Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Confessions: My First Love

Today I am linking up with the wonderful Hot Ash from More Than Cheese And Beer for Sunday Confessions. The prompt is First Love. Grab a cup of something tasty, sit back and relax and read on and please don't forgret to head on back to the link up and check out the other brave bloggers who joined in today.

I was born a hopeless romantic. It is a cruel fate for a girl living in this world. I always imagined my first relationship to be of mushy love poems, saccharin sweet nick names and a lot of hand holding and splitting ice cream sundaes.

My first love, my first head-over-heels, butterflies dancing in my tummy, awkward, blush inducing, ugly crying when the heartbreak came was a disaster. I make no pretense of a happy, pure, sweet love. It was wrong and hidden and even 16 years later I find myself having trouble writing about it. Writing about him.

He wasn't my first kiss.

He wasn't the first to cop a feel.

He was, however, the first that made me feel. Good and bad. Physically and emotionally. He made me feel those feelings. The overwhelming, all consuming, powerful, amorous feelings.

I had just turned 14. He had moved in next door in the crappy duplex we lived in. He was older-in his mid twenties older-and just gotten out of prison and crashing with a long time friend of his.

His name was Jason. It started out somewhat sweet. He would come over when my mom was gone asking to borrow this or that. He would wait for me when I got off the bus in our long driveway and walk me home. He would feed me compliments. He would pick me flowers and leave them in my screendoor. He made me feel special.

When I step back now, I get a sick feeling. It was never love or anything close to it. It was manipulation and grooming. And he had all the tools.

Eventually the relationship progressed from curious innuendos to a physical relationship. And the niceties stopped immediately. The only compliments I received from him were backhanded. If I ever ate in front of him, he would mock me and question if I really needed to eat. He bought me alcohol and would get angry and rageful if I didn't want to drink.  He would accuse me of cheating on him and tell me that no one wanted me around anyway so it was better to stay home and not go out with friends.

He forgot my name seemingly. He would only call me a goodie two shoes, a fat ass, stupid slut or my favorite a bitch unless we were around other people, then he would act like he did not know me.

I was scared and becoming withdrawn and only blossomed when he gave me the rare five minutes of adoration he could muster, the five minutes of brain washing to keep a stupid teenage girl hooked.

My mother could sense something and asked frequently how she could help but I shared nothing until years later. I could not allow myself to shame her. I would not allow myself to embarrass her with my stupid actions. She would have been so disappointed, that was what I told myself. 

The one friend I confided in explained to me, that it must have been something I was doing wrong to make him upset and I should try to change. Years later at her graduation party, when I walked in on her dad hauling off on her mom, I totally understood where that horrid advice came from.

That hopeless romantic in me got scared and took off running. Something inside me broke, a little part of me that was full of light and silliness dimmed. I began to hate myself and my ridiculous notion of love.

I thought that I messed up a possible good relationship, that I was doing the wrong things, that I was a failure and that I was not worthy of love. Of being taken on dates and sweet kisses. Silly nicknames and inside jokes. I was not worthy to be cherished and respected. I began to believe I deserved his rough hands and cruel tongue. I began to believe I was worthless and could do no right. I began to believe this was the only way I deserved to be loved.

It lasted for months but felt like eternity. He ended up going back to prison for an assault and battery charge.  It has taken me years to unlearn the way of thinking he introduced me to.

It took a few more crappy 'boyfriends' and bad experiences to realize I didn't deserve to be treated like shit.

It took one man with the patience of a thousand to instill in me that I was worthy of love but that I needed to love myself first to fully accept and appreciate the love in the world.

It took me a while to fall back in love with life, to trust it, to cherish it. Even though I am with a man who loves me and cherishes me with my goofy, giddiness and solemn, serious moments. It has taken years to move forward, to trust that not every man is the same, that every relationship is not doomed, that it is okay to be a hopeless romantic.

Even after the first few years of our relationship, I didn't quite trust him, I didn't quite believe he could love me like he promised he did. He never tired of complimenting me or loving me but begged me to love myself. To tell myself at one thing I liked about myself a day for a week, for a month, then for a year. To journal, to write again, to paint again, to be brave enough to trust myself and my feelings and to let them out. To fall in love with myself.

And I have.

If you have not I encourage you to do so. It is a journey, a long one, a never ending one, one I expect to be on the rest of my life. It is a beautiful relationship where you only fall deeper in love and trust and begin to do what you want to do. I imagine that this feeling I have, loving myself, is what my first love should have felt like-new and adventurous, sweet and simple, innocent then lovingly educated.

With this love I can love harder and wiser. I do not doubt my worth or value or look to someone else to define me. I define me. I accept me. I love me. I accept love and compliments and never let anyone talk down to me or disrespect me. I am worthy of love and so much more.  I am a renewed, foolhardy, hopeless romantic. I cannot help it and don't want to.

Love is not easy. lt is not all happy times and musical inducing moments.  Sometimes it is pain and heartache and bewildering and you must lean on your inner strength to help you through the confusing times. lt is building yourself up when you are spiraling to new crazy depths. lt is learning to move on, forgiving, and accepting what is best for you and realizing you are worthy of love.

Love and self-love is not easy or for the weak. lt demands courage and hardwork and just enough foolishness to believe in the good, the sweet, the romance that lives in this world.

My first love had its occasional sweet moments, gentle kisses and furtive glances but was soured by manipulative behaviors and cruel actions. It is a chapter of my life I cannot change. Without that chapter I would never know the beauty and reality of this love, of a hard, breathtaking love, of the joy of learning to accept love and love myself.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Use Your Words: September 12, 2014

Happy Friday friends!

Today’s post is a writing challenge.This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using:

death first ~ neverending ~ love ~ honor ~ green jello

They were submitted by: Robin from Someone Else's Genius.

Thanks Robin :)

The sun shone dimly through the kitchen window. I stood in the kitchen I had grown up in, shaking and gripping the counter for dear life. The day that was just breaking should be full of promise and hope but it was simply breaking-like I was.

My younger sister sat in her well-worn, blue flannel, robe, her hands loosely holding the cup of steaming tea in front of her. Earl grey. It was her go to when life became too much. Some people turn to alcohol; my sweet sister turns to tea, her hypnotic, narcotic for her soul. Her eyes were staring far away, maybe to a distant memory of a happier time, maybe to the last vacation we took with our parents, I just knew she was anywhere but here and now.

I just knew when I got the call at 4:00 a.m. that the only place I could be, the only place that would bring me some semblance of comfort was wherever my sister was. I drove blindly, begging the tears to stop and praying for courage and strength to get me to the house where we grew up.

My parents had a love that was legendary and never-ending. It was bold and comforting. My father loved my mother with a quiet passion that was undeniable. They would rather face death first then renounce the love that had for each other. When you were in the same room as them, you could feel the love fill the room. When they left, they left a little of their love behind, a trail to a happy life.

They worked hard their whole lives. My father worked at a factory 6 days a week. He came home dirty and foul smelling. Whenever my sister and I would scrunch our faces at the chemical smell that clung to my father when he got out of work, my mother would admonish us. She told us that smell was the smell of sacrifice and hard work. That was the smell that put food on our table and clothes on our back and we should be honored to smell it. Her love for my father was just as fierce as the love he had for her.

My mother worked hard as well. She kept the house, kept us, somehow kept her mind and was always taking odd and end jobs. There was no job that was too big or too little for my mother. She would clean people's houses and do clothing alterations for the women in our neighborhood. Eventually, they saved enough so she could open her own little dry-cleaning and alteration shop.

It was even more hard work, but my parents loved it because it was theirs. They made their dreams come to life and had love to support each other and every one of their endeavors. When it was time, they sold it, for a good profit. I sometimes thought I should have shown more interest, invested myself in it, wanted that life, but I didn't. My parents never expected my sister or I to take over, but I wonder if we would be sitting here this sour morning if one of us were still running that little store.

After they retired, my parents started enjoying vacations they had always dreamed of taking. Mexico. The Grand Canyon. Thailand. An Alaskan Cruise.

And this cursed one, to Machu Picchu, in Peru.

Absentmindedly, I opened the fridge looking for something. The normally, scrumptious left overs held no appeal to me. The tea and lemonade on the shelves would not quench my thirst. I shut the door, I would not find anything in here, I was searching for answers and peace, not green jello.

On my still shaky legs I left the fridge and went to the table to sit with my sister. She stopped staring at the calendar on the wall and turned slowly to me. The phone began to ring and we both jumped up. When I picked up, it was a bad connection, with a person speaking English poorly, but we did not care. We hungered for information, for any news on our parents.

"Hello, is Clara there? Clara? This Eddie, we talk earlier. Your parents are at hospital now, we were able to rescue them and get them to hospital. They not conscious and have lots of injuries. I have passed your information to hospital; they call you when they know more."

'Thank you', I say, numbly and quietly but with much love. 'Thank you, for keeping us updated' , I whispered and hung up the phone. My hand gripped the base of the phone, clutching at my only connection to my parents wondering when we would hear again. Slowly, I forced my hand to slip off the receiver, letting go and hoping when we did hear, that it would be good news, better news.

I was still in shock from the first phone call that woke me up this morning. The one where I first spoke to Eddie, their travel guide, who said they had fallen off Machu Picchu and that there was a rescue effort in progress but they had not reached them yet. I was confused, so confused, I knew they were going there to see it, never in my wildest dreams would I think they would attempt to climb it. But they did and were not successful.

My sister and I clung to each other and cried. We wished and prayed to anything and anyone that would listen. We needed good news. We needed them to be okay.

We needed our parents.

The sun began to shine through the window, brighter and filling the room with its light. Reminding me that things can always get brighter. Dear God, I needed that reminder that things could get brighter.

Please stop by the other brave bloggers who linked up and see what they did with the words they were given::

Baking In A Tornado

Spatulas On Parade

Stacy Sews and Schools

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Evil Joy Speaks

Someone Else’s Genius

Confessions of a part-time working mom

Follow me home . . .

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

The Sadder But Wiser Girl

Battered Hope

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Featurette Wednesday: September 10, 2014

It has been a while since I have done a Featurette on a person.

I think it is time to bring this back. In the past, I have done my featurettes on Fridays, but I think Wednesdays work better as I am currently doing Wonderful Wednesdays where the point is not to ignore the bad and evil in the world, but to focus on the good that is abundant in the world as well.
Featurette Wednesday is now the name.

Kindness is the game.

Typically, in the past on Fridays, I interview a person with the majority of questions focusing on kindness.

But why?

Because we see negativity every day and I think it is important to focus on the positive and remind ourselves that there are wonderful people in this world.

No matter a person's background, status, or creed I believe they have been shown kindness in their life and have shown others kindness as well.

And I would like to tell that story.

Josephine is a volunteer at my work. Whenever she is here, she lights the place up with her contagious smile, easy going attitude and willingness to help. She is a survivor of breast cancer and everything else life has thrown at her. While some people tend to hold on to the things that have hurt them, Josephine has grown from them and used them as stepping stones to bring happiness and love to those around her.

When she comes in to volunteer, she talks with the patients, helps them get ready for their exams, and offers help to the staff when she can. But most of all she is herself. She is genuine and that is treasured that above all else. Our department is graced by Josephine's presence once a week, which we always crave more, but we know we are lucky to to have a volunteer who is sweet, caring and full of love.

Name: Josephine Terrell

Age: 45

Favorite Quote or personal motto: This helped me when I was waiting to find out if I needed have chemotherapy. A fellow church goer came up to me and offered me encouragement. He told me, 'Sometimes you think we have to have this great big faith, but we don’t, sometimes we need just that mustard seed sized faith to help get us through the day'. It was exactly I needed to hear and has stayed with me ever since.

Best act of kindness you have received/witnessed:

When I began going through my radiation treatment, I received this beautiful, big plant that had gift cards to places that I liked to eat and shop. Later on, I found out it was an organization called Tempting Tables, that does acts of kindness for patients going through treatment that gave me that basket. It truly lifted my spirits.

What do you think the world needs more of?

Love. Really. I have a big heart and I love people and am loved but I know not everyone has love in their lives. We need to reach out more to people who need love in their lives. There are so many people that can benefit from someone simply reaching out to them.

How are you trying to be the change in the world?

By putting more love out there. We are starting a program in our church where we can help people who are sick going through treatment. We want to lift their spirits, to help their mental health as well. When I received that basket when I was going through radiation, it helped me so much. It is important to focus on healing the physical body, but it is just as important to heal the spiritual and mental health of our friends and family. When someone is going through a rough time it is important that we lift them up if we can.

Last act of kindness you have done:

We have a couple who is mentally disabled that lives down the street from us. They come by all the time asking for help with things, like transportation. I try to help them out whenever I can. I would say my last act of kindness was taking them where they needed to go.

Greatest story of kindness you have heard:

There is not one individually that stands out to me. But I find the stories that scream kindness to me are the ones like Make A Wish, where businesses, celebrities, family and friends all work in together to grant a wish to a child who may be terminal. It is not simply giving them a day of fun, it is giving them the ability to be a child, to make memories, and enjoy the time they have while they are here.

Any regrets:

I would say no. Everything I have done, even the mistakes and wrong choices I have made, I have learned from. They are my expierences not my regrets. And they are the best teacher in life.

Why do you volunteer:

I wanted to volunteer because I was treated so well when I was going through my treatment for cancer. When they announced that they were looking for volunteers at the breast center, I instantly knew that it was something I had to do. I fit volunteering in one day a week into my crazy schedule because I believe in it and this was my opportuinty to give back to our community and our patients.

What is the bravest thing you have ever done?

I can honestly say it was fighting breast cancer.

What advice would you give to people who are going through a rough time?

Everyone has different beliefs, so this is hard. I would say, if you are going through a rough time, a time so rough that there is no logic, and a hard road ahead you need to lean on your faith. You cannot simply 'say do this or do that' everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for someone else. For me and many others, I know we need to lean on our faith. That is what I know to work personally for me. Some people are not religious though and don't have a faith to rely on. In those cases, they need to figure out what they believe in, what they can hold on to, so that can find them courage to keep going through the tough times ahead.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Little Shop Of Positivity

It was pathetic.

A brown, scrawny, little rose plant in a lady bug container barely holding on.

My mom wanted to buy it. It was beyond reduced, for the little guy the store had marked it down to .99 cents. I did not see the point in spending money on something that was so obviously doomed from the beginning.

And my mom? Well, I wouldn't necessarily say she has a green thumb. She sometimes gets distracted by other projects and in the past her plants have paid the penalty.

We argued, because that's how we communicate, about why she would even want it. She was certain she could save it, and if not she added, it was only .99 cents.

It has been almost six months and she has loved this plant back to life. That is the only explanation. She was patient, she watered it, made sure it got sunlight, trimmed its leaves and talked to it.

She loved it back to life.

Literally, the plant was wilted, brown, and draped its dying body over the cheap lady bug pot when we first spotted it in the store.

Her baby has tripled in size, given her 8 roses, and many days of happiness. It grew and flourished despite having a death sentence, it responded to the light and love of a happy environment.

I am not afraid to admit at times l have been wrong and dismissed things quickly. Sometimes I can be shortsighted. I can rush, hurry, and scramble through life and wonder if it is really worth it to exert the extra effort into cause, into an event, and sometimes even a person. At times I am jealous of my mother; she sees the light in most situations. Lighthearted people are drawn to her; they flock to her open arms and loving heart. My mom is a lighthearted, sweet person so I understand the attraction. I am serious at times and for the most part, I tend to get the serious people who turn to me, confide in me. I willingly put myself in those situations and love to help anyone anytime I can. But sometimes, it can wear on your soul, it can put a burden on your heart when you cannot help someone. It makes you feel like a failure, like a fraud, like you should give up at even trying anymore.

It can make you want to give up and question why someone would go out of their way to help nuture something back to life.

I asked my mom why she chose to save it, why she wanted to put in the effort, the time, the patience and the love when something appeared to already be dead.

She reminded me gently, that all living things are destined for death but that did not mean we should ignore the life that is still living within them.

It is amazing how a phrase so simple can trigger the compassion and empathy that should always live in our souls. It can remind us why we we are here, that we can help. That to dismiss life is to dimiss our ability to help, to offer, to share a part of our soul and our gifts with others. To deny ourselves that opportunity to serve others, is to reject being the change we want to see in this world.

We should always try to help.

We should always see the beauty past the broken.

She reminded me we should always fight for life.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Live To Regret Little

It was the twilight part of a crisp autumn day. Where the day lingers to kiss the night with its colorful hello of streaks of red and purple in the sky.

There was a sickening feeling of anticipation and excitement that only months of planning could give you.

Nervousness sat in our throats.

My literary club, Writer's Block, was hosting a booth in the Haunted Hayride and we had worked so damn hard on it. I was busy decorating and rotating pumpkins and gourds just right so they looked perfect.

Just as I was getting ready to get my scary make up applied out of the corner of my eye, I saw my neighbor walk up slowly to my teacher.

They briefly talked and my teacher nodded her head curtly. I watched her face slack from slight annoyance from being interrupted to  instantly taut and strained.  I watched as she craned her neck to scan over our heads looking for me.

When she saw me she made no pretense of a smile, she just nodded her head at me and I knew I had to leave. I thought my mom was sick, which was something that was not uncommon. I quickly gathered my things and walked to my neighbor.

I wish I could say I was bummed but I was used to working hard at things and not seeing the fruition of my efforts. I wish there was a way that did not sound sad. Because it didn't feel sad, it felt normal.

Growing up with a sick grandfather who lived with us and a mother who was in and out of the hospital for multiple surgeries kind of puts things into perspective when it comes to plans.

Plans are plans. They mean nothing.

My neighbor just said I needed to go home because my mom needed to talk to me. There is no greater fear than when someone tells you someone needs to talk to you. Every scenario runs through your head. And none of are ever good.

I got into my neighbors green cavalier and waited for an explanation. I did not get one.

While listening to loud music and watching the scenery go by, I wondered what my mom needed to tell me.

When she dropped me off, I could hear my mom sniffling through the screen door. The kind sniffling you hear only after ugly crying.

My guts turned to stone. My throat became tight. When I walked in that tiny piece of shit house I could smell waxy cheap candles burning.

In the moment it took me to cross the threshold, I saw my mothers back to me and she had every picture of my aunt we owned sprawled on the table.

Her hands hovered by barely an inch over the photographs, poised like she wanted to reach into one and pull my aunt out.

My aunt was dead.

But I was so confused. My aunt was young and healthy and one of my favorite people in the world.

It did not make sense.

The door finally slammed shut and my mom was rudely interrupted in her moment. She shifted slightly but could not say anything. Her body heaved with sobs while I held her in an awkward hug.

My other aunt showed up with my uncle. They cried and talked and shared memories only sisters are privy to and I stood and watched.  I don't really remember crying. I did not feel right crying and intruding on their moment.

I did not cry until the end of her funeral actually. My uncle was shaking hands and accepting hugs and letting hollow words fall on his ears and he saw me.

He turned quickly and met me halfway in the middle of the aisle. We hugged and cried so hard.

He understood.

I felt our bodies wrack with sobs in tandem. Our chests heaved with the desire for a genie, a shooting star, anything fantastical so we could wish her back amongst us.

But that doesn't even happen in the movies.

She was one of the most special people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. She was able to draw me out of myself. Draw anyone out of themselves really. She would always call me her "youngest-old soul".

She loved animals and laughed loudly.

She threw great parties and fed everyone way too much food.

And she loved you for who you were. There was no judgment just love and acceptance.

It has been almost 15 years and I can remember her sweet smile and zest for life like it was yesterday.

I'm not sure why today made me want to write about her.

Maybe because I did not understand until her death that our time only has one ultimate ending. That we need to embrace the fact that we will die. We do not know when, or how. But we will.

Nothing we can do will change that. We need to live with the knowledge that this life is not a practice, it is not a dress rehearsal, this is not act one. This is it. This is our time to live our lives and say what is in our hearts and on our minds to the ones we love.

The biggest regrets we have, are the things we never did, the words we never said, opportunities missed, chances we let slip away and life we did not live.

I called my aunt, a couple days before she passed away. Our conversation was not long nor was it memorable. The only thing I remember was hearing the yearning in her voice to talk to me and me ignoring the nagging feeling to talk to her, and choosing to hurry off the phone to hang out with some friends.

That was the last time I talked to her.  I never told her how much I loved her and appreciated her. How much I enjoyed our conversations and the fact she did not treat me like a child.  It is still one of my biggest regrets.

I can live with making mistakes, looking foolish, being too involved or passionate, letting my bluntness overcome my sensibility, and choosing the wrong choice. That is life. We learn from our mistakes. They teach us valuable lessons and help us grow.

Everyone has regrets.

My regrets are the words that never made it off my lips, the "I'm sorry's, I forgive you's and the I love you's". Those are the treacherous things that make my nightmares vivid.

Kick out the people in your life that tear you down, who hold you back, who treat you cruelly. Don't let them be part of your regrets for not enjoying your life.

Embrace the people who love you, support you, who would bend over backwards for you. Tell them how much you appreciate them, show them, tell them you love them, I promise you when they leave your life it will crush a part of your soul. Let the other parts of your soul that is full with the knowledge that you loved them fully, entirely and told them every opportunity that you could, comfort your crushed soul. If not, that all consuming regret may just take over.

I know in my lifetime, I am still destined for some regrettable decisions. Because sometimes we only retain the knowledge from lessons we learned for a short while and life will gladly and cruelly reteach us.

My goal in life is not to avoid pain, heartbreak or regret. That is unavoidable. My goal is to live fully and love who I can when I can and to have as little regret as possible. My goal is to eliminate the unnecessary pain and heartbreak in my life, in other people's lives, by saying what my heart is begging me to, to do what my soul is urging me to, and to simply live with the courage and knowledge that this is our one shot to enjoy this life.

This has been a Sunday Confession with the prompt being regret, hosted by the lovely and talented Ash from More Than Cheese And Beer. Please stop by her blog and read about what she is currently regretting as well as the other brave bloggers who joined in today, I promise you won't regret it.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Secret Subject Swap: September 5, 2014

Happy, happy Friday!

Welcome to the Secret Subject Swap, hosted by the wonderful Karen from Baking In A Tornado. This week, 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and
were assigned a secret subject to
interpret in their own style. Today we
are all simultaneously divulging our
topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now
featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.
Sit back, grab a cup, (or a shot-we don't judge) and check us all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

The Momisodes

Spatulas on Parade

Stacy Sews and Schools

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Evil Joy Speaks

Confessions of a part-time
working mom

Someone Else’s Genius

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles


My prompt is:

If you were tasked with providing a full day of food (3 meals including
beverages, 2 snacks, 1 dessert) for a
foreign dignitary, and you knew their
satisfaction with the foods you provide could have an impact on the future relations between the two countries (yours and theirs), what menu do you prepare?

It was submitted by: The Bergham's Life Chronicles. Thank you Jules!

I am not sure I am the best candidate to host foreign dignitaries for meals-or anything really. I am quite sarcastic, say inappropriate things and am quite clumsy.

Unless, we are aiming towards a World War Three.

Is that what you want Jules? You want me to make a social faux pas and start an international riff so bad that it will ignite passions and lead the world into war so you can profit off the Weapons of Mass Destruction you sell on the black market?

Thank goodness this is theoretical or Jules would be cleaning up nicely from her weapons sales because I accidentally hit on the Prime Ministers wife when I tripped and grabbed her derriere to help balance me when I stood back up.

Breakfast. The most important meal of the day, other than happy hour. I would not want to make something heavy but also offer food that will energize them for the long, fun, and awkward day ahead of us.

I decide to go with a breakfast bar.

There is an omelet station with two chefs and a piping hot grill awaiting the foreign dignitaries to customize their omelets.

Both ex-boyfriends of mine, they offered to help tend to these guests, and attempt to win back a piece of my heart.

Sorry boys l am happily married now.You just need to play nice and keep cooking for our friends.

If omelettes, with their choice of meat and toast did not tickle their fancy, l also had a yogurt parfait bar available to customize to their yummy standards.

l know you may be thinking a 'do it yourself' bar may be the wrong way to go about serving them breakfast. But it gives them the option to choose what they want and get creative.

With breakfast, guests had the option of coffee, tea (hot or iced), orange, tomato or papaya juice or water.

Everyone was having a good time until l went to share my gratitude with Mario and Gordon. Thats when Mario could no longer take my rejection and burst into a scary rage calling everyone in his vicinty jackasses and dolts, which reduced poor Gordon to tears as he doesn't respond well to critisicsm or rude environments.

After l apologized for the awkward outbursts from my former lovers l figured it would best to get on our way and take them to explore the city and try to show my guests a good time. 

We made our way to Lake Michigan and talked about renewable energy resources, our downtown coming back to life slowly but surely and how l believe every seagull is named Steven.

Everyone worked up quite an appetitte walking the pier and trying hard not to offend each other.

Luckily since we were having beautiful weather we went with Lunch Plan A which was a picnic at the beach. That is good too, because Lunch Plan B was lunch at Taco Bell well, because they have cheap tacos.

The evening before their arrival l set up some tables and tents where we could eat. As they seated themselves l assured them l would be right back after l ran to the limo to got the cooler from the trunk.

I scurried as fast as l could on the hot evil sand when l was stopped by some friends who desperately needed someone to stand in for their volleyball game last minute. l knew l should say no with the foreign dignitaries waiting for me.

But you never turn down a friend in need.

So l played the last 10 minutes with them and lead them to victory with a few of my sweet spikes. Hot and sweaty l bid them adieu as l scurried to the limo to unpack the lunch that was ready to go.

I made my way back to the picnic area on the beach where l walked into complete, tense, silence. Maybe they could tell l delayed their meal by volleyballing it up for a little while? Maybe my impetous decision hurt their feelings and our countries relationships?

Nervously, l cracked dumb jokes to which no one laughed. I focused on simply unpacking.

I took the Mediterrean marinated chicken kabobs out and warmed them on the grill as they were already cooked and we had no microwave available. 

I pulled out the watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and honeydew l purchased at our local Farmers Market and set them out in pretty teal dishes. l grabbed the fresh mozzerela ball of cheesy goodness, huge tomatoes, basil and balsamic vineagar and made a simple, delicious caprese salad to start our meal.

I pulled out the ice cold decanturs of homemade lemonade and limeade and sat them in the middle of the table.

As everyone came to the table and began to chow down, eventually the awkward silence lifted and people began to compliment me on lunch and the freshness of the food.  We lingered over licked clean dishes and talked about the importance of supporting the local businesses and farmers by shopping at
Mom and Pop stores and the Farmers

At the end one of the dignitaries, I believe from Papua New Guinea, stood up and aplogized to the dignitary from Spain for destroying her sand castle.

All the tension from that afternoon lifted immediately and my heart felt ten times better knowing the awkward silence was not caused by my delayed return.

On the way to our next stop in our limo, the candy store, people kept noting they were still were a little hungry. Luckily, l came prepared and pulled out the peanut butter, chocolate chip, banana bars l made the night before which is a vegan, gluten free delectable treat that simply tastes sinful.

They gobbled those up and were reenergized to shop at local businesses and make it to one of our towns most prized businesses-Lakeside 
Emporium-the candy shoppe.

Our foreign guests loved  the bookstores and art galleries but fell in love with the candy shoppe where they tried a little of this and that and bought a lot of everything.

I did not want them to get full on candy as we had our amazing dinner still to go. Although it was quite funny to watch Peru and France play chubby bunny with their marshmallow treats.

We returned to the house and l left to finish making dinner. l made everyone their own cocktails and set out the crab puffs, cheese tray, grapes and the barbecued bacon wrapped weinies for appetizers.

I turned to my friend George who showed up to help me cook steaks to perfection.

We grabbed the filet mignons and put the first one on his grill. l sauteed the mushrooms and onions while he made sure the meat stayed juicy and flavorful. He quickly became the king in my kitchen when he suggested grilling some of the aspargus we picked a couple days ago. 

l seasoned the aspargus with a little butter and lemon and grilled those suckers. While they were finishing up l made a fresh salad with spinach, cherry tomatoes, cherries, and feta and a poppyseed dressing.

l plated the salads and took them out to our guests that were now seated. They were scarfing down the salad so l barely had time to finish the baked sweet potatoes but somehow l did.

Quickly and efficiently l plated the steaks, mushrooms and onions, asparagus and baked sweet potatoes filled with roasted veggies. l also put a warm cheddar biscuit on each plate but brought a basket full of warm ones as they tend to go quick. l took it out to them and we all sat in a loud silence, but a good one where everyone was savoring their bites of deliciousness.

As dinner was winding down l went back in the kitchen to thank George and grab my dessert. l have to be careful when l compliment him because sometimes he gets a big head and thinks he's a champion or something.

George and l said our goodbyes as he hurried out the door. l grabbed my cake and hoped it was as good as it looks. Normally l am not a baker but l followed my friend Karen's recipe exactly as she had it scribbled down.

I made her Pineapple Coconut cake with butterscotch drizzle.

 It turned out better than l ever expected, l should have made two there was not a crumb left! Everyone sipped on coffee or tea while finishing dessert.

After dinner and dessert everyone pitched in to wash and put away the dishes so it went quickly.

We foolishly decided to play Risk which ended in an upturned board, tears and screaming so l did the only logical thing to bring us back to happy-brought out the booze.

We drank, laughed, sang and danced and started to get the munchies. l asked what everyone was in the mood for and they shocked me by simultaneously shouting 'tacos!'  As a jolly group we stumbled to the Taco Bell that is right around the corner from my house and ordered way too many tacos and baja blasts and conga-lined our way back to my house.

The next morning, my husband found us all sleeping in one big pile in the living room with not one taco eaten. 

I daresay our countries relationships were only strengthened that day, as only a drunken night slumber party can do for relationships.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

One Guilty Gal-Hopefully Not For Long

A Guilty Pleasure, is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it.

Predictable, unrealistic  storylines. I love them in a cheap book or a cheesy Hallmark movie that always wraps up the plot nicely with a big shiny bow. I immensely enjoy the tried and true story tellers like Emerson, Austen, Hemingway and King but sometimes I need a little cheesy in my life. It puts a stupid little smile on my face for a few hours and I thoroughly enjoy them.

There are other things I need in my life at times and derive the silliest of happy moments from. Why I cannot tell you but I cannot help but notice that some things sit right with my soul.

Getting kisses from dogs, enjoying carbs, lip biting, losing myself in volunteering, people watching, old movies and wonderful musicals, loud music, writing until three in the morning, getting goosebumps from a beautifully placed kiss, laughing with strangers, Facebook stalking the Dalai Lama, and being sarcastic all should make me feel a little tinge of guilt.


Those are things I enjoy. I rarely feel guilty about indulging in those treats when I do. Maybe I should, but I don't. There is only one real guilty pleasure I have, that I claim and (rarely) admit.

Being ugly.

Not that I believe I am necessarily ugly. I am still in the process of learning to love myself and my body.

My body type is not loved by all, but to be fair in this unfair world nobodys body type is loved by everybody.

But there's a lot of little things on this big old body of mine that add up to being unattractive at least according to societys standards.

Being fat. Facial hair (thanks PCOS). Hairy arms. Oily skin. Acne. Kinky hair. Spaced teeth. Loud mouth.

Those descriptions do not define me in my entirety but they are a part of me. Parts people see first and judge.

When I went out to eat with friends I would order a salad or something small, no matter how hungry I was. I did not want to embarrass them with my eating habits.

The first few times, I met my friends boyfriends, husbands, families, friends, I always toned down me. I was quieter, more agreeable, not as weird, hid my freak and geek flag, and kept my opinionated mouth shut because I felt I would disservice my friendship if I inadvertently exposed the feminist, equal rights supporting, hippie chick I was. I shared little and offered no opinions, because I thought that was polite.

I always carry a razor in my makeup bag, because stubble. If I ever agreed to stay the night at a friends house you have to understand I was the first one up so I could run to the bathroom and tweeze or shave what I needed to. Because, I did not want offend them with how I look in the morning.

Afraid in a sense they would mock me or be disgusted with me and I would be left with a feeling that I was indeed the gross freak as I had feared for so long and they would want nothing to do with me.

For a long time, I felt a certain unspoken pressure that I must look presentable. That I must have perfectly styled hair, beautiful make up, a lovely outfit that helps deflect from the disgusting blob I truly am.

So I would not offend anyone.

Sad, I know. I felt I needed to present myself in a certain way to show others that I was not completely worthless, useless or disgusting.

If I showed effort that I wanted to fit in, that I wanted to be pretty, that I could make repentance with my cute shoes and matching purse, nodding head and mouth sewed shut I might have a shot at being liked, at being accepted, and being attractive.

But that wasn't me. That isn't me.

I am the kind of woman who is loud and sarcastic. Blunt. I enjoy skirts when I am feeling fancy but otherwise give me capris and flip flops.

There is nothing wrong with wearing makeup, dressing cute, accessorizing like it's nobody's business, having the coolest jewelry, and the trendiest hair-if you are doing it because you want to, because you enjoy it, because it makes you feel better.

You should never do it because you feel pressured to do so. You should never alter yourself to be considered 'acceptable' in society, amongst family, friends, co-workers and strangers. If you cave to other peoples demands or preferences of you then you lose yourself, you will find yourself unhappy and constantly fearful of revealing who you truly are.

That is not living, that is lying. To others in a sense but mostly to yourself. It is telling you that you are not good enough, you are not pretty enough, you are not worthy enough to be yourself around others. And that is a downright lie.

You, with all your flaws, mistakes, inconsistencies, are you. You need to make no apologies, no concessions, no alterations to fit into somebodys agenda. The people who deserve to be in your life will love you and accept you for who you are inside and out. They will want the best for you and most importantly they will want to see you happy and never ask you to tear down, hide or alter who you are.

I find myself enjoying my ugly in the late night or early morning. When I am by myself. When I am comfortable in wearing shorts and tank tops, having messy hair, no make up and yes a five o clock shadow.

When I am basking in my ugly, I find myself content to be loud or quiet, and to think about things I rarely mention to other people. My ridiculous desire to be a mother, how I both hate and love exercising, how I really, really, really want a disgustingly delicious whopper but I will resist because I know myself and my limits. I can write my poetry and prose. Sing off key and dance like a loon in this raw state of being me, being the me I hide from other people because I feel too ugly, too real, too much in this state.

My guilty pleasure is being myself. My unaltered, unchanged, unedited self, in the early morning before I tweeze, shave, make up, and go into the world. Or late at night when I wipe off the facade of the day, when I peel off the push up bra and reach for the too big tee and ratty capris and just take in the comfort that is me, accepting me.

I have worked hard on loving who I am. I have kicked rude and negative people out of my life. I have learned to love myself. I am hoping one day that I will not consider it a  guilty pleasure to accept myself but rather simply a pleasure and realize how beautiful I am because I overcame negative thinking, threw out the myth and misconception that there is only one type of beauty and dared to be myself in a world that is always trying to change me.

This has been a Sunday Confession with the one, the only, More Than Cheese And Beer. If you have not yet checked out her Guilty Pleasures yet, you should do yourself a favor and do so. While you are there check out the other bloggers who joined in this Sunday.