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A Picture of Contrasts

I love this picture. Always have.

Just a couple of youngin’s walking down the street, up to no good.

This picture used to be on my bulletin board. Now it is in one of my special picture albums that does not conform to chronological order, as the rest of them do.

This is a picture of my asbestos friend and I walking down the street in front of my house while we were in high school. My mom shot it out our front door. My asbestos friend and I were probably heading from the small village grocery store back to her house. (I think she still stops at that store at least once a day, every day. I don’t know what she did when she lived 2,000 miles away in Arizona.)

To me, this has always been a picture of contrasts.

First of all, there is snow, but also puddles.

I am wearing a scarf, but no winter coat.

We are not children, but not yet adults.

We look like we are deeply engaged in conversation, when we were probably talking about nothing.

That isn’t true.  We were probably talking about boys.

I love this picture.  I love the purple boots I am wearing in the picture.

I still own that cream-colored hoodie and that scarf (I knew the hoodie was that old, but not the scarf.).  That hoodie can be found in the lower left of a picture in my post from April of 2012 called You Give Hoodies A Bad Name (https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/04/01/you-give-hoodies-a-bad-name/)

I look like I am almost skipping, probably just happy that someone stopped by and I got to leave the house for five minutes. At that time in my life, my friends were in sports, band, modeling, had boyfriends, etc. Me, well, I had television. An active imagination. Lots of markers to draw with. Ya, that was about it. My existence was pretty dull at that point.

But I don’t even mind that my mom secretly captured all that. It makes me yearn for more innocent days (but not boring days. Or high school. Or being sad, lonely, depressed, unloved, suicidal.)…ok, scratch “innocent days”.

It makes me yearn for my friend’s kid-free day, when we go roaming about as we please, willy-nilly, with no one to feed or take care of but ourselves.

Maybe what I see most in the picture is freedom. Freedom from school. Freedom from winter. From winter coats. From snow. Freedom to just be.

Religion and My Mom – Like Oil and Water

A few weeks ago, I went with my asbestos friend around her neighborhood trick or treating to collect canned goods for the local food pantry. My husband and son were along as well. The activity was part of the church’s Wednesday night dinner and study. Sometimes my husband and I go for dinner. We don’t do the “study” part so much, but we often can be found at the church’s activities.

I was trying to tell my mom about this the next day, without disclosing it had anything to do with the church. I told her that we went to Blissfield and had dinner with my asbestos friend. I told her then we walked around the neighborhood because it was such a beautiful night, and that the toddlers played musical seats between the stroller and the wagon.

She got to asking me her million questions (as she has no life of her own and lives vicariously through mine), and I admitted I wasn’t telling her that these activities took place at the church.

“Just as long as you don’t find religion. You aren’t finding religion, are you?”, Mom pushed.

“I am an adult. I can do whatever the f*ck I want to do,” I raised my voice at her.

“You think you hid things from me, but I know. You told me that all those nights you weren’t really at P’s, you were out gallivanting around. I knew that,” she said.

She doesn’t know what it’s like to have a baby in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and how good it feels to know a whole church full of people are praying (or positively thinking or whatever) for him.  Or how good it feels when he is finally better and it feels as though all those people’s thoughts may have moved something in the universe to create that desired outcome.

She also doesn’t know about my two tattoos, that when I used to come home and tell her she smelled car exhaust on my clothes that it was actually cigarette smoke that she smelled, that I got my roof redone and it had issues, that I have a blog, that I write about her on my blog she doesn’t know about, that I went to Detroit by myself, that I am interviewing for jobs, that our my family’s name is in the church directory.

I didn’t want to tell her when I was pregnant, but I thought even she would have figured it out sooner or later. And I was like 5 months along by the time I told her.

Back to the religion thing. I am pretty sure that I do not believe what everyone else at the church believes about God and the Bible. I do enjoy spending time with my asbestos friend there. I do believe they are a very nice and good group of people at that church, who have accepted my family even though we are a bunch of tag-alongs. I do believe that my husband was raised in the church and doesn’t mind going there. I believe it is good for my son to experience aspects of the church, including the sense of community spirit.

Have I found religion, Mother? No, and I probably never will. Because you have drilled it into my head that I am undeserving of belonging because you never wanted to.

While I don’t believe, I see where it would be so much nicer and happier and simpler if I did. I envy that people can feel like there is something out there more than their fragile human selves. I would love to believe that there is a Heaven to hang out in when I die, instead of having panic attacks as I try to fall asleep at night thinking of the black nothingness when my life suddenly stops and I just cease to exist and my whole life was for nothing.

It makes me sad.

My mom’s hate also saddens me.

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Why I Blog

I got the idea to write this post from a comment I left for Friffle Thoughts in response to her post “Are All Bloggers Writers?”:

I used to think I wanted to write fiction/novels/short stories as a career someday. Then I tried it and realized it was hard work, like every other job. I didn’t like that. I stopped.

But then I discovered blogging. Blogging to me is like the free-writing I used to do in high school English class. It is easy. It clears my mind. My “blogging voice” is exactly what runs through my head. And once I write it down, then I don’t have to hold that experience/memory in my head anymore (it is getting very crowded in there).

My real inspiration for my blog was Tina Fey’s book “Bossypants”. Afterall, it is really just a free-write of events in her life. And it sold millions!!!

FYI-I love your friffles of thought.

And to expand on that tiny little comment:

If I am in a writing mood (i.e. writing about a topic I am interested in and for my own enjoyment and not for, say, work), the words just flow to me. They just pour out of my head and through my hand onto the paper. I feel as though someone else writes through me. I get frustrated that I cannot write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. I would be a terrible writer of books. I usually believe that the first batch of words I capture on paper are the best and I do not like to edit them after (except fixing spelling and grammatical errors). In school, they always wanted you to have multiple drafts of big papers. Often all my drafts looked very similar.

Without realizing it, I often think in my head as though I am writing or telling a story to someone else. Often, I can think of a blog post in my head multiple times before I actually have the chance to write it down. When I do write it, it will be almost identical to the first time I ran the thought through my head. Yes, I like to write my posts out in long hand. I can type faster than writing, but then I get lots of typos and they slow me down and make me lose my train of thought. (I recommend Uni-Ball Jetstream 1.0 Bold pens. They flow quickly and thickly.) And I might not get to type it up for another month. And when I do, I can anticipate the next words or sentences while typing–because the words came out of my brain in the first place.

With blogging, there is also that delicious chance at the monster that is fame. Someone might read my blog. Anyone might read my blog. Someone who reads it might pass it on to another. A link might get posted somewhere else. My writing might get re-posted. Someone famous might read my blog. Someone in publishing might see and want to give me a book deal. Someone in news might see it and want to include me in a newscast. (Hey, it can happen. I take full credit for badly influencing my asbestos friend, lazyhippiemama, to begin blogging and she ended up on HuffPost Live!)

I am someone who has anxiety, but secretly yearns to be famous and known. I love the entertainment industry. I read Entertainment Weekly every week cover to cover. I went to college and studied Radio and TV Broadcasting. On radio, you can be heard by millions but hide behind the microphone. On television, you can hide behind the camera. On my blog, I can hide behind my computer screen. I can blur my face out in photos one week if I feel like being anonymous. The next week I can leave my face alone if I am feeling brave and confident in my writing and topic.

Most of all, I can get all these words and experiences out of my head! I am almost 37 years old and running out of room up there. I have trouble remembering anything, especially since I was pregnant and had my son. I thought not being able to hold a thought was just a “pregnancy” thing. But for me, it seems to be just a “parent” thing.

I used to watch the great sitcoms of the 80’s and always say “I could write that.” And except for the fact that I am too scared of big cities to move to L.A., I think I could have been good at that. I think it was my secret career dream. I should have listened the night it presented itself to me in a dream. In the dream, I was working with a group of people to create a new TV show. It was all last minute and came together very quickly (Yes. I am aware shows take years to develop and get on air–DREAM, remember?) So quickly, that when they put the show together, they wanted to give me a vanity card at the end, but I hadn’t created one. In the dream, I never knew they created one for me until I watched my first episode and saw it at the end. The other creators knew I liked to cross-stitch (I actually do in reality, but haven’t done it in years), so my vanity card was done in cross-stitch. If I ever knew what it said, I can’t remember. I have never forgotten that dream. And I know if I ever do create a series, that is what I will use.

An example of a simple cross-stitch

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Election 2012

I read somewhere the other day (And I don’t know where, but a quick Google search returns many results with similar factoids) that only 5% of the people who will actually go vote in the United States presidential election are undecided.

So, that means, all these millions and billions of dollars being raised and spent on attack ads and campaign stops are only for the tiny undecided 5%? How crazy. What a waste of time for the rest of us. All those unwanted television commercials, phone calls, and junk left on our front doors.

I have my own theory on how people decide who to vote for in the presidential election. I believe everyone has their one big issue, and they side with the candidate who believes the same way they do on that one issue. I think two of the big examples are probably abortion and gun control. Sure, maybe some people use health insurance or taxes or some other point as their main issue. But I think there might be some truth to my theory. Maybe voters don’t even realize they are doing it.

I will admit right here that my deciding issue is abortion. I decided a long time ago that this issue would decide my vote more than anything else. I am pro-choice (although I usually call myself “pro-death”). I believe we are in the middle of a terrible over-population problem that will someday soon cripple this planet. I also believe women should have the right to do what they want with their own bodies, within general reason of course (ex. No abortions after a certain trimester is agreeable with me). I would not vote for a candidate who is pro-life. No matter what their views on other issues were.

This is why, when my asbestos friend talks about running for president someday, I probably would not vote for her. I would be her campaign manager and keep her organized and on schedule (because we both know she would need that!). I would make sure all her necessary forms got filed in triplicate. I would make sure she had a valid birth certificate so no one could claim she was really a Canadian or something. But I couldn’t cast my vote for her.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a post about abortion. It is a post about theories on how people decide their vote. Thank you.

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Pharmacy Giraffe

Posted on

The Pharmacy Giraffe. I call him Giraffey.

When I was growing up, I lived within walking distance of a pharmacy. I would go there to buy candy. I would go there to buy poster board for school projects. I would go there to buy my mom Christmas stocking stuffers. I would go there for something to do. When I was a little older, I went there with my asbestos friend to look at the teen magazines, which once in a while we actually purchased. You would think they would have been grateful for my business. No. Instead they watched me like a hawk every time I was in the store, apparently expecting me to steal something.

[NOTE: Now, I know you are thinking, “A whole blog post about a stuffed giraffe? Really?” But if you hang in until the end, it has sort of a nice ending.]

The pharmacy had one corner of the store with gifty items. Figurines. Stuffed animals. And the largest stuffed giraffe I had ever seen in my life. I used to hug his neck every time I went in. I dreamed of taking him home with me. He was for sale, but I think his purpose in the store was more to draw the children over to that area. Which he did very well. I remember the price tag on him being $500. Someone else told me $2000. Either way, no one ever bought him.

I grew up and moved away. The pharmacy was bought by new owners and moved to a new location. I remember going in to the new pharmacy once and thinking how sterile, bare it looked. And I was sad to find there was no giraffe there.
A number of years later, after my asbestos friend had left town and moved back, she convinced me to ride on a Noah’s Ark-themed float for her church for the town festival [She is always tricking me into doing things like that. She is a bad influence.]. Anyway, I met her pastor, who was dressed up like Noah. And looked about nineteen. And his wife, who looked more like Mary looking for a manger than Noah’s wife [She was pregnant at the time].

As you may have guessed, they had animals on the float. Wood-cut outs, along with stuffed animals. The best one, if you asked me, was the stuffed giraffe. I told my asbestos friend that it reminded me of the giraffe from the pharmacy. She replied that it was the very same one. It made the eight year old in me a little excited. It rained that day and he got a little wet, but it didn’t seem to cause him too much damage.

Three years later, I was pregnant with my son. I saw a stuffed giraffe at work. I decided right then and there that my child’s room would not be complete without one. I hoped to get it for free or discounted through work, as that was a big benefit of working there. But I didn’t really want to spend the money. The giraffe work was selling was also way smaller than the one I was used to from my childhood.

When I mentioned this to my asbestos friend, as I do with all my obsessions, she told me that the pharmacy giraffe that had rode on the church float was still sitting in the church basement. It had flooded down there and he had gotten a little wet, but it didn’t seem to cause him too much damage. After a quick call, she confirmed that the previous owner no longer wanted it. But, the previous owner said it was CURSED!

From what I remember, as the story goes, the previous owner bought the giraffe at auction when the pharmacy closed for her mother. But apparently the mother said it was too big and didn’t want it. The previous owner had tried to get rid of the giraffe several times. But, apparently, every time someone tried to take him out of the Blissfield village limits, they would experience car trouble, or some other kind of incident.

I took my chances with the curse and hauled him home. Not a single terrible fate befell me. That tells me it was fate. I was destined to own him.

Once I got him home, that was not the end of the story. Do you remember how I said I used to always go in to the pharmacy and hug his neck? Well, I was not the only one. And it appeared that most people chose to rub his nose, because there was not much left of it. It was time for another one of my unusual sewing projects (ex. Werecart). I spent a Sunday very carefully reconstructing his nose, knowing that if I screwed it up I would be destroying a cherished part of Blissfield history of my generation. Even with all that pressure, it came out quite good.

Before


After


I truly believe the Law of Attraction is how the giraffe came into my possession. I wanted him so badly back then and truly believed he should be mine that it became reality. I can no longer ever deny The Secret of the Law of Attraction. Of course, once I put a bed and a crib and shelf and a dresser in my son’s room, it because clear that there was no room for a giraffe as well. So, he happily hangs out in my dining room for now. And maybe the old ladies at the pharmacy knew something I didn’t. I do have something from that store that I didn’t pay for after all:)

The End


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