Tuesdays Round Here

Excited for this day, I mean who wouldn’t be? I have a dentist appointment, a therapy appointment, and back-to-back Zoom classes this evening. Woohoo! Living the life! Okay, I might be overcompensating for my actual lack of enthusiasm, but if not for that where would I be? Sneezing into my coffee and crying as the world slowly falls apart around me.

Whew! I’m sad today. Sorry about that, y’all. Sometimes, these days, I’m wishing I hadn’t made that pesky New Years resolution to write everyday. Cause some days I think I write myself into a bad mood. Does that make sense? Let’s try to combat this! But how?!

Cupcakes!

I have a cupcake downstairs and I’m going to eat it. After the dentist. Okay. Today might not be so bad after all. Wishing you all cupcakes in the near future!

M.

Mondays, Hmpf

I mean, the hurricane is gone but things are still wild down here in Georgia. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of things I did this weekend:

  • Bought a fabric shaver
  • Gave both dogs a bath
  • Threatened to stab both dogs
  • Finished a project for a friend’s birthday
  • Listened to Adele and cried
  • Played Tony Hawk
  • Told my son all about RBG
  • Ordered 30 cupcakes for a pool party on Saturday
  • Cancelled pool party on account of weather
  • Ate 10 of the cupcakes
  • Read “Memorial Drive” with Jerimiah and cried
  • Watched the movies “Coneheads” and “Twins” with Jackson
  • Finished off the last of the Chinese takeout
  • Sat in the hot tub with the jets on high
  • Took a lot of naproxen
  • Checked my absentee ballot status, all good
  • Cleaned the floors
  • Hired a housekeeper
  • Googled pics of RGB’s family and cried
  • Watched four episodes of season two of “Pen15”
  • Ordered more birthday presents for Jackson
  • Finally fell Asleep

Yeah, it was a long weekend. Hope yours was just as, uhh, productive as mine.

M.

Rest in Power

I was excitedly texting a friend Friday night about the new season of “Pen15” when she wrote, “Fuuuuck.” I Haha-ed it and she said, “No. RBG.” “What?!” I texted frantically. “Yeah,” she wrote back. “CNN just reported.” And then the curtain sorta fell. Only it didn’t, because Jerimiah and Jackson had downloaded the new Tony Hawk and were pumped to play it with me. So we played Tony Hawk, while my phone lit up. Text after text. “Can you believe it?!” And “Now what do we do?” I turned my ringer off and tried to master a Kickflip.

I haven’t had the bandwidth to process this and I’m not sure when I will. But it will come. Until then, we answered Jackson’s questions the best we could today. We talked about standing on the steps of the Supreme Court a couple of years ago. Jackson remembered the “big, bronze door” and how we waved to the building, hoping RBG was looking down at us. We watched the RBG documentary on Hulu as a family tonight, then we watched “Twins” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, because sometimes you have to laugh when you want to cry.

Jerimiah reminded me not to say Rest In Peace to RBG, after all she’s Jewish, wouldn’t care much for it anyway. I told him I’ll say rest in power then. But the important thing is just that she rests. She did her job, one hellava one at that. And we are so appreciative.

Rest in power, Notorious RBG. We’ll be down here picking up where you left off, and waving like crazy. I hope you can see us.

M.

Fri-Yay?

I love Fridays when I don’t have a million things to do. But on Fridays before say, my son’s pool party for his birthday in the middle of a global pandemic where he desires very particular cupcake toppers and there is a 40% chance of rain and I need to order enough pizzas to feed all the kids and how many kids are actually gonna show up anyway and is this even safe I mean chlorine kills germs but not when a kid sneezes into my face and did I order the right color frosting and what about that kid with a gluten allergy, well those Fridays aren’t my absolute favorites.

We actually didn’t think we’d be able to have a party to celebrate Jackson turning 12 this year and I was okay with it, but it happens that we go to a pool and we met a lot of new friends at the pool this summer who also belong there and Jackson asked if he could have a pool party this year with those friends. And since our pools down here are open until the end of the month, and Jackson’s October 1st birthday doesn’t normally lend itself to a pool party, and because of the aforementioned global pandemic I said sure thing, kid! But then I remembered I’d have to plan it.

Bleh.

I used to go all out for his birthdays. In a “rent an old-timey fire truck to deliver pizza to an outdoor venue decorated in replicas of burning building and kids equipped with “hoses” to put the fires out” kinda way. For sure. Birthday number five. But I’ve tampered down my birthday enthusiasm over the years, between dying paper, drawing pirate maps on them, then setting fire to the edges to look “realistic” to ordering pizza and Sams Club cupcakes to throw on a freshly Lysoled table by the pool. Maybe I haven’t tampered down anything, maybe the world did all the tampering down. Either way, here we are.

So yeah. Normally Fridays are good. But this one has some work to do.

This Gal Is Fucked, y’all.

I mean, TGIF, y’all!

M.

Make-up

Make-up days. Make-up tests. Make-up sex. There’s a lot of make-ups round here, but not any actual make-up. Like, nah, I’ll pass. Here’s the thing, I want to wear make-up, I do. I wish I was one of those ladies who lived and died by whatever her particular eye liner brand is, but I just don’t. I never have been and I can’t imagine I’ll ever be. There just aren’t enough hours in the day, and there are too many books to read as it is. I’m not saying I think wearing make-up is bad, not at all, and to all my friends who can’t get through a day without putting your face on, I salute you. I admire you. I adore you, you beautiful creatures. But please make no mistake, even though I don’t wear make-up doesn’t mean I don’t have things I have to do to feel good about myself everyday. And please don’t think I never feel good about myself. I do.

I, for instance, have to take a shower every, single day. I’m amazed and awed by people who can’t remember the last time they showered or who have “hair-washing” days. Gasp! If I couldn’t wash my hair every day I’d be okay crawling into a ball and dying, right there. Dead.

Dramatic? Maybe. But I’ve heard people say that about doing their make-up too. Also dramatic for that, but seems to be tolerated better. I think washing everyday just doesn’t seem so important to people because if I smell good, and my face is pretty for people to look at, then what different does it make if I showered? Maybe that’s the different? I don’t take a shower to make other people feel better, I do it so I can feel better.

It’s like why I also have to get enough sleep. Somewhere around ten hours is best for me, every, single night. That’s the best way for me to have a good day. Some people think 10 hours is nuts! Well I feel the same about six hours. How do you even function?

I dunno why I was thinking about make-up today. Or showering, or sleep, or things we do to make ourselves feel better. Maybe I’m taking stock today of trying to feel better. Probably I’m taking my mind off the fact that I’m headed to the rheumatologist this morning and I feel scared and sad and not my best.

Maybe some make-up will help? 😉

Have a fantastic day, however you have to get it.

M.

Friend Funk

Jackson and I have been in a friend funk lately. We’ve been missing our friends, I mean. While we’ve made new ones from going to the pool this summer, the only outing we feel safe doing with other people, we’ve been missing our friends who aren’t near us. Last week Jackson reconnected with a friend from Charlotte, a little girl he went to third and fourth grade with. He was happy and excited, then a little mopey. I asked what was up and he said he misses his Charlotte friends. I agreed and we mourned our losses for a bit and moved on. Well, he did.

I, of course, can’t let it go. I miss my best friend, whom I haven’t lived in the same town with since we were on college. I miss my friends on Lake Norman, I miss my Ozark friends, and I miss my Charlotte friends. I miss my friends I’ve met that have moved far away, living in Rhode Island, in Arizona, in California. This isn’t new, this missing, for me anyway, but it seems exasperated when times are a bit more trying. And I think that’s happening for Jackson now too.

The school board met this week. Decided to keep going virtually for the time being. We are still in “red” as it were. So we wait longer to see people, to make new friends, to reunite with old ones. And we keep missing.

M.

Never Forget

I’ve been unofficially off of Facebook for a week now. I didn’t do anything drastic or dramatic like suspend my account, or deactivate or anything like that. I just stopped logging in and the world didn’t blow up. Of course, this has been a long time coming. Y’all remember back in January when I started limiting myself to fifteen minutes a day? That’s paid off. Really set me up for success for this part. But I did log in yesterday. It was my birthday and I knew my page would be flooded with well wishes, so I logged in last night to comment and thank everyone, and that was about the time the Chiefs’ game started. About the time the “Never Forget” people came out in full force. Then I remembered why I hadn’t logged in for a week. Then I wrote a status and went to bed, sorta full up on birthday wishes, sorta let down by humans again. Life’s a crapshoot these days. Anyway, I’ll share below what I signed off with, but if you do one thing today, please make it be checking your voter registration status. Do it for me. Won’t you?

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

My FB status for 9/11:

I’m heading to bed tonight already being asked to remember that horrific day 19 years ago when thousands of Americans lost their lives on 9/11. Begging me to never forget.

I’m seeing this in between white people complaining that the NFL supports “racial equality” and they “just can’t” support the NFL. I’m seeing true colors shine tonight, and those colors aren’t pretty.

I’m seeing that while I read nearly 200,000 Americans have lost their lives on American soil to COVID-19 in six months.

I’m seeing that the week Homeland Security named white, American, right-wing men the number one terrorist threat to our country.

I’m seeing that as I read 1,100 Black men are murdered by the police in our country every year.

That American police murder 3 people a day, on average.

That thousands of soldiers have lost their lives in the last 19 years. That many thousands more will become wounded and develop such horrific PTSD that they will end their own lives, or the lives of those they love.

I’m seeing all that. Are you?

You’re asking me to never forget. I’m asking you, as I head to bed tonight, to remember too. Every day. Always. All of this. I’m asking you to be a better citizen, a better American, a better human being.

What is Today?

No, really. What day is it? I have no idea anymore. I have been off since sometime the last week of August. I actually wrote the wrong dates in my calendar. I missed a Zoom class discussion because of it. I missed a phone call. I almost missed a doctor’s appointment. Thank goodness I don’t have a small child or a plant to keep alive these days, because I’d be pretty bummed about now. So would they.

Listen, I don’t want this to turn into another husband appreciation post, but not only has he been cooking dinner all week, and keeping up with the laundry while I complain about pain and try to get us out of social engagements, he’s also been letting me fall into him while I cry. Listening to me when I complain about why life is the way it is. Holding me up, telling me that it’s hard now, but that I am being the best version I can be of myself right now, in this moment. Man, I wish I could believe him.

Patsy told me this week I need to cut myself some slack. She tells me that all the time, but I never can figure out how to do it. I’d say I’m working on it, but let’s be honesty, I’m not. It’s the last thing I’m doing right now.

Oh, it’s Wednesday. Jackson’s day off school. Wednesday. Middle of the week. I think I can make it.

Hope you are well.

M.

Apropos Andalusia

Jerimiah sent me an article yesterday: “Apropos your paper,” he said. It was from the New Yorker, it was titled: “How Racist was Flannery O’Conner?” Great, I sighed toward him, sitting across the room from me. Thanks for this. He smiled. Seemed appropriate. He’s not wrong. I’ve been assigned Mary Flannery O’Conner for my presentation next month in my Southern Fiction class, and I’ve decided to use “A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories” as my in, as I also have to do a scholarship review of her work, and a semester-long paper on her as well. I’d been debating, as late as this morning, whether I’d hit the road for Andalusia this week.

Andalusia is O’Conner’s estate in Milledgville, Georgia, a two-hour drive from my house. I’ve decided, as I approach my 39th birthday and await the test results for this autoimmune disease I’m battling—likely Lupus (O’Conner died at 39 from Lupus), that I should make the pilgrimage. But I’ve been dragging my feet, for reasons above, and now this.

I’ve always been a fan of O’Conner. Always stood up for her, always sidestepped any unseemly information, but this time I can’t. What I can’t decide, and what the articles ask us to consider, is whether O’Conner was just a product of her raising. Or if something more sinister went on there, between her writing about racism, and plucking along among the peacocks.

I read the article. I looked at the stack of scholarly reviews I have sitting on my desk. I tapped my fingers on my chin. I cursed my husband. Misdirected anger.

I’ll go to Andalusia because I want to see for myself. Because I’m just curious enough to want to turn the knob on the old farmhouse door, just naive enough to believe an old cotton plantation in central Georgia will fill me in on the past.

Besides, it appears I have a deadline now. And it’s coming up fast.

M.

Stress

Stress is a monster, isn’t it. More of a statement, less a question because I assume you generally agree. Stress can tear your life apart. It can keep you up at night. Emotions and stresses and anxieties about things that seem unlikely to happen can actually manifest into real, physical pain in your body. Ask me how I know. Man, stress is actually an asshole, and it’s time we dealt with that.

But how? That’s the question on my mind today. How in fact do we deal with the stress? I’ve tried a number of things. Meditation. Yoga. Walking. Talking out my problems. Writing for cathartic reasons. Jesus, y’all know I’ve tried that. But still, the stress comes. Sometimes in waves, so that you think you’re getting better, then BOOM! Just kidding.

A month ago I woke up with a fever and some body aches. I had to get tested for Covid-19 and I had to self-isolate for four days while I waited for the results. Hopefully that hasn’t happened to any of you, but if it has you get it. I was basically preparing for my positive test. Jerimiah had already moved to the couch, when I got the negative result. But that stress triggered something in my body that week that hasn’t left.

To be sure, it wasn’t just that stress. And to be very sure you’ll have to know that I went to the doctor again a couple of weeks later and was tested for a myriad of things, some of which were for autoimmune diseases and the tests came back positive.

That’s not to say that my stress manifested into an autoimmune disease, but my doctor is pretty sure it did push me into a flare-up of whatever my underlying condition is. But guess what? We don’t know what it is because I have to see a rheumatologist and I can’t get an appointment with one until the middle of November. So, more waiting. But this time I know I’m likely to have, say Lupus, which is what my doc is hanging her hat on, but I can’t do anything about it for another two months.

Ho hum. Ho-fucking-hum, for sure.

So what do I do? Stress. Which makes my body feel even worse, which makes me stress more, which creates this endless cycle. You know what I mean? Of course you do. And if you don’t, share your secrets won’t you?

So here I am. Admitting that I think I’m at my limit, stress wise, and could use some good thoughts sent my way through the ether. I’d appreciate it, and I’ll surely pay back, in due time.

M.

Drowning

You know that part in “Office Space” where he’s all, “Every day is the worst day of my life”? Man, I’m feeling that these days. It’s not the worst day, per se, but I just caught myself texting a friend and telling her that I feel like I am drowning every day when I wake up. But then I reminded her, and me, that this is all temporary. It’s really just temporary. That used to be my mantra when things got tough. You need to tell yourself something when you’re say, giving birth to a baby that has already died. You have to figure out how to get you mind out of the spaces and places it could go, so I just reminded myself that this is temporary. That one day soon it won’t be this way, it won’t feel so stifling. But when you’re in the thick of it, man I know it’s tough.

I find myself taking pleasure now in simple tasks like taking a shower, or petting my crazy dogs. Sitting in my office and watching the squirrels that hold important meetings in the pine tree outside my office window. Watch Mrs. Kim work on her front yard (it’s impeccable) or Mr. Charlie across the way, walk back and forth in his driveway waiting for the mail, or to pull his recycling cans back to his garage. I’ve always been a people watcher, but it’s become increasingly important. I’m lucky to have a room with such a good view.

I might feel like I am drowning, but honestly it’s not that bad. I know the anxiety and the worry have so much to do with it, and my husband is working his butt off to make sure I don’t actually drown. So I’m okay, swimming along with help. I hope you all are too.

M.

Sleepy Time

A Klonopin, two sleep aid tablets, and a melatonin gummy, that’s my sleep regimen. I’ve been talking so much about sleep lately, or lack of, that I’d thought I’d share my concoction. It’s not perfect, in fact some days it’s not even good, doesn’t work. Makes me very tired, then goes away. Maybe my body adjusts? Either way, a Klonopin, two sleep aid tablets, and melatonin are my best friends.

Last night I took my concoction and went to bed. I read for an hour, no sleep, then another thirty minutes. Finally, my eyes just sort of closed. An hour later I was wide awake, looking at the clock. Midnight. Great.

Tossing and turning ensued, and by 4:30 am I decided to call it a day. I got up, took a shower, and was just about to get clothes on for the day when I thought maybe I’ll try to lay back down. Luckily I fell right to sleep this time, and slept until it was time for my doctor’s appointment. Probably what had been keeping me up anyway. Stress. Huh! It’s a bitch.

Hope y’all are sleeping well! If so, can you catch up on some for me. I’d appreciate it.

M.

Moving Forward

My 39th birthday is right around the corner. I’ve got a million things going on between my school, Jackson’s virtual school, the house, this global pandemic, and several doctors appointments lined up this week to try to figure out what’s wrong with me. That might be the most stressful part. Sure I’m inching closer to forty, but man, does it need to feel like it?

I’m still trying everyday not to complain. I know I don’t have much to complain about considering the world we live in. I have a great family, we have a stable income, I get to work from home all day, everyday with my husband and son. I’m way more involved in Jackson’s school life than normal 6th grade would allow, and my dogs, well they are a pain in my ass, but they’re so damn cute. And then there’s Jerimiah. Most days I don’t know how he puts up with me, but lately he’s not just been putting up with me, he’s also been taking care of me. I guess it’s that whole “in sickness and in health” deal. Thanks, Jerimiah.

Grandparents are healthy. Our friends are all safe. Our extended family is good. We don’t get to see everyone as much as we’d like, but we’re all making do.

But still I’m walking around in a daze most of the time. I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to be upbeat. I’m trying to stay chipper, but some days are better than others.

I’m getting a scan of my veins and arteries this week, hopefully that will give us some answers. I have an an appointment with a Rheumatologist, more answers, fingers crossed anyway. But the beat still goes on, yeah? The world still turns. Yeah. It all keeps going whether we need a breather or not. I think that’s what I love about this life. We don’t have much of an option. Just forward.

So yeah, I’m turning 39 soon. My age is moving forward, my feet are doing the same. And eventually my heavy head and heart will catch up. Here’s to a good week, y’all! May you be healthy and context if you can’t quite be happy.

M.

Reset

Geez, sorry you guys. I’ve been a sad sack lately. I think this is just some of that ebb and flow we always talk about with emotions and the world sits with us. I’ve been particularly stressed lately because of starting school, and Jackson starting school, and a few other things I’m not quite ready to talk about on here, but when I am you know I will talk y’all like crazy about them.

Really what I am wishing for right about now is a reset button. Ever wish for one of those? Like when I was a kid and I would realize I was not going to make it back to the top of the Q-bert stack so I’d just reach over and hit restart on the Nintendo. Ahh, that was a good feeling. A do-over. A mulligan. That’s what I need for this week. Maybe this month. Certainly this year.

Let’s all look for that reset button today, okay? Maybe it’s nature? Maybe it’s a walk by yourself listening to your favorite podcast. Maybe it’s a call to your best friend. Whatever it is, find your reset button and hit it for me. Maybe it will reset us all.

Here’s to wishing.

Take care of yourself, and each other.

M.

Keeping On

It’s the middle of the night and I’m awake again and I need to pee but the dog is laying on my leg and she’s breathing hard, those quick, hard puppy breathes that mean she’s sleeping soundly and I don’t want to wake her. We don’t all need to be awake. We don’t all need to be prowling around the house in the middle of the night.

I’m two books in to this semester and I’m having bad dreams. Maybe not bad dreams, but certainly strange ones. Dreams about ghosts, and kudzu, and pits that are black and don’t end. I’m dreaming about the Civil War and death, and I’m seeing relics from another time.

I’m fighting back a bout of lows that always comes this time of year, but some years I don’t have the time for it to come and this is week two of my MFA program and I’m two books in, 10 articles, three discussions, a handful of Zoom calls, and I’m tired. I want to sleep most of the day because I’m awake most of the night and this cloud is following me around but I’m managing. And I’ll manage. Until I won’t anymore.

I’m crossing my fingers for December.

Keep on keepin on, y’all.

M.