Sunday, October 2, 2011

~Post Surgery~

They say it takes a horrific happening to open our eyes to the beauty of life. Many horrific things have happened to people in my life, and I have learned many lessons along the way. I learned as a teen not to drink and drive when Kat died in a car accident after her driving date had been drinking. I learned again as a teen to just say no when I came home from work to hear my father say, “He didn’t make it,” and my uncle say to me, “Ain’t that some shit, Ricky’s dead.” Evidently the powers that be thought maybe I hadn’t learned everything I needed to learn, so Kris was taken from me in a sleeping at the wheel while intoxicated car accident and then Brian was taken from me in his car as well. So now, I hardly drink at all. Sure, I joke about margaritas and beer and we are building a bar large enough for the whole county to belly up each Saturday night, but I really rarely drink. There are other lessons in life though. When I met my husband I was in my mid-twenties and living on caffeine and chocolate; weighing ninety-nine pounds wet as our co-workers used to say. A few years after we met, we got married and had our first baby; he lost his father to ‘complications from diabetes.’ I could go far into those complications, but it would be too depressing and really, the lesson I learned is that I could care better for myself and my new family. Diabetes wasn’t something that ran in my family, so I was na├»ve to all the things it can do to one’s body and how preventable it is. I hope I’ve learned this lesson soon enough to teach my children since it now runs in their family. But speaking of depressing, another lesson I learned recently is to never take a moment for granted. Life is short. But it is what you make it. Chris chose not to make it anymore, leaving behind many people that loved him questioning why he didn’t love us enough to hold on tight and not let go.

A week ago, I was preparing myself for three busy and possibly at times, difficult weeks ahead. Jeff was getting on a plane headed to Chicago, the girls were gearing up for another week at school and we were about to adjust to ‘back to life’ as we call it here, when Jeff is on the road all week. Sunday night I put the kids to bed and started to feel this horrible pain in my upper abdomen. I took a bath, took some melatonin and tried to sleep. A little after 11pm, it woke me; this horrific pain. I tried several things thinking it was heart burn or just tummy issues, but nothing worked. At 2:30am, I called my mother who came to my house and said I needed to go to the ER. Of course my three sleeping children couldn’t go to the ER with me, but I knew I had already woken someone up at 2:30am, I didn’t need to wake more people, did I? My mom got my cell phone and started calling friends. By the time Laura got to my house I couldn’t stand the pain anymore and was almost in hysterics. My girls woke worried about the noises Mommy was making in agony. It took us almost thirty minutes to get to the ER.

When I got there, the ER doctor told me all the tests they were going to run and if they didn’t find anything they would run more until they found it. I’m a healthy 38 year old woman; it can’t be all that serious, right? The EKG was fine; the blood work was fine except my white count was high showing my body was fighting something. The urine test came back fine with no problems. The ultrasounds finally showed some gallstones, but they were way inside my gall bladder where they should be and maybe one day I might have to consider having it removed, but no big deal. So what now? The pain meds started wearing off and I was in pain again. More pain meds, more anti-nausea meds, and more tests. The radiologist comes on shift and sees a large, 2cm, gall stone stuck in the neck on my gall bladder on my ultrasound. The on call radiologist missed it. My ER doc comes in again and says, change of plans, he’s waiting for the surgeon to call back and we need to head to surgery. He did tell me I could probably wait a day or two if I needed my husband, who was in Chicago, to get home, but the pain won’t be going away and it needed to come out. By 1pm, I am headed to surgery. Around noon a narcotics induced migraine hit and the ride in the wheel chair around corners and up elevators was worse that a carnival ride after a twelve pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Finally, I started throwing up bile. Sweet, I know. The shot of Imitrex hadn’t worked after 12 minutes, so they gave me something else and off I went. I don’t know where I was or how long I was there, but I don’t remember leaving the room where I had been throwing up to go to the OR, I don’t really remember much about recovery except hearing nurses say things like, ‘she’s having a hard time waking up.’ The only thing I remember about getting to my room was when the gurney was at the doorway and they asked me to get up and walk. I almost fell down. They helped me into bed, made me suck air from a tube and put an icepack on my stomach. I remember vaguely my mother coming in and telling me she was going to feed her dogs and my dog; none had eaten since dinner the previous day and it was now almost 5pm on Monday evening. I slept. At one point I woke and my husband was standing at my bedside. He’s supposed to be in Chicago and yet he’s here at my bedside. He told me something about the kids and my mom and then I slept. The night is a blur. I remember a nurse coming in around midnight telling me she had been on duty and checking on me for hours but I had been sleeping. I slept. And then I slept more and again and even more. The Tuesday morning nurse brought me coffee because she had heard about my migraine. Maybe she talked to the nurse I was rude to when I commanded she removed the junk I had thrown up from my nose. I don’t know, but bless her, she brought me coffee. I ordered breakfast, my husband and son came into the room and took me home soon after.

Just like that, I lost an organ, not vital, I suppose, but still mine for the past 38 years and then I was home on drugs with my family. By Thursday I had another narcotics induced migraine and quit the narcotics cold turkey and met up with my old friend, Tylenol PM. That got me through the next two days, and here I sit Sunday morning, almost a week later feeling alive again. I am terrified that I won’t be able to care for my children while Jeff is in Chicago this week; I won’t be able to kneel down to give them baths or lift my son to rock him and sing The Zoo Song each night before bed. I’m afraid I’ll lose my patience with them because I still feel weak and tired. But in the end, I feel so incredibly lucky to be here and to have the people I have in my life.

I have lost so many people in my life and I have so much grief I keep inside. I harbor sadness for those things I cannot control. It really takes something like this to show me yet again how incredible life is. I never once wondered if my children were cared for while my mom and I were at the hospital for more than twelve hours and my husband was a thousand miles away. I just knew they were in good hands, with people that care for them. Friends of mine that dropped everything they had going on to care for my family. There are about twelve hours I can’t account for while I was at the hospital. But I was in good hands. People were caring for me; making sure my blood pressure didn’t drop too low, making sure my lungs were filling with air and ensuring infection didn’t get into my body and spread. Sure it cost me an organ, but I put myself in the care of others and they took good care of me. That’s a tough thing to surrender for someone with control anxieties!

Today I write this, on the second day of October, when thousands of people are walking in Denver to fight for a cure for cancer. And I am humbled again. I lost a small organ that will only make me think twice about what I am eating. I didn’t lose my hair, my dignity, my breasts or my life. My own father is fighting cancer and I can say with all certainty, as hard as this last week has been on me, the ER, the surgery, the emotions, the questions, the pain, the recovery, the migraines, the uncertainty, and the loss of control of my own life for those few hours, it is nothing compared to those fighting the fight my dad is fighting.

So today, I ask you to do two things. One, please say thank you to a nurse, EMT, a doctor, or other health care provider. I am amazed at the gifts they have that I do not. And second, please say a prayer for someone you do not know along with those you do know for peace and well being. It is our well being that we tend to take for granted each day.

I can only hope my friends and family know how much I love them and how grateful I am that they were chosen to be in my life. I hope you are surrounded by such wonderfulness in your own life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Closure or just acceptance



We often speak of closure as if it is a physical act. ‘I’ve closed that door and it will never be opened again.’ But I’ve discovered over the years closure is really just acceptance. I accept this situation for what it is and will be moving on from it, without it or because of it. But I can’t close the door. Maybe I’m going about this closure this all wrong. I know I compartmentalize things in my mind. I have a big box for my family, the to do lists for running our household, getting the kids to appointments, school and ballet on time and with all the appropriate gear needed for each activity. I have a box for my marriage where I store arguments and memories and revisit each day to gather the important things and dump the not so important things in the trash bin. There is a box for my life and inside that box are lots of little boxes. Memories move from one little box to another, mingle, ideas from long ago surface every so often and friends from the past often come floating to a current box resurfacing in my life. I have a big compartment in there that holds the shit I just don’t know what to do with. This is my closure box, but it’s never really closed and I never have closure in the sense that I’ve wiped my hands clean, the memories are just memories and I’ve walked away losing the key to that box. It is in the box that I keep the things I don’t understand or don’t know what to do with. Friends lost and arguments that end friendships for no reason are here. I accept it, but that’s it. My dad’s cancer lives here. My fears are hidden in this box too. This fears that haunt my future and those fears that keep me awake at night thinking of my children and all I may do wrong….or wondering if I am doing right.

I had to open my acceptance box two weeks ago. It was entitled The Closure Room up to that point and it had to be renamed simply Acceptance after another tragedy hit my life and I didn’t know where to file the information and the lack of ability to seek help with closure.
Before I get into that, let me start with twenty years ago. Twenty years ago I started college. I was an artsy theatre major that hung out in the green room and giggled at the top of cat walks while running a show below. One of my first trips into our Green Room I was awed by a voice. I walked in and three guys were playing guitar and harmonizing together. Having recently discovered Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls, I was almost star struck. I stayed for a bit, introduced myself and got to know these three guys. One in particular stood out to me. He had a voice like Micheal Stipe - which us girls swooned over twenty years ago. He had shoulder length spiral curled hair – which girls would die for! And he was nice. He wasn’t a god. He wasn’t Michael Stipe, but I had an instant crush on the guy I just knew I could never have.
That first day he and his friend invited me over to his friend’s house to jump on a trampoline and listen to the two of them play. Years later we would talk about that first day and how I almost blew it. Growing up in a small town with nothing much to do, I immediately said, ‘NO!’ when I thought they had asked me if I was doing anything later. What they had really asked was if I wanted to do anything (with them!) later. Twenty years later, I can still see myself on that trampoline in Seaford, Virginia with a long black skirt with tie dyed edging and knots I had tied to keep it from dragging on the ground. I had taken off my China doll shoes to jump, and I remember being so nervous.

From there our friendship flourished. The three of us would get together most afternoons and play, sing and just hang out. I quickly fell in love. I was in awe every time Chris and I were together. I remember our first kiss and how his hands were shaking because, as he told me later, he’d felt so much love for me from so early on that it terrified him. Our love was beautiful, our lives were ahead of us and we were just happy to have one another. We spent hours walking around William and Mary College and finding the best acoustics in town in the old halls of the school. I remember an evening he told me of a girl that had been murdered where we stood. He told this elaborate story that ended when we got to a bronze statue of a girl on a bench. He told me that was her memorial, and then he grabbed me and held me as I shivered and told me he had made it all up, but it was so cute to see my emotions and I felt for this girl in the story. He was a story teller. He told stories in the songs he wrote. He wrote of pain, emotions, life, and laughter. He wrote of memories and anger of understanding and of acceptance. Our relationship only lasted about two years. I wanted to be married and have a family. He did not.

Over the years we kept in touch and saw each other when we could. My heart always skipped a few beat in his presence. The last time I saw him before I started dating the man who I would later marry; we sat on a beach together playing our guitars. It had been ten years since we first met. I was still in awe in his presence and we both wondered if we could be together again. I lived seventeen hundred miles away and he still didn’t want to be married. We wrote a lot, talked a lot over the phone and accepted that we would always love one another but wouldn’t be with one another.

Forward to today; I have this nagging feeling every morning when I wake. Throughout my day, I’ve feel like I’ve misplaced something, forgotten to do something or can’t quite remember something I need to know. My mind has been looking for closure. Chris is gone. He committed suicide three months ago. I found out two weeks ago. He left behind a wife (yes, he did marry, but only about three years ago) just days before their wedding anniversary, he left behind his music, and he left so many questions. I’ve had dreams about him lately – since I found out, and the romantic human side of me wonders if he knows I’m here thinking of him. The practical side of me wonders why he didn’t come to me three months ago. Why didn’t he call if he needed a friend? I look at the moon and stars each night, the mountains each morning and I wonder what was so horrible in his haunted soul to make him want to leave. Each day I’m reminded of him in some way. I can’t imagine not being here in October when Amy and Emily release their new album. I think of all the great movies and books he’s missing. All the music he never got to write or never got to record.

I can’t have closure on Chris’ death. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around suicide, but I am being to accept it. It is what it is, and that’s all I have. Acceptance. I accept that he isn’t here and I even accept now that is was his choice, but I don’t think I’ll ever have closure.

The first night my husband and I went out I picked up is ID. His name is Jeffrey. When I saw Christopher as his middle name, I knew that we were just meant to be. I know it’s silly, but as I told him that night, the name Christopher has always been with me, from my first boyfriend in sixth grade to Christopher in college and even the one I let get away when I was in my twenties. With Jeff, I was able to say a new name when speaking to my love, but I knew I’d always have a Christopher in my life. Thankfully, my husband has that name and we were able to pass it to our son. There will be times when I just want to call up Chris on the phone – he’s still in my address book – and I’ll cry instead. There will be times I will be sad and can’t explain with any sound reason to my family why, but he’ll be on my mind. I don’t think I will ever understand, but I do accept. And I know if he could speak to my pain, he’d tell me, ‘Just look inside your heart and I’ll be there.’

http://www.myspace.com/stairspirits/videos/video/7702123




Saturday, April 9, 2011

Talk to the Paw, Mama!


I know the whole seven dog years to each human year theory, but I think it also changes depending on the breed and size of the dog. Sebastian is about four months old now, so that’s about three years in human years. So I have a six year old that is currently trying to trick the tooth fairy, a four year old that wants everything the six year old has, including loose teeth, a two year old that is finding the freedom of a big boy bed to be pretty cool, even if it’s 3:00am, and to add to the mix, I have a three year old that can sit, lay, fetch of he wishes to, come if he feels like it and basically says, ‘talk to the paw, Mama!’

Sebastian went from this cuddly, fuzzier than anything on earth, sweet, little puppy to this kid like creature that just walks around saying, ‘NO,’ because it’s his new favorite word. Sebastian, Come. NO! Sebastian, COME! HA HA! NO NO NO! As a matter of fact, come now means, better yet, run the other way. That is unless you are my husband. Just as our children have done over the years, our puppy has decided to switch who he needs and chooses to listen to most. For the first several weeks I was the Alpha Male in the house because as a stay at home mom and the maternal being, I was here the most and he was quickly mama’s boy. Then Jeff stopped traveling for a few weeks and now Sebastian has decided Jeff is the Alpha Male after all and the only one worth hearing.

Jeff had to travel for one night earlier this week and Sebastian and I stayed up a little late to mimic Jeff’s schedule a bit. But once I got Sebastian in his crate and settled for the night, he just sat, stared at the bedroom door and cried. And cried. And whined and cried some more. He had just been outside, but I thought maybe he wasn’t done with his outdoor duties; after all, there are still tulips to be eaten. But usually when he has to go out, he circles the crate, lies down and circles again. This time he was just staring at the door and crying.

I’m a mother, so I know the importance of what they call Kangaroo Care. Mothers and fathers hold babies against their naked chest so the baby can feel the warmth, smell their scent and hear their heartbeat; much like a baby kangaroo in a mama’s pouch. Often times when a new mother has to leave her baby, the care giver will hold the baby against their chest so the baby can still hear a heartbeat as they did in the mother’s womb. It also helps to wear a shirt that belongs to the mother or use it for the baby to lie on so the baby still smells their mother’s scent. Earlier that day, Jeff had worked in the basement and had put his t-shirt in the dirty clothes basket. I got his dirty shirt and put it in the crate with the dog that very promptly lie down on the shirt and fell asleep. Our annoying but oh so cute little puppy showed me he is very attached to his Daddy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Toddlerhood/Puppyhood

We all know if we add the word ‘hood’ to another word, it makes it all the more exciting. Sure, parent is fun, but parenthood is exciting, a neighbor is great, but a neighborhood is eventful. Childhood is a segment of life broken into many other smaller segments, like the toddler stage or that new phrase, the tween era. We don’t have a tween…yet. But we have a six y ear old, a four year old and two toddlers. One walks on four legs and the other just throws a lot of things really utilizing those opposable thumbs. Sebastian, our ten week old Saint Bernard puppy is the one that walks on all fours, pees on anything and eats everything. It’s the furry four legs that keep me from confusing the two because now that I think about it, my son will pee on anything he can take apart first and I still have to stop him from putting things in his mouth every now and then.

I am on my toes daily, gracefully pirouetting from one big mess to the next; or from one potential disaster to a disaster I just missed. But I am sleeping at night, which is a big deal because two weeks ago I was lying in front of a dog crate holding a puppy’s paw to keep his cries from waking my children. Sleep is good. It gives me the energy to chase disasters during the day. I just started sleeping after six years of nightly naps, and I’m pretty sure it’s my new favorite hobby. I’m not a ballerina by any means, but having three kids anyway, I have almost mastered multitasking and staying on my toes.

We’ve only had Sebastian for about two weeks and I constantly hear myself saying no and drop it. Once I said, ‘No, we don’t eat the baby.’ That was the day we signed him up for puppy class! We’re excited to see him learn all kinds of new things and hope it all comes quick! I’m tired of two toddlers; I think it’s time for one of them to grow up. It’s amazing the similarities between the two: They both sleep in some kind of crate looking thing, I have to clean up the poop they both drop, if it’s in sight, it must be okay to pee upon, there is no such thing as a five second rule, three minute rule or three day rule, only nothing last on the floors for three days around here. I know dogs grow so much faster than humans, so I am hoping to get this little guy on speed growth pretty soon so I’m back to only the toddler I birthed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Newborn....again



Welcome home sweet little baby. You are so cute, so sweet, so cuddly and lovable. I will love you forever and ever – or until you keep me up all night long.
We decided in January to get a puppy. The kids have wanted one for a long time and my husband, well; he’s a guy, and I think dogs just further increase manhood, so he’s wanted one longer. Our Saint Bernard was supposed to arrive home on February 14th – just in time to say I love you! I had about three weeks to get the house in order, the kids ready, the cats prepared and all the pre-spring cleaning I could do because I knew it would be at least six weeks before I saw a broom again. On February 4th, we got a phone call from the breeder telling us the puppy had seen the vet, Mom was done nursing and we could get him whenever we wanted.
I wasn’t done nesting! My closets were still filled with clutter that I knew would only grow once we added a dog to the mix. There is logic there, but you’d have to be me to understand it. My husband told me to wait a few days and then go get him, but as he was telling me that, I was telling the breeder we’d be right down to pick him up. I was like a kid in a candy store. “You mean, I can take my enormous lollipop home – TODAY? Squeeeee!!!” So we scrapped our dinner plans we’d had with my mother to celebrate her birthday, and instead, being the loving being she is, she helped us by going to the pet store to buy dog food and dog bowls.
I was taken back to the week before our first daughter was born. You know, that time when you read every magazine and talk to every mother you know to find out what you should pack for the hospital, and instead of taking a few ideas from each person, you are sending your husband out to the store with three pages of things you just know you’ll need from magazines (because you’ll be so bored) to lollipops (because they don’t let you eat – ever) and new underwear because you don’t realize the hospital provides those really neat webbed underwear. I suddenly realized this puppy would need to eat and though he might like Cheerios and fruit snacks, they weren’t the best choice for a pure bred Saint Bernard puppy. But I had no clue what was appropriate. Then I realized I had no place for him to sleep, nothing for him to chew on except small children and I was certain that wasn’t appropriate and then lastly, it hit me that the only thing I knew was that I didn’t know anything. It was like the adoption agency called me the day I said I might be interested in adopting a baby and said, we have one, come and get it. Sure I’ve had dogs before, but I also had parents that took care of all of the extra crap that goes with having a dog. And I’ve never had a dog with children, and I’ve never had a dog in the suburbs, and when do they get neutered, and when will he need his shots, and just how big is big, and oh my gosh, whose idea was this anyway? Breathe, just breathe….
My mom has dogs, so I left the necessities to her and trusted that she wouldn’t come home with fruit snacks and a fish bowl. She didn’t fail me. She even let us borrow her crate. Wait…crate! This is new. My dogs were never crated. We just let them run wild. In fact, I once had a Yorkie that tore up an entire Sunday Denver Post and then made sure it covered every carpeted surface of our apartment. It’s obvious I didn’t know a thing about dogs.
Good grief am I a little high strung or what? Jeff laughs at all the scenarios that go through my head, but it is just how I think.
Once all the issues are figured out, we head to Aurora to get our new puppy. He is the cutest thing ever and all my worries go away. All he needs is a little love, some food and a good home, right? We get him home, which was a feat in itself because he wouldn’t sit still on my lap, and then he hid under Arwen’s bench seat in the back of the van for the rest of the drive. Jeff was so patient when he had to pull over so I could sit in the back and make sure he was safe. When we get home, my mom greets us with food bowls, food and the crate which she sets up for us and trains us in the crate training process. It’s pretty late by the time we are all settled and the kids head to bed after shedding lots of tears about leaving our new Sebastian Bach all alone in a crate in the living room. Little did they know!
By the time Jeff and I were ready for bed, I of course, was not ready to leave the dog. But I also knew moving the crate up and down the stairs each day would be too difficult to manage. So I slept on the floor….in front of the crate….with my hand in the crate and the puppy’s chin on my hand most of the night. There was a span of about two hours that I was able to roll away from him and snooze, but basically, as I did with all of my new babies, I was up all night making him feel secure, loved and worrying about his future – and mine because sleepless nights wasn’t really on my agenda.
After two nights of this, I crashed and left Jeff to lie in front of the crate offering support to the sleeping puppy that was probably laughing at us because he has us beat after only three days. I had no idea having a new puppy was so exhausting. On top of not sleeping at night, I had to take him outside to potty every thirty minutes – in the cold and February snow, keep him from biting the kids with those shark like puppy teeth, and make the cats feel loved. My love was spread pretty thin by day three. On day four, a friend brought us her crate so I could sleep in my room again, and suddenly Sebastian started sleeping through the night….then the toddler phase began.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Food Stamps - a God given right....right? A cell phone too!



I'm well aware of how long food stamps have been in use. I remember seeing them come through my line at a small town grocery store when I was a cashier more than 25 years ago. In the 72 years since its inception, the program is more abused than ever. At its start, the program was meant for surplus foods mainly and then just more than 30 years later, it was meant for any foods that provided an adequate diet. Today it seems to be whatever the person wants (now of course that's a blanked general statement - but it is so because I don't know EVERY person on the program) including unnecessary expensive meats that maybe an average person not on food stamps wouldn’t think of buying weekly to foods that are not part of a ‘obtain{ing} a low-cost nutritionally adequate diet,’ like chips and soda. There was even a time when there was a proposed (and supported) ban on ‘luxury’ food items and imports.
Now the problem lies with the persons that are born and then later die on food stamps or any other tax supported program without trying to make the change in their lives required for growth and self improvement. If your family needed public aide, I do hope you would apply for it, and if you were in need, I do hope you’d be accepted. I also know it’s often more expensive to cancel a cell phone plan than it would be to support your meals with a supplemental program for a few months. However, if let’s say you are 24 years old, have your first or second baby, are on food stamps because you have no job and can’t really even afford to get a job because you can’t afford day care and it’s just better to stay at home and let the taxpayers take care of many of your needs (and believe me, with the cost of going to work itself, I can see how it is a better option for many people) then you don’t need luxury items like cell phone or LCD TVs or satellites or cable. You can find free entertainment at a library or a tax funded local or national park. If your desire is to get a cell phone and big screen TV, then your goal needs to be to get off the tax funded programs and work hard for it. The first thing that needs to happen is to feed your family and provide shelter for them….then comes clothing, last on that long list of responsibilities is entertainment. If in this day and age, you need a cell phone for your safety because, oh let’s say you got a night job or you’re going to school at night to better yourself and well, it’s not always such a safe place anymore and we all know pay phones aren’t on every corner…you could buy a Trac Phone at WalMart for less than $50 and buy minutes as you need them for your safety or to call and check on the safety of your children. But texting your friends and checking your Facebook account is a luxury and not everyone is entitled to that luxury. An iphone, PalmPre, Blackberry or Android is a luxury…plain and simple. If you can’t feed your family and sustain the level of care they need, then luxury items, like cell phones, LV purses and the like should be the first to go.
The food stamp program is used by so many people that need it. And so many people walk away from it every year and vow to never go back. That should be the rule, not the exception. The pursuit of happiness can be as long or as short as you’d like it to be. That is our right…to pursue our dreams..not have them paid for by the people that are working hard to pursue their own.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Puppy Breath



I have three beautiful children that were once gorgeous babies. When they were born I couldn’t imagine loving anything else again nearly as much as I loved each one of them. I loved their little round heads, their little coos, and those new smiles, the first time I saw a tear and even the charts we created with our first to count the times she pooped each day. I loved them when they were clean and when they had spit up on the last outfit they owned and the only shirt I had. My kids came rushing out with little round heads and no flaws that I could see. The nurse took them after our moment together, cleaned them, pricked them, weighed them and brought them back to me. After a few days and a few baby wipe rub downs, they were ready for their first bath. Burt’s Bees, Johnson & Johnson, or Aveeno …at that point I didn’t care what I bathed them with and since I had them all, it may have been different each time. I never used baby powder because I had read somewhere the baby could inhale it into their lungs and frankly I didn’t see the point of white powder all over my floors, towels or changing table. My last two babies we slathered in some type of lotion to help with winter dry skin. Some lotions smelled like lavender and some smelled like lotion. Once my babies were clean, I would hug them just as tight as I did when they were baby dirty. I never sat for hours smelling their little baby heads. I’m not sure I ever actually smelled their heads at all. But I do love them…and those little bald round heads…that smell like Johnson & Johnson lavender baby wash.

Clearly I was missing out on some pleasure that women all over seek if there happens to be a baby near. Every woman that held each of my three children would first sniff their little heads and talk about how much they love that baby smell. At first I wondered if it was leathery like a new car smell. Then I realized I just didn't get it. New baby smelling is a hobby I’ve never quite gotten into. I like looking at new babies and I do like holding them. I love when they wrap their little fingers around one of my fingers. I love making them giggle and I even love the crazy looks they give me when I’m sure they are wondering what the hell I am and why would one woman say so many random things or just stare for so long. But I still haven’t gotten into baby smelling.

As my children have grown older I’ve let the whole baby sniffing phenomenon go. But now we have a puppy. Not only is having a puppy too much like having a newborn baby, but I also have to endure people (women!) asking me if he still has puppy breath and if they can smell his puppy breath. Yeah, sure, take a whiff and you tell me if he has puppy breath. And after you get your nose out of my dog’s mouth, maybe you could explain what the hell puppy breath is to me. I did look it up and evidently it's a sweet smell leftover from the mother's milk and the softer puppy food. I was a nursing mother and I know breast milk is sweet, but I can say after consumed it's no longer sweet. Actually, when my babies were still tiny just about the only time they got baths was when they had spit up mother's milk all over themselves. There is a point where that sweet smell becomes sour and I think that's the point after it's consumed. So I have a hard time believing there is some special pocket of sweet smelling mother's milk in a puppy's mouth. I’m sure I will appreciate that sweet (or so they say) smelling puppy breath once he’s over a year old and has good ol’ dog breath. But really….is smelling a puppy’s breath really all that necessary? I love him. He’s soft, fuzzy, and cuddly and gives the best puppy kisses. The really sloppy ones that almost knock the kids down. I think once he’s a little older I may miss being able to carry him and I might miss his fuzzy puppy fur. But I just don’t think I will ever wonder what happened to his puppy breath. So feel free to come over and sniff my dog’s breath, my kids’ heads and my cats’ butts if you’d like, but please don’t expect me to understand or be able to hold a conversation about the oddity of puppy breath.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Genetic Mutations - my sister and I


So about 30 years ago we were involved in the filming of a documentary. It was about four years or so before the movie was released. It won awards, opened eyes, ended up on TBS when cable was still new and now is available on DVD for the first time. I was excited when I got the email from my sister letting me know it's available for purchase on DVD. It's an interesting movie about the affects of Rocky Flats in Colorado during its years of operation and it's after affects on various life in the surrounding areas. The movie, Dark Circle, is a true documentary. It tells human stories surrounding various nuclear testing and droppings in our history. It also tells the story of a young family, mine, leaving Colorado and the underground plutonium five miles away from their dream home in Arvada. When I was four or five years old, I remember going door to door with my mother asking people if they know what's in their water and soil, if they care what was being manufactured five miles away. I remember the day Chris and Judy pulled up in our driveway in Arvada next to our VW Bug to tape us kids playing on a dirt mound behind out house and interview my mother in her nice 1979 bathing suit while she packed up the stuffed animals in my pink room. I've seen the movie several times. Other than my children, it's really my only claim to fame. My mark. I can say I was in an award winning movie.

Little did I know one day, almost thirty years after filming, my image would show up with my sister's and neighbor's images on a website review of the film. It's a decent…well, truthful review. And on this site are some nice images of the movie. There's the thirty year old Rocky Flats employee with a brain tumor and the image of the affects on livestock. There is also a pictorial of each chapter. A scientist, an aerial photo of the plant and right there on chapter three, titled Genetic Mutations, is a picture of my sister, our neighbor and I playing on that dirt hill. It's taken me all the thirty years to figure out just what happened to me…..yep, it's right there in chapter three of the move Dark Circle, I'm a genetic mutation.

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews32/dark_circle.htm

The hard lessons of a four year old

I wrote this in October 2008...I couldn't imagine having to explain the death of a beloved younger brother like a little four year old had to hear a year ago. Having to lose a cat was so hard for my four year old. I am amazed at the strength I see in others.

The hard lessons of a four year old...
After a rough night and slow deterioration, Saliers' body started to give today. He couldn't stand up and ended up lying in his own urine. I tried my best with fluids first thing this morning, lots of pep talks and old fashioned tender loving care. At 2:30 this afternoon, I took him to the vet for the last time and he got a shot in his leg. Moments later his eyes faded and he stopped breathing. It was the only choice I had. Well, choice number two was to make him comfortable and allow him to die lying in his own urine. That was not really an option for me.
The toughest thing was telling my four year old daughter.
I told her that I am taking him back to the doctor and he won't be coming home. It took a few times before she really seemed to understand he's never coming home. I told her he's going to die. And she gasped and said 'He's going to DIE??!! And keep dying??" I told her he was going to kitty heaven where he will be young and not sick and he'll be able to walk and run and play.

Funny coming from someone that doesn't have a religious idea of heaven the way many Christians do, but it's easiest explained that way to me I guess. I'm not sure that she gets any of it. But at least I was honest and at her level explaining the best I know how. I told her it's OK to be sad. I'm sad and I'm going to miss him. I love him. But I'll be OK and I won't be sad for long. I think she thinks he's just going to stay at the vet’s office forever and though part of me thinks it would be OK to think that, we have to take Mozart in a few weeks to get snipped. I'd hate the thought of her asking to see Saliers thinking he just moved to the vet's office.
She is taking it so hard. She broke down tonight when she came into my room and saw Mischief on my bed. She just said, "I miss Saliers," and started crying. I hugged her and told her I miss him too and it's OK to cry and it's OK to be sad. As soon as I said it's Ok to cry, she let it all out...just bawling. She said he couldn't die because she loved him. And I told her that's why we are so sad because we love him so much. She asked about heaven again and where it is. I told her I think it's beyond the stars and maybe when Saliers died he made a new star. We went into a dark room and looked outside at the stars (only it was cloudy, so all we saw were a few blinking lights from airplanes). I told her tomorrow when the clouds are gone we could look for a new star and just maybe that would be his star.
Later she asked me if Saliers was getting shots at the doctor's office. I simply said he's not getting any shots anymore. Then we went through the conversation again about him not coming back. I told her I don't know everything, but I will answer any question she has and then I told her sometimes big hugs help make us feel better when we are sad. We hugged and then she started talking about other things that die. This is going to be a long hard lesson...

Time

written in 2008

When I was in college I worked on the play "Steel Magnolias." It was a favorite movie of mine before I got the opportunity to work in the theatre production. There is a favorite line from the show that I've never forgotten:
Truvy: Time marches on and sooner or later you realize it is marchin' across your face.
Don't we all know this is true. Many of my good friends are well into their 30's. My husband will be 40 in less than eight months. I am closer to 40 now than I am to 30 or even remembering what 30 was like. But life is good. I need a little extra conditioner in my hair each day and I have to remember to fight a few wrinkles with as much moisturizer as I can slather. I head to bed for as much sleep as my children will allow. I don't feel like I am 35...or at least what I thought 35 might feel like.
Here's what is strange for me. Maybe good thoughts for the manuscript since that is about a journey home..hmmm.... I didn't get married until a month before I turned 30 years old. Many of my friends from high school got married in their early 20's and many to their high school sweet hearts. Today, almost 20 years since I left that small town, I've found several on Facebook (and a few here as well) or I have been found myself 1700 miles away from home. I find myself looking at faces that look familiar but a bit older and even a few faces that look almost as they did twenty years ago. But sadly I see many are single with children meaning divorced. Many have children ten years old and older; some have teenagers! Oh my gosh! My oldest is four years old! I've only been married for just over five years, so I certainly don't feel like I've managed a huge feat they weren't able to accomplish. There is a bit of nostalgia in chatting with old friends you haven't seen in years. The thing about journeys is that they require deep thought and understanding of who you are, who you were and who you've become. The journey I go through when looking into lives of old friends is one filled with compassion and questions. One tends to ask throughout life what would have happened had I taken this road instead of the one I took. I ask myself that all the time. I have a wonderful husband and a wonderful luck filled life here in Colorado and this is where I was born and where my heart is. Home is where my family is, so home for me is split between my love in Colorado and my family and history in Virginia. I often think about where I would be had I not left Virginia...or specifically Middlesex because I did live in Richmond and then Charlottesville for years before coming back to Colorado. Would I have married a high school sweet heart or a great love from college? Would I have waited years to be married with someone that didn't want to visit with down that road? Would I have longed for someone that would be wonderful to be with today but not back then? So many of these people I know or knew years ago are happy now and have been down roads I've yet to venture down. Did I miss a road somewhere or did I take the right one? At age thirty five, I am about to give birth to my third baby. Many friends are about to send their children to middle school or even high school. One just walked down the aisle. As we grew up together, we all talked about our dreams and our goals. I never thought I met mine. But yet I am happier and better off than I think I would if I did. I hope those wonderful people in my life so many years ago did well for themselves along the way, with great spouses or lovers replaced, wonderful loving children, successful careers and laughter every day. There are those that I think of often and that I miss greatly, but the difficulty is that I don't know that person today. I know that person from almost twenty years ago. Would the person today even like who I am today?
Time marches on and one day you realize you are a new person with pieces of these people you've loved in life. Time marches on and you realize you love ghosts and need to live today.

Is it really going to be 20 years soon.....?? WHOA!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Black Widows and more...eeekkk


I wrote this over three years ago...I still have the same paralyzing fear of black widows and there is one in my garage now. Read on and you can see why I have this fear and you'll know I will be dreaming about her coming to get me over night....because I know that's what her goal will be.

I am done hosting the bugs of Firestone. You are no longer welcome here. I understand when we moved in here, we were moving in on your territory. However, we did not build this comfortable warm house for you. It is our house and you've have several months to relocate. Now please leave.

According to Wiki, houseflies live from fifteen to thirty days. We've been here almost sixty days now and we are down to one super fly that refuses to go to fly eternity or wherever the little fly souls are that were once attached to the millions of fly bodies that litter my basement floor. Oh, yes…little dead flies everywhere…that's why you've never been in my basement. They will be gone soon…as soon as my husband decided to sweep them up for me.


We went through this cycle of bugs. When we moved in, it was the month of the spiders. I was capturing…yes, capturing…and flushing, but not squishing, spiders all day long. Each time I would go into the garage for a box to unpack, I'd have to battle a black widow. Yes, I capture and flush and I battle black widows. It's all true. Spiders really bother me. I've mentioned the little eight year old girl that still lives somewhere inside me and hordes this memory of a giant black widow coming to get her while she sleeps. That's a memory I have from childhood. No, I can't remember too much from back then, but that huge black widow trying to get to my room is so vivid it's like it really happened. It was just a dream, and I was so lucky that she was so large she couldn't fit down the hall to get to my room, otherwise, that little eight year old girl may have become spider food instead of the mom and wife she is today. So battle…yes, that's what they are; battles. If you were to witness them, you may call them stare downs or anxiety attacks that force me to freeze and say out loud and over and over, 'what do I do, what do I do, what do I do?'

But to me, they are intense battles. I usually win because I have to and because somewhere inside I know I am the bigger and smarter species. It's that small child that is dwarfed by the red spot on the spider's belly that can't seem to remember this fact.

So the black widow invasion ensued. But they seemed contained to the garage. After a few days, I just didn't go out there any more. Jeff was instructed to check every box before bringing it into the house and I stayed away from any open box because I just knew I'd peer down inside only to find my shoes have been eaten by a new colony of red spotted spiders whose mission was to take over my belongings and my home. I know now that's not a rational thing to think, but to keep those thoughts at bay, I just stayed away from it all.

Then the big freeze hit. Days of freezing weather, snow and ice. Our house was cozy and warm. Our garage was still full of boxes and bitter cold. Jeff told me he was finding little frozen bodies out in the garage. The black widows had lost the battle and I didn't have to fight anymore. The weather got them. I win!! Right?

In the middle of the garage spider invasion, the flies begun taking over my house. I was thinking about pitching a tent on the back yard for a bug free haven in which to sleep. I learned quickly the flies liked hanging out in the kitchen. I think I threw more food away in that month than I had in the year prior. If it didn't get eaten or wrapped quickly, the flies would swarm then hover over it and I'd have to toss it. They slowly met the end of their fifteen to thirty day lifecycle and many succumbed to the suction of my vacuum cleaner.

Somehow at the start of what we would think of as winter, the mosquitoes took over our house. The flies were dying off, the spiders were about to freeze, and the mosquitoes were discovering the bright yellow house on the corner of two country roads. It was like a big mosquito trap. Only they were trapped in the house suddenly. The morning after Thanksgiving, I walked into the kitchen to see the few dishes we didn't bother cleaning the night before. On the counter was a water pitcher and inside the pitcher was a bit of water and about seven mosquitoes. A new bug invasion. In the weeks since, I have managed to captured and flush about one a day. Yesterday I saw one sitting on a wall. I can only hope that one can't reproduce alone like some oddities in the animal kingdom. I don't know the lifespan of a mosquito, but if I can catch him, I can only say it won't be much longer.

So we were swimming in flies that were literally dropping, dodging mosquitoes that are thinking this is their new home and quite certain the spiders are gone. Until Jeff goes into the basement to set up our exercise equipment. He came upstairs to tell me he killed two black widow spiders in the basement. I guess the dead flies were probably good food, but since they no longer fly, the red bellied spiders had to go find them. Now I'm freaking out again. My first time on the treadmill was exhausting, but not only because it was a great workout, but because I kept searching the walls and ceiling for black creatures with eight legs. That's way too many if you ask me. Maybe that's my problem. Four legs I can deal with, when you have six or eight, you need to stay away from me.

Later that week, I asked Jeff to show me where the spiders were in the basement. Turns out one was not in the basement, but nesting on the staircase. She was coming to get me. I just know it. Only she was small. It a matter of weeks, she could have made her way up the other staircase and down the hall into my bedroom. But my husband got her! My husband is a great man indeed. Spider killer and garage fairy. Well, I don't think he'll like being called a fairy. But during Christmas, I kept throwing wrapping paper and boxes and adult proof toy packaging out into garage and magically it was all cleaned up. I kept calling it the garage fairy, but like Santa Claus, I know it's really my husband that cleaned my huge mess. He also cleaned the rest of the garage. Enough so that we could put both my van and his truck in the garage…along with Arwen's jeep, Zoe's car, countless tools, strollers, yard tools and Jeff monster motorcycle. While he was doing that enormous job, Jeff told me he found and squished three black widows. He said one was a fat one.

I'm back to not wanting to spend any time out in the garage. It would seem the freeze didn't get them after all. They just got smart and stored food and hid from the warrior. No, I'm not really a warrior. Let's just call me box slammer. That's the only way I could deal with them. Drop a big box of books on them. Now what will I do since all the boxes are gone?

Spring is on it's way. Let the battle begin!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pregnant or PMS?


When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was in complete denial. Not that I was pregnant. That was so obvious my mother in law told complete strangers I was too large to fit into my car. I went quickly from a ninety nine pounds wet girl, as my husband’s boss used to say to a wife the size of a duplex. All because of a baby? No. Not so much. Maybe more because of the baby, the macaroni and cheese, the constant peanut butter and jelly sandwiches chased by a spoonful or two of just peanut butter followed by at least one bowl of cookies and cream ice cream and milk to wash it all down. And hormones convincing me those are all good choices. Times three. For each baby I had, I had an extra bowl of ice cream each evening. They are still very young and I am back to a size six, but my butt will never be the same. I really only say that because my butt is the one thing I don’t have time to look at. My kids like it well enough. It’s their view from the their height, and since my oldest is now six years old and I let her say the word butt, it’s quite the topic these days. So with my kids checking my butt daily for change, I’ll keep focus on things like the baby blanket they left in my belly and my thighs that have become so close to one another they seem to be sharing secrets; like the secret of how to keep them from touching one another.
What I can’t get a handle on these days is PMS. For years I denied I had PMS. It was a gentleman’s term created to give men a reason to blame women for their own faults their wives disliked. Then I got pregnant. Nine months of premenstrual syndrome. Growing bigger by the second and pissed off about it, I denied I was completely miserable during my entire first pregnancy. My husband tried to tell me how angry and mean I was, and I denied it all the way to the hospital. And really for the fifteen months of nursing after the baby was born. By baby number two my hormones hadn’t evened the slightest amount, so I was crazy still and knocked up again. Rinse and repeat; by baby number three I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Lost among hormones coming and going as they please, no sleep and making milk faster than the Keebler elves can dip cookies into a vat of chocolate, I spent most of my days chasing a preschooler and a toddler and nursing an infant. I only knew if it was day or night by whether the coffee pot was churning out the coffee – which was decaffeinated because I didn’t need a baby on speed after all – or whether or not I and my bed sheets were soaked in milk. After our first baby was born, I caught my husband putting a can of cat food into the coffee filter as he was preparing to make coffee, so who knows if I even had my coffee making skills on target for daytime hours anyway.
After being pregnant for twenty seven months and nursing for forty five months, I was surprised to find myself waking from a dreamlike state with three healthy, rather happy and well adjusted children. Two of them were in school and the other was walking and talking. My husband was still married to me by choice and it was time to find myself again. I was sleeping for the first time in six years. All night. Every night. Did I say all night? I even made a new best friend that helped me sleep. It was my little blue pill. I would ask my husband to get my little blue pill and he wouldn’t even become defensive thinking I was accusing him of needing that blue pill. He would get me Tylenol PM and within two hours I’d be fast asleep dreaming of all the things I might be able to do the next day after at least six hours of good slumber. Those things of course would never get done because…well because I have three kids. So every few weeks I’d get by with what I could do and the other week of the month my family would want to move away from me. Far far away. Once the house was cleaned and I had some time along I would come back from cloudy hell and be nice to my family. On about month six of this, my husband asked me if it’s possible I could be pregnant. Once I even took a test to find out what I knew. I wasn’t pregnant. I was facing PMS. It was getting worse by the month. So indeed I have come to realize there is not much difference in being pregnant or dealing with the hormones of just being a woman. I no longer need my uterus really. The ovaries have done great work for me. My hormones adjusting up and down, across and sideways, over, under and all around just plain sucks! But here I am with three beautiful children, a supportive husband and no monthly trip to the Bahamas to get away from it all for just about ten days. I am convinced the monthly trip to a beach somewhere all along would solve all my problems, but I can’t convince my husband to give me the plane ticket each month and stay home and clean the house for me. My next step is to find another solution starting with exercise and a healthy diet – which I have down at least three weeks of the month.

Friday, January 21, 2011

In a Year



In a year, we have missed your presence, your touch, your smile and your laughter. We have missed your tears but shed our own. We have celebrated your life, your journey and have wondered when we will meet again. In a year we have asked people to learn from us, take lessons in pain, forgive and move forward. We mourned many losses next to the huge hole left in our hearts three hundred and sixty five days ago. We have held celebrations while seeing your little smile and thinking of all the things you would be doing now. We wake each morning grateful to see the sun all while thinking of the view you have from above. We cross our hearts, hope not to die, but instead cry deep inside. We know our purpose here has not met its needs, yet yours was fulfilled so quickly. We try not to think of the things we do each day that you cannot do. We practice our arrogance thinking you are missing so much when what we don’t know is what we are missing not being there with you. We know you’ll not climb a mountain one day as you may have dreamed, and we won’t witness your wings soaring over sights we don’t see. But we know you are there. We can feel you. We look up into the bright sun’s rays and see your smiling face looking down upon us; drying our tears and pulling our hearts back up into warmth. With your presence recognized again in a form we cannot begin to hold, we have hope. We know you are. We know we will be. We have faith, and the more you allow us to feel you, the more powerful we will feel. We can heal and understand there is no need for forgiveness to move forward. We are used to questioning, asking why, what did we do wrong, why, and why again? We are not used to giving ourselves away to blindness, but now that we can, you give us strength. With each breath we take, we can feel your warmth. With each step we take, we can feel your hand, so much stronger than it was just a year ago. We know you are gone from us, and we hurt still from the pain left behind, but you are here in ways we never knew before. We love you, cherish you, miss you, and can go on because you give us strength.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Positive Spin on You


Rather than complain about you today, I’ve decided to take the positive spin on your actions and decisions. I feel you should be commended for not even grazing my small child as you drove on the sidewalk today. He’s really very little and the sidewalk is so narrow, what compared to the road, it must have been hard to actually miss him. And I’ve been thinking about those two different times you interrupted me to speak to the person I was talking with and I’ve decided that your rants about housing prices was obviously so much more important than whatever nonsense I was talking. And though I usually look down upon people that continuously park in the fire lane, I figure since you are there while I’m releasing one of my three children from school and have the baby with me at all times, really I only risk losing one child should the fire trucks not be able to put the fire out in time as you move your van out of the way. Saving two out of three ain’t bad, eh? And finally, after seeing a child lift her car seat with her when she stood in the car before getting out, I decided after all you should leave your smallest child in the car while you run in to get your middle child. It all goes back to saving two of three ain’t bad. I see now that parking in the fire lane makes your trip into the school so much easier while leaving a small child in an unattended car makes your trip all the quicker. Sure the walk home will suck the day your car and your child are stolen, but you managed to save about ninety seconds by not taking her with you. I get it. I understand. Maybe those firemen will save her when they break your windows to get the hose through your car to put out the fire that may come. Or maybe not. Maybe some random sicko will take your van with your small child left inside and drive away. But no worries…you will still have two more children, and I will be happy to drive you to a field and drop you off after I leave your remaining children at a safe home or the police department. I’ve decided it’s also a great thing that you advertise to everyone that you have left your small child in the car. I hate it when criminals actually have to work to get their jobs done. I constantly hear about how many car doors they had to try before finding the one that was unlocked or before they found the one with the cute little girl left inside. Molesting takes time you see and when they have to waste so much looking for small children, they lose a lot. So I’m sure they are so appreciative of your loud voice carrying all over touting you left your kid in the car. Me, I’m not happy it’s a choice you make, but I also wasn’t happy about almost losing my child to your wheels or your rudeness or even your need to control people you do not know. But since looking at the bright side of you, I’ve decided if I hear you talking about leaving your child in the car again, you just may find the police waiting for you when you return. That would bring a smile to my face and I’m sure the alternative of someone stealing your van and child would be so much worse. Yep, this positive spin is so much more fun when dealing with you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One vat of cold coffee, please

Starbucks has introduced a new cold drink size to its menu only to compete with McDonald’s regular soda drinks and 7-11’s enormous Slurpee. The media seems to be making a big deal because evidently the drink is larger than an average adult size stomach. Hmmm….where were these people when McDonald’s offered the 42 ounce Super Size or more the fun loving 42 ounce Summer Size soft drink? And don’t we realize thanks to the likes of McDonald’s super drinks and the fact that Americans can’t make responsible choices, the size of the average adult American stomach is much larger than it used to be. Despite the media’s blame on the new Starbucks vat sized cup that was just released, it’s because of poor American sized choices and screw ups that we are larger than we should be. It’s actually a shame the new Starbucks Trenta cup was tested in Arizona where it’s about 116 degrees. I wonder if it had been tested in Minnesota if it would be for hot drinks instead of cold drinks. If that were the case, I’d surely ask for a vat of Americano with room for cream and several shakes of sugar.

Kiss it! ....or make out with it

A few months ago I took a Team Fitness class. I learned a lot, remembered a lot I had forgotten, toned up, lost a few pounds and was down two pant sizes putting my waist back to that little waist that walked down the aisle to greet my husband over eight years and three babies ago. Then pneumonia hit our house along with bronchitis, meningitis, chocolate, the common cold, Thanksgiving, green snot, guests, errands for Santa, peppermint cookies, Christmas, beer, queso and another round of coughs and colds. It’s been two months since I last walked into the gym. Luckily for me, only the queso was bad to me.
So I’m back at the gym and it feels like home again. I love those people, those machines and the child center that entertains my children. My oldest loves the climbing wall. Getting back on track after two months can be tough. I can’t imagine years going by without taking care of myself. What is hard is finding that zone again. After months of daily cardio and kicking my ass all the way to the cookie jar, I knew my numbers like the back of my hand. I knew just months ago at what heart rate I would get the best results and which one would make me go further or faster and which would make me pant like a large hairy dog in the middle of July in front of a hose that no one will turn on. I was told in my class to kiss my anaerobic threshold heart rate, and twice I was asked to run for thirty minutes at that rate. The first time was to see how fast I ran and how far I could go. The second was to see if I could go further at the same speed and the same AT rate, and also to see how quickly the paramedics would arrive since I was recovering from bronchitis at the time. My trainer started her shift at 4 o’clock in the morning, so I was certain her teeth hadn’t been brushed for hours, and I was sure I didn’t want to play around with the idea that she might have to bring me back to life. This past week I’ve felt like I have to make out with that AT rate. Instead of a simple kiss, I come up for air and pant until my ass is kicked and my legs are weak. Weak legs usually mean a great make out session, not just a kiss. And I’m down two pound again. So to my trainers I say my AT rate has changed in two months of not visiting you, but I do like making out, and you can kiss it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The sanctity of marriage…or not…whatever, right?


I am amazed to see each day on my iGoolge home page the amount of relationship failures I see, the amount of extramarital affairs I read about, and the hope that is lost in the sacred vows we take with the one person we love. Then I remember I am on iGoogle and most of what I read is about celebrities and their small lives blown up on an internet page. Was anyone really surprised to find out Tiger wasn’t faithful to his beautiful wife when he could have any whore in the bar he wanted? Were we really appalled at Jesse James when he broke Sandra’s heart with some other tattooed tramp? Do you believe The Don has been faithful all these very few years since marrying his last wife? So now I read about marriages lost to sex with others and I think, that’s too bad, but really, it’s also Hollywood or professional sports, or it’s the price of celebrity. Brad Pitt has yet to fall at my feet and beg me to my knees, so I’ve yet to be tempted. Amy Ray either, by the way. But I’d hope to be a better person and a better wife if either of them did come knocking at my door.
But what I am surprised about however is the lack of respect for marriages that are out of the public eye. In the past few years, I’ve seen three people I know go through divorce. I’ve watched their worlds turn upside down, lives ripped apart only to be rebuilt one tiny Lego at a time after years of hope and dreams. Only one of those three I know was a result of infidelity. Only person of those six was a cheating man. Sad, but almost expected, huh? On the flip side, I am shocked at how many marriages have stayed together while the wives cheat. In just two years, I learned of seven women I know that cheated on their husbands. Some husbands know and have chosen to move forward rebuilding trust within their marriage. Some husbands do not even know. I’ll never understand what causes such disrespect in a woman. I’ll never quite get what she is missing and why she feels the need to risk it all for a romance that could be waiting for her at home.
One thing I can say is I love my husband very much, and sometimes that is hard to do. Marriage is hard. Life is frustrating, and it’s easy to forget the one person you need most – yourself – in a relationship. I don’t know what’s happened in marriages of which I am not a part, but I do know when I feel lost in mine, I have to look at myself and see what I can do to improve myself. It’s those occasions that I am successful that my marriage improves as well. I can’t pretend to understand what it is like in someone else’s shoes, but I can be shocked that so many women are putting their families at risk.
Ladies, ask yourself what he would do if you told him today. Would he leave you? Would you be thrown out on the streets without your cushy stay at home mom job? Hey, I’m a stay at home mom and I know it’s hard. It’s the toughest job I’ve ever had. But there is no commute, there is no boss except your own expectations of yourself, and there are no reviews or pay raises. But compared to what your husband does each day to provide for your family, to keep you at home, to send you to school, to give you Starbucks every day, or simply just to feed you and give you blankets for your bed, I feel the least you can do is respect him enough to tell him you are screwing around while he’s at work and the kids are at the neighbors or that you did screw around on him when you thought he wasn’t good enough for you or fun enough for you or worked too hard and didn’t have enough time for you.
My husband works hard for his family each day. Each week we miss him more and more, but we know that each evening when he’s done working, our day as hard as it may have been was easier than his. I know that our mortgage payment is not contingent on whether or not I did enough laundry that day, but it is dependent on his daily work. I’m a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a sister and a volunteer….I get angry and I have hard days, and believe me, I complain enough for the two of us being a stay at home mother, feeling responsible for shaping little complicated lives, but I couldn’t imagine disrespecting my husband quite so much as I have heard from some of the women I know. I am in shock with each take I hear. Again, I can’t pretend to know the circumstance. But if you are being abused, neglected or otherwise mistreated, leave him. But don’t teach your daughters that it’s okay to not communicate with your spouse and give your body and mind to someone else because you can’t say the right words to the right person. Please don’t teach your sons to expect the women in their lives to treat them this way. Your children will go looking for these traits in the people in their lives whether they know it or not. It’s ugly and I’m sure it’s not what you want for your family. In turn, we should be treating others as we’d like to be treated and we should be teaching our children to expect the same. It saddens me that so many women I know have chosen this road and it saddens me more to think I am one of few who is shocked.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

School drop off


Is it really that hard to be respectful to other people? Are you in such a rush to get to a line that you must put the small lives that entrust us adults to see them through to their own adulthood safely in complete risk and danger? I’ve seen you squeal your wheels and drive on sidewalks so you can be the first to get to the stop sign…to stop and wait. I’ve watched you drive on sidewalks, even had to move my child out of the way of your tires one morning. Why are you in such a rush and why do you not consider the children that are only trying to get to their school safely? Tell me why you open your doors in the middle of the street and push your children out like a helicopter dropping soldiers in the middle of a war zone. Please explain to me why small children have to dodge land mines with Chrysler emblems making their way to the sidewalk while you try to push your way back into traffic fighting for the first car at the stop sign award. And how about those of you that almost pull over to the curb but don’t actually quite make it sitting there with the nose of the car at a small portion of the curb that is open with your ass hanging out in the street for the rest of us to drive around while dodging children that were left in the middle of the road, and your left blinker flashing to let the rest of us know you plan to take your place back in traffic. Are we supposed to go around your back side while you do your war zone drop off forcing the oncoming traffic into the side mirrors of the parked cars along the other side of the street? I just want to know the rules here because obviously my way of driving slowly down the road, stopping to let children cross the street, stopping at the stop sign, and letting my child out with a teacher at the front door is not the correct way. Should I be running over your children to get to the stop sign quicker? Should I be driving though the stop sign as I’ve seen you do? Or maybe while there are basically four lanes of traffic on a small neighborhood street, I should decide to U-turn while my kid’s backpack is stuck in the closing door and while she’s trying dodge the car sized land mines to make her way to the safety of a sidewalk upon which you are driving. Is that the correct way? Will someone for the love of children tell me what the hell is wrong with people, and is this happening at every school? My young children can’t walk safely on a sidewalk without fear they will be pushed along by a Michelin. My oldest daughter feels so uncool because she’s not dropped off in the street like so many other young children. And you all feel you should be honking your horn at a driver who actually stops at a stop sign or pause after stopping to let a child cross the street. I will say this though… Some of your children actually seem to know just how dangerous it is to cross at a stop sign where it should be safest. If there is a child standing there waiting to cross, please include them in the amount of small numbers that run through your mind as you are counting turns until it is time for you to go. If there is a child there…in the cold, wind, rain, sleet, snow or heat…waiting to cross the street to get to school….LET THEM GO! If you were standing there carrying a forty pound backpack and whatever project you had to finish before morning that is larger that you are tall, I am sure you’d appreciate it if the drivers inside the nice cozy warm cars with no more baggage than the cell phone on which they are currently texting would follow the laws, be respectful and let you cross the damn street. Do you think you could show that same respect for the students? It’s just school, folks. It isn’t rocket science or brain surgery. It’s driving on straight streets with sidewalks on either side, two stop signs and a drive way. Not much different than the neighborhoods where you live. It can’t be that hard. And your trip to get to the stop sign to sit and wait or get to the back of the line to sit and wait can’t possibly be that important to you that it’s worth putting children in danger – or making me angry!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I should run away before I find myself tied to the roof of my car!


I keep telling myself this was my choice. Marrying into this family…all my choice. So I shouldn’t be quite so offended, should I? I should be grateful this man asked for me hand in marriage, gave me a home, then knocked me up and made me larger than our car. We need a new car. If we don’t get one, they will strap me to the roof of the one we have – just like the dead grandmother in Vacation. I know they will. She’s already told complete strangers of the plan. She is my mother in law. If she and I had met before my husband and I met, I would have made sure she wasn’t in my life any longer. Sadly, if it had happened that way, I never would have met Jeff, but since I was lucky enough to meet Jeff first, I unfortunately said I do to his entire family as well.
It took a while to get to know them since Jeff and I started dating in September, got serious by November and his parents stopped talking to him I December. October was pretty uneventful though, except for that one time Jeff and I argued over the phone. I felt bad, so I put on a cute little purple negligee buttoned up my long wool coat over the goods and drove from my apartment in Denver to his townhouse in Lafayette eager for him to open the door and see the present I wrapped for him under a long wool coat. Come on, every woman has done that, right? You don’t think about the thirty minute drive where you could get pulled over or flip your car and end up in the hospital with some doctor cutting your coat off talking about how people shouldn’t wear coats while in the car because it lessens the safety of the seatbelt, or the conversation you’d have to have with your family or friends when they come to bail you and your purple nightie out of jail because even though you’ve never done a single thing to go to jail, you’ll surely make a visit that night simply because wearing a little purple almost nothing under a long wool coat is just a bad omen. I didn’t think about any of that on that particular night. I also didn’t think about the fact that his parents who may or may not have been out while Jeff and I were arguing over the phone, would be sitting in his living room farting over and over again making the place smell like rotten cauliflower sure to set the mood I was not looking for in the purple nightie. I also didn’t think about extra clothing.
Luckily for me, I was never pulled over, didn’t have to visit an emergency room, or see my family while sporting all the preparations of sex ahead. Wow, looking at that I’m pretty sure I’ve admitted to having sex with Jeff not too long after we started dating – 6 weeks….8 weeks…?? Well, we are married now, so shut it! And don’t tell our children! But I did have to walk into that townhouse smelling like cauliflower ass wearing a shiny purple negligee, greet my boyfriend, and walk straight upstairs and pretend to be sick. Sure every girlfriend drives for half an hour to get to a different bed to rest in while feeling ill. I’m sure it was a believable story. I’m creative like that. ‘Hi, honey, can I take your coat?’ ‘No, thanks, I drove here in my coat and I don’t want to take it off because I’m so cold. I just may have a fever. Can I just sleep here tonight? G’night, all.’
Shit! Maybe I looked the idiot that night, but all I did was try to be sexy and show how sorry I was for arguing and how fun it can be to make up. Instead I was almost ill. I still smell the cauliflower ass and feel that same ill feeling, so maybe I could have salvaged the evening. Though I’m not sure how I’ll ever salvage the in-law relationship. They plan to put me on the roof of the car. I’d better get this baby out soon. Today would have been good, but we had plans to have breakfast with Jeff’s parents and while they were waiting for us to arrive, my mother in law made sure to let everyone in the lobby know of her plans to tie me to the roof of the car. Actually, while we were walking into the restaurant, I heard her telling a woman none of us know, ‘If she gets any bigger we will have to tie her to the roof of the car like they did the dead grandmother in the movie, Vacation.’ I’m not sure what she said before that, and I’m not even sure I remember what was said after that because I could only focus on not beating her. I know the future is scary! But I don’t know what it will hold. All I know is I can’t take the baby and run! I love my husband too much!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Social Networking

My days of internet social networking started about 13 years ago long before Facebook or MySpace – maybe even when their own creators were teaching their own parents how to use a mouse because we all know those young kids are much better at computers than their parents. I was a songwriter and I used to grab a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of wine, and play internet poker while writing a song. While playing you could chat as well. Then there were those random days of AOL chat rooms. That’s all so vague in my mind so many years later. It actually seems silly looking back. Did we all really sit in front of a computer and care what strangers across the globe said to us?
Yes, yes we did. And we still do.
Only today we get to see pictures of their families, their work places and we can even Google Earth their street.
Shit, we can even find out where they are every moment of the day if we’d like. Why is it people feel the need to post their location on sites like Facebook or Twitter. Sure, I post a to do list and I know you don’t care. It’s my list and not yours; I don’t expect you to care. But I don’t really need to know your travel plans, do I? Loser is at the grocery store on aisle nine looking for tampons. Really? Is all that information necessary?
Sure, knowing that I need to do the dishes isn’t really necessary, but for me it’s a to do list. If I post I have ten thousand loads of laundry to do, maybe I will actually do about five of them and feel accomplished because I told the world we have no clean underwear in the house. But I don’t post each time I walk into the laundry that I am there in the laundry room. Maybe I should. 'Stephanie is in the laundry room pouring detergent down the little hold on top of the washer. She threw in an extra red sock to brighten the whites a bit.' But then by the time it’s all typed out, I’d have to change it to 'Stephanie is in the kitchen cutting carrots though she knows Nolan won’t eat them.' An hour later, 'Stephanie is back in the laundry room moving clothes from one machine to the other and she wonders why they didn’t buy the red washer and dryer set to go with the pretty red sock and the pink whites that are now drying.'
Do you see my point? If you are posting or Twittering that you are filling your tank with gas you just may get blown up. Especially here in Colorado. I’m just sayin’. Blown up doesn’t sound fun to me. But neither does laundry, and I still do that.
The red sock does add a little fun on occasion. But only on Wednesdays when Jeff is putting on his white shirt in some hotel room more than a thousand miles away wondering what he put in his suit case to pinken his white shirts. Now that’s fun living! Telling me and all your close personal fans you are at Starbucks is not really all that fun. Next time try posting your entire trip, so we can feel more connected. Like, 'Dumbass is sitting at the light at 1st and Main…shit, no, make that 2nd and Main, no..shit, I almost rear ended that guy! I’m going to Starbucks and to get there I left my driveway, turned right, traveled to Main St. where I will sit through every flippin’ light until I get to 7th Ave where I will turn into the parking lot and greet my adoring fans. Have a good day, ta ta!'
Now that’s fun, right? No…not so much. Much like the driver in front of you with the clickety click click nonstop blinker, we just don’t need to know your travel plans or where you are each moment of the day. Unless you are bringing me a Cinnamon Dolce Latte and in that case, I may need to know so I can unlock my front door so you can come in to deliver it directly to my waiting hand.