Category Archives: Belly buttoning

Mother’s Day…It’s Complicated

My mom died when I was 28. She had issues—hell, she had a lifetime subscription, but I always knew she loved me. She wasn’t always good at showing it in a way that spoke to me, but I always knew that it was there.

When I was a teen, I became furious with her. Why hadn’t she taught me all the things that I would need to know as an adult? Why hadn’t she said the words I needed to hear? Or did the things that I needed her to do?

In my twenties, I figured out that she would never teach me these things, and I would have to muddle through. Some of the things, I seriously had to unlearn what she taught me, before I could move forward as a functioning adult in this society. Most of the things I had to teach myself how to do from scratch. Some of them I’m still not so solid on. (Housekeeping comes to mind—and to my house every month.) 

The year she died was a bad one for me. It started with me being #4 in a five-car pile-up (#5 hit and ran, and so the insurance companies were trying to blame it all on me, until the inspector came and saw the steel frame of my car literally bent in half), and ended with the double-whammy of deciding to separate from my then-husband, and two days later, my mom passing from cancer. 

Untethered, I traveled for the first half of the following year—sofa surfing some, and staying in hotels and hostels for some. It was kind of a blur, although I do remember staying with some dear friends, one of who was Very Pregnant. She went into labor, and they asked me to watch their toddler while she was giving birth at the hospital. I was so angry that this kid, crying on my shoulder because she wanted her mommy, got to have a mom (and such an awesome one, at that) while I didn’t have any.

Eventually I settled down to live with my grandpa and get myself sorted out. When my money ran out, I got a job answering phones for a service. I was in the pilot program for a potential client. We were going to take calls during their busy time, and if we did well enough, they’d hire my company on a permanent basis.

I trained for weeks, not knowing who the client was. It was top-secret, you know. And in the last week of training they announced… that we’d be taking orders for a major flower company! For their Mother’s Day rush! Everyone was so excited. And I was…not.

So I spent my work days listening to people tell me how awesome their mom is—or at least how obligated they felt to say so. I spoke with the people who bought the largest basket with all the bells and whistles, but didn’t know what their mom’s favorite flower was, and I spoke with the people who, when they heard what the delivery fees were, needed to get a smaller arrangement, but as long as there were some of this particular flower, it would still be good. Because all of them loved their moms.

It sucked, but it was a crash course in not hurting every time someone mentioned their mom.

Eventually, I left the job to take care of my grandpa full-time. He mostly just needed a physical presence, which gave me plenty of time to gaze at my navel, and it was in this period that I realized the important thing. Her whole life, my mom did the best she could. It wasn’t always what I needed. It often wasn’t what I wanted. But it was everything she had. And when she didn’t teach me something, I realized, it was because she didn’t know it. And when she didn’t say the right words or do the right things, it was because the way her world had molded her, she didn’t have the tools to support me. But she always wanted what was best for me. And she loved me. And at the end of the day, I turned out okay. Fait accompli. 

To all the moms out there, doing your best at whatever capacity you can, I see you. I admire you. And I thank you for taking on the mantle and responsibility of influencing humanity’s future. 

Lies, Damned Lies, and Politics

I have been engaging in political discussions with someone who sits on the other side of the fence from me. (In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m pretty damn liberal.) She has been absolutely wonderful. She is usually clear and generally well-studied and doesn’t foam at the mouth. I love talking with her about this stuff, because I am learning from her. I am learning about the concerns and perspectives of the people on “the other side”—when they are thinking, rational people, rather than the ones that just repeat rhetoric, because that’s what someone else on “their side” said.

I’m also learning about myself. I’m learning that I do that. I’ve been doing all of it. I’ve been foaming at the mouth, and I’ve been repeating things people on “my side” said without doing any fact checking. I’ve been waiting for her to finish her argument, so that I could prove her wrong, rather than actively listening to the points she’s been trying to make. In short, I’ve been acting as horribly as the “Them” I claim are out there.

Sunshyne, thank you for your patience with me. And I’m sorry if for when I got too aggressive.

And here’s what I have learned from this incredibly humbling experience.

I have been so busy trying to be Right in the last few weeks that I haven’t been listening. I acted as if I thought her concerns weren’t valid at all, when the fact is, they are. Her concerns are every bit as valid as mine. I have absolutely no right to walk over hers—or worse yet, to walk over hers while announcing that I’m angry that people are walking over mine.

I have learned/remembered that angry people shout because they feel unheard. I do feel unheard. And I think she does too. People don’t share, and they certainly don’t concede, when they feel like they don’t have enough for their own well-being. This applies to food, this applies to money, and it certainly applies to attention.

The fact is, we live in a complicated society. There are a LOT of people here, from every walk of life, from every religion, every nationality. State and federal governments have the responsibility of protecting the rights of all of us—even the ones we don’t agree with. And that is what makes our nation great. We don’t have a theocracy. We don’t have one to rule them all. We govern ourselves. Together.

Part of this wake-up came about when she and I were discussing the Oregonian bakers who refused service to a gay couple on religious grounds. I spouted opinions. She spouted opinions. And then we both went and read the final filing from the court ruling, and really, my opinions on what the case were about were dead-wrong. Hers were off-based, too, but not nearly as much as mine. I realized I had fallen victim to “headline reading”. Scratch that. I chose to only read headlines, and since you cannot trust all of those guys who spout opposing opinions, because they’re all wrong, I only read headlines that seemed like they probably agree with me.

In an environment where you can Like, Share, Upvote, Downvote and Pin something with just one click, it’s becoming more challenging to do due diligence. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I just wanted to move on to my next headline. The problem was, the headlines were very, very misleading.

I know. Yellow journalism is not news. It never was. But that’s not what I’m actually here to say. What I want to say is I’ll be doing my best to do a little more reading and a little less shouting in the coming days. As old saw goes, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” (And, no, Mark Twain didn’t say it first. Neither did Abraham Lincoln. I know this, because I did my research.)


Image found here:

When I really, really wanted the thing.

The other day, I realized with a start that I was ready to start interacting with hoomans again. You see, I have been avoiding leaving the house pretty much since January. At first I thought it was just because I needed to recover from a very busy, albeit wonderful, December. But then the feeling never ended. In fact, it got worse! I didn’t want to leave the house. I barely saw my friends. I didn’t even want to leave the house to go get food, unless it was to bring it back to the house to eat. And I certainly didn’t want to go shopping, no matter how threadbare my work clothes were getting. Amazon Prime was my friend, and Netflix my companion. I had retired from the human race.

And then I started getting angry all the time. And then I started getting mean all the time.

And then I realized, I need a vacation. Not like, “Oh, gee, I should go somewhere.” More like, “I had better take some freaking time off NOW, before I commit some unspeakable acts– you know, the kinds that are illegal, immoral, or the greatest American sin of all: fattening.” (That last bit had actually already started happening, now that I think about it.) Continue reading When I really, really wanted the thing.

Six Life Lessons I Got From RuPaul’s Drag Race

I’m not sure what it is about RuPaul’s Drag Race that I love so much. I’m about as far from being a fashionista as you can get. Geeky tee-shirts and jeans are more my style. But here I am, binge-watching the most fabulous drag queens serving realness, throwing shade, and wearing the most ridiculous outfits anyone can imagine. AND I LOVE IT.
And you know, when I talk to the girls on the screen– I mean, c’mon. If anyone can hear me calling across the distances of time and space, it would be these Glamazons. But yeah, when I’m talking to them  through the screen, there are a couple of things I find myself shouting season after season, and the weird thing is, that with just a little twerk tweak here and there, the same things apply to me as I learn more and more about how to survive in the “real world” jungle.

Continue reading Six Life Lessons I Got From RuPaul’s Drag Race


Apologies for the lateness of this post. Just because you write something, doesn’t mean it automatically posts when you want it to. Sleep deprivation and technical difficulties will do that to you.


As I write this, I am sitting in an auditorium full of people, awaiting one of my favorite teachers on the planet to take the stage. They would probably tut-tut me for saying what I’m about to say, but I like offering context to people who may or may not understand what’s happening here. Also, I’m not perfect. So sue me. Here’s the short version:

2005 was a bad year, starting out with me in the middle of a five-car pile up, and ending with the death of my mother and my first marriage only two days apart. Following that came a point in my life where I was dealing with some pretty major Depression.

I suppose you could say I was lucky, because at the time I was not working for an outside employer, so if I slept all day, nobody cared except for my grandfather. Of course, he had needs, so I really only got about two hours of sleep at any one point, day or night. Things got pretty rough for me– I was really deep in my hole. I don’t think I was ever suicidal; like, I wasn’t planning how to do it or anything. I had just stopped caring whether I was still alive.
Continue reading Blessed


There are two people, currently active in my spheres, that I am very angry with. One of them, Blowhard, has been abusive to a very dear friend of mine. The other, Nina, was abusive to me.

I am not going into what Blowhard did; as I said, his actions were against my friend, not me. But he is pretty high on my shit list, because he caused my friend deep and abiding pain, and I had to witness it. The situation was fairly complicated, because people are complicated, but at the end of the day I just don’t like him, because of the choices he made.

As for Nina, at first I thought she was simply incompetent. I suppose it’s because I have a trusting nature– everyone has their blind spots, I suppose– but when I first started dealing with her, I thought that since she had a responsibility to me that she would honor it. I was wrong. Slowly it dawned on me that the actions she took, the choices she made, were not out of ignorance, or even just the result of a bad day, but were in fact deliberate and malicious in intent. Continue reading unLoading…

I’ve stopped writing

I suppose that’s a rather ridiculous title, considering that we’re here, on my blog, reading what I just wrote. What I mean is that part of my mental health regimen is to make sure I write every day, but see, I am a creature of habit, specifically, of routine. I heart routine! When I have my time scheduled out, I know what’s coming, I know how to prepare. I actually will think on things and anticipate for hours before I know something is coming up.

For example, I usually have an idea of the concept for each blog entry mapped out long before I sit down at a keyboard. Usually. Then there are times like the last few weeks. Continue reading I’ve stopped writing

Whatcha Got Cookin’

There are some things that are just forever attached to certain people. Peanut butter cookies, for example, will always remind me of my grandmother. She made other kinds of cookies– as did many other people, but as a child I only ever had peanut butter cookies with her. Years after she passed, I discovered her recipe for those cookies, and they still taste like I remember.

A lot of my friends have heard stories about my grandpa, Pop. When I lived in West Virginia, I was living with him, at first as a roommate and later as a caretaker, as his dementia got worse. I had no medical training, nor any experience in any kind of care-taking, other than helping a friend with her almost-two-year-old for a couple of months. It was a difficult situation, and I coped as best I could, mostly with humor and venting. While I was helping him, I lovingly referred to him as the Mad Cow, partly out of frustration and partly out of desperation. He lived another six months after I moved back to Los Angeles. Continue reading Whatcha Got Cookin’

My, oh my! Cherry pie!

Now that I have FINALLY made bread that works for me– both in terms of safe ingredients and flavor– I feel like all of my baking has taken a turn for the better. I cannot post the bread recipe here, because it’s not mine, but if you’re interested, you can find out how to get it from Gluten Free Girl. BUT! It’s kind of awesome in that it’s REALLY easy to make and requires less than half the time needed to make traditional bread. So that’s cool.

Anyway, the confidence is back! Mostly because I have discovered The Big Secret to GF baking: Continue reading My, oh my! Cherry pie!

A Promise is a Promise, No Matter How Small

Writers write. That’s what they say. And the paid writers write everyday.

And I haven’t been. I have really good reasons, you know– REALLY good reasons. But at the end of the day, I need to make a decision: do I want to be a secretary with Really Good Reasons or do I want to be a paid writer?

I had been writing at lunch time. I’d eat for half an hour and then write for a half an hour. It always amazed me how all I had to do was Continue reading A Promise is a Promise, No Matter How Small