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 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...

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 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 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


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 is Adventures of a Female Nomad. Should be an enjoyable 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


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

My husband is awesome. post over.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


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 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 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 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 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 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 my sister could sleep and so the nurse could monitor how to best keep mom comfortable. 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 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 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 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


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 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


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 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.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Coyote in our yard

Just for an idea of the distance from my house the photo above was taken out my office window with a 55mm lens...50 mm is about the same as the eye sees. Running through the "tree corral" behind the fence
Standing and looking in the back field.
Standing and looking through the fence in the dog yard

Who he was looking for...smaller coyote..probably a female in lower left corner kind of crouched down
After that they went into the far back field past the tree line and walked into the woods behind our house that we hike in.
Quite the exciting morning.

Monday, January 4, 2010

When a husband works a lot.

For the past 9 years my husband has worked a pretty demanding work schedule. He is in sales, is paid on commission and loves his career. There are times where he has worked 100 hour weeks, but the norm is around 60. Currently he is taking 2 days off a week...Wednesdays which is my day "off" from being at home, that day is used presently for me to go visit with my mom who is 2 hours away...and he mostly has Sundays off. Mostly meaning that some Sundays he has to make phone calls.

What have I done to make this work for us?
1) keeping open lines of communication is a must.
2) we have time each night, about an hour to talk and catch up with each other
3) flexibility and compromise
4) our homeschooling came about because of his schedule...if the kids were in school they would never see him...but this way we are able to meet up with him for a few hours a couple times a week for lunch.
5) being honest when things are too much.
6) at home date nights
7) out of home date nights
8) a once yearly 4 day vacation..just us two. is also his business convention but we get to go to cool places for free and have time to just be Us.
9) Outside activities with friends for the kids and me...once a month I like to go out with friends..get coffee, catch live music, independent films..things like that.

Some people have told me early on in this journey that I should have him change careers, and HE has said to me that if I ever wanted him to, he would. Fact is though...the man is awesome at what he does, he thrives, and I could never ask him to give that up.

The real key though is to keep excellent communication, and to continue to develop ones self...not just be at home with kids and waiting waiting waiting for him to come home...that potentially leads to a bad bout of depression.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Feeling like I keep writing about sad things...

but it is helping me process. I spoke with my mom today, the Dr told her that they expect she has weeks to months left to live. She is working on accepting that, and told me she and my sister discussed how dad had no problem accepting that he would die. I told my mom that dad had been saying he "lived a good life and was ready to die" since I was 9 years old..and said that for 13 years before he did pass. It made me a bit high strung about him just off and dying when I was a kid, because he was my primary parent, and I saw my mom occasionally on weekends and things. She sounded in good spirits though.

She also told me she spoke with my Uncle..who is really my original godfather and a close friend of the family. I say original godfather because when I converted to the Orthodox Church I also got new godparents. My current godmother likes to joke that it is not often that one person winds up with TWO Greek godmothers in their lifetime. (My original godmother was Greek..I grew up in the Anglican church) Uncle told her that he is doing ok..all things considered (he is 80-ish) He let her know that his grandson died of an O.D. Hearing this really hurt. I used to go to the Jersey Shore with my Uncle and his grandsons every year. I taught Mikey and Nick how to skateboard...they were amazed by my purple hair, and there were also several pranks pulled between us...they were a few years younger. Last time I saw Mike, a few years back, I told him I knew what he was doing and it wouldnt end well....he said he would be ok...wish he was right.

I am bored of blogging...

and after some thought I have realized that I simply need some framework to this blog. Being highly original (Ha..not really) I decided to go with letters of words that match the days of the week.

Here is what it will be...
Marriage Monday..where I write about marriage and things pertaining to marriage.

Teaching Tuesday...bits about homeschooling...what we are doing, information about homeschooling, things like that. I started this blog to just be about that..but how interesting is: Today...did 2 math lessons with boys, collected a cat claw that fell off of cat to look at under microscope, played legos and built huge fort. Once a week is good enough.

Wordless taken throughout the week

Im stuck on Thursday...thoughts? will be the day I write about my schooling.

and by this point I feel all sorts of cliche' and cutesy with these names...but I will go on...

Friday Foolery...random posts, videos, that sort of thing ...the free flow day.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

An at home date

with life being as busy as it is, my husband and I don't get out on dates as often as we would like. To make up for that we have created the "at home date"..which is what we are doing tonight. We watch a movie, for tonight I was thinking Funny People because Jason Schwartzman is in it, and I have yet to see a movie starring him that I hated. in fact, my most favorite movies have him as an actor (Darjeeling Limited, Shopgirl, and i heart huckabees) We couldn't find it at the Redbox machine, so we will probably watch a couple more DVD's in the boxed set of Monty Python I bought a few days ago.

To go along with the movie we will have goat cheese with honey, rosemary foccacia, herbed crackers, and a bottle Beaujolais-Villages to go along with that.

Speaking of Jason Schwartzman, he also has a band. The songs on my playlist are all by them...the band is Coconut Records.

moving on

my life anymore is this insane mixture of super incredible and heart breaking.

I went to visit with my mom on wednesday as I usually do. I had intended on a short visit because it is a 2 hour drive to get home, and I dont like driving alone in the dark, in the winter on that stretch of highway. She was so sad though that I just couldn't leave. Her memory has been effected by her high white blood cell counts. We kept talking and talking, and I decided that I was just going to spend the night with her in the hospital. She and I had a very long night. For some reason she became very agitated and she kept moving around and when she did finally fall asleep she kept sleeping at the very edge of her bed so I kept making sure she didnt fall off of it. At 3am her blood pressure dropped to 80/54 so they had to give her some fluids. I had maybe 10 minutes of sleep. Her WBC results came back and they were up 101,000.

She did open up a bit and tell me that she was very scared and thinks that she will not make it through this setback. I asked her if I could do anything for her and she told me that it would be impossible because all she would ask for is for me to take all this away. She said that she wanted to see and do so much more and really isn't ready to die. I kept thinking about when my dad was dying and I was his caretaker. It was sad watching his body go against him, and watch him go from being able to walk around, to wheelchair to living in his hospital bed. The one thing that made it easier with him is that he was ready to die. He was completely ok with it, he wasn't scared, and he knew we would all be ok.

In other things...
I looked over the classes I am taking...they are online because right now that is easier for me to do. After looking them over my confidence in doing this went through the roof...I am beyond positive that I will do well with them, and I am excited to begin. One hitch is that I checked several times if I need to buy books, and it said "no materials needed" After reading the syllabi for them, I noticed I DO need books. Class starts on Monday, but with New Years everything was closed. So, on monday I have to take the kids to campus, get an ID card and buy books. When I told them they all screamed "OH NO!!! ALIENS!!!" I asked them what on earth they were talking about and they told me that teenagers go to college and teenagers are aliens. :-)

I also, (finally!) have an inkling of what I want to major in. But, more on that later....