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Archive for November, 2009

This is a dreary, icky, melancholy day. It is the week of Thanksgiving and what is on my mind most is that I miss my Aunt Tammie. Her birthday is November 28th, and so she is on my mind. She died at the age of 37, car accident. My dad, her big brother, died when he was 27, car accident.

It felt strange when I outlived my father’s age, and it will be weird to live longer than my aunt did, unless something happens to me. I guess there is still plenty of time for something to take me out early… for what little bit of family I have left, I hope not.

I want to think about all of the fun and crazy times I shared with Tammie. She was a character! She was boisterous, animated, hysterical, and the list goes on and on. She was only 12 years older than I, so we did some really silly things to pass the time. When I was 11 or 12 and she was in her early twenties, we would stay up all night finding something to entertain us. We made videos pretending we were MTV VJs, made up dances, dressed in costumes… she taught me how to twirl a baton and how to do “The Bus Stop” and other dances from the late 70’s. She introduced me to music that was before my time. We watched countless 80’s movies over and over. She taught me how to play poker… and lots of other things. But most importantly, Tammie would tell me stories about my father… funny, silly stories… memories that would really give me a sense of what it was like to hang out with him. She painted pictures for me that I so desperately needed. No one else did that in my life.

Tammie was so loving and she just wanted to feel loved and appreciated in return. Unfortunately, people found a way to take advantage of her good nature and she did not have the best relationships with men in her life. She had the potential to do anything in the world she wanted to do. She was mad smart and could get any room rolling with laughter. She also had a multitude of talents. The thing is, she got bored really easy… so she tried out a variety of occupations. She was a passionate person. She loved animals and gave that to me. I looked up to her so much. Even though she was unstable a lot of the time… she was artistic, crafty, wrote poetry, painted, had a beautiful voice, could play the piano by ear, was a fabulous cook… and was also good at math, computer work, and interested in science. I thought she was amazing! I wish that she had felt amazing… I am certain that she never really did.

Tammie never recovered from losing her big brother, my dad. I didn’t realize to what extent until I went to her funeral. I won’t go into details here, but she carried that broken heart around her entire adult life. I later learned that she spent a significant amount of time at his grave site. When we buried her, she was placed beside him.

Back to the fun stuff… she used to dress me up like I was her doll. I was 5 and she would paint my face with make-up, complete with a beauty mark – always – and curl my blonde hair into ringlets with shiny ribbons tied in bows. She taught me how to roller skate and we would go to the rink in the middle of the day and skate under the disco balls and flashing lights until dinner time.

One of my fondest memories is being on a cruise ship docked in Mexico… it was incredibly windy, and the band played “American Pie” and “Brown-Eyed Girl”… Tammie, my sister, and I twirled around and ran around dancing for what seemed like forever. It was one of those magical moments in time. We had a blast! I am so thankful for that. You couldn’t be around Tammie and not have fun!

Okay, now I am ecstatic! I just stepped away from the computer to try and find a picture of the two of us… and I found one from the night in Mexico!!!

One summer at camp I went by her name instead of my own. It wasn’t on purpose exactly, but I played along. I had an old t-shirt of hers that was black with gold sparkly letters that spelled her name. I wore it to camp one day and the girls I met there called me “Tammie” for the next couple of weeks. I never told her that.

She took me to the beach several times while I was a pre-teen. We would take our floats out past the wave break and float and talk all day long. She took me to my first Bon Jovi concert. I was 10 and obsessed with the band. She stood outside in the rain in line for hours so we would get good seats. She also drove me an hour away and stood in line so that I could have my picture taken with Kirk Cameron (you know, the kid from “Growing Pains” back when he was cute and before he went crazy).

I wish that I also had a picture of her before my father passed away, back when she took better care of herself and still had her dreams alive for a bright future. When I think about it, I carry on a lot of things I picked up from her. She absolutely loved Halloween, made a big deal out of birthdays, always wanted to learn something new, and she treated her pets like her children. I hope that she recognized, even a little, that she gave me so much and influenced me in some pretty damn cool ways!

I just had to get out the mixture of thoughts and memories swimming around in my noggin today. I miss my big “sister”… I always will.

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GLEE!

I just love this show! A new episode will air tonight.
Most television shows that are highly promoted prior to debut
don’t live up to the hype and end up being disappointing.
This one is an exception.
The cast is so talented!
Anyone who hasn’t given it a chance should check it out!

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Midnitemonologues

Written by a dear friend I have known since the 7th grade!

Rosalind Russell by Midnitemonologues

“Flops are a part of life’s menu and I’ve never been a girl to miss out on any of the courses”. ~ Rosalind Russell

Rosalind Russell, is hands down one of my top 3 old Hollywood actresses. She was such a lively, spirited woman. My favorite movie of hers was Auntie Mame. I feel such a connection to her that I know I will post more on this wonderful woman! What I want to focus on today is the aforementioned quote. What an awesome perspective…I have always felt this way throughout my life…but…never had the words to express my feelings. What can I say…I love life and I love food…so…I can totally relate with this quote. (sigh)
There have been “meals” in my life that I’ve tried…and definitely had to secretly spit back into my napkin and out of my system…and there have been other “meals” that I have gorged upon and gotten sick afterwards…still others that I have enjoyed and relished and will never forget.
Life is most definitely a banquet (another set of words from Rosalind) and it is how you approach the meal. Here’s to full courses with lots of dessert, my friends!
xoxo –
Kasey

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I was reminded of this little adventure while talking to a friend the other day…..

A girl friend and I were in San Francisco a few years ago. This was my second trip to San Fran, but it was a very different experience than the first go round. The first time, we knew locals and they drove us around in their car(s) to their favorite spots, which was kind of boring. This time we were explorers. We used public transit to get everywhere, and those journeys, no matter how brief, provided colorful memories each and every time. I love that city! Just thinking about it makes me squeeeal!

We set out one evening to go to an Italian restaurant. We had asked around to figure out which one we should patron. A local guy we had met was emphatic that we must dine at one in particular. This was in the area that tourists call “Little Italy” and the locals make fun of it being labeled as such, and they never refer to it the same… or so we were told. Anyway, we made a reservation and then hit Union Square for some pre-dinner shopping. We were caught a little off guard when the streets of Union Square abruptly went from congested with other shoppers, hustling and bustling about, to completely abandoned in the matter of 2 minutes. Everything had closed and we needed to catch a bus. 

We figured out our route to the bus stop, but before we reached it, a scruffy guy on a bicycle started following us. He was circling around us as we walked and wanted to know where we were going. He kept repeating: “You are the most beautiful woman I have seen, just tell me where you need to go and I will get you there.” Really, all 3 of us are gonna pile onto your bicycle mister? By this point, we had had many encounters with “street people” and the homeless of the city. But this guy wouldn’t go away! Something about a person feeling the need to tell you, “I’m not dangerous… you don’t have to be afraid” tends to make one uncomfortable. We ditched that bus stop and set off to find another one.

We jumped off the bus in the area we had set out for, but we didn’t really know how to find the restaurant. We were late. This area of the city was still very active and loud. As we made our way down the street, we were stopped by a few flamboyant guys who were working the doors of other restaurants. Well, we needed directions, but they spinned me around and danced and tried to sweet talk us into dining at “their place” instead. This was fun and cute in the beginning, but was quickly getting annoying by the 3rd twirl. I was hungry. Anyone who knows me well knows that when I am really hungry, I get cranky! And it ain’t pretty.

We found our destination! Of course I do not remember the name. We asked the guy out front about our reservation… without verbally responding, he grabbed me and kissed me, almost on the mouth, but I jerked just quick enough that his lips landed just to the side of my mouth. I must have shot him one hell of a dirty look.

Keep in mind that I was separated from my ex and going through a divorce. I was in my “men need not exist” phase… and it irritated me when men assumed I wanted their attention.

He then proceeded to get pissy with me because I didn’t kiss him back in return. Are you kidding me? I want food. I do not want to stand out in the street playing kissy-face with some cocky Italian stranger!

We were soon to learn that this place had a reputation… we may have been the first girls to show up for dinner and not melt over the advances of Mr. Kissy-face.

We were seated upstairs where we had a view of the entire restaurant around and below. It was so nice to drink a glass of wine. Only men worked at this place, and every one of them was Italian, complete with thick accent. Each one that stopped by the table flirted and fawned over us. I mean, they do work for tips. I will skip some of the boring details, but I couldn’t help but notice that most of the diners were women.

At this point, we had our food, which was yummy, were on our second glass of wine, and feeling much better. Then, the lights turned off. Uh-oh, power failure? Dammit! Oh… not so much. Club lights began spinning around and the loud music kicked on. An Italian voice from the microphone announced: “It’s Tiffany’s birthday and we are gonna help her celebrate!”

Tiffany was seated in a chair in the center of the restaurant and was quickly being surrounded by the waiters taking off their shirts. One of the guys spread his legs and jumped on her lap! Tiffany was getting a full-on-grind-dry-hump in the middle of my dinner. My friend and I looked at each other and both had the light bulb… THIS is why the local guy enthusiastically told us we “would love this place.” That was the first and last time this vegetarian “had” Italian sausage during dinner.

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My friend Leslee inspired this post. She asked me to write about an “a-ha” moment for a click story on her blog Waiting for the Click

I was married for 10 years, almost 11 including the separation, but I don’t count that. I won’t go into how or why I got myself into the marriage or all of the awful things that occurred during the marriage (that would take another blog post or maybe a book to cover). This is about getting out and the “a-ha” moment I had in the midst of the insanity.

My ex was a vicious, threatening, horrible excuse for a person during much of the separation. He loved feeling like he had the power to screw up my life, even more than he already had. During one particular phone conversation, he was refusing to cooperate with anything that would enable me to take care of myself financially. He had run up debt that was either in both of our names or solely in my name. In fact, his accruing debt behind my back was the straw that broke it all and prompted me to kick him out months earlier. While listening to his booming voice-from-hell threatening to force me out of the house, thereby making me homeless and preventing me from keeping my animals, I went to the zoo! Or maybe I was trying to escape from the zoo. I threw my phone as hard as I could, and bust it into 20 pieces. It didn’t stop there.

I had remained calm and rational during most of the madness. Well, not this day. I went monkey-butt-marble-free! I was suffocating. I couldn’t breathe. I was swallowed by my environment. I couldn’t escape my past. It was staring at me from everywhere I looked and it was taunting me wicked. I looked around and all I could see was one of the same rooms I had shared with him for 9 years… the furniture we had chosen, the art prints and personal items we had acquired together. Meanwhile, he was sharing a new home with his 25 year old girlfriend (he was 42 at the time). He fucked up my life for years and then cleanly moved on and started over. I was left in the same mess… the same debt, the same house… the daily reminders and memories haunting me. I am not exaggerating here… I felt haunted and smothered! Let me be clear, I did NOT want him back. I wanted to be completely free from him.

I proceeded to rip everything off the walls, and throw and bash all of my framed pictures on the floor. I was crazed and I wanted to rip it all down and start over. I wanted my fresh start damn it! I hated everything my surroundings represented and of what they reminded me. I was on a rampage and it had to run its course.

What did I accomplish? A completely trashed room, a broken phone, and other demolished personal possessions. But something WAS accomplished in the end. While I lay on the floor sobbing, I had my “a-ha” moment. Who is going to come to my rescue? Who is going to pick me up off that floor? Who is going to make it all better? Who will make me happy again? I only laid there for a short time before I thought to myself… no one is gonna pick my ass up and make things better… except me.

I peeled myself off the floor and stood up with a refreshed outlook and plan of attack.

In that moment, I let go of anger and regret. The only person those malevolent feelings were consuming and hurting was me. I realized that I had needed that explosion of emotion to get it all out and in the end switch my energy and redirect my focus.

I looked at my situation and decided it was time to get real and take control. I contacted my car loan company, my mortgage company and everyone else I could think of to get the ball rolling to officially separate myself from the monster. I couldn’t wait for him to cooperate and do it with me. There were difficult days ahead. The separation lasted longer than it legally had to because he refused to sign papers. I also knew that his mood changed with the wind and I would eventually catch him on a “less-hateful” day. I had to be patient. I had to play the game to get what I needed and to get out for good.

He thrived on me getting upset. He had his way for the last time. My “a-ha” moment pushed me to research every possibility for taking better care of myself, to keep my home, to keep my animals… and it was also the last time I allowed him to upset me. From that point forward, any time he would act psycho and begin yelling over the phone, I would simply say in a calm, matter-of-fact, manner: “You are now yelling at me, so the conversation is over and I am hanging up now.”

The divorce was eventually finalized and now I can breathe. I can take care of myself. I have control over my life and my happiness.
A-ha!

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Okay, so one thing I really want from people… is for them to say what they mean and mean what they say. Is that too much to ask? Gheesh. I appreciate a brutally direct person more than one sugar-coating bullshit any day of the week. Now, I realize this goes against my Southern upbringing. I was surrounded by women who were sweet as brown sugar pie to people around them, and then bash them to bits as soon as they were out of earshot. Especially at church. What the hell? Being polite when called for and having basic manners is one thing… but that’s not really what I’m talking about here.

Men do it too. My ex used to commit to plans with friends all of the time, just to blow them off and not follow through. He did this over and over. It pissed me off so much! Why not at least tell me that you have no interest in going to that dinner, to that party, etc.

I know I am all over the place here.

My family, though I love them, have always been that stereotypical Southern family that looks all peachy fine on the outside while there is an astronomical mess about to explode on the inside. But shhhhh, don’t talk about it. Damn sure don’t mention anything to someone outside of the family circle. Hell, be in denial within the family. I have still not figured out how this helps anything or anyone. You know why? Because it doesn’t. How could it? Don’t get me wrong, I love my Southern roots for many reasons. But I have to say that I have had a green eye on occasion for those boisterous Italian or Jewish families who just let it all hang out, speaking their mind and rolling with it. It just seems easier that way. I would rather a person tell me they hate me to my face than tell me they love me only to be lying. 

This entire issue is why I have had few close friends in my life… lack of authenticity. Who is real? Who will turn around and stab you in the back, talk rubbish behind your back, or just use you for their best interest while providing nothing in return? What I call a “one-way friendship.”

I realize that this could be easily divided into two different topics… maybe I will write more later and it will be more focused.

I like real people. I want to know what I am dealing with, and then I can decide if I want you around. ;o)

So, “say what you mean and mean what you say!” If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you say something, mean it!

This concludes my rant for the day. =)

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It always amazes me when people complain about the very personality trait in others that they themselves possess. Do you know people like this? How does someone spew negativity on a daily and sometimes by-the-minute basis, yet proclaim him or herself to be a positive person? Well, it seems to be more common than ever. When I began writing this, I was annoyed with seeing so many whiny, complaining, “Oh, woe is me” spouts on Facebook. Instead of ranting about that, I’m going to talk about the flipside. Is it possible for that same lack of self-recognition to work in the reverse manner? Well, I have learned the answer to the latter.

The way we see ourselves is not always how others perceive us. I think we all know this regarding certain characteristics. Although… what comes to mind is physical attributes. I know beautiful swans who truly see themselves as ugly ducklings… and I certainly know of many obnoxious material girls who think so highly of themselves, they tarnish whatever shine they may otherwise project.

But, how many of us are likely to describe our own personality traits the same way another person would depict us? I have known others who felt differently on the inside than what they felt comfortable putting out there… waiting to get to know someone before revealing their “full personality”. That was me when I was younger. I was often referred to as shy, and in high school I was called stuck-up a time or two. I was later told that it had been assumed that I thought I was too good to talk to certain people… when the truth is I was an introvert around people I didn’t really know.

Recently I had a realization that I needed another mirror-check. Well, not so much needed as it was nice to see. I am a confident, outspoken person who loves getting to know new people. While I accurately recognize these things about myself, and admit that all of this has changed since I was younger, I was still surprised when I recently heard adjectives to describe me.

A few months ago I met a friend of a friend. This woman is very nice, a sweet personality. I would also call her mild-mannered. We had been around one another for a couple of days when she said to me: “You have the bubbliest personality of anyone I’ve ever met!” I was taken aback. I mean it briefly stunned me a bit to be honest. My boyfriend was part of the group and heard her comment… and he did not protest or crack a joke. And, he really knows me!

If I were to break myself down into a list of adjectives, I would include the word “friendly”… but “bubbly” is on a vastly different level. There are two things here… first of all, the word bubbly has often implied that a gal may be a smidgen of an air-head. I don’t want to be thought of as an air-head! The second thing is that it was meant as a compliment, and I realized that I no longer hold back what I feel on the inside. She added that I am “full of life” and that sounds like a good thing to me! I asked my boyfriend if he thinks that I am “full of life”… he said, “Yes, that would actually be a good way to describe you.” Hmph.


Three days later, I was chatting with a lady who has known me for years, but has only known me fairly well in the past year. She said to me that I am always bubbly and have an effervescent personality. There was that word again! Then, a light bulb went off in my bubbly head… this is me! I am happy. This is what it is like to be so happy that people know it without you telling them… in fact, old friends have asked me what has changed because they have noticed “something different.”

I went through a lot of dark times during my childhood and younger years, bad marriage and all that, but I am ready to take ownership of the person I’ve become. I still have worries and challenges of course, but am refreshed to have evolved past allowing them to consume me and represent me. I focus on the positive without even thinking about it these days. When I hear someone spouting negativity, it jumps out at me like a bat hitting me over the head. What I mean is, I no longer feed into it and join in on the griping or agree with the person just to be agreeable. It jumps out as an avenue I do not want to go down… and usually tells me that I will not enjoy spending much time with that person. Life is too short to allow others to drag you down. Now I admit that I have a very sarcastic sense of humor. Sarcasm does not = negativity, necessarily. I guess one can be of a sarcastic and bubbly sort!

I will no longer think of me as a watered-down version of myself. Looking back, it was a journey to get here. I am happy, downright bubbly, and I own it!

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