Man, this explains a lot

“You were a man in your past life,” said the psychic as she gently let go of my upturned palms, which she’d lightly traced with her finger, noting how many marriages I’ve had, the length of each one, how many children and what gender. “You chose to be female this time and you enjoy it, but you identify more with your previous form.”

Yes! I knew it!

I sat up straighter and taller in the upholstered chair as I considered her words. I caught myself absent-mindedly smoothing my skirt, twirling the rings on my fingers, touching my hair. Then I folded my hands in my lap, my female wide-hipped and big-thighed lap. And I thought: Do I enjoy this form? I hadn’t thought so, really. Ever since puberty, when hormones stole my boyish body and left me this pear-shaped suit, I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable, self-conscious and not-quite-up-to-standard.  I worked hard for years to minimize the curves, but they would not smooth out. Is it my past-life male body that I miss?

I visited a psychic for the first time last week. One of the moms in my school social circle hosted an afternoon cocktail party/psychic reading/playdate thingie at her house. How could I say no to this? While I’ve never booked a private reading with a psychic, a group setting gave me the perfect excuse to satisfy my curiosity.

Being somewhat skeptical, I sat on the back yard patio and nursed a drink, letting all the other women go before me. Finally, it was my turn. Hesitantly I entered the cool house and found my way to the darkened living room. I realized I was a little tipsy. How would I keep a poker face, keep unnecessary information from spilling out of my mouth?

The woman seated across from me looked like one of my mother’s friends. Absent were any head scarves or crystal balls or other props I imagined. She was a sharply dressed older lady with warm eyes who instantly set me at ease. She waited for me to get comfortable in my chair. We sat in silence for a few moments. Then, she asked for my hands. She held them in hers and closed her eyes. Then she opened then, turned my hands palm side up, and began tracing the lines.

I don’t know how she knew that I was on marriage No. 2 or that I had two daughters. (Good guesses? Twice?) I don’t know how she had Girl from the West pegged to a T. To a T. She also knew things about Husband No. 1 and Husband No. 2 that could be good guesses but were rather specific to each man’s personality. She even predicted that I would be making a big move in two years — to the West. Although she envisioned me standing by an ocean rather than in the mountains.

But the line about me being a man in a past life or two? That floored me.

See, I am not a man trapped in a woman’s body. I’m not a closeted lesbian.  But I’ve always felt …. less than feminine and very reluctant to embrace or flaunt my womanliness. I’ve written before that I don’t have a sister and I’ve only had a few close female friends in my life. On the other hand, since childhood, I’ve always gravitated to boys and men and strike up fast friendships with men. I am infinitely more comfortable around men.

I won’t even go into how one whole summer the neighbor across the street thought I was a boy.

I’m not a women-only group joiner. I don’t go to the ladies room in a pack.  I am not into shopping. I  own less than a dozen shoes.  In many ways, whatever the majority of women are into or like, I’ll be the one or among the few who does not.

On the other hand, I’m not some uber-athlete who didn’t play with dolls when I was a child. I’m not really handy with tools or home repair projects. I’m not a gear head. Plenty of folks have me pegged as super feminine and are surprised to learn I love the outdoors and rough camping. They think because I wear eye makeup and jewelry and heels in the city, that my bare feet haven’t walked on the forest floor, or that I’ve never backpacked in the backcountry of Montana.

I’m not crazy about the belching, farting, spitting on the streets part of men. But I do appreciate the to-the-point way men talk and resolve their problems. Even if it means coming to blows, at least it’s settled. Is there anything worse than the protracted agony of the Mean Girls treatment? Ever since my first Brownie Girl Scouts meeting, I’ve hated girl politics.

The psychic didn’t have much more to say about the life I’m living right now, other than things will improve once I make my big move. Right now I need to focus on what I’m meant to be doing: taking care of Girl from the East.

Do I believe all of this? I don’t know. Did I just write a whole post using gender stereotypes. You bet I did.

But, I can’t help wondering what kind of man I was in a past life.

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Why do people make things so complicated?

Voice mail. Text messaging. They are not new. Both are designed to speed up the process of communication. You can call your best friend Lucy in Tulsa. If she doesn’t answer, you can leave her a message after the beep.

“Lucy, girl, it’s MomZombie.  Please call me when you emerge from your comatose slumber. I have a great idea for this weekend.”

If you are super-efficient, you can also text good ol’ Lucy to further clarify why you are calling.

The ball is now in Lucy’s court. She knows I called and texted. She knows why.

This is not a message: “Hi. It’s me. Call.”

So, I call you back. You don’t answer. You call back. I don’t answer.

Phone tag.

Won’t somebody just say what the hell is the point of this volley?

Lately I’m getting barraged with phone calls and texts that only reveal to me you have a short fuse but do not tell me why you are trying to reach me.





“Hi, it’s me. Why won’t you answer your phone? What is wrong with you? This is getting really annoying that you do this.You need to answer your phone.”

Where is it written that just because I am “reachable” everywhere I must respond immediately? I think there is a reasonable window of opportunity for acknowledging and responding to phone and text messages. Not everyone agrees with me on this one.

I think I am entitled to let the call go to voice mail when:

I am in the shower.

When I am in the bathroom doing bathroomy things.

When I am sleeping or relaxing.

When I am engaged in some type of one-on-one activity with another person who would be greatly disturbed by the answering of a phone or the reply of a text.

Is this not the POINT of the aforementioned messaging systems?

Rather than send 200 texts and redial my number another 250 times yelling and ranting about how I’m not answering my phone why not tell me why you are calling and what you need.  How about:

“I’m done with my appointment. You can pick me up now.”

“There’s a big insect-y thing on my wall and I need you to come over and smash it for me.”

“Please bring home a loaf of wheat bread.”

Wasn’t that easy? One call, one text and the whole idea travels like magic dust from sender to receiver.

Now, if only I could figure out how to comment on Blogger blogs.


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Seeking a status change


“It’s not your fault.”

This is what friends and family reassure me when I start to think that resigning my job almost three years ago put us in the black hole we are in today.

Who knew everything would fall apart in two years? They ask.

You would have been out of a job anyway, they assert.

Your children needed you, they remind.

True on all three counts.

The plan was to take one year off work. One year to help my newly adopted daughter bond and attach and adjust and feel that she had loving caregivers in her life who were there for her 24/7 if needed.

Turns out, it was needed. It took two years of dedicated attention.

Unfortunately, after the two-year mark, when my husband and I both knew it was time for me to go back to work, our world fell apart. The automotive industry tanked. It is the lifeblood of this region.

The newspaper industry crumbled. It is the lifeblood of this family and most of our friends.

So, there you have it: two major industries that had everything to do with our bottom line in ruins.

Our little world we worked so hard to create, a secure world of steady pay and healthy savings and home equity,  a few nice vacations a year, didn’t include worrying about unpaid bills or clients who are slow to pay or who do not pay at all. Worries were for things like would we get good seats for the concert? How much would braces cost? Will the scratch on the lease car be counted against us when we trade it in?

I’m seeking a status change: from stay-at-home mother who tried to work from home but found that what she does isn’t worth more than a bag of pennies to full time working mother who’ll do what it takes to save her home and family.

I’m  seeking status change from someone who labors over every dime of the weekly grocery budget, who is sick of the college diet at mid-life to someone who can actually eat at a restaurant once in a while, or order a fancy coffee drink without thinking that someone else in the family will do without something because of this one selfish act.

I’m seeking a status change from someone who hovers over a gaping pit of bitterness and despair about things for which she has no control to someone who openly accepts change and pain because she knows it will make her a stronger person.

That’s what’s on my mind today.

Back to the funny business tomorrow.

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Where in the world am I?

I woke up this morning, boarded a plane and watched the landscape evolve from 30,000 feet above the earth.  My land of lakes and streams and woods slipped away to open farmland and rippling plains that surrendered to the jagged peaks of the Rockies and ended in an oasis in the desert. As each mile faded behind me, so too did the layers of stress that threatened to suffocate me in the last few weeks. By the time we arrived in our destination, I felt 10 pounds lighter and actually smiled at strangers.

Can you guess where I am right now? I’d have pictures but *someone* forgot to pack her digital camera’s card reader.

Let’s put it this way: I can visit Paris, Venice, the Sahara all in one shuttle trip around town.

Yup, you go it. Sin City.

Not my first choice for a family trip with a toddler. But we had the opportunity to go. I am not one to pass on travel opportunities.

It’s always surreal to me to leave home in the cold and wet and dark and arrive somewhere that offers sun and heat and palm trees. And people live here! This is their life. I imagine what that must be like. To see mountains on the horizon as you move about your day. Appreciate that if you do because I am so freakin’ jealous.

After only one day in Vegas, I’ve made the following observations:

There are a lot of people with a lot of money to burn in this town.

There are a lot of people here who look like they cashed in their life savings to be here.

Some people move around the casinos on Segways.

Some couples buy matching “Las Vegas” outfits to wear around town.

For the record, I am not and have never been a gambler. I’ll not be rolling dice or wrestling the one-armed bandit.

More to come.