loved this quote i read on my blog feed. Thanks for posting Kelly.

Be Anything But Quiet!

I don’t have a lot to say today, but I wanted to leave you with something. A dear friend who is currently overseas sent me this quote the other day, so I thought I’d share it with you.

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, and unspeakable love.” ~Washington Irivng

Source: google.ca via Kelly on Pinterest

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Why I killed Michael Jackson

About a month ago I played a Michael Jackson tune for the kids.  They were immediately hooked and seemed to  know right away …they knew that they were listening to one of the world’s greatest of all time.

I never had to tell them- I just confirmed it for them by nodding my head- “yep” when they looked at me with their mouths open – in awe and then when I showed them who exactly it was that they were hearing by pulling him up on a music video from You Tube. Seeing is believing so if you thought he sounded cool… just wait.

Yeah… I know that look on their faces… I know it all too well.

I’ll never forget the moment.

Never.

The moment I realized that he existed- that I shared the planet with  Michael Jackson.  I was twelve years old and I saw him perform on Carrie Smith’s television set.  We had the house to ourselves- a New Years Eve sleepover and her parents weren’t coming home anytime soon. I screamed my heart out. In fact- It ached so badly at the sight of him- i was unable to ever recover the girl i was before I knew of him.

One minute i was a normal twelve year girl, and the next-  I was unable to think a complete thought without him in it.  Nothing in this world was more important than knowing every last detail about him.  I day dreamed endlessly about being with him, and then being him.  He embodied the word “cool” and he could dance and move and sing and look like nothing I had ever seen, or would, ever again.

I loved him.  No- I mean, I really loved him.

It was 1982 and it was just months away from the moonwalk debut when he sang “Billy Jean” – and “duh”, of course Billy Jean was not his lover- ugh!!!- she was just a girl that said that he was the one…  (the thought still gives me physical angina to this very day).  People are so stupid. I wanted to crack heads.

Unrequited love is very painful, and can be incredibly transformative when you are struck between the eyes with it at age twelve.

I was positive if he knew the depth of my devotion he would choose me.  After all, no one would ever love him like I would. ever.  I can’t imagine for how long I moped as I pushed dinner across the surface of my plate each night at the table.  Taking me away from my “boombox”  was like unplugging the life support system from my body.  I played my cassette’s until they warped. I practiced my moves privately. religiously.
I wore penny loafers.  If I stood on the tips just right and held my dresser’s corner edge and squinted as I looked in the mirror – my moves were getting closer… try as I might I would never successfully issue a moon walk.  Not even on my best day.  I was increasingly frustrated and forlorn but I would never.give.up.

I was obsessed.

By the 1990’s I’d resigned myself to my rank.  I was no different than the rest of them… I was just another number in a sea of endless fans. The frustration drove us all to the edge. It must have.  We needed to take him down- find something wrong with him to bring him back to our level and dispel the magic and mystery.  NO ONE can be that amazing. NO ONE.  HIT after endless HIT.  It’s like he was not even REAL.
ENOUGH ALREADY.

I know it was a drug overdose… I know all the media’s input on the subject… but I say that by the time we killed him he was likely relieved.  We all get left behind to simmer in our righteous stew with all the contempt we created for him. We thought he was weird?  I’d say we only made him as weird as we treated him.

He must have felt like an exotic endangered animal. We’d all wanted a piece of him- at any cost to him. We did what any angry mob of obsessed fan’s would do-   and he had it coming to him too.  We killed him because he was not one of us.  We killed him because his light was so bright we were afraid it would shine out the ugly in the rest of us.  We killed him the way we will kill anything we covet and can not have.

When my kids asked me why and how he died – I had to really ask myself how I would tell them what really happened.  I’m unwilling to tell them what popular culture would like to believe and so I will think about my answer carefully.

What really happened to Michael Jackson? Someday I’ll have to tell them why we killed him.

Right now, I’d rather they simply know that legends like him can actually “live” in the world, and that it’s possible to honor something impossibly beautiful and rare without destroying it.

And It Makes ICE!

Life is moving right along.  I can’t believe i’ve already been in the new house for almost three months.

I’ve been dabbling in cooking again… (no, not taco’s) just a bit though; nothing too fancy yet.

I’ve been cooking things like quiche, stews, broiling chicken, grilling steak dinners and pot roasts.

I enjoy cooking again.

I enjoy cooking again because I love my fridge.
I love the layout of the kitchen and the colors and the shiny equipment.
I love my counter- tops, and I love my fridge.
and I especially love my fridge.

I’m trying to let it come back to me gradually. It’s been about four years since I’ve really cooked anything.much.

To say that I detested the kitchen at my old house would be an understatement.  It made me mental.
The stove and range top were so old and gross they made me want to cry when ever I had to use them to cook, and don’t even get me started on the fridge.

I had this thing with the fridge- where I just could not bring myself to clean it very often because it was so gross it never got clean. Not ever after I had taken every cleaning product known to man and scrubbed it like the crazy bitch i am did it look an ounce better.  It had mold all over the exterior-that grew like, well.. mold-  and nothing on it,  or in it worked very well -if at all.

It was all broken and dark on the inside like a bad neighborhood and and stopped making ice I think around 1984 .  I would clean it though- time and time again.  I’d get up all my courage and pretend i was a frat boy being hazed and get er’ done.  Only to then repeat the dreadful cycle of avoidance and muster… over and over again….

I became like some weird woman that was afraid to go in her own kitchen.  I practically had to plaster the thing with magnets and kids drawings just to fool myself into thinking it was a nice place to go wandering to get the milk for cereal in the morning for the kids sake,  but inside I was screaming “NOOOOOO!”

I had massive aversions to eating (this does not bode well for your family when you are the mom who should be cooking yummy life sustaining meals for your small children.)  Yeah… I sucked pretty much at this portion of momdom in general while I was there but I’m feeling much more secure in my role now that I can actually cook a meal without having to drink copious amounts of wine just to “get through” or calling in a “buddy” to sit with me so I did not go awol while cooking annie’s mac n cheese. Less ingredients meant less trips into the abyss. My children suffered.

When we got to the new house my daughter and I just stood in front of the fridge – opening and closing the door like we had special needs.  We just stood, looking at the clean sparkling white interior. Feeling the cool clean stainless steel surface. Open. Close. Open. Close.  It has a built in ice maker on the side that has the freezer…” IT MAKES ICE!!!”
“MY GOD IT MAKES ICE!” We just stood there… looking at each other in a state of wonder.  It was obviously a very emotional and touching time for both of us.  It was transformational if you want to know the truth.

You think i’m over-reacting right? Well- I mean, truthfully I am an ungrateful bitch compared to many who do not have the luxury of any refrigeration what so ever so please, do excuse my complaining..but I was seconds away from digging a hole in the ground and keeping my food chilled in the mother earth instead.

I just want to share the magnitude of my appreciation for what I have now…

Before I left that big nasty stain on my soul-  I photographed it just in case I ever wanted to feel ungrateful about anything in my life- ever. again.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

It had a mind of it's own.  It would decide when and IF it was gonna work.

Five Alarm Taco Shell’s

Before.....

It’s not even 5:00 yet and there’s no wine in the house.  Is it age? or am I just getting blonder as my roots go darker?

I just calmed myself down from the upsetting incident that just happened in my kitchen.  No… this time it did not involve a knife or butter... but instead 2 seemingly very innocent taco shells.

Taco’s are my “easy ticket” meal.  I can whip em up in my sleep – but…if I should be wide awake and turn my back as they “bake” in the toaster oven… not so much.   One minute I was chatting with my daughter about one thing and the next minute I was screaming “RUN!” as I watched the taco shells burst into flame and once again I found myself doing what any blonde would do in such a situation….

1. Scream “Fire!”

2. Scream “Shit!” “Fire!”

3. Scream “Oh God!” “Shit” ” FIRE!”

4. Where are my Oven mits?  (“If I would only put them back where I found them… then they would always be here for emergencies such as these…) “oh shit. GOD. FIRE!”

5. Lurch, open toaster door ( fucking idiot… now the flames are coming OUT the door!!!)

6. OH SHIT! FIRE! OH GOD! OH SHIT!

7. Under the sink- there is a fire extinguisher! (I am brilliant that I remembered that’s its here!- I’ll save the house, the family)

8. WAIT! I don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher!

9. “OH GOD! SHIT SHIT SHIT FIRE!!!”

10. “WATER!!!” WATER!!!! “SINK SPRAYER!” “WATER!” ( Smoke Detector blares in the background and as the spraying water hits the fire the hissing and steam are deafening… I look around me for the first time and notice my daughter has not moved an inch but is sitting in apparent terror at the table waiting for her serving of tonight’s tasty dinner… )

11.  Electricity and water don’t mix… ooops… too late.

12. Fire is out. water everywhere. Steam. Hissing.

13. Giggling….she’s giggling…

14. Now- full blown hysteric’s – my heart is beating a million miles and hour and my daughter is on the floor killing herself laughing and says….

“I am so telling my class about this one”  and run’s into the other room to tell her brother: “Mom nearly just burnt the WHOLE HOUSE down!”

15. As if stuff like this happens all the time or something. Sheesh.

16. Mr. Goodbar just called to let me know he took out another rider on our insurance.

After....

It’s the little things.

It’s the little things.

A bowl of raspberries with a whipped cream top.

Cut out hearts.

Heart felt cut outs.

A handmade paper rose can smell like two dozen on a summers day.

Subtle touches-a lingering touch- a tender touch- I’m touched.

Inhale the love, breathe in… deep…

You are safe.

Absorb the love- like a sponge.

One moment without a Hallmark moment….

The real deal. Raw. Pure.

Love.

Happy Valentines Day

-MR 2012

 

 

One Woman’s Junk- Another’s Treasure.

I spent my night last night re-reading the many love letters my Father sent to my Mother while he was in Vietnam.  It’s so wonderfully bazaar to have access to those- and that time period in their lives.  I am so grateful my Dad wrote them… so grateful my Mom kept them, and so blessed to have been able to read them in order to learn more about who he was- being that I was only Twenty when he died … i just, never really got the chance- you know?

Coincidentally (no such thing),  I was at my old house yesterday with Mr. Goodbar and a friend for a few hours getting the third floor emptied. Although it sold in November the new owners are from “away” and won’t be here till summer so have allowed me to have this time to try to sell, move, give… all the “stuff” i’ve accumulated over the past ten years of my marriage and life.

The hardest part of moving (second of course to the sheer amount of SH*T you realize you’ve collected) is going through the “memorabilia” and deciding what to part with.  Children’s drawings and art projects, old cards and letters, books and journals…and then, well- what about the memories of our life together?  The cards between us, tokens from our wedding… the small clutch, the dress…. what do i do with those?

I ask, because here i am… an adult now, finally understanding through the tangibles of the past just who my father was, and how he and my mother built a life together.  I think about my children- will they appreciate some of these things? Will it help or hurt? There was more too of course… old yearbooks, awards, special tokens or letters from my past, from my own mother…

I think what I’ve decided to do is to keep a few sentimental things that help tell the story of my past a bit…. I think my daughter especially might enjoy seeing, touching, looking at things that represent an era, a life….  I have a trunk, and inside I’ll package these things for her to someday go through if she’d like… things she can choose to have, or leave behind.  It seems, after reading the letters from my Dad that he was not the only sentimental fool in our family….

it’s interesting the insights that these treasures from the past can bring.

XO

M

Happy Birthday Dad.

I was almost Twenty-one the September my Father passed away.

Dr. Joseph Augustine Grady was born in Massachusetts in 1921 (is my math correct?) He was Fifty when I was born.  I’m feeling especially grateful at this moment that my birth happened at all.. the odds were kind of stacked against that possibility seeing as my mother was a nun when they met.

It took me the better part of my adult life to put together the pieces of their amazing (and unbelievably romantic) story. Their courtship lasted for five years, and four of those years were experienced through letter writing while my Father was on medical mission in Viet Nam.  Their story is a love story- the real deal.

My Dad was utterly broken when my Mom met him…. broken, vulnerable, and an incredibly accomplished Vascular Surgeon practicing in Detroit Michigan. She was twenty years his junior- so, ladies… if he’s a couple years older… don’t sweat it.  He already had three children, and tragically- a very alcoholic, very mentally ill wife.  At the age of Twenty-Five my mother was appointed to care for them… and so, for the better part of a year she did this and then continued to care for them even after he left for Viet Nam.

They both struggled with their feelings, and my mom tried in vain to deny it by putting distance between them physically and spiritually.  She’d promised herself to God… but it seems God had other plans.

After my Father Died, (He was Seventy) my Mom published a book of his love letters to her – most of them written in 1967- three years before my birth. In his honor today, and with his holiday on the horizon … I’ve re- published one (they are amazing).

My Dad would have been Ninety One today.

Happy Birthday Daddy.

Monday September 25th 1967

Dear Mary Jane, 

No mail again today. I have only received one letter- yours- since leaving home.  I’m getting very lonesome. I need a letter badly, Perhaps tomorrow.

It is very hot tonight. I can hardly breathe. The electrical power is so low the fans are barely turning. Twice today while operating the power failed. Even when it’s running high, the lights aren’t very good. I am learning to put up with so many deficiencies. It’s good for me. I am becoming a very adaptable and patient surgeon. That should be a new twist.

I have at this time a very ill nine year old girl with typhoid fever and a bowel perforation.  She need’s surgery but the poor, ignorant parents refuse to allow surgery. It’s sad but there is nothing I can do about it. I told the father she would die without surgery. He said he had eight children and he didn’t really care weather she died or not. Was it Kipling who said “East is East and West is West and never the ‘twain shall meet”? He meant of course that the West would never understand the East and vice versa. I believe that is true.

I have another little boy who is dying of cancer. His sister – about 11-12 years old- comes in every night to take care of him. She has got to be the nicest and cutest little girl I have seen in his country. When she see’s me, she greets me with a gracious bow. I can imagine what she would be like washed and well clothed.

There must be some mail tomorrow. I’ve got to hear from you. I’m lonesome and I miss you very much. 

I know you’ve been thinking of that trip to London- but you are not quite sure. You’ll think about it. You would like to but- to the supermarket in my car? What a scandal!!

Some day you may develop my point of view: I love you and I can’t stop- I’ll try to see you whenever the opportunity presents itself or whenever i can present the opportunity. That’s the way it is- London, New York, Detriot, Montreal, River Canard, anywhere on earth.

Love, 

Joe

Desperately Seeking Discipline

Image

As a parent, I have to say that I am often completely out of my comfort zone when it comes to discipline as a practice.  How to discipline effectively, compassionately, and firmly.  I’ve been a complete victim to the awful advice of every conflicting child “expert” on the market- so much in fact, that I’m left with a head spinning, and a heart that feels overwhelmed and conflicted. At times I feel like a complete idiot as I scramble through pages to find the solution to an issue as if looking for ingredients in a recipe book.  Why is parenting so freaking difficult?  WHY oh WHY are we not required to pass a doctorate level parenting class before taking these little bundles home?

Give time outs- Don’t give time out’s
Give them choices- Don’t give them choices
Use rewards- Don’t use rewards
Praise your children- Don’t Praise your children

I’d been hearing about Kim John Payne for a couple of years, but I’ll admit, I’ve become a bit cynical.  What could he possibly have to say that has not already been said?  I mean, there is a reason my blog is called “alone” in the childerness? it’s because essentially – NO ONE has any real answers and as we all know, our babies don’t arrive with operating instructions.  The only thing anyone has ever said about parenting ( and I doubt they were an “expert”) that rings completely true is:

“Kids are like pancakes- you always mess up the first one.” (well there it is in a nutshell)

and then….. I signed myself up anyway to attend his workshop and hear him speak at our school this week, and…. I’ll be darned if I don’t feel like I actually have a good grasp on his concepts and more importantly (insert trumpeting heavenly horns) I have

HOPE

The talk was so great, and interactive.  I learned concepts that are both completely obvious and entirely counter intuitive! (love that combo!) It also did not hurt that he is side splittingly funny and had all of us laughing in that omg relief laughter that comes from knowing that where you once felt completely isolated and alone as a parent, you also realize that you are in fact part of a living breathing organism of parents who all feel exactly the same way:

CONFOUNDED

and utterly stumped as to how to do the very best for our own “unique” child/children.

Kim’s guiding principals are easy to practice, and completely effective (trust me I have been trying them out all afternoon!)

So, for what it’s worth – run, don’t walk to get a copy or find out when he is coming to a school or community center near you.  His new book The Soul Of Discipline is not out yet, but you can get his best seller Simplicity Parenting as a starter.

If as parents we all had the foundational tools his method explores and effectively demonstrates I think the change many of us seek in the world at large would be more readily available… discipline, I think, is an entirely rare commodity in America these days, and in finding the “soul” of discipline,  I think it’s possible that we may also find our own.

A Love So Powerful

Shaw Age 2

There are those days as I wait for the kids to return from a weekend away with dad, when I physically ache for them.  The best part of any divorce is that you get a break.

The worst part of divorce is that you get a break.

I had this really unbelievably morbid thought today as I sat here aching: It’s that I can’t even imagine the pain of what it must be to lose a child, or have your child be physically hurt.  I know what you must be thinking… why would you even go here…?

I think because lately I’ve been watching TV again and I am privy to all the things that go on in the world that I was blissfully ignorant of before and when I hear about these things it makes me lose a piece of my heart and soul every time.  Just even the fact that it’s a part of the news along with every other happening and… then the weather… like, the fact that the world does not actually just stop rotating on it’s axis in response to a child’s pain or suffering just confounds me…

How would that be possible?

On a lighter note (oh thank God, you must be saying…)   both kids got home from school safe and sound.  I’ve not seen them since Friday morning when I dropped them off at school , and I felt like a puppy at the window- acting a bit like one too,  practically slurping their faces off with happiness… home again, home again, oh boy… wag wag.

During our after school snack my daughter informed me that her class is performing a play , at school. She said that’s three hours long and so I should start practicing sitting still starting, like now ( no comment) and then she said…

“and I need to warn you mom, it’s a little violent”

really? I asked… “In what way?”

“Well, there is a hanging- because, see it’s -old fashioned… back in the olden days when they killed people”

and then I thought to myself… “wow, right… she does not really have a concept of what the real world is like”… she does not have a concept because I have shielded her from the media, news and violent and devastating things since the day she was born, but one day, she’ll find out… and when ever that someday comes – it will be a someday way too soon.

I wish she never had to know… that she would continue thinking that “hangings” are the worst of it, and that this form of barbaric behavior is a past tense but I know i can not shield my baby forever…

It makes me realize though, how critical our role: as mothers-   It’s OUR LOVE for our children that is the only thing powerful enough to stand firm against the wrong that is done… mothers united with mothers who are united with mothers, all over the world.  Deep thoughts I know, but damn if motherhood does not make it so.

Why do I blog?

Sometimes people challenge me about why I blog…
i kind of put some distance between this post and the event but today something similar came up so I went back to the draft on this post and I’ve decided to publish it.  I publish it for a number of reasons…

1) It makes me laugh

2) It makes me laugh

3) Some people are ignorant and… that makes me laugh.

Question: “Why do you blog?”

Answer : I don’t know- why does anyone?

Then they asked: “Don’t you feel kind of vulnerable when you expose your personal life?

My response : “yes.”

“Then why do you do it?”

“Because blogging makes me feel alive, and happy, and challenged to get better at expressing myself as a writer, and besides- I love the interaction with my readers”

Them: “I could never do that”

Me: “Why not? ”

Them: “Because I don’t want “them” to know my business…”

Me: “Ok… then don’t do it, and …. who’s “them?”

Them: “Well doesn’t it bother you that other people know your business? (lets blatantly ignore answering the other question)

Me: “no.” and then:

“it does not bother me”-

“what sometimes bothers me is when people read my blog try to use it against me, or twist the words to fit their own needs… that kind of bugs me- but for the most part that’s only ever really happened as it relates to my Divorce…like sometimes my Wasband tells me that people will go out of there way to tell him that they’ve read about him on my blog – I call those people “shit stirrers”… but I don’t really think that’s about me or about him- I think that’s about them”

Them: “oh.”

Then…. “Well… perhaps you should not write about your personal life…”

Me: “Does it bother you?” ( oh, NOW we’re getting to the heart of the matter)

Them… “well- I just get “concerned” for you” (uh huh- )

Me: “Well how bout you don’t read it?  and then you won’t feel the need to be concerned….

Them: “Well… I just feel like someone should warn you….”

Me: “OK- I’ll consider myself “warned…”

So… now I’ll ask you (readers…) what do you think? Why do you read blogs? Why do you like them? What’s important to you about the blogs you read?