Friday, March 22, 2013

St. Severin's Fish Dinners: A Seasonal Dish for Lent

An Adult size fish dinner for $9.00!
Friday is usually a busy or weird day and I usually want a dinner that is fast and easy.  I have been enjoying the fish dinners that they have been serving during Lent at the St. Severin Community Center once again this year.  Today is the last Friday before Good Friday, meaning it's the last week of fish dinners.  I'll miss this weekly meal, but look forward to getting them next year, as it has become a Lent tradition of sorts in our family.

The fish dinners at St. Severin have been being served in our little community for a good number of years now.  I don't remember when they started it, but can remember how big they used to be back then.  For years we used to get the child sized portions because they were plenty big enough.  They have since changed the size of the meals, but I feel that the overall quality of the food has improved.  It is all in all, a decent meal for $9.00.  You get plenty of food!  We will often get 2 meals out of each serving.  The food is incredibly good; I craved and demanded the coleslaw during the Lent of my pregnancy!  It has chunks of green peppers in it, by far the best I have had.  My husband raves about their stewed tomatoes and Celie loves their "magic cheese" (mac & cheese).  They offer fried and baked fish, we always opt for the baked when available, but both are delicious, especially alongside the buttery red potatoes that they come with.  Each serving  also includes a portion of mixed vegetables, sometimes green beans with almond slivers, even.  These seem to change from time to time as well; it's always a surprise!  You also get a dinner roll and a packet of butter.

The meal also comes with a dessert, which is a random helping of one of the many pastries and cakes provided by the church ladies and gents who help to make these meals possible.  You can eat in or take out; if you eat in, you get to pick your own dessert off of the dessert table.  If you get take out, as we do, it is yet another surprise!!  Like Forest Gump says, you never know what you're gonna get.  Sometimes it's cherry pie, apple crisp, blueberry cheese cake, Angel food, chocolate cake or cherry cheese cake.  Either way, you are sure to be pleased, unless you aren't down with dessert, in which case, pass it along to a sweets aficionado.  

The St. Severin Lent Fish Dinners are a decent dinner for your dollar.  This meal is incredibly filling, fairly well-balanced, and community provided.  The ONLY downside to it I see is all the Styrofoam being used, but I'm sure that is for costs and Jesus would probably even turn the other cheek if he ate the mac and cheese on the buttered roll in a sandwich dipped in the stewed tomatoes.  It's a seasonal staple that we eagerly look forward to every year.  Look for them every Friday during the Lent season, the 40 days just before Easter, at the St. Severin Community Center in Drifting.  It's a good eat!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rod Wives: When Saturday Sucks

Living as a Rod Wife can be hard enough, but what is even worse than seeing your man only two true days a week is when they work on Saturday.  Sure, overtime can be nice, but who cares about money when you are that lonely?  Oh, Mr. Scrooge?  Yeah, him, but for real?  We "pay" enough to live this way, I want my Saturday. We both sacrifice a lot to live the rod life, but it does allow me to spend this irreplaceable time with my child instead of in the work force, climbing a ladder or running with the rats.  I would rather do my work at home, but this life does come with sacrifices, as would the other one.  Everything comes with its price.

On this Saturday, for instance, my husband worked so he didn't get home until 6:30pm.  So right off the bat, Saturday feels like Friday, and obviously what should be Saturday morning is Sunday morning, soon turned Sunday evening and before the clock hands even seem to move it's Monday morning and he's leaving again.  That's barely enough time to get your laundry done, let alone feel like a family, do errands, and get some lovin's in.  At least on this Saturday, we had plans to fall into directly after he arrived which included dinner at a friend's, other children for entertainment (namely hers, meaning ours) and some wine!  So we were able to have an authentic Irish dinner and some grown up talk and beverages, while our midget enjoyed the company of some other shorties.  For a sucky Saturday it was pretty fun after all.  Most of the day was spent waiting for Joey to get home, which made it feel like Friday, but then it actually had the rewarding feeling Friday's used to have back when they included more friends, food, and fanfare, and less bawling, baths, and bedtimes.  It's nice to celebrate the return of your loved ones. Friday's were always a party; everyone was coming home.

Obviously things have changed with our week and weekend routines after having a child, but being a Rod Wife still sucks when you're both doing overtime.  Some men are gone for weeks on end, so I should be grateful we are only apart the amount that we are.  Money is nice, but not as nice as my husbands arms feel.  They can keep their money, I want our Saturday's.  It doesn't happen that often so it's important to look on the bright side of the situation when it occurs.  Absence has been known, for example, to make the heart grow fonder.  It's true.  It also makes the sex better.

Me To You,
Missie Sue

Friday, March 8, 2013

13 Fedoras, My Painted Face, and Endless Assumptions

The 13th Fedora!
It has been about a year since I purchased my black and white checkerboard fedora for myself.  I have dug hats in general much of my life, my dad seemed to always be sporting some fun head wear with or without a feather in it when I was younger.  Actually, hats did always seem to be on his head, but one of the main reasons for this was that he had no hair on the top of it.  Combine this with all of the outside work he did and he never would have stayed warm in the winter without his staple hunter orange beanie cap.  I learned the importance of head gear for warmth through him and over 8 years ago started to wear winter hats to save my body heat.  It worked magically, perhaps because my hair isn't so thick itself.  I felt so cold whenever I was without my hat.  It's funny how used to something you can grow.  When I adopted the fedora, or rather, when it adopted me, my constant wear produced the same separation anxiety when I was without.  I feel naked without one now.  I have half of my collection stacked in the living room and it is the last thing I put on when I am getting ready to go, and the first thing I take off when I return.  I have quite a few now; last year I got one for different events or occasions and happened upon some at other times that simply couldn't be rejected.  I often waited until they were on clearance and for awhile only paid $3 on average for most of them.  Today, I think the average is up to $7.  A few of them I received as gifts.  My parents got me one for Christmas, and my sister brought me one back from Korea that I can't wait to rock out this summer!  In all I have collected about a dozen fedoras in the last year. That's roughly one a month; not too shabby!  Recently, my friend Christal gave me my thirteenth fedora for a just because gift just because she is awesome like that.  It was my first official animal print fedora, which I find quite fitting.  And it was lucky number thirteen as well!

It is actually a rather breathable warm-weather fedora made of a mesh paper blend; not quite as warm as my black felt that I was already wearing the night Christal presented me with it, but I put it on when I picked her up for our mild Sunday night out.  Snazzy zebra stripes! She said I looked like Bret Michaels, but at least it wasn't a turban. I obviously don't mind looking ridiculous, as per my own definition of the word, that is.  Sometimes in public I forget that I am wearing a fedora because I generally do and am puzzled when people stare more than usual.  The same happens with my lip stick.  I forget my lips are bright red so you'd swear I was dressed for Halloween or something? It's just a hat; it's just lip stick!  I'm not the only woman to wear a fedora, they sell them at Walmart for fuck sake!

I don't necessarily enjoy the attention but I like being different because I like being myself.  There is a difference.  I was applying my trusted long lasting lip stick for a night out a few weeks ago and a male friend said all girls who wear make up as such do it for attention.  I FEEL I NEED TO MAKE A POINT!  Perhaps, I told him, I enjoy the angles of my face, I find them aesthetically pleasing, even.  Perhaps I even enjoy the contrast of the bright color against my pale flesh.  Painting a face is much like painting a portrait, only 3D and in makeup.  It's a very personal ritual, face painting.  Just because I wear a fedora and red lip stick doesn't mean I want the attention of every Tom Dickin' Creeper at the bar.  My make up is self love, it's me enjoying my femininity.  I'm sorry, but ironically, that has absolutely nothing to do with men!  My fedora is a form of self expression.  So, I'm just another poor girl 'asking for it' if I brighten my lips or wear a shiny hat?  Because I could only possibly be doing it for some outward form of attention?  Well, some women do, I give you that.  They build themselves up by the amount of attention they get from others.  That is how they feel loved.  This doesn't hold true for every woman.  The fact is, you have no idea what a woman is "asking for" unless you ask her.   In most cases, she probably isn't asking for anything!! Maybe that's your problem, men.  You assume too much.  Far far too much.

Regardless, the fedora does get some attention, not me.  It's like a tail, it has a personality of its own.  It has a fan base, some good, some bad.  I had one man tell me once that his friend told him that you have to "embrace the fedora".  That has stuck with me and remains one of my favorite found quotes.  Some man approached me and asked to buy my new fedora that night.  He apparently was a Bret Michaels fan.  A different night another man took it off of my head and proceeded to louse it up for me.  How dare you!  Another time, some drunk offered me a dollar to trade my shiny faux denim fedora for his ratty ass ball cap?  The nerve, the gall and the assumption!  I haven't lost one yet, and I'm proud of that.  Lay off the hat, you crazy Bret Michaels fans.  I'm expressing myself, over here!

Would you believe I have already moved on to number 14?  

Missie Sue

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dead Dreams and the Dirty Truth

I have been thinking about what my therapist said at our last session lately.  We were discussing my anxiety over all of my projects and ideas, work and play, my "Renaissance woman" nature, as she put it, and as I was going off about my inability to do everything she reminded me that I was forgetting the fact that I am a single mother during the week.  Not only am I a mother, which comes with all of its responsibilities and sacrifices, but I do it on my own the majority of the time, which comes with even more.  I feel bad even comparing myself to single mothers, who have to be the hardest working, most chronically stressed and strongest creatures on the face of the earth.  Props to that group of women, which includes my therapist.  (You are all amazing!)  Having her make the comparison herself allowed me to see the truth in it.  I am not a single mother for real, but it certainly can feel like it sometimes!  And like other real single mothers, and all mothers alike, time is of the essence.  It is valuable, and we have to manage it or it will manage us.  Sometimes there isn't enough time to do everything, and in order to prioritize for parenthood, we need to make sacrifices.  That's part of the deal.  Sometimes some parts of us have to experience a temporary death in order to rear new life, all in the hope that they will be resurrected one glorious, long-awaited day in the future.

I have given up a lot to be a mother, as does every woman.  We sacrifice our freedom, our time, our sleep, our nourishment, our hygiene and most cases our mental well being...all so our progeny is properly taken care of.  This is an amazing gift, both to give and to receive, but it also can be one of the most soul crippling acts of selflessness.  All of our personal pleasures in life, the places and things that we find and express ourselves in, can get put on hold.  We are at the beck and call of another creature.  Hobbies fall by the wayside, dreams fluttering after them.  My therapist used to be a trainer, she used to be a size 4, she used to be a sculptor, she used to be an artist...until 3 years ago when her son was born.  It was heart breaking hearing her tell how she cried as she covered her potter's wheel in her basement studio.  She had to put those parts of herself away in order to be the best mother she could be. At least temporarily.  In synchronistic fashion my dad mentioned the same thing to me the same day in the same words.  Parts die, not forever.  I am realizing how many directions I am pulling myself in creatively and I know that there are some things I need to put away, things that need to die, although, there are some parts of me that I refuse to give up.  I was forced to break myself down to my basic components and determine what is absolutely necessary for my spiritual survival.  What was the bread and butter of my soul?

When I was little, the first thing that I can remember ever wanting to be was an artist.  I can still remember the first time I was placed in front of an easel.  I can still feel that chalky paint being stirred by my over-sized brush in the bottom of that little Styrofoam cup.  I can still smell the powdery paint.  Part of me is still standing in front of that easel, looking at the blank paper, and making those first brush strokes.  I am still standing there, in so many ways in my life.  Still standing at the easel, at the very beginning.

Painting is an amazing feeling and release.  There is really nothing like it, if you are someone that understands its worth.  It isn't even my "thing" per say, just one of many sides of me, but I have been drawn to it since my early childhood.  It is an excellent means for expression.  It can also be pretty messy, time consuming, and not exactly kid friendly.  I was by some miracle able to squeeze in some painting time early last year, and that was the first time it happened in quite awhile.  I'm not even exactly sure how it happened, I think I just desperately needed it to happen at the time.  It was wonderful, but it gave me a false sense of hope about my life as a mother. It was exciting while I could swing it, but soon I had a stack of canvas and brushes and paints and rags wedged into our already cluttered bedroom.  And there it sat.

There it sat...mocking me.  Every morning I woke up and it was beside me, every night I curled up next to to a dead dream.  All snug as a bug, next to decaying hopes.  "You'll never paint me, EVER!"  The half painted ones taunted me.  It wasn't healthy.  I decided all of it was better out of sight, out of mind instead of in a limbo life, waiting for me to pull them out and pick up where I'd left off.  Not gonna happen.  Don't wait for me.  Shut the car off, I'm gonna be awhile. I decided that even though I feel so emotionally connected to painting and have always returned to it again, no matter how long I had previously given it up for, it represented something I just can't accomplish at this point in my life.  That representation was hard to see every single time I went into my bedroom, my supposed sanctuary.  It needed to be removed.  It was sand in my eye, it just made my eyes water and burn and itch!  It is hard to remember that this is only temporary.  It doesn't have to be forever, it just isn't my main priority right now in life. 

I have a lot of ideas and plans on my plate, I enjoy creating and expressing myself.  There are things that I do that have a purpose beyond expression.  My screen printing and piercing are both possibly lucrative activities, they obviously can not be put on the back burner.  Those projects and all activities they include will continue.  They are my work, not so much hobby, even though it feels like it at times. 

As far as pastimes go, when it comes down to it, writing and music are things I can not go without, and they are kind of tied around each other.  My spirit would be crushed if I had to give these forms of self expression up, especially writing.  It's the only thing that has always been there for me, that has always been a trusted pain reliever.  Sorry, Painting, but Writing stays. 

So, I decided that if my therapist can cover up her potter's wheel, if she can let her creative muscles atrophy until time and life permit her exercising them once again, surely I can give up some things that aren't so much a priority, mainly oil painting, which meant packing my things away in a plastic tote and saying goodbye...for now.  It wasn't as hard as I THOUGHT it would be, but it was still sad in a way.  I just have to remember that it isn't forever.  And I can focus those ideas, that energy, into other aspects of my life.  My screens can become my canvas as I work on my own shirt designs more.  I have been wanting to get a new set of water color pencils.  Perhaps they would be a little more child compliant?  I used to love using my set in college, I think it would be a good compromise.  Removing my small canvas collection helped to remove the negative feelings of failure they stir up in me and also forced me to define my inalienable creative outlets.  I can only be so many parts of me at a time.  It's like the Rock Hall, you have to rotate the exhibits, some pieces need to stay in the vault for a bit, but they will be displayed again.

The dirty truth about being a mother is that you can't be or do it all.  Parts of you die, huge parts, parts that have shaped and defined who you are as person.  Beautiful, colorful pieces of yourself need to be laid to rest for a time, but not forever.  I remember a few years ago my dad telling me that when you are young you tend to think that there won't be time for all of these things that you want to do, but then when you get there you realize, there is time.  Time is of the essence.  The time will come.

Are there any pieces of yourself that could use a temporary death?

In Time,
Missie Sue

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

If the Shirt Fits: Who is Missie Sue?

As is the norm for the daily and weekly monotonous grind of my life, it seems anymore, I am once again "dejunking".  What does that even mean?  There is too.much.stuff!!  The trouble is, my house really isn't sized for hoarding, and I haven't quite learned to let go yet.  Cut me some slack; I don't even have an attic or a basement!  (And it is far better that way...I think.  I still pine!)  But, I desperately want to simplify!  I'm practicing.  I have started to go into a brave "pitch it" phase that I very much want to take full advantage of in multiple areas of our home.  Lucky for me, my husband was relatively baggage free when we met, he had few physical possessions and not many noticeable issues.  "Score!  'Cause we're gonna need enough room for all of my shit!!"  (That's a metaphor!)  I have been carrying some of my baggage with me since before grade school!  It's pretty hard to part with something you have had that long, whether you use it daily or not.  We shared a space for nearing twenty years!  These things have surely absorbed my energies, and I have, I'm sure, sucked up some of their essences.  What defines you?  The stuff that touches you?  The things you keep?  The things you let go of?  If I cast off the things I used once to define myself, will I be any less myself?
I don't really believe we are defined by our possessions, I uphold, rather, the near opposite belief, I can be very anti physical reality at times. I am, as I say, obsessively nostalgic. Go figure!  I do think I compulsively hold on to certain items for a reason.  I also struggle daily with getting the junk out in some sort of a routine!  I have so far THIS TIME AROUND been able to go through the spices and some of the vitamins and medicines. I tossed a lot of expired and old things.  No matter how small the object, this act is terrifying and empowering.  I feel a tiny bit of control in the out of control nature of pitching and tossing.  I have a bag full at the door of clothes.  I have a bag I am currently filling up.  I tossed in some things I pulled out of the glove and winter hat stash.  I am going through sweaters and already have three that can definitely go.  I'm trying to see these things differently. will be easier to let go if they aren't so useful? (They aren't.)  If they aren't so comforting?  (They stress me out!)  If they no longer have a purpose and I realize how I don't really use them or need them anyway it will be easier to toss the shit out!  (Yes!)  If you don't love it, it isn't useful, and it doesn't save you time or make you money....hey hey hey...goodbye!!

My big red fuzzy bathrobe, for instance.  I got it from a friend, it's awesome and warm.  To me, it's a tastefully dyed Egyptian cotton.  In reality, it is bright red and 100% polyester.  It's a Secret Treasure.  It's an impostor; a used bathrobe.  It's not even my very own, knitted out of fetal goat hair gathered on the full moon and dyed with my own menstrual blood or anything.  What's the attachment?  I can't help but wonder why I have kept it for so long when it isn't a real part of my life and honestly, I don't even use a bathrobe...but I fancy that I might.  It is for this reason I have so many clothes, so many books, so many art supplies, so many containers, so many totes full of things, things I fancy as essential parts of my life.  Things that I fancy a use for someday.  Things that I fancy will fit me one day.  I fancy I might, when it suites my fancy.  Well, isn't that grand?  The grand clutter of Missie Sue.  Who is she, in all this mess?

I have this plaid, short sleeved, button down shirt.  I believe it was one I took from my father's closet in high school, when I was very into wearing my dad's old shirts from the 70's and 80's.  I was also into punk at the time, which seemed to be into name tags.  Silly ones, real ones, whatever, it was a style.  I wanted a name tag, but not a fake one.  I didn't want something made for someone else; I wanted something completely original, my own name.  It was at this time that I decided to combine my nickname and my middle name and make it greater than the sum of its parts.  I cut a small piece of an iron on patch and by my sloppy hand embroidered it with the name "Missie Sue" in yellow cross stitch thread.  Missie Sue became a character that represented my dominant side, the part of me that was desperately seeking an identity in high school.  That part inside that was going to express itself or die.  The same side that writes this blog, the same Missie Sue.  This shirt fits me like a glove.  It was my very first uniform, my first super hero cape.  My name tag.  I bravely named myself, creating my own brand in an attempt to avoid receiving a label.  Unfortunately, I still received plenty of those, but fortunately I  established a relationship with my "better" side, a relationship that continues today, the longest relationship I will ever be in.

So, do I really need a red bathrobe for comfort?   Would I miss it if it wasn't here to occasionally throw on for warmth?  Should a person struggling with depression really purposely make it a habit to wear a bathrobe MORE often?  Isn't that just insult to injury?  Should I toss the plaid shirt?  It would look good over a blue or brown tank top?  I could probably pull off plaid with a fedora?  I could rock it out for old time's sake.  Will I actually WEAR my old uniform ever again?  Is it REALLY a necessary part of my wardrobe or person, required to be who I am?  Probably not...but I fancy it is.

What's the attachment?

Me To You,
Missie Sue