Category Archives: Esther

Focus 52: "Aged"

The sultry redheaded, Raquel Welch lookalike you see in that yellow car next to the little girl…is my mother.  Well, it is my mother circa 1975.  The chubby kid with the stringy hair flying all over the place?  That’s me.

This photograph was taken at Disney World in 1975 by some guy who was dating my mother at the time.  I know he who was, I just don’t care to talk about him.  Any way, the reason for this photo is to remind myself that, once upon a time, my mother was a very vibrant and alive person.  She used to have fun.  She used to allow herself to let her hair down and enjoy herself. 

It was very difficult being her daughter once upon a time.  She was a traffic stopping beauty.  Literally.  Men would get out of their cars in Midtown Manhattan just to watch her walk by.  And of course there would be chubby me, braces, glasses, stringy hair and the occasional zit huffing and puffing alongside her, trying to keep up with her long-legged stride.  I remember distinctly the catcalls.  Men would hoot and holler at her as she would walk by.  She would just toss a playful glance over her shoulder, wave in a coy fashion and then, look down at me. 

“Men are very silly creatures, CP,” she would say.  “You will find out just how ridiculous they can be, once your boobs fill in.”

Then, she would laugh which in turn, would make me laugh.  I was always in awe of her though.  She was incredibly beautiful, very smart, a savvy businesswoman and never lacking for a boyfriend who would wine her and dine her.   She always made them pay for a babysitter.  (“If he wants to take you out, CP…you make sure he takes care of your kids, too.  If he wants to see you that badly, he will have no issue with that.”)  She would make them pick up a pizza or some Burger King for me and my brother. (“If I am going to go out with you tonight, I don’t have time to cook for my kids.  Bring them over some take out.”)  And, very rarely did she let these guys into our apartment after they would drop her off from a date. (“Don’t give away the milk, CP.  Always let them buy the cow.”) 

I never really got what that last one meant, because she said it all ass backwards all the time.

Anyway, watching her grow up as a single woman in the 70’s helped me to grow up somewhat cool, confident and self assured.  My mother was far from the best mom on the planet.  She had her issues, for sure.  But, what she did do was give me little life lessons all the way through, reminding me that while I may not look a certain way now, at 9 years old, I would have the rest of my life to grow into the woman I want to be.  Don’t rush it.  Don’t push it.  Stay a kid as long as you can…because you get to be a woman for the rest of your life.

She made me a very confident woman.  While my friends were struggling with their self-esteem, mine was large enough to require me to sleep in a double bed just to accommodate my ego.  While my girlfriends were always worried about being too fat, too thin, too short, too tall…those things never entered my universe.  I was always very confident, very self assured and well, perhaps a little full of myself.  I think my personality came from trying to emulate that woman that I would walk alongside in Midtown Manhattan.  She always looked like she was on stage, performing for the masses.  She walked like a supermodel–chin lifted, eyes up, that red mane of her blowing in the breeze.  She would toss her hair around now and then, raise her face up to the sun and smile.  She was brimming with self assurance and I was dying to play that role. 

I played it so well…that I became it. And now, it is who I am.  Self assured, confident, loving myself, my body and my life despite its flaws. 

So, why this picture for the Focus 52: “Aged” prompt? 

Because, I am now the age my mother was then.  I have aged.  She has aged.  The memory has aged.  This photograph has aged. 

This past weekend, we were all on a cruise ship together.  She scarcely wanted to do anything or go anywhere.  She was so tired all the time.  Worn out.  Her confident strut turned into a little more than a limp and a shuffle when she walked.  During the trip, she took notice of my 5 inch high heels and shook her head.  She said to me, “You are so funny, the way you strut instead of walk.  You look like a supermodel when you walk…like you are running the show.”

And I couldn’t help but laugh to myself…and wonder, if she only knew that my training in life came from running with short little legs alongside my beautiful red haired mother on the hard concrete streets of Midtown Manhattan, all those years ago. 

Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living.

Oy. Really?

I hate this shit.

You know I am going to say the Hotband. You know I am going to say Nick. You know I am going to say Samantha. You know I am going to say my grandkids. Have you not read at least 604 posts all dedicated to them, the love they give me and the way they have held my head above water for the past five years? Writing this post will bore me to tears and, more than likely, that will trickle down to you.

So, instead, I am going to write it about someone who doesn’t hear my accolades too often.

Esther.

If not for Esther, half of the posts I write on here wouldn’t be worth reading. She is truly a gift in my life. Not because she’s a great mom (which totally depends on the day) but because she is so spontaneous, so without tact or forethought, so “from the heart to the lips”, that she is literally entertaining. Even at her most cutting, she is undeniably funny. No matter how rotten she is being, there is something hysterically funny about the things that irritate her. She is quirky as hell. I mean, who cleans the house because they don’t want the cleaning lady to see her house dirty? Who does that? Who designates an entire bedroom of a house to her dog, complete with monogrammed Lazy Boy chair, monogrammed towels that say “Max”, more photos of her precious pitbull in frames than of her own grandchildren and, mind you, his own SONIC CARE toothbrush?

Let me tell y’all. If you believe in karma, pray hard to come back in your next life as my mothers dog. That’s all I’m saying. She leaves the house for a few hours and she calls a babysitter for Max. I recall being 9 years old, my brother being six…and her going out for dinner with a boyfriend. No babysitter. Just “here ya go kiddies” as she put the TV dinners on the TV trays for us. “Be good, I’ll be home soon. I’ll have Sonja next door check in on you.”

But Max…a 13 year old Pitbull gets a dog sitter if she’s gone for more than 2 hours.

Pretty good life, if you can get it.

Overall, my mother is not a bad person. She doesn’t have much of a mind of her own. Her politics depend on whatever my father’s thinking involves. Her logic on certain subjects in incredibly flawed and dare I say on occasion, desperately uneducated. If she didn’t hear it on Fox News, it couldn’t have possibly happened. But, despite this, she is a source of a lot of the laughter in my life…now that she and I no longer live in the same state.

I will say that I have taken some of her best and worst traits for my own. We are both terribly and often inappropriately outspoken. We both don’t sit idly by for injustice. We will get involved when we see someone in trouble without much fear for our own personal safety. We are both crusaders that way. Very strong woman. On the flipside of that coin, we are both easily angered. We tend to get involved in things that don’t necessarily require our input. We can both be incredibly overbearing to the point of overshadowing others.

The difference that separates us most probably is tact. Spend 10 minutes with both of us, and I will come off looking like one classy dame. She’s got a mouth like battery acid and while I know how to flip the “off” switch on that…she does not. But if she did, what on earth would I ever have to write about?

So, Mom…this one is for you. Someone who has made my life worth living. You gave me life despite all the craziness in your life. You were a single parent with two little kids doing the very best you could. Was it always the right thing? God, no. Did you fuck up quite often? Definitely. But, in doing so…I learned from your mistakes as well. I am not saying I would be a better mother than you were…but a different mother. I know you grew up in a very abusive household, as did I. But you inspired me to break that cycle. And, while I didn’t always do a fantastic job of that, I did well enough so that now, when I see my daughter interact with her babies, I know for sure the cycle of abuse is officially broken. It’s over. No one will ever get hit again.

I forgive you, Mom. I DO love you. I know I don’t say it enough. I don’t know that I ever will, but as I watch you grow older, becoming a bit more reserved and not as quick as a whip with that vile tongue of yours, I find myself softened. Something in your eyes have lost that edginess and I see the first signs of an older, more frail human being. It allows me to let my guard down a little.

And, just when I become afraid that I will never see that side of you again, I wait for you to come visit, just so I can say “Bill O’Reilly sucks and Obama is the best President ever!” It winds you back up, you lose 25 years in your eyes…and you’re back to calling me a stupid bitch who doesn’t know shit.

I will always love you for that.

Conversation with Esther #345767346

*ring*

*look at cellphone*

“Mom Cell”

*sighs*

*exhales*

“Hello?”

“HELLO????”

“Hello, Mom.”

“Hello, CP??? It’s your mother!”

“Yeah. That’s why I said ‘Hello, Mom’.”

“Oh, yeah. *insert cackle laughter* Okay.”

“What’s up, Mom?”

“Nothing. I just wanted to ask you a question.”

“Shoot.”

“Okay, so I’m at Dobies Funeral Home right now and I just wanted to know if you wanted me to have a ceremony for when I’m cremated.”

“You’re WHERE?”

“The funeral home.”

“Okay,” I reply. “Um, why?”

“Because I thought you and your brother would like to have a ceremony for me when I’m cremated.”

“Why would you need to have a ceremony to be cremated?”

“Well, I thought you two would like to have your friends over to see me. I just thought you’d want to be with me when I die.”

*silence*

“Mom? I will be with you when you die. You do understand that I can’t go to the crematorium with you though, right?”

“Oh, you can’t be there when they put me in that oven?”

“Um, no. And why they hell would I want to watch you be slid into a pizza oven?”

“So I should have a ceremony afterward then…”

“A ceremony for WHAT, Mom? You want to stick an urn of ashes on a podium and have us stand there and look at it? We can do that at home!”

“I just don’t want you to feel slighted,” she says.

“Why would I feel slighted?”

“What? You’re breaking up. You like it when I’m silent? Is that what you said?”

“Well, yes, I do like it when you’re silent, but that’s not what I said. I said, why would I feel slighted?”

“Well, because your brother is going to be dumping my ashes into the bay in Connecticut so I thought you would want some sort of ceremony for me to display my urn.”

“Ma, if you are just going to be dumped in the bay, why are you even getting an urn? Just let us take the ashes in the plastic baggie and the little pine box they come in, dump you out, go home, sit shiva, feed everyone and be done with it.”

“So you don’t want my ashes?”

“I’ll take a pinch out, stick it in an envelope and file it in my safe under ‘dead mother’.”

“You really love me, don’t you, CP.”

“With all my heart, Ma. With all my heart.”

Defining the Girl…or Facing Facebook.

I was trying to define my blog to someone today. Tried to explain what it was about without saying something mundane like “Oh, it’s all about my ever so exciting life.” Truth of the matter is, my life is pretty exciting. Not in a “travel-all-over-the-world-make-love-to-diplomats-spend-too-much-cash” kind of way, but in a “hey, I accidentally shit myself while bending over to pick up a dust bunny” way. How fun is that?

The person I was talking to happily accepted that definition and then asked me another question that I truly could not answer.

“So, why don’t you put your blogposts up on Facebook? You’re friends must think you’re hilarious!”

*blink*

Truth be known, my “friends” do think I am hilarious. I am one of those chicks that goes straight from the heart to the mouth without a pit-stop at the brain in between. I tend to say whatever I am feeling in my heart at any given moment before my frontal lobe has a chance to say, “Er, CP? That MAY not be appropriate right now.” No. More poor brain is usually the organ that has to do damage control after my heart causes my tongue to flap.

But, yes indeed. WHY don’t I post my blog links on Facebook? Fair enough question.

I think there are a few reasons. First and foremost is privacy. Not MY privacy, mind you, but rather, my husband and children’s privacy. In the five years I have been blogging, I have never mentioned my husbands name. That is not to say that some of you don’t know the mans name. Some of you have met him in “real time”. And, some of you have known me longer than I have known him, so naturally, you would know who he is. Then, there are the select few (read: 3) who read my blog who know me in real life on a day to day basis. Most of my blog readers don’t even know MY name. And, when I meet a blogger in real life, they tend to call me “CP” anyway, because that’s how you know me. But, for the hotband, I have to maintain a modicum of privacy. He has a pretty high profile job and there is a certain decorum that comes with his job.

And then, I look at HIS Facebook page, and he puts up all sorts of horny looking fruit, inappropriate Jesus pics and makes homosexual references with all MY guy friends. So, WHY the hell am I holding back on my blog?

Because…if he wants to put himself out there, that’s his prerogative. I am still going to respect the boundaries, even though he never put any up for me.

Then, there is another aspect I have considered. My Facebook friends vs. My Blogger Friends. Some of you overlap into both categories. I think there are 14 of you, actually, who are “friended” on Facebook but started off knowing me via this blog. My Blog Friends are a much cooler breed. We understand that we can cross certain lines with one another. We know that one year in blog time is the equivalent of 5 years real time. Therefore, I know many of you longer in that sense than I do the people I have been friends with for 20 years or more. And, while my friends of 30 years care about me very much, I don’t think they want to know that I was a domestic violence survivor. I don’t think they care that I survived cancer. I don’t know that they would give a shit one way or another that I struggle with bipolar disorder on a daily basis. And, I believe that most of them would be entirely too judgmental with regard to my drug addiction and subsequent recovery.

So, it begs the question…are these “friends” on Facebook ACTUALLY my friends?

I think in some ways, yes, we are. We have history. We have memories of our childhood and our youth. That’s something that we as adults tend to cling to. My husband, as close as we are, will never understand how I grew up. He doesn’t know what it was like to be a little kid living in NYC no more than I can ever know about his experiences growing up in Israel. It’s nice to have those people in your life that you can reminisce with. It’s fun. But, does it provide a longevity to the relationship? Not really. When I reconnected with some old junior high friends on Facebook, it was a blast. We couldn’t stop talking about growing up in Queens and what it meant to each of us. How it shaped us into the adults we are today. We talked, shared, laughed…and then, burnt it out. While we still engage in some witty banter here and there, do I think any of these people would drop whatever they were doing to be at my side if something traumatic happened in my life?

*sighs* No. No I don’t. Even the person I was closest to growing up has turned her back on me in some aspects. She hides my feed because I am (insert adjective for vulgar, crass, classless, rude, explicit, etc.). And I get it. She’s got her kids on her Facebook. Can’t have me talking about the new lube and vibrators I bought on my status and have it show up on her wall, right? I do get it. That’s also why my son is NOT my Facebook friend…nor are my nephews and nieces. As far as I am concerned, Facebook is NO place for children, period. But, to each their own. My daughter is on my Facebook…but she’s 22, married and knows that her mother is a tad fucked in the head. My son is only first learning that. Why rush it? He’ll get it soon enough.

Which brings me back to the original question. Why don’t I post my blogposts on Facebook? The answer is…I don’t quite know. I suppose there might be a small part of me that is going to wonder what people will think of me, which is ironic because I am definitely one of those people who generally don’t give a fuck what others think of me. But, these are childhood friends who have a certain vision of me, a particular memory that I don’t want to taint. Then again, I suppose true friends would love you regardless and understand that the person you were at 14 is not necessarily the person you are at 40.

Then, there is the BIG reason I don’t post my blog posts on Facebook. My brother. He’s a great guy. He totally knows how screwed up I am. He is equally as fucked in the brain. We were raised by the same woman…and THAT, Dear Friends, is the ULTIMATE reason. The one that trumps all. I simply CANNOT have Esther reading my blog. I love my mother but, if you are a long time reader or know her in real life, you know what an absolute LOONEY TUNE she is. If she ever caught wind of the things that I write about her…she’d kill me. Not figuratively. Literally. Like, I have given instructions to my husband to form my blog into a book posthumously if she ever kills me so everyone knows what an absolute banshee she is/was. Don’t get me wrong. There is a certain beauty to being raised by a psychopath. It allows me to be quirky, strange and crazy. When I tell people I am bipolar, they nod. Then, they meet my mom…and suddenly, they nod emphatically…and it all just comes together for them.

The crazy thing is, I have met such interesting and amazing people on Facebook. People that I do NOT know from my past or that I blog with or know in real life. Simply people who I have met in passing either playing a game or stumbling onto their page. Really great people. I would love to share my blog posts with them…but still, I feel some hesitation and restraint.

*raises brows*

Hesitation? Restraint? Foreign concepts to me that I am STILL getting used to.

So, for right now, I am simply using the website “Networked Blogs” on Facebook as my tiny baby step, my little foray into taking my blog out of hiding. (There’s a link to it on my sidebar. No, lower. Lower. Yeah. Right there. Click it if you’re on Facebook.) I think, in reality, my blog will exist long after my old friendships fall away. This is home for me. This is where I feel best and can relax and be myself.

And, if you can’t be yourself…why be at all?

Facebook Conversation with the Hotband.

As some of you may or may not know, my husband works in another state in the country four days out of the seven day week. This means that we rely very heavily on social media to stay in touch. Cellphones, computers, web cams and of course, Facebook. We spend a lot of time on there talking to one another and more importantly, staying connected to keep the love alive.

Yeah. Like we ever had a problem with THAT! Heh.

My husband loves to post bizarre pictures on Facebook. This works well, because I love to SAY inappropriate things on his Facebook wall. I do this for a couple of reasons. A) I know the things that I say utterly disgust my sister in law and her friend who are friends with my husband. This is my passive/aggressive way of saying “fuck off, dogfaces”. B) Any woman from my husbands past will VERY rapidly figure out that the Hotband’s wife is, in fact, mentally deranged. There will be no sweet, rekindling of the past love notes sent to my husband so long as they realize I am a danger to myself and others. Especially others.

Try me, bitches.

Anyway, my husband posts a picture of a fucking mountain goat, or maybe it’s a ram. Or a friggin’ ewe. Whatever. But, it’s dangling off an electrical wire in someones backyard. Obviously a photoshop deal (Yes, Blogger….photoshop IS a word. Be gone, red squiggly line!). My husband finds this picture to be a riot and posts it on his page. The following hilarity ensues:

Pee Ess: Names are obviously changed/blocked out for privacy. Most people don’t want you to know they are associated with me. Click on the pic to enlarge.

Tony B. likes this.

Eddie:
how??????????????????

Hotband:
LMFAO, I don’t know but would have loved to witness it

Kathy:
kinda reminds me of the dead squirrel I had hanging from my porch rafters…. two grown men in this house and I had to go scoop it out with a Walmart bag…lol… I’ll post the pic

Hotband:
Ha! Nice

Eddie:
a squirrel weighs what? 1 pound. This thing has to weigh like 40=60 pounds

Hotband:
Could be a photoshop

Kathy:
posted the squirrel and trust me it was real…

CP:
i wish someone would hang me naked from an electrical line. then pinata my ass a few times until i shit candy. that would be fucking sweet.

Eddie:
Hotband, now you’re gonna make me break out my CSI Orlando kit.

Hotband:
Babe WTF? LMFAO

CP:
fuck man. i just laughed so hard my tampon dislodged…*ROFLMAO*

Hotband:
Well, I guess it’s close enough to candy out of your ass

CP:
oh shit. i’m not even wearing a tampon.
wtf was that then?
*dials 911*

Hotband:
Maybe it was that candy after all?

Eddie:
omfg!!!!

CP:
i dunno. should i taste it? what if it’s sticky…and catches on the roof of my mouth? i may choke. i dunno…it’s really pretty suspicious looking. maybe i spontaneously aborted my liver through my vagina.

Hotband:
I say you freeze it and wait for me to get home, I’ll have a look at it first. If it’s edible, we can serve it up when your mom gets here.

CP
omfg. banner day. for once, i am without words.

*bows to the master*

Janet:
omg omg omg omg……