Friday, December 12, 2008

That's Why We Put Up a Star

Robby explains why we put the star on top of the Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree Star from dimplecheek on Vimeo.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Everything's Eventual

I won't watch a horror movie. I saw Nightmare on Elm Street in high school. I didn't sleep for a week. Five years ago, I caught Mel Gibson's face on HBO and watched Signs even though I was home alone. At night. Alone. My distaste for horror movies grew when I had Robby. My maternal hormones do not get along with all that adrenaline. Last year, my zombie loving brother conned me into watching 28 Weeks Later one afternoon. Although I never saw 28 Days Later I was hooked on this sequel's story line. I did have to forward through some scenes he deemed as "ultra gory". I've never even seen Scream and everyone tells me that is not really a scary movie. (I know for a fact Drew Barrymore gets offed in the opening scene. No thanks!)
Despite this, I still claim Stephen King as my favorite author.

I haven't read a Stephen King book since March of 2002. Up until then, I had read almost all of his books and couldn't wait for the next one to be released. My favorite has to be the introduction he wrote to Night Shift. (Oh Stevie, you had me at "Let's talk about fear, you and I.") When I read Pet Sematary in high school, the nightmares lasted more than a week. My AP English teacher even talked about her nightmares from that book. Lately, I've read several of his Pop of King contributions to Entertainment Weekly and enjoyed every single one. Even though I haven't read any, I've purchased new hardcover releases over the years. I've gotten a few as gifts, including the latest Just After Sunset.

In March of 2002, Everything's Eventual was released and I bought a copy right away. Like Night Shift and Just After Sunset it is a collection of short stories. I purchased my copy in Phoenix. I had been there to say goodbye to my dying father. Being a stubborn man, he refused to die the week I was in town. (I truly believe he waited for me to leave to die - out of love.) I purchased the book and planned to start reading it on the 2 1/2 hour flight home. I can see the book on the shelf from where I am sitting now. I know that on page 29, there is my boarding pass from March 25, 2002. While reading the first story Autopsy Room Four I was overcome with grief and put the book down. I knew I had just said goodbye to my dad for the last time. I could not read a story about a man who was alive, yet mistaken for dead undergoing his own autopsy. My dad died that night, when I was safe and at home.

King said: "What I did was take all the spades out of a deck of cards plus a joker.
Ace to King = 1-13. Joker = 14. I shuffled the cards and dealt them. The order in which they came out became the order of the stories, based on their position in the list my publisher sent me. And it actually created a very nice balance between the literary stories and the all-out screamers. Next collection: selected by Tarot."

I wonder if it would have changed things for me if Autopsy Room Four had drawn the Jack and not the Ace.

I've had serious thoughts about reading Just After Sunset. I even put it on top of the television in the bedroom. Maybe it's been enough time and the grief will be bearable and the memory of that flight a little faded. Maybe the Tarot cards will work in my favor.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Got Hope?

Last night in the bathtub:

"Barack Obama is coming."

"What did you say?"

"Barack Obama is coming."

"Where is he coming?"

"With Santa."

Maybe our expectations are a little too much for one man.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fighting Hate

National Protest Against Prop 8 [and for LGBT civil rights]
Saturday, November 15, in the times and places noted above

Monday, October 27, 2008

Circle Each Other in a Cage

The Papa and I got married 7 years ago today. The last few years were not like we envisioned on our wedding day, but as a good friend said, they led us to where we are now...


Some need gold and some need diamond rings
Or a drug to take away the pain that living brings
A promise of a better world to come
When whatever here is done
I don't need that sky of blue
All I know's since I found you, I'm happy when
I'm in your arms
Happy, darling, come the dark
Happy when I taste your kiss
I'm happy in a love like this

There's a house upon a distant hill
Where you can hear the laughter of children ring
Guardian angels, they watch from above
Watching over the love that they bring
But at night I feel the darkness near, I awake and
I find you near
I'm happy with you in my arms
I'm happy with you in my heart
Happy when I taste your kiss
I'm happy in love like this

In a world of doubt and fear
I wake at night and reach to find you near
Lost in a dream, you caught me as I fell
I want more than just a dream to tell

We're born in this world, darling, with few days
and trouble never far behind
Man and woman circle each other in a cage
A cage that's been handed down the line
Lost and running 'neath a million dead stars
Tonight let's shed our skin and slip these bars
Happy in each other's arms
Happy baby, come the dark
Happy in each other's kiss
I'm happy in a love like this

- Bruce Springsteen

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Go! Diego Go!

Tomorrow Robby moves into the "big boy class" at his preschool. This monumental occasion is a result of Robby going poop in the potty. It represents a lot of diapers, wipes, destroyed clothing, hours of unproductive bathroom reading and $100 extra dollars a month in tuition that are now all a thing of the past.

I know he will have more accidents, of course he will. Hell, sometimes I still do if I am surprised or drunk enough. But this will be the only "official" recognition of Robby being toilet accomplished (that sounds more dignified than "potty-trained") and I couldn't let the moment pass unrecognized. I know that the challenges he will face from now on will only continue to grow and to challenge me as a mother and a sane human being. They will make pooping in the potty seem not so monumental.

An old classmate from last year started attending his school again and Robby will be in the same class with him. This little boy is the nightmare of every other kid's parent in his class. He teaches the other kids things that we think our little three year old angels are not ready for. Things like hitting. Words like snot, shit and stupid. Oh, the joy. Why couldn't this kid have shown up in the 3rd grade? Every boy was like this when I was in the third grade.

Tonight, it's off to find a Diego lunch box, as they don't have a refrigerator in the "big boy class". I can use some the $100 in tuition savings and get him a really nice one! Woo-Hoo!

UPDATE! We could not find a Diego lunch box, so we made one! It is red color, although it looks pink in the pictures for some reason. What do you think?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some Things are Meant to Be

Wedding Day! It was a beautiful sunny day in Las Vegas, although you couldn't really see the sun inside the chapel at the Treasure Island Casino. I arrived at the chapel with "the ladies" in tow just in time. It was much easier corralling drunks the night before than getting these four to the chapel on time! The grandma looked absolutely beautiful, especially for someone 6 weeks post quadruple bypass surgery. We found where the glowing bride to be was hiding in a room with squealing women primping her every part. We kissed her and wished her well and then were off to find the groom.

He was standing there all decked out in his suit and looked not only like a million bucks, but a grown man. Seeing mom give him a hug and whisper in his ear was the first time I would cry that day. We were all seated in the chapel. Auntie LJ and Lori took the back pew, so as not to distract with their camera clicking and giggling. The Grandma, Nanny and I were joined in the front pew with Uncle Mike's Dad, Jim, and his wife, Nancy.

When the bride made her entrance into the chapel, every single person could see not only how amazingly beautiful she looked, but how much joy and love was filling her heart. I looked up at my brother standing there waiting for her and watching her. That was the happiest I have ever seen him look.

Elvis sang us a song. The preacher then stepped up and performed the most elegant yet real wedding ceremony that there ever was. Elvis sang again. When the preacher pronounced them husband and wife, Aunt Jeannette said, "We're married!" and everyone laughed through their tears. As they walked out of the chapel, Elvis sang Viva Las Vegas and the song fit the mood of celebration.

After everyone had filed out of the chapel and the happy couple were whisked away for pictures, I stopped to thank Elvis for doing such a great job. He said, "Thank you, thank you very much." and leaned in and kissed me. When Elvis slipped me the tongue, I knew my Vegas vacation had reached its peak. There would be no topping this.

Out in the lobby of the chapel, I noticed a cricket up near the ceiling in the corner. I was always told that a cricket in the house is lucky. Seeing this good omen on my brother's wedding day made me smile, but in my heart I knew that he and his wife needed none of this luck. Some people are just born to find each other and love one another all the remaining days of their lives. I thank God that they did, and they will.

You can see more photos here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rest in Peace Paul Newman

I am personally saddened by the loss of Paul Newman yesterday. The world has lost a champion actor, racer and humanitarian. I have lost a hero.

Please continue to support Newman's Own. Go out today and help keep his good work alive. In a time when everyone is talking about community organizing and 1,000 points of light, I think looking at the life of Paul Newman would be the best road map for our journey.

Tonight, for me, it's a Newman's Own products meal of spaghetti and salad with a glass of Newman's Own wine in front of the TV watching Nobody's Fool. With hundreds of products and hundreds of movies, Paul Newman Night might just become a tradition for me.

Maybe that will make the loss more bearable.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Instant Gratification

In June, I flew to sunny Las Vegas, Nevada for a whopping 4 days of no almost 3 year-old, no work and no responsibility. It was the best 4 days I have had in a LONG time!

My little brother, Uncle Mike was finally going to marry his sweetheart of more years than I can remember. My new little sister's name is Aunt Jeannette. I'm so glad the Aunt part is official now. Robby loves her so much and literally lights up when he sees her. When we drive by the exit to their house on the freeway, he refers to it as how to get to Aunt Jeannette's house.

I flew out on a Wednesday night flight with Mike, Jeannette and their friend KEN! KEN! works with Mike and has lived in Las Vegas before, so I was looking forward to having an official tour guide of Sin City. I'm a desert girl, born and raised but every time I land in the desert I cannot help but remember why I decided to relocate to the green and cool pacific northwest. The moment they opened the door on the airplane I could feel all the moisture being sucked out of my body. But hey, this is VEGAS BABY and I didn't care if it was hot enough to fry eggs on the tarmac at 10pm!

We got in a rental car and headed straight for an In N Out Burger. If you've never been to one, you need to put it on your list of things to do before you die. I had a Double Double and an Animal Style Double Double. Animal style has mustard and pickles. That's right, 4 patties and 4 pieces of cheese in one sitting. I felt it was appropriate to start the "days of instant gratification" off with a bang. We then found the house they had rented for their stay. It was a great 2 story house with a pool and a hot tub. The plan was to have the wedding party stay in the house in the extra bedrooms and then they would have the house to themselves a few days after everyone left for their honeymoon. Aunt Mitch's mom has a time share at the Wyndham Grand Desert Resort and had graciously arranged two suites for me to use while I was in Vegas. I couldn't check in until the following afternoon, so I stayed in the house the first night. We put our suitcases away, checked the house out and went swimming! I love to swim at night. It has many advantages, like the darkness to disguise how my body looks in a swimsuit and no scorching sun to burn my extremely white body.

While we were all in the pool, I asked if we were going to the casino next. It was around midnight and I was really only joking. Everyone was excited to go, so I thought if I could stay up this late already why not a little longer. I cannot believe how much my life has changed since Robby. Staying up to midnight was never an oddity in my previous life! So, our beloved tour guide KEN! suggested we hit Sunset Station in nearby Henderson.

Now, I had managed to scrape together $200 whole dollars for my 4 day trip to Las Vegas. This had to cover food, taxis, libations and gambling. Yet, the very first night, I plopped $20 into a quarter slot machine. I played a few pulls and won some, lost some. I cashed out. I really miss the sound of the money dropping out of a slot machine. Now the machines just spit out a voucher with the amount of your winnings. I took my $10 voucher and started walking the casino. I put my $10 voucher in a $1 slot machine. A few pulls later I had three of the loveliest sevens I'd ever seen! $300! I cashed out and ran like a goat. That $300 saved my trip! I guess there is something to a good run of bad luck.

Uncle Mike and KEN! introduced us to the "gaudy" bar at sunset station. If you sit at the bar and play the quarter video poker machines they bring you free booze. A lot of free booze. If you're a slow gambler and a fast drinker, it's the best deal in Vegas you are going to find.

We made it back to the house just in time to sit outside by the pool and watch the sunrise over the desert. Sunrises are something I actually miss about the desert. I went to bed around 6 am and slept until 10am. The bedroom I had for the night had a mechanical metal shade for the window that made the room pitch dark. I'm putting one of those on my Christmas list this year. I had to put my sunglasses on to walk out of the bedroom and go hunt for some coffee in the kitchen.

Thursday we found the place to drop off Jeannette's wedding gown to be steamed for the wedding on Saturday. We checked me into the Wyndham that afternoon. I was pleased to see that the Hard Rock Hotel was walking distance from the Resort. The Wyndham chain has amazing properties! My honeymoon was saved by Wyndham and for that, they will always have my loyalty. After another day of instant gratification, I turned the air conditioner down to 40 and went to bed.

Friday afternoon, The Grandma and Nanny arrived with Auntie LJ and Aunt Lori. Auntie LJ and Aunt Lori flew into Phoenix and they drove The Grandma and Nanny over. The Grandma was 6 weeks post quadruple bypass surgery and not able to drive yet. Nanny and I would share a suite and Grandma, LJ and Lori would share the other.

I was at the New York New York casino with Best Man Diddy and his gal Manda when I got the call they were almost in Vegas. Directing them through town on my cell phone and screaming, "Do you see the statue of liberty? The Lion? The Big GOLD lion? I'm across the street from that!" was a challenge with the traffic whizzing by. They eventually found me and we headed off to the Wyndham. I managed to get food for everyone before I stole their car and picked Jeanette up to go get her dress for the wedding the next day.

On a side note, why do bridal shop people have to create such stress for brides? My Lord! The dress has been here 48 hours. Yes, we need it today. No, we cannot pick it up 20 minutes before the wedding. Do I have to get my handgun out of the car? Oh? It's ready?!?! Imagine that.

After delivering the dress safely to the house, I loaded up Jeannette and 3 of her bridal peeps into the car. We were off to join the guys, who had already begun the last night of single debauchery at a bar I couldn't remember the name of. I just called it Hand-job Joe's all night.
I spent the night playing designated driver and picking up people from the airport and other parts of Vegas to get them to Hand-job Joe's for the party. Mike had brought a GPS system with him on the trip. If I had not had this little box, I never would have made it through the night. Wrangling 8 or so drunks was fun although challenging at times. Mike and Jeannette have some amazing friends so that helped out a lot. I eventually herded everyone home safe to get some sleep before the big day.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Catching Up

Hi there. Yeah, I took a few months off and threw a surprise blog at you that had absolutely zero personal content whatsoever. Forgive me?

A lot has changed in my life since June. In no particular order:
  • Robby started pooping in the potty! It only took 3 years 1 month and 12 days for it to click with him that the toilet was the best place to put his crap.
  • My little brother, Uncle Mike, got married in Las Vegas. I made a 5 day trip there to help celebrate and had the best time I can remember having since last October.
  • The Papa and I decided to reconcile and give the whole couple thing another shot. This is by far the biggest news and most important to me. It's also probably why there have been no posts for so long. Writing my thoughts on this subject was something I wasn't comfortable with on this blog. Maybe I needed a cave for that.
  • My grandmother, The Nanny, visited and spent 5 days of her time here in the hospital. She has since gone home to Arizona and spent another week or so in the hospital there. Along with her heart problems, it appears some dementia has developed.
  • Robby turned 3!

I'm sure there are many others, but these are the highlights of what you've missed. I plan on writing about each event over the next week. So, fasten those seat belts and hang on for details on the wild ride that is my life. I can tell you now that my life feels whole. I am happy for the first time in a very long time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Dear Sarah Palin,

Your daughter's body and what she decides for it are her business. You're right, you daughter's pregnancy is a private, family matter. It will not impact your ability to be a Vice President at all.
The media should drop this matter and leave you and your family alone with these personal matters.

The Mama

PS Could you give every other woman in America the same consideration? Thanks.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On the Way to Daycare

"SHAZBOT! Well why don't you just drive in all the lanes!"

"Who are you talking to, Mama?"

"The guy in front of us."

"Is it the crazy lady that doesn't drive so well?"

"No. It's another crazy driver."

We pass the SUV in the next lane.

"It's not a guy. That's a lady Mama! It's her! It's the CRAZY LADY that doesn't drive so well!"

Do you think they'd take him away from me if I taught him to flip her the bird?

My thoughts and wishes for a speedy recovery are with you Paul Newman!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fire Station Open House

Our local fire station had an open house last Saturday, so Robby got dressed up in his firefighter gear and we decided to go check it out. He had the most amazing time!

They had an old vintage firetruck there and were giving rides. We got in line as soon as we got there. After waiting about 5 minutes, they decided to take a 45 minute break. You have never seen a child throw such a fit as when Robby found out we were not going to ride that firetruck RIGHT NOW!

We went over to the area where they were letting kids spray a REAL! FIRE HOSE! with a REAL! FIRE FIGHTER! and soon the fit was over. Robby was so intent on spraying that hose correctly, and you could see the concentration on his face. This was serious business. They had set up a wooden structure with wooden flames that spun around when the water hit them.

We then went and listened to the fire fighters talk about the equipment they use at car accident scenes. We came in on the tail end of the demonstration, but Robby plopped right down on the ground and listened to them talk.

Then it was time for the Sheriff K-9 unit to show off the dogs. Robby climbed up in the vintage firetruck at had a bird's eye view. Although, he didn't really watch the dogs that much. He was too excited to be in a REAL! FIRETRUCK! These dogs were great and when they put the "drugs" in a box among many others for a dog to find, I couldn't help but hope someone standing in the circle around the demonstration was carrying.

After the dogs, the firetruck started up again and Robby got his ride. He was very quiet and I think in shock through the whole experience. We then went and looked at the fire station with the REAL! HELMETS! and REAL! JACKETS! and Robby had his first snow cone. A grape one, that he didn't care for too much. We went back and had some popcorn instead.

They gave demonstrations on how to use a fire extinguisher, and The Mama got to put out a REAL! FIRE! with one. I think that moved me up a few notches on the cool meter in his book.

It was a great afternoon and well worth him missing a nap to attend! Check out some pictures of the day on my FLICKR page.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

He Ain't Heavy

I ran across this picture at The Grandma's house when I was in Arizona. This is me at age 14 holding my new little baby brother, otherwise known as Uncle Mike. Despite looking quite bershon in the picture, I loved my baby brother then almost as much as I do 27 years later.

For various reasons, that won't be blogged about here, I felt a need to protect my brother when he was a baby. Because of this and 14 years separating us, we haven't always had what I'd call the "normal" brother-sister relationship. I think our relationship took a dramatic change while we were in Arizona caring for our mother.

When the heart surgery was over, the doctors told us that mom would have to have someone with her 24/7 for the first two weeks she was out of the hospital. Financially, this was going to put a huge strain on my life. Not to mention the fact that I had already been away from Robby longer than I had ever been. I was already making plans to get Robby to Arizona and make that call to my boss telling him I'd be away for a little while longer. So, it came as a shock when Mike suggested that he be the one to stay and take care of everything. When he first proposed the idea, it seemed ludicrous and not even worth considering. Afterall, I am the one who takes care of everything.

Somewhere in the middle of him stating all the reasons why he should be the one to stay, it hit me that my being the one who takes care of everything is a choice I make over and over again. And if it's a choice, then maybe I did have the option of not being that person this time. Entertaining this idea became a reality when Mike said that he wanted to have this chance to do something, and not always be the one who f*cks up all the time.

In the end, he stayed and I went home. I don't know what happened to that kid who played drums in the garage bands, slept until noon, had twelve W-2's in one year, and always came to me when he had a problem. Somewhere along the way he became the brother that gives me money when I need it, installs a dog door for me, stays calm when I get stressed out and loves my son almost as much as I do. He's getting married later this month and although I'm so very happy for him I can't help but miss the feeling of cradling him in my arms and protecting him from life.

Being his big sister showed me how much I truly wanted to be The Mama someday. I know I do a better job at it because he's in my life. For that alone, I owe my little brother the world.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The One Where the Locust Arrive

Hello from home.

I arrived back last Wednesday and things have been crazy since.

On Tuesday night, The Nanny (my grandma) went in for a sleep study to see why she fainted last week. She called me at 12:30am and told me I needed to come pick her up because they couldn't finish the tests. Her heart rate was high and the paramedics said it wasn't anything life threatening. WHAT? They said she should follow up with her doctor the next day.

On Wednesday, I got her a doctor's appointment scheduled for 3:30 pm. The Grandma's heart rate had been steady for over 24 hours. I said goodbye to them both and left for the airport. Uncle Mike would take over alone until Auntie LJ arrived on Sunday.

While I was actually in the air, The Grandma's heart rate started going up and down again.

While I was actually in the air, The Nanny's doctor put her in the hospital.


At least they were in the same hospital, so Uncle Mike's life would be a little easier. The Nanny's heart was keeping blood too long and it was too thick, causing her heart rate to rise. Yes, the same thing was going on with her daughter 3 flights up in the hospital. They put her on a blood thinner and monitored her for 4 days. They moved her into a rehab unit attached to the hospital yesterday. She is doing well, but they want to monitor her for 5 to 7 days to make sure the blood thinner is working.

They put a pacemaker in The Grandma on Thursday. I wasn't there. She did great and everything looked like a go for a release from the hospital on Sunday. She did not go home on Sunday. She has fluid around one of her lungs and they had to take her off of the blood thinner yesterday, so they could go in today with a needle and remove the fluid around the lung.


The Grandma has been in the hospital for 3 weeks. Uncle Mike came home yesterday and now Auntie LJ is there.

Of course there was tons of DRAMA! thrown into all of this past week that I haven't told you about....yet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Battle of the Surgical Stars

I almost made it home.

I said goodbye to the Grandma at the hospital and left for the airport yesterday afternoon. 20 minutes later the phone rang. The Grandma was upset, understandably, as they just told her she would need a pacemaker. I went back to the hospital.

Her heart rate had been dropping to 50 and then jumping up to 160. She was exhausted and said she felt like she was running a race from her hospital bed. Her cardiologist (who looks like Balki from Perfect Strangers) felt that a pacemaker was indicated. He ordered the procedure and instructed the RN to stop food and water until they got the pacemaker in. I haven't had a lot of faith in Balki from the start. It took him 5 months of watching The Grandma sliding downhill after her heart attack to FINALLY get some tests done.

Her cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. V, is an arrogant man who looks like he could have been a hijacker on 9-11. After googling him, I assure you he has a reason to be arrogant and cocky. He is one of the best surgeons in the country it turns out. Dr. V disagreed with Balki and felt it would be rushing things to put a pacemaker in. Dr. V felt that she had post-op stress and they just needed to give it some time and adjust the medication they were giving her. He said she needed to eat, walk and take lots of deep breaths.

Dr. V came into her room yesterday afternoon and asked if she had eaten. The RN told him that Balki had ordered no food or water until the pacemaker procedure. Dr. V simply said, "Give her lunch." in a tone that no one would ever consider doing anything other than what he said.

Now the sign on the hospital door makes sense.

Dr. V won the battle and his opinion turned out to be the right one. The Grandma's heart rate has been steady for over 24 hours now and she looks and feels great. She will move out of ICU tonight and into another room in the hospital.

I am scheduled to fly home tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks again to everyone for their prayers and support.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Leap Of Faith

Heart Surgery is not for wimps. The things The Grandma are going through are just horrible and yet at the same time, I am amazed at how quickly she is bouncing back. She got drainage tubes out yesterday and her color is infinitely better. It looks like she will stay in the ICU at least one more day though. Her heart rate keep fluctuating last night and this morning, although the doctor says this is normal in 80% on the cases he sees.

Being the daughter that normally takes care of everything, it feels strange to tell you that I am flying home tomorrow afternoon. I'm not staying until she gets out of the hospital. I'm not staying to clean her house and shop for healthy food before she gets home. All of these things are going to fall to Uncle Mike, the one who usually runs from anything like this, and he is up for the challenge. I know he will do a great job and that she will be okay. I will try to not cry too much when I say goodbye tomorrow and get on that plane.

Uncle Mike will stay another week until Auntie LJ can get here. She will stay a week and then Auntie Lori will take over for a week. If The Grandma still needs help after that, I will return. It all looks good on paper, but feels like crap to me. I feel like I should be here. Although I am full of gratitude for the two friends my mother has. Once again, I am at a point in my life where I must close my eyes, put my hand on my heart, and take that first step into nothingness and know that I will be okay and land on solid ground.

I am looking forward to going home and seeing Robby! He misses me I'm told, but he cannot miss me more than I miss him. He had a nightmare that Santa Claus stole his wahki (pacifier) a few nights ago. I need to go protect his possessions from that jolly old elf.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Re-Grand Opening

She made it through surgery.

They finally got The Grandma in about 1:30 this afternoon. Five hours and four new valves later, we got the word she was out of surgery. Her surgeon said that it was a complicated and hard surgery but her heart looked good and everything should be okay.
Uncle Mike and I spent the first hour she was in surgery eating lunch and drinking a well earned margarita.

That stuff in the background is blue sky.

We spent the rest of the time in the ICU waiting room. I taught Uncle Mike how to play gin, although we were distracted by another lady in the waiting room who was a chatterbox prayer. Her husband had just come out okay through the same surgery and she had a LOT of nervous energy, poor thing.

We are going back to check on her tonight. She should be awake and hopefully will be off the respirator.
I saw this sign at the grocery store tonight.

I thought it a lot like mom's new lease on life and health.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hello From Arizona

The Grandma had her angiogram yesterday and called to say that she was being moved to a different hospital and that a quadruple bypass was on the surgical schedule. Uncle Mike and I flew in last night. It's nice to know I can get a call and be on a plane in less than 4 hours. As busy as my life seems and as important as I think I am; I guess it all comes down to priorities. (I was eating a Double Double with grilled onions at 1am.)

Phoenix is my hometown and usually she treats me well. I think she is on her period or something this trip. The plane hit the runway and the pilot literally locked up the brakes. The flight attendant came on the loudspeaker to welcome us to Phoenix and said she hoped this was our final destination. Everyone found it funny once they realized they were not going to die.

In my 4 hours notice, I booked a shuttle from the airport to The Nanny's house. I don't remember paying extra to get a celebrity driver, but low and behold Buck Henry stepped out of the passenger van to take my bag. I am probably showing my age and hopefully someone who reads this will know who Buck Henry is.) I think Mr. Henry had hemorrhoids. He sat in the driver's seat sideways and could not hold the steering wheel or the accelerator still for more than 2 seconds.

The Nanny sleeps with soap under the sheets at the foot of her bed (for leg cramps) and last night I thought there was a snake in the bed with me.

I got to meet the Bacon Nazi in the hospital cafeteria this morning.

It hasn't even been 24 hours and this trip is already memorable.

Robby thinks that The Grandma lives in an airplane now and that's why I got on a plane to go see her. I miss him so much I ache. You'd think I'd get to sleep in or something to make up for the fact that I can't hold him in my arms.

More updates to come.

Thanks to all for the support while I am here and all the thoughts and prayers for my mom.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ruff Weather

My life is now 38% easier.

Uncle Mike came and installed this on Saturday. It's a little strange having a hole cut in the side of your house (see my FLICKR page for the complete photo set) but it is totally worth it. I know Robby will eventually try to use the door, so I have prepared myself. I just hope I don't get a random opossum in the dining room one night.
Now I just need something to pick up the 14 tons of dog shit.
The Grandma is in the hospital again. She went in Friday evening and they have not let her come home. They are doing an angiogram tomorrow in hopes of finding what is causing her problems. It was not another heart attack this time, so we have that to be thankful for. Uncle Mike is flying to Arizona on Thursday night, as the angiogram was originally going to be done on this Friday.
The Nanny spent a night in the hospital last week as well. She passed out in the kitchen and conked her head and cracked some ribs. She is sore, but doing well.
See why I'm so excited about the dog door? It's the best thing that's happened in a week.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Devil and Miss Jones

My Life:

March? When was that? Oh! I remember March!

St. Patrick's Day! Easter! Devon! BRUCE sang She's the One!

And I got sick! Again! I think the last round of antibiotics really worked. Poor Devon had a to take a shuttle to the airport, I was so sick. Luckily, I have very understanding and self reliant friends in my life.
Mom came and then spent yet another night in the hospital while visiting! She is not coming again without a clean EKG. It was fun with Robby in the ER. For about an hour, he decided he wanted to be a doctor. It was a nice break from his dreams of the fire department.

The light bulb has finally been lit in the portion of Robby's brain that tells him when he has "to go". After 7 months of sitting on the potty and saying, "Maybe next time?" he has finally began to actually use his time sitting there. Two days this week I was sprayed before I even got my morning coffee. Now that, my friends, is motherhood.

It has taken so much self restraint on my part to keep from picking up the camera/camcorder and capturing these moments for posterity. Robby stands in front of the toilet Ala Titanic

and squeezes as hard as he can and then shudders to make things happen. I swear if I made a video of the scene, Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" would be the music. I still may break down and do it. It would be nice to have this video to look at when I'm 80 and all alone. Or maybe when Robby's 16 and feeling rather "too hip". I'm sure too hip is not at all hip today and it won't even be understood 14 years from now. Oh well. I amuse myself anyway.
The promise of spring has once again appeared this afternoon. I'm not sure I really buy it this time, but I plan on going outside and enjoying it while it lasts.
That last sentence sums up the month of March.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Like a Thief On a Sunday Morning

Today seemed to go by so quickly. It seems like it shouldn't be so late...oh wait. That's right, today was the start of daylight savings time and I lost an hour. Damn! I WANT IT BACK!

Have you heard about the Florida woman who is under fire for punishing her 2 1/2 year old daughter by spraying her with a car wash hose? She was arrested, jailed for child abuse and released on $1,000 bail on Saturday. The child had no visible injuries when authorities examined her, 11 days after the incident. The car wash manager heard the child yelling and crying and saw the mother spraying the child and called the authorities. The incident was caught on video tape and from the reports I have read, the mother turned herself into the authorities.

The mother says the child was throwing a temper tantrum while in the car and she stopped the car at the car wash and used a high pressure hose to spray her child as a punishment. The mother says she did not use the high pressure option on the hose and did not hurt the child. The video tape shows her spraying her daughter repeatedly on the legs and in the face. She then removes the girl's wet clothing, wraps her in a towel and puts her back into the car. The mother is also 5 months pregnant.

Since the incident was caught on video, it has been a popular news story. Otherwise, I probably never would have heard the story. This may sound shocking, especially to anyone who's never raised a child who is 2 1/2, but I think in fairness, a video of the child throwing a temper tantrum in the car should be released as well before we all pass judgement. The child was not hurt physically, let's all remember that. This pregnant woman was jailed. I think that was a little harsh. I believe the incident should have been investigated, yes. But wouldn't the $1,000 be better spent on a parenting class for the mother rather than bail? This woman was trying to correct her child's behavior. Yes, I'm sure there are better ways, but yet again, I want to see the in car video. Educating her on different methods to discipline would seem the obvious choice to me.

I pondered this all day on Friday, and then came home and watched my local evening news. The top story of the day was not that Hillary Clinton was a "monster" . It was not on the ailing health of a hospitalized, Margaret Thatcher. It was a duck killing. Two truant teenagers, 15 and 17, decapitated a duck and pulled out eggs from inside the duck's body. Yeah, bad stuff. But unless PETA has editorial rights at the news station, there is no excuse for the coverage this story received. One of the tonight at eleven! teasers had the anchorwoman saying, "Two teenagers mutilated a pregnant duck and then what they did was horrific!" Think about that for a minute. Pregnant? Duck? Ducks lay eggs...right? The newscast had a reporter live on the scene at the pond with "disturbing scenes" to show us. Witnesses were outraged that while animal cruelty is a felony, these two boys will likely not go to prison over the incident. Prison?

Maybe taking the truant boys to a Florida car wash would be a more reasonable solution.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leaping Lizards

The snot creatures have invaded my head and chest. There has been some nasty bug going around for the past few months and I finally got the bastard. My head feels like it is going to explode. I can actually hear all the crap in my sinuses moving around. My chest is sore from coughing. Today is the first day the aching all over my body is tolerable. I hope this means I am getting better. Taking care of Robby has been a challenge and I would not have made it through this week without The Papa's help.

I wanted to let everyone know that I am still alive and will try to post more often in the month of March. I'm looking forward to all the great things happening next month! St. Patrick's Day! Easter! Bruce Springsteen! Oh My!

I hope everyone enjoyed their extra day and put it to good use. I worked for 5 whole hours and blew my nose a lot.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Red River Valley of the Shadow of Death

When I was a child, my great grandmother had a stroke and was confined to her bed. She and my great grandfather lived with us after this happened. They were married over 50 years and one of my earliest memories is driving with my family back to Arkansas to their golden anniversary party. My great grandmother and I never missed Little House on the Prairie. We watched it together every single week.

I remember the first time I saw the episode where Ma Ingalls finds out she is going through the change. I remember her crying and saying that she felt useless to Pa because she could not bear him any more children. She was afraid he would not want her anymore; her purpose on this earth was gone. I thought she was crazy then, in the 70's as a girl who had not yet met her Aunt Flow. I still do.

I can understand her feeling a little sad at the thought of not having another baby. I've felt that. The "because one is enough" byline of this blog is not only referring to Robby's dimple. It also reminds me that he will be my only child and to make it enough. I imagine in real prairie life though, Ma would have been thrilled.

They had no television and the sun went down early on the prairie. Doc Baker had no birth control to offer and she couldn't get a pack of Trojans at the mercantile. She had to be tired too. She did all the cooking, cleaning, childcare and still had to substitute at the school every now and then. She worked as hard as Pa did; maybe even a little more at times. I think my great grandmother could relate to her though. She was a farmer's wife with seven children of her own. I like to think that she respects the different choices I have made. And I also hope she knows how much respect and admiration I have for the strength, sense of family and abundant love she lavished on everyone she met. Thanks, grandma. I miss you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Brilliant Disguise

This is The Mama's senior picture from high school. Doesn't she look like a normal teenage girl in 1984? There are a lot of things you can't see in this picture. Although the photographer can see her fine, she cannot see him or even his camera for that matter. Lasik was still 16 years away when this was taken and normally her face would be hidden by very large, very thick plastic-framed glasses. You remember the frames where the ear pieces attached to the bottom of the frames and not the middle? Yeah, those. They were great for peripheral vision, if you weren't too nearsighted to have peripheral vision. Let's talk about the hair. I want to reach into the photo and change her hair. It looks like she slept on it wrong and then curled it the best she could. She has these ears that stick out and spent countless hours trying to cover them up with her hair. I find it quite shocking that I see this girl of 17 so much differently today. I hated this picture when it was taken, and it was the best pose. When I look at it now, I see such a young face with no scars or wrinkles. Her neck isn't really that fat. It was insane for her to worry about it so much. Her eyes haven't bulged out yet. That won't happen for another 7 years with the Graves Disease. I want to tell her that she has the most beautiful eyes.

If I could go back in time and talk to her for just a few minutes, I would tell her a lot of things. I'd start off by telling her how beautiful she is. I know she wouldn't believe me though. She'd think I saw her differently than the rest of the world. She had a big wall up around her heart when it came to a lot of things, including her self-image. I'd tell her that she was about to face one of the toughest years of her life. A year full of choices to be made by a girl who is out of her comfort zone and has no tools in her arsenal to help her make better choices. I'd tell her that she will survive, as she always has, but this time the price for that survival will be high. I'd tell her that she will meet another young girl this year, when she goes off into that big scary world, and this girl will be a life long friend. I'd tell her that one day the two of them will hold each other's children and feel pure joy. I'd tell her not to push her roommate up against the wall by her throat. I'd tell her that although she will feel alone at times, she really is not alone at all.

I would like to shake her out of the obsessive behaviors and feelings. She is so infactuated with that 17 year old boy though, she can't see anything else. She will sing to him on his doorstep for christsake! She has this loyalty, for lack of a better word, for anyone she loves. Loyalty is an admirable quality, but not when given when it's not wanted or deserved. When her love isn't returned by this boy her heart will break. She will do what she did when it happened the first time someone she loved let her down. She will pretend. She will live in fantasy and not reality. She will make excuses for him. She will spend every waking minute trying to figure out what she can do to make it right; to make her right, so she will be loved in return.

I'd tell her that he will turn out to be someone she doesn't even like or respect one day. I'd tell her that one day she will thank God for unanswered prayers.

I'd tell her to put herself first. I'd tell her to love herself first.

If I could make her listen, could I really change the course of her life? Would I want to?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Loose Change

The sun is actually shining right now. I don't know how long I will be able to sit here and type before the urge to run outside and scream with joy overtakes me. I moved to the Pacific Northwest in August of 1992. Winter here can be rainy for those of you who may not know. (Who am I kidding, everyone watched Frasier!) At least once every winter the rain gets to me. Today was the day it got to me in 2008.
I'm a desert chick born and raised. From Phoenix and the Mojave Desert to Washington State is like night and day. I love that everything here is green and clean. Logically, it makes sense that rain just facilitates what I love, but today I want to jump a plane for Phoenix and sit on my mom's lanai in the 85 degree sunshine and eat grapefruit off her tree.
Valentine's Day looms on horizon just in case I'm not feeling gloomy enough. Who the hell thought up this holiday? See's Candies? Hallmark? If I catch another Zale's commercial with that annoying music I will go insane. This will be the first VD since The Papa and I separated and then divorced. I wasn't expecting it to be an easy time, but I didn't think I would be so pissy about the whole thing. Heartbroken? Yeah, understandable. But pissy? Robby and I made VD cards for family and friends. I admit that was a lot of fun. We also addressed VD cards for his classmates last night. We had a parent sign-up sheet for treats to bring to the big party for the kids. I signed up for cheese. See? Pissy!

Anyway, if you look at VD as a day to be with someone you love and loves you back, it should be a great day for me.
Hope you spend it with someone as wonderful!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Shameless Exploitation

Anyone who has ever had dinner at my house knows to expect a choice of at least 5 different salad dressings for their salad. They also know that all 5 will be Newman's Own. All of his products are not only wonderful tasting (unless you are like me and do not like black pepper. Then avoid his ranch dressing and salsa) and always made with a lot of love. As you probably know, Newman's Own has donated over $200 million to charity to date from the sales of its products. My plea to you, Gentle Reader, is that the next time you are in the market and have a choice to buy Newman's Own, please do so. You won't be disappointed with the taste and you can be a part of something that makes a difference in the lives of so many.

I've been obsessed with Newman's Own products for many years now. I've tried them all; salad dressing, spaghetti sauce, lemonade, limeade, popcorn, salsa, marinade, steak sauce... ice cream. True fans will remember the ice cream. The ice cream disappeared off the shelves several years ago despite my constant letters and emails begging for its return. Obscene. Vanilla. Bean. I cry for you. The Papa even included Newmans Own references in his love letters to me when we first started dating.

How Paul Newman and his partner A.E. Hotchner started this endeavor is a great story and one I recommend. Most will remember Mr. Newman for his acting; a few for his racing. I think his is one of the greatest stories of someone making a difference with their lives. He's one of my heros.

Since there is no ice cream to be had, I will just have to take some Fig Newmans (from his organic line) and milk to bed tonight. God bless you, Mr. Newman, wherever you are.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Stir Crazy

Well another Groundog's Day has come and gone. It looks like we will be stuck with 6 more weeks of this cold, wet and miserable weather. Due to the global warming going on outside, we spent most of the weekend indoors. We got an early start on our Valentine's Day cards and did a little house cleaning. He was in a good mood for most of the weekend and when he wasn't I just sent him to his room for an attitude adjustment.... everytime. He ate constantly this weekend so he must be starting another growth spurt.

I ran across yet another article about the over the counter cold medications not being safe for kids. As a parent, I really don't know what to think about all of this. So far, they have only "officially" issued a warning for children under 2, but they are still researching the 2 - 6 age group. I think that news is enough for any parent to call it "official". I know I am not going to reach for a bottle at the first sign of a sniffle. I know I am going to do some research and write a few letters and encourage the powers that be to make it a priority for the CDC and FDA to figure this out. I won't even get started about the vaccine vs autism controversy. That's another post.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Van Pelt Family

Like many other kids out there, Robby has a blanket that he LOVES! and carries around with him everywhere he can. It's only been to daycare the few times that it was absolutely necessary for the sanity of all parties involved. It's a Classic Pooh blanket with Pooh and Tigger. Jody and Jack gave it to him before he was even born. Since he carries it everywhere you can imagine how dirty it can get. I wish I could add a link that would let you smell how foul it gets as well. He covers up Maggie or Chloe and calls them his baby. He uses it as a weapon and flings it. Cousin Elvis the wonderbeagle runs up and tries to grab it from him. Robby hangs on for dear life just like Linus.

Getting the blanket away from Robby and into the washing machine should be the next olympic sport. Recognizing that moment when all emotions align just so and seizing that moment are critical to success. Tonight was one of those nights.

This is Monday's lunch of PB & J. Yesterday, he actually looked at it and told me it was peanut butter and jelly. Then he tried to eat it off the blanket.

This isn't the best picture, but if you look close you can see grime and what may be blood(?)

Here we have what I call "special woogies" from last week's cold. If you don't know what a woogie is, be thankful.

These are tire treads from being ran over repeatedly with a tricycle. There's some garage floor grease thrown in as well.

This is the runner up in the blanket department. If for any reason the Pooh Blanket is unable to fulfill its role as security blanket, Airplane Blanket will wear the crown. It is one of the fleece-tie blankets I made a little over a year ago.

Because it is fleece, it attracts both dog hair and funky odors.

I had a Drowsy that I took everywhere. She only looked this clean for the first two hours that I had her. Mom, if you are reading this, I am sorry I chose a doll for my security blanket. I know she couldn't go through the washing machine and while I can't remember her smelling anything but comforting; I'm sure she had a fragrance that inspired Glade.

Three weeks ago was one of those days that blanket went to daycare. Mom was still here visiting and recuperating from the heart attack. When Robby and I got home, I realized that I had failed to make sure that blanket came home too. PANIC drove the car back to the daycare center and made it through the doors before they closed for the night. Mom reminded me of how I had once left Drowsy in a store and we were there first thing the next morning waiting for the doors to open. Robby, your Mama may be a Lucy Van Pelt most of the time, but remember there's a little bit of Linus in all of us.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Creative Plumbing

Watching Bob The Builder has finally paid off! I managed to repair a toilet this evening without the help of Lofty, Scoop or Rolly. All I had to ask my self was, "Can I fix It?".

Yes. I. Can.

The only part that really gave me any trouble was getting the bolt off the bottom of the toilet tank. You're gonna laugh at me Internet but I swear I used Astroglide to get the bolt off. (It's about time something got off in this house.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Whole Lotta Feelin' Goin' On

Robby spent this last weekend with The Papa. He woke up this morning in his own bed and called for me as usual. When I went into his room he started saying he wanted his Papa over and over. I told him Papa was at Papa's house and this only upset him more. A few minutes of keeping our morning routine of snuggling in the chair in his room and he was fine. So fine in fact that he kissed me several times, smiled and said, "I love you, Mama". He has said that he loves Mama before, but it is usually preceded by an "I love Robby" or me asking him if he loves me. I think this is first time he genuinely said those words. My heart melted. Going from feeling guilty for keeping him from his Papa; the selfish feelings of wanting him to love me more than anyone else in the world; to feeling blissfully complete took all of five minutes.

As I reflect on this morning I can't help but feel proud as a parent. I allowed him to feel upset. I showed him it was okay to want someone else and that I would love him through it. I want him to be safe in feeling anything in front of me and know that I will be right here loving him. I've witnessed first hand a parent using this exact situation to comfort themselves and tell the child that the other parent doesn't love them as much. My Dad did that. It made me feel like I couldn't miss my Mom without betraying his love. It made it not okay to miss Mom in front of Dad at a time when my nine year old heart desperately needed someone to hold her and tell her it was okay.

I also can't help but wonder why I've been so judgemental of my own feelings over the past several months. I paid good money to have a professional tell me it was okay to feel the way I felt at any given time. I think today, finally, some of that may have sunk in.

My son, may your sins be your own.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Begats

Dear Nasty Cough,

I know you are having a great time visiting Robby's chest and you and all the mucus have made plans to start filming a new commercial for that productive cough medicine. I know mucus has already picked up his greenest slimiest suit from the pea soup factory. Despite all of this it is simply time to go.

All the scary FDA warnings and investigations about cold medicines and children under six were a brilliant strategy. In fact, they worked for almost a week now. The fatal flaw in your devious plan to invade his bronchial tubes was that you forgot the begats.

Alma was a farmer's wife for more than 50 years. Deep in the Ozarks, she raised more children than the typical Mormon family of today. She had no local pharmacy or FDA to aid her in healing the many illness and diseases that struck her children over the years. Instead, she had good old fashioned common sense. It was this common sense applied to whatever medicine or home remedy she had at her disposal that drove all those childhood coughs and colds away.

Alma begat Alice, know as "the kerosene lady" in one Arizona hospital. When her grandchild got stuck in a barbed wire fence in the woods, Alice applied kerosene to kill any nasty germs that might have been lurking in that fence. Then she took the child to the doctor as soon as they were back to where the doctors were. No lock jaw ever occurred, though some wish today that it would have.

Alice begat Norma Jean. The same Norma Jean who simply decided that because she and her son got food poisoning from a local Taco Bell, this would not be a place they would eat at again. Common sense in it purest form.

Norma Jean begat The Mama, and The Mama said screw the FDA, he's coughing up a lung and it will stop now. The Mama got out the Tussin CF and an oral syringe and fulfilled her maternal destiny tonight. Up yours cough!

The Mama

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Nexus

Acceptance. That was my New Year's wish and what I ask God for every night before I go to sleep. It hasn't come yet. I know I am an impatient person. I'm a real instant gratification kind of a gal. I have a feeling acceptance isn't something that you can see happening. Maybe you just wake up one morning and realize you've got it?

Why is acceptance so vital for me to have? It's Wednesday. The Papa sees Robby every Wednesday. I see The Papa every Wednesday. Don't get me wrong, the other 6 days of the week all cry for acceptance too but Wednesday is the day that screams the loudest. If I have acceptance, every thing he does not say, does not feel will not be a burning needle piercing my chest. Tonight, he made a reference to miniature golf and one of our first dates.* Although I acted like it was a normal topic, (and aren't I all grown up and sophisticated for being able to discuss this, by the way, thank you) it had the most abnormal emotional undertone screaming through my stomach. I wanted to scream, "How can you even think about a time when we were so happy and not be absolutely frantic and devastated about what we gave up?"
*Please understand Gentle Reader, that what I speak of here is of no fault of The Papa. He doesn't do anything to make me feel the way I do. I alone own my reactions and feelings, and they are the only monsters here.

What do I need to accept? That he is over us? That he isn't in love with me anymore? That he feels okay about walking away? I have to accept these things because they are not mine; they are his. Or maybe what I need to accept is that he is not going to be by my side (no matter who's choice that is) and I can still create a life I want to live. The life I have now is not what I thought I would have. Most days, I don't even know how I got to this place where I come home and the one I was going to share my life with is gone. How the hell did this happen? I'm so angry that's what's happened. Maybe the acceptance can't move in until the anger moves out.

It occurred to me driving home that maybe I was not getting acceptance because I didn't want to accept them. I don't want them. I choose option e) none of the above. I thought about that for a minute and realized that was the whole reason for wanting the all allusive acceptance. It's a loop. I'm the Dr. Soran of divorce and by God I can get back in the Nexus; or die trying.

I know in my head that I can create a life that is fun, enriching and worthwhile. I know I have a lot to bring to a new relationship. I know I will strive to be an amazing mother every day for the rest of my life. Knowing these things and not feeling them in my heart is the problem. The heart wants what it wants and to hell with all the other body parts. I guess that's where the saying "your heart isn't in it" came from. I want my heart to be in my life again.

For that, I need acceptance.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Black-Eyed Peas

Goodbye and Goodriddance to 2007!

2007 started with my marriage falling apart and ended with my mom having a heart attack on December 30th. Everything in between was the most horrific 12 months of my life. Divorce, breast cancer, funerals, hospitals and 22 year old rally chicks are not welcome to my 2008.

My grandmother always made me eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. She said they would bring me luck in the coming year. I HATE black-eyed peas. I would eat exactly two every year. This year, I ate a big bowl of them. I hope it works.

Let's all drink a toast to a year of love, laughter, friendship, acceptance and contentment.