Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Taking chances and living without regret

Wow! That's one hell of a post title, eh?

It is the morning of New Year's Eve. Snow is on the ground. Temperature is in the teens. Winter is on a hormonal roller coaster. But enough about the weather.

2013. It is almost history. What have I done with the last 364 days? There are the typical things that comes with being a single mom. My son graduated from high school and started college. Work became more demanding and with that came the revelation that I do not seem to fit corporate jargon filled mentality. With that I must either adapt or seek employment elsewhere.

My employment woes is not what this post is about.

"What is it about, Marissa? I'm already bored?"

This is about what 2013 brought for Marissa the female. The single woman. The mom stuff aside. None of the manager crud. I am talking about the chick... the wo-man that has been stifled. This is about putting it out there and getting my swerve on.

Do you catch the drift now?

No! It doesn't mean picking up sleazy guys in bars or hooking up on some sex-only adult website. Gross! I mean allowing myself to be available emotionally. It means taking a risk to be rejected or heartbroken. But who knows if that will happen. It could turn out great. Or, how about this silly notion... permitting myself to be happy with another person. A male sort.

2013 and pretty much every year prior to that since 1999, I have withheld myself from relationships. Oh, I dated. Plenty of fun was to be had. It was topical. Giving myself fully was too risky. Along the way I learned, or thought I had, most men just wanted a good time gal. Through believing no one could see me as a serious prospect to date and be exclusive with, I projected this aloof creature who didn't need anyone. Being good for laughs, a filler-in, until they (men) met a woman who'd offer a tangible, comprehensive relationship. I would tend to share my feelings too much too late...they'd moved on.

That shit gets old. Fourteen years! That's how long I've been divorced.

Life is short.

2014 will be about living in the moment. Going with my gut and shutting off that inner voice that tells me not to risk it all will not be easy. That aggravating voice is loud. I am taking away its megaphone. The batteries from its Mr. Microphone are being removed.

I am ready.

Laugh at me if you must for posting this tune (because it is Barry Manilow), but it pretty much says it all.  It was used in the film "Foul Play" starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. Sing along. Tap a toe and pay attention. I've been living inside a shell, but I am ready. With whom? I haven't a clue, but the adventure will be worth the risk... "you get what you get when you go for it ..." Oh, Barry, sing it! Sing the TRUTH!

You remind me I live in a shell,
Safe from the past,
and doing' okay,
but not very well.
No jolts, no surprises,
No crisis arises:
My life goes along as it should,
it's all very nice,
but not very good.
And I'm Ready To Take A Chance Again,
Ready to put my love on the line with you.
Been living with nothing to show for it;
You get what you get when you go for it,
And I'm Ready To Take Chance Again with you.
When she left me in all my despair,
I just h eld on,
My hopes were all gone.
Then I found you there.
And I'm Ready To Take A Chance Again
Ready To Take A Chance AGain with you,
With you.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kiss me, my fool!

New Year's Eve is coming up in a couple of days.

When one searches on Google random things can pop up.

I like this word. . . a lot.

Sometimes I experience this. . . then, sadness strikes. One cannot do this alone.

Here's to ringing in 2014 kissing my pillow.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What was on your Christmas list?

Mancub has never written an endless list of wants for Christmas or birthdays. He'll name a couple very specific items and be done. That was always a source of mild frustration when family members wanted to know what to buy him. I'd always buy the two or three items listed which left nada for the kinfolk to purchase. Gift cards aren't fun to unwrap, but manage to do the trick.

This year was more difficult because my 19 year old, regardless of how many times I asked, didn't give me a list. He couldn't even muster a simple suggestion.


Time was dwindling to shop aka order things online.

I should tell you right now that while I do enjoy new footwear, clothes, this n' thats, shopping is not my favorite thing. Going to the grocery store is painful. Maybe it is sensory overload. Perhaps there's too much threat of running into people that'll hinder the task at hand. Whatever it is, shopping until I drop only takes a few minutes.

OK, back to Christmas shopping for Mancub. He wouldn't or couldn't give me suggestions. He cited that school was occupying all of his brain energy. Oof! Relying on my memory of the past year's moments of "when we have enough money can we get ....."

A TV. The one we had was retrieved from the curbside by my brother in law many years ago. It worked perfectly for many years, but from time to time a green blob would appear on the left side of the screen. We'd just pretend the character on the screen was related to Shrek. Magnavox to the rescue. Decent reviews and reasonable price. Done!

Video game. He had one of the newer Pokemon games for his 3DSiXL, but not the other. Woot! Found it on sale online.

Nutcrackers. The boy fell in love with a tiny nutcracker ornament that hung on our tree when he was about 2 yrs old. Not always diligent in bestowing a new one each year, he has been given a new one every couple of years. In 2013 I made up for lost time and he received four. Two traditional styles and two Star Wars style: Yoda and Darth Vader. He loved those the most.

Every college student needs a flash drive. So, why not make it a special flash drive? Vat19.com had Star Wars and DC Comics styles... Star Wars was sold out. I settled for Batman. Still very cool and it made the boy chuckle.

Without a list or even a mere suggestion Mancub managed a decent Christmas haul. Was he surprised with all of the gifts? He was amazed to get what he got, but as for the contents in the packages? Not really. The big box gave away the TV and I did inquire which Pokemon game he had bought recently. Duh. Sue me for not being the most subtle person. The unique style of nutcrackers brought about big smiles.

What did Santa bring me? Hey, Santa takes care of herself. New boots. A couple new dresses -- all clearance items, naturally. Full price? Shut your mouth.
There was one eensy weensy splurge for da mama. Vat19.com, once again. Based off one of my favorite movies THE PRINCESS BRIDE... pint glasses with the title on one side and the phrase "contents may contain iocane powder" with a Dread Pirate Roberts motif on the other.

I am certain the hard cider tastes better in this glass

Monday, December 23, 2013

MaRissmas Card

2013 has flown by at lightning speed, it seems. Someone once said that as we age the years tend to do that. Is it because we have little to look forward to or that we are just so much enjoying watching our children grow that we want to savor every second? My money is on the latter. We learn to relish the moments instead of always looking for something better and shiny. OK, mayhaps I cannot speak for you. As for me, I revel in the moment. Most of the time. Well, in retrospect. This year has zipped by, damn it. I don't like it!

But here we are...

Christmas is just two days away. One day if you're one of those people who doesn't count the day we are in. Changes at work, Mancub being in college... I've been busy and time got away from me. So, there is no card of any sort being sent out. On Facebook, I promised a blog post Christmas card. Even that nearly got away from me. 

Today, I'm off from work. Because the month managed to be shorter, somehow, gifts for coworkers weren't bought. So, I'm spending the day baking them cookies whilst still sporting my pajamas, hair pulled back and looking a sight more reminiscent of Halloween than holly jolly holiday-ish. No matter how scary I look, the cookies will be fantastical! Five dozen (or less) are all ready, but another variety needs to be available. I said "or less" because I have a 19 year old boy living here who loves cookies and thinks all things sweet and chocolatey are just for him. What I baked may not be the number I deliver.

So, back to the Christmas blog card. 

This year has brought many wonderful things. First on my list is that Mancub graduated from high school. If you have been reading my bog since its early years, does it feel like you've watched him grow up? Amazing, right? I gloat a lot about the kid, but he deserves all the praise. Additionally, he started his first year of college locally. Completed the first semester in a manner that makes me beam with pride. It is the first time he has had to entirely speak for himself and be his own advocate with his Aspergers.  He has impressed me immeasurably.  What a remarkable young man he has become. 

The beginning of the year also carried with it our mother / son participation in another Kankakee Valley Theatre Association production. Our first was STATE FAIR a few years ago. This time it was THE WEDDING SINGER. So much fun and wonderful friendships were established because of it. While it was fantasmic to receive applause for my portrayal of Grandma Rosie, it was what took place behind the scenes that really matters and has longevity. I love my extended family.

In between major events we took trips to Brookfield Zoo and Six Flags Great America. We didn't get to take a major vacation, but the little things seemed monumental because I was counting the minutes. Oh, I also attended my first Gay Pride Parade. Talk about a feast for the eyes. what a great time with two of my dearest pals.  

Oh man! I almost ended this post without mentioning one of the cooliest things -- I know! 2013 was spectacular and the events just keep coming. 
Thirty years after graduation I was finally given a tiara and unofficially named Queen of the class reunion. Woop! This just so happened to also occur the night before my 48th birthday. Having classmates sing "Happy Birthday to You" was truly a tear jerking moment for this one time wall flower.
On my actual birthday we went canoeing down the Kankakee River. Holy crap! That was a hoot...even if I ended up falling out of the canoe and getting sand in parts of my body I didn't realize existed. Totally worth it!
I love this pic

That was the Speedy Gonzalez version of 2013. You didn't want a play by play anyway. With such blabbering you'd probably wish for a generic, mass produced card... ya know, it just gets to the point.

Did I mention that I let my hair go completely gray? Silver? Platinum? Whichever shade of non-brunette you want to call it. I am no longer bothering with chemically youth-anizing my locks.
I am 5'10"ish and not in a hole. My kid towers over me

This year has brought us many ups and downs. That is, after all, how life works, yes? There have been world wide tragedies, local devastations. Our family has changed. My niece and her husband are expecting their first child. The Eastridge class of 1983 celebrated 30 years post graduation and bid farewell to one of our own. Through the magic of Facebook many of us have grown closer and built a kinship unlike what we had in school. It has developed a big source for support when life is getting us down to having a force for celebration when great news strikes. Two wonderful friends got engaged (see photo from Gay Pride Parade above). Now, Illinois is a freedom to marry state! Celebrate! 

I think what I am trying to say is that we can find the positive things if we look for it ... even if it means sitting down with a laptop computer and making a list. We are the result of what we choose our lives to be. That could be a frivolous notion for some of you, but you attract that which you give. I'm learning that each and every day. 

From Mancub and me to you and yours, Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2014. My sincere wish is for everyone to find love and peace. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pick a little, talk a little

This looks nothing like my dental
experience...the chair is all wrong
Today was our sixth month cleaning at the dentist. The folks there always treat us as if they see us weekly. I don't know if they keep dossiers on their patients or they are just that good. Granted, we have been going to this particular dentist for quite a few years. Still, considering we only see him every six months or so, he remembers conversations we've had.

That brings me to today's chat with the dentist. After the hygienist picked, flicked, flossed and polished my choppers, dentist extraordinaire came in asking if I was still doing the Beachbody thing. After referring to my pudginess with an uncomfortable chuckle, I told him no.

See, we'd babbled between drilling and filling (and other dental things that might sound sexual), we discussed what was once my weight loss success. I guess when a person is stretched back in a chair with a light shining in their face, weight loss is noticeable... once, during a crown fitting he remarked how much I look like Brooke Shields. That, of course, was pre-natural highlights aka going gray.

A couple of years ago he told me how he was doing P90X and even as a former Navy officer he struggled to get through some of the workouts. I couldn't either, I lamented, and forget that crazy YogaX. Yoga can be hazardous if you don't know what the hell you're doing or do not have assistance.

Back to the convo of today. My initial thought was that he wanted to say how his recent weight loss was due to a new program or supplement. Instead, he inquired if I enjoyed documentaries and if Netflix was accessible. Yes and yes.

With great excitement he wrote down two documentary titles along with his personal email. He implored me to watch them and email him my reactions to the films. His assistant was kind of giggling while telling me he is doing this with nearly every patient and they've all been encouraged to watch the suggested programs because, "it will change the way you think about food."

He shared that he is back to his high school weight and feeling better than he ever has in his life. The films changed his life. "Netflix and my elliptical... great partnering."

What's your dentist like? Is my experience unique? I won't tell you the film titles until after I watch them ... pinky swear that I'll share the titles and my impression of them in a later blog post.

Oh, by the way, these conversations take place without his fingers in my mouth or one of those spit sucker uppers attached to my lip.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Goodbye, childhood friend

I grew up in a middle class neighborhood. Pretty much every one in upper Riverview, Kankakee, IL had similar upbringings. Our parents worked hard. We were disciplined ... not just by our own parents, but every parent on the block.

In the evenings during the summer, teens would gather on the corner under a street light to just talk, laugh, flirt, etc... A lot of hopes and dreams were revealed under that street light.

Most of the families were rooted in the area. Moving wasn't even considered. That being the case, we went to school together from kindergarten through graduating high school. Some friendships were maintained during that time while others were fond acquaintances. I think there was an unspoken bond and protective knee-jerk reaction despite distanced friendship. What always existed was a kinship.

After graduation, as we often do, we separate and go about building new lives. It happens. Regardless of what was sworn in our yearbook entries to each other, those promises can't always be kept.

Once in awhile we are all drawn together for class reunions that allow us to catch up and recount the silliness of our youth. Sometimes, we are brought together for less joyful occasions. Too soon, one of our childhood friends passes away. It hits us hard like a steely blade to the gut. Mortality delivers a hard blow.

We are left reeling. Many of us who often lament that we're getting so old suddenly realize just how much youth is left. We mourn with their loved ones. We ask questions. Seek answers. There's a need for closeness. Memories of that classmate are shared.

Even though the years have come between us, there's an immediate sense of togetherness. Something we all seem to agree upon is that with the death of our friend also goes a piece of our childhood.

A person who always present in my childhood through high school passed away on December 11, 2013. He is remembered as a person who always managed to smile, make others laugh. He was an outstanding athlete. He was active music. I fondly remember him as the cutest boy in first grade.

Andrew Gineris, if there is an afterlife or some mode of spiritual hearing device, I hope you're able to see how many of us are grateful to have had our lives touched by your existence.

Andrew Stephen Gineris, 49, of Charleston, S.C., and formerly of Kankakee, passed away Wednesday (Dec. 11, 2013).
He was born May 6, 1964, in Kankakee, the son of Louis and Janice Wadley Gineris. Andrew was baptized in, was a member of, and served as an altar boy for the Greek Orthodox Church.
Andrew attended Kankakee schools and graduated from Eastridge High School in 1983. In high school, he was a diver for the swim team and during his senior year achieved All American status. He graduated magna cum laude from Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, S.C., with bachelor's degrees in culinary arts and food service management.
He was a professional chef working in Chicago, Sea Island, Ga., Jacksonville, Fla., and Charleston, S.C. Andrew loved what he did, having a passion for food, including ice carving and being a garde manger chef.
Andrew is survived by his parents, of Summerville, S.C; two brothers, Louis Gineris, of Waycross, Ga., and Nico Gineris, of Summerville, S.C.; two aunts, Linda Kmiec, of Pawley's Island, S.C., and Penny Denoyer, of Kankakee; one uncle, John Wadley, of Santa Barbara, Calif.; one nephew, Jackson Gineris; niece, Sophie Gineris, goddaughter and niece, Zoe Gineris; and many dear cousins.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Nick and Alberta Gineris, and Phillip and Helena Wadley.
Cremation rites will be accorded. A memorial service will be held at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Kankakee. The service will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Piedmont Hospice, 501A DeAnna Lane, Charleston, SC 29492.

Please sign his online guestbook at McAlister-Smith.com.
(the above obituary is from the Kankakee Daily Journal)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Special Christmas Cookies

The other day I received a wrong number text. Instead of being quick by telling the sender 'wrong number,' I got creative like all those people who end up on Tumblr and Buzz Feed.

First, I had to high tail it to Google and search a photo. My initial thought was an image depicting a person excited about cookies.
Enter the screenshot.

Hmmm That photo wasn't going to do the ... WAIT A MINUTE! Wait a cotton pickin' booger flickin' minute! What is Google suggesting as a related search? Let me point it out

Who would have thunk to add THAT to cookies or any baked goods.

I imagine Martha Stewart sitting at her kitchen counter after a tryst with the gardener or the butcher ... ya know, she's whipping up a post-coital snack to rev back up to go in for a second round...and BAM! What ever could she do with excess semen?

You're welcome! Now we both have that disturbing image in our heads. Ho, ho, ho.

Here's the screenshot of the text:

I was seriously considering buying cookie dough from a stranger

(I know now after searching the subject that there was a despicable crime attached to 'semen cookies' and this is in no way shape or form an attempt to minimize the severity of the crime perpetrated. Don't put a hex on me or beat me with rosaries. I just write what pops in my head at the moment it happens. Get off me.)