Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I'm Feeling Blue. Why I Think You Should Be Too.


This week, I had the honor of taking two of our children to observe the funeral procession of fallen Phoenix Police officer David Glasser. He was gunned down by a 19-year-old during a burglary call.
This married father of two, a 12 year veteran, lost his life over a BURGLARY.



His wife is going to an empty bed every night, over a burglary.
His children are wondering when Daddy will come kiss them goodnight, and losing hope that he will, over a burglary.


It disgusts me.

It was 90 degrees that day, and the last day of school for my kids. After a quick lunch, we decided to go home and get our flag that we've been proudly flying, in honor of law enforcement and in memory of Officer Glasser. We drove the 10 minutes to the site where the officer's procession would drive past. Positioned on the corner on ramp to the freeway with about 25 other people waving American flags, we somberly held our flag and placed our hands on our hearts.

And mine broke.

We stood in the heat for over an hour as my shocked children watched police vehicles roll by, seemingly endlessly. First, the motorcycle procession, guiding the way for Officer Glasser. This, followed by the hearse containing the flag-draped coffin, flanked by four more motorcycle officers. Then, limos carrying family and the procession of Phoenix Police vehicles. It was an incredible and moving display of honor for a fallen brother, and it rocked me.  My son's eyes welled with tears. My daughter stood unmoving, hand on heart. I was unable to retain the tears that stung for a man I'd never meet.



And I felt ANGRY.

I can say it is only by grace that my own Dad is still here today, after a law enforcement career that spanned over 40 years. FORTY. YEARS. Forty years of getting dressed in the morning, never knowing if he'd make it home that day. Granted, later in his career he was elected sheriff and we felt safer having him more pinned to his office, but still, when bad things happened, he was at the scene himself to support his officers (which we hated, but he did it anyway).

There were stories of close calls over the years.  My Dad can describe the way a bullet sounds when it whizzes so close to your head you can feel the wind it broke through. He can tell you what it's like to go to a scene with an FBI agent, in the agent's vehicle, and have a man possibly connected to the Oklahoma City bombing run out of his porch with a shotgun pointed at you.  He and the agent crouched down behind open vehicle doors, my Dad desperately trying to radio for back up on a radio he wasn't familiar with. I can't imagine the fear involved.

He can tell you what it was like the day he called my Mom and said "Bring me jeans, tennis shoes and my other gun but don't ask me any questions."

My Mom knows what it's like to do just that, and have her husband kiss her goodbye and say "tell the kids I love them".  She also knows what it's like to shoulder that fear alone, not wanting to alarm her teenage kids.

Dad knows what it's like to respond to the scene where a child was decapitated, an image he's never been able to shake. He's seen so much death, violence and the worst parts of humanity, yet remains strong and together for his family. And always did.

I remember my Mom curled on the corner of the couch some nights, when I was little, listening intently to the loud, static filled sounds of the police scanner, making sure everything was going ok that night. She never let on how scared she was.  Now I, as a wife and mother, wonder how the families do it.

My Dad has been on the other side of things as well, having to speak at the funerals of fallen officers, occasionally his own.

Why do they do it?

Admittedly, some of us out there are just plain adrenaline junkies. I inherited that, being an ER nurse by trade and thriving on the chaotic and life-or-death situations. But they seem to be born with an urge to protect. To restore the good. To keep people with no intent to live a life of decency,  or with any semblance of a moral code, out of the homes and bodies of people who do.

It's valiant. Plain and simple.

I am not here to debate. I am not here to receive an earful on the occasional officers who act outside of the lines, because let's remember, those exist in every profession. I've worked with nurses who were caught injecting themselves with narcotics while WORKING, and nursing is supposed to be the most trusted profession!  So I will leave no room for the ugliness that is pervasive toward our officers in this society. If that's you, go somewhere else.

I will, however, call us all to action.

My Dad has told me that back in the 70's, (and I'm sure prior to that), officers rarely paid for their own meals. Restaurants were grateful to have their presence, knowing it created a culture of safety in that place, if even for a moment.

Think of it, when you walk into a restaurant for lunch and there are a couple of uniformed officers in there having lunch, you have a settledness in your gut that no way murder is going down in here right now. 

And so for several years, any time I come upon officers in a restaurant, I attempt to pay for their lunch. If they're already eating, I will purchase a gift card when I pay and drop it off at their table. I take every opportunity to tell them thank you.

And even when I received a well-deserved ticket recently (they really need to re-do the entrance setup to that Circle K) I chatted with the officer and always leave with a "please get home safe".

So I invite you, my lovely like-minded people, to join me in doing the same. I have started The Feeling Blue Project, a gathering spot on Facebook where we can share ideas for thanking our law enforcement officers, or share what we've done for them.  It's a very specific version of pay-it-forward.

If you're feeling helpless in watching these officer funerals or the media coverage that paints them as as anything other than brave victims, then join the movement!


Ideas:

1. Pay for an officer's lunch when you spot them in your usual joint. 

2. Buy several gift cards in small amounts (ie: $5) from Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks, etc, and 
hand them out randomly when you see officers. Don't be afraid to approach them, remember     they are there to help, and are so appreciative of any support!

3. Make "shift bags" for them! This is great for kids to participate in. Get a sealable plastic bag
and put in items such as granola bars, instant coffee packets, hand sanitizer, (think of the           gross places they have to go), mini bottles of water, chap stick, bottles of Five Hour Energy. 


 


4. If there is a particular officer that was helpful to you, get their name and be sure and send an email or letter to their Sheriff or Chief, thanking them for what they've done. 

5. Pray for them. For their protection, their wisdom, their strength to do that job. And pray 
for their families. 

6. Just tell them THANK YOU when you see them.  It goes a long way. 

7. Join us here: The Feeling Blue Project ! Share with us your ideas or ways you've paid it forward to your officers!

Because their brave lives will ALWAYS matter. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cup Size Matters!


We all have our little obsessions. Did you know.... you can walk into someone's house and get a pretty good idea for who they are, what they like and maybe even what their hygiene habits are like, in about four seconds? For example, walking into a house that clearly has several indoor animals (judging by the pet hair wafting through the air and the dog peeing in the corner) and you are already picturing the piled up dirty laundry and someone who may not have washed their hair for a few days and may be just slightly off their rocker. Or poised to chop you up with a hachet. Whatever. CALM DOWN DOG PEOPLE AND CAT LADIES IT'S JUST AN EXAMPLE. (I have a sanitary little fish, though. Just saying.)

What I'm SAYING is, you can stroll into my house (if I decide not to have everyone hit the deck and pretend not to be home even though GRAVITY-FRIGGING-FALLS is blasting at 96% volume in the front living room by the door when the stupid doorbell rings) and go "Wow. Someone here likes coffee and/or a lot of hot beverages and also likes to do stuff".

Because, cups.
Coffee cups.
I am obsessed with them. YES, I love coffee, or, on days I'm trying to get knocked up again, I like--much less--green tea.(Yes, coffee can affect fertility. I know, right? Totally blows). And the cups have to have meaning and they have to be a certain size or shape or I want nothing to do with them.

You can get a pretty good picture of who exactly I am, solely based on my coffee cups. Don't believe me? Watch this, homies:

1. I like big cups and I cannot lie. (I also have an LA face with an Oakland booty ala poor little attacked Blake Lively, but that's for another day. Shout out to Sir Mix-A-Lot for standing up for her. And I probably just lost half my white audience, they're reading this in utter confusion. But I digress).





2. I am a Mrs. to a Mr. And we LOVE Disney. We had the most amazing, Magic Kingdom/Epcot/Animal Kingdom/Hollywood Studios fun and romantic honeymoon, all planned by him. And so these came home from the Contemporary Resort (our honeymoon hotel) and remind me every day how very, very blessed I am to have my Mickey. 




3. A reminder of a joyful day! This came from the restaurant where we had brunch in Panama City Beach, Florida, with my in-loves, after my guy had proposed to me on the beach (with his Dad's help writing in the sand). We had lobster omelets and couldn't stop smiling.



4. At 38 years old, I did Tough Mudder. And FINISHED, ya'll. I had worked so hard with my brother as trainer, was told by an insignificant source that I was "too girly" to do it (my God, did they know me at ALL?!), so I belly-crawled in mud under barbed wire, swam through lung-paralyzing ice water, jumped off a platform, got electrocuted and ran over 11 miles to the finish. So yeah, this is my "I'm-A-Badass" cup. I can't wait to do it again, but this year was on hold because I was growing a little human at the time.




5. This is a reminder of what I consider to be the most beautiful state in this entire country. I love the place, the people, the lobster....everything! One of my best friends lives there, and was a bridesmaid for me last year. I lived down the street from Stephen King and managed not to stalk him (though I did drop a letter at his door, like the scary chick in Misery). Note: If you don't want the bejesus scared out of you, do NOT read a creepy Stephen King book in the very town the story takes place, while you're up late on a night shift. But anyway, Maine. I love you.



6. Ya'll. In November my awesome husband and I checked a little something off of our bucket list, and on his birthday trip to San Francisco, we walked the ENTIRE Golden Gate Bridge and back! It was surreal. Of course, shortly thereafter we went on an accidental hike of 12 miles, getting lost in the middle of the woods in a gigantic city, stumbling through a golf course, coming upon a cemetery, wandering under a heavily graffitied overpass and eventually ending up at a latin restaurant with a disturbing satan-ish theme, but the BRIDGE, yes. Yes! Pure awesome.



7.  We are OBSESSED with The Walking Dead. I mean, Fear the Walking Dead is alright, but it's like WD lite. No one compares to the Rickster, Darryl, Carol, Glenn, Maggie, Michonne etc etc etc. In fact, a few months ago we went to Atlanta, drove to Athens for some football, then to the tiny town where they film Walking Dead. We took the walking tour and it was the COOLEST THING EVER. Also, we wanted to move there. But in the Walking Dead store, I got this cup. And if you know WD, you know this is one of the creepiest lines from the entire series, and gives you the uncomfortable feels. Therefore I had to have it. That walker loving weirdo had it coming.



8. Wendy. WENDY!!! I love her. Wendy Williams is my spirit animal, whatever in the hell that means, I just see that all over the internet webs (thanks Candace Payne for that line), and so I claim Wendy.  And it's all my husband's fault! He'd have it on in the background on his work-from-home days, and occasionally say "On Wendy today..." and I'm like, "What the?" and then one day I watched. And then my Mom said she always watches her and my Dad finds it so annoying he leaves the room, so I KNEW it was the show for me. She says it like she means it. It's not a normal day for me if I don't hear "How YOU doin?" 


9. My daughter. She's 8 and ridiculously witty and smart. She is also the exact carbon copy personality of myself, which is terrifying. She goes toe-to-toe with her stepdad, and they have the CUTEST relationship built on sarcasm. I love to watch it. My husband marvels at her, how she puts up with NOTHING, no matter how much older or bigger someone is. She gets her homework done without prompting and observes EVERYTHING. And she is one to slip love notes into my work bag. I mean, how many kids do THAT? It's like being around a much-improved version of me. Super proud Mom.


10. The Mamas. I am fortunate to have my Mom. She knows the MINUTE she hears my voice, exactly what my state of being is. I could never get away with or hide ANYTHING from her as a kid, a skill I have perfected with my littles and am SO thankful for. And together, we are a force. We back down to no one (it all started at my brother's little league games) and continues today when we're around someone who we don't particularly care for because you've hurt someone in our family. YES, judgement is upon you! She also is one hell of a Nana and has taken on the chaos of my three bonus daughters like nobody's business. And they love her.
And my Mom-in-law, (really a Mom-in-love). She has adopted me as her daughter from the beginning, and my kids as her own grandbabies. I love when she visits and always wish it was longer. How many people can say that about their Mom in law? But when someone has raised a man as great as my husband, you know she's something special. The cup on the left from my Mom, who appreciates my love of shoes and Jesus. The cup on the right, don't make me explain it. Come on.


11.  Yep, I love guns and coffee. I thank my Dad for teaching me how to shoot at a young age, for teaching us respect for guns. One of the most healing things I did while going through the toughest time in my life was riding quads out into the desert to hit the range with my Dad. Especially when he said I'm probably a better shot than my brother. A little time with an AR-15 is about the best therapy there is.


12. I received this a couple of months ago, from my precious aunt, whom I love love love!  It was filled with happy little yellow roses and daisies and was so bright and joyful on the saddest day, the day we lost our sweet little new baby. This cup, a positive pregnancy test and an ultrasound report are what remains of Baby V. So I see it and I smile and think of him. He's waiting for us.



13. The Office, ya'll. It never gets old. We watch reruns almost nightly and still laugh outloud. We are Jim and Pam without the sad stuff in the middle, and I'm pretty sure I was Kelly in a previous teenage life. One of the most genius shows ever made, perfectly cast. Right up there with Seinfeld and Arrested Development.
I have always felt a kinship with Dwight, once he uttered the line in a crowded room: "There are too many people on the earth. We need a new plague."  Indeed.


14. Lastly, though it's not a COFFEE cup per say, it is still a perfect home for another favorite beverage, the football staple, a red beer. It's my beloved Chicago Bears on the front, and on the back, inscribed with my maiden name. And yeah. On a Sunday afternoon, mixing up a good beer and Clamato to yell at the tv, THAT'S a good time.



So, there, in a nutshell, is a perfect picture of my life, spelled out in coffee cups. I know it's a lot less weird than whatever nonsense you're out there not sharing with anyone, and the cups don't pee on the carpet or cause allergies. It's a win/win.

Share with me what in your house would tell people the story of YOU!

Thanks for reading,

XOXO

Cyn

Sunday, May 8, 2016

20 Times Lucille Bluth Showed Us Real Motherhood.


Oh, you sillies that have never seen Arrested Development. Or, if you have, don't understand it. This clearly means you have no adequate sense of humor, and probably don't belong on this blog or in my Circle of Trust (I'll give my brother a slight pass for not liking it. Which makes zero sense because it's so awesome. But he's my brother, so....)

I introduce to you: Lucille Bluth. Lucille is the Mom that some of us are on the inside. She says the things we would sometimes LOVE to say, even if it means we're being a horrible person. Oh well.
OR Lucille is the nightmare Mom that we NEVER EVER EVER WANT TO BE. You know her. She's the one that popped into your head just now and made you do that internal eye rolling. Yep, that one. She's the Mom that, depending on the situation, we either aspire to be, because oh I wish I could say that, or loathe, being forced to communicate with the that trollop through gritted teeth. You'll either see yourself in her words, or for sure that gal that just rubs you like the most aggressive loofah on the planet. I know I personally incorporate her facial expressions (most especially her killer screwface) as often as possible. Because let's be real. Some Moms are just.....ugh.  Either way, this isn't your flowery Mother's Day post. There's enough of the mushy crap out there already.

Whether Jekyll or Hyde, Ms. Lucille has the REAL female nature down. 

  Happy Mother's Day, Lucille Bluth style, ya'll.


1. When that gal you're not particularly fond of gives you a fake, backsided compliment.



2. When you can't watch Wendy Williams or any E! channel gossip and fashion segments without absolutely needing the reporter to be a gay man akin to Ross Mathews. Because you aren't taking fashion tips from some boring straight lady named Lisa or something. She's just not believable.



3. EVERY SINGLE MAY, JUNE, JULY, AUGUST, SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER IN PHOENIX




4. Basically every day to one of your children in particular. It's about me, child. And my tolerance.



5. The tragic conclusion to every nursing shift ever worked. Having to drink off campus.



6.  When the insecure woman can't handle another woman giving a crap about their kid, because God forbid someone cares and keeps your kid alive when you aren't around. Have several seats.



7. When your kid did something that made you absolutely batshit crazy and you momentarily                 question why you spared the egg.


8.  When one kid is being a jerkface to their siblings and you finally intervene and stick up for the victim.



9. When explaining to your best girlfriend why she is to remove the "fun stuff" from your room         immediately in the event of you and your significant other's simultaneous deaths.



10. Those who try and make a point about the whole Donald Trump GREATBIGWALL thing.



11. Listening to that chick who doesn't seem to realize what a gigantic catty B**** she is.



12. To your husband, on the day you hadn't even planned on donning pants.



13. That one Mom that makes it all about her. Yep, you know that one.



15. When you've had just about enough for today.



16. That look you give your man at 5pm on Friday of a no-kid weekend.



17.  And how you feel four hours later. 



18. When you realized years ago that getting married the first time while young and stupid was perhaps a poor choice (this one applies to men as well, possibly even more so).                 



19. That moment you end up in the same room with someone you don't fancy. (Find earlier referenced "screwface" here). I'm proud to say I've got this one DOWN. 



20. When you realize, truly, that living well is the best answer to the true Lucilles out there. 



Which Lucille are you? 

Happy Mother's Day.