Breakfast For One

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Every so often I decide to treat myself to something. Sometimes it’s a movie. Sometimes it’s dinner. Sometimes it’s a cup of yum at a coffee shop. Yesterday it was breakfast at IHOP’s.

Every time I do these things, I inevitably receive a look. This look says “You poor thing, all on your own, can’t get anyone to join you.” There is always the question when at an eating establishment, “Just you?” or “Only you?”, and these are always asked in a surprised or pitying voice. It bothers me that we have placed these rules on everyone about how eating out or going to the movies should be done.

If anything, the looks and questions tells me more about them than my choosing to be alone tells them about me. I am in a relationship. A happy one. I also have kids. And friends. And family. But sometimes, I just need time with me.

I go out alone because I like me. I like spending time with myself. I find eating alone to be freeing. I enjoy my own company. I don’t have to depend on other people to have a good time. I am fully capable of having a blast, without needing a witness to it.

Hellooooo, I did go to the Texas Showdown Festival on my own, just so I could see a band I love. Could I have gotten someone to go with me? Certainly. But sometimes, I like to experience the world and its offerings all on my own. I’m perfectly fine with being the only witness to my own happiness.

Maybe this is my independent streak. Maybe it’s my inner rebel raising her fist to the stereotypes that society tries to force upon her.

But it never feels like that to me. To me it feels like spending time on someone who needs my attention the most. Myself. In order to love the way I do, to love the people I do, requires that I also love myself. In turn this requires that I spend time on, and with, myself.

I tend to place myself on the back burner more often than not. Not because it is required of me, not because I am a rug. I will let those in my world heap their troubles onto me, because I know I can take the added weight. And I know I can handle being last in line, and the added weight of my loved ones problems, because I know who I am. I am comfortable in who I am. I love the person I am. And when I need to lay the weight down and move to the front burner, I know I will do it. Then I can pick the weight back up, and it’s not nearly as heavy anymore.

Instead of judging that woman or man for choosing to eat or enjoy a movie on their own, ask yourself why it bothers you so much to see someone else be comfortable enough to do these activities alone. Maybe you’ll learn something about the person you are, and see that maybe you need to spend some time with yourself. Become a witness to your own happiness. Your needs, likes, and desires matter too, and it’s perfectly okay to deliver them to yourself.

Bibliophile Narcomania aka One Day I’ll Need My Own Library

I love writing. I love reading. I am forever in love with books.

I was die-hard against going digital with books. There is something about a books texture. Smell. The riot of butterflies within my tummy when the story absorbs me, and I slide my finger under the page in anticipation of flipping it to continue the story.

And then I self published my poetry books. The option to also publish it digitally was given. As my goal is to be read, I decided to do it.

My mom is also a book addict, and she needed something to access the web with. So for Christmas one year I bought her a Kindle Fire. I could buy her gift cards to continue feeding her book addiction, and she has the web at her fingertips, how was this not a winning combo?!

After that I finally caved and bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite.

But I still have my love affair with books. My shelves are lined and stacked and filled. Their spines catch my eye as I walk by. I finger old leather covers as I pass. Some of them have been read by me a hundred times. I have my go-to’s for when I’m sick, scared, sad, happy, in need of escape, in need of understanding.

Lately I’ve been addicted to books about the writing craft. How to books, books about viewpoint, about finding my tribe, about improving my skills… Most books I devour within hours or a few days. But these ones? I breathe, I read, I highlight, I dog ear and sticky note. I want to absorb the words held within their pages.

They inspire me. They nurture me. They guide me. And one day I hope to share with you the muse they have made of my mind.

For my writer friends, what books do you use for writing assistance? For my reader friends, what books are your addiction?

The Nitty Gritty

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The semester is finally coming to a close. I have one math test left. I have one geology test left. I have one ceramic vase left to glaze in my pottery class. I only need to stop by my philosophy teachers office to find out my final grade. I’m so very close. I have two math classes left to take, over the next two semesters, and I’m done with this degree.

I have been working as a substitute teacher where I can here and there, but next Monday I start a new job. I’m excited. To try something new, somewhere different. Plus, the place is supposedly haunted and I’ll get tons of people watching. For a writer, that’s golden. And as I am starting a new job, I can let the court know that I need off of jury duty. (Honestly, jury duty is kinda cool, but I wish I could choose the days that I go in, with everything that’s been on my plate during it.)

I’m sad that my little guys will be in daycare again. As crazy as they make me, I love having them around. If I didn’t, there would be a band of gypsy’s somewhere putting a curse (or ten) on me. ;)

I have many stresses, I am still grieving my dad, I am trying to find time for me and my dreams while being the many facets of me that I am. And I think that’s all I can really do. Just keep trying. Keep pursuing my dreams. Keep loving my people. Keep wishing I had a clone and much more coffee than I do.

Overload

I have been missing, I know. I have a lot on my plate lately. Between a full-time college schedule, substitute teaching, being a mommy and girlfriend as is, I have also been chosen for jury duty. I feel the edges of burnout nipping at my neck, but I keep reminding myself that I can do this. I need a real break here soon though. Or I will just run off with the circus. Whichever happens first.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for my scary story over at 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween.

My Tiny Dancer

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My youngest son saw a ballet video on YouTube one day, and he decided he wanted to do that. I support my kids decisions, and figured we would give it a shot. The first day, he loved it. He was the only boy in the class, which actually made the teachers happy, as they were getting ready for a performance, and he would fill a slot for what they were performing.

As his first day went so well, I bought him his first pair of ballet slippers.

077The second class that we went to didn’t go so well. He was more interested in doing his own thing, than he was in following the class and instructions. Which I get. He’s a three-year old boy. This is expected. The owner and I talked, and she agreed that we would see how the next session went, and decide from there to keep him in or to come back later, when he has a little more patience for learning.

The next class came, and the teacher came out within 30 minutes and let me know that he just wasn’t having it.

The owner and I spoke, and we agreed that she’d just charge me for the three classes, instead of the semester. And she really did hope that he came back, as most parents won’t let their younger boys do ballet, and he seemed very excited about it to begin with. I get the stigma that is seen with it. But I have to say to those parents three thing: 1. Support your kids dreams, even if they aren’t the ones you were hoping for. You will either build their self-confidence, or they may hate it and move on to something new. In the end, they’ll know you hear them and are willing to do what you must for them. 2. A lot of the BEST football players have ballet in their resume, trust me, it’s not for the “weak”. 3. The competition is fierce, but there aren’t enough guys in ballet. Just imagine how many women fawn over them. ;)

We might do this, if he wants to.

But at least he had fun for a little while. And he was too cute checking himself out in the mirror.

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Phi Theta Kappa and Me

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Towards the end of last year, I received a letter, asking me to join Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, for my grades.

Of course, I accepted. Okay, okay, I jumped up and down several times, ran over to my parents house and told them, jumped up and down some more, and paid the one time membership fee within 20 minutes. And there may* have been some squealing involved. >.> (*There was a LOT of squealing involved, but shhh, don’t tell me that I told you.)

Well, while my dad was in ICU, I had my induction ceremony. Due to miscommunication, I didn’t get to walk across the stage with everyone else, but I did receive my certificate. After the ceremony, my mom, the boys, and I headed to the ICU. My dad was very proud. And I admit, I am too.

1800197_10152112765497671_4725365374875833429_n(I smeared out my name, because hello stalkers!)

It took a lot of hard work, and I never would have been able to achieve it without the help of my parents. So, thank you mom and dad. I love you.

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Until we meet again

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Mom and I busted our butts getting everything set up so Daddy could come home. But this homecoming was bittersweet. He was coming home to say goodbye.

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Daddy came home for hospice on Friday. While mom sat with the hospice nurse and learned about dad’s medications, I pampered Daddy.

His first request was an RC Cola, loaded with ice. This I did, and watched as he guzzled his favorite soda. Then he had me put it to the side, and we held hands, as I sat on his home hospital bed with him.

He smiled. A lot. He was happy to be home. Happy to be with those people who loved him most. Loved him best.

We talked. He shared some of his favorite memories. He told me that he was proud of me, of all I’ve managed to accomplish. All that he knows I will achieve still.

He told me that I’m a great mom. A great daughter. To take care of those boys of mine. That he loves them so much. That he loves me so much. For the first time, and last time, he gave a guy that is dating me, his stamp of approval.

He told me to keep being strong. To keep following my dreams. To finish school. To live my life to the fullest. To take care of my mom. To laugh a lot. To be happy.

My boyfriend came by, and they chatted for a few minutes. It made my heart swell to see them both together. So glad that they had gotten to meet.

A neighbor, who has been family by choice, came by, and so I gave them some time alone.

My boyfriend sat with me in the fading light in my parents front yard, holding me and my hand, helping me through this heartbreaking time. Comforting me.

My oldest son came over, and gave his Papa a hug. And he told him he loved him.

Seeing how tired my dad was, I gave him a hug and kiss. Told him I loved him very much. He told me he loved me too. I slid my hand across his hair, told him goodnight.

The next morning, Saturday, I went over to see if dad was awake. The doors were locked. I didn’t want to wake anyone, so I watered their yard instead. I watched the sunlight catch within the drops, as butterflies danced with each other around moms rose bushes, as bees sought puddles to rest along the edges of. I let the peaceful beginning of the day lull my aching heart.

When the watering was done, I went back home, as nobody had yet awakened and opened a door.

At 10:22am, my mom called me. She couldn’t talk. I knew in that moment. I knew. I ran to their house, through the back door, into the living room.

One look. One glance.

He was gone. Daddy, my daddy, my dad. He was gone. My hero had found peace. Rest. A release from the pain. A release from the torment his body had been under for the last few years. He’s gone.

Mom and I are doing what we can. We cry, a lot. We miss him dearly. There is a void in our lives now. Nothing can ever fill it. The pain of losing him will never go away. We’ve lost enough people that we love dearly, to know this is true. But we also know that Daddy wouldn’t want us to suffer. He would want us to laugh, to love, to live. To carry the memory of him with us.

Daddy's Hat

Daddy’s Hat

Daddy, I miss you. God I miss you.

But I heard you. I understand. And, as you know, I don’t like broken promises. I keep my word. I said I would follow my dreams, be happy, laugh, love, live, and take care of these amazing little boys of mine. And I will.

And thank you Daddy. Thank you for everything you taught me. For every second you spent loving me. For being the man that you are, that you were. You are a star in my sky, never-fading, always a guidepost for my soul. I will always, always, love you. This isn’t a goodbye, this is an until we meet again.

007Thank you to my mom and dad for the beautiful picture for my birthday, yesterday. It may have been the last gift I’d get from you both, but it will always remind me of you two. Of what you both want for me. And about how much you love me.

Daddy’s Girl

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This post may not be the most joyful one I create, but it’s a heartfelt one. I just wanted to give you a heads up on that.

I am a total “daddy’s girl”.

daddysgirlBut it wasn’t always so. My daddy came into my life when I was 12. I did not welcome him in any way. I had learned by that age that men? They leave. They hurt my mom. They hurt me. They aren’t constant. They aren’t reliable. They don’t really care about my mom, let alone me. And because of this, there was no point in becoming attached. Because he’d just do it too.

But he didn’t.

And yet, I was terrified of caring, of letting myself care. Because it was just a matter of time, in my eyes.

And he stayed. Despite the total hell I put him through. He stayed.

I finally saw just how much he cared when I was a Senior in High School. For various reasons I had dropped out of school my Junior year. I decided to go back my Senior year. I not only did my regular classes, but correspondence ones, so I could graduate on time. I was doing wonderfully. I worked my ass off. The day that we were to practice walking the line, I received a phone call which he took over at one point. It was to inform me that my gourmet cooking teacher was refusing to round-up my final grade by .2%, and so I was missing 1 extracurricular credit, and I would not be graduating with my class. He hugged me, lit up a cigarette (he had quit smoking weeks before), sat down, and cried with me.

That was the first time I’d ever seen him cry.

When he came into my life, he was this hard-ass, retired military, Vietnam vet, that couldn’t stand kids.

daddyHe didn’t take excuses. He didn’t care for my flippant attitude, or my hormonal hissy fits. He expected me to behave a certain way. And we both agreed once that I was the toughest challenge he’d ever faced. Both of us are stubborn as hell.

Those tears he cried with me, that he allowed me to see? That was the water that broke the rock of stubbornness between us.

Not that we saw eye to eye on anything any time soon after that. But I wasn’t intentionally throwing obstacles in his path anymore, and he relaxed his stance about how lazy he thought teenagers (ie: me) were once he saw how much effort I was actually willing to put forth to accomplish a goal.

What finally bound us to each other was the birth of my oldest son. We started bonding during the pregnancy, but there were still hitches and uncomfortable moments there. But once that little boy came screaming into the world? Oh yeah. I was his daughter, he was my dad, and that little ball of fury? That was his grandson.

My oldest sons bio-dad had taken off when I was a couple of months pregnant. So I was going into parenthood as a single mom. It was terrifying. My parents helped me so much, and still do. But when the oldest was born, my daddy was there for us. He took over midnight feedings, he was happy to hold him at any given moment. There were several nights when I’d find that he had nabbed my son from the crib, because he made “fussy” noises. In reality, he just wanted to hold the little guy.

My dad proved all the other men I had known wrong.

He stayed.

He cared.

He loved.

Dad and my oldest, years ago

Dad and my oldest, years ago

He has been the only male that has been a constant in my oldest sons life. In my life.

He is “Papa” to the boys. Daddy to me.

He loves his grandsons so very much. He’s been there for them for stories, owies, hugs, kisses, laughter, a stern word… all of it. He is their hero. He is my hero.

Daddy and my youngest

Daddy and my youngest

Dad and the littles

Dad and the littles

Laughter and Love

Laughter and Love

And now. Now my daddy is dying. He’s coming home for hospice. He’s barely hanging on.

My hero is leaving. Our hero is leaving.

It hurts. So much.

I don’t want to let him go. I want to hold him tight. I want to keep him here. I want to hold him close forever.

But I don’t want him to hurt anymore. I don’t want to see him wither away. I don’t want to see how hard it is for him to continue holding on. I want him to be at peace. To not feel so much pain with every breath.

And I want him to know how very much he is loved. How very much he will be missed. And that he will Never be forgotten.

Daddy, I love you. I love your laugh. I love that devilish gleam you get in your eye when you smile. I love that whenever we are in the car going somewhere, you hold my hand oh so tightly. I love the way you look at my little boys, and I can see just how much you love them in that quiet smile. I love the way you make eggs. I love that you make my mom and I laugh. I love your sarcasm. I love how your hugs feel like a wall of protection. I love the way you love my mom. I’m thankful that you chose to be my dad. I’m thankful that you stayed when all others left. I’m thankful that you love me. I’m thankful that you have seen me at my worst, and you didn’t walk away. I love that I made you proud. I’m thankful for the sacrifices you made for me, for my mom, for my boys, for our country. I am proud of you. For holding on this long. For everything you’ve accomplished. I love you Daddy. So much.

The World's Greatest Dad

The World’s Greatest Dad

The world just isn’t going to be the same without you in it. For any of us.

Sometimes Y’all Scare Me

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Every now and then, I check out the search terms y’all use to find my blog, because I’m nosy curious.

Which, most of them I can get. The words goddess, Shay, hot air balloons, bucket list, and the such are fairly regular, and understandable. These are things I have written about at least once.

But then, some of y’all make me think like I may need to start seeking help.

By typing things, such as:

writersYet, being a writer, I can totally understand why people think we’re cray. It’s because we are. We talk to people who live inside our heads, and then tell their stories, and sometimes even argue with them about parts of their stories, and then tell the rest of the real world about the people inside of our heads. I get it. We are “cray”. But you love us for it.

And then, some of y’all make me think you need help.

Especially when you search for this and go to my blog instead:

laundryWhat the hell y’all? I don’t even… I mean laundry fucking? Okay, I might be able to accept this, because maybe, just maybe, you meant laundry mat fucking. Or something similar to that. Otherwise, you want to either fuck laundry (which, dude, is that even consensual?) OR you want to watch laundry fucking. Which, you need to change your search terms to “laundry being washed”. Or go to the damn laundry mat and watch the clothes dry humping through the clear dryer window. Come on now, how lazy are you if you have to look that up online?

BUT THEN THERE’S THIS:

gnomesI CAN’T EXPLAIN THIS ONE AWAY. Why do you do me like this?! What do I do with this knowledge?

I keep trying to find ways to make this better, but the mental images just mess my head up and then I have to self medicate with all the wine I have in the house, and then I feel weird FOR you, and then I get these crazy ideas, like, maybe that’s a niche that needs filling! And that I could totally make this happen! AND THEN I NEED A SHOWER. It’s ALL your fault! (Oh god, gnome porn… niches will be getting filled alright.)

I don’t think I should be so nosy curious about my readers anymore. I’m just going to say hello and welcome. I’d hug you but… *pats you on the head* I’m going to look for garden gnomes more wine now.

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