Friday, August 29, 2014

when live gives you...

life is always a new set of challenges, but two weeks ago i had no idea what kind of challenges it would bring.

i was making my husband's pasta in the kitchen while he walked our Jack Russell mix Lucy for "last call." our other dog, Mayhem, was in the kitchen with me.

suddenly, i hear soul- and bone-chilling screaming from outside. i ran to the front door and hear my husband screaming at the top of his lungs, "YOU'RE FUCKING KILLING HER!" i ran outside to find my husband on the ground in our driveway with several people standing around him. and a dog. a very large dog in front of him.

i had no idea what to do, i was paralyzed. i don't know what took over my body or my mind, but a lot of the details that happened are fuzzy to me. i remember jumping on top of the dog that was attacking my husband and dog and started punching.

hard. on its head and eyes. it was a pit bull attacking my family. i was in beast mode. i remember thinking it was like punching the driveway.

how the attack ended, i have no idea. i have no recollection. all i remember is suddenly seeing my husband on the porch, cradling our dog in his arms and me screaming at this kid who was walking the pit bull. my neighbor embraced me, as i was now sobbing uncontrollably. the next thing i recall is being in the house with Lucy, sobbing with her in my arms and trying to wipe the blood so i could assess her injuries, as our Lab was licking Lucy's wounds and whining because she could see her friend was seriously hurt.

i put her down so i could wrap some ice in a soft towel, and she ran downstairs into her crate. i went and retrieved her and started to try and clean her up as gently as i possibly could.

my husband was still outside. there were four police cars, an ambulance, and a firetruck in front of our house.

holding her, i approached the front door and a police officer was coming up my stairs asking to speak with me. i put Lucy down, because somehow i had called the emergency veterinary clinic to bring her in, and i needed to open the door. she disappeared, running up the stairs this time.

my husband came into the house and i told him i couldn't find Lucy, and he and the officer went to look for her upstairs since i was still on the phone with the veterinary clinic. after hanging up with them, i found her. she had found a small hole in our box spring and buried herself inside. we had to tear the bed apart to retrieve her.

we drove to the animal hospital, and my husband was sobbing and holding Lucy in his arms. he was blaming himself for the attack, and he was in pain himself. he was having an anxiety attack, and quite honestly i thought he was having a heart attack. i was terrified but i had to be strong so that we could get everything fixed.

After five excruciating hours at the animal hospital, Lucy was released. She had a cone of shame, she was still shaking, and in obvious pain in spite of the meds they gave her. She was lucky - bite wounds, serious bruising, a torn lip, and a dislocated jaw. But she was alive.

Lucy is fine, one week later. Her wounds are starting to heal, the bruises are all but gone, but the emotional scars are still there. My husband and I are still dealing with the aftershock, and the people responsible are retaliating against us. Their dog was not vaccinated, it was not licensed, and it had attacked before. But, somehow, they are telling people that our 19 pound dog provoked the attack on the pit bull. While in my husband's arms.

The people who own the pit bull were fined for their dog not being licensed, a slap on the wrist of $50. My husband and I, well, so far this has cost us $700 and will likely cost us more in our own therapy bills and other costs with the measures we need to take for self-protection to walk our own dog in our own neighborhood.

This can happen to anyone. This could happen anywhere. It happened to us. In our driveway. Less than ten feet from our front door.

People are fucking crazy. And now I have to live with this.

if you want to see how Lucy is doing, check out her Facebook page - "For the Love of Lucy." We are going to really push for a law to be passed to hold people criminally responsible when something like this happens. A dog is not "property," it is a member of our family. If something were to happen to her, we would be devastated. We need to put a stop to this needless violence.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

my one bucket list

The confidence bucket list. Fuck.

Another tough topic! I don't have any confidence, like zero confidence. I might seem like I do because I am a wicked talented actress (haha, no SAG card for me) but today's writing prompt is to list ten things I want to HAVE CONFIDENCE to do. Like I said, I have no confidence in myself and I am my own worst enemy. My mother used to tell me that all the time, and as crazy as she was... SHE WAS RIGHT. Oh my head. Did I just say that she was actually right about something? Sigh... admitting is the first step, right?

SO... here goes:

1. Have sex nekkid.

2. Have sex nekkid with the lights on.

3. Wear shorts in public.

4. Wear a strapless dress (boobs, tattoos... so much to work with on this one).

5. To be able to tell someone (or someONES) they hurt me, and that I do not need them in my life.

6. Have a full-length picture of myself taken by a professional (it's one thing to do this in front of a mirror, but to have a professional actually photograph me is something I am so afraid of!).

7. Sing "Under the Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers at a Karaoke night with my friends. It is seriously THE ONLY SONG that I ever belt out when it plays on the radio that I believe I sound amazeballs singing.

8. I want to actually believe that I look beautiful when someone tells me that I am, and not second guess why they are saying it or wondering what they want from me.

9. Take a belly dancing class.

10. Go to school for aesthetics and learn to be a makeup artist/aesthetician. Not for a career, but because I really truly want to make women feel beautiful about themselves. I never did, and I think that it is something that we need as females - to feel good about ourselves, not just physically, but emotionally. I would show people what makes them beautiful and teach them how to enhance those things to make them glow like they do on the inside.

Yeah... corny, right?

But the sex stuff? IT IS SUCH A BIG FREAKING DEAL! I have had zero confidence in my body when my husband touches me, and I think that is a big part of what makes sex so much fun - letting go and just being in the moment. I can't do it.

Sigh. I think it's kind of interesting that my number ten is about helping give confidence to others when I don't have any myself. But I really do not want anyone to feel as shitty about themselves as I have. I'm so vain, I probably think this blog is about me.

Oh wait... IT IS. :) See what I did there?

Until next time... namaste.

my theme song

Not just because Ally McBeal told me that everyone needs one, but I have always had a theme song.

I was asked to write about my anthem, the song that reminds me who I am. I have several, actually. BUT they all share a common theme.

"Bitch" by Meredith Brooks, "Witchy Woman" by the Eagles, and "Black Magic Woman" by Carlos Santana. Those three songs I think describe me to a tee. I am an onion, I have many layers, and I surprise the shit out of people. A LOT.

I look like the Virgin Connie Swail. No, really. I know I do. BUT, I have tattoos, I cuss like a longshoreman, and do not practice any religion. Does any of that make me evil? Nope, not one bit. It makes me complicated, it makes me interesting, IT MAKES ME... well, ME.

SEE? I wasn't kidding. I. look. like. her. Sweet, pure, but DARK AND TWISTY inside.

I love the lyrics, the tune, and the strength that Meredith Brooks emits from this one song. I hate that she got inside my head (we didn't even have dinner first!), but I LOVE that she seems to be doing the "Isn't it Ironic" bit with a lot cooler edge than Alannis ever could have tried.

"Bitch" by Meredith Brooks
I hate the world today
You're so good to me
I know but I can't change
Tried to tell you
But you look at me like maybe
I'm an angel underneath
Innocent and sweet
Yesterday I cried
Must have been relieved to see
The softer side
I can understand how you'd be so confused
I don't envy you
I'm a little bit of everything
All rolled into one

I'm a bitch, I'm a lover
I'm a child, I'm a mother
I'm a sinner, I'm a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I'm your hell, I'm your dream
I'm nothing in between
You know you wouldn't want it any other way

So take me as I am
This may mean
You'll have to be a stronger man
Rest assured that
When I start to make you nervous
And I'm going to extremes
Tomorrow I will change
And today won't mean a thing

Just when you think, you got me figured out
The season's already changing
I think it's cool, you do what you do
And don't try to save me

I'm a bitch, I'm a tease
I'm a goddess on my knees
When you hurt, when you suffer
I'm your angel undercover
I've been numb, I'm revived
Can't say I'm not alive
You know I wouldn't want it any other way

"Witchy Woman" by the Eagles
Raven hair and ruby lips
sparks fly from her finger tips
Echoed voices in the night
she's a restless spirit on an endless flight
wooo hooo witchy woman, see how
high she flies
woo hoo witchy woman she got
the moon in her eye
She held me spellbound in the night
dancing shadows and firelight
crazy laughter in another
room and she drove herself to madness
with a silver spoon
woo hoo witchy woman see how high she flies
woo hoo witchy woman she got the moon in her eye
Well I know you want a lover,
let me tell your brother, she's been sleeping
in the Devil's bed.
And there's some rumors going round
someone's underground
she can rock you in the nighttime
'til your skin turns red
woo hoo witchy woman
see how high she flies
woo hoo witchy woman
she got the moon in her eye

"Black Magic Woman" by Carlos Santana
Got a black magic woman
Got a black magic woman

I've got a black magic woman
Got me so blind I can't see
That she's a black magic woman
She's tryin' to make a devil out of me

Turn your back on me, baby
Turn your back on me, baby

Yes, don't turn your back on me baby
Stop messin' 'round with your tricks
Don't turn your back on me baby
You just might pick up my magic sticks

Got your spell on me baby
Got your spell on me baby

Yes, you got your spell on me baby
Turning my heart into stone
I need you so bad, magic woman
I can't leave you alone

Monday, August 11, 2014

the book that changed my life

The most important book I ever read...

holy shazbut. This one is really tough. It's not because I never read as a kid, or as an adult. It's because I read ALL. THE. TIME. This is like picking your favorite kid. I can't do it.

I LOVE to read. I am inspired by the different stories that I read, the different genres, fiction, non-fiction, self-help. There is not one book that stands out that I can say unabashedly changed my life because there were so many.

Judy Blume was definitely one of my favorite authors growing up. "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret" taught me about being a girl. "Deenie" taught me how to accept the differences in other people. "Fudge" taught me that I am not the only one with an annoying younger sibling and that there is actually some shit to laugh at even when they are getting on my last raw nerve.

Beverly Cleary was another one of my favorites as a kid. I really wanted to BE Ramona Quimby. I actually thought I was her, but without the older sister to look up to. I just used the older kids in my neighborhood to fill that role. I even created "No Smoking" signs to try and get my mother to quit smoking. That did not go over very well. Ramona got a hug from her father, I got to try my first cigarette (my cray cray mother was trying to prove a point in her infinite wisdom by trying to show me smoking isn't that bad... HELLO, I was SEVEN).

Harper Lee blew my mind with "To Kill a Mockingbird," and that is definitely an outstanding book that is one of my favorites of all time but is it the most important? I mean, didn't everyone want Atticus Finch as their father? We all had a Boo Radley in the neighborhood that everyone was afraid of (I still do, but I call him Rain Man, the one before that I called Sling Blade). Scout was just a girl who recognized what was wrong with the world and was fearless.

An obscure book that I really think changed me forever was "Death Be Not Proud" by John Gunther. This man wrote an incredible story of his son, Johnny, who developed a brain tumor and died at the age of 17 but did not go quietly. This kid did everything he could to get into Harvard before he died. Freaking HARVARD. I had to read it for school, but it is one of those books that I think of often and want to read again and again.

Upon reflection, THE most important book I ever read was an Ernest Hemingway novel. When I was 14 years old, my parents separated and my father and I went to live with my grandparents. My grandfather had a small bookcase in the living room with these old, dark blue canvas-bound books. I had always been curious about these books so one day I asked him about them. He told me to choose one and we could talk about it. My grandfather was a World War II veteran, and had lived through a lot of experiences that Hemingway wrote of so eloquently. I chose "For Whom the Bell Tolls" as my first book to read with my grandfather. It transported me - it took me three days to read it. I was engrossed, I was enthralled by the action, the excitement, and the romance of the Spanish Civil War. When I finished, I was speechless - probably the main objective of my grandfather since I was an asshole teenager at the time - but he had me choose another book. And then another, and another. By the time the summer was through - I read every single book on that shelf. He had saved me from what could have been a horrible summer for me, with all of the life changes that I was facing with my parents' divorce, starting a new school, and just being 14.

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" is the most important book to me, not because of the story or the author, but because of who introduced me to that book. My grandfather was a strong, silent Irishman who never said he loved us, he never said he was proud, but you could tell by the way he was and the gifts he gave us (and not the ones you can buy at the store) that he did, and that he was.

I feel like I let my grandfather down when I was in my twenties. I disappeared. I was going through some stuff, and withdrew from my life after I found out that he had multiple myeloma. I ran away, because I didn't want to see that man wither away into a shell of himself. I wanted to remember him as the strong man who wore Christmas socks in July to bust my grandmother's balls. He died a few years later, and I sobbed at his funeral. I was ashamed for having abandoned him and for having let him down. He deserved better from me, but sometimes I dream of him and I think he knows.

I hope that he does. Because when I hear a bell toll off in the distance, no matter where I am, I always think of him.

who better than me?

Self Care is Everything. Here are five things that I am going to do this week for ME.

Because without ME, I am nothing.

So, this weekend I started the focus on ME. I had already scheduled an appointment with my new favorite tattoo artist, Hector, and I knew that the plumbers were going to be showing up to replace my air conditioning so my house can be decommissioned as a sauna. Seriously... HAIR HELL. Since June, we have gone without air conditioning and I have walked around the world looking like Rosanne Adan-Adanna. It's humiliating! But, I digress.

I didn't care that the hubs "might" have to work. I always seem to put my life on hold to accommodate his schedule, so I decided FUCK IT. I am going to proceed with my own plan, and if he could be home with the contractors, GREAT. If not, that is great too. I could leave them at my house alone. I am already paying them bank to do to the work, they don't need to steal anything in the process. Not that I have anything worth stealing.

Took the dogs to school for the day, and I went and spent SEVEN HOURS with Hector. We are not finished with the project, so I am not going to post any pictures yet. I am really pink today and it's kind of awkward to take a selfie of your bicep. BUT, I love it. I did what *I* wanted to do, and am very happy with the result so far. Sunflowers - YAY! More to come...

So, today, what I am doing for ME is WRITING. Writing makes me happy. Writing makes me free. Writing makes me escape everything else and just type. Seriously - I talk a lot so you can only expect that I would WRITE A LOT, too. People have told me that I write like I talk... hopefully not as annoying as my Fran Drescher-ish voice, but who knows? Who cares? I am doing what I love. My plumber is back today and they are still working on the project that will never end, and I am sitting at my computer writing. The rest of the world can suck it. I took the day off, and once these guys leave I am going to do what *I* want.

I am also going back to my mat this week. I guess that is numero TRES on the five things list. I really have been remiss in practicing my yoga and my stress level and general energy has suffered as a result. I definitely can tell when I am not practicing because things really do get to me, and I am not as conscious of my breathing. I know breathing is necessary to LIVE and all that, but when I am overwhelmed I tend to holdmybreathtilliwanttopassout. Whew! Yeah, it really is like that. I am one of those people that yoga was invented for. No, I am not Gumby. I am still fat, and I still can't do some basic postures because my body gets in the way but Anna Guest-Jelley has created an amazing yoga practice for curvy women and I love to follow her videos. If you haven't checked her out, I strongly encourage you to find CurvyYoga. You will not be disappointed.

Next on my ME bucket list is my closet. What?!??! WORK?!?!? Yeah. It has been a longstanding issue with me. My closet is overstuffed, disorganized, and causes me stress every freaking day. I have shit in there that has been around since before I was married that STILL.HAS.TAGS.ON. Anyone else like that? You go shopping, you see something cute(ish) on sale, and you buy it regardless if it fits or not. It's cute. It's on sale. It will work, right? NOPE. Not ever. Not even a bit. I started the PURGE yesterday, but it was hotter than Hades upstairs, so I postponed the effort. I was soaking with sweat, and the dogs were pissed off with all of the noise and screaming from above. I might have screamed a few times when I was what I was holding on to. Seriously... four moves and I didn't get rid of some of this crap? Holy wishful thinking, Batman. If it didn't work 30 pounds ago, it is never going to work. Those people at the Salvation Army will be happy when they see things with tags on.

The LAST THING on my bucket list is a tough one. I am already in process of doing this, but it still is just hanging there, looming over my head. I am going to lose weight. I have to. I have already looked asscancer in the eye a few times, and I really need to take control of my health as much as I possibly can. No more Wylie Coyote falling from the cliff and flailing to save myself just inches from the ground. I have to do something NOW. This is the ultimate gift to myself.

Like I said, without me, I am nothing. If I am dead, I am really not going to be having much fun and I won't be able to enjoy this $16,000 new heating, air conditioning, and hot water heater I just bought my family, now will I? It's like that now. I cut out gluten, reduced my dairy significantly (I refuse to give up my cream in my coffee - coconut milk just tastes like ass no matter how you try to get me to like it), and am cutting back on the sugar. Gluten and dairy seem to be my biggest enemies. When I eat bread or crackers, I get really sick. When I consume dairy... well, it just makes me crave ice cream. And this body did not just come into its own. It was created by my lovers, Ben and Jerry. They were lousy lovers because they always left me feeling bad about myself after a pint of sweet and creamy bliss. I am leaving you guys for good. I need to.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Amazing influences on my life.

I'm skipping over the taking a picture of myself in something I have been afraid to wear, and going straight for the FIVE WOMEN WHO HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE list.

Some of these women may have changed my life for the better, some may not have knowingly done it.

1. Helen Keller - I was obsessed with you growing up.
I read EVERYTHING I could on Helen Keller and wanted to be her. Not the blind, deaf, and mute person but the person who overcame EVERYTHING and became an amazing inspiration and teacher. Yes, Annie Sullivan, you deserve insane amounts of credit for shaping Ms. Keller into the person she was, but the strength in Helen Keller's character was inside of her and Annie Sullivan just helped her to get that out into the world so the rest of us could appreciate her.

My favorite Helen Keller quote is "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart."

2. My grandmother, M. Irene Champagne Hart - you are inside my soul, and every day I am reminded of the awesomeness that you were.
Sounds cliche, but my grandmother, Grammy, changed my life exponentially. I remember as a little kid singing in the backseat of the car "YAY, YAY TO GRAMMY'S!" every time we would make the drive to visit her. It was always special, exciting, and fun. She had games for us to play, she always had Fiddle Faddle hidden in her cabinet, and always laughed and never got angry at us even when we were tearing her house apart like most little kids did. She even figured out that I was afraid of her wigs, and put her wig on the stairs so that I wouldn't fall and kill myself when I was learning to walk. Yes, to this day, I am still kind of afraid of wigs. I don't know why, but when they are not on a form or on a person, I expect them to come alive and smother me.

Growing up, my grandmother was always there. Even when my mother became more ill and started to withdraw from life and bring my brother and I into her abyss, my grandmother made the effort to be there for us. When my father and I left my mother, she took us in, and put up with my teenage bullshitty angst and still loved me when I told her I hated her. Through all the crap that I put her through, she was always there for me. I was ashamed of myself for a multitude of reasons as a young adult, and withdrew from the family. She still welcomed me back and was happy when I told her that I had gotten married. I spent the last months of her life visiting her, just being with her, and she taught me so much about unconditional love. Without her in my life, I would have been a very lonely, bitter bitch. I owe her so much and I miss her every day since she left this Earth. I look forward to seeing her again so I can return all those hugs and tell her how much I appreciate her.

3. My mother. Yes, you KNEW she would have to be on the list, right? Really? You didn't? Shocking. I know... funny, right? The woman who taught me to hate myself, that family didn't matter, and gave me my first cigarette when I was 7 years old. In spite of the crazy that was her, she did change my life. I am a much stronger person than I ever could have been with a "normal" mother. I am constantly mindful of how much my words may hurt someone, and I am kinder as a result. I understand that was not her objective, that everything that she did teach me was out of resentment and hatred, but I am who I am IN SPITE of her.

There is nothing more gratifying than proving someone wrong. I am happy to say to her, wherever she is, YOU WERE FUCKING WRONG ABOUT ME. I am not a loser, I am not ugly, and I am worthy of other people's love. I will never forget what you did to me, but I will NEVER give you power over me. For that, I thank you.

4. My aunt, Pauline Champagne Dee. Artistic, fun, and the person who showed me my first dirty movie. So, it was "Porky's," not exactly a porn but for the time it was VERY risque and AWESOME. Later on in my life, she was the first person I reached out to when I was trying to make amends to the family that I had isolated myself from. She welcomed me with open arms, and encouraged me to find the strength to rebuild my relationship with my grandmother. My aunt is a tough woman, and does not have much of a filter. She will tell you exactly how she sees it, and I have mad respect for her because of it.

When my parents separated, I spent a great deal of time with her at my grandmother's house, as well as at her home. She was my escape from the reality of being an asshole teenager and always made sure we did fun stuff. She is my second mother - and I really needed that female influence growing up. I wish I could be a better person and spend more time with her, but I am still battling a lot of those inner demons and am still working through some things. I hope she knows how much of a positive influence she has had on me, because without her, I would probably go insane.

5. My cousin, Diane Sheehan. Yes, I do have three very amazing women in my family who have influenced who I am, and every single one of them deserves a standing ovation and a lifetime of gratitude from me. Diane is one of the best people ever to grace this earth. She taught me the importance of feeling pretty. She introduced me to painting my toes when I was really young, and we slathered ourselves with baby oil to get tans by the pool in the summertime (nobody thought about melanoma back then!). I even spent the night at her house and we got up at the asscrack to watch Lady Diana marry her Prince. We did the same when Fergie married her Prince. So many cool memories with my cousin that have shaped who I am today!

She is 14 years older than me, but you would never know it. When I was 16, an old guy bagging our groceries commented on how cool it was to have a twin sister... he meant me and my 30 year old cousin! She was flattered, I was absolutely mortified. To this day, people think that Diane and I are sisters, or that her daughter Mary and I are sisters. We do look alike, but our ages are separated by 14 years either way - I am 14 years younger than Diane, and 14 years older than her daughter Mary. Kind of weird but just right.

So, there you have it. This was an effortless writing exercise for me, since I have always had these women in my heart or on my mind and they have in their own ways shaped me into who I am today. Some of it is bad, but for the most part amazing. I appreciate all of their influence no matter if it has been positive or negative. Without any of these pieces to the puzzle, I would not be the person that I am today.

And for that, dear ladies, I bow to you. (Curtsy is so passe!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

if beauty didn't matter...

I would probably not be as shallow as I am.


Yes, you read that correctly. I am shallow. I do judge people based on their appearance, I do compare myself to others CONSTANTLY, and I really do care about what people think about me. And it is all based on beauty and how I judge MYSELF.

The word beauty is so subjective. Is it a green leaf, Gisele Bundchen, or the sound of a child laughing? Everyone has a different definition, but I am going to go with the one that makes me so fucking vain. My physical appearance.

I wake up every morning, and hide my fat from my husband. I immediately go to my bathroom and brush my hair so I don't look like Broom Hilda. I get dressed before he comes upstairs so he cannot see my flaws. There are a LOT of them, so it takes a lot of effort to conceal.

Oh, doggies - you need a walk? Wait a minute, I have to put on my mascara before anyone sees me! The world would stop and the Zombie Apocalypse would begin if anyone saw me without makeup. Shit! No time for that? Sunglasses it is then, dear poochies!

If beauty did not matter, I would have so much more time to myself. I would also have a shit-ton of money and live in a much better house in a quiet neighborhood, and definitely with nicer furniture. I spend MAD, INSANE amounts of money on makeup, clothes, getting my hair done and roots colored, hair removal... you name it and I spend money on it.

I also spend so much time making myself look somewhat attractive, or at least minimally offensive, that I am probably missing out on a lot. At least two hours a day is devoted to makeup, clothes, and overall grooming and maintenance. Yeah... beauty is all-encompassing, time-sucking, and mentally draining.

If beauty did not matter... I would just focus on the me that is inside. The one who laughs, reads, enjoys taking in a Patriots' game, go out more with friends, and actually enjoy life. Because beauty DOES matter to me, I don't enjoy any of those things because I am just too fucking preoccupied with what all of you think.

And that's the truth.