My Funny Done Run Out…or… When Bad Things Happen to (mostly) Good People… or… Pass The Bong.

Me, when I was funny...

Me, when I was funny…

For most of my adult life, I’ve gotten by on laughs. I’ve written about it before; laughter is my Teflon™.  I’m incredibly sarcastic; I’m self-deprecating to a fault, and I’ve learned to be funny when I’m complimented, uncomfortable, happy, sad, embarrassed, proud, in pain… Make a joke, and fill the space; that’s how I generally operate. It’s how many people see me; it’s what they expect from me. In fairness, I’ve  consciously and unconsciously created the image, by being someone who is often “on.”  Most of the time, my funny owns me; I don’t necessarily own it. It’s my Teflon™.

But things have been hard lately. I’m having trouble rolling with the punches… and the punches have been non-top and hard. Frankly, there’s been enough personal stuff to keep my funny on over-time, but it’s the physical that has shoved me off the ledge. If I was a religious person, I might be questioning God and why bad things happen to good people. I believe that I’m a good person, for the most part. I believe in the motto: Do no harm; I live by it; I write by it. I do my best. I’m certainly not perfect, who is? I’m a passionate person, so sometimes I lose my temper. I swear a lot. I’m sure I’ve hurt feelings, even when I didn’t intend to. I’ve surely hurt feelings intentionally. I know that not everyone likes me, but I try to be likeable. I think of myself as a (mostly) good person, and again, if I were religious I might be questioning higher powers and meaning of life right about now. Honestly, if truth be told I’ve caught myself doing that anyway.

Do I sound sarcastic? Do I sound like I’m making jokes anyway, or that my tongue is stuck in my cheek? I’m not; it’s not. This week I hit a wall; I’m spent. I lost my funny, and its left me feeling adrift.  I know it’s temporary, but as the walls close in, nothing sounds funny to me right now and that’s one more punch I’m just not up for.

I’ve been in a perpetual shit storm since December, and my ability to joke it off or roll with other people’s jokes has dried up. I have an in immune disorder that wreaks havoc with my life. Usually, I just deal with it. There are ups and downs, but I roll. I get IV infusions every 3 weeks, to manage infections and symptoms.  And for the most part, it’s just part of my life. I certainly have my bad days and good one, but this past December I fell into a maelstrom of challenges.

It started with a severe sinus infection in December, that lead to breathing problems and 6 days in the hospital. It was miserable! My veins were blowing left and right; I couldn’t breath; and there was no Christmas tree at home… 10 days before Christmas. When I came home, I was weak, using an oxygen tank, and unable to do all the things I love to do. It was Christmas but things were upside down. Miracles occurred and I maintained a fairly good attitude, despite it all. Recovery dragged into January and early February. It definitely sucked my humor, but I needed my Teflon™ and it kept me going. Just as I was bouncing back, getting stronger, there was another sinus infection– probably the same infection, just not healing. It sucked. It hurt. It drained my reserves; but I continued to joke it off. We went out with friends and had drinks, and I made jokes. We all laughed.

As we packed for spring break, my doctor suggested that perhaps I wasn’t well enough to go. There were a few days of anxiety about it, given what had happened in December. However, I argued that sun and salt water would do me good.  I needed the vacation, and I wanted to get out of my box, and shake the bad juju which was plaguing me.  I suspect that most people would have done the same thing.  I packed plenty of Afrin™, antibiotics– a veritable medicine cabinet, just in case.  On March 28th we left with good friends, on a vacation to Belize that we’d all been planning on and looking forward to for months! Four teenagers, and four parents, on a sailboat off the coast of Belize– sailing to small Cayes (islands), snorkeling, diving (something I’ve wanted to do all my life!), cave tubing, fishing, eating great food, drinking rum drinks, swimming and playing daily, and generally having an amazing time– it was a dream vacation, we were all looking forward to.

At least, it started out that way. The change of climate and jumping into crystal clear, turquoise water had my sinuses feeling better– not perfect, but better, in the first days. We had a Captain (D), a cook (S) and a naturalist (A) on board, and they went out of their way to make every thing we did special. However, on April Fool’s (one of my favorite holidays) I went into the galley (kitchen) to ask the chef, S,  for some ketchup– I’d been planning a great prank, for days. S was new to boats and only 21 years old. For the record: I have two kids older than her. I went into the kitchen to put some dishes in the sink and ask for some ketchup. When she couldn’t hear me whispering my plan, I took a step forward, and suddenly the floor literally disappeared and I was falling. S had left the hatch open. The “hatch” is an (approximately) 12×18 inch, rectangular opening in the in the floor, from which food scraps are thrown down for the fish. On a catamaran, it goes through part of the boat and drops about 5′ to the water. It’s wasn’t big enough for me to fall through, so I dropped full force and stopped when I slammed my left arm and entire left side on the decking. The last thing I really remember is her face as I repeated the word “ketchup”… I blacked out for seconds and then I was just in horrific pain. I could hear her crying out: “Oh my God; I left the hatch open! I’m so sorry! etc,” over and over… My husband and good friend Rosemary were off the boat, with the Captain, but the others all came running, and gathering around me. I could hear my son, Little Man, asking me if I was ok, with panic in his voice. I heard the others trying to figure out what to do, but I couldn’t move without searing pain from my armpits down.

I remember telling them that this was not an April Fool’s joke, and then trying to reassure S, who was very upset.  As a mother I felt an instant need to reassure her, even as I lay there. She was so worried and upset. The pain was so bad, and as the others tried to move me, and then get a pillow under my head, I just kept telling them not to touch me… as I whimpered told S that I’d be ok. When I eventually could get up, I my side was bright red, there was bruising down my side, and a large hematoma on my palm and two fingers. My ribs were killing me and the area around my spleen was very tender. We got lots of ice and got me settled on the sofa… everything hurt.

When the Captain and others returned, it was explained that there was no real medical care in the area; if it was serious I’d need to fly outside of Belize. I was embarrassed. I was scared. A ruptured spleen requires immediate care, or you die. I felt self-conscious with everyone worrying, but I was worried about how bad things might be, and I could barely imagine doing anything… other than sit with ice. Without really thinking about it, I found myself falling into a pattern of trying to reassure everyone else that I was ok, cracking jokes (though it hurt to laugh) when I felt anything but. Honestly, there wasn’t much more to do. I’m allergic to pain medications, and despite lots of jokes, I didn’t want to drink much, because I already felt so off-balance. I couldn’t handle any further blurring of reality.

It has to be said: if this had happened at home, I would have been stuck on a sofa looking out at the usual– albeit, gorgeous usual, but what I see every day. In Belize, though it was hard to sit, stand, lay… I was in one of THE most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I was seeing more shades of blue than I knew existed; I could slip into the water (which was THE perfect temperature I’ve ever experienced in seawater) and float, which felt good; I could put on a mask and snorkel (carefully), to see an underwater world that blew us all away, and I was with dear friends, who all cared about me and were wonderfully supportive and kind. The staff too, went out of their ways to try and make me comfortable. It was really tough, but there were moments of amazing beauty and magic, each day we were there, despite the rest.

The trip home was miserable. Everything hurt, and it was hours and hours on planes and in cars. I have 4 broken ribs, and my spleen is bruised. I’ve had horrific hot flashes since the accident, probably an internal hematoma that’s resolving (I’m told)– talk about adding insult to injury! And did I mention, no pain medication.  I’m allergic to everything but Tylenol.

When we got home, I just crashed. The energy of trying to be a good sport all week, and keeping up with the group (skipping diving, anything in a bouncy boat, or some things that I just wasn’t up for), but doing almost everything else, I just felt exhausted and drained. But this past Tuesday, the universe, the higher being, fate, whatever you call this crazy-ass shit storm… took another twist. I was making chicken, matzo ball soup for the second night of Passover, pulling out the sieve that fits in the soup pot, and held all the goodies that had cooked all day (chicken, carrot, turnip, celery, etc). The soup was at a rolling boil; I thought I was being careful… I was. But I was tired and my left side is weaker right now. All was fine, and then there was about a gallon of hot soup splashing on my chest, neck and arms. I didn’t even see it coming; suddenly it was just burning my skin. I threw myself at the sink instantly and turned the cold water sprayer on myself, as I tried to pull my scalding shirt off.

Another trauma. Another unbelievably painful assault on my body, and mind.

I’m a good cook; I’ve had burns before, but this was most of my chest, breasts, neck and upper arms. I can’t begin to describe the pain of that kind of burn. To his credit, Smart Guy suggested the hospital right away, but I was not myself… to say the least. Admittedly, I was near hysteria. I was in so much pain; I just couldn’t think clearly. I just knew that I didn’t want to deal with the hospital again. We got ice immediately, and then quickly found out (as Smart Guy looked up burns on-line) that ice is not what you do for serious burns. It can cause hypothermia. I was a mess almost from the start–I could not stop crying… ugly crying. The ice brought relief from the burning pain, but before I knew it I was shivering violently and my hands and feet were cold, and Smart Guy was anxious about hypothermia. Off to the ER we went.  Doses of Valium did very little; I could not pull myself together and was crying, bargaining, begging, and wishing for anything that would make it stop. Insanely, I was embarrassed… at the hospital again, with more injuries. I found myself telling the doctors that I did not have Münchausen by Proxy. He assured me, kindly, that he was sure I didn’t. I was so grateful to the kind doctors and nurses, placing antibiotics and soft, cool clothes over the burns, as they reassured me.

The only photo I can upload or show... this is rated G blog. Those are smaller splash burns on my arm.

The only photo I can upload or show… this is rated G blog. Those are smaller splash burns on my arm.

The only thing I can take tolerate morphine, so they gave me a shot, while they tended to the burns. Thirty minutes after the shot, I began to feel some relief and while there was discussion about admitting me, I insisted on going home, armed with oral morphine for later. However, while I sat in the car waiting for Smart Guy to fill that prescription, a while later, I had a reaction to the morphine, which caused intense abdominal pains and vomiting. All of this, with broken ribs was just unreal. This lasted about two hours, and when it finally subsided, I was finally able to sleep for a few hours… Tylenol and Valium on board.

Enter the bong in this tale.  Medical marijuana, it’s legal where I live and it was suggested, given my inability to tolerate anything else. I felt like a college student, giggling at the thought (then cringing because laughter hurts my ribs right now… another karmic slap in the face), unsure about how I’d feel trying it, and somewhat anxious about adding one more thing to the mix– not to mention the fact that I was hospitalized a few months ago, for serious lung issues. Hmm, not sounding ideal.  A friend offered some “special brownies” to help, and all I could think was: Gee, I’ve already gained weight with all this sedentariness; that’s just what I need, a pan of brownies while I watch TV, which will inevitably lead to cravings for Doritos™!

There, that’s about all the humor I can manage.

Three days later, the areas of 1st degree burn look much better and are healing well. The 2nd degree burns are a bit weepy, starting to form scabs and are still very tender. It all burns, and looks ugly. I can’t stand a seat belt or anything other than very soft cotton– no straps or anything that binds. My teenage son finds my braless attempts at comfort awkward at best. He averts his eyes a lot, as he sweetly asks how I’m feeling. The burn area is bizarre to look at: you can see where liquid dripped and pooled, and there are distinct splash patterns and angry, red blotches where it burned deeper. I’ve stayed home for the most part, and have a particularly soft scarf to cover the area, when I went out for a while today. Mostly, I don’t feel particularly social.

Dealing with this much discomfort, with nothing but Tylenol for the past nearly 3 weeks, has been challenging at best. By mid-afternoon each day, my ability to cope runs thin and I am not the most pleasant person. Like I said, my funny has run out. I get why people joke with me; it’s the modus operandi with I’ve established, so people expect I’ll roll with humor. “Man, you need a team of doctors to go on vacation!” Ha ha.  “What now (long drawn out now)?”  Ha ha. “Wow, you really know how to make things interesting…” HA HA!  I want to find it funny; I really do; but, I don’t. I don’t have my usual bag of quick quips to respond with; they stick in my throat. If I do joke, it’s a half-hearted effort to make things less awkward.

Vulnerability is a tough thing. As women, as mothers– perhaps most people, are wired to make things palatable, but I believe women deal with these things differently than most men. We want to put others at ease. I’ve spent much of my life trying to please and fix things, so this plays on all my personal weaknesses. Despite my reputation as an extrovert who likes the spotlight; I’m not as comfortable there anymore, and haven’t been for most of the past year or more. Dealing with this barrage of crises, heaped on top of day-to-day stuff, and some heavy family issues, it’s been harder and harder to regain my equilibrium and bounce. I can barely stand one more pitying comment or look, as well-intentioned as they are. I’ve shared the details way too many times, as people ask about the trip, or ask why I’m grimacing when I sit or laugh. Honestly, the details of the boat incident play over and over in my head, a trauma that left me truly shaken. Explaining it is reliving it.  My brain is still working to put all of this in perspective and come to terms with what has now been months of issues.

So why write about it? Why replay it again? Because that’s what I do to figure things out; I write. I’ve written posts about our trip to Belize, but have been entirely unable to upload photos. It’s been driving me crazy, but I don’t want to post share those stories, until I can also share the images. So I’m writing this out. I’m not looking for pity, or reassuring assurances. Part of me just wants to curl up and stay in the security of my house for a long while… but I know that this can lead to depression pretty quickly. I’m trying to keep my head above water. I’m looking to find my groove again, and find the humor in all of this, but that may take a while.

If you have a good joke, not about me, share it. But please don’t try to make me feel better right now. That’s not what this is about.  That may sound ungrateful or bitchy; it’s not mean to be. I’m just feeling fragile. I’m writing to help find the me that does bounce back… and I know I will. But for now, I’m just writing to figure some things out. For now, that’s what helps me move through this… well, and maybe some brownies. (Ok, see… writing, it pulls out my funny.)

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If you enjoyed this post, please hit like and consider leaving a comment; I love to hear what readers have to say.  If you enjoy this blog, check out Tales From the Motherland’s Facebook page (my goal is 400 likes this year), and Twitter, where I struggle to keep it brief.

© 2014 Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Friday Fictioneers: What a world, what a world!

I’ve been back from vacation for a week, and I’m still having all sorts of problems with my blog– namely uploading photos.  It’s enough to just set my head to spinning and has left me unable to post what I want to post. Due to a serious of challenging events, I happen to be up at 2:30am today, and get to be at the front of the line for a change… there’s always a bright side!

friday-fictioneersThank goodness for Friday Fictioneers, to sweep me away to the world of flash fiction! Each week, our fearless leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields encourages writers from all around the globe to write a 100-word story, with a beginning, middle and end, in response to a photo prompt. This week our prompt comes from Douglas MacIlroy. Mahalo, Doug! Doug’s work inspired me to try my hand at some (soft) fan fiction. Please stop by Rochelle’s blog, Addicted to Purple, to read the other stories, and join in the magic. Somehow, the FF photos have been the only photos I can upload, for several weeks now!

 

©Douglas M. MacIlroy

©Douglas M. MacIlroy

(100 words, exactly)

“What manner of sorcery now!”

Glinda wiped the glitter from her eyes, as her thoughts assaulted her.

Their once predictably happy lives had weathered too many dramas and ambushes, from Witches, false Wizards and well-intentioned Kansans; the Munchkins were collectively exhausted as they huddled in terror.

Davina the beloved hat maker’s lifeless legs lay twisted beneath the walls of her shop. The creature stood victoriously over her body.

Phil Johnson stood paralyzed. When he snuck into the backroom of Professor Marvel’s Curiosity Shop, in Peoria, Illinois and tried on the antique diving helmet, this was the last thing he expected.

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If you enjoyed this post, please hit like and consider leaving a comment; I love to hear what readers have to say.  If you enjoy this blog, check out Tales From the Motherland’s Facebook page (my goal is 400 likes this year), and Twitter, where I struggle to keep it brief.

© 2014 Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Any ads at the bottom of this page are not endorsed by Tales From the Motherland. I am just not willing to pay extra to have them not appear there.

 

 

 

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Friday Fictioneers: The Wedding

friday-fictioneersEach week Rochelle Wisoff-Fields encourages writers from all over to participate in Friday Fictioneers. With a photo prompt, this week provided by D. Lovering, writers are asked to write a 100-word story, with a beginning, middle and end. Check out the other stories, or join in, at Rochelle’s blog: Addicted to Purple.

I apologize for not reading as many stories last week, as I usually do, but I was out of the country, with limited internet access.  I always appreciated thoughtful or constructive feedback. Please leave a comment.

dee-2

(99 words)

As her friends rubbed fragrant oil on her arms and along her shoulders, Julietta shivered. Her hair was coiled in an elegant chignon at her neck; her mother’s tiny cross lay against her smooth neck.

She smiled at her reflection in her grandmother’s ancient mirror, as the old woman’s gnarled hands lovingly adjusted her dress and then her delicate veil.

She caught her mother’s eyes– tears brimming, as she took her place in the traditional seat. When her brother lifted her high and carried her out into the festive square, she imagined Antonio’s perfect eyes, waiting beside the priest.

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If you enjoyed this post, please hit like and consider leaving a comment; I love to hear what readers have to say.  If you enjoy this blog, check out Tales From the Motherland’s Facebook page (my goal is 400 likes this year), and Twitter, where I struggle to keep it brief.

© 2014 Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Any ads at the bottom of this page are not endorsed by Tales From the Motherland. I am just not willing to pay extra to have them not appear there.

 

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Friday Fictioneers: Trust Me, Baby.

friday-fictioneersThis is a challenging week to write, but I was determined not to miss a single Friday Fictioneers. I’m on a boat off the coast of Central America– Belize. It could not be more beautiful, or peaceful. There is limited wifi, and I have not sought to use it until now. This morning, I had to check the day– it’s easy to lose track of time, when you’re snorkeling with nurse sharks, sea turtles and rays all day. And that, is truly all I’ve been doing. It’s magic!

However, it’s Wednesday and I didn’t want to miss Friday Fictioneers.  I love the wonderful writing community that our leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields provides; I make every effort not to miss it.  Nice new intro, Rochelle, reminding us all that we ARE a community and should make an effort to connect, and share. That said, I will need to do most of my reading when I get home… This is the first week, that I may not be able to do the reading I usually do.  I want my fellow FF to know that I try to read as many stories as possible each week; I believe in that mutual support. I, in turn, really appreciate all the time you share with me.  With each of my stories, kind or constructive feedback is always appreciated.

If you want to join in or read the other great stories, check out Rochelle’s blog, Addicted to Purple.  She spells it all out there. Kent Bonham provides our photo prompt this week.

©Kent Bonham

©Kent Bonham

(99 words)

Trust Me Baby

“Here this’ll help you chill.”

Neil handed the small pill to Andie, along with a shot of tequila.

“What is it?” She took a sip. “I don’t want to mess up my lines.”

He pushed a strand of hair behind her ear and leaned in closer.

“It’s your first love scene; this will just help you relax– help make it look real…” His finger traced her neck. “It could be real, baby… You know?”

I’m eighteen. “I know what I’m doing.”

She felt the pill slide down, with the strong liquid, as Neil slid his hand up her back.

“Action!”

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If you like this post, please hit like and then consider leaving a comment; I love to hear what readers have to say.  If you enjoy this blog, check out Tales From the Motherland’s Facebook page (my goal is 400 likes this year), and Twitter, where I tweet silly things from time to time.

© 2014 Please note, that content and some images on this page are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Any ads at the bottom of this page are not endorsed by Tales From the Motherland. I am just not willing to pay extra to have them not appear there.

 

 

 

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Friday Fictioneers: See Amy Run…

friday-fictioneersWelcome to Friday Fictioneers, the best Flash Fiction in town! Check out our ring leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog, Addicted to Purple, to read the other stories, or join the fun. Rochelle provides a weekly photo prompt; participants respond with a 100-word story with a beginning, middle and end. This week, John Nixon provided the muse. The challenge brings in writers from all over the globe, and makes for an incredibly supportive, positive writing group!

NOTE: I’m headed out of the country, to Belize, on Friday. I’ll try to read as many stories as I can, but it will be hard this week. Hoping to post next week, but will have little to no wifi access. Thanks for taking the time to check out my story this week!

I’m not sure why our fearless leader posted on Tuesday this week, but it caught me entirely off guard! Man, if I hadn’t been on the run all day, I might have gotten in much earlier this week! And then… forgot to add my link, again! Dang.

I’d like to say thank you to Kate at Sincerely Kate, for sharing the Sunshine Award with me, this week. I don’t really do the question part of these awards anymore, but Kate’s a good sport and you should check her out. You can find all the details of her Sunny gift on this post.

© John Nixon

© John Nixon

(99 words)

When Amy and Rick first arrived at the secluded cabin, she particularly loved the deep, sweet-scented woods that surrounded it.

However, after Amy found a hotel receipt and a sexy note from his assistant at work, in his wallet, the floor fell beneath her.

“Have you been sleeping with her?” A direct approach seemed the obvious route.

Now as Amy ran from him, angry scarlet handprints on her neck, the trees grabbed and cut her. The dark, tangled trunks tripped her– mocked her terror.

In pursuit, Rick yelled violently, as Amy stumbled through the forest– desperately searching for help.

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© 2014 Please note, that content and some images on this page are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Any ads at the bottom of this page are not endorsed by Tales From the Motherland. I am just not willing to pay extra to have them not appear there.

 

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Yeah, I Was You, and Now I’m Her… While Working On Me

Young mommy... 22 years ago.

Young mommy… 22 years ago.

Hey you, young mother. Yeah, you. I know you. I was you. I remember well the years and years of being busy all the time, and never getting enough sleep. I remember worrying about how to do everything right. What was the latest parenting advice? I was reading it, or discussing it with my friends. Should we let our babies use a pacifier? When should we take away that pacifier? Pre-school or time at home with mommy? Teach them to write before pre-school or leave it to the teacher? Bake a cake or buy a cake? Home-made cookies are good for you, right? Time-outs, rewards, consequences, TV and how much, video games, the family bed, allowing creativity and independence versus setting limits, grandparents, play-dates, marriage vs parenting… Man, the world seemed like a veritable mine field of issues. I was young, my babies were my world, and that world was full of things to figure out. Those years were filled with some of the sweetest moments of my life and some of the most challenging. I spent the last years of my twenties and all of my thirties in that phase of parenting, and I remember it well; I still know that young mother.

Ten years later...

Ten years later…

Today I looked in the mirror and saw a women I met nearly ten years ago. It was a sobering moment, like many I’ve had over the past few years.

Nine years ago, I volunteered to help at the annual Track and Field banquet. My daughter, Principessa, had just completed her first year on the team, and I was there to help set up, serve lasagna, and then clean up. The mom I was working with  was kind; she seemed to know everyone, she was organized and efficient. She told me that she’d been doing the Track thing for 10 years, and this was her last. It was her final banquet and her last child leaving high school; she was fun to work with, but chatting, I felt like we were in totally different times of life. I remember watching her, and thinking that she wasn’t like any of the other moms I knew. She was an entirely different bird… and I didn’t get her. I thought she was an anomaly– a mom who had somehow come through unscathed and was unimpressed by all the crazy I had in my life.

Nine years have gone by and a lot has happened; a lot has changed. I have been to Track banquets nearly ever year since then, and have been in charge of organizing that banquet two times. Over time, I definitely found myself less and less caught up in the details. All that really has to happen is that food needs to be served, and the athletes need to be recognized by their coaches. All the rest of it is icing. After so many years, I know that Icing is overrated. I volunteer to make waffles after workouts on Saturday mornings for the Cross Country (XC) team in the fall and the Track team in the spring. This is my tenth  year in a row, and my final year. This year, I’m the “Waffle Mom–” responsible for scheduling, organizing stuff, and being there for most of the breakfasts. Admittedly, I really enjoy this role.  I love seeing the kids come in from their runs/workouts and line up for waffles. I love to hear them joking with each other, and chatting as they eat waffles, as if I’m blind and deaf. I like being a fly, for this brief little while. The kids all appreciate our effort, and are so wonderful in their praise and thanks. It’s a rare and wonderful teen time. Nine years have passed; two of my kids have flown away and live elsewhere now; my youngest is racing toward graduation; it’s my final swan song as the mother of kids at home.

Today I looked in the mirror, just as I was getting ready to head out for the day. I was wearing There she was, the woman from the banquet: the same (or similar) cardigan; same crows feet; the same been-there-done-that expression; the same older mom who I didn’t understand, nine years ago. It wasn’t the sweater; I’ve aged. I’ve been there, done that. When I came to that first banquet, I distinctly remember thinking that we could make the event more festive, that I wanted to make sure the lasagnas were hot and cut nicely. Today, I know that the kids are there to see their friends and celebrate the end of a season. They are grateful to have the food, but that is not their focus. They don’t notice the decorations at all. We moms are invested in the details, but our kids are invested in the big picture: their friends and the team. This morning looking in the mirror, I had a very different understanding of that woman at the banquet nine years ago. I know that mother too.

Some days I look in the mirror and the years fade away– not because there aren’t lots of wrinkles, not because there isn’t a little extra chin, or too many sun spots… that’s all there, as a reminder that I’m not that young mother anymore. My kids are not little; none of us are the same, but I still have all those early years front and center in my mind. Hand me a photo of Principessa, Middle Man or Little Man when they were babies, and the years melt away. I am back there instantly. On a given day a quick whiff of chlorine pulls me back to the summers of swim team, the Mommy and Me classes in the pool– days of water wings and swim diapers. On a given sunny day, for a fleeting moment, I still want to yell “come on kids, let’s go to the park!”  It’s amazing how we don’t always know the lasts when we’re in the middle of them. That last year of high school, everything feels like a last… but who really remembers that last kiddy swim class, the last wee-one picnic, the last time our little guys crawled into bed with us? It’s gone in a flash. Some days, I glance in the mirror and the years just fade away, and I forget all that has slipped away.

I’m a work in progress. Frankly, the mirror is not always my best friend these days. But that’s something I’m working on too. I’ve said it before: it’s so easy to notice the years rushing by on the faces and in the movement of our children, in the lives of my friend’s children, in the aging and loss of our parents. But somehow the years sneak up on our adult brains. It’s as if everyone else is getting older, and we’re not.  Until one day, you throw on a cardigan, glance in the mirror and you’ve gone from there to here– poof!

But the years don't lie.

But the years don’t lie.

Are you a parent? Where are you at in the journey? Where have you been, and where are you headed? Share your thoughts in the comment section. Do you wear cardigans?

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If you like the posts on Tales From the Motherland, please subscribe to this blog.
The link is in the upper right hand corner of this post. Then, check out Tales From the Motherland on Facebook and hit Like. I’d love to hit 400 likes there this year; I appreciate the support! I’m on Twitter; Follow me and be dazzled by my mostly lame witty and clever Tweets. If I don’t follow you back, send me a tweet reminder and I will. I often miss the cues, when new people join. I’m older, and slower that way.

© 2014 Please note, that all content and all images on this page are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless otherwise noted. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Any ads at the bottom of this page are not endorsed by Tales From the Motherland. I am just not willing to pay extra to have them not appear there.

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Blogging: You Win Some; You Lose Some, You Wait… And Sometimes You Get Flipped Off.

If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know a few things:

I’m my own worst enemy; I waffle on age and parenting (but I rarely eat waffles); I’ve written a novel; I’m wait, wait, waiting to hear from 7 agents/editors who asked to read my work, last summer; I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years, and I’m trying to build my stats; I act like an extrovert most of the time, but really relish my alone time; I find blog stats fascinating; I like Bravo TV (but don’t tell anyone); my kids are top of my list (almost any list); I want to get my novel published this year… one way or another; there’s more, but you should read it on my blog.

This June I will have been blogging for three years, and in that time, I’ve shared a lot about myself and a bazillion other things. I’m generally very direct and honest in my posts; I think it’s safe to say that I don’t use a lot of filters. For some readers that may get tiresome; while other readers tell me that my openness really impresses or inspires them. Nothing feels better than those comments. I put a lot into my blog, and it means a lot to me that what I have to say impacts anyone, let alone readers who I admire and enjoy.

In that three years, I’ve won some and I’ve lost some… and I’m still waiting for some.

Yes! This is me, tooting my own horn. Winning feels good!

Yes! This is me, tooting my own horn. Winning feels good!

I’ve “won” followers, and that feels really good!  When I started blogging, it took a while to get readers. If you take a minute and go back to look at the first few posts (the Yellowstone ones are pretty great, I think), there are very few Likes, and very few comments… none, for some of those posts!  I was fortunate to have one of my posts, The Grass Is Always Greener on Someone Else’s Head, Freshly Pressed, after I’d been blogging for only six weeks. Honestly, I hardly appreciated it. I was still so clueless about blogging; I had no idea what FP even meant! However, that did bring in some readers and  “followers.”  However, since then, I’ve worked really hard to build my following on Word Press and Tales From the Motherland. It’s so much harder than I imagined, back when I started. Each time I see a new subscriber, I am still tickled– but I still keep setting new goals for those numbers. Just last August, my subscription numbers were slowly building from just under 500, and today that number is at 2,896. I can’t wait to see 3,000, but my optimistic goal for 2014 is 4,000! It’s been thrilling to see that number jump so much in such a short time, after just limping along for more than two years. I feel like I’ve won this one!

image: fiddlesnips@blogspot.com

image: fiddlesnips@blogspot.com

I’ve won in the friend department, because I’ve made some wonderful friends through blogging. When I try to explain that to non-blogging folks, I can totally their expressions, as they think “For real?” “Desperate much?” “You think these people are your friends?”  Yeah, ok; I see you rolling your eyes people, but I really have met some amazing people through blogging. Over time, we’ve emailed each other; we’ve followed each others’ blogs; we’ve supported each other in writing and in personal issues; we’ve reached out, and in some cases, we’ve met each other (here and here). I can tell you this, when I was in the hospital this past December, and feeling pretty scared and really sick, a few of these great people were really there for me! They emailed me; they kept me company late at night, and they sent lots of love. As a New Year’s resolution, I put it out there that I would like to meet more bloggers in person, and I intend to follow through. Several blogging friends responded to that post, or have chatted with me via email, to say they’d like to meet cara a cara; I plan to try.  Emily, Carrie, Kelly, Melissa, Julie, JenJennie, Kat, Deanna–  you’re on my radar. Some of these will be harder (Deanna) than others, but they’re on my radar! There are so many other great people, who I’ve connected with, who I’m still getting to know, or who read my blog regularly and are so supportive, but these are the ones who have reached out and shared a little more, or said: stop by some time.  Anyone going to BlogHer? I am. It’s one more opportunity to meet in person.

This is my place to shine, or fail... but it's mine!

This is my place to shine, or fail… but it’s mine!

I’ve won in the me department. Me. This blog is mine, and all mine. It isn’t something I do with or for my husband or kids. It’s not something I worry about writing to please others. I stand by whatever I put out there, because it’s mine. With so much of my life having been about others: taking care of others, answering to others, working for things that involve others, volunteering to help– This blog is mine, and most days I feel like I won the lottery! Given that this started as something to help me get my novel published… I can honestly say that if my book never gets published, I’ll be very sad, but this blog is no shabby consolation prize. I’m proud of what I do here, and I’ve already won.

Ok, and I’ve lost. (For me) with success comes some self-doubt. As my own blog stats go up, as my followers grow, I still feel blog envy. It’s hard not to look at other blogs and wish I could be that great. It’s the nature of my beast: always feeling like I fell short somehow, and trying to sit with whatever I come up with and simply appreciate it. I can’t help but feel disappointed that some of the bloggers I follow, don’t necessarily follow me the same way. If I follow you, I read each post. However, lots of my posts don’t get read by folks I admire and follow. Or, they don’t get read regularly. This blogging community is an edgy, quick crowd. I’m not always that kool, and I know it. Accepting and letting go of that is something I still work on, but it lands in the loss column for now. For all the compliments from some of these folks, it’s the times I don’t see their likes or comments that stings more. Yep, I’m that fragile.

I haven’t been published, and it may not happen. For now, that’s a real loss. Admittedly, the jury’s still out, but it’s been really challenging sometimes to see so many other talented writers in the blogging community doing it, while I still have not. I’m not getting younger, in fact I’m getting pretty damned old. I think I had idealistic expectations when I started blogging, that getting published was right around the corner… Humble pie, is that you stuck in my throat?

I’ve upset a few people… it’s a loss, but I wouldn’t do it any differently. A few of my earlier posts upset a few family members. That sucks. It was a real bummer to hear that some folks didn’t like that I was talking about my experiences, when they saw things differently. I should say, none of them are immediate family members, but these relatives felt that I presented our family negatively. I say it was honestly, my honestly. We grew up in different sides of things, and my experience is mine… not to mention, dead on accurate to me. But, it was sad to see that expressing myself this way could create some very hurtful lines in the sand. Loss.

Waiting. I’m waiting for a bunch of things, but topping that list: I’m waiting to see what happens with my novel. I’m holding my breath. I’m wishing on stars. I’m crossing fingers and toes. I’m pushing buttons and trying to get my work out there. I had 7 agents and/or editors ask to read some or all of my novel… last July. I’ve been waiting since then. One of them rejected my work, months ago. One of them rejected it, today. But, this week, one agent wrote an email that said (about my first 10 pages): “I’m intrigued. Could you please send the next 20 pages and a synopsis?” Twelve words never looked so good! I sent the pages, and now… I’m waiting again. Waiting for the 4 who have sent nothing. Waiting, knowing the odds are stacked against me. But, hopeful

Stats: I’m always waiting to hit the jackpot, in blogging and writing. It’s so exciting to see a good day on your stats; it’s so sucky to see a bad day. I know that lots of bloggers ignore their stats, but I’m not that blogger. I watch them. Daily. Last month, I had one day where I logged on there were nearly 1,500 hits, and more than 1,200 of those were for one post, about my (fake) affair with Barack Obama. For another month, every time I looked at my stats, there was that giant spike, jumping off the stats bar… skewing all the other numbers. It was there for weeks, and weeks…

It’s giant middle finger on the page, each day!
I see it and it reminds me that I probably can’t do it again. It challenges me to try. 
It both encourages me and discourages the hell out of me!

For the past few weeks, every time I looked at my stats for this blog, I was greeted with what looked like a giant middle finger:

A blessing, and a curse. That middle finger is my single best day ever.

A blessing, and a curse. That middle finger is my single best day ever.

Blogging is a wild and wooly ride. Lots of bloggers write about less personal things, but my blog is about me– my life, how I see things. It’s all personal. When you take risks, and put it out there, you win some, you lose sometimes, and sometimes you just wait. It’s all part of the crazy, wild, fun ride that’s blogging.

Tell me about your ride. Are you new to blogging? Are you excited, or feeling discouraged? Have you made friends in blogging? What do you love? What do you not like so much? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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If you like the posts on Tales From the Motherland, please subscribe to this blog.
The link is in the upper right hand corner of this post. Then, check out Tales From the Motherland on Facebook and hit Like. I’d love to hit 400 likes there this year; I appreciate the support! I’m on Twitter; Follow me and be dazzled by my mostly lame witty and clever Tweets. If I don’t follow you back, send me a tweet reminder and I will. I often miss the cues, when new people join. I’m older, and slower that way.

© 2014 Please note, that all content and all images on this page are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless otherwise noted. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Any ads at the bottom of this page are not endorsed by Tales From the Motherland. I am just not willing to pay extra to have them not appear there.

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