This might be one of my favorite things, this strip. It’s young, crazy love. And fun. So much fun. No social media then, in the bygone days. No kids, either. I kissed Robbie for the first time when I was 14 years old. He wasn’t technically my boyfriend until I was nearly 20. Our first real date after I moved back from Washington, when he decided he didn’t want to see me date anybody else ever again and I decided he was the luckiest man alive, was to Singles, the movie. We had dates before that, but never more than one consecutive, never committed to each other for more than that one night kind of thing. We were high school “scammers” not technically “sweethearts.”
We were each other’s in-betweeners. Since 1987.
Funny thing is there are so many ways to tell this story, but the truth is we always came back to each other. Since I was 14 years old. And that’s pretty near forever.
Cuz now we are old. With old, beautiful sometimes once in awhile crazy love. 🖤
1. All I ever wanted to be when I “grew up” was a mommy. 2. I went to 15 different schools from Kindergarten to 12th grade. 3. I had my own apartment at age 15, Junior year of highschool. 4. I got married in a movie theatre. 5. I met Robbie behind Brookfield, at a party-after-the-party-got-broken-up, when I was a Freshman in highschool in 1986. 6. We didn’t “seal the deal” until 1992…then we waited another 7 years to tie the knot. 7. I used to work for CBS television, on Touched By An Angel and Promised Land. I was a Casting Assistant. 8. I’ve met many famous people…from Rick Springfield and Billy Ray Cyrus, to Shia La Beuf and Paul Walker… 9. I went to a Fourth of July party at Danny Devito’s Malibu beach house and stayed late and hung out in small circles with very famous, down-to-earth, movie stars. 10. I’ve walked the Red Carpet and attended several Hollywood movie premieres. 11. I was a lifeguard & swim coach for 4 years after highschool. 12. I used to have a licensed daycare in my home. 13. I took acting classes with J. Lo, right at the time she was shooting Selena. 14. My grandfather was the Chief of Police in Fairfield, CA. Then he retired and became a bar owner. 15. Entiendo mas Espanol que hablar…porque mi familia es de Espana. 16. I was put up a grade and did 4th/5th grade in the same year at Theodore Judah Elementary. 17. I was a competitive swimmer from age 6 through 11th grade. My name was on the record board at the swimming pool at CKM for at least a few years after I graduated…breastroke- go figure! 18. I backpacked through Europe for 2 months when I was 21. 19. I have swam into the Blue Grotto on Capri, Italy. 20. I have gone topless on the beach in Italy, France, and Greece. 21. I have slept in a real 16th century castle in the Highlands of Scotland…and had my ass grabbed by a ghost. 22. I own a cauldron. 23. My eyes change colors. Sometimes they are green. Sometimes blue. Sometimes they are hazel… 24. I believe the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. 25. I was smart to have wished on shooting stars when I was 14.
Where do I start? What do I share? What do I keep to myself, locked in my heart and my head? There is so much…
Last week was a whirlwind. A tempest in teacup. I have been just floating and riding the waves, not yet capsized. A lot of this I will keep to myself, cuz it’s too much. I know that I’m too much for some and not enough for others. So I will just try and be enough for me. Even that feels hard sometimes.
I didn’t take enough pictures. I was busy holding it together. Busy orchestrating and making Limoncello Spritz, which was a win. Busy wishing and busy hoping, busy saying welcome back and busy saying goodbye. Busy finding time and making time and busy loving the ones I’m with.
bus·y /ˈbizē/ adjective having a great deal to do. “She had been too busy to enjoy herself” Similar: occupied (in) engaged in involved in employed in working at laboring at toiling at slaving at hard at work (on) wrapped up (in/with) rushed off one’s feet (with) hard-pressed time-poor at work (on) on the job absorbed in engrossed in immersed in preoccupied with active (in) lively industrious bustling energetic tireless busy as a bee on the go hard at it on the hop have one’s hands full Opposite: idle
verb keep occupied. “she busied herself with the tasks that all good moms do.”
You knew this post was coming, didn’t you? I may be cuckoo, but at least I’m predictable.
I love them, as you love yours. I feel this, as you do when it’s your turn. I know I’m not special. I’m just so full up without much room to stuff things anymore so it spills out, uncensored. But buffered. Filtered for the audience’s protection. Rated PG-13, mostly. 🖤
Post Vegas Girls’s Trip and work weekend wrap up. This might be long.
I want to start by saying that I work with some badass bitches. And every once in awhile, I have to float to L&D where the wild things are. Well, on Friday night it was bat shit crazy up in that joint and it was my turn to float. Fresh off the plane from Vegas with some other badass bitches, I scrubbed up and ran out the door literally 30 minutes after I pulled into the driveway.
Since Covid, most of the time when my unit floats to L&D one of our nurses sits at the front desk and screens patients for symptoms, exposure, reason for being there, gestational age, etc. before they are allowed into the inner sanctum: Triage. It’s so we can protect our staff and other patients from exposure to covid or any other infectious disease. It’s probably the least stressful job of the night, to be honest. But it’s also very boring and tedious because we are supposed to audit charts in between screening patients and in the middle of the night it’s mind numbing. Hard to stay energized and awake. That wasn’t what they wanted me for.
Labor was short and patients just kept coming through the door. I had two early miso inductions and tried to be as helpful as I could in between doing my own stuff. So I felt like I was in the middle of a sea storm and I was safe in my life vest on the deck of the boat.
And damn, those women know how to sail.
They saved a mama that night. Like for real. Do you know how many liters of blood most pregnant women have? I do. It’s 8 Liters. And I know that it seems like time is running in slow motion when you are going to get the blood from the blood bank. And how you wish you could run faster. And how they hand you the FFP and platelets and you hope it’s right even though the FFP and platelets are a different blood type cuz you can’t remember every damn thing forever and you just go with it and trust your team to get it right and hand it off and go google it. And now you will never forget. Cuz most pregnant women have ONLY 8 Liters of blood in their whole body. 8 LITERS.
And that was just one thing going on. So many plates spinning. And the captain of that ship just handled it. All of it. Like a tennis player. 40-Love.
So that was a hard day’s night.
But, I was surrounded in excellence. And organized chaos. And gratitude that I didn’t have to go into the OR. Glad that they are the ones that do that. Thankful for their team, always. Thankful they run into the fire every day and still come back the next.
Then for the next two nights it was my privilege to take care of that lucky, so very lucky mama, on my own High Risk Maternity unit. To show her her baby for the first time. To tell her she is strong enough to get through this.
It’s time to hold your baby now, mama. Skin to skin, chest to chest, heart to heart.
I call that balance.
PS: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Even at age 49. And 50.
Today I celebrated something significant to me. It was the CKM Humanities and International Studies Program’s Senior BBQ, Class of 2022. And I am so very proud of my daughter. My kids. Both of them are HISP graduates. Survivors. Academic warriors. Hard workers. Solid writers. Smart cookies.
But here is something else I feel as I watch my kids do well…I’m proud of my gawd damn self, too.
When I was a freshman at CKM, I was admitted into the 2nd HISP class. Like the year before was the very first year they ever had HISP. Class of 1990. I had both Mr. & Mrs. Wong as my teachers. It was very early in their careers, lol. I dropped out of HISP after that first year of failing at least Mr. Darling’s Lit class and I’m sure I had at best a D in Mr. Wong’s World Civ class. It was too hard, I mean, I didn’t want to work that hard. I was too busy surviving my life to be able to also survive HISP. The teachers cared just as much then as they do now. It wasn’t them, it was me. And maybe a lack of the parental support that I needed to succeed. I always felt inferior because of that, to certain people anyway and I did not earn the respect of my teachers at that age. We all have our own journey to be on, and mine got me here, so…in the end, wherever you go there you are. It just takes some of us longer.
Tonight, my teacher and cheerleading advisor, Ellen Wong, who is now in charge of HISP, awarded my daughter her certificate of completion of four years of excellence in HISP. Another favorite, Lori Jablonski, handed Cassidy the coveted HISP mug and cord for graduation. Hard earned. We now have two HISP graduates in the family, and only one drop-out.
And this drop-out pulled her own damn self out of adverse circumstances too long to list and created this life of abundance and stability so her kids could jump off and go wherever the fuck they want in life. I’m proud of that.
So go, Cass, go
The other thing that hits me deep in a way only a lion can understand is that tonight was likely the very last time Robbie and I will sit in that lunch quad. That’s where Robbie told me he couldn’t go to prom with me because he was having knee surgery. I had already bought my dress. I guess I forgave him for that. Kinda. I still have that damn pink dress, with the tags still on. We spent a lot of time in that quad. When I’m there it feels like 1986 again.
It’s likely the last time I’m going to walk this hallway, where my locker was that first year. Right next to Nadia’s. She’s my best friend forever. I even lived with her for awhile. Her dad went with me to the Carol Miller Justice Center when I had to have a truancy hearing in my Senior year. Many of you know that I had my own apartment when I was 15, just before I turned 16, in my Junior year at CKM. So if I need an excuse, to be fair, I was left unsupervised. Her dad was my stand-in. He was a good one. He even drove me frantically down K Street to the Crest Theatre on my wedding day, so I wouldn’t be late walking down the aisle. You see where I’m going with this?
The only place I ever claimed as home was this place. I met my husband there. And some of my BSFs. (that’s Teen for best sister friend, more than a best friend, like a sister) We all bleed red. CKM and don’t you forget it. CKM will always be faithful and true to you. You wish you were a lion. Clap your hands everybody, everybody clap your hands. It’s CKM going all the way the best in the land. We got spirit, yes we do. We got spirit, how ‘bout you?
Maybe you don’t get it. That’s ok. I just felt like telling you what this day meant to me and how I saved my damn self while walking these hallways, in part because of the relationships I formed back then and the support and loyalty I found in the friendships I created there. It’s a special community of people and I am so proud to have also raised my kids there. I’m so proud of what it took to get us all here. Them. Me. Us.
Thank you, Ellen & Lori, for all these years. All of them.
I hope they know these days don’t come again and I hope they have the most fun they have ever had.
I hope they know that it has been the best part of my life watching them all grow up and I will miss it in a way that only a mama knows. It’s that pressure in your throat and sinuses and the roof of your mouth that comes up from your gut when you are trying not to cry, and the catch in your breathing that always gives your silent tears away. It’s that deep dull pain that will come and go for always, whenever you try to hold on too tightly and the mouth breathing after the tears fall cuz you are too congested to breathe through your nose. It’s the tears that are always there, just waiting for the quiet moment and let down.
It’s the deepest kind of love. And pride. And joy.
And..sorrow that childhood is coming to a close.
I love you, Cassidy Scout. You must always come home. 💙
I had so much anxiety about going back to work…and it was all wasted energy. I had a perfect shift, got to spend all night laughing with some of my favorite people and no emergencies and no admits and no covid pts.
I’m so glad I became a nurse. Again.
I’m quite swollen and bloated, but no pain and I’m ready for some vampire sleep. Broke in my new shoes and scrubs and had a very gentle entry back into the thing that fills my cup more than it drains it.
In nursing, we take it day by day. Sometimes minute by minute. Tonight may be a different story, but at least I know that no matter what comes my way, I will be supported and loved just the way I am.
All I ever wanted to be was a mama. A mama like my own who taught me to love with my whole heart. Like my friends’ moms whose homes I wished I lived in, with art projects and homemade pesto and string cheese and secret staircases. Like the moms that hired me to be their nanny and do all the fun stuff with their kids, where I learned about sidewalk chalk and walks to the park and time spent playing and reading and blowing bubbles. With nothing else to worry about besides their kids. Not survival. And not stability. Just the get down on the floor and play and make Mac n cheese and finger paint and sing songs. So many songs.
Then they got older. Without an instruction manual. Without a history to rely on. Without the life experience of having been parented well.
Yeah, I said it.
And yet, somehow, these kids of mine are doing ok after being mommed by what sometimes feels like an imposter. Fake it til you make it. Pretend you are the mom you wanted to be. Balanced with brokenness and too many kisses.
And forgiveness for not being perfect.
Some people won’t hug their mom today, by choice. And for solid, if not good, reasons. Don’t judge them until you have lived the same life. Felt the same pain. Triggered. Let them keep on keeping on however they can.
And hope that their momming was good enough so that their kids don’t have to recover from their childhood.
Happy Mother’s Day to those that became their own.
Me as soon as I start to feel the anesthesia in the OR: “I’m starting to feel the anesthesia. Please tell me later if I say anything crazy or funny, my husband wants some material”
Jim, RN: “Will do. You feeling good now?”
Me: “My anxiety is gone. Had to take my Ativan last night…I have a prescription with 4 pills left after having it for like 6-12 months (original rx had 10 pills). Just takes the edge off sometimes. The last couple years have been…”
Jim, RN: (last thing I heard) “Nighty-night, Annie. We will take good care of you.”
Me coming out of anesthesia in the PACU: “I can’t really open my eyes yet, I need toothpicks.”
Kyle, RN: “We don’t have those. You are doing well, just give it some time.”
Me, RN: “How is my BP?”
Kyle, RN: “120/83, perfect.”
Me, RN: “What was my blood loss?”
Kyle, RN: “25ccs. Basically nothing.”
Annie: “That’s good. Do you know if I said anything crazy coming in or out? My husband wants to know.”
Kyle: “Just a few F-bombs.”
Me: “Sounds about right.”
Kyle: “Seems appropriate for the situation.”
Me: “This is why I still work NOC shift.”
I wish I had asked the context, like was I just like “fuck!” Or “fuck this!” Or “Fuck my life!” Or “fuck you!” or “wanna fuck?”
There are so many ways I could have used that…and context is everything!!
Thanks, Jim, RN. Thanks, Kyle, RN. Thanks Dr. Yamatata.
There are 3 more men that got to fondle those melons, all in one drug-induced day party. I think that might be a record for me.