Addict · Addiction · Bloggess · dating · dating life · death · Farmer · Life · Life story · love · Recovery · Uncategorized

The Knife….

It is very cold outside over here in Sacramento, California- or in Roseville that is. The seasons are changing so fast, days into nights and nights into days. My chickens are producing daily and my fat cat Hermes is just getting fatter. Time is continuing to move on. So am I. It has been a hard six months or more- it gets easier and then it doesn’t. I am still mourning what I once had. I’m still mourning the death of my relationship and my best friend. I am still hurting.

I carried a knife before, several actually at different times in my life. I carried them from my past life into my new life. At any given moment I would get myself into situations where a knife was not only needed but expected to be had. I was relied upon. I have always been the one. I am still the one who gets it done -the “it” just looks different now. Whatever it is I still get it done.

My life is so different from those past yesteryear’s and the knives I carried, though now look much different and surely used differently, were usually confiscated by TSA every other flight I have taken when I forgot to check my pockets or purse. Such is life. I lost them. At some point though I surrendered them. I surrendered them to the safety I felt in the relationship with him- the man I loved so – Michael carried a knife.

I recently realized I should probably get a new knife. It makes me feel safe. It’s just me now. I no longer rely upon anyone else to make me feel safe. Or is it allow myself to feel safe with? I don’t know? I tried. Am trying. A knife is easier. I can’t do anything else and don’t want to. My heart still hurts.

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My last knife

I put it down, and pick it up. The feelings that I carried. The illusion of what I thought we would be is fading. I can’t say has faded- it is fading. It’s a process, a slow one. I am so thankful for the time and the memories. The moments that I ponder on and the pictures I still look at sometimes.

I think that is the hardest part? The reason I started to delete the memories as they come. I can’t get over it if I keep looking. It’s like pulling up my Band-Aid to see if it’s still bleeding and causing it to never heal. I am healing. I did save the best pictures though- just for me. I am not sure for how long I will keep them? I have to let go. I would rather not even participate in certain events and things in my life knowing Michael will be there. There is so much in this life I get to participate in and so many people to surround myself with. I don’t have to focus on what is no longer.

Something new is always around the corner- as long as I am willing to keep going and looking. I am willing to keep going and one day I may even be ready to really start looking again. I am not sure anymore what I am looking for? I had it pretty fucking good. I can’t say I want it back- I want better. Is that even possible? The fact is yes it is, as long as I am willing to keep working on me. Everything and anything is possible!

The Chicken Lady16729466_1430041353697421_4332220782866558565_n

Addict · Addiction · Bloggess · Childhood · death · Family · Farmer · hopeless · Life · Life story · love · Recovery · Uncategorized

No More Numbers….

I haven’t written in a bit- anything that I have put here that is. My time has been spent on numerous applications and Statement of Qualifications along with Cover Letters and Resumes; over thirty so far. All of that dedicated writing has garnered me six interviews in the field I am attempting to enter, two within just the past few days. Those who know say I am doing great since it takes determination to enter this field at the level of which I am attempting to come in at. Perseverance. Do you know how different my life is now than it ever was before? It is evolving daily- still. Gratefully.

Today marks a few things to remember, December 19th is my daughter Marina’s birthday- she is now 28 and December 19, 2008 was the date of my last sentencing for crimes committed- to date. I say to date because – well if I fail to remember where I came from or what I was like I may be doomed to repeat. I do not forget. I was given a gift, a gift that took a few years to grasp with my thinking and stubborn head; I needed to bleed a bit more before I surrendered.

I remember the day well when I surrendered for the first time, actually I was just trying to get to my mother’s computer where I had hidden a check writing program. That was all I really needed, her computer. My laptop had been stolen 24 hours or more earlier- not sure of the timing. Who pays attention to the timing when they are released from jail on a heroin charge in a small town like Jackson in Amador County, California? Who hails a cab because she has no wheels and heads straight to the casino? Did I mention hailing a cab in Jackson is not the easiest thing to do? This was way back before things like Uber and Lyft. Oh, and the who – that was me. Just a bit of what I was like back then. I was a nightmare who scared many in my path, especially those I loved the most. Family.

The surrender as I mentioned did not look like a surrender- it was just a manipulation for what I needed. The outcome became willingness. Willingness to enter detox for the first time ever. Detox. That is for addicts by the way- I was not an addict at the time. Or so I thought? I was just tired.

She was there for me, my Aunt Lily. She opened the door for me and thousands of others just like me. Lily ran the detox at the Effort for many years. That first time in detox was like a vacation- I just fell out. When they took me to a meeting after I was well enough it was like a field trip. The meaning behind all that is, I don’t think I took it all that serious. I did in my way. In my own little dope fiend way.

Lily passed away Monday night on December 16, 2019, a few days ago. It is fresh, the emotions are real and so is the gratitude. Lily knew me before I was even born, she is family. My father, a little known secret, was the very first to get her loaded. She often joked and reminded me of that and my dad corroborated it at least once in jest. It was more like a blackmail and the rest of the story I will save for another day maybe. This is about the numbers.

Not the numbers of times I ended up in detox, which would be four. My calls from another county or better yet someone calling for me and making arrangements for me to come in again. Lily always said the same thing, “come in well.” If and when I made it there I was safe for a while. One time I recall shooting up at the little VFW just at the corner, I just needed one more. After the fourteen day detox that in the end would become a ten day detox until the very end when I bounced on day three; there was usually a residential program she had already arranged a bed for me at.

Seeds. The seeds were planted long before I knew, long before I was willing, long before I came to believe.

The numbers of which I am referring to are the little gold numbers I wear around my neck. They will not be there again. The numbers are gone. The numbers that passed from woman to woman on their clean-dates are gone- but not the memories. The strength is still there. The wisdom is still there. The courage is still there. The commitment is still there and the love. The love that she showed me, the unconditional love- no matter what.

I cherished those numbers and the date they were always given to me by my Aunt Lily- my clean date, September 5, 2008. I now have over 11 years clean and I have Lily to thank for that and so many others. Lily would give me my number representing my years in recovery and I would surrender the previous year’s number to be passed down to the next woman. Lily had numbers up to 19. She had faded into a coma throughout those past few weeks and woke on the day she celebrated 20 years, December 3, 2019. The tradition is over and will fade.

Lily knew me. She knew where I had come from and she knew the people I had run with- she knew my family too. Not many people can say that about me. My Aunt Lily hand-picked my Sponsor and sent her to me in that very first program after she delivered me from the detox. She also stopped at the pawn shop from the detox to the program so I could pick up some things- you know how we do it. Lily knew. She knew what I needed before I knew. Although I didn’t stay way back then, I eventually made my way back. I am so grateful I made it back, that is not always the outcome for addicts in recovery who choose to go out.

I was afforded a gift in the end with my Aunt Lily and that is time. My beautiful mother cared for her since they, to this day, have always stayed the best of friends. She stayed in mom’s spare room until my mother delivered her back to the hospital. She was younger than my mom. How crazy is that? Lily was good and so full of life one day and then she was gone.

Hold on to your loved ones and cherish them while you have the time. Just love….

The Chicken Lady11222444_416677725194743_1751676487993896391_o

Addict · Addiction · Bloggess · dogs · Family · Farmer · Life · Life story · love · Recovery

He Rescued Me….

It took me many years to understand what love is. Countless hours and many tears. Most of those tears were self inflicted with the choices I chose to endure for the interpretation of what I thought love was for so long. What I thought I deserved. What I thought I was worth. I was very sick in the disease of my addiction for many years to know any other way.

Gratefully that changed when I found a new way to live through the 12 step program that I actively participate in. I say actively because for me it takes a daily application of spiritual principles followed up with some traditions to live the way I do, lest I fall into the pit of despair – which is my old ways of thinking. In turn that brings up my old ways of speaking and reacting too, but I digress.

I haven’t really written anything in some time. If I write it is usually about life. My life. I tend not write about the same thing in a million different ways thinking to myself that it is something new. It’s not. Especially if the same people tend to read your material once written. It can turn out to be the same regurgitated rhetoric in some new shape or form, just another day. Writing in some ways is about healing. I hope to continue to write and I always hope to continue to heal.

Today was a hard day. I had to make a decision to put my first love in this new way of life down. My dog Snoopy. Sure I love the kids and yes I love myself, but the truth of the matter is I didn’t even know what love was until the age of 42. Hence the reason for the tattoo on my left shoulder as a subtle reminder.  Snoopy was a good dog. He was a rescue dog. He was our family dog and ultimately my dog.

Snoopy was a Beagle, my big fat Beagle. I spent countless hours and days scouring kennels all over Northern California from my cubicle for what would eventually be him. His given name was Tonka. We all showed up together and spent some time with him before making the decision to bring him home that day. I never knew how old he really was, maybe three or four? Irene quickly changed his name to Snoopy and he never answered to Tonka again.

The kennel gave me his folder and a few stories. Snoopy was a returnee to the them. Even after being micro-chipped. Apparently he escaped from his new owners and was found roaming the streets of Auburn before being taken to the kennel again. The new owners refused to pick him up and they said never answered their phone. How sad for Snoopy.

Snoopy never left me. He never ran from me. He loved me and he loved my home. I loved my home. It was safe I suppose for him? He had an entire back forty to markup daily. There was always something new, especially when I decided to bring home chickens.

They say, as a joke, get a plant. If you can keep the plant alive you may be ready for something else. Well if you want to know about unconditional love, get a dog. Get a rescue dog. Furthermore, get a Beagle. They are absolute emotionless dogs. His face always looked so somber. He was not a jumper and never really a barker unless food was involved. Actually that was a habit he picked up near the end. He was not too old to pick up new tricks.

Snoopy rescued me. He gave me something to care for. Someone to love. I loved him and he loved me right back with no expectations! I stayed in there until far after the end. It was so quick. They didn’t say it would be that quick. They did say it would be painless. He was in so much pain. I don’t think I will get another dog. I think I am done for a while. With so much I am done.

Yesterday I made a decision to let all my worldly possessions go. I didn’t mean this one too! I may let it all go, but I will keep this.

The Chicken Lady

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Addict · Addiction · Bloggess · Family · Farmer · hopeless · Life · Life story · Mother · Recovery

I remember vividly what it was like to be so hopeless….

To just not want to be! Not there with him, not there with me! One more time with a busted face. In the situations that I got myself into, those one more time here I go situations. I was not a victim, I was a product of the life that I chose.

I remember though that last drive in the field with him. That out in the middle of nowhere, off the dirt road in the country farming field drive. Yep- I thought that was it. He did love me in his way and I loved him in mine. The sick individual that I was who had all but succumbed to the disease of addiction. I remember just listening to him go on and on about me of course; what I was and what I was making him do to me. What saved me that day was my God. One more time. When the farmer drove out to see who was in his field I stared at him through the truck window blankly.

Please see me is what my face said without a word. See me! You will see it one day I hope in a missing persons report, maybe on television- have you seen her? They might be able to reconstruct my body with the bones that have been found. I don’t know how long it will take them to find me, I don’t know how long it will take anyone to notice I am gone. Those are the thoughts that went through my head on that day. He did look at me, almost as if he knew what I was thinking. He drove back around and stared at us as he drove out of the field as if to say to him- I saw her.

That farmer probably would have been the only one to wonder where I was. I had been gone for so long. Gone from my family, from my children, from life. I was a shell of a human being with no spirit in her whatsoever. I had become a machine who was capable of the most outrageous sort of nonsense that always ended in pain. Pain was my friend however, it was the only thing that stayed with me throughout the years. What I knew to be true in my life. Pain.

Within twenty-four hours though the pain was just too much to bear. I could no longer hide my heroin use from him which made everything worse than what it already was. If I could just use a little more to take me away. Just one more. Just for a little bit. All the other drugs we used were ok, but not this one, not with him. As he walked around the truck telling me all about myself he never noticed- he couldn’t see. All those stashes I had, all the pills the booze the this and the that. I took it all. I just wanted to not be there. I wanted to be anywhere but there.

I was supposed to stay in the truck and not move. That was my mission while he went in real quick. It felt like forever and I was falling out. I just needed to move- my head was spinning. I made it to the corner store, they knew me well in there. I remember seeing him drive the other way- he never saw me. The last thing I remember was the clerk asking me if I was ok and the next thing I remember was her.

She asked me if I knew my name. She asked me if I tried to kill myself. I nodded yes. With tears rolling down the corner of my eyes as they are now and the ventilator tubes down my throat, iv’s everywhere I nodded yes. She bent down and whispered into my ears,”honey don’t say that, you don’t want to go where they are going to send you if you say that, I am going to ask you again.” When she did I said I shook my head no. I called him when it was time to be released but he did not answer. Of course not, he did not know the number. The only other number I knew was my mother’s.

She picked me up, it was less than those twenty-four hours again. I could barely walk and couldn’t stay awake for sure. She wanted to talk to me but that was not possible. She didn’t know. What she saw was the hospital release, with all the drugs and mom called the police. She was always calling the police on me, from the age of 13 she had been calling them. This time was different though- they took me. With all her screaming and crying not to take me, they took me. Once again that was my God. Removing me from a situation I might not walked away from.

I went down for a 45 day commitment for failure to pay child support on those children I had abandoned. Within two weeks Richard would be held up in a hotel on Richard’s Blvd. no less for a twenty-two hour stand-off with every law enforcement agency around including the ATF shutting down the local freeway. I watched this go down from my cell to the best of my ability until they took me out of my cell for that recording. He was willing to come out and surrender if he could speak to me- that wasn’t going to happen, but they were willing to relay a recording. So I did. I started it off with the gun he has is mine and any crime used with it before this stand-off was mine as well. It ended with tear gas and you can imagine the rest.

Shortly after my release that time I was introduced to detox. I needed it. It would not be my first, but it is what it is and it took what it took. I am grateful for those times in my life. They have made me who I am today. Many people I knew from those days said when they saw him on television with the stand-off they knew I was dead already. He had killed me they thought. He must have killed me otherwise I would have been there with him in that hotel room. What I know today is if I had been there- he would have.

Did I mention I married him? I did. Or at least I did just as soon as I could and that would take a little bit longer. That is not today’s story though.

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Addict · Autism · Bloggess · Farmer · Life · Mother · Recovery

I Am Her Best Friend….

I have not had the time that it takes lately to sit and clack the keys, that’s rather unfortunate too as I have so much swirling in my head.  At this moment though, I am sipping my coffee on a beautiful Sunday morning, the chores are done- which means the chickens have been fed, the dogs are outside and have eaten as well and my sewer cat is out roaming the streets somewhere in front of my home.  Irene my daughter is sliding through the house in her slipper socks on the hardwood floors humming one of her favorite tunes while she intermittently hops in my bed and pulls the covers over- before she starts her routine again for another round.

This little ditty is about her, my daughter Irene, I am her best friend.  I am her only friend as well.  I am the mother of an Autistic child and while she may look like your average girl on the outside- she is not.  More importantly you may think she is just like everyone else- she is not.  What is normal for some is not for others. Irene is different.  She is sixteen and has no friends but me, no real friends. No one.  She is humming in her room right now, it’s the sweetest sound ever.  We are getting ready to go on an outing, one she actually wants to go on, not one I have to drag her on.  It is winter so she will be wearing her earmuffs, which really protect her from the sounds of the outside world.  I cannot tell you how many sets we have gone through.

I try really hard to get her involved in outside activities, to expose her to the outside world I want her to participate in life one day on her own.  I hope she participates one day on her own.  We are in Girl Scouts, Swimming, Knitting Club, Kindness Club, and even a Youth Advisory Council.  Some of those I push her into and some of those my darling daughter has chosen on her own- to my amazement.  It has taken years  of Social Skills classes, for the both of us, for her to come out of her shell.

She’s still there, in that shell mostly though and that’s ok. She’s in her own little world most of the time. My job as her parent, the parent of an Autistic child, is a little harder than the parent of any other child.  Why? She IS different.  She does not know the value of a dollar and will give it away, all of it, if I am not constantly reminding her of how to gauge her money. She does not know of friends, real friends, or those who want to be kind to take something from her.  The world we live in will take it from her.  It will take all of it from her if I let it- It will take her innocence.

I know I can’t protect her from everything, but I can try.  I don’t go out often and when I do it’s calculated for short periods of time.  I do not take her everywhere either, she doesn’t want to go and she doesn’t have to.  She is sixteen now and can stay home alone, but I don’t like to leave her for long. Alone. More importantly I need to keep my eye on her when I take her wherever- why, because I am her mother.  She is not your average sixteen year old girl, even though she looks the part.

Irene has shot a gun, a rifle if you will and she has been kissed; all on one outing, that I trusted the kids around us to let her go with. That I listened to those parents around me say it will be ok, she will be fine, let her go have fun.  It only took one hour if that for all that to happen- her first kiss, from a boy she didn’t know and still doesn’t.  From a boy she doesn’t even recall his name. That is not how I wanted her first kiss to be. That shouldn’t be how anyone’s first kiss is.  I should not have found out six months later in an office where things were being discussed and words like depression and medication were being hurled around. That is how it happened though. I know better.

I was chatting with a mother last week about these very things.  She knows my story because she lives it too.  We get to comfort one another because sometimes people around us don’t understand, especially when she looks just like every other sixteen year old girl. She’s loud sometimes, she panics, she cries and yells; these happen much less than they did before. Now she has moved on to pulling her hair out-I don’t even think she is aware of it. Depression, Anxiety, Autism, ADHD are all wrapped up with the sweetest smile you will ever see humming the most beautiful sounds. I was meant to be her mother for a reason, I was chosen.

I started these words in the morning, but took a break to do some things she loves.  We went to Apple Hill, and to a few of her favorite stores.  She doesn’t even like apples, or the buzz of the place and the people around.  She enjoyed today though as it was quiet and the people of the season had already come and gone; French fries and Honey Stix, that’s it, all she wanted.  Sometimes I will take a drive, yes an hour away for fries and honey just to get her out of her room and the house.  Today we got to enjoy the company of him, who doesn’t mind us too much either.

The Chicken Lady

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Addict · Bloggess · Farmer · Life · Mother · Recovery

It’s Been a Whole Year….

My son Alex left our little city of Sacramento, California a year ago yesterday, well technically I live in Carmichael but does that even matter. What I know is that in the year my son has gone he’s become gainfully employed with a career he loves, bought a new car, and moved out on his own. He’s become a man. Life goes on- just keep going.

Saturday Morning with Coffee and Chickens

Uncharted Territory….

I’ve been staring out in the yard as I watch the sprinkles start to slowly come down, the chickens are huddling under the coop from the weather. No matter what, life is good.

There has been a lot of the “what” going on lately and yes I will write about just a bit. I write for me, not for you by the way, I love it. I digress. I’ve been able to show up and be present to bury an ex husband recently, spend a lot of time holding his hand and watching TV before he passed, see a family I haven’t seen for 23 years, make an amends, and be there for our two children and their choices not to see him throughout it all. You know, that whole life on life’s terms thing. All this has been really odd by the way, it was as if after I appeared he didn’t want to die, even removing himself from the DNR. David lasted just over another month, he was only 49, his heart failed five years earlier, his pacemaker was no longer working now, kidneys and lungs failing too, he shut down. He was one of us.

I’ve been pretty lucky where my children are concerned. I have been able to be reunited with most and have them in my lives; even been able to raise a few still. I am a prime example of what not to do for them. They have witnessed and learned from my choices what they don’t want out of life or at least I thought they had, there had to be one.

My son Alex, seems to be forging his own way, still partying at 23. You know, it’s legal now. We’ve had the conversations, no you can’t plant “tomatoes” in the back 40, no you can’t have a party here, I don’t care how old you are, and so on. This is my house, I still have young girls here, what they see, and what I do matters. I don’t want them to think it’s normal to work, party, eat, play video games, and repeat. It’s not. That is not the life I want for them so that is not the life I will show them. How you speak to me, how you treat me, what I accept, what I tolerate, look the other way at and invite into my life and my house will shape my children forever. I know this to be true from my own childhood.

Alex just never seemed to get it and still hasn’t. I can only hope he does soon. Maybe I am a hard ass? I can’t co your shit, I refuse, not even my children’s. It took my own mother a long time to learn that one, I was a terror. Who really knows how to be a parent right? We learn as we go, or at least I am. I have taken pieces from my mother, people in the rooms and a memory of what I don’t want myself for my children. That is all I have, along with faith, hope, honesty, open mindedness, willingness, trust, gratitude, humility, and LOVE, just to name a few.

This is uncharted territory, my son has left, not just my home but the state. I asked him to go, gave him options, of course none of which he took. He is forging his own path, I can only pray that it is a good one. Not the path that I walked for so long, the path that his father chose and who I just buried. As for me, I will continue to show up, do what I do, and stay grateful.

The Chicken Lady

Addict · Bloggess · Farmer · Life · Mother · Recovery

Faith in today, October 2nd….

Just a note-This day is one of the best days of my life!  This is a year old, my girls have now as of today, October 2, 2017 been in my custody for 5 years.  I have almost been in my older children’s lives as long as I was gone. The picture of when they were young, Cassidy was just visiting having already been removed from me along with her brothers and sister who I would go 10 years without seeing. It’s also shortly before I would leave altogether.  Happy Birthday Mom- it is never too late!

Sunday Morning with Coffee and Chickens:

Faith in today, October 2nd….
As I sip on my coffee watching my chickens mill around the back forty searching for grubs and enjoying the fall leaves; I know how truly blessed I am. Usually I have the back slider open, my computer sits right next to it and I can hear the sounds of my yard, I love that. This morning however there is a fall chill and even though I love that more, there is a grandchild sleeping on my couch. So I type these keys lightly and keep the chill out for him, ever aware of how different my life is today.

October 2nd is a huge day for my family, it’s my mother’s 72nd birthday. My father is celebrating a huge milestone, one of which you have to know him to know. Today also marks 4 years since I stood before the judge and earned the right to have custody of my young girls, who are not so young anymore.

This was no easy feat, having been gone for as many years as I was out of my children’s lives. I was there sometimes, but I was never really there, and for many years I was not even there; you know. I did not have the support of my family when I decided to regain custody, my biological family that is, and understandably so. I knew though, I knew I was done; even at over 3 years clean back then, they did not. That is Ok, I’ve got a proven track record of what I was like that mom knew all too well.

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Cassidy and Irene
Imagine my shock when the court clerk gave me a court date that landed on mom’s birthday. I actually asked for a different date out of fear, they said no. It was meant to be. I came to believe quickly that it was a sign, my Higher Power knew what was going on long before I ever had a thought of it. This would be the best gift I could ever give my mother, the gift of being a grandmother not a guardian. The gift of her daughter becoming accountable, responsible, and present in her children’s lives. Although that is not how she saw it then, I knew, and she does now too 4 years later.

I remember an affirmation that was given to me by my family the weekend I made the decision to file for custody of my girls. My NA family. Divine Wisdom Guides You, I believe that and have faith in that.

There are no coincidences in my life, everything has happened and will happen for a reason. I have faith, and I pay attention to the little things that I consider signs. I didn’t always….

The Chicken Lady

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Addict · Bloggess · Farmer · Life · Recovery

The Legend and the Superstar….

It is a Saturday morning and my coffee is almost done- it’s still dark outside since the time change has set in with the month of September being more than halfway over. I really need a cup of coffee though so hold on just one moment….  Perfect. Now because of fall my chickens are not even thinking of stirring about.  The girls, my chickens,  get a break so to say during the cold months. They like to go to bed early, wake late, and egg production seems to slow -it’s called mother nature.  Although I could hang lights to ensure my egg count doesn’t drop, I prefer the natural way and have a couple of chickens who are year round layers to keep my family afloat.

It seems like life is just like that, a change of seasons.  As I get older I seem to appreciate life so much more where previously I took it all for granted. No longer though. Now I stay in the moment and take everything I can in; especially time with those I love knowing how fast it can all be gone. Around here is a sad day for many I know including myself for someone who has been taken in the blink of an eye way too young- but that is not my story to tell and those thoughts I will keep to myself.

This story is about a man who lived quite a few years- his name is Steve. While he is no longer here his life is a celebration. The days he enjoyed outside the walls of a prison that confined him for so long are all, every one of them, a miracle that many of us had the pleasure to witness. I heard about Steve long before he came home so to speak, home to us and the circle I run with.  Now if you have ever read one of my stories you know the circle I speak of- it is worldwide. One of the gifts that I get by hanging around this circle is enjoying to the fullest the people I meet and the journeys that we walk together.

I met Steve on day one at a meeting and gave him a hug, but he didn’t remember me. How could he? Steve had what to him probably seem like a million people wanting hugs and pictures. We loved on him how we do.  I myself just took the hug and said welcome home.  Steve looked like he was shell-shocked and I didn’t want to be just another person walking up to take a picture with him.

I remember watching on Facebook Steve getting his first phone, ice cream and so on.  Next thing you know he was on Facebook with his own account and later would join Instagram. We became “friends” so to say, social media friends. Shortly after that we started chatting. We had some of the most funniest conversations, I am sure he had funny conversations with everyone, but these were mine. It seemed as if Steve took to social media like a butterfly takes to wings, he just took off.  Steve took to life that way too.  I can’t begin to imagine the life he had behind the walls for so long, that is not my story.  However my truth is I have imagined it and took part in it considering the choices that I made for a while and those that I kept close to me lived it for me-some still do.

This made me appreciate Steve’s journey so much more, I watched him with complete joy.  Someone made it out and was living life to the fullest! I watched him everywhere with everyone, there were a million pictures taken with Steve, it seemed to be a thing.

Steve used to call me a superstar in our conversations, of course I told him I was not. “The famous Chicken Lady,” he would say to me and, “when would we meet?”  A friend had called me the Chicken Lady once and it stuck so I used it often and still do to this day. Social media can make it seem like people may be famous I guess if you have been sheltered for so long and start to live through your phone.  He was glued to his, it was very funny.  In seconds we would be chatting from Instagram to Facebook and back again as if he forgot what he was doing and our last conversation. My cubicle life at the time made room for that, but not so much anymore by choice.

By a series of events that happened one day on September 22, 2016, things being cancelled and so on in my life I had a free night and Steve had asked me to join him. I said yes. We drove forever for a meeting, one was closed so we just kept driving around Sacramento until we found an open door.  We talked of tacos, women, how I had kissed more girls than him, and relationships. I shared quite a bit with him and in return he did the same. We laughed so much that night. I had never heard Steve’s story so to say and he really wanted me to hear it-so much so that he interrupted the meeting and asked if he could share. I had never seen such a thing and of course he was obliged. At the end of the night I took him to his home and we laughed all the way there too, the conversation never stopped for a second. We had the best meeting in that car, just the two of us, both addicts sharing with one another.

Before leaving my car that night he told me how happy he was to finally meet a superstar-the famous Chicken Lady. I said what are you talking about Steve, you are the superstar my friend-the man, the myth, “the legend,” and it was me who was happy to spend some time with him. Someone who finally made it out! We chatted for a bit later that night and laughed some more.  His last message to me was at 4:23am in the early morning hours.  Steve went to sleep and never woke up. I was in disbelief when I heard the news, yes on social media. I don’t know why but I messaged him simply-Steve. He never answered me. We did finally take that picture that night-his last selfie, at the last meeting he shared at where I got to hear his story. At times I still wear his sweater, it keeps me warm on cold nights and I place his picture on my family altar for Dia De Los Muertos where I celebrate those in my life that have passed. Those that I love.

The Chicken Lady14463126_1275000612534830_1494495725889716742_n

Addict · Bloggess · Farmer · Life · Mother · Recovery

Peas and Carrots with a Side of Addiction….

It’s early on Saturday morning and I have to hit the road soon. So soon that the chickens are lucky they got replenished water and feed before I left and my coffee has barely had time to steep in my little French Press. The taste is not half bad though. How could it be? No matter what I do I take the time to do it right. Yes even when I am in a rush. The dogs are staring at me as if I forgot about feeding them, I have but will handle that soon.  I really just wanted to put these thoughts that have been swirling around in my head down on paper before I travel.  I would like to think that will not take long as well, this story has been percolating since Tuesday night. My truth is Saturday has now turned into Sunday morning.  Most of this was written yesterday but the full life that I embrace today sometimes takes precedence over words-the words can be written later. Life is about living and I am going to live it-now on to the story.

Have you ever had that one person that you just meshed with from the first encounter?  Like peas and carrots. Well many moons ago in another life I had that. I met her. Her name is Yolanda and that is what she goes by now, she will always be Nani to me though. No I have not changed any names for the sake of privacy and I heard someone once say, “if you don’t like what I write, you should have lived differently.”  This is my story and I digress-I do that sometimes. By our second encounter, within moments she had me seated in a chair and was dying the tips of my hair blonde, I am a brunette. I remember Nani saying my hair would look, “tuff,” she was right. Boy did I look different.  I usually looked out-of-place wherever I was, but I always fit right in.

We would rapidly become inseparable; her husband Jeff even let me in and I would say even trusted me.  Now with the lives we were living at that time trust was abnormal.  I trusted them though and they were my home, wherever I was.  I would go here and there, often alone, but their door was always open to me and just a phone call away from no matter what city I was in. They did have a home when we first met, but with the choices we make their home disappeared just like mine had along with my children years earlier and hotels and motels were now a way of life. We had become nomads.  I remember on one occasion where I was in a situation where Nani just happened to walk up, I was in a hotel in a rather frightful disposition that had gone all bad.  There were four or five people who had come for me and maybe even a bat, little old me, all men and just one woman because-well we were equal opportunity people back then with not a care or code in the world. Someone had thought I was after her man and I was going to pay a price, well that was never the case but with my looks it was always what they thought.  The truth is, if I was with your man it was because he was as crazy and willing as I was to commit a crime-no questions asked or a hesitation in the world, just go.  Nani knew them, more importantly, she knew me better than that and had the clout with one word to put an end to that in an instant.

After that incident I got in the car with them and took off for a ride that would not stop for quite some time.  Let’s face it, I was the only licensed driver out of all of us. There was another captive-we will call him Ed because that is his name.  At times we would have another passenger in our little caravan but that was more of a burden than anything, a babysitting job if you will, so he did not travel with us often.  Heroin addicts can be such a handful.  That’s what everyone was but me, I was the tweaker who just dabbled here and there with THAT.  Amazingly enough Ed had a beautiful mansion of a home in Truckee, California and more property in Southern California, but we never managed to make it there often and spent most of our time in hotels-we were just busy people doing a whole lot of nothing with our lives.

As much fun as all of that sounds, sometimes you get tired of the life.  Well I got tired, literally tired, and instead of leaving with Ed to Truckee  I grabbed the Hilton’s pillows and took off to another spot to sleep-I always had spots.  I loved Truckee by the way and the house, at the time though my job was to keep Ed interested and not necessarily with scrabble; with my smile and sweet conversation-nothing more.  I was good at what I did no matter what I was doing.

I would leave one way, Ed would leave another and within two hours our friends were incarcerated.  That was the end of us practically.  After a series of rather unfortunate events ensued and the dust had landed Nani would do 6 years in the penitentiary, Jeff would hang himself in the Amador County Jail on his way to prison, Ed would be on his own to be manipulated by others not so kind as us, and I would land in recovery one more time- not the last time.

After a few more times in and out I stayed in the rooms. It was actually Ed who was now clean and extended a helping hand to me when I finally landed thankfully and gave my life a chance.  As soon as I could I found her and took care of her with all the stuff you do for a person who was in prison.  I was good at that too.  I had hope my friend would follow my footsteps, like I had followed hers once- that we would be peas and carrots again.  She used to tell me she could no longer hang out with me because I would be the one to send her back to prison with the crazy stunts I pulled. Nani had done 10 years earlier in the penitentiary – we were not nice people.  She was now the one doing time and I was out living.  For some time I held myself accountable- if I had stayed, if I was driving, if I was watching him none of that would have happened.  I have since made peace with all that and I know it was just not my burden to bear.  It is the choices that we make that take us on the paths that we live.

Well my friend came in and out of the rooms that I stay in.  For a while we were like peas and carrots again and her daughter even followed her into a different life.  That meant her grandchildren would start living differently too.  Nani did not stay, but her daughter did and maybe that was all that was supposed to happen.  They are my gifts that I get to watch from afar. I have seen them grow up, re-unite with their mom, and continue to have beautiful lives- they are teenagers now.

My friend just got out-again.  August 6, 2017 she was released after serving 6 little months.  I had hopes she would want what I have- a new way to live.  I sent her all those things we send people who are locked up, I even sent a few letters.  I can’t drag or chase anyone in here with me, I don’t have that kind of power.  I can hope and pray for them, that is all.  The silent prayers that people prayed for me for so many, many times throughout the years, through their tears.

I saw Nani August 22, 2017, 15 days after her release- I had to. The description is not pretty, visible holes in her chest and legs, her voice already more raspy than normal, when she kissed me my lips still could taste the Carmex she had slathered on trying to stop the cracks, it wasn’t helping.   I had called first, I knew where she was and yes I still went.  When I called that kid I used to watch- her nephew who was like my brother was there and when she started crying on the phone and her voice had changed, he asked who it was.  She said Christine, he didn’t even know who that was because that is not what I went by out there.  When I changed, I changed everything, yes even the name I went by.  As soon as he figured out who was on the phone I could hear his words, “tell her to come get us and get us into a program right now!”  He meant it, she laughed, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

When I left her on the street in front of that house, we hugged and laughed.  I showed her the picture of the man I am in love with and told her of some of the adventures we had been on. I let her know my kids are good, even her god-daughter my youngest Irene.  I  had hopes this would spark something- it didn’t.  Her boyfriend had now walked up, he was about 20 years younger than her, I knew him too.  You could see the fear in his eyes.  Would I take her away with me? Would he lose her? She told him to go inside, he said no and stood afar just watching us.  I am sure he thought if he went in she would drive away with me and she would be gone- like I had done so many times with her in the past in my previous life. Just gone.

As we said our final goodbyes, yes laughing through the tears I noticed my glasses in her hand. With all the hugging, laughing and crying in those brief moments you would have thought we were one person, we had become enmeshed again like peas and carrots. I didn’t want to let her go and I don’t think she did either. We did though, let go, I finally let go- that is no longer my life and hasn’t been for some time.  As I turned to walk away I laughed and said I need my glasses, they were still in her hand. They were hers, I pulled mine out of my pocket and they were exactly the same; little red Dollar Store glasses.  What are the odds?

The Chicken Lady

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Addict · Bloggess · Farmer · Life · Mother · Recovery

The Summer To Remember….

It’s Sunday over here on the yard and if you’ve ever read one of my little stories you know where I am, in one of my favorite spots-by the back slider gazing out into my yard with the chickens. My chickens have been frustrated with me lately for so many reasons, yes they let me know. They have been confined to the back-forty since the new puppy Jordan has been in our lives; it is for their own safety.  Snoopy my big fat beagle knows the drill, don’t mess with the chickens, Jordan has not learned this yet.  I do miss waking to the sounds of my chickens pecking at the back door on Sunday’s when I might have managed to doze off back to sleep-I am an early riser. However with the weather changing I can now keep the bedroom window open for the morning breeze; it also allows me to hear the rustling of the leaves while my girls forage for their morning grubs and the egg laying calls they make with pride so early, the life of free range chickens. I think they have noticed my lack of time with them as well on the hammock. They like to hop up and nestle, some just perch on either end and roost for a while; not all 16 show me love like this but at least 5 do. They bring a calmness to my life, a bit of peace and serenity that I just can’t explain. Lately there has been something else that brings that as well.

I have been traveling this summer. Some places just around the corner to neighboring cities, some places far away. A few of the trips have been with the kids, some with the ladies, but most with him. Camping, concerts, events, and even a trip to the backyard with the grand-kids can be an exciting adventure for this grandma. Life is what you make of it and I choose to make it fun. Of course life still shows up and as I key this story out the grandson has awoken and the sound of an electronic sword is swooshing around next to me with the Power Rangers blaring from the TV in the background. I am not sure how I am even gathering my thoughts with all the action, but I am. Just one of my gifts.

Maybe it is that calmness I was speaking of that allows me to be still and enjoy the moments no matter what is going on around me? I am sure it is just the growth of the journey that I am on, the spirit awakening.  I will not attribute it to him, but he helps.  I can be the most chaotic person at times. Maybe it’s all in my head?  I am a bit off the wall and always on the run somewhere doing something. I am not sure if he doesn’t seem to mind all of this or if I just settle down when I am around him- either way  it feels good. I think it is a conglomeration of both, a balance if you will.

I have been on some amazing journeys this summer, quite a few on the back of his little motor scooter. I have seen and experienced the beauty of places I have never been, some of those in my own heart. It has been quite a freeing experience, opening up and trusting once again. I don’t do that lightly. He has taken me to more than just places and I trust him-no matter what and wherever we go. However those places that we have gone to have been riveting. Day trips up the mountains with friends, long coastal trips down the seashore for getaways.  I even bought a ticket, packed a bag, and met him in South Dakota where he then took me everywhere I am sure he could in the few days we had there before I boarded for home.

The open fields and the skies in South Dakota were breath-taking and in an instant the weather would change and you knew there was something greater than you out there in control. Just be. That is what I am taking from this part of my journey this summer.  Just be -Christine. Wherever you are, whether it be in the trees, on the road, with the kids or with him; just be. Enjoy it while you can and take it all in, because you never know what tomorrow brings. I can only hope that it is more of this feeling I have been allowed to enjoy at this moment.

The Chicken Lady

 

Yes
Somewhere on the backroads in South Dakota