A Different Kind of Freak Flag



“Getting rid of a flag isn’t going to end racism.”

“A piece of cloth didn’t oppress people.”

“This is just a band-aid on a bigger wound.”

Well, no fucking shit. Thanks for the brilliant insight. Perhaps now you can explain to me how gravity works.

No, taking down the confederate flag will not end the institutional and deep seeded racism that is brewing like a smelly cauldron throughout our country. But ya know what? Leaving it up sure won’t help things, will it? Flying a flag – that for most, represents oppression, hate and slavery – condones the negativity it represents.

You want to get all historical on my ass and expound upon the flag’s origin and true meaning? You want to tell me that taking it away disrespects some kind of glorified narrative of the good ole days? Guess what? I don’t give a shit because I live in the here and now. Reflecting on the past is good for little more than learning from it’s mistakes – not celebrating those mistakes with some hooch and a cheek full of tobacco. I know the origins and it changes nothing about how I feel in regards to the flag. And quite frankly, I am surprised anyone would think that it would.

Also, if the removal of the flag is so insignificant to progress, why bother stomping feet over it? If you are THAT concerned about this being a “distraction” or a “band-aid” then I sure hope you are out there doing something that will make our society a better place. Because even though this may be a simplistic baby step in the forward direction, at least it is something. If you are poo-pooing the merit of such action – you better be creating some action of your own. Otherwise – shuttie.

I highly doubt there are tons of people who think that taking down this racist rag fixes any real problem. But if there are, please let me smack them upside their empty heads. If ANYONE thinks that this actually fixes the issue – then they truly have no idea the depths of racism that are oozing from every corner of society. This is a step. A little, baby, tiny, seemingly obvious step that should have been made many decades ago. We have a lot of catching up to do because the fact that this is even a thing – is embarrassing as fuck.

And for those of you who think waving this flag means you are a patriot…you are just a total moron. This flag AT BEST represents those who wanted to sussed from your beloved ‘Murica in order to continue to own slaves – feeding their economic growth with their field labor. Freeing slaves meant less profit. And they were all like – “Fuck that…let’s get us a new country with this here new flag.” Yea. Patriotic like a sonabitch.

In the years (50s-60s) to follow, it was adopted by many to show their opposition to equal rights and integration. And it soon became a symbol of the KKK. In recent years, I guess it was just a passive aggressive way to let others know just how proud one was to be the lighter version of American. Of course, some people just didn’t know better and wanted to pretend they were Luke Duke or some shit. But this whole thing about historical pride and patriotism – give me a damn break because that is some scripted ass bullshit.

Listen, no one is taking your flags – so, put the shotgun down, Cletus, and call off your dog. Keep your flag. It lets the rest of us know which neighbors we’d rather not talk to. The issue here is having such a gross symbol flying above government buildings. That’s it. If this brings to light the offensiveness of this flag – an offensiveness some may have not considered in the past – then great. Let them stop flying, selling, displaying the damn thing too. But this isn’t a freedom of speech issue. It is a decency issue. And you can fly any goddamn flag you want – on YOUR property.

I could be worried that *you* will think this is all about you and your comments on social media. And while you may have contributed to my recent reflections – know that everyone and their grandma is talking about this lately – so I have many different conversations and threads running through my consciousness at the moment. Ain’t all about you, darlin’. I just had something to say.


Hey You! Yea, YOU. Read This Please.


Well, holy hell! My site has taken off in the past two days with nearly 20k views!! I would be pounding my chest a little harder had it been due to my own writing. But, alas, it was for a Scott Walker joke (three words that go oh so well together). While the joke is quite hilarious – this has prompted me to examine my recent abandonment of my blog. Sure, I have my excuses. But they are no longer good enough. I need to start writing again. My brain and creativity are atrophied and in much need of exercise. SOOOOO – this is where YOU come in. Give me some topics. Anything. What would you like to read? What would you like me to write about? I won’t promise that I will say what you want to hear…that I will write it in any respectable time frame…or that I won’t completely disappoint you in every way possible. But I will use your ideas to get my mind and fingers moving. Can ya help a chic out?

The Path of the 41 Year Old Me


It is no secret that I have been dealing with some pain in the ass health issues in these past few years. It is also not news that I have a history of anxiety – especially when it pertains to health and death. I am terrified of death. It angers me and stresses me the fuck out. Honestly, as natural and absolute as it is – the concept of death has been my most agonizing hurdle. And with the different and odd health issues I have dealt with – nothing has antagonized this fear as much or as often as my heart blips. Without a proper heartbeat…you’re a goner. This is just a real thorn in my psyche. But I think…maybe…possibly…I am making strides. Kinda.

These past months have been full of pain and frustration and constant fatigue. The struggle has been a true crapfest and it is ongoing. But through it all, my heart has been behaving fairly well under the circumstances. And I haven’t let that fact go unappreciated.

Aside from the very occasional (like once a week TOPS) muscle relaxer, I do not take medication for my pain. I have been offered several referrals to a pain clinic, steroids and other drugs. But I have decided to try to beat this weird shit without medications and their side effects. Because as sensitive and annoying as my body is – if there is a possible side effect – I will probably have it. Fuck that, I have enough to worry about.

I do, however, take a medication for my heart and for anxiety. I have gotten down to the lowest possible doses of each. I need them and I have accepted that. As I weaned down to this lowest dose of my beta blocker, my heart was a trooper. I started years ago at 100mg daily. Today, I am taking 12.5mg daily (with the occasional extra on a bad day). This, makes me happy.

However, yesterday, my heart decided to be an asshole. I was just sitting here looking shit up on Pinterest when I felt a few flops. “Ugh…I guess it’s going to be one of those days,” I thought. Oh you funny bitch. I had no clue it was going to be one of my worst heart days in many years. My heartbeat kept getting stuck in what’s called a trigeminy pattern. It basically feels like this – BEAT BEAT PAUSE BEAT BEAT PAUSE BEAT BEAT PAUSE. I am used to getting the “pauses” for the most part – but not in this pattern or in the amount I was getting them yesterday. When not in trigeminy, I was having 7-12 PVCs (“pauses”) per MINUTE. It feels like a fish constantly flopping around beneath your ribs. All. Day. Long. It even lasted until this morning. The most PVCs I have had recorded in a 24 hour period has been a few hundred. Yesterday was probably more like 10-15k.

Now, if this had happened a couple of years ago, I would have freaked the fuck out. I would have panicked and probably gone to the ER. But I didn’t. I did call my cardiologist’s office as I have been told to do whenever something changes or seems off. And I took my extra beta blocker. And I laid in bed most of the day (Dr’s orders). And I took my pulse a lot. But I didn’t panic. And I think I know why.

I might just be coming to an acceptance stage of this whole stupid mortality thing that I hate ever so much. I know I am going to die. I read stories about children dying for Pete’s sake. I have known many people whom have died – some younger than me. I watched my father die at 46. Life is moving faster than a Republican from an original thought (sorry). Seriously, though, I am getting motion sickness from the speed of this crazy ride. If I do not accept this soon…I am going to have a really rude ass awakening.

I was driving earlier today and my heart was skipping away – being its jerky self. But I still couldn’t help but to notice the blue sky and the greenish grass. These are the kinds of things that remind me to be in the now. No matter how I am feeling at any given point, I am still here. And I absolutely must make the most of it. Because, hell, I am getting old and fat and saggy and tired and achy and I may not have many more of those big firework life experriences that easily snap me into those Ode to Joy moments. I have to recognize the good and the pretty and the strange and the tasty that are right in front of me each and every day. Whether it is watching a funny show with my adult wannabe tween daughter or a juicy burger staining my shirt – these are the snapshots I need to relish and try to hang onto every second that I can.

I read a story today about an 18-year-old girl who is fighting stage 4 brain cancer. When asked why is she fighting she replied, “I don’t know what else to do.” Well fuck. Who the hell am I to worry about when and how my time will come to an end when this kid is hanging on by a thread? None of us have a guaranteed amount of time.

And ya know why I don’t want to die? Yea, maybe it can be said it is because I don’t “know Jesus” or have a faith or can look forward to some promised afterlife. But really it is because I really fucking like it here. I really enjoy eating yummy food and laughing at funny jokes and feeling love and dreaming at night and smelling summer grass. There is so much here to savor and appreciate. Even the shitty things have something to offer. Crappy people restore my gratitude for those less crappy. Illness makes me feel so much better once it is gone. I still haven’t figured out the benefit of bad peaches or war…but perhaps my enlightenment will eventually expand.

I have made mistakes. I have wasted wayyyy too much of the time I have been given. I have been a dickhead and have allowed others to be dickheads to me. And chances are, these things will happen again. But I am going to try really goddamn hard to stay on a path towards acceptance, appreciation and mindful presence simply because…I don’t know what else to do.

Okay, okay. I am done with the hippy, Oprah-esque sermon now. I have to go find a way to enjoy cleaning a toilet…hmmmm…this may be more challenging than I expected…

What a Pill


These past few weeks have been pretty nasty for me health-wise. But it seems I have found the cause for some of the problems and I couldn’t be more grateful!!!

Several weeks ago, I began having some very uncomfortable and startling symptoms.  My heart rate, which is typically 65-75, started averaging around 85-90. And yes, for me, this is very noticeable and uncomfortable. When you have SVT, you are VERY aware of your heart rate without even taking your pulse. I also started having many more PVCs (what feels like a skipped beat) and constant adrenaline surges. And to make matters worse, I went from my regular crappy 5 hours of sleep a night to 2-3 hours each night. I would jolt awake whenever my body would start to go into a deep sleep. I was fucking miserable!!

My Dr. prescribed trazodone to help me sleep. I took a low dose the first night and my heart went INSANE. Not only was I having more PVCs than usual, I started getting them every 4th beat for HOURS. And I was tachycardic off and on throughout the night. Oh, and I didn’t sleep a wink. It was awful and I will never take it again. It has been known to have some heart rhythm side effects, so screw that noise. Anyway, my cardiologist had me come in for an EKG the next day and it was fine as the med wore off. But she said that my decision to never take it again was probably a good one.

During this time (and a little while before), I started a pretty strict diet. I was measuring and logging everything I ate – staying around 1200 calories a day. I also started exercising 50+ mins per day instead of my typical 30-40. During those weeks, even with large calorie deficits, I couldn’t lose even  1/2 of a pound. It was very discouraging.

Okay, so…I have been taking a beta blocker called metroprolol for over 8 years for my arrhythmia. It has worked great. I have taken the same dose and same brand forever. Suddenly, a few days ago, I realized that my symptoms started when my Dr. ordered a different brand. Same dose and active ingredient, but it was a different manufacturer and formulation. I have heard of this happening to others, but I never thought the difference could be THAT severe.

I had a few older ones left over and went back to taking those. Within two days, the adrenaline surges were gone, heart rate was down and the past two nights I have slept 6 hours each (with some interruption but nothing compared to previous weeks). Sleeping 6 hours after days and days of only 2 or 3 is like eating a feast after being stranded on an island with only snackable bugs. I am still on the look out for the perfect ear plugs but those and the mask do help as well.

I called the pharmacist and she said she also has a bad reaction if the brand of her medication is changed and she sent a med change request form to my Dr. right away. Wow! I wasn’t crazy! Well, in this case anyway.

So another weird thing about this…and I am not sure how it relates…but something odd happened with my weight. Those weeks of working so hard, being so strict and losing nothing, even with such a significant calorie deficit, was depressing. This past week, I didn’t exercise AT ALL. I mean, with only 2 hours of sleep, screw that. I also didn’t log my food or cut out carbs. I suddenly lost 6 pounds. In ONE week. It makes no friggin sense.

Also, around the time of the change, my muscle relaxer (given for severe muscle tightness/spasm and pain) just stopped working. I am not sure if this is related as well, but I may give it another try.

I absolutely am shocked that such a thing could make such a life altering difference. I really hate having such a sensitive body. And God help me if they ever stop making this brand of my medication. Wowzers. That SUCKED. Yea, I still have my other issues and we are in the process of figuring all that shit out. But holy hell I am so glad I can at least feel a little better while I limp around aching and moaning.

But I Get Up Again…Eventually


It’s been a rough couple of weeks. So much for 2015 being the great comeback year. Well, I suppose there are still 343 days for that to get into gear. But, so far, suck city.

If you have known me for a while, you may remember my mentioning that I have, at times, had physical symptoms just before learning of bad news. Precognitive symptoms I call them. Do I really, truly, fully believe this is what goes down? I am not sure. But there have been some serious coincidences.

On Saturday, we ordered some food and after two weeks of strict dieting, I was super stoked to eat some carbs and red meat. Right before I started to eat I had some sharp odd pains in my abdomen. These weren’t familiar and not the usual scar tissue pains I have been having. I tried to eat a little but my stomach wasn’t having it. I took a bath and drank some peppermint tea. Still, yucky. So I decided to just go to bed. As I laid there listening to my audiobook, I received a text from my mother in law that her long-time and my new(er) friend, Sara, was in the hospital and may not make it through the night. She had been battling cancer. I told her I would meet her there, got dressed and left. My stomach then felt fine.

I later said to Charlie, “Maybe that is why I was having those weird pains.” He nodded. Cassidy asked what I meant. I kinda just told her it was hard to explain but that sometimes I think I feel icky right before something bad happens. She said, “Maybe it is a power.” I just smiled and said, “Maybe, hon.”

Though she was unconscious and finally (thankfully) free of pain, I was able to say goodbye to our friend that night. And she died minutes after we left. Needless to say, this is very sad and yet another in-your-face reminder of how short life really is. Her kindness, laughter and strength will be sincerely missed.

The next day, I decided to watch the movie Wild. I really didn’t have much desire to see it before and was never a big Reese Witherspoon fan. For whatever reason, the movie didn’t appeal to me until that moment. Something told me that Sara would like it,  so I watched.

In the movie, she quoted Adrienne Rich:

…her wounds came from the same source as her power…

For some reason, this struck a chord. I am still not entirely certain why. But it occurred to me that this was the second time in 24 hours that the term ‘power’ caught my attention. Power. This is not a word I use to define myself…like…ever. In fact, it is usually quite the opposite. I often feel powerless against my health, my weight, my past, my future, the opinions of others, my regrets, my desires…I could go on. Feeling powerless sucks but it is like one of those blankets of thorns you get used to as it pierces your skin while still keeping you warm. Kinda pathetic, but real.

While I do have many moments of feeling weak or powerless – I still hold with me the knowledge that I try. You remember that horribly annoying song from the 90s…well wait…here it is…

Anyway, I remember a friend telling me that this song was like my anthem. Whether it was getting knocked down by my own dumb self or some other asshole or shitty situation – I always found a way to get back up. I may whine about it, but eventually, I stand. So, you can have your complaints about me and my demeanor…but don’t you dare tell me that I don’t try.

I received a diagnosis yesterday that I have seen coming for quite some time. I am not happy about it. I am quite angry, actually. And I am not going to get into it right now because I am still waiting on some tests. It isn’t anything life threatening – but it is life altering. Just, crappy really. And I will write about it later.

Along with this, I have been experiencing some pretty serious insomnia. On a very good night I will sleep 5 hours. But mostly, it is around 3 hours of actual sleep. This is seriously messing with my emotions, health, heart and mind. Along with other symptoms, I am in the pits lately. Could it be worse? Fuck yea. And I say that all of the time. But that doesn’t make my pain invalid.

What is another thing you can say to me that might get you a kick in the neck, aside from “Try harder”? “Cheer up” or “Relax” or “Turn that frown upside down” or any other motivational 80s poster platitude that was hanging in your high school counselor’s office. When a person has depression or an anxiety disorder or a chronic illness or anything else that you may not really understand…it would be best to keep the trite bullshit to yourself.

You really want to help? Listen. Validate. Or just offer a hug. Because saying things like I mentioned above implies that we do not have a right to feel the way that we do. It implies that we are choosing our pain. It implies that not only do we have to feel bad about our circumstances but that we are also doing it wrong. Do not deny me my feelings. And ya know what…if it were as simple as flipping a switch…I would have done that a long fucking time ago.

Just because a person is down or even severely depressed, that doesn’t mean they do not appreciate what they have. In fact, it is often true that we appreciate these things even more. So many of you take those beautiful moments and gifts for granted. We savor them and are thankful more than you could know. I see the wonderful things in my life and I am thankful for them every day. Some days I am more verbal about them than others. But that gratitude is most certainly there.

And one more thing, the fact that some of you view me as some kind of oddball isn’t news to me. I share a lot. I do not hide my sensitivity and my flaws. My Facebook wall won’t be full of cheery self congratulatory applause or exaggerated life descriptions. You get what you see and you see what you get – for the most part. I mean, there are some things I will not share, so no – you don’t get the FULL picture. But I am me, warts and all. And I won’t hide it because I think that is inauthentic and annoying. So you can think I am weird…but I know there are things hiding in your heads and closets too. The fact that you hide them doesn’t make you any specialer. (yes, I know that is not a word)

Today sucks. Tomorrow will probably not be any better. But I know things will lift eventually. In the meantime, allow me my sorrow, accept me for who I am or get off my lawn.

Unplugged Racine: Death to a Radio Station


car radio

I have listened to WRJN’s (our local radio station) morning talk/call-in show for a long time. Throughout these past years, the most common reaction I have received other than a “are you freakin kidding me” look has been, “Heather, I am pretty sure you are the only one who does.” Even I, while listening, would constantly harp about the need for change on that station. I mean, it sounded no different than when my grandmother listened 30 years ago. It has been stuck in some radio waved time warp that often annoyed and frustrated me. But I continued to visit nearly each morning because it has been the only option for local talk radio. And what a fucking shame that is.

It is pretty obvious to anyone not living under a pre-historic rock that older forms of media are hanging on by a thread. With iPods, Pandora, satellite…local radio is becoming extinct.  But aboard this sinking ship remains a buoyant format: News/Talk Radio.

Recently, WRJN fired it’s station manager and morning talk show host. And I am not really crying over this because the guy could be offensive, uneducated about current topics and was just really out of touch with the average listener. 75% of the show was about him and his life. He often bragged that he never once sipped a beer or smoked a cigarette. And he clearly saw him self as superior to most. He spent half of each show bumbling around trying to work his computer and seemed to have no clue how to navigate Google. Several times, my husband made me turn off the radio because I wouldn’t stop yelling at it. Hey, better than yelling at him, right?? Anyway, I have not shed tears over this change.

However, this change did not turn out to be a positive one. In fact, I no longer listen at all. Not only did they fire above mentioned dude, they changed the format. Apparently, their only demographic is the nursing home bound and the life support dependent. Most of their programming is now music. And the most contemporary song I have heard is at least 30 years old. Music? Really? This is the route you want to take? We have other music stations and I don’t know anyone who listens to those either.

Pretty soon, WRJN’s demographic will be 6 feet under. Dontcha think appealing to a younger crowd might be a desired path? 65 million millennials listen to radio each week. And many of them seek out news/talk formats. If they want to listen to music, they will do so through the internet or their many MP3 devices.

What I wouldn’t give for a decent morning call in show with local topics. Intelligent discussion and sharing of ideas would be ideal. Give us a host who is prepared and hasn’t lost every news article he wanted to mention. Give us a program we can relate to and of which we can feel a part. For the love of all that is transmitted…we do not need a station that plays 50s bubble gum noise peppered with boring jokes and one-sided banter.

Sorry, WRJN, but you have lost one of your last listeners. At least I rarely feel the need to yell at NPR – so maybe that’s a good thing.

**Quick afterthought…
I rarely apologize for what I write. I have before, but certainly not often. And while I meant everything I said, I feel I was a bit harsh in my critique of the program director/host. He did have some good qualities too. He is clearly a hard worker and an experienced DJ. He seems like a decent person. He did say many things in the past that I thought were pretty cruel and prejudice…but I don’t think he is evil or deserves bad things. I am sure being fired from that job after so many years had to be heartbreaking. So…my compassion kicked in a little. I do wish him well.

Suck It, 2014 – You’re Outta Here


In 1996, when I was 23, my father died, my grandfather died, my parents moved out of my childhood home, I bought a house with my brother, got a new job, a 3 year relationship ended and my heart arrhythmia began (triggering massive daily panic attacks). That was a really difficult year.

In 2005, I was falsely accused of child abuse which caused PTSD and some severe depression. Everything changed including many plans for my future, my marriage and my relationship with my step daughter. That was a really difficult year.

In 2014, I had several health problems which lead to a surgery that caused even more health problems, daily chronic (and sometimes acute) pain and a huge weight gain. It has been a very, very difficult year.

As we are leaving one of the worst years of my life, I look forward to 2015 with a shit load of hope.

I am going to work my ass off in an attempt to get my health and body back on track. I am going to devote my time and attention to my family. I am going to savor every minute with my daughter while I still have her. I am going to talk Charlie into getting a puppy or kitten. And I am going to take sewing classes.

I am going to let go of the things, people and events that suck joy from my life. I am going to let go of disappointments, heartache and regrets from the past. And I am going to do my best to let go of my worries for the future.

Living in the present has always been a difficult task for me. But this is what needs to happen. Life is short with many bumps along the way. Some of those bumps can really set you off course. But they can also shuffle things back into perspective. With my perspective re-aligned and my determination on the rise, I will make this year one hell of a bounce back. So, you can suck it, 2014. We’re soooo done with you.

That Woman in the Burke Ad is My Friend and She is No Criminal


Over the weekend I briefly read through some Facebook comments regarding a story about a woman in a Burke for Governor ad who had been charged with a crime in her past. I didn’t read the full story due to time and the fact that it wouldn’t change any of my opinions.

This morning, I came across another post about this woman and recognizing that her story resembled mine, I felt it was time for me to actually read it. My heart dropped not only when I learned this was about a friend of mine but also when I read the comments on the article. It became one of those weird PTSD flashback moments. And I am not being hyperbolic, I was diagnosed with PTSD due to a very similar circumstance.

I will not get into her case and her personal story because that is not my place. If she would like me to write about it in the future, I will. But she has her children and her own sanity to consider. And laying everything out there may not be what is best for her right now. Also, she has been working incredibly hard to move forward and has no interest in defending herself by ridiculing or defaming her children’s father. She just isn’t that kind of person.

My friend, Erin, is a dedicated, loving mother to a couple of bright, lovely children. There is no doubt in my mind that those kids are her world and her love for them compares to no other. I also happen to know that Erin is a benevolent, generous, kind person who works incredibly hard on a daily basis to make this world a better place not only for her children, but the children of strangers.

When I was falsely accused of child abuse in 2005, I wanted to die. When I read the public comments made about it and me, I felt I couldn’t go on. If it hadn’t been for my daughter, I don’t know if I would still be here. The public commentary on my life and my motherhood – reading the horrible things people (who had no idea what they were talking about) were writing – someone may as well have been stabbing me in the gut. A couple of years later, I was diagnosed with PTSD.

Most days, I can live without it pressing on me very much. But then there are times when all of those feelings burst back into the forefront as though they happened only yesterday. And what has happened to Erin in these past days is a big example of that.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to run for local office. It was made pretty clear to me that after these charges (false or not) that would not be a good idea. At the time this happened, I was entering a social work program at Gateway. I was told after this that I would never be hired in that field. And now, I get turned down for jobs all of the time due to my background check. When I was writing for Patch, commenters loved to look me up and post things about that case simply because they disagreed with my politics. This affects me in different ways all of the time.

In 2012, I was asked to be in a couple of political ads. One was a commercial for a promising U.S. candidate. I was so excited. I was picking out some outfits for me and the kids when I realized that my past could cause a problem. I called the person in charge of the commercial and explained as much as I could. It was decided that I should not be involved in that way. Once again, that one incident brought up those heartbreaking emotions and disappointment all over again.

It never goes away. It may hide for a while. But it’s always there – lingering, somewhere.

When I read comments about Erin today, I wanted to scream and cry and hug her.

People need to know that ANYONE can accuse ANYONE of ANYTHING. People need to know that you are NOT considered innocent until proven guilty. People need to know that it is nearly impossible to prove you DIDN’T do something. People need to know that one questionable decision does not determine who you are – not for a day and certainly not for the rest of your life. People need to know that innocent people plead guilty ALL OF THE TIME and for many different reasons.

Our justice system is a meat grinder. And until you are a part of it – you have no clue what you would really do or how you would really react. It is terrifying and intimidating. And some defense lawyers suck and some D.A.s are crooked with an ax to grind. Sometimes a person will do whatever they have to just to make it end.

But the sad truth is – it never really ends. And now I have to see my friend have this all smooshed into her face again in front of the world and all because she just wanted to make our state a better place to live for everyone.

You need to really take a step back before you assume, before you judge and before you believe what you read. Because you don’t know the whole story. And you better realize that all of this – all of this nightmarish bullshit – can happen to you or someone you love at any moment.

I’m Sad. Can We Talk?


Last week, I was watching Fashion Police’s Emmy Special. I watched every week and especially looked forward to the award editions. I considered it one of my many guilty pleasures. As I was laying there watching, I thought to myself, “Wow. 81. I am really going to be sad when she dies.” The next day, I learned of her cardiac arrest. Minutes ago, I learned of her death. And, yes, I am sad.

She lived a long, full life. And while her death was somewhat unexpected (before the end of last week anyway) – it isn’t necessarily as shocking if it were someone in their 40s. But it is a huge loss and I cannot help but to think about her daughter, Melissa. I very much enjoyed their short-lived reality show (boy, I wish they had started that earlier) and felt like we really got to know them to some degree. Even if it was scripted or not entirely real – the one thing you could never deny is the love and devotion between mother and daughter. They were most certainly best friends if not soul mates.  What a unique and fun thing it was to watch the two of them together. Oh, I really loved that silly show.

But the very best peek into the life Joan lived was the documentary, A Piece of Work. The pain and tragedy peppered with success and SUCH hard work was remarkably revealed in such an authentic way. Please do watch this film. I always loved her fearlessness but that movie gave me a whole new respect for her. And her career, my goodness. Just take a look at THIS commemorative article from Variety.

People say they hate her because she makes fun of others. Dudes. She is a comic. This is her thing. It was also Don Rickles’ thing – but being a man – no one gave him shit about it. In fact, it is the basis of humor for many comics and, no, it isn’t for everyone. Regardless of the topics of her jokes, she was generous, truthful and gutsy. And I loved that she was unapologetic about her work. This is what made her (and others like Kathy Griffin and Sarah Silverman) a champion in my mind and a idol in my heart.

Yea. I am pretty sad, goddammit.




Open Letter to the Jerks Who Think They Know Me


It has come to my attention that people think I am lazy. For some reason I have been an easy target lately but I have also heard this by a few ever since I decided to be a stay at home (step) mom. People are so quick to judge without having ever been in similar shoes. So let me explain some things to you.

I have never been super ambitious or high energy. I have even joked about my laziness in the past based on needing more down time than the average person. But maybe some people haven’t heard me also discuss some pretty major issues. I know many of you have and it may be one of those “just get over it” situations. And I am. Truly. I am not losing sleep over this. I just am not the type who can remain silent when surrounded by nitwits. So, I will say my peace and let it be.

I do not work outside of the home for several reasons. One being that I was falsely accused of a crime and have a criminal record that has devastated a big portion my life. That will not go away. Ever. The emotional scars are permanent and deep.  It also makes getting any decent job very humiliating and difficult. For the good jobs which require background checks, I always have to try to explain in 50 words or less the whats, whys and hows. For the more menial jobs, they do their own checks on CCAP and I never get any chance to explain at all. Eventually, I gave up. And funny story – one of the people who likes to criticize my lifestyle is one of the people who created this entire problem to begin with.

Another reason I do not work outside the home – I have been taking care of children for 13 years. With vacations, various days off, sick days, early release and summers – getting a job flexible enough for their schedules and/or financially worthwhile has been impossible. It simply made no sense to work just to pay someone else to take care of our kids. And before they were school age, I was with them 24/7 by choice. Even though I was made to feel like a loser at times for being a stay at home mom, I can assure you – it was worth it. That time flew by and my daughter is now almost 10 years old. I am very grateful for that time with her. I also appreciate the time I had with my stepdaughter during those years when we were very close.

When I am at home, I spend a lot of time in my room because that is where I am comfortable and where I keep my computer/work table. While I don’t make big bucks – I do quite a bit of website work, volunteer work and writing. Our house is 1300 sq ft and I am rarely alone or unaware of what is happening in all corners of the house. I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I run errands – but, yes, I also spend time in my room simply because I like it better. For some reason, the room in which I spend my time seems to be an issue for some people. I guess sitting on a couch working on a laptop is more respectable than sitting on my bed working on a laptop. Whatever, jerks.

I lay down a lot because I am in pain a considerable chunk of the time since surgery/complications. If you have never dealt with chronic pain – you can really just shut your fucking mouth. Until you go through it, you have no clue. It IS getting better with therapy and time. I am so thankful for that. But this has been the most painful and depressing year of my life  (aside from the year I was accused of child abuse). Don’t you dare pretend to have any idea what my life is like. Because barring a handful of really great people, most never bothered to ask.

I realize I make it easy to jump down my throat, judge or talk shit about me. But know this – I am a great mother and have been the best step mother I could be in a very difficult situation. I am a caring friend and compassionate person. I volunteer and help others whenever I can. I have a banging sense of humor, make some delicious ass food and I am pretty smart too. If my in-home logistics, past-times and sleep patterns somehow make me a lazy loser, then so be it.

As a good friend reminds me from time to time – your words say far more about you than they do about me. So go pray or have a drink or do whatever you do in your perfect life, assholes. Because you are too insignificant for me to acknowledge after this post. Piss off.