An Ode to Moms

Mom

She walks in the door, kicking off shoes, dropping purse, and putting hair up simultaneously, while checking on her minions as she goes.

Weariness settles in her bones like the caked on lasagna crust from the three day old dirty pan in the sink. “We’ll soak it one more day,” she says.

She wears her hair up at home because vanity is only for selfies, work, and the occasional night out. Hair up, soft pants, no bra; the uniform is complete.

Putting her feet up, “I deserve this,” she says, as she turns on reruns for 4 hours (that was only supposed to be one).

Small victories are meals made at home that have two components and an element of health, “tonight I made pork loin & veggies: go me!” she cheers.

At night while the kids are sleeping she tries to be entertained by the tv & her Internet-tethered phone and is often disappointed.

Time to go to bed, she reckons, and she’s wondering if she should talk to God tonight, or will her mind allow her to sleep.

To sleep dreamless nights of sweet oblivion, resetting for the marathon of one more day.

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Full moons & Promises

Do you ever sit back and and really look at your life to see if you are living it in keeping with your core values? My pastor would call it the “growing edges.” Are we recognizing those spaces where we could have done better? Where we can learn from it? Or where we have improved?

Do you think about the little adjustments you can make to improve your life or do you just make sweeping changes that end up failing later? I have a suspicion the little changes will adhere better for the long term.

I’ve been thinking of the full moon tonight. I read that in my sign, Libra, it’s recommended to embrace change. Let endings end and new beginnings start. Embrace the small changes.

I believe there are things that exist in this world that I cannot see and I cannot prove. I believe there is magic & mysticism & spirituality that most of us will never witness. That doesn’t mean it’s not there. I believe in deja vu and no such thing as coincidences and I talk to my deceased grandparents, my sister, and a dear dead friend. They hover over my bed, their disembodied souls, and they listen to me talk when I need to talk to God, and they feel me cry when I need to get it out, and they see every side of me and they love me. I have no proof except the peace I gain from that conversation. That I not only “give it to God” but I rest it in the hands of those who love me.

Since my marital separation I have fallen for two men. I have wrestled with these loves, these broken hearts, for far too long. No more. It’s time to forgive them the hurt they caused and to let go of the burden of bad decisions I made. Forgive them, and forgive myself.

One of these men helped me immensely during such a hard, desolate, confusing time. He was patient when I held him at arms length. When I was confused & careless with his feelings he just stayed there, steady, waiting. It wasn’t until I fell for him that he backed away. He left me hanging and never explained why. I stumbled across his online profile the other day and realized he’s been in a committed relationship for awhile now. I am happy for him; it does appear she is probably a better fit. More outdoorsy than I am. But I have never stopped wondering what I did wrong to lose such a loving & good man. I must have pushed him away. I was such a mess then; still learning who I was going to be. I feel like I constantly owe him an apology and, at the same time, I’m constantly sad & hurt by him too. I am letting him go tonight. I honor that he was in my life for a purpose; a season of learning and growing. You will always be special to me, SJL. I wish you every happiness. Thank you for the love you gave to me.

The second is complicated, but not, and stupid, but not, and, fresh, but not. I fell for someone inappropriate; someone who doesn’t value me, who doesn’t love me, and who doesn’t want to be with me. Except when he wants to. It’s been going on for multiple years and it has to stop. I’m stopping it. In fact, I’m making the little adjustments I need to further build that gap. I will be strong. I will conquer this. I am deserving of love. I have so much to give and I want to give it to someone who equally cares for me. Help me to cut off this power, this obsessive, controlling mindfuck, so I can move on and find the joy I deserve. Help me be strong. To be the badass I know I am and walk away from this undeserving man and stop listening to the BS he feeds me every time he feels me pulling away from his chains. I will not be his to manipulate anymore. Goodbye SJW.

As I stand in the full moon tonight and admire the beauty & grace it gives, I also relinquish these painful ties upon my soul. You are forgiven and released to live your lives in the way best suited for you. I will do the same. My grandma and grandpa and my sister and my dear friend all hold my hands and help me, lords of my silent prayers, every day to find my way.

I will be true to my true nature.

I will love unabashedly but with caution.

I will not be fearful. I will take chances.

I will learn to be more diplomatic but still a force to be reckoned with (a fine line if ever there was one).

I will be strong & capable.

I will not be negative; negativity serves no one.

I will honor my body and what it needs.

I will love myself first so I can then give that love to others.

Do all things with love, my friends. We only have ONE life. One. It’s ebbing away every single day. Love as much as you can. Do not hate. Hate kills your soul. Offer forgiveness. Extend a comforting hand of love to those who are struggling. But honor yourself first. Put your oxygen mask on so you can assist others.

Give yourself grace to be human and move forward from a place of joy & contentment.

I am a good person. I may not ever find romantic love again but I will continue to open my heart and be there if & when it does come. I will operate with integrity, mindfully, going forward.

I’m here, Cupid! Wtf are you?

Happy New You, my friends.

Xoxo,

Stef

Just livin’

It’s a deplorable state of affairs in our nation, isn’t it?

I find myself wanting to immerse myself in the news, in writing my lawmakers, in sharing all the details that I’m so scared people won’t see and assimilate. They need to SEE IT ALL. If they do then they will understand. They will see how horrible it all is. They’ll see the hypocrisy. The cruelty. My goodness, they’ll see it, right? They’ll see the blatant crimes against humanity. They’ll stop accepting the lies. They’ll RISE THE FUCK UP and fight this disgusting monster making a mockery of our government.

That’s what I want to do. But I can’t. It sickens my soul to wade into the disgusting morass. People are so polarized. Listening to and believing sound bites. Tweets. Partial truths or full-on lies. What have we become? I feel like a foster child with abusive foster parents.

It’s just SO HARD to be real right now. So hard to face it all. At the same time, we have to keep living, working, raising our kids, and trying to eke out some enjoyment in life. We have to. For our sanity.

I’m trying to live my best life. I’m working. I have wonderful sons. I can watch NCIS reruns when I need normalcy & predictability. It’s a comfort. I’ve been re-reading my favorite book series. It’s a comfort too.

Remember when I was like, hey, I’m 42 and that’s a magical number, the answer to the universe and everything? Well it’s been a year of intentional change. Sold my house and bought another. By myself. BAM. I got a meaningful tattoo. BAM. I bought myself a car. BAM.

There were a couple other things I wanted to happen in my 42nd year and, with 3 months left, I’m not sure that’s going to happen but I think that’s okay. I think it’s going to be all right, no matter the outcome.

I’m working on my health. My age is starting to raise a hand and say, hey, recognize me and do something about it.

I’m enjoying my sons. They are so big, maturing like crazy, smarter than they should be, and wonderful. My oldest started his first job. My youngest started shaving. Wtf.

I love so many people. I just love them. I love so much. I love them whether or not they love me. It sucks sometimes. But I’d rather love than not. I’d rather feel love than hate. Yes I get walked on, taken advantage of, and sometimes discarded. But, dammit, what is this life if you can’t lead with love & trust & good intentions? I would rather feel it all than be safe – when safe means lonely, distrusting, and too cautious.

I’m still loving live music. I’m still writing poetry. I’m still trying to be the best me, and be faithful to myself and my heart. I hope you are too.

Here’s a sample of our last few months:

Turned over 100k. And promptly started worrying me with its oil consumption.
Oh hey Redfish Lake!
The new hot & sexy ride

5K for Dravet! It was a family affair
One school year. ONE.
At Live & Counting Crows!!

Let’s just keep lovin’ and livin’ and voting and writing or calling our lawmakers and let’s do it all with balance. To live and survive and thrive with a clean conscience. If I’m doing my part then I feel better. If I’m reading my book before bed every night I feel better. If I hug the people I love I feel better.

DO ALL THINGS WITH LOVE. Intentionally.

Xoxo,

Stef

16 years

I’ve been a mother for 16 years. It’s absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done. My sons are both taller than me, and funny, sweet, and they love Star Wars and Marvel and their momma.


We’ve been working hard to create an escape, a peaceful refuge, in our backyard in time to host a birthday party and SUCCESS! This is phase 1. More to come with time, patience, and money.


Still werkin’. Same place, but these are from two different events on either coast back to back: SF & NYC. One of my HS BFFs met me in NYC for shenanigans. Well, we both worked, had Starbucks, pub food, and alcohol. So 40’s shenanigans. Plus my favorite Sales colleague in the last pic.


I dunno. Sometimes life just goes and you sort of float along with it until you can plant your feet and walk with intention again. I’m planting my feet.

Mucho grande amor, amigos!

Xoxo,

Stef

BAD. ASS. ♥️

I got a tattoo! My first.

On my hip, and it hurt like a mother forker!!

But it means a lot to me, for a variety of reasons that are close to my heart. The pain was momentary, and worth it!

I chose my hip because this tattoo is for me, and me alone. I want it as a daily reminder of who I am; I don’t want to forget what I can do, how strong I am, or how worthy I am.

Also, in regard to the divisional matchups this weekend: GO EAGLES! #flyeaglesfly

Xoxo,

Stef

What kind of year has it been part 2

I tried this a couple weeks ago and it went off the rails in one particular direction. Oh dear. Let’s take romance, or lack thereof, out of the equation.

You know how football teams have rebuild years? That was this year for me. It was all about transition and growth this year. Acceptance. Hard truths. Change. Gearing up and preparing for what comes next.

What does come next?

Well, a new job, I think, inshallah. I’m working on my resume right now. 12 years later and I feel like I don’t know how to characterize what I’ve done in that time.

My youngest will be 14 here in a second. My oldest will be 16 soon. He’s getting his driver’s permit in a few weeks.

I need to figure out how to continue the workouts regime I had started last year. My wonderful trainer isn’t offering regular classes anymore and since the move started this past summer everything had just dropped off. I’ve only worked out haphazardly but, truly, I love the classes. They help me so much.

Job first though. I don’t know how to solve for two life-altering problems at one time. I truly do not.

But – this is the big one – I need to fix my mind. My outlook.

I am so cautious. So afraid. So scared that I will make a mistake. It paralyzes me sometimes from making necessary decisions.

When I was young my aunt said I was fearless. I want to be be fearless again. I want to be undaunted. I want be that woman that when she wakes the devil says, “uh-oh, she’s up!”

How do I become a badass again?

I said I wasn’t going to talk about romance but I have a quick thought: what I thought I wanted was false. What I want is yet to be found, but I feel like it will scare me and intrigue me and lighten my soul when it does happen.

I am so worthy of love. And I do want to give that love in return. I have too much to give for someone not to gravitate to my heart & my arms eventually. I need to hold that faith hard and focus on making myself the best version of me that I can possibly be.

I’m so scared as I step into 2018 but I’m trying desperately to shake off that mantle and step bravely ahead. I know there’s joy & contentment there if I just put a little elbow grease into it.

Dear heavenly creator, thank you for this day! Thank you that I woke up, all my loved ones awoke, and they thrived in their joys. I laid in bed this morning feeling gratitude for the shelter over my head, my warm blankets, and my health, and the health of the people I love so dearly. Please continue to provide loving perspective to their actions and help guide them to their joy and happiness. Please help me to be humble, loving, compassionate, inspired, and unselfish in my desires. I want to be proud of everything I do.

AMEN.

I wish this all for you too. I love you, as I love the stranger sitting next to me at this bar (as I sip my chocolate martini and listen the the gorgeousness that is Blaze & Kelly strumming at their guitars and crooning into their microphones) and I wish each of you joy, success, and love in 2018.

If this is a rebuild year for you then please know you WILL get through this.

If you are stuck in your life please explore your joy. You’re not a tree.

And if you’re somewhere in-between, you have my support. Make your decisions with good, measured balance and you will come out ahead.

All my love, and all the light I can possibly muster!

Xoxo,

Stef

God sends us reminders

I’m not overly religious but I do attend church. A progressive church – a UCC – where the Bible isn’t used as literal history but more of a book of lessons. I love it.

So the other day I was lamenting. I was lonely, sad, wishing for love, scared for my future … and then I had a couple of great days and, man, did I ever need that!

First a bunch of my friends from my former workout studio came over last night and hung out. We ate, talked, and did a white elephant gift exchange and it was fabulous. I’m so grateful for these precious, beautiful, smart, amazing, strong women.

Then, today, my boys & I hung out, went to lunch, Christmas shopping, and they didn’t complain or give me a hard time and it was perfect. And I realized, THIS is my future. THIS is my love. Whether I ever have romantic love in my life again or not, I will have these two fantastic humans. If I lose my house and have to make ends meet the best I can, I will still have these two people to make my life full. They are so special.

The ebb and flow of life happens naturally. We have the remember to always count our blessings as we go.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you & yours. May your 2018 be full of joy & light! It WILL be a good year.

Xoxo,

Stef

What kind of year has it been?

I could easily make this post about the atrocious politics we’ve witnessed in the U.S. this year. I’ve never experienced a time when the daily news cycle affected me so completely.

But I can’t think about that for the purpose of this. I need to reach within and find how I feel. That’s hard for me. I fluctuate between survival mode & joy. Survival mode is when emotion gets squelched as much as possible. It’s not that I don’t feel, but I consciously minimize it and reduce my reaction to it. Joy is when I’m so content I can’t find the negative. Or I choose not to see the negative. On second thought maybe that’s part of survival mode too.

But that’s not healthy. I have so much self-doubt. I have such a fear of making the wrong decision. This year has been, and is still, pushing me way beyond my comfort zone. I sold my house of 12 years and bought a new one. Was that the right decision? How do I know? How do I even quantify that answer?

I was so sad to leave the old house. So sad to walk away from the memories and the feeling of Home that house always gave me. I just have to keep telling myself it was the right thing to do. It was. It was, it was, it was.

***

I don’t talk about my work here very much and I’ll keep this brief: soon I very likely will not have a job. I am starting to look for a new one. After 12 years.

Man, when I turned 42 and I took that quote from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and adopted it as my motto for this year, I had no idea all THIS would happen. The ultimate answer to life, the universe & everything is 42. I had no idea that would mean a new house and, hopefully a new job/career.

If you pray, please pray. If you chant, meditate, or send positive vibes, please do so. Light a candle for me. I’m a single mom with only one source of income. I don’t get child support; I pay it. I just bought a new house. I’m still paying all the joint bills from my marriage. I need to not be out of a job and I’m so scared every single day right now I feel paralyzed. Note: Being paralyzed is not how to find a new job.

***

And with all this would it shock you to find out I’m still looking for love? I don’t know why I haven’t given up. I just need to believe that I am lovable. That someone will come along and see through my facade of bravado, see all my little broken pieces, and love me anyway.

He will:

  • When first meeting me, he will approach me with respect. He will feel compelled to meet me.
  • He will ask for my number. He will try to learn about me. He will be interested in the words that come from my mouth.
  • He will call or text when he says he’s going to. And before we sign off talking he will tell me when next I’ll hear from him. He’ll take the lead. He’ll tell me about his life. He’ll want me to know all the things that make him who he is.
  • He will be kind, compassionate, empathetic, smart, creative, thoughtful, loving, funny and generally a pretty happy and content person. A positive person.
  • When he asks me on a date, he’ll plan it or at least give me options. He’ll take my comfort & safety into account. If he brings me flowers I guarantee to be impressed and happy.
  • He’ll try to open my doors for me and he will good-naturedly roll with it when I open my own doors because I’m an independent woman, dammit. But he will keep trying. I secretly love that.
  • If we walk down the street he’ll make sure he’s closer to the curb. If I’m wearing heels he’ll offer his arm.
  • He’ll ask me when he can see me again before we even end the first date, and he’ll text me good night when he gets home.
  • When he meets my sons, which he will want to do, he’ll be inclined to love them because they’re mine, and because they’re wonderful.
  • He’ll love Friday night family movie nights, with pizza & popcorn.
  • He’ll call me on Saturdays at 8 AM and say get dressed, let’s go to breakfast & the Saturday market. Or get the boys and let’s go on an adventure! Let’s go find a hot spring! Or on a Saturday night, let’s go find a great spot in the country to look at stars, listen to music & kiss.
  • And he’ll want to walk with me in public, and hold my hand, and be proud to call me his partner.
  • And when I’m upset or sad or mad, he’ll tell me everything will be alright and we’ll get through this together. He’ll understand my mad is usually frustration. My sad is usually unresolved pain. My upset is usually a hurt. He’ll want to mend me because he doesn’t like seeing my frustration, pain or hurt.
  • He will be independent, strong, capable, and he will be good with fixing things because I think people who fix things don’t throw away value.

Does he exist?

I think he must. I know it’s a long list but, honestly, the things I want to be for him, to reciprocate, is an even longer list. I’m so eager to love & be loved it permeates my thoughts.

I wish I had him to talk about my work struggles with, or to share my concerns about our government, or to just try a new restaurant. I want him to know that I don’t like onions on my burgers unless it’s haystack onions, and I like my steaks medium rare. I’ll know that he doesn’t like tomatoes. He’ll know that my favorite type of frozen yogurt is Dole pineapple mixed with coconut. He’ll know that scary movies are no bueno, and that Eagles football is life Sept-Dec.

I want a partner.

And, as Frida says, I want to take a lover that looks at me like maybe I’m magic.

***

I moved my home. I’m about to change jobs/careers. I CAN do hard things. Alone. I can do hard things alone. I’m just tired & sad that I have to.

My marriage has been over for at least 4 1/2 years. I’m a good person. I’m a good woman. Where is he?

I wish all of you love & light & joy & stability in your life.

Xoxo,

Stef

Whoa Fall!

It’s been a super weird couple of months, hasn’t it?

I look at people’s lives on Instagram or Facebook and sometimes it just seems so normal. Gathering materials for Christmas decor and making gifts, hosting an elaborate Thanksgiving meal with custom-made centerpieces, or planning & taking trips … it’s just so normal!

In meantime, I can’t find my iron. I’m troubleshooting getting local channels with the digital antenna LIKE I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING, and I still don’t know where to store excess linens in this house.

So let’s just look at these gorgeous flowers instead (because flowers can start the healing process for all sorts of wounds):

Did I mention that I started renovations on my kitchen too? Because one can never have too much going on. It’s fun living in a house with no cabinets & all the utensils are spilled across the dining room table for 7 days all at the same time your 15 year old son is starting driver’s ed & training and needs to be picked up and taken to school at odd times 3 days a week. That’s fun. Let’s do it again.

But, my goodness, look at those cabinets. Worth every stinkin’ penny.

We WILL do the chaos again as soon as I’m ready to replace the countertop. Soon. Ish.

But, hey, I decorated my living room!

And Nigel the Australian handyman is the bomb dot com. (My son tells me I’m aging myself when I say that. I told him to make like a tree and get out of here). Nigel calls me “mate.”

But, hey, I got new lipstick so WINNING. I got a new book too. Thank goodness for books. And lipstick that makes a woman feel like a million bucks. Or at least half that.

But there’s this. Both above & below. Being realistic means never finding the love again I thought I had. Being a romantic means never losing that hope.

So, also, see below, there’s a couple things in one of my boobs being watched. Every 6 months for 2 years, I think. Have I mentioned my sister died of cancer a little over two years ago and that cancer originated as breast cancer??? But she’s not blood so I wouldn’t share that through family blood with her, but I don’t want to share it through experience either. So far, so good. Knock on wood.

The pic below was just following a boob ultrasound. (Plus new lipstick. A MUST when dealing with this adult shit).

The above pic is of a new little enclave of friends that I’ve been sucked into, willingly, and surprisingly! The dude on the right is a chef. He’s also become an incredible friend. The woman between us is his life partner. The bottle is an awesome brainchild! A new flavored whiskey. I helped bottle the first batch! I touched every single bottle that day and it was an incredible experience.

See above? Fancy hair. That’s really the only remarkable thing about that night.

I spoke recently for law enforcement in the LA area. They gave me this. Experiences like this are fantastic and I think, sometimes, how is this my life?

My boys are … unusually & exceedingly peculiar and quite impossible to describe! And beautiful, loving, sweet, and they keep growing. I never sanctioned that.

But, honestly, how did I get this lucky?

This last one, this little meme, is not for me but for you. You, my friend, my estranged (and sometimes strange) friend, plus all of you who I don’t know, I am praying for your happiness. Your peace. I want nothing more than for you to have peace in your heart, and I want that for myself too.

I pray for your happiness, for your peace, and for your joy, like I pray for my own.

Xoxo,

Stef

New Home Feels 

My sons & I have a new home. The tree in the front yard has turned yellow with the season, like some awesome blessing upon the house.

I didn’t fall in love with this house like our last one. That one was unique; this one is s little more cookie cutter than I would typically like. But it’s so damned live-able! Less maintenance = easier life. Plus it’s in a fantastic neighborhood, and that ended up being the deciding factor for me.

This house has peace woven into the carpet, painted into the walls, nailed into the frame, and its wafting from the vents. PEACE.

Physically, it’s an easy house, quiet location, and keep-to-themselves neighbors (though everyone was super nice who came to the door on Halloween!). But beyond the quiet, easy living, there’s something else. There’s no pain. There’s no memories. There’s no “oh that’s where the hole in the wall was after someone got angry” or that’s where I was when this, or that, was said or done. Not that I’m without fault. I threw the fondue pot once. It was empty. I threw a cup once. That was a bad time. Then it got better. Until it wasn’t.

Bad memories, good memories – both are painful. I need my own house. I need my space, my very own, made by me, to reflect me, and my soul, my heart, my joy, and my love. This house is built with love, peace, and joy.

It’s not my dream house … except it is!

#42 checklist: ✔️ buy new home by yourself.

Never stop working towards the goal, even if it’s not always clear. Dream sideways when you can’t see in front of you.

Xoxo,

Stef