Two Days Til Touch Down

Pushing Forward

‘You look so pretty’, I told Lo as she walked up the stairs.

‘You do too’, she replied. ‘Why are you wearing a dress?’

‘Because none of my shorts fit.’

‘They will again, ya dork.’

I gave her a tiny smile while I put the brakes on my chair and lifted it over the threshold of my apartment door. I have to admit, I feel pretty bad ass when I do that. Who knew I’d be able to lift a wheelchair while standing on one leg? I stood at the top of the stairs as Lo walked past me and took my chair down the stairs. I laughed as she banged the damn thing down every step. She laughed as I hopped on one leg down those same steps. I’m sure my neighbors hate all the noise I make. When I run into The Old Lady that lives beside me, she often gives me the stink eye for absolutely no reason. Bitch! I digress.

Lo waited for me at the bottom of the steps. I hopped and fell into the chair.

‘I’m so damn sick of this shit!’

‘Think about how I feel’,  Lo exclaimed. ‘I have to carry that damn chair of yours everywhere.’

We laughed as I hopped yet again and maneuvered into the passenger seat of her car. As we traveled to Saline, we caught up on the events of the night before. She went to visit a mutual friend of ours and I hung out with Bette. I tried not to cry while she told me of her happiness. I sat next to her and smiled, but behind my sunglasses the tears flowed.

‘I often think it would be easier on everyone if I died in the accident.’

‘Nae, God saved you for a reason.’

‘What is that reason though?!’

I for reasons I can not fathom think it would have been easier if I’d died. My family and friends would have grieved, and I wouldn’t have felt any more pain or loneliness. I would have stopped incessantly crying, or the constant wishing for things that are never going to come to me.

‘Lo, I feel so broken.’

‘Honey, we are all broken, in our own way.’

‘At least you have the prospect of someone to love you.’

God saved you in that accident. He hasn’t shown you the reason you were saved, because you’re not open to Him.

Our conversation died when her phone rang. I sat with my hands crossed in my lap and tried to compose myself. Rolling down the window, I let the fresh air dry my tears. I inhaled the scent of summer and freedom. All of a sudden, I was slammed with the urge to tuck and roll out of Lo’s car and find a pool to jump into. Wheelchair and advisement from my surgeon be damned! How I’ve missed my rebel spirit.

Before grocery shopping we met T at Cancun for lunch. I was so glad I’d done my hair and makeup. I felt pretty, even though I was sitting in a chair, and had gained so much weight while I’ve been recuperating. T’s daughter joined us and Lo and I made sure to talk about inappropriate things while we we ate. Sex was often the topic. T admonished us more than once, which seemed to make Lo and I act even more lewd. T’s daughter didn’t seem to mind, though she did blush a time or two. The young woman was so fair complected, I bet one could see her red glow from a mile away. She had a gentle but guarded smile, and all I wanted to do was hug her.

At Wally World, Lo brought around scooter for me to shop with. I drove the thing like a pro. I didn’t have my brace on and was constantly hoping other shoppers didn’t think I was using it because I was too fat to walk. I have no idea why I gave a shit what perfect strangers thought of me driving around in a Walmart scooter, but I did. I made sure to smile at the people that stared at me. Often, I balanced on one foot to grab items from a high shelf. Lo may have to drive me, but I did my very best to be independent when shopping.

After checking out, Lo took me home. I waited while she took my groceries up to my apartment and placed them on the table. Her car radio blared because we needed to hear how the Tigers game would end. While Martinez struck the ball with his bat, I raised my face to the sun and breathed in my last bit of summer and freedom for the day. The Tigers won while she wheeled me to my door. She dragged my wheelchair up the stairs, and I went up the steps on my butt. I slid into my chair like Lieutenant Dan and lifted that damn chair over the threshold on one leg. My BFF and I hugged and said our goodbyes.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the last time I would be lifting my chair over the metal molding in my apartment doorway. It was the last time Lo Lo would have to drag my chair up and down the stairs. It was the last time I would have to take my wheelchair on a shopping excursion. It was the last time she’d have to push me around in my chair while I stubbornly tried to push it myself.

Two days till touch down…I hope I find out why God saved me on that snowy night in March…Maybe it’s something as simple smelling the aroma of summer and freedom…Maybe it’s for something greater…Maybe it’s to experience the joy of becoming a grandmother…Maybe, maybe, maybe…

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Our Only Constant is Change

I attended a training session on how to make myself marketable for a new job venture at the university that I’ve worked at for the last 25 years. Basically, the ‘instructor’ wanted me to market myself as a product. Like a gym shoe made by Nike. A car for Motor Company. Or  a new formula type of soda made by Coca Cola. I was shocked. Here I am, a human, being told to liken myself to an object. As you all know, that’s not me. I am very flawed individual. I’ve  shared that fact with all of you on many, many occasions.

One of the things they told us to do was change our privacy settings on Facebook. Basically hide who and what we really are. In my mind, I stomped my feet like the insolent child I am, and adamantly opposed doing so. It didn’t matter that no one in the room knew of my rebellion. I did, and that was all that mattered. I’m an author, and I have to write. I want my words read. And felt. And shared. So the setting stayed public.

At our break, I met a fellow employee that I had corresponded with over email and the phone. We hugged and laughed. And talked way too loud. We were then shushed by the ‘instructor’. I nearly lost my ever loving mind. I wanted to say ‘fuck you’, I’m talking to a human being and I don’t have to take your shit. My colleague and I stared at each other in disbelief. She shrugged her shoulders. Everything was changing around us. How we ‘marketed’ ourselves. Our jobs. Our lives. Even the interview process was going to be sterilized for us.

In retaliation to the shushing, I hugged my colleague again. Once seated, I jokingly told the ‘instructor’ we were colleagues that had never met. She looked at me coolly and said, ‘isn’t that nice.’ No smile. No warmth. Barely an acknowledgement that we were all going through incredible changes. She was a consultant and clearly didn’t give a shit. All she was focused on was getting through the workbook that we were working on.

I sat through the rest of the ‘workshop’. At the end, I silently left the conference room. Never looked up at the ‘instructor. I just kept my head down and walked out. And vowed that I would not attend another ‘class’. I did jump through the hoops of the resume and interview process. I waited patiently to find out if I’d been promoted. I guess 25 years of experience and supervising employees for 15 years results in a lateral move. I wouldn’t be supervising anyone. I couldn’t believe it! After a week of knowing my fate, I’m still struggling with the decision they made.

Now, I’m on extended sick leave until at least the middle of June. A major car accident and lengthy recovery reminded me that impulsiveness is a very, very bad thing. I know I have a job when I return. I’ll be back at my beloved faculty and staff at the SSW. For how long, I’m unsure. I’ve rediscovered yet again, that change is the only constant in our lives.

If I have to move to a new location that’s fine. It’s closer to where I live. I’ll walk to work.  I can’t wait to see my colleague from the ‘workshop’ we attended. I’ll give her tons of hugs, and talk too loud. You see, these folks at my new place of employment have no idea what they’re in for when I finally settle in. No idea at all. I’m a leader, not a follower. I have big plans, and they don’t include sitting in a cubicle till I retire. I’ll do it, for the pay.

But my heart, ah yes, my heart, it will be living for another place altogether. It will be in the country on a blanket spread out in the backyard. French Bulldog lying in my lap. Pen and notebook in my hand. Flowers in my hair. And dirty bare feet. Yep, that’s where my heart will be….

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Convergence

Star Friends

 

They converged on my humble abode with dark roast coffee laced with cream, two packets of Sweet and Low and birthday wishes. There was birthday cake, candles and paper plates bearing the face of a goofy faced Easter Bunny. After all it is that time of the year.  That of renewal, and the promise of springtime. One of them apologized for the plates, but I told her they were perfect. One of them brought her children. Two little people that we placed all of our focus on and laughed uproariously at.

I talked to the littles about my broken ankle that had been rebuilt by surgeons and even showed them the secret window that had been sawed into my cast. The youngest one touched my skin and asked, ‘can you feel that?” I stated, “yes I can, and I can even wiggle my toes.” He giggled from the bottom of his toes, which made me do the same. My sweet friends sang to me and fed me chocolate cake drizzled with caramel (my very favorite by the way).

My five friends did their best to take care of me. Whether it was with cake, coffee, pulling laundry from the dryer, sweeping my kitchen floor or getting me a glass of water. After they left I raised my voice to God, telling Him how blessed I know my life is. I felt joy. Not only for them, but for my children and an ex-husband that I will always have a connection with. For my mother, my sister, my brother in law, my friends and all of the ‘other’ children I’ve come to love in the last 46 years of my life.

Life is good when you realize that we must strive for joy, not happiness. Happiness is fleeting. Only joy stays with us forever. A semi-famous writer told me that, and I do believe he is right.

46 years on this planet and I pray for 46 more. As long as I’m not peeing in plants. If I start doing that, take me in the backyard behind the garage and put me down.

Thank you to my five friends and the two littles. You all made my birthday.

When We Were Young

When we were young.

We thought we knew so much didn’t we?

Our young brains could only comprehended the present.

We never thought of the future and what we’d be like when we were middle aged.

Now, we are no longer children, yet our hearts are childlike.

We are less stodgy than our parents were at this time in their lives.

At least we hope we are.

We think about the future.

About our children all grown up and moved away.

Living lives we’ll know only a smidgen of.

We think about retirement.

Maybe, we’ll live somewhere warm in the winter months.

Yet we live with that niggling fear that we’ll miss out on being groovy grandparents.

We’re no longer young, and that’s okay.

I’ve the feeling that what’s around the bend is going to be so much better than we anticipated.

*Special thanks to my friend Stephen Uelk for inspiring this little verse.*

A Final Rendezvous With Renee

In my Dreams

These days words leave me hollow like a rotting tree stump. It may be dying, but there’s life buzzing in it anyway. Insects and animals colonize within, while the stump slowly decays and becomes one with the earth again.-Heath

I’m hollow. An empty vessel. Spent. And my story has been told. Every single one of my posts have helped bring me peace. I’ve poured my heart into every word I’ve written. Doesn’t matter if the story was real or fiction. I still bled on these pages.

The fictional stories have all had some grain of reality. A real person. A need. A want. A longing and desire. I have never created characters. I’ve created living, breathing people. Maybe someday I’ll tell you the origin of some of them, but probably not.

My journal entries, now those were something weren’t they? They taught me a thing or two about over sharing. Without them, I would have never learned about this gift that I have. It’s a curse too. See, once you begin to write,  it controls you. You immerse yourself in fiction because reality is too much to bear.

Sometimes words came so fast, I couldn’t write or type them fast enough. I was obsessed, to say the least. Photographs and paintings brought forth words and stories. I never realized how much I had to say.

My first fictional piece was called Ascent. About a girl that wanted to die. She didn’t though. Her newly discovered wings saved her as she began to plummet toward the sea. Little did I realize I was the one sprouting those metaphorical wings.

My writer, he pushed me to write for Friday Fictioneers. What began as a lark proved to be a much needed exercise in discipline. My writer fled, but I stuck with FF. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields has been a terrific mentor. I’m honored she worked so hard with me. I adore her for every criticism and kudos. My best flash fiction story was, The Invisible Man. I may submit it to Narrative Magazine. They’ve rejected my work before, but you never know what can happen.

I’ve had five short stories published by EtherBooks. Alan and Melissa from Ghost, and Damon and Rhiannon from Sounds will always be my best creations. The stories are still available for download on your iPhone or Android phone. The app is free, so please download and critique my stories.

‘The Ghost of a Great Love’ 

‘A Night Swim with Marilyn’ 

‘Dawn at Antietam’ 

‘Sounds of Orioles and the Taste of Lemonade’ 

‘On a Hot Summer Night’ 

Sometimes God Sits on a Stoop is a favorite recent post. I saw the face of God that day. I’ll never forget Curt, or his story.

I’ll keep the blog active for awhile, but don’t be surprised if one of these days it’s gone. Like me, she is a force of nature that can’t be contained.

Real life is waiting. I’m going to live it. I suggest you do the same.

Love,

Sparkly Girl

P.S. Don’t hate on me for posting the 1D video. This song is the shit. Even if it’s sung by a British boy band.

P.P.S. How can I forget Rory, my brother in arms? My world will never be the same now that you’re in it. I love you.

Although I am broken, my heart is untamed, still
And I’ll be gone, gone tonight
The fire beneath my feet is burning bright
The way that I’ve been holding on so tight
With nothing in between
The story of my life…

Journal Entry-Happiness and 180 Days

Happiness“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”-Confucius

Yeah, I know it’s been awhile, but I’m back.

The holidays were different this year, but none the less special. My ex-husband, Roger Darling and I shared the expense of buying gifts for our four kids. We prepared dinner together. Prime rib, mashed red skin potatoes, and a wonderful salad bar. We ate heartily and laughed exuberantly. Even though our family is now fractured, there is still happiness and laughter.

We spoiled our children with good gifts like we always have. And filled their stockings with everything they could possibly want. Thank you God for the dollar store!!!

The kids drank wine and beer, but it didn’t bother me. I drank Diet Coke and quietly celebrated my own milestone of another day without a drop of alcohol. I know Roger Darling keeps track of my sobriety, which I’m kind of honored by. I will never understand how a man who’s heart I shattered could give two shits about me. Never mind, I do know. Even after everything we’ve been through, he still loves me. I may not love him the same way, but we will always have a connection. We were a family, once upon a time…

In this New Year, I celebrate that I’ve been sober for over 180 days.

Many times I’ve stood in the liquor aisle and stroked the bottles of flavored vodka. They called to me like they were my lover, but it is a siren’s song. I knew if I took a drink, I would crash into the shore of my own self-destruction again, and again, and again.

I made myself walk away from those bottles of poison, more than once. No matter how lonely, depressed or angry I got, I never drank.

I just knew the next day would be full of hope, promise and at least one reason to smile.

I’m still finding my way back to happy. It isn’t in the bottom of a vodka bottle.

It’s within me.

My heart, mind and soul are happier, sober.

I’m no Pollyanna. There are days that I can barely get out of bed. I force myself to get up and face the day. Just waking up without a hangover and going to work is blessing enough.

Happy New Year my dear friends. I hope that 2014 is a better year for all of you. May you all let go of fear, and live the lives you desire.

Love,

A sober and somewhat happy Sparkly Girl

The Tattoo Artist, Friendship Soup and Conversation

vintage-tattoo-couple“Tattoos made my skin more ‘me.’ -Melissa Maxwell”

Larry Smith, It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure

I spoke to him on Thursday night, after handing him a jar of handcrafted soup. The note attached articulated that I hoped it nourished he and his son’s bodies as well as their souls.

His eyes clouded with tears, and he began to speak to me. To catch me up on his life. The words came out in torrents. I just listened. It usually is so difficult for me to keep my mouth shut. I always want to inject words of advice into conversations with friends. To ease the pain in some way.

He told me of recent happenings. The sadness. The grief. The loss of a good friend to suicide. And coming to the realization that he was a good man. I kept listening. And smiling. I wanted to hold him close to me, but I didn’t think he’d welcome the contact.

For some reason, he went back to the beginning of his life and shared everything. This man that has pierced me with his needle made sure to  pierce my heart too.

We spoke of his art. The drawing, painting, and tattooing. We spoke of writing. He said I was good. I told him he was better. I announced that he was a reincarnation of Jack Kerouac. He chuckled and grinned like a little kid and announced that his grammar was awful. I assured him that a writer is only as good as their editor. He snickered again.

I inquired about Christmas Day. He told me he’d be spending it alone. The nurturer in me wanted to invite him to dinner on the 25th. Wouldn’t that be something, my friend, covered with tats, ears gauged, sitting at the dinner table with my family? But I didn’t ask. I should have.

Our words began to lessen and it was time for me to take my leave. He came around the counter and hugged me tightly to him. I took in his scent, divine and manly. I whispered in his ear, ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” He smiled boyishly and I departed from his shop.

His smile stayed on my mind while I drove to my little apartment, just 10 minutes away. The fact that he would be alone on Christmas Day did also. When I got home, I extended an invitation for Christmas dinner. His reply was noncommittal but thankful all the same.

He let me into his life on Thursday night, and I didn’t worry about what time it was. Or the other things I had to do, I just listened.

And I learned.

**Writer’s Note:**
This was the Facebook status that I was tagged in after we talked on Thursday evening. I guess my words stayed with the artist. It is quite an honor to be a part of his life. No matter how small that part may be.
I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.-jack kerouac — with Renee Heath.

It Started With a Jar of Pickles

depression-13057Two weeks ago on a Monday morning, depression crept in. The trigger? A jar of pickles I’d bought had expired. There I stood, with the fridge door open and the jar in my hand. The glass cooled my fingers, while hot tears streamed down my face. I placed them in the door and slammed it closed. With my tears wiped, I reapplied my makeup and headed to my office.

Work went fine and I was dealing well with the news that my job had been eliminated. Luckily, I’m guaranteed placement in the new Shared Services Center. I’m not thrilled about it, but it beats not having a job. For some strange reason, I kept thinking about those damn pickles. I continued to lose control of my emotions.

Meggie texted me and asked if we could meet for dinner. We made our plans to go to Benihana. That’s what I needed, food prepared by a silly man flinging extremely sharp knives.  Even my son in law Chris would be joining us.

I planned to go visit Adam Boy first to see his new place. He and Claire moved out of Roger Darling’s into a cozy little apartment. Along with their two kitties and Baxter, the wonder Lab. I’d stay and we’d chat. Maybe we’d even recite some lines from Anchorman and laugh. Then I’d take off to see my other kids.

During the first blinding snow storm of the season, I made my way to see Adam Boy. I walked in and was greeted by an overly excited Baxter. I hugged and kissed him. Let him lick my face off. My boy showed me around his place. It was nicer than my little apartment. A tad bigger, and the walls were painted an earthy green.

10 minutes after I got there, my son told me to leave. He shattered my heart. I hadn’t even taken off my coat and barely sat down. I picked myself up, pet the dog and walked out. I cried the entire time it took me to get to my daughter and son in law’s place.

During dinner, Meggie told me I looked like someone had run over my dog. I told her I was fine and we enjoyed dinner. Chris farted the entire time we drove back to their house. I had to roll the windows down so I wouldn’t vomit. He’s hysterically funny, but extremely gassy. I’d venture to say it was because he’d eaten a pound of garlic butter on his food. Egad it was so gross!

In bed that night, I thought about the stupid pickles again. Finding sleep to be elusive, I took a Clonopin. Back under my warm comforter, I counted sheep and tears. I fell off the edge of consciousness into oblivion.

My week progressed as did the darkness in my soul. By Friday, I’d had enough. I wanted to stay home, but Lo Lo wanted me to meet her new guy. We went out dancing, which I usually adore. But my heart wasn’t in it. That Friday was the first time in almost two months I felt like I’d never be with another man. That no one would ever want a woman my age, size, intellect, or a multitude of other qualities. That I either did or didn’t possess.

By the following Monday, I was wallowing in self-pity, but I didn’t drink. After a huge argument with my friend and a shit ton of tears shed, I’d had enough. I crawled into bed and slept like a stone.

The next morning, I awoke and smiled. The dark cloud that had hung over my heart had vanished. I showered, dressed and got ready to leave for work. Before I did, I opened the fridge and removed the expired jar of pickles. After throwing them in the garbage, I locked the deadbolt and made my way out the door.

Bloggers for Movember – My Homey G Chowderhead

My Homey G Chowderhead asked me to contribute my lovely photo with a proper douche stache to show my support for Movember (aka No Shave November, aka Prostate Cancer Awareness). Hey men over 40, get your ass to the doctor, and get a digital violation. It’s once a year and can save your damn life. We women go to the damn gyno once a year and birth children. One finger up the ass once a year isn’t going to make you less manly. Hey, you might find you like it. Hahahahahahahahahha!

While I’m not a participating blogger, I decided to show my support by donning some Fuck Me Red lipstick, Pinup style eyeliner and a stache.

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Even Cinders my devil cat decided to show her support. Obviously, she was fucking pissed about it. You should have heard her growling at me. I thought for sure she was going to scratch my eyeballs out when I set her back down on the floor. It was for a worthy cause, so she endured. Kitty bitch didn’t scratch me, but I’m sure I’ll find a puddle of piss on the bathroom floor soon. That’s how she retaliates. With piss. GREAT!

Cinders the Devil Cat

Many of my blogger friends are having Movember contests. Visit them to find out more.

25toFly

Sips of Jen and Tonic

Brother Jon

The Life of JWO

Chowderhead

I’ve removed my mustache and my FMR lipstick. Still got my Pinup style eyeliner on. This old girl has to look pretty when she goes grocery and business suit shopping. Yes, the single life I live is so damn exciting I could pee!

Have a great Sunday my loves. Remember, every day we wake up above ground is a day to be treasured. MWAH!!!!!!!

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Maybe I’ll write some smut later. Hmmmmmmm, we’ll see.

The Photograph

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“The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?-Henry David Thoreau

I placed the photograph of the five of us in the picture frame. We looked fabulous! On it the sentiment reads:

Friends

Life is to be shared with our greatest friends

Who would have thought the photo I would add to it would be of the five us? My four best friends from high school. After 25 years, and a lifetime of changes, we were together again. To celebrate the first wedding for our friend A. We looked the same, but didn’t. We acted the same, but saner. We had become grown ups. Some of us parents. Some of us married. Well, A. was married. The rest of us had tried to maintain relationships, but most of us were single again.

It was the first time I’d been to a wedding reception without Roger Darling. It felt strange, but not. I felt freedom as I ran around the reception hall. Hugging everyone and chatting away. P. and I spoke inappropriately to each other and laughed about the fact that you could tell who the recovered alkies were during the wedding toast. Everyone else had champagne, we had sparkling cider colored purple.

T and I skittered around the kitchen wearing aprons. We talked non-stop as we sliced cakes and filled trays with delicious desserts for the guests. We did our best to keep the bride’s family out of the kitchen, so they could enjoy the evening. T and I had a blast, even when she cut her finger and was bleeding profusely all over the place. We patched her up and continued our kitchen duty. Who would have thought I’d be standing there with her? My T. The girl that called me Pookie Chow Chow when we were kids. Don’t ask me why, she just did.

Rhodes came all the way from West “By God” Virginia to photograph the festivities. We asked her to take the photo of us, P, A, L, T and me. Most of us had gone years without speaking. There were fights, misunderstandings, changes in personality and attitudes. There were hurt feelings too. I recall sending a Christmas card to one of my friends with pictures of my little son and daughter in it. It was returned to me unopened, stating that the address was unknown. It saddened me a little, but such is life. We move on. Grow. Change. Mature. Live. Break. Rebuild.

The frame that holds my treasured photo was meant to contain a picture from another time. My friend Linda and I never got to take that photo. A diagnosis of cancer and her swift retreat from my life made it impossible. She died not soon after, and I hid the frame in my closet. I figured I would get the chance to have another photo taken with the three remaining friends that were with me on the day I received the gift from Lin. But circumstances with all of them changed and our friendships scattered to the wind.

I’m of the belief that everything happens for a reason. Be it fate or God, or both. Linda gave me that frame to house a precious photo. Who knew it would be of the four friends I had in high school? They were my Breakfast Club. My Lloyd Dobler, from Say Anything. My Pretty in Pink. My Sixteen Candles. And they had all come home to my heart. Isn’t it funny, the ones you thought would always be with you fly away. And the ones you thought would never come back, do with such love you wonder how you ever lived a day without them.

The photo is my treasure and I look upon it every day. Life truly is to be shared with our greatest friends.