Terrence Crutcher

I have started and deleted this post four times. I know there will be fallout. I know people I love and respect will disagree with me. I don’t really have a problem with that, exactly. I have very strong feelings about a ton of things, and a big mouth to voice those feelings with, so I am pretty used to people disagreeing with me. The thing is, this time, it’s too important. It’s important because people are dying, and it just has to stop.

On Monday, I watched a video of yet another innocent man die in the middle of a street at the hands of people sworn to protect him. He was unarmed, he had his hands in the air, and he was shot and killed. Hands in the air mean surrender. Hands in the air mean I have nothing to hide. Hands in the air mean peace. Terrence Crutcher died because his car broke down. I don’t care about past arrests, I don’t give a shit about prior convictions. An unarmed man had car problems and because of that his children will never see him again and that is horrifying.

I am a pretty blessed woman. I don’t have a lot financially or materially, but I am a white woman, I live in a “desirable zip code”, I have food to eat and clothes to wear. I also have a family. My daughter recently married a black man. They have two children, my grandchildren. I worry about them every day because being a black man in America is apparently punishable by death and I can not see another one of my family members die for no reason. My beautiful grandson Jayden is seven years old now, but one day he will be seventeen, and I don’t want to have to tell him that because of his color, he can’t go to the store dressed in a hoodie and buy a bag of Skittles.

This country collectively lost our shit because of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during our anthem. The thing is, haven’t we always promoted peaceful protest? Isn’t that our right as Americans? Maybe we should stop screaming in outrage and listen to why he is protesting. Maybe we can understand. Maybe we can bring change.

There is an attack on a gay bar, and you feel badly, but you don’t take a stand and fight because you aren’t gay and it doesn’t affect you. Undocumented citizens are sent away to face unspeakable atrocities, and you feel badly, but you don’t take a stand and fight because you aren’t undocumented and it doesn’t affect you. A black man dies at the hands of the police, and you feel badly, but you don’t take a stand and fight, because you aren’t black and it doesn’t affect you. The problem is, one day, the vitriol and violence will be turned on you, aren’t you going to need someone to stand up and fight for you?

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my meditation practice. When I first started meditating, I honestly didn’t see any difference in my life, but after the first month or so, I really did start to see small changes. Now, almost four months into daily meditation, it has become a vital part of my day. For me, meditation brings peace and balance to my entire day. I don’t get angry as quickly. I don’t respond to people trying to incite anger. I am learning to let things go, to breathe.

I am thankful for Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc  after a long, trying day. Perfect.

I am thankful for Sam, my youngest son, my ride or die, my reason for living. He has been such an amazing blessing to me from the day he was born, and at fifteen, has become a sweet, sensitive, and hilariously funny young man.

I am thankful for my Chloe girl. She is so much more than a dog. She is my confidant, my best friend, my bed partner. She is an awesome dog, and the greatest “person” to come home to!

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OK, yes, she needs a haircut, but seriously? Look at her face!

I am so grateful for my new car! I don’t even have it here in New Jersey yet, not until next week, and I am still beyond excited. Every day, I think of more things that are possible for me now, that never were before. My head is still reeling from the shock! Mostly, I am eternally grateful for the sweetest, most genuine friend I have ever had, who is responsible for all of this excitement. I have learned so much from our friendship, and from her, and she continues to amaze and inspire me more every day. I hope she truly understands how eternally grateful to her I am, not only for the car, but for her friendship which is invaluable and irreplaceable.

The Rules

I love writing, I always have, for as long as I can remember. When I discovered blogs several years ago, I knew I wanted to have one. I didn’t want it for money or fame, I honestly didn’t  think anyone would read it, except for a few of my very closest friends. Surprisingly, some people do, and I am so grateful for my regular readers!  From the very first comment I received, I promised myself I would allow all comments, good or bad, on my page, because someone took the time to not only read what I have to say, but wanted to comment on it as well. I still believe that is the best way for me to run my blog.

This Friday, when I should have been happily preparing to go to Baltimore to visit friends and family, my phone was bombarded with text messages, starting at 12:30 am. Apparently my ex, who has made it made it clear wants nothing to do with me, is one of my readers. She mistakenly believed that I was referring to her when I talked about S.G. and after my post on Friday, it was obvious to her that she is not at all who I am referring to. I felt bad, at first. I apologized for her confusion. The texts didn’t stop.

All. Weekend. Long. While I was with my kids. While I was with S.G.. While I was with other friends. She did not stop. I stopped answering. Nothing stopped them. Finally, by Sunday, I stopped receiving texts, and thought that life was back to normal.

On Monday, I couldn’t wait to post about my phenomenal weekend, and the amazing gift that S.G. surprised me with ( See Weekend Wrap-up). As soon as I posted last night, all Hell broke loose. I had a barrage of vaguely threatening, passive aggressive sub tweets directed to me, and the vitriol and hate in my comments was nothing short of astounding.

Here’s the thing about my blog. As the “owner” and moderator of this blog, I have the right not to allow someone to trash me on these pages. If you want to read my blog, that’s great. Please read as often and as much as you want, and I truly hope you enjoy it. If you don’t want to read it, I’m sorry to see you go. If you have something valid to say, I will absolutely allow that, even if I disagree with what you are saying, but I will not allow you to trash me and try to smear me here or on any social media. That is a dangerous road, and neither one of us will be happy with the outcome.

These are the rules for my blog. Are we agreed? Awesome. Let’s all continue in peace and love.

 

 

Weekend Wrap-up

I had wanted to post this last night, but our trip home was HORRIBLE and I ended up not getting back to New Jersey until 11:30 last night, but more on that later.

I woke up very early on Friday morning to finish last-minute packing, and because I was so excited to be going to Baltimore. My kids and I have always been very close, and I have never been so far away from them for so long, so any chance to see them is precious to me. We arrived at the Greyhound station at 9:00 in the morning, excited for the weekend. I should mention, during the packing, and waiting at Greyhound, through a two-hour bus ride, and on to my daughter’s house, I was fielding fallout from my blog via text message. That is a whole other blog post for another day. This weekend was too amazing to share space.

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These two beauties were waiting to greet us, which made me happier than I can even explain. My grand-daughter Ava is six months old now, and is playful, and funny, and so, so happy it’s impossible not to be happy around her. My daughter Allie is beautiful as ever, and has a different hair color every time I see her. This month is red, and after I got used to it, I really started to like it a lot.

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I spent a wonderful day with the girls, my son Matthew , and Sam. It was great to be able to be together again. Later that evening, I left to go to S.G.’s house. She lives about an hour away from where I was, but even though she works two full-time jobs, mostly outdoors in 90+ degree heat, even though she takes care of literally her entire family, when I am in Baltimore, she always comes to see me.

On Saturday, S.G. went to work very early, and I played with her dogs, read, and talked with her neighbors until she came home. We sat on her porch talking for a while, and suddenly S.G. said we had to take a walk. I thought that was odd, but she very often takes care of different people’s animals if they are away, so I figured we were going to feed someone’s dog or cat. Halfway down the road, she pulled something out of her pocket and said “here, take this for me.” I reached behind me, and she put a key in my hand. “What is this?” I asked her. “It’s the key to your car,” she said, completely straight-faced. “Wha..It’s what?” I asked, totally confused. “This is your car,” she explained, pointing to the car parked next to her. “Do you want to drive it?”20160828_152828

“YOU BOUGHT ME A CAR???” I was in complete shock. I have not owned a car in over fourteen years. While I lived in Baltimore, it was never really a problem, I could still get everywhere I wanted to be without having to rely on anyone. In New Jersey, there is no public transportation where I live, and I have felt like all of my independence has been stripped away from me since I got here.

She bought me a car. Not only that, she got it freshly painted, brand new tires, new radio, freshly charged air conditioner, this girl did it all. I was temporarily unable to breathe, and all she said was “Happy birthday, do you want to drive it?”

I cannot explain how radically she has just changed my life. I can do so much more now, for myself, and more importantly for my kids. I have really tried not to complain too much about my lack of a car since I moved here, because I don’t want to be that person who is always unhappy, always complaining. I have to tell you, not having a car sucks, for me, and for my son. Everything we do, weather buying school clothes, going to a movie, going to get an ice cream cone, I have to make sure I can get a ride. I hate having to clear my work schedule with my mother, so she can schedule her life around mine. S.G. changed all of that. Needless to say, my mother is beyond happy, and is ready to adopt S.G. as her own.

I’m not sure when I am going back to Baltimore. Sam’s starting back to school soon, and life is going to start getting crazy. I do know, that I will be going in MY car, whenever that will be. Thanks to an amazing, sweet, generous woman, I suddenly have a whole lot more options.

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Thankful Thursday

I have been in this whole self-improvement thing this summer. I completely changed my eating habits and went vegan a couple of months ago, I have been meditating almost daily, and I am really trying to practice gratitude. Not just saying I’m grateful, actually, really feeling grateful, every day. With my crazy life? Well, some days that is a challenge to say the least. I feel like it’s necessary though, and it’s important. And the saying is true: there is always something to be thankful for.

I am always, and eternally, thankful for my children and grandchildren. We have been through so much together, and my kids have certainly been through some things that I never wanted them to experience, but the bad experiences have led to a closeness that I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. And when I am at work on my lunch hour, and open Instagram and see a video clip of my 6 month old granddaughter laughing a full on belly laugh? It is impossible not to be in a good mood.

I’m grateful for my mom. I haven’t written very much about my mother, because family can be such a delicate subject, but my son and I are  temporarily living in my mother’s house. My mom and I have always had a rather difficult relationship, and it hasn’t been an easy situation for any of us. We argue, and I whine every day, but what it comes down to is my mother opened her home to my son and me at a time that she was really enjoying being alone because I really needed the help. That is beautiful and amazing and I truly am grateful for her help.

I am grateful for my job. I really love working for THE BANK. Sometimes it is crazy , and sometimes it is super stressful, but I work with a really great team for a company I really do love and respect. Today, I was named the Employee of the Quarter in my branch. It’s a really great thing to have my co workers and supervisors recognize my hard work!

Tonight, I am so grateful, and so, so excited to be leaving New Jersey for the weekend and going to Maryland!! I am going to take my son to his dad’s house one more time before school starts again, and spend some time with my kids and grand kids who are there, and then tomorrow night I am going to S.G.’s house for the weekend. (For an explanation of the acronym, please refer to “About a Girl”) I am always happy to spend time at S.G.’s house. Aside from, obviously, spending time with her, I have come to have really good friendships with her friends and neighbors, through her. I always come away from time with her happy and relaxed, and I can’t think of a better end of summer getaway.

I am going to try to take pictures this weekend. I would love to be able to do a weekend recap in pictures here, however my family and friends usually fight pictures. I’m going to try my best. Have an amazing weekend everyone!

Work work work work work…….

So, work today was awesome. And by awesome I mean it sucked! Like for real sucked. If I haven’t mentioned before, I work for THE BANK. I came in today, at 10 in the morning, on a Sunday, which already means nothing good is going to happen today. However, on this particular Sunday, when we came in, our fire alarm was going off non stop. A high pitched, never ending, make your eardrums bleed sound that was barley noticeable in the lobby area, but in the drive thru, where I would be spending the next five and a half hours was loud enough to wake the dead. Awesome.

SO, my head teller called our supervisor, who told us to call our physical security department. Great. No problem. Except our directory lists no less then 15 numbers for physical security. So, with three of us there, we divided the numbers between us, and each started dialing. Not one of the calls were answered. Perfect!!!

After several more phone calls, Head Teller finally talked to a real person at THE BANK and was told, “Oh, yeah. It’s been going off all night.”

Wait, what?

Our FIRE ALARM has been going off all night, and no one, not even the FIRE DEPARTMENT has tried to figure out why?? (This is the point at witch I close my eyes and repeat the phrase “I love my job” over and over to myself)

After an hour and a half of calling God knows who, I am told that EMERGENCY SERVICES will be out to fix the ungodly noise within the hour. I whisper a small prayer of thanks, and try to ignore the HORRIBLE DRILL INSIDE MY BRAIN that this noise has become.

Five hours later, 20 minutes before we close, someone comes to fix our alarm. Someone who speaks almost no English. Who immediately informs us we need a password to stop the alarm. Which no one has.   You have GOT to be kidding me with this shit!

Several phone calls, and 20 minutes after closing time, the ungodly noise is turned off, and we are informed that in case of an actual fire, we now have no alarm system.

Why are we the only bank opened on Sundays???

Next weekend I will be in Maryland at SG’s house. I hope they have a much easier time at work than I did today. As for me? I stopped at the liquor store, (also conveniently opened on Sunday!) for not one but TWO bottles of wine. I am now going to drink my wine, and watch Big Brother with my son, and try to forget that I have to go back to the same place, sans fire alarm tomorrow.

I hope you all had a better Sunday than I did!

 

I Believe

I believe in honesty. Sometimes the truth can hurt, sometimes it can feel like a knife in your heart, but I truly believe that it is always, always better to be hurt by the truth than to be lied to.

I believe that there is a major difference between existing and living.

I believe in laughter. Lots of laughter. Even in the hardest and most trying times, I am so grateful to have people in my life who laugh with me every day.

I believe in enjoying where you are. It’s so easy to get so caught up trying to get where you want to be, that you don’t take the time to appreciate where you are right now.

I believe in helping people when you can. I also believe in remembering the people who have helped you.

I believe in karma. I have seen it’s work too much not to.

I believe in love. Not so much the You complete me, I can’t live without you kind of love. Bringing me a cup of coffee in the morning, exactly the way I like it, without being asked kind of love. The best kind of love.

I believe in naps.

I believe in doing something to the very best of your ability, even when you don’t want to, because it’s the right thing to do.

I believe in trying to be better than you were yesterday every day. Not for anyone, and not to gain anything, just for you.