I Hate Annie and Her Stupid Song!

sunshineYeah, yeah, I guess it’s a given that “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!”  And then there’s all those Beatles hits . . .  “Here Comes The Sun!” or  “Good Day Sunshine!”  or “I’ll Follow The Sun!” But quite honestly, I am just burnt out!  At this point, I don’t even like Sonny (from Sonny and Cher!)

Apologies to the rest of you who live in climates where you would give anything to sunbathe, but in Southern California, we have had non-stop temps in the 80’s and 90’s since May (when we had the Firestorm wild-fires).  And here it is almost Thanksgiving, so by rights I should be able to choose whether I’d like to roast a turkey in an oven, slow cook it in a crockpot, deep fry it in a pan, or just grill it on the BBQ.  But no!  I can simply barricade a live bird in my backyard, tell guests to bring their own stuffing . . . and Ding! By dinner time, it will be seared enough to gobble down. Perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but I daresay not by much!

Please don’t leave comments convincing me how great the sun and the heat is because that just confirms why we got a divorce (sorry, that was an aside to my ex-husband who I know lurks here and is a certified sun-worshipper)  The rest of my lovely sun-kissed readers, let me try to explain — I think I have the opposite of SAD (or a summer version of it) where people NEED exposure to sunlight.  I need exposure to clouds.  I equate sun with skin cancer and wrinkles (it also depletes my energy, drains my creativity, not to mention melts my makeup!) and so on Friday, I ran off to Seattle for some much needed “gloom” and rain. Everybody knows that’s the place to escape the sun, right? And since I’ve been here, do you think I have even once sat in front of a fire with a nice cup of cocoa belting out, “Singing In the Rain?”  or  “Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up?”  Absolutely not!  It’s been SUN, SUN, SUN  in Washington as well.

But I did develop a nice winter cold and between that and traveling back home, I’m not sure when I will be back to post. I miss all the wonderful blogs I normally visit and I promise to return soon when I’m feeling better and not so sun-damaged.  Meanwhile, please visit an interview that was done with me recently.  Interview With Little Miss Menopause  And on Thursday, I had the wonderful honor of visiting the gifted Vikki Claflin at Laugh-Lines when she invited me to guest post.  Please indulge in her hilarious brand of comedy after reading my short post about email right here:  Female Email.  Lastly, I was thrilled to be nominated for a “Best Comedy Blog Post” by The Public Blogger Awards.  Just click HERE and scroll down to the 6th clown! Winner announced 12:01 am on  New Year’s Eve.  Guess I won’t be kissing anyone for too long at midnight!

And again please forgive me for not “Walking on Sunshine” today, even though I admit it’s a catchy tune — but instead I’m off to write my version of that famous children’s book, “Goodnight Sun!”

Who was “She?”

Disclaimer:  Thank you for allowing me a departure into the truth today.  More laughs again soon.photo-241

Wasn’t Sweet Sixteen a little young to be visiting the inside of a mental institution?

But today she wasn’t visiting. They had checked her in. Why would they do this with her?  Because they didn’t know what else TO DO with her.  The Doctor swore there were no more options.  Doesn’t matter that she had never spent even one week at a summer sleepover camp.  Doesn’t matter that total strangers terrified her.  Doesn’t matter that the roommate they assigned her was an openly hostile lady of 62 who strung her bras across bed posts and window sills like strands of Christmas tinsel.

This was where a troubled teenager was sent in 1980.  If they suffered long-term deep depression, culminating in a suicide attempt.

Nurse #1 – – Apparently she locked herself in the bathroom and tried to swallow Liquid Plummer.

Nurse #2 – – You mean like Drano?

Nurse #1 – – No I mean exactly Liquid Plummer.

Nurse #2 – – Nobody tries.  They either do or they don’t.

Nurse #1 – – Exactly.

Nurse #2 – – I’ve heard of a lot better cries for help than that.  But it got the father’s attention, I suppose.

She had watched a lot of movies so she was certain any moment she would see Jack Nicholson or Nurse Ratched ambling down the hallway.  But instead there were just regularly dressed people milling aimlessly about.  Kind of like the anxious folks who look at their watches at subway or train stations.  Only these people weren’t going anywhere. Physically.

There were no special wards separating adolescent from adult patients back then.  Crazy was Crazy and age wasn’t a barrier or reason for seclusion. So she got to see it all.  The unkempt forty something blonde who oozed sex like melted cheese in an overstuffed quesadilla, making humping motions against the nurse’s station until two orderlies escorted her away as she drawled, “C’mon Sailors, I’ll take ya both on right here, right now.”

The dark-haired, ethnic faced girl of twenty, slumped against the drinking fountain, hugging her knees tightly while holding her breath, eyelids clamped shut as she whispered her mantra, “You don’t see me.  You don’t see me.  You don’t see me.”

A prematurely graying man, (handsome like a movie star) raced around the bright orange (was that considered a soothing color back then?) corridor, chiming the ABC song until he got his face within two inches of Ethnic Girl’s large nose and blurted, “Peek-a-boo, I DO see you!”

Some days Group Therapy could take hours. There was no cooperation from patients like these.  When you didn’t want to be somewhere, why should you go along with the program?  But she sat and listened anyhow.  And finally it dawned on her.  Everyone else seemed to have a reason.  Something that justified why they were the way that they were.

Several teary-eyed females with molested pasts, slowly recounting excruciating details. One word every ten minutes – – yes, the talking and the memories came that  s-l-o-w-l-y.  Or maybe it was the abuse that did?

“It.”  (Look at clock)  “Was.”  (Bury mouth in jacket hood)  “My.” (Find the ceiling extra fascinating)  “Father.”  Stare straight ahead, daring anyone sitting in the group circle to meet your gaze.

Other tales of woe.

Schizophrenia ran in the family.

My Aunt was a prostitute and brought strange men into my bed.

My brother tortured my poodle in front of me.

My father was an alcoholic who raped my grandmother.

We were poor so I worked in a factory where they beat us if we went too slow.

I said goodnight to my mother.  She said, “No, it’s goodbye.”  And it was.

And on and on.  And that’s when she knew.  No matter what was wrong with them, something worse was wrong with her.  Because she had no reason.  No excuse.  No justification.  No scapegoat.  She had a two parent, functioning family.  No drinking, no drugs, steady employment, good morals, nice house, lots of friends, religion.  How could she blame it on happiness?

There was just something wrong inside her brain.  It would get dark in there.  For days on end.  And noisy with chatter.  So she would go outside of herself.  Watching vigilantly.  She could count her throat swallows, the chest inhales/exhales, heart thumps, eye blinks.  All her reflexes could be perceived as someone else’s.  Her head felt better in close quarters and so she stayed inside her closet.  Dissociative Behavior, they called it.

And that’s when everyone decided to agree.  Medication!  Medication had to be the answer.  They didn’t even mention the question.  They skipped right to the solution. Every single night.  She had to swallow two tablets and three capsules in front of the nurses, then open her mouth wide for inspection afterward. And she hated that one ugly male nurse who would swipe under her tongue with his foul-smelling fingers.

There were all sorts of Therapies.

In Art Therapy, they told her to paint or sketch.  Her hands froze.  “C’mon Honey, draw what hurts you.”  She drew a World Globe.

In Dance Therapy, they told her to hop and jump and prance.  Her feet froze.  “C’mon Honey, move to the music.”  She rocked ever so slightly to the metronome inside her head.

In Life Skills Therapy, they took her on outings.  They taught her how to ride a public bus.  How to go into a library and check out a book.  How to grow vegetables in a garden.   How to sit on a beach and enjoy the sunshine.  “C’mon Honey, it’s time to go outdoors and live quickly.”  But she went inside her head.  To die  slowly.

Until someone else died suddenly. The only other 16-year-old in the place.  They had become friends.  Sort of.  She was an anorexic named Mitzi.  66 pounds.  The medical staff was very thorough inside those walls.  Searching your bags when you came back from a field trip, confiscating even fingernail clippers or compact mirrors.  But not quite thorough enough.  They forgot about dusk.  When the sun went off and the lights came on.  Nobody would notice one missing bulb from a lamp in the sitting room area.  And nobody did.  Until they found it smashed and red-stained, between the sheets where it had sliced open a pair of very young wrists.

Nurse #1– – She woulda been gone in a few weeks, anyhow.  She was starving herself to nothing.

Nurse #2 – – Because she felt nothing. She was numb.  Our little Mitzi girl.

But our little Mitzi girl knew that cutting herself would be the first time she would feel something.  And I knew exactly what that something was.  She could have whispered it to me, too.  But she didn’t have to.  It was freedom.

Shortly after that, I stopped thinking of myself as “she.”  I was me.  Again.  And I began to get much better, much faster.  Not quite fast enough, though.  The medical insurance ran out before the Doctors  felt I was completely ready to go home.  But some Head Administrator made a lot of noise, stating that I had the right tools now. To cope.

I got to sit in on a long matter-of-fact meeting and we all nodded our heads discreetly at the end.  A helpful nurse leaned into my ear to whisper, “You’d best put this whole thing behind you.  Never speak of it again.  Never.”  (But nobody mentioned writing.)

That night the kitchen help baked me a German Chocolate Goodbye cake.  I hate the nuts in that kind of frosting. And my father avoided German cars, and German beer because he was a holocaust child.  But I ate a piece for Mitzi since she dreamed of any kind of cake.

It had been 3.5 months and now I could talk about my feelings, paint, draw, dance, ride a bus, grow a carrot, check out a library book, enjoy the beach. And most of all, I could feel.

And what I felt most of all was. . .

Sweet Sixteen was definitely too young to visit the inside of a mental institution.


The Write Way To Die.

I killed someone today.  And nobody will ever even know.  Well, just one person, but she won’t tell.  Let me see if I am brave enough to recount it for you.

Mean Girl:  You’re going to turn fifty in two weeks and you think NOW, all of a sudden out of the blue, you can try to make something of yourself with writing?

Me:  It’s not totally out of the blue.  I’ve tried my hand at writing before, you know.  But something always roadblocked me.

Mean Girl:  Something?  Typical.  Gotta have that scapegoat, doncha?

Me:   Well I know it seems like an excuse, but there were kids and divorces and deaths in the family and health issues – – mental health issues you know.  Can you keep that part to yourself, please?

Mean Girl: Hah!  Your children are so easy, it’s not even funny. What do you know of kiddy turmoil?  Good grades, no drinking, no drugs, nothing! And you were a stay-at-home mom, for God’s sake.

Me:  But there’s six.

Mean Girl:  Boo hoo – – try being a working mom AND raising kids.  Try being a widowed wife, working mom AND raising kids.  Try being a widowed wife, working mom, raising kids AND being diagnosed with breast cancer.  Try being…

Me:  I get it.  I see what you mean.  But don’t forget the mental health issues.  Those were hard.

Mean Girl:  Ohhh, right.  All that silly depression.  And your lovely, (most entertaining) thoughts of suicide.

Me:  There is such thing as a mid-life crisis, you know.  It’s legit.

Mean Girl:  You’re just fat, lazy, stupid, and dumb.

Me:  Stupid and dumb = same thing.

Mean Girl:   Google it, you idiot.  The fact that you don’t know the difference just proves how stupid you actually are.  Besides, that part needed emphasis.

Me:  You’re right.

Mean Girl:  Yep, reach for those chocolate chip cookies right about now.  Time to get even fatter.

Me:  I’m not.  I’m going to write instead.

Mean Girl:  Cough, cough.  Oh….My mistake.  I meant that jar of peanut butter.  And when you say “you’re going to write,” you’re using the term loosely.

Me:  That’s really unfair.  Certain people do enjoy my kind of writing.  My humor is . . .

Mean Girl:  So redundantly boring.  Insipid wordplay, cutsey-cheesy-corny titles, unrealistic, inane plots, ridiculous top-ten lists.  But it doesn’t even matter.  Who reads blogs anyhow?  It’s a totally moot point.

Me:  Well, I do have a few more followers these days.

Mean Girl:  Will wonders never cease?!  You know what? Just shove ten cookies in your mouth and call it a day.  Tomorrow you can start fresh.

Me:  Yeah, okay.  I bought some Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies – – they were for the kids.

Mean Girl:  LOL.  Seriously ?  And you’re fooling whom with that “it’s for the kids” crap?  I know.  They know.  We all know.  So eat them, already.

Me:  I could try taking a risk with my writing, blog about something different than my typical humor. Something meaningful to me in a more serious light?

Mean Girl:  I don’t think so, babe.  Even if you dared – – you’ve still got that old-age thing going on.  When are ya gonna do something about that?

Me:  What can I do about it?  Cosmetic surgery?

Mean Girl:  Nah, you’re way beyond that.  But here’s an idea that would kill two birds – – pun intended.  (I know how you love them puns.)  Kill yourself.  And then maybe, if you get lucky, some well-meaning friend or relative will talk up your writing and some of it will get more known, given higher regard. You know the whole “Unrecognized artists who only become famous after their tragic death” thing.  Google it.  It’s real, not an urban legend.

Me:  Yeah?

Mean Girl:  Yeah.  Sound good?  Or too chicken to even go that route?

Me:  Shut up.

Mean Girl:  Come again?  What’d you say?

Me:  Shut up.  Shut the hell up.

Mean Girl:  Oh, it’s getting interesting now.  A  big-talking loser.

Me:   You’re the loser.  What are you, like 15 years old?  Like the Mean Girl from middle school.

Mean Girl:  I WAS born in middle school.  Good job.

Me:  Born at age 15 – – thirty-five years is a long enough life for you.

Mean Girl:  Ya think?

Me:  Die.  Die, bitch.

Mean Girl:  You’re the one who feeds me.  You’ll have to starve me.

Me:  That’s too slow. I’ll put my hand over your stupid ass voice right now and squeeze the life outa you.

Mean Girl:  Yeah. Suffocation. Works every time.  If you have the guts.

Me:  Guts?  I hate your fucking guts. There’s no use for you around here anymore. You. Are. Dead.

Mean Girl:

Me:  There.  How was that?  That okay?

Therapist:  Well done,  Stephanie.  Well done.  It was self-defense.

Note:  This was an atypical posting for me.  My blog is humor based  (with an occasional anchoring of seriousness) so if you need a laugh after this, please see my most recent posting – – about the Academy Award nominated movie, “Her.”  Just click  HERE