Catty Catty Catty

Seriously? You can’t pull off that look.

It’s my look – I have the corner on that particular market.

I rock the Bracelet.

You know how you can tell that you are still an amateur?

Yours can come off.

When your bicep grows around it, then you can own the look.

When you chose to succumb to a full body search by the TSA instead of attempting to wrestle the thing off your arm, then you are one step closer to pulling it off.

When you stop thinking that you look cool because you have completely forgotten it’s there, then we’ll talk.

And you won’t get there. Sorry to be blunt, but you clearly do not have the vanity-fueled determination that I did at 17; determination to persist even when you gain some weight and it gets a little tight or you get your arm stuck in a crack while climbing, yet still refuse to take it off, or the whole airport security thing.

It takes a special breed and a spectacular level of commitment to wear a chunk of metal wrapped around your appendage for 34 years just because Sylvia Frelinghuysen did when you were a kid and she was the coolest and sexiest of your mom’s friends and you wanted to be like her.

So, you might as well wear it around your wrist like an average person.

 

 

Balm

I have been having awful panic attacks. AW-FUL.

Every morning at work, no matter where I happen to be working that day.

I begin the day being quite busy so the angst doesn’t truly start to surface until I reach a more meditative, lullish, state of mind, like when I settle in to pull dandelions or I’m rolling burritos.

Then my brain begins down the same fucking roads that it tends to follow and one thought leads to the next and suddenly I hit IT; the thing that is at the root of the freak-out, the place from which all things stressful emerge. Rarely is it the same thing for more than a couple of days in a row – the problems all take turns in my head so I never know right away what’s causing my heart to pick up speed.

Then, once I figure IT out, I can just let it consume me; it’s crazy sounding, but it’s almost a relief to finally give into ITinstead of continuing to fight it.

And then we have a panic attack.

I’ve had worse – for sure – fully debilitating ones. These episodes are not at that level; I’m still able to work while these happen. But just barely. My hands shake, my bowels give, I sweat.

For the last couple of days, IT has been then same thing – over and over and over again and again and again and again.

So after work today, I went for a drive in the mountains, which are the visual definition of “breathtaking.”

On the way up I began to feel agitated again and thought, “FUCK, not twice in one day.”

My next thought was, “I haven’t spoken with N in a long time…”

So I dialed her number and after three rings, she picked up, “Hi Friend,” and suddenly, I began to unclench. Her voice was like a soothing balm. Her intonation reminded me that I am loved.

I walked out to The End of the Earth and watched the sun set over these stunningly verdant hay fields and aspen and ponderosa and cottonwood. Bales of hay sparkled in the fading light.

And I sat, speaking with this friend, astounded at the fact that I landed here, and did not think, “Oh it’s okay. I’ve got it. I can totally get through this.”

Nope, didn’t. What I did think, was,”Well, if one is going to become a shit show, it should be somewhere with a good view.”

When I turned around to head home

 

I’m going to be mean…

Dad: Get off your fucking phone – nothing can be so important that you have to sit at the table in my restaurant and talk. If it can’t wait, go outside. Also, you have bad breath.

Mom: Take your sunglasses off inside. Get off your phone and keep an eye on your daughter. Also, black shoes and socks do not go well with highwater pink sweatpants.

Daughter: No, you may not walk into the kitchen and help yourself to the microwave. You have to ask. Also, you are doomed – I’ve met your parents.

shut up

you self righteous, sanctimonious, prick.

All I have to say is this…

If you want to talk politics in a public venue, first, make sure that someone wants to hear it.

Two, if your audience happens to work in that public venue, be aware that they might not have time to sit around and listen to you proselytize (or they might not want to.)

Three, if you choose to do your ranting and raving in a location that happens to serve food – be sensitive, we don’t need people hurling.

And four, you need to at least be open to the fact that others might not share your humble (HA!) opinion and the courteous thing to do is, if you insist on engaging someone who can’t get away, drop your “I know better than you,” attitude and show a little respect.

Unless, of course, you happen to be on the same page as I, then rant away.

A teeny typo can totally make my day

I’m looking into no-bark collars for Elvis Aaron, my sweet, lovable, funny pup that threatens to take off the leg of anyone he sees except most of us who live in this house. Unfortunately, I can’t even say that that applies to ALL of us living under the same roof as he.

I’m embarrassed and my neighbors hate him.

This morning, since he threatened two people who live and work on the ranch, I’ve been doing research, determined that he has uttered his last growl.

Part of my research, of course, is reading customer ratings and reviews.

I just came across this:

“My dong can be quite excitable at some times, especially when people come to the door.”

 

Run River Run

Yeah, I totally stole that name – Ann Zwinger, incredible author, boater, and all around lovely woman, came up with that for one of her books, but, it’s perfect here so I’m at least giving her credit as I pilfer her title.

Anyway…

Two summers ago, right at this time of year, when the rivers were peaking and some even flooding, I almost drowned.

Seriously almost drowned – not an exaggeration, not being a drama queen – we’re talking, sinking underwater, about to give up and accept the end, understanding the depth of my will to live, not going to leave my children motherless, completely life-altering, drowning.

Years ago a friend of mine drowned – I know that it happens.  I do not think that I am invincible in water. I have always had a healthy respect for the power and unpredictability of H2O.

And yet, I’ve also had complete confidence in my boating and river-navigating skills.

So coming that close to the bottom of the river was not only terrifying, but came as quite a surprise.

What also came as a surprise is, once I dumped out of my boat, everything I’ve ever known (and taught) about river safety, went right out the window in my panicky fight for my life.

For a brief bit in the ensuing days, I tried to convince myself that it really wasn’t that big of a deal, that I was fine. I tried to sort through real danger vs. perceived danger. I attempted to list the incident under the latter.

But then, for the first time in 20 years, I didn’t want to get on the river. The sound of rushing water caused my heart to race. I stood on river banks, thankful that I was on dry land.

This was so unlike me – the obsessive boater, the person who took to the river over and over again as refuge and respite.

That’s when I realized that this had been actual, real danger.

I’ve become afraid of the ocean. I recently had to turn off a surfing video because seeing that much water from a go-pro’s perspective was unbearable.

I’ve only been boating a couple of times since then. I have let other people row my boat. I’ve lost all trust in myself.

Last weekend we had company in town and decided to take them on a float. Our river options are currently aplenty. Big water everywhere, rivers flowing that haven’t flowed in years.

I am actually the person who suggested the one day adventure. I had hoped to float my dearest river, which usually takes 2 or 3 days, in a day. The weather is warm, (in case someone accidentally took a swim) and since I know the river like the back of my hand, it felt like the safest option.

But, no permit. That still left 4 other stretches of water from which to choose. Trying to make that choice left me stressed out and unsure of myself. There was even some tension with MCB about it until he came up with a manageable plan.

Once it felt like someone else was in charge, I was able to relax just the tiniest bit.

At the put-in, I was quite spastic – concerningly so. I couldn’t remember how to rig my own boat. I tripped getting onto it (while still on dry ground) and ended up face down in the bottom of the vessel. I slipped, I almost backed my truck into a ditch, couldn’t maintain my footing as I squatted to pee.

MCB assumed that I would be rowing. He had confidence in me that I didn’t have. Yet, I did bring a huge heap of ego with me which made it impossible for me to not jump on the oars in front of our company.

When we finally went afloat, I got an oar stuck twice in the current, I got yanked off me feet, I slipped, I got the other oar stuck in the willows, and I couldn’t manage to get off-shore.

I rowed for a little while, I negotiated a few wave trains, I practiced my strokes trying to regain my ease and composure at the helm. In my head, I repeatedly talked myself down.

Then I offered for any of the others to row. First one guest did, then the second. Then MCB jumped into the driver’s seat and I lay down on the front of the boat, able to relax knowing that we were in capable hands.

The next thing that happened took my by surprise. I began to get that familiar I Want To Row itching. It took a second to realize what the feeling was, but when I did identify it, I thought, I’d better get on those oars right this second or this desire could pass on, maybe forever.

So I totally passive aggressed MCB into letting me row again. I wasn’t really fair to him about it but I wanted to nurture this little shift from fear to familiar comfort and thought that I let him continue to row, I might never be brave enough to do it again.

And thank goodness he’s a gentleman.

I rowed. Not totally smoothly, not flawlessly, but with budding confidence and no major mishaps.

It was healing, but really, it was just fun. The kind of fun that one gets to have in a beautiful place, with water and trees and views, the kind of fun that happens when everyone feels good about where they are and what they are doing.

This was huge.

I even took a quick swim at the take-out.

So now, I am obsessed again. It’s a relief, really, to know that I haven’t been scared off forever.

I’m not ready for “big” water – I may never be again, and I am okay with that.  I can start with what is small and familiar.  If I get beyond that, great.  If I don’t, I’m super fine with that, as long as I can enjoy floating in some of my favorite places and not have panic attacks.

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Her Turn

She tires of running people to the ER, Urgent Care, doctors.

Just this week, child number three’s boss called and began with, “Hi, it’s Karen. First, Bobby is okay.”

Which means that obviously he’s not okay, but he is still breathing.

Second eye mishap in as many weeks. Second time she’s put work on hold in as many weeks.

Before that, there were several appointments at the spine specialist plus two MRI’s for Peter. Then tack on physical therapy. Oh, and there was Mono.

Greg has managed to stay out of the medical world, but let’s not forget the year of the hamstring which really just isn’t far enough in the past to let go of yet and the annual spring influenza.

So she’s a caretaker. It’s what she does. And she gets damn tired of it sometimes.

So today, she decided to look out for herself, to take care of herself, to worry about just her.

And off she went to Urgent Care with something huge and unidentifiable imbedded underneath her right thumbnail, infected, causing agonizing throbbing up her entire arm.

Yay, she thought, today she doesn’t have to sit on the uncomfortable chair in the corner talking to the back of the doctor’s head while he examines whatever child she happens to be with.

No more falling asleep out of sheer boredom.

She got to get stabbed and prodded and scraped at and made miserable. She was fascinated with her wound and was able to watch the entire procedure from a front row seat. She got a hot pink, hot shit, bandage.

The very cute doctor who, unlike most physicians these days, was actually of her generation and not some Doogie Howser looking dude fresh out of med school, asked, do you know what it is?

No.

Do you know how long it’s been in there?

Nope.

You really don’t know?

Okay, hot doctor, I raise pigs and chickens, garden, plant, prune, climb fences, and cook for a living. I am rough on my hands. For all I know it’s a carrot under there.

Then the good doctor said, If you had waited any longer, it would have become a boil that blew off the end of your thumb.

Well shit, she wishes she’d waited for that.

He assured her that the pain would have been unbearable.

But it would have been so cool.

Then, to cap off a great afternoon, a little retail therapy and lunch with her lovely, uninjured children.

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