After the other day’s rant, I thought I might devote some time to being grateful—to adjust the karmic balance.  I’m not going to apologize for ranting—the pounding continued all day, until we finally fled at 6:30 to go to a movie.  However, I am exceedingly grateful for my lovely back yard, having a home to live in, and a good job that enables this lifestyle.  I’m grateful for my health and for my family, for my sweetie and for her putting up with me lo these twelve years.
Lately, I’ve been most grateful for my children:  for the opportunity to be their mother, for the myriad life lessons mothering engenders, for their successes, for their struggles too.  This year, 2012, is quite momentous as Anna has just graduated from college and Taylor will graduate from high school in a few weeks.  Momentous too in that Taylor just turned 18 and Anna will be 22 in a couple of weeks.  They are both adults now, free to make their own choices, in charge of their own destinies.  I am one proud mama.  As my kids embark on new life paths, I’ve been reflecting on the past, the journeys that brought us to this place, a place I didn’t think we would all get to just 16 short years ago. 
In reflecting, I realize how much gratitude I have for friends and family who saw me through the most difficult years of my life; gratitude for my therapist who listened to me even when I couldn’t afford to pay her, who kept answering my middle of the night phone calls, and who insisted that someday I would get to this place, to today.  I really didn’t think I would make it, but I did and so have tremendous gratitude for my parents who came through when I most needed them, for my girls who kept seeing me as their mother even when we couldn’t live together.  Gratitude for Nancy, who happened upon this train wreck and dove in anyway, taking a chance and becoming my rock.

Ahhh, Life in da hood

I hate my neighbors.  I’ve been sitting here trying to write something philosophical and erudite about life in the ‘hood, but as the banging continues, I just decided to come out with it.  Our neighbors hate silence—that could be the only explanation for the continual relentless unending NOISE that emanates from their yard.  All day long, year round, day in and day out, nothing but hammering, drilling, sawing, power sanding.  Even at 11 p.m. on a rainy winter weeknight, the pounding continues.
This morning, I grabbed my coffee, and, ever hopeful, headed to the backyard to sit in the sunshine on our deck.  And for exactly two seconds I reveled in the bliss of singing birds and a summer morning, sipping coffee, reading.  A rare Friday.  A great start to a long weekend.  And then the banging started. 
An hour has gone by and the pounding continues. I put up with it for about a half hour, maybe 45 minutes, but when I felt the scream building deep inside me, I picked up my stuff and stomped back to the house before I let loose with a very undignified scream.  I could feel the words building and my mind spinning—I had to get inside quickly.  I did not want to be that crazy person screaming over the fence. 
Then I remembered.  We have outdoor stereo speakers.  We have SiriusXM radio.  I dialed in the rap station and turned it up.  I can hardly hear the banging now, beyond the banging bass.  Beyond the lyrics, a satisfying spray of nigga, fuck, pussy, shit, ho, bitch.  The royal penis is clean your highness.  Offensive?  I hope so. 
We’ve had too many conversations with these people across the fence.  The time to talk is over.  I can work with Flo Rida, Snoop and TPain, Drake, Usher, Kanye pounding in the background.  But the neighbors can’t both hammer and cover their ears at the same time.