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broken

I talked to a friend today about feeling broken. It’s human nature to take things that hurt, personally. If I know one thing well, it’s disappointment.

I really have been through hell the past two years. Hell… and I’m talking about the hardcore bitch version of hell, not the painted-on-hands princess sort of idea of what hell may be like. Envision having a bad day, a few hundred times over… That was me. Resiliency had become my uniform. I’d perfected the art of accepting anything and expecting nothing.

I’ve stepped up to the plate again and again after being blown out of the water and devastated by another bad experience. I left plenty of baggage behind while continuing to search for love and happiness. The problem with love and happiness is that it isn’t hiding, and you can’t find it. The problem with real honest-to-goodness committed love is that it has to find you.

That quote that says “Women who chase men, only catch the slow ones”? That’s the gospel.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem lies with me and who I choose if the pattern is always repeating. I see a charming snake of a disinterested cheater/liar smile at me and now know that my racing heart is the universe telling me to RUN. My taste is bad so I am choosing to no longer sit at the table.

Some men are equally as vulnerable as we are. Shitty women are just as poisonously bad as shitty men and there are some scary bitches that could make a sympathetic victim out of the biggest douche bag. I know a few… and one in particular came to mind today. I’m reminded again that some men experience the same things we do. They have soft spots, tender feelings and just as much desire as we do to love someone. We need to be just as careful with them as we want them to be with us.

The women that talk about their husband like he’s the best thing since sliced bread? They’re married to one of those nice guys. They’re loved by a healthy man who safeguards her happiness as much as his own. That’s all it takes. I know some very happily married women. It’s awesome and I’m proud. I point to them when I teach my kids about what marriage should look like.

Unfortunately and more often than not… nice girls end up loving the guy who can be the biggest asshole while simultaneously making her feel the most unwanted or insecure… and nice men end up loving the black widow sort of entrails-eating women we don’t like either. Ask any woman. We all know a woman who’s skeletons make us feel SO much better about our own full closet. I may have done some crazy shit in my time, but I know a few women who’s secrets make me blush and that’s saying something.

What it really boils down to is this: there are some really bad people out there. There are some really great people too. I know a few men that give me absolute faith in their gender. My happily married friends are inspirational.  My baby sister loves and is adored by, her husband. I know the finest women.

Sadly enough… if you don’t play the games, you lose the war. It’s tragic, pathetic and unavoidable.

The world is full of broken people but if you’re attracted to people who break you, you need to love yourself enough to be alone until that changes.

Feeling broken sucks and unfortunately there are people in the world who approach love like a contest, a lottery or a war. Save yourself. Just say no to anyone who doesn’t have the best intentions where your heart is concerned.

I’m healing from the disappointment of being wrong, again. Until I can have faith in men again and believe I could love one that tells the truth, I’m ruling out men entirely. I brought a whole bunch of baggage with me this time and I’m blissfully happily single as a result.

Relationships are supposed to feel good and add to your life and that’s not my experience anymore. I’d rather take another walk with my baby. Catch a movie with my teenaged daughter. I’d rather sew the baby a quiet book to play with and learn from. I’d rather plant my garlic.

Basically I’d rather love the people who love me back and not waste any of the time I could be spending with friends on someone who isn’t making the same investment.

I’m single, but I’m whole- not broken. I’m alone, but not lonely. Finally smart, but not naive.

Join me 🙂

Grandma

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I had someone ask me if my baby was my grand-baby the other day. Seriously. My Little Red looked up in horror at the person and half shouted that her sister was NOT HER BABY.

I laughed. I was stunned at the thought, but… I’d had a baby 18 years earlier and my mother was the same age I was when my son was born. Good Lord in the morning… what an amazing difference to feel like the “old” mom.

So I went to a mommy & me group. I’m staying home with Muffin right now and I figured it would do us both well to get out and about.

I walked in wearing my favorite yoga pants and nursing shirt, My uniform du jour, so to speak. Wandering through a sea of bejeweled postpartum asses, I feel like the sharpest tool in the shed. What’s up with the bejeweled ass pants? I don’t get it.  Perhaps when I was 16?  It was awkward… but I was willing to suffer a little for some adult conversation. Ish.

I start to notice things.

They’re all younger than me.

I hate to say that was my first thought, but it was. So there it is. They all drive nicer cars than me. Ok so that’s petty but I had to laugh about it too since I’m so damn thankful I don’t have a car payment to be late on right now.

They’re all worried about being hot for their husbands/boyfriends.

I’m the only single mom.

I keep hearing them refer to me as “You two” as in, my husband and I… not my little baby and I. I’m happy I’m over 30 and dealing with this sort of shit. I can remember feeling really uncomfortable at the absence of a wedding ring on my finger when I was pregnant with my son, at 18. I do not feel that way anymore. I’m happy with the silky nakedness of my ring finger.

I explained quickly, smiled widely and reassured the few naysayers.

Blonde idiot: Oh my word I could NEVER do it without my Huuuuuuuusband. He is my rock. He is my man. I am so tired and if he didn’t do all those night time feedings I would just break down and DIE

I’m judging her before she opens her mouth to tell me these things so there’s no point in pretending I’m not. She’s a grade A, fresh off the subdivision, Walmart girl. She doesn’t breastfeed <sneer> she doesn’t get up with her baby <sneer> and she’s one of “those” women.

Those women: The women who can’t think clearly without a man telling them which way to go. Uck.

J- We do really well. That’s wonderful of your husband to help so much.

It’s amazingly uncomfortable, to be honest. They pretty much just chat amongst themselves… about things like baby shoes and strollers. Some of them are gluten free. That’s fun.

It is too much to ask for an adult mom friend? I can’t tolerate the youngsters. I admit it. I hate myself for it because I can remember clearly how the “judgey” older moms were so frustrating to me. I was a good mom, and they weren’t nice to me because of my age.

I am now that “judgey” older mom, and I can’t do it. I don’t want to hear them chat. I care about the world, at large… beyond the superficial “We went with the Bugaboo. What did you two decide on?” I hate to stereotype them. Truly, I do… but the shoe fits and it’s too damn tacky.

I’m not going back to “group”. In fact I wonder if I can make a group for old moms. I wanna talk about politics and healthcare. I want to have friends who give a shit about GMO’s.

I’m a new old mom, and I love every single bit of it.

Even being called Grandma. I just don’t want to hang out with my old self anymore.

That baby of mine is nothing but pure love & joy. Her and I have gotten our routine down. She gets up at unspeakably early hours. I sing to her day and night. Life is an awesome bunch of grins and details.  I never thought this would be my life. I had this beautiful baby because I loved her daddy so much I lost sight of the fact that sometimes things don’t work out. I never thought I’d be raising a baby alone, however… I treasure every second.

I could care less if her socks match or she’s in the same pajamas for the second day in a row. I show her everything until she smiles. I sing the ingredients I’m using to can marinara if she gets fussy while I’m rushing to get it done in between nursing and patty cake. I make a point to write the love notes in my teenagers lunch box. I remember all over again what it’s like to have a newborn that takes so much energy and inspires that much ooey-gooey adoration for just laying there like a potato.

With no child support & no second set of hands, the eyeliner and primping have to go. I have clean clothes on and her pants are dry- everything is just as it should be.  I’m thankful that she’s unscathed by it all. She’s just happy and loved and protected from everything that isn’t perfectly wonderful and happy. I could care less about makeup.

I’m going to make my own group.

For the moms who want to make friends but don’t want to change into something less comfortable.

For the moms without dads.

For the mom who is thankful for the blessing of motherhood.

For the mom, like me… that treasures every exhausted moment that makes life worth living.

I wanna hang out with those moms. Or Grandmas.

The little things they fail to mention…

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In the midst of the painfully uncomfortable parts of pregnancy, there are a few things they fail to mention in the millions of parenting books I’ve borrowed from the library. Most of these details are old news since this is my third baby, but one of them is completely new to me.

Graphic dreams.

Sigh. I’ve had some WILD dreams the duration of my pregnancy, beginning at 16 weeks when I had nightmares of accidentally cooking kittens every night for a week. I was sick over it and finally sat down with my midwife and confessed in horror.

J- I accidentally boiled a kitten in my sleep last night. I was so mortified when I woke up I could hardly look at anyone.

M- It’s completely normal. When you’re pregnant, you wake up in the middle of your REM sleep cycle and you wake up frequently so you remember more of your dreams. The increased estrogen only makes them more realistic.

So I tried to chalk it up to nocturnal insanity brought on by the increased estrogen of growing a baby girl. Until I hit about 20 weeks and started having graphic sexual dreams. Constantly. Trying to shake them was of no use, and this was by no means a vanilla sort of experience.

A quick 15 minute nap turned into skin tingling torture by way of his teeth and misuse of kitchen utensils.

I woke up a dozen times in the middle of the night with beads of sweat on the back of my neck, having escaped from the restraints I’d been tied in… by a friend of mine.

Yeah… oops… they’re never with my boyfriend- and never from experience. I’ve never dated or so much as kissed the poor victim at the center of my unintentional fantasy life. He’s the most respectful guy I know and I would die, die, DIE… if he knew what my subconscious has made him do. The jealousy I deal with from my baby-daddy is already unbearable and I don’t dare add another name to his list of friends I’m not allowed to have. I’ve tried everything to shake it… but as soon as I close my eyes… there he is again.

He told me once how tired he was and I know I turned fifty shades of red just thinking of the long night he’d had at my house, while feeling wholeheartedly guilty and incapable of controlling or curtailing it.

His voice sounds strange in my ears anymore because he’s said some unbelievable things to me in the last 6 months, lol…

My midwife does her best to comfort me while assuring me it’s completely normal. She suggested I Google it so I could see what she meant, and sure enough… I am not the only one.

I do what I can. I watch murderous television and children’s movies. I try my best to put it out of my mind, for fear I’ll make the situation worse. I’ve only told a few of my closest friends who laugh mercilessly and beg for details.

He’s smiling and I’m not pregnant. He’s swinging a spatula at me and I’m breathless and giggling, trying my best to stop smiling while he chases me through the house with the best of carnal intentions… ignoring my shrieking laughter. Gahhhh make it stop!

My poor perfection… the dream guy who extends his already ridiculous hours into my subconscious acrobatics routine nightly while being none the wiser.

I can’t complain too much… it sure beats the heartburn and insomnia… but I may never be able to look him in the face again after last night.

Serving with a side of baby.

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Both of my children arrived early. My son was two weeks early and my daughter… five.

Tomorrow, I will be exactly 32 weeks pregnant… which means this lovely little girl could arrive any time in the next 4-6 weeks.

I have two weeks left at work and if I weren’t out of time, I would continue right up to the moment I went into labor.

Which is precisely what people brace for when I approach their tables now.

C- “OH GOD, you’re about to pop, huh!”

C2- “Are you sure there’s only one baby in there? I think there’s two. That happens you know. I’m pretty sure you’re having twins”

C3- Wow! You’re HUGE!”

All of these comments were made by women, I might add. Men have been so fantastically complimentary that I feel quite beautiful, thankyouverymuch.

I work with the most wonderful bunch of people…. and frankly they’re closer than most of my genetic family members. I’m your garden variety extremely pregnant woman. My back aches. My ankles are swollen. I get heartburn from a sip of ice water. I’m less than comfortable and beaming with the happiness created by the imminent arrival of a baby I only ever dared to dream I would, could or should have.

My boss is the quintessential perfect big sister…. and she’s younger than me. I work my ass off and provide great service because I love her and I want her to succeed as much as I want to pay my bills and feed my children. She’s so much more than a boss, and even more than just a friend. She’s family, she has faith in me when I’m doubtful and she is the bright smile that greets me each day and waves me home at the end of each night.

My co-servers are my chosen sisters. Women I adore who represent every dynamic and beautiful facet of feminine strength you can imagine. We are more than a team, we are a force to be reckoned with in perfectly pressed black and ever present beaming smiles. We won’t just serve you- we’ll stick in your brain as one of those magic nights you had with your wife, your kids… or yourself. We love what we do and it shows because we work with people we want to spend time with. Our restaurant is not just a fantastic place to eat, it’s an experience with the finest group of happy friends you would want to be part of.

My kitchen boys. Sigh… the same men I had such a weakness for in the past who are so incredibly attractive and dynamic. Not only can they smile your bad day into a giggle… they can cook the perfect steak and make you feel gorgeous in a pair of hot polyester maternity pants. The man behind the swinging door… My sweet Mr. Commitment, bless his heart… is afflicted with the same disease I used to have. He encrusted my steak with pink peppercorn the week I was craving pepper. He makes incredible food look like art… and he wants most what he cannot have. He’s a phenomenal man and deserves an equally incredible woman… he just likes the douchey girls. Bless his heart… I hope he knows at some point how much more he’s worth. Some lucky woman deserves to steal him away from the crappy girls that waste his time.

My favorite, Mr. Perfection blows us all away on a daily basis. Our executive chef next door, who runs his own kitchen… but also comes next door to save us when we need saving. He’s a one-man-miracle, fixing appliances, planning menus and running two separate restaurants with a level of respect and kindness I’ve never seen… and my dad is a chef. He’s the gentle one who wants to know how the night went while making the kitchen fix you dinner after hours. I had a crush on him for years but he’s perennially single and married to the job. The restaurant is his lady and our success is, in many ways; thanks to him. He’s become a dear friend and it’s refreshing to know that not all chefs have traded their souls for cooking skills. They can be good men and good at what they do. He’s proof.

The one sad fact of the job is that sometimes people leave… and my dear King Sushi has left the building. When I got this new job after escaping the hell that was my old job, I walked in to see curly red hair and sparkly mischievous eyes grinning at me. Once upon a time I would have fallen in love with his wicked ways and gotten my heart broken along with all the other girls who couldn’t help themselves… but I love him like a brother and I understand him like a friend. My Little Red loves him just the same, and he’s family in ways few people are to us. Walking in to see an empty spot where he used to be grinning is as much a death in the family as when your oldest goes away to college. He’s a hot head, he’s a red head… he pissed us all off on a regular basis…. and I miss him so much that his absence is the only thing that makes my upcoming work hiatus a little more bearable.

So yeah… my legs ache…. and I may have a few more varicose veins than I did a month ago. I slip into my black clothes, glide some lipgloss on and look forward to every minute of my night with the family I feel so blessed to have found.

They say when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life… and I love being a mother more than anything, but I love my job too.  This job has taught me that when you really have a family… their absence stings.

I’m going back to work after baby Quinn is born, which I never thought would happen. Honestly in my mommy heart, I would rather not… but it’s more than a job. It’s my family, and I love them. They lift me up when I’m heartbroken and hopeless and they have taught me the one thing I struggled so hard to learn about myself.

I’m an amazing server and I kick ass and take names with a wine key. I memorize your favorite things and catalog the shit you hate. I know what you drink, I know which hand you use and I remember your spouse, children and grand-children’s names. I don’t just go to work, I come to serve.

A year to the day I got fired from the worst job I’ve ever had… I am living proof that even the darkest days can give way to days brighter than you ever imagined.

I am reminded not to settle, and would hope my work experience would inspire anyone stuck in a job they hate, with people that make life miserable and don’t appreciate you.  Life is short and time is fleeting.

Do what makes you happy ♥

And then there were 30…

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I haven’t been writing lately. I’ve harvested an acre of veggies and have been busy wearing the hell out of my glass slippers. I rarely check my email. I sleep in. I go to bed early. I suppose you could say I’m simply enjoying the seconds tick by as I swim peacefully in my newfound fairytale. It’s been six months since I met my Superman… yet each day is better than the last.

Those happily ever after rumors… are true. I don’t have nightmares anymore; it’s all one big dream about white veils and baby socks. I AM the luckiest woman, ever born.

I find myself wishing I could erase the past two years of my life. If I could find a way to highlight and delete them, I would.

Alas, I cannot- and I would be remiss to do so. I’ve written so honestly because I find that we’re all in the same boat… the difference between me and so many others, is that I admit it.

I admit I’ve failed and I admit I don’t have all the answers. While I’d love to put my judgemental panties on each morning and convince a bunch of strangers that I’m perfectly perfect and an award winning mother, instead I admit that my firstborn hates me and I have a laundry list of douchebags I never should have gotten within an inch of. All of whom you’ve seen me fall prey to.

Ok so in some instances, I’ve ran towards the fire while being totally and completely convinced that someone as nice as I am, could not possibly get burned, AGAIN.

A word to the wise? I’ve been burned every time. A kind soul and a trusting heart render you highly flammable.

I set the world on fire with a heart determined to believe in true love, armed only with a glamorous pair of rose colored glasses and more faith than any woman should be entrusted with.

For a very long time, I failed. For a VERY long time, I had taste bad enough to qualify me as a serious contender in the douche bag Olympics, willing sacrifice division.

Then I got my delusional ass on a plane to Puerto Rico and learned in the hardest way of all. First hand. It’s safe to say I was at rock bottom. It’s fair to say I was lost. It’s honest to admit I was a train wreck. Having been lied to, cheated on, stolen from and disrespected in every way imaginable, I bought the biggest line of crap I’d ever been offered.

Thomas Joseph Murray had followed my blog for years. He’d read of my heartache, my betrayal and my disappointment. He knew how crushed I was and he knew I was ripe for the picking. A ridiculously expensive ticket later, my hair curled and green eyes clouded with hope… I flew away to collect my glass slippers from my prince.

Only to find he was the original prince of darkness, himself.

Fortunately, I was spared a lifetime with a lying con-man, and came home a helluva lot wiser.

You’ve all read the details of my disastrous island adventure, and though I walked away with an interested publisher and a dozen calls from rabid agents… I came home with the most priceless souvenir of all. My self-respect, gift wrapped with red ribbon and humility. My faith was intact, because I truly believe in good men, and refused to watch it end up in a bitter box of thrift store donations scarred by memories of a trip gone wrong.

I threw my favorite shoes away. I tossed every pair of panties I was ever stupid enough to let him touch. I burned the love letters and dumped my perfume down the drain. I did what I could to wash myself clean of the nightmare that is Thomas.

Then the women started to roll in, after I bared my ass and shared my heartache with the world. The women with so much more lost than me. The woman who’d given him 15 years of her life and never knew he was married. The woman who’d sacrificed her chance with a real man and real babies… to sit around waiting for more strategically planned lies. Worst of all? The woman who took his name and slept beside their child while he slept beside me.

God bless the good saint Natalie- who bears a burden larger than the one anyone else has ever been saddled with.

I’m fairly convinced he regrets me most, which is nothing short of a hilarious point my closest friends laugh about with me.

Thomas, Thomas, Thomas…

When you fall in love with a woman’s angry words and you KNOW what a douchebag you are, it should come as no surprise that you will end up on the chopping block at some point. When you lie to a woman with a very public platform, you have to know you’re going to suffer the brunt of the same drama that attracted you to her in the first place.

Well…assuming you’re not evil, and it’s safe to say after now 30 women have come to me one way or another via Google.

Call me naïve, but I am still so surprised each time someone emails me with another heartbreaking tale of deceit at Thomas’ hands. We’re all so eloquent, so beautiful- and so full of hope. We all have so many stellar qualities in common.

Unfortunately, we all have one bad man in common as well.

A few weeks ago I was fighting a bout of insomnia on the couch and a story came on one of my favorite shows. “Who the bleep did I marry” showcased a blogger, named Andie Nash who had her very own Thomas. Simon Reid had lied and cheated her. He’d made an unwitting homewrecker of her as well. She wrote about her heartache and his deceit, and had the same experience I did. Women started to contact her, and ultimately they arranged a little “coming to Jesus” party for Simon, complete with news crews. Andie isn’t stupid, and as a beautiful successful woman, was by no means a charity case.

Simon is simply of the same tribe as Thomas. The lying, cheating douchebag tribe.

The women they conned were hopeful, loving and wanting the same things we all want. A man to love that will love them back, honestly. They all wanted someone to treasure and bless with the beauty of a wonderful woman. Nobody sets out to find a liar. Not a woman alive wants another woman’s cheating husband.

There are bad men in the world, but there are also superhero men who pride themselves on being different from the assholes carrying the same genitalia.

Andie Nash and I have gotten our happily ever after end results to a rocky path we both unwittingly stumbled upon. We’ve gone on and done better and found happiness that’s real and fulfilling. We’re the successful end to a cautionary tale. We’re also a bold reminder for anyone looking to deceive someone. Whatever you do- don’t fuck with a blogger.

Thomas will never darken another day, for me. He’s relocated to the cold Pennsylvania he claimed to loathe, he’s definitely lost the wife who made his home warm and inviting and hopefully his children have turned away from the poor example he sets. It’s safe to assume Simon has felt the same karmic slap in the face. It doesn’t pay to lie, but when you lie to a blogger with an intense following, you’ll find yourself working overtime to cover your ass.

Then there’s that pesky Google… which has really taken the douchebag to task, in my experience. A new email comes weekly, sometimes two…. hell sometimes ten. It always starts with “I’m not sure why, but I Googled his name and found you”. We have an arsenal of tools available that thwart even the shadiest of jerks and any woman who fails to use them will certainly kick herself at some point. The amount of information that hit me upon my return from Puerto Rico was stunning. His wife’s phone number was listed on their vacation rental. She was blogging too, and with pictures he’d sent me from THEIR home. If I’d done my research, I could have found her before I learned the hard way.

Google. Use it. Believe what you see. Inform yourself and set your feet on a smooth path as a result. I don’t share intimate details of my nightmare to torment him; I share them to protect the unsuspecting women in his path who are poised to suffer the same fate.

I have a gold plated vagina card, and I am not afraid to use it. I have an extensive vocabulary and a platform and I will burn a motherfucker’s house of cards down, if need be. I’m a woman, I’m a deadly threat and I’m a wealth of nasty adjectives when the opportunity calls for it. I heard from three women last week that are positively broken by the lies and broken promises that Thomas fed them.

I’ll proudly put on a pair of redundant panties if it means I don’t hear from another devastated lovely woman.

Dammit Thomas, would you fucking quit already? It’s gotten REAL old and I’m not at all amused about having to take off my glass slippers to put my shit kickers on.

Just when you thought you’d seen it all together…

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My dear friend and tattoo diva is leaving. Moving back to a sunnier place… sob. I look up to her so much and value her opinion so much- I’m going to be a little lost without her and I’m kicking myself for not making more time to hang out with her in the past.

She helped me for 7 hours in my garden last week… and I knew in her voice that she was serious then. I just didn’t want to even consider it, really.

On my hardest days, when I’m at a cross-roads, when my life is a disaster, when I’m in love… I run for tattoo & sister therapy. I completely embrace my tattoo habit and I will probably be covered at some point. I have no doubt, because I’m already wishing I had more skin to color in. I have a habit… and my habit makes me beautiful.

I have a poppy and a honeybee princess for my daughter, a honeybee for my son and (my favorite) my queen bee. I have a regretful tramp stamp I would love to erase. I have a kanji symbol I’d love to transform into a tomato… I have the ghost orchid for my mother, the dandelion and birds I always wanted and a four leaf clover because I’m the luckiest girl ever when it comes to finding them. I have a poem about love on my foot complete with a little red heart that I adore. I look at my skin and smile when I used to frown.

It’s still a body too chubby for my taste, I still wear the same stretch marks. I just love the beautiful pictures painted into skin I’d previously resented. I’ve never worn flip flops. I hate my feet. Hate them. I have horribly ugly feet and I’m incredibly self conscious about them. Or was. I own three pairs now. I love the tattoo my darling sister-friend drew on my foot just a week before I landed in Puerto Rico with Thomas Murray. It’s gorgeous, and deserves to be shown off. I love that foot now- and there were moments in Puerto Rico that I stared at that foot and tried to channel her.

I also have a beautiful purple orchid that Nathan Steinbauer bought me a few days before my birthday… just before I found out what a pathological liar he is. I’d taken him in with me and he’d bought me a tattoo for my birthday- anything I wanted- no questions asked. He got a military tattoo for the Army Rangers, something he’d always lied about being. He went back for a second one- the day I found out about the other girlfriend.

Through it all, my darling friend has been there… fixing me when it hurts the most, with a beautiful new reason to love the woman that smiles back at me in the mirror.

I got a new one when I panicked over Superman. A beautiful dandelion with birds… feeling like I wished for him and was so fucking scared of something being so good that I was literally flying away from that same wish. Reminding myself to breathe and spoiling myself with some time with one of my favorite people, ever.

I miss her already, and I can’t imagine not having her to run to when I need advice rooted in love and compassion- and not sugar coated or biased. Good old fashioned strong woman advice, from someone I would like to be more like. Gentle in her words and actions, but confident in her ability and worth. She’s the sister I always wanted- and there’s a lump in my throat when I think about saying goodbye to her.

Also in the increased cost of my tattoos, because they’ll have to include a plane ticket from here on out. Sigh.

Another friend of mine was going in for a tattoo today, and it was the perfect excuse for another visit to say hello before it gets a whole lot harder.

We hung out and watched for a while, then chatted before heading out the door.

… and just when you think you’ve seen it all, and your heart is a little sad at the the thought of lost opportunities to make new memories… a new one just jumps right into your lap.

There on the sidewalk outside her door, is a man taking pictures of license plates. Standing in the middle of the road to photograph cars and actually crouching down to take close-ups of license plates. He has a favorite even… the poor innocent red Geo Metro parked directly in front of her shop.

WTF?

It gets weirder…….. He has his son with him. They’re walking around side by side while the dad squats periodically to take another picture of another license plate. Nobody does a thing- myself included. I weigh my options, to be honest- because I’m dying to hear what his excuse is… but anyone willing to do something that bizarre in front of their kid, obviously has a few screws loose and I love my life these days and treasure my safety.

But…

The blogger in me is already laughing… and I can’t resist… you’re welcome.

This is, after all, why God made iPhones.

and the mother in me has to stop for a moment and hope his wife or this child’s mother reads my blog… because this is worth a chat with good ol’ Dad about the crazy example he’s setting, if nothing else.

My daughter is instantly sympathizing with that poor kid, who must be so embarrassed… but my girlfriend and I are more than a little sketched out by him…. and his love for the Geo.

We waited to leave until he’d wandered on to photograph more license plates…. sort of hoping he’d be taking one of ours when we got there… (thankfully, no such luck.)

My daughter and I both climbed into the car and said simultaneously…

J & R- I’m sad she’s leaving, and gosh that was funny.

Another crazy funny memory with a woman I’m going to miss SO much. She gave me my Blogoddess tattoo the week my blog went viral and I was having a mild nervous breakdown. She’s filled in the blanks and taught me to not only love myself, but to love myself enough that I don’t have to give anyone an explanation about who or what I am.

She’s fixed the tattoos I hated, made beautiful the things about my body I resented & has been by my side during some of the most epic moments in my life.

I miss her already.

But no matter how far she goes… we’ll always have the Geo Metro Stalker.

Indomitable

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Happiness is free, and thank God too… because unemployment is rather stressful financially.

I’ve had plenty of reason to feel bad. Losing a job I needed to survive, watching people I thought were friends vanish as quickly as the dollars in my wallet and being 86’d for life from a place I’ve worked hard to support.

I’ve been a bitch, but I challenge anyone to tell me they’d react differently if they were walking around in my shoes.

I grew up with The Desiderata on the bathroom wall. At 6 years old I remember reading it every time I brushed my teeth. In high school it really made sense and now? I have my own copy hanging on my own bathroom wall. It’s the foundation of my hippie upbringing, and I find myself swimming in it lately.

I can be wicked hateful, and I arm myself with the details most offensive and use them to my benefit like bullets in my very own verbal arsenal. If I want to kick you where it hurts, you’re going to feel it. I’m one supercilious nightmare when inspired to be.

Which isn’t who I want to be, but who I need to be sometimes.

I take a lot of shit. I swallow a lot of pride. I also return the feeling, tenfold-when you push me too far.

I could ramble on and on with an acid tongue and a thesaurus of hurtful adjectives… but it’s just not who I am or who I want to be.

So they hate me. Oh well. I’m not terribly offended considering the facts on the ground.

So my dear friend is jealous enough to post offensive bullshit on my Facebook wall. Oh well. Jealousy doesn’t inspire me to love anyone, and I’m single. I’m fully entitled to inspire jealousy with absolutely no ramifications and beyond that? I know a man who opens his mouth only to bless me with his kindness and affection. Real words from a real man make jealous insults sting a lot less.

I wish I could say I’m surprised- but I’m not- just like I warned him…

J- You do not want to date me. We’re friends. You’re only going to hate me at some point. Trust me.

Guess who was right…

BUT….

Being hateful only drags me down to their level, something I’ve worked too hard to avoid in the last year.

So I flushed the hateful crap and took my little mangy hounds on a walk. I picked a bouquet of daffodils for the dinner table and hung the sheets on the clothesline. They’re crispy smooth and smell like sunshine and spring time.

I baked some honey wheat bread… and snuggled with my little mangy trio while cracking out on the first season of The Tudors…filling out the millionth job application. I weeded a row in the garden and planted more potatoes. I have about 15 pounds of seed potatoes left to plant… Good lord.

Hi, my name is Jenni and I’m a vegetable hoarder. I come from a beautiful line of hoarding gardeners- and hey… I absolutely loathe store-bought marinara. I may be a size 5 by the end of summer because the garden is out of control weedy…

Bonus! Free daily workout and veggies too? See how it starts? Too much of a good thing is still TOO MUCH.

I’m a little haunted by the silence and boredom in my daily life these days. I had the best interview I’ve ever had in my life yesterday, dinner and a drink with a dear friend last night and another favorite chick sighting this morning.

I know I’m being redundant… but for all the shitty men in my life? I am surrounded by phenomenal women.

My dear friend Miss Wisdom saved me yesterday with truth. Not bullshit flowery nonsense, but real “Get a grip and take your own advice” sort of words. Love her. Love them all…

It takes a real friend to see you making bad choices or flailing. We touched on the sorest of subjects…

W- Why would you go there, when you know he’s there and you know it stings and you know he’s bad for you.

J- I have a crush.

W- You HAD a crush… why would you like anyone who would treat you so poorly?

That applies to so many people in my life right now, it took my breath away. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment? Either way- it’s a thing of the past, and I’m cutting the bullshit out of my life at record speed.

Life is too short, and it’s too beautiful outside. My garden is all the challenge I need at this point, and my favorite flowers sprouted this morning.

Baby Bells of Ireland, smiling up at me and reminding me that everything is as it should be.

Life goes on- and happier when you cut the nonsense out of your life. More than that, it’s even better when you learn to love yourself first and let the assholes fall where they may in the hurricane of figuring out how to demand respect from people.

Or how to tell them to go fuck themselves.

Either way? I haven’t been so happy in months and I made a few hundred bucks today getting shit out of my garage.

Purging at a profit… now that’s the kind of chaos I can get behind.

Yeah I’m pissed off, offended and insulted- but I’m also single, smart & funny as hell. I’m doing what I need to do and remembering who I really am, now that I’m away from the cancerous source of suffering.

Welcome to the chaos of my fancy schmancy new life. It’s scary uncertain and full of potential disaster, but when I sink to the point I use my words to hurt someone instead of to free myself- I become an asshole like the rest of them.

No hate. No haterade… and most importantly?

No haters.

That right there is quite the victory, if I do say so myself.

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