Day 15: Where would you like to be in 10 years?

A day in my life, ten years from now:

I snuggle deeper into my bed, willing the sun away as I awake to the warm smell of hot coffee. I open one eye and see my beautiful husband lying beside me. The charming and sleepy mass next to me rolls over and pulls me in close for the morning sex I’ve gotten used to but will never take for granted. He satisfies me, hops out of bed to go get my coffee and make breakfast for the Dumpling.

I wander lazily through the house and into my attached conservatory to drink the coffee my sweetheart poured for for me while I water plants with the same sleepy generosity. Orchids hang over the baby seedlings heralding the arrival of my next vegetable garden. Looking out at the ocean through the glass walls of my greenhouse always makes me think of that small town I left behind and I treasure the waves that remind me I did indeed escape to a bigger and more anonymous pond.

I always wanted to trade my snow shovel for flip flops and the pair on my feet feel more magical than a pair of glass slippers.

I start my shiny convertible and hear my beautiful babe run through the house on her way to jump in for the ten minute scenic drive to school, all blonde hair and big grins on her sweet little face. Sixteen year old girls can be beasts, but mine is sweet and funny enough to get herself out of the trouble her sassy mouth gets her in. She comes by it naturally. Dropping her off at the door, I take the long way home and enjoy the tropical breeze that blows through enough citrus trees to smell slightly sweet.

Work is waiting in the dirt of my garden and I kiss my darling goodbye as I prepare for another blissful day, doing what I love and surrounded by the people who love me best.

My Fancy lives across the street and we celebrate another glorious Monday with a bottle of bubbles shared over laughs and her youngest baby learning to walk. Life has slowed down for both of us in the ways we worked so hard towards making a reality and I love that our happily ever afters happened to unfold next door to each other.

My darling big kids live just down the street and my tiny grandchildren wear a path between our houses because they know their Grandma loves them more than life itself and will cook them anything their hearts desire.

All that hard work really paid off.

(In all seriousness, I need to book a trip to Kauai and start making solid moves towards my ten year plan.)


Be a Lady They Said

If there were ever a description of what it is to be expected to be a lady… it’s this.

The full poem is much better.

“Be a lady they said. Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Your pants are too tight. Don’t show so much skin. Don’t show your thighs. Don’t show your breasts. Don’t show your midriff. Don’t show your cleavage. Don’t show your underwear. Don’t show your shoulders. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Dress modestly. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves. Men have needs. You look frumpy. Loosen up. Show some skin. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down. Don’t wear those sweatpants; you look like you’ve let yourself go.

Be a lady they said. Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. Don’t be too large. Don’t be too small. Eat up. Slim down. Stop eating so much. Don’t eat too fast. Order a salad. Don’t eat carbs. Skip dessert. You need to lose weight. Fit into that dress. Go on a diet. Watch what you eat. Eat celery. Chew gum. Drink lots of water. You have to fit into those jeans. God, you look like a skeleton. Why don’t you just eat? You look emaciated. You look sick. Eat a burger. Men like women with some meat on their bones. Be small. Be light. Be little. Be petite. Be feminine. Be a size zero. Be a double zero. Be nothing. Be less than nothing.

Be a lady they said. Remove your body hair. Shave your legs. Shave your armpits. Shave your bikini line. Wax your face. Wax your arms. Wax your eyebrows. Get rid of your mustache. Bleach this. Bleach that. Lighten your skin. Tan your skin. Eradicate your scars. Cover your stretch marks. Tighten your abs. Plump your lips. Botox your wrinkles. Lift your face. Tuck your tummy. Thin your thighs. Tone your calves. Perk up your boobs. Look natural. Be yourself. Be genuine. Be confident. You’re trying too hard. You look overdone. Men don’t like girls who try too hard.

Be a lady they said. Wear makeup. Prime your face. Conceal your blemishes. Contour your nose. Highlight your cheekbones. Line your lids. Fill in your brows. Lengthen your lashes. Color your lips. Powder, blush, bronze, highlight. Your hair is too short. Your hair is too long. Your ends are split. Highlight your hair. Your roots are showing. Dye your hair. Not blue, that looks unnatural. You’re going grey. You look so old. Look young. Look youthful. Look ageless. Don’t get old. Women don’t get old. Old is ugly. Men don’t like ugly.

Be a lady they said. Save yourself. Be pure. Be virginal. Don’t talk about sex. Don’t flirt. Don’t be a skank. Don’t be a whore. Don’t sleep around. Don’t lose your dignity. Don’t have sex with too many men. Don’t give yourself away. Men don’t like sluts. Don’t be a prude. Don’t be so up tight. Have a little fun. Smile more. Pleasure men. Be experienced. Be sexual. Be innocent. Be dirty. Be virginal. Be sexy. Be the cool girl. Don’t be like the other girls.

Be a lady they said. Don’t talk to loud. Don’t talk too much. Don’t take up space. Don’t sit like that. Don’t stand like that. Don’t be intimidating. Why are you so miserable? Don’t be a bitch. Don’t be so bossy. Don’t be assertive. Don’t overact. Don’t be so emotional. Don’t cry. Don’t yell. Don’t swear. Be passive. Be obedient. Endure the pain. Be pleasing. Don’t complain. Let him down easy. Boost his ego. Make him fall for you. Men want what they can’t have. Don’t give yourself away. Make him work for it. Men love the chase. Fold his clothes. Cook his dinner. Keep him happy. That’s a woman’s job. You’ll make a good wife some day. Take his last name. You hyphenated your name? Crazy feminist. Give him children. You don’t want children? You will some day. You’ll change your mind.

Be a lady they said. Don’t get raped. Protect yourself. Don’t drink too much. Don’t walk alone. Don’t go out too late. Don’t dress like that. Don’t show too much. Don’t get drunk. Don’t leave your drink. Have a buddy. Walk where it is well lit. Stay in the safe neighborhoods. Tell someone where you’re going. Bring pepper spray. Buy a rape whistle. Hold your keys like a weapon. Take a self-defense course. Check your trunk. Lock your doors. Don’t go out alone. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t bat your eyelashes. Don’t look easy. Don’t attract attention. Don’t work late. Don’t crack dirty jokes. Don’t smile at strangers. Don’t go out at night. Don’t trust anyone. Don’t say yes. Don’t say no.

Just “be a lady” they said.”

by Camille Rainville


Day 14: Discuss your views on religion.

Oy…. I have such a weird relationship with God that I feel like I’d be better at speed dating than I would be at selling my Christianity.

I struggle, (a lot) to embrace the many things that comfort and pacify those of us who grew up believing. I did not. My parents were escapees from devout childhood upbringings that caused more harm than good, forever changing how they approached teaching us about any of it.

My mother was a Mormon and still proudly defends her relationship with Jesus. I just don’t have that conversation with her. One of my little sisters went through a Christian phase in high school that terrified all of us a lot more than drugs and sex.

Mom- I thought it was rough with you, with you climbing out windows and boys sneaking in the basement. This is far worse.

J- Jesus is way more invasive than any of the boys I dated, mom.

My father was an absolute heathen. Card carrying. My beloved stepmom got us up, put us all together to look like the perfect Mormon family and carted us all to three hours of hell, while my dad enjoyed the peace of an empty house.

I knew early on that I was more of a football and beer sort than I would ever be an iron a dress and spend half my day off with people I avoided for the rest of the week, kind of lady. Football is life and beer is delicious. I can’t say the same about sacrement, relief society, etc….

I grew up sleeping in on Sunday and watching my mama love making us a big family dinner. Those are my religious moments. I find the magic in the everyday details that I took for granted for so long.

That’s what I believe in more than anything else.

Then I got pregnant at 18… and had a baby with persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous. Essentially there is a blood vessel that connects the parts of the eye while forming, and when babies are born that vessel dies and a perfect eye is born. If that vessel continues to thrive… you have a baby that’s blind in one eye. They have you bandage the good eye, which causes that same sweet baby to tear violently at their own little face so that they can see. It’s more horrific than I can describe, and I was not at all prepared to deal with it at 18. I did though. I schlepped that sweet boy to and fro, scaring eye surgeons and opthamologists alike. I saw the scariest shit that motherhood has to offer, before I could legally drink a beer.

What could I turn to? What did the world have to offer me?

Prayers. That was it. Science said it was a life sentence of safety glasses and my sweet son never knowing how to ride a bike, play sports or fly a plane.

I realize that last one sounds crazy… but when you’re a baby holding your own newborn, you die inside if anyone limits their potential.

We went to the Casey Eye Institute and saw the best eye surgeon in the world for PHPV. They put the clamp in his two month old eye to hold it open and his screams caused my milk to let down. I’ll never forget standing in the public bathroom of a major medical center, mopping up the breastmilk I couldn’t get to stop while the screams of my baby made me want to pull him out of their hands and and walk home. Some moments stand out in your life when you want them to the least.

Jesus was nowhere to be found and whoever this God guy was that everyone kept telling me had a plan, wasn’t a favorite of mine either.

Something happens to you when the whole world turns sideways and everything you thought you knew your life would be, isn’t. I cried a million tears for the loss of his ability to fly that plane, and then we went to church.

I threw myself into Catholic motherhood and bought all the bibles. I wore a St. Christopher, carried a rosary, taught CCD and Boy Scouts. We made our first communion, gave our first confession and I found my voice in asking for help with my faith.

In the depths of my terrified despair… I found God at the Catholic church down the street. I was so painfully awkward at every other church that I was relieved to find one that didn’t confront us at the front door. The Catholics left us alone to figure it out and find our way. They didn’t comment on our being out of place or unknown, they let me quietly find peace in a pew full of people willing to hold my baby or me if either of us needed love or support.

I found a church family that filled all the weird holes my atheist childhood left, and that’s why it’s always been important to me to take my children to church. Not because I don’t see peace and tranquility outside of organized faith but because I know how hard it is to unearth it when you need it the most and also what a huge burden it lifts just to belong to something.

I love being Catholic and there’s a peace I can’t find outside of Mass. My knees hit the kneeler and I have to fight back tears for all the stuff I need to be grateful for, pray on, hope for and work out. I’m not waiting for the man in the sky to answer me, I’m more humble about having a minute to remind myself what’s important and needs my time and attention, first.

Religion for me is about doing what I know I should. It’s about snuggling and reading more than washing and working. It’s about taking a minute to stop and smell the gardenias.

Mine came from a beautiful boy/man who’s done more with one eye than the rest of us have with two, since the day he was born. He never liked sports anyway, he had no problem learning to ride a bike and is successful enough to buy an airplane ticket.

It all works out, you just have to have a little faith…

religion


Day 13: Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

I’ve been counting down the days until todays prompt. Perhaps that says a lot about my current attitude or patience level, but I have a delicious list of pet peeves that have been stacking up like well-seasoned firewood.

Number one on this list has been hammering splinters under my proverbial fingernails, for months.

  1. That GODFORSAKEN woman who fucks up the entire process of the school drop off lane. Straight to hell with her, because she’s a pain in everyone’s ass. I pull up in the nick of time every morning and she ruins the whole thing. I understand having a timid child who needs a little extra love- I will be the first person to smile at you while your little one melts down… but stay in your goddamn car or park it ANYWHERE ELSE. The school is literally surrounded with options other than the small stretch of seamless beauty that she destroys. I fucking hate her. There are two of her, incidentally and I shoot them both dirty looks any chance I get.
  2. Internships. I know this is out of left field, but my Dick Appointment leaves in two weeks and I’m sad for my poor broken hearted vagina. She’s so much happier when she exercises regularly and there he goes… taking my live sex toy with him. Sad times. I’m all for success… but not when it costs me my favorite playthings.
  3. Cigarettes. Gross. Seriously… quit that nasty habit and put those smelly years behind you. It’s vile, is actively killing you and people don’t want to hang out with you because of it. Boys don’t want to date you. Girls won’t let you borrow cute clothes. It’s because you smell bad. Stop.
  4. Whistling, chewing and chomping. We get it, you’re eating. Now shut the fuck up and chew quietly. I regularly smack a coworker for his infernal whistling. Nobody wants to hear your long-winded, whiny rendition of any song, ever. Shut. The. Fuck. UP. (now). I don’t understand the folks with bad manners because my mother would have murdered me for having sound effects to enjoying my meal beyond expressing my gratitude.
  5. People who can’t spell. For the love of Jesus, your phone does it for you. You don’t even have to learn to spell anymore and yet there are still those people who can’t. It drives me absolutely nuts. You can’t “seen” anything and if you tell me I “aint” right, I’ll agree with you and delete your number out of my phone. Ignorance makes my vagina dry, my eyebrow go rogue and my eyes roll around like marbles.
  6. Vegans. Sorry, not sorry. I love a good creature. I like food of the land, sea and sky and I don’t feel bad if it didn’t have a perfect life. I know that pisses everyone off these days, but that’s life and knowing my financial ability to be a picky bitch. I love chickens, pigs and cows almost as much as fish, shrimp and lobster- but frankly the sad ones taste just as good as the happy, organic set.
  7. Feral Children. If you want to love, nurture and pacify your little beast to avoid being the bad guy, we are not going to hang out. I’d bet my left titty that your kids are monsters and nobody wants to hang out with them. If you let your kids run in the store, a restaurant or something like it, chances are good I’ve already yelled at them and they won’t want to hang out with me either. It isn’t the world’s fault that you’re heterosexual and had sex that resulted in a small human. Parent that mobile fertilized egg or I will help and insult you, simultaneously.
  8. People who are incapable of flying and/or travel. You may pack one carry on and one personal item. This hasn’t changed and they aren’t fooled by your feigned ignorance. The entire airport knows you think the rules don’t apply to you and they’d let you off the hook, just this once. NO. Check your 8 bags, leave the many novels you aren’t going to read AT HOME, and throw your own damn trash away. So help me God if you’re in the 18th row and stand up as soon as the plane lands, I’m going to hope you got bed bugs from your dirty seat.
  9. Self Check Out. For fuck’s sake… I do not work at Walmart and I never wanted to know how. Double fuck you to the 4 digit veggie codes that are different at every store. Ugh. I want to purchase my overpriced groceries in comfort, thank you.
  10. Mice. Always the vermin. They’re making my life hell with their nightly marathon in the attic above my bed. It’s a good thing I love my kitty boys so much or I’d poison the hell out of my entire house. I caught one on the kitchen counter the other day and about lost my damn mind getting the body into the trash. Oy.

What are yours?


Day 12: Describe your most embarrassing moment.

I dug around through my blog trash in hopes I hadn’t deleted the original post about this most mortifying moment, but alas… 2010 was quite a year and there’s A LOT of shit to wade through.

So…

Oy…

Once upon a time, I was writing daily, pissing off the locals and slinging beer at a brew pub. I was single, sassy and my daily rants were going viral on the regular. I went to work one night and settled in for the long haul. I looked up to see my past walk through the door, smiling.

The very first boy I ever had a crush on, in the 5th grade.

Oh my. The joys of living in a small town.

He doesn’t seem to have aged with the exception of having become a man since grade school. He’s masculine, pretty as hell and a wholesome guy.

Him and a friend sit down at the bar and look up for the first time, causing me to blush uncontrollably.

Fun Fact: I am actually terribly shy, which was awfully inconvenient when it came to being a server.

I walked over to say hello and saw his buddy furiously arguing with him.

Buddy- Dude, no. NO. Anyone but her.

Crush- Her.

I’m confused, but get them something to drink and eat, and wave as they leave me a huge tip and walk out the door. My friend comes running back and invites me to have a beer with them after work. I agree.

When I walked into the bar, I could see his friends eyes get wide. I was starting to get offended, or at least overthink why this guy was so opposed to me.

Me- Hey did I offend you or something?

Buddy- No, I read your blog. No offense, but I have to warn my buddy before he ends up there.

Me- Oh my…

I walked away, which is usually my response when someone (other than my best friend) says something to me in passing about it. He sent my crush over with a beer, like a modern-day peace offering. We danced, laughed and drank the night away until he ended up in a cab on his way to my house.

We were making out in my bed when he stopped, sat up and said…

Crush- I can’t do this. I love my wife.

I freaked out at the mention of a wife. Cried, kicked him out, you name it. Absolute panic and horror, at 3 in the morning when I’m not at my best anyway. He left and I went to bed, alone and glad to be.

Twenty minutes later, I was jolted awake by a knock on the door. I got up, put a robe on and peeked through the curtain. It was my crush… and his wife. I opened the door.

W- Can we come in? He said you were upset and I wanted to explain.

I was so fucking stunned I didn’t know what to do.

W- I want him to sleep with someone else. I told him to. I’m ok with it.

He looked as horrified as I hoped my face also conveyed on my behalf.

We have never spoken since, and I hope I’m never more embarrassed than I was that night, because I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole.

I am not about that swinger life. What’s mine is mine and I’ll break your hands if you touch it. If I want to share something, I will offer…but just like my panties and sex toys; some things are non-negotiable.

Call me old fashioned, but if I go to the trouble of marrying a man, it’s because I don’t want to share him with ANYONE.