joannebest











sick

 

I was all kinds of proud of me and my declaration of independence and freedom for the Brand New Year numbered 2018.

I even made plans to (gasp) leave the house and go out.

On a Saturday night.

With my favorite person in the world.

I was giddy with anticipation and delighted at the idea of spending time with my Not-Daughter. We were going to some really cool coffee house type place to talk and do girl stuff aka I have Christmas gifts that arrived late which is really just an excuse for me to spend time with my Not-Daughter.

Then came the Great Collision of 2018, The Bombogenisis named Grayson and a nasty cold on the verge of turning into bronchitis. Because I can’t have nice things.

After the latest storm dumped a whole lotta snow and dragged the temperatures down so low that single digits felt warm compared to the wind chill factor, I, of course, started getting sick. Anyone with fibromyalgia knows what that means, it means a simple head cold can turn into bronchitis, pneumonia, you name it, the possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, it also means I had a choice to make, should I stay or should I go?

I spent half the day pro and con-ing in between going through boxes of tissues at an alarming rate and attempting to sleep my sickness away.

It didn’t work.

I had to cancel.

And cancelling plans with my Not-Daughter damn near broke my heart. She’s a sweetheart and understood but I still feel awful having to cancel our attempt at getting together. Because I worry and worry and worry due to years of cancelled plans and the reactions of whoever I’ve had to cancel plans with. That’s probably not even close to being grammatically correct but I can’t care about grammar right now. I’ve been writing this for 2 days because I’ve spent more time sleeping than I have being awake. Saturday I slept from 7:30pm until 7:30am Sunday morning, when I woke up feeling worse. I drank a few cups of tea and went back to sleep around noon and woke up a little after 5pm, still sick. One bowl of chicken soup, one cup of tea and a small handful of vitamins later and I was back in bed, asleep before 8pm.

And now, here I am. Still sick, still feeling awful about cancelled plans and still wishing I was a time traveler.

Did I forget to mention I wish I was a time traveler? Is my fevered brain making nonsense out of nonsense? Will all these cups of tea and bowls of chicken soup finally make me feel better? Will I ever get rid of this flu-like thing that does nothing but make me want to sleep? Will I ever get to spend quality time with my Not-Daughter? Will I ever stop babbling guiltily and end this nonsensical post?

I love you Not-Daughter, I hope some day I can grow up and be just like you. And also, I hope I can sleep more and wake up feeling all better.

Until then, due to circumstances beyond my control, in the almost-words of Not-Helen Reddy, I am woman, hear me snore.

 

sick2

 

 

 



{January 3, 2018}   2018 : The Year Of Me

butterfly1

“For a new year to bring you something new, make a move, like a butterfly tearing its cocoon! Make a move!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

 

I hereby declare 2018 to be The Year Of Me.

If you either know me or “know” me, you understand this is a big deal.

I do not put myself first.

I do not put myself second.

It’s actually a miracle if I make my own list at all so to attempt to devote an entire year to me and my own selfish whims way of doing things, you know, thinking of myself for a change, well that is a huge deal.

Huge enough that I’ve been writing this since January 1st but have been intimidated, by myself no less, because it’s not very polite to make it all about me.

Well, after a lifetime of devoting myself to those around me I finally realized you kinda get treated in a way somewhat similar to the way you treat yourself.

Yeah, fuck that anymore. Oh, and any and all grammar Nazis can piss off too. Mangling words is one of the few pleasures of life so, uh, there. Now back to me.

I, as is common knowledge, am a trifecta of guilt. Middle and only girl child? Check. Catholic School education? Check. Born under the sign of Cancer? Check. Don’t get all picky, it’s a trifecta, take my word for it. I’m also Irish, believe me, there’s guilt in there somewhere as well.

I’m not going to re-live all the stuff that kept me running in place getting nowhere, suffice it to say I was a caretaker for various Family members, blood or otherwise, for a good 10 years. The odd thing about it all is I was born to take care of others and I actually enjoy it. Making others feel good, helping others out in times of trouble, doing any little thing to makes someone else’s life even a little bit easier, these are things that make me feel good. The problem is I’m an all-in kinda gal. Once I dip a toe in, before I know it I’m in over my head while everyone else is just floating.

I wanna float for awhile too.

I should have been a nurse. Or a teacher. Or a Mother to human babies instead of only fur babies. Sometimes I just want to hug the world and everyone in it. But it would be nice, I imagine, if somebody wanted to return the favor once in awhile.

Shake it off Suzy, this ain’t no pity party. Grow a spine and deal with it. That was me giving myself a pep talk. I tend to open my mouth and my Mother’s words come out of it lately. That, well, that is a good thing.

Back on topic, 2018 will be is the year of Me with a capital “M”.

I resolve to start thinking about myself for a change. To stop leaving myself out of the loop and start living. Socializing. Getting out of the damn house and doing stuff. Write. Write some more. Keep writing. But, also, most importantly, live. And if living includes doing things for other people, even better, I just have to remind myself daily that I count too.

I have a plan. Sorta.

Of course I’ve picked the worst time of the year to become all about me because it’s damn near freezing outside and we’re due for another snowstorm but I can’t let that be an excuse stop me from reaching my goals. Sure, I can strap on my Fitbit and walk around in circles but that’s not the same as walking outside and getting in a few miles a day. So instead of beating myself up as per usual, I’ve decided to accept the fact that I won’t be getting anywhere near 7 miles a day until Springtime and that’s okay.

I resolve to go with the flow yet make sure that flow includes me at the top, or whatever the correct terminology is when referring to a flow.

I resolve to remove myself from the floor and stop allowing people to walk all over me.

I resolve to laugh more and cry less, although a good hard cry now and then is a good thing.

I resolve to do things that may be expected of me, as long as I do things my way.

I resolve to finish writing this stupid blog-type thing I’m writing which, by my own admission, is kinda boring but guess what? It’s my blog and I get to write whatever I want.

It is also my life. It’s time for me to take it back and live it.

 

 

 

“I used to have this toy, a magic slate. You wrote or drew on it and then, just by pulling up the plastic cover, everything you did disappeared and you could start new. Maybe everyone feels that on New Year’s Eve: They can pull up the magic sheet and rewrite their lives.”

― V.C. Andrews

magic slate

 

 

 

 

 

 



{December 28, 2017}   Uncomfortably Numb

cant care

I’m not sure of the exact moment it happened but it hit me without leaving a mark this morning when I woke up.

I can’t care.

About anything.

It’s not that I don’t want to care, it’s that I can’t care. I’m numb. Uncomfortably numb because I don’t very much love this feeling, but I can’t seem to care enough to do anything about it. And therein lies the problem. It’s one of those circular chicken and egg things. You know, where did it start? What came first?

Apparently I can’t seem to care enough to figure it out.

Or can I?

That’s one of the reasons I’m here right now instead of say, going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head hoping to slip back into a deep sleep, perchance to live in a dream world where it doesn’t matter whether I care or not.

It’s pathetic.

Check this out, when I lift my head from my laptop I see an 8 foot tree blazing with colored lights and shiny decorations, each one either hand-picked by me or hand-made by my Mom. There are several huge piles of gifts, wonderful beautiful gifts we’ve all picked out for each other I mean Santa left under the tree on Christmas Eve, practical needed gifts as well as dream gifts, you know, the stuff you want but wouldn’t buy for yourself. Yet still, I can’t care.

I mean, there’s a Buffy The Vampire Slayer Board Game I’ve wanted since before it existed. I can be Buffy and slay the day away. I swear I even heard Spike call me out I mean call my name and I’m ignoring that lovely British accent because, well, the caring is gone. Again.

I tend to be a reactionary sponge. I soak up all the emotion around me and usually let it all take over, get in the driver’s seat, so to speak. Puppet-like, my strings get yanked to and fro but recently, an imaginary pair of scissors has cut nearly every damn string leaving me motionless, emotionless, just plain less. Still, knowing all of this, I can’t muster up even one drop of caring.

Listen, I’m not stupid, I’ve been through many years of therapy, I recognize that nobody can save me except me but, say it with me, I can’t care. There are a myriad of reasons, real, true, valid reasons for my non-caring. I get it. I understand that the last 5 or 6 years have blown up my world and changed the me I used to be.
I can visualize it in my mind like falling dominos; the hurricane crashing the house, my Mom dying the following year just 5 months after moving back home, my Dad dying the year after that, the house being sold and my brother dying the same week, basically my entire support system yanked away from me and me trying to not talk about it because nobody wants to hear it anymore, hell, don’t want to hear it anymore.

So what do I do? Being born under the sign of Cancer, I can cry my eyeballs out but I’m sick to death of tears. I can pull into my shell and I do, more than anyone knows because I pretend. I turned myself into an actress playing a part. Those smiles you see on my face? Fake. Those cute little sarcastic quips I throw out like I’m channeling my Mother? Fake. Those prescription RayBan sunglasses I wear whenever I leave the house? Not fake but useful because they hide my eyes, the windows to my battered soul. My damn eyes give me away every damn time, but only to those who care to look. And hell, if I don’t care, why should anyone else?

This is not a cry for help, a plea for understanding, a desperate attempt looking for attention. Those things would require me caring, but my capacity to really care somehow slipped away when I wasn’t paying attention.

And please don’t get me wrong, I care about other people I love, I just can’t care when it comes to myself. A therapist would probably say I just summed it up in that last bit of words, a therapist would probably say I have to love myself in order to care about myself. But a therapist isn’t walking around in this shell of a body, I am. I am the one in the driver’s seat and apparently I’ve stalled. I need a jump start, a new battery, something to bring me back to life and that is all on me. I get it logically, I can diagnose and fix anybody’s life, but when I look in the mirror and see the blank look in my baby blues, all I feel is colder.

So is that all there is? Am I to be forever stuck in neutral, idling and wasting gas as the world passes me by? Will I forever be in a constant state of nope, not even caring enough to take all my wonderful gifts sitting under the tree out of the boxes? Will I remain uncomfortably numb for the rest of my life?

Perhaps being uncomfortably numb isn’t the worst thing in the world. Uncomfortably numb implies I’m not comfortable with the numbness, I’m not a Pink Floyd song, I’m not comfortably numb, so maybe there’s hope for me after all.

Stay tuned, as we end this year and move on to another. Maybe I can resolve to shake off this numbness and start feeling something, anything even. At the least, I can hope.

Or, as someone much more proficient with words than I once said:

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
― Alfred Tennyson



{December 8, 2017}   Breaking The Ice

breaking ice1

Is it possible to forget how to write?

It’s 3:42am EST as I type these words, I woke up half an hour ago and found myself unable to go back to sleep. You know how your mind switches on and no matter what you do, you can’t stop those thoughts from swirling and cluttering? It’s usually your worst fears or insecurities that seem to pop up most around those hours, I heard that 3am is the Devil’s hour, it was in some article talking about a weird phenomena where a whole bunch of people around the world wake up during the 3am hour, like the Devil has an alarm clock somewhere and it wakes up those who are susceptible.

The major flaw I find in that theory is time zones. Does everyone wake up at the same time, or does everyone wake up at 3am local time? Either Hell is full of alarm clocks all set for the same time or my mind is scrambling for something to write about.

Because it’s been a long time.

I hate to play the death card again but those of you who have followed my blog previously,you all know I had that Trifecta of Death, the domino effect that began with a hurricane acting all “I’ll huff and puff and blow your house down”, followed by the year of rebuilding, then the Trifecta of Death which was actually more like Double Digits of Death because almost my entire Family got wiped out one by one leaving me with one older brother who has no use I mean love I mean, well, he doesn’t really know me nor does he want to, one Aunt I love who lives far away and a handful of cousins, most of who live across the country, and no more Family home I worked so hard to save, which I did with the help of many, but since the sale after my Parents died, I’ve yet to drive by the house, I’m afraid I’ll break down and bawl like a baby.

I just wanted to get that out of the way, for those of you at home playing along for the first time.

So much has changed, I seem to find myself lost and aimless, the only person able to understand me is a 19 year old daughter of friends of mine. She’s me when I was 19 and the daughter I never had, only way cooler than me.

I’m doing that thing I do, ramble, babble, talk too much.

I hear that accusation a lot these days which is pretty ironic seeing as I talk to no one except my husband and his sister, we all still live in the same house, they go to work and I have no job which is all good when I’m writing but I haven’t been writing so I’ve been feeling pretty useless/worthless/all-the-less-words.

Maybe I have Stockholm Syndrome.

Hey, that’s a thing you know!

I talk to myself, my cats, an occasional few minutes on the phone with my bestie who’s life is pretty much the same as mine so our contact is more textual than vocal. I’m the girl who would talk to her Mother 5 times a day, even my Dad and deceased Brother would call me all they time but they were more like 16 times a day.

So when you’re backed against the wall you might as well give in and hope your Muse wakes up and smacks you awake. Because I’ve been sleepwalking through life and it’s time to WAKE UP!!!

Silence isn’t always golden, sometimes silence sucks.

 

breaking ice

 



kindness of strangers

“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers”

A few mornings ago, I woke up sobbing. And I’m not ashamed to admit my weakness.
I am beyond overwhelmed and I am guilty of intentionally adding more to my burden-filled plate. I am also guilty of misdirected anger and extreme disappointment while trying to mask my feelings.

I miss my Mom and I miss my Dad and this whole dissolving of the estate also know as ripping my heart out and tearing it into three equal portions, is slowly killing me.
Or a reasonable facsimile thereof…
It freezes my usually warm heart knowing that we are already showing the house to realtors when my Dad died a month today, and it hurts me to the core seeing our childhood reduced to nothing more than a dollar amount.
From the age of 5, when we moved from Newark NJ to Sayreville NJ, up until this very day, that home has been the ‘no place like home’ security blanket that always made me feel safe, no matter where I was.
Now it’s all about numbers and “get rid of this” and “curb appeal” and “throw away all this stuff” aka get a dumpster and discard every bit of memory and character left in your heart, um, I mean house.

Let me be clear, I am the least money-hungry person you may or may not ever meet in your life.

To me, money is a necessary evil we need to survive.
I am simple to please, a roof over my head, a cup of tea, a couple of cats, a million books and a place to write are enough to keep me happy and thriving. Okay, maybe an occasional Carmello bar thrown in there once in awhile doesn’t hurt.

But.

I’m grieving.

And I can count the number of family members who care that my Father died on one hand.
If you have no respect for the death of my Father, that’s your business and also your right. But don’t you think you should have a little bit of respect for me, a grieving Daughter who loved BOTH of her Parents unconditionally?

And did it ever cross your mind that perhaps taking joy from the fact that my Father died and being vocal about it might just hurt me a little bit? Did any of the guilty parties ever think that perhaps, upon hearing the news of my Father’s death, telling his adult children you would get up and do a jig if you were physically capable of doing so is beyond disrespectful? Never mind how much it hurt to hear something like that from someone you have loved and looked up to since the day you were born.
I’m not naming names and I’m not pointing fingers, it’s more like a wave in your general direction. I do this out of respect for family ties, which have been reduced from a capital F ‘Family’ to just plain small letter ‘family’ even though whoever it is I’m referring to will most likely never see these words.

Since this is more of an update/babble, there is no order to my thoughts, no beginning, middle, or end.
There is no message, no point, no lessons to be taught or learned, more of just a purge of stuff that has been weaving through my brain, not all of it of course, because when it comes down to it, I’m more of a ‘don’t say anything if you can’t say anything nice’ kinda girl, and at this moment in time, I can’t think of anything nice to say upon hearing all the negativity toward my Father.

I guess some people think they are perfect and have decided slamming a man who, along with my Mother, practically raised them during their childhood, for reasons.

I have a lot of anger issues.
Not one sympathy card or phone call from anyone on my Mom’s side of the family*, while my Dad’s side, consisting of 3 cousins, have been more supportive than everyone else put together.

My Mother would be so disappointed in the branch of her family tree.

Things have settled down between my two brothers and I, after a long face to face talk, we’ve come to terms for the most part, so at least I feel a bit better knowing that we three are on the same page.

So while I am still an emotional wreck, at least I am an emotional wreck with two brothers who love me as I love them.

I have discovered that it’s really true, blood doesn’t make family, but loving and caring friends can become more of a Family than blood relatives.

And while it is very comforting to know that I do have a support system, it saddens me to know how the people you expected to be there for you are nowhere to be found.

I will end this now, because I’m verging on whining, but one last thing: I have met some of the best friends I could ever hope for as a result of writing, it doesn’t matter that I have never met a lot of them in person, they have still showed me more love and concern than I’ve received from blood ties.
So dear friends, if I haven’t made myself clear enough, you, and you, and you too, my writerly-friends, have made a tragic time in my life a little bit easier, just by being there for me when I needed someone more than ever.
I thank you and I love you with a love usually reserved for family, because you are now my Family.
This fact alone has made it easier to sleep at night.

*a few of my cousins commented on my Facebook status when I posted that my Dad had passed.

family4



{October 3, 2015}   Now I Am An Orphan

bestfanilyMom, Dad, Tommy and me. I assume my older brother took this picture.

Now I am an orphan.
As anyone who has ever glanced at my blog knows, I’m one of those daughters who needs her Parents in her life. Mommy’s girl, Daddy’s girl, whatever the kids are calling it these days, that’s me.
Always and without fail, my Parents have been my rock.
When I lost my Mom 2 years, 5 months and 14 days ago, my world was upended and nothing was ever completely right again. She was my best friend, my keeper of secrets and knew me better than anyone in the world. To this day I find myself reaching for the phone to call her.
So I carried on the best I could because someone had to take care of my Dad, who else but the middle girl-child would take on the task?
In my brother Tom’s defense, he did what he could to help out, but lets face it, a man born in 1927 is more likely to expect a woman’s help than accept a man’s help. Male pride runs deep, especially when you’re an ex-Navy man. Showing weakness to your son is not acceptable to some people, and my Dad was certainly one of those people.
My older brother, well, he’ll get a post of his own once the estate is settled. I don’t know if he just finds me beneath him because I never went to college and instead pursued my dreams; singing songs I wrote in my own band and working towards becoming a real writer to name a few, but the point is I followed my heart and not my bank account. Lets put it this way: when I mentioned to my older brother as we sat around my Mom’s Thanksgiving table maybe 8 years ago, that I didn’t realize he was on Facebook and I’d send him a friend request he gave me a song and dance answer that translated into a big fat no you will not be my FB friend. I only use it for business, he told me. Oddly enough, I found this was a lie and all my relatives, including my younger brother, were all on his ‘friends’ list.
A virtual slap in the face. But more about that another time.

My Father was stubborn, grouchy, and refused to let me move in with him to make his life a little easier. Instead, I spent a lot of time in my car, driving 20 minutes each way at the drop of a hat. Doctor appointments? I took him to all of them and Dad was the kind of senior citizen who liked to make doctor appointments the way people make plans to go to lunch, they were social engagements to him more than necessary appointments but I understood and played the game.
My daily phone calls with my Mom now turned into many, many phone calls from Dad, a few times a day is one thing but he’d call to tell me there was a John Wayne movie on, or to let me know what the song of the day was. See, he’d walk every morning down at the waterfront and that was part of his shtick, every morning he’d sing a different song as he walked, like the Pied Piper, little kids would follow him asking “what’s the song of the day Charlie?” He’d talk to their parents and ask if it was okay to give them a piece of candy or a lollipop, and whenever it was vacation time, a group of teenagers would talk to him and tell him they were watching out for him.
He was loved by strangers, openly showing affection, but he had a hard time doing the same for his immediate family.

Here’s the thing; my Father was, for all intents and purposes, an orphan. He never knew his own Father and his Mother died before he was 5 years old. He was raised by his maiden Aunt, who we all referred to as our Grandmother.
My Dad used to roller skate all the time when he was a kid, and one night, when he and his posse came out of the rink, they heard the news, Pearl Harbor was bombed. Right then and there my Dad decided he was going to enlist in the Navy. He had some hoops to jump through because he was only 17 years old but he did it, he went to boot camp in Buffalo NY and that young boy became a man quickly as he boarded a ship and soon found himself a part of the Normandy Beach Invasion on D-Day. He’s told me a lot of stories from back then but one in particular sticks out in my mind. He was on LST 279, a torpedo missed his ship by 20 feet but that’s not the story I’m referring to; the ships were at the mercy of the tides, they were unable to move when the tide was low and sometimes little French children would walk out to the ships and wave to the sailors on the ship. One day, when they were serving lemon meringue pie, something my Dad hated, he took a pie and put it in his helmet to lower it down to the kids in the surf. On the way down, the helmet did a 360 and through the grace of God, or maybe just pure luck, as the helmet flipped the pie slipped out and somehow managed to land right-side up inside the helmet, undamaged. Dad told me those kids were so thrilled to have a pie to eat they were scooping it out of the pie tin with their fingers until they got every drop.

A week ago today, on September 26th, 2015, my Dad passed away in the same hospital my Mom did, although I talked to him every day and saw him a few times a week, he gave no indication of any problems, although I felt a chill when he told me he wanted to die but didn’t want to kill himself. He missed my Mom. He wanted to be with her. We had this conversation Tuesday night and Wednesday I went to pick him up for his doctor appointment. I walked in the house and found him on the floor, unable to move. I called 911 and spent the next few days at the hospital with my younger brother.
The first thing my Dad said when he was stable was “Her name is Alice Bridget Carey”, my Mom’s maiden name. I felt like he was letting his higher power know he was looking for his wife. The last thing he said to me was “I love you”.
And I know he did.

I made a conscious decision around 10 years ago that I would spend as much time as I could with my Parents. I knew how lucky I was to have both my Parents alive and I wanted no regrets when they were gone. I didn’t want to say ‘I should have spent more time with them’.
There are a lot of relatives who didn’t like my Father. After my Mom died, not one relative ever made any effort to contact my Father in any way. This made me so sad, because even if he was a grouchy old man, he was my Father, he was my Mother’s husband. He was Family but he was written off.
But not by me.

I love you Dad, and I always will. Rest In Peace, I will never forget you.

bestparents Mom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ



{September 11, 2015}   I Can Never Forget

9 11abb

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having a hard time getting through another September 11th. I tried desperately to write today but found myself staring at a near blank page and clicking back and forth between writing and looking at Facebook.

Basically wasting time.

I can’t even muster up the ability to write about that day in 2001 from my perspective, but it nags at me, to post something. I can’t ignore the day without acknowledging it some way,  yet I can’t write anything today, the words are stuck in my heart because my head is filled with all the what-ifs, all the lives that were touched that day, and how there was a ripple effect that day. You didn’t have to live in New York or New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Washington DC or Boston, it doesn’t matter where you lived, the World changed that day and Innocence became a memory the instant that first plane hit the first Tower.

I dug out some of my blank books, the books I use to keep track of rehearsals and write lyrics. I also tend to doodle when there’s lead singer down time, and it just so happened we had rehearsal on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. I wanted to cancel but in the end we decided to go to the studio and try to not think for two hours. We had a gig coming up where we had to add a few cover songs to usual original set so I had a bit of doodle time while the musicians musicianed other people’s songs.

So I decided to take a few photographs of my doodles, and the lyrics to a song I wrote that night called “Lay Me Down”, just my feelings about that day jotted down quickly in a blank book as the horrifying terrible smell was everywhere and the smoke continued to take over the sky no matter where you turned.

This year was worse for me. Don’t know why, it just was.

So I shall share some pages from journals written and doodled on Tuesday, September 11th,2001 at Stage Right Studios while our Innocence disappeared slowly, nearly unnoticed, like that tragic scent and the never-ending smoke. I never claimed to be an artist, but I just needed to share this, and hope to sleep tonight nightmare-less, unlike last night when I had one of those same nightmares where I’m lost in New York City alone in the dark.

If you click on this photo you can see a scribbled NYC skyline, the one I saw every single day.

911a

If you click on this you can see my mental me unravel a bit, writing down words to songs my Mom sang to me when I would cry and she’d sing “Why oh why oh why oh, did I ever leave Ohio?” Neither one of us ever went to Ohio but it became our code song, kind of like clicking your ruby slippers three times or Calgon, take me away type stuff.

Just me then? [shrugs]

 

911b

These are the lyrics to Lay Me Down, the song I wrote that night, the song sitting in another studio waiting for me to finish some vocals and a few other touchups. If you click on the photo I was surprised to find the words legible. Um, just me then? Either way, I believe I may have posted them previously, if not, perhaps I will.  Right this moment, this is all I can do.

I’ll get back to my WIP tomorrow after Dad Duty. How do you make an almost 89 year old ex Navy Man who was actually there on D Day let you help him? He doesn’t want my help, he wants my Mom back and so do I but that isn’t possible. So I shall visit and clean and do laundry and go food shopping, shout louder than I sing so he can hear me, and bite my tongue near in half at the way he talks to me and the fight he gives me about cleaning. He can do it himself you know. That translates into what I call Covert Cleaning. I’m getting better at it. Oh, my point, I will have to remember to post my lyrics if I already haven’t. I think I may have but my head is telling me to watch Anthony Stewart Head in Dominion then sleep. Without lost in NYC dreams please.

911d

Well would you look at that! Over 700 words, much more than I thought I had in me.

I have to thank Kate Richards and Nina Cooper, their collective words to me on Facebook healed me enough to post this. Thank you both, you are truly amazing women I am extremely Blessed to know in any capacity, this virtual world we gather in really does make miles disappear. For that I am very grateful ❤



{September 5, 2015}   Lowering Liquid

jack3

the level lowers quickly,
that dark liquid magnifier,
a bottle lessens to a drop and another cracks open,
see, it’s the weekend you know, and everything must go
according to a fantasy schedule, unshared and unbelievable,
easier to play along till your bones are suddenly screaming from an unintended stumble,
collision unexpected and yes, balance no longer works,
soft reasonable patient words unheard,
slurry mumbled snark, the kind where they’re only kidding and
don’tcha have a sense of humor,
your sanity questions you to shake things up
and a bump grows on your eyebrow, stabby painful and nothing new
lather rinse repeat because it never goes away.
they fight for control but Jack always wins these days,
an occasional visitor who tends to overstay his welcome,
I think he sucks,
but when it’s over no one remembers the demon, just the angel,
all a figment of my imagination

jack



{September 3, 2015}   I Am A Rug, I Am A Carpet…

walkonme

… and a rug feels no pain, and a carpet never cries.

So I woke up extra early (for me) yesterday morning, 5am, and figured I’d write for a few hours then spend the rest of the day trying to straighten out this financial mess my Father made because, male pride and I’m a girl.
Had a few cups of tea, did a few things around the house, got all the paperwork together I need for the financial finagling I needed to do so I could just pick it up after I wrote for awhile.
Then my Father calls.
Nothing unusual about that, but this time he’s telling me he needs me to come down right away, something isn’t right, he says, he needs me to take him to the hospital, now. I’ve got him on speakerphone as I dash around the house locking the doors, making sure the dogs are in and no cats snuck outside and I ask him to tell me how he feels. “Just hurry”, he says and hangs up the phone.

I’m in a controlled state of panic and run out in my yoga pants and t-shirt, slip on a pair of sneakers, stuff all his paperwork into a bag and fly out the door with my Ray Bans covering my worried eyes after first splashing water on my face and putting on some lipstick.
Don’t judge, Ray Bans and lipstick make me feel better in all circumstances.

I make the ride in record time, pull into his driveway only to find all the doors locked and my key to his house back home on my other keychain. I knock loud and call out to my Dad, all the while my brain is figuring out which window I should crawl through, something I haven’t done since I was a teenager but luckily I’m still able to fit through. Window-crawling mission aborted as I hear my Dad yell “come in”.
“The door is locked,” say I.
“Wait a minute,” he replies as I hear him slowly shuffle to unlock the Dutch door.
Each second is an hour as I imagine every horrible scenario possible, remember past emergencies, generally freak myself out until he finally gets to the door and unlocks it.
I burst through the door, “Dad! What happened? Are you OK? Tell me what happened, let’s get your wallet and go to the emergency room.” I babble the way I do when I’m nervous and he just looks at me.
“Let’s go,” he says. “I want to get some money out of the bank.”
“Don’t worry about money right now Dad, let’s go to the hospital first and I’ll go to the bank after a doctor sees you.”
I’m impatient, worried, thinking ten steps ahead and I realize he’s looking at me like I’m a crazy person.
“Dad? Are you ok? Let’s go! We need to get to the hospital!”
“Hospital? I just want you to take me to the bank.”
Silence for what seems like forever.
“Dad,” I say calmly, “You told me you needed to go to the hospital, what’s going on? Are you ok?”
“Wait, let’s go sit in the living room,” he says as he shuffles away.
It all begins to sink in.
Manipulated once again.
I can see the gears turning in his head as he attempts to concoct a believable story.
He doesn’t succeed, he can’t talk his way out of it because he knows I’m catching on.
“I didn’t feel like driving to the bank,” he admits.
By now my head is pounding due to rising blood pressure yet I remain calm.
Outwardly calm.
We’d already had it set up for me to go to the bank for him on Friday/today (I’d already been to his house Monday, Wednesday, and now Thursday). This day was meant for me to get the SBA on the phone so I could talk them into not holding back 15% of my Dad’s Social Security checks due to him missing a few payments of $53 per month. I used to take care of this particular loan payment from Hurricane Irene’s destruction but Dad insisted he wanted to take care of his own bills so I had no choice but to turn it over to him.
After spending more than half the previous day on the phone with the Department of Treasury I was told my Dad now has to pay the DOT $485 per month in addition to losing 15% of his SS checks. The loan was taken out when my Mom was alive so my Dad’s income alone barely makes it, coming up with an extra $400+ is undoable. The man at the DOT was very nice and told me if I had the gift/power of persuasion I might be able to get the SBA to change it back. Which was what I was going to take care of before dear old Dad told me he had to go the emergency room.

I’m rambling again.
Back to the non-hospital trip: he wanted me to go to the bank, take out some cash and go to the corner store for the newspaper and lottery tickets.
I remained outwardly calm, drove to the bank and noticed my car was verging on overheating. Over 90 degrees outside and I’m driving with my windows open and the heat blasting so it wouldn’t overheat.
Drove around town getting his cash, his newspaper and lottery tickets, all the while dripping sweat.

When I got back to his house, I channeled my Mother and exploded.
Respectfully exploded.
Although the F-word did escape my mouth a few times, I explained that all he had to do was tell me the truth, I would have stopped at the bank and store on my way down and gone merrily on my way. I told him it was unacceptable, the lies I mean. Because he’s been known to stretch the truth before, I sat him down and explained thoroughly the tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I explained that his health is better than mine and if he continued to play games like this (because he found the incident funny) there might come a day when he really needed me and I wouldn’t be there, because I don’t know anymore when he’s telling the truth or lying. I explained the mess he made out of everything, and asked him who else helps him besides me, the answer being nobody. He drove my younger brother away by constantly treating him like garbage and my older brother, well, he flat-out doesn’t care to help in any way shape or form. I think he’s still pissed at me because he hated the idea of the house being fixed after Hurricane Irene, he wanted them to sell the house as is and move them into an assisted living place but they wanted their house back. Truth is, I don’t even know my brother’s phone number or address because he moved and never gave me the information.

I’m a nervous wreck still worrying about my Dad, still making excuses for him, and still being taken advantage of. I know I’m lucky I have at least one Parent still alive but at this rate he’ll be burying me instead of the other way around. If that sounds cold it’s not meant to be. I told my Father I love him and always will but if he continues to lie to me my Mother’s dreaded saying would come true, he will live the rest of his life a lonely old man. I think of all the times I defended him to my Mother and compare them to all the knife wounds in my back.
I try to make him understand that we’re all we got, it’s just us now, and I asked him if he’s actually trying to kill me, death by stress.

So yes, I am a rug. I am a carpet stepped on again and again and I’m wearing thin.

Can I please stop being the adult?

walkonme1



wills8
I’m trying.

I really am, but there seems to be a conspiracy surrounding me and everything I attempt to do.

Example: I’ve been working on a piece of writing, you know how it goes, you write, you save to draft, you edit, you delete and rewrite because suddenly every perfect word, every luscious phrase you previously wished you could come up with finally hits you all at once and you write like a fiend, fingers flying, things you didn’t even realize you were capable of reveal themselves on the page fast and furious and you’re happy, pleased with yourself, words spitting out so quickly you don’t take that tiny second to hit “save draft” because after all, you’re nearly done and won’t need to hit anything but “publish”.

And then the dog scratches on the door to come in so you turn away for a split second to open the door and bam! William the Siamese cat decides he wants to jump on your desk, sit on your computer and inadvertently/intentionally deletes every word you just wrote, goes on Facebook and pulls up things on your computer you didn’t even know existed.

Yes, I know there is the automatic save to draft but that does no good when you’ve just changed every word you wrote in the previous draft. Every. Single. Word.

Of course it doesn’t help that your mind blanks out and you can’t remember what you just wrote a few moments ago.

You try, or rather, I try desperately to rewrite using my last saved draft but it’s gone, like that first little puff of smoke when you relight a candle, your thoughts dissipate into the ether, never to return.

It’s discouraging to say the least, but I’ve been so out of touch with the world recently that to just give up is unacceptable.
I want it back, a poem living in my head for days, finally formed to my satisfaction, but it’s gone.

So what do I do?
I need to get back into the habit of writing every day, I can’t let another day go by without writing something post-worthy and I can’t pull those thoughts back into my brain, I can’t reach them anymore, they’ve moved onto another plane of existence, as everything that has meant the most to me in my life has done.
And I don’t mean only those who have left this life, but also my lifelines, the one(s) who have let me cry when I needed to and lifted me up when I was nearly underground.
I understand life goes on and things change in the blink of an eye, with or without our permission or knowledge until it’s too late.
I understand we all have our own baggage to carry around, hidden or out in the open.
I understand that empathy, which may be considered a good thing, can sometimes bring me to my knees as I’m overwhelmed on occasion with understanding, overwhelmed with thoughts of the burdens others live each day, overwhelmed with the fact that I care and worry more about others than I do myself.
Overwhelmed with being overwhelmed.

So I shall compromise.
Let it go because perhaps, for some unknown reason, it wasn’t meant to be.

Hence, a blog post.
Sure, it’s certainly nothing award winning, but it sure as hell feels good to write something again.
I’ve been lost you see, all summer long I’ve been without direction, without inspiration, my head full of nothing but how to take care of my Dad and his dwindling finances, as well as his fading health.
If I don’t write something down it flees my mind, and even when I do make my numerous lists, like Sisyphus, just when I seem to get to the top of the hill, everything I’ve done rolls right back down, taking me with it.
Yet still, I continue to try.

Soon a day will come when I reach the top of the hill and I will be able to look down and say something I haven’t said in far too long: Life Is Good.
Because contrary to the odds, I still believe that Life Is Good, and I have every intention of proving that to myself.
One way or another.

sisaphus1



et cetera