread last for a week, or that you had to learn how to sneak off to relatives houses just to get something to eat because your mother and her sisters were not talking and once again you were hungry. I doubt you ever had to go begging the neighbors for milk, for some bread or worse what mattered more to your mother..cigarettes. I doubt you ever had to shake your clothes out or your school bad to make sure there were no cockroaches, I doubt you had to ask people to drop you off on a different street and pretend to go into a different house because you knew people would think differently of you if they knew you lived in the projects. I doubt you were on food stamps and I doubt you know what it is like to be utterly all alone in this world and have to figure out where you were going to go and how you were going to make it.

That is my life Kate..and still you look down upon me. In many ways I am grateful for that life because of it I am fiercely independent and very resourceful and I understand how a little compassion goes a long way. In other ways I despise that is what Madeline and Tony did to me and I feel guilty, sad and angry all at the same time that I just cannot accept that is the way it was. I don;t want much from you my sister. Naively I used to want a relationship where I had a sister ..I do not want that any longer..What I want is for you to acknowledge me just once..I want you to stop holding my medical history and anything about my father hostage. He is also my father like it or are my half sister. we are family. I admit I  am angry with you because you have the power to be kind and you are choosing not to be and I can’t understand why. If our roles were reversed ..I would welcome you into my life with open arms. I think life has taught me to be kind because I have not always experienced kindness and I know a little kindness can create change in anyone’s life. You don’t deserve my kindness ..but I know who I am and I will always have an open door for you. I make bargains with God every day ..If I just do this could you please send me a sign…I don’t have much left to bargain with. For as much as I am angry with you Kate..I am also so terribly sad heartbroken for what probably will never be. I am sure all those who love you would say you are an amazing person and I am sure they are right..I am sure the ones who know about me think I am this awful human being who needs to stay in her place and out of your existence …the people who love me would tell you I am not so bad.I really do not have horns on my head and I looked there is no 666 tattooed at the base of my friends and loved ones can’t understand why you are rejecting me and think maybe you should reconsider your position.  As for me..I will get through this cycle of grief, it will kick my ass for a while but in the end it will all be ok has to be otherwise the grief and the crap wins and I am way to competitive to allow that to happen







Insomnia and Hypochondria


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The wind is howling outside, my husband is at a conference for his job and I have full blown insomnia …fun times. Maybe having a little Pepsi to settle my stomach before dinner was not exactly the smartest move considering I am sitting here wide awake. Or was it the opening of an email from a new found cousin in Nova Scotia giving me a lead on my maternal grandmother that got me fired up? Who knows maybe it is all of the above  or which it is..the fact of the matter is I can’t sleep and I kind of sort of need to get up in about 5/6 hours because my new sofa is being delivered …and yeah I am somewhat feeling like a kid waiting for Santa to arrive. You know you are old when a new sofa riles up an excitement in your dead soul, the likes of which you have not felt in years. I have to admit this sofa is worth the hype..I customized the fabric, the legs, the cushions name it, it looks kind of like the one I was lusting after in the Serena and Lily catalogue  this past summer…just not as wide or long and minus the nearly $5000 price tag. Enough about sofas ..I am here to whine about the fact that I can’t sleep.

So to be completely honest here I know what I should do is shut down the computer, turn off the television and lay in the dark listening to one dog snore and smell the other one farting ..but then who would I whine to? Actually instead of resting my brain, I  would be laying in my bed composing a post that would sound and be far better than this one and I still would not sleep. Frankly, I would rather catch up on the 15 episodes of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that I recorded on my DVR and keep forgetting to watch (because at the moment Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers are KILLING their monologues/A Closer Look/The Check In/Amber Says What and Fallon although I love him ..well Fallon is funny and light hearted and quite frankly my safe space for late night TV but not capturing my attention right now) while whining in a post here than to be in the dark listening to my own thoughts./dealing with the dogs.because you know at least Fallon is funny and adorable..traits I do not possess.

Did I mention the wind is howling? If I did… what I probably failed to mention is it is freaking humid as hell tonight and for those of us with lungs that are irritated just by their very own existence humidity sucks ass. Speaking of lungs ..yeah this is where the hypochondria comes see I actually have a really obnoxious diagnosis of Lupus ..and the rheumatologist says I have fibromyalgia but I am not overly impressed with that diagnosis..I think I just ache like hell because I really don;t move much these days thanks to my annoying lupus complications of pericarditis, a pericardial effusion, pleural effusions and pleurisy ..and yeah I know I am whining but I have to remind myself sometimes that yeah this shit is not just in my head and there is an actual reason why I want to move and exercise but that’s not exactly the best idea.

Getting back to the hypochondria..I guess I should mention I think I am in the middle of losing my damn mind this year. It is no secret I dragged myself to therapy years ago thinking I needed only  the allotted 8 visits the insurance company we had at the time allowed and I would be on my merry way…then the bitch (I kid because she is actually an  awesome person) figured out that I was and probably still am bound together by tattered seams, caffeine, and by a stubborn streak so fierce it makes Kim Jung Un look like a reasonable person and made me stick around a little longer than I first thought I would. The first few years I was really ashamed that I needed some help to process life that happened, life that was currently happening and life that was about to happen I am like please I am just as nuts and just as sane as the next person at least I accept that I need a fairly objective person to look me in the eye and say Bitch get over yourself and cut the crap..but it is also nice to have someone say every now and then you know what that is not cool or yeah I get it that sucks so now what are you going to do about it. This year however the shrink is on speed dial ..While I know I ave a chronic illness  and I deal with it by whatever means necessary (like write this self serving blog)..and one more side rant ..this woman has been the one person who every 6 weeks or so I can sit down with and really let go how I feel about what my life is currently.. because everything changed after this diagnosis..she was the one who forced me to bring in all of my reports from the doctors .things I understood and knew how to interpret and said this is not in your head (I spent the first 18 months thinking every time I went to the doctor they were going to tell me girl you are nuts, there is nothing wrong with you now go away..only the opposite happened every time I went to the doctor they looked and said this is not good)…please understand this is serious and you are not making this up..tests don;t lie, MRIs are not fake ..wishing this away or willing yourself better is not going to work ..ok rant over. We were talking about my chronic hypochondria ..or at least I alluded to it before I went off on the rant about my shrink…

It has hit me hard..I am 48 mother was 48 when she was diagnosed with terminal lung and brain cancer ..I have 198 days until I turn 49 ..and 258 days to go beyond the time my mother lived. She turned 49 on 5/17/86 and died 7/15/86 …I need to make it to 6/10/18 ..IN THE MEANTIME I really need to get my act together. So far every time I get a migraine I swear to God in Heaven above I have a brain tumor ..because you know that is totally rational or if I forget to eat and get a little dizzy I am thinking I am going to have another attack of lungs have felt incredibly heavy ..I have looked up the symptoms of lung cancer about 45 times ..I swear I have memorized them ..but I need to see it in front of me to reassure I don;t have those symptoms..can we talk about the fact that I have never smoked??? Yes I was exposed to second hand smoke as the mother was incubating me and she smoked in the house. the aunts smoked in their houses, people smoked in restaurants when I was a child , people smoked in the car with the windows rolled up but I never smoked so my chances are slimmer but yet I am terrified all of a sudden of lung cancer ..I am terrified that a sniffle is going to bring on a full pericardial flare ..I am terrified that I am on borrowed time..the shrink says this is normal for someone who lost their mother when they were young ..she says many people have a weird year when it is the same year/age their parent died ..I am losing my damn mind.

Part of my insomnia is fueled by the fact that when I am in the dark and it is quiet and it hurts to lay down, but hurts to sit up and the dog has let one rip and I am nauseous  from the stench, but warm and comfortable enough that the prospect of moving a muscle sends me into a state of sheer panic..I start thinking about all this dark crap that normally rolls right off my I lay awake and afraid to turn on the TV again because it wakes my husband up but hoping for a distraction ..wondering if I am going to see June 10 ..(I will and I know I will) trying to remember if I put the new car payment on auto pay( I did)  ..wondering if the headache I have is a brain tumor (it’s not) and wondering why I can’t sleep (I am a hypochondriac as of 7/15/17)

I wrote this post a few days ago..fell asleep actually while writing it so I guess writing is cathartic..FYI the sofa arrived and I love it…I love it so much I won’t let anyone sit on it just yet..I mean come on it needs to look awesome for even a little while or until I can find a plastic  slipcover (no I would not do that but it would be both funny and really practical) the husband came home and I realized part of my insomnia stems from the fact that he snores in unison with the dog..among other things ..and yeah I admit I am a full blown hypochondriac who actually has a chronic illness ..I have been assured I may get a little but crazier between now and my birthday and full blown bat shit crazy from my birthday until June 10…strap in kids it is going to be a bumpy ride

A lesson in Compassion


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OK…so deep breath (which hurts like hell thanks to all the complications lupus has wracked my body with..just saying) today was round number  I lost count in the saga of dealing with our elderly neighbor. I cannot believe I feel the need to write this post but here goes..and please bear with me

During the past 18 months I have often taken to writing about the rather unsettling encounters with my neighbor Elsie. The first episode took me by surprise ..I actually had someone in my home renovating my bathroom who witnessed everything..I literally had just said to him don;t worry about her she is harmless ..I am eating those words. That was the start of a slippery slope where often times her tirades and inexplicable actions/reactions have lined up with pivotal moments occurring in my life. know like right before I was going for a breast biopsy and ultrasound because I had a pesky suspicious lump..or right before I was on my way for a cardiac MRI .. or the day I was heading off to see Faith and nervous as hell ..and too many times in between to count. It still continues to blow my mind that during the past 18 months, Elsie has called the police numerous times reporting that I have broken into her home, killed her plants, stolen her iron and her bedsheets, dumped leaves in her yard during the middle of the night…in her mind I am the problem..and yet it has not resonated with her husband or possibly her kids (they are hardly ever here so who knows what they think) that the possibility lies that whatever is happening is all in Elsie’s mind? I have spoken to the police  about what happened in the past and continues to happen and every single time the police have suggested to me that I get an order of protection at the local courthouse. My response has been and still remains that my neighbor needs help not law enforcement..that is not in any way negating the reality that this situation is difficult to live with is difficult being the target of her delusions and it does not negate the stress and anxiety this situation places on me. What should be stressed is there is something going on that in all fairness is none of my business ..but by doing nothing or refusing to acknowledge the situations that continue to escalate this has in turn become my problem.

I have owned this home for about 26 years now ..many of those years living rather quietly amongst my neighbors including Elsie and her husband John. Elsie has always been a very nice albeit high maintenance and rather nosy neighbor. Elsie is the neighbor you know enough to welcome in to your home and to keep at arms length distance at the same time ..because while her intentions were never intentionally malicious (at least I never perceived them to be) she has a tendency to twist things to make the gossip sound more interesting or to find a way to get the story. My husband, my former neighbor and I  dubbed her the “Gladys Kravitz” of the neighborhood and yes I did include a BEWITCHED  reference there (and I am aware there may be some who have no clue what that reference is)..hell I rarely locked my door when I went out because I knew Elsie was always home and always on neighborhood watch. This recent turn of events saddens me, it frightens me,it angers me and it stresses the hell out of me all at the same time.

Yesterday as I mopped the mudroom floor I look out and  I see a different neighbor from around the block who is also elderly and a friend of Elsie’s marching across my lawn looking rather upset..WHAT NOW! My husband answered the door to “Is your wife here” and I was confronted  angrily with “why don;t you like my friend Elsie?” We have to explain that we have been dealing with whatever issues Elsie has been dealing with for about 18 months now..those include episodes of Elsie screaming at me from her driveway  (sometimes in her bathrobe and barely dressed)and hurling obscenities, calling me a bitch, accusing me of stealing from her, vandalizing her yard (which is meticulous by the way) and anything else she can shoot at me..we have dealt with multiple calls to the police (that Elsie told her friend the police refuse to do anything about the situation) we have dealt with her reckless driving, we have watched this tragedy unfold and include us while her husband and family seemingly do absolutely nothing. Our response has been not to respond. we do not call the police but we have called elder services and our town’s council on elder affairs in an attempt to get some help for her..we have responded by waiting until she leaves to put out our trash or collect our trash bins from the designated spot on trash day..we wait until she is not outside to water our plants and flowers during the spring and summer, we back our car in when we bring groceries home so she cannot see us while unloading , we clean the car out at the car wash, we make sure none of our actions are of any cause to set her off. We have been mindful that something is not right and have been unable to have a conversation with any other neighbor outside because she comes out and screams..I attempted to record her on my phone but forgot to hit record a month or so ago..she told her friend this and said now she can’t yell at me This is a sad situation and this poor woman is suffering..but so am I and that is equally unfair to me. Elsie’s friend Ellen explained to us that Elsie was at her house that morning crying because she claimed we were out to get her..crying hard and ugly tears in Ellen’s kitchen to the point where Ellen felt the need to drive Elsie home the 7 or 8 houses around the block so Elsie could be safe..Elsie declined. I have witnessed Elsie walking home in the neighborhood in recent weeks and her behavior is bizarre to say the indication that something is not right..she walks oddly and then instead of going into her own driveway she will duck between the fence post and mailbox of the neighbor directly across from me and stay there a minute before heading into her own house..paranoia over a threat that does not exist. Ellen was upset to hear how her friend is acting and it dawned on her that Elsie’s conversations of late are centered more in the past than in the present. I hope Ellen realizes that we wish Elsie no harm but we also do not wish to be the target of her tirades and delusions..a sign this is really bad..Elsie wants to erect a rather large fence on her property with motion detectors and alarms to keep me out of her house. Her suffering must be immeasurable if this is where she is at.

I cannot force Elsie’s husband John or any of her 3 children to step up and get this woman some help. I am enraged by her husband’s managing this situation by not doing anything at all. when things escalate he will come over and apologize to my husband and not to me the person who takes the brunt of this abuse. John has repeatedly told us Elsie is very old and he does not know what to say or do. John responded to the latest call to the police by telling a neighbor who asked what happened ..oh just another dead plant (the police officer  admitted she recognized Elsie was not responding rationally and Elsie’s account of what was wrong did not make sense and planned to call elder services herself ) John continues to work pretty much full time and leaves Elsie home and to her own devices on a daily basis. John according to Ellen wants nothing to do with the situation..I am sorry John but it is your responsibility to step up and make the difficult decisions to make your wife’s life easier and to prevent her from being abusive to me and the other neighbors, to insure that she does not hurt  herself or someone else with her car because in her state of mind she should not be driving . I rarely see the kids visiting unless it is a holiday or after elder services have been called ..I understand they are all adults with jobs and kids of their own but this is their mother and no mater what the relationship is between them..their mother needs help ..she needed help at least 18 months ago and now we have a woman so trapped by her delusions that she feels the need to erect a fence with motion sensors and alarms? John and Elsie’s kids need to step up and step in because their father is unable to cope with this situation. what are they going to do if she hurts herself or someone else with her car? What will they do if her memory issues become so impaired that she forgets to turn off the stove or causes a fire in the home? What are they going to do if she gets confused and does something she regrets? What is it going to take for these people to recognize that they have a responsibility to say and do what is right and necessary to make their mother’s remaining years comfortable and less stressful? They should start by showing up here more taking her keys away and taking the time insure she is being properly the end she is their mother and they should be doing the right thing.

i recognize that what is happening to elsie can happen to any one of us. This is a sad fact of hope is if it is me that my husband and kids will make the tough choices and have the strength and compassion to what is right not what is easy.


A Leap with Faith


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Some days I write a post and realize that I am whining so much about the trials and tribulations of my life that even I am sick of reading the word vomit in front of me. That said..yeah I am going share yet again a day in the life of this crazy lady in her late 40s still trying to figure it all out.

I have been sitting on this post for more than a month..stuck trying to say what I want to say..stuck in this wait did that really happen? DID I actually do what I did and what the bleep was I thinking? I am in a moment of it is now or never ..let it out ..own it girl here goes nothing.

As I have posted before, I have spent the vast majority of my life trying to find my father. My father Tony,  the  elusive figure in my life who according to my mother’s narrative was the root of all our evils..however even while that may have a sliver of truth to is to me to decide or at least have the chance to decide what that narrative is.

Who was my father? The answer to that question is rather complicated by a lack of information from my mother while she was alive other than telling me his first name, wife’s name and my sister’s name as well as his profession all things that were difficult to trace until rather recently. However back to my self imposed question…my father was : to my young self the scary figure in the shadows to whom my mother planned to send me when I was bad . My father’s house was a place where I would be locked in a room and given nothing more than bread and water to survive on ( my 5 year old self often imagined the attic tower such as the one Cinderella lived in the Disney movie and my father’s wife resembled the evil step mother..that was scary shit to a little kid)…to my adolescent self he was the nameless, faceless asshole who called at 3 in the morning and to whom my mother  said that I was nothIng more than a piece of garbage just like my 17 year old self with a dying mother he was the one who did not come and rescue me from the depths of my despair when I held out all hope beyond hope. He was not there  as my mother said the words that continue to haunt me (no matter how much money and time i spend in therapy) “When I die no one wants you” ..that sentence has been part of very soul since she said it..mostly because she was so very right for all the wrong reasons. To my young adult self my father was the elusive man who rejected my letter to him offering to meet in a park just to get to know anything about my middle aged self he is the one who got away..the other dead parent gone before I even got the chance to introduce myself and prove to him that I was ok in spite of his absence and because of his genetic gifts. I am meeting my father finally at 48 years old , seven years after he died, thanks to DNA confirming my paternity (via being related to basically everyone he was related to on his father and mother’s side) and discovering things like his obituary. My father’s obituary was a place where people left detailed messages of condolence to his wife and my half sister and nephew giving me a glimpse into who he was. The stories those who knew him shared gave me that aha moment where I finally could say that explains a lot.

One such message was written by a woman named Faith..Faith and her husband chose my father to be the godfather of their child she wrote..and she described some of their times together including the fact that my father and his wife attended the college graduation of Faith’s child. It was a beautiful story but I found myself seething with jealousy and rage was it that my father could show so much love and so much compassion for a friendly stranger’s child and yet leave his own daughter behind? Where was he when I graduated? where was he when I got married or lost my child or when the many wonderful and beautiful things in my life occurred? Jealousy is not an easy beast to tame but the logical side of me understands that those were different times and it was not acceptable in the days when I was young for a married man to say here honey this is my child ..the shame and blame were heaped upon the mother and unfortunately by default the child as well..but in between the lines I was haunted by this and so I reached out to family and I was rejected. I am not one to let things go, I stew and I think and I hold on to it all …to be honest I still in my darkest place want to go to my sister’s house (yeah I know where she lives is public record) and ring her bell and say WHY WON:T YOU JUST TALK TO ME I AM YOUR SISTER..but I never would because first of all it is not right to invade her space and secondly I really don’t have the guts. After all the rejection I had no clue how to move forward and then I had a it’s now or never moment and so I resorted to a not so brilliant idea and took a leap of faith.

I googled Faith based on the location she left on the seven year old obituary and found her thanks to social media still in the same location she was back then.I found her on linked in and facebook and a place of employment..reaching out via facebook did not work quite so well when I attempted it with my paternal relatives so I made the absolutely insane and rash decision to put the dog in the car and drive the distance to a neighboring state and speak to Faith in person..not knowing if she would be there or not at her place of employment.

The dog is an excellent travel companion by the way..he loves the same music I do, he can handle the silence like I can and he is an avid listener (I’m just saying) I met Faith and mustering all the courage I had before I fell apart..I simply said “are you Faith?” and she looked at me probably horrified and said  I am” ..I said “I am Tony Hazen’s daughter”. I have rarely uttered those words to anyone let alone myself in all of my years. She wanted to know who my mother was and I had to explain my mother had passed away many years before  and all I was looking for was to get to know a little bit about him to maybe put a patch over this hole in I have..something ..anything would be better than absolutely nothing.

Faith was kind and as generous as she could be and gave me a little insight into just who my father, funny..flawed. He died of alzheimer’s least I know what may be in my future and while not comforting ..definitely necessary to know. He was not faithful to his marriage and it seems everyone he knew was well aware ..he was a heavy drinker and a great athlete and a brilliant attorney. I have a sister and a “step mother” who has not always had an easy time in her life..a story faith shared simply broke my heart. I told Faith that my father is a grandfather and she said yes Katie has a son and I had to explain that I too have children whom he never met ..who are smart, kind and funny ..I have a daughter who looks so much like him from the  pictures I have found online.

The whole time I was there what was running through my head was crazy ass stalker what the hell are you doing here? How the hell did you think this was OK? Faith kept talking..I kept listening..I found myself as I always do apologizing for my very existence and then she said to me “It is not your fault you are did nothing wrong”. I DID NOTHING WRONG..holy crap that was the first time I really heard that from someone other than my therapist and it hit me like a ton of has taken me this long to allow those words to truly sink in..”It’s not your fault” entire childhood my mother said I was the reason my father father did not want me but she did..he wanted her to have an illegal abortion and she said no and then I came along..and I was not a boy like I was supposed to be ..I ruined everything. here was a stranger before me who said it I did nothing has been like a huge burden lifted finally.

An hour after we met..Faith and I said goodbye. I gave her my email address and like I expected she never contacted me. My parting words were “You gave me a gift and I cannot thank you enough” ..I wonder if i should write her a thank you note..if I should send her flowers to her place of work ..I don’t know what to do ..any opinions would be greatly appreciated .

One final thing that crosses my is amazing how much a little someone showing a little kindness and a little respect can mend the restlessness. I am blown away by just knowing what I know now has settled in ..I still long to know more but the need feels less urgent  and far less desperate. I don;t recommend guerrilla tactics of just showing up in a sleepy little town where everyone knows everyone but I took a leap and I found Faith and I will not forget