Thursday, April 16, 2020

In My Own Little Corner


When I was a young girl, my dad religiously made a garden for every season.  Rows upon endless rows of green beans, tomatoes (one year my brothers slipped in a few seeds of a different mother...that was interesting), and other green, red, blue, sticky, gross plants.  We'd have to help.  No big deal except that I totally hated anything that had to do with manual labor.  

Very serious manual labor.


After moving to a larger house and a smaller yard, my dad still made his gardens, however, they were a bit smaller and didn't have a new one for every season.  We still helped, but he started taking short cuts such as watering with a hose instead of a bucket (seriously, you never use a hose, it knocks off flowers...we learned this...repeatedly) and planting shorter rows.  We always had green beans in the spring, though...tomatoes, bell pepper, and cucumbers in the summer, okra whenever, and as hard as he tried, unsuccessful rows of cabbages, broccoli, and that other gross stuff that will not be named.

Eventually, his garden became smaller and smaller...his fruit trees down to two, and as he aged and slowly began to give in to the relentless atrocities of a cajun man's payment to the devil (heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure), the gardens dwindled to the occasional tomato plant or cucumber plant growing along the fence.

I'm pretty sure he missed it.  

He did.

This makes me sad.

Today I woke up early and decided to go outside.  I recently dug a fire pit (go me!) and since it was a cold morning (for Louisiana), I made a small fire, sat down in my kinda sort of shed/carport/storage area, and hung out with my fire.  As the flames dwindled down, I began to roam my garden.  That's right folks, I have a garden.  The blackberry bushes were in back of the shed, and I was able to pick about 11 ripened berries today. Walking on.  The swimming pool flower garden has green plant things shooting out of the ground, and while the pole beans have an unhealthy glimmer to them near the bottom, I am seeing small white flowers beginning to bloom.  An old fish aquarium finally, and I mean FINALLY, is sporting small, two-leaf carrot plants.  I love carrots.  I really do. The potatoes are fighting desperately on, but the strawberries are threatening to overtake the world.  Pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.  I finished the rest of my walk by whacking down thistles with a branch before going back to my fire and eating my blackberry stash...inch worms and all.  

My dad would have loved this place with it's thistles ready to eat at a moments notice, daily ripe blackberries screaming to be picked, strawberries ripening to a tangy sweetness, and so many other possibilities just growing.  It would have been small enough for him to care for.  It would have been enough for him to harvest.  Cook.  Eat.  Store.  I really think he would have liked it here.

I miss not being able to grow with him.  

But the beans don't burn in the kitchen, right?

Friday, June 17, 2016

We All Need Somebody

When the girls were still in high school, they were in talented drama.  During Persephone's final show, one of their classmates, an autistic boy, gave his monologue.  It centered around an alien invasion, real or imagined, and how their invasion of the human world finally gave him a place to belong.  I remember the tears I couldn't hold back as he ended his monologue begging the aliens not to leave and to take him with them so that he could finally go home because he just couldn't find his place here.  His words hit home because I remember feeling the same way years before when I sat in the chemo lounge cracked back in the worlds best recliner and comparing headband notes with my chemo posse.  It was the safest place in the world, albeit filled with needles and knives and tubes of kool-aid colored poison.  I fit in, and when the doctor proclaimed me "cured," I didn't want to go home.  I fit in.

It's been a few days now since the shooting in Orlando.  My heart broke as the news flashed the then "20" dead at a gay night club shooting.  As the day progressed the total climbed until there were 49 dead and over 100 shot.  Facebook, being the social media god that it is, allowed me to connect with many reactions that varied from complete horror to God's justice, and soon the "I'm heartbroken" was replaced with the battle of the guns between liberals and conservatives.  I won't go into that battle because I still believe we should be mourning the loss of the 49 souls that were lost. Instead I will bring to light something I read on a friend's post.  He was devastated
not only because of the lives lost, but because "Pulse" was his haven.  It was the first place in his life that he could actually let his walls down and become who he had tried to hide away for his entire life.  He was free and safe and welcomed and loved.  Like the aliens that invaded and the chemo room, he was home.  And in the blink of an eye, it was taken away.

At least he wasn't there, some say.  It's not like he knew any of those people, some say.  Maybe this is God's way of saying he shouldn't be gay, some say.

I'm sorry your home isn't safe anymore, I say.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Love Is All You Need

"There's nothing you can do that can't be done."...."It's easy..." All you need is love... Some of the most famous words ever written by the Beatles. I had them as part of my wedding invitation. I've sang them repeatedly to all of my children from ages 22 to five. All you need is love, love...
Obviously, the Beatles were working at an inner city school when they wrote the lyrics of this song.

I am a teacher. Most of you already know this, and knowingly scratch their heads in confusion as to why. I know the consequences of teaching (i. e. low wages, long days, wasted nights, and shortened weekends, yada). And I bitch about them all. Yes, I whine, moan, complain, bitch, whine, moan, complain, bitch, wash, rinse, repeat. Yet, I cannot see myself doing anything else.

My last year of school, as some of you can attest to, was one of the hardest I've endured in my 14 years of teaching (and while some of you say 14 years isn't long...try teaching one...year that is). My sister had gone away over the summer, to heaven, rebirth, guardianship, wherever we may find her...and my heart was just not healing quick enough for school. I stepped on some toes (Yes, I voted Obama, I supported gay equality, and I accidentally said a bad word) which resulted in having the good ole boys ship the wicked witch of the bayou (after teaching there 14 years I might add =P) to the city without a taxi cab confession. And at 43 years of my life, I was terrified, scared, confused, and teaching math. Math, alone, was more than enough. I did it, though. I don't know how I survived...I don't know how my teaming partner survived...I don't know how the secretary survived...the principal...and yeah...even the custodian survived without snatching me bald-headed. They ate my lunch and then came back for dessert. And at the end of the year, I finished as an effective teacher, which allowed me the opportunity to interview at other schools. So, I pulled my "big girl panties on" and came back the next year, hoping I could become the teacher they needed me to be.

Keep filling yourself up with love, even if there is none around you. And that will make all the difference. It won't keep them from going at each other with fists, tooth, and nail when they've had enough. It would keep them from shoving their middle finger up your nose and telling you to shut the fuck up. But it will keep you walking out that door at the end of the day, and walking back in the same one the next day.

Love is all you need.

Friday, July 27, 2012

For Theresa, Whereever I May Find Her

Saturday, July 14, 2012, my baby sister died due to cardiac arrest. They were able to restart her heart, hook her up to a machine that breathed for her, and kept her going. My parents, sisters, brothers...her husband and daughter clung to the hope that she would pull through as she had done three years earlier. For five days we sat in the critical care waiting room. Visiting for 15 minutes at 8:30, 12:30, 6:00, and finally 9:00. We took turns.

Her friends came and went. Her family came and went. The doctors mostly stayed away in order to avoid awkward questions.
The social worker came once to ask my mom and my sister's husband about organ and tissue donation. They both agreed that if my sister did not pull out of this nightmare, she would give the gift of living to another.

I am so very proud of my mother, and my brother in law, James. They made the decision to donate my sister's organs so that others may continue to live. Easy decision to make, right? You would think so, especially since the neuro said she was 100 percent brain dead. We sat throughout the night w/my sister while waiting for the surgery that would remove her organs and save lives. At times we were in the waiting area, at other times we were with her. The illusion of life that the machines gave made it look like she was sleeping, healing, coming back. The idea that she was going into surgery deceived my mind into thinking that she would be with us today. She finished her journey at 5:00 am Friday, June 20th, ending her life giving the "shirt off of her back." It was the hardest thing...leaving the hospital at 1:00 am. Walking out the door knowing that they were sedating her, putting her under anesthisia (spelling), and removing that which helped her live. My mind kept screaming...No...she's still alive...don't. I kept wanting to turn around and run back in...stopping them from making this mistake. I just wanted to tell her goodbye. But I kept on walking.

Love you, sis. Love you big as the sky.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Are You Kidding Me.


All I can say is that it's good that the Lord has blessed me with a big chest, because I seem to have loads to get off of it now.

One of the opportunities that summer provides is time...time to sleep, time to play, time to clean, so on and so forth. I've been reading the newspaper, again. This time the article was about a young, 17 year-old high school student and her not so young, 27 year old teacher. You guessed it, they had "relations." They were discovered, he was arrested, admitted to having relations with the girl, and is now in jail or out on bond.

Now the 17 year old is a slut. She's white trash. She's a tramp whore who took advantage of a man that just couldn't help it when she threw her young, teenage body at him. Girl got pissed when he broke up with her so she accused him of statutory rape. She's the one who should be thrown in jail. She's just as guilty as he is. Let's get the pitchfork, tar, and feathers. I know where we can find a big ole oak tree!

The above are the comments the newspaper allows to be posted at the bottom of the article. Would everyone in the room who has been a 17 year old girl please raise your hand? Now tell me, isn't one of the biggest compliments to your 17 year-old self is when an "older" cute guy pays you attention. I mean, what is he doing flirting with me when he can have any woman his age. I'm only 17, in school, what could he possibly want with me? That kind of attention is intoxicating. It's a drug that not only clouds your vision, but has you riding on cloud 9. So when your Prince Charming, who is 27 years old, pulls the chariot out from under you and leaves you in the gutter, you react just as you would had it been any guy who dumped you: you retaliate. This is the normal reaction of a 17 year old girl, SEVENTEEN year old TEENAGE girl. What did you expect?

And that's just basing it on the age difference. What in the world was he doing trolling for babies? He's a 27 year old man. With the female to male ratio, there are plenty enough women to go around. But I suppose he was trying to save money by staying out of the local bars and picking one out of his classroom.


I can't even being to speak about this. What a violation of trust and safety. School is rough enough as it is, especially high school. The one person you should be able to rely on keeping you safe, is your teacher. I teach, and I know first hand how vulnerable students can be, and how a teacher can be a person they look to find something normal.

I'm not proclaiming this girl pure as the driven snow, or innocent of wrong doing. However, I am saying that she reacted just as most 17 year old would have reacted. Mr. 27 year-old man, that is the price you pay when you play with children

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grow a Backbone?

This week there was an article in my local newspaper. A woman had been struck twice while running along inner state 10, just out of New Orleans. First thoughts: she must have been nuts. After reading further, eyewitnesses state that the car that the woman was in had been pulled over so that the woman's boyfriend could better beat her. Beating your girlfriend while driving can cause unsafe driving conditions, and we wouldn't want him distracted now, would we? Somehow she was able to get out of the car and escape the fists of her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she was hit by the cars she was trying to flag down.

What led her to this? How could someone be so pathetic as to find herself here? Why not just walk away? When he first started hitting, you should have walked out of that door? What could he possibly have that you needed? There are so many shelters dedicated to helping victims of abuse, why not go there?

Because there answer just isn't that simple.

Abusive boyfriends, husbands, wives, girlfriends don't start out beating the crap out of there significant other. In all truth, the beginning of many, not all, abusive relationships are heaven sent. You are their perfection, placed on a pedestal, floating on a dream of worship from this person, who in every way, shape, or form, is perfect. Life couldn't be any better.

Then there is something that happened at work, change in lifestyle, a big promotion. Still, the abuse doesnt' come in the shape of a fist. It's words. Small words like "You're lucky to have me, because no one would want your fat ass now." "I don't know why you want to hang out with those people, they are always talking about you." "God, you're so pathetic. Stop crying. Even your family can't stand having you around." "Who is going to love you like you are?" And the list goes on and on and on. It's subtle, the demoralization of your self confidence. It's like a wisp of smoke slipping through the crack of your bedroom door. Harmless...undetected while your living room blazes out of control. This stage is when you have become isolated. You have been slowly picked away at by a pirhanha nipping on this, tearing on that, until you honestly feel you have no one, no where, except the abuser.

THEN they start hitting you. Or not. Don't kid yourself into believing that emotional abuse isn't just as destructive.

I was lucky. Even though I honestly believed that my family thought I was nothing but a useless, pregnant, burden, my dad, my amazingly roaring bull of a dad, rescued me. I was lucky. Sometimes you can be pulled out of a burning building, sometimes you can run out, and sometimes you can be consumed.

Just leave him already.

Wish it could be that easy.

The woman was killed; struck by two cars she was desperately trying to flag down. The boyfriend was arrested: charged with domestic abuse and manslaughter.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ooo, Das Not Mah Baby's daddy

My daughter is beautiful, intelligent, wise beyond her knowing, or even my knowing, and, I'm sure, just like the daughters of everyone of you out there...perfect.

Honestly? She can be a poot stain at times.

Persephone was born nineteen years ago to a 22 year old single white female. That's me. Her mom stayed single for at least ten to twelve years of her life (time passes by and I have no way of knowing just what age she was when I finally married). During that time, her mom scrimped, saved, placed her pride in the closet for later use, and taught her to become the beautiful perfect daughter she is today. Single mom style, I like to call it.

Now, almost TWENTY years later...drum roll please...

Yes, you guessed it, enter the sperm donor.

UGH. Yes, her mom knows she was young...she knows she was foolish...she knows she should woulda coulda but didn't all those years ago. The choices we make when we are young wouldn't be the choices we'd make when we become old. I know, I know. Her mom knows she picked the sperm donor. She thought she was in LOVE with the sperm donor. Of COURSE she was in love with the sperm donor (it sure as hell wasn't for the sex).

Anyway, here he comes (via Facebook of all things). She added him, he added her, blah blah blah.

Her mom is having the HARDEST time remaining neutral.

But she is pledging to remain neutral.