Monday, December 31, 2007

In the books

I have mixed feelings about bringing 2007 to a close, though I spose it doesn't matter all that much -- it's coming to an end whether I have mixed feelings or not.

I've always been fairly melancholy about the New Year. Maybe if I was more of a "glass half full" kind of girl I'd see it as a fresh start, but I've usually approached it as some kind of loss. Well, I've had my fill of loss already this year. And at the risk of sounding cold or dismissive, I'd like to leave the loss behind and close the door on 2007. There is little for me to remember fondly about this year and so I'm looking forward to all the opportunities that 2008 might hold:

Big changes at work, with (hopefully!) a new job and new responsibilities, not to mention a new salary.

Bigger changes at home, with renovations and -- bonus! -- redecorating galore. Ooooh, and landscaping! I almost forgot the landscaping.

Watching Sara as she becomes bigger, smarter, sweeter, and stronger every day. She kills me, this one. This has to be what they mean when they say "love grows."

Exciting changes at the lake, with a new house to match my brother's new boardwalk. I envision many many happy days there with family and friends.

Another diet. Of course there will be another diet. Isn't there always?

Travel. Who knows when, who knows where -- but it's coming to be sure.

There are some things that I know I'll miss this year... no garden as the property is bound to be a construction zone, and probably not as much time at the lake since it's going to be underway as well. And of course my parents. Always my parents.

Yep, ready to close this book and pick up the next one. It's been a long time coming. Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ricochet round

Why is it that I can work with really sick kids every day and never shed a tear, but when I land on a TLC special about premature quintuplets I have to take such a big breath to stop the tears that Rob asks from the other room if I'm OK? Is it me, or is that just crazy?

--------------------------

We (yes, we) have managed to keep the house picked up for 24 hours. MONUMENTAL.

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I don't know how many things I threw out today but I way overshot my 20-item goal.

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Sara. Seriosly, what am I going to do about her?I mean I love her so I can't kill her but come on -- free falling from the coffee table onto the couch? Who could have predicted that? This is why she is not allowed to be in the living room by herself anymore.

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Can't wait to see more of the pictures that Elaine took. CAN'T WAIT!!!

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Mike Spencer seemed to make a point out of having me cry last week. Lots of talk about the holidays without my parents. Yeah, at times it will suck. I know it will. But I don't really want this to be My First Christmas As An Orphan. Really, and maybe I shouldn't disclose this admission of complete selfishness, but I am kind of making a point of enjoying this Christmas. Like, holiday music on the car since the week of Thanksgiving and trees and lights and cookies and "It's a Wonderful Life" popcorn nights. It's been so long since I've had a choice about whether or not to feel happy that I'm really opting in this year. Besides, my folks wouldn't want it any other way.

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Need to finish Sara's stocking... I actually cut out all the pieces and pinned it together two years ago, before she was born: An angel with a red gown on a cream stocking with green trim and her name along the bottom. And then, well... all hell broke loose. Two years later and I can finally finish. Besides, when I started I didn't know what color to make her hair. Now I do. :)

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Happy Holidays everybody!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Those apples -- they don't fall far, do they?

I seem to recall my Mom telling me that when I was a kid I really liked to color. On the walls. A lot. Truth be told, I have fuzzy recollections of my scrawlings on the wall going up the staricase, underneath the window in the dining room, maybe in a little hallway at the back of the house.

Best of all I have a rather vivid memory of going into my brother's room one morning, before he was awake. He must have been a freshman or sophomore in high school then, and he had this sort of awful red, white & blue wallpaper covered in soldiers that my grandmother had picked out for him when he was a kid. (To this day he still hates that wallpaper.) Anyway, I remember sneaking in there, crawling up on to his bed -- with him still in it, sound asleep -- and creating some of my finest work right there on the wall by his bed while he slept.

Everyone was so happy.

My mom, who really didn't get mad about much... well, she wasn't a great fan of my artistic inspiration. That I do remember well.

What's great about all of this is that Sara has discovered coloring on the walls too. Her first masterpiece? In my brother's old room. Too bad that wallpaper is long gone...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I mean, it MUST be hormones (or something)

Maybe it's the 90 minutes I've spent going through old pictures of family & friends, maybe it's the great conversation we had a church today that reminded me (yet again) that I am so damn lucky to have such a special community, or maybe it's just hormones.

I don't know, but something about this video left me in tears, longing for the pre-Bobby Brown/Dionne Warwick's Psychic Hotline days when big hair and bigger shoulder pads were style achievements, when Luther Vandross (poor Luther) could wear those rhinestone suits and somehow not look ridiculous, and when Stevie was, well... he's always just Stevie. I was so young then. So much has changed. I wouldn't trade any of it away, but sometimes I'd just like to go back to that mid-80s me and let myself know that time flies. Don't waste a minute of it -- it's gone in a blink.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mee-voh

This is how Sara says "evil," and it is probably what saved me (her) tonight.

Well, evil itself didn't save us -- that would just be wrong, don't you think? Really it was the act of her saying it, in that adorably wrong way, that did it for me (her). Kind of like she says "Noh My-Kuh" for John Michael and "Tayes" for Hayes and "An-see PANTS" for Aunt Nancy, which my sister hates but I think is fantastic. It's just sweet, you know?


But really nothing else has been sweet lately. The Mama Well of Patience is running perilously close to dry these days. I am tired of fighting every time she needs her diaper changed, every time she needs to get out of the tub, and every time I need to clean up her tray. I am tired of her bolting for her room and crawling under her crib so I can't reach her. I am tired of wearing oatmeal, finding half-eaten and rotting apples rolling around under my seat in the car, and scraping purple crayon off her tongue for the 80-zillionth time. I am tired of getting drenched every time I give her a bath. I am tired of getting hit in the head because she hasn't got the communication skills to explain why the hell she's so mad.


I guess what I'm saying here is that I am tired.


Now, five years ago if I had come across a blog post like this one, written by some woman who was lucky enough to have found someone she wanted to marry (and married him), had a healthy, happy child, and a roof over her head to call her own -- well, I would have wanted to kill her. I mean, come on -- GET A GRIP ALREADY. It's life! It's motherhood! This is what you sign up for!


But still, I am tired.


And even when I think back to this time a year ago when things with Dad got impossibly hard and all I wanted was to be out from under it? Yes, I am quick to remind myself that this is certainly much better than that. This is what I was waiting for, right?


Yes. And even so -- I am tired.


Don't get me wrong. I love my daughter, and most of the time (OK, some of the time, usually) I love being her mother. I love watching her jump and march and gallop around, listening to her mimic everything she hears, seeing the lightbulb come on when she learns something new. I love seeing pieces of me, and Rob, and my mom in the way she moves or thinks or holds her mouth. I love all of that. And I am all too well aware of how very little time there really is to spend with her and I refuse (refuse!) to wish away a single second of it. What I wouldn't give for one more second with my mom. (Nothing. There is nothing I wouldn't give.)


But that doesn't mean I have to actually like every second. Or that I can't be tired. Right?


Deliver me from mee-voh, Lord. And if You could throw in an extra dose of patience that would be great.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Growing up at 36

Just finished updating my resume. Spent, I don't know... maybe 45 minutes or so, mostly on formatting but also on adding, deleting, general tweaking. It looks good, I think.

Then I realized that now is the time that I would show it to Dad, to get his opinion. I'd listen to some of it, discard a good deal of it -- he was so out of step, I assumed, and his government background seemed so foreign to my healthcare experience. Still, I always wanted to hear what he thought. (Read: I always wanted to hear his praise.)

I've decided I'm not going to run it past anybody this time around. Dad's gone; time to grow up. It's a strangely big deal to me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mind purge

Barium is really kinda hard to get out of your clothes.

I love having finished my filing. I mean really, I LOVE it.

But why are there still so many stacks on the desk? Hmmmm.

Rob is a hard person to shop for.

Strollers:Starbucks Orange Mochas::Blenders:Frozen Margaritas

I am really enjoying the Orange Mochas these days.

Good walking weather. Nice stroll through the Village yesterday. Actually, just a nice day in general yesterday.

Sometimes, when I look at Sara, I swear I am going to burst. I love her that much.

Sometimes, when I look at Sara, I swear I am going to go to prison, she drives me that crazy.

Mostly though, I love her.

I hate clutter.

There is so much clutter.

We have great neighbors. And I think Oscar is a great playmate for the Bear. Just the right speed.

I have my dishes back. Now I have to unpack them. (sigh)

Thrify Threads is sooo cleaning up with our house purge. I love it.

My love my friends (you know who you are -- and yes, I mean you).

So tired. Off to bed. Perhaps some Tylenol PM...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dove (no, not the bar)

Although that does sound good right about now. Who am I kidding. When doesn't a Dove bar sound good.

But I digress. I realize I'm not hawking anything new here, but I just checked out the Dove campaignforrealbeauty website and I have to say, I'm impressed. There seem to be lots of resources there -- and most of them not even really "beauty" related, from what I can see. Check out their two short films, too. Scary. Makes me want to ban all forms of media from the house until Sara is about 40. Cause you know, I'm not going to let her even think about leaving til she's at least 40.

Only 40 minutes til this season's second episode of Ugly Betty. I can't wait!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Parental nirvana (fleeting)

So, here is our typical lunchtime exchange:

Sara, are you ready to eat?
Sara gives me a wild-eyed look then makes a break for it. She is still convinced that I won't find her behind the chair, even though I saw her run there.
Sara, come on.
Still behind the chair
[Crossing the room] I'm not going to chase you.
Peeks but still isn't moving.
[Chasing her] Come here.
Keeps her back to the chair and edges to the other side.
[Still chasing her] Sara. Come HERE. I'm NOT chasing you.



So, you get the idea. Eventually she tires of this, begins squealing like some sort of "she-devil," as my sister likes to say, and makes for the dining room. Or the kitchen, or the bathroom, or somewhere. But at least she's not behind the chair anymore, right?

But then today, out of nowhere, It happened: Perfect Behavior.



Sara, are you ready to eat?
She stops what she is doing and looks at me. "Buckets."
[Bracing myself for the chase] No, you don't need your buckets.
She begins stacking all of her buckets, without a single one out of order. She then picks them up and puts them in the big bucket. The lid goes on too. This is all done quickly and quietly. What?!?
Good girl! Let's go eat.
"Beads." She picks up a string of snap-together beads and drops them into a basket. Then she picks up a recorder and puts it into another basket. It rolls out. She tries again. It rolls out again. "Help?"
[I stand slack-jawed. There is a pause before I realize that she has asked me to help her clean up one of her toys.] Help? Yes, yes! I'll help! Let's put it here. Good JOB Sara B! What a BIG GIRL!
She doesn't respond, as she is busy tidying up her overflowing basket of books. Only when she is done does she turn toward the dining room and joyfully cry "Eat!"


OK, so I have no idea what happened. It's like the girl crawled inside my brain, looked up "perfect child," and said to herself -- what the hey? I'll throw the old girl a bone.

After lunch we went upstairs to put on dry pants (hers, not mine). She made a beeline for her crib, which she crawled under and wouldn't vacate until I laid my head down on the changing table for a quick cat-nap. Then she promptly grabbed up every bink and held them behind her back until I pried them out of her sticky little hands. This was followed by loud, long, piercing wails of "BIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNK!!!" that only let up when I put her up on the table for the aforementioned diaper change, and were promptly replaced with kicking and screaming and body contortions that I can only fantasize about. A not-so-gentle reminder, I suppose, that her whims are indeed fleeting.

The ride goes on...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A love affair begins

I share this with a mix of excitement and apprehension:

I have discovered Mod Podge. And I am smitten.

It took me 36 years to get there, but I had my first Podge experience this weekend. I have a little work to do, for expert Podging takes both patience and practice, but I must say that I did an awfully nice job for a beginner. And what, pray tell, did I so lovingly glaze with this magical gluey goo?






Yes, my planner. Long-awaited, long-desired. I'm just too cheap to pay $50, $60, or $70+ for a planner that only sort of meets my needs. Yes, some are beautiful -- just not very helpful. Others are terrific for organizing -- but aesthetically left me wanting, well, something else entirely. And so after a few failed layouts, several fights with Excel, and way too many hours on my laptop, I came up with the perfect planner for me. (And maybe you, too.)

But then, it occurred to me, the fun wasn't over! I still got to make it as pretty as I wanted it to be! The paper! The embellishments! THE PODGE!

A labor of love, to be sure.

There are kinks to work out, processes to streamline, ideas to consider, and Podge to master, but I do believe this is not the last planner for me. Different sizes? Sure! Layouts? Why not?! Customizable? Of course!! I can hardly sleep, just thinking about it...

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rumor has it that, back in the day, my mom was a mad-Podgger. She Podged it all. My brother came over one day, shortly after I bought it but before I had worked up the nerve to open it, and said "what are you doing with that???" I told him, but all he could do was shake his head and mumble something about Mom, and decoupage, and anything that wasn't nailed down...

The tradition continues.

Week two: Ahh-Daaahn!

The second edition of Vegetarian Wednesday has been put to bed. Still no veggies before dinner but all in all a good day. And I made a ROCKING soup tonight. Freaky good. It was the full-fat version though, so it definitely needs to tweaking. (I know, I know -- it was 85 outside today. So sue me. I got excited by that cold snap last weekend and couldn't get soup off of my brain all week.)

I'm a little disappointed at how easy it has been to go meat-free. Maybe if I tried for two days a week I'd suffer more. Yeah, well. No need for suffering right now. But I'll keep it in mind.

Friday, September 14, 2007

For your viewing pleasure

Just a couple of the bear. (I love her so.)

(whistle.......) Ka-pow

So, yeah. I did it. It was all me, all my fault, no getting around it.
Sara's first F-bomb.


It flew out of my mouth after a series of unfortunate events -- not that this excuses anything. But the last straw was when I cracked my head - CRACKED IT HARD - on a dresser trying to retreive a diaper for my wet, wiggly, cranky baby. And that's when in happened: "Ah, f*@&." The saddest part is, I meant it. It really, really hurt.

A beat of time passed; I thought maybe, just maybe, I would skate through. Maybe, just this ONE TIME, she would miss something.


Not so much. Standing there naked and wet, looking at me with all seriousness she spoke the unspeakable.




"Ah... F*@&!."




That was a feel-good moment, let me tell you. My mother would be so proud.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Veg out!

My first Vegetarian Wednesday. I would say that I rock but really it wasn't that hard. Plus, I didn't eat an actual vegetable until about 7:00 tonight.

But still, this is noteworthy. I am, after all, the daughter of a farmboy who brought his love of all things meat and fried -- and preferably, fried meat -- into our lives forevermore.

Next week I'll shoot for vegetables before 5:00pm. Seems a doable goal, don't you think?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

here's another

"dream big," by ryan shupe and the rubberband (no kidding). i wish sara would dream big right now... the kid really needs a nap.

it might take a minute to load, but you can check out the video here.



"dream big"

When you cry be sure to dry your eyes,
cause better days are sure to come.
And when you smile be sure to smile wide,
and don't let them know that they have won.
And when you walk, walk with pride,
don't show the hurt inside, because the pain will soon be gone.

Chorus
And when you dream, dream big,
As big as the ocean blue.
Cause when you dream it might come true.
So When you dream, dream big.

And when you laugh be sure to laugh out loud,
cause it will carry all your cares away.
And when you see, see the beauty
all around and in yourself, it will help you feel okay.
And when you pray, pray for strength
to help to carry on when the troubles come your way.

Chorus

And when you laugh be sure to laugh out loud,
'cause it will carry all your cares away.
And when you see, see the beauty
all around and in yourself, and it will help you feel okay.
And when you pray, pray for strength
to help to carry on when the troubles come your way.

Chorus 2x

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

india.arie

i have started collecting songs for sara. here is one of them. i think i'll post more from time to time. and no, india.arie is not my usual cup of tea. but then again i'm not usually one for tea to begin with. but i like it -- it makes my head bounce.

you can see an acoustic version here, via the vh1 website.


"There's Hope"

Back when I had a little
I thought that I needed a lot
A little was over rated,
but a lot was a little too complicated
You see-Zero didn't satisfy me
A million didn't make me happy
That's when I learned a lesson
That it's all about your perception
Hey-are you a pauper or a superstar
So you act, so you feel, so you are
It ain't about the size of your car
It's about the size of the faith in your heart

[Chorus:]
There's hope
It doesn't cost a thing to smile
You don't have to pay to laugh
You better thank God for that

Off in the back country of Brazil
I met a young brother that made me feel
That I could accomplish anything
You see just like me he wanted to sing
He had no windows and no doors
He lived a simple life and was extremely poor
On top of all of that he had no eye sight,
but that didn't keep him from seein' the light
He said, what's it like in the USA,
and all I did was complain
He said-livin' here is paradise
He taught me paradise is in your mind

You know that
There's hope
It doesn't cost a thing to smile
You don't have to pay to laugh
You better thank God for that

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's 11 o'clock. Do you know where your --

--wait a minute. That doesn't make sense.

It is 11 o'clock. 11:57 to be exact. And I would give just about anything to be asleep right now but that is not the case. So, I blog.

(When did "blog" become a verb? Odd.)

Every now and then I go back and re-read my blog entries. I don't know if that makes me weird or not. Sometimes I cringe, most times I wonder why anyone would bother reading them in the first place.

Tonight I read back through the first of the year, when Dad started to fail so quickly, and I can't believe that it's over. I remember feeling at the time that it would never be over, and experiencing the guilt that came along with knowing what the cost of "relief" would be. The work and the grief of those times was all-encompassing and seemed to stretch both forward and back in time, like that was how life always was and would be. I remember believing -- really, truly believing -- that there would never be an end, that life would reside in that hard, relentless place forever. It was awful.

So yes, the last three years really have been tremendously hard; I would wish them on no one. I'm (mostly) proud of what we did for my parents and while hindsight can allow me to wish that we would have done more, I'm really not sure that we could have. We did our best and we loved them, and there isn't much more to offer after that. There are still images of these times that are burned in my head and my heart that I wish would go away. I don't think they ever will. But it's getting so much easier to call up the pictures of them when they were younger and stronger and smiling, and I'm glad about that.

These days we seem so caught up in getting, well -- caught up. We're three years behind so there's a lot of catching up to do. It's tiring and while sometimes there are little victories it doesn't feel all that fulfilling. I don't want to look back in 10 years and not be able to remember what Sara was doing this summer because I was too busy cleaning out closets and painting bedrooms and trying to figure out how to have a life.

So, I guess that's the upside to the blog: it will do the remembering for me. Wonder what I'll be reading about then? I better get to work being more interesting. Now that would be an undertaking. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

12:16. Monday morning. Patients to see in just 8 hours. Then what? Guess I'll have to check back in 10 years and find out...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Success, redefined

Used to be I thought about success in terms of money or status or influence, things like that. My oh my how times have changed.

I would call today a successful day. Here's why:


I didn't run out of shampoo in the shower.

I got to sit at the table and enjoy my coffee for five minutes before I left for work.

I made it to work before the first patient arrived.

I completed three of seven items on my work to-do list.

I squeezed in an inconvenient errand on the way home from work.

I got home in time to have lunch before 2:00pm.

Sara and I went to the post office and she didn't try to grab an envelope, label, pen, stamp or package even once.

After that we made a super-brief stop (because success starts with reasonable expectations) at Cord and I only had to say "no" 6-8 times. Seriously -- that's big.

I decided to go for it and tagged a grocery trip on to the end of this little outing. Only one brief skirmish, with a major meltdown averted by introducing the fine art of paper ripping. Good times, Mama! Thank God for the grocery circular left in the cart.

Sara went for toddler-of-the-year and sat contentedly in her car seat while I unloaded the car. Thank God for Baby Einstein.

--Yes folks, you read it right: this was an entire afternoon of errands with no major fallout. HUGE!--

The Bear spent an hour or so entertaining herself in her room while I worked in the kitchen. No broken toys or bones. Thank God for Elmo.

I got to make dinner & start another meal for later this week without the customary weeping, wailing, and begging for attention that usually accompanies week-night meal prep. What?!?!

Ah, yes Sara was indeed completely naked when I went back to retrieve her. Every toy, book, item in the dirty clothes basket, her diaper, and small article of clothing she could pry out of the dresser was strewn throughout the room. Clean up was only marginally unpleasant. Thank God, it's a small room.

Also of note: No pee or poo on the floor. (Naked, remember?) Big girl, Sara B! Thank God she had already pooed today.

Dinner was served and Sara and I actually started & finished together. I even got to do the dishes, make a plate for Papa, and put the leftovers away while she waited patiently in her chair. Get out!!!

We breezed through bathtime and didn't scream through the diaper/pajama dance.

Lots of hugs before bed.

Minimal screwing around in bed.

Mama was in her jams and off duty by 8:00.

Success indeed.

But boy are we gonna be screwed tomorrow...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The face that launched a thousand JPEGs

I added a few more vacation pictures of my favorite 19-month-old over at her blog.

(Of course I did.)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Good times were had by all

We made a safe return home from one of the more enjoyable trips I've taken in a long, long time. Oregon? Well, it's beautiful. Rob and I are already talking about our next trip out there. Really a beautiful place, with deserts and mountains and coastline, not to mention plenty of roadside berry farmers selling their fabulous fruits. Lots of wineries, too, if you like that sort of thing (I wish we did but, alas, not so much). And friendly people to boot. We loved it.

Here are just a very few of the many many (many) pictures I took. Can't wait to go back.



The Pacific coast, near Cannon Beach in OR




Nana, Gramp, and the Bear. I think maybe they were having a good time.




Papa and the Bear conquer the Pacific. (It was the first visit for both of them.)




Happy girl, enjoying the rose garden in Portland's amazing Washington Park.




Sandy baby = good times were had by all.

Monday, July 09, 2007

what's new

so i have thought about posting a few times but never seemed to have anything to say. maybe this isn't all that interesting, but it's what's happening at 6249 these days:

  • took a van load of hats, coats, and dresses to the vintage store. sold about 10% of it. oh, well. at this point the value to me is not in the money made but the space freed. let me tell you -- i am ALL about the liberation of space around here.

  • bought a new minivan. no more pre-commute tire refills, grinding brakes, leaking washer fluid resevoirs, broken hatch levers... you name it, we battled it. now we just have to get rid of the thing.

  • pulled up carpet in the dining room. good times. well, good times for rob -- i was outside with sara, playing in the sprinkler.

  • wading through some changes at work. was approached about taking on some new responsibilities, which i'll be assuming at the end of the month. now i'm wondering if i want to consider taking it another step. lots of factors at play: money (duh), time lost to the job, time taken from home, the fallout (good and/or bad) for rob. i have more thinking to do and some proposals to make. we'll see. it could be good. it could be nothing. time will tell.

  • been watching the garden go crazy. we had our first fruits last night: green beans. mmm-mmm-good! i'm hoping i don't miss the first tomatoes, but will get over it if i do. (but i really hope i don't.)

  • the architect comes tomorrow. i am feeling both excitement and anxiety... the house is SUCH a disaster, i fear he's going to look at us and say "are you kidding me?" plus, it's a mess and i hate having people see our mess. but there's not much i can do about it at this point, right?

  • will be leaving for the great northwest in a couple of days. i'm sure it will be fun and exhausting and stressful and relaxing. i've never been to this part of the country and expect it to be beautiful. (the four days at the resort/spa doesn't hurt, either.) i remember making our flight reservations one afternoon last winter, sitting with dad while he slept in his bed. it was during the big winter storm, i think. it seemed like a long time to wait back then, but now it seems like a blink.

life has changed a lot since then, no? good change and bad. wish we could have had the good without the bad, but things seldom work out that way.

man, do i miss them.

Friday, June 22, 2007

word geek

i run pretty hot & cold when it comes to pursuing photography. i've taken classes, done some reading, messed with photoshop. for whatever reason i get overwhelmed by the technical stuff -- apertures and fast lenses (a fast lens?) and choosing the right ISO and anticipating the need for exposure compensation and... well pretty soon, i just figure why bother. i mean if i'm going to do it i want to do it right -- no cheating by using the auto mode -- and if it's not all exactly right then you get crappy shots. and oh yes, oh yes: for me there have been crappy shots aplenty.

but i persevere. elaine and i are taking an online course on "available light photography." appealing to me for lots of reasons that are not all that exciting so i shan't elaborate. one of the requirements of the course is a light reflector but of course i go into overdrive. which one? how big? silver or gold? there must be a difference or they wouldn't make them in silver and gold so i have to pick the best one!


my googling took me to shutterbug.com. helpful site, actually. but what really got me going, convinced me that i just HAD to keep working at this photography thing, was one little word: chiaroscuro.


what is that, you ask? well, i didn't know either. and i didn't care. i found the word so appealing that i decided i had to learn what it meant and how to apply it. crappy shots be damned! but of course i wouldn't have crappy shots any more once i understood the mystery of chiaroscuro.


word geek. that's me.


oh, and for those who are equally charmed? here you go (courtesy of dictionary.com):



chi·a·ro·scu·ro /kiˌɑrəˈskyʊəroʊ/
–noun, plural -ros.
1. the distribution of light and shade in a picture.
2. Painting. the use of deep variations in and subtle gradations of light and shade, esp. to enhance the delineation of character and for general dramatic effect: Rembrandt is a master of chiaroscuro.



lovely, no?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The fruits of our labor

Hey! Look what we're doing!


Beans
Front patch

Pumpkins

Tomatoes * Sara, pointing out the zucchini

Friday, June 15, 2007

Magnificent women: Elaine #1

I love my aunt. She is funny, normal, nearly deaf, totally no-nonsense and a little kooky. She was probably the person my Mom was closest to on Dad's side of the family, and because they had daughters that were the same age (within two days!) who were best buddies all through childhood, they got to know each other pretty well. Aunt Elaine was there when Mom died, and a few minutes later whispered into my ear "you made her world." I carry that with me to this day, never really believing it's true but selfishly hoping I made her world a little happier.

And she was here, every weekend for I don't remember how long, to help us take care of Dad when things got bad. She sat with him for hours, and helped us watch Sara, and loaned us her car for a month, and always brought kindness and laughter and rest with her -- she somehow came and absorbed up some of the ickiness of life so we didn't have to manage it all by ourselves. She saw how hard it was and didn't judge or henpeck, or tell us what we ought to do; she just jumped in and did and never asked for or expected anything in return.

It's a lot to ask of one person, to fill the void that two have left behind. And though I'll never actually ask that of her I secretly hope for it, for her to remind me who my parents were, and what they would say or do or think about the things that matter in my life.

Lucky me, Aunt Elaine somehow manages to do just that. Not in the easy way that would sound preachy or artificial, but with ease and authenticity. She taught me that baby oil can help get that crusty junk off Sara's face when she has a cold, and treats her like her own grandchild rather than just her neice's daughter. She shows me the things that seasoned moms know but doesn't offer unsolicited advice or patronize me when I seem clueless. I think of her as Sara's Aunt Nonny, and have come so close to asking her if we can call her that but for some reason haven't brought myself to do it. I think it's because I'm afraid she'll think it's silly, or maybe it's because I'm afraid I'll cry. Beats me.

Elaine gets it just right, and she'll never know how much it means to me. Even if I tried to tell her, she would never really know.

Yep, she is definitely one of my favorites.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mother/Child - Child/Mother

I have nothing new to offer about the many facets of motherhood. That being said, here's my latest "discovery."

I don't know why it is but I can't seem to shake the feeling I had when I was about 18 years old. You know -- feeling very grown up but at the same time being utterly clueless and hopelessly in need of parenting. Maybe that was just me but somehow I imagine it was true of many people to some degree or another.

The thing is, I'm 36 and feeling not nearly grown-up enough and I have no parents. (Maybe this is also true of many people to some degree or another.)

I learn more and more about myself every day that I spend with Sara. There are moments that feel so incredibly familiar and I realize that they evoke some kind of memory or connection that I shared with Mom. It's almost like she's there. Last night Sara threw her arms (those soft, squishy, skinny little toddler arms) around my neck and hugged me so tight and I felt so connected to my mother and my daughter at the same time that there were tears coming down my face that I couldn't have stopped had I wanted them to. But as wonderfully familiar as that moment felt, I'm convinced that I was actually feeling it as my Mom did. And it was... great.

Of course for every great moment there is the opposite. (Of course there is.) Tonight it came when I let both her and me get too tired, too cranky, too sickly-feeling and we both fell apart. She cried and screamed and squirmed (wet in the tub, natch) and I yelled and smacked her hand and immediately felt that nauseating remorse that reminds me that I'mjustthisclose to becoming one of Those People that you see on the 11 o'clock news with a horror story about shaken babies and deadbeat mothers who ought to rot in jail. And no amount of apologizing or consoling or asking her and God for forgiveness can unring that bell. It's icky.

What it all comes down to is this: I'm basically the same poseur I was 16 years ago. I like to play grown-up but the fact of the matter is I still need my Mom. Thing is, I've got this sweet little girl who needs me to be the Mom and I really don't want to blow it.

Time to grow up for real, eh? Yipes. How the heck am I supposed to do that?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Ha-PEEE

Everybody has that thing inside of them that makes them... I don't know. Happy. Or ha-PEEE, as Sara would say. (I think her word is more authentic if you want to know the truth.)

Singing is what makes me happy. I don't do it enough and I miss it. It's that thing that connects with me somehow, that takes words and makes them alive -- not just spoken once and lost forever but living and breathing and moving forever. And it doesn't matter what I'm singing as long as it resonates for me. There is the same joy in a 500-year-old sacred motet as there is in a Dixie Chicks hit from 1998. I love that.


What makes me even happier is that Sara seems to love singing, or at least music, too. If the TV is on she can toddle around for hours paying no attention at all but as soon as there is music she stops dead in her tracks. Rob insists that there there is a music video on CMT (yes people, that is indeed Country Music Television) that mesmerizes her. And lately I have ressurected our tradition of listening to music and singing before she goes to bed at night.


It's the sweetest thing. She can be a terrible crank but as soon as I start the music she settles. Whenever there is a pause between songs she stops and listens, then says in this quiet little voice "moh." Sure enough another song starts and she begins to clap, saying "ha-PEEE, ha-PEEE.'


Oh, Bear. You make your Mama so ha-PEEE too.

Friday, May 25, 2007

My dirty little secret

I passed a mother and her daughter in our waiting room this morning. The child has a syndrome of one sort or another, leaving her distorted and limp and broken in so many ways.

And here's the icky part: As I passed them, I thought to myself "I'm so glad I don't have a child like that."

I hate that. I am ashamed of it. Because I know that as much as I love my daughter, who is bright and strong and beautiful, that mother loves her daughter -- and maybe even more, although I can't imagine how. Then I remember that two of my dearest friends had, and sadly lost, a child who might have been equally "broken," and I cringe to think that I would have felt the same way about her. I don't think I would have. I pray that I wouldn't have. (I hate that I might have.)

My only redemption, small and pitiful as it is, is remembering that when I see these children face-to-face, and I talk with their families and come to understand their lives just a little bit better, that feeling goes away and is fully replaced with compassion. Too many times I have to explain to a mother why yet another piece of her child is broken beyond repair, and that's when I wish I had elected to be a house painter or grocery bagger or any other job that isn't capable of hurting somebody. But then sometimes, when I'm lucky, I get to make a child's life just a little bit better or just a little more hopeful. And that's what makes everything else worth it.

I don't know what I would do if I had a child who was so physically and mentally impaired. I guess in the long run, I would love it and the rest would take care of itself. Still, I hope I never have to find out. God forgive me for not being a stronger person than that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One mystery solved


Among the vast unknowns about my child, this much is clear:


She twists the top off the Oreo, eats the middle, then asks for "moh!.......... peece."


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

So our small but mighty community ("Church of the Living Room," as my brother calls it) came over today to plant the garden. All but the Beans, who were missed, pitched in to rake and dig and plant and water and pray. It was a lovely morning -- cool, sunny, relaxed -- just right all the way around I'd say.

Yes, it was nice not to have to face those 365 square feet on our own, and it was freeing to realize that it wouldn't be perfect (and that's OK). Yes, it was a joy to see the kids eager to help. Yes, it will be a long summer with lots of sweat and work and disappointments and surprises. And yes, it will all be worth it.


It would be easy to lose the lessons in the both the excitement and the trudgery. Now I'm not saying that there's deep meaning in everything we're doing (sometimes a weed is just a weed) but I think if we let it, this is something concrete that we can all latch onto as a starting point for the messier business of God, faith, doubt, learning, growing, trusting, accountability... Not just for the kids, either -- there's opportunity here for all of us to take something out of the experience.


At least I sure hope it works that way.


I'm really proud of us. This is probably the most demanding thing we've asked of ourselves and that's good. We need to demand more of ourselves and this should be a good exercise in discipline and stick-to-itiveness. A good thing for the kids to witness and to be a part of, too.


Rob just came in and said "Church made me so happy today."


Yep, I'd say that about sums it up.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Today has reminded me...

... why Advil is such a wonderful thing.

... why I tell myself every morning to go to bed earlier that night.

... that birth control really does have it's merits.

... that the to-do list is not ever really conquerable.

... to count to ten and pray to Jesus in the midst the latest intolerable kicking/screeching/i-won't-take-a-nap-and-you-can't-make-me tantrum.

... that even though my husband's driving really pisses me off, I love him anyway.

... that it's OK to have breakfast for dinner. Toaster waffles, anyone?

... why sometimes, I could really go for a nice cocktail. Or two.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The P word

"Productivity" is sort of a dirty word among us clinicians at work. I bristle whenever I hear it, mostly because it makes me feel devalued as a real-live person whose skills and talents are worth more than the numbers on the page might reveal. (I have to say I felt a little justified in this opinion when I attended a training course on our then-new computer system and learned that I, as a therapist, was lumped in with room space and equipment under the "resource" category. Very nice, eh?) And for the record, my productivity is more often than not at or above what is expected of me, so I'm not just whining about something I don't achieve.

But then I thought about how good it feels to be productive at home -- to get things done, to work on projects I enjoy, to feel a sense of accomplishment. It's relaxing, really.

I wonder if there is a way to bridge that disconnect. I doubt it. Unless they create a new category in the system for invaluable, insightful, compassionate, best-care, best-practice, highly-trained, committed "professional."

I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Do you ever get that feeling?

Know how kids, at least kids of a certain age, seem to experience everything at full tilt? They have never been happier/sadder/more scared/more tired/angrier/in love with you than they are at that minute. Sometimes I love it. Other times (you can figure out which ones), I don't.

Do you ever still feel that way? I do.

I felt that way at church last Sunday, when I looked around at this room full of kids and adults and families and friends and felt so incredibly happy to be there. So enveloped. It was the best place to be right at that very minute. Everything was right.

And it's happened at work, when I have been overwhelmed by the kindness and goodness and generosity of the women that I work with. I believe we would do almost anything to help each other.

Sometimes it's utter helplessness. My cousin's family has been dealt three completely unrelated and equally unnerving medical blows over the course of the last few weeks. Two seemingly strong, healthy people are now looking at very scary situations. I sit by and know that there is nothing I can do to help, to make it better, to releive their fears. And I would do anything, if I just knew what.

Occasionally I feel invinicible. I went to the pool again today. Tried out my new Zoomers that I got for my birthday and I almost feel like I could go back again for more. I am convinced at this very minute that I can overcome everything -- even exercise.

And of course there are times when I feel overwhelmingly saddened by loss. It comes from nowhere and surrounds me. It takes my breath away. But what's odd is, even this is OK sometimes. I think the feeling of loss comes after a split second of feeling their presence -- like I could turn around and see them there. And that time is sweet, let me tell you.

I like these feelings. Maybe not the bad ones so much, but even those make me feel more human. I think I turned it all off for awhile because nothing felt very good and there didn't seem to be any promise that it would ever change. Now... Hey, I know life's not a free ride. It will get rough again. I hope I can remember to feel it though. It's just better somehow if you feel it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Splish Splash

So, as anyone who reads this knows, I hate exercise. Hate it, loathe it, despise it, whatever. I even told this to a trainer once who then eyed me with a combination of such disbelief and disdain that I nearly knocked his block off. I guess it makes sense that he would react that way, but I was sort of surprised... my only real goal was for us to have a common understanding of the facts at hand, but it didn't work out that way. We didn't exactly "make friends."

But I digress.


In some twisted turn of fate, about the only form of exercise that I can tolerate [dare I say enjoy?] is swimming. I know, I know -- the mental picture has burned it's way into your brain and for that I am sorry. But the fact remains that swimming is the only thing that works for me. After Rob and I moved in with Dad we joined the Y (where I experienced the episode detailed above) and I eventually found my way to the pool where I actually grew into a routine of sorts. As Dad declined the routine went away and brownies and popcorn and country breakfasts crept in. Ah, the double whammy of death and weight gain. Doesn't seem fair, does it?


I've been ramping myself up to restart.... anything. Exercise, drinking water, eating better, taking my Glucophage, anything. I finally opted for exercise as it seems the most pro-active and is concrete enough to not totally overwhelm me. I went to the Lands End site and got a new suit and decided once it arrived I'd hit the pool, gawkers be damned.


D-Day was today.


I coached myself all morning: You've GOT to do this. The alternative is abysmal. It's not an option to skip (and my college friends can attest to my skipping prowess). It doesn't matter how you look or what other people think, this is what you need to do for yourself and Rob and Sara and any future kids you might want. JUST GO AND DO IT ALREADY.


So, I did. We did -- Rob, Sara and I all landed at the Y and I was ready to go. Bring on the pool! Screw the looks of disgust! Never mind that this is just a drop in the bucket! I'm ready!!!


And that's when I noticed the TV cameras.


No joke. F*&%#$^ TV cameras! And they've remodeled, so the pool area is now open to the sign-in desk, the lobby area, and the Wellness Center, so my ginormous sorry ass is displayed for the whole world to see. Well, at least to everyone at the Y. There was no dodging it, none at all.


But I trudged on. I put on the suit, grabbed my goggles, donned my flip-flops, and took that long dreaded walk to the display case known as the Indoor Pool. I did my laps, made a dash for my towel, and got the H out of there.


God love me, I did it.


Next time though, if I see TV cameras? I'm outta there.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Waves

They say it comes over you in waves, and They're right.



(Some day I think I would like to meet They. Or maybe not.)



It comes over me when I see Sara riding the rocking horse that Dad gave her. He never got to see her play on it. It comes over me as I go through the stacks and stacks of Medicare envelopes, the ones he never bothered to open because they always said "This Is Not A Bill." It comes over me when I find the little bag of Oreos we kept in his room, in case he wanted one. The last thing he ever ate was an Oreo. It comes over me when I say prayers with Sara at night and see over the top of her head the picture of him and me dancing at my wedding, my favorite picture of him in the world. It comes over me when we pray to Dahd to please tell Bamma and Bampa that we still love them and miss them. It comes over me when out of nowhere I imagine the two of them lying there side by side, forever in that small silent darkness.



It came over me when I saw this picture, the last one he ever took, one of only two from Christmas Day.














Yep, waves.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Civics lesson

I just sent a letter to my senator - no, not kidding - asking him to denouce the mindless, mean-spirited, and generally asinine comments made by Ann Coulter eariler this month.

What a moron. I was embarrassed as a woman and as a conservative and as a person in general.

Icky. Icky, icky, icky.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sara-Speak

I thought I was too old to learn a new language but what do you know...


Pete = Pete (and any other cute, furry, four-legged creature)
Kitty = Pete (and any other cute, furry, four-legged creature)
Gahk = Sock. And sometimes "shoe."
Dahd = God.
Uhnkuh = Uncle C.J.
Eeyah = Sara
Ansee = Aunt Nancy
Peece = Please
Open = Do whatever it is that you do to this thing that I can't do by myself yet.
Moh = More
Kakah = Cracker
Kookey = Cookie
Neenah = Banana
Ahhhdaaahhhhhnnnnuh = All done
Hiya = Hi
Aymeh = Amen
Beebeebeebeebeebeebeeb = I'm really tired
Up, Eat, Mama, and Papa = um... Up, Eat, Mama, and Papa


So OK, maybe it's not rocket science. But it's music to this Mama's ears.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Finding the New Normal

The dust is settling. There is no current crisis, no current major medical illness, no current financial stressor.

I have to admit that all of this is nice.

Now in saying that I feel some guilt, as the greatest source of stress (which also resulted in the vast number of unknowns of life) was Dad. I was never angry at him because of it and I don't resent him for it now, it just was what it was. At the same time, I miss him, I miss sitting with him and getting his pills together and asking how he is and hearing him call out to mom even though it made me incredibly sad. I miss knowing he is there.

And so here the three of us are, in some ways "our family" for the very first time. I feel like it's an opportunity to establish how to be Us. How do we operate as a family? How do we strike our balance? What will be our routines? It's (almost) a clean slate, and I feel some urgency to get it right, although I have no idea what "right" really is.

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

Last year at this time we left the only home we three ever shared.
I've wondered and worried and dreamed since then about where home would eventually be.
Now we are home.

Last year at this time we prepared for Dad's newest battle with cancer.
We fought and prayed and helped and worried and struggled everyday.
Now the cancer has won.

Last year at this time I laid awake at night worrying about money.
We were fortunate enough to have had many of those demands removed while we were with Dad.
Now the worries are different, not as urgent, but just as real.

Last year at this time we packed up most of our wordly belongings and locked them in a room that we rarely entered.
We spent the year missing some things and forgetting even more.
Now we can retrieve them, but I wonder how they'll fit into this new life we create.

Last year at this time we would visit Dad from time to time.
We spent 10 months living with him almost every day.
Now I wish I had been there for him even more.

Last year at this time Sara was so small and quiet and helpless.
She spent the year learning and growing and doing new things every day.
Now I wish she would just rest sometimes. Even just a little.

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

Last year the Old Normal was comfortable and stifiling all at once, but offered the security of a father that I know I didn't (and still don't) appreciate. Now there are still just as many questions, but they are new and hope-filled and seem to open up the world in a way that I haven't known for a long, long time. I can't wait to see what the New Normal becomes.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ecclesiastes 3

Yesterday at about four o'clock we buried our father.
Five hours later his nephew, Jacob Michael Ketner was born.

Like my aunt said, I guess God works all things out.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

My life, courtesy of Nabisco


So I've been hearing NBC's evening news promoting their series on adults caring for their parents. The latest installment seems to be about those of us who are caring not only for our parents but our children as well. (I remembered this as I carried Dad's pills up for his last round tonight but stopped by my room to give Sara her bottle first: Vicodin and steroids in one hand, warm milk in the other.)

"The sandwich generation" is what came to mind. I'm sure I didn't coin the term -- I'm not that original -- but it is appropos. I imagined myself as an Oreo cookie -- the white goo in the middle holding the two outside pieces together.

And then I realized that I, personally, would be a Double Stuf. Cause you know, there's a lot of me to love.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Smooth

Classes were cancelled at IUPUI today so Rob and I went out for a Valentine's Day dinner. I decided to live a little and ordered a Raspberry Lemondrop.

Mmmmmm.


Next time I will forgo the raspberry; I thought it actually made it too sweet. But still -- oh, so good.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The week in review

Falls: 3 (one for Dad, two for Sara)

Home care visits: 1.5 (the first lady didn't go up to see him, so I'll only give her a .5)

ER visits: 1

Sleepless nights: 8 (two for each of us: Nancy, Rob, Amy and Sara)

Days of work missed: 2

Bed changes: 3. So far.

Loads of laundry: 8? 10? I've lost track.

Arguments: More than I care to admit to.

Deaths: None. But the cars are still a little dicey.... we're definitely on borrowed time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The way of things

Dad: Fell today. Seems a little less alert to me and a bit more confused. I'm just going with whatever comes our way. I'm not sure what else I think I can do about it anyway.

Sara: Nearly got frostbite yesterday (see below -- and no, I'm not kidding). Then she took a header off of the changing table and landed on her face. Her right cheek is purple and swollen. And, as usual, she's not sleeping well.

Rob: Also having sleeping troubles. This happens to him from time to time. It's rough on all of us. Plus he's the designated Dad picker-upper who just happens to have a bad back. And he's the resident "mechanic" who's fighting a losing battle (again, see below).

Cars: They're all dying. I'm not kidding: yesterday we got five minutes into the drive to work when we turned around because the self-destruct alarm on Dad's minivan went off and never stopped. Sara was freezing and screaming from the cold. I felt like such a good mom. Today the fan on the Mazda started to go. There are four vehicles between these two houses and not one of them is really appropriate to drive right now. I believe God is trying to tell us something. Problem is, He's not footing the bill...

Weather: Um, snowy. And cold. Yes, indeed -- there is ice on the window.

Me: Tired. Resigned. Waiting to see what happens next. I've stopped believing that there's an end in sight. There's no end. It's just a really long, bumpy road.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Amy Harrison inspired me

I have fun watching her avatar change, so I went to Yahoo! and played around with my own. It's kind of addictive.

Check out the real me over on the side bar. Pete even made the scene!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Most unsettling

So I'm sitting in the living room this afternoon with Sara. She is doing her Sara thing, wandering here & there and generally wearing me out. She heads down this tiny little hallway where she actually can't get into any trouble and a minute later comes toddling back to me, hand outstreched and fully intent on handing over whatever it is that she's found. This is quite unusual.

It is poo.

It is hers.

And I have no idea where it came from.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

On a lighter note, I nearly had a complete breakdown today. I comtemplated running away from home but decided against it. I'm going to give it another day. We'll see how things go.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Today I not only thought but actually said, out loud, "Lord, I'm not sure how much more of this I can take." I was serious.

Then He decided to try me on it. Really? Not nice.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I can honestly say that these days are the most spiritually trying of my life. I have never prayed with such specificity and desperation -- even when Mom was so sick, it was more like rote begging than actual prayer.

I keep thinking that when we come out of all of this I'm going to be so much more "mature" and "faithful."

Fat chance.

Friday, January 26, 2007

there is nothing sadder than an empty crib

i know a lot of people will cringe when i say this, but right now it feels very true:

nothing in the world makes me as happy as she does. nothing even comes close. now, it is also true that nothing makes me feel as tired, or as nervous, or as inadequate, or as overwhelmed. but it's a fair trade i think.

tonight sara b is staying with the brenners. i love them for it, as very very soon i plan on taking these tylenol pm tablets sitting next to me, peeling out my contacts, and snuggling in for a long winter's nap. my aunt elaine is here to help out with dad and, with no baby itching to start the day at the crack of dawn, i hope to get caught up on some much needed sleep.

enter the empty crib.

i don't know what it is, but walking into the room tonight and seeing her empty crib made me feel so sad. it was about the time i would be giving her her last bottle -- the only time of day she will actually sit with me, content to be quiet and still. her blanket was there, and the toys she pitched onto the floor from her nap earlier today. the bink was close by, just in case. but the reason for it all was missing.

i'm such a sap.

the picture with this post is a familiar sight: here mama, open this up so we can play with it. ok bear, we can play with it. tomorrow, we can play all you like. i promise.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ha Ha Ha

Ladies, I am sooo sorry. Really.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

the rubber met the road

really, it would be more accurate to say that the shit hit the fan but i thought that seemed a little too much for a title.

dad had an appointment scheduled with his oncologist today. he needed to have some blood drawn the day before so when i got home from work yesterday he asked me to go get the car warmed up. no problem.

on the way out of the house he nearly fell sideways into the shrubs. and this was while using his walker. (it is quite likely that his balance is failing again due to changes/growth in the tumors.) anyway, nanci caught him, he thanked her and we kept on walking. i opened the car door for him and he started to walk around to the driver's side door and... i'm sure you can see where this is going. i asked what he was doing, he said he was going to drive, i said i thought that wasn't a good idea, he said he wouldn't get his blood test, i said that was his choice. he threw a tantrum (an odd sight coming from a 72-year-old). and then things really got ugly.

the good news (good news??) is that my siblings and i are all on the same page about this. actually, every sane person in the world except for my father is on the same page about this. (perhaps that means that my dad is no longer sane. i hadn't really considered that before.) too bad for me, i was the one that had to actually call him on it. since then my brother & sister have both talked to him about the "episode" and now he is equally pissed off at all of us. he even asked my sister for the car keys again today and when she said no he refused to go to his oncology appointment. awesome. good choice, dad. good choice.

now he's not eating. he isn't talking to any of us except sara, which is better than i expected if you want to know the truth.

what's also "good," in a manner of speaking, is that i'm not really upset about it. normally i feel a lot of guilt -- not to mention a nausating pit in my stomach -- whenever i am in a confrontational situation. this time, i really feel ok. not happy, not glad, not vindicated, just ok. i would feel worse if he were driving. i would never forgive myself if something happened because i caved.

maybe i'm growing up? or maybe my nightly prayers for wisdom/compassion/strength/patience are paying off?

maybe they are.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Plug-plug chug-chug

More and more I remember my Mom saying that time goes faster the older you get. When I was a kid that annoyed me. Now it scares me.

Anyway, we are plugging along here on Washington Boulevard. I am home today with some sort of unpleasant stomach bug. I'm actually feeling much better now than I did this morning at 3:30, when I spent some quality time in the loo. Didn't feel like risking dicey moments at work so here I am. Work is fine, but it's still work. I dream of a time when I get to stay home and take care of my family. I know that's not a popular dream any more, but it's mine. So, I keep my fingers crossed.


Sara is great, as usual. Well, maybe I don't think that when she is climing out of her high chair (she actually had one leg out this A.M. -- fantastic), throwing fits, pulling everything in sight onto the ground, and head butting me. So, she's developing an independent streak. I guess I thought I had another year before that became an issue but what do I know? (Not very much apparently.) Still, most of the time she is more fun than I would have imagined. She loves loves loves the kitties (in fact "kitty" is her first real word), loves to stack and throw her buckets, loves to push her truck (kudos to Uncle David, because I never would have thought to get her a truck), loves to screech, loves to throw things (she's got her Grandma Sara's arm), loves to play peek-a-boo, loves to hug her teddy bear, loves to babble, loves being_awake__ for__ a___really___long____time_______. She says "kitty" and "hat" and "night-night" and "hi" and "Mama" (at least I think that's what she's saying) and "Pete" (which, naturally, came long before "Mama"). She generally knows where her ears, nose, and tummy are, if she feels like showing you. She's usually got at least two bruises - one on her face - at all times because she's a monkey-girl. She is trying to run but wipes out every time. Her hair is crunchy by lunchtime and she tends to reek of sour milk by dinner (those neck folds are a killer). She loves bathtime and hates getting changed. She loves to have people sing to her, never mind if it sounds good or makes any sense. She falls asleep when we say prayers every night. She is an everyday roller coaster of the very best kind.


And boy, does she wear me out.


Rob started classes this week. He's taking something that has to do with circuits and a lab. Seems to like it so far which is good. The beard is back which makes him happy be me, not so much. (I just read a post somewhere that listed the top 10 blogging cliches and "not so much" was among them. Guess I'd better clean up my act.) I don't know why I'm not so crazy about the beard, because I think it looks good enought, but... Anyway, I live with it. He's enjoying the Eagles games and his new PDA. He's still a self-confessed slob but helps me out probably more than most husbands even though I don't usually acknowledge it, so I think I'll keep him.


Dad is Dad. We take everyday as it comes. I remind myself, when I remember, that time really is of the essence here. I had better make the best of everything even when it's not very pleasant. Sara and I pray every night for we-don't-know-what and then I hope that I get it right. That's about all there is to do I suppose.


So there's a little snapshot of us these days. We're kind of like the Little Engines That Never Would Have Believed We Could, but apparently we can. Most days it's despite ourselves, but we just keep plugging along up the mountain. (I have to admit though, that I'm looking forward to coming down the other side.)