Archive for November, 2005

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examining the pieces

November 30, 2005

What I’m feeling, I cannot write about.  I cannot write about it because I cannot even let my brain form words for it.  It’s beyond language.

 
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey puts words to the unspeakable reality of addiction.
 
The addict in my life has been sober for 14 months.  It’s time to examine the pieces that fell around us during the 5 years before that.
 
I feel shattered all over again.  And I welcome it.
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5 year old has love affair with playdoh, June wedding planned

November 30, 2005

“I will love him and hug him and squeeze him and name him George”

 Posted by Picasa

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3 year old boy grows mammoth moustache

November 30, 2005

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Blizzard!!!

November 29, 2005


I don’t know, enough to make a snow fort? What do you think? Posted by Picasa

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Thanks – and good news!

November 29, 2005

Thank you, everyone, for your words of concern and compassion yesterday.  The post about my grandfather was something that I needed to write for myself – it just happened that I wrote it here and you all read it.  I appreciate your comments and thanks so much for reaching out to me both here on this blog as well as through personal email.

 
I heard from my father last night and, to my surprise and joy, apparently no one is expecting my grandfather to go anywhere soon.  In fact, they are only half joking when they are making comments about him finding another girlfriend and living for another 20 years.  I guess hearing about his plans for death as well as the unexpected nature of the disease led me to believe that things were getting much worse much faster than they actually are.
 
I hope to visit him soon.  I hope to find him willing to talk.  Maybe I can bribe him with some pie.
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Vernon

November 28, 2005

My grandfather is 80 years old.  He’s over 6 feet tall, has a love affair with coveralls, and has a laugh that you could identify from miles away.  Grandpa can still get my father’s attention with a simple whistle – and my Dad, who’s heard the whistle for 60 years, knows that it’s his father, and no one else, whistling.  My grandfather tells jokes and drinks coffee and can turn a pile of wood into art.  He likes pie.  He likes music.   He likes Westerns.  My grandfather’s name is Vernon.  He is dying.

 
Grandpa and I live in the same state, just a couple of hours apart from each other, but I can think of maybe 3 instances in the last 10 years when I’ve seen him.  He called me once a couple of years ago and we talked about gambling and food and my kids.  We exchange holiday cards every year.  That’s about it, though.  I’ve not made a huge effort to keep in contact with him, but neither has he.  That’s kind of the way this family works.  Somehow knowing is enough – there needs to be no big show of it all.
 
A couple of months ago, he was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which is the most common type of blood cancer, and which feeds off of stress and a compromised immune system.  My grandfather is chronically depressed, in poor physical health.  What can be a very curable disease is taking him -and taking him fast.  His time is limited, we believe, although you never know.  He’s completed his first round of Chemo and has recently moved out of state to be closer to his daughter and son who can care for him.  Today I learned that he wants to be cremated.  It sounds so final.  So soon.
 
I remember being a little girl and holding my grandfather’s hand as we walked through World’s of Fun.  I remember traveling to visit family and seeing the truck stop just off the interstate that let us know that we were going to see Grandpa.  He drove a truck for years and then worked on them for years more.  Because of him, I love mashed potatoes.  Because of him, I learned that a frizzy haired woman in her 60’s with too much make up and Aquanet can serve the best piece of apple pie around (sincerely, try a truck stop for dessert – you’ll not regret it.)
 
I love my grandfather.  I wish I knew more.  I wonder if I’ll have time.  Every day, my heart breaks a little bit more.  Every day, I cry a few more tears.
 
My grandfather’s name is Vernon.  He is dying.
 
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Okay, Okay, here it is!

November 26, 2005

See, here I’m looking like a 40 year old. Posted by Picasa

And here’s me laughing in relief that I am not.

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Holiday Hullabaloo

November 25, 2005
Thanksgiving is over which means it’s now time for Christmas.  Or Hanukkah.  Or Kwanzaa.  Or "Happy Non Denominational Celebration" as old friend of mine used to say.
 
In years past, I waited until Christmas was right on top of us to do anything holiday-ish.  Those were the days before the boys.  Now, especially now, we dive head first into the holidays – with little kiddos, you cannot help but do that.  They force you to do it, much like they force each other to eat dirt, stick earthworms up their noses, and play "Name that Toot," (much like Name That Tune, but no one sings … sigh, yeah, they’re boys.) So today we made the paper Christmas chains (taking off one link each day until Christmas.)  We watched the first holiday movie of the season ( Sponge Bob Squarepants Christmas Special, thank you very much,) drank hot chocolate, and are getting ready to make popcorn balls which I will eat all by myself after the boys have gone to bed.  Shhh!
 
Christmas means creativity to me, for a number of reasons.  I’ve always wanted gifts to be special and well thought out.  There is almost nothing that disgusts me more than people just randomly throwing money across the counter after having grabbed something that "Aunt Martha will like and if not, oh well, it’s something, eh?"  Gifts are not about the money, the brand name, or how early you had to get up on Black Friday and bitch slap all the other folks away from the coveted blue Ferbie.  I want it to be personal.  I want it to mean something.  I want the thought more than anything (because, let me honest, you don’t have to water, feed, insure, or dust thoughts.)  Also, my husband and I decided very early on in our relationship how we wanted to raise a family and what was important to us (no day care, attachment parenting, homeschooling.)  We decided that we would do this at all cost, and have successfully done it.  The cost being that we have a very modest income and with careful planning and budgeting and eliminating a lot of wants (but not needs,) we live a fairly nice life on surprisingly little money.  I’ll not deny that we do get a very handsome bonus from B’s boss, and that does help some, but for the most part, holidays have come to be the "let’s see what amazing things we can make and give or buy with little resources and still be able to show our faces come February when we go hunting for babysitters for our anniversary" show.
 
This year, folks are coming up roses.  This year, we have a business that is all about creating one of a kind gifts for folks.  It’s all about creating for one’s unique personality.  It’s delightful.  It’s wonderful.  And people really like it.  And, to be honest, most folks are going to get things that have a retail value of about 5 times what I would normally spend on their gifts. To top it all off, most everyone has already asked for something from Kohleidoscope.  Sweet.
 
Today, almost everyone I know is buying stuff, dealing with crowds, and getting into fist fights with parking lot bullies.  Not me.  Nope.  Today, I’m drinking tea, listening to cows Moo in the holidays, and knitting like a fiend.  The lists have been made with regards to who gets hats, who gets scarves, who gets handbags, who gets soaps, who gets jewelry, who gets frames, and which few get things with bar codes.  Sunday, the tree goes up and, for the first time ever, we’re putting lights on the house (be sure to donate to B’s emergency room fund.)
 
Soon, family and friends will start making their way back to my area.  My brother will be in from a neighboring state, my father and his wife will be in from a few states East of here.  VJ comes in from CA, Jill comes in from Ireland, Meghan from KC (maybe, I’m guessing – speak up!,) CTodd from Denver.  New Year’s Eve will be the best I’ve had in years – there is a cocktail party planned for all of us old buddies to get together and compare sagging body parts and creaking joints.  We’ll laugh and hug and thank all our higher powers that we somehow survived our youth.  I’m sure at one point or another, we’ll find a tree that is staring at us and barrel down a hill, through the snow, to get it.  There will be some Janis, some Jimi, a whole lot of The Band.  I don’t remember being so excited about the end of a year – well, not since my high school and college years, anyhow.
 
I’m not waiting anymore.  I’m diving in.  I’m welcoming the holidays.  After all, I’m already laden with gifts – what’s a few more?
 
 
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Gratitude

November 24, 2005

Listing them, folks, probably more for myself than anyone. I’m sure I’ll miss some.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  • My strong healthy body that carries my where I want to go and allows me to do what I want to do.
  • My heart that aches for all those in pain, leaps for joy with all those celebrating, dances in love, and hopes for the future.
  • My mind that is rusted open.
  • My spirit that is beyond my body, heart, and mind.
  • My husband who is the perfect extension of my being, and I am the perfect extension of his.
  • Our marriage, which is based on honesty, trust, openness, faith, humor, compassion, and love.
  • Our children who walk on clouds and sprinkle magic wherever they go
  • My family members who have humored me for nearly 30 years.
  • My in-laws who took a chance on the weirdo and have loved me for 7 years and counting.
  • My friends to whom I owe more than words can convey.
  • My house that shelters me and my loved ones, keeps us warm and together.
  • My art which gives me outlet for my creativity and keeps me sane
  • My ability to stay at home with my children and educate, rather than school, them
  • My career in birth – there are no words for how grateful I am to be a part of miracles on a daily basis.
  • My freedom
  • Food in my belly and clothes on my back
  • Being 35 pounds lighter and healthier this year
  • Sobriety
  • Intelligence
  • Passion – without it, there is no motivation. Without motivation, there is no growth.
  • Forgiveness
  • Pronoia
  • Faith and hope
  • Humor

And the list goes on…

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The Best Gift

November 23, 2005
"Hey, Duck, are you a happy kid?"
 
"Yep, Mama, I sure am a happy kid!!"
 
"What makes you happiest, Duck?"
 
"Loving you, Mama.  Loving you."