one of life’s greatest questions

I went to Walmart the other day; a day that had begun with snow and cold, but by the time I got off work and headed west, the sun was out.

I pulled into the parking lot and as I stepped out of the truck I caught a glimpse of what I might look like to the people of Walmart…

or just look like the people of Walmart.

I have this coat that is a magnificent, $4, ankle-length, fake fur number that looks like I’m wearing a buffalo. This was paired with lime green, knee-high rain boots, and, a purple crocheted beanie adorned with appliqué flowers.

I paused, considered how I would feel if I saw someone I knew, shrugged that off, and proudly marched in to get a container for bringing wood into the house.

What I came up with is absolute genius: a turquoise plastic laundry hamper with wheels and a handle just like a roller suitcase.

And what better way to save bags and save the planet than to put all of my purchases into the laundry basket and wheel them on out to the truck.

Admittedly I felt a teensy twinge of self-consciousness (just enough to notice) and then I decided that I actually didn’t care and I though it quite funny instead.

Which then brings me to this important question…

Where exactly, is the line between “I don’t give a fuck,” and, “I’m batshit crazy?”

important information

originally published in the Four Corners Free Press, March 2018

Things you should know before we date, revised, 2.19.2018

Eight years ago, I was a hot mess, and newly single. I wrote a column titled “50 things you should know before we date.”

I got myself a stalker suitor out of it.

Now, once again, I am single. But you, Dear Reader, probably already knew that since I have been the talk of the town for the last six months.

Below you will find an updated version of that informative list.

Thankfully, some things have improved, such as, I have reduced the cat population in my home by half; I currently have just two.

Also, I am now a renter so painting the walls drunk is no longer an option.

Positive, forward movement, I would say.

Some things haven’t changed a bit.

Therefore, I have put together a new list, for this new era of my life. Those items which appear on both lists are marked with an *.

 

The List  – Take 2

*I prefer to pee outside, on the ground, rather than in a toilet.

The red dirt of the desert runs in my veins; if you don’t like sandy-scratchy-prickly-sharp-parched, you probably won’t like me either.

Someone once said that you should always have more books around you than you will ever be able to read. I also believe this to be true.

I have a dog named Elvis who is an extremely good judge of character. If he bites someone, I probably won’t date them.

I have three, incredibly amazing, sons. They come first. Period.

If one of them bites someone, I definitely will not date that person.

I have been described as “fiery,” “passionate,” and “sensitive.” Interpret those words as you will, but there is never a dull moment in my world.

If I have a feeling, no matter what it is, be it happy or sad or angry or hungry or sleepy, or excited, I will cry.

I cook all f-ing day long. For other people. Chances are, I am not going to cook for you when I come home.

I read in bed.

I watch movies in bed.

I drink coffee in bed.

Sometimes I enjoy a sweet bedtime snack and then, afterwards, I enjoy a crunchy bedtime snack.

Both in bed.

I love bed.

*I have a terrible potty mouth.

I don’t run long distances anymore

However, if I’m alone and it’s warm, I can runwalk all damn day.

Often, when I am driving, I will press the scan button and then forget about it. I’ve driven all the way to Durango to the tune of 3-second blips from every receivable radio station in the Four Corners.

I do not wear lipstick, deodorant, or underwear.

I no longer climb 5.12.

Actually, I no longer climb.

I enjoy flat water.

I still diagonal ski.

I. Love. Thrift stores.

Love them in a Confessions of a Shopaholic kind of way. The first three stops in any establishment are, in no particular order, shoes, dishes, cashmere.

I prefer to thrift alone, although sometimes a whole day of it with a girlfriend is super fun.

If pigs didn’t exist, I’d be a vegetarian.

My newly acquired independence and freedom thing is going to provide tough competition for any suitor.

-More than once, I have put the comfort of my cats after the comfort of a man. I shall not do that again. My cats are more loyal and less demanding of attention.

-I paint my fingernails.

-I do not change my own oil.

-Lately, I haven’t been so good about recycling, either.

-Sometimes I pine for gas stations in New Jersey where they pumped my gas for me.

-If I have belt loops then I wear a belt. I expect the same from others, particularly anyone with whom I might sleep.

-If there is an underdog, I will be rooting for them.

-I was cheerleading captain in eighth grade.

-The reason that the man I loved in high school (and the one in college) didn’t love me back is because he is gay. It had nothing to do with me, or my braces, my bad Dorothy Hamil hair, or my awkward attempts at flirting.

*Coffee in the afternoon gives me gas.

If it came out of the ocean, it does not go in me. Do not even try. I am a grown-up; you are not going to change my mind now.

I’m a sucker for a Coke in a bottle. The ones from Mexico.

I toured with the Dead.

I also listen to party country and Tupac.

I would like to date someone who has a healthy relationship with alcohol.

Don’t f!@# with the Jersey girl in the Tacoma. There are etiquette rules at 4-way stops and in a drive-through.

Gimme Three Steps is my favorite Lynrd Skynrd song.

When I tell a story, I will go way, way, way out on a tangent, but hang tight – I always circle back. You just might have to wait a while.

*My biggest pet peeve is people flossing in public.

*I hate the smells of spilled coffee and banana peels (not necessarily together), although I love both coffee and bananas.

I am Italian. I get really dark in the sun. I love to feed people (as long as I don’t have to do it on my days off,) I talk with my hands. We all shout in my family.

I am a believer, supporter, and huge proponent of hunting. Just don’t feed me anything you killed. We Italians prefer olives, figs, and wine.

*No matter how much I love a person, they will eventually end up in my column.

At the tender age of  over-fifty, I don’t give two hoots about what others think of me anymore. #flyingmyfreakflag.

 

Suzanne Strazza writes from her cabin in Mancos where her flag is flying and she can pee in the back yard.

every day a new happening

Six months ago, every day sent me further up shit creek.

If it wasn’t a head injury, it was a break-up, or a near-fatal car accident, or giardia, or middle school drama amongst a bunch of adults, my child’s felony charges, or, or, or….

I greeted each day, guarded, teeth gritted, unsure of what the day would bring, but sure that it would bring something.

And none of it was good.

It was brutal.

And here I am, still standing, and recently doing more than standing.

I’m finally good. Like good good. Like, “oh my god it’s about fucking time” good.

And what is really incredible about it is that now, each day brings me something that frees me up just a little bit more from the grief that consumed me for what seems like eternity.

And here is the awareness that came to me today.

Something that has consistently sent me spinning through these months has been having to list all that happened. You know, telling a new therapist, or I finally see my parents and can sit down and share the gory details, or some poor unsuspecting (and often unfamiliar) person walks into my kitchen and asks the one thing they shouldn’t: “How are you?”

When I do that I re-experience the weight of it. I am crushed all over again. Each time, hopefully a little bit less, but just two weeks ago I had to tell my doctor what had been going on and I held it together perfectly well.

Until I got home.

And for the next three days.

Then today something happened.

I was at work, slicing ham, and something made me think of the list and this great sadness welled up and my heart hurt for the gal who had to go through all of that – but I felt that as a separate person from her. Honestly, in a motherly sort of way.

And I thought, “I’m not her anymore.”

What does a snake feel when she sheds her skin?

Does it hurt? Is it liberating?

an anonymous concern

In my adult life I have not dated one single man who has a healthy relationship with alcohol. Either the guy has stopped drinking for a reason, or needs to stop drinking for that very same reason.

In other words, I have a penchant for men with issues around booze.

So one of those ex’s who was practicing abstinence is no longer doing so. and it saddens me deeply. And it also scares me.

And I wonder at his community; are they concerned? Do they, does he, understand there is a problem?

I no longer have contact with this man. It is not my place to be involved in any way and yet I know this version of him better than anyone else; this was my life for a good chunk of time.

I’ve spent a lot of time in 12-step meetings so I have a pretty good sense of how this will go.

Also, given my apparent craving for men who crave hootch, I’ve got enough first-hand experience under my belt to feel rather pessimistic.

In other words, I know enough to be distressed and I just hope that someone in his world also is.

There is a flip side to this too; I’m not living it again. Anyone who has lived with an imbiber – active or sober – knows that it comes with a whole set of challenges that you can’t understand unless you have lived it.

It’s fucking exhausting.

And disheartening.

And not my problem to fix.

let go and let god