Archive | October, 2016

In Search of Jason Bourne And The Great Pumpkin

26 Oct

In order to get away from my latest saga, the Twilight Zone episode of The People’s Court, I decided The Guats needed a change of scenery. Luckily The Harvest Festival and Halloween were just a few days away and The Farm seemed like a nice escape.

Surrounded by goats, pigs, cows, ponies, a giant ox, and plenty of chickens took my mind off the situation. Enjoying the country with activities such as pumpkin bowling, corn cannons, whip cracking lessons, pig races, tractor rides, green tomato sling-shooting, corn mazes and country western shows made for a great family outing.

Overall things seemed to be on point with no kid craziness or whining. We had just the right amount of snacks and prizes to avoid any meltdowns and then I overheard something that made this outing to The Country even better.

Jason Bourne.

Yeah. Matt Damon himself was somewhere on this ginormous farm. So, in the middle of our search for The Great Pumpkin I was also on the lookout for Matt Damon. Now I don’t’ really get star struck too often, but there are a select few … Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Charlie Hunnam (a.k.a. Jax Teller), Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DeCaprio, Oprah, Jon Stewart, and JACK BAUER.

If I were to ever see those at the beach or in this case at The Farm, they would freak my freak. And these are just actors I haven’t even mentioned rock stars like my man Bruce.

These are the kinds of people that I would probably go up to apologetically (sorry for invading your personal space on this awesome family outing but I am a huuuuuuuge fan and I think you’re amaaaaaaaazing I just had to stop by and say that and shake your hand) be a fan for a minute, and then go about my business.

Matt Damon happens to be on this actors’ list and I would have totally approached him had I gotten the chance. And as I understood it Cristina Aguilera was also on the premises but my entire focus was more on Matt Damon, if I happen to run into her, that would have been cool, but I don’t think I would have stopped. I was on a mission. I was in search of Jason Bourne and pumpkins. I was ready to get my freak … freaked!

However, during this five-hour field trip I didn’t see him. But we did manage to have fun even without seeing Matt Damon. My kids won four pumpkins, which was a Guat record. So there were high-fives all around. And then I did run into a friend, which was pretty random, seeing how there were hundreds of people on this ginormous farm. We said our hello hugs and I was happy to see her … then I found out about her corn maze adventure being pretty awesome. Not just because she got to the end and climbed the elusive finish line pyramid, but because she saw him.

She happened to run into Jason Bourne in the corn maze.

Me?

No Bourne. Just the finish line pyramid and a total of six pumpkins.

Still a pretty successful outing.

 

 

 

 

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I’m Gonna Need Some Chocolate For This …

22 Oct

Did I tell you I’m being sued?

Close to $10,000.

Yup.

I’ve never personally been witness to such blatant in-your-face lies and deception. I mean I’ve seen them on soap operas, with that tan-tan-taaaaaaaan music and flaring nostrils. But when it happened to me there was no such music.

Frustration and profanity were present, but no music.

There was a car accident, well I don’t even know if I can call it that, more of a fender bender where nothing happened to my car, not even a scratch on the bumper, but her bumper was dented. There was no broken glass, no air bags being deployed, no fake screeching halts, and no big loud booms. Probably a clink seeing how we both started from stop signs and couldn’t have been going faster than five miles per hour.

Anyhow I was not aware that people can sue you up to two years after a fender bender if they don’t like what the insurance company is offering. And apparently fixing the car was not sufficient and settling for around $5,000 was not enough.

I. Can’t. Even.

Two years afterwards she is claiming pain … and suffering. She filed a day before the deadline.

And so I found myself being served with papers to appear in court.

I know I can’t use the LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE defense, but it is so exasperating dealing with such a shady and deceitful chick who will scam the system. I had no idea they existed outside of telenovelas.

And you know, I’m trying to find the funny in this situation but all I seem to find is profanity.

Then I remembered Mike.

Mike Birbiglia sums it up awesomely in his stand-up comedy The Accident Report, where the blatant errors and incompetence of the police officer and the at-fault drunk driver would leave you at a loss for words. But Mike … He just knocks down the absurdity of the entire situation with ultimate comedy.

 

 

I wish I had that gift, but turns out all I’m trying to do is breathe over here. Mike would know what to say. He’s awesome and I wish he could spin my incident into this hilarious bit, but I don’t even have a police report to debunk, because that’s how minor this fender thing was, the damage was so minimal that police presence was not needed, or required. Not by a long shot.

But I’m sure Mike could debunk this just based on the facts.

Mike would definitely know what to say. He’d find the funny. I’m still trying.

But until then I’m gonna need some chocolate … Inside a pint of Ben&Jerry’s.

 

 

 

My Vocabulary Isn’t Big Enough …

17 Oct

You just don’t have a big enough vocabulary to express what you want to say … let’s see if we can fix that.

That’s something I used to constantly share with kids whenever I heard them use profanity to describe someone or something.

It’s no surprise that in middle school I said this at least once a day. You see, back in the day when I was going to grad school and working, one of my jobs was substitute teaching. Middle school.

Sixth. Seventh. And eighth grades

I know. I know.

Best job for writing material ever.

Anyhow, I recently thought about this quote when I encountered a problem with someone. I could feel the anger rising to the surface and the need to just release all kinds of profanity. The anger about the incident, about their massive inconsiderate behavior, about the level of hypocrisy just enraged me. I was ready to let loose the large range of inappropriate vocabulary I had stored in my vault. Both in English and Spanish.

However … the decent person inside me took a moment.

The need not to escalate the situation appeared to surface somewhere in my brain. I thought about being the “bigger person” … again. I feel like my whole life I’ve always had to be the “bigger person” just to have some sense of peace in my existence. So I refrained from letting loose.

But there are times, and I strongly feel like this was one of them, that letting the explicit language rain d0wn was a necessity. Not only for the informative purposes of the jackass who caused these feelings, but just for the mental sanity of the injured — myself.

I look at this situation and all the anger and frustration that I have, builds up, ready to explode, and I just think …

MAN! My vocabulary is just not big enough to handle this person or situation right now.

I mean I try not to have too many moments like that … little things like traffic, bad drivers, bad service at a restaurant, someone cutting in line, people at the DMV, or someone taking my parking space,  get me all crazy. Stuff that isn’t going to matter five days, five months, or five years from now doesn’t seem like it’s worth all that heat.

But if it does meet that five day, five month, five year requirement … I believe profanity should rain down freely. I mean I should be all right, but usually a thing like respect and being a decent person make me change my mind. And the whole conversation just drains me. I feel emotionally exhausted and defeated because apparently sometimes they don’t share the same ideals on decency as me. They begin with low blows, at which point I just have to walk away because at that point I know … I know that my vocabulary just isn’t big enough to deal with certain people.

But once I hang up the phone, or walk away from the encounter, and I’m alone with the punching bag and gloves, the conversations I have with myself  are not PG-13. And I forget that I have a limited vocabulary when it comes to certain people or certain situations.

And I’m O.K. with that. I mean for my own sanity I’m O.K. with that.

 

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Taking A Moment …

12 Oct

I decided to take a minute … And this is what the universe sent me.

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Looking Out For Beautiful Minds

10 Oct

Before Russell Crowe, we had never talked about it.

Ever.

It was a big part of his past,  and maybe it contributed to his depression. Maybe he felt like we wouldn’t understand, or maybe he did talk to people and they didn’t hear him. Maybe he thought he could do it himself. Maybe he didn’t know how.

But it wasn’t until Russell Crowe that my Dad started talking about how he felt and what he went through as a young father.

Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

He was glued to the screen, completely engaged in the story and rooting for Nash to come out all right in the end. He bought the book and watched the movie again and again. When it came out on DVD, he bought that too. He wanted to soak up as much information and experiences as he could.

We must have watched it at least fifty times when it aired on HBO. Russell Crowe, let everyone in on the struggle and we became aware of how difficult this could be on anyone and their family.

My Dad found pieces of himself in Russell Crowe that day and was brave enough to share, and granted their stories were different, and their journeys were different, but for the first time in a long time, he saw something out there dealing with mental health, dealing with the realness of it. Consequences and successes.

I rediscovered of bits and pieces of my childhood and moments of my dad’s journey through adulthood and parenthood. I understood why there were times my dad had been so afraid, why he might have drank, and perhaps why he had been dealing with depression for a large part of his life. We didn’t get all our answers that day, but what we were able to do was talk … talk about how he felt, he realized he wasn’t the only one, and that gave him the confidence to speak up. He wasn’t alone in this. Here’s this guy …this genius mathematician that’s living through mental health issues as well.

It wasn’t the same, but at least Russell Crowe gave him an opening and mental health became something he could talk about freely.

And I was grateful for that, because he did get help, and that seemed to help with the depression, for a while.

So seeing how someone informed me that it was World Mental Health Day, I thought I’d spread awareness the only way I knew how … through story.

Spread the word … Mental Health Matters. Talk about it.

 

 

Writer Wednesday’s

5 Oct

So how do you know when it’s over?

Like any relationship … you know, because there’s that tiny quivering feeling in the pit of your stomach letting you in on the secret, letting you know that the end is near.

After weeks of sleepless nights and Costco-sweat-wearing days, there’s a big exhale when I type THE END. It takes me a longgggggggg time to get there and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever see the finish line.

Doubt. Anxiety. Insecurity. They all creep up on me during the entire process. Never sure if it’s going to be good enough. Never sure if people are going to relate. Never sure if people are going to laugh. Never sure if people are going to keep reading. Never sure whether to send it out. Never sure if it’s going to pay off. Never sure if the daydreaming I’m doing today is gonna pan out in the story tomorrow. Never sure of a lot of things, but once I get past all these inner voices (as well as the outer voices who think I should just get a “real” job) and I get to the end, I know.

I do, because I feeeeeeeeeeeeeel it. Definitely.

There’s closure.

Stuff that’s necessarily missing from my current existence, I find in my made up world. My character, dead or alive, has come full circle. A messy and dramatic one, with multiple post visits to a shrink included, but never the less an adventure that has come to an end. It isn’t to say that another adventure isn’t waiting for them tomorrow, it’s just that the adventure they started with me, the day I was day-dreaming it up has finished.

So I put on a new pair of Costco sweatpants, and dig into my messy life archives and see if there’s another story that’s ready for the page.

Not everybody feels it, not everybody goes through the Costco sweatpants phase, everyone has a different journey. Difficult and emotionally exhausting, but we all get there in the end and high fives are a requirement.

 

 

I Was Glad The Neosporin Hadn’t Erased All Of Them

3 Oct

I found it weird that my scars helped other people. At the time it felt like I was getting beat down by life with a lead pipe. I didn’t think the pain would be useful at all. Not to me and dude, certainly not to anyone.

I was just trying to survive the moment.

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But then I realized that there were a lot of people out there trying to survive the moment and just wondering … how do I get from here … to there?

How do I peel myself off the floor and recover just enough to walk out of the house?

Writing things out, helped me sort my thoughts, and gave me some perspective. It helped find the funny when I couldn’t find my laugh. I realized I could write though things.

At different times in my life during the love relationship disasters of my 20s, family drama that parallels any Univision telenovela, motherhood failures that people can only imagine happening to them, sucky career moments with rejection letters that deserve framing, or entanglements with strangers that make you really wonder where Karma is at the moment. I have survived all these, and the scars were rough.

How do I recover from the loss of a loved one? How do I recover from a broken friendship? How do I recover from the dysfunctional craziness of my family? How do I recover from a shady chick who’s trying to take advantage of me and milk the system? How do I recover from a random Wednesday of being a mom?

I found this quote and I was amazed how someone captured it so well …

During suffering, find the human soul in that condition, and find a way into bringing grace … finding a simple compassionate movement in your own voice that took you out of the agony and into the tolerable … –Martha Beck

I found a way to do that without even knowing I was doing it.

I was able to get off the floor, after going 12 rounds and stay standing. I had scars and didn’t think the broken memories would help anyone at all. But I found recently that all that independent research I conducted, helped a really good friend over the weekend.

I  won’t go into much detail concerning her problems, but it did have to deal with her  expectation out of life. Her how-can-I-be-at-this-stage-in-my-life-moment when I should be there.

I know that struggle. I’ve backpacked across this disastrous trail many times. So I was glad I had something to offer. I was glad the Neosporin hadn’t erased all of them. The scars were meant to be  permanent.

Not pretty, but permanent badges of life’s learning curve.