A New Year, A New Beginning

Today is the first day of 2018. Wow. We made it through another year.

We always seem to say things like, “To hell with [the previous year], it was so bad! On to the next one! Let’s just get this done already. This new year will be so much better.”

I don’t say that anymore, because inevitably, the next year is even worse. I feel as though I presented the Universe with a challenge, and the Universe replied by saying, “Oh, really? Watch this.”

2017 truly sucked for a lot of people I know. It wasn’t the best year for me, either. We’re all glad to see it done. But as for me? I’m just happy I got through it. I survived every piece of crap 2017 had to offer, and every painful moment, and I’m stronger for it. We may be a little shaken, but we got through. Hey, that says something.

Fuck you, 2017. You thought you could take me down? HA! I’m tough. I’m a kid from East Dallas.

Happy New Year, everyone.

— Peace.

 

 

Rites of Passage

We all have them at different points of our lives. As parents, we watch our children go through them as they grow.

Pre-K and Kindergarten Graduation.
The First Day of School.
Puberty.
High School.

Yesterday, we celebrated another rite of passage with our son:

The Big Day

 

High School Graduation

I don’t know who’s happier for school to be over – the boy, or me. But at the same time, I got all weepy yesterday. Gods! My kid is a high school graduate now! I’m not ready for this; how on earth can he be ready??? It’s not time yet. He can’t be 18.

Don’t get me wrong; I know this has to happen. But where does the time go? You mothers out there know exactly what I’m talking about. I still remember that little boy who graduated Pre-K, back in 2003. And look at him now!

 

Then and Now

 

For those who haven’t reached this milestone yet, here’s my unsolicited perspective from my experience. There are times you share the joy of your kid’s experiences, and there are times you may butt heads over grades, and perhaps late homework. Keep going to bat for your kid. STAY INVOLVED and talk to the teachers. Fight for your kid’s education, because the teachers are so busy they can’t fight for everyone. They are so relieved when the parents get involved, even when they disagree.

Is your kid not doing well in class? Is this sudden or a trend? Talk to your kid and find out why. Grounding and restrictions isn’t the way to resolve this problem, as it usually stems from external problems, physiological issues, depression, or in some cases, undiagnosed learning disorders. Work with your kid on study habits. Help them find alternatives that work if the standard skills don’t. Different people have different learning styles.

When things aren’t working, find a good friend (or two), who can stand in as a tutor for your kid. Your kid knows this person and relates to them well, and you know them. They’re friends of the family, so the relationship is already there. We couldn’t have done this without some of our close friends that we consider family. 🙂

 

Rite Of Passage

 

When it’s all said and done, your kid(s) will graduate, too, and you’ll feel as though you’ve gone through your own rite of passage as a parent. Perhaps we do. Because it’s the beginning of another phase of our kids lives, and we know they’re going to fly the nest. We have to let them go, and thus, begin the next phase of our own.

 

 

Another Year Comes to a Close

Tomorrow is New Years Eve. it seems time passes faster and faster with each year. I can’t believe 2013 is already coming to an end and 2014 is on our doorstep.

There is a website I visit every year to both see my year in review and to create an inspiration for the upcoming year. Wordle is a fun way to create “words of art”, or, Word Clouds, using a blog or website that uses RSS feed or using your own text. I highly recommend having some fun with it this week. 🙂

The Menopause Express 2013 Year in Review

2013 MenopauseExpress Year in Review

And Thus Ends a Long Festival Season

Texas Renaissance Festival is one of my favorite gigs. It’s an eight-week run, starting the beginning of October and running every weekend through Thanksgiving weekend. Mr. Magick Man has a few shops out there and I work in one of them.

The vast array of customers who come through every weekend are too many to even begin to describe, and I doubt I could do justice. When dressed in costume, I love interacting with the patrons; especially the children. Sale or no sale, if I can make someone’s experience at renfaire that much more enjoyable, then they’ve had some fun and I’ve had some fun, too.

We always look forward to this festival because our crew is like another family to us. We laugh, we poke at each other, and we stand up for each other. Just like family, we have each other’s backs.

My Teen Boy works in our sword shop, and seems to have inherited a lot of “uncles” as a result. This year I’ve enjoyed watching him grow and interact more with the crew. I looked forward every morning to seeing him at his swordplay lessons when we were finished opening up the shops. One of our crew in particular took the Teen Boy under his wing and started working with him using the practice swords. He was a wonderful teacher, and my kid was an eager student. I’ll have to see what we can do to pursue something like this during the off-season.

Menopause Express Swordplay TRF

I’ll miss the joking comments and the silly moments from the jewelry counter. I’ll miss “Bloody Mary Sundays”. I’ll miss the view of a foggy morning from the castle balcony. Working festival is a lot of hard work and long days. I won’t miss being tired all the time and I won’t miss having my weekends occupied, but I’ll miss seeing my renfaire family.

Menopause Express Foggy Morning TRF

Loss

We lost one of our furry children this week. Sasha was a birthday present for Mr. Magick Man when she was just a puppy, 11+ years ago. She was his baby girl.

I would go into a memorial for Sasha, but really, that’s not what this post is about. This is a post of observation and learning.

Sasha passed away yesterday morning. I made a memorial post on my Facebook account rather than making a public blog post. People on my friends list knew her and I thought this was more appropriate. What I’ve observed is the general response to a person’s grief (whether the person who passed is a family member of the 2-legged or 4-legged variety). What horrifies me is that I may have been guilty (at one time or another) of some of the things that have offended me over the past 24 hours, myself. This inspired me to write, tonight, on how we might respond to a grieving friend when we see a post about his or her loss:

  • Expressing shock and sympathy
  • “OMG, I’m so sorry!! :: hugs ::
  • Emotional support
  • If you are in this person’s close circle of friends
    • CALL THE PERSON
    • He or she may have posted a memorial post, but a phone call is so much more personal. If someone is grieving, they need that personal contact, not a “comment”, or a text. They need your time if you’re in their closer circle of friends.

What not to do:

  • DO NOT SHARE THE PERSON’S POST
    • Your friend just posted a memorial post. You don’t know if this post is limited to a certain group of friends or if it is just on this person’s friends list. Most likely, it is not a public post. Why on earth would you share this post? Yes, I have seen this done to other grieving individuals.
  • Do not tell the person about your past experience with your dead cat/dog/brother/aunt/etc… This is not about you. It is possible to express sympathy (even express empathy) without relaying your story. The person grieving does not want to hear your story. If they weren’t grieving, they would care, but right now they just can’t.
    • This is the one that eats at me. This is the one I’m horrified I may have done in the past. If I’ve ever done this to anyone I am so sorry. In the past 24 hours people have done this to me and I know just how much you probably wanted to beat me over the head or tell me to just STFU.

Part of me reads what I just typed and says, “Hon, don’t post this. It’s just the grief and you’ll regret this post in a few days.” But really, that’s what this post is about – responding to a grieving friend. My reactions to the responses I received may be on the far end of the scale. One could say I’m overreacting and emotional right now; but that’s the point. When one is communicating with a grieving friend in that frame of mind, one needs to handle communication appropriately. The time for sharing stories is after the grieving is over. If you really feel the need to share any posts, you should at least ask the person first and explain why; and if the person declines then respect that decision.

I’m off my soapbox for the night. Peace and love. I’m going to go love my other dog and my kitties.

Life Goes On

(more thoughts from my previous post)

Pooh passed away in the middle of the night. He’s no longer in pain, and his family can go through a grieving process that will end. They no longer have to cope with the pain of watching a family member suffer.

The sun still rose today. I was up before sunrise, as usual, in my garage making incense. Mr. Magick Man got up, as he always does, and headed off to work.

The death of one person, just as birth, is a part of life. If it were a rock being tossed in the pond of our world, it wouldn’t really make a ripple. But the water where the rock lands – right where it lands – is moved and disturbed. It doesn’t just fall back into place immediately. That water represents those immediately affected by the one person’s death; their loved ones.

Why do good people have to suffer in such a manner when there are others in this world that perform truly horrible acts and don’t have to suffer in kind? We may never know. The answer to this question may come down to your spiritual beliefs. It may be a lesson you have to learn in this life before passing to the next. It may be we do not understand God’s plan. Or it may be there is no higher power; it’s just a disease and it’s a roll of the dice.

I have friends who walk each path. Personally, I believe there is a higher power. I’ll never understand the why’s, but I try to find some kind of growth from life’s experiences – no matter where I am in that pond.

Pond Of Life

A Crisis of Faith

My first post in how long? It was supposed to be about how busy I’ve been. I was going to write about my new business, gearing up for an upcoming festival, and success. These things are not at the forefront of my mind right now. What brings me out of the shadows and back to my blog is a need to write.

…2am and I’m still awake writing this song
If I get it all down on paper it’s no longer inside of me
Threatening the life it belongs to…

“Breathe” – Anna Nalick, 2006

Today I write about a good friend of my husband’s. He’s as big as a bear, has the demeanor of a teddy, so I’ll call him Pooh, because you all know I never use anyone’s real names here.

Pooh is losing his battle with cancer. Over the past five years I’ve had the honor of knowing this man and his wife, and he’s a very good person.  My husband has known him far longer.

Pooh surprised the doctors and lived beyond their expectations. He is a stubborn old man and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But in the past month he’s started going downhill fast. This past weekend was hard, and now he’s really not in good shape. When he’s coherent he seems like himself but most of the time he’s out of it. I’ll be surprised if he makes it another week.

I’ve seen Pooh cope with the anger and frustration of not being able to do what he used to do. To have the mental capacity one has but lose one’s physical capacity and know one is just slowly withering away, with no control over the situation, is not easy. I just saw Pooh on occasion; I can only imagine what his wife saw on a daily basis and how hard this has been on her.

I see Mr. Magick Man coping with his emotions. He’s one who tucks things away. I ask how he’s doing and he’s honest – he says, “not good.” But he’s not breaking down like I would in this situation. He’s got the emotions neatly packed in a box somewhere so he can function throughout his day. Meanwhile I sit here being so close to him emotionally I can feel it. And I weep.

I wonder if it’s just this, or if there are old issues being triggered, and I already know the answer. Old issues I neatly tuck away in my own box so I can go on seem to never come out of that box. If I don’t look at them they don’t exist. They just reach up and bite me in the ass at times like this.

A good friend of mine lost his own battle with cancer years ago, when I worked at The Empire. His diagnosis was a bit worse than Pooh’s. Doctor’s gave him a very grim prognosis from the beginning – about a year, tops. He lived 3-4 years. Attitude is a lot of it, from what I hear. When he passed away, I wondered then, “Why do such good people have to die in such a painful way?” I never came to terms with that concept. I never got my answer.

People die every day and it isn’t for us to make judgment on “good” or “bad”. But when you see the news headlines or hear about these sick people in the world who do terrible things, from rapists to child molesters to terrorists, one has to wonder… Why do they have it so easy? Why is it these things happen to good people instead?

As I was in the garage this morning making incense, I fussed to the heavens above about this… again. I still don’t have an answer. I just have a headache.

‘Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe

“Breathe” – Anna Nalick, 2006