Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Finding the Spirit Anyway

I can't tell you how many times I have sat down at my computer over the past few weeks wanting to write.  Needing to write.  But the words don't come.  I don't know if I can explain why.

Maybe it's Mom Syndrome.  It's such a luxury to take the time to sit at my computer and pour my brain out, that it feels too selfish.  I sit here and think I should pay the bills.  I should put the laundry away.  I should exercise.  I should get the Christmas shopping done.  I should get some wrapping done.  I should cook something to feed my family.  I should CLEAN, for God's sake.  And when I sit here, alone with my brain and my keyboard, to write, that's all I do.  At least when I watch TV I can fold laundry or iron or wrap or dust or whatever at the same time.

Maybe it's just too emotional sometimes for me to write.  Maybe I fear that I don't have anything important to say, that nobody cares anyway.  Maybe it's a combination of all of this.

Whatever it is, here I am, again.  I'm writing anyway.  When I started this blog I did it for myself.  I still write for myself, so I need to not care if nobody else thinks it's important or even reads it.  I try not to worry about that, but there is a bundle of people out there that actually read this little blog, and I really want to make it worth their while.  It's an arrogant thing, really, to write a blog and ask people to spend their time reading what you say.  So thank you for indulging me.

Sandy Hook.  What a punch to the gut.  I cannot begin to comprehend what happened in Newtown, those babies.  Those parents.  Those families.  That town.  The devastation is something that is impossible to understand, yet we try anyway.  It could have been anywhere.  It could have been any of our babies.  It is affecting me, every minute of the day.  I have a constant stomach ache, and I know it's because I can't stop thinking about the horror.  There is no right answer, no logical solution, because what happened is not logical.  There are steps we can take to try to feel safer.  We can talk to our kids and help them feel safe.  We can argue about gun control, mental health, politics.  But the thing that really shakes us, that nobody really talks about, is that there is no real way to protect people from this kind of horror sometimes.  This can be an evil world.  We just have to do our best to survive it, and try to remember that the world is also a beautiful place, filled with love and peace.

I will put these families in my prayers every night.  I will ache for them over this Christmas.  But while I do that I will live my life, even though it feels a little bit wrong.

It's Tuesday.  A week from today is Christmas Day.  A Very Merry Christmas to all of you.  I'd love to know how you all are doing this year!  My preparations have been slower than normal this year.  Thanks in part to the late start due to my hysterectomy, but also because I am not hosting the family this year at all.  Add that to the trauma in Newtown, and it's been a little more difficult this year for even me to maintain my Christmas spirit.  I channeled Buddy the Elf this morning, in an effort to get my sparkle back.  I was alone at home, so I figured, "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."  I plugged my iPod into the radio in the bathroom and sang along to Christmas songs in the shower as loud as I could, got dressed, put on my sparkliest Christmas jewelry, and got a few presents wrapped.  It really did help.

You know what else helps?  All the lovely Christmas cards that come in the mail every day!  I swear, they bring me more joy than presents.  I absolutely LOVE all of them.  The old-fashioned greeting cards, some even just with a signature, no note, no picture.  Long letters filling me in about what's happening in the lives of people that I maybe haven't seen in a while.  Pictures showing me how big everyone's kids are getting, or how nobody other than me seems to age.  Ha!  I treasure each and every one, and the fact that somebody keeps me on their list.  And maybe it's old fashioned, the whole Christmas card thing, but here's why they mean so much to me:

We send out Christmas cards.  I don't do a long letter.  Mostly because I'm sort of lazy, and I'm so open on Facebook and my blog that my cards would seem redundant.  I used to take a family picture, make lots of prints, and enclose it in an old-fashioned card that I would sign.  I recently switched to the new-fangled photo cards where you can design them on line, pick them up at the store, and send them out.  I made the switch to those simply because they're cheaper.  Envelopes are even included!  Anyway.  When I sit down to sign them, stuff the envelopes, address and stamp them, I think about every single person or family that I send one to.  Whether it's on purpose or not, I do.  I remember a moment or two that we shared.  I wonder how they're doing.  I hope they're happy.  I admire their cute kids.  I spend a moment with them, in a way.  And if that's what happens when others fill out their cards, then that means that the card I'm opening in my kitchen is filled with more than just a photo and a name.  It's a greeting, a little love.  And I devour it.  It feeds my spirit.  So thank you to those of you that send them, whether I'm on your list or not.

So here's to another beautiful holiday season.  I hope we all can put the families that are in pain this year in our prayers and our hearts, and have a happy Christmas through any tears we may shed.  It felt good to write this evening.  I feel calm, I feel like I've had a successful visit to my therapist.  If you read this, thank you.  And feel free to prod me if you feel like I'm hiding from you again.  I need this outlet.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hellooooooo World!!!

Just over 4 weeks since the surgery, and I am pretty much back to my normal self!  Still putting up with some restrictions, and still waiting for the disfiguring swelly belly to go down, but other than that I'm back!

Hellooooooo World!!!

It has been a crazy month, folks.  The Christmas Season is officially upon us, and I have vowed to be present in all of it, and breathe every sparkling moment in.  My house is pretty much decorated, but I have some finishing touches yet, and I still have to do the deep clean.  The restrictions on my still-healing body make that difficult, but not impossible.

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving.  I know we did.  It really was one for the record books.  We went up to a ginormous old log cabin that my mom rents out for the whole pile of us.  There were 26 family members there this year, and it was Heaven to be with them all for three whole nights.  It was loud and peaceful at the same time.  We had the best Thanksgiving meal I have ever eaten.  We not only decided to do an ugly Christmas sweater contest, but every single person there participated, and wore their sweater the Entire.  Day.  This proved my self-held theory that we all secretly LOVE the Christmas sweater, and if there were not such a social stigma attached to them, we would all be wearing them.  I know I will be wearing mine more this year.  Even if it is in the privacy of my own home because I'm not sure the hubby wants to be seen with me in it.  So there, Miss Ebony, you had me pegged!

One of the best things I took away from the little excursion was a renewed love for extended family.  I obviously love my family, but there are things I tend to take for granted.  I am blessed to be near a large extended pool of kin, and I see them all regularly.  So regularly, in fact, that I think I forget how special it is.  But one of the nights up at the cabin, I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. chatting with my aunt, my cousin, and my brother.  About everything and nothing at the same time.  It felt so good to be with them.  Not worried about how I look or what I say, safe in the knowledge that they love me no matter what.  And not even aware that I felt so safe or why, just comfy and cozy with them.  And how remarkable it is to know that there are people in your life that love you like that for no reason.  It's fun to talk about the past with extended family, get different but related viewpoints and stories, or complete holes in your knowledge of your own heritage that you didn't even know were there.  It was just really cool.

Except for the fact that we were up waiting for one of my cousins to get back from the emergency room where he was getting stitches on his middle finger from a pecan pie incident...

It really was a great, memorable time.  My boys brought a buddy which made it even better for them, and my hubby had no work conflicts this year, so having him there made it perfect.  Already looking forward to next year.

So I am in full-on, manic Christmas mode now.  I have started my Christmas shopping, slowly.  Many of you who are aware of my obsession with Christmas may be surprised that I am not one of those people that get all my shopping done neatly and calmly before the month of December is upon us, but no, no, no.  You see, I have such a love for all things Christmas that I EMBRACE the insanity of Christmas shopping.  Part of my joy is waiting to make sure that the stores are decorated before I do my Christmas shopping.  I need to make sure that the coffee shops are serving the Christmas drinks.  Like the Fa la la la la la latte at Caribou.  I need to wear a Santa hat when I shop.  I want the stores to be a bit busier.  Christmas music over the loudspeakers.  Bell ringers at the kettles outside the doors.  And if possible, snow in the parking lots.  That makes it perfect.

I have (mostly) decorated my house.  This is a bit of a sticky wicket for me this year.  I can't lift anything 20 pounds or heavier yet.  You'd be amazed how much that limits me.  But I'm working around it.  I have slowly been working through my bins, getting all the regular stuff out.  This is a monumental chore each year, as I have around 50 bins of Christmas decorations.  Seriously.  I am not exaggerating.  Hubby says I have a disease.  I jingle when I walk this time of year!  But in the spirit of full disclosure, I have never used every single item.   There are a few bins of lights that might not make it out, maybe some garland I didn't have a place for, maybe a few damaged items I don't have time to fix or the heart to discard.  But the majority of the collection gets displayed.  And my hubby has some Clark Griswold in him, believe me!  He loves exterior lighting, and me, enough to actually drive his lifter out so he can put lights in the trees higher than the house!  I love that man.

Okay this is getting way too long.  I could go on and on about this junk, but I'll save it for another day.

Just one more thing--

Yesterday I was in the car, and I had an experience that I have many times a year during the Christmas season.  From Thanksgiving on, I pretty much only listen to Christmas music.  I have a ridiculous collection of it, and it truly is my little soundtrack.  I have many versions of "Oh Holy Night".  And several of them get me.  Along with a couple of my versions of "Little Drummer Boy".  And by get me, I mean all the way into my core.  I start with goose bumps, move to having difficulty singing along because I'm getting emotional, and end up actually crying.  Because I feel it.  I feel that Jesus really is the reason for the season.  And I am deeply grateful for Him and for this gift of Christmas.  And "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful."  I am so comfortable and so happy celebrating this season with my glitter, my red and green draped all over my house, my shopping, my singing, my baking, my general good mood and too much food and cocktails.  This is a season for celebrating the birth of Jesus, and that is a JOYFUL occasion.  It is a time for generosity and for giving.  For loving your family and friends and singing for no reason.  Smiling at strangers and over-tipping your servers.  Believing in Santa.

And wearing ugly beautiful Christmas sweaters.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

TMI. And a Little Thank You.

Eighteen days ago I went to the hospital to get a hysterectomy.  Did you know that?  Oh, yeah, I guess I have mentioned it a time or two.  It has been sort of frustrating.  The recovery has been much slower than I anticipated, I have been rendered more helpless than I was prepared for, and I am still feeling really weak, slow, old, and uncomfortable.

But I'm on the way back.

Last night we had J's 10th birthday party with some family.  I had to let my mom and sister help with the cleaning and food preparation, and aside from the twitchy feeling I had from that, the party went off really well.  I made it the whole day, only taking about an hour to rest, and I was either on my feet or sitting up all day.  Progress!  And I'm down to one 600mg Ibuprofen in the morning, and sometimes one in the evening.  Which leaves room for the beer I've been neglecting the last few weeks.  Ha!

So the surgery.  Holy cow, I'm a wuss.  I'm sure many of you have had major surgeries before.  If not, I hope you never have to.  If so, I hope you'll never have to again.  It's so horrible!  I have no memory of it, obviously, since I only made it to the second "sedative" before I was checked out.  Apparently I called the hubby shortly after I made it back to my room after recovery, but I have NO memory of that.

Is it just me, or is the general idea of anesthesia creepy?  I mean, don't get me wrong.  God bless 'em for discovering a way to do these surgeries that way, obviously.  But the idea of me being  knocked out, stripped down, gutted like a fish and being reassembled, stitched, patched, moved onto another bed, re-dressed, and re-positioned, all while I'm a floppy corpse-like thing, is horrifying.  I mean, I'm sure they're unaffected by it all--I'm just another body on the table to them.  But I can barely think about it without feeling queasy.  So I guess I shouldn't.

After I woke up and was able to process conversations, the doc came in to talk to me about the surgery.  She was really happy with how it all went.  She described my uterus as being "football-sized", when it is apparently supposed to be slightly larger than a golf ball.  She also filled me in on the delightful details of how she had to shave it off my bladder and my colon, so I should be expecting some discomfort.  But she would make sure to manage it with medication.

Then I laid in the hospital like a ragdoll for the next few days, with these horrible white knee-highs that I thought were reserved for elderly diabetic patients, as well as these things wrapped around my lower legs that would inflate and deflate over and over with a pump, all to help me avoid getting clots.  Every couple hours they'd come in and do my vitals and give me pills and new ice water.  They were so nice. I've never felt so vulnerable, self-conscious, and uncomfortable.

I was there from Tuesday to Friday.  So not so bad, I know.  But like I said, I'm a wuss.  And I don't have the highest threshold for pain.  I was on my feet for the first time on the Thursday.  God bless the hubby, he had the honor of holding my pee bag since I was still catheterized, and I shuffled about 10 feet up the hall and back, all the while terrified that all my internal organs were about to just spill out of me.  I still have that feeling, but at least now I'm confident it won't actually happen.  Oh--and my pee was bright-smurf-blue, by the way.  A benefit of having to have it died for some scan they did to make sure my bladder wasn't punctured during the surgery.  My husband's a lucky, lucky man.

I had to have the catheter inserted and removed twice because I apparently could not pee without it after the first try.  That was sort of hideous, but there was a small relief that I would have to worry about getting to the toilet for another day.  So aside from the current bladder spasms I experience every time I "void" (as they like to say in the big house), I am grateful for that medical discovery as well.

Thursday I was subjected to a sponge bath.  Before I knew what the hell they were going to do (pain med haze or just emotional overload), there were two young ladies in there trying to WASH me--oh, the horror of having strangers wash your inflated, uncomfortable body--and put some goofy hat on my head that supposedly contained shampoo and conditioner.  Then they took that off and handed me this little COMB to fix my hair.  People, if you know me you've seen my hair.  There isn't a comb that will get through it without a proper conditioning and a great deal of time and patience.  I ended up in tears, sitting there feeling vulnerable, ugly, pained, and furious that not only could I not get to my bag to get my brush out, but that I didn't have the strength to get said brush (not to mention that damn 10-cent comb) through my matted hair.  It was one of the worst experiences I can remember.  I made sure they knew I wouldn't be needing one the next day, but that I certainly appreciated the offer.

The amount of people that had to come in and pull off the covers to inspect my incision seemed crazy.  I mean, I'm laying there naked under that stupid gown, and they have to just lift it off to check it all out. I know this is their job.  I know they don't care what I look like.  I know all that.  But it's very difficult for me.  There just isn't much dignity, and it's so hard to let it go.

And the incision!  Wow!  I was really gutted.  I thought it was going to be the same as my C-section scar.  It's TWICE as long!  They could have removed my rib cage.  Now for some reason I can't stop visualizing that scalpel cutting along my belly like a fisherman with a whale.  I'm a touch melodramatic.

I came  home on Friday and lived on my couch for two weeks  Just me, the remote, and my iPad.  Sounds lovely, in a way.  But not being able to get to the bathroom without excruciating pain, or turn your body to reach the remote that fell on the floor, or needing some more water and having to wait until someone comes in the room to ask them to fetch it for you, that all gets real old.  Real fast.  I ended up with crushing headaches and back pain from the inactivity.  And again, poor poor hubby.  I had a couple mental breakdowns for him.  I'm sure he was happy about that.

I'm going way too far with this.  On Tuesday it will be three weeks.  Tomorrow I'm going to the store.  I'll have to bring the kids to help me, since I'll be restricted from lifting much for a couple more weeks.  But I can drive!  I can walk in an upright position!  I didn't lay down today at all!  I can have a drink!  I can shower almost normally!

I can't wait until I feel normal again.  Because I've heard that my "normal" will be better than my old normal, since the culprit uterus has been removed, dissected, and discarded.  Good riddance.  For now, I still have pain, but it's better every day.  I still have a VERY swelly belly, like an extra inner tube around my lower abdomen.  Just what I've always wanted.  But apparently that is normal and I can expect it to go away.  My back aches.  I can't sleep on my stomach, which is the way I like to sleep.  But I can tell it won't be long.  I have little to no appetite still, but I'm still deciding if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  For now I'll say it's good, because that column needs some help.

For those of you out there that have had this procedure, am I really as much of a wimp as I think I am?  Was it horrible?  Did you know what to expect?  I'm glad I didn't, as I'm sure I would have chickened out.  It's so comforting to hear about how much better most women feel after they've gone through this. Lots of stories on line.  I know this because I had two weeks on the couch with my iPad.

I've had lots of help.  I can't imagine having to go through this without the support I've had, mentally, physically, and electronically.  So I know how blessed I am.

But I have dozens of bins of Christmas decorations in my basement, and I'm DYING to start decking my halls.  This is the latest I've been in years.

I will have so much to be thankful for this week.  My health.  Doctors and Nurses and Medical Professionals.  Family support.  Friends with big hearts and senses of humor.  Good TV.  My sweet, sweet Freddy who has been so worried about me and has not tried to jump up on me ONCE since I got home.  My baby boys who have stepped in to help take care of me.  My upcoming Thanksgiving celebration with some of my nearest and dearest there to celebrate with me.  Vicodin.  Cranberry juice.  The app store on the iPad, as well as online shopping.  The sweet people who sent me cards to cheer me up.  The flowers I got at the hospital.  Christmas music in early November.

And all of you who read my little blog and make me feel like I'm not that crazy.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baby Steps

Hellllllooooooooooooo!  Anyone out there anymore?  I feel I have abandoned my people and abandoned my blog therapy, but I am slowly crawling back.

This will be short, as sitting here in my desk chair gets uncomfortable after a while, but I can tell I am on the mend.

Hysterectomy.  Not something to be taken lightly.  Had I known how tough the recovery would have been, I surely would not have agreed to go ahead with it, so I am deeply grateful for my ignorance.  I know that when I am healed and back to normal I will feel better than ever, and be so happy I did this.  But holy cow, I have been hit by a truck.

I need to thank all of my family and friends for all the kind words, help, patience, and support.  It is very difficult for me to ask for help, but I truly have needed it lately, and it has been offered in abundance.  My mom has helped SO much, and hubby is a trooper.  My kids have grown up and stepped up all at once, and all of a sudden.  I am so proud.

I will be writing again very soon about the whole craziness of the procedure and the aftermath, definitely about my new admiration for anesthesia and Vicodin (which I'm almost not needing anymore-yay!), and how I realize that my job really does matter.  I am a stay-at-home mom.  Sometimes I find myself quietly demeaning my role, or the skill with which I perform said job.  Not being able to do my job for these past weeks has made me realize something pretty amazing:

I am damn good at my job.  And when I'm not doing it, people, it's obvious.

So I need to get back to it.  And to do that, I need to get a couple things accomplished right now:  I need to send out a couple e-mails.  I need to make a couple phone calls.  And I need to get back on the couch before I'm hurting again.

Hang in there with me, friends, and I'll be back again soon.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Pity Party--Thanks for Coming!

All right, I've been a basket case for a little bit now.  My week has been very busy, which I suppose is a good thing, keeping me distracted from my impending surgery.

It's been a long time since I've needed any major medical care.  Basically since my C-section with J, 10 years ago.  And I am not a great patient.

The amount of medical attention it takes to lead up to this surgery has been a little unexpected.  There's the consultation, when I initially went in to talk to my doctor about ways I could get any relief from the monster that I become for half every month, where I feel like my insides are attacking me, which causes me to want to attack anyone who comes near me.  And the low-grade, but constant, pain I'm in during the other half of each month.  I hadn't come in earlier because I had been chalking this all up to aging, and just the inconvenience of having been born female.

So that appointment was followed up by that super fun ultrasound I wrote about last time.  Then I had to go in for the appointment to talk about the results of the ultrasound. That was followed by the appointment to get some bloodwork done and a "pre-op", which was followed up by an appointment for one last pap smear (awesome!) and then to sign the consent form after hearing about all the ways that I might die during this whole thing.  Oh, and of course to get my health care directive paperwork--so fun.  Now I have to go to an appointment at the hospital on Monday for "patient education."

Finally, the actual surgery.  Which, people, will be on October 30!  I will miss Halloween!  Ugh.  Well, at least I don't have to miss or be bedridden for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Anyway, all this has been really crazy, and I've been feeling super crappy, physically, during the whole thing.  I'm sure it's partially from stress and anxiety, but I can't make myself stop worrying just by telling myself to stop worrying.  And I've made some observations about doctor visits.

First of all, the waiting.  Not just in the lobby of the doctor's office.  For me, it's when you're plopped in the exam room (after the indignity of stepping on that scale--before each and every appointment-- in ALL YOUR CLOTHES AND SHOES AND HOLDING YOUR PURSE), on the chair, waiting for the nurse or doctor or whoever.  It is so creepy!  You're completely alone, and it is such a powerless feeling.  You can hear the muffled voices and footsteps from people outside the little room.  Kids crying.  It's always too hot.  You sit in there looking at the stirrups attached to the stupid bed, the drawers full of all the sterile stuff and torture devices.  The posters of diagrams of your guts.  The flier about domestic abuse.  I think I'm slightly claustrophobic, because I start fantasizing about just opening the door and running away.  And you have NO IDEA when somebody's finally coming in.

Then someone comes in and does your blood pressure, which by now is most certainly elevated.  It's all I can do to not try to read my chart, but I really don't need to have my weight or BMI staring me in the face.  Then that person leaves.  And again, you're alone in the creepy chamber.  And the couple magazines in the rooms are ALWAYS pregnancy magazines.  If I ran my own clinic there would be gossip magazines and Entertainment Weekly issues.  Or TV's.  Even better.

But then the doc comes in and has a quick chat, then leaves the room telling you to undress and get on the table, leaving you a "drape" and a paper vest.  So you disrobe, attempting to pile up your clothes strategically so nobody has to see your undergarments laying there.  Sit on the paper on that table, wrapped in the horrible drape and paper, grateful that at least you can keep your socks on.  Again, sitting there waiting.

The doc comes in and then you're treated to the exam.  "Feet in the stirrups, and scooch your butt all the way down.  Let your knees fall to the sides."  AAAAAAAACK.  And the doc disappears behind the sheet with a light and the glorious speculum, and you get intimately acquainted.

I seriously think they should start off the whole thing with a glass of wine and maybe have TV's on in the rooms with music videos or something.  There should be a way make the experience at least slightly less horrifying.  Maybe let you bring your own robe.  Anything.  Yeesh.

Anyway, so I'm mentally preparing, and I'm feeling a little better today.  I have to quit being such a baby.   I keep hearing about how much better I will feel when I'm all healed up, and I can't wait.  And luckily, I have people willing to help me out during this whole mess.  So today I will try to stop feeling sorry for myself.  I really am lucky to be able to get this fixed, and I know it will all be fine.

So thanks for letting me get all this out.  I feel much better!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Hysterical Uterus

I've been feeling sort of crummy lately.  Off and on, sometimes more on than off, over the past several years.  I'm not one to go to a doctor unless I HAVE to, and I went to the doctor this week.

It's hard being a girl.  Our bodies tend to occasionally become our enemy, and mine was getting really angry.  So I went in to talk about what I can do to get some relief (and relieve my hubby and kids as well from the monster I become), all the while thinking my "condition" was normal to a middle-aged woman.

Well, then I was sent in for an ultrasound.  No biggie, right?  I've had lots of pelvic ultrasounds.  I was pregnant for two years!   So I go in like it's no big deal.  She performs the ultrasound and then tells me to strip down waist down for my vaginal ultrasound.  Wha?!?!

Oh my God.  The torture device they use for this looks like it comes from the novelty section of an adult toy store.  I was not ready for that.  Ew.  Again, it's hard being a girl.  You have to lay there looking at the ceiling while the tech (thank GOD it was a girl--can you imagine?) probes around your lady bits, looking at her screen and pressing buttons occasionally, asking you how old your kids are, if you like the cooler weather, blah blah blah.  Nightmare.  

Anyway, after that minor assault exam, I was sent home to wait for my doctor visit 9 days later to discuss the results.

But it wasn't 9 days.  They called me a couple hours later with this message:  "the results of your ultrasound confirmed fibroid tumors and the doctor would like to bump your visit up to this Wednesday."

Creepy, right?  Those of you that have been through this probably don't think it's that creepy, but again--I don't go to doctors.  So I'm of course thinking, holycrapIhavecancerandtheyareabouttotellmeIhavesixmonthstolive.

But I don't.  I'm just old, and have a ratty, used up, fibroid-filled, wartlike uterus.  Nothing like feeling like the outside of your body is unappealing, and then to be told that your insides are unappealing as well.  Gross!  

So I'm getting a HYSTERECTOMY.  My first thought was, "hysterical!"  So I googled the origin of the word (this is from Wiki Answers):

"Hysterectomy" is the surgical removal of the uterus (womb). The word "Hysterectomy" (termed in 1879) comes from the root word "hyster" referring to the womb and "ectomy" meaning removal.
The reason the root word "hyster" refers to the womb is derivative of the word "hysteria" based on the sexist assumption that the womb itself caused uncontrollable, emotional behavior.
Subsequently, 19th century and early 20th cent physicians performed "pelvic massages" and prescribed vibrators as a treatment for "Female Hysteria" and "hysterectomys" for severe cases. Female Hysteria was thought to be a real, psychological disorder in women until the 20th century.

I have an issue with this description.  I don't think it's that sexist.  At least for me.  My warty womb HAS caused me uncontrollable, emotional behavior!  And my Female Hysteria IS a real, psychological disorder!  This description, and therefore the origin of the word, is right on, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm now waiting for the scheduler to call to set up my pre-op.  Hopefully I'll be getting this lovely thing over with in the next couple weeks.  Well, then there's the 8-week recovery period... 

Oh--and to add insult to injury, there is a new, less-invasive, method of doing this surgery.  Yay!  Well, I'm not eligible for this.  It seems that after the C-section my bladder latched on to my warty uterus with a bunch of scar tissue, so now they're making this a major surgery.  Yay me!  Yay my warty uterus!  

Ugh.  It's hard to be a girl.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I spend a lot of time thinking about this subject, but have yet to write about it.

It's too complex.  But I've been watching an awful lot of Desperate Housewives lately, and I am in awe of the relationships between the women characters on the show.  How fantasy-like it is, but how it is so based in reality, how women relate to each other and treat one another.

We women are a high-maintenance breed.  I am no expert on women's relationships, but I have been an observer over the years, and it is a subject that continues to baffle me.

I grew up with very few friends as a kid.  I think that was mostly due to the fact that we moved around so much, and I didn't have much time to really bond with anyone.  I always had one or two to dork around with, but through elementary school and junior high there really wasn't anyone too close.  I wasn't eating alone at the lunch table or wandering alone on the playground, but I certainly wasn't invited to birthday parties either.  But I was blissfully unaware most of the time, so I survived those years pretty unscarred.  However, I did get picked on sometimes.  And the mean kids, even early on, were just as often girls as they were boys.  As I got older, the girls seemed WAY meaner than the boys.

In junior hell high, it got rougher.  I would get notes from girls on the bus telling me they were going to "kick my ass" when I got off the bus.  At the time I was just frightened and didn't understand why they hated  me so much.  As an adult looking back and having a firmer grasp on the minds of idiot kids, I know that they just thought it was hilarious to watch me run from the safety of the front seat of the bus and sprint all the way home in an effort to outrun my beatdown.

I'm a pretty nice person.  I have my not-so-proud moments when I can get catty, and certainly a few days a month where I turn into someone I hardly recognize, but I pretty much live by the motto that you shouldn't treat someone in a manner in which you yourself would not like to be treated.  So I can't compute why someone would have a desire to make another person hurt.  I know, I know, they have a low self-esteem, they come from a tough home life, they hurt people to make themselves feel more in control, blah blah blah.  I pretty much think mean people are just assholes.

In high school, it got a bit better, at least for me.  I think I found some confidence (in my fresh grown boobs that didn't come in until high school), and I know for a fact that the friends that are built in when you're in the marching band saved me in many ways.  I had people I knew, that I considered friends, but I had pretty much two or three GIRLFRIENDS.  The girls that you can talk to all night long.  That worry for you if you're sad.  That truly do want you to get that kiss from the boy you're crushing on, and don't feel jealous if you do.  It was a beautiful thing.  Then I moved away from them.

In college, almost all my friends were guys.  They are just so very much easier.  I was on the drumline, so by default most of the people I spent time with in college were guys.  I loved them.  It was like having an army of big brothers.  I could tell them anything.  I could be whoever I really was at the time.  I could be sloppy, no make up, sweatpants.  They took care of me.  I helped them with their girl problems.  They worried about my boy problems.  No judgment.  And believe me, they knew things and saw things about me that I don't think any girl would have given me a pass on.  I had a couple girlfriends, too.  Roommates, drinking buddies, people to swap clothes with.  But there was almost always an underlying pressure with them.  Nothing is more tricky to navigate than a house of female roommates.  Who didn't clean what, who isn't chipping in to pay for household stuff, who slept with who's ex-boyfriend, who took my mascara, blah blah blah.  It can really make or break a friendship.

There were exceptions, of course.  But they were few and far between.  I had a sweet friend who was a couple years younger than me who I loved like a little sister, and she made me laugh more than anyone has since.  I had a wild girlfriend who was a couple years older than me who I looked up to like a cool older sister who was loud and brave and loving, and introduced me to the real culture of college.  They are dear women who I still love, but there weren't many like them.

But here I am, middle aged.  I am who I am going to be for the rest of my life.  I am a wife and mom, raising my kids, doing a pretty good job managing my life.  And really, nothing has changed.

Girlfriends are hard to come by, perhaps even harder.  I have some women who are incredibly dear to me, but they are for the most part family.  As I call it, "forced by blood or marriage" to be my friend.  I say that jokingly, of course--they really mean so much to me.  Sisters and sisters-in-law.  Outside of them, I do have one or two FRIENDS.  I have a group of women here in town that I have met through the kids' school or sports, and they are very cool women.  I just don't know them all that well.  But I do have a couple special ladies who really are friends.  I know them.  I've known them for a long time.  I know about their parenting, their marriages, their histories.  And they know mine.  I trust them.  I can just as easily go out for a glass of wine (or two) with them as I can just greet them in passing at the ball field.  I can call them if I need anything, and even better, I know they can call me.

But there are so many more women that aren't like that.  These are the ones I do not understand.  The women who cannot stop competing.  About their parenting.  Their kids' athletics.  Their homes.  Their cars.  Their money.  Their whatever.  For God's sake.  The women who talk trash about other women five minutes after you meet them.  The ones who if you do or say something they don't like, they never speak to you again.  The ones who let their kids act like assholes to your kids.

They are the middle-aged mean girls.  And they are out there in force.  You hear them at the ballfield.  You get to know them at school functions.  You see them at the stores.  They are the women that make me feel cautious when I'm meeting other women, possibly future friends.

I live out here in the boonies.  Most of the time I find myself a casual observer of these women, these relationships.  I hear women who I though were friendly with one another talking about each other in a negative way to other women who they don't even seem to know that well.  I hear about neighborhood drama as if they're stepping right off of Wisteria Lane.

I guess my point is this:  It is WAY easier to be nice, people.  It feels GOOD.  Women are loving, passionate, funny people, and we would make a great team if we all stuck together and were more forgiving of one another.  Especially now that we're getting older, ladies!  Seriously, life is too short.  I try to teach my kids the old saying, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  We should take time to think about what we teach our kids, and set the example.  We should take some time to think about the people we were when we were kids, and how we felt when people were mean.  It's an ugly feeling.

Let's just be nice to each other.  Grow up, already!  And think before you speak.

Guys have it so easy with each other.  And they really are good sports to hang in there, because we women really are a mystery.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Leaves and Sweaters

I'm back after a very busy and somewhat sad week.  This week we survived the first anniversary of my dad's passing.  It's hard not to reflect on that time, and I spent a great deal of time remembering what those weeks were like.  I won't allow myself to dwell on it, but it definitely brings a person down.  This is my favorite time of the year (aside from Christmas), so it's unfortunate that we have that sad memory right now, but I'm doing my best to turn it into a time to reflect on the good times we had with my dad.  His sense of humor, his cheesy taste in music.  And to try to help my mom when she feels lonely.

We made it through, and now it's time to really focus on the good things fall brings.  Not only is it GORGEOUS weather lately, the leaves are changing.  The air is chilly in the morning and in the evening, and warm in the middle of the day.  The sun is setting earlier.  The air is drier, crisper, easier to breathe.  It smells like sweet dried leaves outside.  I so love it.

In this house, we are excited for so many reasons.  We have some important birthdays coming up!  A is turning 11 in a little over a week.  J turns 10 in early November.  Each of them end up celebrating their birthdays three times, lucky little dudes.  They get two big family parties and then we do one for their school friends.  We have a big costume/birthday party for one of my sweet nephews.  Halloween.  The big Thanksgiving Extravaganza is coming up.  See??  So very much to be happy about and be thankful for.

Life is funny.  I was just about to start writing about something very silly, and in the background I'm seeing the images on my TV of an American Flag burning somewhere in the Middle East.  It's also politics season, and it's a political ad.  Somebody thinks somebody else is to blame for all the ills in the world, and is sure they know somebody who will fix it all, and if you vote for them everything will be perfect, and if you don't, well, the world's going to hell.  I can hardly take it.  Every four years they do their best to ruin my fall high.  Ugh.  No wonder I turn to Desperate Housewives on Netflix for my background company.

Anyway, before that rude politician killed my buzz, I was thinking about something that has all kinds of fun potential this Thanksgiving.  We do a ginormous shindig with my family every year.  It's a big bunch of us, and traditions grow and shift every year.  This year it has been suggested by one of my lovely cousins that we should do an ugly sweater night.  I'm assuming she means ugly holiday sweater, and I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED!  I will finally be able to wear a crazy holiday sweater with pride!  (E, I hope you're taking a break out there in L.A. and reading this, you nutjob, you know this will throw you over the edge and force you to get a plane ticket.)  What a photo op this will be.  There will be 25 or 26 of us there, and what could be more awesome than a picture of all of us proudly wearing our sweaters?  And I get to make the hubby wear one!  Ha!  So now I need to start shopping for them.  Oh, the potential...  I'll post the pictures for sure.

But for now I must go.  I need to research how to make a "ginormous pile of bacon" (that's what A has requested for his birthday dinner this Friday) without making my house reek for an entire week afterward.  And I have some bathrooms to scrub.

Get out there and look at the leaves, people!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fun With Football

Rough night at football last night.  Parenting can be tough sometimes.

My kids play football Monday through Thursday nights.  FOUR nights per week.  They have just over an hour from the time they get home from school until we have to leave for football.  This allows us just enough time to find out how their day was, eat some dinner, and get them dressed and ready to go, water bottles filled, cleats double-knotted.  It forces me into a pretty tight schedule, and actually it goes pretty smooth.

In theory.

I always have their stuff ready.  Clean gear, nut cups ready in some clean compression shorts, water jugs filled and waiting by the door.  But for some reason, no matter how early we're done eating and they're getting dressed, that final few minutes always becomes crazy insane panic time.  Gotta get the dog out to pee.  Kid can't find his other glove.  Dad needs to change his motor-oil stained jeans.  Did you make sure the bathroom door was closed (so Freddy doesn't get in there and eat the used Kleenex)?  Get in the car!  Wait I forgot my water bottle!  Get in the car.  Where is J?  Get in the car.  Mom there's a rock in my shoe!  Get in the car.  Wait, now where is your father?!?!

GET IN THE @#&%ING CAR!!!!!!!

Of course that last part is just in my head, but still.  Every.  Single.  Time.

But I am calm by the time we get to the field.  So on to last night.  J is pouty when we get there because we didn't drive him over to the other side of the complex to drop him off for his practice while A has his game.  It's not that far, mind you.  But he was sad because it wasn't fair because we dropped A off there yesterday, and now he has to walk over there.  We were late the day before.  We were (amazingly) not late last night.  So I get irritable that he's pouty and ACTUALLY STARTING TO GET TEARY and I just get out of the car and walk to A's field.

Hubby gets over to me after helping pouty J get ready and says J's being a pain, but got him off to his field just fine.

First half of A's game goes off just fine.  But they're getting their butts handed to them.

Second half of A's game, I can tell he's sort of lost out there.  This is not all that unusual.  This year their coaching is pretty unfortunate, and half the kids have no idea what they're supposed to be doing out on the field from play to play.  But A gets upset because everyone keeps yelling at him and roughly shoving him to where he needs to be, and he's feeling discouraged.

And then we can tell he's crying.

On the field.

So finally the ref notices and shuffles him off the field.  The other side of the field from where we are.  Hubby spends the games either helping with the field markers or walking around the field taking zillions of pictures, so he slowly made his way over to where A was, but just tried to observe him from a distance.

It was really hard.  I so wanted to go over there, take his helmet off, and hug him and ask him if he was all right.  But I didn't want him to be THAT KID.  The one who cries at sports.  I didn't want his teammates to see his mom hugging him because he's crying.  The coaches were talking to him, and it was hard to not know what they were saying to him.  Were they being hard on him?  But he's in fifth grade, and he needs to learn how to control himself.  And how to toughen up if he wants to play a sport like football.  In my mind I was thinking, "is he going to want to quit?  Will this make him hate football?  Are the other kids going to make fun of him now?"  AUGH!

I had to sit there.  In my chair.  While my mom was sitting next to me getting super pissy about how stupid a sport football is, and how this is supposed to be fun, not make kids cry, and how hubby's not getting over to A fast enough.  I had to REALLY bite my tongue and keep telling her it's fine.  And then she's saying how I have to understand that SHE doesn't LIKE to see her children or her grandchildren cry.  Oh, how I wanted to look at her and say, "really?  Because I love it.  The more pain they're in, the better." Seriously?

After the game, hubby was comforting A across the field after their post-game huddle.  Then they came trudging over to us.  A's face was puffy and red, and he was very quiet.  I just put my arm around his shoulder-pads and said, "are you ok, buddy?"  He just said he didn't want to talk about it.  My mom and I started walking over to J's practice field by the cars, but she wasn't speaking to me.  Awesome.

J's practice was fine.  But of course he was DYING because apparently his water jug spilled all the water out and he didn't have water for the whole practice.  Of course.

By the time A and hubby got to J's field, all was fine.  A was happy, giving me a high-five, and racing J to the car.  The chit-chat in the car on the way home was completely normal.

He's fine.  Seriously fine.  I did the right thing, leaving him alone.  And he still loves football (although my mother will never believe me).

But I still hugged them tight last night.  They're my babies.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mondays and Junk

Biiiiiiiiiig stretch.  Ahhhh.  Monday morning.  I know, Mondays are supposed to suck.  Garfield hates them, and Facebook is filled with e-cards every Monday about how miserable they are.

But for me, Mondays are sort of awesome.  Because (disclaimer before I finish this sentence:  I love my family.  Obviously.) I am alone.  Kiddos go off to school.  Hubby goes off to work.  Mondays are the only day of the week that hubby works all day during the day.  So as soon as the bus leaves, it's just me and Freddy.

I like to turn off the TV and anything else, and sit for a bit listening to the silence.  Silence is something precious in my life, since it's almost never possible.  After my silent spell, I'm free to do whatever I want to do.  I can go out to places my three men don't tolerate well--craft stores, malls, or out with a friend for lunch.  On my own schedule.  Or I can stay home and get some stuff done.  Which is what I'm going to do today.

It is also pretty nice when the hubby's home, but it's an entirely different kind of nice.  The bus hasn't even left our line of sight when he asks if I want to go out to breakfast.  Or run to the hardware store with him.  Or go on a motorcycle ride (yes, please!).  These are all lovely, of course, but not productive.  And there is a lot of crap to get done around here, folks.  I am not known for my speed in accomplishing tasks.  But it is fall, and that is the season I start daydreaming about all the projects I can get done in the house while the kids are at school.  Painting, rearranging rooms, deep cleaning, reorganizing closets, repurposing some old furniture, crafts.  I usually accomplish about ten percent of what I imagine, but the daydream is still sweet.

So this past weekend was the Junk Bonanza!  It's so awesome, people.  If you haven't visited, I highly recommend it.  Hundreds of vendors and craftsmen who are selling the quirkiest, loveliest, most creative items.  I can't even describe it well.  It is junk.  But it's beautiful, useful junk.  And walking around, I can't help but feel like I need to start working the junk circuit.  I have enough junk around here to set up a booth already, without even gathering stuff!  Old windows and doors.  Barn wood.  Old metal fencing hardware.  Antique tools and furnishings.  Vintage Christmas decorations.  Vintage wall hangings.  Vintage jewelry.  Antique coffee grinders.  Old sleds.  Old ice skates.  You name it, you can probably find it somewhere in one of these old buildings.

Here's my latest score from the Bonanza:

It's super cool.  I know, weird, but it really works in my house.

I also got an old street sign that says "8th Street", which is the street I lived on most of my college years, and where hubby and I lived when we met and started dating.  Awwww.

I also like to go to get ideas of things I can make myself.  Here's this quirky hat that I fell in love with:

I figure I could find a hat and put my own weird stuff on it, and maybe even change the accessories from season to season.  I showed it to hubby, and he said, "what would you do with it?"  I said, "wear it, of course."  And he looked a slight bit worried.  Hmph.

I also like this idea, but I would make one  cooler looking than this one:

Maybe it was the letters that bug me.  I don't know, but it's a cool idea.  And old screens and windows abound around here, so...

Well, I'm definitely thinking about this stuff now.  I have to do something, right?  I can't just ride a motorcycle all the time.  I live in Minnesota, for God's sake.

Okay, well that's what's in my head this morning.  I better get the kids out the door so I can start my day.  Gotta love my iPad.  I can watch old TV shows on Netflix while I'm bopping around the house cleaning!  Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Goofy Kids.

A:  I feel like some ice cream.

Me:  You don't look like some ice cream.

A:  I know.  I said I FEEL like some ice cream.

Me:  I know.  But you don't look like some ice cream.

A:  I don't understand your old person language.

I love being a parent.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Sweet Routine

We are officially back into the sweet rhythm of the beginning of a school year.  It's a very comfortable place for me, because being forced into a routine is soothing.  Yesterday was mapped out from the time I opened my eyes until I went to bed, which allowed for very little time for me to sit on my arse feeling gross about the fact that I was sitting on my arse.

The kids first day was just as I expected--uneventful.  It was as if they were returning to school after a long weekend.  The only difference was that hubby and I were informed that we were no longer needed for the walk down the driveway to wait for the bus.  Sigh.  I had to ask their permission to at least allow us to go, just this one day.  Hubby had taken the day off so he could see them off on their first day of school, and we wanted to get some pictures!  So we did walk them down there, but we headed back to the house before the bus got there.  Of course we ducked into the trees like a couple of idiots to secretly take more pictures....  No wonder they don't want us around.

When they got home they were very cheerful, said it was a good day, and raided the kitchen.  The most I could really get out of them was that they liked their teachers and there were chicken nuggets for lunch.  Then I went through their backpacks and did my "homework" (the ginormous pile of forms we parents have to fill out every year), and fixed dinner.  From there it was off to football practice.  Then home again, 30 minutes for the kids to chill out, then showers and bedtime.  And for me, two episodes of Sons of Anarchy and then bedtime.

My kids are really getting old.  It's bittersweet--as much as I miss their chubby cheeks, their tiny hands wanting to hold mine while we walk the driveway, making sure their bus tags are around their necks, and stuffing Spongebob backpacks, I love the young men they're becoming.  Now they're funny, nice kids, who wear Adidas sling backs and iPods.  They don't need me for the same things they used to, but they need me still.  And the nice thing is that I'm comfortable with the process.  Instead of getting teary when they get on the bus, hubby and are high-fiving each other and hurrying back to hop on the motorcycle.  We went out for breakfast, ran some errands, and just enjoyed the freedom for a while.  Although, we did drive around the school on the way home to see if we could catch them outside.  We didn't.

Yesterday, on Facebook, I saw a steady stream of pictures my friends were posting on their pages of their kids on their first day of school.  I loved it!  It's fun to see yet again, how we really are all the same, in so many ways.  We are all so proud of our kids, our families.  And all these kids looked so cute!  So thanks for posting them all, if any of you are reading this.

So back to normal I go.  Today I'm running errands.  I know, I did that yesterday.  But you can't really go grocery shopping on a motorcycle.  Maybe I'll get some time to do some cleaning.  I'm meeting up with my chihuahua friend this week for coffee.  I've been seeing more of her lately--an excellent benefit of both of us having a football family.

And oh, this weekend!  I see an anniversary and a Gopher game in my future...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Oh, The Sweet Anticipation (for me, at least)

Labor Day Weekend.

This is it, folks.  This is the end of summer.  No matter what the calendar says.  This is the last hurrah.  Most kids go back to school Tuesday morning and are all too aware that the end of their freedom is looming.  I know mine are.

I am raising two very typical boys.  They won't admit any excitement for the impending start of the new school year, but I know it's in there.  I could tell the way they walked around their school during the open house, chests all puffed out with pride in their school, strutting the fact that they are now in the two oldest grades at the school.  The way they greeted friends with that half-bored, half-excited tone in their voice, trying to seem too cool to be excited about school.  It was fun to watch.  But they are typical boys, meaning that's about all the emotion they will show about it.  On Tuesday morning, they will wake up groggy, put on whatever shorts and shirt are on top of the stack in their dressers, brush their teeth, and come down for some breakfast.  I will be the one making sure their hair isn't too wild and that their outfits aren't too unfortunate.  They will not care.  They will shovel in some breakfast and we'll head out to the bus with the dog, as if it's any other school day.  Hubby says this is typical for boys.

It was a little different for me as a kid.  I don't know if I'm that typical of a girl, but for me the first day of school was a Very.  Big.  Deal.  And the weekend leading up to it was no doubt spent preparing for the first day.

I can remember the first day of fifth grade, which is where A is headed this year.  I remember it because  I was starting (yet again) at a new school (and I guess because full disclosure--I think I remember all my first days pretty clearly...).  We had moved to Wyoming the year before, between 3rd and 4th grade.  Our neighborhood school was wait-listed, so we had to be bussed to another school in town.  A super crappy school, actually.  But the next year we were able to get in to our neighborhood school.  So this was the FOURTH time in my short school career that I would be a new kid.

I was excited to go to this school.  It was two blocks up the street, so I could walk there.  Some kids I recognized from the neighborhood would probably be there.  I didn't have any friends my age yet in this town, and I was hoping to meet some.  I remember my room at the time.  It was immaculate.  I had made sure it was perfectly clean, perfectly organized for the school year.  I had a record player on top of my dresser.  I'm pretty sure the soundtrack from "Grease" or the Bee Gees were on it.  I had my outfit planned out days in advance.  We didn't have much money, so I usually only had a couple new pieces.  But I always had new shoes.  And they were lined up on the floor perfectly, waiting for that first day.  I would never have considered wearing them before that day.  I even remember what they were that year:  dark blue Nikes with a light blue swish.

And the school supplies.  I would have them out on a shelf arranged so I could see them all.  I was always so excited to use them for the first time!  To put them all in my desk and arranged them all in some perfect, OCD fashion.

I remember going to the school that first day.  Walking there by myself, wanting to be independent.  I entered the school from the wrong door, because I didn't know what I was doing.  I remember that awesome school smell.  The other kids were all out playing on the playground, and I remember walking through the school when the bell rang.  By the time I passed the door closest to my classroom, I could see all the kids lined up outside the door waiting to come in.  The reason I remember this so clearly was because there, at the door, first in line, was the boy who lived a few houses up the street from me.  And oh, did I love him.  I remember feeling so excited and nervous!  What if he is in my class?  What if he sits by me?  What if he decides I am the prettiest girl he's ever seen and he wants to marry me?  What if he wants to walk home with me?

But he wasn't in my class.  And I pretty much never officially met him or had a conversation with him.  Still, though.  It added so much to my day, seeing him out there.

I ended up making some friends.  I got invited to a couple birthday parties.  I liked my teacher.  Looking back, I can't believe how boy crazy I actually was.  I look at my kids, and I can't believe there might be girls who get all silly when they see them.

So on Tuesday I'll put my kids on that bus.  They'll head off to a new year.  Some old friends, some new ones.  New shoes (that are already dirty).  And they'll start making a new year full of memories.  Most of which will be unknown to me.  It's going to be a good year.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Fair Day

Wow.  Time is all of a sudden whizzing past.  It's actually been over a week since I've written a new post!  I can't believe it.

We did it.  We went to the magical place called the Minnesota State Fair.  Our annual trip that I look forward to every year.  This year started out tricky, but in the end, it was really a great day.  It was hot.  I don't know if I've said it before, but heat and I are not good friends.  I honestly would prefer to have two months tacked on to winter, and shorten the summer heat by a couple months.  But a move to Alaska is not practical for my little family, so here I am.  Anyway, it was hot at the fair that day.  It really is impressive how well my kids did, considering.  It is the State Fair, after all.  There are Sno-Cones.  Soda.  Lemonade.  Ice cream.

Another problem starting out the day was, well, cell phones.  For so many reasons.  First of all, we met my mom and my sister there right away in the morning.  My mom had decided not to bring her cell phone.  Why should she, after all?  My sister had hers.  what?  She has a major tendency of wandering off.  And the State Fair is honestly like a massive ocean of people, and you do NOT want to lose your people without a plan.  So my sister had to try to watch her all day, as if she was a stray toddler.  NOT an easy job.  Not that we were in much better shape--my cell phone was almost dead.  The battery has not been holding up as well lately, and it was about to die.  But we had the hubby's!  Except that all of a sudden his locked up about an hour into the fair.  Completely useless.  But A brought his!  So at this point, we had two phones between the six of us--A's and my sister's.  At this point.  More on that later.

Folks, I love the Fair.  It's a major happy place for me.  I love everything about it.  The food (which isn't all just deep fried crap on a stick, for those of you haters out there), the exhibits, the shows, the people watching, everything.  Most of all, the tradition of it all.  For me, it's a day to completely dive into being a Minnesotan.  And I LOVE my state.  I love how we have the second-largest State Fair in the country, the only one that is completely self-supported.  There is a comfort to it, walking in those gates, smelling those smells, knowing where all the buildings are, and being familiar enough with the fair to recognize what's new or different each year.  For hubby and I, it's impossible to not walk down memory lane every year, talking about childhood trips to the Fair, how much we miss his mom (who loved the fair), and being amazed at how fast our kids are growing up and how familiar they are with the fair.  They are growing up with it, just like hubby did.  They have their own favorite traditions, favorite foods.  It's become a part of our family.  We have marched in the parade.  This year we watched my nephew's best friend march in the parade.

This year we did as much as we could.  We went to the Midway for a couple rides and some carny games.  The kids won hats at a "Guess your pitch speed" game.  And then the other cell phone problem.

After the midway, we were talking about our IRRITATING phones, when all of a sudden A started panicking, searching his pockets.

He had lost his phone.  Complete and total devastation.  This is a phone that he had bought with his own money.  We ordered it on the internet, and when it came in the mail, he was crazy excited.  He was SO proud of this thing.  It was his third phone (in a very short time) due to the others breaking and going through the washing machine, and he knew we would not replace it if he lost it.  Like I said.  Devastation.  He was so crushed.  And we knew there was little to no chance of finding it, here at the GIANT fair.  So a day that was supposed to be fun, for him was ruined.  He was crying.  He was so angry at himself.  It was very sad to watch, even though we were pretty irritated.

After several hours of continuing on at the fair, watching the parade, riding the sky cars, all with a very broken-hearted A, it was almost time for mom and sister to take our kids and go home.  Hubby and I had concert tickets, we were there for the long haul.  J was over-heated, laying on the grass.  Hubby and I sat at a picnic table and figured out his phone!  Yahoo!  We got it working again.  A sat at the table, sad.  We had gone to the lost and found office, and a couple other places, fruitlessly searching for his phone.  We had called it, texted it.  He was so very sad.  In a last ditch effort, A and I decided to head to another fair office to check for it before they had to leave.

They didn't have it.

But the office was right next to the Midway, so we decided to make a quick run over there and check around.  It was hot.  Our feet and legs were sore.  We walked all the way to the end of the midway, where the roller coaster was, our very last stop, our last resort.  I ran up to the attendant and asked if a phone had been found there.  A phone with a keypad, with a picture of our cute brown dog on the screen, a phone that said "A....'s Phone" on the front.

They had it.

And I have to tell you, this was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.  I know it's silly.  It's a stupid cell phone.  It's just a thing.  But the pure joy this 10-year old felt at finding it was so huge that I couldn't help but feel it too.  This is a kid who feels everything to his core, and has little filter with sadness or joy.  He was jumping around.  Hugging me.  Dancing.  Thanking the roller coaster guy (who was watching this like it made his day).  Hollering.  Kissing his phone.  Running in circles.  And over and over again, yelling, "I'm so happy!"  And you could feel how true it was.  Holy cow.  It made my day.  I don't give much of a crap about that phone, but to see my kid that happy was an unbelievably good feeling.  It carried me for days, and obviously made the rest of our fair day, no matter how hot and tired we were, very joyful.

Well, enough babbling for now.  It really had been too long since I've written, I feel like I'm just rambling.  I need to write about school and football, so I'll write again very soon.  Maybe even tonight. Five days until school starts!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Blog!

Just this past Father's Day, I wrote this post that included a comment about how kids bringing breakfast in bed to their moms only happens on TV.

I was wrong.

I swear to you, I have never mentioned the subject to my kids.  Or anyone.  Frankly, getting served breakfast in bed does not sound that appealing to me.

So I've been attempting to get of my ass lately and do some things around the house, in an effort to feel like I'm doing something useful.  The other day I did a major "mom-job" to A's room.  His room has always been difficult.  He does his best to keep it picked up, but it eventually gets away from him.  He's a quirky kid, and always involved in some kind of project or creation that involves duct tape and paper and paper clips, fabric, string, cardboard, whatever.  Lots of small stuff.  And organizing is NOT a talent of his.  So I went in to do battle and start the school year with a clean, streamlined room.  It took the entire day.  But it looks really good in there now, and he's thrilled about it.  J's room is next on the list.

Anyway, they were so excited about it all that they wrote me a DARLING little card that night.  Very sweet.  And then the next morning, I was served breakfast in bed.  Yep.  The hubby had to get up to go to work, and apparently the kids had told him their plan and asked him to wake them up when he got up.  He did.  They made the breakfast completely by themselves.  It was scrambled eggs, a couple waffles, and a glass of milk.  By the way, some of the best scrambled eggs I've ever eaten.  J knows his eggs.  And at 7:30 in the morning, they came in and woke me up with the tray.  I was completely surprised.  And groggy.  So then, half asleep, and with two boys standing about 4 inches away from me, I ate the breakfast.  I was very touched, and now I know that it really does happen.

So cute.

But this is not necessarily the subject I was thinking about today.  It is an anniversary for me.  Well, tomorrow it is, but I'm writing this today, so...

On August 22, 2011, I wrote my first blog post!  I can't believe it's been a whole year.  And this morning I was spending some time looking back at some of my old posts, and what a year it has been!  I also discovered another benefit to writing this:  It's like a journal.  I can look back at it and remember what I was doing those days, what my life was like.  Pretty emotional.  In a way it has been a big year.  Of course we were all shaken up by the loss of my dad, which was certainly the biggest event of the year.  And although we don't lose loved ones every year (thank God), every year really is significant.  If you take the time to really think back, that is.  We've gone through a school year.  Another year of sports.  I have gone up and done and inside and out emotionally, and I'm still doing that.  It makes me wonder if I'll ever stop...

I also noticed how cyclical my life is.  Here I am again, ready for a new school year to start.  Cleaning the kids' rooms.  Obsessing over the STATE FAIR!!!!!  Excited for fall, and feeling nostalgic.  It's almost like Groundhog Day over here.  Year after year.  The same, but different.

I looked at some of my drafts that I never published.  I wrote some boring starts.  I wrote some intense starts.  Too intense for the public.  I wrote some personal family grief.  Stuff I couldn't post because I don't want to hurt anyone or cause (more) drama in my family.  So although I open myself up on here, and I am very honest, I have to keep it close to ME, and make sure that I'm not opening up others too much on here without their consent.  And sometimes I feel like I'm pushing it, so I hold off on hitting the "publish" button.  Looking back now, I made the right choice.  But it was still therapeutic to write it all.

So here we are, a year later.  Thanks to you all for hanging out with me, and thanks to any of you newbies for joining the club.  I can't tell you how much it means to me that you're willing to give me a piece of your time to "listen" to me, and how much each and every comment means to me.  Believe me, I think about what you all say.  I follow your advice.  I tell hubby about it.

One of my goals for this second year is to get out there some more.  I'd like to write about some different subjects, and really test out my chops.  I might try some reviews, try some commentary, maybe even some creative writing.  We'll see.  I'm just having some fun with this.  I look forward to sharing more with you all and to hopefully earning some new followers.

And in between, I'll be learning how to become an expert on the motorcycle.  I got a new helmet the other day!  It has purple butterflies on it.