All content copyright 2014 Woodpecker Tales LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Feet Up, Head Down!

These days I find myself working as an Executive Assistant for an old friend of mine. It’s an interesting job to say the least, and at times the position can land me in an unusual position. Just today I whacked my head thrice and slipped between some car seats, leaving only my feet exposed. All of this happened in less than a three-minute time frame. Perhaps “interesting” is an understatement.


As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle I’ve been driving lately – a fancy silver Land Cruiser complete with Satellite Radio and touch screen in-dash GPS system I’ve found to be very useful, once I finally found the volume buttons. That alone was a mystery that took me about 12 miles to solve.


Next to me is an older green Land Cruiser I’ve spent many driving hours in, as well as having traveled to Colorado and back once upon a time. The poor thing has certainly seen better days, but my sense of nostalgia wins out here. I see it as still a lovely old beast that I once thoroughly enjoyed driving. It has potential. It can be rescued. It’s in the process of being rescued now, I think.


The old green Land Cruiser needed to be moved a few feet today. In the hot California sun I found myself in the drivers seat of the old truck, pulling with all my might on the wheel so that it would turn the direction needed. The truck wouldn’t start, (did I mention it needs to be rescued?) so there was no power steering. I placed both hands on the wheel and pulled with all my might. I felt the wheels start to turn under me, so I braced myself and pulled harder. As the steering wheel turned, my body started to lean with my force and urgent need for leverage. Suddenly there was a “clunk” on the back of my head. I turned to see one of the old wheel wells from the NEW Land Cruiser poking out between the drivers and passengers seats. Yeah, I’d have to watch out for that thing.


Again I braced and pulled, this time harder than before. My hands slipped and my head went crashing into the removed silver case yet again, this time harder than before. I shouted slightly, but all the windows were rolled up so nobody heard me, thankfully. I rubbed the back of my head, wiped the now trickling beads of sweat off of my temple and tried one more time.


The truck rolled backward next to the storage container, right in line with where it should be. It was only inches away and I realized that the door wouldn’t open. For a moment my claustrophobic tendencies took over. I instantly formulated a way to get out of the truck – by crawling over the seats onto the passenger seat and under the silver head-banger. Just about the time I reached to pull off this ‘only a thin person could do it’ maneuver, the truck began to roll forward again. I had to grab the wheel and steer the opposite direction. The person I find myself being an Executive Assistant to was pushing the truck forward again. My head glanced off of the silver menace once more and I was angrier at myself than anything else. I had just hit my head for the third time in less than a minute.


Finally the old green beast was done being moved and I had the freedom needed to extract myself from the position I was in. I left the green Land Cruiser to climb into the silver one. From there I had the task of climbing into the back seat and pulling a rolled posted from the hatch back into the back seat. As I grabbed it, a dry-cleaned shirt I had hanging in the back fell down. I reached for it and my skinny-jean covered rump slid neatly off of the slick leather seats, landing me in a heap on the floor, my hips wedged between the front of the back seat and the back of the front seat. There were my feet sticking straight up in the air, having kicked the door open in the process. I couldn’t help but laugh.


I often find myself in unusual positions within life, but not within the back seat of an otherwise unoccupied Land Cruiser. I guess it’s all thanks to my new job… which I love.

Silly Walks

I GOT THIS EMAIL FROM BILL LAST YEAR AND JUST HAD TO SHARE IT. ENJOY! I CERTAINLY DID!


As you know I was sitting on the couch this morning typing an email to you
about stuff we talked about. As always, it took longer than I'd anticipated so by the
time I sent it off it was nearly 8 and I had to race out to move the car
[because of the street sweepers].

First problem: my right butt cheek had been supported without much comfort
by the center cushion on the couch. You know... the one that's mostly
wood. So when I leapt up to go move the Land Cruiser my right leg was
completely asleep. Just collapsed when I stepped on it. Great. Two
minutes to get the car started and moved and I'm walking like someone from
the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks.

Second problem: no shoes. So I silly walk to the bedroom and reach to the
top shelf for my Teva silly sandalshoethingies. Only one there. The right
one, the one I need to put on my sleeping silly walk right foot, is nowhere
to be found. With some searching I locate it on the floor behind the dirty
clothes basket. So I grab it, silly walk to the couch, strap it on my numb
right silly foot, grab my keys, silly walk/silly tumble down the stairs, and
silly walk toward the Land Cruiser. You may recall that the car was parked
all the way at the end of the block at Catalina. So I silly walk the block
to the Land Cruiser, drag my sleeping silly right leg into it and turn the
key. Dead battery. This isn't a problem. I keep a very fancy battery jump
start thingie in the car. Except:

Third problem: The jump starter is in the trunk of the Jaguar where I'd put
it to jump start Linda's car on Sunday. So... I silly walk the
block BACK, get the jump starter out of the Jag and silly walk the block
BACK AGAIN to the Land Cruiser. By this time the circulation is returning
to my leg so the walk isn't quite so silly but I've been slapping my right
butt cheek and massaging the back of my right thigh on all three silly walk
trips down the block and I notice my neighbor walking her dog. I realize
she's been standing there watching me for the entire course of my three lap
silly walk marathon. She smiles at me like she's just realized that her
neighbor may have bodies buried in the garden. I can only think to say:
"good morning", to which she nods, shakes her head and walks off the other
direction with her mutt.

What we've learned:

1) The Great Closet Noise Mystery is solved. Yay! Apparently my shoe
decided to jump off the top shelf and hit the door on its way to its hiding
spot behind the clothes basket.

2) As I believe you pointed out as recently as yesterday, I need to put
some freaking stuffing in the center cushion of the couch.




Sentimental

I drove down to the Redondo Beach Pier today. While at first it was only to have a nice walk out by the beach, it turned out to be a walk down memory lane.

I walked past several memories today, thinking to myself about each and every one of them as I walked past. Yes it's good to be home. Los Angeles holds many memories for me.

There was Tony's on the Pier, where I sat at a table one night drinking a Mai-Tai with a man who is now a memory. There was El Torito, one of the first places I ate at when moving to California. There was the Hot Dog on a Stick, where I used to walk to just for a lemonade, and then turn and walk the mile back home. There was Naja's, where I would stand outside and listen to my old friend Kim Cuda play the guitar like he was born to do. There was the Valentines Dinner table at Kincade's Restaurant from so long ago, when I thought I had planned every detail of my life. But life is what happens when something else is planned.

Years ago, at my Grandmother's funeral, I met a man who instantly became important to me. Years ago, I left there and never thought I'd see that man again. Then, only weeks later, I saw him once more at my Grandfather's funeral. Again, I never thought I'd see him again. Luckily, life is full of surprises.

I have decided that the "Robert" chapter of my life is a thing of the past. While I may have asked in my last blog if I should write a good story or bad story about him, I believe I have changed my mind. I'm no longer interested in telling that story. The chapter is done. I've faced the fact that telling a bad story would do nothing but damage his family - the people I care about still - while a good story would do nothing but prolong my own issues. I think now that I've told the entire story in a brief format, I'm done with it. I've said what I need to say. I'm done with it. It's time to move on. I knew that months ago. No sense in hiding that fact.

So while it was a sentimental day for me, it was also a break-through day for me. There's something else out there for me. There's someone else out there for me. No sense in dwelling on what I know I've been over (but angry about) for months. I'm settling in nicely. I'm happy. It's about time.

"I'm a sentimental fool," I told someone today. He corrected me and said I wasn't a fool. He said that fools don't learn from their mistakes. He was right. I've learned so much. It was a lesson I needed to learn. It's a mistake I won't make again. I may be sentimental, but I'm no fool.



Good vs. Bad


I've heard it said that good news travels fast but bad news travels faster. While I've always thought that might be the case, I didn't have definitive proof. Now that I've been writing more blogs lately, I still don't have the proof I was looking for.

My blog had over 160 views on it yesterday, and while it was talking about a disastrous ending to a tumultuous relationship, it also spoke of my return home to Los Angeles. I suppose that bit of writing would be both the good and the bad.

I've written several funny stories that have been big hits, like "Childhood Pranks" where I put liquid soap in my brothers tooth brush, and I've written complete horrors, like the time I was locked in a room for nearly 24 hours by someone I didn't know. (Some would call that being kidnapped. I call it a lucky escape. ) All in all, the kidnapped story gained much more attention than putting soap in a tooth brush. People always want to know how I got out of the situation, not what my brothers reaction was when he went to brush his teeth. One question is ALWAYS asked without fail, while the other has NEVER been asked. But which way does the pendulum swing on that one, good or bad?

It was bad to put soap in the tooth brush, certainly. But it was funny, and most people laugh at the mere thought. It was good that I escaped the predicament of being locked into a small room without windows, and most people allow their eyes to grow to the size of saucers when I'm telling the story. So which wins out, good or bad? Are the people more interested in the bad news or the good news? Does negativity really spread like a disease, while the positive things in life wither like a trodden rose? I'd prefer not to think so, but I'm still not certain.

I know I've asked my readers to comment before on my blogs, but few have unless they know me in person. This is an open invitation to everyone out there to comment. I'm going to ask a question and I want YOU to answer it completely honestly. Yeah, you. The person sitting there at their computer, reading this blog and wondering what you're going to eat for dinner tonight. You, the Social Media guru. You, the adventurer, the traveler. You, the free spirit, who only goes on line when they're stuck in the house with a cold or fever. You, the reader. You can even remain anonymous.


Should I share a happy memory of Robert, or a little more detail about the break up?







What I Want


I want a job that will pay the bills.
I want the freedom to come and go as I please.
I want to stop smoking.
I want to be remembered.
I want to be good and kind.
I want the kindness to be returned.
I want friends.
I want a good life.
I want my happiness to continue.
I want my old friend back.
I want for him to have a good life.
I want for him to forget me.
I want him to forgive me.
I want my own car again.
I want to feel like I'm going to be ok.

I have most of those... but there are still a few things missing.

Notice the one thing I didn't list was a relationship. I don't want one. I'm not ready for love or promises or drama or disaster. I've tried that. I don't think it's for me. I wasn't meant to have it I guess. Life goes on without it. I keep breathing and eating and sleeping without it. Though the media would have us believe it's necessary in order to have a full, rich life, I disagree. I miss it, certainly. Was it worth it? Yeah, I think it was at times. Not all the time, but sometimes.

But I'm going to be ok.
I do have love - just not that sort. I have the love of my Aunt and two Uncles and countless friends around the world. I have people who will be a shoulder when I need one, give me a hug when I'm desperate for one and tell me it'll all be ok. I have support and love everywhere. What I do NOT have is drama, jealousy and heartache.

I don't want the world. I don't want the moon. I don't want promises and expectations. I don't want pain and misunderstanding. I just want to be me.




Understanding

I'm a romantic soul. I always have been.


I like to be appreciated, told that I'm pretty even when I don't think I am, hold hands and cuddle. I like to be treated nicely and thanked for the little things I do. I purchase gifts for people I love. I would spend every dime on someone else rather than myself. All I ask in return is not to be forgotten. I hate the idea of being forgotten.

I've been a good person in my life. I've had my moments, but we all have. I'm infinitely patient and kind, I hate arguing and any sort of confrontation. I can't STAND being lectured to about something I've done. I hate being told "I told you so" by anyone. I don't like being told I'm not good enough or that I'm a failure.

I don't think that's too much to ask, is it?

In the name of love and love alone, I've hurt several people. To those people, I'm very sorry.

I never wanted to hurt anyone - but when it came down to it, I finally wised up. I don't think the people in Scotland will ever speak to me again, but they are his family, not mine. It's to be expected. It broke my heart to sever ties, but I knew it had to be done. They were good to me, but I'm not the permanent fixture in their lives. He's just down the street from them. I was the outsider. I didn't feel like an outsider when I was there, but I have since I left.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm me. I'll always be me. I can't and wont change for anyone. I was myself when I was there and everyone seemed to genuinely like me and enjoy my company. Now it's all a distant memory, with everyone angry at me, thinking I'm a horrible person I'm sure. I wouldn't pity the man who did this to me, and for that I've been punished in a most horrendous way. I lost what I thought was my family.

Part of me will never forgive myself. Part of me will never forgive him. But to the rest of the family, there's nothing to forgive. I understand. It hurts, but I understand. That may not mean anything at the moment, but months or even years from now it will. Just know that I understand.

I only hope that some of the friends I left damaged in my wake can be half as understanding and forgiving as I have been with his family.



The Wizard


NONE of what happened was fair to anyone - and I miss my friend. Where are you?

There was more than one friend I had to block from contacting me while in Scotland, even before I left for Scotland, because of fights over me talking to someone other than him. He knew there was nothing but talk. He knew about the miles. Still, the anger boiled in him like a thick, black tar and wouldn't go away until I blocked people. I should have seen the signs. I was blinded by emotion. NO LONGER!! Please, my friend, come back.





The Broken Promises

In December of 2009, someone I've known off and on since November of 2003 got in contact with me for a third time after loosing contact. He and I always had a strong connection and our mutual affection was undeniable. We had always loved one another, but we lost contact twice because I didn't trust him or believe in him. He was 6,000 miles away in Scotland after all. One of the times we lost contact, I got married to Blackwood, and the other time I met the love of my life, Pete. When I lost Pete, I lost my mind. It was April of 2009 the last time I saw Pete and I'll be haunted by the look on his face until I take my last breath. No surprise to most of you, I know. I've talked about him in a few of my blogs.

So in December of 2009 I was dating a gentleman by the name of Louis (pronounced Louie like Louis Armstrong) when this person, Mr. Robert Armstrong, showed up in my life again via Facebook. One February evening, after having too much to drink, Robert professed his love for me. Though the original emails are long gone, it was a touching email. Right away, I stopped seeing Louis without explanation.

We picked up where we left off, but better than ever. I flew to Scotland to visit him. He came to the States again to visit me. Both times, we shed tears over parting. Both times we had a wonderful time together. Both times, I was convinced I could and would be happy with him for the rest of my life. Both times, I was sorely mistaken.

He's a good guy, don't get me wrong. He has his faults like any of us do. I'll never wish him ill will, and in fact I hope he finds the woman of his dreams - though I strongly believe he should just get a dog and be done with it. He needs that more than a woman. The unswerving obedience of a dog seems to fit with his lifestyle a bit better than a human being with emotions, thoughts and opinions of their own.

We started the Visa process for a marriage visa after picking a date for us to wed. The date was set for April 30th of this year. I reminded him that he hadn't even asked me to marry him yet, so he replied by saying he would do that the moment I got off of the plane in Glasgow.

The visa came through on the 17th of January, and by the 20th I was gone. I had sold what I could, including my car and a few odds and ends in my apartment. I gave away what I couldn't sell to Goodwill. I purchased a plane ticket, left my job and flew away for what I thought would be forever.

When I landed in Glasgow, not only was there NOT a proposal, but barely a welcoming kiss from the man who said he wanted to marry me. Something felt wrong, but I didn't know what it was. I should have been happy, but distrust crept up in my soul like a spider clinging to a web. It slithered into my mind and heart like a cobra on the prowl. It wasn't long before he started to show his true colors. The first promise had been broken.

I kept my fingers crossed, hoping he had planned something special instead. Maybe he was going to take me out to a nice dinner and do it then. Maybe he had a ring waiting for me at the house. Maybe he realized Valentines was coming up and that would make it even more special. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Well, once more I was wrong.

I put all my faith and trust into a man who promised me the moon, only to hand me a volleyball hoping I wouldn't see the difference. I'm not stupid. I saw right through it. I knew at that moment somehow that I would end up back in California. I was promised a nice steak dinner for Valentines Day. Instead I got Indian take-away. There were no gifts, no rings, no words... we ate in front of the television, just as we always did. When he said he wanted Indian, I wanted my favorite Indian dish, but that didn't come either. I was promised more closet and drawer space for my clothes, so that I might have more than what filled up one suitcase, but that didn't happen either.

Perhaps I'm not doing enough, I thought. He stopped wanting to hug me or kiss me or anything else. I started cleaning the house. Every morning I would wake up and make his coffee for him while he was in the shower. I would watch the news with him before he went off to work. I would sweep and mop the floors, wash windows, do laundry (for the first time in 9 years) and cook for him. Nothing changed.

One day he decided to ask me who a new friend of mine was on Facebook. When I explained that he was a friend of my family in New York, he asked if I had talked to him at all. Yes, I admitted, I had. He decided to read our messages, and then proceeded to go through my Skype chat logs, ancient emails from before I even flew to Scotland the first time and every photo on my computer. He didn't like what he saw, and remained angry at me for days. He wouldn't talk to me, and when he did it was more of a lecture every time. I slept in his daughters room. I was so ill at the beginning of the issue that I could barely stand up straight. By the following week, I was so ill that his sister said I looked like death. Finally I was taken to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a severe kidney infection (not my first) and a bad case of tonsillitis. During that time, I had the courage to take what money I had and purchase a flight back to Los Angeles. I found a cheap rate and went for it. Finally, due to guilt over making me violently ill with his anger, he got over it and we moved on. When I made a confession to him the night of my flight that it had just taken off, he was stunned and outraged yet again. I had decided to stick with him. I loved him, after all. He had forgiven me for the things I did before we met. He forgave me for having male friends (except the one in New York) and for wanting to say Merry Christmas to a former employee while still in the States. If he could forgive me, I could see us through.

That takes us to March.

March crawled by. It stretched and strained and groaned and creaked by. Not a word was spoken about our intended wedding date of April 30th. The only thing I had wanted was for my Uncles to come over for the event. I had saved money for them to come. I tried several times to talk to Robert about it, but he just wouldn't hear of it. He didn't want to talk about it.

We went to a Caravan (Mobile Home vacation park) in mid-April, and he blew up at me because I couldn't hear him. By then I had developed yet another case of tonsillitis and my ears were stopped up. He got so angry that he barked at me in a crowded room, DEMANDING that I go outside to talk to him. As calmly as possible I asked "Would you like to ask me nicely?" Finally he stormed off to go outside alone, and I headed in another direction. By then I had been fairly disillusioned by the situation. I was painfully miserable, from both the cold and his attitude toward me in general. That night there was a huge blow-up within the family and everyone was fighting. We drove back then and there, and not another word was ever said about the whole situation.

For a couple of weeks, things were good. We went to Dublin together and had a great time. He had 'scheduled' something that I wasn't prepared for, and it made me feel like an object rather than an equal. I was there for amusement that night, nothing more, nothing less. With two days in Dublin, the only things we did that I wanted to do was to go for an open-top double decker tour bus ride, and to see the Book of Kells at the Trinity University.

He started to treat me worse every day. I began to fear his footsteps on the upstairs floor, wondering if he was stomping because he was angry at me again for something I didn't realize I did, or perhaps he was just walking loudly. Most of the time he was just walking loudly. My nerves were starting to fry. The Royal Wedding (Kate and William) took place on television April 29th, the day before he and I were to get married. He sat and watched the whole thing, while I could barely stomach about 50% of it. After all, I was supposed to be a bride on the following day. I was supposed to have my Uncles with me. I was supposed to be happy and excited. Instead I was depressed. Yet another of his promises had been broken. Whats worse, suddenly I found that I was in breech of my Visa, since it was a requirement to have a wedding date picked and proof of venue before being issued a visa. I knew then that I would be going home to Los Angeles.

May flew in, and things got worse. He started finding any excuse to scream at me. One night in the streets of Glasgow, in front of his sister and brother in law and hundreds of strangers, he turned on me and shouted. He told me to "f-off" and then called me a liar when I repeated that later on. To this day I know that is EXACTLY what I heard. I know he claims he isn't a liar, but when I watch him do it over and over to others (like his ex-wife when he doesn't want to have his daughter over for the weekend and tells her that he's working instead) how can I believe a word he says?

He told me that he was sorry he wasn't like 'the Highway Patrol Guy I used to date" and screamed at me that he's better and f-him and all sorts. I had enough. I told him that he was drunk and that was enough, and he only got worse. By the end, he had taken the house keys away from me and was completely ready to leave me on the streets of Glasgow on my own with nothing but my handbag. I was ready to stay. It took his sister to talk me into going back. I stayed at her house for two days.

When I got back he said he understood why I stayed there for one day, but two days was too much and he was angry at me for that. He screamed and yelled for an hour or two, terrorizing me as best he could, with me sitting on the couch and crying my eyes out the whole time. Finally I got wise. I told him the situation, expected him to say he was sending me home, and was prepared to be happy about the response. Instead he said he just didn't know what to do.

The "I don't know" phase went on for quite some time. I didn't know if I was coming or going, but I told his sister I was about %80 convinced that I was going back to Los Angeles. She and her mother both said that wouldn't happen - that he wouldn't have brought me over if he wasn't prepared to do what needed to be done - what he had promised to do - in order to keep me. Somehow I didn't believe that. I couldn't believe it. I had seen a side of him that they never had. I knew...

The next fight was brutal. He went out for HIS birthday dinner and drinks with some of his work friends. I wasn't invited. Instead I went to his sisters and we had some wine. When he and I ended up back at the house, everything was fine at first. I was exhausted, since it was after midnight and I hadn't been sleeping very well for a long time. I got ready for bed and climbed in. By the time he came up, I was half asleep.

"Look at my elbows," he said to me, pointing to a couple of white marks he had on them. He turned on the light, blinding me completely, and pointed again. I blinked, looked, and said "uh huh."

"Why are you pretending to be asleep? Because you don't want to talk to me?"

"I'm not pretending to be asleep. I'm tired, but I answered you. I looked."

Things got worse and worse. He accused me of trying to wind him up, and the entire time I had resolved myself to not care. I remained calm and even, not uttering a single word in anything louder than a hushed tone. I told him to calm down and he screamed that he was calm, and that if I wanted to see him yell, he would show me. The entire time, he towered over me in bed, his finger pointing directly at my face, his voice loud enough to burst ear drums. I shuttered and shook violently. I was genuinely scared. I knew how often he didn't remember some of the things he did when he was drunk. I didn't know what he was capable of. I had only been there for 4 months. I didn't think he would ever hit me, but then again I didn't think he would ever send me home. After all, he had promised before I came that he wouldn't send me back.

Finally he stormed out of the room, slamming the door as he went. To this day the door doesn't open right. It gets caught as you try to open it. He warped the metal frame for the door jam when he slammed it so hard the floor shook under the bed. He slept on his daughters trundle bed that night. I was fine with that. I didn't sleep a wink.

It was that night I decided that it was unhealthy. I shouldn't shake like I did that night. I thought he was pacing the floor outside of the room, but when I held my breath to listen, it turned out to be my own heartbeat pounding so hard in my chest that my ears were aching. Adrenaline coursed through my body. I was genuinely terrified. I would have given anything to be anywhere else in the world right then.

Finally I decided to play the game the way he wanted. I told him that it would be best if I went back to Los Angeles. I told him one night in Stirling, after he had plenty to drink and I was stone cold sober. He cried a bit, but the both of us felt immensely better afterward. At that moment, I didn't want to leave. We decided it would be best if I went ahead and left though, so that 6 months would pass before Christmas and I could be back in time for the holidays. We knew I would have to leave before the 20th of June in order for that to happen. We decided that would be the best option... and really the ONLY option, since he wasn't willing to do as he had promised from the beginning. He didn't want me to leave, but he said he couldn't physically get married. He said it wasn't me, it was him. That old cliche line worked on me, believe it or not. He said he didn't care who it was, he couldn't get married to anyone. Pretending to understand, but still completely heartbroken, I began to formulate a plan in my head. I couldn't head back to Los Angeles without a plan.

Finally, after yet another argument and yet another event where he went through my emails of trying to figure out where I was going, where my mind was going and what I was going to do, I stopped crying. It took another week to get the flight booked, and we did book a round trip flight for me to return December 8th - just in time for my birthday. I still didn't want to leave, but I put up a good face for him. I knew he needed me to be strong. Occasionally he would still cry just thinking about it.

After some convincing, I finally got him to make good on one of his promises - my last meal in Scotland was steak dinner. The next day we drove to the airport and we said goodbye. My eyes were dry, but his were bleary and streaked with tears. He cried harder as he headed down the escalator. I looked back at him, watching him walk out of my life, and knowing full well in the back of my mind that I would never see him again. Finally, I cried. I did love him. He wasn't healthy for me and he didn't keep his promises, but I loved him.

I hated when he drank.
I hated when he yelled.
I hated it when he broke his promises.
I hated it when he stomped.
I hated it when he sent me away.
I hated it when he proved my instincts right.
I hated it when he went through my emails.
I hated it when he treated me like an object.
I hated it when he didn't appreciate me.
I hated it when he took me for granted.

But I always loved him.











Just a Quick Note



I am ready to tell my story now. Hang tight to your bonnets, heads are going to roll!!!
What a manipulative creature I was nearly held captive by! How cunning and manipulative I had to be just to get back home! Beware, it's not exactly a funny story - some of it is down right scary! As I spell it out for the WORLD to read, it will help me to cleanse my soul of the dirt and anger that has been festering there since April 30th of this year.

It's time.




Worth Sharing

I responded to a friends email earlier and poured my heart into it. After reading it out loud I realized what I said and felt it was worth sharing...

"I know that the years have taken their toll on me. I've been through some nightmare situations the last couple of years. That's sort of what I was trying to tell you as we left the restaurant. I'm pretty messed up right now and distrusting of damn near everyone I know. There are maybe a handful of people left in this world that I still trust. I'm damaged. I know that. And it's nothing against you or anyone else - I just can't trust anyone right now. I need to be able to have my walls and defenses up right now. I need to be able to make myself feels safe. I need to make sure that I'm going to be ok without having to depend on others. I need to work, even as a waitress if necessary, just to feel my own self-worth and pride returning. I've felt useless and worthless for five long months, wondering where my life was going and wishing I had some sort of control. Well now I have back the power to do that, and I'm not going to let go of that. I nearly lost my mind on this one. I need desperately to feel like I'm taking care of myself, like I'm going to be ok, like nobody is going to send me away."

Five Days Later...

I've been back in Los Angeles for a total of 5 days now. Already I have a new computer, TWO cars to drive, my wonderful Uncles happily back in my life, my kitties snuggled happily in the same room as me, and friends coming from all over the place to welcome me back to where I came from. All in all, things aren't as bad as I thought they would be only five days ago.

I still don't have a solid job yet, but I've got a 'side gig' so to speak helping out as a sort of personal assistant, including mild cleaning and straightening coupled with personal shopping. It's a pretty awesome gig, getting paid to go shopping, spending someone else's money!

Though I'm sharing a room with a dear friend of mine, already I have my own photos up where I can see them anytime I like - photos with me IN them. That's already more than I had in the last place I lived. It looks like I belong here; like I live here. I'm not visiting. I'm settling in. For right now, this room with my awesome friend Sage and my two cats is home. Before long I will be just down the hall, but I'll still be home. I will still be wanted and welcome - and nobody can ever send me away as long as I continue to be myself and pay rent.

I'm notoriously considerate to others. I don't know if I always have been, but I would like to think so. I try not to hurt anyone's feelings and I hate confrontation of any sort. I'm no good at arguments, so why bother? The only time I ever argue is when I think I've been treated unfairly for long periods of time. Otherwise, I'm extremely patient.

I have interviews lined up - so many I had to put appointment reminders in my phone. All of them came through Monster.com, which I am very grateful for. Probably the best job I'm going to interview for is for the Director of Security at the Skirball Cultural Center. It's a job I'm already familiar with doing, while at the same time being surrounded by culture and art, some of my own passions. I am quite possibly most excited about that one - though it's a long drive up the notoriously bad 405 freeway.

I keep looking at cars online, but so far I haven't found anything I'm completely sold on. I don't have the money for one at the moment anyway, but I should be able to save up some money if I get another job this week. Hopefully by mid-August I'll be able to afford something decent. For now, I'm extremely lucky to have the cars available to me to drive, thanks to two wonderful friends.

I've lost contact with Scotland - and lost favor there as well. This is really it. I'm here, perhaps I belong here. Any time I've ever tried to leave, I have always found my way back somehow. Perhaps it's my destiny to live here - maybe I'm meant for great things if I just give it a chance. I do love Los Angeles. It's a great city with diverse people, full of cultural differences, tons of friends and (other than my Aunt Debbie in New York) the only family I seem to have left. I love them dearly!

I've only been here for five days, but things are looking good so far! Somehow I always seem to land on my feet, just like my cats. Lady Luck has been kind, but I'd be lost without the kindness of my friends and family.

When I first knew I was coming back, I somehow envisioned sleeping on park benches again. I imagined being out of work for quite some time, eventually ending up living at a shelter for women. Instead, I've landed in a rose bush - this one without thorns. This one with a name. This one called home.






Promised the Moon

I'm tired of empty promises. It's not the first time I've given up what I had for them, but I can assure myself and the world that it will be the last.

I'm often promised the moon, but in the end the only source of light I'm left with is the light bulb over my head going off, telling me that my idea of how things would be wasn't even close to what they turned out to be.

The moon is fine where it is. I don't want the moon. I don't want money, fame, fortune or diamond rings. What I want is for a promise, one single, solitary promise, to be kept. Until the day that happens, I won't ever believe another one of them.

I am notoriously a optimistic person. I think and act positively, I work hard and I don't give up when things get difficult. I've been through some monsters of situations, lived through several true-to-life nightmares, and yet I keep on going. I've had to start over several times now, and though it's the last thing I wanted to do, here I am doing it again. I loved my job. I loved my home and my friends and family. I gave them all up based on promises I believed. I shouldn't have believed them. Now my life has been reduced to crumbled ashes and I'm left to pick up the pieces, what few there are that remain. Luckily I have two uncles and a handful of friends who care enough about me to help. The more I'm back in Los Angeles, the more I'm realizing that perhaps this is where I belong.

They don't want me to change, these friends and family. They don't make promises they don't intend to keep. They wont send me away to start all over on my own again, with little to no emotional support. They won't ask me to feel sorry for them, and what's even better is they don't feel sorry for me! They want to help, not pitty. I don't need pitty. I need a job. I need money to pay the rent with.

I've been more than fortunate to land on American soil the way I did, with a place to stay for me and the cats, enough money to keep going a week or two and the people around me I need the most right now. The people around me don't promise me the moon. They don't hold my life in the palm of their hands like a yo-yo. They don't pitty themselves for something only they could have changed, trying desperately to make me feel sorry for them. It's my life I need to concentrate on now, not everybody elses. I'm a smart, well trained, optimistic and creative person. I know I will be just fine. I've been in far worse scrapes... but don't expect me to pitty anybody at the moment. I have my own problems to worry about.

Now, off to the dry cleaners. I need my suits cleaned and pressed for any upcoming job interviews I may get.

What I wouldn't give to have my old job back...

Back in Los Angeles

Yep.
That's me.
That's right.
I'm back in Cali.

It's odd, but I didn't realize some strange coincodence until just today when I was setting up my new Blackberry (my job I had at IPC [and LOVED] got me completely hooked on the Blackberry now) I looked at the date. It was exactly two years ago yesterday that I was robbed of my uHaul and every posession I ever owned. I've built up a life again, only to make the conscious decision to give it up, and then find myself back in California on the exact same day I moved back to California the last time.

I'm looking for work (desperately), staying with a friend, and fighting the worst jet lag I can ever remember. But I'm fighting fiercely. I actually got to sleep after 2am last night and woke up around 8am, but I had fallen asleep much earlier in the day only to wake up at midnight on the nose. Fearing I would be up for the night, I finally forced myself to go to sleep by laying on my back in a completely relaxed position, crossing my hands over my heart, and concentrating very hard on nothing but sleep. I was exhausted, no doubt about it, but sleep was hard to find for a very long time.

I'm off to collect my critters today. I've missed my cats enormously. I knew I loved them, but I never realized how much I did until making plans to go get them. It's only hours away and I'm exhausted again since my body thinks it's after 1 in the morning, but I'm fighting the sleep as best I can, in hopes I might sleep peacefully tonight.

I jotted down several ideas I would like to share with the blog readers while on the flight back from Sotland (yes, for anyone who doesn't know, for the past 5 months I've been living quite happily in Scotland, but I'm back in Los Angeles now) but I'll share those at a later date. The friend I'm staying with is sound asleep and I'd rather not wake her up. I hired her to work Graveyards, and she's still doing it.

I'm so blessed to have such awesome friends.

145 Days

As I sit typing this, my bags are packed and I'm ready to fly back to Los Angeles - as ready as I'll ever be that is. I've been in Scotland for 144 days today, tomorrow being 145 I've learned so much in the past 4 months; lessons that will remain with me all the days of my life.

I have a slightly new accent. I know what "Mankey" and "Boggin" are. I know that the "H" is pronounced in Herb here in the UK, and a street curb is spelled with a KErb. I understand the massive culture differences between the two nations, and yet how closely we all exist even 6,000 miles away. I know what it's like to not only live in a foreign country, but what it's like to have a full family again with a mom and dad. For the first time in my life, I know what it's like to have a sister. I learned how to plant strawberries and corriander. I mastered the art of offering tea or coffee to guests. Trimming hedges and painting fences aren't that challenging, I discovered. Watching a rose bloom or seeing the strawberries grow after having my own hands on them is rewarding in a way I'd never known.

I learned what it's like to be accepted and loved... without wanting to run away and hide from compliments I knew not how to accept. I remembered my own love of reading while inspiring another to read more. My favorite childhood books are still out there and still being sold, and I learned that there are some things we'll never outgrow. I figured out how to spin in loops while sliding down a pole at the kids playground. I learned what it's like to be hurting and laughing at the same time. I now know what it feels like to loose and win in the same breath.

I know that I will always have people out there who will always love me unconditionally, no matter where in the world I might be - just down the street or 6,000 miles away. Friendships really CAN stand the test of time. The truth always comes out in the end. But I learned something so important here that it must be shared with everyone who reads this, or any, of my blogs.



"Whits fer ye wilnt go bae ye."



What's for you won't go by you. What's meant to be will be. Whatever fate has in store for us, we may not know until one door closes, another opens, and we choose which path to take when there's a fork in the road. These lessons, and countless others, will be with me all the days of my life. May I never forget where I've been and what I've seen... or the people out there that I love.







I'm leaving on a jet plane.
Don't know when I'll be back again...
Oh, Babe - I hate to go.






.

Bucket List

100 things to do before I die.

  1. Paris
  2. Greece
  3. Spain
  4. Boston
  5. New York City
  6. Fiji
  7. London
  8. Louvre
  9. India
  10. Dance in the rain with someone I love
  11. Give an unforgetable gift
  12. Write a book
  13. Make something that will last hundreds of years
  14. Get published
  15. Go to college
  16. Get a degree
  17. Sky dive
  18. Own a horse and go riding
  19. Go for a ride in a small private plane - preferably a Cesna.
  20. Own another purple heart necklace
  21. Buy my own diamond earrings
  22. Van Gogh Museum
  23. Create a cartoon series
  24. Teach someone how to keep surviving against all odds
  25. Learn to paint
  26. Take a photography class




Tomato Soup

It's 2:30 in the afternoon. I'm sitting in front of my computer, staring at a game I'm tired of playing but too distracted to close the browser window. My tomato soup in the coffee mug next to me is still steaming, but the heat warms my hands. It's a shame I can't hold the mug with my feet, I think to myself. My toes are so cold my toenails have all turned a lovely shade of bluish purple. They always remind me of Christmas lights for some reason when they go that color. The blue house lights are always my favorite...

My thoughts wander here and there throughout the day. I know what must be done, but getting there won't be an easy road.

I take another sip of my tomato soup in a mug, the thickness filling my mouth and surrounding my teeth with a warm blanket of flavor. I've always loved tomato soup. A car insurance commercial comes on the television and instinctively I reach for the mute button on the remote. The noise makes it hard to think. I turn the volume back up right away though... I've done enough thinking lately. I need a distraction.

Another sip. Another sigh. Another weak moment. Finally the show comes back on. Two and a Half Men always seems to make me forget my own dramas and helps me to realize how lucky I really am to have this life that I've got. Ironic - the star (Charlie Sheen) has everything but love, and yet he's not happy. He's got a career playing the piano. He has a gorgeous house in Malibu. He has a brother he's close to, a nephew he sees all the time, and more beautiful women walking through his door than a Victoria's Secret with a turnstyle. Yet he's not happy.

I haven't ever really cared about material things... big, fancy houses and fast, sporty cars aren't that important to me. I don't need diamonds or rubys. I don't want expensive clothes. All I've ever wanted was to be remembered and loved. I've got that. I should be happier than I am at the moment, but something is preventing me. It's a big something. But it's only a hiccup. We'll get past this.

Another sip of my tomato soup and it's gone, I realize. I suppose it's time to run some hot water in the sink so I can wash the dishes.

Plans

Perhaps it's just me and my way, but when I tell one story 12 times I grow tired of it... especially if it's a story I'm not too keen on telling in the first place. I plan to combat that before people start asking me what the 'plan' is. What's going to happen from here? Well, I plan to leave us all with a few thoughts on a simple theme, by telling all what was said by others on that very matter...




"Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action."
Napoleon Hill

"Plans are only good intensions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work."
Peter Drucker

"Bire off more than you can chew, then chew it. Plan more than you can do, then do it."
Anonymous.

"A goal without a plan is just a wish."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood... Make big plans, aim high in hope and work."
Daniel H. Burnham

"In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
John Lennon, "
Beautiful Boy"

"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do, doesn't mean it's useless."
Thomas A. Edison

"Plans change."
R Armstrong

"He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign."
Victor Hugo

"Life is what happens when soemthing else is planned."
A. Montgomery


And one final thought from yours truly... when I'm ready to tell everyone what the plan is, I will. Until then, please feel free to go about your daily life and forget about what's going on over here on the blog spot. There's no doubt that when I'm ready to share the story it will end up here. If you found this post, you'll find the next, and the next after that. The story will come, and without doubt, you will read it. By then changes will have come and gone, and plans may or may not be fulfilled. Time will tell.

One thing is for certain - the plans made are private. When it's openly and undisputedly agreed that it's a wise or good idea to share the 'plan' then it will be. For now, it's on a "need to know" basis. This isn't meant to be a rude or unfeeling remark. I thank everyone out there for continuing to read my blog. Not a soul out there has offended me by asking what's going on or by caring about what happens or has been happening. I just feel the desire to reassure everyone that there is, at least, a plan. I'm not at liberty to share that plan as of yet, but I will.

Things will be better than ever. I will be stronger and wiser than ever. The sun will shine and the birds will sing and the world will continue to revolve around the sun in the Milky Way galaxy snuggled safely within the vast Universe. My life and this blog are less significant than a speck of dirt in the overwhelming, boundless, infinite measure of all that exists. Remember that. Live your lives, as I do mine - fearless and full of hope for a future complete with personal success, andventure and happiness.

Friends

When I was a young school girl, almost all of my friends were boys. I did have the occasional female friend growing up, but after two 'besties' in my pre-teen years, I couldn't seem to find another female friend. My friends - all of them - for many years were all male.

My parents told me that would change when I grew up, but it didn't seem to change. I found that most of my friends were all males, except for the occasional female boss or coleague. Still, in 2006 when I found myself working in a male-dominated 'technology' industry selling production camera accessories, it worked to my advantage. I knew how to relate to guys.

Some guys seemed to take my friendly mannerisms for something else, and me being me, I didn't notice. Often a friendship would be destroyed by an advance from someone I thought of as a friend. In 2009 I was told that a problem I was having with a male boss was my fault because I was 'too nice' to him. I was then told that I was 'too nice' to all the guys I worked with, when all but one of them were guys.

I've always been a 'tough' girl. I've related well to men in many ways - being a tom boy. I climbed trees and played with worms as a little girl. I fought with the boys as a pre-teen just for fun. I loved old cars and target shooting with my father. I played football with the boys! In fact, I broke my foot doing it. I've always been a tom boy.

Finally, about this time last year, things started to change for me. I made a few new friends. Suddenly the balance shifted.

Now that I've settled comfortably into my 30's, life has morphed into something glorious. I found a long, lost uncle or two whom I adore and NEED in my life. I've traveled to places I've never been before, formed a family that I find I would have been lost without many times over, bonded with people over distances never imagined before the days of the internet, and discovered a little bit more about myself. My friends can rightly be split almost down the middle between males and females, though the majority of the really close ones are all female. That's certainly a first since I was 11 years old.

I have become who I was meant to be.
I have my friends and loved ones to thank for that.
I'll come back home... I promise.

No Heros or Villains

One of the biggest faults I've ever been known to have is trying to find blame within myself when I have none to burdeon. Sometimes this causes me to do things that will further mess things up and finally I will have a valid reason to blame myself for things going wrong. It's a viscious cycle and I'm ready for it to stop.

I'm ready for a lot of things to stop... I'm ready to stop going on like tomorrow won't come, like I won't be ok, like I'll be abandoned yet again in my life. Because that's not going to happen. There will always be another tomorrow. I'm a survivor and I will always be ok in the end. And I won't be abandoned. Not now or ever. People care about me and love me. When one door closes a window will open. When one bridge gives way, a swing will appear. There is always another way - as long as 'surviving' it all is the end result.

It's not the end of the world. For a while I thought maybe it was. I thought I was standing on the shores of Shymia and looking out into the ocean, thinking to myself what my childhood t-shirt said... "It's not the end of the world, but I can see it from here."

Well, it's not the end of the world. It's breathing space. It's room to move. It's the lack of pain, suffering and wondering, at least for me.

There are no villains or heros in this story. Nobody is at fault, nobody is to blame. Nobody is going to swoop down and carry away all of our problems. Superman doesn't exist this time around. There will be no miracles. There will be no divine intervention. This is what it is. That's all.

No point in crying over it or getting depressed and feeling like I can't get out of bed. No sense in laying still for hours on end because I lack the motivation or will power to get my head off of the pillow. No more sleeping in order to hide from the inevitable. I'm not to blame. I shouldn't feel like it's the end, because as it was so bluntly put by someone else yesterday, it's NOT.

There are no heros.
There are no villains.
This isn't a story from the past.
This isn't a fictional novel I'm reading.

This is real. This is now. This is me. This is LIFE.

It's not the first time I've found myself in this kind of situation. I know I will be just fine. I always am. I just need to get in gear to make sure that happens.


Yep.
The redhead in me has returned.