Monday, March 30, 2015

Love and Happiness - Work Life, Home Life

I am officially unemployed. One of the hardest sentences I have ever typed. So, yeah. It has happened before-- in 2008 and 2009. Crap economy, working for two non-profit organizations, bound to happen. I was bummed. Laid off, new(er) mortgage in a less than desirable Chicago neighborhood, wondering what the hell I was going to do with my crazy life. I was scared. I worked temp jobs- two and three at a time- had some help from family and friends, lived off my savings and got unemployment when I could. Hard times.

This time is not that. On Friday, March 13 I put in my two week notice to leave my job. My cousin had just passed away, I was going through it... doing some self examination and you know what?  I wasn't happy. I mean, listen, a job is a job and all days won't be fantastic-- we all know that. But when I thought about where I spent the vast majority of my time, what I was doing every day, what kept me away from my family, I just didn't want it to be what I was doing. The company is ok, I have no (abnormal) complaints about my co-workers, the management mirrors most management... The issue was me. My heart wasn't in it and I dreaded going-- every day, not just Monday. And when you are reminded-- clearly reminded-- about the extreme brevity of life, why would you continue to do something that doesn't make you happy?

So I had a talk with Lefty and we decided that the best option was for me to leave. Now, I am not saying that the option I chose is the best option for everyone. In fact, some of my co-workers seemed really upset that I was leaving a steady paycheck to "sit at home and depend on my husband." Couple things-- 1. that is not what is going on here BUT 2. if it WAS... Y'all already know what I am going to type: what happens in my house is my business. A steady paycheck is not the end all be all, especially  in my situation. Too many of us are out here selling our souls and our happiness for a paycheck from someone else-- some out of necessity, some out of greed. If I can be fulfilled AND paid, I am going to take that option-- and firmly believe that others should too.

I am EXTREMELY blessed to have this option and so grateful to Lefty for being completely supportive in this unorthodox decision. Not many men, in today's economic climate, CAN or WANT to have less income coming in on a regular basis-- even if the happiness of their spouse is in question.   So, thank you, my darling. Here is to the next step in our household... let's see what trouble we can get into! :) Look out, Columbus... Miss Mox has broken free!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Somber Times, Changing Times

Ah, life. Ever so fleeting. The morning after my last post I got a call that I was not expecting and it has truly changed the way that I have been thinking of things lately. On March 8 Lefty and and I were awakened with the news that one of my cousins had passed away, very unexpectedly. These last two weeks have been... indescribable.

I have to say this-- my extended family has been relatively untouched by death. I have friends that lose family members every year, some even every few months or so-- not so with us. The last person in our family that passed away was my sweet aunt and her death was the reason that I moved from Chicago back to my hometown. So, we have definitely been fortunate. But being fortunate in this area makes each loss more shocking. Even more heartbreaking.

I have never really been a very emotional person. I cry when I get ANGRY-- but not really when I get sad. I tend to become very introverted when hit with a tragedy. I am not as vocal as I would normally be-- online or in real life. I am just... less me, if that makes sense. And that is how I have been for the last couple of weeks. I have truly struggled with the death of someone so young (same age as me); someone so integral to our family-- and I am currently making changes in my life to make sure that the time I have becomes the best life that I can make it.

I was asked to speak at my cousin's funeral and I did. It is an honor to stand in front of loved ones and remember great times that you have had, lessons you have learned and events that you will never forget. Listen y'all-- life is moving, full speed ahead, make sure that the life you are living is the life that you want. All too often we live the EXPECTED life, not the one that we WANT.

Below are my remarks from the funeral, may we all continue to rally around one another and keep each other strong...

Hello, my beautiful family.

It is with great sadness that I stand up here and deliver this eulogy for my sweet cousin, Christina. I have spent almost every waking moment since getting that dreaded call last week, trying to make sense of losing someone so early... so unexpectedly. But I can't. There is no making sense of this situation. In a little over a week, I have not come up with one reason why Tina had to be taken away from her daughter, her brothers, Aunt Pam and all of us. There is no answer to the Why.

So what I have decided to do is to celebrate Tina, the life she lived and the impact that she made on all of us. And for me, that impact was significant. You know, most people will tell you that your cousins are your first friends-- especially if you are close in age. Well, there were three of us born in 1977. Born in July, August and October, we spent a lot of time together as kids. And the three of us being so close in age did not help our mothers one bit-- if we were superheroes we would have been known as the Tiresome Threesome. We were into everything as little kids. We were criers, biters and heathen toddlers all at the same time. My first friends. Together we learned some very important life lessons: 1. that being different from one another was ok, 2. that if two of us were guilty we should probably place blame on the one not participating and 3. the most important family rule there is to learn: we can fight & argue with each other, but no one else can fight & argue about one of us. My first friends.

I can't express to you how much I will miss her. How much we will all miss her.

So I am now faced with a different question: How can I honor her memory properly? The answer to that is simple-- for all of us. We can honor Tina's memory by living the best lives that we can, right now, today. Do something that you have always wanted to do; chase your passion, whatever it is; start a new business, travel to every state or internationally. Love this family as much as Christina did: Let's not simply talk about getting together-- let's get together. Let's take care of one another. Be good to one another. Be as giving as Christina was: when she passed, Tina helped saved the lives of people she didn't know-- she was an organ donor... sign up for something like that, volunteer with the Kidney Foundation, the Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, become a foster parent. Contribute. Reach out and teach someone else those life lessons Tina helped me learn.

Let today be our new beginning.

I will remember Tina's big smile, great laugh, selfless acts and her amazingly kind heart. Birthday parties in the backyard, mud pies baking in the summer sun, how much she loved her family and how wonderfully sincere she was. I love you. My first friend.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Soulful Saturday - Songs of Protest

This weekend the city of Selma, Alabama is getting a ton of visitors who want to observe the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement coming into that town and giving outsiders with a peek into what can only be seen as the underbelly of race relations in modern America. The 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday (in America, not to be confused with the 1972 incident in Ireland) also known as the Selma to Montgomery march.

So for today, I thought that a small catalog of protest songs would be appropriate. For many years people have used music to speak on the happenings of the day-- good and bad. I mean, there are songs about love, heart break, loss, joy, pain, slavery, racism, sex... everything. Way back in the golden, olden days I did a paper in college on the Civil Rights Movement, where people used whatever platform they had to voice their concerns over what was happening in America. Music was definitely one of those avenues. The music made during that time is heart stopping. It should make you do some soul searching. It should inspire you to make the world a better place before you leave this Earth.

The list of protest songs is long and there are many renditions to fall in love with. Here are a few of my favorites.

Nina Simone - Strange Fruit

Well, well, well. Since this Thursday's Scandal episode, many people clearly did not know who Nina Simone was... and I feel bad for them. This week her "I Shall Be Released" was featured on Scandal and I have seen the video pop up several times in my FaceBook feed. But even before Thursday, Nina was categorized as a musical genius. Check her out:

Turn, Turn, Turn - The Byrds

Pretty sure that my parents got tired of hearing the Byrds, the Turtles, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix streaming from my bedroom when I was in high school (I went through a serious 60s stage). Protest songs from mop headed boys? Loved it. A song that includes lines from the Bible to protest inequalities? Love it more. My favorite line: "A time for love, a time for hate. A time for peace, I swear its not too late."

Masters of War - Eddie Vedder

This is a Bob Dylan song, but we all know that I love Eddie. Long time love. War home and abroad, this song covers it all. Eddie - soft blue eyes, baritone voice and a guitar. Who can not love this guy?!? This was shot during his shorter hair phase. I like it longer, but the music is undeniably wonderful. My favorite line: "I think you will find, when your death takes it's toll, all the money you make will not buy back your soul!"

What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

A song that everyone knows AND fits as a protest song in every decade. Its smooth delivery makes it a little different, but a protest song nonetheless. What he was singing about in the 70s and 80s had happened in the 40s, 50s, 60 and still happens today. This and Inner City Blues should let YOU know that Marvin was in the know. Favorite line: "You know we've got to find a way to bring some loving here today..."

Glory - Common, John Legend

The modern day protest song. The movie was ok- the soundtrack was beautiful. John Legend is still super short (and can sing). Common is still fine. SUPA fine!! Favorite line: "Every day women and men become legends." In other words, YOU are able to bring forth change... and you should. Be legendary, my friends.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Where Have I Been - Life Adventures

I used to be so good about updating this blog. Lately it has been sporadic, at best. Yo, I have had a lot going on. I have a few posts that will go up this week, that have been kind of waiting in the wings, and so why couldn't I get off my lazy, (growing) ass to post these lovely ideas and commentary, you ask?! Fantastic question reader!! Let's get into that.

About two weeks ago, I got a throbbing toothache. So, it wasn't horrible, per se, but it was definitely annoying. I have slightly sensitive teeth so of course my first thought was "hey big girl, you probably should not have had that large spoonful of sugar (ice cream, whatever)." And that is a correct statement... probably should stay away from the snack cabinet. That's right, Lefty and I do not have a snack drawer. Oh no-- we have a snack cabinet... full of sweet and/or salty goodness. There are chips and cupcake mix and chocolate and sour gummy candy and... hey- I see those disapproving looks and I don't give a damn. I am a grown ass woman-- I WILL have snacks. Yes. We need a cabinet because ever since we got married, I have been forced to share (read: buy more so I don't technically HAVE to share) with Lefty. Why am I explaining the need for a snack cabinet? See, I start discussing snacks and get off topic. Where was I? Oh yeah, toothache. It started out as an annoying throb. But then...

Last week I was working. Well, I was kind of working. I was sitting at my desk and thinking of a bajillion other places that I wanted/needed to be and all of a sudden... the throb was back. It was back and that bitch was in full effect. Like, I had to take a Tylenol. I should have prefaced that by saying that I generally don't take medication. For anything. Unless something is falling off, will fall out or is filled with infection. I just don't. I get loopy, and while that is very entertaining for others, I don't really appreciate being that chick that you tweet about. Well... not in that context. I took a Tylenol last Monday though because I was trying to look at my computer but the whole right side of my head felt like it was going to explode. Honestly, who has time for that? It hurt so bad that I called my parents' dentist and made an appointment-- for the following Monday. What?! I went about my day-- and I was a bitch. I'll admit it. But my face was GOING.TO.EXPLODE. For serious.

Came home and I could NOT deal with life. I basically said "fuck responsibility" and went to sleep without feeding any of the animals. I barely took my shoes off. Pretty sure there was a trail of clothing from the garage door to the bed, every light in the house was on and more than likely there was a door or two unlocked. Pretty sure. Oh that Lefty!! He won such a prize with a wife that wimps out about one tooth, gets high off two Tylenol and leaves a trail of clothing/tears to the bedroom. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! That lucky guy came home after a long day at work to a punch drunk wife lying diagonal across the bed (like a BOSS). You're totally jealous. Tuesday, the toothache was so bad I actually drooled at my desk while calling the dentist back to see if there was a cancellation-- or who exactly I had to maim to get into the office earlier. Turns out, if you actually SAY that you have a toothache, they get you in the next day... which was my day off. Exactly how I wanted to spend my day off, let me tell you.

Wednesday morning I wake up and damn if that devil tooth is not throbbing like a baseline at a Black fraternity party. Oh, is that how we were gonna play this? That tooth wasn't even going to PRETEND to behave. Oh, I see. Bastard. My appointment was at 1. Had a banana for breakfast because it was the softest thing that we had to eat in this house; no coffee because the devil tooth and hot temperatures were in a fight. So me- in pain and under caffeinated. This was going to be a fun day. I get in the shower and maybe the hot water reminded the devil tooth of HELL and it wanted to go back because I swear fo' God the tooth tried to come out of my mouth on its own. At least that is what I thought the extra throbbing was for. I was getting dressed, it brought me to my knees. I seriously thought if I was feeling the same kind of pain that Nancy Kerrigan felt after that Tanya Harding incident. If I could do anything except silent cry, I would have screamed out "Why? Why? Whhhyyyy?" Poor Lefty. He came into the bedroom, I was doubled over in pain, half dressed. He put one of his sweatshirts on me, attempted to put socks on me (he is not great at that) and brought me my boots. Then he gathered my simple ass up and drove the 10 minutes to the office with me rocking back and forth in the passenger seat like a crackhead in need of a fix. Y'all, the devil tooth hurt so bad it gave me Forest Whitaker eye. IT GAVE ME FOREST WHITAKER EYE.

I get into the office and within 15 minutes and several prayers to sweet baby Jesus, I had x-rays and Novocaine. When I tell you that I love my parents' dentist. I freaking LOVE that dude. Supposedly the devil tooth came out very easily. Like I care. Once the area was numb, they could have jumped up and down on my face and told me that the tooth danced out of my mouth like the Lucky Charms leprechaun. I would not have cared. They packed my mouth full of gauze so I wouldn't leave a trail of DNA to the pharmacy for my antibiotics and pain meds. Thanks for that!! And I spent the next 3 days being loopy and loud talking one liners to Lefty. Again, poor guy. Lesson learned? A spoonful of sugar might make the medicine go down, but if you aren't careful it will give you a devil tooth and Forest Whitaker eye. Lesson learned, folks. Lesson learned.

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