MY left foot

My left foot is still his. It still stands in this place holding a space for him that should be vacant. It should be. It isn’t. My much wiser foot on the right is moving onward, had moved upward. But I am anchored by the lead in my left foot. Sometimes I think I can pull myself up and away from that spot where he left me standing, literally holding the bag, the baby, the bills, and just left. He thinks we have it so much easier here while he’s away. We don’t. I would give anything to be able to let go, or to hold on with confidence that holding on in this place would not leave me here alone again in the future. Wishing for one to return to me improved, no longer a broken man. My left foot is still his. It still stands in this place holding a space for him that should be vacant. It should be. It isn’t. My much wiser foot on the right is moving onward, had moved upward. But I am anchored by the lead in my left foot. Sometimes I think I can pull myself up and away from that spot where he left me standing, literally holding the bag, the baby, the bills, and just left. He thinks we have it so much easier here while he’s away. We don’t. I would give anything to be able to let go, or to hold on with confidence that holding on in this place would not leave me here alone again in the future. Wishing for one to return to me improved, no longer a broken man. I have considered speaking to my stubborn left foot- trying to reason with it, like you know, this isn’t good for you. But it holds steadfast to the idea of a man. I know my right foot flails in anger at the left. But the still small voice on the left tells me that my iron foot planted so firmly is holding on for something greater than the man. For the family that man is part of. For the love that man represents. Because we need him to open the pickle jars, and organize the pantry, and to laugh with. To fee free with. We need his warmth. His amber colored eyes, and colorful skin, and his gentle hand clasped in mine. My right foot is righteously indignant here. Angry and hurt and betrayed. Closed off. And moving on. My not so still small voice on the right shouts out loud for progress, for EVOLUTION of the spirit, soul, and body… it works, it keeps running place in time with a different drum than its counterpart. What does someone whose head and heart aren’t in sync do? Where do I go? What should I choose? I have considered speaking to my stubborn left foot- trying to reason with it, like you know, this isn’t good for you. But it holds steadfast to the idea of a man. I know my right foot flails in anger at the left. But the still small voice on the left tells me that my iron foot planted so firmly is holding on for something greater than the man. For the family that man is part of. For the love that man represents. Because we need him to open the pickle jars, and organize the pantry, and to laugh with. To feel free with. We need his warmth. His amber colored eyes, and colorful skin, and his gentle hand clasped in mine. My right foot is righteously indignant here. Angry and hurt and betrayed. Closed off. And moving on. My not so still small voice on the right shouts out loud for progress, for EVOLUTION of the spirit, soul, and body… it works, it keeps running place in time with a different drum than its counterpart. But, we carry on my left foot and I, in earnest- hoping when the time comes we will be free to live our life by our own design- and hope for a drum that can march in time, one with the other, without it,  or the other.

Lookin for Lovin on a Sunday


She’s left her bra hanging over the shower to go out on a Sunday night.
Her sheets are black, silk, on a bed that hasn’t been made in over a month… Her clothes lay in crumpled heaps on the floor.
She has $12.00 and her welfare check in her purse, next to her condoms and frosty pink lipstick!

The car she drives is a once blue, now grey and rusted Nova.
She has empty Marlboro boxes scattered on the floor; and Big Gulp cups half full of Dr Pepper and cigarette butts-
Her Wet n Wild black eyeliner is caked on under her tired eyes.
Her aerosol can of Aqua Net is on the floor by her feet.

Tonight, she’s drinking Budweiser in a glass!
And her three sizes too small thong is crawling up her… (ass)

She’s got on her favorite off the shoulder top… one she wore when she was 17 with her two year old son at her hip.

Today, her breasts are popping out, and her once flat tummy is rolling over! The ring on her finger has stained her hand green.

After her 6th Bud, she’s feeling good! She’s working the tables and the room! She talks about Star Charts, and a sweat lodge she belongs to… Where she sits naked, the only woman in a room with four older men.

She yearns for her younger days… some biker boyfriend long gone now—under the high school bleachers- with her pants at her knees- and all I can think as I watch her,  is  “Please, dear lord don’t ever let that be me!”

Back In School

IMG_0182To teach a man to fish,

To teach a man to fish, you have to KNOW how to fish already, don’t you? What’s a girl to do who doesn’t know how?  There are lots of things I can teach someone to do, and at least one or two of them may even be useful.

But what of that stuff I can’t? I’m serious. What about the stuff I never bothered to learn? How do I teach my kids the things I know are important that I don’t already know how to do?

You wanna know what fear is? Look into my heart and eyes at moments like this, when I see something happening to my kids, or see them struggling and see where it could lead in the future and I know they don’t know it because I never showed them how, and knowing it’s because I didn’t know how myself.

Because that’s the job. Teaching these little people who look at you, turn to you, people you made so blindly, not knowing what you didn’t know. If I were my boss here, I’d fire me most days.  Other days I would give that girl a raise, a hug, and even a high five or two.

 But when you look into the abyss, and see the ignorance you didn’t even understand was there before, you can’t run from it. And I swear to each of you reading this, and to the Big Kahuna out there, I will try to learn. I Believe when you know better, you do better. I always have, and for me it’s always been true.

I can’t stay organized, I’m a major offender of tardiness, I’m not consistent with projects, or well anything.  And I see my 13 year old forgetting his signed note, losing it somewhere and I can honestly say here, I don’t know. Did he lose it because I can’t teach him how not to, or did I lose and I have simply forgotten?   That’s just a fraction of what these moments lead to.

 

How do you teach an 11 year old girl to embrace what you see is beautiful and unique inside of her when you have never really done that yourself? How do teach her not to accept less than she deserves, and stand up for her own dignity?

Children learn by watching. We always say that, but they’re watching us. All the time. And we’re always doing things we wish they won’t. And we can’t stop. Or don’t.

They say the world is made round so we will not see too far ahead. I suppose that is true because somehow we still have to sleep at night. I know I need it. A friend told me today that for her, ignorance is bliss. Well you know, sweet friend that is because you are not yet a mother. We cannot remain ignorant. This is a call to arms to my sisters, and my brothers, and mothers and fathers.

 

Learn 3 New things Every Single Day. Something about the world. About a friend or loved one. And something about yourself.  Start there. And then take that something, and share it. Forgive yourself of your short comings my friends. I will try to do the same.

My dad one time said something to me about things he saw his own children doing, and realized he had handed down a world to us he didn’t understand. 

And you know what? I don’t know today, even still a better father. Not kidding. He was fun, and still is. He smiled, and still does. He taught me to swim, how to throw a punch, how to read, and to love music. If I am going to learn something new today, I could bet my boots he’d be the first one I’d ask. And if he doesn’t have the answer, that’s ok, because he can get it from my mom.

The Thing Is…

I remember Shakespeare saying “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Let’s for the sake of arguing here assume that shakespeare actually did say that, and not someone else who was penned as Shakespeare for pissing off some Queen? Anyway back to the roses, or the names.. which was it?

I love names and what a name says about a person because by the time you’re my age the name you were given should suit you. If it doesn’t well then you might consider a big sarcastic “THANK YOU” to your parents. As for me, my name fits like a glove- simple, elegant, can be trashed up just enough by adding an ‘ie” at the end and calling  me Annie. Dont particularily love being called Annie, but in my 30’s I dont hate it anymore either.

 

vanity-my favorite sin

I’m missing something, a part of me that I am pretty sure I have out grown. Like those jeans I loved a few years ago, before we had Maxwell. These jeans hang in the back of my closet taunting my newer, less terrific jeans with their perfect blend of I have lots of life left in me, and I have been worn so many times the fabric is soft, and the seams groove right into that younger, pre-3rd baby self I will never be again.

I’m cool with not being that pre # 3 girl. I really am. If I were being honest, it all went down hill after baby # 2, and that was over ten years ago.

I will admit what I lack now in shape, I make up for ten fold in style. I am much better at that now. I am not afraid of patterns, fabrics, colors, or lip gloss! I generally favor a nude gloss with just a slight hint of shade, making what I will call supple lips look simple, and elegant. As if a lip can do that. I will say that mine do, and it all sounds good, maybe also convincing. But I’m full of crap! I hate that my bottom lip almost swallows the top, that the corners of my mouth almost blend into my face, and when I smile my top lip spreads too thin. And that’s just my lips- forget the teeth I should have listened to my damn mother! I could have perfect teeth. I crunch my ice, killing my enamel, I wish I had an electric white smile.

I do have nice cheek bones, they’re high, well defined, giving my apple shaped face a little form. I am thankful for the artistry of properly applied blush, and contour here giving my apple shaped face, depth, clean looking lines that complete an overall pleasing face.

But my cheeks kills me. They’re too full, like a squirrel storing nuts. And it leads in to that extra skin hanging there under my chin, just begging to be chopped off.

As a result I can only be photographed from an angle 160 degrees in the air, and then only with a devil-may-care expression as I look up, craning my neck in an effort to delude myself into buying- “this is me, this is what I really look like”. It’s not. Trust me, you want to know what I look like?! Come over around 7 am on a Saturday, just don’t ask me to pay your therapy bill when you caught a nasty bout of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the very sight of me, as you run in horror in the opposite direction. Kidding. Of course I am not that bad. None of us are, really.

Women are so terribly hard on themselves, we do so many strange things to be or stay or to feel beautiful. I have tried so many things, and will continue to spend my hard earned time, and money on the frivolity of womanhood.

As if this is what defines us. Sisterhood of the traveling semi-permanent eye lashes, unite!

I embrace the stretch marks on my stomach, I embrace the signs of age on my face. My perfect, imperfect smile. And I embrace all of you too.

And besides, I still have a terrific complexion. They cant take away from me. *wicked grin*

Flyin My Freak Flag High

I once met a man with a wooden leg named Smith. And you would cleverly ask me, What’s the name of his other leg? Ba-dum-dum. There it is. My nerd is out again. For those who aren’t familiar, I am sure this will come as HUGE surprise to you. I am a huge dork. I mean it. I wore a tee-shirt through my entire ninth grade year that said ‘Save the Children’ it was neon, had pink and orange and green writing on it, and I loved it. I wouldn’t wear make-up. Yea, I don’t know what was the deal is with that even now. It didn’t last long, by 16 I was a member of bonne belle lip gloss club, now I am not just a member I could hold conferences on the merits of each different brand, the good the bad, and even the “CINDY”! That girl who is not a nerd, is a complete freak on wheels and I love her for it, has a deep addiction to lip gloss- but only really the frosty pinks. She has a very fair complexion, and fabulous red hair so it works for her, and has probably since 1988. (ok and seriously honey I love you like a fat kids loves cake). I never rocked blue eye shadow, just wasn’t a child a of the 80’s so I missed all the great nerd-dom of jelly bracelets, and coke-a-cola swatches. I was this odd ball girl. Really, really odd. I still am. Except I have lifetime subscription to the Boys’ club now. Discovered Abba, and make up, and recently thanks to a great friend a love for all things related to Rick Springfield. Yea, he’s my dad’s age- but he can still rock, even after a hip replacement surgery, and a bottle of Viagra. Ok seriously, if you’re reading this Cindy I love you and him. You’re both great. But, come on! I grew up Smashing Pumpkins, Trent- need I say more, Trent baby what the hell happened to you I loved you, I laid in bed at 17 thinking of you as your murderous rage rock played over me. I remember the Kurt Cobaine died day, the way my mom remembers Kennedy. I also really liked Bob Dylan, still do. I blame this on the biggest nerd I know. My dad. Great guy! Huge dork.

I’m older now, and I discovered something I wish I could go back and tell my freaky, slightly unhinged 15 year old self. It’s totally fine. You’re a freak fly your flag with pride. Everyone is nerdy. And as you age the script is flipped, isn’t it? Nerd is cool. Who the hell knew that would happen?

So speaking of Smith’s and nerds! Last night as I realized how much fun I am having blogging about my experiences, I went on a cookie run. Yep. Something happens after dinner at my house, the snack-attacks will get the best of us Cheeney’s and we follow a honing device to the nearest Smith’s grocery store and make a B-line to the cookies. There they are. And I am there with them. And it’s great. So I got my fix. Usually my fix is an oatmeal/nut/chocolate chip combination. But sometimes it is hot tamales candies, and thanks to Cindy , milk duds. Yea she’s an evil chocolate genius, but I digress. We will spend a lot of time of the subject of food as I go on. But today, I am only sharing the snack attack because it led me to the biggest nerd of the day award. Which I am proud to announce I didn’t win. Not even close.

The Biggest Nerd of the Day award is presented to a guy at the checkout at Smith’s on 4100 South and 5600 West in west Valley City Utah. His name is Paul, and I did get his permission to talk about him on facebook. Seriously. I asked. He’s totally cool with me using his name and wait til you see the picture I took of him! So Paul, who is a nice enough 20 something, near teenage dirt bag, has many tattoos. Also a lot of acne, and probably one of those vegan footwear rocking, chubby chic girlfriends, who because she loves 7-11 nachos, and Doritos, and mountain dew so much, they had to make a slurpee flavor just for her girls who loves him. Trust me, he is totally the type. I did start with, nice guy, right? Well he is. And I believe us freaks must stick together. Today Smith’s Marketplace in WVC, tomorrow the world. Or something like that. Anyway he won my nerd-alert award because he has shaggy hair, is carrying a lot more than a six- pack, and has the coolest nerdy tattoos I have ever seen. Paul, and his super cool tattoos told me the concept behind them was something about Nintendo beating out Pac-Man. Gamers, and geeks of the world All Hail The Coolest Nerd of the Day: PAUL. Cute kid who helped me and my evening snack attack. Thanks Paul. You’re a big dork, and I salute you.

lamenting

She met him in her usual way, she
was pretty- not too pretty- maybe thicker than his usual type- but, she smiled
bright- looked clean… and talked way too dirty!
She’s smart…

Magnamic…

She says she doesn’t believe in God-
And she holds
fast to some private “iron rod”
Making claims like,
“The whole thing is
just a fraud!”

She was hungry…
He could tell, she’s never full!

She can’t seem to get it right,
She cleaves to him at night…
But
she’s always holding back.
Something he cant touch- something he wants to
taste.
Maybe she’s just empty…
She’s like a light- a little too
bright.
Turned on,
Turned off.
Waiting—
It’s over just when he
think its started…

She’s just another part time lover who prematurely
parted!

*POOP* Happens

Doesn’t it?

I wish I had less of it in my life.  But in an effort to keep my commitment to myself, to my kids, and to PAY IT FORWARD a new dogma I have recently decided to buy into. I have chosen to laugh at it, all of it. So here I am paying homage to all the different kinds of poop I get to shovel.

Let’s just talk about it. Poop. For me poop takes on a lot of different meanings at different times. I’m not proud of this, but my toddler believed the other word for *poop* was the word you’re supposed to use every time something was dropped/spilled/broken. Not my finest hour.  Speaking of toddlers and poop- we are currently in negotiations with same said toddler about the finer points of where and how to poop. Expressing with as much enthusiasm as possible that we have a moratorium on any pooping outside of the potty. If you consider this an Olympic Event so far we have 2 points for the “home” team and well more misses than I care to recall. Yep. Pretty  poopy.

 

So the “other” kind of crap we should discuss covers a multitude of clean your **** up and put it away, the spiritual kind- the Holy ****! Doesn’t come out often but is always said in bewilderment at life’s little surprises.

In my family we have tested it and can prove it to be true that the really big, awful poop comes in the form of bad news, bad things, and usually in quantities of three. I am talking about everything from lost lives, lost souls, lost innocence, and lost dreams.  The rule of 3. Not more than we Cheeney’s can handle, just enough to keep us shoveling for a while. I have decided to celebrate this particular poop . I am honored that I am strong, and I am proud to tell you that my strengths have been tested many times. I am proud that we Cheeney’s come from survivor stock. You can’t keep a good half-irishman/ woman down! And we are proof of that. We know how to draw those lines in the sand, how to circle our wagons, and see the Upside of Our Anger, Angst, and sometimes, even our enemies whether they come in the forms of ignorance, neglectfulness, cruelty, or chance. It is just plain poop. And we carry an arsenal of laughter, hope, togetherness, and shovels to cover it all.

 

And when the day is done, we sleep with clean hands, full hearts, and each of us with a renewed sense of what is good in us all. Ready to face “the fan” again another day.

80’s and everything after

I saw a preview for a movie coming out soon with Sarah Jessica Parker… it was titled ‘I don’t know how she does it.” The answer is. She doesn’t. It takes a village, lady! It always has, and you know what else? It always will. This aint no one person job. That’s why we single moms have it so damn tough- you don’t know how she does it? Are you serious?! Wow! I don’t know how Cindy does it, or Ann, or Lara, or Nicole, or even me. But I do know even so, we don’t do it alone.

I have help. I enlist the help of family and friends all the time. And we ALL do that. I have great helpers. I love them all. And my kids love them. And they love my kids. And we all love each other. And hopefully that will be enough to get us through. I think it is.

 

And here’s the thing, I loved Sarah Jessica Parker. Ever since Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, I have loved her. I wanted to be her in Honeymoon in Vegas, loved her in Woody Allens’ movies. (don’t get me started on Woody Allen- I think I am the last one to still actually like Woody Allen’s movies. I actually have friends several years older than me who don’t even know who or what he is all about)   And her insane body. And her fashion… and she freaking bagged Ferris! And he is still completely adorable. Ok, he isn’t John Cusack, but still… I have a cute nose and am totally willing to surrender my cute nose for the horror that resides in the middle of her now, way too pointy face if it meant I could wear her clothes, have her abs. And be Carrie. OMG! Carrie.  But she has really done it this time! I am already pissed off and haven’t even seen the movie yet.

So any other bitterly jealous sisters of the Sword that wanna see it with me?!  I will be there on opening night- relying on the terrific helpers I have in my life to entertain my kids while I spent a few hours envying, loving, and I hope laughing because despite its contrived story line. (oh I haven’t seen it or anything but trust me, its contrived and I am OK with that if the story is touching, and she is fabulous, and it sweeps me into the story- and has great music. You know, that comes from and we should ALL thank him for it- music in movies raised the bar high thanks to another John. John Hughes. Had terrific taste, too!) That scene in Say Anything- a favorite of mine from the time I was like oh I don’t know nine years old- wishing I could find a sport of the future Kick Boxing hottie boyfriend. .. like John Cusack’s character.. Lloyd Dobler.. what a name, lol, anyway he stands under Ione Skye’s window with a stereo in hand playing Lost In Your Eyes.. and sorry, much love to you Ione with the weird mouth, your eyes were a little stony to me… but whatever floats my imaginary boyfriends’ boat…

 

So I am sending an open invitation to all of you- come with me opening night- we will eat something fried for dinner, and drink something with some fruit in it because as Cindy is always saying I am wimp. I am a shameful irish lass that cant really hold her liquor. HAHAH But we will find out if we agree… I Don’t Know How She Does It, and then I suggest a slumber party with my imaginary boyfriend John Cusack, and Cindy’s popcorn. And Kelly’s Hot Tamales and Milk Duds… and some limes, for me. Please come. RSVP to me whenever you feel like it

Lions For Lambs

If what they say is true- “The Meek shall inherit the earth”, then I think the kind hearted and considerate of others, should pretty much inherit everything else!

How many of us really take the time to be thoughtful? I know my intentions are never really unkind ones, at all, but sometimes they’re selfish. Sometimes, they’re thoughtless, even. But what good do the best of intentions really do when there is no power behind them?

Careful thought and consideration of others is sometimes a hassle. Some people pull it off with ease and grace and these rare such souls are the inspiration for today’s topic.

 

Kelly Hewitt and Shannon Gray this ones for you! I applaud the both of you for your natural thoughtfulness, your good natured spirits, your “excersises” in restraint (thinking of Kelly now and her lunch time walks!) Shannon, I have heard this beautiful woman say she doesn’t believe she has patience… yet she exudes it from within.  Ladies I really cannot say enough about what wonderful people I find you both to be. I am so grateful to share a circle of common friends with you!

 

I salute many of you for your kindnesses, Lara Swenson, Jody Trujillo for your sunny dispositions, Kelly Abeyta Hepworth for a compass that can be counted as always pointing due north to truth, righteousness, kindness, and fun! Elisa Terry for making everything beautiful in her presence- you darling old friend have a gift. Michael Cheeney for always saying something inappropriate that will make me laugh, and for your leadership, friendship, strength, and I love that you are loud person. I really adore that you will shout across a room to be heard, and that we are kindred spirits on the merits of good music coming from nearly everywhere for which I am sure we have our parents to thank!   Olivia for 10 million different ways you show love through thought, service, kind words and deeds. Cindy for so much more than can be put into words, my fabulous friend you are a “sister” in my heart and always will remain so. My daughter for Living, Laughing & Loving the way you do and may your pure heart be protected and kept strong for all the wonderful days of your life. My dad. For everything in between that on its own never amounts to much, but is always there when you really need it and him. For always doing that. Matthew Shepherd for your kind words and thoughts about really pretty much everything including that which annoys you which you share in the most generous ways possible to those who care to hear it. And Matthew my friend, I always will care to hear. For My Captain, (you know who you are) for exploring the eternal abyss with me.

And if the purest displays of love come from service this goes out to one deeply caring, considerate woman I am in awe of more and more as each day passes. To you mom. For sacrifice. For hard work. Perseverance and spirit. For your humor. For your homemade chili and chicken noodle soup. For always watching. For your many talents. But right now, for your ability to stand up and breathe in and out, and to go through the motions in what has been a very personal and painful challenge. Mom your service to your family and your home is appreciated. If there is a reward for this- then I hope it leads you to peace within.

I am challenging myself to try and have better impact on the people I care about by being a better daughter, mother. Friend, and I want to thank each of you for your examples. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, my friends, my loved ones, … may my words and deeds emulate yours!