What I Brought Back From Kentucky

When traveling, I like to bring back a little something that will remind me of the place or the experience. The last time I visited Kentucky, my dad took my family to Fort Boonesborough. I’m not a history buff like my husband and daughter are. I went for the time with my daddy. That trip a handmade piece a pottery to fill with my daily java traveled in my luggage back to Colorado. When I use that cup, I always think of that day. We ate Barbeque at a picnic table, walked in the footsteps of those who were here long ago and spotted a gorgeous yellow flower on a popular tree. Later my son sketched the petals for my dad. My dad has the original and I have the print. I love that piece of art and so does my dad.

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This trip to Kentucky, I went alone. My dad turned seventy -four in July. My dad and I have had our ups and downs over the years, some of it I’ve caused and other times I haven’t. In the end it doesn’t matter. This year my dad bought me a bamboo hat rack, he gave me a teapot that he had excess of, and I found some gifts along the way for my husband, my son, and my son-in-law. This week my table arrived. The solid wood piece is tall and long and I’ll be able to fit bar stools underneath it. It now sits in my kitchen where people will gather around it. I’m really excited about the table. But things are only things. You can’t take them with you when you go.

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The most precious item I brought back isn’t tangible, but it is the most important, memories. I brought back many that are filled with love. The time that I spent with my daddy was priceless. I spent eight full days with him, ten if you include the travel days. I had his undivided attention most of the time and shared him with his kind, loving and caring significant other Debbie.

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Okay the real truth; I did have to share him with Cleo, his mastiff, who I’ve nicknamed Sister, and the four cats, Bones, Tom, Fletcher, and Francis. Francis is sick and she will not get better. She is my favorite because she needed more love, which allowed me to love more. Don’t tell Cleo. (And now everyone knows why I have four dogs.)

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I’m very blessed. Except for my father, my side of the Duff clan lives in Colorado and we are close. My mom is a few miles away and even though I don’t see her everyday, I could. I know she is there if I need anything and I’m glad she has all of her children in the same state so that we can take care of her when she needs it. My dad does come to Colorado four times a year. It’s great when he is here. But he has seven kids and nine grandkids that he needs to see so getting time with him alone is hard. It would be selfish to hoard his time.

On my much needed vacation to Kentucky, every morning that I shuffled to the kitchen for my tea, my daddy was there. When you are young, you take that for granted. We didn’t do a ton, which was exactly what I needed and wanted. I was able to edit my manuscript, read a book, watch too many episodes of Once Upon a Time, eat thick Chris Duff (my dad) milkshakes every night, run errands, really look at sunsets, spend hours at antique stores without rushing because my dad loves them more than I do, go to doctor’s appointments, cook, and eat. I not only was taught how to make beef stroganoff, my daddy made it for me and I had it for breakfast the day I left to come home. I need to make that for dinner this week.
And every night he told me he loved me. I didn’t literally get tucked into bed as that would be seriously weird, but each night I got my hug and kiss.

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When he dropped me off at the Cincinnati airport, I got the hug of a lifetime and I clung on tight. I don’t believe this will be the last time I see my dad, but it may very well be the sweetest memory of time I will ever have with him. It was precious because I will always know how much daddy loves me.
As for the table, it will be my everyday reminder of the time I spent with my daddy, not that I need it. The memories are tightly held in my heart. And I’m thinking we probably get to take those when we go.

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Who Am I Really?

Recently I read a wonderful post by Jessie Lourey titled, The Real Me – Strap In.

http://jessicalourey.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-real-me-strap-in.html?spref=fb

I will tell you now that our views on some things conflict, but on many they do not. I’m not writing to say she is wrong or that I am right. I’m blogging today because I love that we both can believe what we want. I’m writing because even though we are different, when I am scrolling on my Facebook page if she posts I stop to read it. She makes me ponder, she makes me laugh and she inspires me to write. I believe we should all be nice to each other no matter what. Okay if you hurt my babies, I’m not going to be nice to you.I’m not sure if it matters what Jessie and I agree or disagree on but since she is willing to put it all out there I thought I would too.

1. I too am raunchy. Obviously my mom didn’t wash my mouth out with soap enough. I remember my dad getting pissed off when I said the word damn once. This week, I’m sure I used the word fuck several times while he was visiting. His father would be mortified, for my grandfather told me that the word was stupid and most people didn’t know what it meant. For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. I remember this because I love Van Halen. The term came also from something about a king, but Fuck, I can’t remember what it is. Sorry grandpa.

2. I too am inappropriate. I need learn to keep my mouth shut but I don’t and I probably never will. When I was growing up, I wanted nothing more than to be loved. I gave up too much of myself only to feel ashamed and used. I also did way too many drugs at a very young age. So I made sure my kids new that I used drugs in middle school (we called it junior high) and that I gave up my virginity too young in hopes that they would not follow the same path. At the dinner table they received a healthy portion of TMI from their mother. I have great kids and I’m not sorry I told them too much. They however may disagree.

3. I’m a conservative. And a practicing Catholic. I converted at 21 so the feelings of being ashamed did not come from Catholic guilt. I don’t understand Catholic guilt, maybe my kids do because they were raised Catholic. I love my God and my faith. And I love our newest leader, Pope Francis. He seems to be kind man. Since he has taken the role of Peter in my church, I’ve been forced to reflect on who I am. I believe what the bible teaches, but I have no room to judge because I sin. I sin daily. I’m not always nice, I gossip when I shouldn’t and I don’t always forgive the way I want to be forgiven. I’ve been married twice, had two kids out of wedlock from two different men who neither was my husband. I have enough junk in my trunk so I will not be throwing any stones in this lifetime. I have friends from all walks of life and I don’t believe that I was put on this earth to shove my belief system down any ones throat. Father Larry Richards Homily on September 7, 2014 is my favorite. He encourages us to love, never grow up and not to let our hearts die.

http://thereasonforourhope.org/homilies/September72014-23rdSundayOrdinaryTime-CycleA/

Love is the fulfillment.

4. I worked for a heath food chain and thought they were nuts. Now that I’m no longer working there, I think I believe more in what they stood for. Gluten for me is the devil, it makes me hurt. I look at the things I put in my body now. And I now think about what I do to our planet. I am responsible for the carbon footprint I leave behind. Some days I wish I never had left that job. But in the end, I want to be a writer so that is my goal going forward. I do have to work and will find something that makes me happy.

5. I am not published. I have a lot of work to do on my manuscript to include fixing what my critique group just handed back to me. After that, I will hire and editor so that my best work is published. I’m going to self publish. That is road I’m taking and I will not apologize for my business decision. My story is a Young Adult novel about stepmoms, boys, football and family. And the dragons that hold us hostage. Not those fire breathing ones, but the dragons inside of us that try to control us, not allowing us to love and be loved. I’m terrified to publish my book. There is nothing I want more than to put my work out there but I’m afraid it’s not good and the people I’m closest to will think it is stupid. I think I will always feel that way.

6. My family tree is crazy. See my previous post on this. Even though we are all messed up, I wouldn’t change any of it.

7. I continue to write even though I’m afraid the world knows I’m a fraud. I go to writer’s conferences and have to force myself to talk to my peers. Did I just say peers? When I am there, I feel like a stalker. I’m this groupie who follows all these famous people around. When I post on their social networks, I worry what they think even if I’m sharing that I loved their work. I would share who I’m stalking but that would be just too weird, wouldn’t it? Oh hell, I’m an Aaron Michael Ritchey, Angie Hodapp, Cindi Madsen, Kara Seal, and Zach Milan stalker. Check them out, as they are all fabulous, kind people who write wonderful stories.

8. I would rather hang out with a group of young adults that most adults I know. Kids are kinder, smarter and less judging then we are. They also are less hypocritical. They say what is on their mind and don’t feel the need to apologize for it. And most of the time there is no need for apologies anyway.

9. I love my children more than anything but I’m learning that my husband needs to be first in my life. I’m way too hard on him. He is an incredible man who not only loved me, but he loved our children. My kids are his kids. He is the dad that didn’t have to be. He supports me in everything I do. Finding a man that does that is hard to find. I’m truly blessed that God gave him to me. He is truly my best friend.

10. I’m claustrophobic, afraid of heights and I could stay in the state of Colorado the rest of my life and not feel like I’ve missed out on anything. I’m going to Hawaii only because my husband wants to go. Spending hours in an airplane flying over the Pacific Ocean scares the shit out of me. I will need drugs for this.

Well that’s my ten. I am who I am and I’m good with it.

Gotta Have a Place to Write

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My room is almost done, only the trim and the curtains to go. I love this space. It’s full of me: My faith, my family, and my favorite things. There is a little piece of almost every part of my life from birth until now. Some things are transparent to who I am or where I have been, while other things hold a meaning only I would know. Regardless of what people think they know about me, or who they think I should be, in my room I get to be just me.

Every person deserves respect.

10534515_10152622612902491_3040825249818239639_n10525920_10152622483022491_347047517824040000_nI can’t believe my baby is married. I’m so proud. She married her best friend. That’s a pretty cool thing. He loves her and treats her like a princess. While I know that married life will not always be easy, she found the person who will love and respect her. Every person deserves respect. She loves this man and knows his worth as well. And that my friends makes a relationship flourish.

My Family Tree or the Flow Chart that Goes On and On…..

So I was thinking that my family tree is pretty crazy. I have Brothers from other Father’s. Sisters from other Mother’s. Brothers from other Mother’s. Sister’s from other Father’s. Step’s galore. In Laws and Outlaws. Uncles that are my age. First Cousins that are my kids age. A sister that is a year older than my daughter. Blood. Half Blood (or .50 as my son would say). No blood at all but I love as if your blood ran through mine. Family that I see regularly and family that I only see or have only met on Facebook. Some that may not think they are a part of me, but they are because we attached in some crazy way. It’s hard to get together with everyone especially when our lives take different paths. We all are so different but I’m sure we are more alike than we will ever know. I’m blessed that each of them has crossed my path for a short time, a continues time, and maybe time to come. With each of them, I would have not lived and loved fully. I love each and every one of them. And am glad they are my family. I always win at the crazy family tree. If I had to draw it, the flow chart would reach across the state of Colorado. Okay maybe not but it would be cool if it did.  At one time I thought it was crazy but now I love it because it makes us who we are.

Why Diversity Matters

Without diversity I would not have the friends I’ve been blessed with. Without diversity I would not have my son. Without diversity I would not have my niece. Without diversity I would not have had the extended family that helped me raise my children. Without diversity, I wouldn’t know how to make tamales – food is very important. I weave the friendships I have into my stories because I don’t know any different.  We are a mixture off different worlds that must be celebrated.

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Me after PPWC 2014

I’m going to write. I’m going to write. Do I blog? Do I tweet? Do I let FB suck me in. Or do I look at the pictures my kids post from college. What I should do is send out queries for my finished manuscript and edit the other in progress. That is too frightening. So instead, I start a blog. A random blog that I will post my work, because this way I may get over my fears.  And learn how to blog. Maybe I’ll just go feed the dogs. Or sleep. Sleep is always good.

 

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