Tag: friends

2019… what?

2019, what can I say?

It’s hard to sum up a year, any year, but especially this year. 2019 was loaded—for better or worse. I thought, how about a list? Maybe a list. I’m good at lists…

1. Stained glass! I had a decision to make this year… I had waited a couple years before taking the plunge into glass land. Hey, it’s a big commitment, dollar-wise and all. I mean, what if I didn’t like it? What if I couldn’t do it well? But I’m so glad I took the risk. A special thanks for Glenn Greene for believing in me and showing me the ropes.

2. I saved up for and bought my first motorcycle, a Suzuki TU250X.

3. I fell on my first motorcycle and injured my shoulder, but luckily not the motorcycle. Thank god for that AAA membership and Alex, who legit took care of me in that moment in a way I can’t even describe (three words: King Size PayDay).

4. Someone who I consider family and who I love a whole lot (one of my soul people, in fact) was diagnosed with cancer this year. Claiming this on my list feels strange and selfish or something, but when you love someone that’s just how it goes. FYI: she totally kicked its ass, which is probably the best thing about this year for me.

5. I bought a house. On paper, this is a win, but getting there was a lot more sad and stressful. We were kicked out of our home/apartment in Regent Square by a greedy 25-year-old rich white boy and his daddy who bought the building. They gave us 45 days to relocate. Maybe I should be rejoicing that I had the money saved up to make this happen, but there is so much more to this story. (Like how his family was in the yard out front the next day saying things like “God brought Tr*mp here to heal the country” to our Jewish housemate.) We almost went to court too… an uncertainty that was drug out for too long. To be honest, I think I’m still processing all of this. Luckily, though, we got a much better spot… and we never have to deal with being displaced that way.

6. “At least, you didn’t die at Walmart.” Sure, Abbie and I didn’t die at Walmart. Lucky us. Instead we were running for what might be our lives while gunshots rang out from behind… literally 3 days before we were moving. In hindsight, it feels dramatic, but in the moment, we were all terrified. The worst part about this event is how it felt like everyone used this afterwards to console us as we struggled through house buying and homeownership. Blah.

7. I said goodbye to Meredith Baxter Birney, the Scion. After 10+ years, a new transmission, some rust, and finally, a leaking head gasket, it was time to put her to bed. As you know, my luck with Meredith wasn’t great. In fact, she only had 117,000 miles on her when I discovered the leaking head gasket that drained my oil. That said, no more Toyotas for me. I moved on and leased a Honda CRV LX. His name is Frankie, as in Frank O’Hara. I needed something to haul my art and show stuff, and it has been a great choice so far. It’s so fancy. And the heated seats? Woo. Way luxurious. 

8. The pain. It’s not something everyone knows about, nor is it something I talk about too often. Before I experienced it, I never thought too much about chronic pain or nerve pain, etc. I’ve been trying for almost 4 years now to figure it out. I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars, wasted so much of my time and energy… and hope. It really is more maddening than it is painful. But if you have any sort of persistent pain, you know what I mean. At the beginning of the year, I tried to take another path—I went to someone who has experience with my particular issue, TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome). Though he taught me some valuable things, he did not fix my pain. Actually, it got worse. This could be a much longer bit, but let’s just say I’ve got some new hope today—where foolish or otherwise, I’ve been finding some relief. So here we go, 2020.

9. 1flychicken creationsIt’s hard to explain what this small business means to me. What started as a hobby, then a side hustle, has turned into something much bigger and much more meaningful than I could’ve ever imagined. (I have all of you to thank!) It came out of my love of giving (making/finding) the perfect gift for my people. This is the heart of all I do, because let’s face it, thoughtfulness might be the best gift. It’s not so much about the physical thing as it is the time and energy and love behind it. Being able to make and offer those unique items (as gifts for others and for shoppers themselves) is the closest thing I’ve felt to pure magic. For real. And making things? It’s almost necessary for me to function at this point. Being creative and being productive are two things that keep me sane. And while it’s some of the hardest work I’ve encountered (both physical and mental), I am so very grateful to have the opportunity. Here’s to 2020 continuing the pace. (Did I mention all the amazing folks I’ve met along the way?)

10. Not sure if I’d survive the world—especially this past year—if it wasn’t for Happy Family. This is the name I have given to our lil’ collective of cats and humans. As much as I am an independent person, who probably annoys Abbie with my pride and drawn lines, I am wholly grateful for her love and support and supreme belief in me. I mean, she probably thinks I’m like 45% better than I am, which drives me bananas, but I’ll let her keep thinking that for a while. Ha! Need I even tell you how much my cats mean to me? I hate it. I hate loving something so hard and so helpless. But just looking at them makes me heart pee, you know? 

Man, after writing this, it still feels like there is so much more to talk about. AWP, poetry, losing my grandfather, new friends, old friends, art events, the fall semester, almost teaching a poetry workshop, etc… but I’ll stop here. Maybe tell some more in photos soon…

What was your year like? I hope through all of the challenges in your year, you can take from it, grow from it and give yourself everything you need to kick some 2020 ass.


mt

Livejournal or bust

HermitTarot

Oh, I remember those days.

I used to spew my guts on Livejournal.com like some sort of uncensored, four-eyed mutant with a lead role and more feelings than dollars in my weekly Giant Eagle paycheck. Writing often, I would weave my emo thoughts and rants with bolded song lyrics. I would choose 100×100-pixeled avatar images of faceless girls in sad corners or dead-flower GIFs with flashing text reading shit like “it doesn’t even matter anymore.”

But that’s just it, it did matter. Everything mattered. Probably too much mattering.

Today as I ventured back into that world of “Everybody Hurts” and ambiguous crush speak, I stumbled upon a quote that struck me:

“The more profound you are, the more meaning you need.”

It doesn’t feel too long ago that everything hurt. I was an open wound walking, or so the cliche goes. I walked around like that for years in corduroys and striped sweaters, a heart dangling from my seams like a loose thread.

But the years wore me down, maybe. Here and there, we lose people to lack of humility or pride, to distance, to miscommunication, to disinterest, to one-ups and to one-downs. Each time a gut blow. (It’s tremendous, honestly, how much friends mean to me. Without much of a traditional blood-related crew, my friends have always been my family.) And then came a divorce-like split after so many years.That loss was more than familiar or romantic or plutonic, but all of it. Necessary and healthy, maybe. But not without pain. Still, even then, I went forward with my guts between my teeth, handing them out like hard candy.

And then my favorite person in the whole world died.

So that was it,  I guess. The last time I really remember feeling like that, a live wire under my skin. And I say, if this is growing up, it blows.

I told A the other day (after dealing myself a nearly-all-reversed spread of cards): “I guess I had to shut something off recently… to deal with the stress of small and big things. And maybe I just haven’t turned it back on. That’s where I am.”

I’ve never seen a spread that blocked and I’ve been reading cards since high school.

But it’s been more than just recently (more than this jet stream of bad luck I’m refusing to whine about any more on my blog). I’m stuck now wondering, years later, after her death, will I ever learn how to turn it back on? Don’t get me wrong, I feel a flicker on occasion. I’m absolutely ok, and you know, sometimes my heart gets full and round and I can hear the blood pulsing in my ears. But is that it? I just want to know.

Is strength, is growing up, really just dulling the nerves and dumbing down our hearts… is the only thing that really changes the things that change us?

I don’t buy it. I can’t won’t.

mt

Just bee

Well, if you haven’t heard… I’ll be Professor Chicken by the end of this month. Ok. I’m teaching one class at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. (From where I graduated about… ugh… 4 years ago.) Wow. Anyhow, it has me working some serious tail feathers, along with my arty art projects and cooking and sweating (the humidity this way has been obnoxious) and and and still trying to keep up any sort of motivation to do normal things like grocery shop, clean Mr. Winston’s cage, or sleep. Summer-induced insomnia. Nice.

But fall is coming! Are you pumped? It’s my favorite, even if it is cliche. These last few days, the air just feels like fall, you know? To me, it is so much more fresh than spring. Spring is mud and melted snow and rain and mud. And while Tash finds it depressing, the upcoming leaf-falling season gives me this strange feeling in my tummy—like butterflies with dumbbells tied to their wings. And THEN this whole montage of flashbacks (haunted houses, sipping cider, carving pumpkins, etc.) plays in my head with the reflective yet raspy backdrop of “It’s a Wonderful World.” Ha. It’s not that serious, maybe, but it is that corny.

I took this little snap when Tash and I went to visit Amy in Lancaster (Lan-cus-ter: she’ll beat you if you don’t say it right). We were hiking somewhere crazy (up RT 81, I believe)… and the whole forest floor was covered like this. It was like a dream…

Speaking of dream. That’s one huge pumpkin. Note the text on the little white one (and squash). Totally didn’t see that.
What’s your favorite season? I find Winter-lovers interesting. I like Winter… for like a second.
Ahhh… I better crash.
mpt

Babies use soap, right?

Being the lucky girl that I am, I have some pretty amazing friends. I wanted to pimp this girl for her unique and awesome brain. Well, I mean, a lot of people can make soap, but this girl makes it from base ingredients, meaning LYE! This shit scares me to be honest, as I can’t even use a kitchen knife half of the time. I digress. You should check out her soap. Not only does she make the soap, but it’s packaged in her handmade paper and lovely typewriter lettering. I’ll be making some with her soon, so pictures are to come.

In the meantime, check her out. She is up for new ideas, too. Give her a shout. cyfisch@gmail.com —or, if you’re too shy, hit me up.

So listen. My next stop is Dream Land. I’m going to make it brief, because how boring are dreams to other people? I know, BUTTTT… I dreamt I had a baby. I had a baby, was happy about it, and gave it away. Yep. I was a surrogate mother. It kind of messed me up all day. I’m a gusher. Add that to my list of hobbies… painting, writing, knitting, singing…surrogate mother. I kind of wonder what y’all think. Could you do it? Pros. Cons. What?

Just curious, as usual. >^..^<

Eat Like Good Friends Do

Believe it or not, there are better things in life than friends who love you endlessly, support you when you need them most and would give the shirt off of their back for you. (Has anyone ever had to apply that theory?)

Friends that eat. A lot. With you.

Now, since I was a young one, I loved food. I might be downplaying this a bit. I didn’t just love food. I had a relationship with food. I married food. My dad was old-school Italian to the max, feeding anyone who stopped by. Every kid on the block had their run-ins with dad. And if you were thin, look out. This was a sign that you were malnourished, and he might just ask you to eat (over and over again), until you finally caved. This was his tactic.

And I was a mischievous, though naive, tomboy with an affinity for Legos, Barbies (whaaa?) and Happy Meals. Imagine a parent (or parental unit) who would fulfill your every food whim–no matter the time of day, the cost or the sincere inconvenience. I had a double cheeseburger at 11 AM, a pizza-parlor style Italian hoagie at 3 PM and then perhaps a heaping plate of spaghetti for dinner. It didn’t stop there; depending on the evening, I might have had French-fried potatoes around 10 PM, or an MTO from Sheetz with a side of Combos. Listen, I’m pretty sure my dad made up the Taco Bell term “fourth meal.” Often, there were fifths, sixths. And if you weren’t hungry, he would ask you until you were, until you were pretty sure you were, at least.

You hungry? How about a Chalupa? Tacos?


Want a Twister? Get you an MTO, if you want?


I’ll get you 20. As long as you eat it.


Hoagie? Sub? Whatever the hell those things are. Want one?


Oooh, I could go for an entire dozen of donuts. Whaddya say?


Boston Cream? Chocolate Frosted? Glaaazed?


C’mon, Animal. You haven’t eaten for an hour.

Between then and now, I have worked hard at losing weight, overcoming about 70-75 lbs. total. It wasn’t easy. I choose salads and grilled chicken. I stay away from mayo and ranch dressing. Making healthy choices is the EASY part. The hard part is the portions, right? Just because I can eat vegetables and prepare my own overly-vinegary salad dressing doesn’t mean I don’t have the FFK appetite. FFK = Former Fat Kid. Though I can keep it in-check most often, I allow myself a day a week to treat myself. This is when having hungry, good-eatin’ friends make all the difference.

I tend to attract (even find attractive) those who can stand up to my appetite. There is nothing worse than going out with someone who picks at their meals, uses take-home boxes and/or claims they are full after what just may be a ONE PERSON PORTION. I spit at that person. For example, my string bean roommate Adam, who considers eating two plates of food at the Panda Buffet “a lot.” (Must I also verify that these “plates of food” consist of 2-3 items, hardly generous.) I remember being unsure of his presence in my life just from this fact.

So yesterday I decide it is time for my weekly pork-out. I put on a pair of loose jeans, a brightly-colored sports bra and refused to brush my hair. This was my moment. Because my friends and I (we’ll call them Teesh & Queen) were already in the Pittsburgh area–the only “adults” without a child visiting the Carnegie Science Center, we decided to eat there. Since none of us had been to Fat Heads on the South Side, it sounded like a nice choice. 4:21 PM.

By the time we skidded through lanes of confused traffic, soggy afternoon drunks in green t-shirts and found an actual parking spot. (In Pittsburgh, we like to “make up” parking spots.), we arrived at our destination, tummies rumbling and ready. And then the heart-drop. How long of a wait? 45 minutes, the attractive, hipster at the counter tells us. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES?! When you’re ravished, 45 minutes might as well be tomorrow. But I turned to see my friends optimistic, shrugging at this seemingly impossible wait.

“Eh, anywhere we go will be crowded, you know?” Right. They were right, logical even. But can we just try, I wanted to ask. There is no logic in hunger. Instead of whining my concern aloud, I puffed up my chest and gave the host my name. 45 minutes. I could occupy my brain for 45 minutes. 4:50 PM.

Time passes at an incredibly slow pace. I doodle. I draw pictures of unicorns and cats and gerbils in plastic balls. It’s fine. Everything is going to be ok, because I know after each doodle, I’m just 1 majestic unicorn away from food. Right.

I’m going to skip to the part to where we actually get a seat, because the dull time in between could be painful to read. But it was nearly an hour (or more) before we actually got waited on, about 6:15 PM. The waitress, bubbly and smiling, brought us our waters. Had she been psychic and could comprehend our subsequent pain, she may not have asked the question…

Can I get you ladies an appetizer?

At this point, we were drooling. Our stomachs had caved in on themselves like raisins. And though we were not starving in a literal sense, the anticipation induced by the unordinary wait time gave us a near-death sensation. So when we heard appetizer, a word, which, in fact, means “before meal,” the question hit us as FOOD RIGHT NOW? And we accepted the offer. Obviously.

While it wasn’t the waitress’s fault, I mean, we could’ve picked something smaller like their Arrogant Onion Rings or something, but we chose Pedro’s Nachos. To put it lightly, this mound of nachos could’ve fed four people as a meal. In silence, other than a few satisfied groans we shared, we devoured it. In fact, we would’ve won an award. The waitress in a moment of shock exclaimed she had never seen a plate of their nachos disappear so quickly.

At this moment, it would also be safe to note that we had no idea what was ahead of us. I believe our stomachs were most likely already full, but we didn’t believe it. Though this should have clued us in, those nachos were just an appetizer. We had burgers and fish sandwiches coming. French fries. Yes. And we had no idea how big these things would be. The prices were reasonable, cheap, in fact. I could imagine anything extraordinary. Boy, was I wrong.

Our reactions were as follows: excited, stunned, worried. But we continued to plow on, as though we hadn’t just ingested nearly 2 lbs. of nachos a piece. It was ok, because it was delicious. It was sooooo goooooood.


Needless to say, the car ride home was a long one. 45 minutes, in fact. And besides the grunts and moans of pain and discomfort, there was a strange intermission of laughter, like we were in some unfortunate food delirium. It was disbelief coupled with pain coupled with disbelief at our pain. Laughter wasn’t the end-all-be-all. All ups have their downs, and suddenly we were pressed with painful, uncontrollable gas, (which then, of course,  resulted in more laughter and more discomfort.) It was a deadly loop of downhill spiraling that ended with the three of us passed out on the couch.