I Could Not Stop For Death

The event of a heart attack, this past week, involving a friend of mine and That Boy’s, had us both slightly dazed. The friend is doing well. Medical technology has come far and fast in the area of heart health, but it still left me contemplating mortality.

My friends and I, we are too young to deal with the matters regarding Death. What we’ve seen is too much, and yet so little compared to many. Even among my parents, a generation lost between two, death should not yet come to them.

Death, should be regarded as an old friend, less familiar than his lover, Life, but an old friend none the less. An old friend, present the day you came screaming into this world. An old friend, who congratulates Life, and makes note of when he’ll see you again. And old friend, who greets you, late in life. So late in life, Tithonus thinks he will perhaps have a companion.

And old friend.

Not an unwelcome stranger knocking on your door. Not someone who comes like a thief in the night, seizing the opportunity of an open window or unlocked door. Not a monster lurking in the shadows. And certainly not a predator in the trees, waiting to pounce on his prey below.

It’s not that I have a disregard for the balance of Life and Death – the give and take that happens. I understand Death and his role within my life and those of whom I love. I understand, he’ll show up, ready to user those I love into the next world. And one day, eventually me.

But not today, dude.

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Day 178, You Always Have A Choice

It’s been a long while since I’ve written. Things have, well… haved. Things have. That’s about as much as I can extended to it. Things have.

As I sit down to write something for the very first time, in a while, something is nagging me. Something my husband vented to me about  regarding his job. He works at a local police municipality, it rhymes with… mOverland.  First he was a dispatcher, then as a reserve police officer, and then with a heavy heart – hardened by reality and corruption, back to a dispatcher as he attends school to become something to do with electrical engineering. Don’t as me, he starts to explain it to me, but my eyes glaze over. The words I’ve extracted from our conversations are, “Control Systems Management.” Which will not be helpful in a zombie apocalypse, in case you are wondering.

I digress.

He vented to me something last night that clearly bothered him. His anxiety and frustration has transferred to me. Per direct order of the city’s mayor and city council, it is the responsibly of the local police to become the pool monitors of a particular apartment complex. Which means, if the complex owner/manager or resident of the complex notices anyone swimming in the pool, who does not live there, it is the duty and responsibility of the police to remove said offender.

Now, perhaps this particular pool area was overrun by adults who has a friend of a friend of a friend who they met one time at a party. Or perhaps hordes of Visigoths and Huns decided to siege the apartment complex pool in need of much need rest and relaxation. In these instances, yes. Call 911. Call the police and possibly the National Guard.

But I think, what this is, are  local children and teenagers, with already no place to go, who have friends or relatives that live in the complex and they, like so many of us in the Saint Louis heat, are seeking some respite. Now, should they be there if they are not a resident? Probably not. I mean, isn’t that what rent and rental fees go towards? The right to a private pool? Sure. And isn’t it a liability issue as well? Absolutely. However, is it really the job of the local police to remove said offenders? If they are disruptive adults and teens and… three year olds endangering the safety and welfare of others, yes, call the police. But my understanding is in situations such as this, it is the property manager or owner who is responsible for enforcing such regulations and policies.

And as my husband so simply put, “So now we can thank our mayor and city council for helping  to perpetuate the bully stereotype of LEO’s and help people hate the police more than they already do.”

Because we all know what will happen with a powder keg such as this: Some woman, whose friend lives in the complex , will come visit with her children. And all will be well. Until the disgruntled complex manager gets pissed off and instead of dealing with the situation first and then call police if it becomes out of hand, his first line of action is to call the cops. The officers will arrive and politely tell the woman she needs to leave. The woman will get pissed and start to become angry and yell and shout. The kids will start crying and then the phones come out and start filming. They will start filming a situation out of context. The will start filming the second after the woman stands firm and says she’s not leaving, the exact moment the officer physically removes her and her children from the property.

What they do not film is the weak spineless complex owner/manager calling the city council and mayor telling them it’s the cops he wants to enforce his policies. His regulations. What they do not film is the exasperated collective sighs among the officers as they are told the need to be babysitters. What they do not film is the officer, who has to respond to the call, delaying as much as possible because he or she knows this will not end well and he or she will only look like the villain. What they do not film is the context behind all of this.

The thing is though, this officer has a choice. We aren’t talking about a split second life or death situation here. These officers have a choice: heed the direct order, respond to the call, be the bad guy, and risk having it escalate or ignore the call and lose his or her job.

Now what would you do? Because you have a choice in this as well. You have the choice to remember every one has a boss from whom they take direct orders, and it was most likely that task master who gave this order. You have a choice to remember, there is always three sides to every story. You have a choice to remember the context that is not always apparent to the naked eye. You have a choice to raise your voice, be heard, get involved and vote.

It is your vote that determines the lawmakers. It is not the police who make the law. They are only the ones upholding the law. It is your vote that decided your mayor. Your city council. Your alderman or alderwoman.These are the lawmakers. These are the men and woman who pass asinine, income based laws and city ordinances. These are the men and women who give direct orders to those sworn to uphold the law.

Without your voice, without your vote, without your involvement, spineless asshats are elected and give needless orders such the mentioned above.  They who have no direct contact with the public. No direct fall out or consequence. What do they care? They have those who are sworn to serve and protect as the messengers. And we all know what happens to the messenger. But what do the lawmakers care? Messengers are a dime a dozen.

So, if mOverland, MO’s city council and mayor had a spine, balls the size of a pre-pubescent boy, and half a brain with some critical thinking skills, they wouldn’t force their police men and women to do the dirty work of a slumlord apartment complex manager.

Of course, if the general public would get out vote in local elections and attend city council meetings, the spineless, brainless, ball-less mayor and city council wouldn’t be there in the first place.

So remember, the next time you see a video or hear of some asinine law  or ordinance that must be upheld, remember – yes those sworn to uphold the law have a choice. But so do you.

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Day 51, My Weight Is Not Indicative of My Health

Yesterday I had to go to the doctor because I’m having some ear problems. I’m the only adult I know that has ear issues resembling a toddler. My name is called and of course the nurse is all… “Step on the scale, please.” And I’m all, “YOU STEP ON THE SCALE.” But I did and and she’s moving the weights up and down getting the exact measurement she says, “Okay and your weight is…”

I stopped her. “Ma’m, I don’t need to know my weight.”

*blank look*

“Look, I’m running up to 9 miles a week. I’m currently training for a half marathon. I eat clean (mostly). I eat healthy (mostly). Do indulge? Yup. Do I have some goal outfits I’d like to fit into again? Sure. But this *motions to the scale* number, this weight – is not indicative to my health.”

It was a real empowering moment for me. FOR ALL OF HUMAN KIND. But instead of the long sought slow clap…

“You’re at 188. You’ve actually gained 10 pounds since your last visit.”

Thanks, Nurse McCunty.

Here, have a Pimm’s Coctail – Or as I like to call it – British Sangria:

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Day 50 – Normal Soap, Woman!

Totally forgot to post this yesterday…

That Boy: When are we going to get normal soap?
Me: The soap we have is perfectly fine.
That Boy: A. This soap smells like flowers and thats dangerous when I work with guys that could be type cast in a reboot of  Deliverance. B. This one is like bathing with breakfast. I’m not sure if I should eat it or exfoliate with it.

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Day 49 – Seriously?

Okay – so this whole giving up Facebook for Lent might have been a good idea in theory. Perhaps poorly planned. I say this because I have no more or less time to do the things I need to do. I just get them finished quicker. Okay so maybe a little more time. But not by so much that I’m sitting here thinking, I’M SO GLAD I GAVE THIS UP.

However it has been an interesting observation to see who actually keeps in touch outside of the facade of social media. That being said, I forgot to gather a few emails/numbers from people before I signed off for a while. I have things to give them… Maybe I’ll have That Boy navigate his way through and get me the info I need.

It has also been an interesting observation as to how I much I actually let people into my life. Like the funny little conversations between That Boy and I or when I listen to the news and think, seriously?!

This morning for instance. The FBI and Federal Government is all butt hurt because Apple won’t unlock a suspected terrorist’s iPhone. I’m sorry, come again?

Wait a second – of all the things the FBI, CIA, NSA, TSA, Men in Black and their alien technology can do, and you can’t unlock an iPhone?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THAT’S YOUR KRIPTONITE?! APPLE’S SECURITY SYSTEM? OH JESUS. YOU FUCKERS ARE FIRED.

When we put a self parachuting, penis drawing, Jeep on Mars and then landed on a MOVING asteroid, the bar of where I set my expectations rose tremendously. But due to Apple’s super secret security powers – our government and their abilities (legal or not) can’t unlock a fucking iPhone? Jesus. Fuck.

It’s like that one time when That Boy and I first moved in together and he surprised me by cleaning the apartment.

That Boy: I cleaned the house; well, accept for the bathroom.

Me: Oookay?

That Boy: Well, you left your dirty clothes in there from this morning and I didn’t want to go in there and…

Me: If only indigenous tribes had dirty clothes. They could have littered the shores with them and hell… who knows. The Mayans would have survived. I can see it now teams of Europeans hitting the shores at Plymouth rock having to turn around… Shit. Norman invasion of 1066? TURN AROUND BOYS, DIRTY CLOTHES! THEY KNEW WE WAS A COMIN’.

That Boy: I don’t think the Normans said, “They knew we was a comin’.” 

Me: You don’t know that; were you there? 

Keep up the good work, Siri.

can’t get around Apple’s security system… Jesus

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Just because… When I was in  London, my good friend Donna took me to The Dockland’s Museum. BEST MUSEUM EVER AND IT’S FREE! Here I am holding a medieval artifact – a bracelet dated back to 300 A.D. The docent even let me try it on. Until I started muttering, “My PRECIOUS!”. Then she made me take it off.

Day 45, THUMBS!

That Boy: Babe, I know Maurice likes to drink from the faucet, but when he’s done can you turn it off?

Me: I do.

That Boy: Well I came home last night to find… You weren’t home yet…

Me: No… So he’s learned…

That Boy: To turn on the sink.

Me: All they need to take over the world…

That Boy: THUMBS!

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Day 41, Announce & Gather

It has been nye 20 years since I considered myself a practicing Catholic. And yet, one of the most somber of observations always pulls me back, Lent. Perhaps as I’ve gotten older and embraced the introverted side of myself, Lent gives me the excuse to have 40 days to myself. 40 days of alone time. No one questions if you say, I’ve given up X for Lent. Because it’s Lent and I live in one of the most Catholic cities in the U.S. By default, people have to honor and respect your pained sacrifice. Ah Lent. The “time out” of religious holidays. It goes to show you even Jesus needed to get the hell away from people and have a second to himself. A religious, “Get off my lawn”, if you will.

Thankfully, I was educated by a slew of intelligent nuns, Dominicans with their toe the line, suffering is the key to Salvation with Christ; Franciscan monks, Earth loving hippies, whom I’m pretty sure if it was legal our religion classes would have consisted of pot brownies; and my utmost favorite, the Jesuits. For them Salvation came through knowledge and critical thinking. And that is why with the Jesuits, a Lenten sacrifice was never taken lightly. We would always have to make an announcement during some assembly- what we were giving up and it had to be good. It had to be something that was keeping us not only from our relationship with God, but with ourselves. What were we allowing to distract usfrom a relationship from our best selves and ergo, from God? I can tell you right now, announcing you were giving up chocolate or soda didn’t fly with these gents.

This past September my family and I went on holiday to England. Because modern technology clearly hasn’t advanced to the point we can access the internet from our phones without a wifi connection (without paying charges that rival the cost of the plane ticket that is), my access to social media sites was damn near cut off. In a world with the attitude of, “Pics or it didn’t happen,” HOW WOULD PEOPLE BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAID I WENT TO ENGLAND?! And then I recovered from my jet lag and went about my holiday. It wasn’t until returning to the hotel I would upload things to the my beloved Instagram and Facebook page. Even then the moments were brief. “See?” That Boy said. “You survived.”

Survived I did. In fact, I didn’t really miss it. Over Thanksgiving I logged off, intent on enjoy the time with my family. The same for Christmas. And as January came to an end, and I sat scrolling on my Facebook news feed, with its shitty algorithms so you only see the same thing over and over again, I thought – I’m allow this to distract me from being my best self. I’m allowing it to distract me from accomplishing my goals. I would have enough time to write, read, practice yoga, mediate, and do more than squeeze in a workout if only I would stop. checking. Facebook.

Now as I stated earlier, it’s been 20 years since I’ve called myself a practicing Catholic. I can’t remember the last time I attended a Sunday religious service. I wouldn’t even call myself religious. But spiritual? Yes. And I still firmly believe sometimes we need to stop for moment and evaluate, What are we allowing to keep us from our best selves? What is taking us further away from a relationship with ourselves and if you are so inclined, from your beliefs? Religious or secular, for that matter.  And if you really want to dig deeper (because that’s how Jesuits do) what is distracting you, us, me… from our purpose and calling in life?

And so, like I did so many years ago in school, I announce my Lenten challenge (sacrifice sounds so bloody) is to give up Facebook.* In its place, is a renewed dedication to my writing and creating of things.

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One of those things being a photo a day challenge by the United Methodist Church. Again, not a member of this affiliation, but I like the idea of bringing in modern ways of meditation and reflection to such an introspective observation. The steady light dusting of snow falling this afternoon provided a wonderful idea for this prompt, Gather. It’s amazing how our lives, can be just as delicate and fleeting as a snowflake. Sometimes it’s the soft stillness of a hand or a cold still surface. And sometimes it’s the harshness of a windshield wiper or a snow plow.

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*share settings from my blogs and Instagram will allow content to post to Facebook