Monday, September 30, 2013

postscript

sorry if my last blog post alarmed you or made you wonder if all i do is sit in random parking lots not getting out of my car.  i don't.  i get out of the car everywhere i go except the gym.  i'm betting only 50% of that reason is actually not wanting to make myself work very hard and sweat until i feel like i should look like charlize theron.  i never do.  this hurts my sweaty feelings. 

regardless, bloggers tend to process their innards online.  in front of thousands (nineties, whatever) because it's way less scary than having a conversation with a person who blinks. 

however, it has come to my attention that not everyone loves this idea and for them, i'm sorry.  for me?  not so much.  i love you guys and i love telling you what's going on.  for those of you who know me here, in the steamy bayou, you can tell i'm a way too talkative completely normal person.  i function as a mom, wife, dog owner, PTA volunteer, salamander stalker, you name it.  never do i cry in front of my new friends (AWkward) and very rarely do i cry in front of my family but when i do it's never because i'm sad.  it's usually when i'm a) so tired all i can do is weep b) scared because abby choked again and i'm sure she'll never live past 6 if she keeps trying to eat corn chips.

anyway, i feel the need to let anyone who is concerned/annoyed/wearing their pjs that everything's ok.  i do realize my blessings are far greater than my woes.  far greater.  sometimes i get caught up in my woes here because it's safe.  because it's you guys.  because writing them out helps me put them behind me.  i'm syntactic like that.

anyway, here's me today with the kids and a quick peek of andy.  we're doing what we always do and i'm doing it off key.

xoxo

http://youtu.be/OmqiWq1Ggi0

Stephen King's Circus

It happens every single time I park at the gym.  Every single time.  Turning off the engine sends a rush of quiet where even my inner dialogue stops.  All distractions gone, stillness settles and I can't hide anymore.  There's only so much to keep you busy on the dashboard of a minivan.  The tears start as yelps being swallowed hole in my throat until a few sneak past and land on my lime green Danskin shorts.

Jimmy is still not here.

In grief you feel like you go through these seasons of hell but then you get your lost one back.  Obviously nonsense but that doesn't matter because in real life --alive life-- that's how it works:  you get sick then you get better.  A marriage breaks down then you get a divorce.  Your kids backtalk then they have to call you Pretty Mama 10 times in a row.  In your alive minutes all suffering is rewarded with something better. 

Grief is not that way.  It is this endless circus on the inside, only the kind of circus Stephen King would write.  Demented ringmasters whipping at angry elephant paws to make them dance, stir a pot of noodles, do the dishes, feed yourself, smile at the people who don't know your world has lost its original compass, its only muse.   Thin acrobats go dripping from one rusty trapeze to the next, sometimes with only one apathetic bent knee because there is no rush.  They know it's going to be a while.

Your gut aches so much that rings of fire don't sound so bad with their singe and release, singe and release.  Numbness, after all, is what you're after.

The tears come again and I am clutching my "J"  necklace, trying not to break it. 

Jimmy, what the $%@# happened!?  Why did you have to go now?  Can you hear us down here?  How will there be Thanksgiving and Christmas without you?  Jimmy, I miss you so much.  What are you doing there?  Are you still here at all?  Can you hear me?  Am I making it harder to go to heaven by missing you?  Jimmy.  Jimmy.  Oh Jimmy I can't believe you're gone.  It's not right.  Nothing feels right since you left.  Where is your voice, your laugh, your 2 am Instant Messages on Facebook.  I need your kiss on my forehead.  I won't let it be forever, G*&dammit.  That can't be gone forever.  You suck, you know that?  You really suck for leaving us all here without you.  Mom got a tattoo, Jimmy, with your initials because she's trying to numb too.  It worked but only on two inches of her wrist.  It's numb alright and now she wants me to do it.  Maybe I will.  Jimmy.  I miss you so @#!%& much, you have no idea.  Jimmy.  I will save all the dogs for you.



And I squeegee the bridge of my nose, flick the useless tears away, and start my car again.  I'm not ready to start caring about this crap yet.  I'm just not ready to care about kettle bells and cellulite.

So while a few minutes alone in the gym parking lot really sucks, that's ok because the alternative, this insidious Stephen King circus is no picnic either. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Neck of the Swamp


Andy's been on travel since the weekend.

Five days of solo parenting and I'm one passport away from becoming Zelda and finding out what's good in Greenland.

fact that I was once very good at solo parenting seems to have been indigenous to Virginia. Here, I can barely keep the five of us from running aground by 5pm.

In the span of four days I've:

Ruined two dinners

Cleaned up dog puke twice (Second one was hiding for two days under a pillow. I'll let you guess WHOSE pillow.)

Hosed down inside of van from spilled Abby's spilled milkshake (from Sonic because of the ruined dinner #2.)
Opened the fridge causing a bottle of red to nose dive on our tile and spread its shrapnel into Grayson's toes. Roughly seven minutes before bedtime.

Been sweetly scared to death by my two guard dogs who were both charging the door at two a.m. Abby and I suddenly had Parkinson's comforting each other for an hour.

Driven over a 24 mile long bridge in the rain with my migraine boy to find out we are doing most things right and he is still just going to get migraines.

Have not been able to blog about it because Andy has the computer...this is from my iPad and is also being typed in HTML which might be painfully obvious by the time I press publish. Sorry.

Pulled my groin or whatever you call that in a woman. My bikini area? My butt? I'm not sure but I can't deliver my dogs' food dishes without yelping like a wounded chihuahua or maybe more Saint Bernard.
So here are some pretty pictures of where we live to make me happy. I saved them in a post to work on but I have to go watch Abby paint in her brand new Book Fair books with water colors. Oh yes she is and Oh yes I am letting her. Why is she home on a school day, you ask? Because the girls are taking a mental health day. We might even sneak in a pedi.











Sunday, September 22, 2013

Evolution of a Family Portrait

Abby's preschool class requested a recent family photo.  

We don't have any.  I have ten crap ton billion of her alone but no full house family shot.  The most recent family photo we have was when Abby wasn't walking yet and had hair like married and angry about it Kate Gosselin.  I know we just moved here but I doubt Abby's preschool teachers will believe that one's from last week. 

So, we took our family photo.  At 8:45 at night.  In our pajamas.  The night before the picture was due.  Because I like to set the example of a together parent in this together family for this together life we're having. 

Below is a wee peek into our real anything but together life at any given moment.  

Enjoy the real.  



   This is a test.  This is only a test.




  Ok, Kids.  We're going to need you to be visible, everyone, look over here.
Good girl, Sparrow.  Stay there. 
Please come out of the covers, Grayson.



  Ok, that's good.  I can see your face now, Baby.
But...we lost Sparrow. 


 No, no.  Stay there, Honey. 
Daddy can get Sparrow. 
Oh look, Sadie is in the shot!



 Yes, thank you for getting Sparrow, Abby. 
Now can you sit down on Daddy's lap? 
Yes, yes, I can still see Sadie.  Everybody look up, please?



 What just happened?  It fell to sh*t that fast? 
Sadieeeee, come back Honeeeeey.  
Grayson, I can barely see your face. 
Can you just...can we lose the blanket, dude, you look like a worm in a cocoon. 
Yes, "chrysalis" whatever. 
You're all sweaty now. 
Abby Honey, sit down, I can see your Pull-Up. 
I know, you're only four.  
Babe, your legs look hot. 
Ok, Sparrooooowww!




  We have both dogs again?  
Honey?  Abby?  Can you stop being in the dog's face right now? 
I know, you have to snoofy-oopy her because she's "adowable" but I need you to...
...Abigail Kate get A-W-A-Y from that dog's face right now, I heard her growl. 
 Andy, did she growl?  That is her warning sign, Abby Kate. 
WARNING you to Get Away From Her Sharp Teeth, child. 
She is going to bite your nose off one day, Abigail, I swear.

Fine, no dogs, whatever. 
No, Sparrow won't really bite your nose off, Abby, it's ok. 
But you really have to start respecting her space. 
GRAYSON GET OUT OF THE BLANKET NOW. 
Andy, Babe...I'm dying here, can you paleeeeze help me out, man? 
We just need to get one shot before bed, this damn thing is due tomorrow.
 Jesus, could the boys smile, maybe? 
Why do you two look like the walking dead right now? 
Good job keeping it happy, Abby. 
Grayson...so help me, I am seriously about to rip that blanket right from your body, son. 
Could you please....
 Nobody move, Sadie's back. 
Abby, look here. 
Abby!  Do NOT get off of Daddy's lap. 
I will get Sparrow.

 AbbeeGaaaiill Kate, I will get Sparrow. 
PLEASE stay on Daddy's lap. 
Sadie!  Look over here, Honey. 
Grayson?  Why don't you just go all the way inside the blanket.
 Yes, like that.  
Is Sparrow coming? 
Come here, Honey.  Good girl, come here girl. 
Sparrow? Come over here now pleeeeeaaase,
Come here girl, come on girl, let's go good dog, Sparrow. 
WhoknewSparrowWeLoveOurSparrow
Come on girl, let's go up.
Holy crap, I could not be sweatier right now.
Jesus, God. 
The dogs are in the picture, blessed be thy name. 
Thank you for your help, Abby. 
Please everyone look up here and smile so Mommy can run in the picture next to Moth Boy.
Do you think we could get both dogs up on the couch with us, they're hardly in the shot.
Come on Sadie, you can do it, Honey. 
Come up here with Mommy.
You got this little mama. 
 Sparrow, you come on too, let's go!
Well, yes but...
not exactly the angle I was going for.
C'mon Girls, let's go.  Up here!



Oh for F&$% sake, I give up.


No, no, we can do this.  I'm just going to need a little nap first.



And then head boop Abby.


Oh Hi, you're a cute little boy.





 It is so funny over there.



 Where did I put my gin and tonic?
Hand over the remote and we'll pretend this never happened.



 Cheeese!






 Merry Christmas.









Thursday, September 19, 2013

Existential Snapshots

As a sensory person or maybe just as an Erin, I seem to live in snapshots.  Like the rest of the minutes are slugging and pushing and putting one foot-in-front-of-the-othering because I have those adult things to harvest.

Then life happens:
  • Sadie's ear flips to show a pink underside and I'm filled with adoration and gratefulness that she is still here with us
  • A friend's little boy lifts his arm and I see his belly because his shirt is just a bit too small for his growing frame and I love his mommy that can't keep up with laundry and fitted clothes either.
  • Abby tells me she loves me more than God, heaven, Sadie, Cricket, and...even Uncle Jimmy while her cheeks turn to cherries and her furtive arms wrap around my neck in a proper stalker strangle-hold.  I am hers and she is doesn't care if it hurts a little.





Time works in stops and starts for me, does it do that for you too?  The smoothness of days never happens and I'm not complaining because the herky jerky standstills overwhelm me as it is.  If I had to feel that much during all the minutes, I'd be needing Oprah piped in around the clock holding LifeClasses while I watched, catatonicly, from my bed.

Sometimes I wonder why people got scarred with consciousness. And is it this blessing or simply the result of surviving through dinosaurs and stock markets?   Are we, in fact, the only ones on this planet who are aware of our awareness?  How do we know our catahoulas aren't looking at us saying, "Wow, Food Lady is getting awfully snowy around the temples, I can't believe we only have a few more Saturday strolls together."

We think, we know we think, we die and we know we die.  When I was studying paleontology in college, I read a short cartoon about how cavemen walked away from their dead like they never were alive.  They didn't bury them, they didn't honor their lives with them, they didn't carry their lifeless bodies to a safe place because they themselves would've been pterodactyl food.  They moved on from that moment into the next moment without once looking back because their own lives depended on it.  For a few minutes, I was jealous of their coldness.  How amazing to just live and keep on stomping the earth without always missing the ones you hate to live without. 

Maybe in the safety of progress we have surpassed our own ability to remember we are all terminal. 

We remember, we miss, we honor, we worry, we grieve because we can.  Nobody is going to come along and eat us if we stop to keen and wail. 

And this thing, this human nature of ours that can stop and contemplate overwhelms me.  Some days it makes me want to sleep hours under the covers or drink lattes until I get bloat.

Then there are the snapshots.  They just spark * boom * pow * throughout the day and I thank my skies they never stop.  Only in them can I be linear, fluid, and fulfilled.
 
  • the strain of a turtle's neck on a pond bank
  • a Yankees hat tucked neatly on the shoulder of a busy road, unmoved by oncoming traffic
  • the exhale of Sparrow as she devotes every blink to my granola bar
  • a friend's Batman shirt buckling sweetly as she kneels down to wipe her son's face
  • my new friend answering her door still chewing, her red hair tied up in lovely knot, an explosion of sunset around her kind face

These things hold my attention and keep me from myself.  These snapshots grip the nerve endings that are too often busy planning, preparing, worrying, and acting the right way. 


Arrested by their unfettered being here, it takes a second to acknowledge I am holding my breath. 

Interesting that being alive requires me to hold my own breath.

When you catch your glimpse, your explosive snapshot of life, what does it look like to you?  How long can you hold onto it before slogging along for the next few minutes (hours, weeks?) Or do yours last all day long?  Tell me, how do you not eat all the Oreos?






 

May your snapshots be often and unsettling.  And may we both remember to breathe.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Julia Roberts for a Day

Do you ever have buyer's remorse?

Oh my goodness, do I.

Today, in fact.  I needed to purchase a new something to hold up my somethings better than my jogging tops do.

Easy breezy, right?  You go in.  Try a few on.  Choose one that doesn't turn your bosom into a shelf for your chin.  Pay for it.  Walk out happier for having fitted underthings for your somethings.

Only holy bovines, did it all fall apart for me today.

First of all, I must've been shopping in the teaching hospital of undergarment stores because my nice fitting lady brought a helper.  A student.  A grasshopper under her wise womanly tutelage.  So there we are, all three grown women in a cubicle smaller than the bathroom stalls in Panera Bread. 

And then I was supposed to remove my top things.

Oh wow.  Maybe I'll come back later.  When I'm a size 6 and have petite vanilla kisses to work with instead of well, these magnetic pulls of the earth's core.

"Here, Honey.  Just pull up like this and reach back there and yank those puppies into the cup."

Sure.  I will need some Neosporine, gauze, and a wide headed needle for the suturing.  Do you have any cotton thread in taupe?

"That's it, Sugar.  You got 'em in.  Now let me close you up in the back."

I'm sorry, I didn't know a lung removal was going to be necessary to fit into your garments, ma'am. 

"And this one has a really nice effect.  You can r-e-a-c-h behind your shoulders (I can?  Since when?) and make a T-back with this here cute little J-hook."

Oh no.  I'mma T Boz with my cute little left hook, SisterFriend.  It's on.

"Ok, what do you think?"

I think I look like the star of the Ravens defensive line.

"And if you'd like, I can bring a few more in black to try on."

Yes.  I can wear those to your funeral.  Or mine.  The one that might be tomorrow if Andy catches this price tag.  Dear Gawd, who shops here?  The Duchess and Wils?  I bet she doesn't even look nice in J-hooks.

"Ok, Dawlin', I'm gonna let you visit with this one for a bit while I get the others."

Visit is about right.  It's the only way me and this bra will ever get any time together since I cannot afford your free mints in this ritzy brothel.

Well Ladies, how do you like the good life?  Is it all you thought it would be?  Is the oxygen better up here?  Hmmm, this one kind of give me cleavage.  Whoah d√©colletage Twinsies.  Helllooo Date Night.  Hahahaha, look at you two all hugging like old friends.  I'm sorry for the lonesome hiatus, Ladies...


"Did you decide, Hun?"

"Yes! I have decided to take this one!"

"Good choice.  That's one of our high end garments.  Limited Edition."

Could you please get me one in black?  I'm going to need it.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Including the Soft

Maybe it's something about being this close to forty that gives me permission to be myself.

I don't know but I like it.

By now we know who or what deserves the precious time we have to give or take. 

If only we could own our worth from the beginning.  Maybe we do and it gets lost for just a few of us.  Maybe we do and it gets covered up so we can survive those awful teenage years of fitting in or trying like hell to hide that you don't. 

Then comes those refreshing early twenties of breaking free.  Finding your way and introducing yourself to the things your heart pushes for without your intellect's permission. 

Pottery
Poetry
Running early mornings (so the hot girls & boys weren't out yet and you had the sun to yourself and all the Engineering students)
Music
Chocolate
Gay boyfriends (one who said he was "finally ok" he was gay while we were snuggling)
Libraries and almost never bars
Avoiding crowded places
Eating pizza where jazz played and red wine sang

Now, the last year of my thirties brings a peace and comfort that I've known all along but have denied for no real good damn reason.  Watering down.  Covering up.  Blending in with the crowd.  Being invisible to watch all the parts that make the whole.

Now, as we snuggle, I can tell you I'm "finally ok" with who I am. 
  • quiet
  • curious
  • moody
  • private
  • playful
  • impatient
  • sensitive
  • tired
  • loving
and the one I tried to hide the most:
  • soft
Somewhere along the years I became ashamed of the attribute of being soft.  To me it meant less than, weak, fragile, incapable, and broken.  No way was I going to be soft.  F that.  I kickboxed, cursed, ate, drank, SCUBA dove, marathoned away from the notion of ever being soft. 

When we were dating, Andy made a passing remark about a dealbreaker.   A relationship dealbreaker for him was if I was one of those "sensitive types."  I lol'ed it off and hit him with a few jittery retorts about how I ate those sensitive types for breakfast. 

When what I wanted (and should've) typed back was:  Deal broken.  I am THE sensitive type.  Your sweatshirts are in the mail.

(You might be amused that this entire conversation took place through old school AOL Instant Messaging.  All of our dating life was by computer.  Surprise!  We never lived in the same state until after marriage.  No two people were more shocked to introduce themselves to one another AFTER the marriage than Andy and me.  We are still introducing ourselves to one another.  We are still shocked.)

We are also really drunk here.  But my eyelids already told you that much.


 
In denying that soft trait, I was trying to outrun the best part of myself.   The part that says, "Nope.  She calls herself friend but is hurting and chipping away at your spirit with putdowns and "jokes" about your weaknesses.  Friends don't do that.  Move on to the next.  Yes, that one.  She looks you in the eye without a thought of moving her mouth.  She invites you in with an energy of acceptance and playful banter.  She is here for the party too.  But not the mosh pit.  Just a small gathering of friends for coffee who all go home before 10pm.

The soft in me sees the hard in others.  It recognizes the pain they are in and volunteers to listen but not rescue.  Soft cannot rescue hard, it can only guide with patient words and loving presence.  I've learned the soft in me attracts the soft in others too and this is my favorite newest revelation.  It feels like a super power sometimes.  It comes out in kindness as they recognize a like offering of humanity and goodwill.  Softness is like light that way.

Dogs respond to it.

Children will call you out every time without it.  At least mine will.

Soft isn't supposed to hide.  It is to be revealed and revered and honored as it has been through the ages.

It took me awhile to see the benefit of accepting softness as a strength and giving it any power in decision making/life's work/spiritual guidance.  Softness whispers, cushions, forgives, accepts, helps, loves, nurtures, encourages, heals, strengthens, holds.  How could this be a mistake?  These things are not bad.  These things are not to be covered up or shamed.  Without them, I'm just a girl in my twenties trying to hide myself away from the world.

Now, I'm a grateful woman in my late thirties learning how to be useful out there in this world. 
 

This time, including the soft.

 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

One Way to see a Drive In Movie

"Mommy," Grayson asks in a whisper as he cradles his forehead again,  "I think when you have these kinds of headaches....it means you can do things....that you have a special job to do on earth."

I'm so glad he's been watching too many superhero shows.

"Yes, baby.  It does mean that.  It seems like a curse sometimes now but later, when you learn how to navigate it, your nature will be a blessing.  How's your headache?"

Please say it's going away.

"A medium to large, I think it's getting worse.  It's all a curse now, Mommy.  Did you get headaches when you were younger?

Jesus, kid.  Nobody I know in the world gets them like you.

"Yes, I did Honey, but not like yours."

Please, let them stop.

"Yeah, you seem more like a stomachache kinda girl."

Sweet boy, how did you know?

"Yes, you're right.  I'm more of a stomachache kinda girl.  Ok Honey, finish up, let me get you to bed."


Grayson's migraines have come back in full force and he has been an absolute warrior in dealing with them at school.  Sometimes the nurse calls to let me know he has received his medication.  Sometimes she calls to let me know he is laying down in a quiet room.  Sometimes she calls to give me advice about the tests to ask for at the pediatrician.  But every single day since school has started, she calls.

We are back to ground zero with respect to figuring things out.  Starting over with a new pediatrician, we are pushing for more tests, more bloodwork and more answers. 

"Kids just sometimes get migraines," is no longer an acceptable response for us.  At least not for now.

I understand migraines are genetic, that doctors no longer believe they are caused by the narrowing and contracting of blood vessels.  I understand the litany of triggers than usually bring on migraines.  I have tracked it all:  food, drink, weather, barometric pressure, activity levels/hydration, hours of sleep, fluorescent rooms, different smells, new situations, difficult transitions, how many freckles are on his soft little face (12), I have written it all down.  The only common denominator I can draw is the weather and maybe blood sugar levels.  We have a medical plan in place in his classroom.  It's only working half the time.  He has already missed days of school due to the pain (or aftermath) of his migraines and school has only been going for three weeks. 

On Friday Grayson had an MRI to see, once and for all, if there is anything physical causing these headaches. 

The nurse let me go in the room with him and right away I noticed the wilderness backdrop.  It was mostly straight but the sticker was loose in the corners which gave the entire room a more antiseptic tone.  So synthetic it was denying the natural world from infiltrating even through a picture.

I gently held Grayson to my side.  Two nurses came in to explain how he needed to be still, how loud the MRI machine is, and how cool it was they could put movie glasses on him so he could watch Avatar.

I wanted to throw up. 

In this environment not made for children, my big boy seemed so small.  My tall and lanky 6 year old was tender in that room; a trusting lamb sidling up to tank that was about to take pictures of the soft tissue inside his brain.




Do you guys have a trash can? 

Removing my earrings, my bracelet and my watch, the smiley nurse eyed me up and down then asked if I had any other loose items. 

What loose things do people have down there, woman?  Ohhhh, nope, not a chance, sister.

"They'll be pulled into the magnet," she said as I checked for quarters that might have me rocketing across the room - pocket first - shot into his holding tank with him asking what I missed so far in the movie.

Please let him be ok.

Two nurses, moms in uniform was all I could see, then explained how he couldn't move at all once they put the blanket on him. 

"Can I blink?"  Grayson asked.

"Yes, but you can't move your head at all, ok?"

"Can I swallow?"  He is six.  Six doesn't mess around.

"You can but please don't move your head AT ALL," she said again. 

Grayson's eyes met mine and I mouthed the words, "AT ALL" dramatically so he would know I knew how freaked out we both were.  Sometimes Parenting Gurus tell you to hide your fear from your kids.  I couldn't if I tried.  Grayson would know I was bullshitting and he'd spend more energy trying to get me real with him again.

"Ok babe, enjoy the movie, blink tons, and swallow lots.  I'm going to be right here the whole time, not breathing." I pointed to the wooden rocking chair that had faded gold leaves painted on the back rest.  It seemed like a dandelion in an ocean of tweezers and gauze.  Like it was there to comfort the one who was there to comfort The One.  To be polite, I pretended to be comforted, rocked myself dizzy, and kept my eyes on that little boy who was laying flat on his back while people in scrubs and face masks pressed buttons in a room separate from ours.

Holy Crap.  I am going to pass out.  Are my flip flops metal?

And then I hear it.  Grayson's panic button.  I see his little hand reaching for it like a madman, pressing away like his eyebrows caught flame. 

"It's not the right movie!!!" I hear him yell from the tunnel.   "There is a blue guy with a long tail and yellow eyes, this isn't the right movie.  This isn't Avatar."

The nurses shuffle back in, a little annoyed but a lot showing patience.  "It's a P-R-E-view, Honey.  The movie will start shortly, P-A-Leeeze stay still.  You're doing great!"

Seriously, maybe I should text Andy. 

"Umm...Ok.  I don't want to watch the previews, please.  I don't want to watch the movie at all please," and I know because a mother knows.

It was scary.  The blue guy with the long tail and yellow eyes was something Grayson couldn't un-see.  He is scared in that machine that sounds like a jackhammer.  He can't move when it revs up to clack clack clack away like an evil demon for three minutes at a time.

My eyes stay on Grayson, on the small white tent his feet make under the hospital blanket.  I will him to be still and remain calm.  This is scary but he is going to be ok.

You know how I knew?

Because just when my body wanted to snatch him from the dark metal tube he was in, when I could feel my heart pounding through my knees, when the red numbers counted down but the jackhammer kept going, when I changed my mind about this whole MRI modern medicine thing I saw something in the middle of the contraption Grayson was laying on. 

It was in lower case, scratched up and chipped away like a child's craft might be.

j

That's what I saw.  It was a lower case j.

 
And that's when I knew my boy was going to be ok.  That letter could've been a z or a k or a LMNO but it wasn't.  It was a j and a soft, lower case, kids' j at that.

I wanted to believe Jimmy was with us to stave off the bad guys and that was far more comforting than any old gold-leafed rocking chair any day of the week.

***********************

The MRI came back and showed a sinus infection with possible Mastoiditis.  That second one is only a little scary if not caught in time.  His doctor did not feel worried that he really did have Mastoiditis after seeing him on Saturday and examining his ear.  She got a second opinion from an ENT and she let us know she doesn't believe he has anything more than a sinus infection at this point.  Is this what was causing his migraines?  Nope, they don't believe that's it.  So the search continues but now we know it's a matter of finding triggers, and not the scary blue guy with the pointy tail and weird yellow eyes.  Who has time for that guy.





Friday, September 6, 2013

For Real

Sometimes blog posts air only the clean laundry.  Most of mine do too.  This one, however, is different. 

Welcome to My Very Narcissistic Confessions:

  1. Long nails feel horrid on me even though I know they are prettier.  I cut mine short despite the heartache this causes my husband.
  2. My husband and I are much kinder to each other through texts.  We never have deep conversations in person.  Maybe that's a good thing but it has me wondering.
  3. Snuggling with my dogs is often more appealing than snuggling with my children.  My dogs don't make me tickle them, smell their feet, or get their blanket/pillow/favorite lovey while we snuggle.  I do all those things for my dogs but they never ask.
  4. Missing my mom really sucks from here.
  5. Don't even get me started on Jimmy.
  6. Every day I wake up and remind myself this could be the day I die.  Macabre perspective maybe but... I am kinder with my words in case they're the last ones my kids hear.  I feed the dogs in case Andy forgets.  I tell people what I really think in case they wonder and wonder after I'm gone.
  7. Sometimes I think I will be counting the seconds before I expire and those will be the last thoughts my conscious mind will have.  1 - 2 - 3...how awful.  What a waste.  Let it be a movie reel of memories instead.  Or a peek into what's next.
  8. I no longer worry about things that don't matter in the long run.
  9. I've come to understand not many things matter in the long run.
  10. Daily workouts are not a priority over walking my dogs.  I'm proud of this.
  11. Friends of mine probably wonder why I never call them back.
  12. It's because I seriously despise long telephone conversations where I have to remember things in chronological order about my week/day/year.
  13. My brain doesn't put anything in order.  It's like a mosaic of dreams up there.  Lists help me pretend to be normal like you.
  14. Life is really hard every day.
  15. But it's also exponentially beautiful.
  16. Few people step up to the plate of your expectations.  Lower your expectations.
  17. I read maybe three blogs regularly and comment on one only sometimes.
  18. That probably makes me a douche.
  19. I'm ok with that (see #8).
  20. My "empath-ness" picks friends for me.  If our chemistry is off, my senses know before my brain does.  Works online too.
  21. Every day I naturally love my children like my mom loved my brother and me as little kids.  She spoiled us in kisses and physical affection.
  22. I cannot cook worthash*t.
  23. I do not stop trying.
  24. PMS makes me hate myself and maybe others momentarily.
  25. I have to try very hard to be "in the moment" with my children because my stay-at-home boredom levels have reached a new high.
  26. My husband dreams of climbing mountains, living in Colorado, and running a marathon.  I dream of leaving home for three to seven days by myself with cute scarves, nice boots, and my Nikon.
  27. Another dream of mine is to have a photography/art store one day where I sell my own photos, my friends' art, and refurbished furniture.
  28. I can literally spend hours in consignment stores turning over everything in search of nothing at all.
  29. I'm super talented at not running into people during the day.  It's like I've been accidentally honing my loner skills over the years and now I have to try to run into people during the day.  Most of the time that doesn't even work and I end up at the gym/supermarket/Taco Bell virtually alone.
  30. I'd totally have another kid this week.  But probably not next week.
  31. Moody is not more interesting.  I find it scary. 
  32. I appreciate your point of view and respectfully decline your advice 90% of the time.
  33. Jealousy is a useless emotion. Who gives a rat's bumbum what that other girl is up to?  Celebrate her because she's bravely living her life too.  There is no prize for the best anything at the end of anyone's song.
  34. Snails fascinate me.
  35. Sports bore me to tears.
  36. I love tattoos even though I don't have one.
  37. Sometimes I get to the register, pay, and walk out completely shocked that my bill was astronomically high because I am that bad at math.
  38. Just because I like you doesn't mean I trust you.
  39. I've been waffling in my faith lately.  Sometimes it's easier for me to believe this life is it, The End than it is to be a better human every single damn day.  Mostly, I can't get over the idea that God is exclusive whatsoever.  Not my God, he's good like that. 
  40. Most days I refuse to care for myself properly (do not look directly at my eyebrows).
  41. There is nothing worse in the world than tight clothes.  Not even fire ants.  I'd let fire ants sting me over wearing a tightly fitted dress for hours on end.
  42. I expect Abby to get over this tactile sensitivity even when I can't.
  43. Meditating and Praying finally feel different to me.  Losing Jimmy changed that.
  44. Losing Jimmy changed everything.
  45. The Bible has me quite curious but so does Tibet.
  46. I believe I could have a meaningful conversation with Abraham Lincoln and Cat Stevens.
  47. Automatically, I love people who call me Baby or Honey.  Even men. 
  48. Popsicle sticks make me cringe.
  49. Sometimes I want to wear scrubs at preschool pickup too.
  50. Authentic doesn't always mean organic but the earth is a wise fruit.
  51. See, I told you.  Mosaic of dreams. 

Got any narcissistic confessions of your own?

The floor is open.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hope Floats and Falls

Guess what these are?



(Nope, I thought wads of bubblegum too.)



They are snail eggs. 

When they're ready, they hatch and fall right down into the water.  I haven't figured out what happens after that but I hope the odds are in each baby snail's favor. 








And these little beauties were not here a couple of days ago.  But look at them all accounted for, paper thin, and purple enough to be royalty.






And that duck you see in the left hand corner is all alone on this pond with only a few turtles to keep her (him? it? my duck illiteracy is showing) company but it never stops swimming, floating, eating, and sunning itself.


My job lately feels like seeing hope wherever it grows. 


I'm so glad I skipped the gym today.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sunset Ponies

We've all been under the weather here lately.  Andy's the only one who has, as of yet, gotten away without hide nor hair of the yuck.

Abby's on antibiotics.  Grayson's eardrum is throbbing more this week than his forehead (win?).  I'm licking the leftover pink medicine inside Abby's plastic measuring cup like a raccoon in the night. 

To brighten our spirits, last night we drove to a place where bridge meets water meets sunset.  I had my Nikon and was ready to take back my life when all of a sudden, Abby's need to pee far surpassed all human understanding.  The Port-a-Potty was an insult to her moon pie because it "does not even flush."  Grayson was holding steady for his flustered parents but losing patience with his Housewife from OC little sister.  Andy was keeping both children at bay for me until the wild child ponies broke through the wooden slats in the barn and ran toward their mama horse balancing herself and that devilish busted camera. 

In the six minutes before, I teetered my camera on a dock post, felt the lake breeze toss my hair and took some pictures like the old days.  The old days of 2011 and 2012 before sand or hormones or irrational stay-at-home resentment broke the damn thing.  Now, all pictures are accompanied with a little ghost:  this small green orb in each of them.  If not the creepy afterlife glow than there is a rogue prism of light or two.  Fascinating display of good vs. evil going on inside my shutter and apertures. 

Only, I just wanted to take a few pictures of a sunset on the water with a bridge and maybe a freaking osprey.  It was too much to ask.  I had no business asking.  Moms don't ask.  They give.  And then they get floaty irksome haunted orbs in their jpgs.

Here are the results.  Enjoy the Ghost of Christmas Past.  And rainbow bits say Haay.

Hope your Back to School is going better than ours. 



See?  So. Irritating. 



Well, this one's not so bad...




But this?  Ugh.  I'm over you picture poltergeist.  Over. You.


 

Ooh, almost didn't see you there, Rainbow Bright.




Not there.





There.  WTF?!


Good...



Evil!  This one just kills me.  Put your finger over Elvis there and that is a pretty killer shot.  Grrr....



Oh Look?  It's the Land of the Lost with two suns!




One normal golden sun and another pain in the arse speck of distracting lime-green sun.




Ok, Rainbow Pants?  You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.



Screw you sun, I'm going to take pictures of other things - without light refraction.  Hmph.



Fine...one more little peek, I can't resist.



Maybe if I hide behind this here metal door.




Oh yes!  No green goblins!  No focus either, damn.




How long have we been here?


Oh, Hiiii.




Oh dear, goodbye.




Later sunshine...



Sorry, not sure what's with me and rusty metal lately. 




But doesn't this cloud look like George Washington's face with a gray streak through his nose?  Just me?



I'm not an island lover but this turquoise business is one convincing argument.



As are you little seashells, as are you.



(I forgot to tell you, this man in the blue shirt caught a gator.  On accident.  Threw the gator back after he ripped up his net and got rammy about things on land.  Gentleman threw him on a concrete pole and kicked him back into the drink.  Yes, that is when all four of us took 390246702948 steps backward from the water and into a pile of red ants.  Such northern blood we have.)



Southern Pole:





Urban Northern Pole:




My Wild Ponies