Friday was a terrible day but also, in a strange way, a sweet day. I didn’t have work because another one of my clients laid me off. More and more of my clients are cutting their budgets. I was even taking a pay cut because I loved working in his office, but now that has dried up too. I miss going to work every day. I’ve been sad about it.
It was good that I didn’t have to work, though, because Bug needed a new copy of her birth certificate and social security card, which meant I needed to drive around to get these various documents. Toby lost her originals. He says I lost them, I say he lost them. You know how it goes with divided parenting… Maybe Bug has them in her room? Who knows. But we had to get new ones because she’s starting her first real job next week. I’m so proud and excited for her!
Driving in downtown Santa Ana and dealing with parking and waiting rooms is NOT my favorite way to pass a day. I was dreading it. Surprisingly the courthouses are new and shiny. Much to my delight, the new buildings were huge and well organized. We walked in and were breezily registered. I filled out an online questionnaire and was sent to a desk where a woman printed two copies of Bug’s birth certificate for a fee. It was so simple! It was awesome. I had whined and complained about how much of a pain in the neck the process would be on the drive there, and then it was nothing.
But of course, we still had to go to the Social Security Office. Social Security offices are known for being horrible. They even have large signs on the wall forbidding handguns because everyone wants to shoot each other when you are there. It’s a brutal look into the down-and-out and frustrated populace of America. Bug and I texted comments to each other as we listened to tall tales from the desperate people pleading for this and that from their assigned government workers. It was sad.
Finally, our number was called, and we were led to a back room full of empty cubicles. A woman looked at our documents and approved for Bug to get a new social security card. It was a simple task, not counting the hour-and-a-half wait in the third ring of Dante’s inferno waiting room. Phones and TikTok make this waiting infinitely more bearable than I remember it being years ago when I had to change my name after I got married.
It was long past lunchtime by the time we wrapped things up, so Bug and I decided to reward ourselves with a lunch out in the artsy side of Santa Ana. The artsy side of Santa Ana is trying so hard to be artsy, but it’s not entirely pulling it off. You can tell things are happening during the monthly art walk, but the afternoon on a Thursday was pretty grim. Nobody was out, and everything was closed. We found a place, though, and had a nice lunch at The Den, formerly known as The Gypsy Den.
Before lunch, a parking citation officer had been looking at the parking meter next to my car. I had paid with my debit card, so I knew I wasn’t getting a ticket. I asked him if I was okay, and he dismissed me with a wave. I should have known something was up because a ticket was on my windshield when we returned to the car. Right when I went to retrieve it from the window, I simultaneously stepped in some hot gooey chewing gum. There I was with long strands of gum stuck to my shoe and trailing behind me as I looked at the ticket and saw how much I would have to pay for not having a front license plate.
Yep, I got a ticket for not having a front license plate. I have not had a front license plate since Toby took it off in 2006, claiming it was for aesthetic reasons. I never questioned it. I should have put it back on when he gave the plate to me many years later, but I never got around to it. I figured I’d gone years without it; it wasn’t a big deal. Apparently, it is a big deal when you park in downtown Santa Ana where government operates.
I couldn’t believe my bad karma. Bug and I laughed at how ridiculous the whole day had been. I haven’t even told you about all the times I took the wrong exit off the freeway or how many times Bug got mad at me for not listening to her when she talked. It’s like my brain was on another planet yesterday.
I’ve been so stressed about work and not working that I haven’t been operating on all cylinders. Half of my brain is too busy worrying at all times. I’m up at night worrying, I’m worrying all day. I’m not on my game. I’m just a worry monster.
The good part of yesterday was Bug. She was so patient with me. She’s seen me go through many ups and downs. I try not to share how much I’m worrying because she has enough to worry about on her own, and I don’t want her to have to parent her parent, but sometimes the stress seeps out of me no matter how hard I try to cover it up. It seeps out when I’m not paying attention 100%. It seeps out when I get frustrated easily for missing an exit on the freeway. It seeps out when I mention things repeatedly without remembering that I already told her. Bug is not stupid. She knows.
So when our car cd player rotated to the Bob Marley album and “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” started playing out of the speakers, she turned it up and sang a little for me. There is nothing like having a moment with your near-adult teenager. I just looked at her knowing smile in the afternoon sun. She knows me, I thought. She knows me better than anyone. Soon enough, she’ll be grown, and on her own, so I cherish these moments. Yesterday might have been my worst day in a long time, but it was with Bug, and I knew someday it would make a good story.
Hello Internet People! It is a good day to update this blog! I have so much news but not very much news at the same time. You will be happy to know that I have fully bounced back after my funk of a few months. I feel stronger than ever, and every other day I seem to be changing my avatars to reflect this new crazy blondness I have taken on. It is a brand! Who knew?
It’s brought me so much freedom and joy. Who knew the silliest thing of reversing my coloring would snap me out of my funk? I took something I was proud of (my silver hair and devotion to natural beauty bla bla bla) and shot it all to hell—fried crispy blonde hair—my complete opposite.
It’s temporary. I am plotting the next hair move and checking my roots daily to see if it’s time because I am not re-touching. Nope. I’m cutting it off into a spiky pixie, and I can’t wait for that day. I’ve rocked a pixie before. It’s one of my favorite looks, double chin and all.
But while I’m blonde, I am having more fun! I hate that that saying is true. Why is it that being so unnatural-looking is considered beautiful? Why do men love acid-washed hair? Is it because we conform to a cliched formula that comes out of a bottle, or is it because lighter hair gets my eyes more attention? I’m hoping it’s the latter.
But I am not above pretending to be Marilyn Monroe. Nope. I am shallow and vain and loving every minute. Reading is sexy, no? Especially with a cat on your lap. Don’t even start with the pussy cat jokes…
CC has been in town off and on, and this last week we dressed up and went out to the theatre to see Six. It was SO GOOD. I’ve had a subscription to the South Coast Performing Arts Center for a few years, and lately, getting myself through two acts of singing and dancing has been harder and harder. I don’t know, the last show I went to was Chicago, and it just didn’t do it for me. I was yawning and thinking it was time to go to bed long before intermission. So when CC said she wanted to go to SIX, I was intrigued. She was excited and couldn’t believe I had tickets. So off we went!
Early, of course, because we love to take photos and the theatre is an architectural beauty. I have to say; CC is an excellent photographer. Look at her capturing all those angles and making me look fabulous. We had a blast. My brother has moved on and gotten remarried, but CC will always be family to me. She is my sister for life. Thank you, Brother, for picking such a fabulous girl.
We always have a good time together. After the show, we hit the silent disco (for free!) and took some photos with drag queens because that’s what we do! It was so much fun.
Oh, here is a picture of La Jolla, totally out of context. This is from the weekend after. Bug convinced me to drive her down to La Jolla for no reason at all. I don’t see Bug as much now that she’s seventeen and all grown up with a serious boyfriend, so when she begs me to drive her somewhere, I take advantage of the bonding time. She’s still my girl.
She’s gone now with her dad on their annual trip to Northern California. They plan it every year, and they miss my birthday every year. Last year I put my foot down because I was turning fifty but this year, eh. I don’t care. Fifty-one is no big thing. AND, Matt is coming to visit, so I’m super excited to spend time with him.
Can you believe it? It’s been a year since the “Let’s Get Old and Be Fabulous” party. It was such a flop of a party (I’m only admitting this now because I did not have the funds to throw such a party, and how vain and self-centered could I be?) BUT! I met up with Matt after thirty-some years, so it’s one of the best things that’s come out of my mid-life crisis.
It’s been a crazy year.
I’m working more and more, and two of my clients have me working in their offices, which makes getting work done so much more efficient. I’m still an independent contractor, but having a regular job that I dress up for and kick ass at feels good. I really feel like I’m coming into my own. I’ve worked for myself for ages, but this last year has been pivotal. I think I’m finally respecting myself. It’s a weird concept.
I’ve been listening to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s new podcast Wiser Than Me , and it’s motivated me so much! I could rattle on for days about the things that have cheered me on. One of her guests said that our fifties are the best years, and I think it’s true. Fifty is such a blessing! It’s old but not decaying yet. It’s the twenties of the older years. It’s so much fun. I’m sure I’ll make a mess of errors just like I did in my twenties, but I will enjoy it.
I only have one day to work for myself, but I am working on my next book, Peg. You know what it’s about: Being rejected and realizing that you are still good, wise, and valuable enough. This is my newest passion that I will take into elementary schools, and I hope I can help kids with this. I know it might be a better book for fifty-year-olds, but I love illustrating kids’ books so that’s what it will be. Just like “It’s Not About You, Little Hoo,” (which is about being left out), this book is another hard lesson turned into a book
It takes me a while to be happy for those hard lessons that slap me in the face, but here I am.
I’m happy again. Thank you, Internet People, for cheering me on. I appreciate you. If you have stories from your fifties, I’d love to hear them! Let’s get old and be fabulous and live to tell the tale!