Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I want it all

Maybe I don't get to have a partner to live my life with. Maybe I've had my share. I have lots of love in my life. Great friends and family. People I can trust with my life, my hopes, my dreams. The problem is I'm waiting still. Waiting for my dearie. The love at first sight. The hearts and flowers. I'm a romantic with no romance. I'm lonely. I want easy kisses and soft touches and that certain look in the eye. I want the real love not the cheap imitation. I want it all.

Old Journal Entry

I'm not perfect in any way. I'm not the prettiest. Not the smartest. Not the best at anything. But I'm worth more than I've settled for.

When I give my heart, I give my all. I listen, I comfort, I love,  I help.
 I'm there in any way I can be.

I'm a good girl. A great friend. A hard worker.

I just want someone I can admire as well as love. Someone who doesn't take, take, take and not give. A man who makes me feel sexy and wanted and needed and safe and loved. A man who when I wake in his arms it feels like home. I've had a love like that before and it didn't last. Youth and insecurity plagued us both and poisoned our love. Maybe that was it for me.

Self Awareness

I was happy by myself for a long time. I read and painted and spent time with friends. Then I was foolish and gave my heart to someone who never loved me. I started wondering what was wrong with me. Why didn't he care? Am I not pretty enough? Am I not fun enough? What am I missing that he needs? I felt fat and ugly and stupid.

I was blind. I took all the nonsense I could stand from him. All I wanted was for him to love me. So I compromised myself for the chance that he would fall for me. I left him with my heart broken. Questioning my every move.

I woke up. I want someone who will take me as me. If you have to earn affection and love, then it was never yours. I am flawed and silly and smart and pretty. I love Shakespeare and cartoons. Take me as I am or don't waste my time.

A list of what I used to do that made me happy.

A list of what I used to do that made me happy. 

Dancing around in the rain. 
Climbing a tree with a backpack and a book. 
Hours spent in used book stores. 
Writing songs. 
Playing with bright eye shadow. 
Singing in a choir. 
Making a purse from a maple leaf. 
Blackberry picking. 
Building sand castles. 
Flying Kites. 
Jumping rope. 
Volley ball. 
Hiking down to the bluff. 
Skeeball . 
Duckpin bowling. 
Somersaults down a hill. 
Picking wild flowers and mint from the yard. 
Squirt gun fights. 
Water slides. 
Picnic in the park. 

So many things are now too childish and silly. But I like childish and silly.

Abortion - My viewpoint

I know this is a touchy subject that can and may lead to heated debates. I welcome other viewpoints to comment. I will NOT stand for kneejerk profanity. If you have something thought out to say feel free to offer it.

 I am solidly pro-life. I'll give you my reasoning for it and a few stories as well.

My first major problem with abortion is the amount of people who use it as belated birth control. If you aren't mature enough to understand the risks of sex, you shouldn't be having it.There are many different methods of contraception available for inexpensive prices. The pull out method is not one of them. I am completely for sex education for children.

My second major problem with abortion is that it's selfish in most cases. The unexpected happens and it seems like the easy way out. Pregnancy is messy and puts a strain on the body. It can be seen as shameful for the unmarried although thankfully the stigma is decreasing. So rather than deal with the consequences of their actions, some would rather get an abortion and try to leave it behind.

When life begins is a long discussion. I'll simply state for me, it begins when the egg is fertilized and implanted. No, I have no problem with the morning after pill. It flushes the egg out before implantation occurs.

My third problem with abortion is my largest. It's the legalized murder of the innocent. It's killing a baby. We all have a right to live. These children are never given a chance.

What about rape victims? I have no issue with rape victims being given the morning after pill or an abortion. I can sympathize with their plight. Personally, (And all this is very personal) I don't think I would have an abortion if I were raped. I may not be able to deal with raising the child but I would like to think I could go through the pregnancy and give the child up for adoption.

Adoption waits for newborn babies can be up to five years or more. There are people who want these children and will raise them as their own. It is an option not stressed nearly enough.

What about medical problems? I have had two friends go through this. One had a tubal pregnancy and the other severe medical problems that would have prevented her from carrying to term. They both had to have an abortion. It was a sad and disturbing time for both. In both cases, it was a medical necessity.

What about birth defect possibilities? To not give a child a chance to live because they won't be able to live like a normal child is selfishness again. A very dear friend of mine was born with a rare birth defect which required massive amounts of surgeries and not a very good survival rate. She unexpectedly got pregnant. She had a 50/50 shot that her child would be born with the same problems she had faced. When I asked her if she was going to have amniocentesis to find out if the baby would have health problems, she said no.It didn't matter if her child wasn't perfectly healthy, it was her child and she would do the best she could regardless.

What about the right to choose? Yes, women should have the right to choose. I just would counsel them to choose life.

Now to my stories.

A coworker friend of mine was date raped and ended up pregnant. She already had a little girl at home. The guy who knocked her up was a dirtbag who had a violent streak and a criminal history. She wanted more children but was afraid of having ties to this jerk for life. She didn't know what she was going to do. She went to her first prenatal visit and heard her baby's heartbeat and then the next day went and had an abortion. I held her as she cried. She told me she had the abortion and then just kept repeating "I heard the heartbeat." She was filled with guilt and remorse and hated herself. I cried with her. There was nothing else I could do.

I had another friend who was 16 when she got pregnant. By the time she found out she was, the father was out of her life. Her very religious parents had told her that if she ended up pregnant they would have her adopt out the baby to a family in their church. She couldn't take the idea of seeing her child with someone else and had an abortion. She's always regretted it. Not a year goes by that she doesn't cry on the anniversary of the abortion. The worst thing she's had to endure is years after the fact she was diagnosed with fertility problems and has never conceived again.

A friend from high school told me her baby story. Her mother got pregnant and was scared and confused and went to have a back alley abortion. No painkillers, no anything. She bled for a week. Then to her amazement she discovered she was still pregnant. She took it as a sign from God that she should have her baby. She gave birth to a wonderful girl who I'm glad to call a friend.

Another friend of mine got pregnant young and knew she was in no position to care for a child. She chose adoption. She has an open adoption with a loving family. Her daughter is bright and beautiful and healthy.

In an unplanned pregnancy, there is always going to be confusion and stress. Whatever choice is made, there will always be consequences and repercussions. It's up to the woman to live with their choice.

As for me, I choose life.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real and not uncommon form of depression. And it's the reason I moved myself to the Sunshine state.

Every fall, it would start slowly. I'd cancel plans and put things off. Avoid the phone. In general, I'd start isolating myself. I didn't feel up to doing anything. All I wanted was to be left alone. I'd snuggle under a blanket with some hot tea and a book. I avoided leaving the house.

I was sad and tired. I couldn't snap myself out of it. My very persistent friends would drag me out of the house and I had a nice time hanging out with them but was happy to get back home.

I lost my spark, my fizz, my pizazz, my panache, my perkiness for about 3 months out of the year. I found out about SAD and immediately realized that's what was wrong with me. I took some of the recommended steps. I went outside more. Soaking up the rays helps with it. If not just for the sunlight for the peace you find being out in nature. I forced myself to say yes when I felt blah and went out anyway.

The small changes helped but not all the time and definitely not entirely. That's when I decided to regain my winters. I packed up and moved in the dead of January. I went to Florida. I  left snow and came to sun and sand.

After a week, I felt like myself again. I laughed easier. I talked more. I went to the beach and watched the waves. I was home.

I've been down here 8 or 9 years now. The dreaded Winter Blues have only hit me once since the move. It scared the hell out of me. I wasn't expecting it. I only realized my behavior was changing because friends started commenting on it. I caught it fairly early and it didn't last as long this last time around.

I was honest and open about it and explained it to my friends. I'm still me. I'll still laugh if you say something funny. I just need to be drawn out more. Hassle me about going out. I'll have fun when I'm there.

Depression comes in many forms and most of us will be affected by it at some point in our lives. It's not something to be ashamed of. It's just something to be dealt with.

I Do Enjoy Being A Girl

I enjoy being a girl. I love wearing skirts and flowers and bows. I love having breasts and hips and a longer life span. Except those 3 days a month.

The red tide, the curse, Aunt Flo visiting, period. Whatever you call it, menstraution sucks.   The day before my period starts when I'm insanely hormonal and make not great decisions because of it. The first day it starts  I need chocolate as much as air and I cry at stupid songs playing on the radio. The second day when I have a constant back ache and snap at the people unlucky enough to be around.

And we can't talk about it around the menfolk. Well I say, there are more of us than there are of them. We bleed, we cramp, we clot. We have to buy products like pantiliners and pads and tampons. We hurt and get cranky. We feel greasy and gross and get oily skin.

And we go through this every month between puberty until menopause. Years of suffering and period panties. (You know you keep the old nasty ones for that time of the month too.) I started bleeding at the age of nine.

It's almost enough to make a girl get pregnant. Maybe Michelle Duggar has it right. One day of pain every nine months rather than every month. Nah. I could never change that many diapers.

And so I will suffer on until I dry up into menopause. Hopefully my mom is right and it'll happen early for me.

And I know someone will ask so I'll answer now. No, it's not that time of the month right now.

The Whole Wide World

Thank you to those who have stumbled across my blog and stayed to read. I'm just a small voice in the craziness of this world and I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to see what I have to say.

People are reading from across the US and as far away as Sudan, Russia, Netherlands, Germany and the Phillipines. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. Please spread the word if you like my writing and share the website on Google or Facebook.

The best is yet to come. Thanks for watching the journey.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Waiting for the shoe to drop

Whenever things go well in my life I just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Being vaguely nervous about something you can't do anything about is foolish.

So... I'm a fool.

Work is going well. I'm finally trusting a guy with a piece of my heart again. And my friends are great people.

And here I am not enjoying it fully because I'm waiting for it all to fall apart.

I just need to relax and enjoy and take it as it comes. For right now, my squeeze is surprising me every day by showing me he cares in different ways. I'm grateful for it.

I always do this to myself. Someone loves me and wants to be with me and I start searching out why he's all wrong for me. Yes, he could be doing better for himself but right now he's really making an effort. I don't care about material wealth. As long as I can get by and not be struggling, I'm content. I just hate wasted potential. He has a good heart and a crazy sense of humor. And he's trying. Small changes and bigger ones and he's not retreating from it yet.

If somebody wants to be with me, that doesn't mean something's wrong with them. It means they're smart enough to notice all the awesomeness I provide.

I deserve this and even if it doesn't last, I won't be able to say I didn't give it a fair shot.

Sorry boys. I'm off the market. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What is the importance of a poem?

Poems try to explain or describe what feeling are or tell a story.
I'm writing with a silver mechanical pencil.
I feel the pain in my hand from gripping the pencil too tightly for too long.
I see the words form on the page as I write them.
My mind and eyes seek put the imperfections of my writing and my body.
I can feel the bracelets sliding on my one wrist and the brace on the other.
I can feel the coolness of the air against my skin and hear the silence of my room. 

Incoming insult warning signs

Common phrases that should immediately get your attention.

How shall I put this?
Now don't take this the wrong way.
I've been thinking about some things.
We need to talk.
I don't mean to be rude.

My Life Plan circa 1997

Kristen's Life Plan   (written in December 1997) 
1. Get a good job.
2. Get a nice home.
3. Start writing again.
4. Start singing again
5. Start reading again(Finish Les Miserables)
6. Find someone to share it with
8. Get a pet
9. Stop smoking
10. Go to Wales
11. Go to Australia
12. Go RVing
13. Visit the Malls of the Americas
14. Go to the Smithsonian
15. Go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
16. Go to a castle
17. See Phantom of the Opera on Broadway
18. Watch West Side Story
19. Go to Jess's wedding
20. Go to Jenn's wedding
21. Go bungee jumping
22. Go skydiving
23. Swim with dolphins
24. Go on a cruise with Ricardo Montalban
25. Meet Madeleine L'Engle
26. Pick up that picture from Olan Mills
27. Learn to play the violin
28. Win the lottery
29. Own a Mazda Miata convertible
30. Have kids.

I was 19 when I wrote this.

What I've done on the list
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 14,15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 25, 26

What may be happening now

What I've yet to do
7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29

What I've decided not to do
8, 27, 30

What I couldn't do

I used to be tall

When I was seven years old, I was head and shoulders taller than the rest of the class. I did all my goring early. After sixth grade I only grew another 2 inches. And I wasn't just tall. I was big.

I had breasts and hips and looked at least 3 years older than my classmates. I hunched and tried not to draw attention to myself. My body was a woman's body but I was still a little girl. Adults always assumed I was older than I was as did the kids.

I was shy. I knew I was different. The chub and the glasses didn't exactly help the situation either. Just another reason to be picked on.

When I was seven we moved to Illinois. Small bitty town called Lindenhurst Village. Dad was teaching up at the naval base. I had lots of friends in Connecticut but when the navy tells you to move, you go.

My first day of school, in a new school, in  a new state, got off to a horrendous start. It all started at the bus stop. I was waiting for the bus and so was this girl April. April was pretty and tiny and a bitch. She was also the most popular girl in school. She asked me my name and immediately started in.

"Did you get held back? You look dumb to me. Dumb and ugly. I'll call you Medusa. You're so ugly you could turn people to stone just by looking at them." said the demon child.

I was shocked by the attack. I'd never been told I was ugly before. I'd never been called dumb. I was too hurt and confused to speak up.

The bus came. Everyone was already sitting with their friends and there were no empty seats. Meanwhile, April was still at it.

"Don't let her sit with you! Ugliness might be catching." she said as she sauntered to her seat laughing.

Then another girl piped up."Come sit with me." Her name was Jenny Lynn Schultz and she ended up being the best friend I ever had.

Jenny and I practically lived at each other's houses. She was kind and generous. She got tormented too. Not through any flaw of her own but because she was friends with me. I loved her.

That first day and many to follow, I cried on the way home from school.  Cruel and mean words followed me home. My parents did the best they could to comfort me.

Lindenhurst was not a military family friendly town. I once had a girl in my class tell me she wanted to be my friend but her mother told her not to be, since I would be moving again. That's right. Her mother.

This went on for the whole three years we lived there. Every day I was told I was dumb, stupid, fat and ugly. I was worthless. I was Medusa. Yep, the nickname stuck. (Thank you, April.)

By the time we moved back to Connecticut, I had no self esteem. I expected to be treated like garbage. Overlooked (Hopefully) or made fun of.

This little story will tell you how damaged I was.

My first day of school at Mystic Academy, we were told to put our backpacks in line and wait for the bell. I recognized one girl from church but everyone else was a stranger. All the other kids were playing and I stood by my backpack uncertain what to do.

The girl from my sunday school class came up to me. "Come and play with me! Come meet my friends!"she said.

I thought she was joking. She pulled me by the hand and I went. Suspicious and wary of when the jokes would start. They never did. At least I wasn't singled out anymore.

I was ten. I believed no one would want to be my friend. I believed I was fat and ugly and stupid and good for nothing.

It's taken me a long long time to recover my senses and to believe the people who told me I was pretty. I was worth something.

Now and then, I still struggle with it. I try to believe the compliments as much as the criticism. I'm still growing into the person I want to be. One thing a friend told me really stuck with me. Don't put yourself down. The rest of the world will be trying to.

So in my head, I recognize my achievements, my friendships, my good qualities and my survival skills. The world can try to beat me down, but now it'll have a hell of a fight.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When Dreams Come True

Back in high school, I had this dream.

I was with my family celebrating a special occasion. We had decided to go to this restaurant on the beach. Beautiful view. Sea and shore and fancy food. I was wandering around the restaurant to check it out while we were waiting on our food to be served. I was on the second floor when my brother came up behind me. He was dressed as a monk. I told him we had already ordered and he should go down and tell them what he wants. Then he came at me with a knife. I ran. I rushed down the stairs to find my parents and tell them that Bob had lost his mind. I couldn't find them. I came to a door and opened it. Beyond the door was the outside of the restaurant. I was on the second story with a deranged sibling. I jumped down into the sand.

 I ran back inside to find my parents. When I got to the table my parents told me I missed the whole dinner and it was time to leave. I tried to explain that Bob was insane and they told me not to worry about him. He had his own way home.

We left the restaurant and as we were leaving I held open the door for this woman. She was Chinese with a silky black bob and dressed in a white button down shirt and a navy blue skirt with red heels. She smiled her thanks.

I woke up. I shook my head and remembered that my brother was NOT insane and trying to kill me and relaxed.

A week later, my family decided to go out to eat as an early celebration of my father's retirement from the navy. We went to this great restaurant which was right on the water. The food was amazing and we had a fantastic time.

We walked to the door and I held open the door for this woman who was walking in. She was Chinese with a silky black bob and dressed in a white button down shirt and a navy blue skirt with red heels. She smiled at me.

As the remembrance of the dream ran through me and my mouth dropped open in shock, she turned and winked at me. Then she walked further into the restaurant. I ran to catch up with the family.

After all, what was I supposed to say?

It's all Skippy's Fault

I have a friend who goes by the nickname Skippy. No, he's not addicted to peanut butter. Skippy is a great guy. Odd but then so are most of my friends. Skippy plays with whips and massages horses and reads romance novels. And once made me limp for nine months.

"He hurt you?" I hear you cry out in dismay.

He didn't mean to. Here's what happened.

I was at my friend's little girl's birthday party. She was turning four and was the cutest thing ever. (She still is.) There was burgers and playing at the park. We all were having a great time.

As I was all sugared and caffeined up, I was a little rambunctious. We  all started horsing around. I was randomly tickling and punching Skippy. You know how it is. He grabbed my hands and took me down.

He hooked his foot around mine and I went off balance and hit the pavement. My knee hit first. I said Ouch! and tried to get up. Didn't work so well. I couldn't straighten my leg.

We all took a trip to the walk in clinic. After a few hours and a few x-rays, they sent me home. The verdict was that nothing was broken and it must just be a strain. I got my crutches and went home.

Three days later, the swelling had gone down but I still couldn't straighten my leg without severe pain. I went back to the doctor. More x-rays. Same results.

A week after that, I went back again. This time they got me a MRI. The results came back. Apparently when my knee hit the ground the kneecap slid out of the way first. I had a deep bone bruise on the inside of my joint.  What can be done about a bone bruise? Not a thing.  It finally healed after nine months.

Skippy still feels horrible and guilty whenever I bring it up. I have a tiny mean streak that makes me laugh at him wincing over it. I forgave him five minutes after it happened.

But it is fun to see him feel bad about it. Even ten years after the fact. And in case you were wondering, Yes he does read my blog.

I bet you I just cured him of feeling bad about it.

I love you, Skippy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feet Follow-Up

I was once told that my wide feet were because of my Finnish heritage. I said "How so?" This is the theory.
My ancestors are from Finland. The Finnish are known for fishing. Wide feet help you keep your balance. Especially on a boat. Thin footed fellows washed overboard. Since they washed overboard they never had kids. Only the wide footed survivors were left to breed wide footed kids.

Convoluted and odd with a hint of truth. It made me like my feet again. For about an hour.

Romance Junkie

I read trashy romance novels. Sometimes I even pick out the ones with the worst titles on purpose. The Highlander's Courtesan, that kind of thing. I read trashy supernatural romances. I read one book that had the hero as a ghost trapped in a rug. I read christian romance books where at the end they kiss. I read good romance novels too. And murder mystery romances. And teen romance novels. (Should she or shouldn't she lose her virginity?)

Why? Because I'm a romance junkie. I love holding hands and walking on the beach. Candlelit dinners with wine. Long slow kisses. Watching the stars while lying next to my love. One ex made a giant christmas stocking (Yes. He made it.) so he could stand on my doorstep on christmas and be my present. Best thing ever.

The only traditionally romantic thing I hate is roses. They smell icky to me.

I am a born romantic in a decidedly unromantic age. I hate it. People are so afraid of showing they care about each other. It's not cool to be the one who shows their heart first. It's commonplace to be with someone for well over a month before actually saying will you not sleep with anyone else to their lover. And god forbid you even bring up the dreaded c word.

Duck and cover, guys.

Commitment. It's not evil. It's not going to kill you in your sleep. Staying true to another person is a GOOD thing. If it doesn't work out, that's fine. Learn your lessons and move on. If someone has the potential to be "The One", how will you know unless you're honest with them and yourself  and give it a real shot?

Dating is the process in which you learn more about the other person to see if they will be your life partner. If you can't be yourself in the process, it's worthless. If you're busy playing games, you aren't being you. Why would you want someone you only got because you weren't being yourself? It won't last.

What about those who just want sex? Sex is fun. Sex can be phenomenal. But if you say that's all you want, you're lying. Why do we want sex? Well, as I said, It can be fun. But mostly we want that connection to another human being. It's intimate and private. We touch each other in places we want to be touched. We are comforted by sex. We feel wanted and needed and cared for. If we're lucky, we feel cherished.

We crave love. It's a desire, a want, a need. We need to know that we share something in common with others.  It creates a bond that cannot be broken. The jaded say true love is nonsense. I know that's not true.

I'm not a hopeless romantic. I'm a hopeful romantic. And the world hopes with me.

What's your opinion?

Now that I have people reading this blog and hopefully enjoying it, I'd like to ask y'all some questions.

1. Would you mind the addition of some old writing? I have old journals that I'm dying to put to use.

2. Poetry? I promise it will be clearly labeled for those who aren't fans.

3. Art? I was thinking about linking some of my paintings as a side feature. I'm not great but some are interesting.

4. Full names will never be used without permission. If you don't mind me throwing your business out in front of the public, please let me know.

5. Any questions for me?

6. Any ideas for topics?

Thank you for reading. I'm just relating my truths to you and getting stuff off my chest. I hope you keep checking in.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Buzz of Fear

I have a theory that everyone has a phobia. Some people can't deal with snakes. Some scream at spiders. Some won't go in the ocean. My irrational fear is bees.

 Apiphobia or melissophobia is the fear of bees. I'm better than I used to be about it. I no longer run screaming from bees. Now I just run. How deep is my fear? Let me share a couple of my bee stories.

Most recently, I attended the South Florida Fair. In one of the buildings there was a display of vegetables and rare fruit. There were also bees. A honeycomb glassed in so you could see the bees at work and a larger screened in room with a beekeeper outfit hanging nearby. I immediately went to the other end of the building. When I was done looking at the other exhibits, I went to leave.  Three exits were at the end of the building. Two of them had bee displays next to them. I headed for the other one. There was a lone bee laying in wait for me. I retreated. I may have yelped. I looked helplessly at my friend. She grabbed my arm and walked me past the bees to the door keeping herself between us all the while reassuring me that she wouldn't let them get me. I couldn't have done it on my own. My fear literally stopped me in my tracks. Thankfully I have good friends.

One day I was outside at work having a smoke and checking my cell phone when a bee buzzed by my ear. I ran. The bee flew off. My coworker came running outside. "Where did he go?"she asked me.
"Where did who go?" "You ran by the front looking terrified! What happened?" "It was a bee."
One day she may let me live it down. But not anytime soon.

Then the best story of all. I was working overnight at the coffee shop. I was sweeping the floor and looked down and on the floor was a bee. I jumped back and threw the broom at it. It was one in the morning. I was alone in the shop with a bee. I called my friend.

 "Do you care about me?" "Of course. Why?" "Will you come down and rescue me?" "What's wrong??" "A bee is in here and I made it mad." "You're lucky I love you." "I really know it. Please hurry."

 While I was waiting for her to show up I went back out to the front to keep an eye on the bee. Who knows what it was up to. I saw it still on the floor where I had left it. My mad throw with the broom had knocked off one of it's wings. But it was crawling slowly towards me. Any minute it would get that last burst of strength fly up and sting me in the eye and I'd die.

By the time my friend got there she swept up the now dead bee and tossed it in the trash for me. And barely even laughed at me. I owe her for forever.

By the way, I have no reason to be scared of bees. I'm not allergic. I've been stung before. I didn't see it coming and just felt the sting. It didn't hurt that bad. I just can't help it. They are death with creepy legs and yellow stripes.

What are you scared of?

Sing a Song

I love singing. I sing in the shower. I sing while I work. I sing to the music. I make up songs on the fly and sing them to others. I love it.

Yeah, yeah. We get it. You like singing. So what?

That's a good question. ..... I got nothing. If I think of something, I'll update this.

Parrot Predictions

Back when I was a teenager, I loved random road trips with friends. Who am I kidding? I still love road trips. On this particular outing, we headed out to Hartford. We made several stops as the mood struck us to. One of our stops was a big toy store. My friend picked up this stuffed mechanical parrot on a perch which repeated things randomly back to you in a slightly altered voice.

We moved on. I was turned out of the parking lot and headed left. After my car was already a few hundred feet down the road, I noticed something strange. I was on the wrong side of the median. I was headed toward oncoming traffic. I got to the far left lane and Started flashing my lights and honking my horn to warn the oncoming cars. Thankfully there weren't many. Meanwhile in the car, chaos reigned. My three passengers, all teenage girls, were freaking out. It was a cacophony of screams of terror.

I came to an entrance to a parking lot and quickly turned in and parked the car. As we all took a collective breath and sigh of relief, there came a voice.

 "Awk!  Oh shit! We're gonna die! Oh shit! We're gonna die! Oh shit! We're gonna die!" said the mechanical parrot as it flapped it's wings and shook it's head.

We couldn't leave the car for at least ten minutes cause we were all laughing too hard.

Consolation by the Spirit

I used to work overnights at a coffee and donut shop. I served hot beverages to the bored the restless and the inebriated. At around 4 a.m. that's when my guys came in.  Tom and Al and Jim. Three old men who still worked and didn't take shit off anybody.  They hung out and bullshitted the time away with their senior coffees.

I saw Tom every night without fail. He always walked in the door at 3:45am. You could've set a clock by him. We talked and laughed and he made the time pass quicker for me. I'll never forget him talking about some punk kid who wasn't pulling his weight at work.

"So this punk is trying to tell me how to do the job I've been doing for thirty years. I told him I've been at this since you were swimming around in your daddy's nut sack. Shut the hell up and work."

I loved that guy. He became a friend and felt like family. He always watched out for me.

He had a heart attack which triggered a stroke while he was behind the wheel of his truck. The man couldn't do anything small. He lasted for four days in the hospital. When he was told he'd be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, he gave up the will to live and died the next day. His wife, who was in the car with him, survived with a multifractured leg.

I felt awful. I meant to go see him in the hospital but there wasn't a convenient time. The night before his funeral, I decided to drink my sorrows away. Never tried that again. I was so hungover I was vomiting until 3 that afternoon. I missed the funeral. I was sick about it.

This was a man I'd seen 5 days a week for 3 years. He was a part of my life. Now he was gone. And I didn't say goodbye. I was heartsick.

The coffee shop had a door chime that let me know if someone walked in while I was in the back baking and decorating the pastries. The next few days, I took care of customers and made pastries and served coffee. And every morning at 3:45 am, the door would chime. I'd walk out front to help the customer and no one was there.

It took me three days in a row for me to get it. The door chimed for no reason and I looked at the clock and it hit me.

"Tom? Is that you?" I asked looking out at the empty coffee shop.

I felt invisible arms come around me and hug me. Then a pat on the cheek. Then he was gone.

The door chime never chimed at 3:45 again. There was no reason for him to linger there anymore. I got the message.

Monday, February 20, 2012

To Touch the Dead

I am the family corpse toucher. I straightened my grandfather's tie as he lay in his casket. I put earrings on my grandmother's earlobes. I closed my other grandmother's hand around a single red rose. I touched their skin. I felt the coldness and wasn't offended or scared by it.

Dead bodies don't bother me. All they are is what's left over. I find them comforting in a strange way. I can look at them and know the spirit has moved on. They aren't trapped in there anymore. They've moved on.

My father, when he passes, wants to be donated to science. Dissected and learned from. I personally am an organ donor. Once they take what they can, I want to be cremated and tossed into the ocean.  I don't have a problem being fish food. It's all the circle of life.

It's odd realizing that I couldn't ever give my grandmother her insulin shot(Needles make me squeamish) but I wouldn't have a problem cutting into a corpse. If this career doesn't work out, I could always train as a mortician. It would be a quiet career and steady business.

Don't get me wrong. Dead bodies should be treated with respect. It used to be an important part of someone's life. But all it really is is an instrument. Once it's broken beyond repair, it's life song ended,  it means little.

The life is in the spirit not in the body. I'm trying to live mine well.

The Wrong Foot

Does anyone really like their feet? Unless you're a professional foot model, you probably don't. I have friends who are almost phobic about feet. I have friends who pay for pedicures just so they don't have to spend that long actually touching their own feet. There are products now available that wash your feet for you so you don't have to bend down and do it yourself.

Feet are neglected and abused and taken for granted. They're shoved in high heels and left to callus. They're subjected to nasty of shoes. Don't even get me started on  athlete's foot.

 Finding shoes that fit properly is also a pain. Most women run between sizes 7-9 in shoes. That's where the good ones are. The "Ooooooh where did you find those!" types of shoes.  Smaller feet? You have five pairs to choose from. Bigger feet? They can special order them if they company even makes them that size. Narrow feet? You need to wear thicker socks. Wide feet? So what if you have three inches of room in the toe, at least it fits across. High arches? The only shoes that have support for you are made in other countries.

My feet are size 6 1/2 EEE and I have high arches. EEE means triple wide for those of you who have normal feet. Even specialty shoe stores that cater to wide feet have 2 or possibly if I'm lucky 3 pairs of shoes in the store that would properly fit me. I'm not saying 3 styles. Three PAIRS of shoes. If they are ugly which they usually are. I have to wait for 3 months before the next season's shoes come in.

Other people dream of buying a yacht when they hit the lotto. Me? I want to hire a cobbler. If they still exist.

So in the meantime, I shop for shoes at goodwill so they're already stretched out or I shop at my favorite shoe store. Some say they're tacky. Some say they look cheap. I tell them, back up off my Crocs.

I love my Crocs. They fit. They are easy to clean. They're good for the beach. They're great for the bar. They last. I'm on my feet all day and my feet don't hurt. They come in many colors. No socks required.

This is why, this is why, this is why, I Croc.*

*I was asked if my blog about feet contained footnotes. Now it does.

Meeting Madeleine

Madeleine L'Engle was my favorite author. She wrote many books over the years and I highly recommend her books to anyone. The first book I read by her was her best known. A Wrinkle in Time. I grew up with her characters. Strong but uncertain girls who didn't realize the depth of their own strength. I identified with their struggles and their passions.

She had faith and strength which shone through her writing and comforted the soul. She tackled topics such as cryogenics and disease and death and acceptance in a way few can. When I felt hopeless or angry or just plain fed up, I read her books and they made me feel new and whole.

One of my favorite passages from A Ring of Endless Light : "Prayer was never meant to be magic." "Then why do we bother with it?" " Because it's an act of love."

She strung together poetry and math and science and music in new ways. It gave me a greater appreciation for them all. I learned about mitochondria and farandolae and seraphim and leukemia and dolphins because of her writings.

I met her once at a book signing she had with her daughter. They complied a book of poetry and photographs entitled Mothers & Daughters. Her daughter was the photographer. They had a half hour of Q&A before the signing. She spoke eloquently and the warmth and compassion I'd seen in her writing was simply part of her. She was quick to smile and laugh and seemed to be so comfortable in her own skin.

Standing in line, waiting for her autograph, it hit me. I was about to meet a woman who had changed my life without even knowing my name. She was everything I'd expected her to be and so few are.  I began to cry. My friend who had come with me was confused and concerned. I was crying too hard to explain and didn't have the words to tell her what I was feeling.

I came to the front of the line too choked up to talk easily. She smiled at me with concern in her eyes and asked my name to write it in the book. I told her and she wrote on the title page and handed the book back to me. She reached out and put her hand over mine and said "God bless you, Kristen." and smiled at me. I think I remembered saying thank you before I left. My cheeks were burning with embarrassment and my heart was overflowing.

She passed a few years later. I cried then as well. I will always remember her as the woman who taught me how powerful words can be. They change lives and minds and hearts. I hope in what comes next that we can meet again and I can sit and talk with her about her stories and how they helped me and countless others.

Madeleine L'Engle (November 29, 1918 – September 6, 2007) May she rest in peace.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Forever in Love

I met the love of my life when I was fifteen. I saw him and instantly wanted to be near him. I wanted to know all his secrets and tell him mine. I wanted to just be with him and love him.

His name was G. He was five years older than me. Very tall and broad shouldered with a wry smile and a gentle laugh. He saw me as a friend. Not just a friend but one of the best friends of the girl he really wanted. He thought I was nice and all but that was it. I was head over heels. The girl he liked didn't like him that way. She was sweet and pretty with the craziest sense of humor. She was my friend and I envied her his affection. In the meantime we all hung out and went shopping, played pool, wandered the town and in general had a good time.

One painful day, I told him how I felt. His response wasn't what I wanted to hear. You're a good friend and I can talk to you about anything. I don't want to lose that just because I don't love you the same way. We talked almost everyday. We hung out just the two of us and had a blast. He wanted me to be around and be there for him but he didn't love me.

I came to a decision. I decided to not wait around for him and briefly dated a very sweet romantic guy. He read me poetry and fed me cheesecake by candlelight. Not a bad kisser either.  The poor guy never stood a real chance with me.

Meanwhile my friend finally decided to give G a chance. I was heartbroken. I assumed she'd fall in love and be with him forever. How could she not? This lasted about a week before she told him it just wouldn't work out. I was impressed by her. She knew what she wanted and wasn't going to waste her time with someone who wasn't right for her. I followed suit and tearily broke up with one of the nicest guys I've ever dated. He knew.
 "Do you love someone else?" "Yes. I'm sorry I never meant to hurt you." "It's him isn't it?" "I'm so sorry." "I hope he realizes what he's got." "He doesn't have me." "He's got your heart." and he hung up.

G came to see me the next day. I figured it would be to pour his heart out about the breakup but it wasn't. He asked me out to dinner. I said sure of course we could meet up for dinner. Who else was coming? Then he got nervous and explained he meant a date. Of course I said yes. He asked about my boyfriend and I told him that was over. Which it had been for 3 hours. Then he asked if he could be my boyfriend. I told him not to be a moron. I'd already been in love with him for a
year. I hadn't changed my mind in a month.

So the romance began. He asked my parents for permission to date me and it was granted. We spent part of every day together. On the rare days when we couldn't be there in person, we talked for hours on the phone. We never got bored with each other.

He was my first and I was his. Immediately after, he turned to me and told me he loved me. I   didn't believe him. I smacked him and told him not to lie to me.  He insisted he just hadn't realized how perfect we were together and he'd never felt this way about anyone before.  I warned him never to say it without meaning it and dropped it.

He bought me a single long stemmed rose and took the thorns off so I wouldn't prick my fingers. He told me he loved me with frequency and urgency. I was the happiest I'd ever been.

 We had fights of course. He would tell me I was being immature and I'd get in his face and remind him he was five years older than me. "You're acting like a teenager." "What the hell is wrong with you? I AM a teenager!" Then we started planning our lives together. It was a running joke that as soon as he got the ring I would be able to tell.

I had to go to the mall to get my senior pictures taken and while that was happening, he got the ring. He took me to the beach and we walked in the moonlight. We came across a bench and he suggested we sit down. I sat down and he went down on one knee. He pulled out the ring and said my name and asked me to marry him and be with him for life. I threw myself on top of him sending him crashing backwards into the sand and kissed him and kissed him. He asked if he should take that as a yes and I laughingly said Yes. I looked him in the eye and told him I couldn't imagine loving anyone else as much as him.

We set the date for August 5th, 1995. Just after graduation and my 18th birthday.  We picked the location and reserved the reception hall. The groomsmen would all wear tuxes and chuck taylors. I searched for the highest pair of white heels in existence not wanting to be the shortest person in the wedding party. I bought the dress with my mother.

He started to get nervous as the day grew closer. He doubted I would keep loving him. After all, I didn't have any other experience but him. A month before the wedding, we called it off. We were too young to get married. We should live a little first.

We stayed together for 4 years. I never broached the topic of resetting the wedding plans. I didn't want him to leave. I knew I loved him more than he loved me. I wanted him to be happy. Even if it didn't include me. We fought and made up and fought and made up constantly.

Then it happened. I was at his house and we were in bed relaxing the afternoon away when he got a call.  An old friend who wanted to know if she and him could get together later that day. He said of course he could. He wasn't doing anything.  I got up and got dressed and grabbed my stuff and started walking out. He chased after me and asked me to stop and talk to him.  I told him that if he couldn't be bothered to tell his "old friend" that I was with him that that showed exactly how much he actually cared about me. I got in the car and drove away. It was over.

Two weeks later he was dating his "old friend". G and I tried being friends. I ended up becoming good friends with his girl. Years later we talked about it. "You know I wanted to hate you so much." "I wanted to hate you too." and we laughed knowing we'd be friends for a long time.

Six months after they started dating, she got pregnant. Then they got married. I was invited to the wedding but declined. Fortunately I was out of town.

They seperated and eventually divorced.  I love their little girl as much as if she were my own.

Whenever G and I were between relationships, we'd get together and fool around.. The physical spark between us never left. We always remained friends. I could still talk to him about anything and he could do the same. We talked on the phone and met up for coffee and spent time together.

 I never fell out of love with him. I'd lie to myself about it and tell myself I loved him but wasn't in love with him anymore. We're just really good friends. I moved down to Florida but never lost contact.  I dated but never gave my heart away.

He met someone new. He was going to get married again. He invited me to the wedding. That's when I realized I couldn't keep doing this to myself. I told him no. We had to talk.

"I still love you. I've loved you for 18 years now and apparently I always will. I've never truly loved anyone else. Don't marry her." "You know I love you but it hasn't been in that way for a long time. You're one of my dearest friends. I don't want to lose you." "I don't think we can be friends anymore. I can't keep living half a life. I deserve more. And as long as I have you in my life, I can't move on." " I didn't know you felt that strongly about me still and you know I only want you to be happy. I understand. I'll miss you. If you ever change your mind or if you need me, I'll be there." "I'll miss you." "I can't believe this is happening. Be happy." " Goodbye." "Goodbye."

I deleted his number from my phone one minute later. I blocked him and his family from my facebook. I didn't want a glimpse of what was happening in his life. The only two I couldn't block were his daughter and his ex-wife. I wasn't willing to give them up. The ex-wife knows all about it and won't talk to me about him. The daughter is a teenager and doesn't know and doesn't need to know.

It's been a year or so since that day. I still miss him. He was such a huge part of my life for such a long time. It left a hole in my heart that I'm not sure will ever heal. I wonder what he's doing and if he misses me. I hope that he's happy.

It doesn't ache as much as it used to. I don't cry about it anymore. I miss him. When things are crazy and I need to talk to someone, he still pops into my head.

I made the right choice. I knew it when I did it and I haven't questioned it. I gave myself permission to have new possibilities. I can care about the guy I'm kind of seeing now. I can wonder about the future without seeing him in it.

I'm taking small steps but I'm moving on.

Red Brook Inn

I worked for a while at Red Brook Inn as the night innkeeper. I've been told the two buildings that made up the bed and breakfast have since been sold and are now being used as private residences.

The Red Brook Inn had a history of being haunted. On two separate occasions guests who had not properly opened the flue on their fireplace were wakened by a lady ghost shaking their feet. Thus saving them from suffocating on the smoke. The room that happened in was being lived in by the owner when I worked there. She didn't enjoy the ghost stories being spread as she thought it repulsed rather than attracted guests. Other people reported hearing voices and cold spots there as well.

Only once did I experience anything while living there. The owner was on vacation and the smaller house was locked since the only guests were at the main house. I was walking past the smaller house and movement in the upstairs window caught my eye. I thought I saw a dark haired man looking down at me.  I knew the house was locked and should be empty. I did a quick walk through to see if anyone was inside but no one was.

It was a great building with an interesting history. Lots of fireplaces and handmade quilts and antique glass. The flagstone patio with the wrought iron tables was my favorite spot. I enjoyed my time there and always felt at home.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

You'd be such a good mom

 Society says no. If you want to stay out of jail or the nuthouse or both, you must follow the rules. But what if the rules don't make sense? How often should we shrug our shoulders and carry on while other people decide what is best for us?

We grow up being told how to sleep, eat, work, and even what our dreams should be. 

I'm a girl. I can't go topless on a sweltering day. I can't discuss what happens with my body once a month. I must wear certain clothes. I should be able to cook and clean and make someone a good wife someday. 

And the one that annoys me beyond reason, I should be a mother. Just because I was born with a vagina, doesn't mean I have to push a kid out of it. Whenever I tell someone I don't want kids, they say things like  "Oh. You don't like kids?" I patiently explain that I love kids. I am 'Auntie' to at last count 10 different kids none of which are actually blood. I love them all. At that point I get asked "Can you not have kids?" As far as I know the answer to that is yes. I've never been pregnant yet and have no plans to become pregnant. Then I get told "You'll change your mind once you meet the right guy." That's when I get pissed.

I don't want kids  for a few reasons. The first being, I don't feel the need. I am complete in who I am. I don't have that drive to feel needed and be a caregiver. I hate poopy diapers. I don't want to walk around with spitup on my shoulder and no sleep. Another reason is the commitment. My idea of being a good parent means a lifetime of sacrifice and worry. I don't want it. I want to be able to travel and go out with my friends on the weekend. A third reason is intolerance. I love kids but mine would be trained from the start that No is not a option. If I were to have a child, I'd be on them about manners and respect like white on rice. A fourth is the pain. I've seen the videos of women giving birth. I have friends with kids. I've heard the horror stories. A woman who has not given birth does not ever need to know about mucus plugs let alone episiotomy.  

Now what if I get pregnant? I have strong beliefs on that. I'll have a baby. Whether or not that child's best chance would be with me is a decision I would have nine months to wrestle with. That would depend on the input from the father, my financial stability, and a lot of soul searching. If I decide I'm not up to the task, then an open adoption would be my first choice. Since I'm now in my thirties and never been pregnant yet, I'm not terribly worried about suddenly conceiving. I practice safe sex and always have. I try to be careful with my body in that regard.

I've had people tell me I'm lying when I say no kids for me. I've heard "But you'd be such a good mom!" more times than I can count. 

There is nothing wrong with me because I don't want kids. I am not going to suddenly change my mind just because others want me to. I'm not inherently selfish for not wanting them. It's not just because I haven't meant the right one. It's not that I'm scared of responsibility. I just don't want them.

If you want a kid, go have one. My womb is not available.


Each day,  I try to catch my balance. The balance between work and play. The balance between politeness and truth. The balance between happy and sad. The balance between risk and safety.

Some days I feel like I can turn cartwheels with olympians and never get caught off guard. Others, I seesaw wildly just trying not to fall to badly.

Does everyone do this dance on a wire? Keep breathing and know where your feet are headed.

Sometimes I wish I had the courage to just take the leaps of faith and land wherever I land.


Every school I've gone to, every job I've ever had, every place I've ever lived, I've dreamt about before going there for the first time. I long ago stopped believing in coincidence. It's a little eerie. I walk in on my first day and I get hit with deja vu. Then I remember the dream. It's never a big important or scary dream. Just me going through my day.

And so I meet people whose faces already seem familiar. And I know if I'll trust them or not within seconds.

Always always always follow your instincts. If your skin is crawling from being somewhere, get out. If you get that empty cold feeling about someone, watch your back. If you meet someone and get that warmth, trust it. Even if you can't reason it out. You don't have to. Trust in your body to let you know when and where the danger is.

One actual sign of being around a sociopath is they give you the creeps. Your body knows not to trust them. You just have to trust yourself.

Every time I've gone against my instincts, things go wrong.

Once I wanted to see my friend. Had to. I went to her house and her mom told me she had just left to go down to the park to meet a friend. I went to her. She was there. She was talking to this guy I'd never seen before. They were laughing about something. I came up to say hello. The guy's eyes hit me like a brick. He was surprised and angry that I was there. I was interrupting his plans. I'll never forget that face. I tried to talk my friend into leaving with me. Let's go shopping or out for coffee or over to the pool hall. Somewhere. Anywhere but here. She blew me off and said we'd meet up the next day. She was hanging out with this guy. She would call me later.

I should've grabbed her and made her leave. But I didn't. I asked her one more time to change her mind. She declined. I slowly got in my car and left.

He raped her. He held her down and forced her. He was at least half a foot taller than her and she didn't have a chance.

I knew he wasn't right. I wish I could go back and change it. I'd rather the embarrassment and a fight that what she had to endure that day and for years to come. I regret it. More than anything else in my life. I've never seen him again. If I had, I'd be in jail.

She didn't go to the police. Most rape victims don't. She told me what had happened three days later. The evidence long since scrubbed away. Nothing but her word against his. So she suffered and he never paid for it. I tried to convince to file a report anyway. I'll never forget her eyes either. Filled with pain and shame as she looked up at me. "Who would believe me?" For that alone, that man should pray we never meet.

Out of many of my friends, I am the lucky one. I once sat at a table in a coffee shop with six other girls and I was the only one who hadn't been raped. They say only 1 in 4 is reported. Not one of the women I was with  had filed a report. The shame and dirty feeling devastated them. They didn't want to relive in in court. They just wanted to block it out as if it never happened. One had been raped repeatedly by her mom's boyfriend. When she got up the nerve to tell her mom, she wasn't believed. If her own mother wouldn't believe her how could she expect anyone else to.

My heart hurts for them and all the others.Most have overcome and moved on but the scars will always be there.

Little Girl Dreams

I'm very rarely myself in my dreams. I'm not talking about being the idealized version of myself as being different from who I am. Taller thinner etc. I'm saying I'm other people. From a small girl to an old man and every combination between. I walk in places I've never seen before and talk to people I've never met.

For example, I have a recurring dreams. I'm a little girl in a green dress with scuffed black shoes.My dark brown hair keeps falling in my eyes. I'm touring a lighthouse. The guide shows us different things and rambles on about something I'm not paying any attention to. My attention is focused on the chair. The chair is wooden and big and has red velvet cushions. It has claw feet and a high back. I want to sit in it like it's a throne. But it's behind a velvet rope and I shouldn't play with old stuff cause I might break something accidentally. I'm with a man.He's wearing a button up shirt and khakis and I never look up at his face. He's holding my hand so I don't wander but not paying any attention to me. He's listening to the boring guide talk about the history of the place. I run my hand over the rope and know I could just slip under and get to that chair. I want to feel the soft cushions and touch the feet that look so strange.  I reach one hand past the rope trying to just put one finger on it just for a second. Then I get jerked back and that's when I wake up.

The dream was so vivid and frequent that I assumed it was a memory. I asked my parents when I had been to a lighthouse and where it was so I could see it again. I'd never been to any lighthouse. The first and only lighthouse I've seen up close was the one here in Jupiter. About 3 years ago, I took a tour with my aunt. It's a lovely lighthouse with a nice staff.

 But it wasn't my lighthouse. I kind of hoped it would be. It was so solid and real in my sleep that I want it to exist.

Don't people always say that dreams can come true?

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Two Ghost Apartment

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a city named Groton, CT, I shared an apartment with my friend Jessica. I worked nights at the coffee shop while she worked days at a car dealership. I cooked, she cleaned. It worked well.

When we moved into the apartment, which was on the second floor, we knew we had a storage area in the basement but never went to check it out since all of our collective stuff fit into place just fine. All seven end tables and everything.(Hush. I have issues about decent furniture just left for dead.) We went down one day and found it still had things in there from the previous renter.  Dusty cardboard boxes and a lone wheelchair. Deciding it was way too digustingly dirty to ever use, we never wandered down there again.

Living across the hall was a Korean or Chinese family. Their english was not so great so we didn't talk much. Downstairs from us was a coworker of mine Jen and her family. Across from her lived the drug dealing, loud morons.

About a month into the lease, we noticed some strangeness. She'd turn off the tv and leave the room and it would turn itself back on. It would randomly switch channels on us. The lights would flicker for no apparent reason. Yup. Another freaking ghost. It scared Jess a bit but I never felt anything negative from it. I soon learned that as long as I told it to knock it off it would and there would be no more disturbances at least for a few days. I spoke to the ghost plainly. "I can't understand what you need or want. I'm sorry I can't help you." The occurences lessened and lessened.

Jen, my coworker let me know that the woman who had lived there before us died in the apartment.  Apparently she was old and easily confused and housebound. She never tried to do anything but let us know she was there. As soon as she was acknowledged the activity stopped.

Jen was experiencing some strange things in her place too. Her tv did the flipping channels thing too. We actually tried our remotes on each other's tvs just to make sure we weren't missing an obvious explanation. No go.

Nothing that seemed threatening happened until the drug dealing idiots moved in across the hall from Jen.

That month, Jen's son woke up screaming every night for two weeks and complained that "that man" kept staring at him. Jen's son was only 3 years old. Poor Jen was six months pregnant and dealing with a hysterical child every day.

 Every time I walked in the door to the building I felt like I was being watched. I avoided the stairwell and entryway as much as I could. Often taking the stairs at a run so I would be away from whatever it was that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It got to the point where I dreaded having to go down the stairs and past their doorway.  Once I swear it followed my to my car. I felt it's eyes on me until I had driven about a block away.

That craziness stopped after the druggie deadbeats were evicted three months later. When they left, so did whatever was with them.

Feel free to comment on my stories. And yes, I do have more ghost ones coming up.

Ecletic Talents

Odd skills are something I have seemed to collect over the years. Mostly because of bouncing from one job to another. I tend to drift from job to job trying to find what I really want to do with my life.

When I was young, I wanted to be a photographer or a housewife(That's right.) or a pyschologist to help people with their problems or an editor because that is a natural skill I have.

I've worked as a receptionist, an innkeeper, asst manager of a retail clothing store, manager of a candle kiosk,  kitchen staff at a seafood restaurant, staff at McDs, a barrista/baker at a donut shop, an engraver (both template and computerized), manager for a video rental company, a teller at a check cashing/payday advance place, and my least favorite of all a counter for an inventory company.

I liked different things about every job and despised others. It was always just a way to pay the bills. Then I was hired at the company I work for now. I'm the production manager for a small but growing embroidery/uniform store. I embroider garments and ship them to the customers. I print off packing slips and shipping labels and cut backing and fold shirts and work more with my hands than I have in years. My bosses ask my opinion on things and I get to be a part of a growing company. This is the first time I've felt like this is something I can do til I retire. If I ever retire of course. It's not like social security will still be around by then.

So now I can not only: steam a lobster, shuck an oyster, cut keys, engrave metal and glass, use a multiline phone system, clean a hotel room, talk to a tourist, use quickbooks, set up a retail display, make french cruellers and bagels, decorate donuts, clean shrimp, clean a lobster tank, repair a VHS tape, buff a DVD, and making salad dressing with a drill. But also embroider and make designs for all sorts of things.

Oh yeah, I play a psaltery(badly) and sing (pretty decently)at karoake as much as I can, paint acrylics and watercolors, and know how to handle a rifle.

I hope I learn more things as I go and grow. I like learning new and strange things. When you stop learning, you can never move to where you need to be.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why the weird name?

Kythanai is actually a combination of words I made up a long time ago.

 My real name is Kristen which is a derivation of Christian meaning Follower of Christ. The greek version of which is Cristanai. No, I'm not greek..My dad had a greek translated bible and it turned into a family nickname. My mom still calls me Cristanai on ocassion.

 Kythe is my favorite word. Yes, I have a favorite word. It's celtic and have the same root as kith. As in kith and kin. It means to have knowing of.

 So I put it together as Kythanai. Meaning to me, although not to scholars, The knowing follower or follower of the knowledge.

 I hope that made some kind of sense... if not don't worry about it.

I tend not to make sense.

The Cat Came Back

When I lived in that house in Ledyard, I had two cats. Grey and white sisters from the same litter. KitKat and FunnyFace. The next door neighbors had an aggressive mean tempered german shepherd. The dog would lunge at the fence like she wanted to bite her way through it. She growled and barked and generally made a nuisance of herself.

 One day, the cats got out. I called for them and drove around the neighborhood and my FunnyFace came home to me. But KitKat never did. I kept a eye out for a week but what can you do when your indoor collarless cat runs off? Leave cat food on the back porch. Hope they got adopted by a new person who was kind enough to take in a stray. Try to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to the one you still have.

 I stopped looking after a week because the cat came back. It was late and I was in bed with my Funnyface purring curled up on my stomach. I was still worried about my little grey cat who didn't know how to handle herself in the outside world. FunnyFace sat up and looked at an empty piece of blanket by my head. I heard a meow come from directly beside me. I looked again at FunnyFace and I heard it again. She hadn't moved a muscle. But she purred louder and swished her tail in greeting. My KitKat came to say goodbye. That instant I knew she was dead and she wanted me to know she was ok and I should stop worrying. I said her name and cried.

Three months later I discovered how. I was at my friend's wedding reception. She was friends with my neighbor's son who also attended. I chatted with him briefly and gently complained about his crazy dog.

"Your dog acts like I'm attacking her home when I'm out on my back porch. She's a noisy one." I said.

"Just be glad you're not missing a cat!" laughed his buddy.

I shot to attention. I spoke as calmly as I could. "What do you mean?"I asked

"She got a hold of some stray and tore it to shreds. It was such a mess!"he said waving his hand dismissively.

I tried not to snarl. "This was about 3 months back? A grey and white cat?"

"Yeah. How did you know?" he asked.

I looked him square in the eye and told him. "Your dog killed my cat." and I walked away.

It took a whole lot of control not to wreck my friend's wedding reception.

The Ghost of Chestnut Lane

I believe in ghosts. It's always made sense to me that they exist. I've always known that there's more to us than meat. Why they hang around, I can't pretend to know. Several theories include: They don't realize they're dead, They left something undone, They're just echoes of what they used to be, and many others.

I don't pretend to know all about ghosts and their reasoning or lack thereof. All I can do is tell you what I experienced.

The first time I experienced a ghost was when I was very young. Five or six. We lived in a house in Ledyard, CT. It was a 3/4 bedroom Cape Cod style house. Very comfortable for a family of four. There was a wood burning stove in the finished basement which served as my brother and I's play area and family room. I had the yellow bedroom at the end of the hall next to my parent's room. My brother, being older, got the larger bedroom further from supervision.

My brother walked in his sleep in that house. Once almost tried to "fly" down the front stairs to the door. I don't recall that happening anywhere else we lived but that may just be that he grew out of it. I'm rambling. Back to the simple story....

It was late and I woke up in my bed and stumbled out of my room to go to the bathroom which was down the hall. I did what I needed to do and washed my hands. When I turned to head back to bed, I saw a man. He was pale and had angry eyes. He wore a white shirt and black pants and black boots. He was walking toward me and was between me and my parent's room. I heard his footsteps coming toward me and retreated into the doorway to let him pass. With each step he took he sunk a little further down in the floor and by the time he was past me was sinking down and out of sight through the floor.

I ran to my parent's room and clambered into bed with them waking them up."There was a man in the hall! He went through the floor! Who was he? What does he want?" My parents soothed me and told me there was no man. I had just been dreaming. It was just a nightmare. Climb in between us and go back to sleep.

I made no protest. Nobody could hurt me when I was with my parents. With them I was safe. But the memory would keep coming back to me of those angry eyes that wanted me gone.

The next year we moved to Illinois but rented the house out rather than selling it. We knew we'd be stationed back in CT in a few years. When we moved back we bought a new house in Mystic, since our tenant's lease wasn't up for another year and we could keep the house as a rental property.

We had renters come and go as they moved from one job to another. One family who stayed there asked my parents about the ghost. They were having problems with things being moved and the feeling of being watched. They asked my parents permission to do a native american ceremony to drive out the spirit. My parents, who had never seen anything there, gave their permission. We never heard more about it from them.

Years passed and my parents rented the house out to my best friend Jen's family. The house was full of kids and teenagers and animals. Jen and a few of her siblings heard footsteps when they were alone in the house. Small things were moved when no one was watching. They made jokes about the haunted house and eventually moved away to a new home.

At this point my parents had divorced and my father, having gotten the Ledyard house in the divorce settlement, moved back in. I had grown up and was sharing an apartment with a friend. My friend married and moved to Rhode Island. I decided to move back home with my dad until I saved up enough to move out of state.

With just us living in the house, I heard noises more often. Footsteps upstairs when I was alone in the downstairs bedroom. My father had things moved around. Alone upstairs I'd hear the sounds of two distinct voices arguing with each other. A man and a woman. Others heard it too.

"Who were you just talking to?" "Nobody. I was getting a glass of water." " You weren't just downstairs talking to someone?" "Not me. Must be the ghosts." "It sounded like people fighting."

I moved to Florida and dad sold the house and moved to Tennesee. I don't know if anyone else has heard the whispered fights or the heavy clomp of boots when no boots were around since we left that house. I do wonder about it from time to time.  What was there in that house? An echo of a past life lived? A spirit trapped?

Valentine's Day DIsappointment

Valentine's Day day sucked. I was tired and not feeling well and just trying to make it through the day. Just trying to get home and relax before heading out for the night and more specifically to wait and see how disappointed I was going to be.

This guy I've been dating... Well, dating is kind of a strong word for it since we don't meet anywhere besides this one bar for karaoke but since it's been off and on and off and on for 3 years,dating will have to do. Why I'm wasting my time with him will be a discussion for another blog. Let's just say for the moment that I care and he disappoints.

Before I head to the bar I was in such a bad mood already that I'm hoped he'll piss me off quickly so I can just go home and sleep. He spots me before I'm out of the car and comes walking over with a woebegone expression on his face. I see him and am already rehearsing my lines in my head. "It's ok, honey. I didn't really need flowers or anything. My allergies were acting up anyways."  Yup. Already prepping to forgive him rather than just walking away.

He's starts off "I'm so sorry. Work has been slow and I just had enough money for some beer and smokes and that's all. I'm sorry." I go to hug him and say"It's ok." and he backed away and started laughing. For one split second I assumed he was amused that I would take more crap from him. Then he laughed and said" I can't even keep this up. Come see what I got you!"

He gave me a card, a box of chocolates, a little heart shaped balloon on a stick, and a box of the sweetheart candies. This was momentous.

He made an effort. Just for me. Because he cares. It's the first time that's happened. 3 years of talk and no actions to back it up has suddenly turned romantic. I'm happy yet scared at the same time.

So I'm disappointed. In myself for not believing things actually have been changing between us for the better. For expecting him to fail. For not believing in the romance of the day.

I was wrong. And I'm awfully glad I was.


So I'm starting a blog. Why the hell not? Maybe it will get some of the stuff out of my head or at least help me in making sense of it. So pick something that's on my mind and discuss. That's how it usually rolls. Let me start it out simply.

I am a fairly nice yet definitely weird girl. The title of the blog is a forewarning. I'm going to pour out my heart on these pages. If you don't care or don't want to know, this would be a good time to click on something else.

Why or how am I weird? I hate lies. Even the pretty ones we tell each other everyday. I want to be able to live in a world where if I'm asked "How are you?" it's ok to tell the truth. But you can't just put that weight that you're carrying on someone else, can you?  It's not fair to them.

The truth is this. Right now, I'm mourning. I'm sad. I'm isolating myself. Again being the good girl not the burden. The problem with mourning is that you can only share it with the people missing the same person. Other deaths don't matter to you. Of course you feel sorry for those who have lost family or friends or lovers. But it's different. You know a piece of your heart is torn out, but you don't want to experience that for other people. Their pain is theirs. It's not mine. I have problems of my own. I think it's survival. I can only handle so much at once.

Death has always bothered me. A long time ago, I lost a considerable amount of people in a short period of time. I wasn't able to mourn properly then, so now they haunt me each time mortality rears it's head again. Not literally. I have experienced ghosts before but only one was someone I lost. Lost. When you lose someone dear to your heart that's how you feel. Lost. Confused. Looking for a helpful guide to show you the way out back to familiar faces and situations and the normal day to day life.

This past year, I lost both of my mother's parents. My mom and her siblings are orphans now. That's the thought that keeps running through my head. My mom no longer has her mom or her dad. I wonder if she feels cast adrift and suddenly forced into a higher role in life. I don't ask cause I don't want to hear her cry. I know her pain is more than mine. How can it not be? These were the people who raised her, taught her right from wrong, loved and supported her.  I can't compare my loss to hers. Even though it's for the same people. I lost family that I rarely saw and I grew up away from. They meant something to me in my life. But like all fools I take it for granted that the people I love will always be there.

I was wrong. I miss the lost opportunities to get to know the real people they were. I miss my grandmother humming and singing while working in the kitchen. I regret that I treated family like a burden rather than a blessing. "Fine, Mom. I'll call Grandma and see how she is. But not today. I don't have time for her right now. You know how she rambles on." So now I regret the calls I didn't make. The trips I didn't take.

I know they knew I loved them. I just thought I had time. You always think there's enough time to say what you need to say. If I have a child, they won't know them. Not that I plan to but I allow for the possibility.  So I also regret things that never were.

That's how I am. A mass of regret and sadness and lost. But you can't say that. That's not acceptable. Death happens to everyone. This one isn't any different. They were old and they had their time and now they're up in heaven. They're just fine so don't you worry about a thing and smile already. Life goes on.

Sometimes I wish I lived in older times. Back then, you wore black for a year for a loved one. Then muted colors after that, then finally allowed to wear bright colors again when you spirit was back in bloom. It was an outward sign to proclaim to the world, I've lost someone. Be kind, be gentle with me. Now it's unfashionable to wear black even to their funeral.

It's not acceptable to be sad. Soldier on. Buck up. Persevere. They're dead. You can't do anything about it now.

It's not even that I'm worried about their souls. I know they're with God. I know they had good lives and long ones. They used to pray together and read from the bible to each other every night before bed. They prayed for the kids and the grandkids and the great grandkids. They loved God and were completely unashamed of it. They had faith that could move mountains.

That's what I miss most about them. Their solidity. In a world that changed and flowed all the time, they held to each other and family and God.

Time for me to wrap this up, I've gone on too long already. The only thing I can do with my regrets is use them to remember not to do it that way again. At least I can try. That's all we can do isn't it? Try. So I'll try to keep in touch with those I love. I'll try to understand them. I'll try to not have more regrets.

Thank you for reading this. It means you're trying to understand me.