Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Forward

I wrote this incredibly eloquent and sweet, adorable post about the last decade. And scrapped it. It was so damn boring. So, I'll just keep that one for me. Here I am preparing for the next 10 years and I cannot believe where the time has gone. I'm a little older, a little wiser and (frankly) a little wider than I was in 1999 at this time. I'm also a lot happier. Happier than I ever thought I'd be. Ok, getting sappy again. Just saying, it's been a good 10 years. I will end the decade waving at 40....almost there. It's so hard to believe. I will say this, though, I've got great skin and pretty good genetics so I'm not fearing aging in that sense. It's kind of fun watching everyone else get wrinkles and stuff while my skin is still looking nice and taut. LOL! But I kid, I kid. Ok..maybe not that much. I figure if I've got it, I may as well enjoy. It's not like I have a butt you could bounce a quarter off of anymore. The quarter bouncing butt was so fleeting I hardly remember, though I do wish I'd worn sluttier clothes while I still had the bod for it.

So, where am I going with this? Not sure....but stay with me. By the next decade, Bam-Bam will almost be a teenager. Wow. That's a freaker. I wonder if he will have any zits? So, we'll end this decade with Bam-Bam just getting ready to start wearing his Wonder Pets underwear (it's his New Years' resolution) and we will end the next decade with zits and girls and hormones. Oh my gosh! It happens so friggin' fast, doesn't it?

And this decade went in a flash. 10 years ago, hubby and I were living in sin in my little house in Oak Park. He was unemployed and had just passed the bar exam. I'd just completed the worst year in my life died, got mono (which screwed me up permanently), I bought a new house and then lost my job a few months later....yeah, it was a suck year but by year end things were back on track.

I would characterize this decade as the greatest year of change for me. I learned a lot about myself and had my strength tested many times. Happy to say that I passed the test. I've been way up - getting married, having a baby, great career, nice new house - and way down - felt suicidal, lost more people to cancer. All in all, I learned that I can handle just about anything that the universe can throw at me. I say that respectfully and in no way in a "bring it on" tone, lest the universe and God decide to throw more shit storms my way.

I am looking forward to watching my son grow into a young man. I'm looking forward to being married to hubby, even if he NEVER learns how to shut the back door when it is 25 degrees outside or never gets his underwear into the hamper....I'm looking forward to a fulfilling career, but with a good life balance.

I'm simply looking forward.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How I Celebrate Christmas

This fun little meme came from one of my favorite blog writers, Maria over at Mi Ennui. And thank God, because my blog was getting a little depressing!

These are some great questions about what I do during the Christmas holiday. Maria added some and since I don't know which ones she added, I will just use them. No tagging, but feel free to grab this if you like.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

I'm going to go with Hot Chocolate, though quite honestly I can't say I'm huge on either. I do like egg nog flavored Silk (soy milk) and hot chocolate with marshmallows after playing in the snow is somewhat appealing.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Both. This is the first year that Bam-Bam understands the concepts of Santa so we're excited to see how he reacts. But there will be presents that will be both wrapped and just placed beside the tree. We have a cool art easel that will be set up and a toy car (the kind where he uses his legs to push it, not the motorized kind...not that there's anything wrong with that.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

We have 5 trees in the house of all shapes and sizes and some have colored lights, some are white. Gotta say the colored lights are winning me over this year. They just seem more whimsical. In the past it was always white. Funny how we change.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Do you know that it never even occurred to me? I probably won't next year either.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

The weekend of Thanksgiving. I'm one of those fortunate people who have a four-day weekend, so I use it to put up Christmas stuff. I turn on the radio to WNIC and sing Christmas carols while doing it. (Wow, me too!!!!)

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?

Breakfast on Christmas morning. Doesn't even matter what it is, though this year it will be buckwheat blueberry waffles and home fries.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?

The year my dad made me a doll house. That was amazing to wake up to. Unfortunately he forgot to scale it to the size of a Barbie, so I never really used it as a doll house. LOL! But I loved it anyway and it is the one and only toy of mine that I still have.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I was a VERY precocious and almost overly mature child. The Christmas that I was four years old, I calmly turned to my mother and said, "I don't believe in Santa. It's impossible." She asked me who I thought brought the presents. I said, "You and dad, of course." She fessed up.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Sometimes. But each Christmas Eve we go to my Aunt and Uncle's house so there are enough presents to go around there to keep us contented till Christmas morn.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

We keep it pretty simple. We have some simple but colorful bulbs and our main tree also has these icicle bulb things. We're also accumulating some cute ornaments because of Bam-Bam. We figure we'll have lots by the time he is grown.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?

Love it! I enjoy Christmas even more when it is white.

12. Can you ice skate?

Heck no. You wouldn't even get me on a pair of skates. No way, no how. (same here)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

See #7

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?

Making it special for my son. My Christmases were always filled with chaos - divorced parents going to a bunch of different places...and let's not forget about the lovely drunk driving fest every Christmas Eve. Not a fun backseat to be in - parents please think of that before you drink and drive with your kids in the car. They are helpless. Anyway, for me it is important to make Christmas about him and seeing Christmas through his innocent eyes.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Do I really have to pick one?

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I've created the tradition that we must spend Christmas day here at home playing and hanging out in our PJ's all day, eating and enjoying each other. We don't go anywhere. For me, that is the one thing I never got to do. I think every kid should be able to play all day long on Christmas day.

17. What tops your tree?

One has a star, one has an angel and the others are bare.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?

Giving - duh! It's so much fun to see the look on people's faces when you know they really like something.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

My all time very favorite is "My Favorite Things" by Andy Williams....and pretty much anything else he sings.

20. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?

Yuck. They do nothing for me.

21. Favorite Christmas Movie?

I love all the Scrooge movies but the best is the one from the 50's with Alastair Sim.

22. Saddest Christmas Song?

The one about the little boy buying shoes for his dying momma before she meets Jesus. I hear that and...Niagara Falls!

23. What's the one thing you really hate doing at Christmas time?

Listening to people bitch about Christmas. I used to be one of them. Now they annoy me. Lighten up people! Life is too damn short.

24. Is there anything that you swear you'll do differently next year?

Can't think of anything in particular. Maybe next year I'll be a millionaire.

25. What's the one thing you think gets lost in the season of Christmas?


I know it's probably bad to say, but while I am respectful of the baby Jesus part of Christmas because of what the birth of Christ represents, it's not necessarily my first thought. It is, however, an important reason for the season...not to be cheesy. Too late? Ok. Regardless of all general, I think people need to remember that Christmas is a time of hope and wonder and innocence and is important to children. It's not about partying, giving the best gift, or asking for exactly what you want. No matter where a person is spiritually, we can all remember the be a little kinder, a little more selfless, more loving, more giving, more charitable. If not once a year, all year long.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Visit From Nana

Believe it or not, I invited my mom to come and spend some time with us to attend our annual family get-together. I know, crazy. Total moment of mental failure. If you don't know the back story, we are estranged for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is her repeated abandonment of me during my lifetime. In other words, I don't trust her so I keep her at arms length. Our arrangement is that she and I communicate via email. Rarely on the phone. I made this arrangement after Bam-Bam's first birthday. And I'm not going into the entire story except that I decided I would give her one last chance to actually try to act like a Grandmother (or Nana as she insists on calling herself...which annoys me.) To my surprise, she decided to come here and stay with me. I warned her before her visit that this was just a very small step for me and I needed her to chill out about thinking we were all made up. I think she got a little overly excited.

On top of all of that and the fact that we have this estrangement, she is also a really annoying person. Let me give you the comical description of it so you can understand just how fun my weekend just was.

She follows me and my husband around the house while she's here. I am not exaggerating. I will go to do something and feel a strong presence behind me. I turn around and there she is. I have to say "excuse me" to get around her. Hubby, normally a pretty patient guy, can only take about 24 hours of this and then he gets a little crusty.

Everything, and I mean everything, is about her. If you tell her you knew someone that is a midget with one leg and a parakeet, by God so does she. Oh, and her story is much more interesting.

She likes to make "suggestions" constantly. My hubby came home from a shopping trip to Costco after having spent a lot of time vacuuming in preparation for our Sunday Christmas party. When he returned she said, "It's so nice and sunny outside, I bet you could take the dog out for a walk now and then you wouldn't have to take her out when (Bam-Bam) goes to bed." Hubby said, "No, I don't think so. I'm tired." And of course she had to come back and reiterate why it's such a good idea.

She flatly refused to sit on the couch for most of the time she was here. Instead she sat in a less comfortable chair, from which she seemed ready to jump from at any moment. She would absolutely never relax.

And, of course, she had a meltdown in the car on the way to the airport Monday morning. I was honest about my feelings for her (or lack thereof). Seems she was expecting some miracle to occur with our relationship. It didn't. I was glad she came so my son could actually experience what it was like to be with a grandmother. But I didn't magically just get over things. It doesn't work that way. For some reason she thinks I should just forgive 36 years of emotionally abusive behavior. It just isn't that simple. Anyway, she accused me of being "unkind"...which is her favorite way to say "stop speaking the truth because it hurts."

When we got out of the car to get her suitcase, she hugged me and told me she loved me. I said, "God damn it, I love you too. Why do you think this is so hard?"

I still don't think she gets it, though. I think she was actually just hearing me reciprocate the "I love you" and decided that everything is ok. She's delusional like that.

And now, I need a drink.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A New Blog

I've started a new and separate blog to vent about my sons picky eating. If anyone has an interest, please happen by.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

To Be A Strong, Black Woman

I would like to come forward and admit right now that I secretly want to be a strong black woman. The realization came to me recently. Hubby and I were discussing my affinity for programs on BET (Black Entertainment Television to those who are not familiar). Here are a few things that (culturally speaking) I am not supposed to like (I guess) because I am white:

1) Queen Latifah
2) Mo'Nique
3) Phat Girls
4) Beauty Shop
5) Big Momma's House
6) Madea
7) Sweet potato pie
8) my butt

The list gets longer but you get the picture. Once I posted on Facebook that I was watching Madea Goes To Jail....the response that I got was - Why?

Ok, here's the thing, and I totally mean this without being a smart ass whatsoever...there is something about the African American culture that I love. And something about it that makes me want to be a part of it. If you knew me you would probably laugh your ass off. I am about as white as they come. I'm so white I'm almost see-through. I have blonde hair (most of the time). Most of the clothing in my closet comes from Eddie Bauer. I am sooooooooooo white! But there is an openness, a closeness, a sense of pride, a sense of "I know I'm alright".....that the black culture has that my culture just doesn't.

So I want to be a strong, black woman. And I don't care if you think I'm weird.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fabulously Random

It's Saturday and I am home with a feverish toddler while my dear hubby works the AM signing warrants and detaining bad guys.... And yes, Bam-Bam has a fever that seems to be hovering in the 103-102 neighborhood. I got called out of work yesterday at about 10:45 to come and get him. And as much as I like the winter (I know, crazy) I do not like what it does to my darling boy because this is his third winter and he always, always gets sick and feverish during this time. Took him to the doc yesterday. Doc was very stressed and not very friendly with us. She did a quick nasal swab (after my hubby insisted) and ruled out H1N1 for the second time in two weeks.

At this point I'm basically looking up at the sky to God or whoever the heck is up there and saying, "really, are you f-ing serious with this?" I know, not nice to swear when you talk to God but I'm sure she has better things to do than correct me for my language. So I figure, this is life. So, as he watches his 10th installment of Wonder Pets while he relaxes wearing his slippers and Mickey Mouse ears on the couch with his pillow and stuffed animals, I will type a totally random post. Here goes...

1) Ever since Thanksgiving last week I am dying for more sweet potato pie. I know it's wrong but I just want to take the whole thing and eat it like a cartoon character. You know, shove it in and you can see the pie shape in my neck, then a gulp....

2) This morning I am doing my very first online grocery shopping. I have dreamt of this day ever since the day I made my first online order some 10-12 years ago. Another way to be lazy...I love it!

3) I'm getting kind of sick of Wonder Pets.

4) I'm starting to wonder if my boss is going to get pissed at me for missing so much work with my sick little man as well as me being on my death bed last week. Well, my attitude is that there is nothing I can do about it and I am not going to leave my kid with some stranger while he is sick. He needs his mother. So I guess I will cross that bridge if I come to it. Bottom line - the kid is more important than the job. If she fires me, we will deal with it.

5) I kind of wonder if Bam-Bam's fever is because his two year molars are coming in. He will not stop chomping on his hands. They are constantly wet and cold.

6) I should probably get off my ass and do the dishes, start some laundry, etc. But I just can't seem to muster the strength.

7) The Wii Fit that I bought my husband for Christmas is really mine. I need to find something else to get him that will be a surprise. Any ideas?

8) Due to recent circumstances, the hubby and I have not had occasion for nooky in a VERY long time and it is beginning to annoy the piss out of me. I'm not ever sure I remember how it's done.

9) I want to move down south where people are friendlier, the weather isn't bitterly cold and causing fever symptoms all the time and the economy is good.

10) Now I AM going to get off my ass and do some stuff. I can feel it spreading as I type.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Fun Quiz Thingy

I wasn't technically tagged for this little quiz and won't technically be tagging anyone else, but I thought it was cute and decided to use it. I've been thoroughly enjoying blogging lately. And P.S. today was much better than yesterday in case you were on the edge of your seat wondering.

Name someone with the same birthday as you:
Kare Winslet (another curvy lady like myself...hehe), Mario LeMieux (the hockey player guy), Bernie Mac (comedian), Karen Allen (actress), and Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald's)

Where was your first kiss?
Oh, this is a funny one. When I was about 6 years old, I kissed my little cousin Greg in my grandma's car. I decided we should kiss like the "movie stars" do, so I taught him to move his head from side to side like we were in the movies.

Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
Hell no. But I have done a lot of TPing and also once "forked" my high school teachers' lawn (her son helped).

Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
Not really. But when I was pregnant and in a hormonal rage I threw a bottle of water at my husband. Hey, I'm not proud of it.

Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?
Yes. Many, many times. I am a trained singer and actually surprised all of my co-workers at our big meeting in August by croaking out a couple ditties at the karaoke machine. LOL! I also used to sing in school when I was a kid.

What's the first thing you notice about your preferred sex?
Kindness in the eyes.

What really turns you off?
Lying and extreme cockiness.

What do you order at Starbucks?
Decaf soy latte.

What is your biggest mistake?
Marrying my high school sweetheart when I knew I wasn't in love with him, and subsequently breaking his heart 4 years later. I wouldn't change it because it brought both of us where we are today - with happy families and a gained wisdom. But it was a big mistake that hurt someone.

Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?
Yes. Not badly, though.

Say something totally random about yourself:
I like people with accents. Brenda, if we met in person I would think you were brilliant just because you probably sound like it. I also secretly want to be British.

Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
I've been told I look like Linda Hamilton from The Terminator. I don't see it. I easily outweigh her by 30 lbs, ok 40. And I have never been, nor will ever be as buff. Ok, probably 50 lbs...damn those Hollywood chicks are skinny bitches.

Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows?
I watch a lot of kiddie movies living with a 2 year old. BUT, every night I watch the Golden Girls on DVD. Yes, every night. What can I say, Bea Arthur is my idol.

Did you have braces?
Nope, and I have perfectly straight teeth. I got lucky.

Are you comfortable with your height?
Yep, not short and not really tall, though I lean toward tall. I'm about 5' 7".

What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you?
Hell, I dunno. I'm not much of a romantic. I guess when my hubby proposed on the beach. That was pretty cool.

When do you know it's love?
I can't tell you but it lasts forever. :)

Do you speak any other languages?
Pig Latin

Have you ever been to tanning salon?
When I was a kid I went before my trip to Hawaii. I would never do it now. I despise the sun and do not like tanning. Perhaps the family history of skin cancer is a factor.

Have you ever ridden in a limo?
Once. After I played a gig with my old band on St. Patty's day. That was about 7-8 years ago. Ahh, those were the days.

What's something that really annoys you?
People who are negative all the time.
Aggressive drivers.
The TP never seeming to make it on the roll in my house. (Hubby, you know you're guilty)

What's something you really like?
reading, cooking, chocolate, Mackinac Island, Christmas and pajamas

Can you dance?
I can cut a rug.

Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?
Nope, thankfully. Though I was close last Sunday!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Do-Over Day

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to tell me there would come a day that I really wanted to do something, go somewhere, have some fun and my child would screw it up for me.

She said to me, "Honey, you will be conflicted because your child will be acting so naughty and you have to tell them you can't do this thing that you also want. And that is what's called being consistent with your child. No matter how much you want it, you must deny yourself to teach a lesson to that child."

Today was that day.

This morning the hubs and I awoke with a glow and excitement for the day. We planned to get ready early and head out to the Henry Ford Museum. We told Bam-Bam we'd be going to look at the big choo-choo's and the cars and a plane. We were all ready to go. Wearing our coats. He was all excited. Then he decided to have a total shit-fit, meltdown, the likes of which we have never seen.

I warned him.

"If you keep it up we cannot go see the choo-choo's"

And you know what, guys. He kept it up. I had to follow through.

But goddamn it! I wanted to go see the frickin' choo-choo's!!!!!

Today was my day of reckoning.

The day basically spiraled out of control from there. The first tantrum when I shut down the choo-choo trip lasted approximatley one hour. Bam-Bam then proceeded to have no less than 3 more tantrums throughout the day. It was horrid. Seriously, he is so lucky it is 2009 and no one in this house would dream of cutting a switch like the aforementioned dear, lovely grandmother would have. We're talking an old Southern woman with substantial hips and thick upper arms made for pulling plows and shit.

What made it even more fun was that hubby was in a nice funk as a result and acting annoying. It did not feel very partner-y around here. So I basically felt like I was the only adult in the house. Nice.

So a day that began with hopes of getting out and enjoying a lovely Saturday ended up being a huge bust with all of us at each others throats in this damn house all day.

By evening, hubby and I had worked out our feelings and thoughts, talked some stuff out and we were feeling better. Of course, then the day was pretty much over.

Luckily the evening ended well. Bam-Bam decided to do a nice, high-arcing pee-pee (mostly) in the potty! YAY! Then hubby had a great idea to go to the local Christmas lightfest which is 4.5 miles of beautiful lights only a mile away from our house. It was a hit. Bam-Bam absolutely loved it. He smiled and held my hand and talked and talked through the whole 4.5 miles. It was a really special time together. We came home, he took his slippers off without being asked and sat in my lap to read The Grinch for the hundredth time (already) this season.

And now he is sleeping.

Hot damn - I'm gonna watch some Golden Girls!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Crabby Pants Off...Thankful Pants On

:::Deep breath:::

I'm better know. Thanks for letting me get that out yesterday. I was feeling tres melancholy. Now I am just feeling happy, full, and thankful.

Here's a random list of things on my thankful little mind:

1) I am so happy to be feeling better today. I'm still not 100% but I can eat and I have a bit more energy and not as much crud clogging up my head. I say that is a good thing. I felt well enough to cook much of our Thanksgiving feast today. I made my homemade, world-famous dressing in the crock pot this morning. C'est magnifique! And I also made cauliflower casserole, green bean casserole, dinner rolls and sliced the jellied cranberry sauce. Hubby made the mashed potatoes. No turkey. We're not big meat fans and we had no time to defrost a bird anyway. Anyhoo, it was exhausting to make but gratifying. I love cooking for my boys.

2) Have I mentioned that my dog is the best rescue dog on the entire planet. She is so sweet and loving. She lays next to me and puts her big head on my lap. She sat with me during much of my quarantine. I'm so happy that we adopted her. What a smart thing we did.

3) I'm getting out the Christmas decorations. Look out, people! This house is going to be jammed with holiday cheer. We have 5 trees, in all shapes and sizes. The tallest is 6.5 feet, the smallest is about 2.5 feet. We even have a white one. I love Christmas. I used to hate it before my son was born. I love it now. I get to remake memories. Christmas as a kid was never fun. But now it is what I make it. And I LOVE Clark W. Griswold love it.

4) My Aunt called me today from Tennessee and it really touched me. She told me she plans to get a computer so it is easier to stay in touch. She cried because she said she knew what we'd been going through the last few weeks and it hurt her heart to know what we must be going through. It made my heart feel good that she decided to reach out and let me know that she cared. She told me my grandma is really slowing down and we should come to visit. We can stay with her. I know she told me that because she knows I don't want to stay with my mom. I really appreciated her telling me that without me having to ask.

5) Today I have a renewed sense of faith in humanity. Could have something to do with not feeling like I'm going to croak (i.e. no more swine flu).

I'm so tremendously thankful for all the good things in my life. I'm even thankful for the bad stuff because it makes the good stuff even better.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What's With People?

I have my crabby pants on. And you guys know I have been under quarantine with this flu for quite a while so it is only making it worse. Warning: Pity Party begins now.

So my question is - What the hell is wrong with people?


We have close friends and family who live in this area. We have been struggling like mad in the last two weeks. Do you think anyone actually comes out of the woodwork to do anything? To help? Maybe make some food for us? Drop off some magazines? How about a phone call to check on us? Hell no. Not even that.

Oh sure, we've had the occasional, "tell me if you need anything..." (mostly via facebook) but you know what, who's going to do that? Really and truly. Why can't people take the bull by the horns and just help a person in need without having to be asked?

The honest truth is that it just doesn't happen. People are too wrapped up in their own boring lives to think about anyone else. They don't reach out. They really don't.

A few weeks ago an acquaintance that I work with was down with H1N1. She has a husband at home who is a quadriplegic. She's definitely a person that needs help. I said to a few co-workers, "we should do something for her, send her some food..." The response was the same for everyone, "Yeah, we should." and then they just went on as if nothing was ever said. So I spoke up and said, "Wait, let's really do something for her. Let's not just talk about it but let's do it." And because I bugged the crap out of everyone to do something like that she received a care package of food from us.

And I'm not trying to say I'm so great and everyone else sucks. But it occurs to me that no one would have reached out to this person had I not decided that it needed to happen. Sure, they would have talked about it. But no one would have taken action.

Do I need food on my doorstep? Maybe. Especially considering that it is Thanksgiving tomorrow and we cannot leave the house. But do you think that ANYONE has offered to bring a plate over for my husband and son? His own sister's reaction to the fact that we couldn't come to Thanksgiving dinner and were stuck alone in our house for the 6th day in a row? "Oh, that sucks." That's it. Not, "I'm bringing you guys some food." Nothing.

So my husband is at Kroger right now buying Thanksgiving dinner. He's going to make it himself. For us. After spending the last week caring for me and my son around the clock. I guess I just feel like it's not fair. And I feel angry and hurt that no one seems to care. And I know we are good people that deserve better than this.

Am I asking all of you out there who read this to come to my rescue? Absolutely not. This is truly just a rant post, ok? I just don't understand what has happened in this world to make people so apathetic towards people who are in need....particularly when those people are family.

This is an on-going problem in my life, though. Probably the biggest flaw that I have is that I have huge expectations of other people and get myself hurt a lot because they just don't live up to them. I've tried to learn how to be better about it but it's times like these that my high expectations catch up with me.

And if you send a turkey to my house after reading this, I will kick your ass.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate

Originally in this house we were way against the H1N1 vaccine. I read a lot of frightening things about what it could do to a person. And no matter what side of the debate a person is on, it's a tough decision. But here I sit as a person that is likely in the throes of H1N1 and I say that even if I had not changed my mind a few weeks ago about the vaccine and whether or not it was a good idea, having this would have changed my mind for me. The day that my husband and I were supposed to have our vaccine was the day little Bam-Bam went to the ER with seizures. And also quite possibly the day I picked up the virus. With my son it is more complicated. He has an egg allergy and cannot have any flu shots. With research I discovered that his allergist can administer the shot under supervision with a pre-test and post-test. A long process, but to me it is worth it. Unfortunately I have to wait for the allergists office to have the shot available, which is why hubby and I intended to have the vaccine ourselves.

I've done a ton of research to come to this conclusion about the vaccine. I'm a firm believer in being very informed. I wont bore all of you with the details of what I learned through my research, except that I concluded that it was less of a risk to have the vaccine than to not. I received an email from my adorable almost-84 year old grandmother yesterday in which she said the following:

I have always been in favor of the vaccines that have been tested and approved by the FDA. Perhaps that is because i remember walking as a group with my schoolmates and teacher to the funeral of one of us who had died of diptheria. Elnora and I had whooping cough ; and it is as a result of that fearsome disease that Elnora has that wide scar on her face today...she had a scratch that couldn't heal because it broke open and bled from her coughing spells. We and our brothers also survived measles and mumps , though we were spared smallpox because there was a vaccination for that. Typhoid fever was avoided by the insertion of some kind of disinfectant in the drinking water at homes and schoolhouses. It tasted awful. My double cousin Douglas survived polio, though he had to wear a built-up shoe the rest of his life because of a degree of paralysis that affected him. In his later adult life, he had a secondary attack that was common but unexpected. That probably led to an earlier death than might have been expected inasmuch as the rest of us in this generation are pretty much still kicking around. He was the only one who would have been older than I.

Just another thing that confirmed for me the importance of vaccines. Now, I definitely don't believe in blindly following the exact schedule. For example, all of Bam-Bam's vaccines are administered one at a time and we have refused some that we do not believe to be necessary. I believe being an informed parent and patient is absolutely vital.

I know that we all don't agree on this particular point, but for me and for my family this was an important decision. We didn't make it lightly and we didn't make it with emotion, but rather with information. I think it's important for any of you making this decision to remember that information, no matter which side you choose, is important.

Ok, so I'm back on my soap box. Must be feeling better. XO

Monday, November 23, 2009

There Has to Be a Lesson In All This....

....I just haven't figured out what it is yet. And maybe I was just so smug about how very positive I was going to be...maybe it was the Universe (ie God) saying, "Oh yeah? Let's see how you handle this one."

Ok,maybe not.

What I do know is that this is hard.

The hardest part about being sick right now isn't even necessarily about the way that I feel physically. It's more about the way I feel mentally. I'm stuck in my bedroom with my fluids, my phone, my Kindle, the computer and my thoughts. And I'm listening to my hubby and my sweet little boy in the next room. And I can't be there with them (except for a few minutes while wearing a mask). I don't want them to get sick so this is the sacrifice that I have to make. So I can't be with them. Touch them. Hug them. Play. It's really, really hard. I haven't really been able to give my baby the kind of affection that I usually do because I don't want to infect him. It's really bothersome. I know he misses me, too.

It's amazing what the flu can do. I was in the ER last night with the most horrible headache and nausea that I have ever had. Horrible. And I get migraines. I had to get fluids and drugs and such. Today I am in an drug-induced stupor. So that helps me feel better but I am still really weak and tired. For the record, I don't know for sure that it is the swine flu. They never tested me and I never asked them to. According to the CDC web site, I am past the point of testing anyway. They have to test you within 48 hours of the symptoms. And really, what does it matter either way? What really matters is that it is totally kicking my ass right now.

But I plan to win this battle. As if there was any doubt.

And I'm still looking for the lesson. Patience, maybe? This is certainly taking a long time to clear up. I don't feel like it will be clearing any time soon. And I swear I always steer clear of praying for patience for this very reason. Well, also because I don't have much of it. But maybe it's just something that I have to learn.

And I ramble. The ramblings of a drugged and ailing person. I'll be better soon. Still trying hard to be positive.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sick and Tired

Pretty sure I have H1N1 right now. A lovely way to spend this weekend after spending last weeked with a baby having seizures. I must admit that my "positive" is beginning to waver at the moment. Fortunately, Bam-Bam and hubby have not gotten this sickness (which started for me on Thursday afternoon). So that's positive.

And I also have a big, warm dog to keep me company. That's good too. She is right next to me as I am quarantined in my bedroom listening to my boy and his daddy chit chat and sing the Wonder Pets theme song.

Also, at least this happened before Thanksgiving so hopefully I will be better in time to cram some food in my pie hole. And since I've eaten nothing but cream of wheat and bread in the last two days, it should be very delicious indeed.

Just wish I could sleep well. I haven't been able to because my body aches too much. And my head - ugh! So want it to stop hurting. I know it could be worse.

Damn, hubby just took the dog out. Alone again.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How Can I Be So Calm?

Yesterday I spoke with the lovely nun that runs the day care where Bam-Bam goes. She knows about his various issues - severe allergies, asthma, now epilepsy (we saw the neurologist and confirmed the diagnosis). Anyway, she said to me, "I don't know how you do it. How do you stay so calm when your child has so many problems?" Sister isn't known for having much of a filter. She just kind of blurts things out. It's actually a quality that endears her to me in a weird way. Perhaps I can relate.

So, my response?

We have to keep living life. The world doesn't stop turning because my son has some childhood maladies. And that is how we see them. I know (because I have hope) that eventually he will grow out of all or most of this and will be a perfectly normal person when he grows up. Maybe just a grown up guy that can't eat nuts. How can I get all freaked out over things that, in the grand scheme, are really minor? Yes, it is scary that he could eat food that could make his throat close up and go in to anaphylactic shock. Yes, he could have a bad seizure and hit his head. But then again, he might not. We can't stop the world. He can't miss out on childhood experiences just because of what "might" happen. That could be true for anyone and life is just too short for that. So maybe I cottle him a little at times. And maybe that is because in the back of my mind I am trying to make up for something that he might be missing because he has these strange idiosyncrasies. So what?

What about the kids who have cancer? Or cystic fibrosis? Or brain tumors? They truly don't get to have "normal" the way that Bam-Bam can. I am so thankful that allergies and seizures and such are ALL we have to deal with. This we can handle.

And we will. Thanks to all of you for your love and support.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Last night Bam-Bam woke up with a shrill scream. My husband rushed into his room only to find him covered in vomit. I quickly followed and snatched him up to cuddle him, took him into the bathroom and gave both of us a bath and put us both in clean pajamas. Bam-Bam threw up once more and was finally back to sleep within a couple of hours. I figured - stomach flu - no problem. We've been through this. The morning was typical. B wasn't very hungry and wanted to watch cartoons and mostly just drink water. He was pretty much himself except for not having much appetite.

Suddenly everything changed. I was on the computer, probably doing something dumb like checking Facebook. Out of the corner of my eye, Bam-Bam literally dropped like a brick. I looked over and he was flat on his back looking stunned. He got up and carried on seemingly for an hour. He was screaming and grabbing his head. I didn't even really understand what was happening. I thought maybe he slipped on the floor and bumped his head, though my instinct told me that wasn't right. No, he had just crumbled to the floor in one fell swoop. I may not have had my eyes right on him, but I know what my peripheral vision witnessed.

Within a few minutes he seemed to calm down. Then it happened. I was holding him in my lap and he just started to twitch. 3-4 twitches was all he did but his behavior after the fact was bizarre. He wasn't himself. Bam-Bam was not there. He was lethargic and quiet and just weird. I thought, ok - don't over react. He probably has the chills because maybe he is sick. Took the temp - 99.2 - not really high enough to make someone that shivery. Still, I was in denial. I called the doctor and asked if we could bring him by because he wasn't "himself" and had a low grade fever.

I started to get ready to go to the doc while Hubby distracted B with a YouTube fish movie on my computer. Then Hubby yells to me - "Let's go, we're going to the hospital NOW!" My husband is a pretty calm guy. He is not an alarmist at all. He was freaked. I dashed out of the bedroom and asked what happened. He said that as B watched the video he suddenly fell to the side, limply and jerked. Same vacant look in his eye.


I grabbed my bag and didn't even take time to look for my glasses. We were out the door to the hospital. We got right in at the ER, which was a huge relief. As soon as we got to the back and started telling the nurse what happened, she was quick to dismiss his "tremors" as chills. I tried to tell her that it didn't seem like chills. My husband and I both described what we saw. She still acted like it was no big deal and that we shouldn't worry. I thought to myself, " well, maybe we are getting a little carried away here." All the while my gut told me different.

No surprise that the doc came in and said the same thing. The flu, nothing to worry about, probably chills, kids fall down all the time, we've seen tons of cases like this with the swine flu going around, blah, blah, blah....

So they give us some water and some juice and a little dissolving pill for nausea and say as long as he doesn't barf in the next 15 minutes after drinking something we are free to go. Hubby and I are both feeling somewhat relieved, though both of us have this nagging feeling that something is amiss.

The doc comes back and is chatting with us about the discharge, give the kid the Tamiflu, watch him for diarrhea, etc...then B starts up again. He has the tremors right in front of the doctor. The doctors eyes become saucers. He says to me, "is this what has been happening?" I told him, "yes, exactly....what do you think?"

This doctor is clearly freaking at this point. Clearly.

He starts rubbing his head, saying "Hmmmm..." a lot, "I'm not sure..."

Finally he tells us - I'm cancelling the discharge and ordering a CT scan. SHIT, again.

Talk about scary as hell. Ever try to hold down a 2 year old while he's being strapped into a CT scan apparatus? How about trying to do it while the child screams, "I need help!" the entire time. Heartbreaking. I was an absolute mess yet trying to pull it together to keep B from being too scared.

Here's the crazy part. The CT scan came back clear. So, we were of course happy that he didn't have a brain tumor. The ER doc told us at this point that there was nothing more he could do. The CT scan was only one test in a battery that probably should be run and, oh by the way, follow up with your regular doc who can refer a neurologist next week. Oh, and by the way, I'm pretty sure it's not seizures, but it's not the chills either so that is your best bet. See ya later, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out...


Seriously? Now, not that I wanted my kid in the hospital any longer than he had to be but what am I supposed to do in the meantime? So here I sit waiting. When we got home, I called my Aunt who has a kid who had epilepsy when he was little. His symptoms were so similar to B's. I know that if that is what it is it can be treated...but I'm really just terrified of my baby having to go through all of these inevitable tests.

For those of you who pray - please pray. If you don't and can send some positive thoughts - please do that. We'll take whatever you have. I will keep everyone posted on what happens. Hoping for something simple and easy to treat.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mommy Karma

So I posted before about being a working mom (and making no excuses for it and, by the way, damn proud of it)....but there are some things about being a working mom that are hard for people to understand. One of those is the fact that I, quite honestly and sincerely, want to do little else during my off time than be with my son and my husband. I know, boring. But that's just me. Mostly my friends who also have kids understand this but my single and childless friends struggle with the concept. And it's not that I blame them for not getting it and it's also not that I think they are all morons because they are single and/or childless. After all, I went a very long way in my life being childless. Bam-Bam wasn't born until I was almost 34 years old. So perhaps what I'm dealing with here is karma. Or whatever you call it.

This inspired me to share with you what I call my "Mommy Karma"....details of those things about being a Mommy that I never understood before and quite frankly that I judged without really understanding. It is for this reason that I try my best to reserve judgment of other mothers and fathers (unless they are blatantly neglectful or abusive) for fear of more wrath of Mommy Karma.

Here is a list of things I have learned from my own hard-headed past comments or thoughts that now bite me in the ass when I think of them:

"Why don't they just get a babysitter? How hard could that be?"

Now I know that it's very hard indeed. Especially if you don't have the luxury of Grandma and Grandpa (which we don't). You can't just leave your kid with someone off the street that you don't know. And now that I'm a mom, I cannot envision leaving my precious boy with some strange teenage kid that will be texting all night and not paying attention to my kid. We basically have one person that we really, truly trust with him and her time is limited. So, we prefer to take BB out with us whenever possible.

and to go along with that one....

"I don't see why having a 'no kids' policy is such a big deal."

Well, guess what, it is a big deal. My kid is my family. If you don't want him, you don't want me. I used to think people were ridiculous with this one. And it haunts me. I would always prefer to do anything when my child is invited. And quite honestly, if you're going to do something 'no kids'...well, I'm not really interested. As a working mom, that is my outlet. I rarely go out. Rarely. I don't want to. Once maybe every 3 months alone with my husband. And before you tell me that is unhealthy, remember that I have 40 hours a week at work away from him. I'm good. I don't need any more "me" time. So please don't be offended if I am not interested in doing a 'no kids' thing with you. It's not you, it's me.

"Why do you have to be so rigid about the kids bed time? Just let him stay up late once in a while. What's the big deal?"

Now I know that our little boy is very entrenched in his routine. He put himself on a schedule, practically from birth - from eating to sleeping and everything in between. Thank God for him being such an easy child. Not all kids are like this and maybe it is ok to deviate from the bed time (and we do a little from time to time) but the plain fact is that no matter how late the kid goes to bed, he wakes up at approximately the same time. Which means he is a CRAB all day due to lack of sleep. And that is a giant pain in the ass.

"How can you let your kid act like that at the store? What's wrong with you?"

Now I know that sometimes no matter how good a parent you are sometimes your kid is just going to embarrass the piss out of you. You WILL get those looks from all of those superior people - some who have kids and some who don't, and lots of old ladies who think you're one of those terrible permissive mothers that allows you child to walk all over you. Yeah, all of you people staring...I am smiling because I don't know what else to do. Get over it. Some day you'll get yours.

"Your kid would eat his vegetables if you just make him do it. I mean, who's the parent here?"

This is near and dear to my heart because I REALLY got Mommy Karma'd on this one. I have a kid that so abhors not just vegetables but most fruits. I have tried the method of just giving him what we eat and he is the most stubborn little shit alive. He will refuse beautiful, attractive foods like red pepper slices, lettuce, even peas and will only eat things that are pretty much white or very light in color. I have resorted to using the techniques of The Sneaky Chef and yeah, he mostly eats macaroni and cheese (with hidden cauliflower, naturally)....I make no apologies. It has helped a) make dinner time more pleasant and b) ensure that my child has a daily bowel movement. You simply cannot (at least not at age 2) force any food on your least not an extremely picky one. Only make it available (which we do and he still refuses almost every time). So, if you think you're better than me on this one - whatever - and in the immortal words of one of my favs, Miss Kathy Griffin...suck it!

Do you have a "Mommy Karma" moment to share?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Tonight I took our recently adopted dog for a walk as my dear husband was feeling a bit under the weather this evening. I've been thinking about how nice it is to have a dog in my life again. This dog reminds me of another I knew a long time ago....

I grew up with Muffin. The best dog in the entire world. She ruined me for all dogs. She was loyal, playful, cuddly, easy-going...she was awesome. Muffin was the kind of dog that would spend the whole night with me when I was sick. She would comfort me when I was sad. She was a part of my birthday present when I was 8 years old. She came a few months after our original puppy, Taffy, had to be put to sleep because of a heart defect. I have to tell you that was heartbreaking for a little kid. (And by the way, I did NOT name these dogs. These names were the brilliant idea of my 90 IQ former step-mother. Even at 8 years old I thought those names were terrible.)

Muffin was really smart, too. She learned all kinds of tricks. I taught her every one of them. I always had kind of a gift for that. I taught her to sit, lay down, stay, shake hands and roll over. She was not the best on a leash, but of course this was many years before Cesar hit the scene to tell us all that a dog should not walk you.

She lived to the ripe old age of 15. I was 23 years old when Muffin passed away. I remember the scenario pretty vividly. My dad was in the hospital (again) and was preparing for more blood transfusions. Dad lived with his pancreatic cancer for 6 years - unheard of with pancreatic cancer but he had a rare type. In the last couple of years he would go into the ER several times due to low hemoglobin levels. He was always losing blood and would get really weak and need several pints. This time around was pretty bad and they needed to keep him for observation. He needed about 4 units. If you know anything about blood, you know this meant that he was basically missing half of his blood. Crazy, I know. Anyway, I asked Dad if I could do anything for him. He looked at me and simply said, "Muffin." And I knew what he meant.

You see, Muffin had been getting a little senile. She was having trouble holding her bowels anymore. My dad loved that dog so much. Every evening, as sick as he was, he would clean the basement floor with bleach water after Muffin had used the basement floor as her toilet. She could not be in the house anymore so spent her time in a makeshift pen in the basement. Dad made sure she had plenty of room, food and water, a nice fluffy bed, toys, etc. She had cataracts and had trouble recognizing us sometimes so was beginning to get a little snippy with us, which was SO unlike her.

So, that day from my dad's hospital bed he asked me to take Muffin to be put to sleep.

I said to him, "Dad, I was thinking I'd get you some magazines or something. That's what I meant when I asked if you needed anything."

He explained it like this, "Pussycat, I can't do it. I don't have the physical strength anymore but I don't think I can handle taking her in to do that. I know this is a big favor but I need you to do this for me."

I couldn't say no. This was the guy who had always been there for me. The guy that, in spite of his faults had always done everything he could for me. He asked me this favor and I had to do it.

The day I took Muffin in to be put down it was overcast. Muffin went outside and ran around in the back yard, which is something I hadn't seen her do in a while. I took her for her last walk around the block and she seemed almost peppy. She had a treat (a Pupperoni) and was just really, really happy. I wondered if maybe this was a mistake. Maybe I should do it another day. You don't know how hard it was to take her that day, especially seeing the old Muffin again.

I thought I'd just take her in and leave her with the vet but I soon discovered that I just couldn't do that to her. Not after everything she'd done for me. During those times of my childhood that I felt like nobody loved me or I was in the way, she was there to remind me that I meant everything to her. She comforted me through skinned knees, the flu, a broken heart. Now she needed comfort and I was going to give it to her.

I said goodbye to Muffin that day and cried a lot, maybe more than I ever had. And maybe I was crying for more than just losing her but for the knowledge that my dad would never get better. In a weird way it prepared me for losing my dad. Though I'd lost a grandparent already at that point, I'd never experienced anything like losing someone that I lived with every day. Muffin was the first. I imagine her now with Dad in heaven or whatever you want to call it. It comforts me to imagine her keeping him company.

Yes, it's nice to have a dog in my life again. That kind of love is priceless.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Few Random Thoughts

Hello there, bloggy people. Today's post will be 100% random thoughts that are bouncing around in my head. I'm in the mood for something different. So, here goes.

  • The dog that we adopted a week ago is a really good dog. I cannot help but wonder what would possess a person to voluntarily give up this dog. We really lucked out. By the way, she's laying on my couch now. I just turned around to look at her and she looked up at me with those big, brown eyes as if to say, " are you sure it's ok for me to be on the couch?" Yeah, sweet girl, it's ok (as long as you're on the blue blanket.)

  • I wonder why nobody recycles medicine and why hospitals don't stock pile expired meds for poor people who come to the ER. Wouldn't that be an easy way to make sure people get the medications that they need and also help recycle these meds that we can't flush down the toilet? I mean, what are we supposed to do? Let old drugs just pile up?

  • I'm preparing to cook no less than 4 meals this weekend, which should feed us 8 times. I'm just getting myself mentally ready for it. And honestly, I LOVE doing it. It makes me feel good to cook nice meals for the family so we don't end up eating crap during the week because we're all so busy.

  • I'm getting kind of sick of Jennifer Aniston.

  • I have a lot of laundry to do so I am very glad that we got our dryer fixed. And I'm even more glad that we have the DTE (our energy company) Home Protection Plan that covers all appliances in our house so we never have to pay for it. Yes, it costs us $30 a month, but I see it as appliance insurance. Besides, if our furnace dies, the plan pays for itself. Not bad when absolutely no one in this house is handy. (Sorry honey, but you know you're not.)

  • My husband just handed me my contraceptive jelly inserts (i.e. birth control) because I left them sitting out for the last 3 days since they came in the mail. bad. Nice thing to just leave lying around the house.

  • Yesterday Bam-Bam made me a turtle (out of construction paper) at day care. He couldn't wait to show it to me when he got home. What a sweet boy!
  • I'm nervous because I know that I am in need of an entire mouth full of dental work and do not feel mentally prepared to deal with it. I am terrified of the dentist and almost choked to death on one of my crowns once, thanks to that stupid dental assistant with the slippery fingers. She tried to hold me down when she let go of it because she wanted to retrieve it. I was like - step off, chick, I am f'ing choking here. Anyhoo, thanks...I am even more terrified now.
  • I really like watching Go Diego Go. That is such a cute show! I talk to the TV for that one. My kid probably thinks I'm nuts.
  • It's Sweetest Day today, which I have never really considered to be much more than a Hallmark holiday. However, the hubby and I are going to have a very rare night out. I think we've done it maybe 4 times since Bam-Bam was born.
  • I just bought two supplements which I hope will assist me with this insane PMS problem I've been having. I did some research and found that 100 mg of Vitamin B6 daily is helpful for PMS and mood issues. I'm also going to use Melatonin for some of my sleep issues. I'll let you know how it goes. Taking the first one tonight.
  • I could probably use a little s-e-x some time soon. Hmmm, where is that leopard print underwear again. Oh, and mental note...maybe I should do some strategic shaving. TMI, I know. And get your mind out of the gutter. I don't mean that kind of shaving. Just grooming.
  • Sometimes I think I am not so much smart as I am savvy. Just very good at making people think I'm smart.
  • I am, at this moment, jamming some corn chips in my pie hole. They're not that good, so why the hell do I keep eating them?
  • Ever notice how there is always some kind of sports on TV. Annoying.
  • Should I be afraid of the Swine Flu? Sometimes I think I should be more concerned than I am. I definitely don't think that the vaccine is a good idea. Freaks me out. Way too new.

That's it. Hope that wasn't too boring to read. Just needed to get those things off my chest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yes, I am a working mom....

I was inspired by something Melissa said on Rock & Drool about someone she knows who was on Dr. Phil and was a voice for the SAHM's out there (for the record, I also checked out this woman's blog). I would like to throw my voice out there as the voice of the working mom. What's the saying? Fair and balanced. Anyway, let me begin by saying that I did not see the episode of Dr. Phil and have no idea about the content but have some idea after looking at Jessica's blog. This is just a topic that has been near and dear for a while that I have meant to discuss and didn't think to do it before now.

So, yes, I am a working mom. I am a career woman. I enjoy my job. And you know what - I probably don't HAVE to work. I could cut corners and not work. But I want to. And I don't have fancy cars or a fancy house or huge bills to pay, though we would be scraping a bit if I didn't work as I make more money than my dear, underpaid government lawyer husband. I have a career. My kid goes to day care every single day. And I like that he goes there, though I do miss him and it's not always easy. And, don't get me wrong, if I became independently wealthy tomorrow, I would probably drop everything and stay home with him and go on lots of fun vacations and do lots of things. But I'm not independently wealthy....and I am not suggesting that SAHM's are even remotely in that position. The thing is, I like my job. I like going to work each day. I like knowing that Bam-Bam is socializing with other kids, learning lots of things that I would never think to teach him. I think he gets great value from day care. And NO, I am not saying that out of guilt. I actually do really believe that. And that is my right.

I also realize that there would be great advantages to having Bam-Bam stay at home with me. I get that. More time for bonding. Being there for certain milestones, etc....Here's the part I don't get....why, why, why do some mothers find it necessary to belittle other mothers for not doing what they do? What is up with these Nazi SAHM's who think that they are so superior to working moms? That somehow we aren't like REAL moms...that we just live this life of luxury (which so off base!). Conversely, why are there working mom's who think that SAHM's just sit on their asses all day watching their "stories" and are bored, sad little creatures?

Let me tell all you ladies something - get off your fuckin' high horses. All of you! On both sides. Not one of you is better than me and I'm not better than you. Not any one of us is more or less of a mother than the other. Maybe what we should really be doing is supporting each other as mothers and women. Maybe we should acknowledge that we both have a difficult job to do as mom's. That is, raising our kids the best damn way we know how.

I do not lead a life of leisure or luxury. I work hard. Really hard. So do you. I think the last thing that either of us needs is to be judged for what we do or don't do. And then I wonder to myself - why do some people find it so necessary to be judgmental? If they were really secure in what they're doing and didn't need validation that it's right, well, then they wouldn't have to put others down in the first place. Just my take. And, yes, I've had therapy before. That's why I use fancy words like validation.

So, all you bitches out there....get a grip. Stop acting like bitches and support your fellow women. None of us sees what anyone else is doing in their homes day in and day out. And we should not judge each other or say that each others kids are getting messed up for one reason or another. I'm not going to sit here and justify what I do by telling you all of the hard work that I do. That's not the point and I don't really care if you agree with my choices or not. The point is, why can't we all just learn to appreciate each other and stop judging each other. And, ok, I'll stop calling you bitches.

Monday, October 12, 2009

PMS on Steriods

Ok, I admit that I may actually have inherited a little bit of my mother's tendency to be a hypochondriac. I'm also too damn smart for my own good. Sometimes I think that if I were a dumb person I could just walk around in blissful ignorance, never knowing about all of the terrible diseases and maladies in the world. Not reading up on natural medicine. Not reading all of the articles on But, I'm not blissfully ignorant. I am overly self aware. Is that possible? Yes!

Here's what I think I have now - it is called PMDD. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. And I really think I have something on this. It is sort of like PMS on Steroids. I've never, ever been a PMSer. Ever. I always wondered what that must be like. But I have to tell you that in the last year or so, I have turned into a crazy person with my PMS. Once a month for about 7-10 days before my period, I turn into a total nutjob. Surly - check. Anxious - check. Insomnia - check. Depression - sometimes. Paranoid - I ate "those" brownies...yes. Hungry for all things salty, sweet, not nailed down - check.

Here's what Wikipedia says and it is TOTALLY me:

PMDD is premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that is so severe it can be debilitating due to either physical, mental or emotional symptoms. Treatment is recommended because PMDD interferes with the sufferer's ability to function in her social or occupational life. The cardinal symptom—surfacing between ovulation and menstruation, and disappearing within a few days after the onset of the bleeding—is irritability (PMID 11571794). Anxiety, anger, and depression may also occur. The main symptoms, which can be disabling, include[3]
feelings of deep sadness or despair, possible suicide ideation
feelings of tension or anxiety (YES!)
panic attacks (YES!)
diarrhea (Sometimes)
mood swings, crying, (Sometimes)
lasting irritability or anger, increased interpersonal conflicts. Typically sufferers are unaware of the impact they have on those close to them (Sometimes)
apathy or disinterest in daily activities and relationships
yeast infections
difficulty concentrating (Yes)
fatigue (Yes)
food cravings or binge eating (Yes and No...but great desire to binge eat)
insomnia or hypersomnia (TOTALLY!)
feeling "out of control", (Yes!)
increase or decrease in sex drive.
increased need for emotional closeness, (Yes! I can get needy.)
physical symptoms: bloating (yes), heart palpitations (yes), breast tenderness (yes), headaches (yeS), joint or muscle pain (yes), swollen face
Five or more of these symptoms may indicate PMDD. Symptoms occur during the 2 weeks before the menstrual cycle and disappear within a few days after the onset of the bleeding.

I SO have 5 or more symptoms. And this always happens right before my period. As soon as it starts, it's over.

Here's the fun part about it. It's something that frequently happens to pre-menopausal women. So, I guess that means I couldn't possibly have it. Right? Guess again, bitches. I'm 36 freaking years old. Easily in that window. How the hell did this happen?

So, I really need to get this thing under control. It is manageable at this point but it seems to be getting worse. I'm trying to explore some natural remedies so if anyone out there is familiar with this, your advice is wanted.

I'll try not to snap at you. You're safe....Aunt Martha is visiting now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Addition to the Family

Let me begin by saying - no, I am not pregnant. Not even close. But we have a new family member joining us. She is a beautiful, loving, kind, sweet German Shepherd mix that is 3 years old and needs some love and a good family. I am so excited because after having met her last Sunday, I feel like she really belongs in our family. She was spayed on Tuesday and comes home tomorrow. I'm NOT a girlie girl, but I insisted that we get her a very princessy dog bed. It's purple. And I want to take her to be groomed a couple times a year and get little bows and nail polish. Is that wrong? And she has a pink, flowery collar that matches her leash. She is going to be the hottest dog on the block. She wasn't abused but she was neglected and I guess I feel like I want to give her the love she missed before. And maybe it's my way of reaching out to a kindred spirit. Just seems right. Can't wait!!!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

All I Want

Although I spend a great deal of my time trying to sort out the past and the things I have gone through, I must say that I wildly prefer the present. I realize that I truly have all that I could possibly want and need. That's a pretty damn good feeling. My son is a constant source of joy. My husband is a great man and a wonderful father. I live a relatively sedate lifestyle (by choice) and relish the small things in life. I could not ask for more. Here is a short list of those things that I love so much:

1) The way my son cups my chin and says "Oh, Mommy," and then plants a kiss on me.

2) How my husband empties the dishwasher for me because he knows how I hate to empty.

3) When Bam-Bam and I drive past a local turkey farm (and yes, we live in a major metropolitan area, NOT the country) and he shouts "TOOOOOOOOKEEEEEEYYYYSSS!!!!!"

4) How hubby is totally cool with the fact that I like flowers but I despise gardening, therefore I will never be one of those ladies puttering around in the yard all weekend making it purty.

5) Bam-Bam's love of all things aquatic.

6) Ok, so we have a few annoying neighbors, but I love our home. It's just right for us. Just the right size, nothing too fancy and modestly decorated. I would love to pick it up and plop it out in the country somewhere.

7) I have some amazing friends. I don't see most of them very much but they are so special to me. What I like is that they come from all walks of life - stay at home and working moms, single people, gay men, white collar, blue collar, democrats, republicans....I don't care who you are - I love you all for different reasons. You are our adopted family.

8) I have a job that I really love that allows me time to balance my family life with my work.

9) I've had the good fortune of living for 36 years and hope to live at least 36 more (and then some). The way I've seen people die young, I am thankful for every single birthday I am given and never get pissed about growing older - it is truly a gift.

I think that sums it up.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You're Cuter Than An Intrauterine....

My birthday is just a few days away, so today I received a card and a letter from my Mom. And a small gift. And it annoys me. Is that wrong? So, you may not have the entire background on why I am annoyed. The 60 second backstory is that she took off on me and brother when we were 7 and 10, respectively. Left us with our dad (a good guy with bad taste in women) and an incredibly abusive step-mother. Went to Boston and got married to our step-dad. Called us with the news. And basically rarely ever called us for anything else except maybe birthdays and Christmas. Prior to that, she was divorced from my dad for a few years and basically passed us off to whichever of the cheapest babysitters in town would watch us while she both worked as a waitress and in her free time did whatever the hell she wanted with her friends. She picked up hitchhikers with us in the car, talked incessantly on the phone with her friends while she was around us, ignored us in every way possible including forgetting to bathe us and clothing us in dirty laundry...basically did everything but mother us. So we were not mothered from the time we were about (me) 3.5 and (my bro) 7.5. Very fucked up situation. She moved back from Boston after 3 years but was pretty hands off. We ended up both back to live with her for a couple of years as teens. She basically lorded over us constantly that the minute we turned 18 we were no longer her problem and we'd better be ready for it. That gives you an idea.

I wrote her off just over a year ago after she moved away for a second time 5 weeks after my son was born. She promised up and down that she would be calling so much it would drive me nuts. (A girl needs her mother after she has a baby...or a mother-figure of some sort.) She moved and never called, never communicated. It was very hard on me. More on that later. It didn't help the Baby Blues that I was fighting. Just in the last few months I have loosened up and told her she is free to email me and send letters if she desires. I do not want to speak to her by phone and she is clear on that so she doesn't call. Too hard to wait for calls that don't come. She's probably fine with that because calls cost money anyway.

So today she sent a letter telling me all about my birth 36 years ago. How happy she was to have "her girl" and how much I was loved and wanted and still am. Guess what? I'm not buying it. She detailed her contractions, the entire birthing process, the exact moment I was born, how she shit on the doctor with the first push. I don't frickin' care. In my eyes actions speak louder than words. Right? Am I wrong to have this reaction? I am just so done with her and she is so full of lies. So, I know I should just brush it off and move on but it does annoy me. And by the way, that $20 gift card for Bath & Body Works....if she knew me better she would know that I hate that store. But she doesn't.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dad's Journal

My dad kept a journal. I guess that must be where I get it from. His were "guy journals" and were before the days of blogging, though. Have you seen those 1 year calendars that you can buy at the drug store? They're fake leather and they're about the size of a Reader's Digest. They have one week per page and have just enough space for "the facts." Yesterday my husband and I cleaned the basement while on our 7th Anniversary "stay-cation." Yes, I know...very romantic. After 7 years married and 11 years together, cleaning the basement for our Anniversary extended weekend sounded heavenly. Trust me. Anyway, I ran across several years of my dad's journal. In his journals he detailed the things he ate, how he was feeling, his exercise regimen, movies he watched, alcohol consumption (bz), phones calls, visits with family and friends, etc. All in one tidy, little 3 inch square.

Just by happenstance I chose the 1993 calendar first and began reading through. That was the year I got married for the first time. I was 19 years old and definitely still Daddy's girl. It's fairly evident, too, because my dad's journal has a lot about me in it. We visited a lot and talked on the phone all the time. It made me smile to see that. It also made me recognize the huge hole in my life that is still there. So, there it was:

February 23, 1993 - Cold out. Up at 5:07AM. Did not fly. Helped Tom tow planes around. After lunch washed 580 till 3:00PM. Sat around till 4:30PM. Home around 5:30. Went to S's to fix toilet - she said I looked yellowish *worried. Stool very hard. Taco Bell. Bed at 11:00PM. No Bz. No Exercise. No Run.

And there it was plain as day. The day our lives turned upside down my dad had come to my apartment to fix my toilet. I vividly remember standing behind him in the bathroom. He stood up from the toilet tank and I caught our reflections side-by-side in the mirror. It was absolutely shocking to see. His skin was so yellow it was as if he had used one of those old, cheap self tanners and tried to wash it off. Remember that stuff? Compared to my skin, he looked positively odd. At the time, I didn't even really understand what jaundice was. I just knew that my dad looked weird and yellow. He brushed it off as though maybe he's had some bad food. According to his journal, the next morning at 8AM he made a doctor's appointment.

By March 2, 1993, the doctors had ruled out Hepatitis and a few other things. Here's his entry from that day:

No Work. Dr. Appt today. Up at 9:30AM. Rod's b-day (60) Not much sleep last night. S came over at lunch. Went to Dr. Appt 2:15 - does not look good. Some sort of scarring on most internal organs. TB, cancer? Not sure. Took blood & urine test. Stopped & got Wendy's hamburg (great) Was real tired. Watched TV. Bed at 11:00. Took pills. Slept good tonight. No Bz. Talked to Mom.

I do love that he took the time to describe his Wendy's burger as "Great" in the midst of all of that scary stuff. It made me sad to read through his journal yesterday. It kind of brought it all back. I remember feeling like I might have been semi-responsible because I'm the one who noticed that he was yellow. I've always been pretty observant. Sometimes I wish I didn't notice everything. And I know it's totally stupid to feel responsible for something like that just for noticing. It was a really confusing time. I was getting married at 19, which was not the right thing for me. My dad was sick and he might have cancer. It was a terrifying year. Dad did a good job of downplaying, but again my powers of observation were a little too strong. And my gift for asking lots of questions....well, it got me to the truth. There wasn't much Dad could hide after all. Can't fool me. He needed my help to get to some of his appointments, so I kind of needed to be in the know. This was just the beginning of the roller coaster ride of Dad's illness that lasted 6 years.

I still miss him every single day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Day of Summer

Today is the last day of summer and I'm feeling ponderous about the past again. Remembering the fall as a kid when life went back to crazy after my brother and I spent nice, semi-normal summers with our grandparents. Fall was back-to-school. I always had butterflies in my stomach on the first day of school. I would have a hard time eating or sleeping. I'm still the same way when I have something important going on at work. For example, I have to travel on Wednesday this week and all I can think about is getting it over with. Thankfully I only have to travel about 10% of the time....which is 10% too much for me. It's just not my thing.

But I digress. About this time of year, there would be parent-teacher conferences at school. I lived with my mom until I was almost 8 years old. She was never really into conferences or, I guess, never really into me. One year, she did try to be semi-interested. She had to work at the bar so she sent her boyfriend, Ed, in her place. Weird enough to send your boyfriend, but the best part was the way that he acted. Ed got me and my brother in his pickup truck and set out down the street to the school. Fortunately the school was less than half a mile away. Back in those days, seatbelts were optional, so I'm quite sure we were not strapped in. In fact, I can remember crawling around the truck cab so I am absolutely sure that we were not wearing seatbelts.

We arrived at the parent-teacher conferences with a very jovial Ed. They also had some sort of table set up and activities for kids at the school, presumably for those children who showed up with their parents. To give you a picture of what Ed looked like, imagine a guy in his early 20's (mom's "younger man") and a very carefree attitude, longish 70's hair and a scruffy moustache. Ed was very handsome and not terribly responsible. Definitely the kind of guy with some Ted Nugent 8-tracks in his pickup. I thought Ed was wonderful. He was in a great mood and greeted our teachers with enthusiasm. Some of them looked at him funny, but I thought he was lots of fun.

The rest of the evening is a little foggy or possibly just insignificant. We woke up the next morning (a Saturday) and something was off. Ed was in the hallway patching a hole in the wall. My mom was nowhere to be found....pretty typical for any day, really. I went to the living room to watch cartoons and my brother filled me in. He would have been about 9 or so at the time. I was about 6 years old.

"What's going on? What's Ed doing?"

"Oh, he punched a hole in the wall last night. Didn't you hear that?"

"No. Why would he do that?"

"Mom was mad at him for taking us to conferences drunk. They got in a fight and he got mad and punched a hole in the wall," my brother said calmly.

"Oh," I responded.

"So, I think Mom broke up with him but she's making him fix the wall."

"Well, yeah, I guess he should fix it," I was thoughtful for a moment, "What's drunk?"

"It's when someone drinks a lot of beers and they act silly."

....and that was the last time I saw Ed.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mother of the Year

Ok, so after I got all hearts and flowers this morning about how I want to be this kick ass mom....well, I had one of those mornings. The kind where you lose it. Now I feel like hell. Bam-Bam is down for a nap and I feel like the worst mom in the entire world. You see, he's two years old, so he is seriously....and I can't think of a better way to put this....a little shit. Please don't misunderstand, he is a sweet little boy who loves to give kisses and hugs. He adores his kitty. He likes to hold my hand while he sits in the wagon. What a lovely little boy. And what a little shit. He is in super defiant, test-the-waters mode.

Daddy is working today. Mommy is fun mommy - we watch movies, we play, we sing, we dance. Everything is going great. Then I tell him it's almost nap time so he needs to take off his shoes. All hell breaks lose. He wants his damn Transformer shoes with the heels that light up. He does NOT want them off. So, I take them off and he blows a gasket. Like a two year old. Screaming. Kicking. Hitting. Good lord, kid. Are you serious with this crap? So, honestly, I yelled. I yelled LOUD! Put him in time out. Counted to 10...nope.....20....nope.....30....keep going. He was seriously pissing me off. I hate yelling. I think it's different to have a louder tone as opposed to yelling. I was insolent. I was angry. I just wanted him to shut the hell up. And I truly wanted to beat his little behind. I would never, but oh, sometimes.....the kid tests my resolve. Must everything be such a struggle?

So, we went round and round. I tried to go back to him in time out, he shouted "NO!!!!" at the top of his lungs. Over and over. On and on. And, people, I just could not take it anymore. I bitch slapped the wall. 3 times. 'Til my hand hurt. Funny thing was, Bam-Bam was so shocked that he completely shut up. Then I went over to the steps and collapsed in a heap and cried. Nice job, Mom. Jesus! What is wrong with me? Sometimes it is just so frustrating.

We finally made up and got his stuffed animals, read the story and got his little buns in bed for his nap. I told him Mommy was sorry for yelling at him and told him over and over how much I love him. Hope he's not scarred for life. I really want to be the perfect mom, but, ain't happening.



Little shit.

Bad Mommy.

Oh well.

Life goes on.

Flash Forward to Fear

I've been talking so much about that past, and it's been therapy for me. Truly it has. Today, I want to talk about the present. The present is definitely not as interesting as the past, so I guess that's why I don't bother to bring it up much. I believe that the best way to move forward is to accept the past and charge ahead toward the future. This blog is helping me to do that.

Let me tell you a little about fears. I have them. Probably too many. Most completely irrational. Becoming a mother has introduced a bunch of other fears that I never knew I had. My biggest fear, however, is dying. I don't worry about what will become of my soul. I'm all set there. I don't worry about the dying process. That is scary and unknown, but I realize we all have to do it eventually. I worry about dying while my son is still young. I worry that he will have to have a hard life like I did. I want him to have a childhood. So, I feel like if I die, so does his childhood. I don't even know if I'm making sense. I just want for him all of the things I never had, including a mother who is there for him throughout his childhood. A mother who kisses boo-boo's and gives hugs and kisses. A mother who wants to know how his day was. A mother who pays more attention to him than the phone or her friends. A mother who's there.

What if I'm not? What if something happened to me? My husband is a great man but I'm afraid he would unravel. He's pretty dependent on me. I know, I know. I don't give him enough credit. But I worry. I know it's irrational, nonetheless I worry.

So, how do I let go of these fears? Is this normal? Will there always be some underlying fear?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Definition of Delegating

"Daddy," I said, "can you help me?"

"Sure, pussycat. What do you need?"

"Well, I want to draw a picture of you mowing the lawn but I'm not sure how to draw a lawnmower."

(chuckles) "I can try to do that for you. Let me see your crayons."

Daddy drew me a very nice, lawnmower....obviously drawn by an engineer.

"Thanks Daddy. It's SO good!"

I sat coloring quietly for a few minutes.

"Daddy. Um, I need your help again."

"Sure, pussycat. What do you need?"

"Well, now I want to draw a picture of a person pushing the lawnmower but I'm not good at drawing hands. And I don't know how to draw your face with your moustache from the side. Well, you did such a nice job with the lawnmower that I thought you could help me with that part, too."

Dad thinks for a minute.

"Pussycat, I thought you were drawing this for me. Don't you want to do it yourself?"

"Yes, Daddy. Just leave it blank so I can color it in. I will add the background, too. It will be a surprise. Trust me, you will love it!"

And you know what, he drew it. I colored it in. He LOVED it! Great sun and grass and birds in the background.

Mission accomplished.

And that is how I became the great delegator that I am today. Turns out it was instinct.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Good Babysitter

Carol was a lady in her late 20's with a brand new baby boy and 2 older boys. She was married to Bob, who for some reason always reminded me of Fred Flintstone. I guess that's because I was four years old. Carol was the total opposite of my mom. She had dark brown hair, freckles, glasses and she loved me. When we were at Bob & Carol's house it was like living in a real family. The boys were like my brothers and I was Carol's only girl. They had the most beautiful and perfect dog, a big Irish Setter with just the right temperament. We played hide & seek, we played Star Wars, Carol cooked nice meals like chili and spaghetti and macaroni and cheese. When I got a boo-boo, Carol would kiss it better. When I was upset, Carol would comfort me. At night, when everyone went to bed, sometimes I would come out and tell Carol that I couldn't sleep. She would pat the couch beside her and I'd lay down next to her. We'd watch The Love Boat and she would stroke my hair and tickle my back until I fell asleep. I would fall asleep feeling loved and secure. And, of course, I would be awakened at 3AM every morning to get in my mom's car after the bars closed and go back to my reality.

As with everyone else in my life, Carol only remained a short time. I'm not sure why we stopped going there but they were the best times of my young life, other than being with my grandma. I always wished Carol could be my real mom. Sometimes, I still do.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I received this email today from my grandmother, E.B. Hope you enjoy....

I thought you might like this story of my personal nine/eleven:

......... 64 years ago. Bill and I had traveled by train from Memphis to the farm on Saturday. I was 8 months pregnant and the lady who had rented me a room while Bill was on Base was getting nervous that I might have the baby there . She had rented to me on the condition that I Daddy didn't have a car then and gas was rationed . Maybe Leland Henderson picked us up. Bill left on Sunday to hitch hike back to the Naval Base at Millington.I walked out to the mail box on Highway 307 with him and walked back after he had caught a ride.
On Monday, Mama was going to Mayfield to join her siblings in getting ready for the sale of Grandma Gillam's furniture . Mr. Gillam , Mama's stepfather, had been dragged and kicked to death by a horse he was beating . I decided to go with her and stop in town at the hospital with my government papers to make arrangements for my baby's birth at the Fuller- Gillam Hospital . Incidentally, Anita was the first baby in our family to be born in a hospital...
Leland drove us there before school started. He dropped me off at the hospital and took Mama out to the farm. Uncle Alton, Aunt Pauline, Uncle Curlin, Aunt Mildred, Aunt Myrtle were all there with grandma.
It was a long wait to see the doctor. He was just discharged from the service and the retired doctor who had been called back to the hospital during the War was on a well-earned vacation. Finally I got in for an examination. "Oops", he said, "you're in labor ." "I can't be ", I replied. "I'm not due until October." He said I was dilated, but I had no idea what that meant. I hadn't seen a doctor since I left Athens ,Georgia , 2 months ago . He let me go home to get my necessities for entering the hospital , but he didn't know that I would walk (in high heels) the mile out of town to Grandma's house (at noon on a hot September day ). Everybody was at lunch when I walked in with the announcement : " The doctor says I'm in labor !"
Chairs flew as people jumped up. It was decided that Uncle Alton would take Mama and me back to the farm. All the way,he kept saying, "Don't you have that baby in my car !"
Well , actually, it wasn't until the next day that Anita Ruth made her apperience into this world. She weighed in at 5 lbs, 9 oz . The doctor said he slept in his clothes next to the phone, expecting to be called during the night. I wouldn't let Mama call Bill until the birth had taken place because he was due to solo as a pilot that day ;and I was afraid he would be nervous. So she called him to tell him he had a daughter.. It wasn't the Marine's custom to give leaves for maternity during the War . They had a saying that they hadn't lost a father yet...but one of Bill's friends was on the desk when he got the call and wrote him a leave. He walked in about bedtime grinning from ear to ear. Yes, he had hitch hiked all the way from Memphis to Mayfield .

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The other night I was changing my clothes and looked down at a little round scar that I have on my stomach from the chicken pox. When I look at that scar, it makes me think back to being 4 years old. My parents had been divorced for about 6 months at this point. My mom had been in a serious car accident on Christmas Eve (1977) and we'd spent a great deal of time with our grandparents. My mom had her nose split open, her wrist broken and her knee sprained when a drunk driver decided to head out on the roads one night after a few too many eggnogs. I thought she was Frankenstein the first time she came to visit and I wouldn't go near her until she left and I screamed and cried for her to come back. I think of that scene a lot because it's such a symbol of the way our relationship has always been.

Anyway, the chicken pox. My mom was healed and finally back to work when my brother and I contracted the chicken pox from the kids of the lady who watched us. Her name was Connie and she had 6 kids. 6 mean kids. And 1 mean lady. And 1 brow-beaten husband, as I recall. Oh, and a really unkempt but sweet dog. You may have memories of having the chicken pox and spending that time being comforted and taken care of by your mother. That is the way I imagined it for everyone else, anyway. For me, it was just another example of us getting in the way. All a kid wants when they're sick and feeling lousy is to be comforted. Connie took care of us while we had the chicken pox.

Let me tell you about Connie. She was a mean, nasty woman who required me to face the wall during my nap. If I turned around in my sleep, I would be manhandled back into the facing-the-wall position. Needless to say, I didn't really sleep when I was at Connie's house. I don't even remember what she looked like but I remember being so afraid of her. I never felt like she treated anyone else as bad as she treated me, and I imagine that I thought that because it was happening to me.

I slept on a cot in the living room of Connie's house. This made it easier for my mother to slip in after she was done working at the bar (Offshore 21 where she was a waitress). She would come in at 3AM and wake us up to get us in the car and then put us in our own beds about 15 minutes later when we got home. Sometimes I think that's why I've never been able to get a good night's sleep. I always seem to be waiting to be woken up.

Once I peed in the cot at Connie's house. I was way past potty training, but Connie didn't allow us to get up once we went to bed. We were expected to hold it. When she discovered that I had urinated in the cot, she humiliated me by waking everyone up in the house to show them what I'd done. Not only that, she encouraged her children to taunt me. They laughed and pointed at me. I felt so ashamed of myself. I felt so worthless. I was 4.

These are just a couple of examples of what happened at Connie's house. I won't keep going because, frankly, it's too painful. You can imagine how nurturing she was with me when I had to go through the pain and discomfort of chicken pox at her house. Dirty, corn starch bath water and "suck it up" were not my idea of being cared for. I believe this experience is the reason that I am acutely aware of who is watching my child at all times. I almost never go out and would not dream of leaving him with someone that I don't know and trust as much as I trust myself. I am terrified of my little boy ever feeling that way.

We didn't stay at Connie's house for long, but it's not because my mom decided to take us from her house. One day, Connie was standing on top of her old hi-fi stereo dusting off a plant. Her house was always a mess and the hi-fi had a bunch of records on top of it. She slipped and fell and broke her back, right there in front of me. I mean RIGHT in front of me. The ambulance came and took her away and my mother was told she would be laid up for quite a while. I always felt bad that I was happy, so happy, when it happened. I wondered if it had happened because I had willed it to happen so I could get away from her. I imagined that I made it happen because I was looking at her. I'll never know the answer to that and I'm quite sure I didn't make it happen....but just the same I always have this little feeling of guilt (and pleasure) when I think of that day.

So, it was back to the child care drawing board for my mom. Luckily, the next stop was a nice one. But that's for another story.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Possibly the Most Romantic Story Ever

To take a segue in the story, I want to talk about my grandmother, E.B. She's the one I referred to in my introduction as the person to whom I am most grateful for teaching me about perseverance. This is the story of how she and my grandfather met. Prepare yourself for most likely the most romantic story you've ever read. Hopefully I can do it justice and hopefully I get the details relatively accurate.

My grandmother grew up on a farm in a very small, rural town in Kentucky. She was the oldest and had one sister and 3 brothers. The daughter and granddaughter of sharecroppers, E.B. had big dreams. She planned to go to college. This was no small feat, considering that at 18 she was a poor farm girl and it was the early 40's. It was unheard of at the time. But somehow, she convinced her parents that it was the right thing. She was always a smart girl, so perhaps (and this I don't know for sure), they thought it would be a good outlet. I'll never know how she convinced her dad, old Willy the stubborn farmer, that she could do this. Nonetheless, her own stubbornness, inherited from him, had won out.

E.B. set off for Murray State with dreams of becoming a teacher. She devoured college like nothing she'd ever done. She was a straight A student and teacher's pet. She didn't go out, she didn't socialize, she just studied. That was it. She had her eyes on the prize. She was a pretty girl, not beautiful, but a pretty little bookworm notwithstanding.

On the other side of the states in California, a young man named Billy, the son of the first Liquor Control officer of San Francisco, was growing up with dreams of playing football and going to college, probably in that order. He was handsome, not just a little but "movie star" handsome. I heard he was a high school classmate of Lana Turner's. He was a young man who loved to fish. He had deep set, beautiful blue eyes that could cut right through a girl with one look. His dark brown hair and ruddy complexion, combined with the physique of a football player, made him one hell of a package. He set off for Murray State and was chosen for the football team. At the moment, I can't remember what position he played.

While young Billy spent his time playing football and socializing, E.B. was hitting the books. Their paths didn't seem likely to cross. Some time in the Winter or her freshman year, E.B. developed an acute case of appendicitis. Surgery was the only way for her to survive. She had no choice but to submit to the instructions of the college infirmary doctors. When she came to after the surgery, she was told that she would have to skip her exams and rest up. E.B. was livid! She hadn't come this far and worked this hard to miss her exams. She went all the way to the dean and insisted that there had to be some way to complete her studies for the semester. He thought about it, he knew this girl and he knew she was serious. He also knew that she never got out and socialized. He also knew a certain young football player with a strong back and with a way with the girls......

The Dean allowed my grandmother to complete her exams, but only if she would agree to be ushered about campus by a strong football player named Billy. His job was simple, carry her to her classes so she could complete her exams. He agreed and began his duties, perhaps thinking that it would be pretty interesting taking around this bookish girl. During that time, I like to imagine that she showed him a little bit about being more serious and he showed her a little bit about loosening up.

They had known each other for about 3 weeks and E.B. was beginning to heal as they continued their new "friendship". It was beginning to get cold in Kentucky, there was a chill in the air, so Billy invited E.B. to the local coffee shop for toasted cheese sandwiches and hot cocoa. She agreed. As they left the shop that day, on the eve of Christmas vacation, snowflakes slowly started to fall. Growing up in California, Billy had never seen snow before. He was amazed. And maybe it was something about the moment, with this pretty and smart girl that he's known a short time but had fallen in love with, he grabbed her and picked her up in his arms and asked her to marry him. With snowflakes catching in their eyelashes and love swelling in their hearts, E.B. said "Yes, Yes!!!"

Days later, on Christmas Eve, they were married in a small ceremony. My grandmother wore a navy suit and I'm not even sure what grandpa wore, but I bet he looked fantastic. I can only imagine with those piercing blue eyes and, oh, did I mention the deep cleft in his chin? My grandmother told me about their wedding night (without ALL the details - thank God!). They spent that night in her parents living room near the wood burning furnace on the pull-out sofa. My grandmother told me that in the morning when her father came to put more wood in the fire, she blushed under the covers with the knowledge of what she and my grandfather had done the night before. She also told me about her uncomfortable, bouncy horse and buggy ride to church the next morning, if you know what I mean. She thought everyone at church was staring at her and imagining what she'd done. I just love the purity and innocence in that.

This is by far my favorite story. I'd like to tell you that everything after that was happily ever after, and for a time everything was. I'll save the rest for later. I think this one will keep you smiling for a while.