Monday, June 8, 2015

A break from Pop Culture-Best Friend Day.

This Monday morning, after an intensely heartbreaking episode of Game of Thrones and very little sleep, I want to blog about something positive and uplifting. And, since it's National Best Friend Day, why not blog about friendship? It's something everyone can relate to and hopefully everyone has at least one or two good ones. The kind that lift you up, that are there for the good and the bad, the kind that get you through times you just don't think you'll make it through. The kind of friends that have your back no matter what, but who will call you out and let you when you are wrong. Those kind of friends, that's what makes it all worth it. Especially when you feel alone-they remind you that you are far from it. 

"WE" is a simple word but so powerful when you feel alone. The "I" in single mom can especially be overwhelming, so when "I" becomes "WE", it changes everything. It changes perspectives, it changes ideas, attitudes, it gives confidence....it's a big deal. When I found out (VERY unexpectedly) that I was going to be a single mom, it was my friends (and sister, she is in this category) that got me through. They rallied around and let it be known that "WE" would be ok, "WE" got this. When said sister was diagnosed with 9 brain tumors and it felt like the world completely stopped spinning, it was them who, once again, said "WE" would get through it and she would fight those tumors with the strength of all of us behind her. Most recently, when I found myself happy, falling in love yet terrified to my core after meeting a man and introducing him to my son/family, it was them again who said "WE" think he's amazing, "WE" think he's worth it, "WE" want you to let that guard down finally and be happy. And I thank God for them for being able to see that that he was worth the risk- especially after realizing they have all been right! =)  In short, they continue to be the "WE" behind me. I feel like I can do anything because I have this amazing core group of friends that will help dust me off when I fall, but will push me to try it again. They are diverse in background and ethnicity's but their true character are all similar. Some are quiet, some are loud, some are married and are mothers or fathers, others are single and mingling. Some give quiet strength and advice, others will put it right there on Front Street and simply say "STOP BEING AN IDIOT". But what they have in common is that they all have hearts that are huge, they all have compassion and empathy for anyone in their life, and they all (in their own way) are funny as all hell. I find those combinations to be harder to find, so I treasure these lunatics of mine with all my soul. 

To my circle of friends, the girls and boys in this crazy crew: Thank you. Thank you for being there, thank you for ALWAYS being there for my son and I. Thank you for taking the frantic 10pm phone calls when I inevitably cannot get out of my own way. Thank you for telling me when I fuck up-yet loving me anyway. Thank you for seeing not only my side but all sides of things. Thank you for having the baseball bat ready at all times when someone does one of us wrong-because when one is wronged, we all are wronged. Thank you for being there through the good, the bad, the ugly, the ridiculous, the absurd, the boring, the hilarious, the REAL. I love you more than you can ever know and appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. Happy Best Friends Day y'all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I've taken a bit of a hiatus on blogging because, well, life. But I am back today to speak of what is now the hottest thing happening in pop culture: Ms. Caitlyn Jenner. Initially I had been following this story at sort of a distance because I really can't stand anything Kardashian related. Much to my relief and surprise though (thankfully) it is a singular story of someone whom I find extremely brave-and it's gotten to me. I heart Caitlyn Jenner. I heart her and I heart the mostly positive responses I have been reading regarding the whole transition. People seem to be letting go of judgement and ridicule that has plagued people that are "different" in the past -it's a progression that brings tears to my eyes honestly. The transgender community has such a high rate of suicide that it's a beautiful thing to watch someone so public become whom he was always meant to be-a gorgeous woman in every sense of the word. 

When he was Bruce Jenner, the Olympian, I always liked him. Years later, he was the only thing I could stand about the Kardashians. The thing that always struck me about Bruce was that he loved to give back. He was always out doing motivational speaking, trying to better other peoples lives and not taking for granted the role model status he earned. He took being an Olympian and a public figure very seriously and I love that she is doing that now. Other people may disagree, but I feel like Caitlyn coming out on the cover of Vanity Fair was the least self-serving thing on the planet to do. She is being so public so that other people, people like her, to live their true selves through her example and is willing to take the brunt of any mean, hateful, vicious comments to do that. She will be the face of the transgender community but in all honesty, the easy thing to do would have been to disappear and live a quiet life in the tropics. She certainly has the money and means to do that. But to grace the cover of an international magazine and to put out there in no uncertain terms that this is who she is-to me, that's the bravest thing in the world. (And, just a footnote, she is absolutely stunning).

 I cannot imagine being uncomfortable in my gender. I mean, sure, there are times (as all ladies know!) that it sucks to be a woman with our biology. We all know body struggles, wishing we were shorter, taller, thinner...but I have never once felt like I wasn't meant to be a female. That internal struggle of feeling like you are not "right", you were born "wrong"-that has to be the hardest thing in the world to deal with. You live with that every second of every day and it has to be torture. I hate to think of anyone in the world struggling, honestly, but to struggle with something you literally have zero control over has to be excruciating. I applaud anyone brave enough to break barriers, cut through the bias, the judgement, the discrimination and the mean spirited comments to be who they are. I doubt that I could ever be so brave. It honestly warms my heart to see this happening. Progress and acceptance are a lovely thing-it's truly a testament to our times to watch this happen in such an accepting way. This couldn't have happened twenty years ago, so to be a part of a time where we can accept people for who they are makes me so, so proud. 

 In Bruce's interviews you can see how he was in so much pain about transitioning, how sad he was that he caused his family hurt and pain. On the now infamous cover, she radiates happiness. Her children have accepted her and will still love her for who she is-and that has to be the most freeing feeling in the world. I give a lot of credit to his children, his ex wives, and his family for being as accepting as they are and for having the ability to come to terms with mourning the man they knew, and embracing the woman they have in their lives now. It couldn't have been an easy thing but it IS a beautiful thing. I hope that anyone going through something similar finds her story inspiring and that it helps those who need it. So shine on Caitlyn Jenner, shine on. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

As my BFF pointed out, it's been a hot minute since I've blogged last. Life gets in the way sadly, but there has been a LOT happening on The Walking Dead so I'm going to do something a little different: I'm just going to discuss how I feel about things and those who want to contribute please feel free to do so. I know some people have a hard time commenting on here so you can comment under my Facebook page if you would like. There's a lot to discuss so let's go!

-Rick. Rick is officially clean shaven, showered and hot again. Pheeeeeeew. That was a LONG time coming! He is back to his cop roots but still is really, really not believing everything Alexandia seems to be offering. He enjoys but is scared of Carl and Judith settling in and being kids again because, the world outside is completely different. It's almost as if Rick and his gang are the bad guys now and its a sad realization actually. The people of Alexandria seem like really good people (for the most part) and my gut feeling is that Rick and crew will eff that up big time. Le sigh.

Carol. WHOA Carol. She has become the single most badass cardigan/khaki wearing character in all of television history. Bold statement you say???? Mayhaps. BUT. Who else could threaten and terrorize a child with a sweet voice, an angel face and a cardigan-and you actually can't blame her???? NOONE. NO.ONE. Not a single person. She is covert PTA mom who by day is sweet and naive but by night is gun and chocolate stealing BADD ASS MOTHA EFFER. She so completely rocks that if anything happens to her either, we all riot. #Scarol.

-Michonne is soooo ready to drink the Alexandria kool-aid and who can blame her? She's distrusting but not Rick-like distrusting. She truly wants to be settled in a place where she can have a life again. It's a sweet notion but with Gangsta Rick at the helm, who knows how that will work out????

-Sasha. Poor Sasha. She is having PTSD like whoa and cannot grasp that these people, for the most part, have not had experiences anywhere near like she has had. She is grieving the loss of Bob and Tyrese and almost resents the people of Alexandria who's biggest worry is what kind of meal to make, not how to survive on a second to second basis. It's a lot to swallow for sure, but Sasha seems to be slowly losing it. I hope she recovers before blowing a seemingly great gig-like running water and electricity!

-Darryl. Darryl is the most fish out of water when it comes to Alexandria. I think a lot has to do with him always being an outcast, even pre-zombiepocolypse. He has never quite fit in anywhere except for within Rick's group, so he is really having a hard time acclimating to the people of Alexandria. Aaron, however, is making headway and it's actually a very sweet friendship developing. I like it a lot. And if Darryl dies, like so many people are predicting, I will riot in the mean streets of Northborough like noones business. Don and Ann will be with me-three people rioting in a small town will make headlines, trust. 

Eugene. My sweet, sweet Eugene is nowhere to be found and I'm about to riot about that! I need my mullet fix quick, fast and in a hurry!!! I want to see him awkwardly discussing nerd stuff with the PTA board at Alexandria. I want him to be all stalky and weird and on my tv screen damn it!!!! <end rant>

Everyone else seems status quo. Glenn and Maggie are doing well, Ginger Abe is hilariously drunk and everyone else is trying to make it work. There are only a few episodes left to the season which petrifies me because the action part of TWD hasn't been too happening. Which tends to mean that they will make up for it at the end...and I'm scared of that. I don't want to lose anyone else, especially not an OG. The rumors are that Glenn or Darryl will die at the end of the season- if I could punch rumors in the face I so would. At this point the only ones that could go, for me, would be Father Badtime or Rosita. They don't bring much to the table. If one of the core group goes, I riot. Northborough PD you are on warning. It will be ON.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Walking Dead recap: In Mourning

It's been 3 months since The Walking Dead mid season finale and I, like all y'all, couldn't wait for it to come back. But now, after seeing the premiere episode, I want to go back. I want to go back to when Tyrese was ok and we were mourning just Bob and Beth. Now I feel like we're just going to stay in mourning with no end in sight. Damn you TWD writers!! Damn you all!!!

The episode begins like an acid trip gone wrong. There are weird, sepia images with a picture of twin boys, a house with blood dripping on the frame, Maggie crying and Father Gabe giving a funeral. We all assume of course that it's Beth that they are grieving and giving a funeral for-but we are all wrong. Sadly, very much wrong.

Rick, Glenn, Michonne, Tyrese and Noah head to Noah's house where he believes his mother and twin brothers are. Rick insists they go since Beth was going to help Noah get there, and everyone agrees. They arrive at Noah's old neighborhood and it's completely destroyed. Noah breaks down in tears-his hope for his family having some sort of zombie-resistant shelter is gone. Rick, Glenn and Michonne go searching for supplies while Noah runs to his house, with Tyrese in tow. Tyrese insists on opening the door first and he sees a woman who's head was bashed in laying on the floor. The work of humans or zombies? We don't know. Noah goes to the woman, his mom, and covers her with a rug. Tyrese hears a noise and goes to find out what it is when, inexplicably, he gets mesmerized by a pictures of Noah's twin little brothers. Of course it's that moment when a twin, now zombiefied, appears and bites Tyrese in the arm. Noah hears the commotion and kills his little brother. He sees Tyrese is bitten and runs for help. Tyrese is fighting for his life and in doing so sees images of the recent dead. He sees the girls, Lizzie and Mika. He sees Bob. He sees Beth singing (apparently not even death silences that girl) and he sees the Governor and Kyle-who taunt the crap out of him and who try to get him to question what has gotten him to this place and to question his decisions. Kyle is still a d*ck in death and the Governor is still a narcissistic a-hole. God I miss him!!!  Noah and crew come back and immediately chop off Tyrese's arm in order to try to save him. They (painfully) manage to get him to the truck and that's where he sees the girls and Beth and what we now know are his angels, who tell him that it's "much better now" where they are. Tyrese dies and we see that the opening montage was not a funeral for Beth, it was a funeral for Tyrese. They put his hat on the cross they made for him and now we are left as they are: mourning and not knowing what comes next.

I know a lot of people didn't really like the episode but I loved it. I LOVED seeing the Governor again and to see what it must be like on the cusp of life and death, the things that come back to you when you're wondering when to keep fighting or just give up. And, I think it was a fitting end for Tyrese. He's always been, from day one, a man of heart and goodness. He's been the moral compass and he deserved an episode dedicated to him. So I'm happy with it. I hope y'all were too!!!!  Things look bleak again this Sunday but I hope everyone is as happy as I am that it's back!!! =)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Strength of My Sister

It's been a hot minute since my last blog and since The Walking Dead won't be back in a few weeks, I felt the need to write about something. I've taken Pop Culture breaks in the past and will do so again because the more I think about it, the more awe-inspiring this particular topic is. Short history for the newbies: mere days following the birth of my beautiful niece Brianna, my sister Ann was diagnosed with 9 brain tumors. She had surgery in August 2013 to remove two of them so there are 7 remaining. It is something she lives with daily, a struggle that no one but her can fully understand-though we as her family try hard. She lives with this day in and day out with humor and deprecation, NEVER ever uttering a "why me"-even on the days when she has had seizures with no explanation, or why she walks in a room and forgets why she's there, or has conversations and cannot recall them five mintues later. It's not uncommon to forget her struggle-I know I do. She makes it look too damn easy! She made brain surgery look like cakewalk-with the exception of the shaved area on her head that showed off her "frankenstein" incisions, you would never know all that she went through. She managed to horrify seasoned ICU nurses with her "I'm just going to move myself off my bed and into that chair with zero assistance" less than an HOUR after her six-plus hour, intensely invasive BRAIN surgery was completed, begging for an iced coffee and then informing the the physical therapy team that she was leaving the next day because her nephew had his first football game and she was going to be there. She couldn't actually make it to the game of course, but her determination got her home so that he could go running into her arms and re-live the whole game to make her feel as though she had been there-and that's all that mattered to her. She works full time, raises a daughter and is an amazing Aunt to my son...she is a wonder, truly. We've been through hell together, she and I. We lost our dad together at such young ages, our grandmothers and too many Aunts and Uncles that mattered so dearly to us to count. When my ex and I broke up after I learned I was pregnant, the ONLY reason I knew it was going to be ok was because she told me it would be. For as much as I complain about her and how much she may drive me crazy, she is my rock. She makes things that seem impossible, possible. She has this grounded presence that levels my over-dramatics and is the yin to my yang. She is real on every level-what you see is what you get and that is why she is so loved. She is the epitome of authenticity and is 100% true to herself. She pretends nothing- which makes her everything.

This is "MRI" week, her regular 6 month MRI check up to see if the tumors have grown/changed is this Friday. It's always a strange week leading up to it as so many thoughts go through your head. You can't help but go back and forth between all the different scenarios of what could be but all you can do is just pray that the old "no changes, see you in 6 months" is what it ends up being. I had to write this because of her quiet strength, her humor and her humility. I know that I couldn't endure what she does with the style she does it so this is for you Annie Bannanie. You will kill me for this I'm sure, but you can always refer back to this for when you feel like the world cannot understand or that things are just piling up too high to deal-we got this. We ALWAYS got this. You will continue to amaze and rock the shit out all that comes your way in YOUR way. Nothing is easy for you and yet nothing is ever taken for granted. You've inspired me on so many levels and I know that you, in your "Ann" way, inspire others around you too. 2015 is the year that Dr. House will figure this out and that miracles will happen. Or, in the off chance Dr. House remains a fictional doctor, we will continue to think positive and pray that there is cure out there. It WILL happen and good things are coming your way-there is no one on earth more deserving. xoxoxoxoxoxo