I Lost 31 Facebook Friends Today Because I Posted About My Anxiety Disorder

By “lost” I mean that I gave them the boot. They were all family. My husband’s family, to be specific.

I have an anxiety disorder. It’s mostly hormonal at this point, but the more I deal with it the more I realize it’s also situational. Situational in the sense that I feel a huge conflict between who I am and what I feel I’m allowed to be.

What I feel my husband’s family allows me to be.

To the point, though: right now, I’m in a bad place anxiety-wise. Depression too. It’s OK for me to say that. It’s OK for me to talk about it. And it’s OK for me to set limits and boundaries with all of that in light.

That I feel I have to say any of that is absurd.

So we have been thinking about moving out of our neighborhood basically since we moved in about two years ago. There’s a lot of crime in the community, which is crazy because it’s a beautiful neighborhood with a lot of wonderful people. But moreover, the situation with living in a family-owned home was stressful. And…it just wasn’t enough room for our family.

Finally, several weeks back we found a couple rentals within our price range. Rentals that were bigger. Rentals that didn’t make us feel we were responsible for maintenance because of the family nature of it. Rentals that were a real step up for our family. We started looking at them, applying for them…and within a day or two of even looking, we got the best of all of them.

So we’re moving out of the family-owned townhouse in the crime-ridden community with AMAZING neighbors (that part is in no way sarcastic…except for the ones from that whole pee gate episode a while back, I have never met nicer people)…and the family owned townhouse is up for rent.

Today, my father in law just showed up at the townhouse, though, insisting he be allowed to come in and inspect the place to see what kind of work he would need to do.

To start, we have put so much work into the place simply because my husband and I felt it was our responsibility. Nay, it was said it was always his and his brother’s responsibility. So to be so freaked out and worked up about how much work it may or may not need before it goes up for rent again was a little…suspicious… Moreover, we paid through the 31st. If we need until then to move out, we sure as hell can. And if you really have to get all freaked out and come over – is it so hard to make a phone call and ask when a good time would be? REALLY?

Apparently.

In any event, my husband walked outside and asked politely that he come another time. Today was not a good time. My anxiety level was already through the roof. I have spent every day since Saturday (today is Wednesday) crying, most of the time for reasons I’m not sure. I’ve used more Xanax this week than in the last several weeks. In short: I’m a mess.

The move, however, has been going PERFECTLY. We have just a couple more days in the townhouse and the new place is basically all set up already. And my husband knew that I needed to know that THAT aspect was under control, since everything else seems to be falling apart. Not to have the added pressure of any complaints about the townhouse on my shoulders.

Also, my home is – right now – my only safe place.

His dad pushed his way past him, and barged into the house.

Terrified of my personal space being violated like that, I went up to our bedroom and shut the door. I stayed in there trying to stay calm until he left. It isn’t that I can’t be around other people, it’s just that my home is my only safe space and I need to feel that way. And who knows, anyway? I could have been in the shower. The kids could have been running around in underpants… Who thinks they can just show up and barge into another person’s house like that? ESPECIALLY someone you know has an anxiety disorder?

Once he left, I felt completely panicked and violated. My safe zone was taken control of. I’ve been working so hard to have safe zones – things that help me stay calm, help me keep my anxiety under control… now I have lost that one. Sure, we are moving out in just a couple more days…but a couple days with a panic disorder is an eternity.

So, naturally, I took to social media to vent my frustrations. I did it as vaguely and anonymously as I could. There was NO WAY anyone would know who or what I was talking about. NONE!

I had no intention of even going into specifics as to what happened. I wasn’t planning on blogging about it, like I just did. I. Planned. Nothing. But. To. Post. A. Vague. Vent. And. Reminder. (And note: my husband’s dad is not on Facebook, so would never even see this.)

Here was the pertinent part (the rest was me talking about how much I truly hope to keep the friendships I have with my former community)…

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Within minutes, though, the family brigade came out in full force. First, my husband’s mother, who is never online and was at work at the time, suddenly became active enough on Facebook to see my post and decided to reveal in the comments who the offender was. Suddenly aunts were telling me I am ungrateful and should delete my post. That I should be thankful for everything they’ve done for me (to be clear: the only person that has done anything for us has been MY dad, and my husband will be the first to admit that). Shame on me for being such a terrible person!

Shame. On. Me. For. Having. An. Anxiety. Disorder. That. Necessitates. I. Need. A. Safe. Space. That. Being. My. Home.

I tried not to respond to their shit, but finally I did and just defended myself. Which I know I shouldn’t do. I’ve been going to therapy for this anxiety, and the therapist even tells me if I don’t stop defending myself to these people nothing will ever change.

But it just kept going. Suddenly uncles were revealing gossip that had clearly been spreading through the family about us moving out (the idea that we gave no notice that we were moving out). MY near and dear and long time friends were coming to my aid, and family were telling – Internet screaming – at them to butt the fuck out of family affairs. Family members were making public calls for other family to join in and back them up about not tolerating MY TOTALLY AND UTTERLY EGREGIOUS BEHAVIOR ANY FURTHER (it sounded a little drunk-Facebooking at that point). My husband, at work, started getting phone calls from people not even affiliated with me online to get me under control.

Like really?

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To all of this bullshit, I have a few things to say:

  1. It is not OK to just show up at someone’s house, under any circumstance, for any reason whatsoever, and just barge in. You may be stupid. You may have no manners. You may be a blood relative. Doesn’t matter – it is never OK.
  2. It is not OK to shame someone for having an anxiety disorder that requires a little extra consideration about the rude and ignorant shit you do and say.
  3. People are allowed to have feelings and express them.
  4. If you are so stupid so as to respond to someone’s vague post about something with all the specifics, YOU ARE TO BLAME when that escalates out of control.
  5. Facebook friends should be people I would actually be friends with in real life. I would never be friends with people that shame someone for having an anxiety disorder and asking that their personal space at home be respected because of it.
  6. My husband’s family never responds to all the positive and bad ass things I post online about our lives. Adorable pictures of the kids. Silence. Husband got a promotion. Nothing. Heather has an anxiety disorder. FUCK YOU HEATHER YOU DUMB CUNT HOW DARE YOU DISRESPECT THIS FAMILY LIKE THAT.

Here’s the thing about it all that I have come to realize and think about over the last several months – not just today. Our kids are witnessing all of this. They hear about it or see it or feel the effects of it at a family party. Is this really the lesson I want to teach my kids? That people can bully and shame others for sharing about their mental health? My oldest daughter has generalized anxiety disorder – should I teach her that she should hide it and not set boundaries with others to keep that under control?

At this point, this isn’t even about me anymore. It’s about my kids. They deserve extended family that is accepting and loving and compassionate and doesn’t act like a bunch of psychotic drunks calling publicly for a revolt against someone that says something they don’t like. If someone doesn’t gel with those values I want to raise my kids with, they’ll be deleted and blocked from online and real life. Tonight, it happened to be 31 of them.

 

 

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Am I Destined To Live In the Ghetto?

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I ask myself often: do I live in the ghetto? No, not really. I live in the suburbs.

But as time has gone on, and we’ve moved from one nice area that turned out to be not-so-nice, to another, I’ve come to realize something: the suburbs may be synonymous with the ghetto.

We moved on June 1st to a condo owned by my husband’s family. It was purchased for him and his brother, and as a general investment, when the community was first being built about ten years ago. They’ve had a slew of renters coming in and out for several years. Eventually he and his brother, and their various roommates, moved out and got married, and they had a family friend renting for a few years.

But as we recently found ourselves in the position of having to either (a) pay rent beyond our means in our prior apartment to stay in town near family, or to (b) move back to the city of Los Angeles (where my husband works) – we all realized that it was time for us to occupy the condo.

We really had no other choice if we wanted to stay close to our families, or should I say if our families wanted us to stay close to them.

About a month ago, I was pulling into the drive and parking my car when a crazy-looking, middle aged man approached me and my daughter getting out of my SUV. He was shaking – noticeably – and started screaming at me about how he didn’t like my driving before I even got out of the car. He went on to tell me that my garden on our patio offended him, and – just who did I think I was trying to make the rest of the neighbor’s patios look dumpy compared to my nice set up. Was this guy serious? I still don’t know. I did not engage him in a fight, I simply tried to calm him down and assured him that I drive much slower than I should need to, in a community where my kids and friends have almost been hit twice, already, by crazy drivers. And that we have only the best intentions with our admittedly nice things.

11872302_851094782623_7718313065513953767_o11921727_851094378433_5672761055234370595_oHe wasn’t having it though. For him, this confrontation was not about having a reasonable discussion – it was about the fact that he thought we were renters, just like all the other people that have come and gone through this, the family home. It was about the fact that he felt he needed to threaten me with his supposed-HOA credentials. And, I can only assume, it was about the fact that the guy clearly gets off on accosting and harassing young women in parking lots.

I finally gave up, and just walked into the house as he continued to scream – crying much harder than I should have been.

Naturally, as any blogger will do, I took my upsettedness to Facebook. I talked about the incident on my page, and about how the man brought me to tears. Many expressed sympathy, some talked about the actual issues in my community with me – something everyone should do, because no place is perfect. Then one friend (as she always does), asked “why does this crap always happen to you?” In response I answered a question with a question: “because we keep moving from ghetto to ghetto?”

I never said this was the ghetto.

I never said this place was a dump.

I never actually said anything, other than that I was accosted by a middle aged man in the parking lot, and that it upset me. I cracked a jokey question about ghetto behavior seeming to be everywhere.

(As anyone with any experience with others knows, anytime a white girl such as myself refers to something as “ghetto,” she is referring to a behavior, not necessarily a place.)

The response and the gossip that followed, however, turned into something I could have never – not in a million years – expected. It wasn’t about whether or not I was OK. It was about me saying I lived in the ghetto (which I didn’t ever actually say), me talking trash about my in-laws on Facebook (which, obviously, I would never do), me being ungrateful that we are “allowed” to live in and care for this home (didn’t realize that staying close to family while my husband still commutes 100 round trip miles a day for work, paying the monthly mortgage amount, and caring for the place as if it were our own was an allowance)…and so on and so forth…

So reported my husband, it eventually got to his parents and now – naturally – the gossip wheel left me feeling deflated and bullied, and looking like an asshole to his mom and dad.

All I really wanted was to come home and not be yelled at by a strange man.

Since then, there have been several more incidences:

-We received a letter in the mail that we had violated the HOA’s rules by screwing things into the front door and patio walls (there are no HOA rules about this, not to mention the things hanging are done so with removable, outdoor mounting tape).

-We received another letter in the mail that our plants were not sitting on proper drainage plates when set on the ledge around the patio (there is an HOA rule about this one; however, there absolutely are proper drainage plates under my ledge-lining plants, which I can’t say the same for our neighbors – some of whom are actually on the HOA).

-Someone has stolen and/or destroyed at least 75% of the plants on our patio.

-We saw someone in the middle of the night, just a few nights ago, creeping onto our porch at 4:15 in the morning, and pouring something into our plants (I was wondering why my last crop died suddenly and unexpectedly in August).

-The list goes on…and on…and on…

However, I don’t feel as though I can talk or post or say anything about it to anyone, because the results of me saying anything disparaging about people around here are: gossip, outright lies, and harassment from people that (a) don’t even live here themselves, and (b) should be loving and supportive.

Today – the doozy – I opened the garage door to take my daughter to tennis, only to find the wife of the guy that accosted me standing there. She yelled just like her husband did, that I am not allowed to open my garage like that. I said “like what?” and she replied “have it open unless you are coming and going.” I responded “um, I’m taking my daughter to tennis…I am literally in my car and we are literally talking as I have halfway backed out of the garage. By the way, are they doing anything about getting some speed limit signs up in this drive?”

She told me that the speed with which people drive through the community is not the HOA’s problem.

My daughter got into the car and we drove off, closing the garage door behind us. I saw that the woman had moved on to another victim: our neighbor, who she apparently finds reason to illegally tape record.

Yes, the HOA woman had climbed into the bushes of our neighbor, and was leaning into the balcony to tape record a conversation going on inside. When we got home from tennis, I saw her out by the school next to our complex. She was yelling at the crossing guard about the position of her chair, where the volunteer sits waiting to make sure children safely cross the street.

Finally I realized that I couldn’t take it anymore: I had to talk about this. I had to share about the experience on my Facebook page. I had to write this blog about it.

Not only because this experience is just another in a long list of behaviors that are not-so-nice, in a community that could otherwise be a very good one; but because lies and gossip should not dictate whether or not I speak out about what I think to be right and wrong.

A lot of people may not like that I say this, but the suburbs – at least in my experience – are ghetto.

This isn’t to say that there are are only trashy communities in the suburbs.

This isn’t to say that there are only terrible people in the suburbs.

Actually, quite the contrary: the suburbs are often much more beautiful than the city, more well-kept. You find better landscaping, and often better neighbors in suburbs.

I’m just saying that there is a common thread that the suburbs of any major metropolis are known for, and that is the suburban sense of entitlement. People in the suburbs often pay more, so a lot of them – read a lot of them, not all – think they can tell other people what to do. They don’t give a fuck about who sees them acting however they are acting, and on that note they often believe that what they do is the right thing (even when it’s sitting on your front lawn with no shirt on guzzling beers). They think they own everything – the streets, the neighborhood, other people’s patios – and that they can tell others what to do.

Again: a lot of, not all. But enough for it to have earned suburbanites a reputation.

In the city, this is one of the biggest complaints people have about the ‘burbs. Everyone is up in each other’s business, and everyone wants to tell others how to live. And this, well this is ghetto. It’s unsavory to act so trashy, entitled, arrogant, and self-centered.

Of course then in bigger cities, you do have true ghettos. Like the Jewish ghettos during WWII, where minorities are segregated into run-down, slum-like districts that have been gentrified for years to keep the bad behaving the way they do because they have no other choice. So between the slums of the gentrified inner-cities, and the truly trashy behavior of a fair percentage of suburbanites, we are stuck. There will always be a chance that someone will act ghetto in a place that is otherwise nice. And we’ve all seen what happens to Hilldale in Back to the Future – there will always come a time when the newest and nicest community becomes the next gentrified, slummy neighborhood.

This of course leads me to believe that: yes, I am destined to live in the ghetto. Until some of these attitudes change – until people are willing to talk about the issues, and not bully those who want to make a change; until people put a stop to gentrification and change their attitudes about what they are and are not entitled to do and say – we all are.

Funniest_Memes_only-in-the-ghetto-will-you-find_7759Oh, and for the record, there’s a lot of stereotypically ghetto shit going on around here all the time too. Like the weekly ghetto cardio, i.e. some random guy running down my street being chased by the police. The random shopping cart that occupies parking space #210. And the tumbleweave that’s been in the grass across from our garage for going on two months now. And we live in the *nice* area of town.

Confrontation At My Local Disney Outlet

I had forgotten how many assholes live in my community.

For the last year or so, we have been really swamped. I mean really. Between my father having hip replacement, and us staying with him during rehabilitation; the decision to move closer to him for seven months while we got his home ready to sell; three vacations amounting to a total of nine weeks (Chicago, Chicago, Houston); moving back into our “home community” to a newer, bigger place; then in the culminating event of the past year, selling my dad’s home and condensing his house into a storage unit and one room in our new home…it’s been a little chaotic. I haven’t had a lot of time to get out. Relax. Mingle among the locals.

Now that we are moved in and our place is perfect, homeschooling is on autopilot, and we have no more unanticipated vacations coming down the pipeline for as far as I can see, I’ve been able to get back to normal life. I got back to my book club. And my knitting group. We started having people over for BBQs and dinner again.

And we’ve been out more in the community. Among all the assholes.

It’s been a long time since a bizarre situation appeared itself before me. Trips to the nail salon have not involved police in years. And I can’t remember the last time I witnessed a parent-on-parent confrontation, especially one in which I was involved.

So today, owing to my apparent amnesia as to the state of this community at large (the simple fact that: a lot of people in our town are pretentious, nosy assholes), I decided we were going to have a “girls day” and go shopping. This were just going too well. I had gotten so comfortable in this lack of drama and confrontation that I thought we’d have a good time.

And for the most part we did.

The outlet mall has outdoor corridors, and it was a beautiful day to walk from store to store. We went to the Toys R Us outlet and used up some old birthday gift cards. We went to Michael Kors and I drooled over the purses. I got a shirt at Levi’s for $9 and two pairs or stretchy pants at Charlotte Russe for $15. My wedding band inspection was due, and so we stopped in at the Kay’s Jewelers, which revealed a majorly loose diamond in need of repair. All in all it was fun, relaxing, and productive.

Then we had one, final stop. The Disney Outlet.  They had a sale on kid’s hoodies I wanted to check out, and allowance day was earlier in the week. It was going to be quick. It was going to be easy. How dramatic could a trip to the Disney Outlet be?

We found the hoodies, quick and easy. We started perusing the stuff in the allowance price range, and then a lady came in with two, young children. I mean I have young children, but I mean these two kids looked maybe four or five, and acted two. The little boy started immediately knocking things off the shelves. The little girl, every minute and a half – right on time, as if she had a stopwatch – screamed as loud as she could.

The mother kept coughing and coughing, the entire time. I tried to shuffle through the store quickly. Crashing things. Screaming. Cough cough cough.

Crashing things.

Screaming.

Cough cough cough.

“Can I help you find anything?” a sales employee asked, and the woman said they were just looking, between coughing, coughing, whooping… whooping

“Can I get you a drink of water, you seem in distress,” he said and then she admitted she was getting over a case of whooping cough.

Crashing things.

Screaming.

Cough cough cough.

Communicable diseases.

I continued to shuffle through and it just got worse and worse with these people. I heard two other employees standing near us, quietly talking about how they’d called the manager for approval to stay later in their shifts to clean up the mess this lady and her two kids had made.

It was that bad.

Crashing things.

Screaming.

Cough cough cough.

Communicable diseases.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. They were really close to us at this point. Like looking at the same merchandise. I said “ok, we have to get going so pick what you want now please.”

And then I got protest. Can’t decide. Everything’s great. Blah blah blah. So I did what any other parent in this situation would do, well at least a desperate and at the same time civilized parent, and I leaned over to my ten year old and whispered – WHISPERED – ‘look I can’t take this kid screaming anymore and that lady has whooping cough, we need to go.’

She looked at the disaster of a family standing right next to us – coughing, screaming, and crashing things to the floor; she said she understood. Allowance purchases were selected and we were ready to go within less than a minute.

As we started to walk to the cash register, I heard amidst coughing, screaming, and more things crashing someone shout at me. “Did you just whisper about my family?”

We were the only people in the store, but I still ignored her and walked off. The employees had been talking about her. And anyway, I had whispered. What I say quietly to my kid is my own business. I did absolutely nothing wrong.

But ignoring her was apparently the wrong thing to do; because while checking out, this crazy, coughing lady followed us to the register and started screaming at me “I asked you a question you fucking cunt.”

Disney Outlet. Young children. Do You Want To Build A Snowman playing over the loudspeaker.

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom. You fucking cunt.

Now a lot of people would have turned around and belted that bitch in the mouth. A lot of other people would have turned around and confronted her. Her with all her issues, her lack of belief in the whooping cough vaccine, this psychotic family, and the obvious absence of mental and social decorum.

I signed my credit receipt and instead said as we walked out that I had not heard her. “It’s a little loud in here.” We walked out of the store, the door greeter apologizing for the incident.

With the exception of this lady yelling “fucking bitch” as we exited, the situation was over.

When we got to the car, my daughter asked why I hadn’t “told that lady off,” to which I responded with the common lines about choosing your battles, feeling sorry for people with so many problems, and so on and so forth. Morals. Lessons. Moving on.

But as I drove into my garage, and got everything into the house, I thought about the fact that this is not only a stark reminder that there are a lot of assholes in my community, but that we live in a society in which everyone thinks everything else is their business. So what if I whispered to my daughter about them? Is there something so special about her and those kids that makes that unacceptable?

At least I whispered, others would have said something much louder, and to her face. I chose the high road, while at the same time using tact to get us out of a bad situation. I’ll say it again, and defend it to the death: what I say quietly to my kid is my own business.

Dear Friends and Family, I Apologize For My Crap Cooking

1795567_724115684753_1794814265_nYou guys remember last week I was whining and bitching about how hardly anyone ate my appetizers, which I stated on more than one occasion I would be making and bringing to put in my homemade football stadium appetizer tray that all the kiddies (and my husband) had requested? And after Christmas I was heartbroken because I baked cupcakes and only two of them were eaten, the rest sent with the grandparents to BINGO later in the week to give away to strangers?

…and you remember that time we had everyone over to our house to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and no one touched any of my pasta dishes I had spent about nine hours preparing by hand?

Or what about the time that my mom’s family had me prepare this big Mother’s Day meal for everyone, only for my cousins to bring in their own fucking food? Of course I use the phrase “their own fucking food” pretty loosely. They brought in Spaghetti-O’s and donuts.

Well, we’ve had another incident. I didn’t think there was going to be one, I mean I didn’t realize – after all of that – that the people hated my cooking so much. I mean to say that I didn’t accept it. Anyone else would have caught on a long time ago, but you know I’m a Stay At Home Mom. We don’t have much intelligence to work with (or so these people that don’t eat my cooking often tell me, or imply).

To the incident. In just about a month we’re going on a mandatory three-week vacation to Texas (mandatory because it’s to take my daughter to visit her biological father), so I’m trying to start weeding out some of the food items in the house. It’s also getting close to spring cleaning time, so when I saw I had a couple boxes of lasagna noodles, a gaggle of miscellaneous cheese, and a shit-ton of vegetables, I figured: why not, I’ll ask my mother-in-law to make some sauce and I’ll make everyone a nice, vegetarian lasagna.

Seemed nice enough, right?

We got there yesterday and I prepared the lasagna. It took about two hours to get together. Chopping, mixing, layering… Then I put it in the refrigerator and watched the rest of the Bulls game with my husband, while everyone took the dogs for a walk.

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Flash forward quite a few hours – pass over the dinner, which I thought was tasty; and the watching of figure skating on the Olympics – and we were getting in the car to head home. The minute the car door shut, my ten year old blurted out: “oh my gosh, Mommy… I want to tell you something, but I know it’s going to hurt your feelings. But I am supposed to not keep secrets, so here goes: while we were walking the dogs, Nick’s dad” [… that is my husband’s father she is referring to, my father-in-law …] “asked if you were using their sauce, then he said ‘well, at least that part will be good.'”

My husband looked like a deer in the headlights. I felt like I had been socked in the gut. That was a pretty mean thing to say, especially in front of little ears. Especially after I stood in their kitchen for two hours putting that crap lasagna together. And to say that the timing is bad is an understatement: this food-related insecurity, and “I can never do anything right by anyone,” has been building and building for some time, now. Remember the examples I started off with? That’s a microcosm of the incidences in which it seems as though everyone in our lives disapproves or dislikes literally everything that I do.

As I felt extremely hurt through the evening, and this morning; and realized how much I try to do these kinds of things so that people will like me, I decided that it’s time to issue everyone a formal letter of apology. And a promise.

Oh, I’m issuing a promise.

Here goes…

Dear Friends and Family,

I apologize for my crap cooking.

That appetizer you asked me to bring, only for it to be thrown in the trash. That time you came over to my house for dinner and drinks, only later admitted that you ate before you came. The fact that you flagrantly say – in front of us, regularly – that Chicagoans can’t cook, that I make certain things wrong, that you just prefer me to bring nothing…

I get it. My cooking sucks. My baking is probably awful, I wouldn’t know – I rarely eat it, for fear I’ll gain too much weight and that’ll give you all another thing to judge me for.

Obviously the people I live with have been having to choke down their three, square meals a day with a smile; all-the-while lamenting their unfortunate positions of having to swallow such tripe in the first place.

Quite clearly I don’t have taste buds either, because of the things I make that I do eat, I’ve always thought it tasted perfectly fine.

But, like I said: I get it. Just as I cannot get the majority of you to read my writing, I can’t get you to eat my deviled eggs or my caprese salads. When I suggested starting a cottage bakery, under the California Cottage Goods law, I saw you all cringe. Every, single one of you. I heard the pause as you said “…yeeah…” like you did when I asked if you read my blog. Or the surprised look on your faces when you hear I’ve written and published three books.

I get it so much that from now on, when you ask me to bring something I just won’t. Nope, I won’t be bringing an appetizer, or even a bag of potato chips. Nor a dessert. None of you will be invited into my home for meals anymore, either. You may be invited, but meals will not be served.

You may be thinking we could just order take-out when you grace us with your sophisticated palettes (what with all of your own cooking, most of which is akin to injecting myself with a syringe full of saturated fats and a hefty dose of Ex-Lax); but then I’d have to shell out more money that I’m still trying to recoup from all the thrown-away dishes of get-togethers-past. Nope, not a single cookie, cupcake, trifle, or apple pie will enter your doorway. No BLT bites will be offered, and certainly no BBQ with my homemade Chicago Steak and Chop sauce.

Consider this my whole-hearted apology. I can’t even imagine how insufferable this situation has been for all of you up until this point. Rest assured, you will all never have to tolerate such agony again.

This cook is hanging up her hat. The kitchen is closed.

What Did You Just Call Me? – A Book Trailer

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Many people over the years have called me a bitch. I think that’s one of the reasons why I just went ahead and owned it, accepted it, and developed my blog moniker accordingly. Better to be the one calling myself a bitch, rather than let them have the upper hand with my feelings. Right?

Well, sort of.

Just as there are good witches and bad witches, there most certainly is a difference between a good bitch and a bad bitch. I like to think that I’m a good bitch; but to elaborate further about the whole matter of good versus bad, about my general bitchiness, or about what makes a person a Bitch with a capital-B would give away the majority of the intrigue to my new book. So we’ll leave it at this for now: many people have called me a bitch through the course of my life.

Including my husband.

So I wrote a book and it comes out on Tuesday, June 4th. It’s excitement-squared for me; hopefully you most faithful of blog followers are excited too. It’s a compilation of all-new material that I’ve been saving for a rainy day. It has pictures, comics, and I finally share the story of that time I found my mother’s box of Summer’s Eve.

A while ago I put out a call for videos to go into the the book trailer, and got an overwhelming response. For those of you unfamiliar with publishing and marketing a book, the trailer is rapidly becoming sine qua non to the overall success of a book release. Thank you to all those that submitted, and tried to submit; although some did have to be cut due to the quality of the video after it was transferred. Everyone that participated will receive a free, signed copy of the book once it is released and an acknowledgment in the text, itself. Now are you excited?

Maybe you will be once you watch this…

Is it just me, or are people taking themselves too seriously these days?

We went to Target today. I had to get some of those Clorox bleach wipe things, some of those toilet flusher things, and deodorant. Don’t want my pits to smell bad.

So we went to the “fancy” Target. It isn’t really fancy, actually. It’s in the ghetto-est town in our county, probably the ghetto-est town in the state. I feared for my life the entire time we were there too because I realized I was wearing my White Sox shirt, which happens to be what all the local gang members wear to represent their South-Oxnard drug and killing hood. It’s the “fancy” Target, though, because it has a parking garage and is brand new.

I don’t really know why I call it fancy.

Anyway, we were at the fancy Target and got our items, plus a couple of impulse buys. I spent a buck on an ICEE, which prevented any requests for toys. It was pretty in-and-out. As we left, though, we got in the car; I started the car; and, I went to back up, when a woman walked behind my car with a cart. Okay, no big deal. I didn’t even start to move because I was looking and I waited.

But that bitch stopped her cart behind my car, took her things out, got in her car, and pulled out in a hurry; her cart still sitting behind my car.

Clearly she was taking herself so seriously that she thought she was the only person in the parking lot – or the world for that matter – that was important.

Maybe it’s because I live in California. The land of dramatics. The land of the fruits and nuts and people that think everything they are doing was a part of some sort of predestined-I-am-the-center-of-the-universe plan. But really, it seems like people are taking themselves too seriously these days.

On the Internet

Take Freshly Pressed – WordPress’s daily list of blogs they deemed “cream of the crop”. Every time I scroll through it, it’s filled with all sorts of blogs on dramatics about cross-cultural issues and pithy commentaries on finding inner-peace. Or recipes. Or Blog a Day, which is assigned by WordPress and always particularly pretentious. Earlier this week they assigned people to post photo blogs depicting the word “solitary.” If you look at them now, there are thousands of posts where people have taken these terribly narcissistic photographs of themselves looking longingly into the unknown ahead.

Give me a break. Life is not that afflictive.

Or what about whenever people post things on Facebook these days? They always seem to be about women’s issues or cancer fundraising. Don’t get me wrong, those things are important, but can anyone feel lighthearted at all anymore? Someone once shamed me because everything I posted on Facebook was not about a serious, political issue. Really? Has everyone lost their ability to look at things humorously? Everyone seems to be so busy out saving the world – either by running a marathon, working at Starbucks, or creating political memes – that they seem to have lost any idea of what it means to relax and enjoy life once in a while.

In Person

Look at people we all know, in our daily lives. We all have that one person that never smiles. We all have that one person that never watches funny movies, or never laughs when you tell a joke.

My husband is one I can point to that takes himself way too seriously. When he talks at home, or on the phone to me, he sounds normal. He sounds relaxed. But whenever he talks to someone at work he takes an air of serious superiority. Everything is life or death.

Did I mention he works in video editing? There is nothing life or death about it. They do fucking music videos, baby shows, and Disney-type promos. iCarly is not and never will save the world. Snoop Dogg’s story may be interesting, but it most certainly is not do-or-die.

Even When Serious Is the Last Thing We Should Be

I was thinking of this the other day when I saw the Facebook update of the brother of a friend I used to work with. He had posted some photos from his birthday weekend and when I scrolled through them, in every single one of them he was in, he had this dry, I’ve-got-deep-thoughts-going-on look on his face. Did he really have deep thoughts going on? Do any of us? It was his birthday, for Christ’s sakes. Enjoy it!

Maybe if we stopped taking everything we did so seriously, we’d have to face some cold, hard facts. One of them is that we cannot save the world. Another is that we are not enjoying life if we never laugh. The most important is that we aren’t the only people in the world.

It isn’t immature to relax and have fun. And perhaps it is the people that have thought the deepest that know there is not much of a point to being so serious anyway. The lady at the fancy Target that left her cart behind my car was so rude. But she also was just taking herself too seriously. She really thinks her life is so important that she can’t have even the most basic sense of common courtesy. I feel bad for a person like that who cannot take even a moment to look around and laugh.

So then the lady on crack chased after me and I had to call 911…

I’ve never called 911 before. Fortunately, I have never had to. When my dad had his prostate removed I came the closest to it after he was experiencing an extremely high level of pain and we thought he might have a medical emergency post-op, but we ended up getting him to the hospital in due time with out the need to call for an emergency.

We haven’t had too many problems at home that have necessitated such a call either. I’ve always thought that 911 was for true, life threatening emergencies only. When someone tried to break into our apartment a few weeks ago but ran away when I made noise, I didn’t consider this an emergency so called the non-emergency number. When the neighbors upstairs had a party until 5:30 in the morning last weekend, again – while I know a lot of people do call 911 for things like that, I stuck with the complex security so that people whose lives are in danger could get the real response.

But then a lady who was clearly high on crack, drunk on one too many vodka tonics, or just plain insane in the membrane chased after me after my leisurely lunch of pizza and salad.

Imagine the scenario:

I – a stay at home, homeschooling mother with, yes, a feisty temper and very honest personality, but who generally tries to be a nice person – am pulling out of the Toppers Pizza parking lot after we had a nice and relaxing lunch of pizza and salad. We had a pretty  hard morning, dealing with some bank drama after my husband’s credit card number was stolen and continues to not be resolved (it’s never simple, is it?), so I figured that lunch and some tennis would be a great way to spend the rest of the day to wind down before the weekend.

I am waiting at the EXIT of the parking lot for the traffic to clear so that I may pull out and all of a sudden this humungous, silver SUV comes roaring up and drives over the curb and the grass in front of me.

“What the … ???” to myself is all I say and then the traffic clears and I pull out and turn onto my street.

All of a sudden, though, that same SUV is in my rear mirror and the woman is now weaving in and out between the lane I am in and the lane next to me. She’s screaming. She keeps driving as close as she can to myself and the other car next to me, who has already pulled out their phone and appears to be calling the police.

We get to a light and the crazy lady comes within an inch of slamming into the back of my car. So I blow a red light to turn into the nearest parking lot, and all I can see is this woman flipping the bird and making a face that can be described not in words but rather this:

(She kind of looked like Kirstie Alley, only on crack-cocaine, too.)

As I am dialing 911, I see her speed off, already harassing another car. She is honking her horn repeatedly and the sheriff on the phone with me at this point can hear. I give the report and head home, completely traumatized.

What in the hell is going on with this world? I encounter assholes every day it seems. Is it because I am active and participate in things within my community? Or is it because I attract it? Is it because I am paying attention, while many others are just floating along with their minds numbed out on their cell phones and TV shows? In all honesty, I do believe it is the latter; but when the lady on crack chased after me and I had to call 911, I don’t really care what it is. I really and truly at this point just want it to stop.

I can take someone sneezing in my food.

I can take someone yelling at me and my kid for her crying in swim class.

I can take a lot and look back at it afterwards and see the humor of it. I understand that a lot of the way people are now is just a reflection of how stressful the California lifestyle is. I get that so much of the way people act is because they are tightly wound as a result of a shitty economy and a fast-paced, high-stress way of life. And I get that a lot of Californians really are just narcissistic pricks – whatever, I can take all of that and laugh about it at the end of the day, no matter how awful it seems.

But a crazy lady on crack chasing me down the street, endangering Pookies and my lives? I can’t take that. I really can’t. On the phone with the sheriff, I started crying and she said she understood exactly why I was upset and scared. We got home just a bit ago and I am still shaking. It is frightening just how far some of these people will go; or how far they will go without even knowing it or getting the help they need.

I’m going to go retreat, now … retreat to my wine and my cheese and hide in my home until the storm appears to have cleared outside. Who even knows when that will be.