This lady blows me away.
Happy New Year. Take care of yourselves out there.
I finished something today. I feel like I haven't been able to say that in a hundred years.
It's a quilt. Some back story... (yes, a quilt can have back story). Earlier this year, I bought some bamboo furniture that didn't have any cushions (see here). The cushions I eventually got for the love seat and chair were actually floor cushions from Cost Plus World Market. They are covered in this sort of teal, all-over circular pattern (see here). Not too long after that, I found some Indian Cotton Bedspread Thingies that had that same freaking pattern. No kidding. I was totally stoked. What can I say, I'm easily pleased.
Now, if you're not familiar with Indian Cotton Bedspread Thingies (and who is?) they are hand block printed or batiked or sometimes tie-dyed and can be used as wall-hangings, tablecloths... really, the sky's the limit. But they are usually referred to as bedspreads, which is a stretch because they are just a single layer of cotton -- slightly thicker than a sheet. I usually use them as wall-hangings, usually over beds (see here and here). Anyway, I got one twin size one to use as a tablecloth and liked it so much I thought I'd get two more. (I set up three tables for Thanksgiving and Easter, so that would give me three matching tablecloths.)
Unfortunately, I wasn't paying much attention when I ordered numbers 2 and 3 and I got full size instead of twin size. I spent about a day being upset with myself because the full size ones really are just too big to use on my tables... don't question it, I'm crazy and it would have bothered me, and I didn't want to bother with sending them back. But then it occurred to me that I could use the two full size ones as the front and back of a quilt to use on the futon that would match the bamboo furniture! So I got some cotton batting to fill the quilt and put the Indian Cotton Bedspread Thingies and the batting in a box. Where they sat. For months.
The day after Christmas I decided to get my ass in gear and I went up to my mom's house to sew. (My machine is posessed by my dead neighbor.) I assembled the front, back and batting on Sunday, and today I went back to do the quilting. Holy shit! A project, actually finished.
So here it is, draped over the back of the futon, ready to be used by either an overnight guest or a chilly kid (or mama) while watching TV.
Oh, and that chair (center frame) is a kid sized chair that I found at an antique shop yesterday when I went out with my mom. We hadn't been out just the two of us since her birthday in February and we had such a nice time!
And speaking of crazy, I cleaned off the coffee table (yet another craigslist find) just to take that picture and now it looks completely unnatural. Usually there is a train set or a pile of books or dirty socks and god only knows what else on that table and I am having to resist the urge to stage the table as "normal" and take the picture again. Crazy.
In need of some armchair travel, I picked up a copy of Sunset magazine's current special issue, Amazing West. It is full of some really beautiful photographs of the places that make the western U.S. special.
This photo is from Sequoia National Park. Look close and you will see people at the bottom of that photo. Extrapolate from that the size of that tree center frame. I seriously just cannot get my head around how huge that thing is. I've never been up to see Sequoia, but it is a dream of mine. Some day I'll get there.
No major water related issues at our house (knock on wood), just the minor annoyances of mud tracked into the house by wet, stinky dogs and kids that are stir crazy from not going outside. OUTSIDE OUTSIDE THEY NEED THEIR OUTSIDE.
Ironic that in a place where it "never rains," we were in the middle of several days of rain when a lunar eclipse happened on the winter solstice for the first time in nearly 400 years. Not that I would have been up that time of night anyway. I'm allergic to the dark. When the sun goes down, I fade fast.
Speaking of fading fast, the best thing I can say about the solstice is that the days can only get longer from here.
I had been sick to my stomach and generally out of whack. Tired. Thirsty. Bitchy.
Pregnant? I spent a week thinking… nah, I better not be. I can’t be. I might be. I think I had a period at the beginning of the month. I did. It was lighter than usual.
After driving myself crazy and trying to decide whether I was sick to my stomach because I was thinking about it so much or because maybe, just maybe, I could be pregnant. Or you know, it could just be stress. Freaking holidays. My mother-in-law died just a few weeks ago. Stress. Overthinking every possible "symptom". Time for a test. Just so I don't go crazy. Crazier.
So I’m not. And I’m relieved and sad too. Why is that? I know that deciding to have another baby would be irresponsible on my part. It would be good to eventually get on my feet financially. We have a small house and no intention of moving any time soon. I am already blessed with two beautiful children, a boy and a girl, no need to “try” for one or the other. And the not so small fact that both the children I have are what is referred to as “special needs” (tell me, what child isn’t?).
So I’m not. And that’s good. I have everything I need. My family is complete. And I know that part of it (a big part) is “just” hormones. My body knows how to make babies. That’s what it’s “supposed” to do, what it’s programmed to do for the propagation of the species. I know that. And the sadness will pass.
No. This does not mean I really want or need to have another baby. It just is what it is.
This lecture/animation is really interesting to me. I don't necessarily agree that people are past, present or future oriented exclusively, but they may have tendencies to each to some degree or another.
My daughter and mother are planners much more than I am. I think I could be qualified as a present hedonist but I do like to have sort of stock plans waiting in the wings... if X situation arises, I will be ready to do Y. I say I am a present hedonist because I would rather spend money than save it and I would rather eat food than be skinny.
I didn't completely follow the bit about family dinners - which time perspective that fits into, but eating dinner as a family, at a table, is a big priority in my house. They talked a lot about Sicilians being mostly past and present oriented, and I would think that Sicilians have sit down dinners - so maybe sit-down dinners tend more toward the past/present perspectives. But they also talked about sit-down dinners being on the decline in the U.S. and that kids in the U.S. are increasingly present hedonists while U.S. adults have tended to be future oriented.
Maybe the secret to happiness is to be more of a past positive kind of person. But I think that may be a slippery slope. It's one thing to remember the good times and keep them in your heart, but I don't like the idea of seeing the past as better than the present. That makes me think of the take America backs and such. I don't think as a society it's good to be past positive focused because that means (I think) it will be that much harder to make progress in the areas of gay marriage and environmental issues. (Of course, what I call progress isn't what others (like tea-partiers) might call progress.)
I guess like with so many things in life, it's about balance.
If you watch the video, do you think you tend to be more past, present or future oriented?
We couldn't decide what to eat for dinner last night, and we ended up driving two towns away to go to Dan's favorite place to get a philly cheesesteak sandwich. It's a little tiny place where you can talk to the owner through the pass-through into the kitchen while he cooks.
There was a cute blond with a little meat on her bones sitting at the counter and Austin was instantly drawn to her. He went over to sit next to her and introduce himself and told her how much he likes Spider-man. She looked at me and laughed and talked to him a bit. After she left, he took to welcoming customers as they came in, even shaking their hands. He didn't eat one bite of his sandwich until after we got home.
A few days ago I moved a box that I had gotten from my mom’s house and noticed mouse shit in the bottom. Was the mouse shit from her house, I wondered. Surely one of us would have noticed when she handed me the empty box, just as I had noticed first thing when I picked it up this time. But I don’t have mice in my house, so it must be from her house.
Two days ago, picking up dirty clothes in the kids’ bathroom, a little bitty baby mouse shoots across the floor after I disturb its napping place. Eeeeeek. Now, I am no chicken, normally. But I DO NOT like mice IN MY HOUSE. I jump into the bathtub and holler for Dan to come quick. I tell Dan not to kill him, but the little bugger scoots through a tiny hole under the toe-kick of the vanity before Dan can grab him with his gloved hand.
Last night, watching a movie, my furry little friend scuttles across the living room floor as if to say, “hi there, don’t mind me, just going to find some nibbles. Cheerio.”
Today, one dead [pregnant] mama mouse in an old-school, snap-their-necks trap. I’m thinking this electric lovely may be a worthy investment. This isn't the first time we've had this problem, and it won't be the last as long as we live here.
Observant onlookers may notice that there are *two* trees inside. We've been using an artificial tree for years, but this year I got a bug up my butt to get a live/potted tree. Maya was quick to claim the artificial tree for her room. So, yeah...
It finally hit me tonight. Why all the Christmas music has been bothering me so much. It was Silent Night that made me realize.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace...
All these freaking songs about the baby Jesus are making me think about Garrison.
He was that pure promise of hope and love that all babies are, or should be. His mama held him the same way Mary held Jesus. But then I don't know what happened.
Tonight, as Austin was falling asleep, as I read his favorite book to him, a fly was buzzing around his head. He fell asleep just as I finished the book and I went to get a fly swatter. I didn't like the idea of that fly in and around his face all night. I stood over Austin with the fly swatter, waiting for the fly to light so I could smack it (somewhere other than on Austin of course) and it occurred to me that if we woke up and saw me standing over him with a fly swatter, he might be startled. And do you what that made me think of? I wondered whether Garrison was asleep when Lori [allegedly] attacked him. I had never wondered that before. It had never occurred to me that he might have been.
So now I'm trying to reframe my perspective. I'm trying to think about Garrison sleeping in heavenly peace. If I allow myself to, I question whether that is possible, but I hope that it is. I don't know what happens to us after we die, but whatever it is, I hope he's free.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to NOT crap all over my kids’ Christmas, ‘cause I’m just SO not in the mood. I pretty much bit Maya’s head off the other night for trying to turn my car radio so she could listen to Christmas music so, yeah…
So I’m trying to remember what I like about this time of year.
First, it’s the lights. String lights are so lovely and we have a tradition of decking our house out in lights pretty damn well, I think. And on Christmas Eve night we drive around town admiring all the wonderful light displays, especially in the richer neighborhoods.
The tree thing is pretty good too. If memory serves, that actually comes from pagan traditions, so even better as far as I’m concerned. If not, whatever. I like trees. This year I want to get a potted one and plant it outside after the holidays are over.
Buying stuff and spending money is pretty much tops on my list the rest of the year, and this time of year I have an excuse! I am trying to find some balance here though because we really do have too much stuff already, all of us. So we’re focusing on a few things the kids really want, not just buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff. I’ve already bought for my parents and a couple work people, so there’s really not much left to do… I think.
And this is no small thing… I actually LIKE to spend time with my family. My aunts and uncles and cousins are some of the funniest people I know. My grandparents are treasures to me in ways I don’t have words to describe. My kids make me crazy sometimes, but mostly they make me happy. Same goes for Dan.
Then there's the laughing and drinking. Who doesn’t like that? And a week off from work!
So that just leaves the music and religious stuff to contend with. (If I am brutally honest, I’m just not a Christian. But I am surrounded by them, not the least of which is my daughter.) So I just better suck it up and deal. For Maya’s sake if nothing else.
The other night there was a Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special on TV. Kung Fu Panda is one of my favorite movies… what can I say, I like cartoons. And pandas. Anyway, I was skeptical about it because I don’t think they celebrate Christmas in China, for the most part, so I was curious how they were going to approach this in a holiday special intended for American kids. I was very pleased that the special centered around a Winter Feast with traditions like sun lanturns. I have less than no idea how accurate it was in terms of actual Chinese customs, but it did remind me that many cultures have winter time celebrations, and that I can participate in “Christmas” stuff in a way that works for me.
We are "this close" to having my mother-in-law's place completely empty. Just a couple more things to pick up and some cleaning that we're paying someone else to do. That feels a little silly, to pay someone to clean a small empty place, but not so much so that I'm insisting on doing it myself. Between Maya's birthday and Sylvia's funeral and Thanksgiving, my ass is worn out.
It's been more emotional for me than I expected it to be in her place with her things, and I'll be glad when it's done. I did have a good laugh today though. We had an estate type sale and there was a surprisingly good turnout considering this is a huge retail weekend. After the last of the chairs was sold there was nowhere to sit but on a little TV stand. It stood up okay to my weight, but when Austin sat on my lap, our combined weight was too much. It buckled and broke all to pieces. My pants got terribly torn in the process (which was very upsetting to me because I don't ever have enough clothes) and I got a nasty bruise on my side. But the sight of that fake wood piece of crap flat on the floor cracked me up for some reason. I kept telling Austin, "Daddy's going to kill me." And then I would laugh some more.
Thank all that is good in the universe that we only have to do that once a year. We had a nice day. It was a lot of work, but you know, good. We had a teeny bit of family drama right there at the end and well... shit, it will pass, but... shit.
And turkey drippings are without a doubt the most slippery thing I have ever spilled on my kitchen floor. I am so ready for this month to be over.
I hate to be all death death death, funeral funeral funeral, but I have to write this out before I forget.
By way of using the same funeral home for my mother-in-law as we did for my father-in-law, we ended up with the same limo driver for both funerals. A lovely older black gentleman from Louisiana named Morris. Austin didn't ride in the limo last time because he was only 2 and he was a little turd, but this time he and I joined the folks in the limo. Austin really liked the limo and Morris too. He called Morris sir and kept saying to me that he needed "to talk to sir." Then he would turn his face toward the front of the car and holler "Sir! Sir!" Morris either didn't hear him or knew better than to engage a chatty 4 year old. But the whole scene made me and the other adults in the car giggle. I was so grateful to Austin for that, just as I was 2 years ago when we burried my father-in-law. Sadness and loss are so much more tolerable when you have a goofy little kid to entertain you and keep you up.
Austin also insisted on taking a turn at the mic in church. I managed to keep him in the pew until all the scheduled speakers had finished (including me) other than a few moments when he stood with my mom and held her hand while she did the intro. But by the end I figured he'd earned it, so I let him go up to the microphone while everyone was filing out. He babbled some mostly unintelligable stuff and I was just grateful that he didn't say any curse words -- 'cause god knows, he knows 'em all.
Anyway, after the graveside bit we headed back for the reception and we were trying to explain to Morris to drop us off at the first house, and then go up to the second house (my parents') and join us for food. Then Morris said "show me where the second house is so I know for next time." To which we all responded "NEXT time?! No next time, thank you," and cracked up.
I was going to write something about Thanksgiving, but it would probably end up word-for-word the same as the one I wrote last year because that's just how we do it.
So, some housekeeping and catch-up instead.
Lori had a court hearing the same day that my mother-in-law died in surgery. Yet another continuance. This time at the request of the defence. Things will pick up again in January. If they actually finish this time (and that's a BIG if) and if they do it as quickly as they can, best case scenario, everything will be done in time for the second anniversary of her arrest (and her son's death). I have my doubts.
I still need to download the pictures we took the day of my mother-in-law's funeral last week. But you may have to take my word for it that the kids looked beautiful. My mom made Austin a pinstriped vest and pants to match that he wore with a black dress shirt. Maya wore a very cute dark grey Calvin Klein dress. Dan wore jeans to his own mother's funeral (which was held at a church and a national/military cemetary). That's my husband, god love him.
We still have houseguests, and it's been fun visiting with Dan's oldest sister, her daughter and a friend of hers, but my house is full to bursting and my bank account has run dry from feeding the extra bodies, two of whom really like to eat. But we sit up late nights playing cards and laughing our asses off, so that makes up for it.
And just 33 days 'til Christmas! Ha!
As Ms. Chapman says in the song below, the bucket is kicked, the body is gone.
There's still so much to do following my mother-in-law's death. Unfortunately for him, most of that burden falls on Dan. Her apartment must be emptied, her belongings given, sold and donated as appropriate. Family from out of state will begin to go home tomorrow and will all be gone by next Tuesday. Thanksgiving may be hard for him. Christmas will be without a doubt.
Yesterday at the funeral, I saw my brother-in-law for the first time since he had some very serious health problems this year. I held onto him and told him it was so good to see him. No pretext (from me) about wishing it were under better circumstances, it was just really, really good to have him there -- alive.
I posted this video a few months back, but it's just too good not to post now. I love the tempo and need something like this as antidote for sadness.
Family. That was the prompt, right? Write something about family. Well, if there is anything I know right now, it's family. I'm up to my damn eyeballs in family. God help me.
My oldest child's birthday was yesterday. She is now 14. I can't possibly be old enough to have a 14 year old child, can I? I feel like I was just 19 yesterday. On second thought, after yesterday, I do feel that old. We celebrated her birth with cupcakes and ice cream and friends and music and well, what could be better than that?
Two days from now, we will bury her grandmother, my mother-in-law, who died a week ago today. A birthday and a funeral, like little bookends. The only big event missing from this week is a wedding. A good friend of mine recently got divorced... does that count?
Is it just me, or is a post that was supposed to be about Family turned into a post about Life? I suppose they are inseparable for many of us. And for me, that's a pretty damn good thing. I know there are people out there who have no one. No parents or kids or siblings or cousins. I know these people exist. And I can honestly say I cannot even begin to imagine what that life must be like, for better or worse. (Freedom sounds pretty good sometimes.) But I have NEVER felt like I am on my own. Even if I hadn't created this little family in my house, I always have my mom and grandparents to lean on... as long as they are alive, I don't doubt that. When they're gone... well I really just can't think about that.
And you know what? I know that Ever will have that same foundation, that same safety net. With Maggie May and Mr. Curry and Lola and Ian and Dakota. That Ever is a super lucky girl.
Let's all help them say "hello baby!"
You can help offset the cost of early parenthood by contributing an amount comfortable for you to the BABY LOVE 4-EVER MATERNITY FUND:
The Currys are registered at BABIESRUS. Their registry can be accessed by name: Maggie Ethridge or Registry #: 46171571
And stop by these sites for Ever's Virtual Baby Shower!
This bit stolen from Ms. Moon:
And oh- even if you can't donate (and that is okay! I promise!) go to Maggie's place and leave your comments, your good wishes, your welcome to Ever Elizabeth. That may be the most important part of all.
The funeral biz is such a racket. A thousand bucks here, 350 there...
Don't get me wrong. She (my mother-in-law) deserves whatever her son and daughters want to give her in send-off. It's just... good Lord... expensive and maudlin and NOT FOR ME.
So, in the spirit of honoring me in my death, this is what I want:
I want to be cremated*. They have to put your body in something to cremate it, but for crying out loud, make it something on the reasonable end of the price scale. I don't care too much for the $200 cardboard box or the $600 Ikea style fake wood one (actually, it's not that bad, but Dan said NO), the $900 pine one will do just fine. More than fine. Anything more expensive than that will be grounds for a haunting.
Sprinkle my ashes at the place I call home. If for some unforeseeable reason it is no longer my home in the legal or title kinda way, TRESPASS YOUR ASS THERE AND DO IT ANYWAY.
If there must be a get-together of some kind, THERE MUST BE MUSIC and THERE MUST BE FOOD. Alcohol is recommended, but optional. If it helps you to pray, go right ahead. Remember to hug each other and tell people you love them. If there will be little kids there, get a jumper or something so they won't be bored.
* To be completely honest, and perhaps disgusting, I would really rather lay down in a field and be returned to the earth the old-fashioned, ecologically useful kind of way. But I'm pretty sure modern society and my family might frown on such an approach.
There's such a good breeze today that I didn't even realize the ceiling fans weren't running (they're always running -- I can't stand still air).
It's been miserably hot here for November. The AC was set to come on autmatically still -- it had been forgotten about since summer -- and it actually came on a couple days this week when the temperature outside got into the upper 90s.
My mother-in-law is still awaiting surgery. For a bit yesterday they talked about not doing it at all. As badly as her heart needs to be fixed, her lungs may or may not be quite strong enough for the physical stress of such a surgery. But as of now they are saying maybe Monday... we'll see. Her 78th birthday is two weeks from today.
I'm taking the easy way out here the last few days and just posting some music I like. Doesn't Gillian Welch have a lovely voice?
Not much to report regarding my mother-in-law's impending open-heart surgery, just waiting. It was going to happen Wednesday, then Thursday, and is now supposed to happen Friday.
A conversation with Austin while listening to the radio --
me: Austin, do you hear this song?
him: [listening] Yes.
me: It's The Beatles.
him: [pause, smirk] I'm going to turn it off.
me: Oh no you're not!
My mother-in-law is in the hospital and will probably be having a triple bypass in the next 24 hours or so. She had gone in for a angiogram and the blockage etc. they saw was cause for considerable concern.
It goes without saying (doesn't it? I hope.) that even though this woman has driven me crazy over the years... she's... you know... family. She raised the man I chose to spend my life with. Damn, this family stuff is hard sometimes.
(The title is someting an aunt of mine used to say.)
Just the other day I said to myself that "I could stop anytime" when Dan gave me a hard time about ordering things online so, uh yeah...
This weekend kicked my ass, and not in a good way. Austin was testing the limits of my patience at every turn, and by Sunday morning I was so angry I was getting white flashes in my peripheral vision. He had let the dogs out of the dog run while I was hollering at him, “no, don’t do it Austin, don’t let them out!” The problem with letting them out right then was that the big driveway gate was open and the dogs immediately exploited that fact and took off to torment the all the other neighborhood dogs and their owners by way of the raucous barking they inspired. I sent Maya to my mom’s (she was headed there soon anyway) and I told Austin to get some shoes and get in the car so we could go chase down the dogs. Of course one of the dogs, Callie, has a wild streak a mile wide and didn’t want to come home thankyouverymuch. By the time everyone was home and tucked away safely I had to go lie down in a quiet room for a few minutes to avoid beating some ass. Then Austin apologized and let me kiss his little face.
Friday night we went out to dinner with my parents, grandparents and one of my cousins. Near the end of dinner, Grandpa had to excuse himself and go sit in the car; he was in so much pain. Grandma walked him out and I followed a few paces behind to make sure everything was okay. But when I got to their car I felt I had invaded his space because his eyes were full of tears and I know he doesn’t like to be seen that way. I saw them again on Saturday and he seemed a bit better, but he looked tired. He will be 92 in January. I hate for him to feel badly all the time. He’s been more of a father to me than my “real” dad my whole life.
Man tells cops he has body in trunk
A man pulled up to the sheriff's Lake Elsinore station this morning, flagged down a sergeant in the parking lot and told him there was a dead body in the trunk of his car, authorities said.
When I was in elementary school, there was a series of prostitutes killed and dumped in the hills on the west side of town, overlooking my neighborhood. It's a helluva town.
Honestly though, I would live there again in spite of it all (maybe not with kids). But it's a generaly accepted fact that I am completely nuts. And I don't take shit from nobody.
First, I have to admit that I saw the first Jackass movie in the theater. I paid good money to watch a handful of adolescent 20 and 30-somethings hurt themselves on purpose. I laughed so hard my sides hurt like I'd spent that 90 minutes in an aerobics class.
Anyway, I won't be seeing Jackass 3D in theaters because that 3D crap makes me want to puke (literally, it's a motion sickness thing), but this interview with Johnny Knoxville makes me smile...
I have enjoyed savasana for as long as I’ve practiced yoga. The name corpse pose had my attention right off, because of both my twisted sense of humor and my inherent laziness.
Today something new happened for me in savasana. I had the sensation that being inside my body was like being inside my house. Like my spirit was distinct from my physical body, but very much inside it… and comfortable there. And even better – my breath felt just like the breeze blowing through the open windows of my house on a nice day. I love to open all the windows when the temperature is good and the breeze is blowing. I listen to the leaves rustling and just feel it, in that moment.
I turned 33 yesterday. We had big plans for my birthday weekend. Big Plans! But I plan and the RA gods laugh. My husband has Rheumatoid Arthritis and takes A LOT of medication for it. Not the least of which is an immunosuppressor, which is Latin for: now he ain’t got no immune system and when he gets sick he really gets sick, flu shot or no.
We had concert tickets, hotel reservations and zoo tickets. Dan also had bronchitis. So I sold the concert tickets, took a loss on the hotel and will hang onto the zoo tickets for another time. We spent Saturday and Monday in Urgent Care and now a man who is normally on somewhere around a million prescriptions is on about a billion prescriptions. If our house is ever burglarized, it will be the meds that get stolen in lieu of our (lack of) valuables.
My parents brought dinner over on Sunday and my mother-in-law made cupcakes for my birthday. Poor Dan ate his dinner in bed.
In spite of being sick, on Friday that sweet man put new tires on my new (to me) adult-sized tricycle!!! I found it on craigslist (that’s sort of my catchphrase these days). Yeahoo!!!
I was in Austin’s room, which shares a wall with the kids’ bathroom, when I heard the distinct sound of a lot of vomit hitting a lot of surfaces that didn’t sound like the inside of the toilet.
I didn’t really want to, but I went to see what was going on. Poor Maya. She had made it to the bathroom, but hadn’t got the toilet lid up in time. It was all over the floor, her pants, the outside of the toilet and the bathtub, and somehow, the wall behind her. It was the goddamn magic bullet of puke.
And she wasn’t done yet.
I told her to take off her pants and stand in the tub to rinse off her legs, feet and hair. I hollered at Dan to get me a roll of paper towels and the gallon jug of Fabuloso! out of our bathroom – the bottoms of my feet were already slimy and I didn’t want to track it through the house.
I cleaned the floor just well enough for Maya to walk trough and let her out to go get clean pants. Then she went out to the living room and apologized to her dad (for throwing up – he told her she didn't have to apologize for being sick). I thought, but didn’t say out loud, that if she was going to apologize to anyone it should be me. I was the one cleaning it up!
Floor first, then toilet, then tub, then walls and vanity. Thankfully only a tiny bit hit the heat/ac vent in the floor. (I really like having the vents in the floor, until something nasty gets spilled in them.) After everything was wiped up and sanitized, all the paper towels went into a plastic grocery bag which made a substantial thud when I dropped it into the tub to be taken out to the trash later. Her clothes and the bathroom rug went into the laundry and I went outside to clean off the bottom of my feet by walking barefoot on the damp grass – I find that works quickly and well.
I found her a plastic bucket and told her if she needed to throw up again, please use the bucket. My personal preference is the garbage disposal side of the kitchen sink – less bending over and you don’t have to face the toilet bowl. If knowing that I have thrown up in my kitchen sink means you never want to come to my house for dinner, I will understand.
The high temperature today is lower than the low temperature just a few nights ago. The wind is coming from the south and the sky is alternately gloomy gray and brilliant blue, changing several times a day.
This song came on the radio and made me cry. Me, hormonal? Never.
I'm a collector. Are you?
I'm not necessarily talking about comic books, or anything geeky like that. (Not necessarily.) I just mean it's part of my nature. I get hooked on something I like and buy more of the same. Thankfully, these items are often practical. I have somewhere around 10 of these nalgene bottles in all different colors. And I use them! I take a clean one to work everyday -- they don't just sit in the cupboard.
I literally have no idea how many Indian cotton thingies (bedspreads/tapestries) I have. I hang them on the walls. Use them as tablecloths. Make curtains out of them. They are great for picnics!
Sometimes I get carried away. One of my more recent kicks was cotton shopping bags. No more of those plastic bags! I have totes coming out my damn ears now, but again, I use them. I use the smaller ones to carry my lunch/snacks to work, the bigger ones for changes of clothes for the gym or for the boychild. And of course, when I remember, I use them as grocery bags. I'm done buying them now though. I have enough. Really.
And just when I thought I was between obsessions, I discovered peshtemals (or peshtamals or pestemals). They are hand-woven Turkish bath towels. Heaven help me.
Not to mention the vintage Blue Willow plates, old wine bottles (I just like the glass), crocs, sarongs, buddhas... you get the idea.
(This post needs pictures. I hope to add some later.)
I don’t suppose the California gubernatorial race is big news outside of California. (Shit I don’t know, maybe it is.) But if you don’t know, Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, is running for governor of California. She is running against a man who was governor several years ago and who has been generally vilified over the years, but that’s not my point. This is one of those races where I’m not exactly crazy about either option.
Meg has this commercial. It’s the kind of commercial that makes you yell at the television set. I tried to find it on YouTube, but didn’t. I tried to find it on her website, but was afraid to stay there too long. Anyway, in this commercial, a Hispanic man – an entrepreneur himself, is talking about how he used eBay to grow his business and how wonderfully it has all worked out. The commercial ends with the sound bite… “My name is … and I’m a Meg Whitman success story.”
Which, you know… awesome. I love the Internet and eBay (and craigslist and Etsy, oh, how I love Etsy) and I am happy for the small businesses that flourish using these tools. But that does not necessarily mean the CEOs of any or all of these companies are qualified to be governor of this enormous and diverse state! Am I right?!
NEVER MIND that we're talking about a state that has elected more than one actor to this office. God help us.
I saw a bumper sticker with an American flag on it that read simply: Take America back.
I'm curious who they think we should take it back from. Big Government or Big Business? Obama or Congress? The Liberals or The Conservatives?
I can't decide if this is a great bumper sticker because it works for everyone, or if it's a terrible bumper sticker because it DOESN'T ACTUALLY SAY ANYTHING.
And just like that, it’s fall. The sun still warms, but the air is cooler.
For Sale signs are popping up in my neighborhood faster than wildflowers after a wet winter. I’m not really sure where all these people want to go, but more power to them. Things are changing around us. The area isn’t as agrarian as it used to be. Tract homes and other developments inch their way closer to our quiet little spot every year. Some folks want to cash out and get out, I guess.
Meanwhile I find myself unusually content to stay put. I say unusually because I fancy myself a bit of a gypsy and love to dream about going to this place or that. But this place feels like some kind of nucleus to me. I was instantly centered the first time I set foot on this land. Everything in me sort of fell into place. That centered-ness has come and gone over the years, but it's still within reach.
I have a birthday coming up in a couple weeks and I think it may shape up to be a very good birthday. We have concert tickets for the whole family to see Jack Johnson (WOO-HOO!), and we are discussing plans to stay in a hotel after the concert and go to the zoo the next day, which I love completely.
So, here's wishing you a cool and enjoyable fall full of music and love... do you like the fall as much as I do?
Would it be melodramatic of me to say that I think my legs are going to fall off?
Fine, I won’t say it then.
They bloody well hurt though.
I was reading Dooce yesterday, and she described an exercise where you get down on your knees one leg at a time and then back up to standing one leg at a time. Sounds simple enough. (Sort of reminds me of Catholic Calisthenics, actually, only without the pews.)
The thing is, in real life if you get down on the ground and back up again, you do it once here and there as needed. But doing reps? When you are within spitting distance of weighing ### pounds? HA! Hahahaha.
My legs are very crampy and sore today. So I decided to take a walk during lunch. I thought a nice easy walk would loosen me up.
I? Am an idiot.
I've always enjoyed songs with big tempo changes.
I love the second half of the chorus:
Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your loving, your loving behind
You cant carry it with you if you want to survive
and this part:
Happiness hit her like a bullet in the head
Struck from a great height by someone
who should know better than that
Saturday morning. Starbucks. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin. Already? Really? YES PLEASE. No, just one, thank you. Smartass barista.
Saturday afternoon. Phone rings and I don’t get there -- voice mail. Friend dropping car off at shop and will walk home if she doesn’t hear back from me. Ummm, no. It’s 108° out! Pick her (and her niece) up. Can I give her a ride back when it’s done? Naturally.
Saturday evening. On the road to Valley Center for a concert. Dash temp goes from 107° to 87° as we drive south, and then back up to 105° as we drive east. Indian reservation, citrus grove, reservation, boarded up houses, casino, trailer houses, another reservation, casino, oak trees, winding motherfucking road, turn here, citrus grove, reservation, HUGE GODDAMN CASINO IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Park the car. Walk. Walk some more. Wait in line. Find seats. Right behind the mixing board. Not because they’re great seats, but because the board is in a weird spot. Tift Merritt. Good voice, but arrangements lacking as compared to CDs. Seats barely half full. Ray LaMontagne. Great voice, great lyrics. Songs tend toward the depressing which may or may not suit my mood a little too well these days, you know? Mostly mellow, but a couple songs really get folks moving. Full house now. And then… David Gray. Good LORD, this is a man who has found his sweet spot in the universe. He is doing what he was meant to do and HE IS ENJOYING IT MOTHERFUCKERS. And he’s got the head waggle to prove it. I’ve been listening to this guy for at least 10 years now and SUDDENLY I REMEMBER WHY. Awesome. Gotta live indeed.
Sunday morning. Finally watch the end of If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise. Only took me three sittings. Heart wrenching. I’ll say it again: Humans, as a species, do not deserve this planet we’ve been given. Kids walk home from my mom’s house. Austin sees me standing on the lawn and breaks into a full-tilt run. This is the first time he’s ever been away from me over night.
Sunday evening. Dinner with MIL. Watch Babies again. Don’t worry, it’s not making me want to get pregnant or anything.
Monday. Laundry. Laundry. Pizza. Laundry.
UPDATED TO INCLUDE photographic evidence of date night:
This last week or so, I find myself going to a place in my head that I’ve been before. It’s not a healthy place. I guess being aware and more experienced about it is a good thing, but still. I’m not quite sure what to do. For some reason I don’t especially want to go back to therapy right now.
It doesn’t help that I’m tired. And that my ear still hurts. (Or maybe that does help. I can’t spend as much time in the crazy place.) And throw in a dash of PMS, just for good measure.
Dan and I have concert tickets to see Tift Merritt, Ray LaMontagne (one of my favorites) and David Gray this weekend. I was really excited about it when I bought the tickets, but now I don’t really even feel like going. I’ll go anyway though, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it once I’m there. I just don’t have any spirit in me today.
Usually I only get this deflated when we’re flat broke, which we aren’t right now. We’re not rich or anything, but the bills are paid and we can afford food and gas. When we’re tapped I get really bummed out. But payday didn’t cheer me up this time like it usually does.
Maybe it is just this stupid earache, wearing me down more than I realize. I emailed my doctor to see if I could get a different antibiotic than last time. Hopefully I’ll get a response today.
Anyway, have a good weekend. Take care out there. All will be well here soon, I'm sure.
In fact, this might perk me up:
Okay, one more... For the Summer
Of course about 30 seconds after that, I picked my jaw up off the floor. $5,000 USD for a chair?! You have GOT to be shitting me.
But I never forgot that chair. It spoke to me for some reason.
Anyway, flash forward a few years, and look instead to VivaTerra. There are a small handful of items in their catalog that I have lusted after for some time now (these bowls and this quilt), but again, a bit spendy for me. But this... this grabbed me by the cheeks and held my gaze.
The Butaca Chair. Somewhat more affordable at $1,350 USD (laugh) and much more earthy than the original.
Relax in our updated, upholstered version of the Mexican Butaca, a hand-built chair inspired by the classic Spanish Barcelona® chair. We offer ours built entirely from FSC-certified machiche, a tropical Guatemalan hardwood, with well-padded cushions upholstered in either reclaimed jute coffee sacks or organic color-grown cotton fabric in natural. Please allow up to 3 weeks for delivery. See special shipping info. Note: Chair is upholstered in vintage coffee sacks and the print and the color of the print will vary. 30"W x 34"L x 33"H.
Sigh. I do like it an awful lot. And yes, with the coffee sacks, please.
Hardly compares to my $30 second-hand bamboo chair and love seat. I did finally get good cushions for them.
I had one of those dreams this morning. The kind where you are walking through crowds and up and down stairs. Looking for someone you love but can't be with. In all the meanings of love and be with.
Anyway, I'm behind on updates about Lori. I got a subpoena. They started jury selection. And then just like that, the judge pulled the rug out on the whole thing. Ordered a new psych eval as to whether she is competent to stand trial. (Actually, I think this is a good thing.) So depending on the psychiatrist's findings, things will either start over again at the end of September, or she will be held until I don't know when. I wouldn't have thought that was legal. To keep a person in custody for so long without being found guilty. But if she is a danger to herself or society... that's what they do I guess.
They changed her bail from $1,000,000 to no bail. That says something I think.
I've completely fallen in love with the cool mist humidifier we got for Austin. I can't believe we've never had one before. I'm going to get one for my room. Until then, I go into Austin's room and lay down on the bed and feel that nice cool moisture go into my nose and just rest for a few minutes. I lay there and look at that indian cotton thingy that hangs in his room. (I have them all over the house.) I lay there and I fill my bucket.
It seems to be doing him some good too ;). He has slept through the night in his own room for two nights now! He never stays in bed all night. He usually ends up climbing in with me. So, knock on wood, he's getting more rest too.
Hi. What day is it? Where am I? More importantly... where am I supposed to be?
My boy was in the hospital this weekend. Not to worry, he is home now and recuping. It started last week when he got the same cold that I had and that Maya had before me. For me and Maya, the cold turned into ear infections, 'cause we're special like that. For Austin, it turned into croup. Wait, now I'm getting ahead of myself.
Saturday morning, at the pediatrician's office. Doc says she hears wheezing and says maybe... MAYBE we are looking at asthma. She prescribes an albuterol inhaler and says that if he continues to have difficulty breathing with the use of the inhaler to bring him back to the clinic or go to the Emergency Room. (Insert foreshadowing here.)
Austin wanted me to lay down with him at about 8:30 Saturday night. Before his eyes were even closed, his breath was... I don't know, labored I guess. It was very noisy and he was doing a sort of mini crunch with every inhale. Scary. I called Dan into the room to see and we decided to take him to the hospital. Wait, now I'm over simplifying... we discussed which hospital to go to... decided on the closest (as opposed to the further Kaiser hospital, our HMO)... we started driving and then turned around to go home when he started sounding better... then turned back around when he started sounding worse. In the ER they take us in right away.
Albuterol. Steroids. Some other thing. A water/oxygen thingy. Trying to reduce the swelling that was constricting his airway. More steroids. Heart monitor. Chest X-ray. No pneumonia, but stridor. I had never heard that word before, stridor. Wheezing, no wheezing, wheezing. Each nurse and doctor has a different take on what they hear. This continues for 24 hours... the wheezing/no wheezing debate. Always followed by the question: Does he have a history of wheezing? To which I wanted to respond... YOU PEOPLE CAN'T DECIDE IF HE'S WHEEZING NOW. HOW THE FUCK SHOULD I KNOW???
Transport to Kaiser hospital in an ambulance somewhere around 3:30 AM Sunday, and the doctor there keeps correcting me when I say we went to the pediatrician "today." By this time it was yesterday. Nurses question why the ER didn't put in an IV. Nurses put in an IV after I warn them that he will fight them and he will pull it out. They gang up on him, 3 of them holding him down and 2 of them poking and sticking and finally taping the thing up with some sort of cap so he can't mess with it easily. More steroids.
Meanwhile, Austin has slept through much of the time in the ER, except when he was crying that he wanted to "get out of here," and slept in the ambulance, but damn it if the stupid blood pressure cuff at the hospital didn't push him over the damn edge. Oh, and the respiratory therapist at the ER scared the crap out of the poor kid. The X-ray tech on the other hand was a gem.
At this point I'm up to 24 hours without any sleep and they are still asking questions about his history of asthma and/or croup. Note, about croup, wikipedia says: Hospitalization is rarely required. Yeah, we're special like that.
Again... Does he have a history of wheezing? Why does he have a prescription for albuterol?
I ask them to explain to me (again) the difference between wheezing and stridor. I think maybe I'm beginning to understand BUT FROM ONE DOCTOR/NURSE TO THE NEXT THEY STILL CAN'T DECIDE IF HE IS WHEEZING.
Mind you... important note here: these are not stupid people. They all seem very concerned and want to be sure to use the right treatment and help him feel better. The key issue seems to be that with his upper respiratory system making so much noise, they can't hear his lungs all that well.
So, another dose of steroids. Another breathing treatment. Oh, hay, by the way... there's a play room down the hall. Awesome! Thank you! Play room to bed to TV to play room to bed to TV and so on.
24 hours felt like a week. Maya has been with my parents this whole time. She needs her backpack. Why do you need your backpack? For school. Duh. What day is it?
Dan brings me breakfast. Stays with Austin when I run home to take a shower. Brings me dinner. Falls asleep on the chair in the hospital room. I lay down with Austin in the hospital bed and he falls asleep. Silently.
Beautiful. Silent. Steady breathing.
They send us home in the dark of night. We all pass out. Get up in the morning. Watch TV. Pass out again.
Clean house. Vacuum. Wash sheets. Buy a cool mist humidifier. Sleep through the night. (Him, not me. Freaking full moon kept me up in spite of everything.) But he's home. Resting. When he's not bouncing off the walls.
How was your weekend? What day is it?
X-ray did indeed show the steeple sign.
Some poor woman who must have been losing her mind was screaming and yelling the entire time we were in the ER. I was sort of afraid to go into the hallway.
Some recent discoveries from the interwebs:
Give us a kiss, tattoo baby. Cute!
Apparently, like me, Amy Winehouse likes her 'nanas so much, she has to make a special trip to get some at night. I totally do that. Seriously.
Look at the little panda walking like a big boy!
What's not to love here? His Holiness with a rainbow umbrella. Joy.
This sign was on the wall in my doctor's office. It reads:
"We have not succeeded in answering all of your questions. In fact, we have not completely answered any of them. The answers we do have, however, do serve to raise a whole new set of questions about problems we had not thought of previously. In some ways we are as confused as you are, but we believe our confusion is on a higher plane and about more important matters."
What the fuck? Problems we had not thought of? Is that supposed to be comforting?
Thank god I only came in for an earache.
Mother Nature hit the snooze button two months ago and then shot out of bed this morning swearing up a storm. Shit fuck goddamnitall. It’s supposed to be summer in Southern California and I overslept. Gotta get to work!
And suddenly she’s making up for lost time. That is to say: It’s fucking HOT out. And just in time for the first day of school.
New developments in the GAWden include:
We have a winner! The first of the wisterias planted last year reached the top of the patio cover! I am unreasonably happy about this. Shade coming soon to a patio near you.
The green! Like my extra fancy ties holding up the vines? They be cut up target bags. I think if you could sit here quietly for about an hour, you might actually see the wisteria growing.
The loquat so generously gifted me by a coworker is in the ground. Happily so far.
A Chinese Flowering Banana. I really wanted this up against the house on the south side, but the man at the nursery said the heat in the summer might be an issue. Poor baby needs shade. So it got exiled to the north 40, nestled under the neighbor's mini-forest. That neighbor is one of a small handful in the neighborhood who is trying to sell their property. I have visions of buying them all up and relocating my grandparents and cousins here. Apparently 2 houses, 10 acres, and me my kids and parents doesn't add up to enough of a family compound for me.
Since I couldn't put the banana against the house, I got a (cheaper) bird of paradise which allegedly wants the full sun (we'll see about the heat).
This sorry looking shot is shown as a point of comparison for when these few plants get filled in and added to and really green up this side of the house in a year or so.
I watched Grave of the Fireflies because it was put out by Studio Ghibli, the same folks that release all those Miyazaki movies I'm so fond of. This is the equivalent of watching Up just because it's a Pixar movie and John Lasseter is the fucking awesome. Which is completely valid by the way. Sorry, did I just geek out a little?
Anyway, I knew the basics about this movie. Japan. World War II. A brother and a sister making their way after an air raid (by the U.S.A.) destroys their home and... I'll stop there. Lest there be spoilers.
Saddest movie EVER. Period. I'm including Steel Magnolias and Life is Beautiful in this comparison. Shakespeare could have learned a thing or two about tragedy from this movie. Humanity is the worst experiment ever conducted by God or Nature or WHOEVER and deserves to wipe itself out if this is the kind of horrible thing it can do to itself.
And yes, I know there is just as much beauty in the world as there is tragedy and we are capable of doing great things too. But this isn't the movie to watch if you need to be reminded of that. It is a great movie. But I won't be watching it again real soon.
Some very good things:
I've been quiet here, but there's plenty going on. Not the least of which is that I got a subpoena and may or may not have to testify for the prosecution and/or defense in a murder trial. I find I keep repeating the phrase "I don't know, I've never done this before."
There's a new article about Lori in yesterday's paper (brief backstory here). It uses some words that hint at the intensity of what happened.
Read this at your own discretion. I'm serious.
This is the sort of thing they get up to while I'm at work. I will NOT be posting the one of him wearing Maya's old Tinkerbell costume. (Note: that's a plastic hammer. No one in their right mind would let that boy hold a real hammer that close to them.)
Steph(anie) - the mama
Dan - the man (met 1995)
Maya - girlchild (born 1996)
Austin - boychild (born 2006)