Pee! The world’s on fire.

My only brother, 11 years older than me, used to sleep in late. As teens do. After being out late with his friends, he would sleep late. Also, at one point, I think he worked evenings or nights at a local gas station, so he might have been sleeping during the day for that reason.

Well, my father creeps into the hallway with an impish grin. He was in a goofy, manic phase and holds down the smoke detector test button.

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

Except, our alarm was louder and more terrifying. Enough to make you piss your pants.

At the same time, my dad hollers down the hallway, “Pee! The world’s on fire!” Laughing his country-ass off. (One of his favorite sayings was, “I work my country ass off!” I still say that. So does my husband. LOL My husband does a perfect impersonation of my father, even though they never met, mainly because I say it exactly the way my dad used to. Love it.)

My brother comes running out of his bedroom, his long, usually-perfect, feathered hair tousled from sleep and his eyes barely open. His eyes quickly narrow even further at the sight of my dad and the rest of the family giggling maniacally.

He did not pee. He was pissed though! I think my dad just wanted him up and out!

Good times.

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Coff-tastrophe

I recently bought a new coffee maker because I recently fell in love with coffee. 🙂 Before the age of 45, I never liked coffee. Then I met Starbucks’ Carmel Macchiato. Hello, Lover.


I was spending at least $2 for a cup of coffee every coupla days. That seems too expensive, even for a working adult. So I bought a drip coffee maker after doing some research.

I wanted a Keurig, but my husband was concerned about price and waste from the K-cups. Someone told me about the reusable pods, but the price was still too high for a machine. Oh well.

After price comparison and reviews, we decided to buy a Black and Decker drip coffee maker. Only ~$20. It’s great! As long as you don’t forget the snap-in diffuser (or whatever it’s called). LOL

Well, I forgot to snap in the diffuser this morning and I had coffee all over my new coffee bar! LOL

coffee bar
New coffee bar at our new apartment in Venice! Before the massive coffee lava blow and flow. LOL

The water backed up and spilled out, along with coffee grounds and sadness. Needless to say, I will never forget the diffuser again. Sigh. Never. At least it was just water and coffee to clean up. Coffee is probably a good cleaner? Maybe not. I know it cleans my insides out. 😀

We purchased Starbucks dark roast espresso whole beans and grind them ourselves using our small shake blender. The blender does an adequate job and the brew is strong and tasty. Not bad for a cheap drip machine! Tastes good with milk and Splenda. Coffee catastrophe curtailed!


The worst time to crave coffee is 9 pm at night. Why is this happening?

Won’t You Be My…Father?

Did I not mention that I’ve seen Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Gah! I saw it last Tuesday.

I read or someone mentioned that they cried when the trolley hit the tracks. Well, I cried during the open sequence. When I heard Mr. Rogers friendly voice sing out the theme song, I died.

I love this movie. I was so very moved by the story. Mr. Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister. He lived every bit of a Christian life and touched so many lives doing so. He was allowed to follow his heart, passion and creativity. His son described him as the second Christ. LOL Hard living with Jesus for a father. LOL

What a wonderful man Mr. Rogers was. I wish he was my father. Or that my father could have been like him. Or just to be his friend and neighbor would have been enough. I was always calmed and enthralled by the show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I love that our world allowed a show like this to exist, even for a short time.

There is goodness in the world. Mr. Rogers was proof.


“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”–Fred Rogers

Woods

I went with my family and a friend last night to see Venice Theatre‘s production of Into the Woods. Such a great show. I’m so glad we went.

First, Venice Theatre has such great shows. For a community theatre, in an area littered with community theatre, you might think this smaller-community budget and/or stage might suffer, but you’d be wrong. More theatre only seems to foster better theatre! Here in Florida, at least.

Last night, the summer stock production for high school and college students opened. It was so well done. The sets, costumes, lighting and SOUND! The sound team at Venice is professional and detailed. The baby cries sounded like they came from the stinking fake baby. Woah! Impressed!

The witch. Oh, the witch. She’s probably my favorite character. I am the witch. Every mother is the witch. Wanting to hold onto your child. Willing to go anywhere, do anything: fetch white cows, gold shoes and red capes (or make others go get them) to save your relationship with your child. Misguided as she may be, we can all relate. And Alyssa Pasick portrayed the witch with heart, passion, emotion and a well-trained voice. She was so amazing. I cried during all of her songs. She was moving, compelling and so beautiful. Just absolutely perfect. Hilarious, as well!

The baker’s wife. Hannah Beatt was enchanting. Absolutely adorable, lovely. Loved her. She sang beautifully and she was also moving. Loved her voice.

The mysterious man. Kenneth Glesge. What a great voice! I hadn’t heard this young man sing before and he just blew me away. He played the part (well beyond his years) with maturity and grace. He really understood the character. He nailed the whimsical nature, but also the emotional depth of this smaller role. Well done! So impressed. I would have loved to see you play the Wolf! 😀 In our production, back in KC, our Mysterious Man doubled in the Wolf role. Quite a stretch! But this guy, last night, could have done it!

I loved most aspects of this well done show. The pacing was just right. All the voices of the main cast were superb! There were a few times I couldn’t hear un-mic’d actors, but that is to be expected. I know the show well enough to not miss the dialogue or song lyrics, it was a minor (just a few seconds) glitch. Every character was so committed to their role, even through minor (super minor) tech issues.

This show was excellent by any standard. Professional, semi-professional, adult vs. high school/college. I loved it! Brava! Bravo! Congrats to the cast and crew of Into the Woods! You deserved your standing ovation on opening night.

So glad we have this gem of a theatre right here in our backyard! So lucky! And they are very kind to their actors and volunteers! Love you, VT!

Rag Wreath Therapy

To keep my Crafty status, I make a craft once a month or so. I’m going crazy on rag wreaths. I don’t know why I like ’em so much other than they are so easy to make and I love the texture. I’ve made like 7 recently for gifts and to keep some around the house. Super cheap and you can put it together while streaming Netflix. 🙂 It’s a very comforting project. It’s like sewing, but not. Wish I could sell ’em. 🙂 When I give them to people, they can’t help but touch them. And keep touching them. LOL It’s very soothing and tactile. It’s a fidget spinner for adults! Baby blanket with textures.

rag wreath white and blue

This one’s really fluffy and full. It will probably never show dust because it’s mostly white. It’s a very tranquil pastime putting one together. Try it! You just need a wire wreath form and your favorite colors or scraps of fabric. Cotton works best since you can rip it instead of cutting all the individual pieces. Ripping it gives that rag look anyway. And ripping is therapeutic!

Here are the wire forms:

green metal boxed wire wreath form

Available at any craft store usually. Even Walmart has them. If you want to go in there. LOL

Cut up and old sheet or curtain even and start tying! Single knot around the frame, tie on the wire. It will stay, believe me. Once you jam all your fabric on, it’s too tight to come loose. Show me your projects! What are your favorite patterns or colors?

My daughter said this looks like an angel in wreath form. LOL And my husband said it looked like a fluffy sunshower storm cloud.

Glad for the Dad

It’s a day late. Wish I would have thought of this yesterday, but I was busy doing things for Father’s Day! lol Like infinite back scratchies and dinner prep! Laundry, cleaning, moving, crafting, writing. Ya know, the usual.


Thanks for being Lilli’s dad, Kacey Moe. She has a better one than I did and I’m glad I get to see it. ❤ I wouldn’t want anyone else for my child’s dad. Well. Maybe Mr. Rogers. But, come on! Don’t we all??

You spent the better part of your life without an example for fatherdom. So. Wow! You’re doing the best job without any experience or training! Impressive.

It’s mainly that you fill her with all the emotional things you knew you wanted and never had. That you teach her the lessons it took you so long to learn. That you read and sang to her every day. That you hugged and kissed her every night. That you prayed over her, poured over her like precious oil, crafted her, molded her, formed her so carefully. Like our Heavenly Father does with us. That you worked so hard to stay through difficult times. Thank you for being a wonderful parenting partner. I love you.


My husband usually draws himself in this style (featured pic). So I thought I would incorporate a doodle that looks like him. 🙂

Cats and Cigarettes

My daughter, Pencil Princess, drew these. I love them.

She does not like them (hates them), but said I could post them on my blog.

She did these in art class. The little girl is watching big sister smoke. Then in the next panel, as an older kid, she’s now smoking. Their faces are scratched out, but I love that. So, the little girl is wearing a cat dress and then she’s wearing a cat shirt to show progression of time. I love the exaggerated clouds of smoke and how the smoke lines up almost perfectly from panel to panel.

I forget, did you do that on purpose, PenPrin? Nice job. Love it.

Check out her creations on her blog. She’s really developing her illustration skills.

Tell Me About My Chris

My friend, Chris Churchill, filmed a documentary about his mom. It’s about his whole family, really, Tell Me About My Mother.

It’s compelling. Hard to watch in places. Private. Heartbreaking. Bare-to-the-bones revealing. Honest. Touching.

This documentary challenges my idea of what a doc should be. And that’s okay! Chris is seen, on camera, part of the story, asking questions. But, because of the subject matter, because of his inclusion in the events, because of his expertise in these realms, his participation is certainly needed and wanted.

The film is edited well and contains original music. Those elements of pictures, interviews, soundtrack and special effects all contribute to one’s understanding of Chris’ heart and mind during/after such a chaotic time.

Chris’ mother is a funny, charming, sweet, old lady. Like anyone’s mom. But we hear early evidence to contradict that initial image. Having had a parent with mental illness, I feel compassion and empathy for Mother and Chris from the first moments of the film.

It’s 3:33 am. I woke up with so many questions, Chris.

Q: It seems almost impossible that your mother would leave her small town for Chicago. She left to attend Salvation Army training. Both of your parents were officers in the Salvation Army, at one time. In the movie, we see an inattention from SA to help the very families serving them, much like the US military branches. Did that lack of sympathy from SA disturb your spiritual life? Did you struggle with Christianity and God? Where are you spiritually?

A: When I was young, I was extremely religious. At first, I was extremely and specifically into the Salvation Army because it was all I knew. But also, because it was…connecting with my parents in a way I knew they’d be constant. As I got older, I began to notice and question the less loving and accepting parts of the Bible and, in particular, our church’s interpretation of it. I wanted to love everyone as they were, but it seemed like the God I was being taught about wasn’t like that. I was also lucky enough to be able to see that what people said God was didn’t seem to match up with what they all said God did or felt. So I began that lifelong search for a spiritual truth that works for me and isn’t reliant on what authority figures insist I believe. To be fair, the Salvation Army has evolved on a lot of issues over the years, too. But I can’t see myself ever returning to…any church services regularly. I know what it’s there for and I don’t need or want that. No disrespect to those who go and are satisfied with their experience and who actively love all of humanity. I also understand that getting wrapped up in the minutiae of any religion diminishes the overriding point of it all. And if the point isn’t as simple as love thy neighbor as thyself, then it’s missing the point. All that came from being immersed in a faith that had the tendency to overlook the primary importance of love over laws. To quote The Thompson Twins, “Love IS the law”. That’s where I am now. Love is the point. Everyone is equally important, even the people who are your purported enemies. I believe in God as the fabric of the universe that connects us all. The information I was raised with that makes the most sense to me involves compassion and mercy and love. I believe God, that thing that creates, heals, teaches and connects us all, is love. And love is both a noun and a verb. To be with God, you have to love. To love more and more deeply is to be more and more deeply with God. To love less is to be less with God.

Q: Your dad seems very unsympathetic at times. He is currently a minister. Do you feel that his lack of compassion toward your mother is a Christian ideal?

A: It’s interesting that you say that about him because I’ve heard people say the opposite as well. Some people see him as a man whose calling was to lead a flock in a church his whole life. He certainly sees that. He did the best he could for us but he was always split in his duties between us and the church. And, yeah, the church will always win. It seems “un-Christian” of him but my dad was also serious about serving others which is very “Christian” of him. You could look at it both ways and you’d be right both ways.

Q: Do you think he was having an affair?

A: I believe him when he says he wasn’t at the time that this movie covers. I’m not sure, however, if during the time they were separated, but before they were divorced, that he wasn’t in a relationship with my first stepmother. I know why you’d ask and why anyone would wonder. He’s still extremely flirty. But I’ll tell you, he’s been married to my second and final stepmother for 38 years. So, I’d say that generally, in terms of flirting, his bark was always far worse than his bite.

Q: Being Salvation Army officers, your parents made some strict choices, but also, some not-so-strict choices. Some very non-SA choices, I would venture to say. It seems demanding that your father would expect your mother to attend SA training and become an officer, but also sleep with her outside of marriage. Do you resent this seemingly arbitrary thinking?

A: I see the premarital sex as a mistake or a “sin” in the eyes of that church at that time, but I don’t really see it as a “sin” in general. My dad explained to me 25 years ago when I was living with the young lady who I would ultimately marry that he didn’t consider it a “sin” because the Bible never describes any specific ceremony that determines that you’re married. It’s in your heart. The decision to be committed to another person is a marriage. That’s why you should never judge anyone. The love and the “sin” all happen in people’s hearts and minds where we can’t see it.

Q: Or do you see it simply as two young people unable to reconcile their belief system with natural, biological urges?

A: I would agree with the latter, but it’s also none of my business.

Q: Do you think your father was too demanding of your mentally-ill mother?

A: I think, like most people who have never experienced a mental illness themselves, he didn’t have a good idea of what she was going through or why. He certainly only had the tools he was raised with to help. Those tools were based on a strict sense of duty to the church.

Q: Even if his upbringing was different, do you feel a more compassionate person would have left SA and not been resentful? I personally believe your father, as a man of God, had a responsibility to put his family first. Even above SA. Not above God, but SA. Because SA is just an institution, not God. Do you think if your father could have prioritized the family and helped your mother, things would have turned out differently?

A: It seems like it, at first glimpse, but here’s the real issue. My mother’s illness would have probably manifested to this extent even if he had been the world’s most attentive husband. Part of her illness was (and still is) the compulsion to push the ones they are closest to the edge. I think that’s part of the definition of a borderline personality disorder. I think. And I’m pretty sure that’s one of her issues.

Q: Do you feel that your home life represented a contradiction or the hypocrisy of the SA lifestyle/rules? It sounded like SA swept much under the rug, er–cross.

A: Kind of. But it’s not that Dad treated us poorly or that mom was choosing to hurt us. It was Dad doing what he thought was right and mom was doing the best she could in light of her condition.

Q: How does your dad reconcile the continued family crisis under his belief system? The film doesn’t really address his deep understanding of her mental illness. Does he understand from a spiritual standpoint?

A: He understands better now than he did then. He’s a good man. He just didn’t know how to make both halves of his world work together back then.

Q: I have much anxiety about your accident. Does it concern you or cause you anxiety to think about what could have been? It was a miracle that you weren’t more seriously or gravely injured. Do you resent your siblings or mother because of the accident? Or making you wear that horrible bandage at the dinner table? (LOL)

A: I don’t remember any of it. I have anxiety about a lot of other things, but that isn’t one of them. I never think of what could have been because my earliest memories…are of me with a big scar on my head. I hold only deep appreciation of the fact that they themselves cared enough about me to be traumatized at the thought of seeing me so severely injured or of losing me.

Q: Do you think you have trust issues with people as a result of your familial relationships?

A: Yep. I only recently started internalizing the feeling that people love me. Even those closest to me. I couldn’t take it in. Which means that even when you’re surrounded by people, you’re still lonely and you don’t understand why.

Q: Do you feel that your mother’s early childhood abuse played a part in her mental illness?

A: I think it might have played the biggest part (except maybe a physiologic tendency towards mental illness).

Q: Many members of your family seemed dissociated from that time. Understandably. Do you think they are aware of that?

A: Each of them are aware to varying extents. It’s hard to be aware of your own biases and weaknesses. I was probably the least aware, though. Which is why I’m the only one who’s been hospitalized for mental illness.

Q: In light of modern day approaches to psychotherapy, it’s sad to see that your mother was treated harshly in the mental healthcare arena. It’s horrific that she was subjected to ECT and a padded cell, but that seems typical treatment of those patients from that time. How frustrating is that for you?

A: She and I have talked extensively about it. I have had plenty of time to process it so it’s not frustrating to me. It’s just a reality. I suppose it would have been more frustrating if she were to spring it on me now for the first time. But then again, it’s so long ago—I don’t know.

Q: Do you feel that most of your family holds your mother responsible for the dissolution of the marriage? Or do they see it as a complex situation? Some family members seem to point the finger mainly at your mother. Am I just being defensive of Mom? You know them more intimately.

A: l certainly appreciate anyone being defensive of my mom. So thank you. But I think we all understand it to have been a complex situation. Of course we were all kids then and incapable of seeing it that way at the time.

Q: It took me years to come to terms with my father’s mental illness. To demystify and unmonstrify (is that a word? it is now!) him. Did you ever blame your mother for her inability to care for you or hold the family together? Or were you too young to remember?

A: I always knew she had problems. I was never mad at her, but I was frequently scared by her. Again, this movie only covers up to when I start to have memories. There’s a whole bunch of stuff I dealt with later and some when it was just me in the house with her. No dad or siblings around to help.

Q: As the youngest, I think I do the most question-asking and memory-sharing with my mother. Is that true for you? Why do you think you ask the most questions? Do other family members like to forget that time?

A: I ask the most because I understood the least. Everyone else saw these things take place when they were old enough to consciously deal with them. Much of my neglect and abuse happened when I was too young to have episodic memory or an ability to understand the meaning of what was going on. Which is why I became the one with the biggest psych problems. Primitive neglect is what they call what happened to me. So I try to find out why I feel how I do or panic or get depressed the way I do. It’s because of all the stuff I should have learned about feelings as a baby and young child but I didn’t.

Did you already receive an award for the film? (He has already received two!)

Silver Spotlight Award at Spotlight Documentary Film Awards and Exceptional Merit in Human Spirit at the Docs Without Borders Film Festival


You can purchase the DVD on Amazon. Find out more at IMDB as well. It is so personal, yet a comprehensive view of what it’s like to live with someone who is trapped in severe mental illness. It’s profound, cathartic and so informative. Thanks, Chris. For answering these questions and sharing your story. It’s important!

Loser!

“I’m a loser, baby! So, why dontcha kill me…”–Beck 😉

I submitted my audio collection of poems and prose to a contest and didn’t win. Oh well! Here are the entries. Best thing about losing is–I can have my material back to post on my very own blog! Always something to be thankful for. Please listen and let me know your thoughts! Thanks, Dear Readers. Thanks for getting me. :*

Picture Perfect

I love this photo of my grandparents. Young and newly married. They look serious and somber, but handsome.

gma and gpa

I only knew my grandmother as an old woman, but here she looks full of thoughts and feelings.

I think this frame is a perfect fit. Does my grandpa look like Ralph Fiennes?? To me, yes. LOL

Here’s to you, Gram and Gramps. To a lifetime of love and loyalty.


Featured pic is their home in Missouri during the depression and war.