No More

The problem with doing what I feel like doing is that sometimes I stop feeling.
It's not the same as when a kid gets bored on summer vacation and "doesn't feel like doing anything".  It's more like when a diabetic's feet stop feeling.  There might be a point when every feeling feels bad or irritating or painful but there is an even more ominous moment.  When the feeling goes away completely.

I can't speak for everyone but there have been a lot of people whom I've spoken with who have the same experience.  Nothing is beautiful or lovely or ugly or moving in any way.  The things I've always loved to do hold no appeal.  Everything is a chore- breathing in and out is exhausting.  It's not that we don't care what happens to our children, or the whole world, it's just that we are certain they are better off without us.  If I could stop being- I would.
Even better than dying, which would be a total pain in the ass for everyone I love, would be to just cease to exist.
It's not that I want to destroy the whole world and cause everything to end, it's just that I know that relatively soon everything else will be just as exhausted and expended as I am right now.  It's mercy.  It's really best for ALL of us if we just call it quits, lay down, and stop.
No more moving.  No more breathing.  No more of all of this exhausting being, for god's sake.
Enough already.
Everything we do gets undone.  All that's created gets destroyed.  Every fed belly will be hungry again and it's just too much.
I just want it all to stop.

And that is how depression feels to me this time around.


I'd like to sing the world a song, and shake an egg.

It's funny how sometimes a song can say just what you can't.
There's this recurring theme in my life.  I want to start over- do a better job now that I'm in a better place.  I want to hit the reset.
It's like that with my partner, my job, several friends, my kids, and even my home.  I want a different outcome without having to move to California and start all over.  I want a change.  Really, only I can make that change and I'm realizing it's not as hard as I've feared.

A very good friend of mine once told me if I want my life to be different I should just write.  Writers can create universes.  We can be and go and do anything we can imagine.  That's a lot of pressure.  When life is really difficult is when we most often have failures of creativity.  It's nice to know there are universes out there to choose from though.
Another good friend taught me about the writing of comedy and tragedy.  We talked for a long time about the outcome of every story and how subtle a change is required to change from one to the other.  Sometimes just a matter of perspective makes the shift from comedy to tragedy- like viewing life from the lense of a victim.  The swap is also possible for tragedy to comedy when we can practice letting go of hurt and laughing occasionally when things don't go as we'd hoped.  Life is still unfair and the pain and suffering are real.  Our responses to them are sometimes what make circumstances good or bad.  I can look at my own mother's life and decide either it was a devastating failure of raising hurt kids who had more than our share of struggles- or I can see it as a colorful adventure that made me incredibly resourceful.

If I could sing you a song, I would.  I can't -but I want you to hear my friend.
(We are imaginary friends- she doesn't know who I am, but in my mind she laughs and laughs at my stories and writes songs about me and our friendship and our adventures and we drink tea together with our pinkies out).
I've listened to this one hundreds of times and I'd like for you to hear it today.  Maybe you're in a place in life like mine... you'd like to think things can change.  It might not seem like they can- or you might be on the brink of it.  Relationships sometimes change on the turn of a phrase.  I like to think that can happen; that I can change my whole life by not just saying the same thing I always say.  When we respond differently everyone around us has to as well.  It's the dance of relationships.  When I change my steps, you have to as well- or you can get your toes stepped on or  you mught bump me awkwardly.  It's hard to do -but worth it.  And the power of change starts with me- me not saying the same thing I always say when I'm angry, or not doing the same thing everytime situation A or B happens.  Small change...

Rewrite song

Did you hear it?  My favorite parts....
"Come on- let's rewrite this tragedy".  She's not doing it herself.  She invited someone else in to write with her.  I love co-creating.  My best work, two daughters, has been done with my husband, our dogs and family and a whole village of loons.  My effort alone is not enough to create such intricate work.  I need help.  And it's available THANK GOD!
And the "ooooohhhh ooh ohhhh ohhhs".  That's another favorite part.  I dance around in circles to it.  Something about the wordless joy of it sends me spinning.   (You should try it.)
The crash and hi hat, the little Eric Clapton riffs at the end... I love the guitar and the percussion and the way everything blends so perfectly.  I love it "one line at a time".  "Another first chance to be truly Brave".  And the egg shaker; the only instrument I can play with any proficiency.  Did you miss it?  Go back and listen again.  Go rewrite.  Go give it a try.

I know, this is easy for me.  I have a happy marriage- I just want some small changes; less criticism, more fun, healthier living for all of us.  But listen to me.... I got here from a place of complete devastation.  It all happens with one choice, one rewrite at a time.  You can do this.
If I could, everybody can.


super pissed about the beach

My kids are super pissed at me right now.  I wouldn't let them come to the beach for the weekend with thier father and I.  Just the fact that I made that statement blows my mind.  Sounds like a real first world problem, right?  I also have a kid who, "Isn't interested in going to college".  This morning I had a revelation about "millennials".  It baked my noodle - and pretty well done too. 

The Preacher and I needed to get away- alone and together.  There are lots of reasons (Christmas shopping for our kids, mental health vacay, separation from our jobs -so that we can't be reached or called in to help, and so we can have hot monkey sex without the teenagers hearing us. Important stuff, ya'll.)  We don't feel we need to give our daughters excuses, so I said- "No, I'd planned on you coming along but I've changed my mind".  When that set off the alarms and a poutfest I decided I must've failed as a parent.

How spoiled do these kids have to be to think that they have the "right" to go to the beach? Just because we CAN go they believe we all MUST go!  Well, as it turns out, they're not spoiled, just disappointed.  And pretty smart.

My knee jerk reaction is to be mad at them for being mad at me.  That's not fair; everybody gets to be mad.  
If everybody doesn't get to be mad then nobody gets to be.  In families where nobody gets to be mad feelings aren't felt and dysfunction is forced to flourish.  In those where only SOME of the members get to be mad, resentment is built, respect is impossible, and rebellion is certain and severe.

So, surfer girls DEFINITELY get to be disappointed that they didn't get to come to the beach.  Plans change and, especially for a young adult who had taken a day off work, a change in plans can be super disappointing.  Frustrating.   Ok, maddening.  (When your Momma is unable to keep up with her own plans, constantly changes plans/shifts gears/has her own conflicts, and melts down like a toddler on occasion- frustration can be part of life.)

There's another element to the beach thing.
The ocean is a source of healing.  If you don't believe that, you've never been.

When I was 19, I hadn't.  At the cusp of adulthood I had been taking care of myself for more than a decade.  I'd taken care of my alcoholic mother for much of her life too.  I had set out on my own and was living a life I abhor to think that my daughters might choose.  I'd had a nearly-live-in-arrangement with one boy for almost five years at that point and was headed from one man's arms to another at the time.  My new man had a picture perfect family and a pickup truck.  My 19th summer I got in that truck with him and headed for the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
Having grown up in the midwest I hadn't ever been and had no idea what I was missing.  I had suffered from Major Depression Disorder for several years but was the only teenager I'd known of to have such a diagnosis back in those days.  (It was severe enough that it had already almost cost my life and had required months of hospitalization.)
The first time in the water I made he and his friends laugh by saying, "It really does taste like SALT!!"  They couldn't understand my surprise, but anyone who hasn't tasted the ocean prior to adulthood will understand the intense salty saltiness cannot be duplicated with table salt.  It's it's own thing; warming and comforting and slightly disgusting at the same time.  Even my surfer girl doesn't understand my naivete of ocean salinity- she and her sister have tasted it from their very first summers.
So, all those years ago, during my summer of love I headed to the beach with Not-yet-preacher in a pickup truck and fell madly in love... twice.  

We spent the week in a big rented house with his friends.  (Will I let my girls go if invited?  Oh HELLS no! Judge me for a double standard if you like.  I am NOT letting my babies do what I done.)
He was a perfect gentleman, giving me a double bed in a room alone every night while he slept on the couch. Being a depressed and over medicated on antidepressant kind of girl, I was in that bed alone at least 8 hours per night with an occasional nap during the day.  I was egocentric enough at that time not to realize how his friends tormented him for bringing a girl on full scholarship with no expectation of booty.  A part of me did realize what an exceedingly good person he was, even then.  I was completely safe in the care of a man for the first time in my life since my parents had divorced.  (Age 3)
There was another new experience during that trip.  I knew the salt water would heal cuts and sores.  I'd already worked in college in a major hospital with a level I Trauma Center and specialists from all over the world; one had been a Marine Biologist who'd shown me "marine minded medicine" that he'd learned while working in a coastal area.  There are tips and tricks related to marine injuries and treatments of which the rest of us Landlubber medical staff were unawares.  That was the sum total of cool information about the ocean I'd been exposed to.  While it was impressive and fascinating, it wasn't experiential.  Actually seeing the ocean water heal up a cut AMAZED me.  Like, stupid about it, showing everyone what it had done in just a day or two.  Just imagine young adults who just want to party for a week listening to the "smart girl from podunk talk about salt water like it was "maaaagic".  Sure, good luck in medical school, blondie.

But it was much more than that.  The salt water seemed somehow to soothe something in me tht I didn't even know needed soothing.  It might have been the waves or the sunshine or the comfort of the tides, whose rhythm I could never quite calculate.  Maybe it was the waves, whose sets I couldn't predict no matter how many times I've counted them.  Catching and riding waves still escapes me but letting them crash over me seems to work just fine to fix what's broken inside.

I come from a farming family.  We are generations of working the earth and the animals and most of us have never seen the ocean.   My kids have never worked the earth and wouldn't know a bull from a dairy cow.  Trying to explain the seasons or the birthing of a calf or the misery of detasseling corn is a waste of the breath I already can't hold long enough to wait for good sets.  Some things have to be felt; experienced.
The ocean; they know.  
They know the waves and the tides, marine life and sand in their sanwiches.  They are mermaids who recognize the sweep of the wave hitting shore with it's bubbling hiss that fades to a fizzle.  They can feel the waves even surf them.  They have something I never had -not because they're spoiled millennials but because we gave them an awesome thing- beach memories.  That doesn't mean they get  a trip to the shore every time they long for fresh seafood but it doesn't either mean they're entitled or spoiled.  It means they're blessed- lucky, fortunate, and tan more of the year than not.


Deep and Rare

So many images prompt deep visceral responses.  For years one prompted a gut reaction that I couldn't explain.  Maybe I just couldn't handle the truth....
No matter if it was on a car, an ad on tv, or a tshirt... this image was a gut punch.

As melancholy navel gazers are prone to do, I meditated upon it.  The first memory of the image?  (always an important question in self psychoanalysis) The wall of our living room.

A beautiful red velvet banner ensconced in thick glass proudly displaying the seal of the USMC.  It was also on the underside of the toilet lid.  THAT... that was the first time I'd seen it; scarcely lower than my own eye level at the time.  Oh, I'd seen the beautiful one on the wall in the living room too but the one on the toilet is the sticker that stuck me.

My stepfather had been a Marine. (The FIRST step father.  I've had many; but more on that another time.)  His name was Dick.
Dick was the second man I'd call Daddy.  How that must have broken my father's heart.  He'd been replaced by a huge, strapping, handsome "man's man" who served proudly and moved in before the divorce was even final.  

I remember a few things he'd done that were distinctly Marine.  He planted two forty foot flagpoles in the front yard as soon as my dad moved out.  One flew the American flag, the other the USMC banner.  I remember only a few other things... He was magical at decorating Easter Eggs with colored markers.  He had given me the beating of my life for coming home late from a school function.  He also carried me in his arms to have my foot sewn up after an accident running barefoot in the grass.  He'd had a sharp jawline, steely eyes, a strong frame with brutal fists, a commanding bark that was not to be challenged... and a temper.
I was his favorite new daughter when my mom married him.  My brother and I were preschoolers and the fact that I was his ONLY new daughter escaped me completely.  My brother and elder by 14 months and 14 days was keenly aware of the favoritism.  He was just a little boy desperate to be the man of the house in this confusing transition time of our lives.

In my little mind it was the best of every world- it was the only world I knew.  Two Daddies.  Still the same Mommy, the same Big Brother, same dog in the yard, and the same green house on Green Street.  Normal, right?

So why, all these years later would the Seal of the US Marine Corps have such a profound effect on me?  Clearly, they are the Few, the Proud, and the Badass Peace Keepers of the World.  
Vacillation between intense pride and sheer horror continued for years.  The Seal's sway lingered.

"Semper Fi" raises such a swell of pride that it still catches my breath in my throat.
My throat.  That is where the sticker on the toilet makes it's mark.  In my throat.
I'm his favorite. 
I never showered with my "first daddy" why do I shower with this hulking Marine of a man- his hair covered body a shocking and frightening tower over my own small frame in the bathroom.  It makes me see red... the red of the seal on the USMC seal inside of the toilet lid.
I lift it, using all my strength and the span of my tiny reach to push the lid all the way open so I can vomit into the toilet.  Missing the head is cause for whipping.  Don't miss the toilet....

Even as an adult, the sticker of a Corpsman in the back window of a car gives me pause.

In my professional life I have amazing opportunities to meet a wide array of people.  My favorites tend to be the most difficult.  I ease into happy banter with the curmudgeon in the coffee shop.  The difficult patients in our practice are always "mine"; I call dibbs every time.

So when a Marine rolled in with a train wreck diagnosis, a dangerous prescription, and a lawyer daughter- I signed right up.  I'd have to document every detail to keep from having the DoD from refusing to pay for the treatment we were about to attempt.  Though Army clients usually didn't cause legal issues this was a special case.  Our local military post houses all branches and shares the wealth of need for special care with my very special practice.  This would be tricky.  This patient was in bad shape.  The therapy I'd be providing carried a list of risks a mile long, not excluding sudden death.

Intensive therapy would require my presence at his bedside for several hours daily, several days in a row.  So the first week of every month saw my duty station at the home of  "My Marine".
Before the end of our first visit my concerns about litigiousness and adverse reactions to therapy disappeared.  This was no last grasp for therapy.  Not a 'we will sue your asses if anything goes wrong', entitled former military patient.  This was a US Marine.  This was RJ.*  (Name changed due to HIPPA laws.)  One of the greatest men I've met to this day.

Gunny and his sweet wife calmly answered my questions as they had a thousand times before to other providers: "no" this condition wasn't considered service related, "no" he'd had no preexisting neurological conditions, "no" there was not a trace of VD or HIV or other "unmentionable" history to consider.  He was the doting husband of a loud and lovely fireball of an elementary teacher.  His brilliant and quiet daughter was a Pro Bono lawyer with a precious tiny dog that she'd bring to visit atop her daddy's bed.

Giant Marine.  Confined to his bed or motorized chair.  Gentle and wise and full of quiet strength.  All mine for 25-40 hours a month.  My personal life must not enter the professional care of my patients and their families.  But I mined his psyche for information about my "second dad".  Of course I didn't tell him I was the "daughter of a Marine".  That never even seemed legitimate before I spent time in the presence of a "Real Marine Family".  RJ talked of teaching his own daughter to set goals, push past limits, serve others.... My dads' were a swirling confusion of questionable legitimacy, mixed messages, and dire consequences.  

"My Marine", in our first few weeks together would remind me of much World History I'd failed to grasp as a high school and college student.  He challenged me to get a passport; something every American that can -ought to do.  Then I was encouraged to go home and teach my own kids about some of our US military campaigns.  His dear wife reminded me that the most important things really are learned in kindergarten.  "Tell the truth", "do what's right", and "be nice to everyone", she reminded me every visit.  Lessons taught by her lifestyle, not preaching empty words.  And do your homework while you sit on the toilet.
Still the best advice I've ever heard.  

I watched her feed him every bite he would eat during our hours together.  He thanked her for every single one.  Every sip, every dab of his chin with a napkin, every kiss prompted a "thank you".  Their banter was charming as a comedy team; she was his "Nurse Goodbooty" and he was her Hero, her Warrior, her Man.  His dignity remained intact despite the need of someone to hold his urinal every time he had to pee.  The mirror next to his bedside assured he was "high and tight" even when he couldn't brush his own teeth.  

RJ was also open and honest in the moments his wife and daughter weren't at his side.  Old buddies would sometimes  share the bedside banter as his family took respite to tend obligations.  Comrades weren't as patient with my ignorance and questions as he had been.  How dare I ask about a family history of illness when Gunny has served this country in multiple theaters of battle over multiple decades.  The US Military knew goddamned well that there were injuries caused to our men by the policies and procedures carried out in the field of battle and even in the homeland.  Camp LeJeune's water supply was well known for much illness back in the day.  Gunny didn't blame.  He'd calm his friend after letting him blow off enough steam to get his head together.  I saw what only battle buddies can do for each other.  It is a special and deep kind of love; rare in this world.  Though his friend came to visit so my patient wasn't alone, it was sometimes hard to tell who was caring for whom.  The same goes for our relationship.  I may be the practitioner, but he was the provider.

It's been over a year since I saw RJ.  The treatment I'd administered hadn't offered him any real improvement.  The risks of continuing this potentially dangerous therapy outweighed the real offer of benefit.  I thought of he and his wife and daughter and little dog too so often with pride and gratitude and real affection.  It felt as if I'd failed him since my therapy hadn't worked and I hadn't been able to provide even the least support.   Veteran's Day came.  I had no right to dial the phone.  In the year that has passed he may have deteriorated further, or he may be gone.

A year ago, before I had left what I suspected would be our last visit, I told them the truth.  I said, "You looked on paper to be a trainwreck- doomed to die in your bed with me at your side holding the IV."  I admitted, not only the concerns I had with treating him, but the deep dark fears in my own heart...
I told him about my other Marine.  My second Daddy.  The man who came back from VietNam and Korea looking every bit a hero and a strong man despite the times.  The man who would abuse his new wife with his fists and his 'favorite new daughter' with the rest of his body.  I told him that I'd learned in my few months with him that sometimes men were broken in heartbreaking ways.  And that really had nothing to do with me.  Marines are still the best of the best.  But just like every other people group, population, denomination, race, and nationality... some of us are broken in ways no medicine can fix.  And some of us are sick.

I can claim to be the daughter of a Marine because that was truly a season of my life.  Not just the barking commands and cuffs I took at 4 years old when it was hard to keep my tiny feet on the floor in front of me at the dinner table.  I was the daughter of a Marine because my heart swells with pride at the sight of our Flag.  I am, corny as it sounds, an All American girl.  I have had to re-parent myself, even as my sweet husband and I raise two daughters ourselves.  I have also had the joy of being "re-parented" by the men and women who have spoken truth over me, corrected my thinking, and broadened my views.

 I saw the Truth that I really can't handle... Men stand and die for me every day.  Some of them come home busted up ...but there are a few, I'm proud to say, that are never broken.


Sick Kids

Mental Illness is nasty enough when it touches our lives; it can be embarrassing, frightening, hurtful, expensive.... the list is miles long.  But when it touches our children- oh mama!  When our children have to endure the pain (nevermind the stigma and all else) we can come close to losing our shit.  Having been raised by wolves myself, I know even the most detached mother is devastated by a wounded child who needs psychological help.  (Many stories of my own childhood are in draft; to be published when the time is right.)

Many parents have come to me with questions about the care of their children.  Nobody asks me for advice on potty training or manners but when scary issues arise my phone rings.  Mammas call me when the baby has a high fever or there's a weird rash.  They also call with worries like anxiety, eating disorders, panic attacks, hearing voices, phobias, and things that go bump in the night.  I'm still amazed by what parents try to hide, cover up, and wish away.  I'm saddened by their embarassment when they tell me that "something terrible is wrong".
More disturbing is the advice that they've received before they reach out to someone specifically prepared to field mental health questions.  The number of parents who have been told they should pray more, try harder, and feed their kids a better diet is astounding.  Diet is important, spiritual warfare is real, and lots of moms and dads do, seriously, need to get a grip on their own issues.
But it breaks my heart that shame enters the picture.  Just because a child has symptoms related to his or her precious little head instead of, say, the knee or pancreas we often go radio silent.  We don't want to mention it to the pediatrician for fear of being judged as a parent, or -worse our kid being judged.  We certainly don't compare notes with other mothers on the playground.  Sadly, even when we DO go to the doctor our questions often remain unanswered.  While the occasional brave guardian will champion the cause for a child with mental illness most often symptoms go untreated for far too long.

So here is the challenge.  We have to come out from under the table, the covers, the bar, and the workplace.  We may have self medicated, self diagnosed, or covered up our own issues.  Adults often function highly with coping mechanisms that are applauded by those around us.  Everyone at the office appreciates the workaholic.  Overachievers and compulsive workers/students/church members are rewarded and lauded.  Some of us just find creative ways to deal with our stuff.
Our children must not be expected to do the same.

That is NOT to say that all children with mental health diagnoses inherited or learned them from Mom and Pop.  They didn't; not all of them.  But most of you reading this blog came here because of your own issues.  You didn't come here because little Johnny wont eat his Skittles unless they are first sorted by color.  (Although that is a perfectly fucking awesome way to eat Skittles, M&M's, and Reeses Pieces.)  You weren't directed here by a Mental Health Professional.  The Academy of Pediatrics does not have a link to girlinjams on their website.  You are here because you stumbled on someone who has pain that resounds with your own.  Well, Mommy- I feel your pain here too.

I understand that sometimes we do teach our kids poor coping mechanisms.  We do pass on shitty genes that predispose them to depression along with heart disease and diabetes.  But sometimes things just go wrong.  We have got to get out of our own way and take care of the business of taking care of the children.  (AND the elderly, middle aged, young, and everything in between).

When you know something is wrong, you KNOW.  Maybe the pediatrician won't be as worried as you.  The ER may dismiss you and say "give it time".  The child psychiatrist will most probably have a waiting list that is months long.  Persist.  When a parent knows that a child is not right he or she is right.  Without diminishing the role of fathers, I will even say- a mother  KNOWS.
So when your baby (of any age) tells you "I am so sad inside/scared all the time/afraid that maybe something isn't right", please hear them.  And if they say, "I need to tell you something but I'm afraid" then do more.  Drop everything.  Stop what you are doing, put aside your own preconceptions, fears, armchair diagnoses and listen.  Hear them well.
Then do anything you have to until they have the help they need.  Their life may depend on it.


When in Cin City the grilled cheese & wieners are all I want.

I shall have neither this weekend.  There will be none of the Best Cincinnati has to offer for this lone traveler.    My company booked me in the same hotel that's hosting the conference I'm attending.
There's no baseball, no football, no gambling, but I suspect plenty of booze.   The only alcohol I want is some NyQuil.  Perusing the local Activities Guide, I found this...

Check out these wieners!

A wiener race 🏁.  Wiener dogs in wiener costumes. I've died and gone to wiener heaven.
How awesome is that?!
I don't know how awesome because this happy celebration was last month.

It's probably for the best. I'm here on business and I'm not feeling well. I'd hate to have to explain to my boss that I was too sick for the conference but well enough for wieners.

If only I could get some chicken noodle soup...
And grilled cheese -all I really need right now.
Also not available.

Gourmet Grilled Cheese/meltbarandgrilled it's  A national treasure.  Awesome stuff.  But they don't deliver to this hotel.
I'm pretty sure I can't expense a cab ride to the grilled cheese bar. Besides I can hardly stand upright.
It's ironic because last time I was in Hilton Head Island everyone else visiting there was from Ohio.
Why can't the Queen City show me some love?  Or at least it's wieners....


My Village People

They say it takes a village to raise a child.  Being an introvert for at least all of the months that have an "R" in them makes that rather difficult.  Any playgroups we've been invited to or friends I've happened to make during "non R months" are generally alienated by the time the oysters are back in season.  A few loons have stuck it out and are by my side till the end.  Everyone else just doesn't get my seafood humor.  It's hard to be a part of a village for some of us.  That is my point.  

As my children have grown up it is even more difficult to be a part of any kind of community.  Now, not only am I the weird mom with cute kids, I'm the weird mom with cute kids who have of their own ideas. These mainly involve not tolerating groups of people and their endless bullshit.  (Maybe I have done SOMETHING well as a parent.)  My husband also has a low threshold for human interaction.  We are a charming bunch, really.  Just ask our neighbors.

In my quest to relate to others I have found several delightful online communities.  As a result I've been inspired to blog by people like Jen Mann of People I Want to Punch in the Throat and Jenny Lawson of The Blogess. It's not just about being funny, shedding some light on mental illness, or ripping on Pinterest moms. It's about being ok in my own head and heart and growing up kids that I don't want other people to punch in the throat.  It's also about sharing what's swirling around in my brain with a community of people who don't want to live too close to me or be all up in my personal space, but won't judge me in cyberspace.

I've been saving for therapy for my kids longer than I've been saving for college. I'm convinced they'll need the former more than the latter. The things I want to develop in them include empathy helpfulness and a sense of humor. They'll need them in this Dumpster of a world.  I'm not so sure I'm doing this right, but "A" for effort.   There isn't a mom around who worries about failing more than me.
 I'm not as witty as other bloggers or as creative as other moms I do have a passion for a few odd things.  My extensive experience with certifiably cucko people makes for interesting stories.
Plus, I need a place to vent; my fam is over me.  So here I am in blog world... sharing the madness.

I am firmly in the camp of Halloween-is-better-than-Christmas.  This is partly because I suck at crafts.  Nobody got time for a half ass Santa, but a shitty ghost made of the crap in my back yard- Oh, hells yes!  
THAT is holiday decorating at my house, people.

The entire point of this ghost is to keep my dog (who is inexplicably terrified of spray bottles) out of a brushy area full of poison ivy in my backyard.  Dangling spray bottles from the trees seemed a little too Gloria Dump (Best "witch" of all time.  Because of Winn Dixie).  Don't ask what I'm going to do November 1.  He may become the Ghost of Christmas Pass-the-Calamine lotion. Not sure yet.

Much to my coworkers' dismay, I don't limit the holiday spirit to home.
I also don't remember to move an elf from one mischievous scene to another for my children, who don't notice my lame scenarios anyway.  If I'm going to go to that much trouble it will be for my own entertainment and the guffaws of a few friends.  Knowing this, my internet friends turned me on to another Pretend Friend, Jen Mann and her Elf piece.

I WILL, however, dress up our Medical Training Dummy and move him around the office to scare the bejeebers out of pharmacists, nurses, and all other staff foolish enough to come to work unprepared for a creepy ass CPR dummy in the staff bathroom.  
Oh, you can't sitter on the shitter at work?  
(Potty humor is another fav- I love me the "What the Ever Loving Shit?" site Linda does at
Even if you don't use the bathroom at work, you prolly come in the front door...

Thought you'd sneak in the back door...? I'll get you too mutherfeckers!  And, just for kicks, the guys in the warehouse get in on the fun too.  I'm generous.

My virtual friend Jen Mann also rants on "Whore-iffying Slutty Costumes" and her followers are equally hilarious with Whore-loween comments at  peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat/sexy-halloween-costumes.  And that is why Halloween is better than Christmas.  Plus, there's no stress of buying the right gift or spending endless hours with extended family.  You buy a huge bag of candy and give it to strangers.  What could be better?

Um, giving books to strangers! Even MORE halloween awesomeness  My Muse is Jenny Lawson.  She has even more mental health diagnoses than me and my real friends.  As another of my virtual buddies she loves the shit out of my writing, parenting style, costumes, and decorations.  (Christmas and Halloween).  To show her solidarity she even decorates her PETS for the holiday!  ...Plus, I understand she is friends with Brene Brown.  She is my mentor.  I also trust her to teach me the good stuff.

My imaginary friends aren't the only ones I have.  (The people are real. It's our friendship that is in my imagination.  Keep up, people.)
Thankfully there are people in my REAL village speaking into my parenting.   I will invite them over for hotdogs tonight. (Mainly so I have an excuse to put on a costume.  Don't judge me).  They have encouraged me as a writer, a mother, and a human being. If you aren't able to make or keep friends, don't want to leave the house, or just need a little help- I hope you'll join us here.  You are not alone.