Who am I and what am I doing here?

I think that I am supposed to be writing some sort of introduction here but I am struggling with it. I am not going to try to explain in one post who I am or what my blog is…

you’ll just have to read it to find out.

I will say this:

Currently, this blog is a work in progress. I will be adding more as time goes on. I tried to set it all up in advance and then have a Grand Launch with all kinds of pages and information and shortcuts and maybe even a cake recipe ready for viewing but…

not happening.

See, the thing is, I just need to write.

The setting up and fanicifying of the site is work – hard work for my brain – and I can’t write while laboring through the technology quagmire. So I will write and post, and then make corrections, changes, and additions when I have the time, the energy, the fortitude, and some good grass.

So for now, here is what you need to know:

I am single; relatively newly but not for the first time.

I have three sons who have all reached adulthood and live together one town over.

I live in a very small community in the rural southwest.

My dog’s name is Elvis.

 

Enjoy

I live alone

(Originally printed in the Four Corners Free Press, February 2018)

Due to a very, large, handful of unforeseen surprises in my life, (read: my life imploded) I find myself in a situation that I never thought I’d be in again…

I live alone.

I live with two cats and one dog, so not alone alone. But, I have no other humans in my home.

Moreover, I am completely reveling in it.

When I got married and had kids I figured I would never live alone again. That is the plan right? Until death do us part.

Then divorce did us part, but I still had kids at home. So. Not. Alone.

Eventually though, I loved having my own room so much that I came to a place of never wanting to live with anyone. Again.

Besides them.

Their time at home was limited.

I like my space.

I like going hours without talking to anyone.

And then, change of plans, I moved in with a boyfriend and became one in a household of five; four of whom are male.

Two dogs. Two cats. Fourteen chickens. Ten pigs. Two horses. A bunch of steers and various and sundry other human beings, all men, who lived and worked at our place.

And now, it’s just me.

Alone again.

Happily.

The last time I lived alone was 25 years ago in my cabin in the Wasatch. I had to ski 3.5 miles each way between home and work. I had no radio, no phone, no way to connect with the outside world when I was there.

My nearest neighbor was ½ mile of breaking trail through waist-deep snow away.

It was a joyous time in my life.

Then I fell in love, moved in with my then-future-now-ex-husband, and gave up all fantasies of ever experiencing that again.

And yet, at 52 years old, here I am.

“Aren’t you lonely?”

Most definitely not.

But, I will say that my life looks very different in very many ways.

Some changes are small, some, more extreme than others.

For one, I no longer sleep in a king size bed. Besides not needing that much space at the moment, a mattress that wide is bigger than my entire house.

In my full size bed sleep two cats who had been forced to live outside for several years due to “allergies” and one cat’s propensity to pee on everything.

Interestingly enough, once the person with allergies was removed, the random and inappropriate urination ceased.

I have a right-handful of splinters. I can get them out of my left hand but am too uncoordinated with that hand to remove them from my right.

I don’t have that person to whom to say, “Honey, will you get the tweezers…”

I read books, do the crossword, write, and watch The Crown, all in the living room. No more hiding out in my bedroom to escape the testosterone-induced chaos and stink that filled the living room before this one.

When I buy food, it’s still in the fridge the next day.

After I finish the dishes, the sink remains empty. Sometimes from sunup to sundown.

I listen to music almost all of the time.

Before, the only place I ever listened consistently was work. Couldn’t do it at home; all of those bodies under one roof created enough music of it’s own.

My truck became my refuge. I drove in silence just to hear nothing.

When I moved, I bought an echo because I had no other source for tunes.

Alexa, oh Alexa: you royal pain in the arse. You are worse than a teenager.

Do you ever get tired of me calling you a b@#$%?

I prepare actual meals and sit down to eat them.

And I don’t come downstairs in the morning to the aftermath.

I do have to be more careful as I move through my physical world. I am fully aware that one little mishap could turn south very quickly.

If I could remember my neighbors’ names it would be different, but essentially, if I get hurt or incapacitated, I’m on my own. Might as well still be living 3 miles in.

With that said, when I need to ascend my wood pile, I think, “If these logs roll, I could get broken, really uncomfortable, and cold, and I’d have some serious splinters to boot.”

I am terrified of splitting wood because I wonder what will happen if I cut off my hand or my leg? No one will find me and I will bleed out in my yard while Elvis mournfully looks on.

So, when I uber-cautiously put hatchet to log, I am embarrassingly hesitant and ineffectual. After a half-assed swing where metal simply glances off aspen instead of slicing through, everything falls on the ground, and I look over my shoulder sure that the nameless neighbors are watching out their windows with pity.

I walk around naked.

They’re probably watching that scene with pity also.

I stare out the window for hours on end. I don’t answer the phone. No one drops in.

I am not woken up. I don’t wait up to make sure my children are home safe and sound. I don’t have to clean boy-pee off the bathroom floor

I spend many a night sleeping on the futon in the living room. Because I can. Because I can see the stars. Because I can watch the sunrise without lifting my head off the pillow.

I spend more time in the neighboring towns.

I spend a lot more time outside, wandering. Not feeding chickens.

I have a chamber pot.

I sleep with the window open.

Skulls, plants, rocks, adorn every surface.

I no longer have a gun safe in my bedroom.

Come on back liberal hippie self, I’ve missed you.

THERE ARE NO MORE CHEW SPIT CUPS IN MY BEDROOM, LIVING ROOM, DINING ROOM, KITCHEN, BATHROOM, CAR, PATIO, GARAGE, HENHOUSE.

Downside:

I find myself drawn to the Loungewear section at TJ Maxx.

Yesterday I did NOT purchase a cashmere nightgown. I stood in the dressing room imagining myself wearing it every single day as soon as I got home from work, all day on weekends, hosting brunch in it…

Whoa, Suz, have some pride.

So, besides the unfortunate attraction to matching pajamas, this living alone business, after living with so many others for so many years, is fantastic.

I’m even entertaining tomorrow.

Holy youknowwhat.

 

 

 

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?