Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer 2010: Sociology

Sociology was from 6-9:30 every Tuesday and Thursday. That gave me 30 minutes drive time and 30 minutes to study. We took 2 test and I got 100% on both. The final was cumulative and again, I didn't track down my grade but I got an A in the class so another score.

Sociology was so intriguing to me as I love different cultures and ways of life. Socioeconomic patterns are really common sense, as was most of what we learned, but the CLASS itself was so engaging. We did an excersise in social mobility that I loved. It basically gave characteristics of people who were born into one socioeconomic level but where able to move up or down the social ladder depending on things they are exposed to in their childhood. Here are a few things that I found interesting for you mama’s out there.

Things that help you to move up the social ladder:

Both parents in the home until age of 18

One or more parents has graduated college

More than 40 books in your home

Going to the art museum or zoo with parent or guardian (not school event)

Travel outside of the US before the age of 18

If one or more of your immediate family members is a Dr, lawyer or executive

If your parents are willing to contribute significantly to your college education

Things that work against you in social mobility:

If you were raised in a rented apartment or house

If you were raised in a single parent home

If one or more persons in your immediate family are in jail or prison

If one or both parents did not graduate high school

I thought they were all interesting things that we don’t necessarily think about. It certainly gave me a lot of insight into my own life and made me think about how I would raise my own family, should I choose to have one. I met some super cool people and it felt like as soon as we got into the groove it was over. I LOVED summer school!

Pamela Suzette Grier

I first came to know Pam Grier in 2004. She portrayed Kit, the headstrong older sister of one of the main characters in the Show Time series The L Word. I was shocked to find out that Pam Grier was not only the first female African American action hero but that she played the iconic roll of Foxy Brown as well. I dressed up as Foxy Brown four years ago for Halloween. I researched the character for her attitude and wardrobe never realizing it was Pam Grier that played her. That is why I chose Pam Grier as my African American actress to research.

Pam was born May 26, 1949 in Winston Salem North Carolina. Her mother was a homemaker as well as a nurse. Her father was an airplane mechanic in the United States Air force. Pam’s military family relocated often with their assignments occasionally taking them overseas. Pam spent many of the first five years of her life in England. At the age of six, Pam was left unattended at a relative’s house and she was raped by two older boys. This was the beginning of the devastating abuse that Pam would suffer in her life. At the age of 16, Pam was date raped. This event caused her to downplay her beautiful looks for years to come.

The Grier family eventually settled in Denver, Colorado where Pam finished high school. The family experienced great racial strain during this time period. She was not popular in school and had a very hard time finding a date to the prom. She was a survivor deep down and she forged ahead. During high school Pam performed in a few stage productions. She eventually entered a Denver beauty contest in the hopes of winning the cash prize and securing enough funds to put her through college. Pam did not win the contest but she did come in second place. There was a Hollywood talent scout at the beauty contest who approached Pam and made an offer for her to come to Hollywood. After finishing college, and at the urging of her mother to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Pam headed for LA in 1967.

Pam’s idea of her future was a job in the medical field, helping other people. When Pam’s boyfriend at the time was killed in Vietnam she turned to acting as a way to release the grief and frustration that she was feeling over the death of her love. Pam landed a few stage rolls but she was not an instant success. Pam took a job as a receptionist at American International Pictures to pay the bills. It was there that she was discovered by director Jack Hill. Jack had a deep respect for women and the power that he felt that they held within. He was making a series of women’s prison movies and he cast Pam in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), The Big Doll House (1971), Women in Cages (1971) and The Big Bird Cage (1972). This was the the Blaxploitation era and these violent and sometimes sadistic films put Pam Grier on the map.

In 1973, Pam played the lead character Coffy in a movie of the same name. Pam says today that the character of Coffy came from Pam’s image of her aunt on her mother’s side who was a strong, independent black woman. Coffy is out to avenge the people who got her sister hooked on drugs. She is a badass chick with a gun that does not one time need a man to come and save her. Coffy was one of the few images of a strong black woman for the young girls of that time period. Also in 1973, Pam starred in Scream Blacula Scream which was met with mixed reviews.

In 1974, Pam’s breakthrough roll, and the one she is most known for today was released. She played Foxy Brown, a jive talking African American woman with a gun. Not such a stretch from her other rolls. Foxy is a woman seeking revenge after her government agent boyfriend is gunned down. Foxy experiences being drugged and violently raped in this movie and seeks her revenge in a way that, in today’s times, may have been edited out of the final cut of the film. Pam was portraying strong black women before this country understood that there was such a thing or that they had a place in society. I am amazed that after the sexual abuse that Pam herself experienced, she was able to act out very graphic rape scenes in her movies. Pam had no idea at the time the impact that her performance of Foxy Brown, and others, would have on her life as well as the entire African American community.

In 1975, Pam starred in Sheba Baby, Bucktown and Friday Foster. She did just one movie in 1976 and she began to fall off from there. Pam was losing interest in what she felt was a repeat of the same as kicking female lead. She seriously questioned in her mind at this point if acting was really her passion and she decided to work less. She accepted small rolls in TV and Miniseries. In the 1980’s Pam did a few guest star rolls on The Cosby Show, Miami Vice and Night Court. Pam was not heard from much during this time.

In 1997, Quentin Tarantino, resurrected the career of Pam Grier when he offered her a starring role in his third film, Jackie Brown. Tarantino was a huge fan of Foxy Brown and wanted Pam to play a modern version of her sexy alter ego. Tarantino knew what he was doing when he cast Pam alongside box office powerhouse, Samuel L. Jackson. Pam proved herself to be just as sexy in middle age and she began her comeback to entertainment. After the release of Jackie Brown, Pam was offered many rolls including guest appearances, recurring characters and supporting roles.

During the press tour to promote Jackie Brown, Pam admitted to having been diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in 1988 and being given 18 months to live. Pam credits her Cancer diagnoses for making her see the important things in life and living to the fullest every day. Pam moved to a 100 acre ranch in Colorado where she rescues dogs and horses. She is a private woman who prefers the quiet of the country as opposed to the big city life. Pam seems like the type of woman that anyone could be friends with. She has lived a fascinating life and has given much back to the community.

In one of her most recent rolls, from 2004 to 2009, Pam played the straight bar owning older sister of one of the main lesbian characters on The L Word. Pam’s character, Kit, is a strong, independent black woman who struggles with her mixed race, her role as a woman in society and her sexuality. Pam is a huge supporter of gay rights as well as civil rights so the roll seems to come naturally to her. I read a lot of interviews, movie reviews and eventually went to buy Pam’s book, Foxy: My Life in 3 Acts, as research for this paper. I am now fascinated with Pam Grier and I will probably eventually see every movie she ever made. There are so many parallels between Pam’s character choices and my life. Reading about Pam personally made me see that she accepted those roles for a reason. Most of her characters did mimic her own life in some way.

Pam has been romantically linked over the years to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Comedian Richard Pryor, Freddie Prinze and, most recently, Hempel from 2000-2008. Although she never married, Pam says she still dreams of her prefect wedding. Over the course of her career, Pam has been nominated and awarded many NAACP image awards for numerous rolls. For Jackie Brown alone, she was nominated for 10 awards. Most notably, the SAG Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe, also for Best Actress. Pam was even nominated for a Daytime Emmy for her part in an animated show Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for every child. Pam has clearly made her place in history as one of the pioneers for African American women, not just in film but also in real life. Pam had to have known that the movies that she did were racy for the time period. She had to understand that they would be met with resistance. She accepted those rolls anyway. She accepted them, she researched them and she performed them with gusto. Pam Grier is looked back on today as a living icon and a legend, as she should be.

Summer 2010: Blacks in the History of Cinema

My Monday night class was Blacks in the History of Cinema from 5:30-8. We only met 5 times over a 6 week period (4th of July we were off) so there was a lot to cram in. There could not have been a more perfect class to take the same semester as Sociology. I learned so much about Black History from this class. I had to watch an old black musical so I chose Carmen Jones, starring Dorothy Dandridge. I had never seen her work and I can see now why they called her the black Marilyn Monroe. She was hot and super risqué for her time. We also watched Birth of a Nation, which was one of the first films ever. Black people were portrayed by white men in black face, even the traditional Mamie roles.

I had to watch a film from the Blaxploitation Era, which was basically when black people started to stand up and make films about defying the white man. I chose the first Blaxploitation film, Sweet Sweet Back’s Baad Assss Song. It was the first motion picture where a soundtrack was used to promote the film. This was another genius invention that the black community gets no credit for. Sweet Back is basically a porno, written, directed and starring Marvin Van Peebles (father of Mario, who has a short and disturbing cameo). The film was silently financed by Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier. Van Peebles actually contracted Gonorrhea during filming because they did not simulate sex but actually shot live and very real sex scenes. Van Peebles sued the Motion Picture Association and workman’s comp for his STD and won enough money to finance another movie.

I had to choose a Sidney Poitier film to review. I chose To Sir with Love. Poitier plays a recently graduated engineer major who wants to teach. When he can’t find a job in his field of study, he takes a job at an England high school for troubled white teens. This film was the introduction of the singer Lulu, who sings the hit To Sir with Love. Portier plays an excellent role of overcoming the adversity of the troubled children as well as race barriers that still exist. The film was made in the 1950’s and while it seems a bit slow at first, the story line is quality.

I loved the black history of this class. I was the only white person which only bothered me the first day because someone was rather prejudice. I got over that and the rest of the class was great. I was the only person who had ever read Roots in the class. When they started bashing Sidney Poitier for not “representing” the black community I felt the need to defend him. I read The Portrait of a Man, Poitier’s autobiography and his story is amazing. He is from a Bahamian island where he grew up with no running water or electricity. He barely spoke the language when he came to the US. He did not experience racial prejudice or stereotyping as a child so he did not understand the anger at the white man. He also did not understand, until years later, why so many people thought he could have and should have done more. By the end of class, my opinion was very respected by my peers and that made me feel awesome.

Our final was to write a 5 page paper on a black actor, actress or film maker. I chose Pam Grier, aka Foxy Brown. I knew Pam as the older, straight sister of Bette, from the L Word. Even though I dressed as Foxy Brown for Halloween one year, I had no idea that Pam Grier played the iconic role. She was the first black female in an action movie. In the 1970’s she made more than 10 bad ass black chick films. Her story is amazing and she is and is a truly iconic figure that goes pretty unrecognized.

I got a 100% on all of my reviews and papers. We didn't get our final project grade back but I got an A in the class so I am happy. I will post my Pam Grier paper for your viewing pleasure. Oh, and me dressed as Foxy Brown below...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

RIP Grillmeister

The world lost a great man this week. He was a great floating buddy, a grillmeister supreme and an outstanding person, husband and friend. My buddy, Rich Bruer, kissed his wife goodbye last Friday and headed off to work. He e-mailed with her that morning discussing the Friday night plan. He took his lunch break and walked around downtown St. Louis. Somewhere along the way he had a massive heart attack and died. Just like that. He was only 44 years old. He leaves behind his wife, Kathryn, who is just a fantastic lady. They had no children but many, many loving friends. It was a good lesson in how short and precious life is. Leigh always used to say that you should tell everyone that you love them before you leave, always. You never know when will be the last time that you see them. I wonder sometimes if she knew how young she would die. I was remembering back to the last float trip. I thanked Rich and Kathryn for getting us all together (and for Rich's expertise on the grill), I told them I couldn't wait until next time and as I closed my car door I said, "love you guys". That was the last time I saw Rich alive.

If you know me, I have probably told you that I love you, because I do. I have many friends who, to this day, are taken aback when I say it. Losing a friend like Rich reminds me of why I do it. It may seem ridiculous or trivial to you but I smile when I look back and remember those final moments of love between us. I feel lucky and blessed for each and every person in my life. I want you to know, no matter what, that I have love in my heart for you. None of us know when our number will be up. If I am remembered as the girl that always said ‘I Love You’, I am ok with that.

I had not seen Rich and Kathryn in years. I am sad to say that I had not seen any of the old floating buddies until we were all brought together by this horrible tragedy. We vowed to float again, to get together and talk. We let ourselves lose touch and then we lost one of our own. Our friend, Rebel Sarah, who floats with us called it “a sin and a shame” if this doesn’t bring us back together. The Rebel is right. We owe it to ourselves and Rich and Kathryn to never be pulled so far apart again.

It is amazing the bond that is formed by a few weekends in the wilderness together. I feel like these people are my family. It felt good to rally for Kathryn. She was full of strength and grace, even in the worst hour of her life. She made the decision the day that Rich died that we would celebrate his life, not mourn his death. Rich was a laid back, peaceful and earthy soul. Kathryn is his opposite. Despite that fact, I am proud to say that Kathryn buried Rich the way that he would have wanted. He had on his shorts, tank top and hat in the casket. In his hands were his sunglasses (which he always wore) and cigars (which he loved to smoke). Some people would call that tacky, I call it a tribute. Rest in peace, Grillmeister, you are loved and missed by many.

It's only 6 weeks (repeat mantra)

I started back to school this week. It is a shortened summer term, only 6 weeks. Monday night was my first meeting of my 'Blacks and their History in Cinema' class. I feel that it should be mentioned that I am, in fact, the only white person in the class. That is a fact that makes me a bit sad. Not that it bothers me but I am pretty sure it mattered to some of the "strong" black women in my class. One group of ladies invited a young man to come sit with them as he was heading to sit at my table. When he declined and sat with me, they were not happy. I have never really experienced reverse discrimination and it honestly felt empowering. The woman who instigated the invitation to this young man turned out to be a MO state representative. Interesting...

I felt as though I knew more black history than they did. I am the only person in the class who has read Roots. When Sidney Poitier came up they said he was a sell out for taking the rolls he did without demanding more black people be involved in his movies. I read "The Measure of a Man", which is his autobiography and I was defensive to their comments. Some of you may not know this but Sidney Poitier was from a Bahamian Island. He had never seen running water or a functioning toilet until he came to the United States. He spoke with an accent and worked very hard just to fit in within the black culture in the US. He barely understood the language, and then could barely speak it; how was he supposed to represent an entire race? This class is going to get really interesting. It is on Monday night from 5:30 to 8pm. We watched a short clip of one of the first movies ever made, in which blacks were portrayed by white people with painted face. This week we are watching "Birth of a Nation" which depicts the KKK in a good light while blaming black people for their own suffering. I am really excited for the discussion that is sure to come from that. We only meet 6 times and the grade is based on class participation, a few critiques and a final paper on a black actor, actresses, director, producer or screen writer. Suggestions are welcome!

On Tuesday and Thursday from 6-9:45 I have Sociology class. It is a really LONG class but interesting topic. I love culture and human interaction and that is what sociology is all about. We have 3 tests and a final. There are 12 classes total and there is a lot of information to cram in. I have read quite a bit about famous sociologists and their theories in my own pleasure reading. The class is multicultural and everyone seems respectful and open to learning so I think it will be fun.

Between the 2 classes, it is 6 credit hours in 6 weeks. I work 8-5 and with St. Louis traffic I have not risked running home between work and class. Poor Bo is going 14-15 hours without going out which breaks my heart. He still is not warming to Ferg and therefore will not go out with him. Ferg's mom watches the kids at our house a few days a week and Bo will go out with her. I feel bad but he chooses to distrust Ferg so it is his call to not go outside. I would probably have enough time to stop home and let him out Tues/Thurs but then there is no time to eat. Going from work to class with no food is just crazy as I don't get out until so late. Plus, I am an eater and I cannot concentrate when my belly is angry and empty.

Every day this week when I have woken up exhausted and cranky I tell myself, "It's only 6 weeks!" After Thursday's class was over, it is only 5 weeks now. I am taking a girl's trip to the lake the last weekend of June, which is also halfway through the summer semester. It will be a much needed break. I am trying to keep my eye on the prize and forge ahead. More than likely I would be drinking and partying if I didn't have school to keep me grounded so I am grateful more than anything. I know it will be hard work but it will all be worth it in the end.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Saturday was awesome with Sam. I went to his house and then we went to the pool. One of his oldest friends moved in with him recently because he is going through a divorce. It was awesome to see him and catch up. Not gonna lie, I felt like he was a good buffer between me ending up in the bedroom with Sam too. lol It was actually kind of like a group of old friends catching up for a while because our history is so shared. He was elated to see me and told me more than a few times that EVERYONE knows I am the one that Sam let get away. As he got more intoxicated, he started to spill details too so that was fun.

At the pool Sam and I had our own 2 chairs off from the crowd so we finally got our chance to catch up. We talked out a lot of things that simply could not be discussed via e-mail. We actually went back to the beginning and both of us being able to recognize the other person's point of view helped a lot. It only took us 10 years to realize we were both pretty stupid and presumptuous. He apologized for pushing me into the relationship when I asked him to please give me time after my 5 year relationship. I apologized for refusing to acknowledge him as my boyfriend which was, quite simply, all he was asking for. He also sees how rough that was for me since my family loved the ex fiancé and we had truly only been broken up a month. I also admitted to him that I was a relationship hopper. In fact, I was in a pseudo relationship when I met my ex fiancé, Chad. I'm not sure why I had never told him that before. Perhaps then my resistance to jumping into something with him would have made sense.

We talked about the police interventions. I took claim for the first and he for the 2nd, as I suspected. Although we both learned a valuable lesson from both instances, we now see how they could have been avoided. Long story short on my claim, the first offense, He called me a whore in MY apartment and I asked him to leave. He would not so I went to the door, opened it and then issued the order that he could leave or I would make him. So he got in my face and called me a whore again. It was like a reflex when my right hook busted his glasses off of his face. I did not feel a bit of remorse because I felt like he was clearly in the wrong. Grant you, I should have used my words instead of my fist but in my defense, he is much larger than I am and he was amped up and in my face. Instinct and survival kicked in for sure. He called the police, and his sister which is truly a whole blog in itself. That incident is the closest I have ever come to going to jail. In the end, he had broken glasses and a cut on his face. I think his ego was more wounded than anything. What we determined is that he has learned his lesson on name calling and once his sister knew the truth of what happened. She had my back and not his.

We didn't talk for a while after that first incident. We eventually got back together though. I don't remember how or why our 2nd police intervention came about. I know we were fighting about something and he came to my apartment. He was angry and amped up again and I just knew it was not going to go well so I would not let him in. He ended up crawling into my bathroom window. I called the police this time and he was ordered to stay away. I don't remember exact time lines but that didn't last long. We were so drawn to one another.

Sam has experienced quite a few major life changes and lessons in the past few years, as have I. We talked a lot about his last relationship, which just ended 3 months ago. It was refreshing to be open and honest again with someone that I know so well. We also talked a bit about CL. Sam saw him at our mutual friend's wedding in October and thought he looked like a total douche. I thought it was pretty funny what a strong reaction he had to me being with someone else after all of that time. We talked about the period of time that we tried to be friends but still totally wanted to be together. We just could not figure out how. We spent so many good times together, basically dating and just never told each other how we felt. I just wanted him to be happy and I thought he was happier without me. He has regrets about things he did and so do I. I was just really glad to get my feelings off of my chest and get a few answers.

We are both definitely alpha dogs which was an issue for CL and me as well. The major bond that Sam and I had, and it wasn't the only thing but one of the biggest, was amazing sex. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Hands down, my best ever and his as well. He said it more than a few times yesterday. It is really no surprise that we eventually got drunk and boned. He apologized for a whole lot. He was wrong to cheat on his gf at the time and I was disgusted with myself. I knew after experiencing a completely amazing night (and morning, in the interest of full disclosure) that we could not be friends or even be around each other. When I told him that yesterday he said, "Well then, why did it happen again in the morning?" Old times’ sake, a final farewell...call it what you want. I think that shocked him a bit. He knew he was so wrong that he had absolutely no hard feelings for my avoiding him. I think he just missed me. I missed him too but I couldn't go back. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason.

We have mad, crazy, fiery passion. On my way to his house I honestly wanted to throw up. When I saw his bff on the front porch, I was relieved to have a buffer. He knows our entire history anyway and he really wasn't around that much. He did walk in at one point when we were talking about Sam's ex and he was like, "why are you two talking about that?" And Sam said, "I've known this girl 10 years and I have nothing to hide from her" He drank beer at the pool and we were there about 3 hours. When we walked back to his house we were all hungry and they were going to bbq so I did have 2 drinks while we cooked and hung out on the deck. It was weird to be in his house again but then also oddly comfortable too. He made a few comments about getting me into bed but other than that he did pretty well.

The final straw was after lunch. It was after many beers for him, his roomie passing out face down on the floor and my 2 drinks down. He looks at me and just says flat out, "I want to kiss you so bad right now" I was a little buzzed and not really thinking and I said, "I'm not scared of you" He was out of his chair and one inch from my face in seconds. I leaned my head back and said "no" but the fire was burning me. He made some comment about how I couldn't handle it and I left very shortly after.

Part of me says I will never find this love, passion or spark again. I know many people who never find what we have. The other part says, been there, done that...many, many times. I do love the shit out of him. I don't know if we really could be friends after spending the day catching up and experiencing sparks and eventually FIRE. Like I said, much has changed. I honestly don't know what he wants. I mean, clearly, he's a man so sex is on the brain but I am pretty sure that is not all he wants. I know I still feel the same way about him that I always have. I guess I know the potential of what he can be and I would expect at least that from him in a relationship, if not more. At this point, he would really have to bring it to convince me that I am what he wants. I am not sure he has that in him. I am going to need the full meal deal and a big neon 'GO' sign to put myself back into it fully. My spirit guides are going to have to lead me directly there if that is my destiny. I am too old to be fuckin' around. I know he loves me. I never doubted that. He didn't love himself back then and I am still not sure that he is ready to allow himself to be happy. He knows me better than most people so we shall see where it goes from here. I feel better having said my peace so if nothing else, it was the closure that I needed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A cliff hanger...

The spark is still there but so is the fear. We loved and abused each other equally back then. It has been 5 years since we have been a couple. It has been 3 years since we have seen each other one-on-one without a crowd. I feel bad about how I just walked away from him. I had to do it for myself and my sanity. So why is there still a spark? Why do I randomly wonder where he is or what he is doing? Why do I compare our good times with everyone else I date? They never measure up. We had a true connection and amazing passion. There were definitely extremely tumultuous times but in the end, we were always there for each other. I could depend on him whether he was my friend, my boyfriend or my nothing. I could have called him for help over the past 3 years of silence. He would have been there and I know that.

Our timing was terrible 10 years ago when this all started. I will never forget the day he came up to me at work and told me I was “the most beautiful girl” he had ever seen. I was coming out of a serious 5 year relationship, perhaps still a little scorned. I was not ready to date and I told him so. He pushed because he could not wait. He apologized for that this week. He knows what should have happened. It is funny that when most relationships go wrong, we tend to blame the other person. In our case, we have both bent over backwards to take responsibility for what was ours and maybe some of what wasn’t. We communicated horribly back then. We hurt each other because we knew just how to do it and we did it to be hurtful.

We were violent, to the point of police intervention, twice. I will take responsibility for one of those and I think he would tell you he takes the other. The passion between us was insane. We loved and hated with all that we had. We were so off and on and back and forth that I was not even sure when we were “together”. We managed to put the crazy behind us and be “friends” for years after all of this. We even took a trip to Amsterdam with mutual friends. We had that comfortable, fun relationship without the drama. We both dated other people and we were great friends to each other. We told each other things that I know neither of us has told another soul. We have been through things together that you cannot explain to someone new. We knew and (mostly) loved each other’s family, even after we split. We were so in sync.

Then it happened. I think it happens to most exes’ who still have feelings for each other. We got super drunk (n’coked-I have no reason to lie) and had mad passionate sex after years of being friends. I knew the moment that I woke up in his bed that we could not be friends anymore. He was dating someone at the time and I felt awful, as did he. It was an all around horrible moment. After 7 years of back and forth, something snapped in me that day. I knew as I walked out the door that I would not be back. We talked on the phone, really we cried. I felt horrible about being the other woman and he felt like a failure to the girl he was dating and to me. We never spoke again.

My heart broke for months, really years. I missed him so much. Not the relationship but the friendship, just having him. I was so mad at myself for allowing that to happen the way it did. I never considered at the time how strong the force of our connection was. I never considered that it was always heading that way. We just couldn’t or didn’t want to stop it. Over the years I have thought about him a lot. Like I said, I have compared my other relationships to ours. I have wondered about him and his family. I would hear things thru mutual friends and so want to pick up the phone to call. I would not allow myself to do that. I would think of him on his birthday and the anniversary of our Amsterdam trip. I shut him out completely. He tried to contact me a few months later. He sent a letter by mail and then an e-mail. I never responded. I couldn’t see us hurting each other anymore. I didn’t even remember the letter or e-mail until I found them not too long ago. I guess I really blocked that out in order to try to move on.

I ran into him at the funeral of a very close mutual friend and barely recognized him in 2008. (He had grizzly wooly mammoth facial hair) I could tell that he was elated to see me and I really played down how excited I was to see him. We spoke briefly, catching up on friends but that was about it. He had been through some pretty life altering stuff that year and I knew it but I couldn’t force myself to ask. Again, I walked away from him. I remember him shouting out his phone number as I walked away and immediately deleting it from my mind.

I saw him again at my girl’s wedding last year. We had an awkward moment in the stairs and that was about it. I found his apology e-mail from 2007 shortly after that, totally by fate, I think. It pulled at my heart so much and it baffled me that I was able to just ignore him. I felt like a heel. Especially after the way CL did his check-outs and left me to wonder all of the time. Once I realized I had done that as well, I was on a mission to fix it. We e-mailed back and forth for a bit as you probably remember. He was awesomely forgiving and completely understood why I did what I did. We have commented back and forth on Facebook or sent a quick e-mail here and there but that has been it since then. We were both avoiding really talking or hanging out, that was clear.

Last week his cousin’s plan was shot down in Iraq. He posted on FB to please pray for him and I was the first to respond. I have known his cousin since he was a preteen. Their parents married brother’s and sister’s (mom’s sister married dad’s brother) so these cousins are really like brothers. I was shaken over the possibility that his cousin’s number was up. I knew how close they were and how devastated he would be by something like that. I eventually e-mailed him for an update and what I got back was a shock. His cousin was fine, that is how it all started out. But then it went to how I was the only girl he ever truly loved. He said he hasn’t called to hang out or talk because he can’t be my friend or keep his hands off me. I was taken aback by this. I knew we still had the draw but I had no idea he still felt that way after all of this time. The craziest part is, I.do.too. I always have.

When I really think about it, during our “friendship” time, I always had feelings for him. I have always loved him. I wanted him to be happy. I thought he was happier without me. He dated others and seemed into it so I never considered that we were both playing the same game. I guess we didn’t want to put ourselves out there? I am not sure but clearly this is a sign of our poor communication.

We are going to hang out today for a few hours at his pool. We literally haven’t seen each other without a crowd since 2007. I am not even sure what he looks like now. I have no idea how much he has changed since his life was turned upside down right after we stopped talking. I can hear in his responses that he is different. Years have passed, wounds have healed. There is a lot that I have to say, to be honest and get it out there. There is so much that I didn’t tell him that I want to now. The few people I have talked to about this have mixed reviews on how they feel. Some feel this is our fate while others think that we would always end up the way that we did. What matters this time is how I feel. For right now I feel like it will be a conversation with an old friend but I would be lying to say that I am not afraid that he is going to take his shirt off at the pool and I am going to attack! I am keeping my mind open but my legs closed;-) To Be Continued…

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

To my BFF


I can’t believe that you are 32 today. It seems like just yesterday we were peeing under my neighbor’s deck, as to not have to go inside and possibly have our play time cut short. I look back at the photo of you pulling me through my walker as a baby and it is hard to believe we have been together our whole lives. I can’t remember a childhood birthday without you. I am pretty sure every holiday of our lives we have spent together unless one or both of us were out of town. I remember the day the photo was taken outside of Chucky Cheese for my 4th birthday. You, me, Stacy and Lora were so close; and then there were 2. I remember the surprise 10th birthday party that you told my mom was probably not a good idea. Your huge backyard parties were so much fun. Your dad was always a huge part of the entertainment. It is so weird, but I remember the wallpaper and carpeted kitchen of your parent’s house in the old neighborhood. Our gum collection on under your parent’s steps is still there and I am not going to lie, I am damn proud of it!

How many 4th of July’s did we almost blow each other or someone else up? Camping, first as two families and then with our dad’s when we got into Indian Princess. I will never forget Trout Lodge or the Cottonwood cabin there. (“M&M, that spells Mmmmm, Mmmm is the sound that I make when I eat them. When I die…bury me in M&M’s”) How about the time that we got our dad’s to dance to Beastie Boys, complete with a light show from our flashlights? I bet my dad and yours could still sing Fight for Your Right. Oh, and the Trout Lodge Trip where you ate a bag of Tootsie Rolls and then jumped on the bed! You did indeed throw up ON me at dinner but I got you back years later in a drunken stupor. I loved that you told me the next morning that not only did I puke on you and my parents white couch but that you knew it was Tootsie Roll payback and you were cool with it. My dad taking a leaky tent was a classic camping moment too. If he had listened to us that it leaked he would have been as dry as we were the next morning;-)

I still love that we plotted against our parents in our pre-teen years. We said we would plaster our walls with NKOTB and talk about nothing else until they let us go to the concert. Then we caught my dad in a weak, drunken moment and convinced him that if we stood in line for tickets, he would take us. He has no idea how much we loved them, did he? I still remember the look of shock on his face when we came back from the mall with 26th row, center seats at Busch Stadium. How cool was he in his multi-pocketed Bugle Boy jeans? I remember the ‘No Camera’ sign and our hearts breaking and then my dad, cool as a cucumber smuggling the camera in one of his many pockets. We have photos of Jordan’s shirt blowing up because of my dad! My favorite part of that experience, other than sharing it with you and my daddy, was when they asked my dad to get down off of his chair. He was so excited!

That was the last time we agreed on music until our 20’s. We never liked the same boy. We may have fancied one or 2 back in the day but NKOTB was the closest we came to liking the same boy. Well and that guy in the VW bug that we both checked out and were shocked to find the other interested in. Junior high was the first time we attended the same school. I was so excited to see you in the halls and know we could chat at lunch. Our differences became more apparent during this time but our similarities were solid. We have history and much love. We were total opposites in high school. I guess I was labeled“prep” and you ran with the “freak” crowd. Isn’t it amazing that none of that mattered to either of us? Your friends were cool to me and my friends loved you.

As we grew up and spent less time together, our bond has never broken. When you announced that you were moving to Colorado I felt like my life had shattered. I knew we would always be friends but my heart was broken. Our road trip to move you to Colorado in the VW bus will live in infamy. From the hotel in Salina, Kansas where we lined the floor with towels so we wouldn’t walk on the carpet; to the 2 hours that we silently loved Bob Marley on our final drive into Denver. Fate showed me you belonged there when you got a job at a vegetarian restaurant the day I left town. When you met David, I could hear in your voice that he was “the one”. When I met David I told you if I had seen him on the street I would have known he was your future husband.

Even though you went to catholic school and you were raised in a good and loving home I know you learned a lot from being around my crazy family; probably a lot of what not to do. I learned what a loving family was first from your parents and then from Leigh’s. My history and my entire life is wrapped up in my friendship with you. You are my chosen sister, my best friend and my soul mate. I love that your 2 year old son looks at my picture and knows that I am mommy’s friend, Toni. I love that I could call you at any time, any place and know you will be there to listen. I love that our families still celebrate the holidays and all major events together. I love that I can call your mom for anything and know she will be there for me too. I love that when I can’t remember something about my life (which is rare) I can call you and you always know what I am talking about. I love that there are jokes and phrases that will forever be ours. I love that I can’t watch:
The Breakfast Club
16 Candles
Pretty In Pink
Some Kind of Wonderful
Steel Magnolias
The Incredible Shrinking Woman
My Chauffer
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
The Princess Bride
Pretty Woman
St. Elmo’s Fire…without thinking of you. I love that we could have an entire conversation strictly quoting these movies and pretty much only you and I would know it. I love that we talk at least once a week still. I love that you are still the first person that I want to tell good news to. I love that you are in love, with both your husband and your son, and you are living the life I always dreamed of for you. I love, more than anything, that when I called you today I could hear your sleepy voice. I knew you had just gotten up from a nap and you knew that I knew, just by your voice. I love that we can sit silently for hours on end and not feel uncomfortable. I love that we can complete each other’s sentences and confuse those around us.

You are the most fantastic, loving, giving and trusting soul I have ever met. You have softened my heart in ways that you cannot imagine. You have taught me many life lessons, along with your family and you are all a huge part of my family forever. You are my real life Mother Theresa and Gandhi. You are everything that is goodness in this world to me. My parents see you, and now your husband and son, as their own. You are my family, my heart and everything I strive to be. Thank you for always loving me, accepting me and knowing when to tell me I am totally fucking up. I hope that you have an amazing 32nd year. I hope it brings you much love, laughter and peace. And perhaps a red headed little girl to match the little boy;-)

I love you, Friend,


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Last Tuesday night I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting. I always swore I would never set foot in the place. My old roommate Sarah joined Weight Watchers 3 years ago and we affectionately called it Dub Dub. Sarah and I had lived together for about 5 years when she started Dub Dub. I had seen her try many diets in the course of our friendship but she insisted this was not a diet. She has been heavy her whole life and even she would tell you that she was, cute-in-the-face-Sarah. That is what everyone used to tell her. She is gorgeous in the face but she is also a beautiful person on the inside. I have talked before about our discovery of totally different eating styles and how we both learned a lot from each other in that regard. After Sarah started Dub Dub we would watch The Biggest Loser and cry together over other people’s stories of success and failure in weight loss. I saw the determination in her eyes and there was no doubt that she would do it, she would be a success at weight loss.

The changes were small at first. Sarah started making breakfast for herself. No matter how much time she had, she ate every morning. It was usually an english muffin with peanut butter or an egg. Starting her day off with that extra kick of energy made a difference right away. Then she started planning lunch and dinner ahead of time. She was preparing so she would not splurge. In her previous life she had a long love affair with fast-food and I know that was a hard habit for her to break. She attended meetings weekly and stuck to Dub Dub’s plan. She dropped 40 pounds pretty quickly. There were plateaus and weeks where she would gain but she kept going. She portioned her food, counted her points and made a lifestyle change for herself. She learned not to treat herself with food but with other loves. For her first 25 pound milestone she bought shoes. It became a theme for her and it encouraged her fellow Dub girls to consider ways to reward themselves.

When I moved from Sarah’s house last year she was probably at 50 pounds lost, which was a weight I had seen her at before. She looked great but she was also still forging ahead in her weight loss. She had taken a job at Petsmart and was stocking shelves of 20 and 40 pound bags of dog food and cat litter. I didn’t see Sarah for a few months after I moved. When I did see her again, I hardly recognized her. She was absolutely stunning. She was confident. She was sassy. She was thinner than I had ever seen her. She was wearing clothes that fit! I was amazed by her transformation. She has a hard time with strong reactions to her weight loss because she is still the same person inside. While she sees the change, she is amazed every time at how others react to her. I think a part of one’s mind always sees themselves in a certain way. Time will show Sarah that she can let go of that old mind set.

Last Tuesday night Dub Dub asked Sarah to speak at success night. I wanted to surprise her and just show up and it worked out perfectly. Sarah’s mom also came to support her. There were about 8 speakers, all with heartbreaking and uplifting stories of their own. I always thought I would invoke daggers by walking into a weight watchers but I soon realized that there are no assumptions. One of the women who spoke was a size 6 with the greatest set of legs I have ever seen. When she pulled out her size 22 pants I could not believe my eyes. She has lost over 100 pounds and just recently rewarded herself with a tummy tuck. She was my proof that people of all sizes seek out support in weight loss. Maybe karma brought me here because of my fat people rant????

There were many more inspiring stories that night but none that brought out my waterworks like watching my former roommate tell her story. I feel almost like it is our story. She talked about what she learned. They were staples in her vocabulary for the past 3 years but hearing them out loud to the crowd was awe inspiring. She always says, “There are no bad foods, just bad decisions”. She basically spoke about everyone making mistakes and how you have to forgive yourself and let each day be new. She made a joke about losing her Dub Dub pass in an Entenmanns’s donut box, which was verified by her fellow meeting attendees. She showed off her 75 pound shoes and talked about rewards and staying the course. She was funny, she captured the audience and she inspired many. Her mom leaned over when she had finished and said, “Look how skinny her legs are” in my ear. I was bawling like a baby. I don’t think I could be more proud if I were her mother. I dare say I was more proud than her mother. I was with her during the bad times and I was so proud to be with her during the good.

Sarah has lost and maintained a total of 80 pounds in the past 3 years. She says there was no bigger moment than one night by herself at the Pmart, as she calls it; she was carrying two 40 pound bags of dog food. She was huffing and puffing along and then she stopped dead in her tracks. With this added 80 pounds she was carrying the weight that she used to be. That moment showed her how hard weight is on your body. She was now bending under the strain of what she used to carry with her daily. I firmly believe that Dub Dub is not a diet but a total change of life. Once you meet, and as long as you maintain your goal, you are a lifetime member. Many of those people continue to attend meetings for the support and understanding. They also serve as a great inspiration. I don’t know what Sarah’s ‘number’ is but I know she is getting closer and it gets harder at the end. I also know she is forging ahead. Once at goal I think she should become a Dub Dub rep. They already know how lucky they would be. I am not going to lie, Dub Dub impressed me but my friend Sarah impressed me more.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Another Fairwell

I walked thru the doors the first time with my sister and her real estate agent the day she took possession back in 2004. I was working for Wells Fargo and I actually did her loan. The Bo-man and I moved in shortly after. We had 2 gay boys and 2 dogs in the basement at some point during that year, probably from March to September. I moved to Colorado from August to October of 2004. When I came back from Colorado , I lived with Rachel for 1 year. In late August of 2005 I returned home to 2048 Westbrook for the final time.

In November of 2005, my sister was accepted to Law School in Michigan . This was her dream and she considered passing it up because of her responsibility to the house. I told her to go and we would work it out. Sarah and I lived together from 2002 until my first run at 2048 Westbrook in 2004. Our parting was not fantastic but we salvaged our friendship and moved on. Sarah was living with a friend and needed a place. I was in my sister’s house by myself after she left for school. Sarah moved in around early 2006. In April of 2006, Sarah bought 2048 Westbrook from my sister. I also did her loan.

Sarah lost her job shortly after purchasing the house. It needed major work when she bought it and without a job, she had no means to fix it up. Sarah and I lived together at 2048 Westbrook from early 2006 until April of last year (2009) when I moved in with CL. There were many memories in the house before Sarah moved in. My sister, her ex Jamie and I had a great time living there. It was my first time living with lesbians and I still plan to write a book on that. We were the gay after party hot spot for many years. We had family Christmas and many friendly bbq’s. The memories continued after Sarah moved in. My friend Kari was forced to seek shelter one summer when her power was out for days in 100 degree heat. She affectionately renamed 2048 Westbrook, The Overland Westin. Sarah and I had a huge joint birthday/housewarming party in 2006. All of our friends were there and I fondly remember it as one of our best times in that house.

For the better part of the last 6 years I have lived in that house with either my sister or Sarah. There are memories there that will last a lifetime. We befriended the neighbors when my sister lived there and continued our connection after she was gone. Our favorite, Brad, is a drunken idiot who would randomly wake up at 3pm and ask if you could drive him to the corner bar to get his car. He had many a drunken and rowdy bbq’s but we still loved him. About 3 years ago Brad put a huge stuffed bunny in the back of Sarah’s truck. She just looked in her rear view one day and there was a huge bunny. Only Brad would do that. This thing is almost 4 feet tall and bigger around than me. We kept it to someday prank him back.

Last night was curtain call at 2048 Westbrook. Sarah is moving out. It feels like the end of an era. As we packed up the last of her stuff and took it to storage, Brad heckled us from his driveway. He was drunk and belligerent but that is how he shows his love. We smoked a final bowl in the living room, as a toast to 2048 Westbrook. We even tried to call my sister on speaker phone so she could share in the moment but she did not answer. We hid the giant bunny in Brad’s front bush, facing Brown Road so all of the neighbors can have a laugh. We loaded up the dogs, shut down the lights and I closed the door 1 final time. It was perfect and just as it should have been. Sarah, the kids and me for one final call.

It would be a lie to say that I did not shed a tear. This is a huge part of my past, my history and my relationships with both my sister and Sarah. There were bad things that happened there, many, but all I can seem to remember right now is the good. There were a lot of laughs, a lot of love and a family that we all needed so desperately. I feel very lucky to have had the experiences that I did at 2048 Westbrook. I am grateful for that time with my sister. I am glad that Sarah and I have now mended our fences twice after living together. Our friendship is stronger than ever and I am so proud of her. Of course we both got a good laugh at the massive bunny in our rear view mirrors as we drove away.

“Laugher thru tears is my favorite emotion”~ Miss Truvy.

So long 2048 Westbrook, shout out to the 114 and the comfort of the Overland Westin. Thanks for the memories, they will live on in my heart and mind forever.

P.S. The 114 is the last 3 digets of the zip code. It was our shout out to our hood back in the day!

P.P. S. Today when Sarah went to do the final walk thru and Brad was leaving his house. He pulled out of the driveway, put the car in park in the street and got out screaming “God damn it, Sarah” as his fiancé laughed her face off. I wonder who old Peter Rabbit will end up with next?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Resort Style Living...

You have all heard about my best friend, Manda, who lives in the mountains with her husband, their baby and her brother. I wrote this post last year about her trekking buckets of water up the mountain so she could flush her toilet and boil it to drink. This story actually rivals that one, if you can believe it.

So Manda calls me Monday morning on my way into work. I was concerned because she never calls me in the morning. (I am not really what you would call a “morning person”) She tells me she has another exciting chapter to add to “Resort Style Living”, which is what we call her humble abode tucked high on that mountain. She goes on to explain that her, her husband and baby were watching a movie Sunday night and the boys fell asleep. Manda saw the motion sensor in the backyard (mountain side) and thought that one of their cats was back there wanting in. She went to the door and almost swung it open when she saw a massive black butt. There was a black BEAR on her patio!!!! She ran to wake David and by the time they came back to the door, the bear was gone. David cursed himself for leaving the trash can outside (in the mountains you have to bring your trash in) and knew that was the reason the bear was drawn to them. ("Stupid human", David said. LMAO!)

After about 5 minutes of Manda and David continuing to watch outside, the bear returned to pillage the trash for food. This is the time that bears are coming out of winter hibernation and they are hungry. The previous owners told them that around this time each year a bear would come down and eat the fruit from their trees that had fallen on the ground. They told them he had never tried to harm them or anyone that they knew of but to be careful. Manda says neither she nor David got a bad vibe from the bear. (?????) He seemed satisfied with the trash and retreated up the mountain.

Manda’s little brother has a cabin on their land as well. He has no bathroom in his cabin so he usually comes up each night to the main house to take out his contacts and brush his teeth. Manda did not want him coming up and being surprised by a huge black bear. Their phone line is set up at their house and Justin’s cabin so incoming calls ring at both. Because they are using the same phone line, Manda could not call Justin to warn him. Their phone system does, however, allow them to transfer calls to the cabin. It was 1am mountain time at this point, so it was 2am in St. Louis . Manda called her other brother who lives here in the Lou and is always out partying late. She then transferred him to the cabin to tell Justin about the bear. Of course, after all of that trouble, he was not home. She called the local bar, which is the only other option of where he could be and they did not answer. She worried all night that Justin would try to come up and get accosted by a bear.

Monday morning Justin did come up. He said the moonlight was shining on the mountain when he got home and he saw all kinds of trash so he assumed there was a bear (clever mountain folks!) so he just went to his cabin. They are in the process now of discussing building a wooden, lockable trash can to avoid this issue in the future. In the meantime, Manda and baby Oliver will be playing inside for a good little while. I asked her as we were hanging up what she thinks of “resort style living” now. She said they are fine and will get used to their new massive friend. I told her not to go making friend with him. She’s like that. I bet he has a name by week’s end.

P.S. After writing this post, I spoke to Manda. The bear has been back, even when the dogs were outside and there have been no issues. Baby Oliver has slept through both appearances so he has yet to feast his eyes on his new beastly friend. She already seems to be softening to the idea of a friendly bear!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Random Dozen

1. Have you ever been so lost that you were really afraid?

Not that I can recall. I usually purposely get lost in a new place so I am forced to find my way back. Somehow that helps me remember the way a bit better. The first time I missed the last downtown St. Louis exit and ended up in East St. Louis, Illinois I did freak out, cry and call my dad but I was in high school.

2. Have you ever been to an island?

When I was in the first grade we went to California and took a bottomless boat to Catalina Island. It stormed, causing high seas, and I will certainly never forget it. There was an island at Trout Lodge where we used to camp when I was a kid. Manda and I used to love going over there by ourselves.

3. Are you more of a thinker or feeler?

I think I am equal parts of both. I analyze everything thoroughly but my heart rules most of the time because I do feel very deeply.

4. Do you tend to see issues or situations in life as black and white or shades of gray?

Almost always grey. I can see both sides of most things. I am very passionate about certain causes though and sometimes the only explaination for some peoples opinions is stupidity. Seeing grey is really helping in my debate class!

5. If you were stuck on an island, what book would you hope to have with you (Let's pretend the Bible is already there, so you can't say that.)

Roots. It is a long book and there is much to miss on your first few reads. I would have never even considered the Bible, honestly.

6. What are you most afraid of?

A painful death, rape and not fulfilling my potential. Being alone forever.

7. Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?

I would rather die than do either of these. My past made me into who I am and my future will overcome it all.

8. Pretend I'm looking at a scrapbook page about you. There are three spaces for you to drop in individual pictures. What are those pictures of, and why did you select them?

My dog because he is my main man.
All of my friends because they are my best memories
My family because they are a huge part of me

9. If you were re-doing your wedding, what would you do differently? (If you're single, tell me one thing you would do if you were planning a wedding OR huge party.)

I will run away to get married. I hate the idea of a big hoopla. I think you waste so much time planning for 1 night. You have to invite people you never see which takes time away from those that you want to see. I am not that girl who dreamed of her wedding day. I don’t need a dress, I don’t need a church, all I need is a loving partner and an exotic beach location.

10. Tell me one thing you know/believe about forgiveness.

Forgiveness releases the person who is doing the forgiving from the one who has wronged them. To forgive is to save yourself. The other person more than likely could care less.

11. You're waiting in a doctor's office. What is your favorite way to pass that time?

I try to bring a book but I usually forget.

12. If there were a clone of you in a parallel universe what is one way you hope she/he would be the same as you and one way you hope she/he would be better?

I would hope she has my passion and fire for life. Perhaps the “other” me could not take things so personally all of the time and has a better idea of knowing when to say enough is enough and walk away.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Mr. Speaker, our Nation depends on immigrants' labor, and I hope we can create an immigration system as dependable as they are."~Luis Gutierriz

Aren’t we all immigrants?

Liberty and Justice FOR ALL, huh? Really?

Has anyone thought about what this Arizona immigration law could lead to?

How many Hispanic American citizens will lose their businesses because their LEGAL CITIZEN patrons are scared to leave their homes for fear of police or government interference with their life?

What about all of the jobs that the Americans are too good to do that WE brought illegal Mexicans here to do 20 years ago?

What about the American citizens of mixed decent that will be unjustly terrorized for this?

Is it really ok now for the US Government to detain people for absolutely no reason?

This law could be in effect as early as August, IF it passes the proper channels. (PrayingtoBabyJesusthatdoesnothappen)

I, for one, will never visit Arizona again.

I say the supporters should be the first to be implanted with the new government tracking chip.

Let the government track their every move.

Let’s see how they like it…

Fat America

I am fired up today and I am blogging it out. I am so tired of fat people who do nothing but whine and cry about how fat they are. I might piss some people off with this post and I rather hope I do. At least that would mean that the subject is important to others. I understand that both health and genetics take part in many weight issues. I am skinny partly because of my Crohn’s Disease. I don’t think that health issues can always be an excuse though, and certainly not the whole excuse. Just like I have to adhere to a certain diet to maintain my disease, others are responsible to do the same.

Why is it that you mostly see the fat people taking the elevator but the skinny people take the stairs? I find this a lot at my new job. Why do fat people ride in carts at stores when they need the exercise more than any of us? I don’t want to hear the old “bad knee” excuse either because their knees would be fine if it weren’t for the extra hundreds of pounds that some are carrying. Then they want a handicapped sticker for their bad knees and big lazy asses. These are the same folks who starve themselves on a diet only to cave to a soda and candy bar half way through the day. As you can see, I am pretty disgusted. These people are raising Fat America. Eating habits as a child most definitely carry into adult life. I was only recently able to break my family tradition of Velveeta cheese dip as a meal. I understand these things can be hard but I am tired of the whining.

These are the same people who exclaim “oh, you are so skinny”, “how do you stay so skinny?”, “why would you walk in this heat?”, “you eat tofu?”, “are you going to waste all of that food?” I could go on and on. I used to be offended at being called skinny. After all, skinny is connected to sickness. But guess what? I am skinny. I accept it. I work every day to maintain my weight but I will most likely always be how I am. I can accept someone being overweight if they make an effort to be healthy. If they are not eating ice cream and drinking soda all day long, complaining about how fat they are. Just for fun, I am going to answer some of those ridiculous questions though. Sometimes I want to answer people when they ask but my response might sound as shallow as their question.

1. “Oh, you are so skinny” (not a question but I’m gonna address it)---I am thin. I do have Crohn’s disease but I also have a very healthy lifestyle and diet. I take care of myself as best as I can and I think I look fantastic compared to where I have been in the past.

2. “How do you stay so skinny”---I eat pretty healthy. I do eat all of the time but small snacks, not huge meals. I like rice cakes, soy beans, nuts, fruit and cheese to snack on (not gonna lie, I eat crap but I am good most of the time)

3. “Why would you walk in this heat?---Well, I enjoy walking and hiking immensely. I feel at one with nature, spirits and myself so it is more like therapy to me than exercise because I CHOOSE FOR IT TO BE.

4. “You eat tofu?”---I not only eat it, I like it. However, I have no idea how to cook it. Changing my eating habits came as a result of my Crohn’s but I could not be happier. I feel healthier and I am getting way more protein without all of the hormones and bacteria. (Eat that fatty!) I would choose a veggie dog or black bean burger over the real thing any day.

5. “Are you going to waste all of that food”- Noooooooo…because small meals are how I roll, I will wrap it up and take it home for later. If something is good enough I have been known to eat it 5-6 consecutive meals in a row. I eat to live, I don’t live to eat. (Shout out to Koli from The Biggest Loser, although I mixed his words, he said “these people are eating to live and we are living to eat.” Profound to me, I tell you.)

There is a reason I feel so passionate about this; my old roommate, Sarah, has been a big girl her whole life. Living together was an eye opening experience for us both in regard to food. We both noticed little things that were different about our eating habits and we were not afraid to discuss it. I will put something down after having taken just a few bites if I am done with it. In Sarah’s house growing up that was wasteful and you could not be wasteful. She had a twin brother who was rather sickly so it was her job to finish what he did not eat. At first she was very bothered by what she considered to be my waste but then she realized that I really do eat most things later. And if I didn’t, my attitude was, “oh, well, it’s just food.” One night I bought a box of Entenmann’s crumble top donuts, triple chocolate; the big box. I ate one and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning the box was in the trash. Sarah had gotten up in the middle of the night and eaten all of the donuts. That thought never even crossed my mind. I can barely eat one. I had to ask her what made her do it and for a long time, she didn’t have an answer. When we talked later she said that as a kid growing up with 5 kids in the house you had to fight for your food. In her house, if you liked something, you had better eat it all because it would not be there when you came back. I just could not fathom what she was telling me. I had 1 sister and we had different tastes so this was all new for me.

Sarah and I got hooked on The Biggest Loser shortly after that. We would sing the theme song (“What have you done today to make you feel proud?”) and I could see in her eyes that she wanted to try to start losing weight. She used to get the classic, “oh, but you are so pretty in the face” all of the time. Pretty-in-the-face- Sarah started Weight Watchers (we affectionately refer to it as “dub dub”) about a year and a half ago. She is down 85 pounds and holding. She has drastically changed her eating habits and gets way more exercise now. I am so proud of her. She recognized that she can control it and it feels good to do so. She has always been a very happy person and many people like her. The best thing for me is to see how much she likes herself now. I would love to see more of the world take on a Sarah attitude.

This all started because I was behind a very large woman at work today as she shuffled to the elevator and I was trying to go around her to the stairs. She made it down before I did and I could hear her breathing and feel the friction from her thighs rubbing together as we walked. It happens all of the time, unfortunately. I think most frequently I see the fat person in the cart bit. That one really gets me. Today was just the day I had to blow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

An attitude of gratitude

Ahhhh, Sunday morning, welcome back. You are like a long hug from an old friend. Maybe it is because this is my only day to sleep in and do what I want each week. I have work Monday-Friday and a full day of school on Saturday so Sunday is MY day. I woke up rather early today after having fallen asleep on the couch from a Xanax induced coma last night. I had a headache, my back was hurting and I just needed to chill. That is exactly what I did. I had a great IM chat with my gay husband via Facebook. Unbelievable that we were both home and on the computer on a Saturday night but also a sign of us growing up. Back in the day we would have watched the sun come up together as we exited the club. Oh, how things change.

Somehow today I was the first one up in the house. Ferg has the kids this weekend and that usually means the little one is screaming and banging shit on the floor at ungodly hours. Not today. I got up, went to the grocery store and came back to a still sleeping house at 9:30am. When they did get up they ate, changed and headed out the door. This is unusual for Sunday so I asked where they were going. Ferg's answer: "To church, there is a lot to be grateful for lately" Indeed, there is, my friend. I had just been down in my dungeon apartment contemplating that same thing. I have compiled a list for your viewing pleasure. Every once in a while it is nice to do a mental check of what you have and be grateful. One of my favorite Sheryl Crow songs says it all "It's not having what you want; it's wanting what you've got". So here goes...

I am grateful for all of the basic things that we don't really think about much: food, clean water (some don't have water at all), my health and that of my family, a place to live, a job to work at and lots of amazing people in my life

I am grateful for my spirit guides who have been on one hell of a ride with me for the past 6 months. I always feel their guidance and love and I am finally learning to LISTEN.

I am grateful that my sister is back from school. I am grateful that we are close again. I am grateful that she has found the love of her life and is truly happier than I can ever remember her being.

I am grateful that I made the effort to talk to my dad and my expectations of him are almost gone completely. I have accepted that he is what he is and that is best for us all.

I am grateful for my old friends as well as the new ones who have supported and loved me more than I probably deserved sometimes. I am truly blessed to have so many long and deep friendships with so many fantastic people.

I am grateful for my new job and the sense of security that has come with it. I have great co-workers and that is half of the battle with a job as far as I am concerned.

I am grateful for my 31 year friendship with Manda and the sisterhood that has formed from it. I would not be the person that I am without her constant positive attitude and influence.

I am grateful for all of my extended families. Leigh's parents, the Gramlich's and Manda's parents, the Theilig's. I don't think they have any idea how much a part of me that they are.

I am grateful to have loved and lost. I think I am ready to date again. I know that kissing all of these toads is going to make finding my prince that much sweeter.

I am grateful for Ferg and my living situation. I wasn't sure when I moved in how it was going to go and I don't think he was either. We work really well together. I have lived with many very good girlfriends. This is the first guy I have lived with that I was not dating and it is my best living situation yet.

I am grateful for my Bo Bo dog. My constant companion and friend. I can't believe he will be 7 this year. Time flies, for sure.

I am so grateful to CL for being a coward and releasing me from the prison that was that relationship. It is funny how much you don't see until you are free.

I am grateful for school. Not just for the education and the experience but for the lesson in life and culture that I am getting. I should have done this years ago.

I am grateful for my mom and the lessons she taught me about independence, self reliance and strength of character.

I am grateful to this blog for giving me a place to vent and also a way to meet many amazing people that I otherwise would not have met.

I am grateful to myself for having the knowledge and strength to do what I want, when I want and not look back. I could not be more proud of me right now.

I am sure there is more but I am ready to go enjoy my ME day. Happy Sunday to all!

Peace and Love,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Yo Viv, babe!

I woke up today thinking of you
I felt you with me, so I know you were thinking of me too

Today you would have turned 31
I can’t help but reflect on our memories and fun

So many times we laughed until we cried
It always felt good to have my best girl by my side

You took me in when I had no place to go
You showed me what home was; and you all loved me so

It is hard to believe that 10 years has passed by
I don’t see our girls much but oh, how we try!

We are forever connected by you in this life
I wish you could see each fantastic mommy and wife

Your parents are still the gift that they always were
Your other buddies are good too; the ones with the fur

You have Pop Sickels now, with you
I can’t imagine the reunion last week between you two

Everyone is well and taking care if each other
Especially the glue that holds us, your awesome mother

I miss you like hell, each and every day
Even though we are together in our own special way

I will celebrate this weekend, in honor of your day
Knowing that someday again we will laugh and play

I might even go crazy and pick up a boy
In honor of our little streak of joy

Happy Birthday, my friend

I love you

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Put that in your blog and smoke it"

I am so glad that the week has come to an end. I am looking forward to Monday for a fresh start. How sad is that? Life has just been a nauseating rolling coaster lately. This is going to have to be a full week recap so settle in with a beverage and enjoy my crazy life. On Monday I saw my dad for the first time since Christmas. It is crazy that he used to be my best friend and now I feel like I don't even know who he is. I was THE daddy's girl growing up. It took me until my teens to see my dad for the womanizing pig that he really is. Through my 20's I struggled with my idea of him and what I knew him to be. Recently I have realized at 31 years old that I don't have to deal with his shit like I did when I was 12 and my mom had left. I don't have to stroke his ego. I don't have to make excuses for the downright ridiculous and bigoted things he says. (Yes Me, queen of the underdogs, was raised by a bigot) I don't have to hide his affairs or lie about where he is. I don't have to school this grown man on what is right and wrong anymore. Let that be his wife's job. I did my fair share of trying to raise him and I am finished. I was recently writing a letter about my strained relationship with my dad and I realized that he has not changed, I have. He is still a womanizing bigot. He still gives a compliment and takes it away in the same breath. He still plays mind games and fucks with people just for fun. I am the one that does not engage anymore. I won't talk about my sister which is a subject of contention. They didn't speak for almost 8 years after she went to college. During that time, he would ask about her and I would tell him what was going on. When he stopped talking to her again 4 years ago, I stopped telling him anything. She graduated law school, moved back to the Lou and began practicing law in the same municipality that he works in and he didn't hear it from me. Oh, he was pissed. My dad also likes to gossip about all of my friends and old friends. Because the things I have said in the past somehow make it back to people very skewed, I have chosen to not engage in this little game either. It leaves us with little to talk about since dad and his wife don't leave their house. My old roomy, Sarah, came for dinner. I almost think my dad liked it better when we were not getting along and he could pit us against each other. I felt like conversation at dinner was strained. It was weird to be there, honestly. I reached out to him because we hadn't spoken in months. It will probably be another few months if I don't make all of the effort and that pisses me off. I love him. He's my dad. But sometimes I really don't like him.

Tuesday night I had plans to walk at the local park. They have a lake with a path that is 3.7 miles around. I picked up Bo after work and met my friend Nicole at the park. We made it 1/4 of a mile and I stopped to go to the bathroom. When I came out I realized my keys were not in my pocket. We turned around and retraced our steps but did not see them on the ground. We walked back to the car in hopes that I left them there. No such luck. We walked the path again and no keys. Nicole drove around in her car to find a ranger after that while I chilled with Bo. No ranger, no keys...fuck! Nicole is one of the cleanest people I know. I hated to put my 110 pound horse dog in her car but there was no choice. Nicole drove us home to get my spare set and we dropped off Bo. Then back to the park for my car and I insisted on buying dinner for Nicole. She refused until she remembered that the bar LOST her debit card on Saturday and she was at my mercy:-) They did find and return her card, btw. AND our tab was free, obviously! Sadly, I was not so lucky with my keys. I called the park and the police the next day and they assured me they will contact me if they find them. I had a mini breakdown over it and then I was fine. They are just keys.

Wednesday I took a ride out to my mom's in the country with my sister. She and her wife go to Mexico each year for their anniversary (I know, sappy ass gays) and my mom and aunt were watching her dog, Marilyn. It was a fun ride just hanging with my sissy. She was fired up about many things that have her panties in a bunch lately. She mostly will not let me blog about her life as indicated here. Anyhoodle, she was all fired up about something (I honestly don't remember what) and she says, "yeah, so put that in your blog and smoke it", hence the AWESOME headline! Every once in a while she comes out with a doozy. So we had dinner in the country with my mom, aunt and the cheating, lying, no good bastard my mother is legally tied to at the moment (more on that later, I think I am ready to tell all) and then we promptly headed home. My sister was leaving for Mexico Friday at the asscrack of dawn and needed to pack still.

Thursday was my first chill night at home in weeks. Life has just been go, go, go lately and I needed a minute to regroup. I had papers for school to write, laundry to be done and Facebooking to be caught up on. It was actually an excellent night for all of that. My shows (Greys Anatomy and Private Practice) were repeats, which bummed me out but forced me to do something else so it worked out.

Friday my sister called at 4am and I answered "what do you want?" I had agreed to drive her, the wife and their pocket gay to the airport at stupid o'clock that morning. She said "I want a ride to the airport, bitch. Get up!" It was hell. I'm not gonna lie. I am not a morning person but the STL International airport is 10 minutes from my house so I always end up being the airport shuttle bitch. Although, good gifts usually return to me from exotic locations for payment! We will see how good this gift is before I forgive 4am. Friday night I exercised restraint and stayed away from the many offers I had to drink. I came home and did school work. I was very proud of myself!

Saturday I had class. I was a bit pissy in the morning for some reason. In my 2nd class we are doing a group project so no class; just meet with your group. That was quick and painless. I met my girl Nicole at my house at 2 and we drove out to Illinois to a bar called Fast Eddie's. It is good, cheap bar food and people drive from the surrounding states to eat and drink there. My friend, Gina, was celebrating her birthday. The weather was awesome and they have a fantastic patio. We hung out until around 6ish and headed back to the MO. My roomy's brother was celebrating his birthday so we stopped by for a drink and a hello. We managed to drink from 3 until midnight without really getting drunk or crazy, which is amazing when Nicole and I are teamed up. I was really proud of us!

Today is starting as a lazy and leisurely day. I have a going away party at 4 for a friend. Then at 7:30 I agreed to sub on another friends' sand volleyball team. I know it will be fun but Sunday is MY day. I like to chill and do what I want. I don't really want to be getting home at 10 tonight but I already told her I would do it so I'm screwed. I think I am going to pull myself out of my comfy robe and slippers and go Goodwill shopping and run some fun errands today. That will make me feel better about no chill time tonight. I have a few new books that I have been looking forward to starting too so I need to get on that.

Some news of note this week:

President Obama signed a bill making it ok for same sex couples to visit each other in the hospital as well as make medical decisions for one another! This is a huge step for equality!

Melissa and Tammy Lynn Etheridge
split. I subscribe to Tammy's blog so I knew before it made headlines. That makes me sad.

Flights over Europe were suspended due to
volcanic ash.

Larry King somehow managed to
schtoop his beautiful and much younger wife's sister. WTF?

The Polish president and many important figures died in a place crash.

One of my favorite shows, Ugly Betty, had it's series finalle (sad face here) BUT talks are on to make it a
movie! I love Justin, the young gay nephew Betty has. They must revive this!

I think that is the full week wrapped up in this one pretty little blog. I hope you all have a fantastic Sunday and rest of your week. I promise to try to be a better blogger in the future!

Peace and Love,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter Update

This working and blogging thing is for the birds. Can someone please just pay me to blog and read celebrity smut all day, please? Anyhoodle, Easter Sunday was an amazing day! It was sunny and almost 70 degrees in the Lou. My mom lives way out in the country on 5 acres of land that connect to my aunts 5 acres. Mom has a creek that runs through her backyard so we usually take a walk and enjoy the outdoors. I decided to take Bo with me because I hate to leave him home and he loves to run like a wild man. It has been a long time since he went to mom's with me. He is not allowed in the house so most dogs get tied to a tree on a chain when we are not outside. I tried a little something new this time. We ran and played for a while and then I went in the back door which is off of the deck. It was fully shaded and I left the sliding door open with the screen closed so he could still hear and see me. Bo laid at the backdoor all during Easter lunch and any other time that we were not outside with him. He was so good. My sister's dog will take off like a crazy woman if she is not on a leash. Bo had no interest in leaving me. He usually doesn't so I can't say I am totally surprised but after that display of control, Bo will be joining me any place that allows dogs from now on. He weighs as much, if not more than I do so controlling him has always scared me a bit. He does great on walks and now I know he is good in the open country too.

My mom's neighbors have 1 big horse and one of those little mini pony things. Bo was intrigued but I kept saying no so he would back off. After a while I felt like a parent keeping their kid from fun so I told him to go check them out.
He was super slow moving at first.
Nice and easy so nobody gets hurt.
This was the closest that he managed to get. That little pony is mean so it is probably a good thing.
Me and my main man.
The ladies of the family: Aunt Gloria, Mama n' Bo, Cousin Theresa, Cher and Jen

Bo Bo loving the creek
Suspect to anyone else? I am not 100% sure but mom's needs to make a call. She has lots of this growing by the creek.
Trying mom's hats on