Category Archives: random

Stories From The 80s. Parenting thru the Generations.

 

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**everyone’s real name has been changed. 

Social media brings up a lot of feelings for me lately. I have to constantly remind myself that for most people, social media is showing their “best side”.  Even sometimes for me.

 

I hesitate to even share this story because the immediate reaction can be, “What does this have to do with your life?  Mind your own business. “ I want to point some things out, and some differences that I process between my life, and other people’s life. I feel like I am processing good thoughts and good concepts. It is the things like this that I ruminate about.  Maybe not what I ruminate the most about, but it does bother me! And I bet other people wrestle with similar concepts.

My mom has had a best friend for just about 30 years. Its been a very awesome and interesting journey, and I say that only as the observer along for the ride. I think most people  want a friend like Sue for more than half your life.   In the course of 30 years, the friend we will call “Sue” was our neighbor, not once, but twice!    That’s right. In two different neighborhoods. In the first neighborhood,  Sue lived across the street at the end of the block. If you squinted, you could see each others houses.   I would believe my mom and Sue were fast friends because they had kids the same age.  Sue has a daughter  about two  years older than me, I am one month older than Sue’s  son, (uh, we’re the same age, same grade in school—same class in 5th grade!); and she would have a daughter with a new relationship in 1987.

That youngest daughter is who this post is going to focus on, But after some down –memory-lane backstory.  Prepare to go back in time to the 1980’s.

Sue had a husband named Dan. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember him at all. All I remember are the stories  about Dan. Also,  thanks to “throwback Thursdays” on social media.   If it’s not obvious yet, Dan passed away as a very young man. More on that in a moment.

 

The circumstances surrounding Dan’s death are cloudy at best for me. Mostly because I was no more than five years old.  But that part is verified, because there is a photo of me opening a birthday gift at our house, with Sue’s kids looking on.  I remember a comment that was made so very long ago.  “That was JUST after IT happened”.

You’ll notice that,I don’t know if it was my specific parenting, or this baby-boomer generation but WE WILL NOT DEFINE ANY TERMS.  JUST BE AS VAGUE AS POSSIBLE.

I am not convinced it wasn’t a suicide, but my mother was aghast when I even suggested that.

How it came be is the big mystery. From what I’ve been told  Dan had a known medical condition.  Kind of like narcolepsy, but maybe it wasn’t.  One night, Dan came home late.  Whether it was a night of working late, or a night out with the guys– I don’t know. Probably around midnight.  Dan pulls into he garage of their home. He has an “episode” perhaps, and falls asleep in the car.  But the car is still running.  AND, he closed the garage amidst all of it.

I tend to think “passed out drunk, but closed the garage first” but that’s just me.  Tragic no matter what the circumstance.

Sue found him early the next morning.  I think they both were no more than 30 years old. Two children left behind, 6 and 4.

That’s how Sue and my mom became close. Sue started spending lots of time, as she would say, “on your couch in your family room”.  The miraculous part for me is that Dan must have had quite the life insurance policy, because Sue didn’t ever work until sometime in the mid 90s.  Dan died in the mid 80s!  So she essentially was a stay-at-home mom, even though her husband had died.  Someday I will need to ask her more about that situation, because that blows my mind. As the s

I had a father that traveled for a living.  From the time I was born, til the time I left home. The pattern was he would leave on Sunday, and return Thursday night.  That’ another post for another time. But as the story goes, Sue says when my dad would finally get home, we would flash a look like, “You Again? ”   I kind of get it.  Find something else to do.  But that’s all they did. Kids had constant playmates, and mom’s sat and drank Tab and watched Oprah.

Just imagine being 30 and widowed?  I am sure the loneliness feels like it will kill you.

So my mom and Pam became what we call, “The Single Mom’s Club”. This played out in a memory that I we always laugh about when we talk with Sue.  There was a diner/chain restaurant in town (that doesn’t exist anymore, sadly, but just a Denny’s type place) that had Kids Eat Free on Tuesday nights.  So, Mom, Sue, and another single mom that was a friend of Sue’s packed up all the kids, got a huge booth, and they COPED.  Kids ran around, hit each other with balloon animals, and the mom’s just talked.  I am sure there was complaining. There was definitely laughter.  But it was a tradition, and I remember it fondly.  Our families were each other’s tribe.   They were there for the good and the bad. Now that I am an adult, I understand that it is not easy to raise multiple kids without someone to “take a shift” every now and then.

I am happy that Sue is still “in my life” via social media, and I try to visit her when I go back to my hometown. I feel privileged that she can say. “I’ve known you forever”.

Sue, being barely 30, of course hit the bar and dating scene after Dan’s death. Sometimes she brought my mom with her when a babysitter was retained.   Sue met her new husband and they married around 1986.

Sue and *Bill had a daughter together the next year.  We’ll call her LEAH.  And Leah, I have a  bone to pick with today.

Leah is now.. what, 28 years old? Something like that.  Well into adulthood.  I only remember Leah like as a pre-schooler.  I left home relatively young. So I remember her not much older than elementary age. Leah has had a bit of a tragic story herself.  Leah met a guy, and they fell in “looove”. And wouldn’t you know it, Leah gets pregnant like 30 seconds later.  A few months before the baby is born, Leah and the baby’s father get married.

All is well, right?  Nope.

Now you want to talk about sketchy details.. I think this set are sketchy because no one really wants to talk about this story.  It’s quick to be swept under the rug..   But I guess from the very SECOND Leah married this guy, he SNAPPED.   My interpretation.   The word that was described to me was “controlling”.   But controlling moved in the next breath to “No Contact Orders”. I don’t recall ever hearing about any physical violence, or anything that would be OBVIOUSLY dangerous, but at some point a judge agreed.

But things must have progressed rapidly, because soon after, he had no visitation and no contact with the baby either. He has a court order for child support, but no visitation or contact.  He is the baby’s father by check and last name only.

So Leah obvoiously moved home. With a newborn. It makes sense. She needed a safe place to shelter and to raise a newborn. In the meantime, Sue and Bill both love their grandson. They love all the hands-on.

But I would think— and here comes my RUMINATING— that there would be some rough plan in place. A rough timeline.  Stay for a year or two. Get on your feet.  She had just been accepted to a 4 year university when she got pregnant. She told me she was moving to the dorms. When I heard she was pregnant, my thought was, “Well,I guess moving away to school is out!”

Okay. Here we go.  Leah is now 28, and her son is going into 2nd grade. He’s 8 years old.  Leah, still living in her childhood home, a 2 blocks from my own childhood home.

“So who cares Sarah? Whats the problem?!”  JUST WAIT.

Leah is a bartender so she works until 2 or 3 am. That means that Sue and Bill put her son to bed EVERY night. I tried to stop by and visit with Sue when I was in town last spring.  She said only had a 2 hour window. She had to drop her grandson off at afternoon-half-day-kindergarten; she had to run an errand, and she had to be back to pick the boy up in like 2 hours.  (W.

 

But here’s what’s really been bugging me. Obviousy, Bill, Sue,and Leah have some tension.  Sue told me that “If it wasn’t for [child], Leah would be gone.”  She said that when Leah is home  on a rare night, she will ask her mother, “When was the last time he had a bath?”  Sue takes offense at this. As if she is eluding to the fact her mother is neglecting her grandchild.

Sue rightly tells her, “Look, if you think he needs bathing, then give him a bath.”

I agree.  DUH!

I guess there was also an incident where one night Leah went out on a date with a “new” boyfriend.  Her parents were not opposed to babysitting so she could go out. Of course, my thought is I am sure they have hopes that she will find another stable and lasting relationship.   They appear supportive.

This particular night though, the child was throwing up. Unexpectedly. As kids tend to do.  Sue texts Leah:

“He is throwing up. I need you to come home.”

Reasonable, right?   Leah texted back, that she was on her way, and would be home soon.

Sue said two hours later, still no Leah. So, she texts her again, “I really need you to come home and help me with this”.

Well.  The response? “You fucking bitch!  Don’t you know I am out on a date?  I said I am on my way as soon as I can”. 

This is where I fainted.

This is one issue where my mother and I are in agreement. “She’d be out of my house”. 

I can’t even believe that. Which is why I am writing about it.

In my experience, I was told in the EIGHTH GRADE, very vaguely, because obviously we can’t have frank conversations…  about sex.    But it was not, “One part goes into another part, and thats how a baby is made”.  SCHOOL teaches that. (and the playground).  We pay people to talk about that!

My conversation consisted of, “I Don’t Want You Doing It.  But IF YOU DO, and SOMETHING HAPPENS (happens being the wild-card word, I guess?  Fill in the blank??)  Then HAVE A PLAN TO DEAL WITH IT .  ”   The End. Very informative.

Proclamation at the end: “I’ve had MY Kids!”

There would be NO babies living in our home.  At any age.  Visit:  Yes.  Reside:  HELL NO.

“Sarah, I am lost. Where in heaven are you going with this story, it started out with something about’ ‘social media’ and “our best side’.  Wrap it up.  Jimmy Fallon is almost on… ” 

Just this last week, I pulled up some social media where Sue was sharing photos.  Leah was in Oregon; mind you about 1,800 miles or so from her home with her new boyfriend.  Sue was tickled to share all the nice photos of lush, green Oregon and all the hikes Leah was taking.

Well, I couldn’t resist. COMMENT!  “Are you babysitting, Grandma?”

“Yes,I am.”

Okay, so I AM NOT saying that a single mom shouldn’t have time to herself, or take a girls trip, or a trip away with a significant other.  Women are more than Mothers, and they have other sides to their lives to nourish.

But “you fucking bitch?”  and she stays home and takes care of your kid full-time while you’re off on vacation? I don’t know if that’s OWED to you.

I do think Leah needs to grow up already. I understand if you can’t afford an apartment. Although bartenders make pretty good tips!  GET A ROOMMATE OR TWO OR THREE. Do you know how many years I lived in relative boarding houses because I couldn’t afford a place of my own?  Here’s a clue: I was 31 when I got my OWN place!  Give your parents some peace.

 

That’s this :”unconditional love ” thing that Sue REALLY seems to get.  Maybe my mom… not so much.  Because go back to her “sex talk” with me:   What that’s really saying is, “I will only love you, if you obey what I say.”  To this day, if I would ask her, “hey, what if I had gotten pregnant at 15… what would you have done?”  Without hesitation, she said, “You would have been sent away.  To the ‘Unwed Mothers Home”, (DOESNT EXIST) , Foster Care, You would not have been in my home.”

So after all this, HOW ARE YOUR MOTHER AND SUE THE BEST OF FRIENDS??   My mom is like the head-cheerleader of Retirement Life.  or as I refer to it, “Second adolescence.”

My answer:  Who the hell knows!  They are VERY different in how it comes to child rearing.  Mom mom’s opinion is that Sue “has a need to be needed”.  She has shared with me that “Sue’s mother was schizophrenic, and was hospitalized for most of her youth (think the 60s  era of  long-term, months of hospitalization). She is used to taking care of everyone.” 

While Sue was our neighbor in two different neighborhoods (only separated from 1988-1992 .Then Sue and Bill bought a home in our neighborhood, again!) The women are now separated by more than 1,000 miles.  They have a set appointment phone-date every Monday. They talk about soap-operas, TV shows and movies, politics,and everything in between.  Mom says that they RARELY talk about our kids.  She said that “occasionally something will come up where we will talk about you guys, but we don’t call to talk about kids. We talk about fun things.  But I have told Sue when she complains about Leah, that “I just never would tolerate what you do”

And that’s adorable.  I wish I had a phone date  once a week, with ANYONE!  Hashtag jealous.  And they really are, the BEST of Friends. It’s a pleasure to have been a part of,and to even watch them interact on Facebook.  They have a sisterhood.

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24 Hours?

When you essentially woke up at 330AM today like I did, evidently at 1:20PM, 3:30PM, 5:00PM, 5:45PM, 7:00OM, and at 8:10PM you wonder why it’s not at least midnight… forget more like 3AM, or 4AM…  It’s so fucking early!  Why does it feel like this day won’t end?!

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RBOC’s: St. Patty’s Day Edition.

  • I am fairly melancholy. For reasons even I don’t understand or know.
  • Tonight, I missed Church & my Monday Night Ministry to Watch my hunny debut on “Dancing  With the Stars”.  I do feel guilty about this.
  • I did go for  a little while. This is because people miss you and wonder where you are/what happened to you when you don’t come. This is for real.  Often times when a person doesn’t show, it means they’ve relapsed in some way, or sometimes even have gone into the hospital.
  • Very few people seemed to show up tonight. I wondered if since it is St. Patty’s day if people were out getting drunk on green beer and high on… green coke. Lisa said “People that come here shouldn’t be out partying for St. Patrick’s Day.”
  • Well, that’s a tad naive.  But Lisa means well.
  • Also, as the leader of the group has said so many times as he greets us when we arrive, “This is your home here. Welcome home.”   I like having a home to come to. I like seeing the same familiar faces each week and feeling like family.
  • I was hoping there would be corned-beef and cabbage for dinner tonight. The one time of year I would ever think to eat those foods. However, while thankful and grateful for the meal prepared and served to me, I was disappointed.  It was spaghetti and salad.
  • They said they “talked about”doing corned beef and cabbage, but they prepare a full meal each week in a facility that doesn’t even have a real kitchen.  They cook on a camping stove each week. For the first several months of meeting, they didn’t even have running water in that room. They had to had have the Super or whoever run the water line in that room.
  • On the way home I stopped for a $1 cheeseburger and a Shamrock Shake™.
  • No,for the record, I am NOT wearing green. I only own one green shirt, and it’s currently very dirty. No, McDonald’s order-taker, I am not wearing green today, but I am ordering a Shamrock Shake, isn’t that enough for you?!
  • Today was Day 2 of 20  Days of Spring Break Peak Season. Chaos.
  • Again, I am not  a racist, but why can’t more people speak English?
  • I wanted to pet the Pluto-unit today as I walked back from lunch. One happened to be out in the open. I asked his Master, “May I pet him?”  To which his Master replied, “No.. he’s working right now” But thank you for asking first!”  I learned that petting him while he’s “working” would cause him to be distracted and not as alert for sniffing out potential trouble.
  • Too bad, he was a really cute Pluto-unit.  A Black Lab.
  • And anyone that knows me knows how much I love cats and dogs!
  • I start work every day but Thursday at 7AM.  Blah.
  • That’s about it. I am waiting to find out in which order Adam and Julianne will dance.
  • BTW.. I figured if I missed Adam dancing tonight, he might not survive the night… so this may be my only chance.

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A New First.

Well, I am trying the Instead Soft Cup™. I want it to work and change my life..but I am bracing myself for a huge ugly mess. Even the directions indicate you probably won’t get it right the first time…

Hopefully my shared bathroom won’t look like a massacre has taken place… Here’s hoping!

***Update: Well, I am rating it at about a 75-80% right now. It seriously DOES work. It doesn’t leak AT ALL.  But…

I had a little trouble getting it out. 😦

So much so that I had to leave it in much longer than the prescribed 12 hour limit.. until this morning. Or more like afternoon.. since I was off work.

I found myself asking Jesus to allow it to come out without having to go to something like Urgent Care to get it removed.

And without sharing too many gory details.. I ended up calling the “hot-line” number and listening to pre-recorded instructions on how to remove it.  Even though the insert reads to use your middle finger… I thought my index would would be a stronger, more limber alternative.

Also, taking me back to age 9 or so… they stressed you have to relax  as the first time may take some practice.  Boy, did this bring back some memories of my bathroom growing up!

The key to removal though was following their advice of… pretend you are pushing out a baby while you are pulling with your MIDDLE FINGER.

IT came out easily after that.  Who knew just following the prescribed directions!?

It was a “little” bit messy.. but nothing like I had imagined.

Angela was right about the “public restroom” situation. I am gonna steer clear of that until I get some good practice.

I would say though that when they want you to keep it “parallel to the floor” to keep the contents in the cup and not spill…. is really a tall order. It’s kind of just well….sliding out. And by that point, I was just happy it was.. without medical intervention!

I do like it though!  It really does work. I am on Trial #2 of it now. I am going to try and get more free ones from Ang’.  They are like $8.50 per box at Target… kinda steep for me. If you want something that you truly only have to think about once per day.. with no leakage, and you are really athletic or whatever… I have to say, this is it!  But… prepare to feel like a young woman at menarche again for a day or two! It will bring back memories!

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CokeHeads Make Great Company

Tonight I had dinner with three recovering cocaine/drug addicts, and it was one of my most joyous evenings I’ve had in a while. I brought up the topic of this local story  that they had vaguely heard about. Oh, did they have me laughing!

Me:” I imagine a giant pile of blow like right in the middle of the carpet..that you have to climb over.”

Brian: ” …Like a ski slope….”

And you wouldn’t think either that a bunch of recovering drug addicts would love Jesus with a passion, have Bible software on their Blackberrys, and quote the Bible like a preacher either. Amazing.

Also, you know who act like perfect gentlemen?? The recovering porn addicts.  Oh, I love every one of them! They are like brothers!

And the maturity I see in all these men. That you can sit around (with a female present) and confidently say, “My problem with porn was not just ‘no big deal.’  I had a true addiction and it was taking over my life”.    That’s hugely mature and wise to admit that confidently.

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Research Ethics.

An article I found very provocative in the Times

..Also, I would like to add, a fair reason to potentially be a Trojan fan. 🙂 Sorry Chels!

A smoldering controversy at UCLA

The school accepts money from tobacco giant Philip Morris in its three-year study of nicotine addiction. Teenagers and monkeys are part of the research.
By Richard C. Paddock, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 9, 2008
Here’s a recipe for academic controversy:
First, find dozens of hard-core teenage smokers as young as 14 and study their brains with high-tech scans. Second, feed vervet monkeys liquid nicotine and then kill at least six of them to examine their brains. Third, accept $6 million from tobacco giant Philip Morris to pay for it all. Fourth, cloak the project in unusual secrecy.At UCLA, a team of researchers is following this formula to produce what it hopes will be a groundbreaking study of addiction. So far, the scientists have proved that the issues of animal testing and tobacco-funded research are among the most contentious on university campuses.UCLA professor Edythe London, the lead scientist on the three-year study, said it could discover new ways to help people quit smoking and lead to innovative treatments for other addictions.
“We are doing this because we really want to save lives,” she said. “I am really proud of what we are doing. We have a track record for contributing to science, and we would like to bring that to bear on the problem of nicotine addiction.”But even before she had a chance to select her first teenager for study, London paid a price for her research. In October, activists opposed to animal testing flooded her Westside home with her garden hose, causing more than $20,000 in damage. They struck again this week, leaving an incendiary device at night that charred her front door. A gardener discovered the damage Tuesday.

The activists, who have also targeted other UCLA researchers, accused London of using “sadistic procedures” and “torturing nonhuman animals to death” in earlier studies. No one has been arrested in the attacks.

At the same time, Philip Morris’ role in the study has drawn sharp criticism from anti-tobacco activists. They doubt that the company wants to help people stop smoking and question whether the study of teenage and monkey brains could help Philip Morris design a more addictive cigarette.

“It’s stunning in this day and age that a university would do secret research for the tobacco industry on the brains of children,” said Matt Meyers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington, D.C. “It raises fundamental questions about the integrity, honesty and openness of research anywhere at the University of California.”

London said that Philip Morris would not have any oversight or other involvement in the study. The suggestion that the company might use her findings to make cigarettes more addictive is “twisted,” she said.

“That is not something we ever considered,” she said. “The representatives of Philip Morris were very sincere.”

Roberto Peccei, vice chancellor for research at UCLA, said the company’s motives were immaterial.

“I have no idea why Philip Morris decides to fund this anti-smoking research, but they do,” he said. “As long as we do not feel that we are interfered with and that the research is done with the highest intentions, what’s in the mind of the funder is irrelevant.”

But critics say the UCLA study allows Philip Morris to sponsor research on adolescents that would prompt an outcry if the company did this work in its own laboratories.

“Edythe is a very good researcher, and frankly I’m shocked she would take the money,” said Michael Cummings, a senior researcher at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. “I think she’s naive.”

Philip Morris, which is paying for 23 research projects at seven UC campuses, supports the UCLA study as part of the company’s effort “to reduce youth tobacco use and increase scientific understanding in the field,” said William Phelps, a Philip Morris spokesman.

He said the company has no intention of using the results or teenagers’ brain scans to develop more addictive cigarettes. “We would never do that,” he said.

Phelps declined to comment on the use of animals in the study.

Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who backed efforts by an activist to obtain a copy of the grant proposal, said UC has no business accepting money from tobacco companies.

“It is absolutely outrageous to see this kind of funding and this type of research within the UC system,” said Yee, a psychologist. “The fact that a piece of research is funded by the tobacco industry, and their singular issue is how to sell cigarettes, taints the results of whatever the findings might be.”

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Lazy Patriot.

This title could apply to me today. I did not vote. 😦

And I am feeling totally guilty!  Like if the Country goes down the drain in the next few years, I implicitly played a hand in it.

And it’s because I didn’t register for the Primary. And I am not caught up enough this issue to find out if I could have driven back to my old Precinct to vote, since I don’t live in the same one where I do now. My driver’s license doesn’t even match my current address.(No surprise if you know me!) I knew I could register, but did not.

Now, some people have told me that once you register to vote, you “are” registered. That you can go to any Polling Place and still vote, because you are in the system. That would be nice, but I had no time to drive around and figure things out. When I registered my car last year, I signed up on the register to vote paperwork.

I am an American. I know voting is one of the key freedoms we have in the USA.

As of 11:04PM, they are saying that John McCain has taken my state.

Does that mean that if I were to vote Republican… NOT saying I am..but IF.. Do I have to vote for him?!

And since I am watching Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Party on TV at this very moment.. May I just point out that there is like 2 men in that audience.  Furthermore, I would just like to add that it is an inappropriate  and ridiculous assumption that because I am female that automatically means I support and will vote for Hillary Clinton. I am not mentioning any names…. but when the topic has come up.. a few people now have given me the drop-jaw face. Hillary is indeed a female! She is running for President of our Country. However,  that DOES NOT  mean that because she simply has female genitalia she is the most competent and best choice candidate to the the leader of the Free World.

I am not going to vote for a Female simply because I am a Female

I am not going to vote for someone Caucasian simply because I am Caucasian.

Just like I wouldn’t vote for someone with brown eyes or blond hair because I have these characteristics too.

**Clears Throat**  Thank you.

I approve this message.

Oh, and the Indian Tribal Proposition TV and Radio advertisements can quit now too. I don’t want to hear the phrase “Indian Gaming” for another 4 years.  Sadly, I don’t think I will get my wish. 😦

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