me

salty or empowered, the shift in me

So I was exposed to the former husband while at Thing 1’s for the baby shower.
Thing 1 said, “Momma. The salty was coming off of you in waves.”
I was horrified!
I was not salty with purpose. I was there to celebrate my baby having a baby. It wasn’t about me. It was all about Thing 1. (and Husband N and Baby K)

Thing 2 says, “Oh that’s just (dad) trying to stay relevant.”
Thing 1 says, “He just wants to remind people he’s there.”

Like most narcissists, he resides in a world created by his compulsive need for adoration. When he feels threatened in any way, he tends to back pedal, blame, or talk mad shit about his perceived attacker.
Most of us simply go along with his behavior to avoid potential ugliness. Life really is so much simpler that way.

Only I was consciously different last weekend in that I simply did not engage his behavior.
I did not engage in his attempt to hug me.
I did not engage his attempt to draw me into ‘inside jokes’ or his telling of stories.
I corrected him when he falsified events with embellishments.
I was respectful and polite, but I did not behave as though we have any special knowledge of each other.
Apparently the former husband was feeling the salt because he brought it up to Husband N who directed him to discuss his concerns with me.
That will never happen. He will talk mad shit about me to anyone that listens, but he won’t have a frank discussion with me about anything.
Interestingly, he talks the maddest shit about me to our daughters. What he chooses not to realize is that they tell me what he says about me.

While we were there, he said two particular things to me that rubbed me the wrong way. But instead of engaging him, I simply responded with honesty.
When Thing 1 walked out of the room, his eyes followed her then he turned to me and said, “You did a wonderful job.” I looked up, smiled, and replied, “I sure did.”
I worked my ass off to be the best possible mother to my daughters. I know I did a good job. I know my girls are good humans. I don’t need his approval.
Much later on, he said to me, “I’m glad you’re going to be with her for the birth.”
I literally had no words with which to respond, so I just nodded.

These things may seem benign to the casual observer, however in the comment about being with Thing 1 while Baby K is born, he’s essentially giving me permission to mother my own child.

It may sound as though I’m over here like, ‘let’s talk mad shit about the ex’. But in reality, it comes from a desire to express the shift in me.
I made an entirely conscious decision to change my behavior around him.
I chose not to engage in his performance.
I kept my focus on myself, on my daughter, on the celebration.
For the first time in over thirty years, I set clear boundaries.
I was not fearful, did not walk on eggshells.
I was empowered to simply be myself.

I’m going to say that again.
I was empowered to simply be myself.
My true self.
The me that trusts what she knows.
The me that loves fiercely and without fear.

I did not engage him.
There was push back. Husband N got it the same day.
I suspect there will be further push back, my girls will get it in mad shit talk about me.
I don’t care.
Husband N has no fucks to give when it comes to his wife’s father.
Thing 1 and Thing 2 know what’s up. I hate their dad uses them that way, but I can’t solve that problem for them.

I will always be polite and treat him with respect because I love my daughters and that’s the behavior they deserve to witness. They also deserve to witness a woman with strength and dignity. A woman who loves and lives passionately without fear.
I deserve to be that woman.

I will never again accept any one else’s version of who I am.
I am my own version of me.

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‘laugh it off’ or expect respect

Thing 1 posted this yesterday on social media.
She was feeling sad.

Rude old man in Lowe’s said I looked like I swallowed a watermelon seed then proceeded to laugh his butt off like it was the funniest thing ever said and block my way so I couldn’t get past him. 😭

Of course this got a lot of angry or frustrated responses: middle finger emojis (this may or may not have been mine), angry faces, one hilarious gif of Madea giving the side eye.

My Momma-hackles were up. I was flooded with the overwhelming desire to stab that “rude old man” with my icepick! Leave my kid alone, fuckface. (I know, it sounds like a word I learned in 6th grade, because I did …but just work with me on this.)

This morning I woke to a comment to which I reacted with all the feels.

Well, try to laugh it off. It’s such a limited time in your life and that watermelon is a blessing!

The person who wrote this comment loves my first daughter nearly as much as I do. They share a sacred place in each other’s hearts and lives. I know she was trying to put a positive spin on an incident that upset Thing 1. She was doing what she thought was right. And I love her dearly for it. Helping my baby see that she might be able to just shrug it off and live in a place that is filled to the brim with the blessing of Baby K. And she’s right! That man knows nothing about how or why or what Thing 1 does to live her life. And who cares what he thinks? Thing 1 just needs to keep livin’ man. L-I-V-I-N.

Only, the more I considered her kindness, I considered how women around the world have been conditioned to behave, to accept the behavior of others…
And then my hackles went absolutely haywire.
I responded to the comment in what I hope is a kind and respectful way.

I understand your heart is in the right place in this comment, I know you speak from a place of love. You’re right, this baby is a blessing.
However, my concern is, taking this stance simply perpetuates disrespect towards women everywhere. That man doesn’t know just how much of a blessing this baby is. He amused himself at the expense of a young pregnant woman. At. Her. Expense.
We should never laugh this off.

I’m actually having both sides of this conversation in my head as write this post.
Was that man attempting to be friendly and not super successful, or was he a misogynistic asshole?
I have actually used that swallowed a watermelon line in my life. But never to a stranger.
Part of me agrees that Thing 1 should just “ignore the mean boy” and go on about her life.
But as I argue both sides of this issue I realize how wrong the whole fucking thing actually is!
There is nothing OK about one entire side of this conversation!
I would NEVER let my daughters behave that way, speak that way to or about someone! Would it be different if I had sons? Would I be a bit more, “boys will be boys”?
Um. FUCK to the NO!!

I’ve moved so far beyond the compulsion to protect my child.
I’m talking basic human respect.
This is our world, y’all!
How can this be OK?

Look, I’m not some mad feminist over here beating my bare breasts while burning my bra. I’m just a regular sort of (fully clothed) woman writing about what I see and feel.
My pregnant daughter should never have to be expected to “laugh it off”! She should never be exposed to that kind of random disrespect and borderline abuse!
Nobody’s daughter should!
Nobody’s son, for that matter!

Y’all! I am fired up about this! Am I overreacting? Am I justified?
I want to know what you think.
Ladies and Gents, do we simply ‘laugh it off’, or do we do everything in our power to treat other people with basic human decency?
I want to hear what you have to say on either side of this conversation.
Please and thank you!

Categories: me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

in love with being alive

I saw this on my friend Becca’s (I think) insta.
I was over here like, First of all I don’t drink coffee…
But then I read the last sentence and I got the gooseflesh.

I hope you fall in love with being alive again.
Y’all, let’s ponder that for a moment.

I’m going to ignore the size of the assumption someone has fallen out of love with being alive. I mean, cause that’s one hell of a big assumption.
But…

I wrote just the other day about paying attention. By deliberately acknowledging my gratitude I felt peaceful and joyful. And I might not have had this language in that moment, but I realize now that I can say I truly felt in love with being alive.
That’s been an overarching theme for me this year. And yes, the year is still young. But the feeling has been building in me for quite some time now, it just began to make enough sense to put it into play after the holidays.

I get bogged down in the living of life. The day to day minutiae becomes the focus. I’m so involved in doing the tedious daily requirements I sometimes forget to look up. To pay attention.

That’s life though, right?
Only what if it wasn’t?
What if I could be focused on tedious tasks, manage the minutiae, and still be aware?
What if? What if? What if?
That question ought to be stricken from my vernacular.
As a lifetime question-asker, I’m still learning how to phrase questions so they can be answered.
So instead of asking what if? the question could be something much more specific.
What can I do to complete tedious tasks and manage the minutiae without it being my sole focus?
What can I do each day to help me look up and pay attention?
Simple rephrasing.
Look how much easier those questions seem than the what if? question.
I think I’m on to something here…just gotta figure out what it is exactly.

Anyway, life can get in the way of living. I think we all experience that. It doesn’t have to though. We really can manage to do the ‘all the things’ and still experience peace, joy, and gratitude.
We can be in love with being alive!
I believe with every fiber of my being that it is the simplest thing.
(Most of us) were in love with being alive when we were kids. And at other important/special times in our lives. We just have to remember how to do it.
We have to remember that the tedium and minutiae are just box checking. A handful of specific things we must accomplish in this life.
But we have two hands!
What’s in the other one?
Is that where the magic of love, hope, joy, and gratitude are?

Life can be frustrating.
Difficult people or situations can get in your way.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people in stores who push their buggies all willy-nilly through the aisles. I get foaming-at-the-mouth angry. I lay curses and wish plagues upon them. I want to stab them with my ice pick. My anger doesn’t impact them, only me. I’m the one all jacked up and they’re just shopping.
What would it be like if I didn’t?
What would it be like if I accepted being in this situation without focusing all my white hot anger at it?
Would make my visits to the shops much better for me. I might even find some joy and gratitude with my purchases, right?

Perception is key. (Or is it ‘Don’t be a hater’?)
Either way, I know I’m on to something this time.

I know I have the ability to shift my focus.
I know I can pay attention to what brings me joy and gratitude.
I know by looking up once in a while, I can quite easily be in love with being alive.

However worn out we feel, however tired we are of the tedium and minutiae of life, we are not broken. We may have fissures, or be fractured, but life cannot truly break us.
I know this because I’m full of love. I’m full of hope. It slips in and fills in the cracks from those long ago fractures. Love and hope make me whole.

Hope reminds me to look up and pay attention.
Gratitude brings me peace.
Love is my intention.
And that’s what helps me fall (and remain) in love with being alive!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

focused, but not paying attention

I haven’t blogged in a bit. Neither read nor wrote.
I’ve been so busy doing other things, course work, house projects (pics soon), and other stuff, that I haven’t had the mental/emotional energy to give. That’s not just about writing, it’s also about reading. The bloggers I follow use their mental and emotional energies to write, the very least I can do is use mine when I read them.

This morning I caught up on posts from some of my fave bloggers.
Y’all, I’m so glad I did.
LA wrote two posts that gave me pause.
The first one focused on her gratitude and calm, the second focused on highlights from her week.
I swear to you, this woman inspires me every time I read her!

Not all that long ago, I made a vow to pay more attention.
I’m not really doing that.
Why do I forget to pay attention?
Life gets in the way…?
I’m accomplishing what needs to be accomplished.
I am focused, but I am not paying attention.

So I stopped.
I took some big breaths.
I paid attention.

Low and behold, it created a shift in me.
I felt peaceful. I felt joyful. I felt my gratitude.

So in the spirit of highlighting my week (or longer), paying attention to my joy, gratitude and calm, I compiled a list. (I mean, of course I did.)

I am grateful for:
my massage therapist
Woolly Mammoth giving us shows that are entertaining and thought provoking
our monthly date for dinner and games (cards or board) with my favorite of YBW’s friends
bubbly in the afternoon with Holly
Planning for Baby K (this includes attending a shower in March, purchasing baby items, finally choosing my grandmother name, planning a party to celebrate her arrival, and all manner of conversations with my daughter about her pregnancy)
breakfast with Nora
my therapist
my husband coming home from work and taking my car for gas because I was too sick to leave the house
snow days
Valspar C1214 Ballet Slippers
my acupuncturist
good sleep
Coca Cola when I was sick
knowing how to do important handy things
forecast of a bit of snow this week to keep the streak alive (Thing 1 was born during an ice/sleet/snow event and for the last twenty four years it has snowed, or something, the week of her birthday. Saturday she turns 25, now that’s a streak!)
honest conversations with the people I love
being reminded to pay attention

Reading about another’s gratitude can inspire one to stop and pay attention to one’s own gratitude.
Acknowledging one’s own gratitude can truly cause feelings of joy and calm.

I must remember that while I’m busy living, and accomplishing tasks, I still need to pay attention with more frequency.
Celebrate the life I have while I’m living it.

You know what Ferris Bueller said:

I don’t want to miss any opportunity for gratitude!

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observing something extraordinary

YBW and I went to Woolly Mammoth yesterday. We saw BLKS a play written by Aziza Barnes.
It was powerful and profound.
It was hilarious and heartbreaking.
It was relatable and once-removed.

These characters used modern vernacular, the way people, well mostly young people, actually speak to each other. I heard pretty much every curse word I know, and one I didn’t (c**tbucket). The N word flew around like nobody’s business, always with an ‘a’ sound not a hard ‘er’ sound.

We sat in the theater for two hours watching a twenty-four hour period in the lives of these characters.
There were aspects of their life that rang true to me, medical issues, discovering a cheating significant other, the death of a parent, relying on one’s girlfriends for love and support, day drinking, and simply being a woman out in the world, and what that means regarding safety.
As a woman I’ve experienced many of these things.
But not in the way these characters experience the same things.

Aziza Barnes says,

“BLKS is a play by and for Black people, and that if you are not identifiable or identified as a Black person, you can still watch this play, of course, but you are bearing witness. You cannot claim it as yours, and you can’t commodify it as yours, but you can surely enjoy it. And you can sure experience it. Most things in life I’ve had to experience purely as an observer, purely as a witness, and it was fine, it was more than fine, it was a blessing.”

All our subscription tickets are for Talkback Sunday shows.
Sharing questions and thoughts with actors and audience members make these post show conversations an excellent way to learn more about the subject matter.
To stimulate thought.
To simply enjoy the show even more.
These actors discussing their thoughts and feelings regarding this play was every bit as powerful as the play itself.

Yesterday I was an observer, I bore witness to something extraordinary!
It was a blessing.

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conceptual interpretation or more what you’d call guidelines

Laurie at Meditations in Motion wrote a post in which she quoted this bible verse:

‘A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.’ Luke 6:45 (NIV)

Now this got me thinking.
It reminded me of a post I wrote in November. I was examining the difference between what’s in my heart and what comes out of my mouth. I questioned the obvious disconnect between my intention and action.

Normally I’m not about the literal interpretation of scripture. For me it’s more conceptual.

Suddenly, I am reminded of something Barbossa said.

But I digress…

This verse kicked me square in the solar plexus. That kick feels more literal than conceptual. So today, the bible and I are going to get literal.
I find myself asking questions. (Who knew?)
What is in my heart?
Is it where I store good or evil?
Is my mouth speaking what’s in my heart?

I wrote this in that November post:
Here’s my truth.
I honestly have love and kindness and compassion in my heart.
When I say my intention is to do everything in love. It’s not bullshit. I’m as serious as I can possibly be.
I believe in the power of kindness. The power of compassion. The power of love.
They’re our super powers!

So why is that not reflected in what my mouth spews?

Luke tells us that Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Am I actually storing good in my heart?
Is my heart filled with kindness, compassion, and love just because I want it to be?

Not to be overly dramatic, but I’m seriously experiencing a crisis over this.
My words reveal my heart.
Not only to others, but also to me.

Here’s what’s up.
My words are not always kind.
I believe in the power of kindness, compassion, and love, yet I don’t always practice what I believe.
Does that mean I have evil stored up in my heart?
Am I just spewing what is in my heart?
The literal interpretation of that makes me queasy.

So let’s look at this conceptually.
Can it be that there is both good and evil stored up in my heart?
Can I create an environment in my heart in which good grows and just kind of kicks evil’s ass?
Is this a case of feelings follow actions? If I speak good words will good store up in my heart?

I must listen to my words. Not just the words I say to others, the words I say to myself. To God. I must determine if my words reflect what is in my heart.
This is a time for both literal and conceptual interpretation.
A time to ask and answer the hard questions.

I wrote this in that November post:
What I’m really understanding for the first time is that my intentions and my actions are at odds.
I have much work to do.
I want my intentions and actions to become much more cohesive.

I’m nowhere near finished with this.
I do have much work ahead of me.
I will journal about this.
I will keep asking questions and doing my damnedest to answer them.
I will be brutally honest with myself. With God.

I want my concept of what’s in my heart to be my absolute truth. I want what comes out of my mouth to reflect that truth.
Do everything in love.
I believe that with every fiber of my being.
Surely there is good stored up in my heart.
Time to put my mouth where my heart is.

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the magic is in me

Monday I twice verbalized something I noticed recently. (Because I pay attention.)
I’m feeling different both physically and emotionally since the beginning of the year.
No, not just different, better.
Stronger, healthier, more aware.
Enthused.
Empowered.
Energetic.

What’s different physically is I’m practicing intermittent fasting. This has made a huge difference when it comes to my energy levels and cognitive function. It’s also provided me with better sleep.
Interestingly, my weight has remained the same, (within three pounds) but that’ll have to do because I’m all about this energy and alertness.
What’s different from the emotional point of view is that I’m actively focusing on me. Doing what I need for the betterment of me. I am paying attention to where I put my energy.
So with having more/better energy and cognitive function, and actively choosing where to utilize it, I’m not only accomplishing more, I’m feeling good in the process.

From where I was in December to where I am now is night and day.
Then I felt overwhelmed, at the moment I feel capable and inspired.
I’m going against my instinct to question it, the whys and wherefores, how long it’ll last.
I will not ask questions that stem from doubt.
I will accept where I am and how I feel about it. And I will to celebrate it!

My energy is being well spent. I’m doing not only what needs to be done, but also what I want to do.
I’m doing coursework like a boss.
I painted Thing G’s old room henceforth to be referred to as ‘the blue room’. Once I move guest room furniture in there I’ll get started on the pink room. My creative space. My nest in this house. (Teeny little squee!)
I’m able to read more.
I’ve even picked up book club books for the next two months.
(I cannot express how big this is. I haven’t read for months…not even magazines.)

I plan to keep this momentum.
And whatever comes at me, well, I’ll deal with it then.
I realize that by relentlessly questioning timelines and end dates my energy is wasted. I realize trying to plan for any possible scenario is wasting my energy.
My energy is precious.
So instead of wasting it on situations in which nothing I do will make a difference anyway, I’ll spend my energy paying attention. I’ll spend my energy focused on me.
That’s where I can make the biggest difference.

I cannot change others.
I cannot alter how and what others do.
I can pay attention to myself.
I can alter how and what I do.


The magic is in me.
The magic is all around me.

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Sunday snow

Woke to this beautiful winter wonderland!
Our precious neighbor has already brought his snowblower and cleared our driveway. (I’ll take him a delicious chicken pot pie as thanks.)

It’s snowing again and the forecast is for snow all day long.
Already received the best text today!

Hot damn!

YBW and I are talking about venturing out into our neighborhood with our cameras…stay tuned.

Here’s porch life at the moment.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

What *is* Mr Rogers responsible for?

Mr. Rogers: Responsible for the Entitlement Culture?
I saw this article when I was researching for a lesson plan I’m writing.
Initially the title gave me pause.
Then my hackles went up. And y’all I mean WAY up.
To even suggest this goes against everything Mr Rogers!

Of course I had to read it because I was getting bent over a title.

One of the things I learned from Mr Rogers is I’m special because I’m me. I have a responsibility to bring what’s unique about me into the world and hopefully make it a better place.
Mr Rogers was pretty clear that I owe myself to the world, not the other way around.


What are we doing with what we have?
Would Mr Rogers be proud of us?

Categories: education, me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

let’s go shoot today

Sunday dawned with sun for the first time in (what seemed) forever. Not only was it sunny, it was also pushing 60. YBW and I grabbed our cameras, huge bottle of water and headed out.

We went to Millwood to visit…well, a mill. The Burwell-Morgan Mill to be exact. Though sometimes referred to as the Millwood mill.
What do you want from me? It’s Virginia. And though my home state is the Mother of Presidents, the old-timey namers of things weren’t always super creative. I’m just sayin’.
(Actually, there are two mills in Millwood so do with that what you will.)

Anyway, the website showed the mill was open from noon to five.
Lies.
Lies, lies and propaganda. (Y’all sang that in David Byrne’s voice too, right?)
We arrived at the mill between twelve thirty and one and it was closed up tight. (f**k you, internet)

It was fine, we wandered the property and the surrounding streets. One mill and three churches later we were headed to Linden Vineyards for wine and nibbles.

Burwell-Morgan (or Millwood) Mill

Locked up tight.

Shiloh Baptist Church

Christ Episcopal Church
Cunningham Chapel Parish

Millwood UMC

Brick house I loved on Bishop Meade Road.
Tin roof, rusted!

They have the most delicious claret at Linden Vineyards. And a damn fine chardonnay (not too oaky).

Not to mention the view.

It’s even nice to pull up to.

Sometimes you just have to put on your (monogrammed) rain boots and traipse around in the mud, streams, and leaves, climb stone walls and stand in ditches.
Then go have a glass (or two) of wine.

Camera Days with my Sweetheart are some of my most favorite days.

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