Monday Bacon: Fire & Ice

The HotHunkyHubs and I were talking this morning about various topics that landed on the current state of healthcare. It’s a mess, if you didn’t already know. It wasn’t great before the shutdowns but mass layoffs; shutting down most areas of healthcare save for Cofid treatments; and the administrative “streamlining” that has backed up nearly every aspect of healthcare, including mental health care, has taken a toll that you don’t realize is there until you need healthcare.

It’s a mess. We’ve gone from, “Let’s talk about mental health” to “Everyone has some type of mental trauma and concessions must be made for each individual.” It’s non-sustainable, kowtowing to every person’s whim. This is why there are general rules for society. Don’t kill people unless they’re trying to kill you. That’s one. Drive on the right side of the road at a proper speed. That’s another. Don’t wear jammie pants on an airplane, just to name a few of the critical rules.

In general it’s helpful to see someone and their idiosyncrasies as a representation of a population group. It helps to prepare you on how to deal with people of similar nature. If you know someone who is extremely immature and self-centered and life forces you to interact with them, you’re going to know how to generally deal with others like them. It’s useful. It’s going to be up to you to decide how much bullshit you’ll put up with but overall, the more experience you have with different personalities, the more prepared you are to know what to expect.

After talking about a particular friend’s current situation, I reminded Matt that they represented a general group of people and would we allow more like them (yes, I’m being vague) in our lives? If the answer is no, why are we allowing this person to wreak havoc on our peace? You can take a few steps back without saying an outright goodbye, unless a goodbye is needed. I then asked Matt, “What do my characteristics represent?” Matt, being a very smart man, said he had no idea. I told him that sounded more like, ‘I’m not touching that’ and he finished by saying, “with a 10 foot pole.” So I had to finish the thought myself and I came up with fire and ice.

Not really, I actually said, “Harshness and Kindness.” I’m often attracted to others with some type of harshness. That doesn’t have to mean boss ass bitch but it will come with a tenacity to not sit still. High achievers? Maybe but I don’t know that I consider myself a high achiever, I just “achieve” here and there. Each one of my closest friends have walked through a fire or two. They’ve chosen to allow those fires to make them stronger and not limp through life because of burns or scars. My closest friends also have an element of kindness to them. My fab fav WonderWomanPollyPocketSavannahSister, Sheryl, is one of the most patient people I’ve ever encountered. I have no idea how she does it. She gets bombarded every week by at least one Masters weightlifter and where my answer would most always be, “I dunno, you’re over 35, figure it the fuck out” she takes the time to walk someone through their inability to apply critical thinking to help themselves through life. She’s cool that way.

See, when you have fire you need the ice or you’ll burn yourself and others out. It’s the tricky part of friendship, when you see fire taking over someones existence but since they’re smart adults, there’s only so much you can do to be helpful. If you’re my friend, you’re going to get the truth. Sorry not sorry. The harshness that will attract me to you must hold kindness or you’re just a hateful hag who burns with every touch. Not good.

Getting back to Jules, harshness and kindness. See, most who know who I am can recognize the harshness. Believe it or not, it’s better than it was. If you consider me telling you truths about a current situation ‘harsh’, then I’ve gotten worse. The kindness is less seen, at least I believe it is. In general, I don’t talk about works, I just do. I’m not interested in getting public points for shit I do, I’m more interested about how my heart feels at the end of the day. I can be harsh and I can be right (usually am by the way), but if I’m not kind then I’m just a hateful hag who bitches her way through life. Sounds gross, hard pass.

Years ago, I competed in Scotland at my first Masters World Championships for Highland Games. It was amazing, incredible, awesome, mind-blowing fun. It was the first time our age group, 45-49, was throwing a 21# weight as heavy weight for distance vs. the 28#. Which meant that the first throw was a new world record and if you threw a bit more than the previous world record, you have a new world record and with each new WR, the thrower wanted a picture next to the WR marker. It was kind of fun, kind of annoying because I wanted to throw an actual WR and win the event and I was the last thrower for the event. After my first throw (you get 3 throws plus extras if you win the event), the judge (an Angela Lansberry look alike, Elsbeth was her name) didn’t even look up from her clipboard and said, “Okay, go get your picture with the marker” as I was walking away. I gave her my ‘no thank you, I’ll get a picture at the end of the event if I’m still the WR holder” and looked up to see her nod of approval. I was the WR holder at the end of it and I got a picture with the group of women who were the 1st to throw a new implement at a World Championships. I was very proud of my World Record but I didn’t need to take a picture and post it if I didn’t have it by the end of the day. I’ll smile at others having fun but I don’t need to apply their approach to me. Sorry not sorry.

I don’t want to talk about it unless I want to talk about it. I’ll talk about the highs and lows of life and competition, but I’m not going to give you a rundown of all the old ladies I helped across the street each day. (Truth be told, I’m the old lady now.) At some point, I’m going to have to accept that while I have fire in me, I also have some ice to cool things down because I’m friends with some of the most amazing, smart people on the planet and I’m not just a pretty face.

So I have characteristics that represent a population of people and if you can get along with me, chances are high you can get along with others like me. That’s useful. Recognizing these traits about yourself is good, recognizing these traits in those closest to you is vital. Matt is far more social than me. He’s found camaraderie in a nearby gym, MKE Muscle. The owners, Bill and Bradley are amazing guys who’ve built up a black iron/body building mecca in the Cream City suburbs. Great energy and top equipment, a super nice and focused clientele, and Matt has his home away from home gym. I like to go with him here and there and then I remember why I love to train at home, my gym doesn’t have other people in it.

My bigg guy needs other people around and I need my bigg guy to get what he needs. Because I don’t need a lot of other people around has nothing to do with anything. I couldn’t say, “well I don’t need people so you don’t need people.” That would be rude and nonsensical. We’re not some robot couple, we each have individual needs and wants and working to get those in life makes us a stronger couple. Also, since I’ve worked and played alongside Engineers of different sorts for over 30 years, I understand characteristics that makes you want to pull your hair out in individual strands if you happen to be married to one. Heh.

At the end of the day, be you and work to be a better you. If your fire is burning too hot, allow some ice to douse the flames.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Zig Ziglar

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Friday Jams

I think I’ll bring Friday Jams back since I have a blog and I remembered the beauty music brings into my life, especially when I need some beauty in my life. This, pause, is one of those weeks.

If you’re a fan of Ted Lasso, you may remember the hauntingly soft song played after the “No Weddings & a Funeral” episode. The singer, Molly Drake, lived a not so common war time life but liked to entertain people close to her playing the piano and singing.

The song, I remember, seems a fitting play for the week. I remember good times being Pastor John’s daughter, and I remember horrible times being Pastor John’s daughter. At the end of the day, memories serve us in ways to enrich your life, or to warn you of danger, or to allow you to wallow in your shit. How you use them is up to you. I’ve known people whose entire identity is their trauma and the attention they get for it. Gross.

Not being in my parents life the last nearly 15 years doesn’t mean I won’t mourn their deaths. I’m not a robot, I have feelings. Reconciling the pain with the joy will most likely be a lifetime effort, I’ve got this. Last night I was in pain. Today, I’m good. Check in in another 10 minutes, it will probably change. Mourning alone brings its difficulties and it’s perks. I’m not dealing with the melodrama of my sister and my sister-in-law (I think she’s still my sister-in-law, I’ve heard conflicting stories, don’t care. They’re all horrid people) which is a perk. I’m mourning with no one around who knew my dad, that’s lonely.

So for this week, and for Pastor John; Lynda; Grandpa; Grandma; Grandma Carlson; and Mama Bear, I remember.

I rest in the grace of the world and am free

Wendell Berry

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Grandma’s Dining Room Table

I recently read an article by Paul G. Nauta that stated it only takes 3 generations to lose oral family history. Basically, talk to your grandchildren about your grandparents or their stories will be lost.

I like family history, the good-the bad-and the ugly. Most likely because I didn’t have any of my own until I was in my 40’s when I was reuntied with my birth family. Both of my mother’s parents immigrated from Sweden and my dad’s folks had their own, unique stories of tenacious survival. I talk about my Grandpa a lot. He was mostly cool and the times he was rough or mean reflected a motherless upbringing of alcoholic uncles until he and his brothers were placed in a Chicago orphanage until they aged out. That he could display love at all was pretty amazing. My grandma was soft spoken, smart, liked to laugh, interesting, and drank a hi-ball every so often which made her seem super glamorous to me.

My mother’s dad died when she was 12. Before that he was an alcoholic and her stories were never very happy about him. I have memories of her mother, Grandma Carlson. I still have her candy dish that always held candy corn. Grandma Carlson wore beautiful suits that I imagine were the Virginia, Minnesota version of Chanel. I still have her two jewelry boxes filled with beautiful broaches. I love that I have a few memories of Grandma Carlson. We took a train ride with her once, I believe from Duluth to Minneapolis but I don’t remember exactly. She died when I was 6 and my mom was sad, I remember that.

One of my prized possessions is my Grandma Peterson’s dining room table. This table has held hundreds (if not thousands) of Peterson meals, gatherings, holidays, and even funeral luncheons. In fact, one of the last memories I have of Grandma’s table in Grandma’s home was when everyone was gathered for her funeral. All three of her boys drinking beer and laughing at stories they hadn’t thought of in years, sitting around Grandma’s table. Even Grandpa sharing his version of their antics with a smile

I’ve had the table for nearly 30 years (it’s fuzzy on how I got it instead of my cousin Jeff in Madison who was promised it but I’ve since offered it back to him and he graciously declined.) Which means I’ve added 30 years of laughter, food, card games, arguments, scotch tastings, to a table that already had decades of Peterson memories embedded in it. We have two small “living room” areas in the house and yet when people enter they naturally make their way to Grandma’s dining room table.

The first Christmas day brunch we hosted with Matt’s folks after they sold their large family home, the kids and I were up until 5:30am playing games and drinking around Grandma’s table. That was a rough brunch. Heh. Last summer we rescued the table from a garage when my son, who we briefly passed the table on to for his family, left it and other belongings in a woman’s house and we had to pay $400 (money Zac owed her son) and rent a U-Haul to get everything out before she brought it to the dump. Which prompted the conversation that I will have Grandma’s dining room table until I die. I told Matt that y’all can burn the table when I’m gone, I’m not letting it out of my sight before then. And even when I’m gone, there will be memories of good times and not so good times around Grandma’s dining room table.

At the end of the day, memories is what keeps generations alive. Stories, happy and sad. Memories have been like a spring flood this week as I received news that Pastor John was admitted to the hospital last weekend with pneumonia and sepsis and died last night. See, my memories of Pastor John and my childhood have a very distinct line drawn through them. Before Incest and After Incest. Before? He was my daddy. I didn’t get him very often, the church did. But when I did, life was good. I was telling Matt the other night, before the news came in on Pastor John’s condition, that one night my dad and I were sent to the Dayton’s ticket counter after dinner on a weeknight (if you know a Pastor, after dinner on weeknights held bible studies, counseling sessions, catechism, council meetings, and whatever else kept a Pastor away from home.) I was on cloud 9. I got my dad, alone, running an errand, all to myself. Suck it church, he’s mine for 1 hour. Or so I thought.

As we were in line, a church member at the ticket counter turned around and said, “Pastor John!” and then proceeded to talk to him for what seemed like a half hour. It probably was actually about 5 minutes but those 5 minutes belonged to ME! Fucker. I was around 8 or 9 so I probably didn’t say, ‘fucker’ but I can guarantee if I had, I would have said it in that moment. That’s how little time I got with my daddy and this idiot thought it was HIS time just because he was a church member.

I started watching football with my dad, sitting on his lap, just to be with him. I like sports and probably would have found football eventually on my own, but for 2 hours every Sunday I got my dad while we watched the purple people eaters of the Vikings defensive line; Fran Tarkenton, and Bud Grant. I would go to Confirmation open houses in the fall with dad where I got to have car rides alone with him, open house food, cake, and football. Life was grand.

Then my brother raped me,and he spent the next nearly 4 years molesting and raping me. My mother didn’t want anything to do with it so didn’t protect me and I assumed (incorrectly) that she told my dad and he was too busy with the church to worry about his daughter. I assumed (incorrectly) that they told my grandparent’s, my aunt and uncle and they were also too busy to protect me. When I finally told my mother again in a way she couldn’t ignore this time, she had to tell Dad. Afterwards, I received the last full hug from my dad I’d ever get. I was 13. From then, it was side hugs. From then, Juli was the one who tore apart the illusion that Pastor John’s family was everything the church expected us to be. (One of the first things my dad and mom told me was that no one can know about the abuse or dad can lose his job. This wasn’t the last time I was told this.)

See, Jerry felt bad. The narrative was that we had to “hide the guns” so he didn’t kill himself. So Juli was supposed to just get over it, don’t talk about it except to the pastor friend therapist that I had to go to, and we’ll all just move forward. But I didn’t. I was pissed. I had a horrible, self-destructive view that I was a disgusting sexual being, and I valued nothing about my life. Except for sports. I had sports.

I carried the blame of the lack of Peterson harmony into my early 40’s. I believe now that I had to be the constant failure in my dad’s eye in order to avoid shining the light on the fact that he, oh I dunno, completely failed as a father. After his telling me that I, and I quote, “are jeopardizing your standing in the family”, I was out. I accepted those terms. See ya. And you know what happened? I started to kick ass in life. I’ve still struggled. I’ve still failed. But I’m plus a million in the success column and I’ll fucking take it.

Dad and I exchanged a few letters shortly after I was excommunicated, but they revolved around his writing the many ways I was a failure as a daughter and I chose not to play anymore back in 2011. As with my Mother, I knew this day would come. My mother’s death in 2019 brought sadness, mostly for her. I wish her life would have held more happiness but that wasn’t my job to provide it. That was hers and my dad’s job. 0 for 2 there Pastor. My mother’s death also brought out absolutely disgusting behavior from my sister and I hadn’t prepared for that. I’m prepared now.

As I think about how to tell stories of Pastor John & Lynda to my grandchildren, I imagine I’ll talk about the cabin; my love for up north that was instilled by my mom; watching the 1980 USA Mens hockey team beat the Russians and seeing my dad cry for the first time; my dad’s laugh; times he would come home when meetings were canceled on a school night and say, “let’s go to the North Stars game”; mom’s silliness with Auntie Karen; the pranks my dad would play; the fear he instilled when you knew you fucked up; throwing catch in the backyard for hours; his garden; mom’s love for books; their contribution to society, which is huge. Pastor John & Lynda did a lot of good for a lot of people. They also had very real, very flawed human sides to them and left a few people in their wake. I’ll probably keep those stories between friends…with wine.

Stories will be told and most likely, many of these stories will be told around Grandma’s dining room table.

I imagine the Heavenly reunion of mom and dad was nice. Joyful. I like that for them, it makes my heart happy.

Nobody can bring you peace but yourself

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Who I’m Not…part II

Ice Castles remains one of my most favorite movies ever. Lexi was
fearless in her skill when fear dominated so much of her life.

Back in May, 2016 I wrote a post on What I’m not. The post revolved around not being long or tall, not being blonde, or (gasp) young.

I believe it’s time to make a part 2 of what I’m not. I’ve thought about this a lot these past few months as my life has taken an unexpected turn and focus. As this focus has brought me to many school board meetings and events revolved around what is happening in our schools right now, I realize that I’m NOT a fashion magnate. Look, I buy a few pairs of new Vera Wang leggings at Kohls each year and any other clothes I buy is at weightlifting meets where Gina at Gameday Sports literally keeps me clothed. In fact, I’ve started traveling to meets with the shirt on my back and maybe one other non-weightlifting shirt and my “officialing” gear which I’ve decided is hideous and will attempt to find a new blue suit for Worlds in December. My current “blues” is in Savannah when I didn’t have room for them in my carry on to Baton Rouge in August and had to send them home with the Polly Pocket who drove so had plenty of room to throw my stinky suit in with her stuff.

I wish I was fashion. I admire women who effortlessly throw together an outfit and wear clothes like a hanger. I don’t need to be a Gigi Hadid but I do kinda wonder if leggings and gym shirts are the new housecoats and that’s all I wear?

Super Sassy

I’m not not sassy. Sorrynotsorry. I don’t know know how not to be sassy. It’s in my DNA. The other day, an organization that wanted to publish one of my recent letters to the school board asked if I’d write a quick “bio” to put on the heading of the letter. Sure, I say, here it is: ‘Juli Peterson is an advocate for children’s safety from the teachings of radical ideologies, DIE, SEL. Opt-Out your children from ALL surveys.’

The entire bio took me about 28 seconds to write. Short, sweet, to the point, that’s me. However, the liaison of the group told me that the bio as written was too heavy and they’d like something lighter. My replay? ‘Juli lives in Tosa.’ Srsly, please to fuck off. This group has the opportunity to do some good work in Tosa and they are so concerned with others being mad at them that they refuse to recognize the groups they are up against. Truth be told, they have told me repeatedly that I am “too” much and I’m done. I don’t need a group of adults I’m not invested in to continue to make me feel bad for who I am, I had the Peterson’s for that. I’m sassy. This is me.

Veronique was one of my most beautiful friends who didn’t get to walk our planet near long enough.

I’m not without pain in my life. I have worked very hard to get through to my husband that life has pain AND we can walk in joy. Now, pain is subjective. There is a kind man down in Wichita Falls Texas who is walking in unimaginable pain and my heart hurts for him and the loss of his son. My pain is different. It is not subdued by the enormity of others hurts, but placed in a perspective that I can appreciate. Life is pain (Princess) and learning to appreciate a sunrise; a kind smile from a stranger, or hitting all the green lights on Bluemound is worth taking a ‘W’ for a moment.

A World record attempt WOB in Scotland is going to carry some fear, so I bring it with me.

I am not without fear. I have fear, in moments an irrational amount of it. I credit those times to learning very early in life that security can be bullshit and really bad things happen. I have fear in competition where I’ve learned to bring that fear with me and put it to work in making things happen. I have a nervousness ( I don’t think it’s the same as fear but it presents the same) when speaking out at school board meetings against a runaway school board but I do it anyway. Matt reminds me that my content is far more clear than any shaking in my voice and I’m comforted by that (the Bigg guy is pretty good at that;) I am NOT fearless, I just don’t let my fear hold me back.

Lastly, I am not quiet. Again, sorrynotsorry. I am solid in my beliefs and the more I learn, the more I will not stay quiet. I have watched, since the inauguration of Obama a core group of Americans who refuse to shut the fuck up on how racist and awful America is and to that I say, piss off. Conservatives are far too willing to sit back and try to live their lives in quiet dignity while extreme far left lunatic liberals have brought many of our institutions to the brink of collapse and I refuse to leave that world for my grandbabies. I. Refuse.

My grandbabies will know that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Their schools will not be overrun by radical theorists and sexual groomers. Not on my watch. My “why”? Morgan, Luca Nakoa, and Kulani.

Everything I’m “not” is going to be underappreciated by some, ignored by others, and ridiculed by the phat Shelley’s of the world. The extra last thing I’m not? Affected by it.

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one. Marcus Aurelius

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