Poxic Tossitivity

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Are we all feeling as if toxic positivity has taken yet another unhealthy turn where not only are you meant to zen love smile radiate embrace remain present in order to achieve all of the lovely things, but also condemn those who do not/cannot?

You must not yoga enough with the right people at the right time in the correct vegan yoga things, so you’ve built your own quagmire of shit as a result.

You did not radiate the holiest beauty of rainbow sunshine, so you must not be doing your job correctly which is probably why you will fail at it.

You are requiring something of me and no one ever requires anything of me in ways I do not want. I am the one who should be requiring things of you. You are oppressing me because I feel very unhappy about what you are saying.

Maybe it’s just me.

It’s bizarro world again, still – or whatever

It is understandable that most people want the same things: love, health, belonging, meaning, recognition.

What I struggle with is embracing the culture of toxic positivity to work towards those things. You must love yourself before anyone can love you! Fake it until you make it! Everything happens for a reason! You deserve a break!

This all sounds pretty freaking toxic to me.

No one loves you if you don’t love you. If you cannot pretend to be happy, then you will never be happy. There are reasons why these awful things happen, so your feelings about them are not appropriate. There are times when you do not deserve a break.

I toss some pox on that. Culturally we toss pox on that.

You don’t look like you love yourself enough, so I have decided you are unworthy of love and consideration. You do not look happy to me so I have decided your happiness is unworthy of consideration. You are not worthy of consideration for a break because I have decided you do not deserve one.

Our culture has full on embraced toxic positivity with a constant stream of shaming/blaming/fear-based living, and lately have one-upped that with the poxic tossitivity.

We have been deliberately systematically brainwashed and gaslighted to accept this as our culture, and I am exhausted by it all.

Stop telling me that I am building resilience in myself and in SonHerisme while you strip away mine, my sister’s, my nieces’, my friends’, my neighbors’, my menstruating community and future menstruating communities’ access to medical care.

Stop telling me that we are building resilience by shoving kids and teachers into COVID superspreader overcrowded schools by pretending that we are doing this to save our economy when we could have all been vaccinated and masked (except for young kids) or made entirely out-of-the-box different plans.

Stop telling me that universal healthcare will make us a communist country, and that socialism programs are bad for our country. Roads, fire departments, police departments, the schools you were desperate to prematurely reopen, roads, libraries, bridges, military, parks, museums, your freaking sportsing stadiums, public transportation are ALL socialist structures…

Stop telling me that we are building resilience by sending 6-week-old babies into institutionalized crap-waged/crap-benefited care facilities for 50+ hours each week so that the mothers can “work,” as if birthing, feeding, and raising babies is “not real work.” But, some people have to work, Ms. Herisme… NEWSFLASH… if they are caretaking (babies, elderly etc) they are FUCKING WORKING, they just aren’t getting paid in a pretty pretty direct-deposit paycheck. What the hell are we doing multiple-layer-middle-managing this shit when people have been birthing the babies and raising the families, and caring for infirm, for thousands of years and the BEST we can come up with is to force more people into more institutionalized care facilities? I do not get it.

We throw answers at problems without even asking the root questions, then blame the people we claim to want to help when the inevitable shitstorm lands.

We subsidize the institutions, because their operational costs are too expensive to exist on tuition/rent. Then we subsidize the staff because they do not earn a livable wage or have health care. They we subsidize the family who cannot earn enough money to pay for the institutions. Then we punish the worker by terminating them when they have to stay home too often with their usually institutionalized family member, due to illness or a freaking pandemic.

gah – enough on this topic

I am tired of being asked to build resilience

I am tired of toxic positivity

I am tired of it turning into poxic tossitivity

TOSS the POX

Maybe there’s a vaccine for that… it might be more tea, a meditation, and a list of to-do’s with brief dancey-dances as each is checked-off as complete

Or maybe it is to embrace the grace to recognize that there are fairly shitty things happening due to no one’s inability to love themselves enough, vegan up enough, recognize the beauty of a blade of grass well enough, shiny happy people face enough, work hard enough/long enough – the shitty things are just life and shit. Perhaps we can find a moment of joy, or witness someone else’s moment of joy, or see that the ‘O’ in joy is a reminder of the cyclical nature of the everythings and feel that heaviness as hope or despair or recognize the feeling of anything real, genuine, pretend for even half a second (even predictable boredom in slogging through this shitty writing/listening, or just a breath in and out) – that is enough, you are enough. If you cannot do any of that, I will at least breathe once in and once out just for you. (7 counts all around and into my lower diaphragm natch, if you must know)

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

side note: MotherHerisme presented a bottle of artichoke oil in pill form to take with my dinner just in case I have any interest in losing weight, but no pressure. She read about it on her computer and is only trying to help. She just wants me to find a husband and be happy. *eye roll to tomorrow-ville and internal screaming pleas to NOT ENGAGE* I have discreetly disposed the pills. Weirdo times. TOSS this POX

if you’re vaccinated and asymptomatic, join me for some tea on the back deck later – much later, time-to-light-a-fire later. Screw the tea, actually. Bring something deeply colored, very strong, and sublimely lovely. later gator

Rainy Day

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Welcome to my rainy day.

So far there’s been: a 1:30am thunderstorm with a yet-to-be-identified tree fall, a 3am panic attack from weirdo schmeardo nightmare, an overly optimistic 6am alarm, and a more realistic 7am alarm followed by a 10 minute snooze button, hand-holding school drop off, slight leaky-eyed tears driving home from drop-off… big emotions swirling for what turned out to be an adventurous day.

In other news, MotherHerisme wore lipstick! W H A T WHAT the what what?!!? Like fuh reals? YES. She had on a pinkish orangey melon colored lipstick like back in the day. In my growing up times, and until maybe the past decade, MotherHerisme was always lipsticked, usually foundationed, and occasionally mascara-ed with tidy hair, outrageous sparkle shirts, cozy pants and shiny shoes. While she still sucks up the energy in the room, it used to be she sucked it all up to blow back out in enthusiastic boisterous gregarious loudnesses. In the past decade she just broke down into massive seriously full-on narcissistic, fist banging, leg kicking, throwing things, screaming, crying, temper-tantrum mode. It has been difficult times. I think she just broke from years of trying to force the universe to bend to her will through gregarious extrovertednesses. She has trauma, for sure, which I think until recently she truly had no idea she was acting out and passing down. Recently she told me that for the first time in her whole life she has felt like she could just be herself now. She claims to have never considered her own mortality until now either. It has been a very hard road for her to recognize that she is a uniquely privileged piece of the universe, in a never-before-in-human-history and never-again-in-human-history, specialized race/socioeconomic/cultural specific generation. I am not certain that she can fully embrace that knowledge now either, but I do think that very occasionally she has the ability to see outside of herself, which is a step to empathy. Just this morning, she commented that she’s never felt so relaxed in her whole life as she has these past two years specifically.

I cannot remember what I have shared previously about MotherHerisme. To sum up, she has been living in my house since Christmas of 2016. Today her version of how this came to be is that she has had a series of medical issues and has established physician relationships here which prevent her from moving back to her own home (3 states to the west, where my father, her husband, still resides across the street from my sister and her family). This topic is for a different day’s writing.

ANYWHO, the day I began this writing turned into a massive shitstorm – as in Ida held firm in her own resolve to deposit her hurricane remnants hither and thither around my area of the world. We are all okay. My heart aches for places which are not okay. This is a tiny picture of my lucky story.

School dismissal was a bit bumpy. My road was washed out, as were all roads leading to mine. They’re currently being repaired (huzzah to seeing taxes work for the people!). We can enter and exit back up the hill and through another little town which has a raised highway entrance. The water is clearing itself out after cresting yesterday evening. Mother Nature – we see you and raise you a Texridiculas women’s oppression body control shitstorm! TAKE THAT bwahahahahaha (not in Richard E Grant’s voice this time as his wife has sadly passed away and I am sending him oodles of comfort, peace, space and grace for grief).

No school buses are available for our school, so I drive SonHerisme everyday. Pre-COVID, I walked him inside in the morning, and walked inside to pick him up in the afternoons. COVID times make us an exclusive carline school. positives: SonHerisme likes carline now that he is an 8th grader and can sneak hand holding and a sweet momma kiss before he disembarks to school. negatives: we are not a neighborhood school so we miss out on the milling about the front of the school community connections, plus, sitting in the car for an hour is HARD for this sweet momma (crying the tears of the privileged).

As I drove to pick up SonHerisme through aggressive Ida remnants, the thought occurred to me about warnings for driving through washed out roads (mine was, many were between home and school), as well as how the flippity rain deluge did I think I was getting us home if it was still pouring and I’m pretty sure our road was washing away as I skidded over it. Spoiler alert – segments of our road (and many others) did wash away. By the time I had gathered SonHerisme (THANK YOU to the edges of reality and back to ALL school staff – bc you guys ROCK the job-damned living hell out of what you do!!!!), my road and roads leading to my road, were indeed closed.

But, what ho, thought I… the rain had subsided somewhat and I had made it out on my road, surely I could make it back in! Bravado! Entitlement! Calculated risk trust exercise! Alas, there was a police car right behind me escorting county maintenance vehicles assessing and closing off roads. Did I care? No! YES! A weakened maybe perhaps as I pulled my SUV (yup, I’m that momma and SonHerisme plays soccer) into an empty parking lot with a water run-off embankment located just before my road (post multiple re-routes to get this close to home). As soon as the police car was out of sight, I u-turned my car, drove down the middle of the road (as the lanes were completely under water, but the center was slightly raised and not under water), and bypassed the “road closed” sign for my road, as if I lived in the little neighborhood just past the sign. I told SonHerisme that I might have to backup or pull into the church parking lot on a little hill, if our road was fully washed out or if the water was too deep to see the pavement. C’mon I’m not CRAZY crazy.

I was able to navigate our road by staying in the middle. The sides of the road had fallen off in spots, especially by deeper gully areas. Most of my road is going uphill, so after we drove about 3/4 mile without issue, I felt like we were just fine. EXCEPT for the two 40ft uprooted giant oak trees that had fallen across our road just before our driveway. County vehicles were already on the the scene, along with a firetruck (as first responders from the top of our hill). By now SonHerisme had to go to the bathroom since he’d been in the car with after school snack/water for over an hour at this point – we live about 4-5 miles from his school.

SonHerisme had a few choices: get out and pee off the side of the road, stay in the car and wet his pants, or ask road maintenance if he could shimmy over/under the giant fallen trees to run up our driveway to the house. He chose running up the driveway to the house since, as he described his situation, “I have to go to the BATHROOM bathroom, not just pee, MOM!” He’s totally teening.

Since my sweet teeny tiny squishy newborn baby looks 19/20 at 13 years-old, except for his super cute school backpack, the road crew and firemen agreed he could go underneath the fallen giant oaks. Once they supervised him through, they asked him how old he is and one of the crew on my side of the trees jogged back to me. “Don’t worry ma’am, he did just fine and said he will call you as soon as he is inside. You can wait right here for about 15-20 minutes and we will have the road cleared for you to get home.”

So I waited.

Meanwhile, at least one school bus with 10 students had to be water rescued having been pushed off the road by fast moving water, so all school buses had been ordered back to their schools. Parents all over the county had to pick up their children whenever they could, however they could. It was a proper emergency. School staff organized and kept kids secure and safe until they could be picked up.

We have two little elementary girls down the hill and across the road who got stuck in their school bus for about 2 hours because their bus couldn’t get back to their school or to their house due to closed and impassable roads. About ten minutes after the giant oaks were cleared from our road, the girl’s bus came down the road from the top of the hill and dropped them off safely at home. That is a hero school bus driver for sure.

What a day. Not one local person lost their life. We are lucky.

The next day school was canceled due to too many impassable roads. Water levels peaked in the early evening, and began to recede in time for enough road work to allow schools to reopen on Friday. Of course, the city rec tennis coach got her assistants and brooms out about 30 minutes before SonHerisme’s Thursday evening tennis, and they cleared all but one of the courts which had been submerged in water and were full of debris and silt. Life 🙂

On a sad note, I’m sure we’ll see an uptick in COVID because of the necessary last minute carpools/crowding together for immediate safety. I’m sure we’ll see this present even worse in much harder hit areas.

Note to self: we are freakishly lucky and I am committed to sharing the luck as I can where I can. Meal delivery is one thing I can do to share. Donate $5 to local flood support groups and for women’s support local to Afghanistan.

Please take good care of yourself and your communities. So much hurt is bubbling to the extremely visible surface. I wish moments of peace and joy to you!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. I know better than to drive through water covered roads. The hubris of me is occasionally unbearable and difficult to acknowledge in an emergency moment where hyper vigilant assessment and instinct kicks in. In those moments it feels like everything I see, think, feel, is positioned on the very tip of a pin in tiny droplet of water I can quickly scan from all different panoramic angles, noting multiple outcomes of various decisions, like in chess but perhaps 3D live chess. Based on that tiny pinprick moment, I make a pathway decision and go. One day it won’t work out for me, just like it doesn’t for lots of other people. For now, I experience the weather changes and my extremely good luck. It’s all about positioning (by choice or circumstance) to be better advantaged to possibly hit on mysterious luck. NOT mysterious lick, which is what I accidentally tippity typed before correction and leaning into gross. No mysterious lick. No sir. No ma’am.

and also, I am cycling through struggles. I send solidarity via {{{hugs}}} to all of us struggling with the things, and will seek some comfort in tea. Today finds me tea-ing up with black tea chai, no milk, no sugar. woot woot!

Chicken Soup with Rice

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How are you today?

Over here, today is a chicken soup day. Well, the making of the chicken soup day. I’m on the cusp of not-quite-vegan. However, the other people in my house feel connected to consuming animal products so I do the best I can with local, organic, sustainable things. I recognize my privilege in being able to even make that statement.

I do not judge anyone for eating animal products, or using them in other ways. It is a matter of my digestion which sketchy at best, does better without the meat. For a long time I was very vegetarian. At some point in my 20’s I kept thinking about how old cultures use every part of an animal, or as much as they can, showing respect for their sustenance. In contrast, I couldn’t eat, prepare or cook most of an animal, much less harvest one. If I had to kill an animal for food, which one would I be able to kill, clean, prepare and eat? The only thing I could come up with was fish and I’m not even sure I could do that on my own. If I couldn’t hold myself accountable to the animal kingdom by being willing to harvest and prepare them, then I was pretty sure that I did not deserve to eat them. So I gave up eating meat. I was/am privileged enough to not eat meat.

When I became pregnant, and was able to carry to pregnancy beyond 4 months, MrexH, my family, and my obstetrician told me that I had to eat meat in order for my pregnancy to continue and for my baby to be healthy. BrotherHerisme told me I was being selfish if I did not do everything I could by eating meat to help my growing baby. It had been such a long and trying road to get to that point in my life-long dream of having a baby, that I gave in and ate meat. It tasted like gritty hot bloody fat, chewy dry fat, and pork reeked of sewage (still does) to me, but I did it. Then it became a default through my terrifying separation and divorce since so many family members were in and out – I just ate whatever was there, and the people love the meat.

Then BrotherHerisme Ben Franklined up by having gout flare-ups (which is painful and not funny, yet funny bc gout and Ben Franklin), and became a vegetarian teetotaler meat-shaming ass. *sigh* Such is the life with an adult sibling of narcissistic abusive parents from the 70’s/80’s… He’s still funny sometimes, though. Space and grace, space and grace y’all.

Off and on I have thought about letting go of my meat habit because it was not serving me – it was hurting my body. I finally let my meat consumption go again late last year. Which explains my rice/spinach/pickled beet/roasted corn/falafel/baba ghanoush/housed in a cereal bowl lunch and currently being consumed. I have a spinach problem (Which I believe I have mentioned before), so it is in everything … almost everything. Spinach and cauliflower are life! Cauliflower crust pizza with spinach, basil, diced tomatoes and pesto popped onto a pizza stone on the grill, is life… plus some of that hard core chocolate oatly! Woot woot! Pizza Friday is just a few days away! I am not vegan, obvs bc pizza IS life fuh reals. I am careful with my diary consumption to be kind to my gut which hates diary no matter what hard sale my brain tries to cajole it with. My brain is the top tier sales person of the forevers to my entire being, except for my gut. The gut is strong and unwavering in it’s dedication to reality. Uncooperative guts.

On that note, I am off for the making of the chicken soups for the people(for neighbors too! Imma red pepper mushroom soup it up for myself). Leftover Hurricane Ida storm bands are on their way – not devastating when they reach us – we are safe. {{{hugs}}} Gulf Coasters

Tummy bugs, flu bugs plus COVID are afoot as well. Safe and healthy wishes to you!

Soup up y’all.

Happy Once
Happy Twice
Happy Chicken Soup with Rice!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

Forge Forager

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Hello out there.

I am now a mother of a teenager type young man.

A single mother of a teen.

I never-have-I-ever-would-I-ever-have imagined this life for myself (or a child of mine), but here we are.

Happy Birthday to me

Today we are house secure, water secure, food secure, sundries secure, education secure, health secure (as we can be), electricity secure, internet access secure, freedom secure (as it can be), peace secure (as it can be), and grateful to be all of those things. Also holding praying and comfort space for all of the humans who are not this secure or are this secure (or more) and are unable to embrace it.

People have accused me of being Pollyanna when I mention these types of things, or when I refocus on the basics of humanity’s shared emotional experiences. Perhaps I can be at times. I think of it more as a momentary refocus anchor to keep me even the tiniest bit grounded during those most difficult untethering moments. It can also be a reinforcement of the Four Agreements, specifically: not taking things personally. I suppose these are my versions of gratitude, and occasionally my only version of gratitude that I am able to harness. If you know the darknesses, you know what I mean. If you do not, then I am truly immensely grateful for you because I would not wish any of it on anyone. Not even on the people who have harmed me or those I purposefully disconnect from.

It seems as if the darkness cycle spins a little more gently when I am reminded about other humans having human experiences too. No, that’s not true. That is sometimes. When I am able to go outside of my experience and forage around to hit on an exact point of compassion for another person, that is when my cycle spins more gently. It isn’t that I no longer feel the darknesses, but more that I embrace what I see in another person and I am able to treat that in a softer way. This is a zillion quadrillion easier than foraging around inside my own self and extending compassion there, somehow making everything a bit softer, thereby quieting my own disastrous internal tapes.

Between the time that I began this post, became distracted by life (tennis, soccer, swimming, laundry, cooking, cleaning, wound care, relatives visiting, food shopping, ironing the linens – why? It’s a thang, back-to-school appointments, supplies/clothes shopping, puppy grooming/emergency vet visits, COVID avoidance, loving my sweet baby, Monopoly, Ted Lasso, painting, Tinker Crates, violin, piano, drums, reading, all of the things etc) my teeny tiny newborn giant became a teen, I had a birthday myself, and something switched in my brain.

It may be a bad fuse switch, though bc it keeps popping off and I have to dig all the way inside of myself to get it flipped back again. The switch is letting myself be. If I see myself as a hawt mess, or ugly, or a bitch, or gross, or lazy, or self centered, or whatever shameful thing – I let it be. Kind of like an observer to my own shame. It dawned on me that truly, who the f cares? Who cares if I am a hawt mess? I still have to make breakfast, take the puppies outside, wash the clothes, do the grocery shop etc. If I want to sink into the hawt mess zone, then whatever, I’m a hawt mess – nothing changes except how I feel as I am living the life stuff. I know I cannot force my brain into unicorn fairy rose thoughts on those deep dark occasions. Platitudes and well-intentioned posts from people who appear to have their shit together, or at least appear to have healthy support and luck on their side to keep their shit together, are not helpful to me. My switch has helped me by my knowing that it is always there. A permanent rendering of the knowledge of impermanence of the dark shameful tropes. The trick is in locating the switch.

Lucky (?) for me, alcohol and drugs are not options – or, at least not unhealthy level options. What seems to help me locate my switch is being outside, outside activity, music, listening to a podcast: finding an artistic expression to absorb my brain enough that I am forced to be present with myself. When I can get my brain still enough that I can be alert to essence, then my sense of who I am clicks for long enough that the shame can still itself and just be shame too, until it no longer dominates how I am.

Does this make sense?

Maybe it’s because I am entering crone phase – no more babies coming from my body, more shiny silver sparkles popping up in my hair, my own squishy baby is entering his final growth into man phase… or maybe I have truly lost my mind. I doubt the maybe’s matter – they just will be whatever they will be, regardless of my participation. Like time is what it is no matter how it is allocated, used, or passed.

I awakened with a panic attack at 2:30am recently. This is not unusual for me. These kind of panic attacks come in waves and then disappear for a few weeks. Occasionally they are part of a nightmare, but not always. Sometimes I’ll focus on my breath until I can calm down, sometimes my body bursts into tears for a bit from the stress of it all. This one was after a nightmare where someone/something took a giant sharp chisel to the crown of my head and hit it directly in the center with an oversized Thor*-like hammer. My entire self shattered into a million fractured pieces. I quickly figured out that I was not shattered, and immediately panicked that I was having the oft predicted mental breakdown. This then of course led to me mentally calculating the logistics of how to handle me having a mental breakdown. Do I phone 911? If I do, then who will take SonHerisme to school? How will he be able to cope with a more shattered me? Did I get enough groceries in the house for SonHerisme to figure out a few meals on his own? What should (or do) I have prepared in the freezer(often on my mind anyway in case I get the COVID)? How much puppy food do I have on hand? Is there toilet paper? Did I already schedule the monthly bills? Who can be on-call to change MotherHerisme’s bandages? Is my phone charged? Did I remember to change the broken brake light? Is there cash anywhere for SonHerisme to use until I can get him a credit card? Is his soccer costume/outfit/kit clean and ready? Did I already cook the spinach and mushrooms or are they slowly rotting in the refrigerator? Will my brain stay functional enough to work any of this stuff out? And on and on and on… until I recognized that it doesn’t matter. I am not literally actually physically shattered, and mentally shattered I already know how to do. Pro forma performance for me b!tches (awww nahs, now I’ve got the awks sillies the agains)

Is this acceptance? Perhaps it is a form of that.

I don’t have the energy to fight anything anymore anyway anywhere anyhow.

I will just keep on being me as best as I can on days that I am able to do so. I hope the same for you!

In the meantime, please keep yourself healthy and safe.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

SonHerisme has requested that we build a home forge so that he can make some cool stuff and learn about melting metals. I will engage his dream by taking him to visit a private forge and then… I’m not saying, “no,” yet. If you know of this magic, or of the dreams of boys new to teenager-ing, advice and guidance is welcome 🙂

*I know that Thor’s hammer has a special and important-to-some name, which was carefully chosen due to it being full of the meanings and legends and such, and has been passed down through mythology over countless generations, and I also love some good Marvel movie-time up in here – however, despite taking the time to type this excuse, I find I have no time to look up the name of the hammer and include it in my ramblings see: nightmare w chisel. akobc (air kiss on both cheeks)

Below SHOULD BE A SEPARATE POST, but is not. Although, it does have a separate audio file! Huzzah!

(listen here)

***ALERT topical COVID*** COVID is hitting some of my circles hard right now. Shoving kids into overcrowded schools at another upswing of the pandemic without any educational back-up plan despite over half of the kids not vaccinated, is insanity blowing up a shitstorm imho.

I am in a progressive-ish state with masks required in schools – but when kids are crammed into buildings, sat shoulder-to-shoulder for meals, and no masking at recess etc, I am not really sure what we expect. Kids are germ magnets and superspreaders in ALL cases.

Why we every pretended they weren’t is CrAzY cAtS to the max. And we did pretend to boost our own bravado and push an unhealthy unproductive narrative to park kids somewhere culturally convenient and get our moneymakers back where we can watch them and overwork/underpay them to siphon cash to our few investors so that they can buy gold toilets and host “conferences” and “meetings” in Cancun (ooops, it is the angers and outrages).

We never EVER looked at contact tracing of asymptomatic kids spreading the virus DESPITE schools opening = higher hospitalizations/higher rates of infection in the community at large. Teachers and school staff, I am sorry. Kids, I am … sorry doesn’t cut it. Kids, I am horrified at our behaviors. Please know that many of us are working hard to do the right thing with masking, handwashing, vaccinations, etc. 3 days into the school year, we had 41 positive cases in the schools. 1 week into the school year, we have 7 schools declared “outbreak” sites, over 600 kids in quarantine, and an additional 62 positive cases in the schools. After 18 months, many of us are doing many things right but this is not one of them. damnit damnit all to frickin’ hell

Locally our infection rate has dropped again to 5.22%, probably because every student or school staff person with any symptoms, or potentially exposed, can only return to school with a negative test. This means that more people are being tested (which is a GOOD thing, but also makes the infection rate incomparable to previous weeks where primarily people with active symptoms were the only ones getting tested). Our local hospital beds (ICU and regular) are comparable to what we were seeing in late November, February and April. These were all upticks towards peaks about a month later.

WWID? Well, if I was the benevolent dictator who was somehow unable to give into the seduction of power (insert Richard E Grant early 90’s evil laugh here)(yes, I am this evil laugh specific) and screw everything up, requiring a bloody revolution to correct the wrongs of my sycophants and myself… then, I would suggest that we regroup a think-tank of teachers who would take one full working month to develop a plan of hybrid indoor/outdoor options with a shit-ton of large motor activities preK-12, utilizing local parks/parking lots/businesses unused space/whatever space is available, where only half of the kids are inside at any given time. MEANWHILE administrators plan how to reconfigure building use for next year to cut class sizes in half and end the traditional academic day at lunchtime, followed by recess and PE/Art/Music and other specialized interest groups (forensic science, soccer, orchestra, swimming, chess club, Minecraft, writing, academic support, riding, school garden, outdoor skills, cooking, life skills etc) until school closes. Kids leave as early as mid afternoon or option to stay until dinner-time (with a staff change of course). Kids participate in meal and snack preparation, as well as clean-up. All programs begin with grace and courtesy. Counselors, social workers, intervention support specialists are in plentiful supply to support growth, development, learning, and connection with community resources. Make space for illness, sadness, big heavy emotions, as these are to be expected and need supported as well. Might as well dream big, it doesn’t cost anymore than the small dreams (quoted from DS, celebrated author, former co-worker, and all around great person). Oh yes, and take the vaccine as you are able to do so.

6 Months

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(or listen here)

This post started on July 6th, then my week got full of the busy with visiting family plus regular activities. It was our first irl visit since Christmas 2019. It was lovely, overwhelming, a relief and frenetic. We went to the river, played tennis (I watched), went swimming, ate the food, watched the television, played games, braided hair, roasted marshmallows and talked about the things.

6 Months ago we were watching in real time as elected Republicans brazenly supported and encouraged a coup on our democracy. It looks like we’re over it though, since we were unable to get newly elected officials to do anything about it other than mildly address some of the brain-washed lackeys. Typical. Mob much? Fascist much?

6 Months ago we were solidly up in the 13% infection rate locally for COVID and having multiple COVID deaths in our hospital each week. We continue to show below 1% infection rate (.44% last week to .99% this week) and only 1 death in the past week.

6 Months ago I began drinking 8-16oz of celery juice every morning and I am happy to report that my joint pain is now mostly managed. Looking to begin diatomaceous earth in the next month.

6 Months ago I was terrified to leave SonHerisme at home while I went down to Georgetown because we had a dangerous sociopath leading our government. I recently unpacked SonHerisme’s emergency “zombie invasion” safety bag.

6 Months ago we were planning for an exciting day of snow-tubing and it was fun! Next time I’m going down too!

6 Months ago I was thinking about how I might feel on what would’ve been my 19th anniversary to MrexH and how much grief burden I continue to carry around about everything.

We were married on 7-6-02 in a church. I did not want to get married in a church, but my parents insisted it would be important to me later (it isn’t), so I did it. I wore an altered borrowed wedding dress because I did not want to try on wedding dresses, did not want to pay for a wedding dress, and did not want to wear a wedding dress. My parents insisted I would regret it if I didn’t wear a wedding dress, so I did it. A very specific pink was the color because MotherHerisme would not let it go that I did not have a wedding “theme” or “color scheme.” I replied, my theme is a wedding and the color scheme is whatever anyone wants to wear. But, again, I was told how horrible the pictures would look and how much I would regret not choosing a THEME or COLORS. I was able to stick with “wedding,” as the theme, but for the color, I closed my eyes and pointed to a random pink on a pink palate sheet. The wedding cake was insanely expensive and complete shit from a pretentious woman who did not even get the “pink” thing (she topped the cake with purple flowers, which while pretty, were absolutely WTF and stupid). The flowers were also pretty but expensive and not what interested me at all. They said I would regret not carrying flowers, so I did it. I had my hair and nails done – which felt lovely but for sure the hair was entirely unnecessary and not me at all. I don’t even own a blow dryer… much less 10,000 pounds of hair product. I was told I would regret it if I didn’t get all of the products and fancinesses, so I did it. I even spent about $150 on the bra JUST for that day – I never wore it again and donated it to Goodwill about a year after the wedding. I insisted on, and was able to convince my family to agree to an early morning wedding because of the July heat, and an early non-alcoholic luncheon because I did not want to deal with the cost or boozey reception issues. Basically, my wedding was a little knock-off Disney channel show of thin plastic. The wedding industry is brainwashed wacky-town as far as I could/can tell. I’ve never liked it and it sounds like I never will lol Or, perhaps I felt this way because I was moving through prescribed expected motions to get married because I thought this was my chance and I desperately wanted to have a family. That did not work out, as I expect it doesn’t for most of us plugged into being bullied, shamed, and targets for narcissistic abusers. perhaps

There were cute moments. Most of the people came from out of town for our wedding, so MotherHerisme prepared little booklets of schedules, local information, directions (pre-Waze, y’all), and hotel room snacks for everyone. This was very sweet and the best part of the wedding. Wait! The other best part was using my Grandmother’s stash of old stamps on the save-the-dates, invitations, and thank-yous. I loved that part. After the reception, we went to an outdoor orchestra concert down by the river. That was also my favorite part.

6 Months ago I could not predict where I would be now with everyone in the household vaccinated, participating maskless in outdoor activities and yet, still just myself being the me I know to be (be the Pan!).

It’s all I’ve got.

On the 17th at noon EST, I will be enjoying a special date with SonHerisme as we celebrate the midpoint of our July birthdays! Most likely barefoot in the park (not drunk, but with a certain level of silliness to be sure), Thai take-out with a cherry limeade slushie.

6 Months from now I suspect I’ll be marveling at how we made it to 2022 and loving all of the ‘2’s up because it is our very first prime number and I love that too.

I hope that you are a-okay. I am sending out protective bubbles of health, comfort and love to you and all of your loved ones. Keep safe out there, anonymous friends.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. Will I get married again? Trying to answer this would be the same as trying to answer: Will I ever have twenty seventy billion dollars? Unlikely, but you never really know what things are going to transpire or how manifesting manifests (which is why I don’t do it anymore – MrexH much?).

Actual regret – nope, not ready for this yet

It’s alright

iPad See Ew

(Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

Two of my lady friends (she/hers) invited me out to dinner this week and I went. SonHerisme was excited to make sloppy joe’s and broccoli for himself and MotherHerisme, and I allowed it. Teaching my tiny baboo bear how to take care of himself (fingers crossed)! We’d been swimming in the city pool all afternoon after a tennis morning, so I showered, put on clean clothes and headed out on my own. SO WEIRD to be on my own. I intended to put on a little mascara and lip tint to celebrate, but per my usual brainiac of dottiness, I forgot. I remembered sunscreen though!

It was the most odd feeling to pull into the parking garage downtown in our sweet hamlet town, park the car, and walk though the alley to the street, unmasked and on my own. Not good, not bad, just… odd. Few people here are masked anymore, although I suspect that will change once Delta or Delta-Plus variants hit. We had a day where our county hospital had zero COVID patients. A bunch of the hospital staff made a big celebration sign and had their picture bumping around all over the socials. Our state has had zero COVID death days and are reporting an infection rate of less than 1% along with at least 73% of eligible first jabs-in-arms administered.

As I walked on the mostly empty brick sidewalks towards the restaurant to meet my peoples, a different friend came to mind as I thought about how much her family likes to eat pad see ew, and how funny that would be if I ran into her at the Thai place where we were going to be eating. And just like that *poof* as we were seated, in popped my pad see ew friend! We had just spent the afternoon at the pool together with our babes, but it was even so many more emotions casually bumping into her at an in-town restaurant where I was dining inside – with other people!

I haven’t eaten inside a restaurant since February 2020 in New York City… Yes, just as the shit was hitting the fan there. Although many of us weren’t quite buying into what was happening just yet bc of authoritarian bullshitty fucked up crappy misogynistic gaslighting abusive asstwat murdering poopy-head jerk-face fascist fuck(s). In case you’re wondering how I really feel, I’ll do another post about this (ha).

I really had to hold back from bursting into tears, I was so happy to be without fear, eating in a restaurant, with friends, unexpectedly also seeing a very dear sweet friend (who was picking up pad see ew, I suspect), and just being me for one hawt damn minute.

But of course, I swung south after eating when I filled in my dinner companions on the state of things with MrexH. Maybe it’s a habit now. I just want to stop myself talking about it and bringing it into context of everything I do or everything that happens.. I want to have different conversations. But I know it’s important because everyone needs to work out their emotions in regards to that situation as it has had an impact on our little community, if in no other way than the effects it has had on SonHerisme. I want something else to talk about. Something positive and less horror-based.

Uh-oh. Now wondering if I want everything to change but I am too afraid to change myself (duh, duh, duhhhhh dramatic climax music cue). I do change my underdrawers everyday, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I was remembering SonHerisme’s first grade year with his now Middle School maths teacher at the park this week. She has a daughter in SonHerisme’s class, MathsDaughter. MathsDaughter and SonHerisme have been friends since first grade. They still birthday party with each other invited and it is very squeezy delicious adorable. In first grade, SonHerisme, MathsDaughter and another first grade buddy came to me after school one day saying that I wasn’t to worry about anything because they were going to find the new stepfather for SonHerisme – they had a plan. I think I cried for days over this – it was so super teeth-hurting sweet. SonHerisme was convinced they were on it like a bluebonnet. MathsDaughter added that she knew all of the things to look out for so that we didn’t end up with a bad stepfather. Kids are beautiful, resilient, kind, hilarious, and wacky. Footnote to babies: that’s not at all how it works, but I love, love, love your big hearts and glorious soul-shines!

Then the baby bird happened. The baby starling (I believe) had fallen out of the tree where it had been waiting with the other two babies on the branch while the parent birds were relocating before a huge storm caught them. At first, I grabbed a large piece of tree bark, scooped the baby bird up from the grass as carefully as I could, and placed it at the base of the trunk of the tree for protection. I put more pieces of fallen bark around the bird to protect it from the storm. Worry settled in as I thought about an animal coming by to eat the baby bird, so I grabbed the bark piece and lifted the baby bird as high up into the tree as I could reach. I couldn’t reach the branch where the other two babies were waiting, so I placed the baby into a maple sapling nearby. Bird secured and safe from the storm and predators! Good job, me! Pat myself on the back! Until this morning’s tennis where I see that lightening or wind broke a branch from the maple sapling, and there was the little baby bird, dead on the ground. Sadnesses

*Sigh*

What’s next on the agenda? A series of regular everyday ups and downs, I suppose. I hope. I continue to struggle with hope for myself. When those moments are hitting, all of my inside bruises are triggered into physical pain. But I am writing down reminders of my bucket list which somehow helps spawn occasional refocus. Sometimes, of course, it just means crying at night. And there’s always SonHerisme. He is hope personified in a 6ft or so, almost-13, tennis playing, soccer playing, broccoli eating, sweet caramel-eyed, giggly package of fun! Currently iPad audiobook LOTRing it whilst building lego and has also discovered elibrary Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition on the iPad – newbie teen times, oiy. As things go, this seems rather harmless and to be expected. I don’t really know – it’s all a single-parent crapshoot. I’m fine, thanks.

I hope that you are having moments of joy in summering (or wintering if you are a Southern Hemisphere dweller)! I also hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and feeling safe. I’m not sure how long we have to be a bit carefree here, but for this moment, I’ll take what I can get!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. SonHerisme’s final paper for one of his classes was about his desire to emigrate to England (which is new as it was Sweden for many years, and Japan and Portugal before that) – so watch out over there – he is handsome and hilarious and very extremely hungry ALL OF THE TIME.

side note: MotherHerisme commented how shiny my hair has been looking lately. Yes, it has the luster sheen of our little city’s urine-in-public-pool about it. And I’m so happy to be at a pool, with people, without COVID worry (SonHerisme, MotherHerisme and I are fully vaxxed), that I just will take that shiny compliment and fiercely embrace it, neverminding the urine-glow.

Also, I had veg pad thai at dinner out, and it was dreamyum

Bat-By

(original pre-modified Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

One of SonHerisme’s buddies since babytimes turned 13 a few days ago, and also had her Bat Mitzvah. It was a COVID style celebration with zoom services (except for the young lady and her immediate family) and an outdoor drive-by celebration at home with an option to park and stay, unmasked if vaccinated, masked if not vaccinated. There were unvaccinated children, so we opted to remain masked, just in case. Save the babies!

I parked because I wanted a photo of SonHerisme and his babytimes buddy. They were both adorably uncomfortable, very sweet and super generous to cooperate with my photo request. Everyone is turning into teenager adult-prep times. Squeezy squishy human morphers! I also parked because I wanted to give a huge hug to the young lady’s awesome mom – one that’s been on hold for over 18months. And I did. I have missed my friends. I have missed the hugging. I got so carried away that I also hugged her ex. He’s the father of the lovely young lady, and a former member of our merry troop of parents. I say “former” because he mid-life crisis-ed himself into a divorce and total life relocation to Florida, so our community interactions with him are very rare. Although as a busy musician he’s easy to follow on the socials, it just isn’t the same. *sigh* Back in the day when we all thought life was on a certain path that it never was…

Me:  Congratulations!  She's a lovely young lady and I am so honored to be here to celebrate with you all!
He:  Yeah.  Look at me, I'm just the baby daddy.
Me:  You should get a t-shirt with that on it so that everyone understands your role here.
He:  Ha ha ha, yeah maybe.
Me: (in my head - holy shit, I am a bitch and wtf and now it's time for me to leave)

And I did leave after giving the final rounds of hugs and congratulations, we left. All of the AWKWARDS.

Another awkward this morning – MotherHerisme’s cardiologist asked me if I was married yet. I heard him speak and I heard the words, but I could not respond – I think I froze. He asked again. I responded, “oh, no, married? no.” “Oh. I wondered because I asked your mother how you were doing every time we had telehealth appointments.” I just could not say anything because I did not know what to say, so I didn’t. The appointment otherwise went well. MotherHerisme is fine – her heart is tick-tocking in the manner it should be. But this. This was the AWKWARDS.

I’m best at not being seen, even though as a human I would like to be seen. I excel at not being seen. It’s my jam. I guess at least I didn’t make a snarky remark, scream, cry, or run away. All of which I suspect are realistic options, considering it was me there. Maybe next time you can take MotherHerisme? Kidding – I’ll take her. Somehow I like the return after an awkward encounter. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to show back up despite the awkwards. It’s all of my years of Oprah channeling to get through the really terrifying awkward rough spots, I suppose. Or maybe the maturitys again…

Yes, I am pluraling things on purpose despite grammar rules because StarFire helps everything turn into the funnys rather than just weird discomfort.

Yes, I am grateful for the awkwards. They not only provide occasional entertainment when recalled (unless they are scary as frick), but they also give me pause and notice about where I am in this life experience. Like a touch back to the reality of humaning rather than constant survival mode. Humans gotta Human. We can do this… sometimes we can do this… very occasionally we can do this… it’s okay to sometimes not be able to do this – right?

Hahahahha – my friend just texted me and asked if the cardiologist is an old white dude. He isn’t, and I am pretty sure he is married, but that gave me a giggle.

Embracing being grateful for the awkwards reminding me that I am human.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. I have a lot of awkwards, obviously the nature of being me, so these are not anomalies, just recent experiences.

(hi Peter!)

Cultivating

(Photo by cottonbro on Pexels)
(or listen here)

I have been thinking that if I were to place my priorities into a garden, these are the things I would tend to first (not in order of significance):

Health
SonHerisme
Relationships
Career
Artistic Expression
Home
Adventure

Really trying to nail down the things during this Summer of Strength. Well, loosely nail as I am prone to removing all nails thinking that will bring me freedom – which, it rarely does since I am frequently pulling out nails I have no business touching as they do not belong to me. You know how it goes. Focus on everything but yourself to feel any sense of control at all, justifying ignoring your own needs, then shame and regret *repeat.* You feel this – no?

Well, I do feel it and I am heartily soulfully sick of it.

Confession: I have been sick of it for a lonnnnnnnggg time and I do not know if this time I will be able to choose growth consistently. I think I will have to make an intention to do so every day or perhaps multiple times each day? Maybe this is part of the battle I’ve mentioned before (I don’t remember the post, apologies!). This sounds like an addict trying to give up whatever drugs, alcohol, sex, food, shopping etc. Perhaps it is the loneliness, need to feel some control somewhere, shame, hyper trauma response or ? that makes us all feel this similar pattern? Or just a part of maturing up in life? I’m not a mental health professional, so I’m truly stabbing at guesses here.

I have added intentional reading each day, extended yoga practice, a pressure point mat, and at least two flights of stairs. “Added” might not be correct. I’ll rephrase to say, I am intentionally doing these things as they have already been in my life hither and thither – just not intentionally incorporated into my days.

I’m printing out my garden priorities, otherwise I will instantly forget them as soon as I leave this post. When I was doing yoga, I couldn’t remember by the next day if I had done yoga or not – heck, I can’t even remember if I’ve done yoga in the morning by the time I hit the pillow at night!

Scrambled Brain

Carry on peace warriors

Summer of Strength

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. please take good care around that Delta COVID variant – I am sending bubbles of health out to you and your loved ones. My heart wants to grab everyone and bring them to my house for safety and a delicious meal. I have two blow-up beds which do not help the world pains, but maybe a neighbor’s pain which is the same. {hugs}

Also, thank you for reading/listening and not judging my spinach addiction which I am about to indulge again lol

Flop Brain and Wreck ‘Em

(Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

“Flop brain and wreck ’em,” is old timey diner style for scrambled brain. Which is what I have. Unless I am in Olde Towne wherever U.S.A. and then it is olde tymey dinere flope braine and wrecke thine. Still: scrambled brain.

In the way back times I worked, taught, managed and trained in early childcare centers, preschools, before-and-after care, and summer camps. One thing, out of many, that I learned, was that people are people are people, no matter how ridiculously wealthy or desperately poor, people are people are people and want to feel worthy. So, Old or Olde, it is what it is. A lesson learned BITD which I can say because I am *ahem* of a certain age maturity and such now. So very mature that I am perhaps slipping into pre-dottiness, which would explain the scrambled brain of course. Side note – I do not enjoy a scrambled egg. I will make them for SonHerisme and MotherHerisme, but I do not want to eat them.

I eat eggs – but I’m more of a Flop Eve on a Raft with Salsa. Over easy egg on toast with salsa. Not the salsa music. Rather, I am talking about the chilled tomato based deliciousness with cilantro and peppers. I used to have a primary care physician who would play music during appointments. Music which he curated especially for whatever he thought you needed. He would say, “Some people need Mozart, some a tango, and others need to salsa!” Eventually he lost his license for over-prescribing pain medications. No surprise there, I suppose. He was a rebel physician who believed that everyone should be using whatever tools available to live their best life. I imagine he is completely content on a beach somewhere outside of the U.S. still practicing as he is able to do so. He could probably use some Mozart.

Eggs are consumed here in my version of quiche, which makes an appearance at the table a few times each month. A debatable crust might make it a frittata. It is rare that I use a flaky dough crust, because it would need to be gluten free and my brain energy is too low for that most of the time. I either forgo any crust altogether or I use shredded root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, beets, etc), which I pre-bake before adding the eggy filling.

SonHerisme and MotherHerisme also enjoy an egg salad. I do not. I like making the things. My digestions usually respond, “oh hells to the no’s we are not permitting that in here NO WAY NO HOW.” While I enjoy making the things, I typically do not enjoy consuming the things. Don’t worry though, because believe me, my body finds plenty of things to keep it full. More than P L E N T Y. The plentish of plentifuls plenty. Just not scrambled eggs. Or egg salad. I’ll eat the quiche on occasion. Mostly the spinach out of the quiche because I have a serious spinach problem. Maybe spinach unscrambles brains and that is why I am craving it… all of the time? Cooked, not raw because raw gives me massive migraines. See? Scrambled brain. Nothing makes sense. It’s okay. I’m used to it.

My point is, in response to the question I received, “How do you plan out or know what you are going to write about on your blog?” I can only say this: I have no plan. This is my default plan, knowing nothing about any plan. My scrambled brain being able to take note of something on occasion and filtering it into words which might, through divine serendipity, find me at my laptop for a brief unusual period without interruption, is my plan.

Sometimes I see someone turn across the street and the wind picks up the hem of their shirt in a way that reminds me of someone else’s shirt hem, or the color of their eyes, or the smell of them, or the smell of dry-cleaning and those irritating plastic bags and hangers with paper ads on them.

Sometimes I see the half moon so clearly that its splotches make me wonder how thousands of years ago someone thought they saw a face in there and if I am supposed to say, “hello,” every time I do see that in order to honor that ancient ancestor, or the moon. Does the moon get offended? Am I supposed to be showing deference to the moon? Maybe that’s my problem…hmmmm

Sometimes I grab my cozy blanket in bed and try to make the bruising on my heart go away by holding the blanket tightly enough that all of the hurt energies get absorbed in its softness, so that I can breathe and get up to make it through my day, or at least the next thing in my day.

Sometimes RelativesHerisme say or do wacky things which make me think of other things or how other people walk through those moments of crazy in their lives (because we all have this – yes?).

Sometimes SonHerisme is so brave and generous of spirit that it takes my breath away and I want to do anything and everything to give him structure, love and a deep sense of worthiness, love, and belonging.

Sometimes I am flattened by how adept we are at dehumanizing and pretending or not knowing reality.

Sometimes I am flattened by the properties of a dandelion (including the wish making).

My scrambled brain takes these kinds of things in, as we all do, and then brushes them out here, worthy or unworthy. I do not have a plan. Even if I had a plan, the first thing I would do is not follow the plan. My floppy wrecked brain is difficult but I am glad to have it most of the time. Some days I wish it fit more in line with the people so that I could feel more fit in as well. But, who knows? Perhaps I am beyond the age of fitting in.

Thank you for reading/listening and for making it through my scrambled brain word salad. I appreciate that you are here and that I have this teensy amoeba in a grain of sand platform to express my non-plannesses.

I am thinking of you – especially YOU because I like your brainiac – sending you lots of Summer of Strength vibes!

Today’s Summer of Strength finds me making egg salad for the people, running laundry through, tidying the basement (probably mostly a dance party if I’m honest), and chomping on pizza (cauliflower crust, natch and yes I know it isn’t 2005). It is a very rainy day here, so I imagine boots and coats will make an appearance shortly for some outside adventure as well.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

—————————————–

If you are vegan and eating eggs is abhorrent to you, then I am sending you extra love and {{{hugs}}}. We eat local organic eggs because we can and I am too exhausted (and possibly too cheap) to embrace flax alternative. But I am with you in spirit, vegan hearts! You are worthy of being considered too.

Oh! yes and my little friend who is allergic to eggs! You are worthy too and much too young to be reading this, so I’m touching base with your mother asap. Also, please don’t forget to send me a pic of you taking your neighbor’s on-purpose pigeons walking in a pigeon harness. Or is it quails now? Either way, thanks! xo

(psst… I know brain scramble is trauma)