100 Things, Part Two

It’s cold and rainy here today, so I thought it would be a good day for dreaming. And it was, although it seems like this list is a bit more coupled than the previous one, i.e. two points having to do with travel, two points having to do with writing, with the kids, etc. It’s interesting how this stuff comes to me. I’m writing in the library today, so my first thoughts had everything to do with books and writing. But eventually spread out to my two favorite dream topics – travel and food. It’s been a trying day, so this was a good exercise in letting it all go in favor of focusing on the happy, the jubilant, the everything there is to look forward to.

26. Read at least one “classic” book every three months
27. Go on a girl’s getaway retreat every year
28. Have cats
29. Have the time to go through every part of The Louvre without rushing
30. Have house plants
31. Figure out how to grow a huge herb garden inside so I always have fresh herbs
32. Become fluent in German again
33. Learn Brazilian Portuguese
33. Always have fresh cut flowers in the house
34. Go to SouthxSouthwest
35. Make my children laugh every single day
36. Go on a driving tour of the Pacific Northwest for our 10 year wedding anniversary
37. Figure out how to paint my own toenails whilst pregnant
38. Adopt a baby
39. Have a dedicated space to write that is chock full of all my favorite things
40. Find the perfect BBQ
41. Learn how to make the best fried chicken
42. Write a story about dragons
43. Go into space
44. Find a way to finance a trip to document the origins and best comfort food in the world for a book
45. Go back to Nebraska every year to visit family
46. Cook with the children as much as possible
47. Go on a trip entirely of my husband’s design
48. Start a children’s museum
49. Find a fly fishing mentor for The Boy after his Papa is gone
50. Own a car with flames painted on the sides

3/25/10 - Gentle Day

I got to meet my Dad’s hospice nurse today. I’d talked to her on the phone a few weeks ago, but it was nice to put a face with the name. She’s super sweet and genuinely seems to like my Dad and vice versa. It was interesting to watch them talk and see everything that she keeps track of. I really had no idea what to expect. But she took all his vitals, counted out his meds to see what needed to be re-ordered and talked to him for quite a while about his pain levels and just in general how he was doing. It was nice to watch someone with him whose entire reason for being here was to support him. To do anything and everything she could to make and keep him comfortable and see that his needs were being met. There was no distraction or agenda; she was fully and completely here with him while she was here. It made me happy to see and it was also nice to get an objective evaluation of how he is doing. Because it’s really easy to get dragged down into the daily pill monitoring, the ever vigilant watching of his every wince and sigh, wondering when his body will finish this betrayal it has perpetuated upon him and everyone who loves him. It’s easy to allow yourself to sink into the drama and trauma of the whole thing, to lose perspective. So a dose of objectivity does wonders for tempering what the mind will talk you into.

And I think if I can pry The Girl out of her favorite princess nightgown, that will one day soon be permanently melded to her skin, I might take the kiddos into town for a little treat this afternoon since Dad is taking a nap and I’d like to get them away from the TV. I’ve spent the majority of the day making my Mom CD’s, catching up on writing and writing Easter/thank you cards to The Sisters and my cousin D for their lovely trip here. It’s been a nice easy day. The sun is out, the wind isn’t blowing. It feels like a gentle day.

3/24/10 - Growth Spurt

There must be twins in there. Good God. I’m now 10 weeks along and I am officially out of all my regular pants. Even my great big jeans that I typically cannot wear without a tightly cinched belt are too tight. I am noticeably showing which I think shocks me more than anything because I’m not a small woman. So it typically takes me a bit longer to really look pregnant instead of just “fluffy” around the middle. But there is a bump. Staring back at me in the mirror. Making my shirts poke out in strange ways and buttoning my jeans make me gasp for breath.

And I’m still feeling pretty good. Although I think I can tell when this kid is going through growth spurts because there is a marked change in my appetite and level of fatigue. I mean, I’m pretty much tired all the time, don’t get me wrong, but the last day or so I’m falling asleep if I sit still for longer than 2 minutes. And things go downhill fast if I don’t eat the minute I notice I’m hungry. Like break out in a cold sweat, come close to fainting in the middle of Target, shaking violently downhill.

It’s a strange limbo though. There is a part of me that knows that I’m pregnant, that is still doing cartwheels with excitement. And then there is the part of me that is so wrapped up here with my kids and my Dad that I keep forgetting there’s a little bean in there and that yes, it’s entirely appropriate for me to eat several times a day and that I must remember to drink more water. But ultimately it just adds a nice shining light to the overall peace I’m in right now. Which is definitely a big bonus to be sure. I know that the peace I’m so grateful for right now could shift at any moment if I let it. Could easily be eaten again by anger or impatience. So I’m hoping between the two that perhaps they can support each other, give each other strength and perseverance. To keep growing and blossoming in their own gorgeous ways.

3/23/10 - Gratitude for Acceptance

What a lovely day. My Mom took the kids for some good old fashioned Nana/grandchildren quality time and I spent the day with my Dad. I had to follow him into town so that he could drop his truck off to get the brakes fixed (finally!). But mostly we just spent the day alternately chatting and reading. We talked about all sorts of stuff from fluffy chitchat stuff to how the kids were doing with the new knowledge of his impending death to how he was doing with his impending death. It was such a lovely day. And it was a day that I could not have had with him even a month ago.

I think I had to go away for a couple of months to do my own work. To trudge through the deep anger I had. To make peace with the denial and fear of facing my life and the world without my Dad. Now I am able to sit with him, as his daughter, and talk or just be in silence. And I cannot tell you what that means to me. After 33 years, there is finally peace in our relationship. There is understanding, love and acceptance for who we both are and what we had to experience to get here. I mean, I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl. Even when I was so angry at him I could hardly see straight, I was a Daddy’s girl. But through the internal work we have both done over the past couple of months, our relationship has reached a new level.

There is a tremendous amount of freedom in this acceptance. Freedom to cry at the beauty of his life and all that he’s given. Freedom to celebrate this man who played such a gigantic role in shaping who I am and who my children are. Freedom to laugh as things arise regardless of how irreverent or inappropriate that laughter may be and because we’d both rather laugh than cry. And while I would do almost anything to be able to take this revelation far into the future with my Dad, I plan on making every single second I have with him count.

3/22/10 - Isolation

The Sisters (and cousin) headed back to the airport this morning. And I was once more thrust into my least favorite thing about being at my parents’ house. The isolation. They don’t have any internet access at all, often lose phone service due to wind/rain/general crappy weather conditions and I’m at least 30 minutes from any semblance of civilization. At least civilization that does not include the savagely overpriced convenience stores meant for tourists that are but a short car jog from my parents’ house.

I mean, it’s nice for the kids. They love being able to be in the middle of nowhere. Able to run freely, scream without limits and discover new bugs, sticks and other sundry valuables. And for them, I love it here. And for my Dad, as this is where his true spirit resides. In the rocks and bluffs, in the scrub brush and cottonwood trees, and above all else, in the river. But I deeply value my daily connections with people, even when those connections are often only online. I miss the odd wave and hello with our neighbors. I miss the sweet phone calls from friends just calling to check in. I miss IM’ing with friends I hardly ever get to see. I just miss the connections. When I’m here keeping up with those connections not only is inconvenient, it also feels wholly selfish for some reason. Perhaps because I have to take such a large chunk of time away from my Dad to go into town to touch base with those connections. Perhaps because I have to continually hush my children in the library while I’m checking in with those connections. Perhaps because it is selfish. But at the same time I feel like I have to be able to give myself permission to be selfish in this way, because it is these connections who have helped me find my way away from the anger and denial and into acceptance. So that I can be here with my Dad and truly just be here, in whatever capacity he needs me. And that is, truly, such a gift. Perhaps what feels selfish is just me taking care of me.

3/21/10 - Solace in Baking

I went cooking and baking crazy today. I was all twitchy today because my dad took my children for a walk to tell them he was dying. He and I had talked about the best way to break it to them, to start that conversation with them. I mean, I had started the general death conversation with The Boy already, but had not applied any of that to my Dad as of yet. And today, my Dad did exactly that.

The Girl took it all in stride of course. I think she’s still close enough to that other side for it not to frighten her or make her feel like she’ll be really losing anything. The Boy, however, had a rough afternoon. I wish more than anything that my husband had been here because The Boy latched onto my cousin D (him being the only other man here besides my Dad) and took him into a conversation I’m not at all sure D was prepared for, especially with a kid he had known for about 2 days. But they both did great. I just watched from the kitchen door in between mixing, measuring and chopping.

It was not an easy thing for my Dad either, but he did a beautiful job with it and was able to hold it together for his grandchildren. I am pretty sure I would not have been able to do that. In fact, I was not able to really hold it together much so I buried my face in lemon bars and angel food cake cookies. Potato Salad and Cole Slaw. I have never been so grateful to have such a hoard to feed with all the family here.

Thankfully tonight Aunt T set down with Dad for another round of interrogation that ended with the best story yet of how my Dad talked his high school biology teacher into letting him perform surgical procedures on a rat, namely removing one of its kidneys. Which he then had to take home for the summer as his personal charge. He hid the animal in the garage only to be summoned one day by my Grandma’s ear splitting scream. Best. Story. Ever.

3/20/10 - Let the Storytelling Begin

My Aunt T and Aunt S spent about three hours interviewing my dad tonight while my Aunt J videotaped the whole thing. So many stories and memories now forever committed to the teeny, tiny DVD in our video camera. She asked him about everything from childhood memories, to fly fishing, to how many times he actually got in trouble with his mom and dad, to his best field foraging exploits. Stories dating back to the very beginning of my Dad’s memories. Inciting laughter and jeers from his sisters he held us all captive as he rolled from one story to the next, urged on by Aunt T’s questions and prodding. It was such a lovely evening. I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed as much as I have tonight and all through the day.

I adore these women and I cannot put into words how grateful I am that they are here. I have two Aunt S’s, bookending these siblings. I’ve never really gotten to know the oldest, she’s 4 years older than my dad and never really went out of her way to be nice to me. So unless I was thrown into the same room with her, I just sort of ignored her. But today I’ve spent more time talking to her than the rest of my life put together. And she’s really funny and smart and sweet. She and my dad really renewed their relationship before my Grandma died. Aunt S runs the nursing home that my Grandma was in and my dad, being the second oldest, really stayed in close contact with her to help make decisions and such. And it’s been nice to see that relationship in action. There’s a really wonderful mutual respect there on top of all the shared history and brother/sister foundations. And it’s been fun to hear snippets of the family history from before my dad’s memory as well. Interesting to hear stories from a different perspective, from the first born.

And it’s given me some nice insight as well to see what stories my aunts want to hear versus the stories I’ve been asking for. It’s just such a gift to have them here.

3/19/10 - Sisters in the House!

My Dad’s five sisters and my cousin arrived today. This is an event that everyone has been a bit nervous about I think. For just about every reason you can think of. Families always have baggage, no matter their size, but this one has about as much as its size can carry. I think at the core of the worry is that that baggage will outweigh the fact that they are family. And it’s a worthwhile worry, to be honest. But one I hope can get set aside. And so far it has been, thank goodness.

I scraped together some homemade chicken noodle soup for everyone after they arrived and even though it took everyone awhile to find their conversational footing, I think it’s all going to work out just fine. For my part, I cannot even begin to put into words how lovely it was to see all of them. Except for Aunt T, I haven’t seen the rest of them since Grandma’s funeral, which was five years ago. And so much has happened for everyone since then. Some of them have become grandmothers for the first time, some for the second or third. My cousin has gotten married. Some have changed jobs or moved or had other big life changes. And there is simply the passage of time for us all.

Even though these women were not always home and comfort for me, they are now. There was a time when my Grandmother had to force these women to be nice to me under her fury. But over the years, we’ve all softened to each other and realized the depth of our family is stronger than any misled and misguided grudge that may have existed once upon a time. Which is a good thing. Because if ever there was a time to come together, it’s now. In the face of my father’s, and their oldest brother’s, death. Now is the time for telling stories, remembering growing up together in the countryside of Nebraska, loved so very dearly by two amazing parents.

And I’ll be cooking my ass off, so at least I’ll be busy should things go to hell and a hand basket.

3/18/10 - New Mexico at Last!

So, we made it to New Mexico, finally. The kids and I left today and arrived with no trouble and almost no delay to my parents’ house this evening. We had gorgeous, if windy, weather the entire way and the kids mostly listened to the audio book instead of driving me crazy with questions like “Are we there yet?” and “How much longer until we get there?” There were only a couple of dozen of those questions interspersed throughout the 6 hour drive. So I wasn’t entirely screaming, head spinning crazy by the time we arrived.

Not having a speedometer finally caught up with me however. I was so into the story we were listening to and how gorgeous the day was that I sort of lost track of the little tricks I have been using to check my speed. Well and the fact that it is a Thursday and there were hardly any cars on the road by which to gauge my speed. Except for the cop car. The totally nondescript, gray cop car with its lights hidden. Yeah. That one. And that one noticed that I was going quite a bit faster than I should have been, unfortunately. He pulled me over in Fort Garland and to tell you the truth, I was fairly astonished, that’s how little I was paying attention. When he told me how fast I was going all I could do was say “I’m so sorry! My speedometer is broken and I have no idea how fast I’m going, I was trying to keep track with my RPM’s, but obviously my system still needs work. I’m so sorry!!”

He looked at me with a bit of doubt, asked for my license, registration and proof of insurance and went back to his car. Where he stayed for about 20 minutes. When he returned with my ticket, he had taken pity upon me and knocked about 14 mph off the ticket and with a smirk told me I should probably get my speedometer fixed. I told him I would do it as soon as I could come up with the $600. He smiled again and wished me safe, and slow, travels.


The Price of Raw

When I started this blog a little over a year ago, I never really thought anyone would read it. Or at the very most I thought I’d have a few consistent readers, you know, people like my mom, maybe friends who I don’t get to see very often (and I was pretty much right). But that’s about it. I mean who wants to stick around for a 365-word-a-day snapshot of one woman’s life, regardless of how colorful her language is. I wasn’t doing it so that it would get read. I was doing it so that I could make myself write every day. It was just about the writing. It also turned out to be an incredible outlet for me during the hardest year of my life. A way to process an incredibly complicated and painful time of my life that simply could not be overlooked.

Probably the most consistent piece of feedback I’ve gotten on this blog is that it is raw. The emotions, the language, the situations. All of it is raw. And I’ve been called courageous and inspiring for being willing to air that rawness to the outside world. Now, I don’t know how courageous or inspirational I am, but I do know that raw was (is?) the only way for me to be. There’s just been too much to polish. Too much to try to hide or shirk or simplify.

For the most part, I’ve not let myself get too bogged down in worrying about what I put out there. Because as I said, I am not writing it because I need people to read it. So why should I give a shit what they think of it? And I don’t. Except for today I got dealt a sucker punch to the gut. Today I got handed down a sweeping judgment of myself, my life and my family. And it came in large part because of what I write here. Amidst the adrenaline fueled anger that I’ve been feeling all day, is also a deep sadness. Sadness that through everything I’ve written, expressed and learned over the last 15 months, that all they gleaned from it was a chance to judge.


100 Things, Part One

Ok, so I decided to copy cat L’s idea and come up with my own list of 100 things I want to do in my life. And she was right it’s really hard! Although once I let myself distinguish between goals and dreams, it got a bit easier. Because I got all serious and started out by thinking that the whole list had to be goals. Things I wanted, and needed, to accomplish in my lifetime. But I think the whole purpose is to let yourself just dream and think about all the things you’ve always wanted to do, without constraint or judgment. And that made it a bit easier, but it’s still hard. Like I said yesterday, I think my dreamer is rusty. It’s just been so long since I just let myself daydream. Because while it’s good for the soul, it can also be dangerous. So as with everything else, it’s about balance. Learning how to dream without getting attached to the dreams. Or more specifically, without attaching expectations to the dream. Because it’s always the expectations that get me in trouble.

So, without further ado, here’s my first 25 to start with:
1. Write and publish a book
2. Only wear clothes that I love everyday
3. Get Lasik surgery so I don’t have to wear glasses anymore!
4. Take my family to Europe
5. Go white water river rafting
6. Swim with dolphins
7. Learn how to make perfect pad thai
8. Get scrapbooks for the kids done through their childhoods
9. Adopt a Greyhound
10. Live by the ocean
11. Become a bone marrow donor
12. Go on Wheel of Fortune
13. See the Colts (with Peyton Manning as QB) play in person
14. Find the perfect shade of lipstick
15. Have a hot stone massage
16. Teach the kids how to batik
17. Go whale watching
18. Get all gussied up for and go to a red carpet event
19. Go to a strawberry festival
20. Re-learn how to make perfect tortillas
21. Learn how to walk in stiletto heels
22. Go on a ghost tour
23. Learn how to sew
24. Have horses again
25. Find a muse



I have a good friend here who is one of the most extraordinary women I know. She is the least afraid person I know. She decides what she wants and then she just flat makes it happen. She and her husband decided they wanted to live in an RV and take their two kids on the road. They’ve been talking about it for a while, but recently the just decided to make it happen. And the most incredible thing about it is that they did. They just made it happen. And I am in awe of their ability to do so.

My husband and I have been talking for years about the things we want to do, with and without the kids. But here we still are, in Colorado Springs, him working a job he’s very good at but does not love, me trying to figure out to be writer and struggling, and both of us trying to figure out how to juggle being the parents we want to be with “real” life. And I think what I love so much about L and her husband, is that for them, there is no “real” life. There is simply the life they create. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but regardless they consciously chose it and live so completely present in every single moment of that choice that it no longer matters if it works or not.

She has this amazing list on her new blog of 100 things she wants to do in her life. And I love it. Because it’s not all “climb Mt. Everest” or “go to cooking school” or other huge things. There are also things in there like, “get a facial” and “wear blue contacts” and have a pet turtle.” I just love it. And it’s incredibly inspiring. So I think I’ll get to work on my own 100 Things I want to do list. I’ve been so completely rooted in every day, which is a good thing, that I’ve forgotten a bit about letting myself dream, which is not a good thing. And I’ve lost some of my internal inspiration along the way. It’s time to get it back.

3/14/10 - Daylight Savings Time

I despise daylight savings time. Truly abhor it. It was easier to sort of ignore its existence when I was younger or even just before I had kids. Now however, it totally screws up everything. Does it make it a bit easier for the kids when it occurs on a weekend (does it always occur on a weekend?). But it seriously messes with me. Because weekends are when I get to sleep in. So I let myself stay up later. Especially when I’m totally sucked into a book and I just do not want to put it down, thinking I’ve got another hour or so to read before it’s just too late because I’m pregnant and always tired anyway. And then I remember that because of the time change, it’s actually already too late and I need to get my happy ass to bed. So yeah, I stayed up too late, way too late. In fact I fell asleep on the couch, awoke at 3am and after peeling my drool pasted cheek from the pages of said book, wondered why I wasn’t in my bed.

All of this with me thinking, well it is Saturday night. Even if I do stay up too late, I’ll be able to sleep in tomorrow and catch up. Except for frigging daylight savings time stole an hour from me. Forcing me to get up well before I was ready because it’s just not decent for a mother of two to still be in bed at 10am (especially when it’s actually 11am). The Boy looked at me like I was on crack when 7pm rolled around and I said it was time for bed because his internal clock ain’t no dummy and told him it was too early to go to sleep.

I mean, yes, we get more light in the afternoons. But I find it far more depressing to wake up when it’s still dark than I do to be eating dinner in the dark. I know that will change in a couple of months, but I’d rather just let time alone and have light when we have it than do this time tug-of-war every fall and spring. Seriously.

3/13/10 - The Outlander

I picked up The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon at the library yesterday – a bit on a whim. I remembered a few friends talking about it not too long ago and I walked by it as I was looking for more Neil Gaiman books and it just caught my eye. I didn’t really have any idea what it was about or if it was my kind of book or not, but I added it to the pile anyway. And I picked it up today and now I cannot seem to put it down. It was shelved in the science fiction section and other than the whole time travel aspect; it’s really more of a historical romance than sci-fi in my opinion.

What I’ve found has drawn me in is her writing and the characters. I like how boldly she writes and I love her female lead character because she’s a spitfire with the intellect to back it up. It seems so much of the time that female writers focus on writing the perfect male character in these sorts of stories. The perfectly romantic, strong, intelligent man who can always come to the rescue at the perfect time and make you feel safe while at the same time making you feel all twitter pated and breathless. And then they ignore the woman almost altogether or else allow her to fall into the damsel in distress stereotype. Which really irritates me. Because why would a perfect man want to wimp for a woman? Seriously?!

But Gabaldon doesn’t do that. The man is not perfect. He is gorgeous and smart of course, but nowhere near perfect. While the woman is strong, confident, courageous and cusses like a sailor. And so far, their relationship is not of a codependent, eye rolling variety. Which is a nice change of pace, I must admit.

I will be interested to see where she takes the story, because right now she’s kind of treading water and I’m ready for it to go somewhere. But her writing has me hooked enough that I know I’ll be up way too late tonight. Not to mention that I cannot seem to stop thinking in a Scottish accent.

3/12/10 - Watch Duty

My husband took the day off today to spend some time with us before we leave for a month or so and it turned into an incredibly busy day. I took the opportunity for some alone time to go get my prenatal lab work done without having to juggle children whilst peeing in a cup or having needles stuck in me. Then we headed to Pueblo to see a dear friend who just started work at the main library up there and get some books and audio books for the trip. I’m here to tell you that the Rawlings Library in Pueblo is far superior to all of the Pikes Peak Libraries combined. Their kid section is amazing both in books and activities and the general layout of the place is just lovely. So since it’s only about 10 minutes further than the big downtown library in Colorado Springs (which is lame) we’ll be going there for now on. Plus whenever we go there, I get to see M! That right there makes it all worth it.

So we are now equipped with new books all around and I got us Eragon by Christopher Paolini to listen to in the car. It will be a bit on the old side for The Girl, but it’s all about dragons, so I think she’ll still dig it and it’s a book I’ll even want to listen to, so hopefully when we’re actually able to leave, it will make the trip to NM feel much shorter.

And all I want to do right now is eat. It’s just crazy. I have never been this continuously hungry in my entire life. I never thought I would say that I was tired of eating, but I really, really am. Mostly I think I’m so tired of it because even though I’m having monolithic sized cravings, nothing actually tastes good when I put it in my mouth. I do one or two bites and then I want to vomit. So mostly, I’m just hungry. All. The. Time. Which tends to set you on edge just a wee bit.

So I’m on weather, sickness and food watch presently. I know, you’re jealous.



So The Girl took the weather delay as a cue and spiked another fever last night. After being on antibiotics for three days. I took her back to the doctor this morning and she changed the antibiotic to something stronger and more broad spectrum. Although we’re both starting to think that this sucker is viral. Which really bites, because that means we just have to wait for it to pass. And it’s been a week now. So even though it scared the crap out of me, I tried a different tactic this afternoon and did not treat her fever. I thought maybe that if it got high enough it would burn itself out. It topped out at 103.5, which is .1 below the temperature she had a seizure at so I was terrified, but it eventually started coming down a little. When we just put her to bed it was down to 102.3. Who knows if there’s anything to my theory or not. I just know I’m ready for her to be done with this now. She is so completely miserable and it just breaks my heart to watch her feel so punk.

Also today, I found out a good friend of mine from college has been missing since Tuesday. And that is such a “those things don’t happen to me or people I know” kind of thing. I mean she’s always been a crazy girl, but never the disappear and not at least check in with her family kind of crazy. I’m just hoping against hope that she’s safe and sound somewhere but out of cell phone range. Or maybe a new boyfriend whisked her away on a surprise vacation and forgot to tell her family. I’m hoping that she is not in trouble or in pain somewhere scared out of her wits praying to be rescued. It’s a scary thing and it breaks my heart to think about.

So it seems that my heart is breaking in all sorts of ways today. Heart break and worry abound today it appears. So join me in asking the powers that be to get my daughter well quickly and to protect J and keep her safe.


Travel Plans and Reminders

Our trip to NM has been delayed yet again. This time by weather. My parents got a big snowstorm last night and it appears that same storm is on its way here as our sunny day deteriorated into flurries and freezing temps. So now I’m shooting for a Saturday departure. It’s supposed to warm up again by Friday so a day of sun should give the passes time to melt and return to asphalt. Plus it gives me more time to finish laundry, get audio books and pack. As well as letting The Boy finish out the week of school since he’ll be missing two weeks of school which makes me a little nervous. And hopefully The Girl will go to school again tomorrow morning. I say hopefully because her eye is red and now I’m all paranoid about her having pink eye after her teacher made a huge deal out of it.

And this whole, “we’re having another baby” thing is now really real. Not that it hasn’t been. But with my OB appointment yesterday, we officially let the cat out of the bag and have been spreading the good news far and wide. Now that people know, it gives the whole thing a bit more of a tangible feel. Well that and the fact that I’m sitting here in maternity pants because my burgeoning belly is sizing me out of almost all of my pants.

After thinking about it for a while, the best thing about going to see my OB yesterday was that she was excited with me, chatty and did not even once mention my weight. I gained some weight over the holidays what with all the cooking I was doing for my dad and then I got knocked up before I could get it off again. So I’m starting this pregnancy a bit heavier than I’d like. But not once did my doctor say anything about that. Reminding me that she trusts my body to gain whatever weight it needs to grow a healthy baby. Reminding me that what’s important here is the new little fuzzhead that will be joining our family, not what size I am. I needed that.


Good News to Share!

I’ve got some good news to share, finally. I am pregnant! I had my first OB appointment today and everything is where it should be and looking perfectly healthy, happy and on track. Although my doctor got my heart beating a bit when she wanted to do an ultrasound immediately following my exam because she thought I might have twins in there. But there’s just the one little bean, that we could see anyway. She said that it was possible there was another bean hiding behind the first one, but she didn’t think so. We’ll know for certain as I get farther along I suppose. I’m due mid-October, which I’m not exactly sure why I thought was a good idea. Since I swore that I would never, ever do my third trimester in the middle of summer after The Boy. And here I am, doing it again. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a cool summer, or for my husband to get a raise so that we can afford me to have the air conditioning running full tilt for three solid months.

Speaking of my husband, he’s ecstatic. He would have been telling people several weeks ago if I’d have let him. He’s convinced it’s a boy and he’s already got the kid named. I keep trying to tell him that it doesn’t even know what it is yet. But he doesn’t seem to care.

I think we will wait until I’m showing a bit to tell the kids so they have something more tangible to focus on. Although I think that will probably be sooner rather than later with this one as every single pair of my pants are already uncomfortably tight, which is mildly infuriating. But at least I get to change up my wardrobe now. Granted, it’s with the introduction of maternity clothes, but still, they are clothes I haven’t worn in almost 4 years.

And I’m excited. Really excited. Thrilled that it finally happened before I lost my dad. Thrilled at the prospect of a new little person entering our family. Just keeping my fingers crossed for a healthy baby and an easy pregnancy. Cross yours with me, would you?

3/8/10 - Fever on the Run

Ok, so an ear infection is the culprit. Our pediatrician gave The Girl a thorough going over and she checked out totally healthy except for the fact that one of her ears was flaming red and unhappy. So she’ll be on antibiotics for about 10 days and then we should be done. I think probably the fever will be broken for good when she wakes up the in the morning. Which means the plan for right now is to get the kids and me down to New Mexico by Thursday. That is about a week and half earlier than I had originally planned, which means taking them out of school, but it’ll be ok. I think The Boy is more than ready for a break anyway, although little does he know that I’m having his teacher put together a whopping packet of homework for him to work on while he’s gone. Hopefully that will keep the rust off his brain.

And my sweet friend P made us dinner tonight! How cool is that? To make an awesome surprise even better, she made her famous chicken and quinoa with an awesome spinach salad and a chocolate cake. I was in heaven. Seriously, P, you rock the casbah.

So now I’m in get ready to leave my house for a month mode. Which means finishing and returning library books. Getting new child-friendly audio books to listen to on the drive. Getting everyone’s laundry done so we have clean clothes to wear. Pulling any recipes I may want to make while I’m down there. All of the stuff that makes me feel just a little bit better about leaving my life here for a month, or more.

And, if you read my 52 in 52 blog, you will have noticed that I’m quickly falling behind. I am sorry; I’ve just got nothing right now. I think I’m in such a state of overload with everything going on right now that my creative juices are pulling a deer in headlights move. I’ll catch up soon though and get back on track, I promise. In the meantime, if you have any story ideas to share, I’d love to hear them.


Going with the Flow

Day three of fever watch with The Girl. Yeah, I’m done with it now. She woke up at about 2am last night throwing up and her fever had started to soar. So my husband spent the rest of the night on the floor of her bedroom while I tossed and turned, convinced that every single noise was her seizing or throwing up.

Her temperature has continued to volley around, keeping us all on our toes. The Girl goes from relatively cool one minute and almost back to herself to screaming hot and listless the next. And more than anything that’s what has me worried. Because it’s the rapid rise of fever that causes febrile seizures, not necessarily how high it goes. And her fever is all over the place, rising and falling pretty rapidly. When The Boy had this it only lasted about 24 hours, so I thought we’d definitely be in the clear with The Girl by yesterday afternoon. Not so much apparently.

So, now I’m tired and still no closer to getting down to NM. I’m so scared that by the time we finally get down there that my dad won’t be my kids’ Papa anymore. He’ll be just a physical shell of the man they adore and look up to. I don’t want them to remember him that way, frail and dissipated. I want The Boy to remember tying flies and learning about nature. I want The Girl to remember reading stories and seeing the beauty of the desert through her Papa’s eyes. And perhaps I’m over-reacting, but the picture my mom has painted of my dad’s current state is not a pretty one. Even if it does change on a daily basis.

So I suppose this post is more of a vent than anything purposeful. I’m tired and scared and frustrated. I’m doing my best to just go with the flow and be as present as possible. I’m just tired of feeling like the flow is always going against me. That me going with the flow actually means just accepting that life is just hard right now. That the flow means learning to accept the fear and anger in the present.

3/6/10 - Anger

I think that anger takes two basic forms. Those which are situational, the “I can’t believe you just did that to me!” types of anger. More like bursts of fury. They fade relatively quickly and usually don’t have much to do with anything except the offending person or thing.

Then there is the anger that is rooted in who we are. Rooted somewhere deep enough that it can’t be so easily let go of or dismissed. Rooted somewhere solid enough that it takes years maybe even a lifetime to be able to put it down and direct our energy into something more positive.

And I’ve been going round and round with the latter as of late. There is this anger that is rooted in my childhood. That is connected to my parents and that has been flying in my face as of late in response to the fact that my father is dying and everything that comes with that. You would think that the hardest part would be the issues related directly to my dad. Those that come from the fact that he was gone for a lot of my early childhood. Those that come from the fact that he’s not an emotionally ebullient man and always left me guessing as to my place in his heart. Those that come from the fact that he had exceptionally high expectations for me that I struggled, and often failed, to meet.

But instead, and probably harder than all of those combined, the anger that is arising is with my mother. Perhaps that’s because she’ll still be here and is therefore the safer candidate at which to vent anger. Or perhaps, losing my father is just opening the floodgates to that deeply seated anger that has been dormant for so long. I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s making it extremely difficult for me and my mom right now. And I’ve yet to find the words to explain it all to her without her feeling like I’m just attacking her. And if I want to one day be able to truly let go of this anger, I must first find a way to express it.


Karmic Bone to Pick

Alright. I’ve a bone to pick with karma. Everything from the fact that we finally get a string of sunny days and I’m stuck inside with sick kids. To the fact that my dad is going downhill fast according to my mom and I’ve got sick kids so therefore cannot go to NM to be with him. Oh and there was the whole we paid off my husband’s car and then he got into a car accident less than 24 hours after we paid the sucker off. There’s the biggie of my dad dying of course. And to top it all off, my dog died. Seriously?!? What’s this all about?

I’ve been working my ass off for the past 18 months to grow as a person in pretty much every conceivable way. I’ve been doing everything I know how to do to take care of my family and make it stronger. I’ve been pushing and learning and just doing what needs to be done in order to be a better person all the way around. And instead of even just getting a breather, the universe just keeps piling more crap on my plate (and the plates of the people I love now that you mention it).

I just don’t get it. Is the universe on a broadly sweeping war path these days? Between the earthquakes and tsunamis, the shootings, the financial issues, the health crises and on and on it feels like one big tragic swath is being cut through the world. Indiscriminate in its path and showing no mercy.

There’s a part of me that wants to climb atop of the tallest mountain and scream at the powers that be to knock it the hell off already. There’s another part of me that just wants to curl up in a ball and cry. Then there’s a part of me that is continually grateful for the chance to keep learning. Grateful that I’m being forced to keep expanding in my being, because at this point I would b relishing in full-on sloth-hood because I’m so bone tired. Granted I think that grateful part of me is a wee bit on the crazy side. But still.


Ode to Immune Systems and Baby!

The Boy must have an immune system like a friggin’ tank. I’m tellin’ ya’. When we put him to bed last night, he had a 104 degree fever, had been projectile vomiting all afternoon, had the croup and was basically the sickest he has been in a very long time. When he woke up this morning, he was fever free, vomit free, breathing freely and essentially back to himself. I still kept him home from school though, mostly because if he was still contagious I didn’t want him spreading this plague to someone else. Also, I didn’t want to have to go pick him up should his fever and/or vomit return. I know, I am such a super compassionate mom. But he’s definitely going back to school tomorrow. He’s kept all his food down today, had no return of the fever and been back to my sweet boy again. For which I am utterly grateful. He so rarely gets sick anymore that when he gets that sick, it freaks me out just a little.

The Girl seems to be fine so far (knocking on wood, furiously) and other than being stuffy, I appear to be fine too (screw it, I am just going to make sure some part of me is always touching and/or tapping wood until summer arrives).

On a decidedly non-sickness related note, my college roommate and her husband just got word last night that they were chosen by a birth mother to adopt her little boy!! So they are going to be parents in about a week and a half, if everything continues to go along as planned. I am so excited for them I could bust. I mean seriously. I’d do almost anything to be there with them to go shopping and put together furniture and move stuff around. I would just love to be there with them through this amazing time. But they know I’m there in spirit and I’ve told C to call me anytime for anything. I can’t wait to see pictures of the little guy, I’m just so excited! I said that already didn’t I? Fine. I’ll just go back to planning their new parent/baby care package.

3/3/10 - Sickness, Again

I can’t remember the first time The Boy got the croup, he wasn’t very old. And it’s a tradition that The Girl has kept up with. I can spot the early stages of croup a mile away. So when The Boy came home from school a few days ago with a bit of a hoarse voice, I knew we were in for something. I just kept my fingers crossed that maybe it wouldn’t fully manifest. But last night at about 2am, my husband and I were awakened to The Boy crying and gasping for air in our bathroom. I knew from the moment I heard the strider in his voice that it was the croup. And of course I was out of the correct dosing of prednisone for him. So we sat with him in a steamy bathroom (at least I got a good facial out of the deal) with him for about 20 minutes until we could get him calmed down enough to get his breath back. Oh, and he also had a fever.

We got The Girl dropped off at school this morning and then headed straight to the doctor. Yes on the croup, ruled out strep. His fever wasn’t too bad when we were in the office. By late afternoon however, his fever was up to 104 degrees and he had started projectile vomiting. And I’m here to tell you that cherry slushy and nachos does not come back up well. I don’t think my favorite couch blanket will ever be the same after being christened with that colorful mixture. He was able to keep down a good dose of Motrin though and we got him to bed. So I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will all have turned around by morning. And I’ve got my toes crossed that it just passes The Girl right on by, because she doesn’t need to be having anything that carries a 104 degree fever with it. It’s been almost exactly a year since her febrile seizure and I’ve no inclination to do a repeat performance as a way of commemoration thankyouverymuch.

I am ready for this week to give me a friggin’ break already.


Goodbye Joplin

About 10 years ago the contractor that gutted and renovated my parents’ retirement house told my mom about a puppy they had gotten and could no longer care for. So we went out to their house to take a look at her. I will never forget walking around the side of their house and catching sight of this sweet little yellow girl just as she leapt directly into my arms. It was love at first sight and a few minutes later she was riding in my lap happily licking my hands, until the car sickness sank in that is, and then I was desperately trying to get her mouth pointed toward the floor instead of my lap.

She was my husband’s and my first dog. We named her Joplin, after Janis of course. We spoiled her rotten. Although to this day she’s the best trained dog I’ve ever known.

And last night she died. Out of nowhere. I mean, yes, she was about 10 years old, but other than some arthritis, she was in great health. Unfortunately we had to send her to my parents to live after The Girl was born because Joplin got pretty angry. Actually I think she was more sad than angry. She loved both kids, but she was so sad to lose her parents to them. And more to the point, our attention. So when she started peeing every single day in the same spot in The Girl’s bedroom, we took her back to my parents’ house where she would have more room and all of their attention. She was happier there although I missed her desperately and her us. But last night when my parents got home from dinner she had lost all use of her back end and was having trouble breathing. She was gone within about 15 minutes. The vet thinks she probably had a heart attack.

And I am devastated. She was my girl. So I am just going to envision her running full out in a huge grass meadow, chasing down endless tennis balls. Young and gorgeous and lightening fast. Keep on running my sweet blonde dog, keep on running. We love you so much.



So it appears that awe re staying put for now. Of course that could change tomorrow. But for now, we’re staying here, at least until spring break rolls around. Although my mom has tried mightily, I think my Aunt T is leaving tomorrow and will then be back the same time we are, with all the sisters in tow. I think the family reunion could be a really wonderful thing for my dad and all of his siblings (his brother excluded who cannot come). It will give them all a chance to be together for the first time since my grandmother died and it will be the first time that they’ve all come together without her as impetus. I think it will be a really good thing. Once we get through the awkward silences and dancing around the fact that their brother is dying. But I will be there and so will Aunt T, so between the two of us, we should be able to keep the atmosphere pretty positive I think.

My dad had a good day today. It looks like the upswing finally found him, for which I am grateful. He was not in good shape a few days ago. The oxygen was delivered today and he actually said he was going to give it a try and see if it made any difference in how he felt. His hospice nurse has said that she’d like to see him on it all the time. A lack of oxygen can cause all sorts of troublesome things in addition to shortness of breath. So he agreed to give it a try. I was flabbergasted in the best possible way. It was really good to talk to him today, he sounded good again. Like my dad. Funny and chatty. Which actually made me want to get in the car even more. Because it’s those days I really don’t want to miss. It’s those days that I really don’t want the kids to miss.

But at this point I’m grateful to be able to share them with him in any way I can. We’re just taking it one day at a time. Today was a good day.

2/28/10 - A Little of This and That

I’m making myself get into a semi-upright position to write this today. I think that’s about all I can muster though. It seems like I’m doing pretty good through the weekdays. Because I know that I have no choice. I have to be on the ball and on time because I have no backup and no time to just check out. But on the weekends? That’s a different story. The past two weeks, I’ve just totally checked out come Saturday. I figure if that's the worst of it, that I foist upon my family, having me disappear a bit on the weekends, then I’m doing pretty good.

Yesterday, I took a three hour nap. I never take naps. Today I found a Karate Kid marathon and I’ve glued myself to the couch to watch every single moment of it. I wish it was on just about any other channel than ABC Family so that I didn’t have to watch commercials for the silly tween shows they are so proud of.

On a non-TV note, I’m about ¾ of the way through Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and I love it. His writing reminds me a bit of Christopher Moore, only not quite as verbose and colorful. Although I think I’ve discovered that I should have read American Gods first, but oh well. I still need to finish Dandelion Wine as well; I got a bit distracted and needed something slightly less brain intensive for the moment. But I’ll get back to it.

And I still haven’t finished my story for last week. I’ve got to get on that sucker; it’s starting to haunt me now. Actually it’s not. That’s the problem.

My dad is about the same as yesterday. My mom said he had another spell of not being able to breathe, but it wasn’t as bad as the one on Thursday night. They are going to start having someone from hospice come out almost daily. Alternating days between an aide and a nurse to help out around the house as well as to keep tabs on his health. Thank goodness, but I still think we’ll be heading down there in the next weather window.

2/27/10 - To Be Expected

We’re still in CO. My dad has slept about 34 of the last 48 hours. I think it is getting to the point where it just takes so much energy for him to be awake and ambulatory. I know, rationally, that this is to be expected. And I know that this is another step downhill. Dad, mom and Aunt T all tell me that he seems to be doing a bit better today. But every time I talk to him, he’s still gasping for breath. Rationally, I know that this too is to be expected. He has lung cancer, having trouble breathing is definitely to be expected. It’s just pretty brutal to hear.

I was talking to my Aunt T the other day about all of my dad’s sisters coming to visit around Easter and I told her that she should prepare them because how he is now is going to be hard for them to reconcile against the big brother they’ve always known. I know it’s going to be hard for even me to reconcile because it’s been a month since I’ve seen him. He’s always been the robust, outdoorsy kind of guy. He does yard chores because he likes to be outside and working with his hands. He loves to see the effect his effort has on his environment. And he has a profound love and respect for nature. All of these things have always been evident in his physicality. But now, that is dwindling. A little at a time. With his strength, his vitality is also shrinking. So far, that may be the hardest thing for me to see. Watching his sheer physical presence dwindle.

I think, perhaps, that even if he does manage to rally after this jaunt downhill, that the kids and I will head down there soon. I find myself thinking about the time just flying by and then it sinks in that this will by my dad’s last February on earth. And the thought that I’m missing that, that my children are missing that, makes me unbearably sad.

I know I can’t bring my dad the peace he needs, but perhaps I can find some of my own.