Friday, June 29, 2012


Last weekend was an absolute nightmare.

My brain is still sorting through medical terms, hospital smells, and gut wrenching pangs all day long that get me sobbing all over again.

It still hasn't sunk in that our beautiful girl, Tillie, is gone.


 She had emergency surgery Sunday afternoon, survived that, and passed quietly in her recovery room overnight just like the doctor said she might.

As you know, Tillie did have a harrowing past with medical issues but she seemed healthy and in full recovery by the time she came to live with us.  Nobody knew she had something called a diaphragmatic hernia brewing inside her.  Some pets can live with those if they are benign enough.  Some have a better chance at recovery if it is found early on.

In Tillie's case, tragically so, it wasn't found early on.  Her accident or trauma happened many months ago and I can only guess she had so much going on recovering from c-section and her double hip surgeries that the diaphragmatic hernia was not seen.  Nobody knew her body was growing adhesions that were literally attaching her intestines to her chest cavity by the day.  Eventually her bowel twisted which caused a lethal obstruction and her lung capacity to be significantly compromised.


By the time she was showing signs of trouble, it was like finding out my baby was slowly suffocating from the inside.

That Sunday when I took her back to the vet's office for her follow up x-ray, before I understood about her hernia, I assumed we'd collect some medicine, maybe an enema and be on our way.  I never for one second dreamed she would not be coming back home with me that afternoon much less ever again.

Sometimes I ask myself if I would do it over again, knowing what I know now.  Knowing Tillie's insides were killing her.  Knowing we would welcome her, adore her, and without any warning at all, suddenly lose her in such an awful way. 

The answer is yes.

The answer will always be yes.

But Oh My God how I miss her now.

There isn't enough time on earth to cherish those you love.  Don't waste one second.  Lay with them in the hallway,

sprinkle them with glitter, 

let them swim, buy the fancy bed, feed them ice cream, listen to them breathe,


let them wear the tutu,

drop your groceries to hug them first, walk with them,

watch them as they lay in the sun, make time only for them,


laugh with them on floor while you smother them with kisses, and let them know you would do anything on this earth to keep them safe until it isn't up to you anymore.

Then let them go where there won't be any more pain or suffering.



Dear Beautiful Magical Tillie.  We all love and miss you more every day.

You are taking so many of us with you as you go. 

Friday, June 22, 2012


The magic spell is broken.

The beautiful road tonic that lulled Grayson to sleep wore off the millisecond he inhaled house air. 

But all was not lost as Abby is now passed out (on the dogbed again) resting quietly and more importantly mute.  So now I am left with a wide-awake boy who is working on his Highlights Hidden Pictures for probably only 30 more seconds. Yep, all done.  In fact, during the creation of this sentence he asked me to help him find a toothbrush, crescent moon, and slice of cheese.  The toothbrush was a toughie.

It's not that I don't love spending time with my kids.

It's just that for some reason I keep looking forward to this elusive block of time where I will be able to do things adults like to do, uninterrupted. 
  • eat Cheez-Its from the box
  • post about the vineyard in TN
Not even really adult things involving margarita salt and tip money.  The simple pleasures of not keeping another person busy.  Things like:  
  • being motionless, face down, in the middle of my bed
  • deleting fat pictures from my camera
  • sip chai tea instead of heat it up 900 times to never drink it in the end
Oh, Ever Elusive Solitude, you must be out there somewhere.  I think I caught a glimpse of you last night while I was manically devouring schedules for summer camp.

The ballerina will be easy, she is accepting of new people and new situations if it earns her stage time in a pink leotard and ballet slippers.  The insomniac boy is another story.  He has already informed me he will, "not be tricked into taking camp where they smile too much."

Like I said, the toothbrush is a toughie.    

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hostess Cupcake Bliss

Yesterday Andy brought home a treat for the kids since they insisted there could be no birthday without cake.

I think Andy chose wisely. 

 Very wisely.

Can you tell it was their first Hostess Cupcake ever?

By the looks of things, it might have to be their last. 

Not sure their little endorphins can handle it again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grocery Store

Today I'm turning 38.  Or maybe I already did.  Don't know what time my dear mom finished the work of bringing me into this world.  (Thanks, Mom.  Happy Birth Day to you too.)

Birthdays after 35 seem like a trip to the grocery store.  You don't really look forward to it but you must go. Then when you cross through the automatic doors you can't help but feel a little bit thrilled at all the possibilities.  And yet, inevitably you ignore the new fun stuff and buy your 2% milk, carton of eggs, and honey wheat bread.

You come home, unpack your groceries and end up here:

So today, I'm going to change the script.  I might have to go to the grocery store but I will not just get the usual.

Because at 38 I find myself in this Crucible rewarding phase, working toward inner happiness not contingent on condition, surrounded by the loveliest of you, and smarter than to let one more day pass where I leave without choosing the fun stuff more often.

Happy First Day of Summer, you guys.  Grab a little fun for yourself however you can today.  Doesn't have to be illegal.  But do call me if it is because that sounds exciting.

I'm off to play in a sprinkler,

sing someone to sleep,

and nibbly my way through a pretty tower of things I will try not to regret tomorrow.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Father's Day is tricky for me.

There are lots of people to remember as I have had a few men in my life who have been a father to me.  

The one who never tried to take the place of my real dad but taught me everything I know today is my grandfather.  From him I learned there is no substitute for hard work.  He was practical, witty, and always there for his children and grandchildren. Also, he taught me how important it is to make your bed every morning.  To this day, I make my bed every single morning as I wonder how he's doing up there in heaven.  Friday night he visited me in my dreams and I woke up trying to remember what he had said.  I couldn't bring back his words but it didn't matter when I realized that day was his birthday.  He would have been 100 years old.  Happy Birthday, Big Guy.

Brigadier General in the Army but I just knew him as Boomps.

The one who snuggled me for the first time and teaches me to follow my gypsy soul is my dad.  I may not have had a lot of time with him as a young girl but he showed me the world when he could.  Especially Tower Bridge in England.  We walked that sucker three times in one day.  He must've lost his keys but I will never forget Tower Bridge, Wales, or London.  Or how hard I cried on that long flight back home.  It was hard leaving my dad but I knew he would plan for another adventure with us as soon as possible. 

 Thank God for gypsy souls because that cowlick sure wasn't taking me anywhere pretty. 

Dad and Chris otherwise known as Pop-Pop and Mimi

The one who shares his wisdom and patience with me is my stepfather, Steve.  If angels live on earth, my mom found him and brought him to us.  She's a smart cookie that way.

 Colonel in the Army just back from a deployment to Saudi Arabia  My mom is so thin here because she couldn't eat much while he was gone.  And he was gone for ten months. 

The one I wanted to be just like when I was little is my uncle Jimmy.  He also taught me how to take a joke, make one, and always consider your audience.  I still try to be like him but like to think I dress better now.


The one I followed around like a pesky duckling and stole money from his underwear drawer is my brother, Eric.  He made sure I lived through my teenage years and locked me out of our house when I snuck out to run around Georgetown in my pajamas.  I always thought it was my grandfather.  Same difference.  They both had an impossible job to do getting me out of my own way.


 Eric never smoked or wore garbage bags on his head.  He did, however, make that face a lot. 

And finally, the one I get to live with and enjoy as a dad to our children is my husband.  The man who knows this Daddy business is hard work but loves it anyway.  He is making cherry pie from scratch downstairs with the two little gremlins right now as I type so he might be breaking out into hives. I shall go save him.  After all, it is Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day to all of you out there who celebrate this day with happiness, tears, or maybe even a cowboy hat from the Dollar Store.  Good job, Fellas.  We need more like you out there.



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nashville Photo Collage (So Much Better Than Dump) Two

So yes, I do really stink at follow-up posts.  Follow ups in general.  Which is why I haven't been to my dentist in two years.

Or called anyone back since the dawn of Facebook.

Or got Sadie's follow up Lyme vaccine, come to think of it.  That one's different though.  Not sure there really is a follow-up lyme vaccine.  Anyone heard of this?  The front desk looks at me like I am wearing a lantern shark on my head when I inquire.  Yet, we keep getting this alarming SADIE IS OVERDUE FOR HER 2nd LYME VACCINATION and YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY NEED THAT MANY NEW PAIRS OF FLIP FLOPS SO BRING HER IN ALREADY postcards in the mail.  Love those.  Such a warm form of harassment and belittling.  One step above the damn Cabela's catalog that Hubs keeps shoving in my face all, "Look at these Honey, we still have lots of Cabonuses."  My poor disillusioned husband, I'm never going to wear a bikini again, much less one that is camouflage with pink trim any more than you'll wear a shirt that is a color not found on a tree.  Let's move on.

So, following up with pictures of Nashville has been tough for two reasons:
  1. My computer hates pictures lately and it takes 300 years to upload pictures.  I love you, my faithful readers but sometimes 300 years is a lot of time for Abby to pour nail polish in her hair and all over Tillie.  Not that she can't accomplish that in 30 seconds.  She did.  Pink and it looks great on both. 
  2. Andy was away in CA all this week and I couldn't tell you guys or moan and complain about it because my mom would send the police over here to protect and serve my driveway all week.  Therefore, I will never announce to all thirty six of you I am home alone with children.  
Okay, so there are three reasons.
     3.The third reason is that I have been so floundering from single parenting (I know, deployment and all, I still hate single parenting) and looking   at those Nashville pics makes me want to pack us all up and move us to a small southern town where I will have a false sense of security and an even falser southern drawl.

With those confessions behind me, I'm gonna shut it and see about uploading these pics.  Kids are in bed, it's quiet and my husband is snuggled up with his jet lag and a pint of Ben & Jerry's.  He's not really.  He was out grocery shopping but I didn't want to tell you that because, well, Hi Mom! and he just rolled in with bags of what I'm sure contains at least one pint of Ben & Jerry's.

All right, where were we?

 Ah yes, on the sidewalks Nashville.  Love those boots, Mama.

 And in a Honkey-Tonk where I got down on the dancefloor and embarrassed my non-dancing husband.
 Their name was Smoke 'N Guns.  
Smoke had a great voice but Guns had the whole performing package going with killer pipes.  
We will probably see her up on the big stage soon. 
And I have her CD somewhere in a bag I haven't unpacked yet.  
See?  Such a bad follow-through-er.

 This little couple was so sweet.  They were in their forties and very in tune with each other. I imagined it being their wedding anniversary and him surprising her with tickets to a big fancy steak dinner right before the show.  Although they were very thin.  Probably not steak eaters. 
That might be Glen Campbell on stage.  He rocked it but thought every song was his last one.  As a physical signal, stage hands began to place a new guitar around his neck so he'd know to just keep playing.  Amazing muscle memory from years of performing.  His voice knew all the words and his hands remembered all the strings.  This will probably be one of his last hurrahs and I'm so glad we were there to witness.

  College drunkards down in front.  
It's not a true party without the college drunkards down in front.

 If you got yer Hat and yer Boots then yer all set for The Acoustic Set inside the Auditorium.

 Which is where we got to see Buddy Jewel.  
You may remember him from the TV show Country Star or something close to that.  I'm too lazy to Google it but he was amazing then and is a true country artist now.  
Also a terrific performer live; very funny guy! 
His voice is a rich spoonful of dark chocolate mousse to my soul.  
And I just about melted when he looked my way while I was taking this picture.  
I'd never be able to get an autograph with any of these people.  Too stupidly starstruck

All that idolizing got us hungry so off to Rippy's for the best BBQ in town.  
Behind me is a young band playing on stage near the window.  They sounded like a country version of Hanson but let me tell you, whoever the frontman is will be a star.  
He had the lot of us putting our forks down to twist around in our seats to see him belt out a few covers.  What a great day that was.  I love listening to raw talent and being there to support their efforts.  I'm usually the one who whistles like a dog handler so I know they hear me in the back.

 Awful pic but I love it because it shows the candid side of the getaway.  Jen is smiling, Cowboy is stunned into submission in front of a camera.  Big J is blowing a bubble with his gum and I'm scowling at something. We are waiting to get into the LP Field for the nighttime festival of music after one bigass day of walking everywhere.  Can't remember who was on this night but I do know we were sundried tomatoes by the time we ended up here.  Weary, bar dirty, and so very very happy.

 This is Andy's lovely cousin.  
She makes that hat look lucky to be on her pretty little head and not the other way around. 
We love her.

 These are new friends we (re)met in TN.   Such easy company that we chose to spend lots of time together chatting each other up.  That and we also had the eating thing in common.  
Her cowboy and I need food often.  
For once, I wasn't the only grazer who required a push of calories to the bloodstream every 90 minutes.
Grumpy bear soul mates.  
He even brought emergency peanut butter one day and shared with me when I became colicky.
I've been hiking my jar of peanut butter around everywhere I go ever since. 

Oh the Happy Child-Free Couple.  
It's so nice to know I'm not a raging nastygram all the time.  

Just when our children are in the room.

This getaway did us all so much good.  
I have the tissue in my ears to prove it (!! lame-o !!)

 Half the fun for me in life is people watching.  Sitting in front of us one night were these two young couples. The girl in the white dress with her boyfriend in the red shirt were adorable.  
They practically touched eyelashes all night long flirting with each other so much.  
Aside from the fact they were twelve and drinking beer, it was fun to see them having such a great night.

The couple next to her though?  
Whoa.  Different country altogether.  
Black Dress wasn't happy with her date whom I realized much later was her husband.  
Didn't notice their rings at first and I was positive he was going home alone that night.  
The things she was whispering to White Dress all night long were absolutely sinister about her date.  He looked a little bit confused as to why she was playing Words With Friends on her phone throughout the concert.  I wanted to lean in and tell him to go buy her a diamond necklace and forget about the Miller Lites.  Those were getting him nowhere.
And here I must leave you with a tease for next post.  
The Vineyard.  Where Ghost Stories went well with Chardonnay and Blackberry wine.

Goodnight, Y'all.