ten new things to be freakishly scared of pretty much all the time

1. Walking by a small hook of some sort, that is near my head, and catching the hook on the outside corner of my eye, thus yanking my skull back hard and causing me to bleed profusely.

2. Driving and flicking my cigarette ash out of the window too hard, causing the cherry to pop off and hit dried gasoline on the outside of the car (because when I was filling the tank, it overflowed and I didn't clean it good enough), thus igniting a gas trail leading straight into my tank, exploding my car into tiny bits.

3. Stepping in a hole, while wearing heels, so unexpected and at the precise slant/depth that my foot literally cracks off at the ankle.

4. Drinking heavily in the pool, unaware that a storm has suddenly rolled in and fumbling, unable to get out of the water before lightning makes direct contact.

5. Burning my forearms badly on the edge of the oven door because for some reason the springs spontaneously reactivate causing it to close while I am attempting to pull a large pan out. Or panicking because I think it is about to happen, using my knees to stop the door from going back up, resulting in burning the fuck out of my knees/shins.

6. Disposing of trash in any dumpster and coming in visual contact with a dead body. Also, being shoved in a trunk when kidnapped and coming in physical contact with a dead body.

7. Meeting a random seller on Craigslist, who lives in a wealthy neighborhood, but is really a serial killer with a sound proof basement and three car wide I can take my time disposing of your vehicle and body garage.

8. My face being eaten off by any animal; the smaller the mouth, the worse the vision.

9. Shredding my knuckles or hand while grating cheese.

10. Falling into lava face first and not being able to yell because it might get in my mouth.


In Nelson's Voice from The Simpsons

Kid A: (shows scar on her arm in the shape of a cross)

Kid B: Haha. You're spawn of the Lord.

Kid B: Haha. Jesus loves you.

: |


the first rule of scrabble club, is that you do not talk about scrabble club

I am an idiot who deserves to be locked up one day in a padded room.
And I am totally cool with this conclusion to life. Do not, under any circumstances, ruin my fucking dreams.
Cartoons, rigid routine, arts and crafts, therapy and heavy sedation - can you say *Cherub Mecca Bliss* three times fast?

When I openly admit to you that I do things solely to amuse myself (bonus if any one of you is amused as well, but let me be honest about my true intention here), I do not think that most people really understand how far I will or have gone in order to laugh. The few that have been privy to my repeated nonsense (making Big Lebowski sock puppets, lighting stuffed animals on fire, creating fish slings for injured fish, taking polaroids in homage to Kevin Federline's masterpiece of a debut album release) truly understand because they, through some random act of late night insanity fueled scientifical mania idea hatching, were wrangled by guilt (I am good at guilting, even better when there is no real reason for to bestow the guilt) into coming along for the ride. Rides are fun. Just look at stupid dogs in cars (not that any of you are stupid, please, DOGS are all stupid but happy to ride in cars thats all I was trying to say, and damn it, NO arguments, this blog post is not about dogs or their intelligence quotient, we can verbally spar about that FACT later on) (ok, some of you ARE stupid but I love you any way) (not stupid like dogs though, they drool. fucking gross).

Your honor, The Prosecution would like to present Evidence A: My Underground Scrabble Club Facebook Profile.
So, today, I logged into my top secret Facebook profile in order to post a status update on the account, that no one but me will ever see.
Then I laughed. Ha. I just laughed again.

Last year, I created the profile with a few other friends because I liked to play Facebook Scrabble but for reasons I am unable to recall, this little bunny did not think merely playing was fun enough. I had to play in private under a secret name and anyone who wanted to play with me, had to do the same. Oh yes. I am not the only one, just the little man behind the curtain (don't ask for a brain by the way, we are all out).
But why should I not share? Why should this be private? BECAUSE I SAY SO!
I like private, which is why I blog in secret. I am ashamed of my brain.
Not really.
I dunno. I am weird.
I like Scrabble.

[cue: bunny leaps out of closet dressed in orange striped shirt, wearing a pink florescent wig and brandishing a pelican]
For you who are bored. For you who have never done anything illogical just to amuse yourself. For you who like secrets. For you who are just fucking curious and might pee your pants otherwise.
For you, I resurrect this Retardedness of Tingly Grandeur (version 2) In the year of our Cosmos: 2010.
Come play in the sandbox with me.
I am openly inviting anyone who reads or one day happens upon this blog to join in.

All newly ordained 3rd graders: Here is what you do.
Using an anonymous email, sign up for Facebook under a made up name. Your new Underground Facebook Profile.
Be... creative.
Find and befriend me. Mary Jane Sprankles. You can actually find me listed as a friend on the xylem lagomorpha : wood rabbit Facebook page some of you have already "liked".

Keep in mind, there should be no visible links to anything representing actual you.
Don't befriend yourself or any of your friends, anonymity is half the fun.
Maintain character when leaving comments on my page or others.
And if you want to get your ass kicked in Scrabble, leave me a comment that you'd like to play.
If you are interested.

Or lock me up.
(see ya around)

Mime Lesson

Whoa. Mimes get paid? I thought they were just there to be jackasses. - Kid A's Best Friend

we have reached an agreement. of sorts.

triple bees

Bonkers. Confused Cat.
She meows at the empty bowl. She meows at the full bowl. She meows at the door, I open it, she meows again, I close it, guess what, she meows. She meows when I pet her, she meows when I don't pet her. She meows all day and night long for no reason at all unless she is trying to tell me someone fell down a well three years ago and I am still just not getting it. I find her frequently facing the corner looking up, waiting. She also sits at the backdoor which has windows, waiting. If you let her outside she heads straight for the dirt to roll (she is white). Indoors she prefers to snort catnip and lick tape, both of which send her into drunken PCP hysterics. And even then, yes, she meows.

Bask. Irritated I Am A Cat, Cat.
No food in the food dish means our dishes are catapulted off the counter. No water in the food bowl means all upright glasses of liquid are about to get knocked over. If she wants her litter box changed, she drags towels into it. When she climbs on you if feels like she is putting all her weight on four tiny sharp points each clocking in at a ton, even though the cat is barely 10lbs. If you pet her she will bite you, if you walk close to where she is perched, she will swipe at you, if you disturb her at all in any manner, you feel as though you have to watch your back. No really. I apologize to this cat more than my own mother. Pretty much every one who has ever met her claims she is either evil, scary, or looking at them funny, not in a funny ha ha way, funny in a Joe Pesci did you just call me a clown dig a hole in the desert kinda way. Every time I buy an avocado she goes apeshit, scrambling to find it, knocking it off the counter to maniacally start biting it; my cat eats fucking avocado like a monkey smokes crack (EDIT 1: I originally wrote 'like a fat woman eats bon bons' until I reread that and pictured a woman languidly popping bon bon after bon bon in her mouth, which is not at all like this cats pure adrenaline avocado rush) (SIDE NOTE 1: I almost edited 'like a monkey smokes crack' causing there to be an EDIT 2 because I indeed do not know of any monkey having ever smoked crack but the visual of one doing so, if it were to ever get its hands on crack, well that's priceless and therefore the reader will have to suspend reality and use his or her imagination with me, which is why we have SIDE NOTE 1 instead of EDIT 2, thanks for playing).

Bocs. Baby Cat.
I hate that fucking baby cat like I hate that fucking Houston.

I will never win.
Time for a cigarette break.
(if you click on the bunny, it smokes - Thanks Patrick)


New Vinyl

I'm a mushroom cloud layin' motherfucker, motherfucker!

Hands down, my favorite scene in Pulp Fiction.

amazing sunspot photo

Seriously looks like... The Eye of Sauron.

Translated Webpage educating your sleepy asses this fine Wednesday morning.

The New Solar Telescope, located in Big Bear Lake, California, has produced this image, the more detailed surface of the Sun, July 2, 2010. Crédit : BBSO/Ciel et Espace Photos Credit: BBSO / Sky and Space Photos

Jobs I Would Like To Have Before I Die. v1

1. Toll Booth Operator
2. Carny
3. Projectionist at a Porn Theatre
4. Orange Vest Wearing, Traffic Coordinating, Stop Sign Carrier
5. Tambourine Player in a Hari Krishna Cult at the Airport
6. Bingo Caller
7. Suspected Antichrist
8. Strip Club DJ
9. Christmas Tree Logger
10. Puppeteer (Hand)
11. Graveyard Shift Police Precinct Checker-Iner
12. Organ Grinder with Monkey
13. Elvis Impersonator


i love them.

Anyone thinking about pissing in my cornflakes, I would have know, that I already ate a banana this morning. 
Ha. Foiled again, you bastards. As if. Cornflakes fucking suck.
Hubby has single-handedly turned my frown upside down - YAHOO!!!

My sweet little Cherub Rockin' Byproducts are in for a surprise today.
I got them Jack Johnson tickets for tonights show, surprise you lil' nutters, you ARE going (they really really really wanted to go).
Mother of the Fuckin' Year; which will last all of a week.
Actually, that's a lie. I wear that tiara, all day, every day and I work hard for it. They like me, loads. I like them, even more. I try to give them space and they fight to spend more time with me, not because we are "friends" and I allow them to do whatever it is they want but because I parent while still engaging and having fun. Kids have questions and if you are not going to spend the time digging the questions out and answering them, can you only imagine who is going to. They need guidance in making their own decisions, which for anyone with middle or high schoolers, is taking place right now, whether you want to believe it or not, time to wake up.

Their friends all come to our house and whine and moan about their moms and dads; the stories I have been told from the ponies mouths, oh my.
And then, sometimes, I get to listen to them tell me about how their moms and dads, whine and moan about me. This I find both amusing and sort of shitty. Even when I disagree with what a child is relaying to me about their parent (and I have been privy to some wack-o kinda stories), I always try to get them to see it from a parents perspective and guide back around to what the actual lesson is, rather than full-on throwing another parent or adult under the bus.
This is not the case in other households: I am just run over and then backed over, and then run over again.

Sometimes, I seriously hate other parents. HATE, you naive fucking idiots with your estranged teenagers, some already on the verge of suicide.

My oldest has three friends who are not allowed over to our house or to associate with her any longer outside of school. My youngest, has two.
All because of me.
Not Kidding.

One mom thinks my oldest daughter is anorexic and I am in total denial. She is worried this may rub off on her own daughter, mine a bad influence, bad bad bad. Part of the problem seems to be is that my kid actually makes educated eating choices and this bothers the other mom since she isn't shoving hostess cupcakes and candy into her pie hole 24/7 like her own wretched spawn. Mine prefers not to eat sugary substances after about 9pm and will sometimes choose to drink water over soda because she understands it helps flush her system out and keep her complexion clean. Another part of the problem surrounds a summertime conversation between several friends about exercising to make sure they didn't get fat - a common fear of many teens going through puberty, interested in boys. Even though the discussion was overly dramatic and full of "what ever will we do"'s, none of them were that serious, as clearly indicated when these summer exercise plans took a next day back seat to the reality of much greater needs like Facebook, texting, swimming in the pool and munching on pizza. Another mom jumped on the bandwagon of non-sight, after a "you won't believe what I overheard" phone call. They formed an alliance, gathered the torches and I was labeled the clueless retard.
I talked to my kiddo about her eating habits in and away from home, thinking, perhaps I do not know and she has me snowed; maybe they are starving themselves, taking diet pills on the sly and puking in their closets. She explained to me that the mom thinks she is anorexic because of the exercising conversation she overheard during a sleepover combined with my own child's sudden changed behavior. This happened after another conversation the mother was not privy to that evening. When at their house, my daughter revealed she purposely does not snack like she does at ours because during that same sleepover, she found out her friends mother lost her job a few months ago and does not have a lot of money. My daughter didn't want to eat all of her daughters snacks up causing the mom to make an un-budgeted trip to the grocery store; rather, she hoped by only eating what she was served for meals, she was able to pay the electricity bill which was late, yet again. Their lights had been shut off the prior month, she also learned that night, which her friend told her completely freaked her out to the point she began looking through the mothers bills and memorizing due dates paranoid they would soon be homeless.
In addition, and entirely unrelated, it might be noted, this friend of my daughters not only gets much lower grades (in her remedial classes), but authored the most descriptive guy on guy hard core porn short story I have ever had the privilege of reading, in or out of print, are YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, whatever you do, don't read your kids anything's unless you have Xanax IN YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH. I found this masterpiece, by accident, on the floor of the living room after kid "we have money for snacky-cakes but none for apples and bananas" stayed over. When I asked the byproduct about it, even she was shocked her friend was that... knowledgeable. "But, then again she does Google quite a bit when unsupervised and she is allowed on the computer all day," she replied with a shrug.
Yea. My kid's totally the bad influence.

One mom thinks I lack parenting skills. This is what she said to her kid. Parenting skills.
Her daughter thought it was actually a pretty funny joke and began telling me all sorts of the hypocritical things her mother says and does inside their home. A newly found member of the Speaking in Tongues, Laying of Hands, Healing Revival Shouting in the Aisles Jesus is Lord Church (and we won't even touch on the 20+ years experience I have inside of one of those), she believes I am totally wicked. And evil. It was reasoned because I do not make my daughter go to church (even though they both have always had the option and after many visits with friends, to many houses of worship, covering a variety of religions, have elected to believe what they believe in the privacy of their own homes where politics do not come into play - a theme they noticed everywhere they went) or well, make her go to HER church, which is the only church that has it right (right).
Make. That's funny.
So, newly saved bible beater mom, screams at the top of her lungs at her own daughter, who declared herself an Atheist a few years ago (during her mother's Wiccan period) continually telling her that she is going to burn in hell for all eternity for not giving her life to Christ. Her daughter thinks it is amusing considering just last year she was preaching to everyone who would listen about how all witches were completely misrepresented to others by uneducated, idiot Christians. She, of course, now believes all witches conjure Satan and drink goats blood, not because they do, but because her new pastor told her so. Sheep: Can you be more predictable?

And thats just two examples. Parents who smile with the facade of upper class charm and tea party graces, who in reality, keep their houses so filthy they have cockroaches in their refrigerators, hit their kids for asking simple questions, call them whores and a multitude of other horrible names, feed them a healthy diet of McDonald's Happy Meals/Candy daily (we won't get into my opinions on the steady methadone drip of Nickelodeon/Disney Channel poisoning your MeMeMe's minds with chocolate covered, strawberry scented advertising), take away their mattresses as punishment, allow them to smoke cigarettes like it is normal at age 12, buy them diaries then turn around and read them panicked about adolescent fascinations with the opposite sex, omfg, I cannot make this shit up, these kids reveal to me the worst picture of what goes on inside their own homes! ARG!!!

If you come over announced or unannounced, I might still be in my pajamas at 5pm reading a book, there may be some dishes in the sink, or you might hear a fuck come out of my mouth. My kids might be getting a speech about the dangers of trusting too much in their own government, they may be discussing with me the real effects of illicit drugs on your body (good and bad), or you may overhear some random talk about sex and condom use. I am not perfect by any means and I have made more mistakes than I would care to remember, but goddamn, WTF.
My kids tell and ask me about almost everything and although I am not naive enough to assume they are 100% truthful or revealing, that percentage is way up there.
Last night I had to answer questions about blow jobs, condoms, dental dams, STD contraction and masturbation. I also had to have a frank discussion about why a part time job at 15, that will only pay you minimum wage, is a huge waste of time and effort; one that should be focused on schooling and learning, or socializing, which is a skill just as necessary to learn as those taught in math, science and history class. College is not an option in our household, and neither is not using a condom; for both of my children, knock on wood, sex is still a few years off. I cannot say the same for the majority of their peers, prior to 8th grade a rather odd new standard I have been told.

You know, I am slightly bummed that my daughters have had to lose a few friendships because of parents who, in my opinion, have their heads buried deep in the sand but really, it's NMFP (Not My Fucking Problem). I only answer to my own two mini lunatics, who amuse, surprise and fascinate me with every passing day. I have only a few more years to produce good humans before they reach the age the law dictates they are responsible for their own choices and behavior.
And right now, I only give a crap about being able to tell them, thank you for being awesome kids, thank you for taking your school life seriously (both ended last year with 3.6 and 3.8 GPAs in honors and gifted courses), and most of all, thank you for letting me be your Mom; because as much as you might think it is your right to be a parent, it is your child's willingness to listen and really hear what you have to say gracing you with that highest of honors.

Or, well, maybe, I am just a bad fucking influence.
Either way, the shorties are seeing Jack tonight so - SCORE!!!


fuzzy Malaysian logic

mah friendz. dis iz sum uv demz.

You snort tequila off the bottom of shot glasses.
You covertly turn a painting of mine upside down every time you visit.
You called me Hamsteak for a year, just because I asked you to.
You have mooned my camera so many times, only 1% of the photos I have with you in them, are normal.
You used to carry a very large silver spoon with you everywhere.
You have teddy bears in your guest bathroom and an original Picasso in your living room.
You keep me writing, in spite of my sometimes overwhelming paranoia.
You hate, curse at, put down, make fun of and tell most everyone to fuck off and no one, EVER, thinks you are serious but you are. You hate, the world.
You wear the coolest mustache, hands down, total award winning facial hair.
You sat with your feet in front of a space heater on full blast, eating ice, for an entire long, hot, Florida summer.
You are the smartest and dumbest person I know.
You died two years ago; I wish you were here.
You have been to Woodstock and seriously don't remember.
You have enough children for a baseball team.
You believe in and preach the word of God, all while training privately to be a BDSM Dom.
You drove from Florida to to New York to get your hair cut.
You used to watch movies at your desk and sleep with the door closed during work hours.
You have a nickname only because the first year I knew you, I couldn't figure out how to pronounce your real name.
You have raised two kids not your own, who will become amazing adults as a direct result of your impact on their lives.
You inspired my mind to create an entirely false background for you; one with no siblings and parents who had died tragically. I was shocked to find out it was all false.
You are my pixie muse. Your presence sweetens me; your absence conjures magic in my mind.
You made having a webcam into one of my most memorable summers.
You threw an entire table of food and liquor at a woman before getting us thrown out of a comedy club in the middle of someone's set.
You only cook when you have a difficult recipe that requires absolute precision and skill.
You fuck crack addicts in the ass for less money than it takes to sponsor starving children in Africa.
You showed me how to swing dance, kicked me in the head and then pissed on my computer chair, all in one night.
You have mowed my lawn in flip flops and a skirt.
You let me cut your hair with kitchen shears after 4 bottles of wine and then kept the botched hairstyle for months.
You helped me, a bus driver, 3 other girls and 1/2 a platoon of marines drink an entire hotel bar dry before 11pm.
You peed in my bushes and got naked for a lovely midnight swim the first night we ever met.
You have been witness to me having sex more often then either of us care to remember.
You introduced me to wine, cribbage, friendship, and morality; you woke me up and inspired me to live again.

i luvs youz guys.


yer mum called me a dick

I'll arm wrestle your mom whilst drinking tea and eating crumpets, discussing metaphysics, outlining my next scientifical experiment. Bounty Bitch, thats what they call me (nobody calls me that). Nerves of steel (!), if by steel you mean pasta-esque: when in boiling water, turning very limp, eventually disintegrating into a heap of carbohydrates most likely cancer causing. Also sticky. Very sticky.
I totally go good with red or white sauce though (EOE). Try me with garlic bread or those melty mozzarella sticks you can only have someone else prepare for you in a restaurant setting because the ones you bake at home explode in the oven leaving you with a hollow breaded shell and wilted sense of self for not being able to heat up tiny amounts of frozen food properly on your own.
Aw. Sad.

Every time I see a cockroach I have to call for back up. I scream, actually, like a little bitch. I ain't proud. I don't give a fuck. If you are a guest in my house and there is a cockroach, YOU are killing it. FYI.
Or, we are leaving together to hang out in a hotel room until someone else eradicates that pest and bleaches the furniture and walls. Get outside, creature of the night, you disgust me worse than George W. Bush, who is the origin of all wrong and badness and probably everything too sour or gritty. Who also probably, some how, some where, created a new strain of cockroach through an environmental fuck up on account of new policy created during his administrations reign to protect Hummer and Truck Nuts owners. I swear to heavens its like The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, except GWB. And full of suck.
Blame Bush. It's my mantra, you know (you know). Toast burned? W's fault. Roof fall in? W's struck again. Herpes? That damn W.

The Best Fettuccine Recipe on the Planet.
Except as leftovers. For some reason, reheating makes it Jeff Goldblum. More weird yellow butter substance than you will have logical explanation for and cheese that will not ever come off the plate, no matter how many times you scrub it with a Brillo Pad.
Ok, seriously though. Revised:
The Most Beloved Fettuccine Recipe on the Planet That Makes Whoever I Cook It For Go Bonkers Like A Deranged Feline On Catnip No Matter What Mystery Molecular Breakdown Occurs To It Once Putting It In A Refrigerator Overnight.
(I wish the FDA or food manufacturers would allow me to work in their marketing departments)

16oz. Regular Box o' Fettuccine Noodles. Cooked.
Stick of Butter (no margarine, fools). Melted.
1/2 Cup of Heavy (but he's my brother) Cream. Warmed.
1 Container of Kraft Parmesan Cheese (no generic shit, kids, trust me, you'll puke your guts out).
Mix Noodles with wet ingredients, toss in cheese, mix mix mix.

Awesome Alternative that includes Vegetables:
Use a box of tri-colored rotini pasta (12oz.), add a cooked bag of frozen California Mix vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots), add another 1/2 stick of butter, increase heavy cream to full cup, throw in another 1/2 a container of Parmesan cheese and and additional 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar. Mix. Die happy and very full.

A creamy delight for the most discriminating palettes!!!
Seriously. Even your mom with her broken arm will eat it up.



leggo my ego, ARG!

Why do people feel the need to post they are deleting friends from their Facebook accounts as though I should somehow rejoice in the fact that I made the cut. Seriously? Just delete them and keep quiet about it, I care about that less than your baby accomplishing XYZ task or where in the world you are at the moment. Listen. You are no Carmen Sandiego. Red striped shirt? No. You are no Waldo. I don't even see your precious doe-eyed face on the side of a milk carton or a FBI Most Wanted poster. No one is searching for you and unless you plan on taking my commented grocery list, purchasing and delivering to my home, just be. Be where you are without a status update, memo, smoke signal, telegram and marquee ticker message. I am sure the people you are with, if you happen to be with people, appreciate it. You know, the whole in the moment thing. Be there. Enjoy life.
And if not, fuck it, I am sure the random stranger stalker you befriended, who also made the Facebook cut (hooray!), enjoys the up to date status messages aiding in his preparation.
He intends to hunt you down, kidnap and hack your arms and legs off; good job making it easier by letting him know you are on your way home to an empty house for the night.

The Ego is an amazing beast uncollared. I call mine Margo. She enjoys martinis, jazz and licking young blood from her claws.
A Virgo, Margo can be found frequently passing judgement in the most hypocritical fashion; Let's give it up for Margo, Ladies and Gentlemen!

I still want to do this. The idea of looking for buried treasure is tingly but even more so, the idea of making and hiding my own trinkets, even more tantalizing than lighting barn fires (not that I have ever lit a barn fire, but I can appreciate the attraction, oh absolutely). I want to do several and leave little printouts of comics that make up an entire story. Like, "Collect Them All!", give directions to the others in a few select boxes, and also I will put something like "Number 9 of 10" on it. But I will only ever hide 9. So when all the Neo-Pirates go running around town in search of number 10, unable to find it because it doesn't exist and also, Bonus Zing, no one will ever be able to finish the little comic story because Number 9 will be the cliff hanger comic, I can rejoice in the fact that I have blown tech minds in the cruelest way imaginable.
I love it when I see a plan come together.
Reality (we love that land, now don't we kiddies) dictates that I will probably fuck up all the coordinates, some idiot kid digging in the dirt will happen upon one of the boxes and destroy it thus destroying the sequence, a dog will shit in the area preventing all GPS Masturbators from approaching, or Zeus will cause lighting to strike and a tree will come crashing down, covering a box, forever ruining everything.

Oh well. It was a nice idea.
Back to iphone Mahjong and letting all my stalker Facebook friends know I'm taking a bath.

summer bio dad visit : act one

Me: So, how was your visit sweet pea, what did you guys do?

Kid A and Kid B: (laughter)

Me: What?

Kid B: We hung out, sort of, waiting to come home.

Me: Did you get to see your dad?

Kid A: Yea. And Mrs. [stepmom]. (laughter)

Me: What?

Kid B: Every day she would come in and ask me if she could have her ipod charger back. I told her it was mine and hers was in the kitchen. Every day, same thing. I considered switching it with my jacked up one before I left but thought that might be too much.

Kid A: (sing songy) Too muuuuuuuch!

Kid B: She wouldn't have noticed. It all started when she tried to take my cell phone. I wasn't even texting a bunch, just to you.

Me: Is that why you suddenly said you had to go that one night?

Kid B: Yes. She said, "If you don't stop texting I will take your phone away." I said, "No you won't. This is my phone, my mother pays the bill. You aren't going to touch it." I kind of decided then, this was going to have to be a game.

Kid A: (laughter) A GAME!!

Kid B: She told me I couldn't take more than one shower a day and no longer than 15 minutes long.

Kid A: (sing songy) So what did you doooooo?!

Kid B: I told her I was going to go take a shower and I walked off. She has a bad memory, it was my second shower of the day.

Me: Did you need another shower?

Kid B: No. But she told me I couldn't.

Kid A: (sing songy) Tell her how many showers you took a daaaaay!

Kid B: As many as I could. One day I took five. (laughter) I just kept saying "I didn't take a shower today" and she believed me.

Me: Oh my god.

Kid B: I went to the refrigerator once and got a piece of lettuce for a snack.

Kid A: (sing songy) One pieeeeece!

Kid B: A little while later, I got another piece. She said, "What are you eating, that's OUR lettuce." I said, "Yes. It IS OUR lettuce." [hand movement indicating her and her sister] Then before I left, I put a bunch of juice boxes in my bag.

Kid A: (laughter)

Me: What for?

Kid B: Because I wanted to take the juice boxes! I would also open juice boxes and not drink them on purpose. They have no more juice now. She has to buy more.

Kid A: (sing songy) There's no more juuuuuice!

Kid B: I cursed too.


Kid B: Near the end, it was a lot.

Kid A: (Sing songy) We should beeeeeeat her!

Kid B: I was the queen.

Me: (shaking head) What have I done.

Kid A: (laughter) Created creative thinkers! Hooooorrrrraaaay!

Kid B: If they expected rudeness would fly, especially after a year of not seeing us (long pause) no. All she had to be was nice. She made her choice. I made mine.


world class advice

tractor nightmares and cadaver dreams

Fuck 'em.
Head: Sometimes we just don't agree.

There is this pull to continue writing about my grandmother; and an equally strong pull to not write anything more.
Also, the Semicolon Preservation Society is pushing hard for their continued, repeated use and championing the cause for global dominance among punctuation. FYI.
I am not used to sharing those things close to me. In Kindergarden, during that portion of class, I just kicked other kids. Even then, I didn't like children, nerve racking sons of bitches, it's no wonder I rally behind outbreaks of small pox and tuberculosis. It's survival of the fittest baby, now, take your cholera bath.
I want to move forward. She would want that. Besides, all I have to talk about is the screaming, horrific death faces and guilt from wishing I could do it different.
No one wants to hear that shit. Its fucking depressing and I know this because I don't want to hear it anymore. I am looking at me and I am saying, Fuck You, Shut the Fuck Up.
It's done, its over. I just kinda wish I had one of those Teletubbies to hug and chase bunnies with for a weekend. Instead, this one will involve the beach and a big fat bathtub.

It's funny how life just comes barreling back into view Mack truck style. I forgot how therapeutic routine could be and just in time for the beginning of the byproducts new school year.
Alarm, coffee, work, lunch, work, home, dinner, chill, bed.
Rinse, Repeat.
Poor little baby lambs are missing their summer break, sleeping until 3pm and galavanting around the meadow with fluffy little clouds in the sky.
Aw. Sad. Do your homework.

Thursday we are going to see Interpol at The House of Blues. I think I am ready to rejoin the Land of the Living. Or get really drunk and dance.
Either one sounds like a great option, to be honest. Jagerbomb, I dream of you warming my tummy. MMmm.

I am considering changing my work hours to four 10 hour days, so that I have Mondays off to paint, draw, photograph, cast, sculpt, create.
Not sure how this will blow over at work but I am hoping not like a lead balloon. Or a big yellow tractor.
I take that back. I would like it to blow over like a big yellow tractor.
Yup. Totally.


julia (July 2010)

A painting I did on a ceiling tile for for Felicitous Coffee House and Art Gallery.
Acrylic 4' x 2'

live your life, that you will regret nothing.

She is no longer here but I have her memory to hold on to.

The words sound so absolutely lovely. Endearing. In greeting cards, said by other people "In our memories, she lives on". Tear, weep, sob, sniff, tissue.
The problem that I have is that my memory of her is not the same as everyone else's. I see her screaming and flailing in bed. I hear her moans and her cries. I live with the last face I saw, one gaunt from dehydration, wincing in pain, and distraught from not being able to communicate anything; her world dark and disturbed, unable to see clearly or hear more than the muffles of too many background sounds making audible soup. The smell of death in my nose and on my skin for having spent over 30 hours at her bedside during the course of her last 3 days.

"Where are her sons? She has two, right? Where are they?"

My last week with her was the worst. Obviously. She was dying. Everyday, it was as though she fell off a cliff, into a new level of pain, discomfort and expiration. Monday she was eating. Tuesday, drinking. By Wednesday, nothing.
Well. That was the case once I intervened. We'll back up.

Prior to Wednesday, my visitation consisted of a 3 hour block around lunchtime. At first it was to delight her palette with the fanciful wants someone who knows the end is near desires. Lobster. Popsicles. Ice Cream. Salty french fries. We would joke at the nursing facilities version of food and enjoy imbibing together. A particular favorite of mine to pick up was sushi - not for her but because she enjoyed watching me eat with chopsticks. It amused her that I could use them skillfully and she was fascinated by this disgusting brand of rice wrapped fish.
"Eel, Julieann?"
"You going to try some today, it's super yummy, come on, try the eel."
"Bleck," she made a face to mock throw up.
And then she would giggle as I consumed yet another roll, "You are so good at that."
I had fought the week before to get her onto Hospice Crisis Care, a 24 hour bedside assistant assigned to help her with anything she needed, especially when no family members were around. By this time I felt it was a requirement, as she had no longer been getting out of bed to walk, sit in the wheelchair for strolls, or even use the bathroom. Her reach was limited and if there were not ice chips by her side table, or food placed properly for breakfast, I am not really sure of what she could have done except yell for help. Which she did on several occasions with no response. In a nursing facility, she is not the only patient with needs. Take a number, wait your turn. Combined with the increased pain in her stomach and the definition provided to me by Hospice, I stomped my foot, they stamped the paperwork and off we go.
I hadn't even wanted a full time person there, just one present during the hours when my sister and I were unable to visit, in the morning, before I arrived. After that it was smooth sailing, my visit around noon carried into my sisters visit during dinner. Nighttime, I felt was taken care of by the Ambien, which was another battle all its own, oh lawd call me Sheena for the dragons I slayed. How it is a bad thing for a dying cancer patient to be sleepy is beyond me. I will never ever understand this fucking logic no matter how many times it is explained to me.
They put her on Crisis Care for 24 hours, reevaluation taking place daily, to assess the continued need for such a status and for the staffed person bedside. Since she had been qualified under the term "pain" she was reassessed daily under this term as well. The problem being here is that she doesn't tell people she is in pain until it registers 9.6 on the Richter scale. So everyday, aides asked the question and every day, she denied the need. "I am fine, you can go," she would say, translates to "I can face this on my own, why don't you go bother someone else and take care of those in real need". A proud independent woman, stubborn as the day she was born, insistent to the end she could do it all by herself.
As she was in good health from the vast amount of exercise received prior to hospitalization, mixed with an active response to stimuli, it wasn't long before Nurse X deemed her fit for removal based upon the following things:
1. Good blood pressure reading.
2. Consummation of food and fluids.
3. Ability to stand with assistance.
I know this only because after I hip tossed a Hospice Aide into the hallway, I took her file, copied every piece of paper in it, and read that evening through every report written, to include the one about my grandmother being forcefed on three occasions, to include the one I was privy to. Which brings us back to Wednesday and why I will either: commit suicide before ever being admitted to a facility or crawl in a cave to die alone when no one is looking.
Never. Ever. Go to a hospital or a nursing home to die and make damn sure you have a competent advocate on your side with Power of Attorney and a will to make sure your wishes are carried out, dot your i's cross your t's.

"Where are her sons? She has two, right? Where are they?"

So we are back, to Wednesday.
I got the call in the morning that they were removing her from 24 hr Crisis care. After the update my sister gave me the night before, relayed through the nurse, of my grandmother flailing and fighting having been given a suppository. In this case, not every one shits. She was bucking so much in bed (remember, one week bed ridden at this point, feet swelling, mottled blood from poor circulation that system shutting itself down quickly) she was in danger of being on the floor possibly with a broken bone upon impact the aide relayed through words. They didn't believe in bed rails here. Confusion as to this conclusion one head Nurse X came to, I rushed down to the facility to not only see my grandmother for our normally scheduled visit but to advocate once again on her behalf. You see, unless she has her hearing aides in, she nods yes to almost everything. Yes, shut up. Yes, stop talking. Yes, get out of my face. Yes, I have no idea what you are saying but please find a way to bust me out of here.
When I walked into the room, she was alone. I didn't question but sat down to say hello. She was in and out of sleep. I let her know I was there and food had been delivered, did she feel like eating.
15 minutes later the Hospice aide comes in apologizing for having been on her break. She sees the tray of food and loudly begins to yell at my grandmother, that it is time for lunch. She grabs the bed adjustment controls, sits it full tilt up (my grandmothers preggo belly full of liquid, hurts with even the slightest elevation) and then starts chopping up ham, ignoring the moans and waving arms. And the no's. Also, did I mention, this was done from a dead sleep?
She began to approach my grandmother with a spoonful of chopped ham, even though she hadn't eaten anything remotely solid in days, probably more than a week.
I came to. "What the fuck are you doing?!"
She explained she had fed her this morning and the morning before just fine, she was even able to get her out of bed.
"You did WHAT?! She hasn't been out of bed for over a week and you got her out for what?! Just to see if she could use the toilet? Did you bother to look at her feet?! Do you not see the diapers? Do you not see the wipes because I see them, I see them plain as fucking day!"
This aides assessment the only positive one in the file, everyone else reporting a refusal of food and water, down to the only intake accepted - ice chips.
And that is how it begun.
Phone calls ensued, me to my sister, my sister to Hospice, me to her sons, me to Hospice demanding that she be seen again and evaluated while I was in the room. Amazingly, no one called me. They called her son in Boston, who had been gone since Sunday, the nurses justification explained to him; he relaying to me nothing more than, they are taking her off the 24 hr crisis watch.
Fuck that, fuck everyone. My sister called after-hours and rose all hell for another reevaluation; the new nurse taking one look at her condition and asking me "Why did they take her off?" A question to this day, I have still not gotten a logical answer to. I did not leave her side again, until I met the new shift nurses, aides and anyone else who would be touching her at any point in the night. I instructed them all. She gets this pain medication at this time, she needs this dosage at this time, dont touch her, dont roll her, dont dont dont dont dont fucking fuck with my frail grandmother you paperwork pushing, by the book, she must be woken up at midnight for a bath, fucks. I slept little, back before the sun was up to meet the new staff shift, make demands, instruct and ensure no one would hurt her ever again.
I was there until 10pm that night.

"Where are her sons? She has two, right? Where are they?"

Thursday presented a whole new set of issues and burned into my skull a set of images I am not sure how to get rid of. I was there from 7am to 8pm. Shift to Shift.
Friday, 8am to 4pm, my sister taking over sooner, that day having gone through much worse to stabilize her for the weekend when staffing was at bare minimum and changes to medication much harder to push through. I decided I could no longer stay and needed sleep. I went running down the hall at one point, finding her nurse, but unable to get across what I needed done due to the tears and undecipherable words falling from my lips. Ok. Time for a tiny break. MY sister is here, I can detach and try to store up enough energy for what might come the next time I was there before sun up.
I think she knew. I think she knew my sister left at 8 and that we would be back in the morning. I think she let go, to spare us anymore heartache. At 1:30am, she passed away. Before we could get to the hospital, having been called when she began puking bile from her stomach. She saved this last image from me and I will forever be grateful that when we did arrive, she was cleaned up, quiet, laying still, and most importantly, no longer alive.

"Where are her sons? She has two, right? Where are they?"

She shouted a word in Iranian once the ability to speak English finally left her. I later found out through research the word meant regret. But she did not regret anything. She might have been confused about how so much effort her entire life was put into helping her youngest and his continued inability to straighten his own life out. She might have been confused about how little she felt she heard from her oldest son up north, a subject she repeatedly brought up over the course of hours spent together when she was well. But she did not regret what she had done for them. When she was shouting, it was as though issuing a curse. Momma, she began. Momma regret. You will regret, what you have done to me. You will regret what you have done to your mother.
On countless occasions, with every visitor that arrived, with every new nurse, aide, doctor, always the same question:
"Where are her sons? She has two, right? Where are they?"
Boston and MIA became my standard answer.

This was not my job. This was not my responsibility. This was not my role as her granddaughter. To make these decisions, to be sitting at her bedside nonstop, to be advocating and fighting the system with my hands tied behind my back; while other enjoyed going to shows, going out to see the coast, distance making it tolerable, absence an easy pill to swallow.
But this was my conviction; to do everything in my power to take care of her in these last days, to be sure she was in no pain, to ease her suffering in any way possible.
I shouldn't be the one with the nightmares. I shouldn't be the one who cannot sleep, who tastes and smells death still.
If I knew last week what my journey would entail, what it might leave behind, the way in which it would not only affect but change me, you bet your fucking ass, I would accept the task again.
It might not have been my job, responsibility, or role but somewhere, somehow, I was the only one who could do it.

I forgive you both for what you have done to her.
I forgive you both for what you have done to me.
I hope one day, forgiveness finds you as well.

Grandma, I love you.
After a lifetime of love you gave to me, I fought hard to make your transition peaceful and pain free. I did my best for you, things I did not know I was capable of. I know you love me. And I know if you were here, you would thank me.
Let peace be finally with you, where ever you may or may not be. Let the burdens of a long, hard life, melt from your memory. Let the love we shared radiate through the centuries.
For if I am able, I will find you again.
Always and forever.
Your granddaughter,


she is the coolest person I will ever know. she is my grandmother.

My mothers family is from Sicily. My fathers family, my grandmother, from Iran. I look Iranian, which is apparent to both Middle Eastern people and others, anytime I am in a room with a relative, these Middle Eastern genes extremely strong. When I was little she would cup my face and tell me that I was a Persian Princess, the most beautiful of women to be found in all the world. Even down to these last silent days, she puts her soft hand to my face and smiles.
It was not until I was in my late twenties that I met another Iranian outside of her, my father and uncle (whom I barely know, one absent mostly, the other living in Boston and visiting here and there). My grandfather disappeared when my father was a teenager, so we have never met and only recently have I come to gain any knowledge concerning him.

She is this incredible wealth of broken English stories about far away places in distant times. As a youth she was a total hellion. Leaping from school house windows to run home when bored and destroying everyone's material in sewing class during final exams having not paid attention to any lessons on shirt making; her jokes, wit and humor disrupting studies often though always a favorite among peers and teachers as charm repeatedly outweighed any punishment for her actions; diabolically sabotaging internal heating pipes, so that school would close for the day while workers cleaned up soot. She once pulled this little trick in order to come rushing to the aide of a distraught teacher, battling the rooms smoke like a true champion to fix the pipe she had earlier wiggled loose, thus saving the day and becoming the hero of the classroom for a day. Yes. This, is my totally awesome tiny Armenian grandmother: Badass Knucklehead Squared.

During WWII she remembers German troops occupying her town and the relief they all felt upon waking up one day to find the British had seized control of the area. There was happiness and celebrations in the street she said.
As a young woman, she attended nursing school, one of the first in the area. She crossed the Euphrates river in a boat that resembled a circular bathtub to get married in Iraq.
She was a guest in the Iranian Kings palace on the Caspian Sea for two weeks after my grandfather saved the Kings brother by landing a plane safely with him on board. Paris, London, New York, and many others large cities throughout the world she had visited before she was even in her thirties.
She can speak over eight languages fluently, and understands even more than that.
When revolution came to her homeland, she had been on vacation in America, unable to ever return home again. She lost everything but was grateful to the US Embassy and all the hard work they did in order to get her mother out of Iran during this time. I have a picture with my great grandmother, when I was just a little girl, a woman, who I am told, survived the Armenian Holocaust when a Doctor friend of the families helped them escape and relocate to Tabrese, Iran where my grandmother was eventually born.
In America, she lived in Kansas City, New York and New Jersey, until her husband disappeared and she migrated to Lake Mary and then Orlando, one of the first people to work for Walt Disney World, as a floral designer. She is an amazingly competent artist, pictures of large sculptures she created in New Jersey in her spare time, shocked me with their intricacies and beauty.

The environment she created for my sister and I growing up, contained peace like no other. We danced and sang, and listened to her tell us stories of being a little girl and laying in hammocks under trees to watch the stars, her homeland the most beautiful and mystical place on earth. Lunch was always a smorgasbord of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses and finger food, laid out on gorgeous china platters usually reserved, in other households, for adult company only. We had tea parties with real tea sets and suitcases full of clothes, silk scarves, hats and jewelry in which to play dress up with. Dinner would cook for hours while she laughed and played with us. Her home swirled with the most amazing smells.
As adults, she reveled in being able to do it all over again with a new set of great grandchildren. Age made her a bit slower but even in her late eighties, she would cook a favorite Iranian dish we call Sabsi for hours, just to serve us all dinner and be surrounded for the evening. Our children, have been so blessed to have spent so much time with a relative so full of life and love.

Up until she went into the hospital last month, she was an extremely active woman of 90. After retiring from Disney, she volunteered full-time at a state run childcare facility in Winter Park, taking the bus to work at 6am and returning after 4pm, 5 days a week. When that stopped, due to government paperwork beyond her control (the staff and kids were devastated to see her go after so many years), she joined a local Seniors group in her 80's, traveling to meet friends for coffee, arts and crafts, trips around the city and then lunch, 5 days a week. Last year alone, she was on the Casino cruise three times. I haven't even been once. She has lived in government assisted housing, behind a grocery store for the last 20 years doing her own shopping and paying her own bills; if she could walk there she did and if not she learned what bus could take her, and went that route. Active in her church as well, she has worshiped every Sunday and joined countless groups through them, helping when asked and even, when not asked.
A few years ago, she learned how to play solitaire on the computer. Curiosity and a need to keep learning, she figured out how to navigate the internet and send emails. She was an avid reader before macular degeneration began to take her eyesight, later buying books on tape in order to listen to The Bible and other religious teachings.
This was not a feeble, frail woman in front of a television the last years of her life. In fact, last year she broke her foot (her first broken bone) when she leapt out of a van instead of waiting for the driver to get her a stool so she could step down with assistance. Temporarily stuck in a wheelchair as it healed, she maneuvered on her own around the apartment (her arms very strong) like a caged rat waiting to be released. And when the doctor approved her boot, she was off, visiting, moving, and living, once again.
She never complained about being poor, and never wanted for much, other than to see everyone she knew happy.
Adapting to time and circumstance, while retaining an incredible sense of humor and sharp as knife wit, my tiny Armenian grandmother is a testament to everyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting her.

When I see her now, curled up quietly in the nursing home bed waiting for death to finally take her, I have to remember that this person I see, right here, right now, has only been like this for the last 30 days.
She has lived for 90 long years, whatever the circumstances, through war or peace, when rich or poor, to its absolute fullest, seizing every day and all it had to offer.
She is the coolest person I have and will ever meet and how lucky I am to have been her granddaughter.
And when she is finally gone from this earth, her soul departing on its next glorious adventure, I am going to miss her so very much.


Never straight, always forward.

When I attended high school, our house was too close to be assigned a bus route and too far away for my mother and step father to trust me to walk home by myself, even though unawares to them, I had walked further and in less desirable places. Not being allowed to do things was sort of my MO until I ran away from home at 17, but well, that's a whole other 34,026,397,246 blog posts. This walking fear was my default unless I was forgotten about and the 3+ hours I had sat on the steps at school enraged me to the point of not caring if I was to get in trouble or not by actually footing it home.
I remember not understanding how it was that no one realized I was not around; my whereabouts those days tracked like I was in a penitentiary. Yet, no one said a word. I just, walked into the kitchen as if coming straight from my room.
To be forgotten is a hollow feeling. I didn't talk about it with them, confusion overwhelming the moment, and then fear of the repercussions for having revealed I came home on my own. It happened again, but each time, it just sort of hurt less and less. Pain is interesting like that. If you are physically hit with a hand, belt, spoon or paint stick, it's only the first 3-5 smacks landed that actually hurt. After that, you grow numb; to the stimulation, the situation.

To many who know me, it is no secret my biological father is not a member of the Upstanding Citizens Brigade. After my parents divorce, there were large chunks of time during my childhood where my sister and I did not see him and in those times that we did, my grandmother was the one who established that link. Had it not been for her, we most likely would not have seen him ever again; the lengths he took to hide from my mother and the mostly short arm of child support enforcement, were beyond normal cut and run tactics utilized by the average bear. He is a smart, cunning and very resourceful man. A virtual stranger to me; one who shares my deep set eyes and razor sharp sarcasm.
I think his disappearance and aversion was the easiest way to psychologically handle the divorce while having young children. I was five, my sister only three. His own father had disappeared during his teenage years, which was a turning point in his life as relayed through other family members. Childhood revolved around science and athletic promise for him but quickly degenerated into disruptive behavior fueled by anger, resentment and a quiet but basic need to simply, have ones Daddy back.
I can guess as to how he must have felt because these war of emotions has ruled my own life, off and on, for the greater part of 30 years.
At 34, I can still not say an unkind word to his face, though my head swims with contempt upon even hearing his voice on the other end of the phone. In his presence, I feel like a five year old desperately trying to impress an enigma I will never fully comprehend.

My mother knew about these secret visits, and rather than put a stop to them, allowed it to happen even though it was against what paperwork said he was legally allowed to do. We would be visiting my grandmother and then *poof* he would magically show up; long enough to jumble a small, confused mind; short enough that etched memories, built up over time became these colossal events with skies of rainbows and sparkles, his image in our heads elevated to God like stature.
But it was just another day. And he only, just a man.

To a child, everything is so simple and larger than life.
Love me. Hold me. Don't forget about me.
Parents become Kings and Queens of the Universe, stronger than Superman and more powerful than the law.
We grow up and our perspective widens; rhinestones no longer sparkle as beautifully as diamonds.

There comes a point in life, or in death, when you are definitively judged.
It was easier to have forgotten about us, than to have fought (the situation or himself) to be a significant part of our lives. Ever. No matter the excuses, or the reasoning, this is what it boils down to in the end.
With her passing, there seems to me, the promise of personal release I had not understood before this month began. I no longer feel an obligation to run to his aide in order to give her peace; a scenario that has been played out these last few years on more occasions than I care to admit to. In the last month, indeed, things have still not changed. But I have. A lot.
For years I have been carrying this torch for him, hoping there would be some modicum of effort to establish more than the very basic back and forth niceties, when I wasn't playing along like a child unaware of the manipulation and lies swirling behind her back. Countless initiations, declined and excused. My sister and I doing our part as adults to move past the scars of adolescence.

In saying goodbye to her, I am saying goodbye to him. The need to communicate is no longer present, what remains, like Elvis, soon to leave the building.
For a past we speak little about, it will be another step in healing for us both.
As once a good friend always signed his letters:
Never straight, always forward.


the sky was all purple

When leaving the nursing home, I usually have the music cranked up in my car, disappearing to the beat, singing at the top of my lungs trying hard to shake off emotion before returning home to be "mommy". Today we met with Hospice and leaving, I just wasn't in the mood. I drove in silence for a long time, finally turning in to the drugstore parking lot and running in for a pack of cigarettes.
Yea. I did. Shh.
Rushing back out to the car a certain level of defeat washed over me from having caved in; resigned to say "fuck it" and allow myself the crutch for the time being, I started the car. When I pulled up to the stop sign to exit the parking lot, I decided a little Prince was what I needed to make these gray skies blue, so I hit CD on my stereo, the disk having already been in there from last nights karaoke car ride. As the music kicked to life, a man rolled up to my left on a motorcycle, stopped, smiled, and waved for me to enter, giving me plenty of space to ease into the line of waiting traffic at the light. And Zeus strike me down for lying, he looked like an absolute carbon copy of Prince himself.
I drove back to work jamming out and strangely enough, every left and right turn Prince made with me, all the fucking way back, he was either in my rear or side view mirrors, I shit you NOT, my rock fucking star escort.
So gonna bust out a beret when I get home.
I only wish it were raspberry.


lobster, laughter, and how we were married.

Austin? Austin, Texas for your honeymoon?
Yea. And if you knew anything about me, you'd understand. But most people don't and I am absolutely fine with that.
We were married with a rubber chicken, stuffed pig and teddy bear present, had a wedding reception for friends that resembled a mini carnival complete with belly and burlesque dancers, magician, fortune teller, lion tamer and lion.
Somehow Austin doesn't seem all that out of the ordinary when put in proper context now does it? But I guess since I haven't even talked about any of this or that in awhile... most people are kinda clueless to the random order of my personal universe (yet shouldn't be, since chaos has always abounded).
To understand, however, one must gather the entire situation in one's glance.

My tiny Armenian grandmother's body has decided it is time for it and her to pass from this earthly space and since then there has been a lot of things in my life up for evaluation. Thinking: it's what's for dinner (breakfast and lunch). Of all my grandparents, her passing is affecting me the most. Maybe it's my age. Perhaps. Maybe it's how involved I am. Perhaps that as well. But I think it has more to do with who she is, where she came from, and what she has shown me about life and living. That smile... she is the light of the world. Truly. My sister and I are taking enormous lengths to care for her these last days; we'd do anything she asked right now, illustrated in part when my sister got a personal call from the nurse last week. My tiny Armenian grandmother had a dream about lobster (of all things) and wanted to eat some really bad, I mean, REALLY bad, enough to have a nurse summoned and directed pronto. So what did my sister do immediately? Get in line at Red Lobster. And everybody said: AMEN.
Genies: we get to fucking be them - SCORE!!!

When it came time to get our marriage license a few weeks ago, the majority of my time revolved around personal reflection (when outside of the hospital), having begun on this journey with my tiny Armenian grandmother the beginning of July. At the counter, the woman joked about whether or not we wanted to have the ceremony performed right then and there. We had been planning a nice evening at the beach with our family to exchange rings privately on the sand; simple, elegant, quiet.
He looked at me, bags under my eyes, dreary from lack of sleep, emotionally raw from what had been occurring with her just that day, not to mention that cloudy week. I looked at him, a big smile on his face.
"You wanna?"
I did. I have never wanted anything more in the universe. It occurred to me that it didn't matter, the place or the time. What was important was the commitment and I was committed, absolutely.
Straight out of a David Lynch telegram meets Howdy Doody oration with a sprinkle of Teletubbies infomercial, they marched us back to this tiny room with white curtains and an arch. The officiant, a short black woman with a huge smile, beamed at us, "I just love weddings," she said.
"Hold on, " said her assistant, an even shorter white woman who appeared to be not only a coworker but most likely a very good friend. She bolted from the room and returned with 3 things: A rubber chicken, a teddy bear, and a stuffed pig. My husband to be, scrunched his face, a mix of total manic confusion and what appeared to be absolute horror.
The two ladies laughed and one immediately got the impression, this schtick was a very old hat. The co-worker holding our "witnesses" bounced up and down and squeezed the rubber chicken, causing noises resembling a barnyard to fill the room.
Fucking awesome. This. Is. My. Life.
None of us could keep from laughing, except for my soon to be husband, whose face was still frozen, his brain unable to catch up with the fiasco now taking place in the white tulle encased Dungeon of Vows.
The entire ceremony was performed in this manner: cheering section squawking and snorting with every new line, our vows barely audible through the laughter at the complete and utter ridiculousness of the next 15 minutes.
We toasted next door with a Pabst Blue Ribbon and ordered some lunch to go. That night, we decided to go to dinner late where a friend was singing lead with a large band and backup singers. To a packed restaurant of more than 100 strangers and a few friends, he surprised us both by introducing us, upon arrival, as the new Mr. and Mrs. - the entire place going totally bonkers cheering. Late night, we did an Ouzo shot with my sister and the next evening my best friend showed up with a white bag of unbroken glass needing to be stomped, "Mazal Tov" and officially, we were now considered married.
It could not have been more perfect for us as a couple, this 48 hour progression of tornadic events.
And that's our story, this is how we were married. In the midst of tears, sorrow, sickness, lack of sleep, endless hospital visits dispersed throughout, we held our ray of sunshine, and laughed.

Weeks later, we still had our ceremony on the beach with family, the next night celebrated with friends mini carnival style, the day after took off for a week spent roaming the streets in Austin, Texas looking for art, music, and most importantly, a good giggly time. My grandmother taught me that happiness does not come from the places you visit, the money you spend, or the toys that you own. Today you might be a prince and tomorrow, a pauper, so best you are in the company of people who you can laugh with regardless.
It's not the where or the what, it's the who.
It's the smiles and the joy. The giggles. The fun. The life.
We cannot always choose the future but we can choose our attitude when living it.

Yesterday I saw my tiny Armenian grandmother at her worst; racked with pain, unable to breath very deeply, and waiting patiently for relief from a procedure to remove fluid from her ever growing prego-looking belly. I kneeled at her bedside and explained to her about the pain medication, which she had been refusing, and how it would help relieve a little of the discomfort until the doctor was able to see her that afternoon. She agreed to take it and I fed her a Vicoden by spoon with a tiny bit of applesauce, tears streaming down my face from the frustration of not being able to do much of anything other than rub her back, hold her hand and scream at doctors and nurses to expedite paperwork in her favor (it just never seems like enough). She swallowed the pill and then stuck out her tongue and closed her eyes, suddenly lying very still and quiet. She was playing dead and it took me a moment to realize before I began to laugh. We both did.
Today, a phoned in Genie request for lobster came again so for lunch I am bringing her a freshly steamed tail with lots of lemon. Like I said before... anything. Anything for that smile.

My life has changed drastically in the last month and I suspect it will continue to do so in the next few.
I don't know how often I will be able to write. To photograph. To create. Right now I am experiencing these last few lessons she has to give me. That smile knows more than any scholars book about the subject I have read in the last two decades. I will do good to remember that.
And to giggle, always.