Christmas Time Lessons

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When I was in 5th grade, Christmas was looking pretty much like hell. My mother was dying of cancer, bills were abundant, and my parents were miserable.

My parents friends and co-workers got together and bought us presents, all of us, dressed someone up as Santa Claus and showed up at our house one night. That was looking like a really hard Christmas, and thanks to the goodness of our community, our last Christmas with my mom was great! I remember tearing through presents, while my mom sobbed with happiness. As I got older, every year I’ve reflected on it and felt blessed.

A month ago, my ex left. When he left, he took things I’m still discovering are gone. I came home to an empty house, with a beat up couch, the freezer, 2 plates and some glasses left. I was given one month to get a replacement for the couch and freezer on top of trying to figure out how to afford pots and pans, lamps, tables, plates, utensils.. the list goes on.  I had to figure out how to replace stuff I had taken for granted since my first apartment.. then pay my ex’s portion of the bills he flaked on. It honestly looked like Christmas was out of the question. My heart broke, not just because I was betrayed, but because it looked like I wouldn’t be able to give my daughter a decent home AND Christmas presents.

So after I cleaned up the mess he left the night I got back home, I put Ashley to bed and sat on my kitchen floor and tried to figure out what I was going to do.

In the month since, I’ve found out horrible things about my ex, heartbreaking things, it’s been rough facing them, but this whole time? My family, friends, even people I haven’t seen in years, even people I’ve never met in person have rallied around Noodle and I. From couches to tables, to plates and silverware, pots and pans to hand towels started arriving or being dropped off. Books and pens, more cards than I can count. So while I covered bills, people who care about us covered what I needed, provided support and an ear. More recently.. presents. Noodle has received presents from family I haven’t seen in forever, and dear friends, I’ve gotten a few too. Hand delivered, fed exed, and left on my doorstep. I had managed to use what little money I had saved to get stocking stuffers and a few small things, but friends chipped in so I could pick out a few more.

A month ago I felt lost. I was worried, in tears and scared. Almost two decades after family and friends took care of my family the first time, it happened again.

The best part of everything that has happened? In one month, I went from feeling so incredibly sad and alone, to knowing I’m far from alone. In one month I learned how much people care for Noodle and I. I was lucky enough to watch a community rally behind us and stand with us, not once but twice. I am lucky enough to know, that while things will be rough for a little while, I know that we’ll be okay. I know that I have friends, that we’re not alone. I went from dreading Christmas to looking forward to it.

I think I learned the best Christmas lesson, twice. The world may be a scary place, but there are a lot of good people left. Knowing this, is the best Christmas present I could ask for.

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Birthdays and Frustration

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Just turned another year older, seems like this last year just flew by.  My birthday weekend was actually really nice, I was able to visit with some friends I haven’t seen in a while and hang out with the boyfriend and my sister.  Got some really awesome gifts, not just from family either but from my coworkers too.

However it must have been the carefree weekend that makes everything today seem so irritating.  It seems like literally every little thing frustrated me, from work to my dentist to my banks.  You name it.  It’s just made me realize that I have to do something to change my life, something to take down the stress a little. 

Regardless, here goes another year of my life.

This adult stuff is bullshit.

Growing Up or Growing Into?

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It’s Saturday Night y’all!  The boyfriend is hanging out with his brother, and my kid is asleep.  Logically the next step is brew some coffee and write some bullshit.  So yeah.  Here I am.  On the internet.  Three minutes ago I had a realization, something that hit me so hard, so fast, that I immediately felt that need to get the words out of my head.  I can’t find my favorite pen, so blog it is.

I am a New Sarah.

Over the past 15 years, I have reinvented myself several times.  No one Sarah was completely the same.  Some Sarah’s were no good, some Sarah’s were too work-involved, some Sarah’s were at the bottom of the bottle, and some Sarah’s were domesticated housewifes.  So here we go again, I finally realized that I am a completely new Sarah again.

This new Me has been evolving for roughly 3 years.  The Divorce from “He who shall not be named” threw me to rock-bottom.  I wasn’t the best person, I wasn’t the best mom, and I wasn’t a good friend.  Honestly, I didn’t even like me.  Not even a little bit.  Actually, if Present-Day-Me met Me-From-3-Years ago, I’d slap her.  Or me.  Whatever, you get the gist.

I had to have a couple of major blows to my life to straighten out.  Those blows sucked, but I finally got it figured out and apparently just ran with it.  Usually my reinventions are somewhat similar.  Some sort of aspect stays with the next Me, thankfully, this time, the only thing that has stuck is my fuck-you-I-can-do-this attitude.  I think I’m just so amazed because of it.  Looking back on 3 years ago, I am borderline ashamed.  I have moments of deep shame, but then I remind myself that everything I did, caused, or went through, kicked my ass enough to learn from it.  Nonetheless, I am glad to say goodbye to the Old Sarah.  I am glad to kiss that life goodbye and stop glancing over my shoulder to make sure it’s not following me.

Today was a perfect day.  The Boyfriend had to work, so we had a Noodle and Mama Day.  We relaxed together a bit this morning, and after a quick breakfast hopped in the car and headed out.  We ran a couple of errands and then had lunch together.  After lunch, we went straight to the local farmer’s market and bought mushrooms (Noodle), Onions (as a complement to Noodle’s mushrooms), and peanut butter cookies (Me, duh).  Then we went shopping, we roamed around a couple of stores, causing a bit of trouble and looking for deals.  At Target I learned that my kid can con cookies off of ANY bakery in ANY store ANNNNND go back for SECONDS.

We came back to the house and set up some venison chops to marinate, and went right back outside.  It was a gorgeous day, and I don’t think either one of us could stay inside another day.  I had bought her a big jug of bubbles, so I sipped my iced coffee and she blew and chased down and stomped hundreds of bubbles.  A good grilled dinner and some relaxing, and she’s tucked into bed asleep.  I managed to clean the house before I ended up on my computer.

What made me realize the change in myself is that as I brewed my cup of coffee I realized I was/am completely happy and content.  That moment, as my coffee brewed, I thought back and realized how different not only I was, but how different I felt compared to a few years ago.  I finally learned how to live for me (and my daughter) instead of to someone else’s standards, or how I thought I was *supposed* to be.  I finally learned to love ME and my life, all the little quirks and troubles.  I learned to be happy with myself and enjoy the little things, and do it sober.

Things are not perfect and this life has had some pretty shitty moments, but now I realize that it will never be perfect, but I can make it as damn close as I can, and enjoy the ride there.

 

It feels good to stop looking into the past.

Intolerance and Hate

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I had “friended” someone on Facebook that I knew as a child.  She was one of my mother’s friends and I looked up to her after my mom passed away.  I lost touch with her for years and the wonderful world of Facebook brought us back together.

Unfortunately the line that is drawn between us is way to great and I had to delete her.  Our political stances and morals/beliefs are too far apart and I can’t deal with that.  I’d say we’re polar opposites like me and my wonderful friend Em are,  but it’s beyond that.  I’m middle-left-leaning.  She’s so far right, I swear Obama turned gay and personally shat in her Wheaties

As most of you know two very important bills are up today that involves same-sex marriage and rights.  As most of you (should) know, I am FOR equal rights.  I acknowledge that in Christianity marriage is between a man and a woman, but I also realize that not all people are Christian.  Not all people think that way.  Frankly, I believe that marriage is between love and love.  If there so happen to be two penises in the equation, it doesn’t bother me.  If there happens to be two vaginas involved, fuck yes.

Anyway, so in my support of the gay community, I changed my profile picture and posted this:

Booyah bitches.

Booyah bitches.

 

… among other things.  Well, it attracted my mother’s friend.  Her response was to compare same sex marriage to pedophilia.  Yeah.  I’m not cool with that.  I am not even going to waste time to type why I’m not cool with that.  If you don’t know the difference between pedophilia and a same-sex relationship, or think there is any kind of comparison or lead to pedophilia, you honestly shouldn’t be reading my blog.  Or on my Facebook.  Or anywhere near my corner of the internet/county/state.

I informed her that I thought it was a disgusting comparison and was met with several links to articles about pedophilia and nasty groups that are for it.  Needless to say I told her she was a bigot and filled with hate, and that does not belong on my page, or in my life.  I stopped responding and calmed down with a friend over the phone.  Once I calmed down, I un-friended her.

Not only am I offended by her, or appalled might be more of a correct term.. but I am saddened.  I thought that maybe I could learn more of my mother through her.  I have my dad of course, but no one knows a woman like another woman.  I looked forward to selfishly getting something out the relationship but ended up with hate filling my page.

It’s odd.  I’ve always known about the bigots and the racists and such.  Hell, I’ve run into them out in every day life, but to find out someone that you looked up to and looked to as a child has such hatred in her heart is hard to swallow.  I don’t blame it on Christianity at all either, so don’t start that nonsense.  I know that most Christians aren’t like that, but it’s still hard to wrap my head around.

So I guess this is it.  Sorry Mom, I had to delete your friend.  I’m glad you’re not here anymore because I’d have to ask you what the hell you were thinking in the first place.

Expectations are a Bitch and a Half

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I am the ultimate pessimist.  I am.  I’ve been a raging-skull-punch-you-on-the-way-down pessimist as long as I can remember.  I always explain it like this: Hope for the best but always assume it won’t happen because life sucks and you should just get a helmet.  Sometimes, always expecting the negative in a situation bums me out and irritates people but you know what?  Screw off, there is a perk!!  If you expect nothing to happen, or plan for worst case scenario, when things do go your way it’s even better!

Ie:  Holding out for a new position at work.

Expectation: My ass getting canned and THEN denied unemployment.

Reality: Received promotion and desk with sparkles in it.  (You can’t beat sparkles.) (Stop laughing.)

Being a pessimist has almost become a safety blanket for me.  It’s just one more way I protect myself from getting hurt or upset when shit hits the fan… you know, because I expected it to, so I was prepared.

The only catch is is that people are not included in this mess of a safety net.  For some reason, my hopes expectations of people are just as high as I have set for myself.  This includes everyone, I’m talking from my neighbors to my boyfriend, from my kid to the little shit who lives 5 houses down.  Everyone.  Yes.  I’m talking about you.  I’m talking about family, I’m talking about doctors, I’m talking about co-workers, I’m talking about that kid who changed my oil last weekend.  I’m talking about the lady who owns the laundry mat all the way to the got-damned President of the United States.  I’m also talking about the person who is criticizing the fuck out of me for my run-on sentences.  Yes, you too asshole.  I have high-ass expectations for all of you.

“Oh but Sarah, you can’t expect that out of me?!  It’s to harrrd!”

Bite me.  You’re talking to a Single-Mom (not-even-child-support. Nada from the Dad.) who has been suffering with “Moderate to Severe” active Crohns Disease for 6 (5 diagnosed) years.  I went from working 2 restaurant/bar gigs AND odd jobs to an office job all the while trying *not* to die or live in the hospital.  Throw in some domestic abuse, a failed marriage, and sprinkle some good old anxiety and depression on top.  If I can do it, you can do it.

My life isn’t easy, and it’s not the hardest out there, but if I can live up to my expectations of what a person should be, how they should act, then so can you.

It’s not even that my expectations are phenomenal or anything, I always thought they were run-of-the-mill.  Yet, time and time again I am informed that I expect too much.

Too much?  Maybe.

I expect you to not be an asshole.  No seriously.  Just stop being an asshole to everyone.  How about instead of copping an attitude at everyone who looks your way, you can try to say something nice to them or *gasp* try and help another human being with something.

I expect you to be polite and have manners.  (Half of you just choked.)  (Good.)  I am one of the first people to laugh at or crack a horrible blow-job joke.  I am.  However, I hold the door for people coming out after me.  If someone drops something, I try and pick it up for them.  If I bump into someone, I apologize.  Christ people, it’s not that hard.  You walk past someone you smile and say “Hey” or do that stupid head nod thing that people do.  Oh and two words.  “Please” and fucking “Thank you” <- I especially expect children to say it. (I had two little girls, aged 4, in my office today while their mom was with my co-worker.  They said Please and Thank You for every single crayon I gave them, they even said it to *each other* as they fought over who got to draw with the purple-sparkle pen.  If two little girls can say it, so can grown ass people.)

Work.  If you’re over the legal age to work, I expect you to work.  I don’t care what the hell you do, I don’t.  I just expect you to do it, do it well and not be fucking lazy.  I get it, people have lazy days, most days I decided I’d rather go back to bed before I even leave my bed.  That doesn’t excuse you from doing your damned job.  I’ve also done the dead-end job thing.  I know that if you work hard sometimes it just doesn’t get you anywhere.  My examples:  Jiffy Lube, all 3 greek restaurants I worked at, Elder-care (promotion wise), most retail, the majority of sales (small ticket items), etc.  You know why you should work hard?  Just in case.  Just in case you might get a chance at a different position or a promotion.  Because you should work to *earn* your money, not mooch it.  Also you have to work with other people, so this resorts back to “not being an asshole”.  Don’t make your co-workers days hell.  Work.  It’s called “work-ethic” and you should have it, more importantly we should instill it in our children.

I expect you to be educated.  I’m not talking about college, I’m not even talking about high school.  I expect you to know what’s going on around you in the world, to care what’s happening to other people.  I expect you to have an opinion, even if it differs from mine.  I expect you to pay attention to something beyond the new trinket you just bought.  There is important stuff going on in our world right now, I don’t expect you to be aware of everything, or know every minute detail, because I sure don’t… but I expect a decent attempt.  I want people to have a brain of their own, not to be a mindless sheep.  Why?  Stupid people piss me off.  So don’t be stupid.  Borrow a book, read a newspaper.  You know, Yahoo! has news and Google isn’t just there to look up porn.  Use your brain.

 

I’m not saying you have to be perfect.  I’m not.  I’m far fucking from it.  Sometimes I smoke too much, sometimes I snap at people through out the day because I’m cranky.  Sometimes while you’re talking I imagine strangling you so you stop rambling on about your new manicure.  I have lazy days and I have “Do I really have to put on pants??” days. But I try to be a good person, I try to be nice and courteous, I try to do my job to the best of my ability and I try to be aware and active in the world around me.  That’s all I’m asking of other people, just do it.  I’m a pessimist a million and one days out of a million and two.  I am an optimist when it comes to other people.  If you fuck-heads take that away from me, imagine how miserable I am going to make the world around me. (ha)

 

At least try not to be an asshole.  That’s a start.

A-Pick-Me-Up

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Because... Duh!

Because… Duh!

 

Sometimes when you’re down on your luck, angry or hurting, only a good friend can cheer you up.  I’m lucky, I have a handful of very good friends, and a handful of ladies who I could consider my best friends.  Through out these past few years I’ve learned a lot about friends, and what a friendship is really made up of.  Some of these lessons were painful to learn, but the more painful the lesson, the more important and vital it was.

Today, I’ve been grumpy all day.  I haven’t been feeling good thanks to a long-lasting cold (my compromised immune system blows) and my Crohn’s acting up.  Just a plain awful mood.  I felt like laying in bed, but instead dragged my butt to work and did what I had to do and more.  By the time I got home I was ready to curl up into a ball and sleep.  Ryan told me I had received a card from someone and he left it on the Kitchen Table.  So I open it up and instantly smiled.  A thoughtful card and a handwritten message from a friend made my day.  I wouldn’t use that gay saying “turned that frown upside down” but I wasn’t near tears anymore.

Sometimes the simplest things can fix a bad mood, and a card from a friend after a hard day can cheer you up.  It was just an awesome reminder at the end of my day that I am very lucky to have such great friends.  It also reminded me to return the favor and pay it forward.

Over the years, friendships have died, exploded and spontaneously combusted and I’ve learned.  Real friends can live next-door or across the continent.  Real friends could see you every day or you may have never met in person.  Real friends won’t give up when you’re a shit-head and stand by you when the going gets tough.  I’ve learned that sometimes a skype or phone coffee date is more meaningful than weekly ritual ones.  I’ve learned that taking care of a friends teddy bear means more than a lot of people know.  I’ve learned that friendship isn’t defined by simple terms, but by how much you care about someone.

So to my friends, I love you guys.

Hippie-Dippie Post : Peace Out Negativity

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So I’m on this bender, and by bender I don’t mean booze.  I’ve been doing my best to organize and simplify my life, but not going as far as stressing myself out.  I’ve conquered my closet (which is going to goodwill) as well as my work-space (at home – meaning my desk) and various other things.  The idea is, that to live simply and keep myself organized, I will keep my stress levels down.  So far it’s been working.

Mostly.

Laundry is no longer a dreaded nightmare, besides the folding of child clothes anyway.  My finances are in order and straight.  My yarn and needles are now all organized and starting a new project or searching for a certain color of yarn no longer makes me smell colors.  It helps.  The little things.  Organizing my coffee cups and donating the crap ones.  Tossing the lonely forever single socks and stacking my books.

So yesterday, I was browsing Facebook and I as I scrolled I realized how much pure and utter CRAP was on my timeline.  I’ve been bitching for WEEKS now that I’m fed up with the political bashing, that I’m fed up with whining, and significant others fighting on Facebook (while low blows really amuse me, it started to get painful to see).

So I kept scrolling.  Do I delete my Facebook?  Well no, my close knit circle of friends from CafeMom are on there, a few of them I talk to on Facebook first before the phone.  Do I spend the time blocking each post I dislike?  Uhm, lazy, and that requires me to not be lazy over the span of a few weeks, long enough for the posts to filter through.  So no.  Bam! (Insert politically charged gun control post) and I about threw my phone.

(For the record, I’m on the fence, I agree with both sides (and both of you need to stfu).  I don’t believe that gun control or lack there of is going to fix the loophole that exists in school safety, a PLAN will.  So shut the hell up.)

My blood pressure rose as I looked at the name.  Wait…. what?  Who is this person?  Well, they live in my town, but do I actually know them?  Maybe.  Are we friends?  No.  I kept scrolling, this time paying attention to names.  I couldn’t believe how many people on my “friends list” I didn’t actually know.

That became my mission for the evening.  Deleting people.  But why just stop at people I don’t know.  How about I delete acquaintances?  I mean, we never hang out, we have little in common, and when was the last time I even talked to you on here?  Gone.  Oh look, there’s that kid who was in my 3rd grade class!  Annnnd if I close my eyes… nope, can’t remember what you look like.  Gone.  So the weeding out began.  Then I realized, what about those people who post shit that pisses me off?  Well, unless you’re a close friend of mine, obviously if we have differing opinions to that degree, delete.

Note:  I didn’t just delete people who have a different opinion than me.  I deleted people who constantly argue with me with out anything to back it up.  I deleted people whom I have no relationship with or haven’t had in a long time, who post blatantly ignorant hateful things.

Facebook hasn’t been my favorite thing in a long time, but unfortunately I do rely on it to talk to long-distance friends and family.  After years of being on there, I just realized that I didn’t need to have people I met at a bar 3 years ago on there.  My Facebook is for my friends and my family.  It’s for my thoughts and articles, debates with friends and pictures of my kid.  It’s for that stupid fucking cat picture that cracks me up.  That’s it.  It’s not for hateful messages, arguments and drama.  It’s not for people I don’t know to have a peek into my life.

So 100+ people gone.

Today, I logged on and started scrolling on my lunch.  Instead of seeing Anti-Liberal / Anti-Conservative bullshit, I saw the update about my friends new baby (gorgeous by the way).  Instead of the “My boyfriends and Ass, I hate him” then two minutes later “He’s sooo sweet, he gave me flowers” from someone I can’t even remember meeting in real life?  I read a update from a close friend’s own store.  I read things I wanted to.  I was able to keep up with the people who mean something in my real-life.

It may seem pretty stupid to you, but clearing up that bit of social media was good to me.

Now look at yours, who’s looking at your pictures of your children?  Who’s reading your FourSquare check ins?  Do you really need to see that kid post ANOTHER picture of him smoking a bong?  You might, I don’t.