Tag Archives: Molly Rossiter

Superman’s got nothing on ‘my girls’

Superman may be the Man of Steel, able to leap tall buildings, blah blah blah … But when it comes to spreading strength and giving power, nothing compares to a woman and her besties.

I’m always amazed at how strong I feel when I’ve spent some time with any of my best friends. I don’t consider myself a “weak” person overall, but like anyone else I have my weak moments – those time when I doubt myself, don’t think I’m good enough for this or that or generally just feel insecure. Whether we admit it or not, we all have those moments.

(Don't judge me - I'm a writer, not an artist.)

(Don’t judge me – I’m a writer, not an artist.)

And sometimes we get caught up in those moments. Sometimes it seems there are more of those moments than any other kind of moments. No matter how much we know we have it good – I’ve got amazing kids, a wonderful extended family, am seeing a great man, have a great job and am, for the most part, really, really happy – those moments can take over and make us feel weak and insignificant.

But just like our body reacts when we’re thirsty or hungry by going after food and drink, my “being” tends to reach out to those I know can fill me with strength, just by being by my side.

This winter gave me a lot of those “weak” moments. I started physical therapy last fall for IT Band Syndrome in my right leg, followed that up with wearing a brace on my right knee because ITBS had pulled my kneecap off-center, then had my right foot in a boot. Christmas just didn’t feel “Christmas-y” enough, and then the snow just kept coming and coming and coming … it seemed winter would never end.

Then about three weeks ago I reached out to one of my girls. A week later, I had dinner with another one on a Friday and went and spent time with yet another that Sunday. The following weekend I met another one at her daughter’s softball tournament, and  later that week I had dinner with yet another one. Three weeks, five of my besties.

There was some chatter about things that might be going wrong in different parts of our lives, but really about 95 percent of the conversation – if not more – was just about life. Kids, work, catching up, laughing (lots and lots of laughing) and promises to do this more often.

And then something happened. Those “moments” began to disappear. The self-doubt went away, and took a heaping handful of insecurity with it. I felt stronger. More confident. Ready to take on the world.

(OK, I meant that kind of not-so-literally, so my health scare and my daughter’s pneumonia almost knocked me off my foundation, but I recovered quickly!)

The point is, my girls make me stronger. Not by saying or doing anything special – just by being “my girls.” Knowing I have that base – and I’m assuming each of them has their own base, as well – and reconnecting to that base does more for me than any energy drink or hour at the gym ever could.

 

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I saw it on Facebook …

Anyone who knows me at all knows my life is pretty much an open book. Ask me a question and chances are pretty good I’ll answer it, no matter how personal or private the subject. (Note I said, “… chances are pretty good.” There are some things I still hold sacred.)

Social media has made it even easier to share things – or harder to keep things to myself, however you want to look at it. Follow me on Facebook for just a few days and you’re going to know more about me than you may have ever wanted to know. I went to a cousin’s birthday party a few years ago and, at separate times, her mother, brother and father all commented about how all of Facebook would know what was happening at the party because I was there.

This was my view for the nearly seven hours I was hooked up to a heart monitor and on oxygen at UI Hospitals and Clinics earlier this week.

This was my view for the nearly seven hours I was hooked up to a heart monitor and on oxygen at UI Hospitals and Clinics earlier this week.

Facebook has made it easier to share.

For all it’s benefits, though, there are some downsides to social media, too. While I personally think it’s great to share some things – including an endless supply of snark and sarcasm – with my friends and family, there are some things that have always been private, and always will be. If I have a personal disagreement with someone I care about, you won’t know about it by reading my Facebook timeline. I won’t make vague posts about my unhappiness with someone close to me, or use Facebook as my personal aresenal to call names to or belittle any of my friends.

There are some things, however, where the line is kind of blurred – more specifically, health issues. Don’t get me wrong, I have no trouble posting when I do something stupid that results in a doctor’s appointment or a splint or a rehab boot – like breaking my pinky toe while putting on my pajamas, or hurting my knee when Mia the Newfoundland head-butted me to sway me in her direction. I post about my migraines, the flu, stupid head colds and achy bones.

But the big stuff? How do you handle that? The kind of stuff where you know it’s serious, you know there are people who should know what’s going on, but you don’t want to post it on Facebook and look like you’re trying to get attention. The I-went-to-the-hospital kind of stuff? It’s not that I wouldn’t post it – God knows I would – but when do you put it up for public consumption?

I faced this very issue earlier this week when I went to the emergency room following a “minor cardiac event.” We’re still not sure what it ended up being, but emergency room doctors told me I had all the indications of a minor attack, but a CT scan of my heart showed no damage and no clogged arteries.

The “event” happened while I was at work – and luck would have it that I work in the best hospital in the area. I was sitting at my desk working – nothing stressful, just writing, because that’s what I do, I write. Suddenly I had this searing pain under my left breast, kind of like that side ache we used to get as kids when we’d run too much or too fast or for too long – kind of like that, but worse, and higher. It lasted for a good 8-10 minutes before it even started to subside. I tried doubling over, bending to the side, even standing up to make the pain go away and nothing worked. Once it finally did stop I was left with a pain in the back of my neck and in my left jaw.

The jaw pain was what stopped the 24-hour nurse from asking questions. Once I got to that, she told me to head to the ER immediately. So I did. When you go to the ER with complaints of chest pain, you get to go to the front of the line. No waiting in the waiting room, you get an EKG and then sent to a room. Not long into my stay they told me I’d be staying overnight for observation (that changed with the clean CT scan, but not until right at the last minute).

My first thoughts were to wait and see how everything came out before I told anyone, but I was already texting Mark about regular “stuff” when I got sent to a room, so I shot him an, “Oh, by the way, I’m in the ER getting my heart checked out” text. Classy, I know.

The more I chatted with Mark, the more I knew there were some people who had to know where I was. My kids. My parents. My list grew, but then the doubt started setting in: Do I tell others now, while I’m still here, or wait until I go home? Or at least until I get out of the ER and up to the room I thought I was going to be in? Do I post it on Facebook? No, I know I’d catch holy hell from quite a few people if that’s where they first heard about it. If I tell people now, will it seem odd, like I’m an attention-seeker, or do I tell them now because they’ll want to know? Who do I tell immediately, and who finds out on social media?

I don’t know that I know the right answer even now. There were a handful of people who knew I was in the hospital on Monday, but most everyone found out later. Today, in fact, in an email I sent to some letting them know what happened so they’d hear it from me before reading about it in this blog or on Facebook.

So if you’re offended because you’re just hearing about this now, and this way, I’m sorry. I guess I’m still learning.

(The heart issue came out OK, no overnight stay – just orders to follow up and reduce stress. Ha! Yeah, right …)

 

 

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I think you’ve got the wrong number …

When your cell phone number spells out something profane, chances are pretty good you’re going to get a few prank calls.

Trust me on this – I speak from experience.

I was selling real estate 10-11 years ago, with a business partner/boyfriend, when we both switched cell phone carriers and received new numbers. Neither of us thought anything of our numbers until we saw other Realtors who had personalized their phone numbers: 319-SELL-IOWA or 319-SHE-SELLS. Something like that.

BoyWrongNumber001We quick pulled out our phones and looked at the number pad to see what our own numbers spelled out. Mark #1 (or more commonly, “Bad Mark,” because my new boyfriend is also a Mark) shook his head, his numbers spelled out gibberish. I looked at my own numbers a bit, then raised my head, grinned a little, and said, “Ah, shit.”

He thought I meant my numbers spelled gibberish, too.

Actually, they spell out, “AH_-SHIT.”

Not exactly the kind of thing you want on your business card. It didn’t work so well when I stopped selling real estate and became the faith and values reporter at The Gazette in Cedar Rapids. You don’t really want to hand a card to a minister with a shortcut like that.

It wasn’t long after I got the new number that I started getting prank phone calls, usually from someone drunk, most often between 1 and 3 a.m. “Hey, do you know you’re shit?” “Awwww, shit.” “Can I have your number? I want shit.”

And so it went. I even had one co-worker ask me to let him know if I ever wanted to change my number – he wanted to take it over.

I never did get rid of the number; I guess it just got too easy to tell people if they wanted to remember my number, there was a really easy way. And somehow, the prank calls stopped. Apparently it became less funny to be drunk and look at your phone to see what kind of obscene telephone numbers were out there, and who really had them.

Now with the popularity of texting, the wrong numbers are much more humorous – and maybe a little frightening.

A few months ago I received a text from a man telling me he’d changed his mind, he was willing to give it a shot and could I meet him somewhere to deliver the package. Me being me, I texted him back that he’d gotten the wrong number but “good luck with the package.”

He then felt the need to tell me he had changed his mind on giving up women and that the package was a new sex toy designed for men who didn’t like women. But hey, “while I’ve got you, you could try to help me change my mind again.”

Um … no.

Then there was rant I received a few days ago from a guy who swore we’d been in a heated argument the night before.

“No,” I texted back, “you’ve got the wrong number.”

“No, I don’t. Quit being an ass.”

He then sent me three screen shots of the heated text argument he’d been in – complete with the other phone number, the one that was close to mine, but wasn’t mine.

I pointed that out to him.

“Oh, I have the wrong number.”

“Ya think?”

It may be time to consider a new number …

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Who hasn’t broken a toe?

clumsyYou know you’ve reached some upper level of clutz-ness when you don’t realize that some things just aren’t normal.

To be fair, I know I’m a clutz – I always have been. It’s what happens when you grow too tall too fast, and your momentum can’t keep up with the size. At my tallest (at 46 I’ve noticed I’m starting to shrink a bit – or “settle,” as my Great Aunt Bev would say) I was an even 6’0″ – and I hit that at age 12. My feet grew pretty quickly, too – from the time I was 5 to the time I was 12 my age and my shoe size were the same number. I used to worry as a child what my feet would look like when I turned 30.

When I was a teenager my mom thought she could help by sending me to modeling classes. I could re-learn how to walk, she thought, and pick up some other tips along the way. It worked, sort of. I did learn to walk with my head up, shoulders back, and with confidence. I learned to appreciate the natural look rather than the over-makeup’ed look. And I got to do a few runway shows and photo shoots.

But I still ran into things. I still fell. I still got bruises and scratches and cuts and scrapes.

I was still me.

Which brings me to this week, and my discovery that some things I thought were normal just … aren’t.

Things like broken toes.

I broke my pinky toe Friday night. It wasn’t the first time, so I didn’t think too much of it. I mean, it hurt – a lot – but there’s really nothing you can do for a broken pinky toe other than tape it up and let it heal on its own. So that’s what I did.

Before you jump to conclusions – you know who you are – I was completely sober. OK, I had one beer with dinner, but that was a few hours earlier. I was changing into my pajamas and was uber tired and you know when you get so darned tired and you just can’t get your foot out of your yoga pants (OK, maybe those of you with normal-sized feet don’t have this problem) and the more it won’t come out the more frustrated you get, so you just shake it harder and harder, and it keeps not coming out? Finally I’m shaking and kicking really hard and I kick my bed – and my pinky toe got stuck between the box springs and the bed frame. The toe instantly turned several shades of pink, red and purple, swelled to double the size and hurt. like. hell.

I cried and yelled and laughed and cried and my daughter, who was home from college, came running in to see what happened. When I showed her my toe she stopped, looked at it, and simply said, “Again?”

So, yeah. This wasn’t the first time.

And I thought everybody broke their little toes. My now-ex-husband did it a few times, once shortly after we were married when he was trying to lift the garage door at the old farmhouse we rented, and it was frozen to the ground. He thought – wrongly – that getting mad and kicking it would solve the problem. The door didn’t budge, but his toe swelled and turned all sorts of great holiday colors.

My brother has had broken pinky toes. Both of my parents have, at various times, had broken pinky toes. It’s just a thing. It happens. The little toes are tiny, they’re fragile. And they’re down on the ground where anything can happen to them.

Because I’d broken my toe so many times before, I was actually getting around pretty well by Saturday night and Sunday, and started getting ready for work on Monday morning. Then, in the shower, I went to put my foot up on the ledge so I could shave my leg, and – you guessed it – I slammed that toe right into the tub wall.

I collapsed. I cried – no laughter this time, just tears. The dogs came running in – I swear they looked at my toe and thought, “Again?” and left – and I sent a note to work letting them know I was incapacitated and would be working from home.

The next day my concerned coworkers asked about my foot. I started to explain and I said, “You know, it’s a broken toe. It happens all the time!”

They all just looked at me. Then at each other. Then back at me.

Apparently none of them have ever broken a toe. So I went about on a mission to see who around me had never broken a toe. I couldn’t find anyone all day who had ever broken a toe.

I could have sworn it was normal.

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Thou Shalt Not Be Late to the Doctor’s Office

ImpatienceIt’s no secret in my family, or with my friends, or with anyone with whom I’ve ever had an appointment that I have a chronic problem with being on time. Most of the time it’s just a few minutes, but there have been occasions – and I’m not particularly proud of them – where I’ve been a half-hour late or better.

Don’t get me wrong, I typically call well in advance of the 30-minute mark passing by – but that does little to quell the frustration of someone who wanted two drinks instead of one before a show, or who wanted dinner rather than appetizers before a movie. I’m not intentionally late – but yet, I’m almost always late. It’s gotten so some members of my family – my parents, my kids, my boyfriend – will sometimes hedge the time they want me to be somewhere and tell me 30 minutes earlier, just because they know I’ll be late and by showing up late I’ll still be early.

It’s a problem, I know.

My doctor’s office, however, has apparently found a way to deter late-comers.

This morning I was about 15 minutes late for my annual physical – again, not intentional, my doctor is super-cool and we have a great time talking – but when I apologized while checking in the clerk smiled politely and oh-so-nicely brushed it aside and said, “Oh, no big deal, things happen. You’re not that late.”

Great, I didn’t cause a backlog, I thought.

She pointed me to the waiting room – Waiting Room 3, down the hall and to the left, and then all the way to the end – and I walked in and joined an older couple, probably in their 60s. I generally try not to pay too much attention to other patients so I pulled out my phone and started a game of Candy Crack Saga. A nurse came in and called the other woman into a room and after some shuffling of papers and a short discussion with the-man-I’ll-assume-was-her-husband, she went with the nurse.

And that’s when it started.

The man pulled out a bag of something and began crunching away, savoring every crunch as though it were his last. The bag must have been small because the crunching didn’t last long. What I didn’t know, though, was that the crunching was just the beginning.

No sooner had he stopped crunching did he start those strange hiccup/burps, the ones that start to sound like a hiccup, have a little bit of burp in them and end with a slight expulsion of air. You know the ones – the sounds Grandpa would make after a big meal, or after half a can of beer. And with that slight expulsion of air came the distorted stomach-acid lined smell of whatever was last eaten.

I don’t know what it was, but if I ever smell that on my plate, I’m not eating it.

The man’s issues didn’t end there. Oh no, after about a half dozen of these hiccup/burps, his stomach started to gurgle. Not in an “I’m still kinda hungry” way, but more of a, “What in the hell did you just put in me?” kind of way. It started slow, and small, but gradually got a little louder and more fierce.

I could no longer concentrate on my game. I tried. I matched a few purple candies, then a few red ones, but the louder he got the more frightened I became.

Then the nurse came in and called my name. I jumped up and followed her.

“You made it in, huh?” she said.

“Yes, and I’m so very sorry. I promise, I’ll never be late again.”

I swear she turned back and winked at that guy.

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Are you ready for some football?

FootballMy mother would be so proud.

Well, maybe not proud. Surprised, probably, but proud? That may be pushing it.

The reason? I’m in a fantasy football league. AND … not only am I in a fantasy football league, but I am currently in 3rd place (of 14 teams) and am the current points leader (rankings are based on win-loss records, not points accumulated).

Why would that surprise my mother, you ask?

Football was never really my schtick. I played basketball, volleyball and softball growing up, but football never really seemed to catch my interest – my mother used to joke (until not that long ago) that I likely didn’t know what a football was or how many points came with a touchdown.

Growing up in a one-television home – I don’t think I ever lived anywhere with more than one television until I got married – football season was the bane of my existence. In the off-season, Dad and I would watch movies after church on Sundays – I grew up with Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Lee Marvin, as well as the Bowery Boys and old Little Rascals movies. When football season started, though, the parents took over the TV and watched whichever game was on (this was years before ESPN and definitely before NFL Gameday). They watched the pre-game, the game, the post-game, and then switched it over to the next game.

In high school, football games were a must-attend social event, but not for the game. I seldom knew who was winning until the game was over, and rarely – if ever – actually sat in the stands. Generally my friends and I would walk around the field, meet up with other friends and go behind the concession stand to smoke. In college it was largely the same thing, except I didn’t need to hide behind the concession stand to smoke, and I often did sit in the stands.

I thought my football days would end with the end of my college days, but then I met a boy who loved football and watched whatever games he could. He was an avid Chiefs fan – he had been since he was old enough to speak – and so I tolerated his Sunday indulgences. When we got engaged, I figured those indulgences would come to an end and he’d want to do nothing but be married to me and raise our children and play with them all the time, occasionally stopping to whitewash the picket fence that was going to go around the yard of our perfect, immaculate ranch home.

One night when we were having dinner with his parents the talk turned to football (it must have been football season) and I mentioned to my then-fiance’s mom that I agreed once we got married that my husband would be able to watch his Chiefs on Sundays, but that he should really spend the rest of the day with me.

His mom laughed.

What happened instead was I adopted an, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude and started watching football. And started liking football, and the Chiefs. We got season tickets to the Chiefs games even though we lived in west central Iowa – we’d pick two games to go to and then sell the rest. That was back in the early to mid-’90s, when the Chiefs had the likes of Derrick Thomas, Neal Smith, Christian Okoye, Tim Grunhard, Marcus Allen … the tickets were never hard to sell.

My love of football lasted longer than my marriage, and the ex got the tickets in the divorce. I remained a fan but my game-watching wasn’t as fervent as before. If it didn’t have to be on, sometimes it wasn’t. And since the kids and I had moved to eastern Iowa – at about the same time the Chiefs’ seasons started taking a nosedive – often the games weren’t even aired in this area.

I’ve come back to watching the last few seasons, and am ecstatic about the Chiefs’ season this year. My first year in a fantasy football league many of my players are Chiefs, so I’m even happier they’re doing well.

So there you go. Through the years I’ve done an about-face on my football habits.

And Mom – the football is the oblong brown ball with the white laces, and touchdowns score 6 points, plus one extra point for the kick or two if the players run it into the endzone. See? I can be taught.

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The day the Mother of All Embarrassments came to visit

spiral of embarrassmentRemember, growing up, there were certain things that the mere thought of doing them – or getting caught doing them – made you cringe in terror?

Pulling a wedgie out in public. Putting sanitary pads or tampons in the grocery cart (I always quickly covered them up with a cereal box or whatever was in there and could never understand why Mom thought that was so weird). Scratching your nose in a purely innocent Jerry Seinfeld-esque manner but having someone confuse it with a pick (It was a scratch!).

As adults we eventually get over them, or learn how to maneuver around them. I’m more tolerant of wedgies now, so the urgent need to pull has been replaced by a quick search for a bathroom to do it in private. Not only do I not hide the box of tampons when I go to the store, I sometimes will just boldly hold it in my hands from the shelf to the checkout if it’s the only thing I’m buying. As for the nose, I still worry someone will think I’m picking, so I try to leave that alone in public as much as humanly possible.

But there’s one thing – that one mortifying, horrendous, incredibly embarrassing thing – that will forever be unacceptable for females to do in public. The one thing I am mortified of doing in front of my boyfriend, the man I’ve been dating for 18 months.

The audible fart.

There, I said it. And I not only said it, I did it. But not in a grocery store or department store or crowded room where it could be blamed on anyone else. Oh, no. I did it in grand look-at-me-I-just-made-THAT-sound fashion. In a small room during physical therapy. Just me and my pretty good looking male physical therapist.

It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t intentional – it wasn’t even one of those where you know something bad is coming because you feel the bubbles in your stomach moving all around. This one was completely and totally unannounced.

It was a good morning, a great morning. I got to work early, had my bagel and banana for breakfast along with my half pot of coffee (don’t judge me – it was early). I got a few things done before I needed to leave for my 8:30 a.m. PT appointment – one of the benefits of working in a hospital is that every one of your health care needs are virtually at your doorstep.

Got to PT and had to wait a bit; still, nothing wrong, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Went into the patient room and we talked about the improvement in my knee, the therapist apologized for being late and even told me I was the highlight of his day when I suggested I reschedule to put his schedule back in order.

He had me get up on the table and lie on my back so I could bend my knee – no problem. Much improvement. Then he told to roll over onto my side so he could test my hip strength – again, no problem. I rolled back onto my back and we did a few more exercises and then … he reached for my hand to help me sit up.

I sat up, swung my leg off the bed and … it happened.

I could have said it was my shoe on the vinyl. I could have pretended nothing happened. I could have done a lot of things. What I did to, however, was throw my hand up to my mouth, exclaim, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” and move over to my chair. I could feel the heat of humiliation rise up my neck and spill over my face.

And then it was out there. My appointment wasn’t over. I had to sit in my chair, five feet from where he was sitting in his chair, and have a serious discussion about my knee.

I have no idea what he said. When he was explaining the next steps in exercise, I was thinking, “Dear God, is he sitting there in a green cloud and just being too nice to say anything?” When he started pointing to the sheet of instructions, my thoughts were, “He’s very subtly using the paper as a fan to get some fresh air.” When he got up to show me out, I though, “OH GOD, the cloud has floated to the top of the room and now he’s standing in it!”

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. And the only thought that crossed my mind the entire walk back to my office?

“Why couldn’t I have just gotten caught buying a box of tampons?”

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Karma is an unforgiving wench

imagesYou ever have one of those days where you wake up and just know something is going to be a little off about this day? The ones where you really, really want to just crawl back under the covers and wait for the storm – whatever it is – to pass?

Today was one of those days.

The morning itself was fine. I almost literally jumped out of bed, turned off the alarm and felt refreshed and energized, ready to face the day. No hitting snooze and snuggling with my pillows this morning – no, I was up and ready to face the day. I turned off the alarm, turned on the lights and started my ritualistic walk toward the kitchen where, thanks to the wonderful designers at Mr. Coffee who put automatic timers on their machines, my cup of hot morning necessity would be waiting.

Halfway down the hall it hit me: This is not how morning is supposed to be. And since this good morning isn’t how it’s normally supposed to be, something is going to balance it out later in the day. Something …

It nagged me for a little bit, but then I put the music from my phone on and proceeded about my morning routine. All went well.

Work was busy, but good. While writing is a big part of my job, another part – the media relations-defined part – is to escort members of the media through the hospital when they have interviews with doctors or patients and their families, and to get consent forms signed from or on behalf of the patients (in the case of our pediatric patients). This morning I had a radio personality from Mason City come and get patient and family interviews for an upcoming radiothon for Children’s Miracle network. We walked through different parts of the hospital for four hours, but he got what he needed and left.

Then I started to feel it again. I knew whatever it was hadn’t happened yet. It wasn’t the four-hour media tour. It wasn’t listening to Christmas tunes on the Cambus in September.

I still didn’t know what it was, but I couldn’t shake it.

I was set to do another media escort at 3, so just a few minutes shy of the hour I went down to where I’d agreed to meet the reporter. I waited. And waited. And at 3:20 I tried calling the patient’s room to see if the reporter had gone up without me. No, I was told, that patient was discharged.

There would be no interview. And no one called to let me know.

I knew who was responsible. It was karma, in all her glory, snickering behind the plants in the lobby.

The reporter, as it turns out, was from the station I anonymously mocked on my Facebook page yesterday for having three language/grammatical errors in a 140-character tweet. I didn’t name the station, just posted the tweet.

Karma, you miserable little bitch.

 

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Confessions of a (new) D&D nerd

That's me, er, Murphy. NO, not that one - the one in the green dress.

That’s me, er, Murphy. NO, not that one – the one in the green dress.

I have a confession: I play Dungeons and Dragons. I have two characters – a human and a half-elf – and I even own my own dice.

What’s worse is, well, I like it. A lot.

And to answer a question one of my friends asked when she found out I started playing, Yes, D&D is very much still around.

Don’t get me wrong, I know what a big deal this confession is. If anyone would have asked me 30 years ago if I thought I’d ever have an interest in Dungeons and Dragons, I’d have laughed at them. Thirty years ago I was 16, completely self-absorbed, smoking cigarettes with my friends behind the buildings at high school football games. I listened to Motley Crue, Black Sabbath, AC/DC – and Air Supply, Andy Gibb, Duran Duran and Loverboy.

The only thing I played when I was 16 was backgammon or Scrabble with my dad, and even that was becoming a rarity at 16.

That’s not to say I didn’t do role-playing. Oh no, we all play different roles when we’re 16: we’re the badass with our friends, except our best friends, who know who we really are; we’re the rebel (I was the compliant rebel most of the time) with our parents; the good girl with our pastors; the A student with our teachers. I played a variety of roles back then, but never, NEVER did I play a half-elf fighting off hobgoblins and trolls.

To be honest, if anyone had asked me two years ago what I thought of D&D, I’m not sure I would have responded. Most likely I would have given them the, “Are you kidding me right now?” look and moved on, ignoring the question. I mean, really, who still plays Dungeons & Dragons?

Well, it turns out, my boyfriend does. And so do his kids, and their spouses/partners. And, now, so do I.

And it’s fun.

We’ve gotten together one night of almost every weekend the last three months, sat around a big table with our map and die-cast characters and worked on a mission of freeing a group of people who were captured and made into slaves in a giant castle filled with monsters.

I happily played with my first character, a human fighter named Murphy (hey, I was new, I was told to name my character and I gave the first Irish name that came to mind), for a while when I was first introduced to the game last fall, but I didn’t play much. This summer our games took on new life and became a weekly event. After a while, Mark, the boyfriend/Dungeon Master, asked if I wanted a new character, one with some magical powers.

This time I gave some more thought to my name. (Mostly because I was publicly ridiculed for having a character named Murphy. I believe I was told that “Murphy is not a D&D name.”) I searched Irish elf names and came up with Scoithniam, pronounced SKUH nyee uv, which means “shining, radiant blossom.” OK, still not much of name for strength and intimidation, but it’s cool.

I’ll admit it, I initially agreed to play so I could spend time with Mark and see what he found so intriguing about this game. The first night I felt a little self-conscious, but the more I play, the more I like it. We’re not dressing up and flailing real swords and maces and daggers – but we are in our minds, which makes it even more fun.

 

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Resolutions for all of us for 2013

NewYearsEve1As 2012 closed a final, slow, methodical close with no sign of zombies, Mayan ruination or other earthly implosion, I set about making my annual New Year’s Resolution list. Sure, there’s the one about weight loss (I view that one as more of a perpetual goal – aside from a few years post-divorce, that one’s been on the list every year since I was 12), there’s one seeking financial stability, then one for health and happiness.

While I fully plan to work toward my own resolutions, there are many I hope we as a collective can accomplish as 2013 passes.

1. Forget about Lindsay Lohan. I don’t mean as a person; if we see her sick and homeless on the side of the street, by all means, stop to help and give her a couple bucks or give her a ride to a shelter or doctor’s office. But really, the only “celebrity” she has anymore is due to her bad behaviour. Seriously, take away a few mediocre made-more-for-younger-audiences movies from her youth – “Mean Girls,” “Parent Trap,” and “Herbie Fully Loaded” – and what does she have, really? I mean, why do we even care? It’s bad enough that we pay attention to the misbehavings of Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen, but loathesome as their behavior may be they’ve both earned a name in the entertainment industry by being top-dollar actors and directors. (Although I really am no longer a fan of either man …)

2. Let’s just live and enjoy life without worrying about the ‘end of the world.’ I know there are a lot of superstitious people out there, but absent a group of scientists alerting the world to an incoming monster meteor or some such thing, no one really knows when or how the earth will end. Even those studying global warming say it’s nothing our generations will see. So can we all simply relax and enjoy life and work to make things better, instead of preparing for a mythical end?

3. Flash mobs are soooo 2008. Like any good thing, too much of it can ruin it. It happened with “Rocky” and “Karate Kid” (c’mon,  admit it – the first one was good), the more you do it, the weaker it gets. There’s still a surprise element with flash mobs, but the uniqueness of them has gone the way of diet soda and online banking – they’re everywhere. Let’s give it a rest for a while, maybe it will come back.

4. Stop viewing single parenthood as the downfall of American society. Sure, it’s not ideal, but it’s a common fact of life in this age. And there are many of us who, quite frankly, do a pretty damned good job. We not only hold down jobs but have thriving careers. Our children not only stay out of jail but they work and volunteer and do good things. We pay our own way. We don’t “milk the system.” And we have brains and voices and opinions that deserve to be heard.

5. Stop caring about who is sleeping with whom and who is married to whom. Seriously. It’s none of anyone’s business. Period. And this goes for everything – celebrities, politicians, same-sex couples. There are so many more important things to worry about than anyone’s sex life.

6. Start a movement to get the word ‘ginormous’ removed from the dictionary. It’s not a word, it’s a goulash of letters, two words mixed together to make one word that means the very same thing: gigantic + enormous = ginormous. It’s idiotic + stupid = idiopid.

7. Give more. Help others in need. Give more time. Give more money. Give more ideas. Volunteer. Brainstorm.

8. Be happy. You may not always be able to control the circumstances, but you can always control how you let them affect you.

 

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