A lot gets by me.
I'm a writer. I live in my head. And my pajamas.
I had hip surgery recently, which has nothing to do with this blog. But I was in the gym on the elliptical because I'm rehabbing. And god knows, I wouldn't be on an elliptical unless I had a prescription. So, there I was, staring off into the abyss after 30 minutes, I mean 3 minutes, on that damn machine when I heard this from the giant TV screen over my head:
...after careful deliberation Governor Jan Brewer vetoed…religious freedom act…Arizona…designed to give added protection from lawsuits to people who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays…
I almost fell off.
My first response was disbelief.
Just when I thought American's couldn't get more ignorant.
I guess the anti-gay marriage bullshit isn't bad enough. But, this?
…designed to give added protection…
Added protection? So, is there already some protection?
Do they have No Queer Thursdays? They have to serve those pesky gays except for Thursdays…then they can breathe a big ole straight sigh of relief?
Then I had to laugh.
Think about it.
Refuse service to gays. Or anyone who they suspect might be gay?
How will they know?
If I'm gay and I live in a state that passes a bill allowing ignorant assholes to refuse me service under cover of religious freedom, I'm gonna act like a teamster until I get my stylish and well groomed self out of that state for good.
If you swish a little too much you might not get that lifetime supply of tube socks from Costco? Better get rid of that Liza with a "Z" key chain. And heaven (although I guess you're not welcome there either) help you if your cell phone ring sounds even remotely like a Barbara Streisand tune.
Will there be a written exam? If you can identify any member of the Rent cast you're out? If you can name any of the Golden Girls you're on immediate probation? All four? Fuggetaboutit.
Then I wondered…what about ambulance drivers? Hospitals? Could they refuse services?
My mouth went dry.
I'm the mother of a gay son. He's smart, he's funny, he's a loving and loyal friend, he loves his family, he cares about his community, he gives to the homeless.
You're not gonna let him buy groceries?
Here's the ass kicker- after careful deliberation Governor Brewer vetoed the bill. Well, good for her.
Is that a joke?
What human being would give that sort of bigotry any deliberation at all?
It's that sort of leadership that shoved Rosa to the back of the bus and looked the other way when a 21 year old, gay man named Matthew Shepard got tied to a barbed wire fence in Wyoming and beat to death.
Remember when air travel looked like this?
But, I've seen Mad Men and this is what it looks like there. I know it must be true because Jon Hamm would never lie to me.
I might not be sure about yesteryear, but I'm positive about now.
It's the seventh circle of hell.
It makes hitchhiking from Los Angeles to Miami with the Mayor from Toronto seem like a good idea.
Never in a million years did I think Americans would tolerate the whole airport fiasco…er…process. We're the people who revolted, left England and a monarchy to create a country where everyone is welcome, a democracy. A place where we could do whatever the hell we wanted.
Okay, we didn't do any of that but we've seen it on Netflix.
Still. Its amazing to me that we'll refuse to wear a helmet on a motorcycle but we'll let some felon with an anal probe grope us in our bare feet. Yes, the shoe-less shit really climbs up my ass. Have I mentioned I love my shoes more than life? Not keen to throw them in some dirty bin that just seconds before held a pair of Crocs.
Gotta empty your purse, take off your jewelry, watch, wallet, why don't we all just go nude. The line would go a lot quicker, I can promise you that.
All of this crap before we even get on the plane.
Remember when no one knew what a carry on was?
Everyone checked bags.
Now it looks like this. Go ahead. Check bags. Make my day.
Why do we get into what looks like a gigantic phallic symbol with wings, made of what…aluminum...whatever…that goes, I don't how many thousands of feet in the air, flown by these clowns?
I don't know if I've ever been on a plane flown by these two exact clowns but I've been in thousands of work places in my life. They're full of clowns. Why would the airline industry be any different?
What are they doing back there?
Why is the door shut so we can't see?
Why do they try to talk to us mid-flight about the scenery in that creepy porn pilot voice? You know what I'm talkin' about. Thanks porno pilot, I'll look at the scenery when I'm actually in it. On the ground.
Why don't they just shut up and fly the damn plane?
On a related note…can anybody tell me why the whole plane isn't made of whatever the 'black box" is made of? Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Welcome to your airline experience.
I'm so glad we paid a kazillion dollars for these seats.
Yeah, it's not a big deal.
The flight's only 14 hours long.
That's why we paid a kazillion dollars for these seats.
Because they serve food.
This guy sat across the aisle from us.
And by us I mean hubby. And by sat I mean stood.
He never sat down. He spent nearly the whole flight fiddling with something in the overhead bins. Maybe snacks, I don't know.
Hubby had to lean sideways, toward my side, for most of the flight to avoid a nose inside crack situation.
Finally, my flying pet peeve.
Apparently, along with our dignity, we've lost our hearing. The second you step on the plane the steward…I mean…flight attendant starts yelling at you.
"THIS IS A FULL FLIGHT."
DING DING DING. That's a mysterious very loud noise that goes off for no reason, that intersperses with the Flight Attendants screaming commands.
"IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY…"
DING DING DING.
"I WILL BE COMIMG DOWN THE AISLE SHORTLY WITH YOUR DRINK SELECTION."
To add insult to injury drinks are not free.
She leans over to inquire: CAN I GET YOU SOMETHING TO DRINK?
Of course, by this time, you're stone deaf. So, you're screwed.
Hope you had a grand time FLYING THE FUCKING FRIENDLY SKIES.
Funny thing about being a mom. Some of it's not that funny.
Don't get me wrong. A lot of it is joyous, glorious, fulfilling.
Even when you're sleep deprived, at the fraying end of your rope, wishing you'd had your tubes tied when you were eleven, one look at those tiny, precious faces and somehow it's okay.
You have your babies, get to call yourself Mom.
Then they start doing shit. You gotta start kissing boo boos.
They have to get immunized. They don't like it. Sometimes you have to help the nurse keep them still, hold them down. All for their own good.
You tell yourself, Don't cry, Mom.
They get pushed off the swing by the little prick next door. Even though their pride is what gets hurt the most, their lip trembles, their eyes fill. They never want to go to the playground again.
Don't cry, Mom.
They get bit by a dog. Have to have stitches. They hold up pretty well, you're a wreck.
The doctor says, Don't cry, Mom.
They score the winning point, they hit home runs, they get the starring role in the school play.
Don't cry, Mom.
They get dumped by the loser you hoped would dump them. They're devastated. You know it's for the best, you wished for it, dreamt of it. But their heart is broken.
Don't cry, Mom.
Then the worst. They grow up, marry, start having babies of their own. By some cruel twist they want you in the delivery room. It's the most painful labor you've ever had.
Don't cry, Mom.
Then there's more babies. You don't think they need more. You're not that thrilled even though the first baby is among the finest specimens ever born and your love for them knows no bounds. But they insist and before you know it, between them all they've got six all together.
You didn't ask for them, but you've gotta see them.
It's love at first sight.
Don't cry, Mom.
Then one of your grown up babies calls to talk about her baby. The one who's spent 3/4 of her six year life struggling with a still unnamed, Cerebral Palsy like illness. The one who just broke her finger because she can't walk without a walker. And even then...
She says they think something is wrong with her baby's bones, the break is odd. She needs one more specialist. She will probably have to use a wheel chair now.
The air sucks out of your chest. Your fingers grip your phone so hard they might break. Your heart beats so loud you almost don't hear your daughter say -
Don't cry, Mom.
Last year, Hubby and I went to Italy (See September's Blogs). I swore if I never went anywhere else I would still die a happy woman.
There are still several really hoppin' places I'm DYING to see.
When I recite my proposed locations to hubby he pretends he's catatonic.
They're on my bucket list I say.
They're on his too…post mortem.
What about this doesn't look fantastic?
Okay, so it looks a little like a giant petrified dinosaur turd. But, it isn't!
It's the Biggest Ball of Twine. Who is this dork leaning up against it? And why isn't it me? Is that a biggest ball of twine stalker or his wife crawling over it on the left there?
One guy, Francis Johnson, rolled this all by himself. It took 29 years and it weighs 17,000 pounds.
Minnesota is one lucky state.
Of course there're your copycats. Another guy in Kansas started his own biggest ball of twine (who wouldn't?) but croaked before getting very far. So, the town took up his cause. I'm not sure if it's bigger now or not. As far as I'm concerned its an impostor and probably not worthy of my time.
However, we could roll through (that's funny and you know it) both states to see for ourselves.
Then we could say we've seen the biggest balls in the United States.
The Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown NY.
This is a replica of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo's living room in their NY apartment at 623 East 68th Street. Yes, I'm that big of a freak that I know the address and that it's really in the middle of the East River.
I'm an even bigger freak who can spot right away that this isn't an exact replica. The curtains are wrong. No telling what other gross errors I'd find were I to examine it in person.
I plan to take a large purse so I can steal stuff. Lucy'd want me to have it.
Home of Lady Chablis, one of the greatest drag queens, the city where the great novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is set, and the place where a weird guy with a vial full of stuff says he carries enough poison in it to kill everyone in Georgia. He likes to carry it around, keep it next to his plate at the diner just in case his eggs get overcooked. You know you'd do the same.
And this cemetery, The Bonnaventure. Sounds like a swank hotel. Only it isn't. Unless you're dead and possibly fat, like these guys.
Plus, I just like to say Savaannah…with a bad southern accent. And loud. Like all southerners are deaf.
If you're gonna commit to a tacky tour, you might as well go whole hog.
I used to know why this graveyard exists, but now I forget. I don't care anymore.
I just want to see it.
I want to stand in that field with my fists at my sides and say, "What idiot buries Cadillacs?" and pretend I don't hear hubby say "What idiot drives across the country and pays to see them?"
Graceland. Where the biggest mama's boy of all time resided…with his mama.
The mother ship of all tacky vacation spots.
The Jungle Room? Are you kidding? Who could go peacefully into the afterlife without sitting on the same couch where a near comatose Elvis sat slumped over while the Colonel fed him peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches?
Not me, my friend, not me.
Will I get even a glimpse of the white bedazzled polyester jumpsuits he sported in Vegas where he looked so hot with drool down his chins, his gut obscuring the view of his Karate belt buckle, tossing sweat soaked cheap scarves to the fanny pack wearing masses?
And to be so lucky as to see at least one of the faithful, prone on the grave, wailing in her puff painted sweatshirt, "He was so misunderstood!" I might die of happiness right then and there.
And let me tell you, If the Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love really died on the porcelain throne, I want to see it, touch it, and take its picture. At all angles.
Jesus Theme Park.
I shit you not.
This place really exists. It's not called Jesus Theme Park, but it should be. It's called The Holy Land Experience, in Orlando, Florida (of course).
I shit you not.
I would've loved to have heard the conversation the family standing in the background of this photo had while discussing their upcoming vacation plans.
Mom: We're in Florida…how about Disney World?
Dad: Roller coasters? Mickey Mouse? The happiest place on earth?
I've got an even better idea.
Let's pack up the kids, load up the RV and head on over to that place where they can see a flogging and a crucifixion!
A good time was had by all.
The next time you see those kids they'll be face down in a trailer park wearing handcuffs.
Hubby REALLY doesn't want to go here.
I shoulda kept my big mouth shut about the photo I wanted to take while there to use as our Christmas Card. One similar to the pic above, but with us in the front holding signs reading "Just hanging around, wish you where here."
Okay, this place doesn't really exist. As I was dismayed to discover.
Hubby and I went to Pennsylvania to see our kids and new granddaughter. What better way to top off the trip than a stop over at Amish Land.
What? No such thing? Is that a joke?
The airport in Harrisburg has rocking chairs in it - you guessed it - made by the Amish. They don't rock in them though because they won't let them bring their horse and buggy in and they don't fly. Plus, we saw a herd lined up at the Dairy Queen.
So, Amish Land wasn't much of a stretch in my mind.
I thought we'd take a nice drive to the country, pull up some place where they all gathered to make quilts, darn socks, bake homemade pies, can fruit and make motor home interiors.
My son in law, Paul said, "You mean, like you thought there'd be a place you could observe them in their natural habitat?"
"Are you gonna give me a shot?"
"Well, what we're gonna do is put a mask over your face, give you this really yummy syrup to drink, and it'll make you sleepy like you're in the clouds…then when you're sleeping we'll put the I.V…."
"So you're gonna give me a shot."
This wasn't Adelia's first rodeo.
Even though she suspected a shot was in her future…this is Adelia. Smiling, going with the flow, saying thank you even when it hurts. Reassuring us that she's good, she's got this.
This was our UCLA sleep over. Adelia underwent brain testing to try to get a handle on her illness.
"We think its Ataxic Cerebral Palsy. We don't know for sure. We think it's Ataxic Cerebral Palsy and something else. We don't know what else. We don't know why. We think she has hundreds of mini seizures a day, but we don't know."
After multiple MRI's, CT Scans, genetic testing, blood tests, x-rays, physical therapy...
We don't know, we don't know, we don't know…the mantra.
"We don't think she really needs to be put under for this procedure. It doesn't hurt that much and she's been under anesthetic a lot."
It never hurts them…every time they do it to someone else they never feel a thing.
Kayla says. " She can't hold still long enough. She has hyper sensitivity so even if it doesn't hurt, she thinks it does. She has a long road ahead of her and I don't want her to feel more terrified than she already does every time she comes to the hospital."
"Let's ask her. We can always stop and sedate her if it looks like its not gonna work."
Adelia goes along. She nods yes, she can do it, she's got this.
Like an Olympian, she persevered. Held still for 45 minutes while they did this. One plug at a time.
Part of the process is holding an air gun over each taped plug to dry the glue for ten seconds.
Adelia did the counting.
Half the time in Spanish.
Yeah, she's got this.
Kayla and I made soothing sounds, talked to her. But, as always, Kayla did most the heavy lifting. She let Adelia count her freckles, measure her fingers with a measuring tape, played number games, letter games, held her hand. It was almost more than I could take, which is why there are no photos.
There's nothing worse than seeing your child sick, scared, in pain. To see your child's pain as she watches her child 's pain is a double dose of the most abject misery.
But, like Adelia, Kayla's a thoroughbred who can pull it out when the stakes are high. And she did, all the way to the finish line.
This cool pirate turban almost made up for the torturous drudgery. But the peanut butter and the graham crackers sealed the deal.
Now we're talkin.'
Are there any words to describe the relief when its over?
No. So I won't try to find any.
Mimi and Mom getting their Hungry, Hungry Hippo asses kicked.
Yeah, those are my sock monkey jammies. Don't judge me.
First thing this morning after sleeping all night with those brain plugs.
Smiling her big Adelia smile, letting us know all is well with her.
She looks happy, content, without a worry.
So why does it still feel hard to breathe?
Kristen's birthday is this week. She's daughter #2. The second daughter to turn 30.
In time, I'll forgive her.
I love this photo and not just because my grandkid's in it and she's too adorable for words with that red, curly hair. Nope. I love it because it reminds me of one of the many things I admire about Kristen.
She's a loving and nurturing mom. She's cautious, but not overly so. She cares a lot about how her kids will turn out. What's the thing to do now so they'll be in good shape later? She thinks beyond today.
I think Kristen would be surprised to know that she is one of the women I most admire.
For one thing, she is very different from me. In all good ways.
I'll stir the pot. I'll beat the dead horse. I'll jump into any fray. I'll run with scissors.
Kristen is much smarter than that. She somehow sees to the end. She knows up front what it'll cost her, how much energy will get expended, and if it's worth it. Her time is precious and she isn't gonna waste it on stupid shit.
I will. I have. I'll do it again. I admire that she won't. I often ask myself...would Kristen go there? I often ignore the answer too, and am usually sorry.
Kristen is quietly convicted. She does what she thinks is right without announcements, fanfare or drama.
She went back to school to get her master's degree when she was pregnant with her first baby.
I had my doubts.
If she had any, no one knew. And, in her typical laid back style, she got the job done. She accomplished what a lot of people don't without having a baby, a family, obligations.
She gets that life is a marathon and not a sprint so she'll forge ahead at a measured pace, eye on the finish line, no matter how distant.
She is much more together than she thinks she is. She's cool, she's steady, she's got a wicked and smart sense of humor.
When I grow up, I want to be Kristen.
This is another favorite photo of mine. And not because my crows feet have been photo shopped out (although let's not kid ourselves, it's one of the reasons). I love it because it's "daughters in stereo." And I'm reminded how lucky I am to have two, that they're really on my side, they have my back. And they are both in charge of unsightly hair removal when I'm in the home.
Kristen wasn't always my daughter. As I've blogged about before, ours is a blended family. When I met Kristen she'd just gone off to college. She was gracious, poised, and welcoming. I don't think she knows how scared I felt that day, and how thankful I was that she made it so easy for me, despite how she might've felt in those early, painful days.
We could've had an "okay" relationship. One bordering on apathy and tolerance. I can't speak for her, but I didn't set out to have any particular kind of relationship with her at all. I only knew I didn't want whatever we had to feel forced, or fake.
She means the world to her father and for that reason alone I wanted us to at least get along.
But in getting and going along, something happened. There wasn't an ah-ha moment, no lightening strike situation. Just a slow reckoning.
My heart expanded and made a place for her and there she resides like she's always been in it.
Despite good intentions, I wasn't perfect. I made mistakes.
But Kristen kept giving me chances and I kept taking them.
Another thing she probably doesn't know...my relationship with her is one of the things in my life I am most proud of...because I earned it. We earned it. It's the best kind of relationship to have - one that's chosen.
And now, when she texts me to see how I'm doing, or calls to ask, "what do you think about..." or when we have our girl talks, I get a lump in my throat. When she sends me some gloriously tacky gift, I get teary. Not because she bought me something, but because she knows who I am and what I'm about.
So, when I get asked, "How many daughters do you have?" I say two. Without thinking, without a doubt.
Like all my kids, I love her. I worry about her. I want the best for her.
And, I'm grateful. For her.