McKenzie Free

One woman's quest for greater understanding through freedom of self expression.

Disneyland – What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

I just got back from three full days in what some call “The Happiest Place on Earth”. For the record, it is definitely not my happy place. I knew that before going. Disney would be my very last choice for a vacation spot. I agreed to go because my sister wanted to take her grandchildren and needed some help doing so and, in the end, I was glad I did.

The Good Stuff                                                            

  • The looks of joy and wonder on the kids’ faces before we even got into Disneyland proper seeeing characters come alive everywhere we glanced.
  • The horticulture. It is amazing. I truly have never seen anything like it anywhere before. There are flowers of all kinds blooming everywhere.
  • Getting to spend three solid days with my great nieces and share something they will always remember.
  • Helping my sister be able to do something that was clearly meaningful to her.
  • Seeing the joy on my nephew and his wife’s face when we met them for dinner in the evening. Their smiling faces saying, “thank you”, or was it, “better you than us!” They were able to enjoy quality time together sailing and scuba diving knowing the girls were safe with us.
  • The beach in LA when we finally made our escape where we saw a horde throng school pod of about fifteen dolphins swimming by.
  • Being close enough to LA to be able to have dinner with my unofficial Goddaughter, Sami. So great to be with her for an evening.

The Bad Stuff

  • How is it possible that in 2022 we are still pushing the princess story on young girls? Your prince isn’t coming. Do Not Wait for him before starting your life.
  • Waiting in line after line after seemingly endless line, from security to check-in, from rides to restaurants, it was wait, wait and wait some more.
  • The heat, the heat, the bloody heat!
  • The thousands and thousands of people sharing your space every moment.
  • Almost throwing up on the teacup ride after I said, “How bad can it be, small children go on it all the time?”
  • The heat, the heat, did I mention the heat!
  • Walking around in sweaty, wet clothes for hours and hours each day.
  • The constant noise and over-stimulation.
  • The unavoidable, massive consumerism.

Have you ever thrown a party, and no one came?

Have you ever thrown a party, and no one came? I have. More than once. I have thrown parties since I was twenty years old and until I moved to Oregon in 2004, I never had a problem with people showing up.

This year I needed a boost on my birthday, so I decided to throw a party to celebrate the 46th anniversary of my twenty first birthday, the last time I felt hopeful about love and life. I invited about 25 people. Fifteen of those people said they would be there. Yay, a perfect small party size. I could make all of the food myself, rather than having it catered as I had been contemplating.

I spent two days preparing, and with the help of a good friend. I made:

  • special chicken with multiple dipping sauces,
  • goat cheese pasta salad (chosen specially for one of my friends that can’t have regular cheese),
  • humus with cucumbers and naan for dipping,
  • kale salad with strawberries and candied pecans,
  • black bean corn salad with avocado and red and orange peppers.

I asked the wine specialist for a special party selection and brought home enough wine to serve a dozen people. I made a special effort to buy non-alcoholic drinks for those that don’t partake of alcohol. I spent the day cleaning and preparing.

And then, when it was time, three people came.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for those three women. I love them all. But it was still deflating, and it was embarrassing for me and for them. The elephant was in the room. I never once had this happen before moving to Oregon in 2004. Since then, I have had lower than expected turnouts several times, but nothing like this. I don’t’ know what it means…but I know how it feels…and it feels shitty.

I’m certain that each individual who said they would show has an excuse that feels valid to them. However, I find myself asking if these people are really my friends?

The Puppy Protector

My nephew invented something and since I’ve never created anything other than trouble, I’m very proud of him. He’s created something to keep your pet safe in the car on hot days should your errand takes longer than expected, and what now days ever goes as planned?

It’s called the Puppy Protector but it will keep any pet safe: cats, birds, even that disgusting, huge albino snake that horrible couple brought into the gym with them because they were afraid it would get too hot in the car for a reptile who usual habitat is the dessert.

So, check it out and help bring this product to market! Everyone with a pet needs a puppy protector!

-go to this link (Kickstarter) https://www.kickstarter.com/…/puppyp…/puppy-protector…

See more

Puppy Protector

KICKSTARTER.COM

Puppy Protector

Hot Day. Cool Dog.

It’s the Little Things

Two-sided wrapping paper
Flowers in unexpected places
Laughing so hard with the next generation that you can hardly see!

Having Trouble Making Decisions Lately?

I have purchased a $35,000 automobile with less research and angst than the $700 dishwasher I just ordered. In fact, it’s completely possible I’ve committed to long-term relationships with less thought. (OK, that might be a one of my problem areas, so maybe not a good comparison!)

To make matters worse, the dishwasher was originally delivered, and I had to reject it due to a dent on the front door. Now, while waiting for the next delivery, I’m doing even more reading of reviews and wondering if I should cancel my order and reconsider options. Should I spend twice as much for a much higher rated machine? Does that make sense for a woman who lives alone and often eats dinner out of a microwave popcorn bag? Should I just not even get another dishwasher and do my dishes by hand for the rest of my life? Many people do. But then there’s that broken dishwasher sitting there, or the hole where one should be. What could I use that hole under the counter for instead? That could lead to an entirely new blog!

I actually typed into Google “Why can’t I make a decision?”, and it turns out, there’s a name for my new condition and it’s called Decision Fatigue. Apparently, many of us are suffering from this since COVID. Damn that COVID. It gets blamed for everything, doesn’t it?

Medical News Today says:Decision fatigue happens when, after making many decisions at once, a person’s ability to make decisions declines. Complex decisions, such as those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, deplete one’s capacity for decision making especially quickly.”

Usually, being the egocentric person that I am, the fact that others are suffering too, or are suffering worse than me, does not make me feel any better, but this time, it truly does. I am relieved that I’m not alone and we’re all worrying more and finding it harder to make decisions. I’m grateful that the pandemic can be blamed for this new inability of mine because without an explanation, I was thinking my nephew needed to get that room ready at the nursing home earlier than any of us predicted.

Today, as I’m writing this, I’m determined to let my angst over a silly dishwasher go. What’s the worst that can happen if this is a bad decision? I will not end up homeless, unable to feed myself, or married to an abusive sod. The worst that can happen is that it will break down and I have to make this damn decision over again.

Une femme sans placard a chaussures






						
					

Billy

Billy Defoe, or William Jason Defoe, wasn’t just the fastest boy in our town, or even the South for that matter. Billy Defoe was the fastest man in America and even won a gold medal in the Olympics one year. And then, Billy Defoe died.

Even though Billy died 40 years ago, at the very young age of 21, everything in my hometown still revolves around him. We have a school, a hospital, a bridge and a racetrack named after him. We even have a William Jason Defoe museum run by his sister Nancy Faye Defoe.

The town’s getting ready for a big celebration this summer in honor of the 40th anniversary of Billy’s sad demise. Everyone is talking about it. I just stand back and smile and don’t say much because I’ve always found it odd that we glorify him so much when he didn’t live a long enough life for us to know what kind of man he would even become.

It’s easy to die a saint when you die young. The rest of us went on to live our lives and make all the mistakes regular people make. Billy never lived long enough to maybe marry the wrong person, or get someone pregnant in a one-night stand. He didn’t live long enough to break a leg and have to stop running and end up selling insurance or used cars. He didn’t live long enough to cheat on a wife, get a divorce, run over a kid while driving drunk, or do a little creative accounting at the car lot because he was behind on his mortgage, or to just finally lose a race to someone who came along and ran faster.

All Billy did, was run, really, really fast. And that, you might say, wasn’t even his to claim. That was pretty much a God-given gift. He was born with that skill. And yes, he worked hard to perfect that talent. That is a fact. But it’s also a fact that we don’t really know how Billy’s life would have turned out had he been able to live it.

Instead, Billy’s car went off a bridge into the Coosa River late one dark, humid summer night and he didn’t survive. There weren’t signs of another vehicle being involved in the crash. Billy’s autopsy showed that he had a blood alcohol level of 0.16 percent, which today would be twice the legal limit, but nobody ever talks about that. You can’t say anything bad in this town about Billy.

So, we’re gearing up for the big festival. Nancy Faye is busy as a bee putting signs up in the downtown window fronts advertising the big Defoe Anniversary Race and a full weekend of family friendly activities. And I let her put one up front and center in the window of the General Store. It doesn’t matter to me much who people choose to worship even if I think it is a bit misplaced.

I’ve always felt a bit sorry for Nancy Faye anyway. Nancy Faye never did get married. I always thought it was because no man could compete with her sainted deceased brother. She always did have to take second place next to her brother who started winning awards with his fast feet in junior high and outshone her all through high school and college. Then, when Billy died, her parents grieved for him like they didn’t have any other child. Now she spends her time keeping his memory alive rather than making memories of her own. Kind of a sad, lonely life.

I certainly haven’t had a perfect life, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I’m living with the consequences of, but I have lived. So, guess I’m better off than Billy or Nancy Faye really. And truth be told, I will enjoy the festival.

Oops – Your Gender Roles are Showing!

On my way into the grocery store today a man around my age spoke to me and tried to start up a conversation. Later on, inside the store he did the same. I don’t think he said more than four sentences in the two times we spoke and yet he was able to convey in that brief amount of time that:

  • He was a widower
  • He was a retired firefighter
  • He has a daughter who takes care of his finances
  • He never in his life did the grocery shopping when his wife was alive
  • He didn’t have the first clue how to make a grocery list or what to buy
  • He had never cooked when his wife was alive; and
  • He was very lonely.

I felt for his loneliness because all of us who are aging alone, no matter how well our lives are going, have those moments when we miss having a partner. I don’t, however, feel sorry for him never learning how to take care of himself. I know it was common for my mother’s era, but I thought my generation had become a little less traditional in our gender roles. I was married to a man for twenty years. We always grocery shopped together and unpacked the groceries together. He cooked frequently, especially for large gatherings, or when it was time for another big batch of his pasta sauce. It just seemed normal to me. Why wouldn’t he do those things?

I remember my mother telling us, when asked why she never dated after daddy died, that all men wanted at this age was a nurse and a purse. I think she forgot to say they may be looking for a maid and a cook, as well.

My Life is a Battle with Myself

About a month ago I posted this quote on my refrigerator:

“Your eating disorder will never really make you more lovable, a better person, or invulnerable to pain.”

From 8 Keys to Recovery From an Eating Disorder”, by Carolin Costin & Gwen Schubert Grabb

I’m here to report that it didn’t really have the impact I was looking for. I thought it would make me stop and think before binge eating. I realize now, however, by the time I have walked to the refrigerator the part of my brain that is looking for soothing has already made the decision and cannot be stopped. I actually read the quote every time I open the refrigerator, but my brain immediately just adds to it:

“Maybe not, but it will soothe the anxiety and pain I’m feeling right now.”

The key, I’m told, to beating an eating disorder, is to change your thinking the moment you sense the anxiety or emotional pain begin and choose a different coping mechanism to soothe. Unfortunately, if you’ve become attuned to pushing away your feelings for sixty years, this moment can be incredibly difficult to recognize.

At any rate, I’m thinking of replacing the sign.  Options include:

I love you. You’re enough. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

or

Fuck you, Lavinia! Back the Fuck Off!

I realize as I’m typing this, these two options perfectly illustrate my dual personality. Either being compassionate and kind or going for the jugular, there’s never seems to be an in-between for me. For those who believe in astrology (and I’m not one of you) this personality is easily explained by being born on the cusp of Cancer and Leo. I’ve been fighting this battle with myself my entire life. Cancer is very sensitive and ruled by the emotional Moon, while Leo is proud, brave, and ruled by the fiery Sun. It’s always a battle between sensitivity and pride.

I think I’ll post both signs and let them duke it out. It may not help, but it can’t hurt, right?

AirBnb and Me

When you join AirBnB as a host you have to sign a non-discrimination policy and agree to not discriminate based on: Race, Color, Ethnicity, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Marital Status. I signed that oath and was happy to do so. I would never think of discriminating based on any of these criteria. I am nothing if not inclusive. Back in the day someone referred to me as the “Frigging UN of Dating”. I don’t think it was meant as a compliment at the time, but I decided to take it as one. It occurs to me that as an atheist if I only chose to host those who shared my religious beliefs, I’d never book anyone. As far as I can tell it’s just me and Ricky Gervais out here in our lone belief that there is no God.

That all being said, my latest guest makes me realize I would like to discriminate based on something. I would like to discriminate against people who lack manners and common sense. Unfortunately, those two things, cannot often be determined at first sight (or first booking!).

My current guest(s) booked for Memorial Day weekend. A young couple in town for some kind of reunion. I sent them the usual long, welcoming email three days before arrival. It was never opened and read. The day before the woman emailed me and asked that I please call her. She went into a lengthy explanation about a child who got ill at school, and how she didn’t want to leave home without her daughter now, maybe her husband would come alone, could they bring the daughter, etc., etc., etc.

Being a good host, I told her that although there was only one bed, I could put a blow-up mattress in the room for the daughter, or, if they wished to cancel (even though they were past the time limit) I would give them a full refund. I asked her to think about it and let me know when they decided. She never let me know. The next day her husband simply showed up alone. No problem. Not good communication, but that’s not unusual. It was then that I asked myself, why had she called me at all? What did she actually want other than someone to share her anxiety with?

My guest left around dinner time (I only know this because the app on my phone tells me every time the door is locked or unlocked in the apartment). He didn’t return until 4:40am the next morning (I know this because my dog alerted the entire neighborhood of it!).

Actually, this impressed me because I grew up in this town and from the time I was fifteen until I was twenty when I left to go to school back east, I partied pretty hearty around here, and I never found anywhere that I could hangout until 4am! I moved back when I turned fifty and got divorced and during those dating years, I often couldn’t find anywhere open past 10pm on a weekday to have a night cap. 

I’ve been renting out this space pretty regularly now and I can tell you I’ve never heard a peep out of anyone who has stayed here (not even the couple who brought a toddler), until yesterday morning, when from about 9-11am he spent his time arguing with someone very loudly on the phone. I only know this because of the loud fuck, fucked, fucking I would hear about once a minute coming from his space. It was either a heated argument, or he’s a turrets sufferer (who I also wouldn’t discriminate against). I don’t think he ever slept on his first night here. Then yesterday, on the second and last night of his stay, he went out around 5pm came home at a reasonable hour and spent a quiet night.

The next morning, I happened to be pulling out of the garage at the same time he was getting in his car and leaving, and he turned to me, waved, and smiled the sweetest smile. It was the first time I’d actually seen him, and he looked so very, very, young.  Even though I know he must have been about thirty at that moment he looked like a sweet, little, five-year-old boy. I smiled back at him and waved as I drove away.

It was then that I realized we have no idea when we meet someone on the road of life whether we are meeting them at their best or their worst. Whether today is the highest point of their life, or the lowest, or somewhere in between. There is no way for me to know if staying out all night and angry phone calls are his norm or if he is a kind and responsible man who got caught up in something out of his control. For this reason, I remind myself regularly to be kind to strangers (and AirBnB guests).

No perfect world but we can still enjoy the sunshine.

I haven’t’ been blogging much lately because my anxiety has set me off on a journey of discovery I don’t much want to take. I don’t like to blog when the things I have to say are all negative. Finally, a few days ago the sun came out (yes this happens sometimes, even in the Willamette Valley where we have over 100 words for different types of rainfall) and with it my anxiety seemed to lift for a moment.

I texted a friend with this photo of my backyard and said: “Just happy for the sun. Sitting on the patio today it’s hard to believe the world isn’t perfect.”

Her response: “Perfect world? Who is this? What happened to my friend Mckenzie? Do you have a fever?

No fever. Just hiding from the world in my little back yard.

An Angry, Old Woman

I used to think I had a unique story to tell. My personal story of the dysfunction of poverty, generational trauma, rape, and broken marriages. Lately, the more I read, see, and hear, I’ve come to realize that my story isn’t rare or even much different than so many other people’s. It seems that generational trauma has become the norm in our society. Perhaps it always was, and it has just taken me this long to figure it out.

I grew up thinking that I could be anything I wanted as long as I was smart and worked hard enough. The age-old lie that we tell people so that when they fail, it’s their personal failure, rather than societies failure. The reality is, that if you grow up in poverty in a home filled with trauma, the ways that trauma affects you are so deeply interwoven into who you are and who you become, the chances of beating it in one generation are almost zero.

I realize now that very few are free to be what they want. Apparently, in America today, you are only truly free if you are an extremely rich, white, and Republican. The rest of us no longer have a voice if we ever did. For example, research shows that the majority of Americans, over sixty percent, believe that abortion should be legal, yet the Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe vs. Wade and the Republican controlled Senate refuses to pass a law to keep abortion legal.

Today I feel deflated and devoid of hope. I realize I’m not face down in a shitter (see recent post) but I believe the country definitely is, figuratively speaking. I will attend the Bans off our Bodies Rally on Saturday, but not with the hopeful belief of my youth that it will change anything. Now I’m just carrying on out of sheer anger. I’m beginning to understand why the most common terms used to describe the elderly are “mean”, “cranky”, and “angry” for I am all of those this morning. I’m hoping the young women I rally with tomorrow will give me a fresh infusion of optimism for I sorely need it.

Motherhood Should be a Choice Not a Penance

What if on this Mother’s Day we stop the lie that all it takes to be a good parent is love? We all know it takes so much more. It takes emotional and financial stability. It takes support from our family, friends and our community. It takes the ability to face responsibility without fear.

I grew up in a dysfunctional and often traumatic home, yet I have no doubt both my parents loved me. And I loved them. Having children didn’t cure their own childhood (or in my father’s case, war time) traumas or give them the ability to deal with their pain. They didn’t know how to make their children feel safe, having never felt safe themselves.

At fifteen I was raped after accepting a ride home from a man at a party. As it turns out, I was completely infertile, but I certainly didn’t know that at the time. I laid in bed, depressed, for several weeks wondering what in the hell I was going to do if I became pregnant. Because I lived in Oregon, abortion was legal at the time, but I didn’t know that and wouldn’t have known what to do about it. I only knew that I could never tell my Catholic mother either about the rape or the pregnancy if it occurred. I would have to share my shame with someone in order to get help. Who would I ask? Where would I go.

That rape, and everything that resulted from it, changed the course of my life and often I wonder what my life would have been like if it hadn’t happened.  But I also look back and imagine what my life would have been like if I had gotten pregnant from it and had been forced to carry a child to term.

Adoption is an option, you say. What if we agree to stop lying about that, as well? Millions of dollars are spent every year by couples who will do anything to have a child of their own. Many try for as long as ten years before considering adoption. Even then, they want to choose the biological parents. They aren’t looking for babies born out of trauma. Often babies must go into foster care before they are even eligible for adoption. Stop me now because I can’t say enough bad things about the foster care system in this country. Continually trying to reunite children with the dysfunctional parents they were pulled away from to begin with does more harm than good in my opinion.

Today’s young women have birth control choices. They have the morning after pill. And, until recently, they had the right to an abortion if they deemed it necessary for their physical or mental health. Most importantly, all of these things are now talked about more openly than when I was a teenager. Information is more readily available, and the world is a better place because of it. We cannot, we will not, go back to the dark ages of fear and back-alley abortions.

For these reasons, and so many others, I will fight for every woman’s right to choose. I fought once, and I’ll fight again, and I’ll keep fighting until every woman has dominion over her own body. Join me, next Saturday, May 14, 2022, as women all over the country take to the streets to cry, “We won’t go back!”

It’s All Relative

Two weeks ago, the Associated Press ran a story that has subtly changed my life. The article told the story of a woman who dropped her cell phone in an outhouse in a state park and then, through a series of really poor choices, ended up falling headfirst into a hole full of human waste. Honestly, this true story could be used in classrooms to teach teenagers better decision-making skills.

If you haven’t read about it yet, and I highly recommend it, you can link to it here. I apologize in advance for how cruel this sounds, but this story ran two weeks ago, and I can’t stop laughing. In fact, I’ve been thinking about doing stand-up for a really long time and when I read this article, I realized nothing I could ever write would be funnier than this story from real life. All I would have to do is get up and read it out loud with just the right inflection in my voice and I would have everyone in tears laughing.

And every day now, no matter how my day is going, no matter what might be going wrong, or how badly the world let’s me down, I smile and say to myself, “Well, at least I’m not headfirst in a shitter!”

I went into a very deep depression after Trump was elected. I basically just stayed home for a couple of years and let Lavinia rule. (For those who don’t follow my blog, Lavinia is my eating disorder.) Seventy-five pounds later I emerged into a world that was certainly no better than the one I left.

Normally, I think the latest news about the Supreme Court’s expected ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wade would have Lavinia on another roll. The doctors, however, all agree, that my body can’t afford another seventy-five pound depression. Luckily, I believe this stranger in Quilcine, Washington, has spared me the weight gain. Because right now, the world is in a really sad place, and I’m really sad about the decision. Not just sad, but angry. This is good, because depression is basically anger turned inward, and my anger and everyone else’s needs to be directed outward right now at our law makers who allowed this to happen. That being said…. I’m not face down in a shitter….so life is better than it could be, right?

I suspect that this story will continue to work for me. This story has raised the bar (or is that lowered the bar?) on how bad things can really get. I know I’ve made some bad decisions in my life and, some really bad decisions have landed me in metaphorical shit holes before, but I can’t imagine ever making a choice so bad it would end up with me falling face first into an actual outhouse.

So, relatively speaking, life remains good!

From Monica Geller to Pigpen

If my old friends could have seen my house this morning, they wouldn’t believe I lived here. I couldn’t even see my beautiful new kitchen countertop I paid so much for. Every inch of it was covered in a mess I made the day before and left overnight. What? Ditto the end table next to my favorite chair. Days of things piled up. Also, no room on the kitchen table, bed left unmade, coats not hung up, laundry not done. Who lives here?

I used to outdo Monica Geller when it came to house cleaning. I started out young. When I was little and my family all went out (there were six of us kids), I would stay home and clean the entire house just to sit there and enjoy it for a minute without chaos. Surprising that my mother didn’t send everyone out more often!

As a young adult I was the friend that had your glass in the dishwasher the moment after you took your last sip. Or, as some friends complained, even before. When I started watching “Friends” I completely related to Monica’s cleaning fetish. In fact, it never occurred to me that I could clean my vacuum cleaner, but the minute Monica did, I got out my Dustbuster and did her proud.

Now I can sit in a mess without the slightest urge to get up and do anything about it. I can’t figure out if I’m depressed or if this is just finally the real me coming out. Perhaps now that the rest of my life isn’t chaos, I have less of a need to show that I have control over my physical surroundings.

All this said, I did just clean the house (albeit not to the standards I held to in the old days) so Brigid and Mary Anne there is no need for an intervention. I’m doing just fine.

Amateur Therapy – You get what you pay for

Listening this morning to a New York Times Popcast hosted by Jon Caramanica with guest Soraya Nadia McDonald, as they discuss Will Smith’s career and personal journey, I’m asking myself once again why anyone would want to be famous. Caramanica and McDonald speak about and try to analyze Smith as if they’ve been his personal therapists and privy to his every thought for his entire career. I understand analyzing someone’s career, but how can anyone believe they are knowledgeable enough to discuss someone else’s personal journey?

Just imagine if you yourself were put under this kind of microscope and then it was aired nationally? I blog and spit out honest bits of myself, some quite painful, a lot of them funny, many of them not things I’m particularly proud of but, that’s my choice. Imagine if my neighbor was the one writing a blog about me instead? They just chose, for whatever reason, to analyze my every move and behavior and talk about the trauma of my childhood and analyze what effect it’s had on me.

Well, I can’t imagine it. You must have to be able to block out the entire world to stomach being famous. I think people should stick to what they know and to facts. Analyze someone’s career if you must but stay away from analyzing their minds and hearts unless you’re the therapist that they are paying to do so.

Lavinia

I have decided to follow in the footsteps of my fellow blogger Neal (Hello, Anxiety: “A Christening — Introducing Anxiety’s Brand New Name!” – NealEnJoy) who boldly named his anxiety “Truffles” and name my eating disorder. I think she needs a name so when she talks to me in the evening, I know just who I’m addressing, and I can talk back and put her in her place.

Many persons with eating disorders refer to them as Ed, but Ed has never resonated with me. Mostly because I’m fairly certain that my eating disorder is a strong female. I’ve decided to name her Lavinia. Do not ask me where that name came from, for I do not know. I have never met or even read about a woman with that name. It just sprang up when I was thinking about it and now it has stuck. She has been named.

I see Lavinia as a strong-willed, stubborn, woman who is not used to anyone saying “no” to her. Well, we’ll see if she’s finally met her match in me, another strong-willed, stubborn woman who also isn’t used to taking “no” for an answer. In fact, the very best way to get me to do something has always been to tell me, “No, you can’t do that”. Now I’m going to do it even if I wasn’t originally interested! I sometimes think my entire career is based on my former boss, Ben Wattenberg, hiring a man to work on his book and telling me “you’re better at typing…you don’t want to mess with all those numbers.”. Voila….Mckenzie getas a finance degree!

I imagine Lavinia will be in good form this evening as I have quit drinking again. This means Lavinia no longer has a partner in crime. There will be no one there to egg her on in her eating frenzy. She will be all on her own. Except, of course, for me.

I think just by naming her I’ve already quite started to like Lavinia. And maybe somewhere in that sentence lies an answer. Perhaps the way to get past Lavinia is not to fight her, but to befriend her, and make her feel safe? At a minimum, perhaps we can be frenemies. Maybe that will stop her from “eating me out of house and home” as my mom used to say.

I’m looking forward to introducing Lavinia to my therapist and see if the two of them can manage to get along. I’ll keep you posted.

Celebrate Spring!

I have always loved Easter, and not just for the basket full of candy. When I was married my husband and I hosted a large Easter dinner every year with themed baskets for the children, and a many-course meal of lamb, ham and all the sides imaginable. We did this even though I was an atheist, and he hadn’t been to church in 20 years.

For someone who grew up in the Oregon Willamette Valley, as a child Easter was filled with the hope that the rains might actually truly end, and we would see the sun again.  As an adult in Maryland, I would never plant my annual flowers in beds or pots until Easter and then overnight my yard would be filled with beautiful color.

As a holiday, Easter predates Christianity and was originally the name for Spring Equinox celebrations. Eostre is the Germanic goddess of dawn who is celebrated during the Spring Equinox. As an adult I celebrate Easter, and my German roots, as the awakening of Spring. A time of renewal and hope and a reminder that the world keeps blooming even amidst war, poverty, and betrayal.

Easter and spring festivals, of course, are also about fertility, or in my experience promiscuity.  (See my previous post In the spring a (young) man’s fancy… )

I’ve got the feeling that something ain’t right…

House to my Left. Hard Right Trump Republican.
House to the right of me. Family worried way too much about my sinning.

As a staunch Democrat and atheist, I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable in my neighborhood right now.

Clowns to the left of me
Jokers to the right
Here I am stuck in the middle with you

Stealers Wheel (1972)

Never felt so old…

I’ve never felt as old as I did this morning when viewing the clothes worn by stars to the Grammy Awards. Justin Bieber looked though he was auditioning for Tom Hanks role in “Big”. It’s very difficult for me to take someone dressed like him seriously. And, they both look so sad. I can understand why she is. She has to walk around with him dressed like that. But what’s he upset about? Does having millions make one depressed?

The Inequality of Aging

I was watching a show on Netflix last night, based on a true story, where the lead character, a 50-something white male, had a wife, and two mistresses. One of the mistresses he had been seeing for several years, and now that was getting old, and so he added another younger version to the mix. He didn’t replace his wife with a younger woman. That would be too cliché. He simply added another one each time he got bored.

Are you kidding me? This guy is in relationships with three women, and I can’t even get a dinner date? And I’m not even looking for a man with money. I can take care of myself. Just company. A little humor. A night out. That’s all I’m looking for.

Once again, we learn that the world simply isn’t fair. Women over 50 can’t even find a little companionship and men over 50 have multiple lovers. I posit to you that there will never be true equality while this major disparity exists.

It’s a Balancing Act

Being fit and healthy is definitely a balancing act. That’s why I’ve begun starting every morning with a trip to the gym to get a bit of healthy on. After which, I stop by my local convenience store and get a bit of unhealthy Diet Coke, my go to morning engine starter. After which, the scales feel completely balanced again.

Then for lunch, I make a deliciously healthy salad, full of vegetables, nuts and craisins topped off with my own homemade salad dressing. I follow that up later in the afternoon with a complete batch of brownies. Once again, the scales are evened out.

Healthy on one side, unhealthy on the other, I balance out my days in order to stay in the exact same shape I woke up in that morning. It is often difficult, but I’m a woman with a mission, and I will surely prevail.

Cottonwood Crazy!

It’s in the air, it’s everywhere.

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