Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

As many of you know, the short people and I recently packed up and moved to Washington state.  Initially, I received some guff for leaving the great nation of Portlandia, until everyone realized that (a) the move came as a result of my getting married last year and marriages are generally more successful when couples actually, you know, LIVE together, and (b) we moved into a house with a ginormous backyard that sits on 30 miles of sandy beach with pounding ocean waves and pelicans and HOLY CRAP I LIVE IN PARADISE!!!!!
Of course, while BEING here is rad as shit, GETTING here was a giant bag of crazy.  Regardless of how organized, motivated, or well-funded you are, moving blows harder than a Kardashian at an NFL after-party.

Par example. . .


Regardless of how fastidious a housekeeper you believe yourself to be, when you move your furniture, you will find stains on your carpets that are darker than Stephen King’s dream journal.   And no amount of Rug Doctor, Stanley Steemer, nor “. . .all great Neptune’s ocean will wash this clean”. *

*Macbeth;  Act 2, Scene 2.  To all those who claimed I’d never use my Liberal Studies degree, thou mayeth suck it.

My advice?  Invest in throw rugs, and pray for buyers with questionable hygiene.  Trust me, a family with five dreadlocked children named after trees and several large house pets are unlikely to “pooh-pooh” a carpet that looks like a family of Welsh coal miners have been playing Twister on it for the last four years.


Seriously.  Do not be lured by their siren’s song of “$29 Dollars a Day”.  Lies, I tell you.  LIES!!!  First of all, that’s only for moves within the city limits.  Does it say that on the van?  Does it have a beautiful picture of the city skyline reading: “Trenton – City of Lost Dreams”?  No.  IT says “New Jersey – The Garden State”; which is all well and good unless you are driving more than 10 miles across the Garden State, in which case U-Haul will pound your ass like a narc at a prison riot.  And did I mention that they also charge you for mileage?  And gas?  And, umm, I know cars are fueled by fossils and – granted -- the thought that your Dodge Rambler is tooling around on the blood of raptors IS pretty fucking epic, I still don’t know which Machiavellian conversion chart deems that U-Hauls cannot be gassed up for less than $5 a gallon.  Cut your losses, y’all.  Now is the time to either invest in a utility trailer…*

*Norm got me one last year for Valentine’s Day, and believe me, nothin’ says lovin’ like being able to haul a couch, two kayaks, and seven years worth of nostalgia for less than $10 a day.  Bam.

…or purge yourself of all worldly goods (aka. furniture) and just go all zen and minimalist on your new place.   Namaste.


Like Norm’s contact solution. . . Or my running shoes. .  . Or the short people’s underwear.  Of course, there really is no reason for the absence of the third item(s) except to acknowledge that my children are not terribly bright.


One of the glorious things about combining two homes, aside from the whole “one heart, one hand” schizz, is the do-si-do of which photographs will occupy your wall space.  Yes, he had a life before you, as you did before him.  So, how do you determine which Kodak moments will grace your coffee table and refrigerator door?  Here is a Clif’s Notes version of what may (and may not) be deemed acceptable d├ęcor. . .

1)      A photograph of you and your college friends arm-in-arm as you stand in front of your first car?   Acceptable.
2)      A photograph of you and your college friends arm-in-arm as you stand in front of the eyewitness at a police line-up?   As long as the statute of limitations has not expired, you may want to rethink this one.

1)      A snapshot of your husband lovingly cradling his newborn children?   Green light.
2)      A snapshot of your husband lovingly cradling his junk?  RED LIGHT!  So.  Much.  Red.

1)      The glorious image of his ex-wife beaming as she walks down the aisle on their wedding day?  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!
2)      The glorious image of his ex-girlfriend beaming as she grinds on a stripper pole in a naughty schoolgirl outfit?   Are you shitting me?


“Oh, this is all just ‘stuff’,” you’ll cry.  “Really!  Get rid of whatever you want; it’s just ‘stuff’.”
This is a lie.  Do not EVER underestimate the power of another person’s ‘stuff’.  When you combine homes and find you have the sum total of 14 spatulas, 6 TVs, and 4 rice cookers (don’t ask), you will be compelled to the whole TLC ‘Hoarders’ meets ‘Intervention’ on your cribs and start purging like Kobiyashi after a Fourth of July weenie roast.  Abort mission!  Abort!  Mission!  What once was ‘stuff’ suddenly has a whole new and deeper meaning when in the hands of another clueless, albeit well-meaning, individual.

I present into evidence the following. . .*

*And, no.  These are totally not rhetorical.

What seems like a “why-in-hell-would-anyone-save-this?” broken piece of plastic to you will inevitably wind up being the integral part of some high-tech, expensive, manly shaving system that your husband will grumblingly dig out of the garbage while he (not so) secretly wonders about your mental stability as represented by your inability to recognize its intrinsic value.

Of course, you too will have the singular moment of “Da fuq?” when you discover your framed high school senior portrait face-down in the trash because your husband didn’t understand why you kept a picture of John Denver all these years.*

*It was the 80’s.  Don’t judge.  In my defense, my bangs were Rocky Mountain HIGH, suckahs.

But the bottom line is: all the crap you save, toss, box up, and recycle. . .it truly is just ‘stuff’.  And stuff will not be sitting across from you at the dinner table.  Stuff will not be running through the backyard, howling with laughter.  Stuff will not hold you when you break down, or make love to you, or argue with you over who clogged the toilet or left the bathroom light on.  Stuff will come and go out of your life like a  breeze, so quit being so fucking obsessed with it and focus on the people surrounded by the ‘stuff’; because they will be the ones holding your hand when you leave this earth, not your CD rack or your high school yearbook.

This last week and a half has been Crazytown , and admittedly, I’ve been weepier than a tween at a ‘One Direction’ farewell tour.  Saying goodbye to my old life, starting my new one, walking through the empty rooms of the house I proudly bought, and making my mark on my husband’s home. . .we’ve been tap-dancing around each other nervously, trying to figure out where we all fit.  But, sitting here now, at the writing desk Norm set up for me because (and I quote), “You’re a writer, Jen.  You need to write”; listening to my children downstairs, making their breakfast and talking excitedly about the day’s plans, smiling up at my husband as he tells me “You look exceptionally beautiful today”, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is where we fit.  Not just this town, or this house, but all of us together.  We fit.  And no matter where we are, or where we go, or how many times and places we move. . .we fit.  We are a family.
Much love, people.



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Portlandia...Er, Washingtonia Mom?

First of all, let me apologize for being all angsty "Gone Girl" and going the full J.D. Salinger on y'all.

I have to say, I've kinda enjoyed the hiatus.  Not that I don't miss writing, I DO!  But it's been rather cathartic to be a lazy motherfucker for the last six months; with my biggest "deadline" being finishing my NetFlix queue of "Orange Is The New Black" before season three kicks off.  But now, it's time to reenter the land of the living from my toasty newlywed cocoon of love and lust and all the rest of that sappy Nicholas Sparks crap.*

*By the way, Norm is the raddest husband in...EVER!  He shares my sense of humor (God help us all), encourages my shenanigans, and feels that lemon meringue pie and M&M's are totally acceptable breakfast entrees.  I love him mad hard.

My next few weeks of posts are going to be a rather erratic montage of marital bliss and "WTF!?!?" as within the next 12 days my family is moving from bustling Portland, Oregon, to a coastal town in Washington with a population of less than 2,000 people (and no Starbucks.  I shit you not.)  As such, I will be transitioning from a life in academia and the non-profit sector to being a full-time homeschooling, organic gardening mom.*

*I swear this is true.  And no. . .I haven't been drinking.

Sooooo, buckle up, y'all.  We're packing up the clan and we're leaving Beverlyyyyyyy...*

*Hills, that is.

This oughta be good.  :-)


Friday, April 3, 2015


I watch you sleep.

On the cusp of your 59th year on this planet; the 21,535th time you've closed your eyes in slumber, I watch you sleep.  And that, in and of itself is noteworthy.

"You just never know what a day might bring", you are fond of saying -- sometimes in mirth, sometimes with a cynical curl of your lip -- but it is true.  Life is nothing more than a series of tiny survivals; endlessly strung together to create a span of time that defines us all.  And you have survived.  You are here.  "How do you like your blue-eyed boy, Mister Death?"  For he is unvanquished.  Still, he lives.

I watch you sleep.

Your brow puckers faintly, eyes flickering behind gossamer lids.  Do you dream?  Are you at peace?  What demons dare chase you even in slumber?  Perhaps you are a child again, wandering the forests of British Columbia, trailing behind your father's muddy work boots. Maybe you are an achingly young man, laughing in the bed of a pickup truck with your friend, Lorne.  Maybe in your dreams you fly; aloft with the pelicans, swooping over the stormy gray Pacific waters. Or do you dream of things not yet seen?  A spirit world known only to you.  I will not ask.  Your dreams are yours and yours alone and a gift between you and God.

I watch you sleep.

I see the marks upon your skin.  A faint discoloration on your nose where you rubbed it raw as a child.  The feather-light lines at the corners of your eyes from years of squinting into the sunlight from the seats of motorcycles and dandling ski lift chairs. Your slightly crooked smile from a bar fight in your youth, when you were flying high on hockey, beer, and youthful immortality.

I watch you sleep.

I watch you sleep and as you stir, your arms reaches for me clumsily, and I feel the warmth of your skin against my belly.  You curl into my body and my shoulder presses gently against your strongly beating heart.  I feel the blood coursing through you; Irish from your father, German from your mother.  Generations of Teutonic and Celtic warriors that battle through your veins and cry out "He lives! Despite your best attempts, oh life of toil and terror -- still, he lives!"

I watch you sleep, and as I nestle against you, my hair trails against your shoulder, and I rest my hand upon your chest.  Watching as it slowly rises and falls with your breathing, I imagine the hands that have lain here before mine.  A grandmother, checking for fever.  A mother, bandaging a wound.  Your children, faces milk-drunk and drowsy, as they sleepily nuzzle upon you after a late-night bottle.  And the women before me:  each one resting against your shoulder, hands on your chest, and each of you holding onto each other with something that felt like hope...something that made you both believe that, if only for a moment, there was love.  I welcome them all.  Your family, your lovers, your friends...I open my heart to them and thank them, one and all, for every kiss, every caress, every scar, and every strike, because they made you.  They molded you with every touch and every tear, like a creek slowly chipping away at a canyon wall to make the man who lies beside me and takes my breath away.

I watch you sleep, and I see your children in your face.  I see your determination and intelligence in the set of your daughter's jaw and the intensity of her gaze.  I see your tender heart and ebullient joy in your son's dreamy hazel eyes and warm smile.  I see your legacy in their faces and I glory in the gift of being given admittance into their lives through you. Through them, your life continues indefinitely.  Through them, you shall never die.

I watch you sleep.

I watch you sleep, listening to the soft purring noise you make that brings a smile to my face.  I watch you sleep, nudging you gently when that soft purr slowly becomes a louder, snoring growl which is...not quite as smile-inducing.  But even that mild annoyance is a gift; a treasure.  It is a way I know you are here, even in sleep.

I watch you sleep.

I watch you sleep and know that soon you will wake.  I will wish you a "Happy Birthday", you will smirk and drawl "thank you, Darlin'", and we will wander to the kitchen for our morning coffee.  Then, I hand you over to the rest of the world, for you are not a are not mine to keep.  In a few hours, the world will reach for you with its ringing phones, chirping texts, Facebook messages, deadlines, budget reports, and needy, clinging talons and you will be gone.  But for now, you belong to no one but the night. And she is not a jealous lover...the night shares you with me and I gaze upon your face with wonderous awe.

I watch you sleep.

I watch you sleep and I know peace.

I watch you sleep and I know love.

I watch you sleep, and I drift away as well; your breath on my neck, your arm on my waist, and my heart in your hand.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy, Joyous, and Free

Happy New Year, one and all.  As it the morning after a holiday replete with more alcohol than The Sigma Chi house during Hell Week, I thought I’d take a minute to rant a bit on something that’s been bouncing around in my brain like a toddler on Red Bull.

Many of you know that I am an alcoholic.  And, in case you didn’t: “Hi, my name is Jen…”  As an alcoholic, I have learned that the only way to not wind up insane, incarcerated, or dead is to schlep my punk ass to an A.A. meeting at least once a day, read my Big Book, and have some serious tete-a-tetes with the Big Man Upstairs.  And, really. . .how cool is that?  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was eight years old and wrote an essay stating: “When I grow up I want to be a weepy drunk who plows her car into a tree and winds up in a jail cell with a 300 pound woman who smells like flop sweat and PBR but as far as diseases go, at least I got slapped with one that comes with jalepeno poppers and umbrella drinks.  Sorry. . .gallows humor.  In all seriousness, though, how cool is it to have a disease in common with doctors, lawyers, Academy Award winning actors, brilliant artists, and some of the raddest mofos in the Portland metro area.  And the treatment for this disease?  It’s totally FREE!  I get to hang out with these crazy bastards, eat candy, and talk about myself.  I’m telling you, A.A. is the bomb.  For realz.  But while I loves me some A.A. like a fat kid loves cake, I am increasingly made aware of the appalling lack of understanding surrounding addiction and recovery in this country today.

While I think The United States of America is the coolest kid on the block, and I cry like a little bitch whenever I hear The Star Spangled Banner, it pisses me right off every time I hear debates and political filibustering about spending tax dollars to place restrictions on the sale of drugs and alcohol.  This may seem counterintuitive to what I’ve just said, but bear with me. . .  History has shown that banning illegal substances/activities does nothing to curtail their production and consumption.  While prostitution is still technically illegal in Oregon, you can get a knob-shine from the gal of your choice on East Burnside.  And do you know when Alcoholics Anonymous was founded?  Two years after Prohibition was repealed; which should indicate to you the efficacy of attempting to banbathtub gin.  If I felt like really letting my Republican flag fly I could draw a parallel to the increasing fervor regarding the restriction of firearms in this country, but I digress.

The point is that the United States government could declare a militant fatwa on mind-altering substances and Americans will revert to licking toads and huffing Scotch Guard to get high.  It’s human nature to want to feel less. . .human.

Maybe, instead of spending billions of dollars on federal prohibition statutes, and propping up Nancy Reagan’s St. Johns knit-clad corpse to remind us to “Just Say No”, we could spend some of those government dollars to subsidize treatment facilities for those recovering from addiction. . .or open some sober living facilities across this country that will help men and women in recovery learn to acclimate to life in the “real” world, rather than kicking them out of a detox facility after 28 days and leaving them blinking in the sunlight as fucked up and confused as a groupie when Lollapalooza leaves town.

Addicts and alcoholics need treatment.  They need recovery.  They need a chance to feel like human beings rather than second-class citizens, because despite the stigma surrounding addiction, it is, in fact, a neurological condition.  You wouldn’t fire someone for having epilepsy, would you?*

*Well. . .you might.  If you were an asshole.  But, I like to think that most people aren’t.  Life is just more pleasant that way.

You wouldn’t ostracize someone with clinical depression.  And I’m betting you wouldn’t lock someone in jail for having post traumatic stress disorder.  And yet, according to statistics, of the 2.3 million prisoners in our nations prison system, 1.5 million meet the criteria for drug and alcohol dependency. 

One-point-five-freaking-million.  Take a minute to ponder that shit.

Have you pondered.  Good.  OK, moving on then. . .

Perhaps. . .just perhaps. . .our tax dollars would be better spent providing rehabilitation services rather than paying to have someone sit on a concrete bench in an orange jumpsuit watching Adam Sandler movies.  Here’s a thought:  Why do we find it necessary to punish someone who has already done a blue-ribbon job of punishing themselves?  None of us entered A.A. or rehab on a winning streak, folks.  We don’t drink and use because we have a drug and/or alcohol problem; we drink and use because we have a LIFE problem.  So, why not focus more on venturing down the rabbit hole and figuring out WHY we ended up at T.J. McChucklenuts every night sucking on mai tais, rather than slapping our hands like recalcitrant children?

What sort of pious, self-righteous, society have we become when we spend our time wringing our hands in righteous indignation over these despicable addicts and alcoholics while we pop another Xanax and surf some internet porn.  Addiction is addiction, y’all.  Legal or not, we all have our shit.  So why don’t we all start owning our own, rather than throwing other people’s in their faces like a spastic orangutan.

I say, free the courts and jails of sick men and broken women who feel the need to use chemicals just to feel human.  Rather than banning alcohol, let’s tax the ever-loving shit out of it and use that money to provide cognitive therapy, and rehabilitation for people devastated by its use.  But, most importantly, let’s stop deluding ourselves into believing that treating someone like shit who already doesn’t believe they deserve to live isn’t doing anybody any fat, freaking favors.

Ten percent of the population of the United States of America is an alcoholic and/or drug addict.  Ten percent.  She’s making your latte at Starbucks.  He’s passing you the offering plate at church.  She’s teaching your sons and daughters to read.  He’s falling asleep next to you at night.  She’s sitting at her computer, reaching out to you and begging that if you make but one New Year’s Resolution this year, that it be this one:  Show compassion.

Happy New Year to you all.  I wish you peace, love, and joy in 2015.



Saturday, December 27, 2014

Broken Open

I'm not who you really think I am.

I mean, I'm not a 78 year old dude with a laptop, sitting in his basement blogging while surrounded by fishtanks filled with human flesh or anything all "ID TV" like that, but I'm not the person I purport to be online.*

*Except for using 50 cent words like 'purport'.  I totally do that shit in real life.

Jen e Sais Quoi is the part of me that lives inside.  She is the outspoken, politically incorrect, balls-to-the-wall warrior princess who says what she means and means what she says.  But in reality?  The truth?  I cower.  I cringe.  I apologize for breathing and have made it my life's work to anesthetize my emotions with alcohol and whittle my body into nothingness through eating disorders in a frenzied attempt to take up less space in the world.

In reality. . .I rarely speak up for myself.

In reality. . .I am obsessive compulsive and require absolute order and control.

In reality. . .I isolate myself because I know; I just KNOW that everyone will abandon me anyway.

In reality. . .my anger, my sadness, and my pain horrifies me so I push it down; way, way down into the deepest part of me because  if anyone knew the real me they'd hate me.

In reality. . .I'm afraid.  Afraid to love.  Afraid to trust.  Afraid of everything.

Two weeks ago, the years of pain, the years of confusion and self-doubt, the years of never believing that I was good enough, smart enough, funny enough, thin enough, perfect enough, that I was ever fucking ENOUGH came to a head and something inside of me just snapped.

I broke.  And, unfortunately, when you drop a glass and it shatters, it doesn't just destroy the glass; it embeds shards into the flesh of everyone around it.  So, my healing doesn't just effect me; my whole family is in the process of healing; and what that will resemble when all is said and done, I don't know.

Pain is funny.  It seeps slowly into your soul over the years, filling up the empty spaces like sand slowly slithering into a jar of pebbles.  And eventually you realize that trying to shake the sand out of the jar will only disrupt the pebbles and chip the container and that all you can do; all you can REALLY do is just smash the jar to pieces and let the sand flow out where it will.

Last week was a true watershed moment in my life.  I felt I'd disappointed everyone, destroyed my marriage, and ruined relationships with my family.  And maybe I have.  I can't predict the future.  All I know is now.  All I have is now.  Right now, I am happy and content.  Right now, I'm texting with my husband who fully supports me in my recovery and still wishes to be a part of my life.  Right now my children and my family are safe and well.  Right now, I am healing.

A woman told me last night "Lovey, God didn't break you down.  He broke you open so all of His goodness and mercy could flood into your heart".  And that's what it is: a breaking OPEN.

I'll be keeping you updated over the weeks as I continue on this journey, but my posts will likely be about as lengthy and articulate as this one for two reasons:

(1) I'm working on a book right now.  About what got me here, the journey toward healing, my road back home, and

(2)  Honestly?  It's hard to write about your life when you feel like you've just been reborn.

In the interim, I ask for your forgiveness if I somehow led you astray with my bravado.  Jen e Sais Quoi is there. . .she's inside of me. . .and I'm slowly learning how to give her a voice through me.  What I've learned this week is that we all have a Jen e Sais Quoi inside of us; a warrior princess screaming to be heard.  Let yours shout her glory from the rooftops.  We are so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

We are all more than mere mortals.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Experience life.  Make your inner voice be heard.  Face the pain and the fear that limits and stifles you and drive it from your heart because you are a glorious and miraculous being who is deserving of greatness.

Be kind to yourselves.  You're worth it.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ho-Ho-Holy Shit. . .

I'm here.

Kind of.

No, I am. . .I'm here.

For a long time I was blogging thrice a week,*

*Yes, I realize that using the word 'thrice' makes me sound like a giant bag of douche,  but I intend to get as much mileage out of my Liberal Arts degree as possible.  After all, it took me five and a half years of my life to get it. . .don't judge.

Then, not so thrice-y.  Then I was blogging with as much frequency as an AM radio in Ketchikan, Alaska. Which is to say: not so much.

A lot has been going on.  And by "a lot", I mean "shit got real".

I am still married; Norm is rad as hell and without a doubt the best friend I've ever had in my whole life.  The (not so) short people are growing and thriving.  Life is was is perfect.

And then, it wasn't.

It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment when things fell apart; and even harder to figure out why.  Suffice to say, after twenty years of racing frantically on a mental and emotional treadmill and repressing some pretty epic LifeTime-Movie-Of-The-Week-PTSD-Inducing angst I just. . .snapped.

And now. . .I'm here.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be revealing more of the story; as I slowly begin to heal and as I gain some clarity.  Because, seriously?  Right now things in my head are still a steaming bouillabaisse of crazy.  

So. . .I guess. . .I guess I'm just swinging by to say "hi".  To let you know that I've missed you. . .*

*I know we haven't met, but I still miss you.  Is that weird?  That sounded weird, didn't it?  Did this just get creepy?

. . .to let you know that (in the immortal words of the great poet, Richard Pryor), "I ain't dead yet".  And to say, Merry Christmas.  

Be well.  Love each other.  And please, don't take yourselves too damned seriously.

Life is to short, and you're too pretty for that.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Facing The Darkness

An oldie, but still relevant. . .

I've always had a fairly strong sense of denial about my mortality.  Growing up I was a ridiculously healthy kid and despite myriad self-destructive and addictive tendencies, I made it through the first 39 years of my life relatively unscathed.  But then my 40's tore through me like El Nino, eroding everything in its path.  Suddenly I found myself trapped in a body filled with willfully disobedient organs and noticed that my knees, once capable of completing marathons, started clicking like a Ubangi tribesman after only twenty minutes on the treadmill.  Almost overnight the food became too spicy, the music too loud, and I found myself craving dinner at 4:00pm and watching Hoda and Kathie Lee.*

*Nah, I'm just messing with you on that last one. . .but not about dinner. . .dagnabbit.

The fact that I'm a mother combined with some pretty big health scares over the last few years have made me feel like I'm on some cosmic "60 Minutes" set, listening to the clock "tick-tick-ticking" away the minutes of my life. I've even started reading the obituaries religiously.  Not as a somber reminder of my mortality but more of a "Better you than me" kind of schadenfreude. In an attempt to dodge the Big D I've tried to be fairly proactive about my health.  I don't smoke and I don't drink; but when it comes to exercise I am a lazy bastard and on any given day I will be filled with so much candy that Mexican kids will be whacking me with sticks.  I would give anything for a magic pill or elixir or surgical technique to extend my life as I am of the belief that any problem can be fixed by throwing a shit-ton of money at it.  Sadly, all the money in the world can't buy you youth and immortality*

*Just ask Kris Jenner.

I know death is an inevitability and part of the grand Lion King circle of life and as such I should embrace it as just another mystical journey but I just can't jump on that hippy-dippy bandwagon.  Even talking about death makes me more jittery than Ty Pennington on Red Bull. Death terrifies me, and it should fucking terrify you, too.  Why?  Because it.  Will.  Kill.  You.  

But in the long run, burying your head in the sand and ignoring your imminent demise makes about as much sense as Ozzy Osbourne on NyQuil.  Eventually you have to face reality.  Eventually, you have to face the Darkness.

I am under no false illusions that I am a responsible adult, but in the interest of protecting my children, I am forced to impersonate one from time to time.  So, I cowboyed up and made an appointment with my Farmer's agent to discuss  ((gulp!))  life insurance.

Now, let me preface by saying that my agent, Kellie Jo, is rad as shit.  She is a competitive racquetball player, has a wicked sense of humor, and her office is always stocked with a plethora of fine chocolates.  All things being relative, visiting Kellie Jo should be a pleasant experience, but somehow whenever I meet with her I walk in with a smile on my face and a spring in my step and storm out of there more pissed off than Kanye West at a Taylor Swift concert.  It isn't Kellie Jo's fault.  It's the way the word "death" is casually tossed around like a drunken whore at a biker bar and the how numbers on her little calculator drive home the sobering fact that I am worth more dead than alive.

I'd already met with an attorney after my divorce to rewrite my will and estate planning so Gil didn't decide to go all O.J. on my ass and take my stuff, but I'd kind of been putting off the whole life insurance thing because I'm a little skeeved out by the fact that not only do I have an expiration date like a carton of Yoplait Lite, I have a price tag too.   Life insurance is like an abusive boyfriend gently stroking your hair and telling you everything will be okay while he throws you up against a wall, takes your money, and leaves you with a sense of impending doom.  And if you have a medical history like mine, the son of a bitch will take a lot of your money.  A lot.*

*I'm not saying that you should lie to your insurance agent about your medical history, but if you've had any past issues with eating disorders or substance abuse then, well...OK, fuck it.  Lie like a hooker being paid by the moan.

Walking out of Kellie Jo's office, my wallet was considerably lighter, but my sense of security felt stronger and more solidified.  But still there was that overwhelming sense of "holy shit I'm going to die".  No matter what I do, or how I try, or what miracles of modern science or cosmetics arise in the not-so-distant future, someday I will simply cease to exist.  And then what?  An afterlife?  Darkness?  Nothingness?  And what will I leave behind for the world to remember other than some unpaid parking tickets and a fabulously well-dressed corpse.*

*Because there is NO damned way I'm going to meet Joe Black without a killer pair of shoes.

Over the years my views on death have been altered more times than Oprah Winfrey's wardrobe, but now I've reached an odd and begrudging sort of...acceptance. Death is just the grand finale; the ribbon on the gift of life that ties the whole thing together like Jerry Springer's "Final Thought".  And life is indeed a precious gift, but like all gifts there comes a time when it gets worn out and you need to drop it off at the celestial Goodwill to make room in the closet of humanity.

But in the meantime I'm going to have so much plastic surgery that you could bounce a quarter off my forehead.  I may be maturing, but I'm still me.