19 October 2012

Creo que es importante de escribir mas en espanol. Voy a escribir mas en espanol, con los accentos correcto... tanto...

08 October 2012

Relationship readiness

I just took a quiz on my readiness to embark on or otherwise "handle" the treacherous waters that can be a relationship. I didn't even understand the results. Or. Rather. They weren't obvious, conclusive, bite-you-in-the-face results. I almost prefer the more stereotypical and blunt Cosmo-style (*bullshit), totally predictable, (*bullshit) results that lock you into a box. I had to wade through the various "sections" to figure out my results. I need it a little more spelled out for me than that. I hate searching around the lines and having to put it together myself. Mainly because I'm impatient. But mostly because I hate concentrating, too.

Anyway, it got me thinking. The stupid quiz. The questions were lined out such that I had occasion to reflect on both my strengths AND my utterly hot and touchy points. I took the quiz merely and only out of sick, morbid curiosity. I usually hate them. They're so cheesy. And how could some blank, standardized, impersonal, non-human, black-and-white pot shot tell ME how I am? It can't. It can't sit there and tell you in a relate-able way that yeah, those years of playing nurse to a cancer-stricken hubby three times in a year and a half with small children in a new world with no redemption and psycho aunts (all of which were super traumatizing to an immature 21-year-old) sucks really bad. It can't soothe the pain of falling out of love with a gorgeous, culture-riffic man who couldn't find the help he needed before the relationship imploded on itself. It can't lend understanding to why you put up those walls, drew boundaries, or pulled some shit stunt.

But it can, and did, just provoke reflection, if not irritation. Just the concept alone, the title of this post (which is already too pukey to reiterate) invokes a big, grudgey, eye-rolling groan because I have, I do stress, always been able to pull my shit together. I just haven't always been able to get there in a rational way. . .

So. The provocation and irritation was good. I learned stuff.

22 May 2012

Movin' on up!

I just went and published three drafts I had going without absolutely zero regard for their correctness. I feel good about this. There are some thoughts I wish I would have finished because now I do not know what they were. However, I could finally hear the real me speak through them. Pretty nice, considering I've struggled quite a long time to make my voice come out my writing.

I've talked about changes in my life that I did not elaborate on and now that I have a moment and the inclination to do so, I will.

First, I've been working on a story. An actual, honest-to-goodness, novel-type story that I've been able to move past the mere first lines, expand the idea of. As we speak (well, who's we? There's certainly no conversation going on here), I have just over 6,000 words. I'm very pleased with this. I don't know where the storyline will take me. I don't "do" plots or organized character analyses ahead of time, so it's just gonna kinda go where I feel it needs to go. It's not that I have this uppity standard of not doing things that would be more likely to set me up for success, it's just that I don't perform as well when I'm trying so hard to write conforming to guidelines; and I love the whole idea of not knowing where I'm going.

Most authors I've talked to agree that one tends to be sidetracked many times from the original idea so that the finished piece would have not resembled most of their ideas anyway, so I'm not too caught up about it; but even if they had strictly warned me that I would be tied and cinched to a whipping pole and be beaten by other writers and be the bane of existence in the writing world for not following an outline or certain model, I'm quite sure I still would risk doing it my way anyway.

It really helps to bounce my story off of other writers, a group of them I've found since moving here (yay!) and have them be generally VERY supportive. And positive. I have given more thought to the characters themselves, though, and into their development as opposed to an "idea" of a person, so that their interactions are more real. This is important in any novel, but especially important for me because this novel-esque thing I'm working on is 1) my first attempt to find my own style by way of inspiration through the writing styles of John Grisham, Dan Brown, Paolo Coehlo, and 2) contains pretty strong religious themes and undertones. I do not want a book that is about seeing the world differently to be about a religious agenda or shallow characters, as per the norm for this particular genre of writing.

So. There ya go.

Secondly, I started working. I was doing my piano accompaniment gig, but in the yearning and ultimate goal of becoming financially independent (lonnnnng-ass story as to why THAT has been slow coming to fruition,) I applied for 3 different jobs, figuring I'd start there, get my foot in the door, step back into the work force, and at least be working like a hella cray-cray woman making some extra cheddar (yo) to supplement what my crazy Frenchman/Quebecois boy-toy was making as a teacher. (Things were more expensive here than we'd anticipated and we had a very hard time trying to keep above water getting moved in.) (To put it mildly and NOT including all the hard time we had just trying to keep our relationship afloat.)

Welp. I landed the receptionist one, working part time in the afternoons and on Saturdays, at the local Ford dealership here. A month later, I got a call back for the mechanic apprenticeship! Okay, great, but by then I was loving my receptionist position and not wanting to give it up. Lo and behold the apprenticeship guy, who had a business maintaining and repairing forklifts, agreed to accomodate my schedule. By the end of that week, I was playing piano in the mornings, playing receptionist in the afternoons, and entering into one-day weekends because I was apprenticing my way to forklift heaven on Mondays.

So it was great! I was bringing all these various sources of income, helping the cause, helping to loosen the belt that was our financial situation. It started taking some of the strain off my relationship, I started to feel I had direction, (which was especially important when my girls left to live with their dad and I was feeling fifty thousand different shades of indignation about it), and it was working out even better than I'd hoped because all of my employers and coworkers were agreeable, real, and admittedly flawed human beings.

But I was starting to feel admittedly drawn away from the mechanic thing. Which really bothered me! You must understand that it has either been music or mechanics pretty much since I could remember breaking down outside a Holiday Inn in Bismarck, ND cerca 1998 looking for jobs. I loved knowing how things worked, I loved solving problems and working with my hands, and I do admit to liking the attention it got me at times. But I could do that as a musician or as a mechanic. All of that got put on hold when I got married, dropped out of school, and focused on being mom in the isolated, distant lands of the Canadian north. So when I was looking for jobs, saw the apprenticeship, went for the interview, I was more than a little excited. Until I realized it was for forklifts, which are their own thing and more under heavy duty. Whichhhh... would've been okay because I had several years' experience working at a crusher, the inner and outer workings of which I grew to love and take pride in doing: maintenance, increasing performance and production, knowing every grease fitting, every nook, every cranny, and never-ending learning. But it was a lot harder all around than working on a car. (At least I think so.) 

Try crawling in there and changing screens and prying down on the metal to get the braces back on. Yeah, in the blue thing in the middle there. Yep. We had a white one. I knew the guts out of that machine.

I couldn't figure out if it was because I was only committing one day a week to the whole apprenticing thing, if it was because it was heavy duty mechanics (versus auto mechanics,) or what, but it started to get tiring; and being someone's lackey one day of the week was hard, in the sense that it would take months of full-time lackey-ing to build any substantial cred with the customers and the guy himself. But here I was, only one day a week, and I was perfectly okay with being a part-time receptionist.   Still, I was eager and committed to see where the one-day-a-week thing would go, and if I would get more time with him once the piano gig was up for the summer.

Different kind of moonlighting

(...you know you're reading geek territory when you see THAT sign on a blog space...)

Fast forward to three weeks ago, I go in for my shift at the dealership and I get summoned upstairs. I didn't feel like I was in trouble, but I thought that maybe I was just going to get a few pointers on how to do certain things, or not do them, and be on my merry way.

But when I got up there, I was met in the board room with 4 people. The same two who were in my interview, but then also the service manager from our dealership and the manager of our sister dealership in the city.

To make what I could turn into a long, suspenseful story short, I got approached about what essentially boiled down to a promotion. Not only full time, but salary pay plus commission.


It will be my first job EVER that I am on a salary. It will be my first job EVER that will utilize every little flipping thing I've ever learned into a cumulative concentration. It will be the first job I've EVER had that does not require me compromising on a dream I've had or as a means to get somewhere else. It gets me close to the garage and it has me dealing with people. It is a job that can be respected, it is a position I can be proud of, and most of all, is a job that I can safely and happily tuck my music aside for. Because teacher or no, I will always have my music.

I don't have to feel ashamed about my dropping out of college and/or having no certifications or, if you can believe it, not doing music. Not doing music!!! That... is a first.

Without intending it to be, this could very much be a major, major goal line for me and there will be time and opportunity TO work on credentials as I move through the different training rings with the dealership.

Plus my dad knows exactly what I'm talking about now when I call him up to talk about the recent happenings...

What to write about! I really am in a ripe old mood, and there have been a lot, like a buttload TON, of positive changes happening in my life recently, but I just don't know where I sit with them. I'll figure that out later in my downtime. You know, when I'm not...



I. Hate. Change.

I mean, who doesn't? I am certain, too, that even people who embrace change still suffer some stress. At least a little bit.

For me, I have come to recognize and see change in the most 'ridiculous' of things. Things I didn't even see like that because I had had SO much change (constant flux) from an overload of overlapping events (and therefore consequential stress in my life) that the compounded nature of change alone had me five shades of under the red before I even woke up.

But in being a badass, I have had to un-be a badass to figure out how this all worked. I had to get real and I had to be honest with myself about how I felt about things.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, suffice it all to say that change today comes in the form of a puppy. Yes, I took the dive and relented to the puppy-acquiring that my youngest has been aching for since her dog of 7 years was put down last spring. And, being the change-hater that I am, have resisted all manners of pleading, but not without really, truly wanting to give my girl something she so very much deserves, is so mature to handle, is all around so grounded and dedicated to handle.
I'm really trying to be positive here, but this whole thing sucks. What can I do about it?

And that is the main question. What can I do about it? What can I, freakin' Amy M. Cazares, of the world at large and now living in a state of limbo, freakin' DO about it? About any of it. 

It feels like nothing. It feels like I can do nothing about it. It feels like rain. Like rain of purgatory and yet negative consequence from making one decision and multiple decisions, whose outcomes I do not get to control  and were always with the earnest effort to be engaged in my own life, no matter HOW stupid the outcome in retrospect. 

It does make me feel lost. Okay? Yes. I do. I feel absolutely lost with impatience some days. There, I said it. Happy now?

But not just that. All of it. All. Of. It. All of the rest of my experience. It is linked in every single way that my rational brain (as well as the words of others banging around my head) has told me it is not. "Oh, those things were separate." "Oh, you didn't do this." "Oh this is your fault." "Oh, you were thinking about this wrong." "Oh, I'm just so opinionated I can't shut my mouth but will cover my flaw by telling you that you asked for."

"Well, thank you, Captain Hindsight!"

It is about the summation of no-excuses, bracing-the-consequences decisions I have made in my life that, even if not always full-hearted, were always accompanied with a full-on brace for the consequences.

Even with all the stupid shit I have ever done (and what, exactly, was all that again?) and "I-never-thought"s and deafening blows of some of the most unkind things I have ever heard from people I loved and trusted, I still held the belief I have always made decisions, fully embraced for the consequences. 

But yet, here I sitting still, trying to listen for what God wants from me; and all I get are the voices of close friends and family past overriding--with much negativity, mind you--the voice to my own soul, banging around the insides of my skull like a record that's skipping.

Those decisions might have been made out of wanting to take the path of least resistance, they might have been impulsive, they might have resulted in a range of choke-on-your-own-spit results, but no matter how wiggly or squiggly or panicked or occasionally peppered with "WHATTHEGINORMOUSFUCKARE YOU DOING, Amy?!", nothing has even come close to the barrage of rocks that are people who you never realized were so judgmental throwing every kind of insulting commentary over the surround.

It is humiliating

It makes you feel incapacitated. It makes a sane person feel insane.

And now what of it? What came of their jeering and judgment, their opinions and their beliefs? Nothing! I get empty, cold, fruitlessness coming up every time in the immediate gall of my stomach because I cared so much about another person's opinions, that I practically sold my soul to get their approval. 

But when I crawled into the mutilated constitution of my soul, trying to reconstruct it and make the foundation more deeply entrenched in the spirituality of my God and NOT other people's opinions (of which there is a grand variety and of which I had managed to let affect me way more than I'd intended), I found there the tiniest pearl of reprieve and forgiveness that allowed me the space to make better decisions in my ardent desire to unite with the Lord one day, and in the meantime, decisions that were made by me for me.

Extreme? Hell yes. Necessary? Even more so. There is only one chance, one life, one moment to being on track with God. That is right now. It doesn't have to make sense to others. It never had to.

People just have to shut up about it. I'm not asking them to get on board with me I saw its brilliance and experienced the first cool drink of water I had tasted in years of wandering in the desert, I knew what anyone else thought did not--and would not--matter. Not in the way I had let it matter in the past, to be sure.

So then, to try in vain to quell the anger that comes from feeling such merciless, plain ignorance, I go back. I review what brought me here. And do so with even more righteous anger because all . . . I have ever been trying to do, no matter what, is fight for what I want. And I wonder, since when, on God's green earth, were a single one of them, in the tiniest of accolades or experience-drenched, good-willed-but-not in my shoes? 

When were they ever dealing with what I have had to deal with? 

How were any of them being influenced and exposed by the things I was exposed to, by choice or by mere witness? 

I have never whined about this for the majority of my life! But still I am being subjected to the opinion's of many, like a barrage of rocks thrown from catapults surrounding the castle wall. It is true as my dad said that if "three people tell you that you have a monkey on your face, you'd better start looking," but that does not, in any way, apply to the hords of people over my lifetime

There is one thing and that thing and this other one over here---a collage of things people have said that I have earnestly deliberated on, took to heart

And taking it down a few notches or a hundred, in the far less caustic approach, I really feel that that those passing down the advice did not realize how caustic their "help" was. And not because it speaks to my defensiveness (although it did in the beginning), but because it shrieks wild banchee levels of sound how little

And I never had the skills that so

And the thing that rustles my jimmies so bad that I have the crawlie of the century is about/how/that NO one's supposed to talk about it. Just. Hush-hush, there now. We don't talk about a mother's pain. We don't talk about our pain like that. It's negative. It's wrong. Just supposed to shut up and take it, I guess? Is that right? Suffer it and swallow it down because it somehow was begotten of our sins? Isn't that the biggest load of horse hooey you ever heard!

Oh, I've heard it, boy. Mm-n-yehhhp.

04 April 2012

I put the two baby photos I had of the girls in the bathroom, and it made me feel a lot better about the situation of them living not here, living away.

I'm glad I did it, and it couldn't have worked out any better. Both photos are of the girls around 1 year of age. The one with my oldest was taken backstage of a band concert in college. The one of my youngest is of her smashing her first birthday cake, the mess covering every inch of her chubby little legs, arms, and face while sitting in her high chair.

One is a magnet that adheres to the metal outlet cover on the left-facing wall. The other is a ceramic frame that sits just below the magnet on the counter.

I wasn't exactly thinking about those details or of how the arrangement of the photos in the bathroom would actually serve to soothe my aching heart, but they did exactly that. I look at those babies and remember the most important thing. I remember something that can never be taken away from me or from them. Something which will ensure the bond that each girl and I have enriched upon since their births. It is the fact that I am the one who gave birth to them.

Why I have stupid fears and doubts about that bond diminishing: comparison. Comparison to how I grew up, which I see as always having both parents in the house. Comparison to a quick glance of the mothers of their friends, who live in their homes with them. Assumptions and facts and probabilities in my brain which include statistics of adults who are dysfunctional because their mothers were not involved in their lives, the significant difference it makes to have the mother in the home during the most critical years of a child's development (the teen years), and the entire stigma of being the mother who does not live in the children's home.

Parenting books, magazines, articles, and an abundance of scientific as well as theoretical garbage on the world wide junkyard are primarily written with the assumption that the mother is in the home--and--the one reading the book.

There is a LOT of material--situations, comparisons, generalizations, and/or assumptions--out there enough to help a mother flog herself verily.

But here is why I keep from spinning out: I remember that my parents were awful together. I don't know if or how I would have dealt with my mom being out of the house had they separated then and she had been the one to choose another domicile. But I do know a lot of divorced/divorcing people who work it out. And I never chose anything over my girls. My choice to live without them was only a secondary consequence to choosing to support them going with their hearts. Which meant them wanting to live with Dad, who is a good, kind, loving father.

You never know what other people are going through. You never know what goes on behind closed doors. Those other mothers who are still living their children's homes who even seem like the primary caregivers and perfectly put-together women still have their own misgivings and go about their business, which may or may not be working against or for their own child's well-being. And. They still share the responsibility with their husband.

In the case of mothers who are primary care-givers who are divorced or separated still have to share custody with the father.

And, as I am finding and gathering pieces of other mothers' stories, not all mothers are the primary caregivers, even in the case of loving mothers, because of the way things panned out between parents and children.

Why else: Not all mothers are totally clued into their child's well-being, their spiritual development, and yet there still exists a bond between mother and child.

Even mothers who don't deserve to be called moms are bonded to their children, if for no other reason than being the person who labored to bring them into the world. Even the most deeply disturbed kinds of people who conduct their lives out of issues stemming from their mother still have that bond.

This is nothing like that. I have been engaged with them and their lives since before they were born, which I contribute to having outstanding morals and ever-growing faith, instilled into me by my parents from birth. I have realized that my ardent desire to have them with me because I am their mother and no one can love them like me blocked me from relenting to seeing that I could rely on the good man and father that my ex is.

There aren't a lot of single mothers who can rely on the father of her children, even when she wants to. But I can. Even though it is humiliating as hell to realize, even though they are there and not here, my reliance upon higher powers has brought me to an acceptance that is able to override a very easy place to spin out: what I'm doing with my life.

Finally: I believe with such depth and founded concreteness that the One who loves us and died for us has seen fit to show me these things, in this way, with such clarity because of His grace, on which my reliance depends. He has blessed me with beautiful, clear, understanding daughters. He has blessed me with the thoughts that have turned, realizing my reliance upon His Aid, into sheerly clear and full understanding of my pain of living without my girls. He has blessed me and surrounded me with the presence of His Spirit through the love and support of others--my family, my friends, my real reality.

So when I see those pictures, I feel better. That is my reality. I see them every day, many times a day, whether I'm thinking about other things or I'm thinking about them. The pain in my heart for their absence is never far, but putting those photos in a place where I spend time doing one of my favorite things--putting on makeup--I see them right there with me. And in that instant, for every instance there is, I think of my two, very bright, very beautiful adolescent teen and pre-teen, what they are doing, knowing they are happy, knowing that they have been accepting of their new world. And it quells the need to call my girls my babies all the time, lest I become a mother who cannot grow herself.

The edifying bottom line: I am none of those and conversely, none of those people or two situations are alike. My situation is my own, my arrangement and my relationship with my daughters is individual. I am grateful and I am thankful.

29 March 2012

This morning, I thought I would take the time to actually write down some major-to-minor goals. It's really no big deal for someone who's always been goal-oriented. But I am not that someone. I am someone who is dealing with the layered wake(s) of her own impulsiveness for years.

Before I do that, I want to tip my hat to the writer's group I joined last night. Yes, it's possible, nay even probable, that I will find myself some new readers today, but not without me acknowledging the talent of every single person who read in E's living (sitting?) room last night. I had never been part of a group like that and had been waiting for some time to be a part of the writing world, without it causing great discomfort or distress to my fragile ego. And lo, there it was. Five people, five distinct styles, and no one getting their pannies in a bunch about a single thing. Just pouring, solid, super-welcome feedback.

In the words of the great Pinocchio: "I'm a real writer!" Oh, wait. No. That's not it. Well. Close enough. You get that I was excited, right? And that this was the first time I've shared my writing in that capacity? And that it was definitely a first to get that level of feedback? Yay!

Anyway, I digress. I do more than digress. I jump all over the random place and bring your focus back to the goal thing. (Yes, you can see why I've trouble with goal-setting, can't you? The ADD-style of writing could be considered somewhat correlative to my style of living.)


This is hard for me. It's harder to think about than it is to read it, where the words zip past your eyes, but have mulled for hours in my head. I think this is every writer's dilemma. Thus the need for setting goals.

First goal. Practice setting goals often. Practice makes perfect, yeah, yeah, my musician's mind is wagging its finger at the rest of me. Review the ones I've made, revise often, make amendments as needed. This may seem as "duhhh-uhh, Amy" as you can get, but you have to remember that this is a person with a history of me refusing to go with the masses, even if it was good for me. My adamant, stubborn (see: principle-istic) refusal to join any bandwagon has come with its detriments.

TWO. Be okay with being a dork. Whatever that means, however I've defined it, stop with the spazmatic, reactive behavior that comes from being so, absolutely, bizarrely insecure; stop going along with old notions and outdated-to-you preconceptions and make LONG term goals and SHORT ones. (You'd think I would have gotten used to this by now.) Time frame: rtf now.

Three. Own, or be working towards owning, my own bassoon. Maple only. Can't substitute. Within the next year. Maple bassoons are hella expensive. I could get a second-hand vehicle for the price of a bassoon. I could get a nice second-hand vehicle for what one can shell out for this instrument. The realization that this is what musicians do is what has made me realize just how hard I was trying to practical; and also: how negative I have been about getting one. I'm a musician who doesn't even own her own instrument. (I'm even borrowing the piano I loved for 10 years from my ex.) This is one part to why musicians are poor. The stereotype comes with good reason. We pay good money for good sound, pitch, timbre.

Four: Get my daughter's and my immigration cards taken care of. Projected time frame: summer. Projected time frame for filling out forms, getting the documents in line, and mailing off: already past due. Retry: Wednesday, next week.

Five: Finish my maid of honor's speech. Project goal line: No later than May. (The wedding's in July!)

That's it. Well, for now. I know I was thinking of a bunch to put down, but in between the time I wrote the first lines of this entry and this very moment of typing, an entirely 24 hours has magically elapsed and I need to move on. 

 (Life. It gets in the way of a writer.)

20 March 2012

why does every other douchebag writer have to exist?


Nothing like having your writing style under a microscope. I took the dive and decided to submit a few things I've done to Cracked.com. I really don't know why. Maybe I'm on coke. Maybe trace amounts of crack-cocaine are seeping into the water and I don't know it. Although we did just live through a third-world boil order here that was lifted, leaving me to assume that the water is, indeed, okay. Maybe I'm ingesting it through food or coffee---someone is spiking my intake.


I did get two responses from people who weren't even moderators or editors making a few suggestions on my pitch. I guess there's a certain way to pitch your material in a particular forum on the site, and then the editors go through every single one and decide which ones go into the "possible" basket and narrow down from that basket which ones will get a final go-ahead to write an article. That's just to write an article!

I didn't really do it right and my reaction to their reaction was one of immediate joy instantaneously followed by a plunge of discouragement. These sick freaks just know wayyy too much about whatever the hell is going on in between thousands of pages of forums. It's like the assprints on their computer chairs don't register whatsoever at all in their minds.

But they do tell you, rather nicely, how to reroute or edit your pitch as a friendly suggestion. I have only to wisely and for uppity-ly say: I already published it on a for-free blogging site, fool! Where else would anyone in the world contribute to the cesspool of internet and think they're pretty clever, dumbfacks! Haw-haww!

Guess who's a douchebaggy, dumbass loser wannabe writer on there, too?

Several months ago, I signed up for a Cracked forum user name and stalled on submitting anything because it was all kind of overwhelming. Then with the unfolding of taking a risk today evolving into an assessment and reaction to a mere pitch, it's left me feeling a little discouraged.

There is just so much info and forums to rifle through of how and when to make a proper pitch on their site, how high is too high when you jump, and how to position your balls if you had any. (Which I don't.)

There are straight out guidelines that border on college syllabus; and then there are ALL... the motherfuckers who really think they're something, pitching as many constipated turds of backwards assfucking ideas.

And even though my article pitch about the deep, passionate, hot-blooded Mexican ways of life is wayyyyy more better (and more classy) than half of the crap on there, I do stand corrected in the light that even the featured, fully published articles on the site's main page are still kind of stupid sometimes. (Oh yes I did. I said "more better." Suck it.)

I apologize to my moderate readers for my foul language. Whoever I pretend them to be.

I just finished an Irish article, but it wasn't in list form, so I scratched the idea of running a pitch for that. Then when I went to go check the forums (oh, God, the time spent trying to make sure you have nothing like the other thousands of countless pitches, articles, and trying-too-hard dickwads!...) didn'tcha know it: my searches turned up a whole bunch of Irish articles already done. I'm not even a dickwad I can be proud of. I'm a dickwad at the bottom of the totem pole of dickwads. Eeeeegh.

Can't wait to work on something else. Maybe a series of Cinco de Mayo pieces. Or Top 5 Reasons It Sucks To Work Your Way Through Cracked.com.
>>>>message truncated due to broiled monkey dysfunction<<<<<

19 March 2012

Dia's Muire duit! Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

Ah. Ye good ole day of green is upon us. St. Patrick's Day. Several years ago I wrote an article for the Cottage North Magazine as a contributing author about this day, trying to dispel some of the confusion or just plain ignorance of this holiday.

But that article was shit. It didn't even cover the HALF of real Irish pride, though I managed to inject some random ignorance into it and bring up points in the closing paragraph that weren't even touched on in the body, despite how hard I worked on that article. (Obviously, not all THAT hard.) 

I have stated that I don't like to alter original works, but I can honestly say I don't understand how that article was allowed to go published. The sophomoric attempt with which I wrote it with so audibly laughable it almost makes me worry about the integrity of the publisher. It totally deserves a rewrite. 

The original is around here somewhere. Maybe I will post it later for poking fun at and tearing apart while cackling loudly. Over a couple pints o' Guinness.

So, yeah, Saint Patrick's feast day. He lived in the wee years A.D. and is recognized for converting a multitude of people to Christianity in a time where the countryside was under pagan dominance. A.k.a the Apostle of Ireland due to his numerous conversions during such oppositional times.

From what little information to be gathered, he escaped imprisonment and studied in a monastery, having been a converted pagan himself.  The great successes that gained him the title Apostle of Ireland most likely contributed to the lore surrounding him driving "snakes" out of the land, as snakes were not a native species there.

Tales have told of his use of the shamrock for visually aiding his explanation of the Holy Trinity, which would have been a very appealing to pagan Celts. Shamrocks were, in Celtic tradition, considered to be lucky or magical because of the powers found in threes. 

So using the shamrock to point out one-two-three beings in one, it worked pretty good. The simple pagans just oohed and aahed their way to being saved.

"Oooh. Aah. Three-in-one. Got it!"

But, like many holidays to have metastasized into the current, bastardized versions that they are, St. Patrick's Day is yet another ancient holiday that blended religious and secular values, and changed shape with various customs, over the years.

As the Irish began to spread out to various parts of the world and customs wholly unrelated to Catholicism eventually amalgamated into the day most reminiscent for ex pat Irishmen, a hodge-podge of culturally- and memory-rich customs individually made their way into to blob of behavior, nostalgia, and humor that was distinctly Irish in flavor. Or at least desperately wishing it was.

I bet she's not even Irish.

Like pinching, for example. An old schoolyard game that evolved and trickled down from the days when wearing green could actually get you killed.  Wearing the color that most vehemently objected to the blue and red of British dominance was a rebellious thing and could get you shot. I'm guessing the pinch served to remind to Irishmen not standing up for their pride (and against all the years of British invasion and rule) that they should try and remember where they came from.

Unless, of course, you got shot in the face.

It served to remind good, proud Irishmen (and kids) what wearing green stood for. Which brings me to...

Why they must have drank so damned much. 

I really don't know if this is just a stereotype beaten to death by the movies, but if it bears any truth whatsoever, who the fuck could blame them? Between British oppression---and I'm talking heavy British oppression (long periods of great genocide by starvation, disease, and emigration)---liquor is probably the only thing that saved them from, or at least placated, their grief. 

At least in the pubs and various taverns, strains of a fiddle, a pennywhistle, or bodhrán could transport them away from every day shit life in "An Gorta Mór" or the segregated barrios in the New World, or their shit lives as slaves for a few hours in their day. 

Libation. Mm. Yum.

And they could really lament their troubles because Ireland was a lush garden already steeped in history, with known settlements as far back as the Neolithic period (aka Stone Age), long before the Vikings came and started setting up camp in their usual, plundering way.

 "Heave, ho. We're off to take over Ireland, yo."

Ireland's history predates Christianity and the New World, involved thousands of years of invasions by the Vikings, Celts, and Normand rule, and also included a patchwork land of varying kingdoms all before Ireland was more unified and certainly ALL before genocidal British rule.

Not to mention giving Irishmen and women the dire need to escape to the New World would find them having to struggle just as much on this side of the pond with segregation, racism, and in some cases, forced slavery, right around the time Africans were having problems with the same fucked up thing.

This is not a joke. This was really published. You can find more information here and here.

Speaking of which...

The etymological background of the leprechaun screams patchwork of influence and derision. The word as it currently stands resembles its Gaelic roots now (leipreachán), but the word itself went through the ringer just about as much as the rest of their language and culture did, taking on Latin and English changeovers.  

This spritely, mischievous character (neither "not wholly good nor wholly evil") comes straight out of Irish folklore, but is yet another item in the Irish bag of culture that went through a couple of transitions changed because of Latin influence and people not largely conforming to Gaelic. 

Awww, now who could imagine suppressing this little guy?

Which gives you the chance to understand just maybe why...

They drink so much. What? I said that already? Oh yeah. Well I guess I needed another drink myself just researching this stuff. I don't understand how any single Irish person wouldn't just flip their lids, galled with exhausted incredulousness just listening to any single thing any other person of any other mix of ancestry could have to whine about in their fluffy little lives. 

But they don't. They're just as friendly or grumpy or as racked up with issues as the rest of us. Hard, sturdy survivors with distinctly rich and embedded culture constantly fighting to keep the blanket of crap that would cover their heads. 

Ireland rose her head above the worst and cruelest kinds of indignity, prejudice and segregation, the horse manure and stench of politics, and soul-crippling abuse and infused a cultural centerpiece for Irish expats and their descendants to enjoy. And, like anyone who has suffered the brunt of humiliation, we know we relate best with those who've been through the worst. They are the champion underdog.

Yes, Ireland, this one's for you. 

You always have a reason to celebrate their heritage. 

You damn well deserve to party.

May God, Mary, and Patrick bless ye!

12 March 2012

living in the past

Dont do it.

Like, ever.

Especially if it just mulls you over with guilt and regretful reflections that you've already had.

Just sayin'.

11 March 2012

Getting married was an event that forwent all of whatever girlhood dreams I had about getting married, save for the ooey-gooey yay-ness of it.

I had met my ex my first year of college. I had originally written him off as not being serious enough for me, thanks to the music department's freshman orientation meeting, where the chair was lecturing us all in the smaller performing hall about the do's and don'ts of campus and of the music program. 

The chair of the music department was recounting a story involving beer being found in one of the upperclassman's' lockers the previous year and, in trying to make an impression on us as to his personality, told us we didn't want to be stupid like that. Told us he didn't want to name names. Then promptly followed that comment with the link "like" and then the name of the student.

I took note, figured I knew at least one person to stay away from, but then was so promptly dealing with being pregnant, such menial worries got swiped from memory.

In the interim, I stressed big time over a whole bunch of other shit, not the least of which was academic life taking a hit with pending and real-time motherhood. Then, the father of my child and I split and I started to stress out about providing for my kid because, true to form, when he left, everything left. Including support.

However, I did start to lift my head about my options.

I was struggling to hold onto whatever little dreaming I had left, even though it was altered. By the time my daughter was approaching her first birthday, I had been disenchanted with life. I mean, I was still the emotional, dreamy Latina underneath and I wanted everything for my daughter that I would not be getting, but... I was kind of a clusterphuck loss for what to do with myself. Nothing had gone like I had wanted, but I had not really figured out how to deal with it.

So, I did what any other disenchanted Latina of mixed heritage would do (maybe? I only speak for myself, really): I started to eyeball some guy friends in the music department for the upcoming Valentine's Dance. Narrowed it down to one. Told my BFF, who had been told "by a little birdie" that the one I was thinking about asking was also thinking about asking me, too. Cool!

He worked near the taco-slapping, hard-grinding fast food place I worked at, and would always come in for some food. After the exchange with my BFF took place in music theory class, he came in and awkwardly asked me. We went to the dance. He wore his tux. He made supper for all of us that night (3 couples going together.) He bought a rose. I made him dance every dance. I went home to where the ex-boyfriend was still taking up space in my bedroom. I fell asleep on the couch.

In the midst of the bizarre set-up that was having my ex in my home, this guy really made me feel special. And man, was he tall! After the dance, we took several opportunities to hang out. Coffee, music ed student parties, various low-cost/no-cost activities like his friend's friend's pontoon boat, jamming with friends at his apartment, watching movies. One special night, he even took me down to the river and pulled me up the hill, taco-grease-smelling monkey suit and all (because it was right after work), and read me two poems that he wrote. 

He even explained the beer incident on campus and was pissed that the chair of the department had brought his name up in that freshman meeting. A couple of his buddies put it in his saxophone locker as a joke, only the joke ended up getting discovered, and the music chair had his own thoughts and opinions, various ones of which led him to arbitrarily mention names in that meeting a year and a half prior. I don't want to name names, either. Scott Prebys.


07 March 2012

So yeah, I think I'm figuring out things! 

I have a lot of things on the go, and they're keeping me busy. Or at least out of trouble. That's good. But it's part of being on track. I do feel like the "track" itself is not well-defined, as in with absolute goals and micromanaged footsteps, but I do feel like things are looking up and would like to attribute it to a change in attitude. 

I was wondering about why I'd want to define it for anyone in the first place because it doesn't really matter to anyone but myself, so what difference does it make if it confuses the hell out of people or keeps them on their toes or whatever. I know where I'm going. It's with my gut. And for all the so-called paper qualifications I'm lacking for anything of elevated job status, I don't need a paper to know that I'm following something true and real. I've done a lot worse than that.

I really can't say if school is in that track or not. I hope in some ways it is. But honestly, the idea of incurring all that debt scares the hell out of me, completely independent of whether or not the music education sector is really good or dwindling. At least trade school is another option. My love of all things auto-motive really is turning out to be a passion, and not just some way of being cool, or getting daddy's approval, or any weird shit. It just is what it is.

And in figuring things out, having had much occasion to think about what it is I want, what I used to dream of, what I imagined, and what I can do with my reality, and I remember that when I was a kid, I imagined living in some urban-mixed-with-old-world studio apartment with my pet Bengal tiger and white grand piano, edges painted in gold with a red rose airbrushed on top, near the music stand side of the lid.

And for some odd reason, I never reconciled that picture with what was going on in my own life or worked on making myself be okay with it. Everything that occurred in my life after graduation was a gradual disenchantment with life in general because all I knew is that things weren't going the way I had imagined them, even to say those things compounded each other in rapid-fire succession; although I didn't know exactly what that was (just a feeling) and then purposefully grew bitter and angsty to avoid disappointment. I had my reasons.

So what? Now? I just laugh. Not really at myself or wanting to put down my former kid self or anything. And certainly not at any of the really heavy parts that caused great pain to myself or others. But at the sheer ease with which I just overlooked it. I mean, it's not hard to fathom, seeing as how I was dealing with some pretty major things right off the hop out of high school which continued far into my adult life.

It's just that I missed one tiny little detail in having known that my studio apartment with my piano was one of those memories you just put away with growing up: there was a reason I imagined things that way at that age, but there was no reason for why I had not changed it, or evolved it, or even entertained the idea that I could have a new dream.

Others? Oh yeah, for s-u-r-e! All the time! Ask me for advice and I'd work hard around every facet of your brain trying to inspire you! But myself? Nah. Nope.

So, you ask me now what that is, I don't know. It's still tricky for me to say, at least career-wise, to have a dream. My last career dream kind of flew out the window when we moved up north, because I was not willing to compromise on my education by doing something else through whatever other online programs they had up there, and because we were so far away from any institution that the older I got, the more out of the question it became to do anything that would upset the girls' lives like... leaving to go finish school.

Not only that, but my family was growing and my priorities changed. That is to say: get your frickin' head out of the clouds, out of missed opportunities, any of the "couldas and shouldas" and be a mom.

And before that, before I even lived in Canada, never mind way up north, was being a mom. I was always a mom. Being a mom was and is THE most beloved, treasured of roles I've ever been blessed or been allowed to have, but it was also the first thing I ever knew in the outside, real world. There is a whole world of raising up children to be ready for the world that I believed and avowed to engage before all else. 

My parenting style has been one about standing up against the tide, of doing everything in my power and with God's help to NOT let the "sins of the father pass onto the son", to break the cycle of pain, and never ever being an autopilot mommy. (My parents were good parents, but they had their issues, and I didn't want those passing on through to me to my girls, and thusly whatever issues I had to pass on to them, either.) Giving them the tools and teaching them how to instill their own tools, too, for the hardass world I'd already seen enough of at 22, 25, and 29 was far more important than whatever I was going through. It didn't take a genius to know that their worlds were mine. I put them on like a mantle.

But I did kind of hide behind that. I was glad to. I still would. Except I'm starting to realize what a disservice it is to them. The whole part of figuring things out has this right in there, along with my other contemplations, because I can see the possibilities of good in this new equation. I really can't reconcile me not having my daughters with me right now as a good thing. In fact, it feels very wrong. But this time, I'm not reacting out of emotions. 

I'm trying to be a grown-up.