I swear, he’s a genius! (or; Smartmouthmom-the next chapter)

It’s been a bit hectic here at the old homestead. My adolescent son appears to be reaching near critical levels of hormones and I have been sorting out some health issues.

My son is very similar in personality to that chicken hawk in those old Looney Toon cartoons. I strongly identify with Foghorn Leghorn… my son even WALKS like that little bird. He is a bit on the smaller side but is a star athlete and is unafraid to smack talk much larger, older kids on any playing field. He isn’t afraid to use that mouth anywhere–including school.

Last week I had yet another call–this time it was the principal.

Me: Hello?
Principal: Hello! I just wanted to let you know that I was just in the gym, and I heard a very loud OH SHIT!!! It was so loud, in fact, that it could be heard over the game and everyone on the bleachers.
Me: I’m so sorry…
Principal: Yes, well your son said that you were picking him up in 45 minutes, but I thought you might want to know about this as this might change your mind.

Here is where I wanted to say: Well, thanks, but no–45 minutes gives me just enough time to have a couple of glasses of wine before I drive up to school and get this asshole kid of mine. Better yet, why don’t you drive him home? Better yet, let me sit here and drink and call my husband and let him pick him up? And really, to be honest, I’m surprised he only said shit.

But I didn’t say any of that. I didn’t even have a drink, I just drove up and fetched my son. And told him to watch his mouth.

Now–because I’m a comedian, I posted about this on Facebook–and I said that if this happened again that I was going to tell the school that according to a recent Facebook article, swearing can be a sign of genius, maybe you’re not challenging him enough and GOOD DAY SIR!!! (that last bit is an homage to John Oliver.)

The very DAY that I posted that, I got yet another call from the school. This time it was the teacher. She was calling to inform me that due to my son’s mouth and behavior, she had to eject him from the classroom. (SIGH) So I said….I’m so sorry….and I will talk to him….but are you aware that according to a recent Facebook article, swearing can be a sign of genius, maybe the school isn’t challenging him enough–maybe this is why he is acting out???

I could barely say this without giggling. I couldn’t help myself. The joke was already set up.

The teacher said, and I quote: “I saw the same article on Facebook–I don’t think the problem is his intelligence–I think it’s his mouth.”

It’s possible I may have cost my son some more time in detention for the sake of a joke. It’s also possible that my son is also destined for the stage as he said that the reason he was ejected was for talking during a movie about love or otters or something and he just couldn’t bring himself to watch it.

For the record, I did talk with him about his behaviors and tried to explain that school may not be the best place to act out, and that teachers and principals deserve respect.

And now he wants to grow dreadlocks. I responded that I didn’t know he was such a Bob Marley fan and that I was going up to search his room.

Parenting. Not for the faint of heart my friends.

Peace people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A cluster of friends

Today I went to the gym. I was in a good mood; the sun was actually shining here in Michigan. We’ve only had a couple of days of pure sun since November and the rays penetrated my skin down to my soul, lifting my spirits. I punched away at the heavy bag in my extreme kickboxing class, singing along with the instructor to the music of Prince playing in the room. I will always sing and dance to Prince–wherever I am.

After the class I wandered upstairs to leave and found a cluster of my friends standing and talking. I yelled at them for having a party and not inviting me. They laughed and waved me in. One of my friend’s was complaining that she didn’t want to work out…she hadn’t worked out in months and had only come up to the gym to see all of us. And-for the coffee. We all jumped on her, teasing her to get back to the classes, to quit making excuses…she laughed at us, and we at her.

We discussed politics…the “Bowling Green Massacre” and other alternative facts of late. One friend said that she was personally pro-life but that she could never take away a woman’s choice from her and put it into the hands of men. Another said that she was born here, even though her parents were immigrants. She was an American. One friend said she wanted to travel across the country with her family before her children were too old…but now she was afraid to do so.

All of my friends were afraid.

All of my friends in this group were Muslim women.

They all wore hijabs.

They are my friends. They are smart and funny and sweet and kind–and I tried my best to tell them that there are many that support them. That I support them.

I wanted to somehow take a secret video of this group. I know there are some people out there that still think that all Muslim women are beaten, scared, subservient. I wanted to be able to pull my video out and use it as a teaching tool–to show others that what they see on television or in the movies is propaganda–similar to what has been used with African Americans. I wanted the people in this country that are frightened of the sight of a hijab to know what I know–that these women are just like you and me. They get frustrated with traffic, they worry about their children, they love dessert, and they still love me even though I swear too much.

They are my friends.

Together we will stand strong against the forces of hate and intolerance.

Together we will show compassion for others and choose love.

The sun is still shining.

Peace people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s a little public humiliation?…

Well, it happened again. Another very public anxiety attack. We can laugh about it now.

Or not.

Sigh.

The attack actually happened back in August. It has taken me this long to recover enough to write about it.

In August I rallied the courage to emcee for the first time at the major comedy club in the area. I had been putting this off… I had never done this before and I’m only just now, a couple of years into stand up, beginning to get over my severe stage fright. Hosting the show is an entirely different animal. As a comic, you must perform first, warming up the crowd, and then introduce each subsequent comic, making sure they stay to the set given minutes, give any announcements, and keep the flow of the show going.

I was already extremely nervous. My anxiety was beginning to climb days ahead of this show. I practiced my set, and my friend met me before the show to rehearse what to say to the audience–he had hosted several times. I was as ready as I was going to be.

I walked into the club and my friend that works there showed me the list of comics performing that night. At the end of the list were several names–add ons. My friend said that some headliner’s had shown up and asked to be on the show that night…and now the show was going to run long…and now we had to figure out how much time to allow everyone…and this is about the time my anxiety began to really escalate.

I went behind the stage and said hello to the comics back there and began to deep breathe. It didn’t help. Another friend came backstage to say hello before the show–he is a fairly well-known headliner–and pointed out a name on the list was a former winner of Star Search.

SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT

The show began and I went out first. I did my set but because I was so nervous I lost my shit. My voice was all squeaky. I began to shake. I could barely hold the microphone. I was dying on stage. And I had a whole, now really long show, to get through.

SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT

My friend, who was there to support me, the one that had practiced with me, kept running back to help me between comics. He was offering advice, like “Smile more!” and “More energy!” I heard “You are totally sucking it!!!” and became even more nervous–which I didn’t know was possible. I began to have tunnel vision. I was shaking so hard I had to hold the podium back stage to stand up. I almost vomited. On stage I very nearly backed into the wall, away from the audience. I don’t even know what the audience thought. I forgot a comic’s name on stage–and he had to yell it to me through the door. Jesus. I said to my supportive friend backstage, well, the worst just happened. Nothing else can go wrong now. He said oh, no–something else can always go wrong. NOT THE THING TO SAY TO ME ASSHOLE!!!!!! And just like that I went from extreme anxiety, to Thelma and Louise, over the cliff, not coming back, down the rabbit hole panic attack PTSD mode. It was over for me.

I had put so much pressure on myself as I knew that the owner of the club watched the show and determined if he would hire an emcee or feature act for the following year. I didn’t want to let him down, my friends down, or myself down. In the end–I did all of the above.

After the show, my friend that runs the club came back stage and asked me how I thought I had done. I knew instantly what that meant. I just started bawling. Like, ugly girl crying. It was horrible.

I ended up in the green room, on the couch with my supportive friend trying to calm me. It went like this:

Him: You know, I also suffer from depression and anxiety. You can’t let this get to you.
Me:(in my head) Not like this. And if you don’t shut up, I will punch you.
Him: Hey, the good news–you got to perform on one of the top four most important comedy stages in the United States! Not many people get to say that!
Me: (in my head) SHIT!! I JUST SCREWED UP ON ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT STAGES IN THE U.S.!!!!

My friend that runs the club came back to check on me and also tried to comfort me. He said well, maybe you just weren’t meant to emcee… I heard YOU SUCK AND CAN’T EVEN BE AN EMCEE and started hyperventilating again. I had two men staring at the girl bawling on the couch, staring at each other, and you could just see they were trying to figure out what the F*** to do. Like, do we just kill her? Do we call someone? Ummmm….

The good news out of all of this is that I have really good friends. Friends that I can bawl in front of and they will still love me. I love them for this.

And, I have licked my wounded ego and gotten back up on stage. I haven’t hosted again, yet, but I will. Eventually. Someday.

Peace people.

 

Summer Fun (just pass the bottle)

It’s August, and that means summer vacation time. We took our yearly trek up to northern Michigan last week. My husband and I get into a “discourse” before every long car trip. By long, I mean anything longer than the distance of our short driveway. He offered to drive. I suggested (read-strongly refused to let him) that I do so instead as he could probably use the rest.

Here’s the reason. My husband suffers from what I like to call “Driving Induced Narcolepsy.” It doesn’t matter if he is the driver or the passenger. He will fall asleep in a matter of seconds once the car motor is started. Now, I’m usually a very liberal girl….but on this occasion, well, I’m very decidedly PRO LIFE. I’m driving. My husband can be driving, and nodding off, and driving…and nodding off….the kids, frantic in the back seat….my daughter, texting me frantic messages to wake her dad the (blank) up… next the kids start recording farewell messages to their classmates…to be played on what would have been their graduation days…. my husband, still driving and nodding…..irritated if I suggest he pull the F*** OVER NOW!!

Anyway, this will go on…and then suddenly, some dude in a car will try to pass on the right. My husband will shoot to consciousness like a rocket, his foot instantly pressing on the gas. Seriously???? It’s the man rule: Thou shalt not let another car pass in front of you. It’s unbelievable. Now it’s on and my husband has gone all Nascar on me. Except he hates Nascar. Except for this instance. Jesus.

And I’m thinking how the (blank) tough do you really think you look (asshole) driving the six-year-old Explorer, with dents on the side, three kids in the back, adorned with bumper stickers??? And how far do you think we are going to get when we are surrounded by ORANGE BARRELS AS IT IS SUMMER IN MICHIGAN????

Day three of the vacation I staggered up to the food kiosk at the beach to order food. My youngest son had thrown me into the lake. Michiganders like to refer to the temperature of the Great Lakes as “refreshing.” Bullshit. I’m from Michigan and I am here to tell you that even on a ninety degree day the water was bloody damn cold. I hadn’t brought a brush with me to the beach…because why would I… As the guy at the lunch place leaned into the window to take my order I caught sight of my shadow. My hair had dried into a pattern that can only be described as “Medusa like.” The guy asked me what I wanted. I think I may have spoken in a voice normally reserved for serial killers in movies when I replied: Vodka. But only the good stuff–like Grey Goose. And no mixer. Just the damn bottle. And a bunch of limes.

The guy looked at me and said huh. He then proceeded to tell me all about the local variety of vodka made up in Traverse City…and then we had quite the conversation about the different types of vodka. I think he would have given me a free drink/bottle had he any vodka on him. I think he sensed my desperation. Maybe the hair was a give away. Hard to tell, really…

The drive home only took a short six hours. It is normally a three and a half hour jaunt, but it’s Michigan and summer, which means road construction. Which means some asshat decided to close one lane of the main highway pretty much all the way home…

You know, when you’re stuck in a car for that long, you start to think about things, like teleporting, and flying cars, and running away and assuming a new identity. And why the hell can’t they make a more comfortable car seat. Seriously.

We’re home now and I’m happy to report I’m not an alcoholic. I am counting down the days until school begins again…

Peace people

 

 

 

 

Coin Toss

He has a name. Arnaldo Eliud Rios Soto is the name of the autistic young man who wandered away from the group home last week in Miami–and the world watched his African-American behavioral therapist get shot attempting to help him.

Ok, technically, the shooting is NOT on the video. What we see is the African-American therapist laying on the ground with his hands in the air, while Rios sits cross-legged next to him. They are in the middle of the street. Rios is holding a toy truck. Charles Kinsey, the therapist, can be heard yelling that he is a behavioral therapist and that Rios is his patient.

It didn’t F******* matter. The SWAT team member shot Kinsey in the leg. He had a report that Rios was suicidal and had a gun. He was actually aiming for Rios. (Because it makes sense to kill a man that might be suicidal instead of actually helping him…No, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s bullshit.)

I have been sick to my stomach for days over this.

Two of my children are African. One of my four children, my twenty year old son, is autistic. Imagine the scenario someday where my two boys are together and my autistic son becomes agitated–possibly aggressive. My African son is with him. What if a bystander calls the police?

A couple of years ago I stopped by my local police department to inquire as to their autism training and intervention plans. The officer I talked to was, well, a total jerk. He took one look at my arms, bruised from a previous bad day with my son. It happens. The officer was ready to press charges and wanted me to sign a form IMMEDIATELY.

WHAT. THE. F***.

I had come there for help. I wanted to know that if I needed assistance with my son, I could count on them showing up and not shooting him; not tasering him; not hurting him in any way. Instead, I realized that this fellow had no idea about cognitive delays, mental health, and autism.

Last week’s shooting was my worst nightmare come true. I understand that not all police officers are incompetent, racist asshats. I do. But shooting Kinsey was completely UNNECESSARY. The thought that the officer actually meant to shoot Rios sickens me.

So again, I pose the question: What if my two sons are in public. Which one are the police going to aim for? The thought sickens me. Both are innocent. Both were born with a set of genes that determined their individual destinies. One: tall, caucasian, cognitively impaired, autistic. One: shorter, strong, African, bright.

Black Lives Do Matter. Deal with it.

Autism exists. Learn about it and deal with it.

Try and show compassion and kindness towards each other.

Peace people.

 

OH (my!) Canada..(or, I’ll take the enhanced version…)

Dear gentle readers…I have to share my latest adventure with you. As some of you know, I am a struggling stand up comic. This means that much of my time is spent at comedy shows performing in front of other comics and occasionally audience members. Once in a while I get paid by actual money for a performance and not just the standard free drink.

This week I performed in (OH!) Canada. This is just across the border from where I live, so normally this isn’t a problem. However, the night of my chosen performance, was also the night of the fireworks display across Great Lakes. Shit.

I was stopped by border control in Canada and my car searched. Apparently I meet the criteria for either terrorist or drug runner. Good to know.

Two and a half hours later (which is normally a forty minute trip…) I made it to the venue. The club was a marijuana vape lounge. It was legal. No weed is sold there, but a patron is allowed to bring their own and smoke at will.

Turns out I was the headliner, so it was a good thing I actually made it to this hazy room. Some of my comic friends were there and were very happy to give me an in service on all the devices used for pot these days. Things sure have changed since the 1980s. There are all sorts of contraptions, digital things–crazy man. High tech. Bunch of wimps. Just saying.

I was anxious to perform as I wanted to get on the road to home and try to beat the traffic. My GPS did not work in Canada (asshole) and I had used up my phone battery getting there. I went up last and did my routine…and as part of it I mention menopause.

There was a guy sitting at the vape bar (no alcohol is served…what the hell kind of bar is this???) and he looked at me and shouted “What you need is CANNALUBE!!!”

WTF??

I asked what the hell that was and if that is what the cool kids were calling cannabis these days.

Nope. Turns out it is a vaginal lubricant with cannabis oil in it.

You heard it here first, folks.

I asked him if it would make my vagina high. I asked him if I could have a free sample. I told the room this was the single best day of my life.

I finished my set and had a conversation with him. Turns out not only can Cannalube be used as a personal lubricant, you can cook with it (he told me some recipes) and he also puts it in his coffee. It was quite the conversation. He would have given me a free sample, but as I had already been searched going over, I decided not to chance it going back to the States.

So my postmenopausal ladyparts that can’talube by themselves could have gotten free Cannalube.

Damn.

Peace People

 

 

 

 

My Walk on the (not so)Wild Side

I feel the need to lighten the mood. The events of the last week have affected me..so in solidarity with the LGBT community…let me share some stories.

I was a single mother with my oldest daughter. My ex-husband left when she was four weeks old. That is another story for another time. Anyway, this left me not so fond of the male species for a period of time (imagine!) as I struggled to go to college and raise my daughter alone.

My parents, being the..ummm…interesting…people they were…would occasionally ask/force me to go out to dinner with them. On such occasions I would ask/force my best friend to go with me (just as she forced me with her own family). My parents soon became “concerned” about our friendship. Sigh. So…just to drive my insane parents even crazier, my best friend and I would sit even closer together, touching each other when talking…just to watch my mother’s eyes bug out. It was freaking awesome. Once at one of these dinners, my mom suggested to me that I marry a plastic surgeon so he could do all the necessary work on me…for free… so…. Good old mom. Always there with an encouraging word.

Once my friend and I took my daughter on a mini vacation to a cabin on the beach. My parents caught wind of this…and drove up and down some small towns on Lake Michigan looking for my car. My daughter spotted their motor home in the parking lot of the cabins we were staying in and started yelling. My parents walked over to us..they were just in the neighborhood….three hours away from home…and asked to see our cabin. My daughter took them on a tour. My mom asked where she was sleeping. Then she asked where my friend was sleeping and where I was. Once it was clear that my friend and I weren’t sharing the same bed, my parents promptly left. I am not kidding. Jesus.

Time moves forward…I go through chemo…and my hair starts to grow back. It’s a very short stubble. My best friend–the same one–wants to go to a Melissa Etheridge concert. I also love Melissa, but I also know her audience. I’ve been to several of her concerts. We are walking together through the concert and there are all sorts of stands set up with  LGBT info/groups etc handing out info. The people running them assume that my friend and I are a couple… I assume it’s my hair. And the fact that my asshole friend is letting them think that. She has a grand time laughing at me as I do my best to walk in my best “I’m not gay” gait ever. Which made me just look like I had to use the bathroom. Awesome.

Anyway. I hope that this made some of you smile just a little bit.

Peace people.