Monday, December 29, 2008

Yet Another Fill In Post...

Hey all (all who read this anyway). Hope everything is going well with you and yours. I'm going to make this brief as Daniel, my youngest, wants to cuddle. I just wanted to pop in for a brief moment to say I had a fabulous time in New Hampshire with my brother and his family, had a surprisingly good time out with my mother in spite of her financial woes, and am even prouder of my younger brother than before. He is a good man. I will tell you more about why later. Just know that I am growing in my admiration of him and hope that somehow he knows this.

Here are my five things that I am grateful for:
1.) I am grateful for the fact that Brady is back home. I missed my puppy. He has been very tired all day which shows that he had all the attention he needed and that makes me feel good.
2.) I am grateful that my husband is not a male chauvanist. He was a tremendous help as we cleaned our home up today.
3.) I am grateful that I found a sale and was able to buy my boys the winter jackets that they needed
4.) I am grateful for my children's desire to cuddle with me. I need and want their affection and want and need to give them affection.
5.) I am grateful that my nieces and nephews are doing well. I love them more dearly than they can know.

Friday, December 26, 2008

And so this is Christmas...

We have not yet begun the after Christmas clean up. I am in, what I lovingly refer to as, recovery mode. My husband and I stayed up until 4:30am Christmas Day wrapping presents. Our children were gracious enough to allow us to sleep until 9:00 am. If it were me at their age that would not have been happening. I was up out of bed at 4am and the only reason I wasn't starting on the presents at that point was because my parents would have skinned me alive. We waited until 8 am to wake them up.

If memory serves though, we didn't get to actually open anything until around 2pm Christmas Day for many years. Mostly because of my Grandmother. She would call us every year and say she would be here around 11am. Eleven? For any kid on Christmas morning that was just cruel, as we couldn't open anything until she was there. But, yes, eleven I am saying to you. We did not like Grandma Davies. She didn't understand kids. Not only was eleven too long, but she never showed up then. She would show up around two in the afternoon. Yes, we would have to wait. We would have to wait for the grandparents. They would come with their ugly sweater gifts and we would have to wait for them. We would have to endure the lipsticky kisses, the pretense of caring about how we were (she hated children), and feeling intensely uncomfortable around her and grandpa.

I think about them rarely now. My Grandmother and Grandfather are gone. They died several years ago. My grandmother had brain cancer and my grandfather had emphysema and lung cancer. I hope they did not suffer. But I would be lying if I said that I missed them. I think that there is a part of me that is missing or just never learned to love. I did not love them and when they were gone it just meant that my mother was not tortured by them anymore. She told me of several things that they did to her while she was actively their daughter, and it made me hate them. I don't hate them anymore. I have come to terms with the idea that they were whoever they were because of the times they grew up in, who they had for parents, the experiences they had in life and the frustrations they experienced. They were who they were. Not perfect. No more so than I am. They were people who lived their lives the way they saw fit and that was that. They were not particularly giving people, but that was their right to choose to be that way. I don't have to understand it. They lived. They died. The end.

I just wish I could find it in my heart to say that I loved them. But I didn't. I would feel like a liar if I said it. I don't hate them. But I didn't love them either. They wanted very little to do with me. They got their wish. The only time it matters now is when my mom tries to talk about them to me. She doesn't do that often, but when she does, I feel bad as I don't see them in the rosey light that she does. It seems that their deaths have caused my mom to rework history a bit in her mind to paint them in a kinder, gentler light. I don't disabuse her of her notions, after all, who am I to do so? But I remember them. But they weren't my parents. My mom needs and deserves to feel loved by her parents. If casting them in a slightly more flattering light than reality would afford allows her to feel a little of the love that she never got from them while they lived, then more power to her.

I find the "Judge not, lest ye be judged," passage of the Bible difficult here. I don't want to be unloving or anything, but it is very hard not to pass judgement on my grandparents. They did some very mean things. They were selfish and unkind. They treated each other poorly. None of their children seemed to want anything to do with them as they grew up. It makes me sad. They could have had such happy lives. They could have had lives filled with family, fun, laughter and joy. They chose to be bitter and selfish. They chose to be unkind to each other and to teach their children that things matter more than people.

When I was young I remember being at their home and feeling so uncomfortable. I used to get very tense, sitting on the edge of their couch, feet on the plastic runner my grandmother had running through the house. She would continually be making sure that we children (her grandchildren) were not touching anything we were not supposed to. She had nice things all over her home but we were not to touch. Eventually thank goodness my mother stopped bringing us there for the holidays as she realized how impossible it was for us there. We were treated like second class citizens.

I often wonder now if I do that to my children? I want them to grow up with a healthy respect for the belongings of others. I want them to behave properly when we are at someone else's home, but I worry sometimes that they feel too constrained when we visit. Boy I hope not.

Why am I talking about this stuff? I should be talking about the joy of Christmas. I should be sharing all the happy moments that we had. We did have many happy moments. So why am I tramping down unhappy memory lane? Why am I dragging out stuff about my long-dead grandparents now?

Probably because I feel guilty and I do think about them. I wish I could muster some positive memories of them. I mean, it's not like they were drowning kitties when we were at their home. It's just that there are too many negative memories of them, and they clutter up the memory spaces so much that the good memories, if there are any, are shoved into a dim corner. I truly wish that I could think of one time that I enjoyed being with them. One good memory that might offset the bad stuff. But I really can't.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged," I think. Well, I guess in this case God will be judging me rather harshly as I cannot in all honesty think of one good memory. I cannot say one thing that will redeem my recall of them. All I can say is that to my knowledge they never killed anyone. So I guess there is that.

Why am I thinking about all this? Why can I not focus on the really good stuff? I don't really have an answer for you. I get depressed every year during the holidays, and I have never really understood why. Maybe this is part of my attempt to understand why. Maybe I get depressed because I look at the people who have been in my family and know that it could have been oh so different if they had been willing to extend themselves even a little bit. Or someone had taught me how to see how they extended themselves. Maybe that is what is needed. Maybe I need to borrow my mother's rose colored glasses every now and then and try to see good in people. Is that what she is doing when she talks so fondly of her parents? Is she trying to see the good in them? Or is she just being willfully blind?

I didn't start writing this post to slam my grandparents. Really. I was intending to write about Christmas for our family, which was indeed a fun, happy and positive time. We woke up, had our traditional Christmas breakfast (I usually make pancakes or waffles from scratch) and then we opened our gifts. After we exchanged gifts we got dressed and went to my in-laws to exchange gifts with them. They were their usual gracious and warm selves. I got to spend some time chatting with my sister-in-law which I don't get to do very often, and it was nice to have coffee and pie with my mother-in-law. My children got to give what they had picked out to their family and help with dinner as they were able.

I had to work Christmas night, so we left around eight o'clock. I fell asleep for the ride home and was deeply asleep for most of the ride. This would have been the case for the whole ride except we hit a humongous pot hole on the road and it kicked off our fuel pump. Our minivan stopped dead on the highway in the fast lane of traffic. The result was a ride in a state police cruiser to get my children to safety, after which we were able to drive our van home. The state trooper was very friendly and accommodating thank goodness.

So why the talk about grandparents long dead and gone? I think its because the longer I am a parent and watch my husband's parents be grandparents, the more I see what grandparents should be. They love their grandchildren. They take care of them the best way they know how and they do right by them. Like Steve's parents do. I am so proud to call them my in-laws. I know that I can count on them. I know that if we are ever in trouble that they are there for us. I know that about Steve's brothers too. They are good, strong, men of character (they would make all kinds of blustery jokes about this if they read it, but its true). They were the first ones offering to help when we might be stranded Christmas night by the side of the highway. They let us know they would help us immediately if that were necessary. That kind of security and caring is priceless. I only wish I was as good a person as they are. I can only strive to be that good. Maybe my kids will learn from their example and not see my shortcomings. One can hope.

I will write more some other time, but for now I need to sign off. My husband is downstairs by himself. I should probably spend some time with him. I want to let him know how important he is and I doubt leaving him alone tells him anything about how important he is to me.

Here are my five things that I am grateful for today though:

1.) I am grateful that police officers take their charge to protect and serve seriously
2.) I am grateful that I have the brothers-in-law that I do
3.) I am grateful that my mother in law is a good cook
4.) I am grateful that we have loving caring family
5.) I am grateful for the kennel that is taking care of my dog Brady while I visit other family members. I will tell you about it some time soon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Well, here it preChristmas post...

So Daniel is in the bath tub. I am here writing. The other two have been bathed and showered. All that needs to happen is that we need to finish up Daniel's bath and I have to take a shower. Then we are off to the mall to finish our Christmas shopping. Sounds so industrious right? Except it's 1:24pm two days before Christmas and I am sitting here at the computer in my bathrobe and socks.

My mom called me this morning. She woke me up. It's no big deal except that I am feeling wiped out from the monthly visit from the cardinal if you know what I mean. My aunt Flo is in town. You know, the one who visits me every 28 days or so. I feel crampy. Headachy. Grumpy. My kids were letting me sleep things off this morning bless their hearts, and I was enjoying the benefits of electric blankets when she called. Sigh. Yes Mom. You woke me up, but it's ok.

The funny thing? She called to tell me how she pissed off my older brother and his wife by waking them up. Go figure.

Well, I gotta sign off for now. My kid is in the bathtub. I gotta get him out so I can get in.

Five things:

1.) I am grateful for laughter
2.) I am grateful for electric blankets
3.) I am grateful for warm showers
4.) I am grateful that the cardinal only visits for a week
5.) I am grateful for my sister who makes me feel young.

I Will Post More Later...But for Now I Sleep...

Hey all. Just a quick note. I am not sure what the next few days will bring as pertains to blogging, but I will not worry as I am blogging for myself, right? You are all along for the ride. I will have more to say later, but I really must be brief as I must sleep. Tomorrow night promises to be late as we have wrapped NOTHING, that's right, NOTHING and it is two days before Christmas. Unbelieveable.

This will probably mean the usual all-night wrapping session that my husband and I partake of annually. We always promise that we will not do it yet again, but in the end, here we are.

So, forgive me, but I am going to love and leave you here. I will give you my five things that I am grateful for though.

1.) I am grateful for the reminder of what Christmas is all about as I read my friend Chris' blog. She wrote a very moving entry about her favorite Christmas hym, O Little Town of Bethlehem. I won't try to convey everything here, just go read it if you are interested. She is a fantastic writer and someone that lives her faith. I have referred to her blog in earlier posts, but if you are interested in what has moved me so, check out: . Trying to wrap and give gifts can sometimes push you close to forgetting what this season is supposed to be about. The wonderful gift that we received from God. Whether you are Christian or not, you have to admit that is very wrapped up (no pun intended) in what this season is supposed to be about.

2.) I am grateful for the warm bed I have. I have a nice bed, queen size, nice mattress and box spring from Jordan's Furniture, and a nice electric blanket.

3.) I have a wonderful husband who does what he can to take care of those he loves. I wish I took as good care of him.

4.) I am grateful for such wonderful children who can be so deeply kind and considerate at times. Even if they throw my freshly washed and folded laundry around.

5.) I am grateful for REALLY good neighbors. It matters. Really.

Well, in the interest of being bright eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow, I am signing off. This has been a rather rushed post and I haven't said all that I want to, but I am forcing myself to go while I still have a chance to get some decent sleep.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pediatrician vs. Christopher

So. Here we are. I'm about to write in my blog...about...hmmmm...what should I write about? The fact that I haven't wrapped any of the Christmas gifts that I have picked up? I usually bring them to work to wrap, but for some reason, this year I haven't wanted to do that. It seems like too much hassle. Nah. Not really much to write about in that.

I about my son Christopher? We got to go to the doctor AGAIN last week. He woke up with a bright red rash all over his body last week. As soon as I noticed it we were off to the doctor's. I was worried that it might be related to the Strep A that has been flying around our household this year. So we got to take another trip in to the pediatrician's office. Meh. What a pain in the butt. It's about an hour drive one way. A lot of people have asked me why I haven't found a pediatrician that is closer. Wouldn't it save me time and aggravation? My answer to them? No. A resounding no. My kids' pediatrician has known them since birth, and she really does know them. She treats them with respect, not just like pieces of furniture she must tend to. She asks them how they are doing. She talks to them about the things that she has to do in order to make sure that they are healthy, and she smiles and has a nice bedside manner. The nurses ini the office are kind too. Even when they are obviously swamped they are kind and courteous to both me and my children. We have never had to wait longer than ten or fifteen minutes in the waiting room.

My kids like their pediatrician too. I have never had to fight with them about going. They know her and are comfortable with her. That's important. That your kids are comfortable with their doctor. Some people don't think so, but I do. How will they feel free to discuss anything important with their doctor if they don't like them? My daughter Allison is starting to want privacy. She needs to be able to tell the doctor things even if she feels she cannot tell me. Thankfully we haven't hit any stage where she feels she cannot share things with me. I try to respect her need for privacy and to encourage her to talk about things with her doctor. I also try not to embarrass her by talking about her medical issues in front of friends and relatives. That's private.

My boys know that if they have to get shots it will be over quickly and that they really need the shots and the doctor wouldn't do anything to intentionally hurt them. They both knew that anyway until this last visit anyway. Now I'm not so sure. Christopher has been quite sick this past fall. There has been a lot of Strep A in our family lately. Because he keeps coming up sick, the doctor has had to test often for Strep A. He has probably had to be tested for Strep at least four times in the last month. Do you know what the test for Strep A is? It's a cotton swab in the throat. The doctor must take a tongue depressor and hold your tongue down and then swab the back of your throat to get a culture for the lab to grow out and see if there is any Strep in it. It hurts.

So we were on our way to the doctor's office. Christopher asked if he would have to get a shot. I told him that I didn't think so but that I couldn't promise that he wouldn't. I don't ever want to lie to my children. I want them to know that they can trust me. So I won't play games with them about what will happen at the doctor's office. If some unpleasantness must occur, I won't trick them into thinking it won't. I won't wait until the last second either. I am straightforward with them about this stuff. I think the direct approach is best, otherwise you have a fight on your hands.

Christopher seemed to accept what I said about the shots just fine. Then he thought a moment and asked if he would have to get the thing stuffed into the back of his throat, "I don't like that Mommy, it hurts," he told me. I refused to lie about that either. I told Christopher that he may indeed have to get that test done. I wasn't sure, we would just have to wait to see what the doctor said. "I won't let her do it, Mommy," Christopher informed me. Oh oh. Prelude to what was coming. Just great.

"Sweetheart, the doctor doesn't like giving you the test any more than you like having it, but if she feels you must have the test please cooperate because she is only trying to make sure that you are healthy," I tried the logical approach.

"I'm fine Mommy. I don't need that test. I don't have Strep, I know," Christopher informed me.

"You don't know whether you have it or not, and if you do have it, we need to make sure you get the proper medicine," says Mommy, hopeful that this will be effective in driving off any dissent.

"I do too know," Christopher responds. "Remember I had it before? The thing in my throat hurts way more than Strep does. Even if I have Strep, it's ok," he assures me. Ahhh, the logic of a five year old. It almost makes sense. The thought of not having to fight him is alluring.

"Sweetheart, you don't know if you have Strep, and if you do and it doesn't get treated you could get very very sick. Remember how Mommy was in the hospital this summer because of her leg? That was Strep. And Grandpa's eye? That was Strep too." The gloves have come off. Now I am resorting to a combination of logic and fear to gain cooperation. Dirty trick.

"Well, I don't want the thing in my throat," Christopher says petulantly.

"Well, let's just get to the doctor and see what they have to say, okay?" I postpone this argument, reasonably assuming that it may be an unnecessary fight. Until we have more information, getting all worked up doesn't make a lot of sense.

Well, our doctor is not in on Wednesdays. It's Wednesday, so we will be seeing another pediatrician in the practice. Great. She is nice, but not our pediatrician. How will this go? I wait to see. The nurse meets us in the stairwell because they don't want children with rashes waiting in the waiting room with the other sick children. We are brought the back way to our exam room to wait, and to explain to the nurse what has been going on.

The doctor finally joins us while I am reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to the boys. She is a petite woman with an Italian or Greek look about her. She smiles and is very nice to the boys, chatting and getting them to chat about themselves. She takes Christopher's temperature, looks in his ears, eyes and throat, and takes a peek at the rash that is covering his body.

She tells me that she thinks he has Fifth's Disease, which is a fairly benign viral infection that will last about 6 weeks. I breathe a sigh of relief as this will mean that it's not Strep and he won't need "The Test."

Then she lowers the boom. "Just to be sure though, I think we should do a Strep test since the two rashes look very similar," she says. Right. Great. Try to act casual. Then it happens. The Question.

"Do I have to have the thing in the back of my throat?" Christopher asks. He is told, rather nicely, that yes, he does have to have the throat culture. "But why? I don't want to. It hurts."

The doctor does her best to explain to a five year old that it is important to make sure it isn't Strep. "If it is and we don't treat it, you could get VERY sick," she says, pulling out the specimen collection instruments (ie: the swabs and tongue depressor)

"But you said it wasn't Strep, didn't you?" Christopher tries to argue.

Our friendly doctor tries patiently to explain that Fifth's Disease and Strep look very similar and she needs to be sure. This test is the only way to be sure. Christopher asks to see pictures of both diseases so he can see for himself how similar they look.

The doctor sighs, takes off her gloves and says she will be right back with the pictures. She returns in a few moments with a medical diagnosis book with illustrations. She flips through, trying to find the appropriately similar pictures.

She needn't have bothered in my mind, as even if it was the same exact model in each of the pictures, and the rash was on the same exact spot on the body, Christopher would never agree that they looked the same. This was not about logic at this point. I sigh. I know what is coming.

While she needn't have bothered, I am touched that she did go the extra mile. She is trying to gain his cooperation and confidence and is not content to just do things to him without his consent.

Regardless of her extra efforts, Christopher still will not consent to the test. I offer to hold him in my lap and he agrees at first, but will not allow the doctor to obtain the necessary sample. She asks me to hold on to his arms and head so he cannot resist. I do as she asks and the fight ensues. He bites down on the tongue depressor and will not allow her to get the swabs into his mouth.

"Christopher, I need you to cooperate or I will have to get the nurse," the doctor warns. "I don't want to have to do that, do you want me to?" she asks. Christopher of course does not want the nurse to come in as that implies force and he really does not want that. He says that he will cooperate, but I know that this is not earnest. We try it his way a few more times anyway, as I want to give him as much latitude to cooperate as possible, but in the end, he bites through two tongue depressors and just will not allow the test to be done.

The doctor summons the nurse. She instructs me to hold Christopher's feet down and the nurse is going to hold Christopher's hands over his head and they are going to pry his mouth open. Oh my gosh! I have never had to do this with any of my children. This feels awful. He needs this test, and that is the only reason I am doing this, but it feels so wrong.

He cries. I cry. He struggles against me. He says I am hurting him. He says if we will let go he will cooperate. I hold on. He struggles harder. The doctor says she has to get yet another depressor as he has bitten through a third and a fourth one. He sobs. I cry. The doctor finally pries his mouth open and gets the culture she needs. I can let go. Thank goodness. I let go and Christopher shoots me a look of such betrayal. We are both sweaty and he is angry with me. How could I let the doctor do this to him? I try to go to him and he tells me, "No. Leave me alone!" Those words were like arrows in my heart. I understand why he says them. He has a right to be angry. I give him his space. I try to turn so he doesn't see my tears.

The doctor tells me that she got what she needed to get. Good. Somehow that doesn't comfort me. I feel like I helped her to rape my son. I know, that sounds melodramatic. It probably is a bit over the top, but that is how I feel. I don't know if I should feel good about what I just did. Is he going to be scarred by what just happened? Is this going to be one of the random memories he carries with him for always? Is this going to form his impression of me in his mind? Is he going to be afraid of the doctor the next time we go? Will he be more inclined to cooperate or less?

What about Daniel, who witnessed the whole thing? What will he take away from this experience? Is this going to damage his impression of the doctor, or me? Will he be afraid to go now? I suppose only time will tell.

So once we left the doctor's office, it was off to the golden arches. Yeah. I know. Food as a reward is not such a good idea. But the doctor said he would probably need a cold drink to soothe his throat as sometimes abrasions resulted from encounters such as what he had. I thought a chocolate shake might feel good on that throat. It might assauge my guilt too. Perhaps a Happy Meal toy would get his mind off the fact that I was a vile betrayer.

As Christopher and Daniel drank their shakes and played with their Bionicle men (the toy that came with the Happy Meal), I found myself thinking about what the doctor said as I left with the boys. She made a point to tell me that she had never found any five year old that could fight as hard or be as strong as my Christopher. I wasn't sure why she was telling me this. She said it to me as if she thought it might comfort me somehow. I don't know why either, but it did comfort me. To know that my son had not only the physical ability to fight, but the will to fight off what in his view was an injust assault did make me feel good. It meant that his sense of self as important was intact. That he cared about himself enough to struggle against what he viewed as evil forces. It makes me proud, even if I am the evil force he is struggling against. I wrap this up for tonight, I am mindful that I have not told you my five things that I am grateful for. So, here they are:

1.) I am grateful for doctors that are well educated about childhood illness
2.) I am grateful that I do not have to drive more than an hour to get to a good doctor
3.) I am grateful that I do not have to be put on a waiting list to see a doctor
4.) I am grateful that my children have a good relationship with their doctor most of the time
5.) I am grateful that my children have a strong enough sense of self to speak up for themselves to their doctor.

Take care of yourselves, and remember, I welcome input. Just be nice, I bruise easily.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not As Good As I Once Was...

Hey. You know what's weird? I'm not really a country music fan, but lately I have been stuck on Toby Keith. Personally, I know nothing about him really except I heard he and the Dixie Chicks hate each other. Oh well. The publicity machine at work is what I figure.

I like musicians, actors, comedians, and the like that do not take themselves too seriously. I think that is why I like Toby Keith. His "Wanna Talk About Me" video is a riot. I get a kick out of "I'm Not As Good As I Once Was" and "Beer for My Horses" makes me laugh too. I mean, Willie Nelson singing about bringing evil forces to justice? This guy has avoided paying his taxes for aeons from what I understand...and he has quite a drug business going on the side with the whacky weed. I suppose I don't really know those things as a fact. This is just what I have heard in the news. And we ALL know how truthful the news media is, right? (for those of you who may have missed it, that was sarcasm).

The "Not As Good As I Once Was" video I think is something I can sort of relate to...I mean, bars were never my scene, so I won't say that I got in barroom brawls or tried picking up twins or anything, but I'm almost forty. I am finding some things are starting to slide. I'm not as flexible as I once was. My memory kind of sucks, especially since my hospitalization last summer. My eyes are definitely a lot worse than they used to be. So, I guess I'm "Not As Good As I Once Was."

My how the years pass. I was never exactly "hell on wheels," but I could pull a mean all nighter in college with or without coffee. Now if I don't have that extra shot of espresso in my Dunkin Donuts latte, I'm out for the night around one thirty...or I make it through the night (a more likely scenario) only to not be able to function in the morning.

As I approach forty, I am surprised at how much it bothers me. I truly didn't think it would. I was never exactly the party type anyway. But it DOES bother me. I don't think I will try to hide my forty-ness though. I don't think as the greys come in that I will color them. I don't think I will try the various cremes and lotions designed to get rid of or hide the age spots, wrinkles and crows' feet. Maybe I am full of crap. Maybe at some point it will bother me enough to do it, but right now I feel like doing all that stuff is just trying to live in the past. The past, where I was unblemished (yeah right), beautiful (puh-leeze), and carefree (wait a minute, I need to wipe the tears from my eyes and stop laughing long enough to breathe).

As much as I didn't really like the change, I think I understand Mike Gorman. For those of you who don't know who Mike Gorman is, he is a sportscaster for the Boston Celtics. He often calls games with Tommy Heinsohn. Until a few years ago Mike had a gorgeous head of dark brown hair. He was actually kind of cute. All of a sudden one day he was on the broadcast completely gray. I was horrified. He looked like a death's head to me. His face was drawn and his hair was cropped short. I asked my husband, who keeps up on all things Celtics, if he knew why Mike had done this. He said that he had read somewhere that Mike had decided to stop coloring his hair. I made a comment to the effect that I thought this was a bad decision. Hubby just shrugged his shoulders and went back to watching the game.

Superficial of me, I know. Who really cares if Mike Gorman colors his hair? Well buster, I do. I think when I think back on it I probably care more than I should because, deep breath here, it makes ME feel older too. Remember, I told you I am a narcisist. All things relate back to me. How exactly does Mike failing to color his hair relate to me you ask? Because I have to look at him and be reminded that time marches on. Mike looked young for so long. Now he looks old. Which means that I definitely don't look the same as when I started watching Mike with Steve as a "fan-by-marriage" back in 1994. How dare Mike make me feel old by not coloring his hair? He did not submit the proper forms in triplicate to get clearance to point out that I am indeed aging. Now I have to think about my own age. I don't want to Mike, and you can't make me. But he has. His refusal to pray at the fountain of youth known as hair dye forces me to think about it. Thank goodness he didn't choose to wear a toupee.

The other reason I just can't bring myself to color my hair is that I am lazy. I just do not want to spend that much time preening. I don't want to have to do root touch ups. I get a haircut about once every 3-6 months. Not as often as I would like, and definitely not enough to hide any color line that would be created by my roots growing out. Every time I think of it I think of a comment my daughter made when she was about three. We were visiting my sister-in-law (since then she has divorced my brother and moved on) and Allison said, "Mommy, how does Colleen get her hair to look so pretty?" I asked her what she meant specifically since I wanted to answer specifically. She said, "You know, how does she get that pretty dark hair near her head when the rest of her hair is blonde?" Colleen shot me an ugly look, as you were not supposed to notice such things. I told my daughter that while she was admiring Colleen's hair, she should probably not mention to Aunt Colleen her dark hair as she wouldn't appreciate it.

My how the years pass. I haven't seen Colleen in about fifteen years. I have a niece that is in high school that I haven't seen since she was Christened. Isn't that terrible? I am a terrible aunt. My brother split up with her and that was that. I didn't have much of a relationship with her and now I have none. This was not how I thought it would be. I thought I would be a good aunt. But quite honestly, I suck. I don't keep up with the nieces and nephews as I should. I think of myself as "Scary Aunt Sheri," when it comes to them. I love them, but I am just not the fun type. If you need to see an example of what I mean, I'll give you one. A comparison is what I will show you. If you read an earlier post of mine about my brother Rob, you will see what I mean. Uncle Rob is cool. He is loved. He is fun. Aunt Sheri (Scary Aunt Sheri) is responsible. She takes care of meals. And she makes sure you follow the rules - if you call someone a butthead be sure that she will come down on you. That's just how it is.

Back in my prime I used to laugh at the word butthead. Nevermind disciplining you for saying it. Now I have to police my children's language. I am the purveyor of time outs, the sultan of sitting in the corner, the hander-outter of chores. I am the enforcer. I make sure to follow through. I insist that you finish your homework before you play videogames with your friends. I insure that your pull up is free from debris before you go out to the yard to play. I am the proverbial wet blanket. That's my life. And I won't color my hair to show how much more fun I am.

Before I sign off, I thought I would give you my five things that I am grateful for. So here they are in no particular order:

1.) My mother arrived in New England safely. She flew from Florida to visit for the holidays and is currently with her friend Linda in Maine.
2.) School was cancelled today. I got to play Scrabble with my kids and not feel quite like the drill sargeant I usually do.
3.) I got to work safely. I left two hours before I needed to be there and arrived an hour early. The snow was pretty intense, but nothing too terrible.
4.) I do NOT have diabetes. I finally took the blood test and the nurse reading the test results to me over the phone said that I am "well within the range of normal," for my blood sugar. Phew.
5.) My husband is working for a secure company and is not likely to be laid off. I won't say that he definitely won't be, you never know, but it seems unlikely. That means we can pay our mortgage so all is well. Another BIG phew!

Goodnight. Hope you found something interesting to read here tonight. Something that made you smile or at least something that you identified with. If not, sorry, but ultimately, this blog is for me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My five things to be grateful for today

1.) I am grateful that I can think.
2.) I am grateful that there is good music
3.) I am grateful that kids are resiliant
4.) I am grateful for good friends, both near and far
5.) I am grateful for coffee

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Unfunky Bible Thumper...meh

Here I am again. I feel weird. I am starting a bible study. Not that I am some super Christian or anything. Far from it. I'm not even sure I am Christian at all. But I do want to explore my feelings about God and what he has to say in the Bible. I thought I would invite others into the discussion, maybe get some feedback.

See, I'm messed up about God. Ever since I had and lost my first child (I hate that term...I didn't lose him...I know where he is...he DIED and he is buried in Chelmsford, MA). I feel abandoned by God. I feel as though in my darkest hour he had nothing to say to me. That hurts so bad. Was I not worth bothering with?

Then I get to thinking about other things. Like my parents. God love them (hopefully) but they are truly messed up. I won't get into how and why as I feel that would invade their privacy - trying not to air the dirty laundry and all. Suffice it to say that I grew up feeling like a nuisance to my parents. An obligation. Not a joy. Not really.

Am I transferring my feelings about my parents onto God? If so, where does that leave me and Him? My husband often says that hate is not the opposite of love, apathy is. It's when you stop caring altogether that you are in trouble. Anger is still a relationship. So he says to be angry with God if I want to. So, I admit it. I am angry with God. Don't bother telling me that I have no right. I have every right. My emotions belong to me and I will do with them what I please. You don't have to listen or read if you don't want to, but don't try to tell me what to do with my emotions. And don't try to tell me my emotions are wrong. Emotions aren't right or wrong. They just are. So until I am not angry with God anymore, I am.

I have been pretty angry for the last eleven years. I think I have good reason to be. I did everything I possibly could to have a healthy baby. Everything. I feel like what happened was such a dirty trick. To give me such a beautiful baby and then take him back before I even had a chance to really enjoy him. If that isn't reason to be angry, I don't know what is. To spend nine months planning, nine months dreaming only to have it wiped out in a matter of hours. Within ten days it was like he was never even here. He was buried and gone.

Five things I am grateful for...

Lest we forget so soon to do are my five things:

1.) I am grateful that my in laws were able to go to their home as they wished to
While I was so glad to have them, I want them to be in their home when that is what they want
2.) I am grateful that we are done most of our Christmas shopping - we still have a little left and there has been a bit of sticker shock, but for the most part, things are done
3.) I am grateful for my bathrobe. It's a tad colder in here than I would like, so a warm fuzzy bathrobe is a good thing
4.) I am grateful for family that can roll with life's punches. I recently saw a sign that said, "Life is not about waiting out life's storms, it's about dancing in the rain," or something like that. I am soooo grateful that there are some members of my family who understand that
5.) I am grateful that I can write. Enuff said

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Well howdy. Here I am again. It's been a few days, but I think you'll understand why in a minute (not that I have to explain - remember, blogging without obligation...this blog is for me, blah, blah, blah)

I live in the Northeast. If you have been paying any attention to the weather, you will know that we had an ice storm recently. A fairly difficult one. Not a major one...if you measure the length of time the storm raged, but there was enough storm to cause some serious damage. Both my brother who lives in New Hampshire, and my in-laws who live in Massachusetts (North of Boston) lost power and heat. They came down to camp out at our house until they got both back. That meant, with nephews, we had eleven people at our house for about four days.

You'd think it would be tough, but it wasn't really. It was actually kind of fun. I am tired, don't mistake that, but it was so nice to have them over. Let me explain. My mother and father in law are nice people. They are very good at live and let live. When they arrived at our home they were tired, cold and sick. They had spent the night in a cold and dark house. We had offered to go and get them, but they wanted (understandably) to try staying and waiting for things to come back on. They were also both quite sick and did not want to get our children sick. But when it became clear that the power would not be going back on any time soon, they relented and allowed us to bring them to our home.

We set them up in our room so they could have peace, and rest (if not exactly quiet with the kids running around). Gave them the remote to the tv, showed them how to work the electric blanket, and handed them drinks (our mantra, like many who are caring for the sick, is "Drink, drink, and drink. And oh yeah, drink."). We told them that they did not have to feel obligated to be social, and if they needed anything to let us know.

They chose to join us most of the time. They probably did not get the rest they should have due to the stomping around of the kids, but they were at least in a warm house. They never complained once. They just kind of rolled with whatever was happening. They are good at the "go with the flow," mentality. Even when they are not feeling their best. I have great respect and admiration for them. I aspire to be like them as I age...although I suspect I will be a tad more crotchety as I get older, due to various negative influences.

The other people in our home were equally endearing. My brother Rob, while sometimes a bit brash and rough around the edges, has a heart of gold. He believes in a live and let live way of life too. So much so that he and his bride have chosen to live in New Hampshire. Isn't that the slogan for those who reside in New Hampshire? He is a funny guy too. He brings a smile to my face every time I see him. He can be a real clown. My kids love him. He knows how to have fun with them.

He also has a nice way of bringing humor to discipline. Let me share an example. My boys are at a stage in their young lives where the word "butt" or any facsimile is funny. They call each other buttheads, bummies, butholes, tushies, fartheads and the like. They find it equally funny to talk about their penises, pee pee, poop, or anything even remotely related to that region of the body. I have tried nine ways to Sunday to eliminate this kind of talk (my mind is being drawn to the fact that yes, eliminate is another word to describe those functions...but grow up for crying out loud). There have been time outs, there have been spankings. There have been chores given. There has been on one occassion, soap on the tongue. The boys have been for periods of time forbidden to speak since they cannot use appropriate language. They have been told that they will NOT be allowed certain priviledges (tv, computer, etc.). All of these disciplines have failed.

My brother's solution? Wedgies to anyone who uses the forbidden words. And it works. The boys laugh, but they suffer the consequences and stop talking nasty for a while. I won't say it's perfect, but I love that he administers the discipline in a humorous way. It's just the kind of guy he is. He's great. Here's a picture of him:

Now, you might think that this is an unflattering picture of him. I would say you are very wrong. It is actually one of the best pictures of him anywhere because it captures his personality. He is a class clown. He is a very smart guy that I love very much, but he likes to make people laugh. And right here, he is mugging for the camera to make me laugh. And it worked.

He could have chosen to be a real downer while visiting. His power was out. His heat was out. And because he has an electric pump, his water was out. He could have had pipes freezing back home as we took this picture, but he wasn't being a pill. He was laughing and having a good time in spite of his circumstances.

I have a lot of respect for my brother. He has done so much with his life and he cares so much about his family. If he ever happens upon this blog I want him to read this and know that I think he IS the best thing since sliced bread.

I'm not sure if the respect is mutual. I haven't done much to earn his respect. I don't really know if he respects me. I don't really know if I should spend energy on that anyway. I just think he's great and hope to continue to develop a good relationship with him and his family.

His wife Jackie is a great gal too. Here is a picture of her:
Jackie is a neat lady. She loves Rob for just who he is. She is funny, kind, generous and a wonderful mother. She and Rob met in a bar a number of years ago (10 or 12, I'm not sure) and they were married in 2000. I am so glad he married her. She is one of the sweetest people you could meet. While she was down, she decided that she would clean my kitchen. You might think that some would take offense at the implication that my home is dirty, but I do not take it personally. I keep my home sanitary, but not up to the level of expectation of most "Better Homes and Gardens" magazines. I have children. I have a dog. I have a cat. I want to do more with my day than clean. Cleaning does not give me pleasure. It only reminds me that I am not clean enough and that it will need to be done again soon. But Jackie receives joy from cleaning apparently. She says that it makes her relax to clean her kitchen. So I say, relax baby. Feel free to relax as much as possible in my home. Me casa es su casa. We aim to please and if it so happens that my home is cleaner as a result, so much the better.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm here again. I just finished walking around the mall with my friend Ellen. We both have decided that we need to be more physically active. It's hard to find time during the day to focus on this. Ellen has two children that are close in age to mine. She's running to activities and picking kids up from school just like I am. So we decided together that we would walk twice a week after dinner. Hopefully, combined with the weight lifting that I am doing with my husband on three other nights during the week I will get a tad healthier and avoid the insulin.

Yeah, insulin. My doctor just told me that I am close to being diabetic. I am supposed to get a blood test to find out how close exactly, but my doctor is about an hour from me and I have to fast before I have the test. It's a bit of a pain in the ass to go hungry long enough to get there and have the blood drawn. I have to make sure that I get back in time to get my son on the bus too. I am thinking of going tomorrow, but I am trying to take care of a few things so we can go away for the weekend. I have laundry to do, a dog to bring to a kennel.

Yeah, I know, excuses excuses. Just take the frackin blood test you say. I know. But I really don't want to know if I am diabetic or not. I want the whole damn thing to go away. Once I know then I will feel obligated to do something. And once I feel obligated to do something about it, the less I will want to. I'll be the petulant child stuffing candy bars down my throat to defy those who tell me I shouldn't be doing that. And I so don't want to hear it. I don't want to hear from those who care that I need to exercise more, eat less and more healthy. I know all these things. Telling me will not be a revelatory experience. Show me how to coral my emotions and my immature personality into obeying, then I will respect what you have to say about my health.

The other thing is that I really don't want to be here anyway. I know that is a horrible thing to say, but I don't. I am here because my life does not belong to me. I have responsibilities. I have obligations. One responsibility after another. And I am NOT referring to only my children here. I have a responsibility to my husband, who has stuck with me through thick and thin. Whether I am happy in my life or not, I can't just bail on him. He is a good man. He is a good person. He has been an incredible friend. What kind of friend would I be if I just bailed on him? What would I be leaving him with?

So. It's out there. I'm not happy. I know it, now what? As I think I have said in previous posts, I have no idea what I want, so I cannot figure out what will make me happy. I detest when people constantly whine about being unhappy and refuse to do what they need to in order to be happy. I would be in that position...whining and not doing...if I knew what I wanted. I don't. Believe me, when I know what I want, I jump. Figuring out what I want is always the problem with me. It's exhausting trying to figure that out.

My friend Ellen and I were walking in the mall as I said earlier. She and I have several things in common, one of which is that we both don't want to be in the position of not having something else going on for ourselves besides raising our children. I was telling her how scared I am of not developing as a person, of being only a mom, and not a very good one at that. I was talking to her about how I feel so negative lately and can't really seem to pull myself out of it. It drives me nuts, but there it is. She suggested that I keep a journal of things that I am grateful for. I think I might try it. At this point I am willing to try anything. So here goes:

1.) I am grateful for my children. They make me laugh. They make me angry. They surprise me. They make me feel alive.

2.) I am grateful for the husband I have. He is a warm, kind, strong person. He is funny and sensitive. He is sexy and intelligent.

3.) I love my dog. He is fuzzy and loyal. He licks me constantly - I have no idea why - is he kissing me, cleaning me or tasting me?

4.) I am grateful for my in-laws. They are good people who genuinely care about me and mine.

5.) I am grateful for the fact that I live in New England. I love the change of seasons. I think it is a direct demonstration of God's complexity.

There. That's all for now with the thankful journal. There are things that are not included. As I wrote each one I could feel the other things that I didn't write biting my neck, saying, "What about me?" Some I am saving for another time. Some are just biting at my neck because I am conditioned to think I should feel grateful for them even though I do not.

Something I am trying to be grateful for - the fact that I am frail and human. I am not perfect. My faith, Christianity, says that I shouldn't feel I have to be. We already have someone filling that role thank you very much. But the ways I am shown that I am not perfect really hurt. They are shameful.

I told my nine-year old daughter that she was a selfish, self-centered witch. As soon as it was out of my mouth I couldn't believe I said it. What the hell is wrong with me? First of all, has it EVER been appropriate to make a personal attack to get someone to do something you want them to do? I can't even begin to understand why I said it. I was so angry. I have NEVER spoken to my husband (or anyone else for that matter) the way I spoke to her. Why did I do that?

What makes it worse is that she was sharing with me her aggravation about some classmates and some things they were doing. I happened to think that she did something to provoke them. Based on what she herself said I thought she should perhaps own up to at least some of the wrongdoing. Well, she wanted nothing to do with it. I tried to be the objective listener. Maybe I should have kept my opinion to myself. But I asked her if she wanted my input. She said yes, and then she was kind of rude and condescending to me. It set me off.

Not an excuse mind you. Just an explanation of events that led up to the explosion. I don't even now understand why I reacted that way. But I understand what a nasty horrible thing I said. I did apologize to her for saying the things I said, but that doesn't make up for it in my humble opinion. The damage is already done. I can't take it back.

Do I think she will want to share with me again about something like that? Nope. I probably slammed that door shut. Maybe to never open again. It hurts my heart that I screwed up so royally. It eats at me. What eats at me even more is that she is probably carrying that with her too. How do I make her feel better? How do I make sure that she doesn't really believe what I said in those few stupid seconds? I mean, what your parents say to you means a lot. I abused my power over her. I cannot believe I did it. Oh my God I am soooooooo sorry. But I don't think that being sorry will fix it.

I can't even write anymore I am so upset. If you haven't decided that I am a total ass hat, come back later and maybe I will have posted again. I can't write right now. I am too ashamed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So here I am. I'm exhausted. Sore. Grumpy. I should probably just throw the towel in and go to bed. So why aren't I? Well, I am angry. I need to vent. And I need to blog. I have to walk a line here and I don't know quite how to walk it. On the one hand, this blog is for me. I make no apologies for what is here and I don't intend to begin. I want to try to be honest. But I struggle with the whole privacy thing too. Just because I open myself up to the blogging world, it doesn't mean that those who I love have agreed to this. I want to talk about I can cope more appropriately in my daily life. But I don't want to air my dirty laundry in public. Those that I love do sometimes irk me. And one thing I have begun to recognize is that sometimes the reasons they irk me have nothing really to do with them. It has more to do with the fact that I am a bit of a jerk. I want things the way I want them and I don't want to have to TELL you that I want them that way. You should just know. After all, you read my mind, right? Again, I told you that I am a narcissist.

I say this in half-jest. But the other half is saying it in complete truth. Sometimes I think I am developmentally delayed. I think "arrested development" fits sometimes. I never truly left that phase of childhood where I believed that others were the same as me. They had to know what I was thinking because they are me. If I want ice-cream they should too. My reality is the reality don't you know.

I went Christmas shopping tonight. With my kids. It sounds like it should be fun. The lights at the mall. The Christmas music in the air. The noticeably empty stores on a Wednesday night. We took care of shopping for three relatives. The kids behaved admirably. But I didn't have fun. I found myself sore, tired and aggravated, which is how I feel most of the time lately. Aggravated I mean. My kids didn't do anything wrong. Really. They were well behaved, save for a few "Please Mommy, can we get..." and those were very few. Why am I so aggravated? I have no real idea. I feel selfish and juvenile, but I want someone to be shopping for me.

So, yeah, here I am whining again. Get over it you say? Okay I say, I will try. Let me start by telling you about my kids. They are great. My daughter Allison,
is beautiful. She's a smart girl, and I can prove it too. She has straight A's this semester. Three of them are A+'s. I know, I'm bragging, but I think the world should know what an awesome person she is. She's creative, funny, talented and kind. Allison is a free spirit. She likes to make her own way in the world. I think that will mean a lot of mistakes as she grows, and truly, I am hoping that I will let her make those mistakes. I hope that I can balance my desire to protect her from the world with my understanding that she needs to experience it in order to learn to make good choices. She is learning. She does learn. She makes me proud. I don't really think she knows it though. Sure, I tell her, but I also let her know when I think she is doing wrong. In no uncertain terms. You know how it is. You tend to remember the negative more than the positive. I think she feels criticized. Which makes me sad because that was never what I wanted to convey. She makes me feel as though I made a good choice to become a parent. As she grows up I am finding that we spend less time together. She is making friends, getting homework and finding ways to entertain herself. Often when we go to relatives' homes she find herself in her little brothers' shadows. It's hard being older sometimes. Everyone ooohing and aahhhing over the little guys and no one really making space for you.

Don't get me wrong. The relatives don't ignore her. They say hello and ask her about how she's doing. My mother-in-law and father-in-law probably do the most to make sure she is valued for herself. They work on little projects with her, they pick out books from the town library book sale for her. They're great. It's just that her brothers are just at ages that require more maintenance. She is more self-sufficient. She's not the squeaky wheel, so she doesn't get the grease. Hopefully she will see soon that it's only temporary. As her brothers get older and aren't quite the handful that they are now, she will get more attention.

Here's my middle guy, Christopher. He's the sweetest five year old you would ever want to know. I'm saying that because I think he really is. Not just because he's mine. He's thoughtful, oh my gosh he makes me want to hold him close and cry because he's more thoughtful than I EVER remember being at his age. He offered to give up his karate classes because he heard that we were having to tighten our belts financially. He loves his karate classes, so for him to offer this is huge.

Let me give you another example of his sweetness. We have toy jail. I will explain this so you will appreciate what Christopher did. In my home, we are clutter freaks. I am a terrible housekeeper. There I said it. Well, I am hoping that my kids will learn better habits than me, so I try to keep the clutter to a dull wave as much as possible. Toy jail was instituted to try to stem the tide of stuff that accumulates in our home. There are so many papers from school, McDonald's toys, gifts from Christmas and birthdays, and clothes...things were EVERYWHERE for a bit. My children are free to leave stuff around their rooms, and even in the playroom downstairs if they so choose. The first floor, however, is off limits. By the end of the day, they are required to go around and pick up anything that they have left on this floor. This is the floor with the kitchen, the dining and living rooms. It also has my husband and I's bedroom, but that is off limits for their stuff anyway. If their stuff is not put away by the end of the day it goes to toy jail. Toy jail is a box on the porch. A big, rubbermaid box. Where it stays until they do a chore to get the desired item out of jail. If they don't do the chores to get the items out then I donate the items to charity. I figure if it sits in there a month it can't be that important to them anyway, right?

So where does Christopher's sweetness play a role in toy jail you ask? Well, about two weeks ago he asked if he could do some chores to get stuff out of toy jail. I said, "Sure." I gave him some Clorox wipes and told him to wipe off all the smudges that were on the cabinets. He spent about two hours wiping the smudges off. When all was said and done he got down and got his sister's stuff out of toy jail. Tell me that isn't sweet. No one had said or even suggested that he do this. He's such a good boy.

He's also very coordinated. He was walking at nine months old. He can climb anything. I never had to worry about him falling down off equipment on the playground. He just didn't do that. He runs, he climbs, he jumps. He's already riding his bike without training wheels. I think he's going to be my all-star boy. He's good at sports and people seem to like him. He's a great kid.

Another great kid? My son Daniel. This is him: isn't he cute? I know, I'm bragging again. Sorry, but this blog is for me remember. I can brag if I want to. And if you can't brag about your kids, who can you brag about? Daniel is three. He is more like my side of the family than either of the other two. How you ask? He will bite off his nose to spite his face. He will challenge you in ways that the other two would never dream of. He cannot be swayed from his opinion. He wants what he wants and oh my gosh...his temper. Definitely a Lallas thing (my maiden name). He is very independent. He is content to play by himself and not worried about what anyone thinks. Not a conformist in any way. You can get him to cooperate, but only with reverse psychology. Otherwise it comes to fisticuffs, verbal threats of bedtime or time out...or spankings.

He makes my heart melt though. He tells me that I am beautiful and that he is going to grow flowers for me. He tries to ice my boo boos (I was hospitalized over the summer for a problem in my leg). He loves to cuddle. He loves to talk and walk. It broke my heart to take him out of preschool. We just couldn't afford it. He's a year early anyway, but he was getting so much out of it.

Who knew that when he made his entrance he would make such an impression? He fell out. Literally. Oh yeah. Broke the umbilical cord in two places and banged his head on the floor. That was his introduction to life outside the womb. They actually put in a new rule at the hospital after he was born to prevent it from happening again. A trail blazer from the start. Had to do things his own way.

Monday, December 8, 2008


So I just finished working out with my husband. Lately, we have been adjourning to the basement after dinner and kids go to bed to lift weights. After we lift weights, we either use our Wii Fit, or belly dance. Yeah. Belly dance. It's kind of neat. I wish I could be less self-conscious about it. Why self-conscious you say? Well...I don't exactly have a dancer's body. Plenty of belly though. We started doing this as a way of trying something new. It could be fun if I stop feeling as if someone is watching us.

That's another product of being who I am. I always feel like I am being watched. People think I am this good girl. But it really isn't that I am that good. It's just that I know that if I do something wrong it will be when someone is watching. I have managed to avoid situations that might cause me to compromise myself. I wouldn't want anyone to see that. It's an awful feeling to think you are unnoticed and to find out that you are wrong.

When I was in high school I was seeing this guy. He was a nice guy. But apparently had no sense of privacy or boundaries. I was crying and sharing something deeply personal with him. I thought I was sharing a deep and personal fear with only him. I had my back to him because I was ashamed of what I was sharing. Well, unbeknownst to me, several of my friends and acquaintences had been quietly stepping into the room. They had silently listened to me pour out my heart. I had been sobbing and saying things that I only wanted my boyfriend to hear. I turned around and there they were. I was horrified. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated and ashamed. And I'm discovering over twenty years later that I was and am angry. Why would someone do that? Why would you allow others to hear private confessions that are being confided in you and you alone?

That was many years ago, but the lesson it taught me was to never say things out loud that you wouldn't want repeated in front of a large studio audience. So, for the most part, I don't. By blogging, I am in fact creating a large studio audience. I hope I am always honest with my audience, but I cannot promise that. If something feels ingenuine to you, just know that it probably comes from fear of what may be thought of me if I share what I really think.

Yeah...back to the narcissism that is rampant in my personality. Who the hell cares what I really think anyway? It's not like I am some big celebrity or star or something. But to lay yourself bare is an act of trust or exhibitionism...or both. Maybe someone will care and have something to say. But maybe they won't. Maybe this will just allow me to sharpen my writing skills. If so, so be it.

I thought I would share with you another reason I am blogging. My daughter. She asked me a few weeks ago, "Mommy, what would you like to be?" When I said, "I am what I would like to be honey, your mommy," she replied, "No, I mean besides that. What would you want to do if you didn't have children to raise?" It made me very aware of the fact that she is watching. She is evaluating both me and her place in the world. I have a responsibility as her mother to be a good example. To be a good example I cannot simply be her mom. She needs to see that I am more than that. My existence is separate from her. She needs to see that I will continue to exist when she no longer needs or wants me, even if that lack of need or desire is temporary. She has to see that she is not responsible for defining me.

What's hard about that is that she and her brothers do define me. That may be wrong. Everyone I speak to says that is wrong. I should have a career separate from raising my children. I have seen first hand what happens when you don't. My mother has spent her life defining herself as a wife and a mother. People can say what they want to about whether she has done it well or not, but wife and mother are the parameters she has set to live her life within. At times while I was growing up I could see that she deeply resented those parameters. She wanted more, but she grew up during an era where you were not supposed to want more if you were a woman. You weren't much of a woman if you couldn't find a man and keep a man. Having children was a given. I truly believe that if she had been born in another era she would not have had children. She will probably be furious with me if she ever reads this, but I think if she is honest with herself she will see that she personally never really wanted children. That is not a judgement of her as a mother so much as a statement of fact.

Her resentment came through a good portion of the time me and my siblings were growing up. She had skills and talents that were not being tapped. They couldn't be. She had children to raise and a husband to please. Her interests were okay if they brought extra support and stability to the family, but she never really was able to delight in things simply because she liked them.

I am planning to not make that mistake. It's hard though. My children need me. I want them to need me. While I am trying to teach them some independence, it hurts every time they say they don't need me for something. I tend to take it more personally though when I don't have other things going on in my own life for my own sake.

That's what writing is about. I write for me. So I have something that is mine. Maybe someday I will be published. That is a fervent wish, but I won't stop writing if nothing ever gets published. I don't even really know what sort of things I would write would get published. I suppose I could say that I am already published. I was a reporter for the Beverly Times while I was in college. They published several of my articles. But, my inner editor says, people weren't running to buy the Beverly Times because your article was in there. My answer? So what. I still got published.

Maybe my book will get finished and published. Yeah. I am writing a book. Currently, I have turned down the creative fires down to low and am letting the proverbial pot simmer, but I am still working on a book. Maybe I will never finish it. I think I will, but who knows? I participated in Nanowrimo this year (check out if you don't know what I am talking about) and I have a good head start on a book now.

While I am talking about this book, I want to thank my brother in law. He will probably never read my blog, but he should be thanked. He was a huge encouragement to me during Nanowrimo. He signed up as well so he could sort of bite at my heels. I need that at times. Especially when I am afraid. And I am afraid to write. Why? Well, because, like that boyfriend of so long ago, I fear that while I am pouring out my heart, an audience will slip in unannounced and listen. I am afraid that I may say something that reveals who I am really to this audience and that they may be unfriendly. But that's the creative process, isn't it? Isn't the creative process supposed to be revelatory? Indicative of our human frailties? Of mine?

So, I remind you that I welcome your input. But remember, I bruise easily, so be nice.
So here I 2:51am...awake. This probably means that when my daughter gets up to get ready for school, I will be exhausted, but, such is my life. I tried the whole deep breathing thing and trying to not think about needing to sleep, but no go. So I have given in and decided that I am up for the nonce. If you're up late too I feel your pain. Particularly if you are going to need to be up and alert soon.

By nature I am a night owl, so being awake right now doesn't really feel too bad. But I will pay for it later. I will try to make sure no one else pays, but to be honest, they probably will. Because, remember, I'm a narcissist. It IS all about me. I'd like to say I was different, that I would be the archetypical mother figure arising early and making life oh-so-much sweeter for those around her by her early rising, but I'm not a liar. I'll probably be grouchy. I'll try not to be too grouchy. But I probably will be grouchy. I hate being awake in the morning. 95% of the world seems to think its important to do so, so I guess I have to jump on the conformity wagon like it or not, but if asked, I will tell you that I hate being awake in the morning. The early bird gets the worm? Well, I have no interest in worms. I'll let my cat out to get the early bird so it will shut up and I can get some more sleep.

I have so much to do. I wish I could do it at night without disturbing anyone. I'm more productive then anyway. But I would keep people awake. Little people that would make it hard for me to accomplish what I was staying up to accomplish. Bless their hearts but they find new and interesting ways to be underfoot. But enough whining.

What do I have to do you ask? I have Christmas decorations to take out and place. I have decided to set up the Christmas Village scene that was given to me by my son's ex-preschool teacher. It's going to be set up on the porch. I hope that will be alright since we have no porch door at the moment. Why is that? You may wonder. Well, I don't know for sure, but I have seen my five year old riding the door on a couple of occassions like a pony. He grabs the doorlatch and hangs from it and swings. I didn't specifically see him break it, so I can't blame him directly. I'm willing to bet that he did that on more than one occassion though and I am positive that the door manufacturers did not have that particular use in mind when they produced this particular screen door. So the door fell off right before Halloween and we haven't replaced it yet. Hopefully the weather won't be so wild that I can't place the decorations out though.

It snowed today. My kids went out to play in it. I was asleep and missed it. I did get to see my daughter and son catching snowflakes on their tongues. I wanted to capture the moment on film, but they stopped doing it while I was getting the camera. Grrrr...just the way it always goes.

What else do I have to do? Well...let's see. I should probably go grocery shopping. We currently have very little to eat for breakfast. That probably means I will stay up after blogging and make pancake batter so my daughter can have breakfast. I also need to put away laundry. Yeah, I know, exciting, but remember, I live a very unfunky life. I also would like to make fudge for the neighbors. Yeah. Fudge. It's kind of my thing around Christmas. I like to experiment with making different kinds of fudge. Then I give the results to the neighbors. They think I am being neighborly, when truth be told I am avoiding putting on about 600 pounds of pure chocolate. Sure, I want them to enjoy the fudge...but more importantly, I do NOT want ME to enjoy the fudge. I just like to make it. If it also creates a better neighborhood, so much the better.

I also have to wrap Christmas presents. I don't want things to go like they usually go with gift wrapping. Hubby and I usually wait until Christmas Eve and then wrap all of the gifts. We are usually up until about 3 am Christmas Eve. Not such a good way to do things, but it is very hard to find time alone to wrap gifts. The kids are usually around trying to see what I am up to. I have managed to buy gifts online this year and many are hidden around the house. Even hubby's. But I can't seem to find a good time to wrap them.

I also need to set up the office upstairs. We just got a second computer. We got it because I am going to telecommute for work. I need there to be a quiet place to do that where background noise is eliminated. Setting up the office is going to be a job. I have to get all the stuff that is currently in there out, some of which is my daughters (grrr...more on her some other time) and some of which is stuff we want in there. But I gotta figure out how to set upstairs up so I can work. Plus I am hoping it will be a space where I can write and the kids will not be able to mess around with the computer. They have one set up in the dining room that they can use. This one will be for adults only. Period.

I need to put the boxes of Halloween decorations up in the loft. Yeah, I know, Halloween was about a month and a half ago. Blah blah blah. Don't whine at me about how I should have already taken care of it. I know. But as soon as I start to bring stuff up to the loft, Christopher, my five year old, bless his heart, wants to help and I do NOT want him up there. Christmas central is up there (maybe he knows that...and that is why this five year old wants to help you say? Not likely. He's a sweet kid. He just wants to help). So the Halloween stuff is on my porch. In a box. Ready to go.

Another thing I need to do? I need to buy curtains. They'd probably cut down on our heating costs. But they cost money. I'm trying to avoid spending money right now. Except on Christmas. I want my kids to enjoy their Christmas. But it occurs to me that maybe they would enjoy their Christmas even more if we weren't stressed out about money...maybe I should just put up the frackin curtains.

I've got to answer the homeschooling question soon too. It seems that hubby is willing to be experimental with the preschooler's education. Let's try with him first he says. Then we'll see about the others. so I have to decide which curriculum to go with. I think I may have found what I am looking for, but I would like to learn a little more before making a final decision. I have a couple of friends who are home schooling and I've shot them emails to see what they are doing and what their experiences have been. I've also asked them to outline the pros and cons of homeschooling as they see it. We'll see what comes back.

I'm not sure if I am the person to do the homeschooling thing, but I feel at this point I have to at least try it. I don't know if I am disciplined enough. But maybe I could be. I'd love to give my kids this creative, love of learning experience that opens doors for them. I hope that I can think "outside the box" (God I hate that term...mostly because it has become "a phrase" that people use but don't really mean).

Well, I have more to say, but I'm running out of steam, so I think I'll sign off for now. I have to go make pancakes for my daughter. Hopefully. If I don't hear that friggin early bird.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Okay guys, so here's my bitch session. I love Steve and he's a great guy and WONDERFUL father, but he seems to have this issue with me going to sleep when I come home from an 11-7 shift. He finds any excuse to wake me up. I'm trying not to lose my temper, but I'm coming close to clubbing him like a baby seal.

He wakes me up today because my daughter's friend called to find out if she could come over. He felt I needed to call Brooke's mom to discuss. WHY? Can he not decide whether or not she can go over without me? His explanation was that we needed to go pick out decorations as a family for our lawn and I needed to work out with Brooke's mom how Allison could (if she wanted to go) go over around those plans, and IF she could go.

Now I'm kind of tired, so perhaps I am not seeing what the complication is here. But I really felt this was something he could have fielded on his own. Did he really need to wake me up for it? Really? I'm trying not to bite his head off, but I have to have my act together for the kids tomorrow, and if I don't want to be a real grouch, I need my 8 hours. Can't he understand that? Is it too much to ask to ask him to figure that out? Or am I just being a jerk and need to suck it up so we can do our family holiday stuff?

This morning when I first came home he and Christopher were spread-eagled across the bed. I lay down on the couch so I didn't have to disturb them. He wakes me up because Christopher peed on our bed. He said he needed help changing the sheets. Really? He couldn't handle changing the sheets so I could sleep? I was exhausted.

Gotta go...he's home and I want to try to sleep before he decides I have to do something else.

Home Schooling?

Here's something that I want to discuss: Home Schooling vs. Public Education. I'm embedding (hopefully) a video about homeschooling here. I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

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I'd like to home school. I'm not sure if I should or not. But here's what I see as a benefit. My kids would have a teacher who had their best interests at heart and didn't have to make the curriculum fit 30+ students. My daughter's teacher, for instance, is doing a fabulous job in my humble opinion, but she has several other students to teach. She is faced with teaching to an audience that has varying levels of capability. She herself told us that Allison could skip fourth grade altogether and she would do fine. So are we holding Allison back by just letting her be part of the system?

My husband says he thinks she gets something valuable from attending public school. He thinks she needs the interaction with others. She needs to learn to cope with frustrating situations, different people, and being away from Mom. I can see his point. But...

I don't know if the worries about socialization are valid or not. It seems like there are plenty of ways to socialize. Extra-curricular activities. Play dates. Volunteerism. These are all ways she and my boys could be getting the extra socialization that they need.

But I worry. About me. I'm not a cheery person all the time. Maybe I would be more of a cheery person if I felt that they were getting more of what they needed from their education. But maybe not. My mother in law has talked with me about home schooling and she has said she worries about the amount of time it would consume. Bless her heart I know she has my best interests at heart, but my children are my life and I couldn't think of a more valuable thing to do with my time.

The other comment my husband has made is about our lack of organization in general. He doesn't have much faith in our ability to keep organized enough to stay on track with our children's education. Now, I will admit it, I am a terrible housekeeper...but I don't think that necessarily equals a disaster for our children's education. Some very creative people are not the most organized. Besides, I've always been more organized about my work life than I am about my home life. Maybe that would translate onto the educational scene.

I'd be very interested in your feedback. If you know me personally, feel free to comment about what you know about me personally as it relates to my ability to educate my children.

So What Exactly Am I Going to Talk About?


Here I am again, as I said I would be. If things aren't too busy here at work I will be able to write. I've been thinking as I took a shower, got ready and drove in to work that I should probably be a bit more focused about how I write. I seem to follow several different threads at once.

I guess I haven't exactly decided the purpose of this blog. I mean, I suppose I could say its a sort of online journal and leave it at that. If that is the case, than I suppose I don't owe it to anyone to have any sort of organization. But if that is all it is, then why not just keep a journal and be done with it? The purpose of a blog, I think, is that others can read it too. Perhaps in reading it they can identify with your experience and you will feel less alone in the world (or they will).

I think that while that is true and I will make an effort to have some train of thought that is intellible here, I make no promises. Why? Because I am hoping that I can write some of the darkness out of myself. This is sort of my poor man's therapy I guess you'd say.

That being the case, I will try not to be too whiny. But I don't promise. My best writing tends to come when I am writing for myself. If you don't like what you are reading, you are free not to read. I promise I won't be insulted. You can even tell me that is why you are no longer reading. That is okay too. But I wouldn't mind it if you told me when what I write touches you in some way, if it does. Because I think I am searching for relevance. If someone tells me that what I said meant something to them or helped them in some way, that is the highest compliment I can receive.

So yes, this blog is a tad narcissistic. I will put that right up front. But I hope it can help others too. So I will try to address a couple of things in an orderly fashion. The other thing I will get right up front is that I tend to think of life and my experiences in relation to quotes from music, movies, books I've read. If this annoys you, I am sorry. All I can say in response is that I am writing for me. Maybe in my life outside of the blog I am more giving, more thoughtful and such, but this is for me. I will not try to annoy, hurt or insult anyone intentionally, but if you are anyways, just know that I am really sorry, but for whatever reasons I have, I felt the need to say whatever I said.

So, with that out of the way, what precisely am I writing about? Well...let's see. I plan to write about a number of things. I thought about that while I was driving. I thought that maybe a stream of consciousness kind of bl0g might be interesting. But then, there are many things that I write about and think about that may not interest you. So I will try to list what I plan to write about. Just remember the first rule: the blog is for me. I hope you enjoy what I write, but I may wander off topic at times.

Here's my list of things that I think I will write about:
1.) My search for meaning - yeah...trite I know, especially when I say it like that, but that's what it boils down to. I often feel like WTF? Why are we here? What specifically is important about my existence? There are many attitudes that I try to adopt while I am riding this piece of rock we call earth, hopefully some of them are useful and have integrity, but why EXACTLY am I here? Aren't there enough people here? Did I really need to exist? If not, why do I? If I did need to exist, then what precisely am I here to do?
2.) My family. Whacky. Beautiful. Flawed. Imperfect. Yeah, like everyone else on the planet, I have a family. Like most people that will really admit the truth, my family is as far from Walton Mountain as you can get. They annoy me. They make me laugh. I cheer for them. Sometimes I want to throttle them. But their mine all mine. And I'm stuck with them. And they're stuck with me. I hope if any of the members of my family read any of what I write, they will understand that I write stuff here out of love and a hope to learn to cope. Perhaps I will add to the family drama (God I hope not...I HATE drama), but hopefully I will add to the richness and they will understand how deeply I love them even though I don't always love their behaviors. Before they have a chance to say anything about my flaws I want them to know that I am fully aware of them. I have many. Too many to list here. But I am still going to bitch about them sometimes.
3.) Issues from the past. I have trouble letting go of stuff. Maybe by writing about it I will learn to let go. I bruise easily, and when I do, I withdraw. Partly to lick my wounds, but mostly because I often don't understand why I'm on the outside again. I often feel like an outsider. Like there was this bright circle of light etched around certain people. These people appear happy, fulfilled and carefree. They seem to have doors opened for them, they win lotteries, get good jobs and take fun vacations. It seems effortless. Which would be fine, I wish them well, but I must say I feel that I was not given the golden key or something. Maybe I was absent the day they handed the golden keys out. And no one will tell me where I sign up for one.
4.) Religion and politics. Yeah. I have views. I don't feel the need to share them everywhere with everyone, but I do have them. Some of the people in my life have heard some of my thoughts, but usually I try to be sensitive to what others might think. I especially try to remember that there are opposing views. But I may not necessarily do that here. I might...but mostly to try to hash it out. If you want to comment about what I say, by all means, do so. Just don't flame me. For those of you who don't know what flaming is, it's when YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS TO INDICATE YOU ARE YELLING. This won't help. It won't change my views either. I can agree to disagree with you...and you are free to disagree with me. I hope you agree with at least SOME of what I say, but if you don't that's okay too. If you hate discussing religion and/or politics, feel free to skip over this stuff and say nothing. I won't tell. I promise.
5.) Stuff my kids or pets do. I love my children and my pets. I wish I could have more of both, but it seems my life is not working out to be a free wheeling, kid full, animal full existence. I have five children as I said in an earlier post, but only three of them have survived me. My first, Thomas, which I am sure I will write about in this blog, died from a congenital heart defect. My last was a miscarriage. Probably because I suffered a catastrophic illness this passed summer and my body was just not ready for a pregnancy. I have been blessed with three children in between these two tragedies. They are smart, beautiful, funny, needy, creative beings. I love them with all my heart and soul and can only hope that I am doing the job I need to as parent well. I will from time to time talk about frustrations I have with them here, doubts, fears, and triumphs that they have. If you are "one of those" who feel that we breeders are idiots for not maintaining a zero population growth, just know that my children are insurance against suicide. That probably sounds harsh, but they are. I love them and would never want them to feel abandoned or rejected. So I have to stay. Maybe while I am staying I will figure out why I am supposed to be here. See? I am really narcisstic. I told you.

So now that I have that list out of the way, what shall we discuss tonight (or today as the case may IS after all, 1:20am)?

One topic that is on my mind is the idea of being able to let go. I don't really know how to you see. I hang on to things F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Want an example? I'll give you one. I had this friend in junior high (I told you that I hold onto things). We were very close. We had a HUGE falling out in high school. We went our separate ways. We kind of reconnected in college. But not really. This friend was going through the whole party-til you puke thing. It wasn't really my scene. But I loved her nonetheless. But she ditched me as a friend. She disappeared and resurfaced in Washington state. She is now married and has two children. She is a writer and an artist. She has a blog of her own. It's pretty cool. Check it out: . I even wrote her a note because I found her on facebook. She wrote me back and said that she sometimes dreams about me. But she did not indicate that she misses me or that she wants to rekindle the friendship. To make matters worse, she's friends...apparently really good friends with a girl (woman now) who was VERY mean to me back in high school. I'm out and this other person is in.

Why is that? Why did she dump me for this other person? I should be over it. But I'm so not. It hurts so much even as I write this. Why does it matter? I don't know. It just does. She is living such a full life. I am happy for her. Her husband is an artist, she writes like she has always wanted to, and I should move on and be happy knowing that she finally found happiness. But I can't seem to. She sits in my heart. I think about her and I want to cry because I miss her. We were very close. I have no idea what would happen if she ever came back into my life. Part of me says to be careful for what you wish for, you might just get it. But my mind keeps going back to her. I don't know if it's because of some unfinished business or if perhaps I still want her to be a part of my life. She is a different person now. She knows almost nothing about me. Doesn't really need to. I think the chapter of her life that included me is closed. But only for her. Am I pathetic or what?

Saturday, December 6, 2008


So, as I said, I'm new to the blogger thing. As I understand it, these things are like, online journal entries where you can talk about stuff. Well, I'm going to talk about blogging and the technical mumbo jumbo that seems to be involved.

I am aggravated. I just tried to sign in. Google wouldn't recognize my password, so it forced me to go through this dumb process where you have to look at and retype letters that looked like they went through a taffy machine. My flippin eyesight is getting worse as I get older, so asking me to do this is just mean...I think of it as age descrimination. Hah!

I just finished writing that last paragraph and realize that I sound like an old geezer...I'm not even forty yet. I need to stop complaining. So let me adjust my support hose and my bifocals and I'll stop complaining.

This post will probably be short. I'll add more later when I'm at work, but for now it will probably be short. I think I'm just excited to be a "blogger" and am kind of poking the idea with a stick. Truth be told, I have started other blogs before...and forgotten about them. I just remembered that I started one on MySpace a while back. Never added more than a post or two.

Let's hope that this will be different. A new committment let's say. Maybe my desire to write will actually force this to develop into something...or not. We'll take this ride together, shall we. Fasten your seatbelt, but pull out a good book to refer to from time to time while you wait for me to post. I'm not sure how often I will post. I will blog without obligation as I have seen on another site recently. Some of what I write (probably more than some if the truth be told) will be crap, but hopefully I will develop some nuggets that are worth reading. Thanks in advance if you take the ride with me and work your way through the crappy posts to get to the good ones.

I was poking around at my friend Chris' blog. She has a good blog. Check it out: . She writes about her life and her family. She is a loving mom and an interesting writer. Very descriptive and bohemian in her prose. I love her ability to say what she thinks without worrying too much about how it sounds. I suppose she doesn't have to worry anyway...she is a kind person who has a nice way of looking at life. Don't get me wrong, she is very honest about what she sees in her life, but she doesn't use her blog like a bludgeoning hammer the way I am tempted to.

Another very interesting blog belongs to a guy named Kevin. His blog is: . I took a peek at his blog last night for the first time and he has some cool stuff posted there. I think one of the coolest things about Kevin is his title for work...I know, there are many cool things about Kevin, but I just have to say that there aren't many who can put on their resume that they are Groove Escalation Engineers. It sounds so cool. So happening. So techno-bohemian. I love it.

There's that word again: bohemian. I keep using that word. I do not think that word means what I think it means...I wonder what Webster's has to say about it. We'll look at that later. Pizza has arrived and I should hang with the fam before work. But think about that word...bohemian...while I'm eating. And look it up. I will too. I am...

Here I am at work. Plenty of time to write. What to write about. I've decided to have a blog because I like to write. If you think what I write is crap, please feel free to tell me, just try to be kind. I bruise easily.

So...what do I do? I'm a mother of 5, wife, dog and cat owner, and part time worker at a hospital. I don't do any of the heroic jobs, I'm just a lowly switchboard operator. But it helps. It helps me because I cannot feel good if I am not contributing to the financial security of my family. On an intellectual plane I know that being a stay at home mother has it's own contributions, but I think I just have it ingrained in me to not be a financial burden. I also think that as much as I hate the idea, I DO use money as a measuring in, how much do you make. Not that what I make is all that much, but at least I am attempting to create some reserves and not just be a drain. But back to helping. I think that being a switchboard operator on a per diem basis helps my children to see that everyone can contribute to the safety and stability of the family. I also think that it's important that I help the heroes and heroines of the hospital to connect with those that are in need.

My ideas of where I'd be in my life are so different than they used to be. When I was a wet-behind-the-ears graduate from college, I thought that when I grew up I would have a profession. I would "BE SOMEBODY." Maybe an obstetritian. Maybe a teacher. Maybe a journalist. Maybe a childcare provider. Maybe a theologian (yes, that WAS a consideration at one point). But now I'm just struggling to BE. I don't understand where people who do the full-time work and being a parent thing get the energy reserves. I just don't have them. I give what I have to my family, and not very well. Whatever I have left is given to my friends (mostly on Facebook) or my per diem job.

I suppose I should tell you a little bit about me. First, I am one of six children. The six of us are spread out across the country like jewels on a blanket. I am a middle child. I fill the role of peacemaker, avoider of the proverbial waves. I don't want to upset anyone. I am not particularly close to any save one of my siblings. Perhaps further down the road I will talk about that, but just now I don't feel I know you well enough to tell you about that stuff. I'm not at all sure that you want to hear it anyway.

But let me tell you about the sibling I AM close to. His name is Rob. Rob has been a real inspiration to me. When we were kids, he was a bit of a wild man. Always a good guy, but did his share of partying and did not want to go to college. That was for bookworms.

Well, Rob discovered that he couldn't get where he wanted to go after highschool unless he went to college. So after working in the blue collar world for a bit, he did indeed go to school, earn his degree and now he has the life he wanted. He's a go getter. He's willing to do what it takes to get to where he wants to be. He has the tenacity to get what he wants and no one is going to hold him back. I admire him deeply for this.

Believe it or not, I have that tenacity too. I just don't know what I want. It doesn't come quite as clear to me. Being a middle child I was taught not to worry about what I was more about making those around me happy so the boat did not get too rocked. I'm not sure I can break out of that. It has become a real hinderance to be a peacemaker, but it's part of who I am.

I'm not whining here either. I'm only describing. Maybe, at some point I will indeed whine, but for now, I am only describing things to you so you will know where I am coming from. When asked the direct question: What do you want? I cannot answer that. I have tried to think about what I want. I want world peace. I want a flower. I want a happy life. I want to live a good life. I want friends. I want music. I want funkyness. I want a left turn.

What's a left turn? A left turn is spontaneity. A left turn is an unusual experience. A break out of the hum drum ho hum life. A chance to not be plodding along, sheeplike, after some unattainable carrot that someone else tells me I should want. I want so much not to be like all the other 40-something women out there who are living lives of quiet desperation because that is what they are supposed to do if they are good girls and want to get into Heaven.

When I think about the people and faces in my life, they are diverse in some respects. Christine with her love of Shakespeare, Ellen with her devotion to hedonism, Brenda, my neighbor who is a single nurse and who seems so interesting in an earthy crunchy sort of way. I have friends that are public servants, who are self-servants and who serve God. Some of my friends are gun-toting, right-wing Republicans, and some of them are dyed-in-the-wool liberals who balk at the mere suggestion that a life growing inside a womb might have rights too.

I would like to think that I am an open-minded person. But I find it curious that I have no friends that are black. I have in the past, but not now. I have no friends that are gay, never have. Not because I would shun them, but it just never seems to have happened. And I wonder why. Do those who live alternative lifestyles have some kind of instinct that tells them to steer clear of me? Hmmmm...

My sister lives a quite funky life (from my perspective anyway). She and her boyfriend live in the midwest. They go to drag clubs. They go see Zepplin cover bands. She left New England after high school and has never looked back. She is carving out her own niche and I am proud of her. But she doesn't like me anymore. We had a falling out, and that was it. She kind of calls once in a while, but it isn't the same. I disappointed her and that is that. But I admire her from afar. She waits tables. She walks dogs. She takes classes. And she takes no prisoners. She is who she is. Thank God for that.

I have another sister. I haven't spoken to her in several years. Not because I don't want to. She just doesn't want anything to do with me. I don't really know why. Maybe I remind her too much of all the things in New England that hurt her. But I miss her. I hear second hand about how she is doing sometimes. She seems happy. I'm glad for her. I just wish she cared a little about me. As I said in the beginning, I bruise easily.

I have children. I told you earlier that I have five. That's kind of true. I had five pregnancies, four live births and currently have three of those children living with me. Our firstborn had some serious congenital heart defects and he died. I think about him every day. His name was Thomas.

After Thomas died I did a lot of advocacy work in his memory. I got so wrapped up in the advocacy that I started to neglect my surviving children, so I backed off. I hope to go back to it some day. We'll see.

I'm new to this blog thing, so if I am all over the place, forgive me. I want to say something meaningful and funkadelic, but I probably won't. If I keep reminding myself that I am writing because I like to write maybe it will be better writing. If I remember that others may read this, I get self conscious (like now) and write garbage. But even if it's garbage, I suppose I am still writing. Shame on you if you keep reading garbage.