Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holidays





Been an interesting past couple of weeks.
On the 14th we remembered the 12th anniversary of my father's death and had apple pie. (it was his favorite) We also had a farewell "party" for our old dog Blue with lots of treats and love for him. He was 11 and starting to decline rapidly and my husband felt the most humane option would be to put him down. We took him in on the 15th.
This is Blue when he was in his prime. We got him from a family when he was 5 years old, he was too much dog for them and one day while running crashed into the lady's leg and broke it at the knee. They mostly kept him tied up near the sidewalk. He was a sweet dog, incredibly dumb though, but very very sweet.

One, I almost want to say luxury-because it is in a way, of losing a pet-as opposed to a person, is it is easy to fill that void that is left. I knew putting Blue down would be very hard on the kids, so the day before we took him in, my husband and I picked up a puppy. The kids and husband have been wanting a small breed dog for awhile, and I found a chihuahua/eskimo puppy that was a rescue.
So...this is Daisy
She has made a seamless adjustment into our household. Leia who outweighs her by about 50 lbs at least seems to really like her and they play together a lot.
While wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve my husband and I wanted to see if she fit into a stocking...and she did..

Christmas went well. My husband said I did a great job with making the day special for everyone (even if I didn't feel it) Im glad they all felt that way. I took photos Christmas morning because it was such a beautiful start to the day and such a contrast from last years.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Another quarter....done!

I LOVED this quarter of school. Aside from the Creative Writing course I took with the dud of a professor who never returned assignments. How can I grow as a writer without critique? I wound up dropping the class because I want to be challenged and if Im not, there is not point.

The Western Civilization I class I took was fabulous, indulged my love for ancient history and analyzing original writings, and writing about them. Loved it, and Im sorry it is over. I cannot wait to finish my stint at this school and move on the university so I can take history classes that are more focused and indepth.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Joy

All day today I remembered last year's birthday celebration for my mom. In particular-this photo. It captures the exuberance she had, and even though she was so so very tired by this time, she still managed to have it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday


I'm sure it is something I realized once, but if so, I forgot about it and rediscovered it:

My mom was 33 when I was born.

I was 33 when she died.

Monday, November 29, 2010

When raising children...

Always remember you are raising future adults and teach them with that in mind.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Children

A favorite pastime of mine is watching my kids play without them knowing. I love listening to their stories, their ideas, when they play by themselves and have this whole narration and sound effect thing going on. Their play is full of excitement and adventure.

While watching and listening to them, my mind drifted and I thought of a trip I took with my dad, my best friend and her family. We all drove to Niagara Falls. Our hotel room had two beds and my friend and me and her little brother just HAD to jump from bed to bed, over and over again. Blankets slid off, pillows hit the ground, we sometimes missed and hit the floor, or slid with the blankets onto the floor. We never noticed the sharp corners on the nightstands, or the on the headboards. It never occurred to us that bones could break, or we could potentially misjudge our landing, and go right out the sliding glass balcony door and die.(we were several stories up) All we noticed was the exhilaration of making a huge leap and landing it. We bounced high, we jumped hard, and it was all an exercise in making the feeling of freedom and exhilaration last as long as we could - which would be until a parent came back into the room.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

On Being Thankful

I came across a link on a website to my blog that was for this post
(Firstly I am amazed that people remember my blog exists, and further amazed at remembering specific posts. Hermana Linda, you brightened my day!)

Since there was a link I went to read the post and the comments, taking particular note of the discussion on what to call Thursdays and the idea of thankfulness. I, obviously, have fallen off track in blogging according to the days of the week with their subjects. To rectify my lack of gratitude, I am writing this post.

1)That the sun never fails to rise or set
2)it might be predominately grey, brown and pale yellow outside-but there are cardinals and blue jays that add a splash of unexpected color.
3)having a family
4)school
5)curiosity
6)cameras
7)my siblings
8)Christmas Ale by Great Lakes Brewery
9)morning light
10)coyotes howling in the middle of the night
11)health insurance
12)health in my children, husband and myself
13)hair that stays healthy no matter what chemicals I toss on it (although not one to take hair health for granted I am done dying, hair is back to my natural dark brown)
14)having the opportunity to be a full time student, able to help my husband at work, and much time with my children
15)cats
16)that I made it through Thanksgiving
17)my brother is pursuing his dreams no matter the risk
18) a great library system
19)yearly vacations paid in full by the company my husband works for that never fall short of luxurious
20)Ancient Greek and Roman history because it fascinates me to an absurd degree

Friendships

Are not lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been hints of it -- tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest -- if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself -- you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say "Here at last is the thing I was made for. -- C. S. Lewis

Monday, November 22, 2010

On Death

It is around the 2nd anniversary of the death of my brother Toby, and in a few weeks it will be the 12th anniversary of my father's death, and a few weeks after that (one month and one day to be precise) it will be the first anniversary of my mother's death.

I'm finding it strange really, in analyzing how each of these people's deaths impacted me so differently. With my father it was a deep pain and I withdrew greatly for nearly a year after he died. He was my best friend, and while it is cliche', no matter what, he was always there when I needed him-no questions asked. His presence was what I missed the most.

With my brother it was a very different sadness. Given our vast age difference, I did not know him nearly as much as I would have liked to. My dad always kept me updated on how Toby's life was going and that was the main connection. After dad died, Toby stayed a few days and I got to know him a bit better, and we carried on correspondence on a sporadic basis for a couple of years, only to have it drop off. What really hit me though, was the feeling and realization of "wait a minute, I have six other siblings, and Im the second youngest, and will I experience this several more times?" A bit of a selfish reaction, but honest. Losing a sibling is not like losing a parent...a sibling's death is more like a loss of history or like in the movie the Dark Crystal when those old guys start to disappear and something is lost from the world. It is a loss of a friend, of someone who saw you at your best and worst, and fought with you like no one else, a person who shares family memories with you...and different ones that are so nice to know.

Losing my mom...well...that is still a work in progress. I have had a year of insane personal growth, and have started working towards several personal goals. I have also come to a place of balance within my life that I have never had. I think the best way to sum up losing my mom is a profound sense of "what a waste"... all the years and moments that were wasted between us that can never be recovered, all the things I never learned about being a woman or being a mom, or about who she was as Jacqui-not just "my mom".
That is what I regret.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What a 6 yr old is thankful for.

The other day I had Parent-Teacher conferences. My 6yr old's teacher showed me the Things I am Thankful for book she is writing.
The first page said, "I am thankful for my mom because she is nice and she loves me"
The second page confused both the teacher and I, as her spelling is still a little inventive. There was a picture of a man, a pile of small circles, and then a picture of a small girl. It said she was thankful for her dad, but we couldn't decipher why, until I realized the pile of circles was a pile of coins.
Now it made sense.
"I am thankful for my dad because he keeps us from being poor"

We had to laugh, it was so cute, and so practical..and so unexpected.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

School.

I can't remember if I blogged about it or not...probably not.

My kids are in school this year...and they are loving it...and so am I.

Homeschooling is wonderful, and sometimes we miss it...but it is so nice to have someone else take care of the nuts and bolts of education while I can now just do the fun things we love- history, science and literature.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Reduced to stuff...

I think one of the more distressing things about having a loved one die, is that all you have left of them are their things. What do you keep, what do throw in the garbage? How do you get past the feeling that throwing their things away is akin to throwing them away....

In September we cleaned out my mom's house. We threw a lot away. Vultures in the form of people stopped and went through the trash on the curb and took it. Strangers now own my mom's belongings.

I brought home things that are important to me or useful. I have about 10 boxes of things still sitting in my kitchen, because going through them and finding new places for them in my house is not something I have been ready to do. It is another step in acceptance, a new level of cementing that she is no longer here. However, it is not realistic to keep boxes in my kitchen, and I need to go through everything and move on.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Routine

The sun inches through the beige blinds escorted by the crow of the big black rooster you named Fairy
I roll over and see your small body snuggled into my pale blue blanket
Again, you snuck in during the night.
Your hair is damp with the sweat of a small child’s restless sleep
Your eyelashes lay long and dark on your porcelain smooth flushed cheeks.
I wake you and your eyes are full of the night’s dreams.
You missing teeth smile reaches me and you
…….. stretch and reach to hug me while apologizing for your midnight pilgrimage into my bed.
You tell me of your dreams about white tigers, while I am half focused and thinking of our…
morning schedule
I rush you downstairs to prepare your food…
We crack open the brown speckled eggs laid by the red and white chickens
And fry them sizzling in melted butter
Toast pops up and you sing “one peanut butter, one raspberry jam, with butter!”
You beg for coffee, but I remind you that you are only six.
The reminder is ignored, and the moment my back is turned you drink my coffee
I pace back and forth getting your leopard print backpack put together, remembering your lunch money
You talk about white tigers, and wanting to go to the zoo
I hush you and explain that Im old and can’t think, do and listen at the same time
Your laughter at me reminds me of a chipmunk, high pitched and it hurts my ears
Eventually I stop and look at you sitting in the chair with your feet dangling
And your torrent of words begins again
I pause and appear to listen but mostly Im trying to capture you like a photograph
In this moment
This day that you will grow out of
Your ordinary brown hair glistening with golden highlights from the diffused morning light
a shirt with a rabbit wearing a bowtie,
eyes shining with wide eyed excitement about saving white tigers.
The moment passes and I run to grab your white shoes with glittery hearts and wedge them on your feet.
Together we walk down the driveway, the gravel hurting my feet in my soft soled slippers.
You are skipping at my side like a puppy on a leash
Excited to see your friends, your teacher, to move on with your life
You start our game “I love you more than you love me!”
I tell you that is impossible because I love you infinity
But you say you love me a billion infinities
The diesel fumed bus swallows you up and I see your small head showing in your window at seat number 9
I wave
You wave and blow a kiss.
I watch the bus drive down the street and you keep looking to make sure Im watching
Till we can’t see each other any longer.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Time

The one thing that I miss about my pre-parenting years is having time to stare off into space and think and daydream without interruption.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dune

"I'll miss the sea, but a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken."

Muse

Come thou, let us begin with the Muses who gladden
the great spirit of their father Zeus in Olympus with their
songs, telling of things that are and that shall be and that were
aforetime with consenting voice. Unwearying flows the sweet
sound from their lips, and the house of their father Zeus the
loud-thunderer is glad at the lily-like voice of the goddesses as
it spread abroad, and the peaks of snowy Olympus resound, and the
homes of the immortals. And they uttering their immortal voice,
celebrate in song first of all the reverend race of the gods from
the beginning, those whom Earth and wide Heaven begot, and the
gods sprung of these, givers of good things. Then, next, the
goddesses sing of Zeus, the father of gods and men, as they begin
and end their strain, how much he is the most excellent among the
gods and supreme in power. And again, they chant the race of men
and strong giants, and gladden the heart of Zeus within Olympus,
-- the Olympian Muses, daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder.
~Theogony

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eggs




the chickens are laying...some days we get one egg, some days we get 4. It is nice to have beautiful fresh eggs on hand. Although, it bothers me that they are fertile. The other day I learned that I need to crack them into a separate bowl when preparing them...as one had a tiny chicken embryo in it. It was maybe 1/4 long...but it disturbed me. My daughter had her friend spend the night last week, and the little girl wanted to collect eggs with us. There was one freshly laid egg in a nesting box. The girl picked it up and yelled "Im holding something that JUST came out of a chicken's butt!!!!" She was amazed, excited, and grossed out all at the same time.

Friday, July 30, 2010

midterm

Took it today for the course Im taking this summer. I was not expecting it to be all essays. I THINK I did ok...but I dont have a grade yet, and that is bothering me.

Im registered for fall quarter...math, world civilization and creative writing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

In contrast to the mortality post...

Here is some cuteness. A month or so ago a pregnant cat showed up at our door, and two weeks ago she gave birth to two kittens.






and this is Dread Rooster Fairy. He was just Fairy, but upon discovery he is a rooster we decided he needed a more suitable name.

Mortality

It's been on my mind lately.

The foolish are afraid of death as the greatest of evils, but wise men seek it as a rest after their toils and as the end of evils. --St. Ambrose of Milan

"A Christian has great difficulty in attaining three things," Abba Isaias the Anchorite says, "grief (over sins), tears, and the continual memory of death. Yet these contain all of the other virtues."

Of the remembrance of death specifically, he writes: "He who succeeds in saying each day to himself, 'today is the last day of my life,' will never willingly sin before God. He, however, who expects to have many years to live, without fail entangles himself in the nets of sin. God sanctifies the soul which is always prepared to give an accounting for its deeds. Whoever forgets the Judgment remains in the bondage of sin."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chickens are weird

They really are.
They are also kind of...gross.
In fact, having chickens makes me not want to eat them, or eggs, because when you clean up an animal's poo it can make you not want to eat said animal.

That aside, they are quite fun and amusing. The other day Gwen left the back door open, and the chickens decided to march right in. I chased them out.

I finished out this quarter with a 3.0. Not bad considering I really didn't do ANYTHING with the course I was taking.

Eli started TKD last month, and he will be taking his first belt test next Tuesday. He is very excited.

Im thinking we need to do a family vacation in August...tossing around going to DC. The original plan was to go out west but I think a 19 hour car ride for our first major family road trip might be too ambitious. The kids want to see DC and being that it is only 7 hours away that seems doable.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

School

Yesterday I had to take both my midterm and final for the Anthropology class Im taking. To be completely honest i have been slacking this quarter. The kids have had activities every single day for the past couple of months, and its been a bit tiring. I figured 3 nights of studying would make me proficient enough in 65 million years of prehistory, right?
Ha.
Night one...Gwen would NOT go to bed...at all. For whatever reasons she was very needy.
Night two...massive thunderstorm....freaked out kids...8yo who read a book where the cat dies and who was very upset and took over an hour to settle down. Studying...not happening
Day/night three...decided that instead of memorizing textbook i will just read through all the chapter outlines and keywords and hope that my amazing memory would store it all up and I would know it all for the tests. No interruptions from kids..

Went to take the tests and realized they were both copies of the two pretests the instructor had posted up for everyone to take.

I passed booth with over 80% correct. I thought this would be my fall from the Dean's list, but it's not, and I will add in some extra credit assignments this weekend to bolster my grades a bit more.

I was considering taking the summer off..but i realized yesterday that I am addicted to school. i love it....even the frustrations. however I am dropping the philosophy class because that would be much better to take in a classroom...and i will stick with Classical Mythology because that will be a fun course.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dean's list



I received a letter the other day informing me that I made it on the Dean's list last quarter. A little triumph but it is a wonderful feeling.

I was in NYC last week, and it was.....exhausting? Don't get me wrong, I had fun, perhaps too much fun..staying up till 3:30 in the morning, waking up at 7 just because I didn't want to miss anything. Every year the company my husband works for sends it's people on a convention...and that is why we were there. We count it as our yearly "break" the time we get to just be us, and not have any responsibilities, although my husband networks a lot during it.
One night of the convention is an awards night where everyone gets dressed up, and the top people get awards. It is always an over the top night that while long, is quite memorable.
We didnt take our camera..this is the only dressed up picture I got...my dress was long and plum, and my shoes were 5" high black patent heels...to say I was tall would be an understatement..I towered. But, it was good fun.

I just finished taking 2 exams so my brain is a bit weak at the moment...will write more later.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Raising a boy

After TKD class this evening I needed to run into the grocery store. While standing in the checkout I noticed the Cosmopolitan magazine....and then realized I was standing there with my sons. I looked over at my blushing oldest son and he very quickly looked at me and said "WHAT!?"

I said nothing.

He said "Im just thinking about math...just math"

I said "Ok...what about math"

He said "Mountains"

The timing was just so bizarre...and he had been doing a math worksheet in the car that involved computing the heights of mountains...so Im sure that is what he meant....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fitness

I have to admit that I love getting up and going to the gym in the morning. I love the changes I am seeing in my body, my endurance, and my mental outlook. Amazing what exercise can do.
On mondays I have been doing 40 minutes of cardio and then some intense weight training, wednesdays I take a yoga class and fridays I swim. I am also going to add in a two more days of cardio work a week.

Exercise is definitely the key for me that pushes me to eat healthy nourishing foods, the thing that calms my mind, relaxes my body and delivers energy. On the days I don't work out I notice that I am tired and impatient.

Yoga has really surprised me, I didn't think I would enjoy it, but I really do. I danced for several years, and the yoga moves are ones my body understands, and it is so nice to be doing things that lengthen my muscles.

Overall though, I seem to be coming back into tune with my body...and that is such a good thing

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm brilliant

and Im not saying it my usual sarcastic way...I really impressed myself this time. :-)

In an attempt to make things easier, I decided to write down the kid's assignments for the week in a planner. Normally I keep them in my head, which is full of holes lately, and it hasn't worked well.

A question my kids like to ask when we are doing school work is "How much loooonnnnnnnnngeeeerrrrrrr?" (yes..just like that) In an effort to keep my aggravation levels down..I decided it would be in EVERYONE'S best interest if I make the kids a print out every day of what their assignments are.

It is almost too good to be true.
My 9yo looks at this list, and after I teach math, he goes through and works through his materials, coming to me if he needs more information or he is stuck, or to show me he is done and so I can check his work.
My 8yo likes to draw photos of a man named Bob on his list...Bob also burps a lot...
but he too..likes to see what he needs to accomplish in a day and takes great (ahem) pleasure at crossing everything off.

Another great benefit...since Im using the computer to make their lists, I am able to keep their assignments organized and not really lose-able (yes, they are even backed up on an external hard drive!) Next, I need to get a scanner so I can scan in their actual work.
Simple, not time consuming, and aggravation level lowering...Im quite proud of myself.

Birthdays

Funny how grief fades away only to come back and slap you across the face. Ive been going along, things going well, keeping busy because that is what helps me process best. Friday was my 2nd child's 8th birthday. He received gifts in the mail and cards. My sister and his family send him a card with a $20 bill in it, and that is when it hit, hard. I realized right then that this is the first time he will not receive a card from my mother....she always sent him cash...four $5 bills.

As if to further the wallop I realized that my birthday was coming up too...on the 29th....and that the woman who gave birth to me is not here anymore to celebrate. There will not be a happy birthday phone call, or the card that comes in the mail with a message that always has something to do with having a relationship that could be better and appreciating my uniqueness and signed off with the phrase "with unspoken understanding"

There is no more unspoken understanding. There is nothing to not speak, there is no one to understand.

She is gone.

I feel weak that Im still processing this....but I keep forgetting that it hasn't been that long. Strangely enough the thing that allowed the tears to come was when I discovered my dog had chewed a hole in my new sparkly leopard print pointy toed flats.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quote

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense." –– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Indeed.
A lofty and wonderful goal to aspire to.
Today has been one of those weirdly challenging days where you never know what will happen.
I woke up at 4:30 am to register for next quarter's classes...Im taking Classical Mythology and Philosophy, both of which Im very excited about. Since they aren't too popular and it is summer quarter each course only has 35 openings, I managed to get into both. After that I went to the gym and had a wonderful sweaty workout that left me feeling like jello...in a good way..not a gross blobby way..my muscles were completely fatigued.

Then the day just went askew.
I made breakfast for the kids, they complained about what I was making..which drives me CRAZY...at the same time while talking to them about complaining, I noticed a foul smell. I went into the laundry room and discovered my dog had some tummy problems that resulted in diarrhea fit for an elephant to have. Fed kids, cleaned up horrible dog mess...brought dog inside. I sat down on couch to read for a moment...and a spider crawled across my neck..I jumped up and freaked out a bit and killed it. My daughter then informed me the dog threw up and it smelled awful. WHile I was cleaning up his other mess, he gorged himself on the bag of dog food (gotta LOVE Labs!) and threw it all back up like he does when he eats too fast.
After that we started school work...which took very very very long today...the kids wanted to work slowly, and thoroughly and had a million questions so that went on till 4.
Right after we finished some man showed up from a heating and a/c company saying he had orders to look at our A/C..which I knew nothing of. Turned out to be a mistake on his behalf.
There was also a broken plate thanks to the cattle dog, and a bowl dropped on my big toe care of my daughter.

I find that just rolling with days like this...makes them FAR better.
Tonight, however, when they kids are in bed...I have plans to have a nice glass of wine, some dark chocolate and get lost in a novel.

Life in photos

Scholar Leia wanting to learn about Remus and Romulus. While the kids were doing their school work, Leia jumped up on an empty chair, sat down, and nudged the Story of the World book with her nose. :-)
This morning I discovered that Bob..renamed Calm Bob due to personality...is a rooster. I opened their door to let them out, and he crowed at me.
I built this garden bed a few days ago...there are two now..and I have about four more to build. The kids helped and it really is an easy project to do. Now they want me to build them a sand box.
Gwen holding Tiger

Gwen holding Bob the hen, as she will now be known.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm tired

..............and that about sums it up.

Motherhood..can be....interesting.
Having three lively, headstrong, independent, free spirited not-so small anymore, people to raise is at once a blessing and an incredible challenge.
Every day though, I am amazed by how they learn and grow in leaps and bounds.
Just a few more years and I will be at the midpoint of this journey, when Gwen turns 9...it will be halfway over
That makes me quite sad. So many things to accomplish with them, to show them, to teach them, books to read that are so magical before a certain age.
I know that even if I had all the time in the world I would never be able to do it all...but I can do as much as I can.
I need to slow down again, and live life at a slower pace...enjoy them more...try to stay in the moment and not keep leaping hours and days ahead in my mind...just...slow down...enjoy them as people...breathe again.....








Thursday, April 15, 2010

School and food

This quarter I am taking an Anthropology course on pre civilization. It's going well...a mix of interesting and not so interesting. I have also learned the challenge of doing a class like this with kids. After each chapter there is a multiple choice quiz and a true or false quiz. A question was "Did early humans look like apes with large brains" Gwen was talking to me, I was distracted, and clicked True. Now Im just embarrassed...it is the only question on any test that I have gotten wrong. At least I had a good laugh over it.

Today is the third month since my mother died. It seems like it has been much longer. Two of my friends parents died last week...one lost her father, the other her mother..and both to cancer. To say that my neurosis about the food we eat, the products we use on our bodies, cleaning solutions has tripled would be an understatement. Im at the point now where I wander around the grocery store and wonder what the hell this stuff is on the shelves? I saw some healthy choice foods...with meat...on a shelf..not frozen..and it looked like dog food.

We have formed a few rules...several inspired by Michael Pollan
- plants are the mainstay of our diet, lots of fruits and veggies
- we have to look at a food and be able to imagine where it came from and what form it was in before it went into the food
- dairy is whole fat, pastured, with no antibiotics or hormones administered, not homogenized, lightly pasteurized...and cheeses can be raw.
- no high fructose corn syrup
- meats are used occasionally but it must be pastured, with no antibiotics or hormones.

In an effort to cut costs I am baking our own bread again, mostly using the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook. because the only bread that meats our standards costs around $5 a loaf..and for me to bake it it is MUCH less.

I also find that when we eat this way, we all eat less because we are satisfied...instant money saver. :-)
In a few months we should be getting a lot out of our garden..I hope! and then our hens will be laying.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chicken photos

I admit, Im fascinated by these creatures. Here they are at weeks 3.5 and the Bobs are 1.5 months old.


Bob 2 in the tulips

Fairy (the black one)
Tiger and Sweetie..I don't know who is who anymore!
Bob 1
Butterscotch...who is turning white.

Ticks

Last night I was putting the chicks back into their coop...which is in the potting shed. The roof is low, and I am tall and have a tendency to not pay attention to things, so I walked right into a beam. It turned out to be a good thing that I did, despite the pain and managing to mess up my neck, because while rubbing my head I felt something. Something that is not normally on my head..and didnt want to come off. It was a tick. A tick embedded into my head. I got it off and managed not to faint.

I hate ticks...more than anything, I hate ticks.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I have a problem....

Im addicted to hair dye.

For a couple of months I was happily wearing hair that was dark brown...but then I started to feel boring and drab. At the kids gym class a woman that I know brought her daughter whose hair is the most brilliantly gorgeous peacock blue. The woman who was sitting next to me said "You are missing that arent you" I looked at her and said "YES!" I asked the kids what they thought about going back to pink..they said they wish I would because it is too hard to find me in a crowd anymore. I texted my husband..he responded with "PLEASE!!!!!!!!"

Obviously, my hair is a family affair.

Anyway..it is back to a pinkish red. And I feel a world better.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chick photos

Tiger at 10 days old

Sweetie at 10 days old

Butterscotch at 10 days old

Fairy at 10 days old
Bob #2 at 20 days old

Bob #1 at 20 days old and Crispy at 10 days old.

They grow fast! They are also messy, and I am excited for them to move out of my house.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Haven't had much to say...

Chickens are growing...will post up their week 1 photos soon...
I finished my first quarter in school and am rather proud that I received a 4.0. This quarter I am taking just one course, pre-civilization anthropology.
With regards to grieving, i have firmly hit a patch of being quite angry. Not so much that she died, but about how shitty our relationship was and that it was never more than that..it probably could've been so much better...but it wasnt. I'm just letting myself move through the feelings and thoughts and it is getting easier....
Gardening and turning our place into a little farm has been very soothing to my soul. I have wanted this since I was a child and would check out farming books and sketch out how my farm would be laid out...I made lists of each breed of animal I would have and what I would grow. It is finally becoming a reality and it is amazing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Exhilarated!

I did something today that I have wanted to do for the past couple of years.

It was completely on a whim....the only way this ever would have managed to happen. A couple years ago a friend of mine told me I just needed to jump in and plan it out later....today the opportunity presented itself, and I jumped in.




I have 7 noisy chicks living in a dog crate in my house for a few weeks. The kids are beyond themselves with excitement and Im pretty excited too! After getting them I realized that our potting shed would be a perfect chicken run..already chicken wired on 2 sides, has a solid roof...enough room for a coop, and has a door. I just need to wire the one side...and thanks to a gift from my mom a couple years back...I already have chicken wire.
This should be interesting.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring

One class is finished.
The other...just need to make a final draft of an essay on the benefits of school gardens, and then get ready for debate about GMO's for tomorrow.
Spring is officially here.
Workouts are going well, and I am amazed how quickly my body is responding to weight training. Also surprised at how much I look forward to the workouts, and how much better I feel when they are over.
Im tired though.
I think during the break between quarters I am going to do my Spring Cleaning and finish painting my living room and hallway.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

...........9......

Growly
Tired
need to change topic on my final paper...but cant think of anything else to write it on. It is about farming..really not feeling it
Feeling so lackluster.
Had a new haircut though...with a new stylist, felt like I was cheating on my regular girl with tattoos and facial piercings...but this girl..who was very normal did a good job....I like my hair.
getting up to workout at 4:40 in the morning....legs are tomorrow.
impatient
getting worn down by the quotidian routine....but trying to embrace it mentally...and failing....
uninspired with cooking....
back to loving she wants revenge after a lengthy hiatus.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A date

Yesterday we finally took our anniversary date. Kids went to their grandparent's house and we had a few hours to ourselves.
I am the planner of our dates, for various reasons. He tried before, but we wound up driving around for 2 hours while he figured out what we should do..(a key to a long happy marriage is to avoid silly things that can cause arguments...save the arguments for other things and adjust in order to avoid arguments..that are over silly fruitless things)
For yesterday I figured we should eat at a new place, something fun, and as always eating with my hands is a bonus. We went to a fondue restaurant. It was interesting, and not sure when we will do it again, but it was a nearly two hour long and leisurely meal...something that is a rarity around here.
Afterward, we went to the Cleveland Museum of Art. A new exhibit opened on Native American art, and it was community and family day...so it was insanely crowded. Once we got past all the people it was enjoyable. We walked around, eavesdropped on serious art people (which for some reason cracks us up)
From there we went to get coffee, and then the kids.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Personality

I had to take a personality test for a class...and what is interesting is that a year or so ago when I took one I tested polar opposite. I know that internet Meyer Briggs tests are clearly the paragon of accuracy...but this result makes sense..last time the description sounded like a human Golden Retriever.
http://typelogic.com/intj.html

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Swimsuit.

My workout partner wants us to swim one morning a week.
Today I went shopping for a suit. I have a suit, but it is a halter style, and I can totally imagine there being a problem while swimming due to the V-neck.
*I have issues with swimming...I do it ok, and generally do enjoy it..but it isn't always a good match for me. We used to vacation at the Jersey shore in the summer, and more than once I was caught in the undertow, and washed up onto the beach with a swimsuit that managed to escape down to my ankles. Seriously..when you are 15/16 and this happens and there are several men standing on the beach waiting to surf....it is scarringly embarrassing. Obviously that wont happen in a pool...but I always have to check that my suit won't leave my body.

I took the kids to a few stores, and only found suits that were for style rather than function. Eventually I did manage to find a suit that fit what I was searching for and realized why I usually get tankinis....aside from not wanting to feel like Im wearing underwear in public...I also have a challenging shape for buying clothing and if something fits my hips, it wont fit my waist or my chest, and vice versa...so a one piece presents a challenge...but I made it work out.

Also learned...dont take a 6yo girl with you to try on suits...or maybe do, if you are a glutton for punishment...because they will point out things that have never occured to you. O_o In my case it was a little extra kick in the motivation department...and I am now looking forward to swimming while it is still dark out in the morning..

Monday, March 1, 2010

14 years

It's crazy.
I cant believe I have been married (as of tomorrow) for 14 years...nor that I am old enough to have been married that long. ;-)

I like to think back to how and when my husband and I met...it was the last month or so of our high school Sr. year...he was a transfer student.
The first time we ran in to each other it was quite literal...I was leaning against his locker, he pushed me out of his way..I saw a tall skinny guy with huge boots, tight pants, and flannel shirt with long hair that hung in his face...and nearly punched him. My friend dragged me off.

The second time...I was in the student lounge writing. He came in with another student to work on a class assignment...we looked up, caught each others eyes, and I felt a lightning bolt . I walked off and told my friend Ken that there was something special about that guy...he reminded me I had a boyfriend.

He started skipping classes during my free time to talk to me. One day in the smoking hallway, after I had quit smoking the day before, and restarted...he told me he lost all respect for me that he could ever hope to have....this piqued my interest further.
Every day we would talk...and then the day before graduation he tore out a page from Catcher in the Rye, wrote his number on it and told me if I ever wanted to talk again...to call him.

Two weeks later I did. We spoke on the phone for up to 12 hours a day, every day for two weeks...then he said he had to see me. He picked me up at midnight, blasting Slayer. We stayed out till 5am. During a phone call he told me I was so feline I repulsed him...which again, so some bizarre reason ratcheted up my interest in this guy.

After the initial date we were inseperable, and spent all our free time together...at some point while driving around he told me I was the sort of woman he wanted to marry...I said ok..and a year and half later we were.

..and he also learned how to style his hair, and dress well. ;-) And I learned that a person can love me without condition.

Even after this many years, and kids, and his crazy job, we are mad about each other. We still talk each others ears off, never run out of things to say, are as opposite from each other as possible in so many ways, but are completely each others best friend...plus when we are together we always have an absolute blast.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Things

Joined the gym today, and trying to wrap my mind around getting up at 5am to meet friend at 5:30 three days a week..it will be good though, and Im pretty sure it wont kill me.

In an effort to rid chemicals being used on my body I have abandoned body lotion in favor of using sesame oil. I added a blend of essential oils that I really like, to make the oil slightly scented. This also makes my husband happy...he likes perfume, but I hate perfume...too many make me feel sick, however essential oils typically dont...so I can smell nice and not want to puke.

I was trying to bring to mind wise words my mom may have taught me over the years. The ONLY thing I could remember was "Men like to eat at the same restaurant, but they don't always like the same thing on the menu" Um...thanks, mom.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

staying busy

I have entered the rank of mom with kids who have a million activities. I have tried to keep our outside commitments reasonable..one or two each term...but I have discovered that I really enjoy being busy with a lot going on. So now our week holds:
Mondays-Fencing for 9yo and Cub Scouts
Tuesdays-choir
Wednesdays-gym class
Thursdays-Lego League or a field trip with a friend
Fridays-trying to keep one day free to stay at home
Saturdays-soccer for the 7yo.
My daughter still wants to do a ballet class so that will go in there too. What i am finding is that when I have something scheduled outside of the house, it is much easier for me to schedule or establish a routine for our days. I do not do well with lots of big empty spaces of time.

Also starting up this coming monday, I will be meeting another mom at a gym at 5:30 am three mornings each week. If I don't do it first thing, exercise will continue to be overlooked, and if I have an appointment to meet someone and know they will make the sacrifice needed to get there at 5:30, I surely will myself.

This morning we met up with a home school group for a field trip at a working farm that is also an ecological center and nature preserve. It was mainly about maple sugaring..and we all had a great time. The trails through the sugar bush were icy, and there were cliffs, but the kids are like little mountain goats..unlike the adults. :-) This place also has workshops about everything I have meant to do since moving to my little farm...so I think I might begin going to those...they also have family farm chores where the whole family can volunteer and work together..looking into that too. In the summer they offer summer day camp with all sorts of activities for eco-conscious kids..I think we will do that as well. Can you tell I really like this place?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bird


I took this the other day with my iphone of all things..then did a bit of editing work on it to make it purty.
Suprises of all surprises...I am learning to love winter again. I loved it before...when I was a child..and when I lived in WY. As an adult I think I have been looking at it as more of an imposition rather than taking time to appreciate it. Winter this year has held a lot of snow...and I have fallen in love with it all over again. The paradigm shift happened the other day while I was tracking animals with my 7yo-the moment was magical and my eyes were opened again to the mystery and revealing that winter holds. Without snow we wouldn't know that deer come up to our front porch and try to nibble on our bushes... that a red fox sneaks around the side of our barn...or that for some strange reason a deer ran in a perfect circle in our yard. Deer games maybe?

This reawakening of my love for winter has led me to also question when I lost the adventurous part of me. My husband says it went away when I was first pregnant, and I think he was right. That was the first time I ever had to consider protecting another persons life other than my own.

Motherhood has really taken that part out of me....but...now that the kids are older, I think it is coming back. I have seen it appear every so often throughout the past several years...when I take the kids hiking, catch snakes, insects, or critters to show them. So it isn't completely lost...maybe it had to go away for awhile? I am thinking that this summer I will introduce the kids to camping...although, I need to find an area that is not a popular campground...when I camp I like to be with who I am with and not with strangers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Had I known....

That I would really really really REALLY not like writing a critical analysis of two texts that share a common theme...I would have chosen short stories....not two novels. This....sucks. My rough draft was beyond awful....and trying to create a final out of it...is really not fun.

If it were possible to strangle an essay....I so would be.

One Month Anniversary

of my mother's death.

So weird to think that one day and a month ago I was holding her, she was still alive, and I was telling her I love her and that we will all be ok. She told me she loved me too and would miss me.

I really miss her.

I have tried to call her out of reflex a few times this past month...to tell her I was awarded the scholarship that will pay for half of my tuition....to tell her I got the boys their cub scout things and to whine about how much they cost...that I got in touch with my cousin, and tried to call my aunt who I havent seen in 12 years. Every time I picked up the phone and was hit with the reality that I cant call...she is dead.

Sometimes I see her in my dreams. A few times they have been so disturbingly real...we are at a family party and she is still sick..but it is always her being sick when she seemed to be getting better. I wake up each time and have to adjust to the shock that it was just a dream. Other dreams have a weird mosaic "Where's Waldo" quality...and I have to go through a million faces till I find hers. The dreams are the worst. Some are just nightmarish and I refuse to bring those to memory.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Focus

For some really strange reason...when I am sick, my mind gets extra productive and I can think well. Although, my husband would say it is because I have been gorging myself on books and research...letting it sit and then it comes out in good ways...maybe he is right.

Yesterday was a horrible day.

Today my brain is working and I did what I always do when Im in a rough spot and I need to regain my focus....I sat down and wrote through what I need to do to feel successful on any given day...here is what I came up with...

-healthy meals prepared and eaten (Im pretty good with this now..but sometimes it is easy to slack and then I feel like I have failed my health and my children's health"
-schoolwork done thoroughly on a daily basis (we have gotten off track and are behind our yearly goals because this past year has not been so steady...the kids magically are where they would have been anyway...)
- a consistently clean house...(clutter drives me crazy and kicks my brain into being overwhelmed)
- my schoolwork done
- one activity for my self growth.

Solutions....
- get the house back to baseline clean...a place where I feel comfortable and it is easy to put back together...honestly most of the mess is because my kids have toys ALL over the living room.

- get the kids schooling planned out and put in the planner so every day is a no-brainer...I open book...we do the scheduled work...amazing.

-plan out and breakdown my schoolwork into small daily pieces...easy enough to do then.

- break down the books I am reading on Classical Education, grieving, and health into daily bits to read so that Im not trying to read all of them in one day.

- make a 2 week revolving meal plan and shopping list. We are entering Lent so every meal is vegan with a few involving shellfish. Having a list will eliminate much brain power.

So for the rest of this week, the kids will be reading some books to get caught up, I will be doing my schoolwork...we will work together to get the house back to baseline, Im going to find a housecleaner to do the deep cleaning once a week for us, I will get my schoolwork and their schoolwork broken down to daily bits, and get that menu and shopping list made up.
This will be good. :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A year of hair




Taking this route because otherwise my blog entry will be about me being overwhelmed, or trying to function with massive brain fog, and how today was the roughest day so far. In order to avoid all of that...here are photos of my hair from the past year or so.
I loved that red...I was never able to re-create it though






Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Learning differences

During school time today I realized just HOW different my 7yo boy and 9yo boy are with the way they learn. While we did math and I was explaining new concepts, my 7yo grabbed a sheet of paper and started taking notes. He has never been told about taking notes, just started to do it. He concentrated on his work and finished quickly without error on each topic.

The 9yo kept forgetting things like the order of the days of the week, but told me from memory the myth of Isis and Osiris as well as how the position of Pharoah became established in Egypt. His knowledge covered way more than the text I was reading to them did. He also is easily distracted and will begin to do things like sing or drum or make weird noises. I couldn't help but think of a story about my husband from when he was in 4th grade. He was so bored in class and felt ignored so he stood up and began to crow like a rooster.

Today my 9yo and 5 yo start choir...my 7yo told me he does not want to sing, so he isn't doing it. Tomorrow they have gym class in the morning and then we are going to a large sports complex to meet up with a homeschool group we are a part of so the kids can play...well..sports. Im anticipating thoroughly tired out kids afterward.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

my sister found this old photo of the two of us...


and i just love it. There is a 9 year age difference between us...Im younger. :-P so we don't have any silly photos really....but now there is this.
Whoever the hair stylist was for this wedding sure did make my hair big. O_o but then again this was 1994....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Later in the day....

I finished my paper with it and am pretty happy with the job that I did. I got an extension on another assignment that was due...involves me finding two different sources to analyze a commonly presented stereotype in popular media. All I can think of doing it "Idiot Dad" It bugs me beyond belief how men are presented as absolute buffoons in sitcoms, kids movies, other movies.

A lady from the boys cub scouts group brought us dinner tonight...vegetarian chili, tortilla chips, salad and a bottle of wine. The food was good, and the wine is anticipated. We usually watch movies on Thursdays and tonight the movie is 8 Femmes.

I am better now...I think this morning was a momentary freak out. I managed to also get the house pulled back together and re-organised a cupboard. My husband also presented to me that we DO have the option whenever I want for him to transfer to a sunny locale. So tempting.....

Chances are though, we will stay in Ohio and when he retires in 10 years, Im thinking we will do the 2 house thing...one here...and one in a place that I can escape to in the winter...because Fall is lovely...and Spring is exhilarating. It is just winter.

This is bad...

(rambling)
My focus is gone.
Im trying to finish a paper that is due by tonight but it isn't making much sense to me. I need to catch up on chores but I get overwhelmed whenever I begin. My brain is completely fogged.
I can't eat so Ive lost 6 lbs in the past week...which isnt all bad...

Caffeine isnt working, supplements arent working...Im taking fish oil, COQ10, B vitamins and cal/mag before bed...and nothing is happening. I picked up some 5-HTP but am not sure how I will react to it...so I havent taken it.

It has only been 2 weeks since my mom died (as of tomorrow) and I cant expect to function fully....but I need to function better...life is still going on and I need to work within it.

All I want to do is lie in the sun and soak it up and feel warm. For a few hundred dollars I could fly alone to some inclusive resort in the Caribbean for a couple of days....but not sure if my husband would be too gung ho about that

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gently...

I've given us permission to take things easy this week with schooling. Today the kids watched educational programming on PBS...the only channel we really get on the TV...built houses out of Legos that had "green technology" R2D2 was relegated to carrying around a coffee service tray that had a variety of coffee drinks. There was a large ship that could dock and ran on solar battery which worked because they were in space and there were plenty of solar rays at their location.
Yoda's house even had a working light that my 7yo managed to put together with the legos in his tiny house...he also had a rooftop garden because gardening space was at a premium and it is important to grow a garden where ever possible. (that was how it was all explained to me..along with several lectures on nano technology and how that will help in cutting down emissions in some way)

We also read several chapters of Farmer Boy and the boys were a bit mad that I don't make feasts like Almanzo's mother at every meal. LOL!

As for me...I took a long nap today. It was a hard day for some reason, and I was so tired.

Tomorrow it is mom and gwen day...we are going to the salon together to get our hair cut, out to lunch and to buy her a toy. This is the first Wednesday that I wont be driving up to Cleveland and seeing my mom in a year and a half...I went up last week to make a photo collage with my sister of mom's life..but still. Im glad tomorrow will be full of fun things to do with Gwen and in the evening I have the first meeting of a new book club...I need to finish the book tonight..it is Adventures of a Female Nomad. Should be an enjoyable evening...coffee...good conversation.

LAst night I had a really weird dream that I was homebirthing. In the dream there were so many people in my house, and I kept trying to hide and felt furtive... like an animal slinking around. I had a sun bear, tiger and wolf following me around...and my failed garden from last year revived but plants I never planted grew on top of other plants...there was a huge crop of Cherokee Purple tomatoes from a plant that I planted but never grew. I just kept running and hiding, and navigating through a crowd of people that were in my house that was not my house but also a nursing home and antique store.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday

It's Monday and Im supposed to say something about marriage.


My husband is awesome.


There...blog post over.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rushed

And back to the regularly scheduled program....

This week I have to finish my final draft of the first essay i have written in over 15 years. Ive been waiting on the rough draft to be sent back so I will know what I need to tweak...I have a good idea but want to see what my instructor suggests. She said they would be back on Wednesday...yet this morning...still not back.

I wanted to finish early this week so because I dont have so much time to spend on it.

I checked my email, and she had a death in her family and will have everything back by Sunday with a new due date of next Thursday.

So..that worked out. Sorry she had a death....but quite happy about new due date.

On to the thankful bit...
My kids are very in touch with their feelings, and I love that. Gwen was unusually wound up today and very out of sorts. I asked her what was going on and she said "mama Im so sad about Grandma dying and I miss her so badly that my body feels out of control....because Im so sad"

I love that she can express herself like that at 5...I struggle with it at my..um..much older age. :-D

Also happy that, apparently, any grammar rules fly out the window when it comes to the internet. heh. .....and I can use lots.....of dots.....

Comment moderation on

Had weird spammy comments left on several old posts..so going to approve comments from now on...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Odd quote of the day.....

"Hey...should I group all the photos of mom in drag together on the collage" said to my sister as I was assembling a collage of photos for the funeral.....

My mom dressed up like a man on several occasions and she was good friends with some gay men who in turn dressed in drag, and the photos are priceless. :-)

Born Free

Did I ever mention that one of the songs at my mom's wedding to my dad was Born Free. She also wants it at her funeral.

Do you know how much that makes me laugh? Makes me giggle incessantly when I think about it.
And now I remember watching Born Free with my dad and him telling me this when I was 7 or 8....I also remember the lion attack scene...thankfully it didn't scar me for life like Jaws did...mom took me to that when I was 4. I used to get freaked out in swimming pools.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

People living deeply have no fear of death-Anais Nin

Im writing the eulogy for my mom's funeral. I have a very rough draft in the works that I started on a week ago. On one hand I feel honored to do this...on the other...how do I sum up my mother in a speech? And on the foot end of things (because I ran out of hands)...What if I faint?????

All I can think of is Zoolander giving his eugoogly

Monday, January 18, 2010

I don't want to forget....

(I made the text black in case anyone who reads this would have a hard time reading about my mother's death. The following is not horrible in any way, but I don't want to trigger things for people who are sensitive to these things...if you scroll over and highlight it can be read)

and I am now able to write about it. I need to because I will forget the amazing parts if I dont.

I went to my sister's house on Weds. My sister had to make a decision whether or not to put mom in full hospice or keep her in palliative care....my other sibs and me agreed with her on hospice, and that is what she did. The hospice nurse came over that day and arranged someone to be there all night with us...so my sister could sleep and so the nurse could monitor how to best keep mom comfortable.

Backstory...my mom was not ready to die. She was only 67 and before this stupid leukemia she was an active, vibrant woman who seemed years younger than she was. When she finally came to terms with the fact she could die she said she wanted to die at home with family, and to be comfortable.

She slept a lot on Weds but had periods of being really agitated. The nurse gave her some morphine and ativan to keep any pain away and keep her calm.

I didn't really sleep that night, I kept sitting by mom and memorizing her and holding her hand.

Thursday morning she was pretty awake...and talking a bit, though she got stuck on words and would stutter a lot. She told me she loves me, she will miss us and to tell everyone that she loves them. She tried to hug my brother so he hugged her and she said "I love you sweetheart" gave him a kiss and then proclaimed God Bless America! (we have no idea where that came from, it was weird, but kept us laughing and still does)

I talked to her a lot, and told her I love her, and will miss her but we will be ok. I reassured her that my bro..her baby...would be ok...and that he was starting a new career with the company my husband works with and would be a success. I told her that I forgive her for my childhood and everything else, and that she could feel free in that. I promised her that I would keep her legacy going after she is gone...in myself and my children to the best of my ability.


After our conversations she slipped into a deep sleep. Her face become very relaxed and peaceful looking. I knew she would die that night or in the morning, but I felt that I had to leave. This was at 10pm. I stroked her hand and tried to remember how they felt and looked, I kissed her head and breathed in her scent, I told her I loved her again...and then I redid it all over again in order to remember this moment....the very last time I would ever touch my mother, kiss her, smell her, and tell her I love her. She had been sleeping and I told her I had to leave...my husband was with me...and she breathed out what sounded like uh-huh...I said it again, she said it again. I took another moment to do all the things I would never do again...and I left. For some reason I felt that I was not to be there when she did go...I was with my father, I got there a few minutes before he died..I told him I love him and that I would be fine, and it was time for him to go, then hugged him...he took his last breath..and a sunbeam came through the window and shone on him.

My sister called me at 6:45 on Friday and told me she died at 6:42 am. She and my brother were there with her...our other sister had left at 6am. My sister asked me if I needed to see mom, and if she should wait to call the funeral home....but I told her I didnt and to just go ahead.

This has been a 17 month long roller coaster ride....and now it has ended. Im left feeling raw, like a hole has been blasted through my stomach, happy, relieved, sad, and almost elated at times. It is very strange

Been loving this song lately

Admittedly...the video bugs me beyond belief....


Sunday, January 17, 2010

So much to say....

but it just won't come out yet.
Feeling raw, sad, happy, like Im missing an essential part of my life, tired, my body hurts, and relief....all jumbled together.


Cried in the grocery store because of a stupid Lionel Richie song that took me back to when my mom was living in a halfway house and I would sometimes visit....we were in her little room....it was dark...the radio was on playing that song...I was lying on the floor, mom in her bed...she was smoking and all I saw was the orange red tip of her cigarette and I breathed in the smoke.

Evidently the police officer found my crying suspicious because he walked over and stood at the end of the checkout I was in and glared at me.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Memory Eternal

My mom died this morning....she died 11 years 1 month and 1 day after my father. Oddly enough I always look at the clock daily at 11:11...both am and pm, and really like the number.

She went peacefully, with my brother and sister at her side...

Im ok. Im a bit raw feeling but am also experiencing a profound feeling of relief and happiness that she doesn't have to endure sickness anymore.

While I was with her last night my sister found some things of my father's...and entire interview he did when he was in hospice care..and his wallet with all his things still in it...even a coupon for his poodle Hamlet...Who he always yelled "DAMNIT HAMLET" at. :-)
I intend to retype that interview and post it up tomorrow...unless I run out of time. It was so good to read that last night.

Also...managed to get 100% on all of my assignments for school this past week. And that is seriously a great feeling to know I did something...all by myself...and for myself...that did so well and that my Prof. really liked.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Compatibility

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how
compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.
Leo Tolstoy

I find this to be true.
I am married to a man who is in almost every way my opposite...even down to our appearance...he is light skinned, blue eyed, blonde haired, Im olive toned dark eyed, and dark hair.

It is very strange but we have made it work well for us. I think it's because we do manage to share the same vision and goals for our futures, we are good at compromising when we need to and understand that might not mean 50/50 but sometimes 95/5. We also respect our differences and on some level realize that if we were too much alike we would find the other to be boring.

In the beginning we used to think that we had to have more in common, and we tried, but it never worked. When we came to accept that we are just very different and that is an awesome thing we settled into it. It forces us to not become complacent because we are learning new things all the time from the other.
It's a good thing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I told the kids tonight...

that their grandmother would not get better. We had a family party today...my niece's 6th bday and also so that my mom could hand out her gifts from Christmas. It was a nice day. My mom is very tired, and did her best to be with everyone. Before we left I told the kids to give her a hug and kiss goodbye, which 2 of them did, but my 7yo who is allergic to those things refused. I whispered to him through gritted teeth to get in there and give her a hug, and he did. He held her and she held him for about a minute, and she whispered some things to him, that he forgot.

I have to admire how matter of fact my kids were about hearing that she will die sometime soon.
My 7yo said "MOM! If you had told me that BEFORE we got there, I wouldnt have argued about giving her a hug goodbye" (chastisement taken dear child)
My 9yo who is a very empathetic child, and very in touch with his emotions had quite a bit to say.
"That makes me sad that she will die, she is a special person, and the family just won't be the same with her gone."
For some reason that made my 5yo think that the family would physically change and look like aliens.

They talked about it, and said they wished she would get better...but they understand.

Orthodoxy says to always have our death at the forefront of our minds. I used to find that morbid, but the more I come to understand Orthodoxy, the more sense it makes. Death is not something that makes me uncomfortable, though I DO feel uncomfortable talking about it because I know it can really bother people.

I think what makes everything with my mom "horror show like" is having to watch this woman become a shadow of what she was. My mother has always been to me this tall, gorgeous, energetic, strong, assertive, sensuous woman. A woman that kept people at arms length unless you were lucky enough to have her take you in. I was always chasing her, trying to capture her attention. "Look at me mom!"
Unfortunately our relationship has always been so damn complicated. When I was 7 she left...just...left. She and I had a conversation a couple months back and she asked my forgiveness for what she did.

She said "I was wondering, WHERE was alana in all of this? Where was she?" then she looked at me for a minute and her voice dropped "Lost, you were lost in all of it..and Im sorry"

That moment made me piece together why for so long I have felt like I just float along, feeling..well.. lost.

That moment also caused me to be found again.


To teachers of wisdom, it was not accidental that death entered our life, to instruct the intellect, to tame the passions of the soul, to calm the waters, and to establish calm. Holy Hierarch John Chrysostom

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Feeling very fragile....

.......and trying to learn to be ok with that.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

School

It began on Monday.
On Wednesday I actually bought my textbooks....and took my monumentally bad student i.d. photo.
This quarter Im just taking the Freshman Seminar, which Im finding slightly annoying and redundant. Im also taking English 111...which I tested into when I took my placement exams a few months back. It is also slightly redundant...HOWEVER..Im looking at it from the viewpoint of "this will be a good way for me to acclimate to college, and feel a sense of success right off the bat"

I am finding a lot of enjoyment in having this to do, Ive completed a few assignments, gotten started on my first essay, and gotten over the shock that my textbook has comix in it. My husband joked around with me that Im a bit of a literary snob...but it is true.

The most difficult part? I really don't like working with others, and I thought I would escape that by doing my classes off campus, but evidently I still have to do that. I will get over it though. It just came to mind that some people have a criticism of home schooling that goes along that same train of thought....that if they dont go to a class they wont learn how to work with others, and collaborate on projects, etc, etc, etc. I went to school and never liked working in groups. Never. Not Once. My kids, when they are given a group situation seem to do fine. Maybe because they are used to working with their sibs and family members? who knows.

Thursday is supposed to be the day I write about school and then the things I am thankful for because I quite often need that reminder lately.

1) I made it home in one piece last night...my usual drive from Cleveland is 2 hours, it took 3 hours last night due to freezing rain, bad roads, and my windshield that kept freezing over.

2) for a husband that anticipated my down mood and rented a funny movie for us to watch together

3) that my mom is out of the hospital and staying with my sister.

4) my sister who is generous and loving enough to take care of our mother

5) that my mother is coming to terms with her own mortality and able to discuss dying freely with me, along with her feelings, and what she wants us to do after she passes.

6) for 3 amazing, wonderful, brilliant children who never fail to brighten my day.

7) that my dog is out of heat and can now be spayed

8) that my husband qualified for his yearly business convention and in May I will be in NYC..

9) I love my house

10) for kefir...I am completely addicted to kefir.