Pop Tarts & Coffee

I guess I could have titled this post “Candy & Soda Pop”, too.

Hiya, All!

I have a post waiting in the wings (actually, on my laptop waiting to be moved to a flash drive so I can put it on here) that explains where I’ve been the past couple of months.

To preface, I have been diligently scouting the vineyards as we inch closer and closer to harvest.  This job change has been the best thing I could have asked for and received at this juncture in my life.  Being outside on a regular basis and in and amongst nature has fulfilled me in a way I never could have imagined had the Universe suggested it personally many moons ago.

My “office”.

But, on top of being one busy single mom working two physically demanding (at times) jobs, I’ve had quite a few thoughts rolling through my mind that I figured I would share just because I can.

For instance, Maycee is growing up too fast.  TOO FAST.  She is testing make-up as soon as I turn my back, she prefers “laying out” to building sand castles on the beach.  She would rather stay home during summer break than go to the B & G Club and play “kiddie” games.  And, she is asking me way too many grown-uppy questions that make me want to crawl into a rabbit hole, even though I woman-up and answer them because it’s important to be open about these things.  Oh, and let’s not forget Instagramming and the fact that she receives requests from boys that were “just friends” last year in good ol’ 5th grade who now would like her to QUOTE-UNQUOTE date them because they will be entering 6th grade soon.  You know what that means?  If you do, please message me because I don’t see the difference from two months of summer, darn it.

Okay, the good news I’ve been pondering related to the previous paragraph is this: my budding pre-teen has informed me she is grateful her mom has had a crappy life when it comes to men! Ha!  Not that she is glad her mom endured a lot of heartache, but she IS glad I’ve shared everything from my past (to a degree) with her so that she knows not to make the same mistakes.  Back pedal, back pedal, back pedal.  Truth be told, I am an open book for a reason, and the reason is crystal clear based upon these rapidly developing situations.  She also has informed me that she thinks “dating” in grade school is “stupid” (agreed), and while she likes boys, she is not interested in following this peer-pressure-induced concept.

*Proud mom smiles.*

That’s right, honey, you just focus on your horse and all those ribbons!

Speaking of my crappy love-life, in a mind-blowing weak moment back in late spring I decided to re-open my Match account.  What was I thinking?!?!?!  Two years later, two years older, and one short-haircut into newfound freedom here’s what I’ve experienced: tragic humiliation with a capital HHHHHH.  Let me be clear that if it were not for the wonderful [married] male friends I have who prove that decent men exist on the planet, I would lose complete faith in the opposite sex.   Stomach-curdling only partially describes many of the profiles I’ve read.

Jimbob, 45-year-old man seeking 22-year old woman.  I’m athletic and toned and work out 8 days a week, consume 100 calories a day, and only drink to oblivion once in a while.  I’m not interested in a NSA (No Sex Allowed) relationship, so if that’s you-do not message me.  Oh, and speaking of messaging, because I am the most awesomest man on the planet, I’d rather we just meet in person and skip the messaging because if you are anything less than a Taylor Swift look-a-like, you are not worthy of my time.  Thanks, and best of luck, 40-something, short-haired single working mom-you’ll need it!

Match.com stinks.  Totally stinks. Half-way through my esteem-busting 3-month membership I stopped looking.  I had to remind myself of the definition of insanity…”Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

My Match.com profile pic. Nope, no resemblance to Taylor. Shoot! Well, just bring me another Pop Tart, then!

 

SWM+Online Dating=Insanity.

Ahhhhh, back to my new old self, again.

Let’s focus on the actual love of my life.

You guessed it.

Chieeeeeef!

Yes, I have been loving my horse.   Loving, loving, loving!  I’ve taken to singing songs while I ride.   I think Chief likes it.  He seems to walk in time.  One of my favorite songs to sing is to the tune of Macho Man, only I sing Macho Chief.  You can hear me now, right?  “Ma-cho, ma-cho, Chief….You’ve got-ta be….a Macho Chief!”  Maycee is mortified when I do this, only making it that much sweeter.

We went horse camping and rode trails up rocks and the edge of mountains, and along (dry) riverbeds.  My kiddo and I are riding together, even.  TOGETHER.  Without discourse.  It has been exhilarating, and I have so much gratitude for the two horses we were given and for the riding journey we are traveling.  It is mind-boggling-at the very least- considering from where we came over the last several years.

I’ll be heading up Maycee’s 4-H Horse group this year, too.  Say what?! I know, I know…I don’t have enough on my plate, really.  And, the kid will be starting AYSO for the first time in August.  4-H leader and a soccer mom?  Goodie!  Maybe I’ll learn to referee the games just so I can wear one of the bright yellow referee outfits.  Hmmmm, that sounds like a grrrrreat idea!

So, I’m back in writing action for a little while in between bug hunting, checking grapes,  mucking stalls, and trying to get a little summer beach action.  Once harvest arrives, I will disappear again, but for now, I’m going to enjoy hitting the keys, eating Pop Tarts, and drinking coffee.

After all, I know I don’t have to worry about getting a date.

[Wink!]

Single and content. See that lady behind me? All I’m missing is the umbrella!

Life is short, folks, so be happy, sing a song, and don’t blink lest your 2-year-old becomes a soon-to-be 6th grader.

Love, hugs, and chuckles!

XOXO,

SWM

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Run in the wind like ponies!

2012 I Madonnari Festival-SLO-Street Art by Kasey MacInnes

We stepped outside the front door this morning immediately hugged by the warm air of the Santa Anas.  Today the temps were supposed to reach into the mid-90’s, and I’m expecting  they did based on a couple of trips from my desk to the recycle bin and our Safety Coordinator’s exclamation of,  “Okay, now it’s officially HOT!”

However, this morning driving out to the ranch to grain Hi-C the whipping breeze seemed to push us along the road a little quicker.  As we arrived, heading down the dirt path to our usual parking spot, pieces of eucalyptus bark, twigs, and leaves fell around us, some hitting the windshield, others floating to the ground.  Maycee and her buddy, who catches a ride frequently, were squealing and giggling, “Oh my gosh!  It’s blowing all CRAZY, Mom!”

We got out of the car, and dirt, dust, and debris flew this way and that.  Maycee held up her arms and spun in circles–a full grin on her face.  Her buddy continued giggling, shouting, “Mayceeeee!”  I had to get in on the fun and exclaimed to J,  the ranch hand, “The sky is falling!”  He waved and smiled as he always does and laughed, too, then diligently returned to his morning task of cleaning stalls.

Down the stable path the current was so strong it felt as if we were in a wind tunnel.  The horses were a bit jittery–maybe we looked like dim ghosts coming to greet them surrounded in such a tan-colored flurry.  The kids picked up straws of hay that had blown out of the horses’ feeders, and I gave Hi-C his grain for the day. He raised his beautiful head up and moved quickly from side-to-side, chomping the yummy mix as I stroked his coat and told him I’d see him later.

J stopped his work for a moment as I commented again about the eucalyptus and how wild the sky was acting.  He said, “I know, I know…I’m afraid the trees will fall over!”  I chuckled lightly as I listened to Maycee and her buddy talking to Jenny and Snickers, June and Bailey and the rest…then told them we had to hurry-we were running late.

Back to the car we galloped, and I was reminded, as I always am when the Santa Anas show up, of being a child and excited by the activity of Mother Nature; moments like when my best friend and I, still in our pj’s, were told by my mom to “go outside and run in the wind like ponies!”  And, we did, our manes getting tossed around in all of life’s possible directions.

*******

I’ve been exploring lately, Readers: watching different TV shows at night, paying better attention to what I eat, starting to work out again after a multi-year (not complaining) hiatus and losing a little weight to make it worth my while (wink), playing my guitar and building up calluses, skipping church (I won’t be gone long, Lord), and being okay with being a bit out of routine because I know the routine will always be there.

Life is short, which is why we have to accept change, try new things, and of course, give a chuckle or two or three!

What have you been up to?

One of These Days You are Going to Hear Your Story

I love the fact that I can have a perfectly good idea (or several) planned for my next blog, that I wait an entire week to write, with anticipation, and then exactly ten minutes before my date is scheduled, the tea kettle is whistling, and the bananabreadslice is being cut for my late night snack, MY MIND GETS CHANGED.  I have learned many, many things, though, over my 37, almost 38 years on this planet.  One of those is things is the very probable ideal that what I plan to do is not what ends up happening.  In addition I’ve learned: it’s okay.  IT’S OKAY.  The blogging portal is not going to close up and leave my computer blank, sad, and alone if what I had on my mind Monday night is not what I choose to actually record for posterity’s sake Tuesday night.  It isn’t!  My computer is still on.  It’s running (albeit slowly), I’m writing, and I’m still enjoying a cup of green tea and bananabread. Whew.  Thank goodness!

So, you see, tonight I was reading Paula Danziger’s Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit to Maycee before bed.  Every night (pretty much) for her entire little life thus far we have read her Bible Book religiously-no pun….agh, you know…We also used to read a second bedtime story every night, as well, one carefully chosen from Goodnight Moon to Skippy John Jones.  No matter where we are (just about), be it this house, our old house, another house, the ghetto apartment, a motel room, Grandma’s, we read before bed.  The Amber Brown book was one I bought early in the school year last year, and it is a chapter book with very few pictures.  I did not realize that Maycee would be reading this level of book by the end of First Grade.  I bought it because it came in a three-pack, and one of the other books was about dogs.  BELOVED DOGS.  Maycee’s favorite subject.  Knowing what I know now about Maycee’s reading ability, I decided it was time to get the reading juices flowing again as we near the end of her summer.  But, really, little else could I foretell…

We first opened the cover last Saturday night, all snuggled up in the “big bed” of the master bedroom, and I began reading with excitement.  As the pages turned and the story developed, I found myself squirming as the words came out of my mouth and spread into the air around us.  Squirming because the dialogue seemed just a tad familiar. 

“My mother and I are in the car, not saying much of anything.   What she did say is that she is ‘really not happy with the way I’ve been acting.’  Well, I’m really not happy with the way she’s been acting.  I keep staring straight ahead.  Then I look over at my mother.  There are tears rolling down her face.  She hardly ever cries.”

Maycee looked at me, smirking a bit, but as we looked into each other’s eyes, I knew she felt the same as me.  We were reading about “us”.  Single mom, divorced the dad,  mom wants to begin dating but the daughter doesn’t want her to, she wants mom and dad back together, little girl gives the mom a hard time because she can, mom eventually breaks down and the tears just come, no way to stop them, but the little girl wants them to stop.  No, not all of the details of this book are identical to Maycee and me and our situation, but I suuuuuure could relate to the mom’s inability to keep her emotions at bay any longer, and I knoooooow Maycee could relate to the antics this young main character, Amber, was already up to, thus pushing her mom’s buttons.  And, the dating game, well, we’ve been there, and at this point Maycee has been promised not to worry about me trying that again for a long, long, LONG time. (grin)  We smiled at each other before continuing on with the story…and the same exact feelings came tonight as we read and laughed and read.

I’ve been in recovery from alcoholism for twelve and half years now, faithfully.  Yes, I’m one of THOSE people…those creepy sober people who know exactly when and where their last drink was and the historical drunkalog to go along with it; the beginning of the end.  Ha!  When I was getting sober and learning about what that meant, how it was done, why I needed to surrender to what could’ve killed me, I heard lots of slogans, some nicer than others. But, hey, if you want it (sobriety) bad enough, it doesn’t matter: keep coming back, shut up stupid, if you want to keep drinking we’ll gladly refund your misery, let go and let God, don’t leave five minutes before the miracle happens, and this,

One of these days you are going to hear your story.  Look for the similarities, not the differences.

I remember hearing my story-that story-for the first time.  In a small room on the side of a bank in an affluent part of town, I sat in the front row and heard a woman share what her life had been like under the grips of alcohol.  I wasn’t expecting it, really, even though I had been told it would happen.  I had already been in recovery for months and was sold on the deal.  Nobody had to hold me down to stay dry.  I wanted it.  But, from out of no where, her words spoke to me, and then without a shadow of a doubt, I knew I belonged.  I knew.  She wasn’t 25 years old like me, she was in her 50’s.  We didn’t come from the same area of the country, work in the same business, have the same upbringing…but I listened and related to the similarities, not the differences, and more of the similar there was than at first glance would reveal.

Now, over a decade later, I’ve heard it again and again.  The trick is: listening.  Every time I’ve felt alone, like a failure, less than, you’re not like me, you don’t know, and onandonandonandon, eventually I’ve shut up stupid and listened.  In the midst of these moments then I’ve been able to hear my story, maybe in part fragmented, but there nonetheless.  Sometimes it’s been from my own mom.  Others have come from people passing through my life for what seems like seconds.  Articles in magazines, books, television, even the WWW.  But interestingly enough, those stories have arrived at just the perfect moment to remind me of my own eternal lack of uniqueness.  I’m me, of course, but I’m you, too. 

I really needed Amber Brown this week: her story and her mom’s.  Certain periods are smoother than others as a single parent-as any parent.  Right?  Do I hear an AMEN!?  Before pulling this book out of the cubby I was in a state of mind contemplating my seeming inability to discipline my seven-year-old effectively, without using the vocal blowhorn, already projecting her teenage years of defiance coupled with my future nervous breakdown-and surmising ‘I bet if there was a man in this house using that you better get in your room tone that Maycee would listen to him!’  There I was, in my head, focused on the impossible, yet again.  Amber Brown joined the family in the knick of time, beautifully orchestrated, illustrating to my daughter through the author’s words (not mine, this is very important) that one little person’s behavior and deeds can sometimes be too much for good ol’ mommy.  I’ve cetainly said this a hundred thousand times to Maycee, and I’ve gotten to that tearful point right in front of her before, as well.  But, now, in black and off-white, written in this book for kids, she was hearing her story, too.

Life is interesting.  I’m grateful for the tools of recovery under my belt and the years of sobriety that have slowly allowed me to work on myself, witness my own faults, admit my wrongs, learn, and push forward.  Maycee doesn’t know what this is all about yet; I hope she gets to skip, no, catapult, over all of the hard places I’ve willfully entered.  However, I also wish for her sake that the many difficult lessons her mommy has waded through will have not been in vane, but for her benefit, and others.  Even as I continue this blog and think about why I write it…well, have you heard anything yet?

If not, one of these days…

Have a “feel good” rest of the week, Readers.  May peace, love, joy, and most of all, laughter be in your days–and don’t forget to give a chuckle!