Mar 29, 2011

Throw down over Alzheimer's

All through the long process of losing my mother to cancer, I thought at first that I could not take the stress.  After a couple of years I realized that I could indeed take the stress and wondered if I would ever "go back" to the way I used to be, once it was over.

Isn't that funny?  I don't know if everybody thinks that or not, but if you do, I can tell you the answer.  The answer is no.  You won't "go back" to the way you used to be; not after you start your period, move from home, have a baby, lose a loved one, or go through hard things.  I used to be so amazed at the changes in me and try to imagine the person I was before in the new situation, whatever it was.  The answer was always obvious.  You will never "go back", because what you will be at the end of the process will be just another piece of the total package that will be "you" then.  Now.  At this moment.  There is no "going back" in the course of daily life.  Las Vegas was built to be able to fulfill that wish, within reason and for cold hard cash, for a very limited piece of time.  It's as close as you will ever get, unless you have the misfortune to suffer from Alzheimer's.  In that case, you may not know it, but you will indeed "go back" and experience things with no more wisdom or mercy than you had at the time.  Be careful what you wish for.

A very good friend of mine who I grew up with has a mother, whose home I spent a lot of time in, who is in the last stage of Alzheimer's now.  It has been a long, painful, heartbreaking process for everyone involved.  But what can you do?  You have to go through it.  There is no way around it.  There are the usual defenses, oblivion, denial, rationalization, anger, but none work very well for very long.  What starts out as Mom not remembering your name (and what mother ALWAYS calls you the right name??) gets steadily worse until medications are messed up badly enough to get some attention.  This usually leads to an inspection of the home, which very quickly reveals that things are not as they were, and they won't ever be "going back" to the way they used to be, either.  Things are MUCH worse than they have ever been before.  Whether you are a spouse, a chld, a sibling, or a parent of this person who is obviously not the way they were doesn't matter.  You feel betrayed, helpless, angry and heartbroken.  And that's just the beginning, folks. 
This is a disease that has no time frame for when it will be "over", and most likely their bodies will be in much better shape than their minds for years to come.  It drags on for years, getting slowly, slowly worse until that beloved personality is gone from the body that housed it for so long that you were fool enough to think were inseperable.  You can spend a small fortune on slippers and clothes that just get lost as fast as they are replaced.  I won't even go into what can happen to the teeth.  You learn to make peace with seeing your mother tied up because that way she can't hurt herself.  Or anyone else.  You have to cut your more tender feelings off because they will do nothing but enable your loved one's husk to hurt itself even more, and make you person non grata in the one Rest Home you could stand to put her in!  It is not for the faint hearted, and you don't get invited to join, or a chance to decline.  It comes to you unannounced, unrepentant, and unlikely to leave any time soon.  All you know is that it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, (what would "better" be, by now?  Don't think too hard about that, just keep moving), and you lower your sights in order to survive it because you already know one of you isn't coming out of this horrible mess alive.  This goes on and on for what seems an endless amount of time.

My friend's mother was a very beautiful and great lady.  She was a wife and a mother to 6 cihldren, and gardened to feed them.  She made many beautiful quilts as well as lots of her families clothes, and had a welcoming home. She was famous for her potato rolls.  She was funny and wise and out spoken, especially if you came into her house in the middle of the night smelling of "beer and cigarettes!".  She scolded you heavily but never without respecting you, and would defend you like a grizzly bear if she thought you needed it.  When she really laughed, she threw her head back and really, really laughed.  I laughed with her many times until I cried.  She held my babies when they were small and adored them, remarking on every detail.  Sometimes I would catch her looking at me and have the strongest feeling that she knew everything I was thinking and feeling as a young woman and I would be so GLAD that there was nothing I could do about that.  She was a woman with whom you felt your secrets were safe. You felt understood as opposed to judged.  I miss her so very much, and she is not even actually gone, except in every way that really counts.  It is a grief that feels premature and incomplete, like a betrayal and so wrong, but when the end finally comes, what will be left to mourn?  It is as she disappears that we all mourn what is gone, and then what has been gone for 1 year......2 long.  And still it does not end.

It is getting rarer that she recognizes anyone, now, but for years I would listen to my friend mourn her mother's gradual disappearing.  At first I offered ideas like crossword puzzles and that Suduko thing, Then it was those alarms you could get for your doors and windows in case someone got out of the house.  Eventually, all I could do was listen and sympathize and cry and search the Bible for comforting passages.  I began to realize how many times in our lives we change and never "go back" to the way we used to be.  I began to see myself not as the daughter in the situation, but the mother.  It was the most horrifying thing I have ever thought about.  I knew that this great lady would rather be dead than ever have anyone see her like this.  I knew that she would have NEVER wanted to put her husband or her children through this.  I knew that she was completely helpless and blameless and trapped.  I wondered if she ever knew it.  I hoped she didn't.

It was during a long phone conversation, which is the only kind my friend and I ever have, :) that I ended up going on a rant and pretty much bawling out my poor wonderful old best friend who I had only ever comforted before.  It was---galling for me.  I mean, I really didn't want to do it but I just couldn't not point out this thing from her mother's point of view.  I had to do it for mother's everywhere.  For WOMEN everywhere.  I had to do let this mother's daughter have it just like her mother would have if she had still been, well, aware. 

My friend calls me and she is mad at her mother.  MAD.  This is understandable and I am sympathetic.  The story is, Mom was MAD at Dad, REALLY mad, and cussed him out like a dog because she said Dad had bought her Brother beer.  (Now, Dad was in his 80's at the time, Brother was in his 70's, and of course could drink all the beer he wanted to, BUT in her mind, at that moment, everyone was apparently MUCH younger and Brother had had some problems with alcohol during his life).  Now, even though everybody involved except Mom knew that she was not "herself", Dad's feelings were hurt to the point that he was really really upset and now Friend is PO'd at Mom because it's not Dad's fault.  I do not expect this to make logical sense, OK?  It's all emotion, that horrible, inconvenient, illogical DOWNER that will not leave you alone.  I was quiet for awhile, listening to her story, wondering if this was an actual, factual thing that had taken place 50 years or so ago or if it just drifted through her mind and stuck.  And then I thought about all the things I could reveal about myself that I probably didn't even remember anymore, and how a person can't really be blamed for that kind of thing, at least not unless it's God blaming you at the end of this impossibly long am sometimes miserable road called life.  And that's when I said "Listen! (finger went into the air at that point.  This is a sign that I have had enough, anybody will tell you) Let me tell you something as a mother!!  (Friend does not have any children of her own)  When you become a mother, you start living your life differently, like a filter, so that your children will have a picture of what a "mother" and a "home and "decent" are supposed to be.  Do you want to do this?  NOT PARTICULARLY, but you DO it, because, you HAVE to, because it's the RIGHT thing to do, because you have to set an EXAMPLE.  But nobody is just a mother, and your mother may be different ages in her mind right now, and she might be fighting mad AT THIS MOMENT about something that actually did happen, and IS happening for her, right then.  It's nobody's fault, but Dad and you, Friend, are just going to have to suck it up!  Because she can't help it!  Do you ever think that at one time in her life she was just a girl, who had yet to meet her husband, and she may have had other boyfriends, and NOW she might just tell that in front of the one person who would be hurt by it even though he has been married to her for over 50 years?!!!  DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT WOULD DO TO HER IF SHE KNEW???"

By now, I was sobbing.  So was my Friend.  My poor Friend, who had done plenty of stuff when she was just a girl, I happened to know, as all girls do, myself included, and was now remembering (thanks to me) not only that she had to be strong for Dad, but that Mom was a girl and therefore on the same side as Friend, eternally, and deserved a little loyalty too.  You might think that it was a low point for us, but not really.  The thing about Alzheimer's is that it just goes on and on and you just have to cope with it and along with coping comes emotional detachment, if you want to survive it.  It's like war, that way. She knew I might hate this crappy mess we were in but I would not leave her alone in it, even if it meant letting her have it.  Just like a mother!!  She saw it my way.  She saw it Dad's way, and she saw it Mom's way. Talk about your multi-tasking.

If there is any blessing in this, for this family, it is that they are many.  Six children have grown into quite a crowd.  She is a great-grandmother several times over now, although she doesn't know it.  The last time she went to a family gathering she asked her husband "Who are all these people"?  He replied, "Well, don't ask me, you started all this", and she told him she wanted to go home.  I didn't really blame her.  You know how you secretly dread having everybody over when you are young and it's so much work and wears you out so bad,  and it has yet to occur to you that you will ever have Alzheimer's?  Well, someday you might announce that to all of your family, thinking they are strangers who would not be hurt by that information.  Don't worry, though.  Dad got her out of there before she did that, her partner in crime, her keeper of secrets, her hero to the end, whether she knows it or not.  I really love them both and the family they made.  They have much to be proud of.

She is receiving hospice care in the nursing home now.  She is a woman well loved, leaving a life well lived.

Mar 18, 2011

Dirty word substitutes

Gotcha.  That was just a very obvious bit of bait to get you to click here from other sites.  Thanks for being so impulsive.  No really, I appreciate every click I get.  I hate stooping to these tactics, but I'm taking the weekend off.  I promise not to use these dirty low down tricks often but I can still keep my hand in. And speaking of low-down dirty tricks, here we go.
I hate to admit it, but to tell you the truth, I am capable of cussing like a sailor.  I am half way proud of it.  When my kids are grown I might some day be all the way proud of it, but I doubt it.  This practice appalled my mother, when it didn't impress her.  She found it appalling when it was turned against her but heartening if used in her defense.  (Insert obligatory "just like a woman" joke here).  She tried to tell me it sounded "low-class and undignified".  I was unconcerned with this viewpoint for many, many years.  I wouldn't say it is a talent, exactly, but I will say it is an art.  It is also a great stress reliever, given the right surroundings.  (Those "surroundings" would be isolation. )

This capability of mine made me proud when I was younger.  It was a good way to hold my own, I thought.  (What did I know, I was 12, then 18, then....)    It made people laugh a lot, and it made me sound pretty formidable.  I later met and married a man who, in comparison to me, was a real champ when it came to cussing.  This caused much consternation during our early days.  He would start cussing and I would start crying.  It was exhausting.  Finally he explained to me that I should not take it personally, because it was not directed at me specifically.  It was more a way of blowing off steam that worked for him.  It ran in his (very nice, not low class at all, very dignified,) family.  He has an uncle that is a virtual champion of cussing.  Legend runs that he can literally turn the air blue.  Sweetest man you would ever want to meet, also.  But when he gets mad, let me tell you, people pay attention!  While I never witnessed air truly turning blue, he is a sight to behold in this mode and not ever forgotten by anyone within hearing distance.  After it was explained to me that cussing could be a way to relieve stress, I started using this method myself and found it to be a most excellent way of blowing off steam, provided no one else could hear me. 

I once scared a poor innocent woman half to death in a bathroom stall at a truck stop, and still feel terrible about it to this day.  I wasn't talking to her at all but it was after the invention of cell phones and I was having a bad day and a bad relationship, exactly one of which I could do something about, if you know what I mean, and I had reached the point marked "THAT is IT!"., accompanied by the jabbing of the finger into the air .  My stall neighbor didn't figure out that I was talking on a cell phone, I guess.  At any rate she seemed afraid to come out of her stall.  Apologies to anyone this may resonate with.  Sorry you had to hear that, stranger, but it was justified and so completely worth it. When I'm done I really get there in a hurry, it's just how I roll.  I can't seem to change.

After I had children and the guilt came.  Admittedly, it didn't come until the first time my small child said the f word, but it came, and when it came it arrived with a vengeance that I couldn't escape.  So I had to both limit my cussing (hard) and come up with alternative words (not hard at all). 

Here are a few words I have heard used in place of cussing, but do not find any satisfaction in saying them:

Fudge - this is a poor substitute for the F word, not satisfying at all to say, probably because it lacks that K sound at the end that you can put extra force behind.

Ding Dang It -  Forget about this one, it will just make you sound like an idiot and will not make you feel any better, just more idiot-like, which is probably not your goal.  It lacks bite and is also hard to say with any force behind it.

Daaaaaaam - this is not exactly a substitution, more of an alternate way of saying it.  For some reason this word does not seem bad or shocking if you draw it out and say it with a slightly southern accent.  I rate it pretty high on the lame substitute scale.  Which I just made up.  Do not bother me with details.

What the..... - not exactly a cuss word, more of an implication of one that will never come.  It's weak and will make you seem so too.  It's best used by 10 year olds who want to give the impression of cussing without technically saying the actual word.  Leave it to the small fry.

THIS, on the other hand, is a list of substitutions that are not only not bad words, but waaaay more satisfying to say.  Use these words and people will think you entertaining at best and addle brained at worse.  Not low class or undignified at all.  Use with liberally and with abandon, guilt free anywhere.

Instead of the hard to resist Bull Sh*t, try:

Balderdash(!)  It's flashy, dignified and just down right fun to say. It's definition is
      1.senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk or writing; nonsense.
      2. Obsolete . a muddled mixture of liquors. 
It is received much more warmly than the other word, and means exactly the same thing.

Poppycock(!) This is both fun and satisfying to say for obvious reasons.  It's definition is
      1.  Senseless talk; nonsense.
You will feel yourself skating along the very edge of undignified, but you will skate on by on the whimsical nature of this alternate alternative for the dreaded bull you-know-what.  Unless you say this word in front of little children, and then you better hope to heaven they remember the whole thing and not just the last part.  Parents will not thank you.  But they might laugh a little.

Piffle (vaguely makes me think of piss)  It's definition is
      1.  Foolish or futile talk or ideas; nonsense.

All of these have the added sting of dismissal, I highly recommend them.  I know these all start with P, which is just a coincidence, I think. 

There is one word that is not bad at all, but I think it is the best cuss word ever just on the strength of the satisfaction you feel when you say it. This magic word is
 Go ahead, say it out loud.  Say it in a mean voice.  Shout it out.  Say it slow, with a growly voice.  Use it as an adjective or an adverb, it works every way and doesn't lose any of it's punch.  ( What are those FAXING kids DOING down there? It's 2 am and I am FAXED out.  If I have to tell them one more FAXING time to go to sleep I'm going to FAX them like they've never been FAXED before!!)

Satisfying, no? 

I have used it for years and never had anybody think I was anything but crazy, and even those people were not offended.  It's my crown jewel secret weapon of bad words that are not bad words at all, and I am giving you the gift of using it too.

Feel free to use these words for your daily frustration and save the really bad ones for situations that warrant using the big guns.  They have certainly helped me, but I am nothing if not a work in progress, as are we all.

Happy verbal defense!

Mar 17, 2011

My Girls Rock

I am so very excited for this weekend to get here that I don't know how I'm going to be able to wait. 

This weekend there are going to be girls in my house.  No boys.  Just girls. 

Events have transpired to make it possible for me to spend at least Friday night and Saturday with not only The Beautiful Redhead, but my pretend grand baby and her mother, my Bonus Child!

Having cleaned the carpets and feeling like the queen of my domain, I am ready for them. 

Each one of these girls is so dear to my heart that they can make me cry at the drop of a hat.  They can also make me want to shake them at the drop of a hat, but that's how I know I REALLY REALLY love them!  That I let them live is testament to my love!  I can have faith here because I easily remember being just as stupid self involved brave and headstrong as they do now.  I have the sort of sinking feeling that it's time to tell them the reality version of some of the choices I made, instead of the bright, shining, cleaned up version I have striven so hard to maintain for so long.  Why would I do that?  To protect myself them, of course!!

We are going to eat whatever we want, regardless of it's nutritional value and with abandon, drink wine, take bubble baths, talk all the time, and do whatever that sweet baby dreams up.  I will be her Lady in Waiting for the entire night and following morning, at least.  Last time it was making tents that pleased her.  I actually have a real tent to put up in the basement that was a big winner with my own little ones......and a blow up mattress, should you be experienced in slavery to small children and be thinking ahead about how that could all go wrong.  I am prepared.  BRING IT.  She also is big enough now to drag the chair over to the sink, where she has spent many happy hours wearing rubber gloves, splashing water all over the place and sporadically throwing food around.  Shredded cheese is my least favorite substance for flinging, and in her defense, most of that is actually dropped.  Boiled eggs are probably my favorite flingable substance, but only if she hasn't eaten them down to the yolk yet.  This is how memories are made, people. 
I simply cannot wait. 
If I don't live to see my own grandchildren, God forbid it, I will die happy that I got the chance to pretend.  I have the best time with that child.  It's hard to explain how you can laugh out loud till tears run down your face for 20 miles in a row because you can hear her talking to someone on your cell phone and just kissing, kissing, kissing, whomever she is talking to, while simultaneously wondering who in God's name she really is calling and not caring enough to pull over and take away her happiness.  The entire time that was happening I was also feeling terrible because I knew she was missing her mother and wanting to make up for that.  You kind of had to be there.  Or to have been there once, at pretty much any point in your life.  You never forget those moments, nor should you.  I just always have the best time with her--sniff, sniff.

Also, my kids will have a good idea of what a grandmother is supposed to do.  It is one of the things that have amazed me the most, as a mother, how we change ours life styles in order to give our children a picture of what a mother is supposed to be like.  Like a filter that we conform to, even the most selfish of us.  This is bringing me to a little bit of a throw down I had to have with one of my oldest, best friends, whose mother has Alzheimer's Syndrome.  But that is another story for another day. I won't forget, and I want to end this post on a positive note.  Positive notes are getting more rare every day.  So unless the world stops spinning before this weekend, I have something to look forward to.  I need it, it's been a looooooong winter.

Mar 15, 2011

You can trust Paula Deen

Around the first of the year, on a Sunday morning, my oldest baby asked me for waffles.  I said yes if he would plug the waffle iron in for me while I stirred up the batter.  He did, and I started stirring, and about 10 minutes later my kitchen was flooded, defiled is actually a better term, with the most horrible smell that I think I have probably ever smelled in my life, and I am not exaggerating.  I quickly determined that this smell was coming from the now hot waffle iron.  I cannot really describe the smell, but let me tell you what went through my mind as possible scenarios that could have produced this smell:

1)A mouse had somehow gotten in there, given birth, and then been killed while out searching for food, leaving poor baby mice to starve and then be slowly cooked in the waffle iron by an unwitting, unobservant, and unsuspecting innocent child.

This was my first thought.  I lacked the courage to open the lid yet, but for some reason I had the brilliant thought that I should try to clean it.  I know that was not a winning thought.  At least I know it now.  This is why hindsight is so important.  It's important to rehearse what you may think are "crazy" scenarios in your head, all the time--people---so that you will be better prepared in emergencies such as this.  Let's face it, we NEVER see these things coming!

My poor oldest baby was standing right beside me, possibly with the idea that he could help in some way, poor dear, when I, in my panic-induced frenzy, opened that waffle iron and plunged it into running water.  This assured that the horrible smell moved more quickly through my entire house, and it was January, and we couldn't open any windows.  We were now rocking the "steamy horrible smell".  So we opened the doors and started fans because there was no way on earth any human being should be asked to take that ......concoction into their lungs, let alone past their olfactory glands.  I mean it was a smell like rotten meat, or death.  It was extremely pervasive and we could not breathe without choking and gagging. 
When I opened it up, it was not poor starved abandoned baby mice.  Which led me to the second scenario:

2)  A piece of plastic casing from sausage that somehow got closed into the waffle iron by an unwitting, unobservant and unsuspecting innocent child.  Or adult, our clean up routine is above all things FAST, very FAST.  Plus it involves males helping.  I hope I don't have explain what that means, because it is a blog post all to itself.  At any rate, it wasn't just a rotten meat/death smell, it had the added bouquet of burning plastic mixed into it.

After throwing that waffle iron into the trash, opening the doors and running the fan, we were still having little relief from the horrible smell.  I went to the Mecca, aka Wal Mart, for some kind of solution.

This is why I will always remember the exact place I was when I discovered them. 

This is where I found Paula Deen candles. 

They are  bit more expensive (not bad), but I was willing to pay a little more for a product I could rely on, you know?  I had no idea that she even did candles, but I knew she was a good cook, and I was willing to put my money on Paula for help with this problem.  Also, I needed to trust and believe that somehow this problem would go away, and who is better to comfort you in this condition than a Southern lady who cooks?  My faith was well placed.  Not only do her candles smell like you have food cooking in your house, they have the cutest little recipe's printed on a convenient removable tag so that you can actually make whatever your candle smells like.  Is that a great idea or what? 

Do you have any idea how many family members will be thrilled to find out that what they are smelling is not just a good front, but an actual dish to be eaten?  I think you probably do, if you live with any family members.  How many times have I had a male walk into my house and hopefully ask "what smells so good?", only to have their hopes dashed when I tell them it's a candle.  Many, many times.

Well, those days are over.  Or at least they can be, if I follow through and make the dish.  Which, knowing me I probably will unless these recipe's involve a lot of ingredients I do not have on hand, and Paula is not really that kind of girl, so the odds are good.

I should also mention that I bought another waffle iron.  My old one was at least 20 years old.  I had no idea how advanced the world of waffle irons had gotten over the past couple of decades.  Let me just say that they are reasonably priced (compared to the price of say, gas, or milk, you get the picture) and work very well and very quickly. 

I guess the moral of this story is mainly to always check before you close the waffle iron, but if you haven't tried the Paula Deen candles you won't be disappointed.

Here's to preventing horrible smells whenever physically possible, and purging them when necessary.  And Paula Deen!  She has no idea who I am or that she is a hero in my book, but she is, she is.  She is a lady you can trust.

Mar 14, 2011

Thanks, Affirmative Action! (waves fist in air)

Dayton's News Source :: Top Stories - Civil Service Board Announces Police Recruit Scores

This is just another wonderful example of how dismal a failure affirmative action has truly been.

Get real.

Do you really want police officer's who passed the test with a D or an F? Would that make you feel safe or help you to trust that they were people who would be unlikely to participate in corruption?
........"participate in corruption", sometimes I just crack myself up.
Would lowering the scores needed for the color of someones skin not be considered "participating in corruption"?

Just had to throw that little tidbit in today. Sorry. I'm filing it under "keeping an accurate record", also, "lunatics running asylum".

Here's to all the adults out there. You don't have to yell or scream but please don't feel that you need to keep quiet in the face of political correctness run amok.

"Making a scene isn't fatal", now where have I heard that before??? lol

Here is to sanity. May we see some soon.

Mar 13, 2011

Odd Thought

Watching the horrible aftermath of the tsunami wave that hit Japan made me wonder if one could solve the problems in the Middle East.
I don't know what else could put them on the same side.  The human side.
I don't know how to fight an enemy who does not value their own life or those of their children, and I don't know anybody who does, either.

They really have us there, don't they?

It's a whole new kind of war and it's been going on for quite a while now and we are not winning or losing.  We are trying to hold our own and waiting to see what happens.  We scurry around and react to everything they do, too late.  We sacrifice our own freedoms and conveniences that we have worked hard to earn in the name of safety.  Give me a break.  I have done nothing to be searched for and I'll be damned if I will stand in a line and teach my children that it is normal to submit to that.  How do you think they got those poor Jewish people on those trains?  Why show your hand and force someone if you can entice them to do it on their own?  The self made chains of slavery are nothing to sneeze at, people.  We do it to ourselves all the time, and often because we want to be "polite", and not make a scene.  Do not be afraid of a scene, my dears, any woman who has ever given birth will tell you it is not fatal.  In fact, it can be empowering.

Remember the Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All?  She had something to say on this subject:

"How soon, sugar, the terrible becomes routine.  We've all got this dangerous built-in talent: for turning horrors into errands.  You hear folks wonder how the Germans could've done it?  I believe part of the answer is: They made extermination be a nine-to-five activity.  You know, salaries?  Lunch breaks?  And the staff came and did their job and went home and ate supper and slept and woke and came back and did their job and came home and ate their supper and slept and woke and came back and did their job. ---That's partly how you get anything done, especially a chore what's dreadful, dreadful. --Honey?  We've  all got to be real careful of what we can get used to."

Is that gold or what? 
She said this after telling a story about how the North burned out a plantation and while doing it talked about their wives and children, their plans for after the war.  Like it was a normal day.  By then I think it was a normal day for them.  A normal day.

Please think hard about how much of an affect simply "accepting" changes can make in the world and in people's minds.  Think long and hard about it because once things change they never go back to the same way again.  We live in the greatest country in this world and it's the greatest because of our freedoms.  People risk their lives for it all the time.  We've fought for it ALWAYS.
It is staggering if you think about it for even 5 minutes.
Make your choices count.

I Hit it!

I have always tried to live my life with "the flow" of the direction I feel my life is supposed to follow.  Part of this, and it may seem like a trivial part, is the urge to clean.  I have what I like to call "high energy" days and "low energy" days. 
A high energy day is a day when you get up and feel like you need to "accomplish" something.  This could be re-organizing your cabinets, yard work, cleaning, or paying the bills.  It doesn't really matter what you do, all that matters is that you have this urge inside you to get it done and you just "know" that you can do it and not get tired.
A low energy day is a day when you get up and you don't feel like doing anything.  You might sleep, shuffle around in your pajama's all day, not shower, read, the list is endless.  It doesn't really matter what you do on days like this either, and do not make the mistake of torturing yourself for not doing any of those things on your list.
We need both kinds of days.  The low energy days are days when we need to take a break and nurture ourselves, let ourselves rest, concentrate more on our spiritual lives.  The high energy days are when we have been given the gift of energy, and applied correctly, can make us able to enjoy the next low energy day guilt free. 
Guilt free is a good way to go through life.  It's not easy, of course, and it's doesn't come quickly, but you can get there if you catch that wave of the high energy day and ride it all the way to shore.
I have had such a day.  I have had two of them.  I can barely raise my arms above my head, and I'm still a lttle jiggly, but every muscle in my body is tight and I feel like a weight lifter.  I also feel like the Queen of my castle.
It's not a big secret or anything, but this is what I did:  I cleaned my carpets.  The entire upper floor of my house today boasts clean carpets.  It smells wonderful.  The Grand Finale was none too thrilled about it, to say the least, but did the Queen care?  No.  What we have not actually washed down this weekend we have dusted and put away, and put away where it belongs, not stuffed it under a piece of furniture.  I feel ready now, and this is the best part of high energy days.
I felt this surge coming on, you will too if you concentrate on them.  For $25 I rented a steam cleaner from a friend, helping her out with some cold hard cash, and that gave me the weekend.
If you "work out", I say good for you.  I am just wondering who cleans your house, because I am here to tell you that you can get an intensive, free workout at home just about any time.  I spent about 4 hours Friday night and Saturday slowly, slowly moving a heavy machine across the floors of my house.  By Saturday night I felt like I had dug a ditch, or maybe a grave.  I took a very hot, very long bath and went to bed at 7:30 pm.  Today I got up around 8 am and have spent the whole day in my pajama's watching movies.  I did fix breakfast about 11 am and need to go see about fixing another meal now, but the point is I am enjoying a low energy day.  And what muscles I do have left ( I use this term loosely, I don't really think I have any left) all feel toned.  Today I almost went out and started raking leaves and burning those, but the wind was blowing and the urge left me.  Just like that, I knew it was a low energy day, and I smiled and got comfortable on the couch, guilt free.  It rarely gets any better than that. 
Enjoy the ebb and flow of your life, and the simple joys that make it worth living.  Tomorrow is another day and no telling what it will bring.  Be ready to go with the flow.

Mar 4, 2011

After she's gone

The other day I was catching up with my cyber friend Katie, at Marriage Confessions, who is a redhead, who is expecting her daughter, Gracie, to be born soon, and they were showing the baby's room. Here is a link to the blog, I highly recommend it.
This little girl has a beautiful room, freshly done and waiting for her, featuring one of the MOST gorgeous mobiles I have ever seen.  It's made of butterflies. 
I have followed this couple for a couple of years.  They got me with the first baby, "Bean", but I stayed for her honesty.  They are very brave, this couple, and very grounded.  She is clearly big and pregnant in the video, worn out, tired of even talking, and he is steadfastly videoing little details that he knows she wants you to see.  This is a good picture of them as a couple.  She does most of the talking on the blog, he takes care of the details, steadfastly and faithfully.  So sweet, and then, it happened.
She pointed to a shelf full of dolls in Gracie's nursery.  My heart stopped and I got tears in my eyes.  Her sweet young voice explained how these were dolls that had been hers growing up, and sat on a shelf in her room when she was a little girl.  I was bawling out loud by then.

You see, I have a redheaded daughter.  Having a red headed child gives you a bond with anyone who has ever had red hair in their family.  It is always the first thing remarked upon.  By the time my daughter was 3 she would lean away from hands raised to touch her hair because everyone always did, first thing.  "Don't let them touch my hair", she would discreetly request as they headed toward us, hands already outstretched.  Not only do I have a red headed daughter, but Grace is her middle name.  Is the bawling starting to make sense?  Well, in her room, since before she was born, there has been a shelf.  My mother started buying dolls for my daughter when she was born.  Only redheaded dolls.  Not expensive ones, not collector's items, just redheaded dolls, many of which have been displayed since her birth on that same shelf, where they are still sitting in her now basically abandoned room.

More than one shelf.  Note to Katie, bookshelves lining the top of her room are really handy.

I went to her room.  The dolls sit silently collecting dust and perhaps dreaming of days past us all now, like me.  Do they look forward to another little girl, like me?

I laid down on my daughter's bed, on top of the quilt my mother made, feeling my connection to the two women who are closest to me in this life.  Who always will be closest to me, in life or beyond.  Life flows through us, as women and all we are is the conduit, the vessel, the link between.  At times I find this a relief, other times it feels like the weight of the world.  Always, it is a fact.  Known.  Unquestioned.
I looked at the Sunflower Sue quilt made by my grandmother, lovingly and prominently displayed on the wall.  My Nana, mother to 2 boys and expecting her third to be her girl, made this quilt for what turned out to be my Uncle Melvin, who would be a big brother to her baby, my father.  Four boys.  So she threw the quilt up in the closet and drug it out when she really needed it, bound it in some blue she found lying around, and when I graduated from high school, I got the quilt.  (Score!!)  She laughed so hard telling me the story of her hopes for a daughter and the last-minute blue binding that she almost peed her pants.  This quilt is one my most precious possessions.  She had to wait for granddaughters, but she didn't mind.

 I thought of Katie, at one end of a tunnel, expecting to meet her daughter any day, dreaming of what it will be like to have a daughter.  I thought of me, at the other end of that same tunnel, reflecting on the reality of all those dreams I had harbored also, before I knew who my daughter really was, when she was just an idea in my head.  A hardly dared, hoped-for wish that I made every day, never out loud.

I thought of what it means to be a link in the chain.  The only thing that connects all that you are with all that you will be.  You are no more important than any other link, yet at times you are the most important because you alone carry the knowledge of who you are, where you came from, and how you got here today.  You have to be sure to make every effort to never leave your children alone spiritually.  You may not be able to keep them from being alone physically but who among us is ever really alone spiritually when God is always, always with us? 
You have to give them.......everything.  You have to make them strong enough to stand alone if necessary and stay true to themselves.  You have to somehow try to teach them to trust themselves, because they are worthy.  To love themselves.  To take pride in who they are.  They are everything up to this moment of NOW, which will only last a very little while.  When they are two you wonder if you can stand it and when it will ever end.  Then in a very short (too short) time you are wondering where the years went and if you should throw away old prom decorations which look like trash to you, might have meaning for her. 
I wondered when my daughter will finally take her room apart, what she will keep and how carefully she will pack it.  What do all these things mean to her?  Does she even know yet?  Has she ever taken the time to think about it or will that happen some day still in the future?  Will I be there?  I thought about writing down all that I know in case I'm not.  She comes from a long line of strong, smart, headstrong women.  This is her birthright and I have no doubt it will, in myriad ways, be her salvation.
Until then, this will all be here waiting for her, undisturbed:

So I closed the door to the recently abandoned room, I have now blogged the whole thing, and I try to assure Katie that it will be all right.  She will survive birth, joy, rebellion and finally abandonment.  Soon, too soon, she will be laying on Gracie's bed, crying over the shelf(ves) full of dolls and missing her baby who is now an independent woman walking around in the world with her own opinions, hopes and dreams.  And a room full of stuff that needs to be sorted into piles to throw away or pack really well, to wait for a baby to be born to inherit them.
Because in the end, children leave. 
Of course they do.  It is then your job to just be there.  Waiting.  Until they come back.
And they do come back, bringing you grandchildren.  New links, to be loved and held and told their own story, the story of them.  Who knows how that story will end?
It never ends. 
That's the beauty of it.

Mar 3, 2011

Surely, you can't be serious
Mamby-Pamby nonsense at it's best! Certified insanity courtesy of our US government. Border agents are instructed to shoot BEANBAGS at illegals FIRST, before getting serious. And then, only if it's "called for".
That's the bad news.
The REALLY bad news is that Border Agents are following this protocol. Hopefully not all of them, but at least one died when illegals with rifles (!) returned fire.

I am not making this up. I wouldn't think it believable.........

Mar 2, 2011

adult content: check

I had to change the settings of this blog to adult content.  Kind of hated to do it but after bringing up Gang Rape I really couldn't defend any other choice.  Sorry that it makes an extra step, but life is ugly and I try to keep an accurate record, since that has fallen out of fashion in the media these days.  As usual I am flying by the seat of my pants and still have a lot of stuff to learn about blogging. 

I assume this is obvious.

I found the missing earring this morning.  If you love something, let it go...........Remember that poem, circa whenever you were in about 6th grade?  If it comes back to you, it is yours.  This works.  It has returned to me once again, as many things have. :)  Not everything, though, and thanks to such life experiences I now have MUCH material to blog (insert evil laugh, picture Cruella DeVille, but with an electric cigarette).  Just kidding. Probably (insert another evil laugh here).   A happy ending here, for today, and that is enough.

I am still smoking the lowest nicotine cartridge in my magic stick.  I am too afraid to go to just water vapor.  I tell you this with the full knowledge that it is also ridiculous.  Apparently, I am perfectly comfortable doing completely ridiculous things out of fear, despite a formidable logic that resides in my brain.  What can I say?  I'm an enigma, a work in process, an addict, an extrovert, even if I'm only talking to strangers on the internet, tired, MANY things, some as yet undiscovered.  At least I'm  honest.  As a kid I was always the first one on the roller-coater, the first one to jump off the big cliff, the one who wasn't afraid to say pretty much anything.  Apparently I used up all my fearlessness in my youth.  I am working on it, more than that I cannot do.

I have started saving posts with just general ideas in them as they occur to me and live with the constant fear that I have posted them by mistake.  Paranoia can be your friend, and I find it useful in small doses.  It can be a really good motivator if used properly..  at least I think I am using it properly.  Why?  What have you heard? 
Just kidding.
Little paranoia joke......
Ok, I'm done.  I have a bag of candy to devour.