Seven years ago, I was a depressed gelatinous mass, exhausted from the stress of raising a newborn and an alcoholic man-child who managed to drink up a large balance on my credit card and pass out in places that were not our home, making it difficult to get to work the next day since he generally had my car. I was verging on the alcoholic-territory myself, often downing 1 or 2 bottles of wine a night after putting my baby down which was always a pleasant experience when that 3am feeding came. My shifts at work were sometimes 13 hours long, and some of those were worked alone. The 70 pounds that I’d put on during pregnancy were maybe half gone and none of my clothes fit. If my body could have made a noise, it would have been “pffffthbbbbbbt,” like a raspberry you blow or a slowly leaking whoopee cushion you sit on. My bank account was dwindling. My job was terrible. My boyfriend was The Worst. I had my friends and my baby, and that was that. Continue reading
I got word Friday night that my oldest brother died. He was 50. My dad’s oldest, and my mom’s oldest stepchild. We were not close. At all. In fact, I think the last time I saw him was Thanksgiving of 2002, the first Thanksgiving I was of legal drinking age, much to my mother’s delight. It was the last Thanksgiving we were all together. My grandparents were still alive, and my father was teasing my grandmother about her Macular Degeneration (because that is a Thing that we do in my family). My brother was there with his…significant other (wife? girlfriend? I really don’t know.) We chatted briefly about the only thing we really had in common – music. Continue reading
- I can’t stop listening to Lana Del Ray. She makes me feel like I am in a movie in the best possible way. Haters gonna hate, and I don’t particularly give a flying fuck what anyone else has to say about her.
- If you find yourself constantly apologizing for your shitty behavior, maybe you should quit behaving so shittily (is too a word, I just said so.)
- My son used letters from his new Matchbox license plates to spell HAM GUY. That is not his name.
- In related news, I am now referring to my son as HAM GUY.
- My friend volunteered me to help out with my kid’s school’s annual fundraiser and I actually like it. Not feeling useless is pretty cool.
- My other friend and I have serious plans to start a band. I don’t know when or where we’re going to practice, and it might just be her and me, but I’m totally into it.
- Man, that Superbowl was fucking awful, right?
- Unpopular opinion: Despite his charming dance moves and resemblance to a leprechaun, I cannot stand Bruno Mars. I’m not debating this with you. I get why you like him. That goddamn Locked Out of Heaven song is nails on a chalkboard to these ears.
- I wish I could sit down with Ryan Murphy and talk to him about how to improve future seasons of American Horror Story. Coven was so close this season, but dropped the ball in SO MANY WAYS. (Clearly, Stevie Nicks was not the issue for me.)
- That said, I LOVED THIS SEASON SO HARD. Myrtle Snow is my new spirit animal.
- I really hate when I tell dudes I don’t like something, like a band, and they brush it off and tell me to try it again. Then I reiterate my researched opinion and my opinion is still ignored.
- I want my son to listen to Beyonce’s Flawless. It is important for boys to start learning to get on the feminist level.
- I got this amazing Maybelline Color Show glitter nail polish and I love it, except 2 days ago I painted them and it’s already coming off in huge chunks, littering my office carpet with disco ball nail polish flakes.
- Last Wednesday I went out on a whim and had great conversation with lovely ladies who reminded me that I need to create more. Since the extent of my artistic abilities are stick figures and macaroni necklaces, I am making a commitment to writing more. And baking.
- Related: My city is overflowing with amazing women. Now ya heard.
- This quote right here, from another dear friend: “Patriarchy is exhausting.”
- I love winter. Cold gets me motivated, and makes me love snuggling in my bed with books, tea, Netflix, and iTunes. It has also made me seriously consider getting a cat, which goes against both things I believe in. (Yeah, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. Deal with it.) I’m not going to get a cat. But a fluffy gray or black one named Myrtle Snow exists in my dreams.
- Spring is just ahead which means fucking yardwork. I fucking hate yardwork. That’s it. No witticisms.
- The next post I make won’t be so disjointed. Probably. But maybe it will. I don’t know. But I am going to make an effort to post more. The end!
West Virginia is the most beautiful of the 50 states. I will stand by that statement forever. I am a little partial, I am from there. With all of it’s rugged beauty, fascinating history and some of the friendliest people in the country, I love saying I was born in the Mountain State. But not everyone sees the state as kindly as I do, and most really would rather pretend it doesn’t exist. Don’t believe me? Check out the national news from the last week. How much national attention was the WV chemical spill getting? Hardly anyone was talking about it. Sure there would be a random article here or there about how we need more regulations on chemical/coal mining or lots of politicians pointing fingers about who dropped the ball, but very little about the people this directly affected or about what can be done to help.
I would say 90% of my family still lives in the Charleston area of West Virginia. Continue reading
I love Christmas; it is easily my favorite holiday. Even after converting to Judaism, I won’t give it up. I have a huge family and we all love it. Some of my best memories from childhood center around Christmas. We were poor growing up, but it was the one day my parents made sure was just magical and I carry a bit of that magic in my tinsel-loving heart still. I go crazy every year – I buy all of the gifts, bake all of the goodies and have all of the fun. I get giddy over surprises and can’t act like an adult when I have wrapped presents under the tree and can barely keep from telling people what I’ve gotten them. I’m the opposite of a Grinch, which is why my rage at toy departments bums me out extra this time of year.
My father remarried after I graduated from high school and they quickly started giving me more siblings. I first noticed the gendered nonsense of the toy department at Target when I started looking for gifts for the young’uns. There are pink aisles filled with Barbies and ponies and dress up sets and play kitchens. There are blue aisles with superheroes and Legos and weapons and every type of vehicle. Then there’s a green aisle with the educational gifts, which is where I did my shopping while sneering at the idiotic gendering of children’s toys.
Seriously – if you’re a girl and want a toy at Target, you are being told you must like princesses and glitter and stuffed toys and tea parties? And if you’re a boy, you like fighting and cars and videogames and fighting and fighting and fighting (the violence of toys is a whole other peeve). That’s it! Nothing else! I mean, unless you want to cross colors…like a freak. It’s just so so so incredibly enormously stupendously seriously stupid. So, yeah, I quickly avoided the toy department completely and everyone got books (which are filled with a whole other passel of gendered nonsense, but I don’t have the time or energy for that today).
One of my absolute favorite genres is the Gothic mystery. These books tend to be about crumbling mansions in the country, family secrets, ghosts and murder most foul. There’s usually a heroine of impeccable virtue who has had horrible luck and finds herself in an unpleasant situation. There’s a mother/aunt/caretaker who’s abused the poor heroine in some way, a dashing gentleman with a dark side, a mysterious benefactor, a trusted confidante, a doomed lover. There are journals and dying confessions and lies the heroine must sift through to discover the truth using her rational mind and courage cultivated from years of abuse or neglect. The novels are generally set in Victorian England, and if they aren’t, feel like they should be. These are the books you curl up with on a chilly, rainy day, a cup of tea (or coffee if you’re like me and can’t stand tea) next to you that goes cold because you’re too wrapped up in the mystery to remember to drink it. They are, simply, the best.
As we all know, Thanksgiving is on Thursday. It’s scientifically one of the best holidays – parades, football, food, booze, family/friends that are your family, and food. I’m also a sucker for taking a moment and counting our blessings. We should do it all of the time, but life gets crazy and we end up spending much more time counting the wrongs. With that in mind, some of us here are sharing what we are taking a moment to appreciate and a favorite recipe. Because thanks and food – they’re good for you.
Recipes include mashed potatoes, two sweet potato dishes, pimento cheese potato gratin, bourbon pumpkin cheesecake, cranberry sauce, pineapple stuffing, apple/cranberry pie, cajun cornbread stuffing and a vegan pumpkin pie. I’m incredibly hungry after putting this all together and I’m rethinking my menu. Again. Please feel free to share your favorites in the comments!!
A month or two ago, I decided that I would try and do a good deed every day. I wanted to focus outside of my daily routine and really look for ways to make a difference in my community, even in small ways. Some days this is easier than others. Some days, I really have to force myself to be less selfish, which is hard, because I am a brat at heart. I think most of us are.
One of the first things I did as part of this agreement with myself was to enroll in the Be The Match program. Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, and is the largest marrow registry in the world. For the people who are diagnosed with blood cancers, sometimes this is their last hope for help. My family has been involved with marrow donation because of my mom, and I’m certain that many of you know or know of someone who has dealt with leukemia, lymphoma or the like, and you know how important it is in treatment.
Signing up for this is one of the easiest things you can do. It takes about 15 minutes of time to go through the questionnaire, even with the extra time I spent looking at the FAQ trying to figure out if I am eligible (tattoos, I have a cold, I am whiny). A week or two after you finish enrolling online, they send you a kit with some cotton swabs and instructions. I felt very CSI, swabbing the inside of my mouth, and then I mailed it off and that was that. Once they type you, you’re in the system and that’s that. You may never get called to donate. You may get called upon in twenty years or two weeks. You may be the last hope for someone’s life. That’s such an incredible help to so many people. About 1 in 540 people go on to actually donate. It’s like the most do-gooding lottery ever.
There is a ton of really helpful information here and you can read success stories, FAQs, and sign up all in one place. Honestly, twenty minutes out of your life to help save another is one of the easiest choices you can make, and that is definitely something to feel good about.
Located in Loudoun County (VA), LAWS is a nonprofit providing temporary shelter, counseling, legal services and support for survivors of domestic violence & abuse. They work to reduce the incidence of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
Once you get in contact with them, they will keep you safe. For example, LAWS filed a restraining order against my ex-abuser when he followed me to the LAWS offices. They aided me in finding legal resources to gain custody of my children. They referred me to social services for which I may be qualified. They offered me counseling and a spot in a support group. They gave my children presents at Christmas. They spent time with my children while I went to counseling meetings.
I sat down on Friday night to write a piece about a totally different worthy cause. But then, well, things happened, but frankly, I’m glad.
Eight months ago today, the coolest person in my life (ack! cheesy! sorry!) was born. He was born six weeks early, and weighed five pounds. He was born screaming and red and translucent and amazing. He was born fighting and luckily, he was born in the right place.