Grad-geeated

I don’t always spell things korrectly. Or punctuate! “in the right place”. or capitalize. But dammit, I’m a college graduate!!

I have 2 two-year degrees now from Metropolitan Community College. A very liberal arts degree from the 90s. LOL And I’m very proud of this most recent degree–graphic design, an applied science! (sounds so awesome, Imma scientist! lol)

It was hard to go back to school at 36. To be surrounded by people half my age. To relearn art. To move from Photoshop User to Artist. To embrace my creativity and hone my skills.

Everyone gambled on me. And I wanted to succeed.

I finally did.

I got sick just after finishing my classes. I never applied for graduation. I tried to follow up with the school about completion and transferring some classes from UMKC, but trying to find an actual job and getting very sick just left graduation simmering on the stove. For 6 years! UGH!

Embarrassing. But I knew I had my skills. I didn’t need a piece of paper.

Well. Yes. I did. LOL But when you’re sick? Just getting out of bed is an accomplishment.

Thank you to my prof who helped me grad-geeate. I was sick for so long and to have this is healing. It’s my cap and gown, it’s my walk down the aisle, it’s my handshake. Thank you.

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Rainbows and Ice Cream

Photo credit: Guy Maggio


Thanks, Venice Avenue Creamery! After we stopped in for a dessert, we were treated to some actual rainbow sprinkles on the way out. It’s all sunshine, rainbows and ice cream down here in beautiful Florida. 🙂 Try the lemon sorbet. It’s lemon-ninny!

Domestic Violence

So, I’m writing a play. I’ve written two plays so far and this is my third. I started this really cool piece about domestic violence and shelter living for women. I had planned to offer as a charitable fundraiser for local DV shelters. Then I got derailed, the project stalled on the other end and I haven’t been back to it. I was hoping to share here for some feedback. Here is an excerpt, let me know your thoughts.


WOMAN 1: Yeah, even her husband acts this way. (Referring to WOMAN 2)

WOMAN 2: (Lights go down on group, WOMAN 2 comes down front) It’s true. She’s right. I mean, I don’t know if all men act this way, but my husband does. The only difference between her husband and mine is that he buys me a diamond ring to apologize. We never know what people are going through behind closed doors. I don’t wanna be here, but I have no place to go. My dad is gone, my mom is in assisted living. My kids are at college and the house is in his name. Everything is. Bank accounts, cars, houses. I don’t want any of it anyway. I never did. I only wanted him. And I wanted him to want me the same. The first time he hit me, we were in college. He was drunk and I was mad. He’d been flirting all night with our friend’s new girl. Kissing her on the hand?! Laughing at all her dumb jokes. After we left, I complained the whole way home. I’d never been so mad with him before and he did not like it. He didn’t say a word until we got to his apartment. He shut the door, it was dark, he cornered me and whispered, “Don’t you ever talk to me that way again.” He waited for a few seconds. I thought he was walking away and then he turned and knocked me silly. I never questioned him again. I’m not sure why I didn’t leave that night. I know I felt guilty for thinking the worst of him. That was the first time, but for sure not the last. When I said nothing at his flirtations and when I said nothing about his business dealings and when I didn’t interfere with the kids, he’d still find a reason to hit. Or choke. Or…humiliate. All alone, at night, in private. In our room. In bed. I don’t keep this ring because I love jewelry or I like how it looks on my finger. I keep it because I’m not ready to give up on love. And I feel safe with it on. That’s ridiculous, I know. But you know, I earned this ring. I had to take a punch or two…or ten…to get it.


So that’s just one of the women I’m writing for. The idea is that they are in group therapy in the shelter and one by one, between dialogue, we hear each individual story over the course of the play. Really minimal set. Also, flashbacks of a woman from the 70s, winding up in the hospital for the umpteenth time, finally able to go to the new DV shelter that just opened. Her name is Hope.

I’d love to hear ideas, stories and feedback. Thanks for reading.

Moved

Haven’t written in a while! Finally moved, halfway through unpacking. Got internet service back! Phew. Feeling like a human again.


I knew I wouldn’t be able to write on the way down to Florida. That bothered me a little. I was driving through Missouri, making our way toward St. Louis to head down south, and I could feel the pull to write. That was cool, but at the same time–anguish. I have blogged so much lately, I couldn’t process my feelings without writing them down. All I could do is think and form perfect, evaporative sentences that would vanish with the miles behind me. You know, what non-writers do while driving. 🙂

I relearned my pre-writer meditation of sorting out problems and quieting voices without written letters. It was hard to adapt, but accept it I did. It was frustrating at first, but I settled into churning waves of beach-pounding thoughts of what-if and what-not. Regret, remorse, remembrance. Sorrow, love and forgiveness. For myself and others. A photo album of feelings to flip through while Florida-bound.

The rest of the time was spent talking to my daughter, laughing about silly signs and license plates and even having the dreaded chats about sex, physical maturity, venereal disease and tampon use. UGH! Hard conversations in a car with your teenage daughter while looking for the nearest bathroom. Road trip!

It was great though. Except for Nashville traffic. The highway interchanges in the bowels of the Country Music Capital of the World were hellish. I almost crashed my car and caused my husband to crash the U-haul truck and trailer he was driving. Not fun. But we had to keep going. I was confused, tired and snarled in traffic with my husband behind me. I just wanted to stop, but we were behind schedule and had to make it to Valdosta, GA that night. We only made it to Dalton.

My husband and I agreed to stop and rest. He rose before us and headed out early from the motel. God bless him. I don’t know how he did it. I was not able to catch up to him (I could go faster than he could with a truck), but he made it here to Florida just a little late. He’s my hero for that. We (mainly he because he had the truck with our stuff) had to meet the movers and he hauled house to get here. No speeding, no tickets, no accidents and our furniture made it with only a few scratches. I’d rather my dining table legs suffer a few scrapes than any of my loved ones.

We followed up just a few hours later, but the movers were already done when I got here. 10 minutes before I rolled up to the door. The timing was perfect because if I had to look at the messy back of a truck any more, I would flip bat-guano-crazy out. Movers paid, showers taken, food eaten, lights out.

Here are some pictures of our trip and first week here in sunny Venice, Florida. I am so happy.

martha laughing
A little out of focus, but Lilli’s first time shooting a human subject. Not bad! And I love that I’m smiling so big. Happy to be out of the car for a few moments on the road.
taking a break
Taking a break on the curb at random gas station. Happy to be out of the car as well!
eyes in the bush
Lilli took this one! Cool! Looks like eyes in the bush. Yikes! It’s some intersection stoplights though. Phew. 🙂 Good shot! Nice bokeh!!
lilli park palm 2
She’s a Floridian now!
happy
My uniform. I am not beach-body ready, but it gets hot! Gut bare, don’t care. Too happy and busy to worry about what I look like to others. I’ve seen worse.
raccoons
Aggressive raccoons! Stealing fellow beach-goers unsecured snacks. Dang! Funny to watch, but the picnickers were nervous and irritated. Lock up yer snacks!!!
guilty raccoon
Filthy, guilty raccoon. But so darn cute.
green rocks 2
Have you seen anything so gorgeous? Rocks below beach platform we viewed the Gulf and sunset at Caspersen Beach (shark tooth capital of the world?)
guy beach
A rarely-requested snap for his mates back home. Truly at peace. :*
sunset 2 marino beach
Gorgeous sunset from our private beach.
sunset marino beach
More.
sunset marino beach 3
*Angels singing*
wonky shot sunset
I love this wonky angle.
sunset almost gone
Almost gone.

My daughter watched the sunset; she was still and quiet. As we got up to head home, she looked me in the eyes, “I am so thankful to God.”

Not to me. Not to her parents. Not to anyone or thing but God. That touched me so deeply. That’s what you want to hear as a parent. Not pats on the back of “You’re the best, Mom.” But deep-down gratitude to our Savior and Provider.

I am so thankful to God, too. Glory be.

Bye-bye, KC! We love you.

The sun sets on our time in KC.


I’ve lived in KC my whole life. I was a proud Missourian. I will always be a Kansas Citian, deep down in my heart. And I will always bleed blue. ❤ Royals!

My time in KC will be a love letter. One that I read over and over for the rest of my life.

KC, you made me. Cradled me. Rocked me to sleep on the shores of your streams. And carried me down on your soft, rolling hills. Sweet, cut alfalfa in the spring and hickory smoke in the fall. Worlds of Fun. Town Topic. Fort Osage. Grain Valley Eagles. Hair curlers on top of Bartle Hall. And friends. And Mom.

I won’t forget you. In fact, I will miss you. Deeply.

I’ll miss your flowers and birds. Your trails and trees. Your friendly people and amazing places. BBQ and steak done right. Your simple way of doing things and your down-to-earth/down-to-business demeanor.

But I won’t miss your snow, ice, roads, bridges and freezing temps. Sorry. LOL

It is time for us to go. We will now be beach bums in Venice, Florida. 400 yards from the ocean and sand. Every time I get near the ocean, I feel like I’m home. I can breathe here. I can relax here. I can LIVE here. It’s certainly a fountain of youth and tranquility.

I love you, KC. But the beach got me like dis.

turtle beach red hoodie

We are moving today. I haven’t said anything because I couldn’t handle the enormity of it. It’s a relief to finally say. We love you, Friends, Mom. We’ll be back for visits. Wish us well. :*

Tattoo?

I don’t think I will ever get a tattoo. But if I did I would get this.

god raise this temple

On my back? Right between the shoulder blades? Help me here, French Speakers. Did I get this right? It should say, “God has raised this temple.” Google Translator may have simplified or misinterpreted.

Or, I would get this on my arm.

heart sleeve
Wear your heart on your sleeve and leave your game on the field.

But! Arm tats are not my thing. But if they were, I would be tatted up right now!

I will probably never get a tattoo because I am a suburban housewife who has too many scars as it is. Nice to think about though. If I’m ever tied down and held at gunpoint and forcibly tattooed, I’ll have a few ideas to throw out. They probably won’t be taking suggestions though. Oh well. Heart with “Mother” in the middle it is then. That or skulls and bones. Whatever my captors decide. Go easy!