It’s Better, It’s Worse… It’s Both

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I joined Oprah’s Lifeclass a few weeks ago and I have to say… I love it.  I am about ten classes in and am learning a lot about myself by answering thought-provoking questions that only I can see the answers to.  There is also a Daily Life Question that we have the option of answering.  It is linked to the users Twitter account.

As I read some of the answers (a lot of them anonymous) I shuddered at some of the things a lot of people have been through usually in great part by their parents.  I saw remnants of abuse, both physical and sexual, mental anguish, alcoholism, abandonment… 😦

It just got me thinking.. like.. what the hell do I have to bitch about?  Ok, yeah.. my childhood wasn’t the greatest.. I have always been socially awkward and put a lot of my worth on my physical beauty (but am too lazy to do any upkeep on it).  I tend to talk way too much when I get nervous and yes.. I am an alcoholic.

BUT – I am sober!  I AM beautiful!  I grew up poor.. but I have character.  I have small boobs.. but I have a great butt!  I can be very indecisive, but when I know what I want.. no one is stopping me.

It is so important for me (and you!) to look at the silver lining in the dark, looming clouds that hover over our heads from time to time.

We have all been through our own share of hell.  I remember years of self-pity, beating my head against the wall as I cursed and screamed “WHY ME?!”

Well, why not me?  Bad things have happened to me because I have the ability to help others.  If all I can do is take my experiences and share them with another, then whatever I have been through is not in vain.

Whatever doesn’t kill you – makes you stronger. 

What experiences have made you stronger?

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South Street Philadelphia – Where the Action Is!

I was just reading a blog post by Kirkus Mac Gowan about blog topics.  What do we blog about?  What should we blog about?  Anyone that reads my blog knows that you could find anything and everything here.  Hence, the Versatile Blogger Award!  But I do not blog for awards.  I blog for fun.  I try to keep it fresh and interesting.  I do, sadly, blog about my life happenings.  And yeah, that is pretty boring!

So today I am going to blog about one of the locations in my WIP (work in progress).

Where all the cool people go.

South Street!

I have loved South Street since I first discovered it in high school.  There are hundreds of shops, eateries, clubs, bars, book stores, coffee houses, tattoo parlors… Yeah, lots of cool stuff.

The best thing about South Street is the food.  As a native Philadelphian, I am all about great pizza and cheesesteaks.  One of the best places to go is Lorenzo & Sons Pizza. They have giant slices that are absolutely foldable.  You haven’t had a piece of pizza until you can fold it in half and eat it like a sandwich.  Even better than the food is that you can get it up until 3 or 4 in the morning!

If you are looking for cool duds to sport, check out Crash Bang Boom.  Formerly Zipperhead (which was an icon on the 80’s and 90’s) this clothing store has everything your little rocker heart desires!  Leather, spikes, denim and even cute, frilly dresses… if you’re looking for punk, goth or some other outlandish look, this is the store to get your butt to.  There are also a lot of vintage and consignment shops on South Street if you want to go retro.

Oh!  You want a tattoo to commemorate your awesome visit to the City of Brotherly Love?  Well, check out the best of the best and get your butt to Philadelphia Eddie’s.  This joint has been around since I can remember.  One of the more famous artists is Bird.  I got my first tattoo here.  You should too!

There are fifty, yes, FIFTY bars and restaurants on South Street.  Some are fine dining, others are more beer/live band and chicken fingers type hang outs.  Whichever your preference, you’ll love it.  If you are into live music, I suggest hitting one of the bars that have it.  JC Dobbs (Formerly the Cadillac Grille – which was formerly JC Dobbs!) is the BEST place to go check out up and coming bands as well as more famous ones.

If you know of a place in your hometown where you can eat, shop, drink, catch a show and get a tattoo all on one street, please share!  🙂  Have you been to South Street in Philadelphia?  How was your experience?

Photo Credit: By B. Krist

Where Do I Begin?

Okay… let me first say that the only thing I have accomplished so far this week was the AA meeting I got my ass to tonight.  I needed to talk to my sponsor and we did talk over yummy cheesecake and coffee at the diner across the street after the meeting.   The meeting was good (always).  The speaker was awesome.

I feel like everything is unraveling at such a high rate of speed that my frayed ends of sanity are escaping through my broken hands.  Yeah, that was a bit dramatic.  Maybe I still have my flair…. I don’t know.

I haven’t written all week so far (hope to get an opportunity tomorrow in work at some point).  I have read a few blogs.

Basically my teenage daughter is driving me insane.  I was listening in the room tonight about how everyone’s life is so wonderful and how everything is just falling together.  ??  Where is my wonderful togetherness?  I have been working damn hard for five plus years now.  When do I get to say, ‘FINALLY!’

I know, I know.  I am feeling sorry for myself. I recognize that.  Self-pity is a character flaw (yes – I have flaws) that seeps out from time to time.  I learned that my job in recovery is not to kill all the nasty flaws, but to keep some and work with them.

“Give it to God,” they say.  OK…………  I have been trying!  Maybe I am not doing it right.

Anyway… sorry to be the party pooper, but I just feel like something has to give.

Good luck to all my ROW80 chums this round.  😀  I am sure you all are working darn hard.  I am proud of you all!

Goals for this week:

Write

Read

Comment

Breathe.

Later Maters.

Keep on ROWing the 80 River

This week has been slightly productive.  I managed to get a little work done on my WIP.  I am looking through my outline to tackle the next scene.

My uncle passed away last week.  His funeral was Friday.  I hadn’t seen my uncle in many years.  When I was little he was the uncle who always made me laugh.  His funeral was actually a happy one as it was a celebration of his life.  My cousin Dean, his youngest son, is an Elvis impersonator and he sang a few songs that my uncle loved.  My uncle apparently used to go to all of my cousins performances. 🙂  My cousin really does sound just like Elvis.

He did not wear Elvis gear to the funeral.

I am almost to 7500 words on my WIP.  My goal for this week is to hit 10,000.  However that comes so be it!

I signed up for the Oprah Life Class.  So far I am loving it.  🙂  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do the work because I didn’t get a book in the mail (I was told I would but oh well).  However, there is a an online message board and classroom to answer the questions.  This is probably better because I am more accountable.

So far I have done the first five classes. 🙂  Go me!

My goals for this week are simple:

  • Get 2500 words done on my WIP.
  • Go through old clothes and donate.
  • Read/comment blogs.
  • Keep up with Twitter (I have been slacking!)
  • Formulate a gym regimen.
  • Write up a budget.
  • Find a day to go somewhere and get some kick ass pictures with my camera.
  • Post on 80’s blog.
  • Keep up with the Oprah class.

Wow .  That is quite a list!

By the way, I did get to the park yesterday and got a great picture of a baby buck.  If you look closely at his head.. you’ll see faint nubs where his antlers will eventually be.

Happy ROWing!

ROWing Down Highway 80

I love to drive.  Even in the midst of chaotic morning traffic behind people who are too busy texting or yapping to realize the light turned green forty seconds ago, I love it.  The road does something to me I cannot quite put into words.

There actually is a Highway 80 in Pennsylvania.  I have ridden my motorcycle on this glorious piece of asphalt during previous summers. But today I am ROWing down the Highway 80 of writing.

My goals for the week were a little neglected due to life events.  Nothing I can do about that.  Sometimes priorities twist themselves around and writing slides down the scale a bit.

But, I did manage some progress on my current manuscript and managed to read and comment on a few blogs, though not as many as I would have liked to.

In happy news, one of my posts made the front page of Good Blogs. 😀  Yeah.. I got the email a few days ago notifying me of this wondrous happening.  It feels good when someone notices how hard I am working.  I am sure a lot of you reading this can relate to that.

In keeping with the goal list, my goals for the remainder of the week are as follows:

  • Write at least 1,000 words tonight.
  • Read a few blogs (although I may not comment – but if there is a way to covey my liking it, I shall)
  • Take a SHOWER.  Weeee!
  • Call my sponsor
  • Write up a budget

That is it for now…. I want to wish everyone the best of luck in their goals for the week!  I’ll be seeing you around soon.

Going With The Row (80.. that is)

I feel so much better when I achieve my goals!  My WIP progress is coming along slow but steady.  It took an unexpected turn and I liked it so I went with it. 🙂

I did not make it down to Philly this weekend.

Since it is Sunday, that means a lot of football!  I’ve already had a delicious lunch (home-made chicken pot pie).

I watched a lot of documentaries yesterday.  Now, my WIP progress is not documentary related.  However, I felt like watching documentaries really gave me some great ideas for characters.

I made my goals of word count, reading/commenting blogs and blog posts last week.  Since I did good, I will continue my pace the same.  The only difference is that I am working 2 extra shifts this week at the store.

How is everyone else coming along with their goals?

Happy ROWing!

Faceless

I was terrified.  My instructor had asked me to give my report orally.  Was she insane?  She must be.  Anyone that knew me knew I was terrified of public speaking.  I had battled my fear since I was seven when my mother made me get up in front of the family at a reunion and sing “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”

I stood there in the pink, ruffled dress that I loathed while dozens of eyes pierced my own.  I was shaking as I corralled the tears behind my eyelids. Then my mother said those devastating words:

“Come on, Lisa.  Everyone is looking at you! “

I opened my mouth, but the words “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb!” did not fall from my nervous lips.

Vomit.

All over my shoes, my pretty pink socks.

“Lisa?” The instructor’s hoarse voice snapped me back from my nightmare.

“Huh?” I retorted in a daze.

“Lisa, your report.  Please.”

I shifted in my seat as I chanted positive affirmations in my head like “you can do this!” and “boo yah!” and “don’t puke dumbass!”

I stood slowly and looked around.  There they were; those nasty eyes like a giant thirty four-eyed lizard slithering its forked tongue at me. They belonged to my seventeen classmates.  I wanted to hiss at them as I curled up in the corner.

At the podium, I adjusted the microphone awkwardly.  Surely my innate microphone positioning would send my speaking over the top!

I panned the classroom.  But no one was looking back at me.  There were no faces!  I was looking at seventeen people without faces.

“What?” I heard myself whisper in the hushed room.

“Lisa,” my instructors voice again.

Wait, I thought. If they can’t see me, then they can’t hear me!

I did a virtual happy dance as I cleared my throat.

“Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb! Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow!  Everywhere that Mary went, that lamb was sure to follow!”

I beamed.  I did it!

After a brief silence, the class erupted.

“What the hell was that?” one man scoffed.

“Where’s your white dress, Mary?” another girl mocked.

They heard me! Oh no!

I squeezed my eyes shut and covered my ears.  “Shut up!  Shut up!”

The air fell silent.  My eyes creaked open to see the faceless class.  The instructor stood in the back, faceless as well.

I gave my report, clapped for myself and sat down.