Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Eri-bonic Plague

I had super good intentions of doing a year in review for the blog (I did, after all, get married this year!).  I was working on a list of great things that happened in 2016 (since it was such a bummer year for most people) and a list of great people I've met over the last 12 months.  But then....


The plague hit.  It started as maybe a cold, maybe a touch of influenza.  It raged on to pneumonia, bronchitis and double ear infections (I really am basically an overgrown toddler, right down to the ear infections!).  I'm now on my 4th round of antibiotics, and I have a consult with an ENT (also an unrelated consult with a Neuro for the migraines).  I'm starting to sort of be able to hear out of my ears again, praise the Good Lord!  For the last week or so I've been walking around yelling, "what?!", holding my ears in pain and oozing., the oozing.  I managed to make Christmas great for my family and then slept completely and entirely through New Year's.  So anyway....

All that to say that THE PLAGUE appears to have cleared up just in time because classes start again on Monday and I have 5 courses for 13 credit hours.  So it's not like I'm going to be slacking it off, but I may not have time to get to that year in review.  Hubby and I both have a bundle of specialist appointments coming up and there's some family stuff going on that I need to be responsible for and give time to.  But,  I'll try, I promise!  Also, no Christmas cards went out because my 1st wedding anniversary isn't too long after the New Year (March 18th) and we decided to do photo cards for those who missed the wedding and a letter for that!  

So anyway, really, if you want to catch up, email me!  And I'll do the best I can to make sure I get around to those year-in-review posts, even if it takes me until February.

Also, I think I'm plague free now so puhhhh-lease hug me!  It's been rough.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Blue, like my eyes...

...And my boys' eyes.  Joshua always tells me that he likes my eyes because they're like his eyes.  He's not wrong.  Both kids have that twinkle of optimism, humor and overall personality in their eyes, just like I do.  

Anyway, I thought I had shared this color prompt.  The subject matter is, again, heavy.  I am, by nature, a dark writer.  You either learn to love the style or you can't handle it.  I hope most of you can handle this...


It was the color of hydrangeas and the icing on a three-tiered-cake. It was the color of her eyes as she recited “I do”. It was the color of the denim overalls Daddy bought for the little baby. It was the color of the bruise that rose up just under her left eye. It was the color of fingerprints where he grabbed her. It was the color in the lullaby she sang as she watched her belly grow. It was the color of the storms that raged over the seas, the violence mimicked in their fights. It was the color of the rug at the top of the stairs. It was the color of the tears she cried, as he pushed her to the bottom. It was the color of his sorrow, as he held her with regret. It was the color of the little booties someone laid atop the headstone that read “Mother & Son: Together In Heaven”. It was the color of his prison jumpsuit.  (C) (Erica Rhodes) (2016)

Friday, November 11, 2016

I loved you in the morning***

This week the world lost an incredible writer and musician.  At the age of 82, Leonard Cohen died on Thursday 11/10/2016.  I am not entirely certain I'm emotionally prepared to deal with this.  While the world is falling apart over the election, I'm thinking back to my teenage years.  I'm thinking about my best friend, the other half of "Carica" and laying in her psychedelic bedroom reading Cohen's poetry.  The way he manipulated the English language to evoke powerful emotion became an inspiration to me as a writer.  Many times I would come back to his work and I would think about the simplicity of it all and how even in the simplest terms, he could just make me feel so damned sad.  I could never quite put my finger on what exactly it was that he did, what exactly it was that he had that made his writing so spectacular, but whatever it was I wanted it.  

I'm a long way from those days in my best friend's bedroom, but also a long way from Leonard Cohen status.  But, thanks to the incredible body of work he left behind, I know I can always cast a glance Heaven-ward and search for the right words and maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll be blessed with some of his muse.  Rest in peace, Mr. Cohen.  I will not be looking for another, as I wander in my time.  There will never be another you.  Thanks for providing all the right words at all the right times.  I tried to do you justice here, but know that my words are inadequate to describe such an incredibly gifted man.

***For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite pieces has been "Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye".  This is a quote from there.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Civil Discord

This election season will finally be over next week.  Those of you who know me might be surprised that I've spent so little time here talking politics, especially at such an overtly contentious time.  But the truth is that this political season has left me feeling rather unsettled, not just about our political system, but about our nation as a whole.  

Before I go on, let me be clear:  I'm not voting for either of them.  

Let that sink in.  Because I think it's important.  Hillary's stance on abortion and her actions both in and out of the spotlight since her career began have made her an impossible candidate for me.  I simply could never.  However, I think Trump has a real character problem, a real integrity problem.  Like Hillary, I think he will do anything to get ahead, and not what's inherently best for our nation as a whole.  I guess I could say at least I agree with him on the issues.   But I'm still writing my own name in.  I can't figure out a way, in good conscience, to vote for either one.  Because I don't care for either candidate, I've been able to sit back and watch the, sometimes vicious, debates carry on.  

I've been a political junkie for a long time and I've been in on my fair share of heated debates.  But I don't believe I've ever seen anything quite like the things I've seen this year.  Friend vs friend, family against family, all these relationship becoming collateral damage as we try to fight for the things we believe in.  It's my opinion that we feel the need to fight harder, to yell louder because we don't have candidates that we feel represent the morals and values we stand behind.  So instead of engaging in civil discord knowing that the real battle is between politicians and not between friends, we're trying to fight the fight ourselves.  

Numerous times, in the last several weeks particularly, I have been stunned by the way people are speaking to each other.  Forget whether or not they are friends or family of the person they're speaking to; why would you speak to a stranger that way, much less someone you know and like?  I think one of the most important things to remember is that words have power, y'all.  The more you ratchet up the drama in your vocabulary, the more you ratchet up the hysteria and histrionics in a particular situation.  This is a dynamic, changing world we live in.  There are almost no absolutes (except perhaps the absolute that there are no absolutes...I think I just exploded my thinker).  So declaring that all Trump supporters are woman-hating bigots or that all  Hillary supporters are blind and corrupt is incredibly foolish.  

It's my sincerest wish that once this election is over, our country can unify.  Perhaps the test is that both candidates are so awful that we'll have to band together in order to survive whatever happens to our nation while they're in the White House.  But the one thing I know for sure is that most people are going to remember the hateful things that have been said in the pursuit of political gain.  It shouldn't have to be said to adults but, here we go, y'all.  The key to not being asshole-ey is super simple:  treat others as you would like to be treated. Now I feel like the life coach for the damned world.  The first lesson's on me.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Are "young" farts better than "old" farts in some way?

Please advise.

You see, the matter of old v. young farts has become quite important to me suddenly.  My dad turned SIX-OH (6-0!!!) this week.  Of all old farts, he's about my favorite because my dad Mark is pretty fuckin' spectacular.  He's been so wonderful, in fact, to both myself and my Jersey Mama, that when Joshua was born, I thought to myself, "of course his middle name will be Mark".

Mark and my Mama have taught me the bulk of what's important in life.  Laughter, family, laughter, love...laughter.  It is from Mark that I get my peculiar sense of humor, my disdain for microwave popcorn and my love of Styx.  When I became a single mom (realizing that my ex-husband didn't treat me the way my dad treated my Mama), Mark was Super-Dad, fixing everything he could, offering to come on extra visits to give me a break, and doing God only knows how many loads of laundry.

My parents have been married an awe-inspiring 27 years.  My mom, when I was just a little girl, realized that we needed a stand-up guy, a nice guy, a loving guy, a Mark-guy in our life.  I am so grateful to her for recognizing that.  Because of her, I didn't grow up questioning my self worth or what it meant for a guy to truly love his gal.  I had an example.  When the right guy came around for me, my own sweet knight, I recognized him for what he was: remarkably similar to Mark.

There were plenty of times where I was a difficult child, a stubborn and mouthy teenager and, oh wait, a stubborn and mouthy adult, too.  Never one to do what I'm told, I'm sure it wasn't the highlight of his life to do battle with a teenaged girl.    Thanks to him, thought, it has truly been the "Best Of Times".

So, please join me in wishing my dad, the greatest guy I know and the man who adores my mama, a great day.  Happy birthday, Mark!  Relax, you're hilarious....And asshole-ey!  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Color Purple

I've been seriously working the color prompts.  Like Blue, and Red, which I've posted here.  But I'm at a complete stop now as I tried to write "Purple".

I stared at the white page.  I wrote, "It was the color of....".  Then I got no further.  I closed my eyes and focused on that color, what that color meant, what does purple mean to me.  But all I could picture were the purple-red bruises on my son's face.  That's it.  I could go no further.  I could think of nothing else to use for that color.  I could not get past that imagery.

I'm sure that a therapist (or my ex's new WIFE) would comment that that's an indication that I can't let go of the past in this case.  Yes, no shit, duh, I know that.  I know that because the painful truth is that there are days when I look in the mirror and I see my own face  covered in the bruises that once marred his beautiful face.  I'll stare, shake my head, look again and it'll still be there.  Sometimes, it doesn't stop until I turn my head away and cry.  I believe that this is because I feel like the only one who remembers, truly, the trauma that was inflicted that day.  Perhaps it's because I was the only one living the day-to-day nightmare of it.  Everyone around him appears to have forgiven her, or at least accepted her.  That's their choice and their call.  But I can't do either one, and I never will.  Perhaps I'm holding a grudge because I'm Irish and "over dramatic" and a bitch and that's all there is to it.

Whatever the answer, "Purple" may never be written.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Exercising my demons

Sadly, NOT exorcising them...Could it be I'm haunted?

My ex-husband is getting married tonight.  I want to be happy for him, excited that he's moved on and found true joy.  We can debate the merits on how good of a guy he is, but ultimately he's the father of my children and his happiness is key to theirs.  

But, he's not marrying just anybody.  He's marrying that girl who abused my little boy.

There are a lot of other things I could detail about her past, Things she's done to try to hurt me intentionally or to try to destroy my family, but those things really only speak to her character and as she has been unsuccessful in destroying my family, the things she does to me don't matter.  I'm an adult.  My little boy isn't...wasn't.  Even my older boy isn't....wasn't...

The common consensus of people in their life is that I'm "over-reacting" and refusing to "let it go" or "forgive".  To this I say the following: "Is there a way to over-react to child abuse?".  Also, "damned right I'm refusing to let go and forgive".  Isn't that normal of people who have children that were abused by other people?  Y'know, you watch Dr Phil and he says all the time: "I never like to put a victim together with their abuser in a situation, ever".  Yet, I'm expected to accept this girl into my kids' lives, dutifully send them over there every other weekend and hope they're safe.  Yes, hope, because I have no way of knowing they're safe.

Could it be I'm haunted, why can't I let it go?  I've been in therapy since my ex and I split and my counselor and I have worked a long time on my healing from this.  We finally got to the point where I don't have nightmares, every night, and I don't have a full blown anxiety attack when I send the boys over there.  But there are some things I can't turn loose of.  The images, that hand print and bruising on my son's face.  I know it's a trick my brain plays, but at least once a day I see my son's sweet, cherub face the way it looked that night.  I hear him tripping over the words of the made-up story, hear him tell me how he apologized, hear what the doctor said, remember all the trips to the crisis center, see the horrible findings of the forensic physician, hear the county attorney tell me she'd never really be punished, try to make a decision between probation and diversion, deciding, finally, with a troubled soul, to make the best decision I could for her kids because I have a mama's heart and that's what I do.  AT LEAST ONCE A DAY all this comes flooding back to me and washes over me.  It takes a minute, maybe two and then I snap out of it.  But it's there, every day.  I don't have them nightly anymore, but there are still nightmares.  Both boys still occasionally have nightmares.

Oh yes, and let's not forget the guilt, because I sure can't.  For the rest of my life, I will wonder if I made the wrong decision about probation v. diversion.  Especially in light of how the system flat out lied about what would occur and how long my son would be safe from her, etc.  Some days, when the boys have had nightmares, or I've had several of them, on those days, the guilt bubbles up around my heart and throat until my chest feels tight and I feel like I'm going to be sick every time I take a step, or a breath, or my heart dares to beat.  I wonder, in those moments, if my oldest son still blames me for not protecting his brother from her.  I wonder if one day my baby will blame me for the way this all turned out. I hope one day this will go away.  But there's no way to tell.  We're doing the best we can.

Yes, I must be haunted.