James Vernon Varga (which is how he is listed in my iPhone BTW)

I just realized that today is June 6. D-day. Today is the day that we buried my great-grandmother, Big Granny, Neva Varga, in the year of our Lord 1991. And I married Keith Miller in 1992. And my Great Uncle Jim passed from this life to the next in 2014.

This, really, has not statically been a good day for me. I don’t have stories of the beach at Normandy, but I do have stories of my Uncle Jim’s top secret security clearance during the war and when he used to chase me down and eat my croaker sugar. For those of you that do not know what croaker sugar is; I feel sorry for you because I do and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

He had the best laugh I have ever heard and he laughed all the time. He always had a joke to share or a story that may have been sad or funny; either way he put his positive spin on it. Maybe that’s where I get it from.

I have so many memories and so many stories that start with Uncle Jim……

 

Never stop learning

As I watch my kids fight, play, laugh, argue, antagonize, and sometimes help each other; I realize that this whole life is a learning experience. I have known this at some point (many points) in the past of my life but somehow I forget until the universe reminds me.

I think lately I have forgotten this truth. I don’t know how but suddenly it seems so clear. How could I have forgotten such a basic fact?

When I was younger my father told my on many occasions to never stop learning. He stressed that this was the key to success and happiness through out life. Always acquire as much knowledge as you possibly can. Knowledge is power.

My other father taught me that with out humor; you have nothing. Enjoy life no matter what it throws at you. If you can’t laugh, you will be miserable.

How did I get so lucky?

Just Me

For those of you that know me well know that I am not exactly what you would call conventional. I speak up when lots of times I should keep my mouth shut (though this has improved with age, or I have simply become better at determining who is worth my effort and who is not.), I say things that at times are inappropriate, I am loud, always loud, occasionally extremely loud. I was born loud. I thought that I was in charge from the day I came out of my mother’s womb.

Some people sum it up as crazy. Wild and crazy. Free spirited. Etc.

I have always been told as long as I can remember that I have an old soul. With the creaking bones to prove it. And the wrinkled hands. My bones have popped and cracked since I was eight. I remember my Granny putting her ear against my back in order to hear my shoulder blades grind and creak. She was fascinated. I simply explained, “They always do that.” And they still do.

When I lived in Missouri they explained me by saying, “She is from California.”

When I lived in California they explained me by saying, “She is from the city.”

And when I lived in the city there just simply was not an explanation for me. OR excuse. Depending on your point of view.

 And now I am back in the small town California again. Life is a circle.

Old Soul + Red Hair + Chandler Temper + a dash of Comanche blood + quite a bit of Scots + being jerked up around a posse of linehands = plain ol’ me.

Plain ol’ me frequently pisses people off by just being myself.  There was a point in my life that I had slowly tweaked myself to accommodate other people in my life. This was a very long and slow process that took many years. When I realized what I had done to myself I swore I would never let it happen again. It took some time to find myself again after that. Not a fun search.

I realized as of late that I have done a few tweaks lately. This coincides with myself unhappiness. I become not happy with myself because I know at some level that I am betraying myself. I punish myself. I gain 12 pounds. I become grumpy. I can not be happy to all the loved people in my life if I am not happy with myself.

This is it self. Cut the shit.

I am me. I am a lot of things. But most of all I am me.

I am loud. I am crafty – in the artsy kind of way. I like to drink. I haven’t always liked to drink and have gone years without drinking at times simply because I didn’t want to. But Now I like to have a drink. Or four when the occasion calls for it (like Tuesdays). I hate whiskey. I hate the smell of whiskey. I like tattoos. I would like to have more tattoos and someday might. I love spicy food. I like loud music. Really loud music. I like to dance. I like to garden. I have a potty mouth. I like dirty jokes. I like horror movies. I like blood and guts. I have no problem with talking about gross things while I’m eating. Or when other people are eating. I like yoga. I like sci-fi. I am sarcastic. The smell of Old Spice makes me want to vomit. I like myself when I am skinny enough that my doctor doesn’t like it. I usually have to work on putting on some weight (my doctor is really happy now). I like roller derby. (Right here is when I feel the urge to break into a Don Williams song. “I like little baby ducks, big pick up trucks…”) I like heavy metal. I like Don Williams. I like frogs singing. I like city lights. I like a dance floor that is so crowed and sweaty that you don’t know who you are dancing with. I like seeing all the stars from a mountain top. I am a trivia junkey. I like smoky bars and family picnics. I like bluegrass and hearing my Granny sing. I like stripper height high heels. I LOVE high heels in general. I change my hair on a whim. Short…long…roll the dice. I like Tejano music. I like hot weather. I am a nudist at heart (12 pounds or not). I like chewing someone’s ass off if I am in the right. I love a good fight period. (What can I say? We are being honest here right?) I like to watch hockey because the players beat the crap out of each other. I believe in the right bare arms. I never cut myself any slack. I make to-do lists on a compulsive level. Did I mention I have a high volume level?

I can go on forever.

Anyway.

I am me. Even if it pisses people off. I guess the moral of this story is; in order for me to be my true self, that is abrasive to others.

All I have to say is…they are not alone. Maybe we should start a ‘Dealing with Shannon’ support group. I am sure that there are a lot of unspoken members out there in the masses.

In the words of one of my childhood heroes.

“I am what I am and that’s all that I am. I am…………..Shannon.”

Change in Perspective

Today as I was commuting uptown (this constitutes a half mile round trip) to run some errands, I became aware of how much my perspective has changed.

I stopped at the stop sign at the top of the hill, which would be the end of my street. I waited for six cars to pass before I could go forth.  After car number four and seeing two more cars yet to come and as soon as the exclamation of, “GOOD GRIEF!” passed my lips; I laughed out loud to myself. Alone in my truck I suddenly realized I was annoyed because I had to wait for 6, count them SIX cars to pass.

This is quite the change from a 45 minute on a good day one way and a 3 hour on a bad day one way commute to work five days a week in traffic of idiots and imbeciles. The worst I witnessed today was a rancher driving slow so his blue healer didn’t fall off the back of the flat-bed.

I usually just walk.

Sisters

The subject of sisterly relationships was recently brought to the top of my subject matter. Not involving me but involving one of my very close, maybe closest, of friends and a third party. So I would like to just speak on the subject of sisters and sisterly relationships.

I have several. By blood and Not by blood.

This person’s third party is disgruntled (for lack of a better word) because she felt that my close (sisterly) friend was (had) not put forth any (enough) effort into their “sisterly” relationship. The first thing that I told my sisterly friend is just this…

SISTERLY RELATIONSHIPS DO NOT TAKE EFFORT. THEY JUST ARE. I HAVE A HANDFUL OF WOMEN THAT I WOULD CONSIDER MYSELF TO HAVE A SISTERLY RELATIONSHIP WITH. ONE IS MY SISTER BY BLOOD. ONE IS MY SISTER BY MARRIAGE (EVEN IF ONCE REMOVED). ONE IS MY COUSIN (WHO WAS RAISED LIKE A SISTER). ONE IS MY VERY BEST FRIEND FROM THE WAY BACK MACHINE. OUR RELATIONSHIPS ARE THERE. NO MATTER WHAT. THEY GET ME. ALL THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE CRAZY (THERE’S A LOT OF CRAZY). I CAN BE MY TOTAL SELF WITH THEM AND I KNOW THEY WILL STILL LOVE ME NO MATTER WHAT. EVEN IF I AM A TOTAL BITCH, OBNOXIOUS (OH YES, IT HAPPENS), HATEFUL, OR PATHETIC. I KNOW THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH TIME HAS PAST SINCE I SPOKE TO THEM LAST, BE IT 2 DAYS OR 10 MONTHS OR 8 YEARS…THAT WHEN I DO SPEAK TO THEM, IT IS LIKE I JUST SPOKE TO THEM YESTERDAY. I KNOW THAT NO MATTER HOW LONG IT HAS BEEN SINCE WE SPOKE, IF I NEED THEM, I CAN CALL THEM AND THEY WILL BE THERE. AND THEY KNOW THAT I WOULD DO THE SAME FOR THEM. NO MATTER WHAT. I LOVE THEM WITH ALL MY HEART. THERE IS NO EFFORT INVOLVED.

The third party clearly does not understand the core of the meaning of the term “sisterly relationship”. And I feel sorry for her. She must be a very lonely person.

So let me tell you a story from way back when.

I had a friend. To use the term loosely. Her name was Angie. When I was in Junior High, I lived out of the school district. None of my school friends lived near me. So the friends that I hung out with at home were separate from my school friends. Angie was a home friend. She was a year younger than me. I used to attribute our differences to the fact that she was younger and less mature than I. Quite a philosophy for an eleven year old, but none the less, if you knew me when I was younger, it would make total sense. My Granny and Granddaddy used to call me the 40-year-old midget. Because I acted 40 when I was four.

Anyway….

Angie used to pout when she did not get her way. She used to lay guilt trips on me. She used to manipulate me into doing things that I did not want to do. Most of the time I would eventually give in because I wanted the company. Whenever I did not give in, we would have a fight and she would eventually come around apologizing to me and kissing my ass for a few days to get her feet back in the door.

My parents did not like her. I found out after I was older. I laugh now. No wonder they did not like her. She was a total little spoiled selfish bitch. And we spent a lot of time together. A LOT. Camping trips. Sleep overs. Bike rides. I even have her picture in my scrapbook my mother made for me when we trick-or-treated together one year. I was a playboy bunny (remember 40 years old) and she was my date, Peewee Herman. When she slicked her hair back, she had an uncanny resemblance to Peewee. Ask me sometime, I’ll show you the pic.

Anyway….

We had one of our usual fights and then she said she was sorry and was really nice for a couple of days, as usual. Then we had another fight. I don’t remember if Mom and I really discussed it or if she was just there for me, but I remember hanging out in the kitchen with my Mom and suddenly feeling like I didn’t need Angie anymore. Why was I tolerating her crap???!!! I had other friends, better friends, friends that treated me better, friends that made me feel better.

A couple of days went by…

And Angie came back around….

Saying she was sorry. As usual.

Again I accepted. But it was very short lived. She was in our kitchen on a Saturday when my Mother was at work. Heather was there and whatever Angie said made me suddenly realize that she was not going to change. I had to change. I stopped and looked at her very suddenly and said,”Get out of my house.”

She did not take me seriously…..at first. I ended up physically removing her from our house out the back sliding glass door. I guess you could call it my first physical fight with someone other than my sister or boxing with my Dad (too bad Angie didn’t know I practiced). Oh it really wasn’t that bad. I think.

Heather was freaking out. Though she just stood there with her eyes wide and mouth open as I drug Angie out the door and then out the back gate and screamed that if she came onto our patio (we didn’t have a yard) I would kick her ass completely. I told her I was sick of her shit, sick of her trying to make me feel guilty and I was done. Move on.

I went back into the house and locked our door. My adrenaline was pumping overtime. My sister was still standing in the same spot with the same look on her face. I don’t remember if I hugged her, probably not at that point in our lives, but I should have. She was scared to death. I was after the fact. During, it was all instinct.

Mom got home that Saturday and asked what we did for the day. I replied nonchalantly that I threw Angie out of the house and told her to piss off. Mom paused for a moment and replied, “Good for you.”

And that was the end of it.

Angie continued to call and knock on the door for about a month. But I was done. Washed my hands.

We all laugh now when we talk about it. Heather says, “I thought you were going to kill her.” I so wish that I had that learned knowledge and strength to deal with all the future negative relationships in my life. But instead I let others drag on way too long. Thank goodness my sisters were there to support me through them all. Bosses, Ex-husbands, Co-Workers, and Others.

Friends should make you feel good. Sisters should make you feel good. If they don’t- They are not your friends and they are not your sisters.

I am thankful that I am blessed with many sisters. And Angie is not one of them. Sorry Angie. I would like to think that you learned a valuable lesson from me and went on to treat the future people in your life better.

Live and Learn.

Or as my husband would say.

Live. Laugh. Learn.

Problem Solved, Kinda

The corner of my mouth has been cracked open for about three weeks now. I put all kinds of stuff on it and just about the time I get it healed up; it splits open again. I was stumped as to what was causing this. Stress? Weather change? Drooling in my sleep?

Until………. just the other day when Jay and I were having lunch, it hit me!

I was putting bite in my mouth and when it hit my lips the light bulb went on. I said, “Oh! I know why my mouth is cracked open!”

I have not had this problem for about 6 years. I suddenly remembered that I used to have this problem every summer. (Is Claudia laughing yet? Because she knows what I’m talking about.)

The reason I have not had this problem is because I lived in Arizona for 6 years and I did not grow tomatoes while I lived in Arizona. I grew tomatoes while I lived in Missouri.

You see there is no point in eating tomatoes with every meal if they came from the store. Tasteless. But fresh tomatoes, that is a horse of a different color.

Claudia and I used to both eat so many that I would have cracked open lips and she would have canker sores in her mouth. Would we stop eating them? NO. Will I stop eating them this year? NO. Will I grow and eat yellow tomatoes because they have less acid? NO. (For those of you who were thinking of suggesting it.) They taste like crap to me. I like the acid. That is what makes it a tomato as far as I’m concerned. And that is why the heirlooms are my fav. They have an even higher acid content which makes them even more delicious!

What was I eating for lunch the day I remembered why my mouth was cracked open? Sliced tomatoes.

What did I have for lunch today? Sliced tomatoes.

What did I have with dinner tonight? Sliced tomatoes.

 

Self Realization

I came to the great realization this morning that I am the crazy Mom.

You know, when you’re in school there was always one kid that had the crazy Mom.

It’s me.

My kids have the crazy Mom.

Quote of the Day (Faith)

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

~Robert Jastrow (NASA)

Big Granny

Coolie-cups remind me of my great grandmother. She always had a coolie-cup on her can of Hams, sitting in her lawn chair in the shade smoking her cigarette, wearing her ball cap that always looked on the slightly too big side.  I think that is because she didn’t like things tight on her head.

She also liked cold sheets (guess that is where I get it from). If you shared the bed with her, she always warned you to stay on your own side and don’t be warming up her side before she got in. (I constantly move my feet across the bottom of the bed looking for a new cool spot once the one I’m in gets warm.)

The feel of a coolie-cup reminds me of family BBQ’s in her back yard under the apple tree. Warm sun, cool grass under your toes and a nice breeze every once in a while. The sound of the back screen door slamming as people move from the house to the yard and vise versa and of my Uncle Jim laughing (he always laughs – even in the worst of times, he finds a reason to smile and laugh).

If there was a blue jay around making a nuisance of himself, she would cuss it and it probably would not be around for very long.

I can still hear her holler, “You kids are gonna get belly aches from eating those green apples!” We never did. At least I didn’t. I never pooped like a tied goose from it either for that matter.

She would sip her beer and we would share a raw onion. She would lean in closer to me and say real low, “I knew I liked you for some reason.” Referring to me loving the onion and none of the other kids would touch it. Then she would wink at me and lightly swat my butt, which was my signal to go play. Sometimes she would let me have a little sip of her beer before she sent me scampering away.

She was the most grounded beautiful soul I have ever seen yet in my time so far and I had the pleasure of sharing this earth with her for seventeen years.

Thank you coolie-cups.

Growing up

Letting somene else think that they made a decision and had control just for the sake of argument and to save their feelings even though you don’t really like them as a person when really their opinion carried no weight in the situation what so ever; it just happened to coinside with what you had already decided.

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