Friday, December 30, 2005

I'm sick...and tired

Why is it some people can write cute little entries about being sick and I can barely find the correct letters on my keyboard to type out this boring entry? I have spent the last two nights sleeping upright in the recliner in the living room, simply so I could breathe. Great for breathing...terrible for my aging neck. I do believe all my insight and considerable wit are stuck somewhere in the snot in my head and will not be gracing this blog today.

The last time I missed work because I was sick...the doctors told me there was nothing wrong with me...nobody told me my baby could die.

I can't start crying or I won't be able to breathe at all.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

We are animal lovers...really

Tonight there was a story on the news about a family whose dog had to be put to sleep after eating toxic Diamond Brand dog food. She said, "Christmas was hard, because, you know, someone was missing."

Steve looked up at the television and said something like, "YOUR Christmas was hard? Let me tell you something..."

I laughed...well...I squeaked...since I've nearly lost my voice with the sickies.

The story went on...

The poor little Pomeranian became sick and the family spent about $2000 trying to save him before it was just more humane to put him to sleep.

The company has said that if a connection between the animal's death and the dog food can be "firmly established," they will pay "reasonable vet expenses."

The dog owner said, "It's about more than the money, I want a reasonable explanation as to how this could happen."

Again, Steve looked at the television in dismay, waving his index finger and saying, "You want to know how this happened? I'll tell you what...as soon as I know why my son died, you can know why your poor dog died. I mean, REALLY, this woman needs some perspective."

I'm telling ya folks, this guy is a regular stand-up routine. And I'm laughing like a mad woman over here.

Minus two points

I'm not sure who loses points on this one...my co-worker in the neighboring office (whose wife was fired) or me?

I asked if they were all set with baby stuff or if they needed anything. He said they still didn't have a crib, but he thought they had everything else...he would ask. I open my big fat mouth and say, "Well, let me know, because we have all this baby stuff just *sitting around*." oy! I could almost see him physically recoil in horror at the thought of using items intended for a dead baby.

To his credit, he looked like he wanted to cry and said honestly, "God that sucks. I just don't know if I could make it through what you've been through. It makes everything else seem trivial."

To my credit, I didn't burst into tears in front of him.

Parallel universe

I have recently become better friends with the man whose office is right next door to mine in our building. He is a perilously who recently graduated law school. He is also recently married and his wife is pregnant and due at the end of February. We have shared triumphs and tragedies with one another. I was sad over my Dad losing his job and he shared my indignation. Alex died and he has been sympathetic without being smothering. He hated law school and I commiserated with him. He failed the bar exam and I sympathized (being a two time failure myself). But today he told me something that makes me think about the twists and turns of my life a little bit differently. Last week, just before Christmas, his wife was fired from the company she has worked for for the past eight years. She was a good and faithful employee. So why did she get fired? Did I mention she is due at the end of February?

This story is eerily similar to my own, having been fired from a job in January of 2002, with a baby due in June. I hadn't worked there for eight years (nor would I have wanted to), but it was clear my firing was a pretext for the company to escape maternity leave benefits. And despite the obvious nature of the firing, it did a number on my emotional and mental health. I was already hormonal and my self-esteem was pretty much zilch at that point. I spent the next few months alternating between sad and depressed...and fighting angry, ready to take on the world. Becoming a mom for the first time is hard enough without having to face all the additional hurdles an insensitive world can throw in your path. And I thought it was all so unfair at the time...so harsh.

But here I sat today, talking to J, and I was really able to understand. Of course, I could understand her point of view more than his (I'm sure Steve could give him more insight on how to deal with a crazy pregnant unemployed wife than I)...but I was able to understand and offer more than the average platitude. And I was able to offer perspective...perspective I didn't have back then. It is harsh, and it's ok to feel sorry for yourself...just don't let it eat you alive...because there ARE worse things that can happen to you.

J seems to have a strong and positive attitude about things. He said, "My feeling is, ok, this happened to us...now let's move on." That will serve him well. They obviously love each other and they seem to make a good team. With unemployment benefits, I'm sure they will make it work financially. And like I told him, they have family and friends that will help in whatever way they/we can. And if his wife needs someone to bitch to, I can lend an empathetic ear that has a unique perspective...having been there...and having been to a worse place since.

I wish with all my strength that this is the worst they will ever experience together. I pray they never have to find the perspective I have found. I so hope that one day they will look back on this as the worst thing they ever had to go through.

A fitting end to 05, or maybe just karma

This morning I slipped and fell on my side in the parking lot of Sam's daycare. Fortunately I had already taken him into the building, so I wasn't carrying him.
Is that a fitting end to the worst year of my life............ or maybe it is just karma for not leaving Cathy any gas in her car this morning.

In any event, I am at work now with wet, dirty jeans, and I'm sure that I will be achy later today.

ho hum........

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The precipice

The edge is not a fun place to be. I'm looking out over the edge of the cliff and it's taking all the energy I have not to jump...to freefall into a self-indulgent depression that will consume me entirely. Last night I wished I had died instead of Alex. If God had to choose, he should have chosen me...not him. But then I thought about Sam and how he would have missed me so much more than he misses Alex...how much more unfair it would have been to him than it already is. How could I do that? Sophie's Choice is going in my mind...choosing between my boys. I actually weighed the pros and cons of which scenario would be better. And while Sam might have been sadder, they would both be alive.

All this bargaining as though I had a damn thing to say about it. God chose. And He didn't ask me my opinion.

So what does that leave me? Living a life I need to make the most of. But what exactly is that? For many years I was so sure I didn't want kids. Then for many years I was so sure I did want them. Now...who the hell knows what I want. And it seems that we're dealing with some unsaid things in our house that make me even more unsure. I read something a while back on Laura and Justin's Blog that stuck with me and has been sitting like a little seed in my brain. "it seemed a charmed start to a child's life to be conceived in a haze of parental love and magic." I don't know that I have it in me to create my part of parental love and magic. I don't know that I have the energy to do it all again. I don't know that I have the belief in the magic anymore to go down that path again and lay my heart on the line (not to mention my sanity). I feel so old and tired.

My living child is currently making my ears bleed with his whining. Is there somewhere I can curl up and hide?

"that safe place you've been for the last nine months"

F*** you Pampers.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

No more ponchos!

OK, I love a good fad as much as the next gal. But this poncho craze is wearing thin. Crocheters and knitters unite! Start crafting patterns for something different! I'm in search of GOOD crochet patterns for a pretty sweater, a warm sweater, and I think I'd like to try a dress (probably something lacy). If you run into anything like that, that I could adapt for my plus size behind, I would appreciate the tip.

I can't do it

I'm having an unusual reaction to a lot of different things lately and I'm not sure what to do about it.

Christmas was filled with a lot of things that I just couldn't do...I couldn't face them...and I thought it was the holiday that was making me feel this way about other non-holiday-related things too. But the holiday is gone and I'm still feeling this way.

I didn't have this need to use avoidance before (except for maybe at work where new mommy co-worker is always in my face). I was dealing and coping and all those "positive" things.

But now, I just need to hide away for a while and not have to face anything.

It's not that I feel depressed...it's just that I have to gear up to care about anything other than my immediate family and my home and my pets. I seriously could care less about anything outside of my little sphere of existence.

Is this normal?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Toy boxes full of memories

Tonight we collected my old toy box from my parents. It's a big wooden chest/seat that my dad built for me when I was a toddler. It's plain, nothing special to look at. But it's big and strong and it's part of my story. For years it held all my toys (and my sister's and brother's toys). We stored our dress up clothes in there alongside our lazer tag guns and our bats and balls. We used it to set our dolls up to teach them in our make believe school. And it was home base in more than one game of freeze tag played in our basement.

My mother tells the story of the day that she walked past my sister sitting on top of the toy box and said, "Hi Rebecca, whatcha doin?"

My sister replied with an innocent smile, "Nothing," when a tiny voice from inside the box cried out, "Let me out of here!"

My mother asked, "Rebecca, is your brother in the toy box?"

With another innocent smile, Rebecca replied simply, "He wanted to get inside."

[mom usually laughs heartily at this point...remembering]

So tonight Steve, Sam and I tackled Sam's toy mountain...which had experienced a few landslides over the past few weeks and months...and put as much as we could fit, into the toy box.

During the process, we sorted out the junk toys...mainly those silly little toys you get in the McDonalds Happy Meals. I now have made a New Years Resolution that we will not eat there so much anymore. He was such a big boy, helping me sort out the toys he doesn't play with so we could, "send them to someone who will play with them." His heart is so big...he is so kind...I hope the world never takes advantage of that and hurts him.

We also sorted out and put away all the "baby toys." The Tupperware shape sorter I searched and searched for because it was like the one I had as a child (the old kind that didn't take batteries...can you imagine a shape sorter that needs batteries? I was horrified at the thought). The donut stacker octopus I got from one of my secret pal exchanges on my mommy message board...one of first toys Sam could work successfully with his pudgy little hands. The wooden blocks on the little cart with a pull string...missing a few blocks that I suspect became dog chew toys. All in bags and in the basement now...definitely not where I imagined they would be at this time of this year...

It's so strange to see my son's memories going into the same place mine were stored for so long. It's so bittersweet to see him already outgrowing some memories. It's so sad to see the memories he won't share with Alex.

We started in a laundry basket. We graduated up to a rubbermaid tub with a lid...then without the lid. Now we have the toy box.

Thanks for keeping it mom...and passing it on. It means a lot to me...to all of us.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Phew...another project done

Finished two hours before giving as a gift to my mom. I'll call it a "winter wrap," though it was really large enough to be a regular throw.



I wish I had run the color change horizontal so it would be more gradual and less southwest/Mexican stripe-ish. But I think she liked it anyway. I hope so.

The Ghost of Christmas Future

I wish I had some insight that I could share from the Christmas experience, but I don't. I have nothing more than I had yesterday or any other day since May. And I KNOW I should be grateful for what I do have...one healthy child, a husband who loves me, a family who cares, a warm home...blah, blah, blah.

Christmas Eve was lovely...complete with mom's homemade pizza and presents galore.

There were even moments of humor...


I laughed and ate and drank and talked.

And I cried in the dark on the ride home.

Today I hid my tears in the bathroom as I showered and dressed...and the kitchen as I cooked dinner.

I KNOW what I lost. I see it in my Sam every single day...and Christmas day is no exception. And there are days like today, where I watch Sam and know what I will be missing forever.

The day may pass...but this is never over.

Merry Christmas baby boy. We love you.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Thank you my friend

Christmas conversations

"Oh, that's a nice bumper sticker...

Be Patient
Be Forgiving
Be Nice to Each Other
Have Self Control
Be Slow to Anger


We should steal it."
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"That was a really pleasant saleslady."

"Seasonal help."
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"The wreath storage boxes are on sale...you should get one or two and send them to Dana."
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"Where are the coats? Are they upstairs?"

"I don't know, but I know the baby stuff is upstairs."

"Let's not go upstairs then."
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"Are you going to put a ribbon on that present?"

"That'd be like putting a pearl handle on an outhouse."
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"This Christmas music makes me want to jab a fork into my head."

"How about a knife...you've got a good steak knife right there in front of you."

"It's got a rounded point, I already checked."

"What's this world coming to when you can't even get a good knife to stab yourself with?"
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"She wants some peachy fruity drink."
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"I wouldn't leave your drawers open like that, the cat might think it'd be a good place to pee."
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"Do you think your mother will be upset we're picking Sam up so late?"

"Nah, she probably thinks we're having sex since we never get any time alone."

"Why didn't we have sex?"

"Because I'm tired and you're stupid."
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"So let's walk through the baby boy stuff twice."

"What, just in case the first time didn't smack you hard enough?"
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"Old Navy has everything. I just saw Plus Size thong underwear."

"Oh yeah?"

"The only thing I have to say to that is...ewwwwww."
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"Sorry Dad, I have to go make sure Steve isn't going to kill someone in traffic."
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"I'm not going to cry."

[sob]

"Can we just go please?"

"Want me to ask if they can put some alcohol in your coffee?"
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"It's amazing how fast you can move without a three year old in tow."
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"We should get Sam a chalkboard for Christmas."

"Why didn't you tell me that when we were in the toy store?"

"Because I'm an idiot."
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"I've seen women who have given up on purses altogether and they just use luggage...you know the kind...with the handle and the wheels that you can pull along behind you."
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"Smile, it's Christmas."

[thought but not said] "Yes, I'll remember that when I visit my baby's grave tomorrow. See, I'm smiling already."
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"Fifty seven year old women do not have three year olds for a reason."

"Oh get over it."
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"Can we open the presents now?"

"No"

"That's not fair."

[tell me about it kid]
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Friday, December 23, 2005

Balancing act

I feel like I'm running around in circles trying to keep all the spinning plates from crashing down to the ground in a zillion pieces.

~Sam - deserves a great Christmas in his three year old world. I'm trying.

~Steve - missing Alex as much as I am and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. We look at each other helplessly and just FEEL the missing piece together.

~Other family - watching me, waiting for me to fall apart or explode or God knows what. I have to prove to them that I'm fine...but I'm not fine.

~Friends - offering what they can, but needing reassurance that they haven't really pissed me off. I have a habit of not censoring what I say...and I'm so terribly afraid they will have enough of my bitching that they'll say goodbye forever. I really need to be more careful.

~Myself - holding it together and I'm not sure why. The tears seep out every now and then and I don't even notice them anymore. The sobs escape rarely, but when they do, they knock the wind out of me. Last night, walking in the dark snow toward the house...Christmas lights on the tree and porch railing...acutely noting how different this Christmas is, not only from last year, but from every year before and every "supposed to be" year.

What would happen if I failed? What would happen if I let the pieces fall where they may? Would I be alone and miserable? I wonder because I'm not sure I can keep up the balancing act for much longer. If I can just make it through the holidays...maybe it will be better in the new year...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I love my friends...but...

I really love my friends...I do...there's not a doubt in my mind that I love these people. But if ONE MORE person sends me a Christmas card with a picture of their perfect family, complete with new baby, I am going to tape my mailbox shut and refuse all mail until the end of the holiday season. Seriously, would it be too much to ask that these people send us a generic card from the $4.99 Holiday Assortment you can get at any WalMart? Just a tip...I do NOT want the cards with the Baby Jesus on them EITHER! And if another person announces their pregnancy in their Christmas greetings (like I did last Christmas), I'm going to tape my mailbox shut AND give up on Christmas altogether...maybe head out to somewhere warm. This happy little tradition is no better than finding a razor blade in your Halloween candy. Yeah, the chocolate is nice...but your insides are ripped to shreds by the time all is said and done.

Now I will give a break where it is due. My friend who announced her pregnancy in her Christmas card...I haven't really spoken to her in about three years or...since before Sam was born, I think. So she doesn't know about Alex and I can overlook her obvious happiness...not to mention naivete (I mean, "?...arriving summer 2006," is a BIT overly grand...and definitely presumptuous. At least mine just said, "Baby #2."). So I will send her a nice little email after the holidays and let her know what happened. I don't really feel like doing it now, because it would only make the both of us feel really bad.

And yes...I baked...but you don't have to call them "Christmas cookies." There is no "holiday magic" or "joy of the season." So please send those cards to somebody else. And for the love of all things good and decent...do NOT wish me a "Merry Christmas." There ain't f*cking thing that is "merry" about this Christmas. I'm going to survive it...don't ask for anything more. Please...

Please understand when I don't smile at you that I'm doing better than I was seven months ago...when just a look would elicit sobbing.

Please know that because I can't talk to you that it's not because I don't care but because I'm afraid I will say all the wrong things and ruin our friendship forever.

Please feel something other than impatience for me because I can't deal with your judgment that I should be "better" by now.

Please treat me as someone who is emotionally fragile and on the verge of a breakdown, because that is how I feel most days.

Please don't ask me about my New Years Resolutions, because the only one I have is to make it through the year without someone I love dying.

Please talk about something other than you wonderfully perfect son or daughter...who is about the age Alex should be.

Please give me some space when I am not receptive to your religion or your sense of 'peace.' I buried my son and it's going to take more than a plagiarized sermon to help me make any sort of peace with that.

Please know that I am working on it...finding myself again and trying to figure out who I am. I may not be the same predictable person you knew. But I think I'm ok anyway.

Blog question

Someone asked and I wonder if you can help me answer...I think I may have a template issue to work out. Can you see each other's comments or no?

Wreath mania

I have noticed there is a sort of problem amidst the wreath-hanging set. That is, too many. These poor souls should really learn the mantra of less-is-more when considering decorations for the front of their homes. One wreath is classy and elegant...especially when paired with a big colorful bow. Two wreaths says you have too much disposable income and not enough commitment. "We couldn't decide which to buy, so we bought both." A wreath on every freaking window of the front of your home says you are either Polish (see Terrarium Jesus for an explanation), or you are absolutely certifiable. For crying out loud! Your house could very well fall forward on its face with all that greenery hanging from the front of it. Please...seek help immediately.

Life isn't all unfair

Earlier this year, I wrote about how unfair life can be. Hell, this whole blog is pretty much about how unfair life can be, isn't it? But I digress...

I had been thinking about my friend and how her Christmas would be, thinking about what "should have been." And then today I received some wonderful news...

Well..here's the news!! Mr. Chase Aidan F was born at 12:03pm Today (Dec. 21st)....he weighed in a 6 lbs 4oz & was 18 & 1/2 " long. He has..at this point...strawberry/reddish blonde hair...but that can all change, of course, as you all know. Mr. Chase has not been very hungry at all today because he swallowed up some amniotic fluids causing him to have an upset tummy. So he just spits up the amnio fluid every time we try feeding him. The nurse in the nursery said that its nothing to be concerned with yet & lots of babies experience this...so keep your fingers cross that he starts to eat regularly otherwise I don't think they will be letting us leave the hospital tomorrow with him. We will be signing relinquishment papers tomorrow at 1:00pm. Fingers crossed everyone!!!
Love S


Welcome to the world Baby Chase. Your parents love you very much and are so happy to welcome you into their family.

Congratulations my friend...you're going to make an awesome mommy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thursday challenge - lights

So that's the secret!

As I was sitting in traffic today I realized why men are seemingly always happy and women suffer from mood swings. Socks. That's right, it's as simple as a pair of socks. I couldn't find any of my "warm" socks to wear today while I was out Christmas shopping (walking through parking lots full of snow and slush), so I wore a pair of Steve's socks. As I was contemplating how my toes were nice and toasty in my husband's socks, I realized that too many of my own socks are "cute" and not entirely satisfactory for keeping my tootsies warm. And when I have frozen feet, I simply cannot deal with life. The reason I was so equipped today to deal with Christmas shopping with Sam...warm feet. The reason I was able to cope with hostile shoppers....warm feet. It's true. I am not kidding. The secret to world peace may very well be in my husband's socks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Two police officers who savagely beat a man in the restroom at a concert venue received probation. A twenty-something guy who posed as a charity donation collector is going to jail for at least 90 days. Who says justice is blind?
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We are Polish. In the grand tradition of Polish decorators who enjoy pink flamingos and plastic lawn statues of the Virgin Mary, I give you...

(drum roll please)...

Terrarium Jesus...





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For the past two days, Sam has come home from daycare and gone straight to bed. Last night he slept clear through to this morning. Tonight, I woke him up and fed him and he seems alert now. Steve, always one to jump to insane conclusions, thinks there could be a problem with the exhaust in the new car and Sam is overdosing on CO on the ride home. He'll go to the store tomorrow and get one of those cheap CO detectors to see if his insanity is warranted.
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Steve got his iPod yesterday. He's been wanting one for several years and one thing or another has always prevented him from actually making the purchase. So this year he took part of his Christmas bonus and got one. Today he came home from work and informed me, with an actual smile on his face, that today was a great day..."When you have the right soundtrack playing, it makes all the difference."
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New blog template. I'm sure this will amuse my sister and brother-in-law to no end. But it's fun playing with it and changing the look. Thanks for the feedback. And yes, they are tulips...but flowers was a good enough guess. lol

And Rachel...my boss has pretty much given me cart blanche to take care of myself mentally and emotionally, as long as I get the work done. I KNOW I shouldn't post from work...but it's about the only way I can keep from absolutely losing it during the work day.
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I still have Christmas shopping to do. I think I'll be taking Sam out tomorrow to get some of it done. I'd rather have a root canal.
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It is incredibly hard to type with long pretty manicured nails.
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Any ideas how to explain to a three and a half year old that popsicles that come out of the freezer are not "dirty" but rather are sporting some ice crystals that are completely normal?
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I changed the format of my mom's blog. She posted. But she didn't say whether she liked the new template. I'm a little worried her silence means she's dissatisfied and she's just formulating a way to let me down easy.
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It's nice to be remembered

I stalk. I admit it. I stalk the group of ladies that I was with on my Due In June message board. They have all gone on to happy baby land and they talking about first Christmas pictures and first Christmas presents. Every now and then, I peek in on them and hope that nobody had bad news.

Today I looked in on them and stumbled on a thread where they were being updated on another lady who had lost her baby girl after 20 weeks (I can't remember exactly what week she was). And they remembered me. They remembered things I had said and who I am.

I didn't comment, because I don't want them to KNOW I stalk them. But it was nice to know I'm remembered...that Alex is remembered.

More things that need explanation...



Steve just sent this to me. Don't know why...but it makes me laugh.

The Others

I watched my first Netflix movie last night as my husband and son both snoozed away. Remind me never to watch a scary movie alone again in my old farmhouse...too many squeaks and creaks going on around me.

Anyway...I "got" most of the movie (which I will not discuss for fear of spoiling it for anyone who has not seen it). But could someone please email me and tell me what was the deal with the husband? Thanks!

I love Netflix!

Don't want to go to that holiday party?

Use the Holiday Excuse Generator. hehehe

Monday, December 19, 2005

I have met the most wonderful people

I have had the pleasure to work with some really good people in animal rescue. But like so many other people in my life, I have taken them for granted far too often. Today, I was reminded that there are some really good people out there...some that I don't even really know too well...with big hearts and an abundance of love that they are willing to share.

One such friend from AcmePetTransport.com sent me this today...



Her note said, "I can only imagine what a difficult year this has been for your family. I think of you often and hope that you are finding a way to cope day by day. I hope I am not overstepping my boundaries by sending you this ornament in memory of your baby Alex. Hugs to you and your family."

That is exactly perfect. Thank you K & J (and Blue and Aladdin).

I have the best friends

I just received this email from a friend (I hope she doesn't mind I post it) and it made me laugh and laugh out loud. More proof I am, indeed, a sick individual.

Cathy,

I laughed and laughed at "Drunken Santa." No matter what you'e been through, no matter how much you have changed, you are still really funny.

The post about the ice scraper -- yeah, the fact that this is just part of your life now . . . wow. I can't begin to imagine what that's like for you guys.

As for seeing the humor in it, it reminds me of the time the bat flew into the funeral home during the "family-only" viewing after my aunt died. Here it was, a dark November evening, all of us talking quietly in the funeral home, my stunned and grieving cousin (daughter of the deceased) sitting with her head in her hands, when a bat flew in. It flapped all around the room, the funeral directors chasing after it as "professionally" and with as much decorum as they possibly could. I will never forget the look of utter disbelief on my cousin's face as she lifted her head from her hands, saw what was happening, and looked at me. There was a moment when she was trying to decide whether to laugh -- that must have been her bizarro world moment. Well, that or the NEXT moment, when the funeral director beat the bat to death with a phone book on the floor, just feet from my aunt's casket. My cousin, as well as the rest of us, had no choice but to laugh. What else could we do? And so that's what I thought of when I read about your using an ice scraper on Alex's headstone. Bless your heart, what could you do but laugh?


Thanks for the giggle friend. I love you.

Empty houses

So many abandoned blogs out there...so sad. Kind of like empty houses. You know someone lived there once, but now they're gone. I wonder where they went to and what their lives are like. Why did they blog in the first place? Was it to just get over some bump in the road of their life? What an oddity blogging is. Started, deserted, resumed...all the while being held frozen in cyberspace for gawkers like me.

Ice scrapers and insights

I couldn't figure out what to use to get the ice off of Alex's headstone. It was way too cold to use my hands. Even through my gloves, I could feel the frozenness of the ice over the cold stone. So I did what any practical mom would do...I used the ice scraper from the minivan. I wish we had taken a picture because it was quite the sight. Me laughing so hard I could barely breathe in the winter air...accidentally stepping on top of my son's grave...apologizing for walking on him...scraping the headstone like a windshield. My husband, shaking his head and saying, "This just isn't right." It's at moments like these that I feel as though we have entered some bizzaro world (ever watch Seinfeld?) where things are the somewhat the same, but with some weird twist to change things up. Somewhere, I'm enjoying the pre-holiday week with two boys and my husband in our warm home...drinking hot chocolate and watching Christmas specials while we snuggle on the couch. Instead, I'm laughing the hysterical laughter of someone insane who is trying desperately to hold it all together, while scraping the ice off my son's headstone with the automobile ice scraper and brush. Some days it literally makes me dizzy to contemplate.

Ice scraping complete, Steve and I stood there in silence, just looking at the frozen headstone. Steve said, "I'm glad his Christmas tree stood up so well." Me wondering how in the world I got here. I told him, "Sometimes it feels like it didn't happen...like he didn't exist." He said, "Like it happened to someone else...like you're telling someone else's story?" Yep...just like that...nodding heads in agreement. And then a shadow passed overhead and a big beautiful crow flew by, singing out a reminder that yes, in fact, it did happen. I laughed and pointed up as Sam yelled from his seat in the minivan, "Mommy, that bird is talking to us." I looked at Steve and said, "I think Alex is saying, 'yes, it did happen'." Like I said, bizarro world. But at least I know he doesn't mind that I use the ice scraper...or that I laugh about it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

My latest donation

To Cooper Hospital in New Jersey.

Christmas shopping sucks

We braved the dreaded Christmas rush in order to get a few things. I needed to get gift cards for my secretaries and a space heater for my paralegal (they're not really MINE, but they do things for me, so I want to say thank you and Merry Christmas). Remind me to never again take my husband and son to World Market. My husband's eyes glazed over and my son's eyes sparkled as he flitted from one expensive imported chair to another (with his snowy shoes...ack!). And let's not forget the impromptu concert on the bongo drums. (Do people actually buy those things?)

Shopping is usually quite fun because it includes a favorite pastime of people-watching. But overall, people have nothing to interest me anymore. I actually heard one woman wish another a "Merry Christmas...I'm not with the government, so I'm not going to change." What the...? I mean, when did Christians become so angry about their religion? I don't remember Christmas ever being about *Peace on Earth and kiss my ass if you don't believe in Christ.* It could just be that I'm a little forgetful, but I really don't remember Christmas ever being filled with such resentment and hostility. I don't remember anger ever being a part of our Christmas celebrations as a child. I hope Sam doesn't remember any of that sort of stuff as he grows older.

Generally, people are rude and angry when they shop for Christmas presents. There are those who run you down with their shopping carts. There are those who let their children run wild. There are those who simply look defeated. Perhaps they knew the President was going to speak tonight and it was a sense of impending nausea I could see on their faces? We are winning, we are winning, we are winning... We are enjoying ourselves, we are enjoying ourselves, we are enjoying ourselves...

Last night we went to take a peek at Christmas lights around town and found my new mascot.

This is Christmas to me this year...Drunken Santa.

Off to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. :o)

More curious words

Hang in there

Take care of yourself


For what? There will be no day when my son is here and it will be all right. Why don't people understand that this just simply doesn't "get better?" Yes, there are hours and days where I can effectively cope with my life with the missing piece. And yes, there are times when, God help me, I actually forget. But those times aren't necessarily *good* because they are followed by the inevitable crash of reality. The feeling of what should be...how much sweeter those happy moments would have been with our Alex with us...how incomplete the moments are even when we have enjoyed them.

I do have *good* times. But it seems the longer the *good* times stretch out, the stronger is the force of impact with reality. One good hour isn't so bad. One good day usually leaves me sobbing somewhere...no telling when or where. I could be at work, in my car, at the grocery store, or home (my preferred place) when the real feelings of loss hit me hard.

So what do I do to handle it? Nothing. I hide. In that way, and too many others to mention, I am a coward. I want to be alone and I want to be left alone (apologies to Garbo). Actually, I want people to ask about me, but not expect anything from me. To borrow a phrase from someone I know, "I don't wanna." It's not as if hiding gets me anywhere...and I know this. But it feels like I need to do things in my time, in my own way.

Today I was transferring the last of the digital pictures from the old computer to the new one (soon to be burned onto CDs) and I stumbled across all those Alex-related pictures...my positive pregnancy test, my pregnant belly, us painting Alex's room. Those pictures literally take my breath away. I have to sit down and remember to breathe when I see them. Even when I deliberately look at them, they have the same physical effect on me. I think it's because there really is very little to acknowledge that Alex truly existed. I have my fading memories and a few physical remembrances here and there...but not much else.

I look at my body and see the remains of a second pregnancy (the belly...the stretch marks)...but it all seems so unreal...as though it happened a lifetime ago...as though it actually happened to someone else. I guess that's supposed to be a good day? To feel disconnected enough to function? To remember and forget at the same time?

Someone told me I shouldn't feel guilty for having good days. And truth be told, I don't feel guilty. I feel afraid. I'm afraid of the good days because they are counterbalanced with the real days...the ones that are ALWAYS going to be there...the days without our Alex.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

An amazing father

Yesterday, as we were headed off to work in the morning, Steve told me something that made me smile all the way into work in my empty minivan. He told me that when he was in the office with the lady buying our "new" car, she referred to Sam and asked, "You have just the one?" I suppose the sight of us in a minivan does seem strange to people. I mean, just ONE kid, what do we need a MINIVAN for? Which makes me laugh at what people must think of me driving the silly thing to work all by my lonesome. But I digress...

Steve told her the truth...he said, "We have two, but our other son was stillborn earlier this year." She said she was sorry and changed the subject really fast (which makes me giggle for some reason...I wish I could have seen it).

Now, I could launch into a whole big analysis of how seemingly innocent questions can be hurtful and how unfair it is that we have to even consider how to answer them. But the thing about it is...I'm over that (for today anyway).

Instead, I realized how incredibly lucky I am. That's right, after seven+ months, I can see the blessings that remain in my life. I see that I have this man standing next to me who has never, not one single time, doubted me. He has provided me with never-ending love and support. He has faced some ugly truths about family and friends and he has never once betrayed my trust or confidence. He knows how I feel about everything and he accepts me in my entirety.

And he loves BOTH our sons.

I know it sounds silly. Of course he loves Sam and Alex. I mean, they are his children. But there was a time, right after we lost Alex, where I thought the rule of the day would be to move forward and pretend as though nothing had changed...as though Alex had never existed. Maybe not in private moments, but I surely felt that we would never be at a place where we would both be comfortable telling other people about our beautiful boy who is gone. In those first days, his focus was so much on finding "normalcy" again...and I was so afraid that normalcy meant forgetting (or ignoring).

But I see now who he is. An amazing father who loves me and BOTH his children. A man who isn't afraid to show other people that he is proud of us. We have come a long way to find our NEW normal. And now I see that it doesn't mean forgetting or ignoring. It means accepting with our hearts that we can trust each other to do what is right for ourselves...and each other. And regardless how other people may or may not behave, we will both love our children...forever. We may have missed out on a lifetime of memories with one of them. But the love is still there.

Friday, December 16, 2005

My wrist hurts

That's all I can type for now.

An author in the family

My brother-in-law (my sister's husband) has had a short story published. If you are so inclined to support a poor starving young author's confidence (I don't think he sees any cash from the sale of the journal), you can own your very own copy by sending a check for $6.50 (made out to Ohio Valley Literary Group) to: Confluence, PO Box 336, Belpre, OH 45714-0336.

Congratulations Pete!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Eternal sunburn

As I sat at the end of the driveway in the cold wet slush, sobbing uncontrollably and pondering if I had broken my left wrist (watching several cars go by without so much as a honk of the horn), I had an epiphany. Or perhaps I actually had the epiphany while I was sitting in my empty minivan at the end of my driveway, with a cold wet ass, sobbing uncontrollably, pondering if I had broken my left wrist and screaming at the universe, "I CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE! YOU WIN! I CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE!" Either way, my ass was wet and cold, my wrist hurt like a bitch, and I couldn't stop the tears when I had an epiphany.

You see, it's not that falling on my ass is any better or worse than it was before. I'm notoriously clumsy and I'm used to looking up at the world from the fallen position. It's that I feel emotionally sunburned. You know, the sunburned feeling...where even the softest clothes feel as though they are peeling layers of your skin right off your living body. Where the only possible way to survive is to sit REALLY still...in the nude. That's me. Every thought, every interaction, every random happening in my daily life could very well be the softest of cashmere...but it rubs me raw and makes me feel like every nerve ending is going to explode.

I'm not any luckier or unluckier than I was before. I'm the same old me with the same old average problems and issues. But my brain is sunburned...raw from the attempts to "deal" or "grieve" or "heal" or "adjust" or "cope"...whatever the term du jour might be on any given day.

I didn't have a choice to stay out in the sun too long. I was sort of set out there and locked out of the house. Whether it was accidental or intentional that I was locked out is still a big question in my mind. But the fact is that I'm really needing to just strip down to the bare essentials and sit really still for a while. All the holiday hustle and bustle...I just can't do it. All the normal boring everyday hustle and bustle...I just can't do that either. Every time I ignore what my sunburn is telling me, I seem to end up hurting all over again. Really deep down, intense pain.

So tonight I'm going to nurse my cold wet sore ass...and my incredibly slow-down-my-typing-sore wrist...and sit very still. I think I need to pay attention to what the pain is telling me. I can't take anymore. I guess I'm just a slow healer.

My favorite words...and my favorite people (very angry post warning)

Dwell

Wallow

Feel sorry for yourself

Has the world lost its capacity for compassion? empathy? just plain kindness? When did it become "bad" to mourn the loss of a loved one? When did it become taboo to feel sad? Why do we all have to be freakin' Mary Poppins on speed?

Don't dwell on the bad! Yeah, you lost your mom this year, but hey, little Jimmy scored three goals in soccer. Your loved one is suffering from painful cancer and will most likely die? How 'bout the upside? That overpriced must-have toy is on sale at the local department store. Your baby died? Well you still have another...and you can always try again. I mean...geez! Focus on the positive already! (not that the bad shouldn't be mentioned...just don't make it the focus.

I'm sitting her shaking my head at the utter lack of sensitivity of people I thought I knew. I have heard and seen so many things in the past seven months that I'll be surprised if I ever rejoin the human race in anything close to the capacity I once did. Or maybe I just need to rethink the human race that I am rejoining. Time to reconsider and reconfigure friendships perhaps.

How did I choose so wrong in the first place? These were people I thought I knew...I thought I enjoyed their company. I was willing to overlook faults for their friendship. Maybe I was just too desperate for friends. I was so wrong...so very wrong.

I was going to send out a Christmas letter and then I changed my mind because of people like this. These kind of people don't want to hear what I have to say. They don't really care about how I'm doing...not really. And these are the same people who, when faced with their own crisis, will ask for thoughts and prayers...and EXPECT that people will give them.

I just don't understand. Have we, as a race of creatures, become so self-involved that we measure the appropriateness of what other people say by our own comfort level? Why is it so hard for people to recognize that this one big thing happened in my life this year and I'm going to talk about it? I would do the same for them...whether it be the loss of someone they love or Jimmy's soccer goals. How can you sit and judge what the person should or shouldn't be feeling. Don't dwell. Are you kidding me?

And I KNOW there are people, some I already know and some yet to be encountered, who feel as though I got what I deserved. I somehow contributed to my son's death. I somehow wasn't good enough. I wasn't faithful enough. I wasn't loving enough. I wasn't perfect enough. It was my fault. They're just too chicken shit to say it out loud. To say it to me. Do they think I don't think these things all the time? Don't they think I would give ANYTHING to fix what I did? I would MOVE INTO a church if it would bring my baby back.

We all know the whole idea of "God's plan" is that I deserved what I got. It'll all make sense in the end...you're part of the plan...we're all part of the plan. But other peoples' children get to live because they somehow earned extra points. See, you weren't good enough to land on the good side of the plan. The implicit assumption is that the plan somehow rewards and punishes those who deserve it. And God wouldn't give us more than we can handle. BULLSHIT! God doesn't know a freakin' thing about what I can handle if he thinks I can handle this! I'm falling apart! I'm lost and confused and angry...and I could very well end up completely crazy like my grandmother. Is THAT what I can handle? A complete break from reality? Is that the plan? That I become nuts and a complete burden to my family? ARE YOU LISTENING?!?!?

But hey...in the season of love and peace...don't dwell...you'll spoil it for me.

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Please note, this is not directed at anyone who reads this blog. Also please note that I am strong enough to tell you to your "face" that you've annoyed me (I think you got the brunt of that one day Dana, for which I AM sorry). This post is about someone entirely different and distinct from any of you. Someone I will be delivering a lecture to...and ending my friendship if she doesn't apologize.

More random thoughts

The neighbor uses our driveway in order to get a running start with his snow plow to plow his driveway. Is it really too much to expect that he might give us a courtesy plow in the process? Instead, he puts the plow up, gets in position, and plows the snow from his drive...careful not to move one snowflake off of ours.

A bit of history...When we FIRST moved in...our FIRST winter...he informed my husband that he charges $25 per plow and he and the people who lived in our house before us had it all worked out.
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My criminal procedure professor is running for Congress. I'm not sure I can wrap my mind around that one. katzforcongress.com
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I was crying because the dog had eaten my scarf and Sam, who has obviously become accustomed to me with a crochet hook in my hand, said, "It's ok mommy, you can make another one." lol

Which reminds me, I must plan a trip to JoAnn's with Sam...for yarn for the newly promised blankie.
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I lied. I felt the need to participate in a Secret Santa exchange. It was from my June 2002 mommies board and it was a "pamper mommy" exchange. Of course, most of us still bought small gifts for the kids, but the focus was definitely on mommy. I had fun shopping for my mom. She's a girly girl and likes pink. I got her a pink purse, pink nailpolish, pink lipgloss, a crystal snowflake ornament, a homemade bracelet, and a gift card to a Stampin Up rep (also from our board). She got her gift and said she liked everything. I hope she wasn't just being polite. You never know when you buy purses or makeup for another person...if it will fit their taste or not.

But the fun part was yesterday when I got MY gifts! I was REALLY spoiled! The mommy who shopped for me really went crazy with my "wish list." I got cute little gold hoop earrings. A month-long membership to Netflix. Comfy pajamas. A birdhouse. Avon Snowman bubble bath. Avon Snowman lotion dispenser. A mini scrapbook kit. A cute little "crafty" reindeer bag.

I already logged onto netflix and ordered my first movies. How fun! A unexpected smile at Christmas. How lovely.
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Around holiday time, public officials lose their minds. Or maybe it's the full moon.
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I decided no holiday letter from us. If you don't get one, don't be sad.
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I asked my husband for cash to buy toothpaste today. Imagine my surprise when I opened my wallet and found $26. I think I'm going to buy myself some lunch.
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In an effort to finagle me out of my "new" car, Steve pointed out that it makes more sense in an era of $2+ gasoline for him to take the fuel efficient Toyota Tercel to daycare and his work (an estimated 100+ miles per day), while I drive the gas-hog Dodge Caravan the mere twenty mile round trip to my work. I hate it that he's right.

But even more than that, I hate that I had to drive an empty minivan to work this morning and will have to drive it every morning until I have a nervous breakdown or provide an actual living baby that will necessitate Steve driving the minivan again. I simply can't describe how it feels to drive that huge empty thing to work. To look in the rear view mirror and see no car seats at all. To know that if Alex had lived I would be driving the small car. Sure, it would be empty. But I would know that there was a minivan with three smiling men in it on their way for the day.
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After one week, I've already failed to participate in the Thursday photo challenge. I forget my camera when I have good opportunities to take pictures! I must learn to bring it with me more often.

I will TRY to get a photo before next Thursday. But if not, I will definitely be ready for next week's challenge.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The holy grail

We found a car! Now I won't have to walk to work! Yay!

This isn't a great picture, but this is the car. A 1992 light green Toyota Tercel with 83,000 miles on it. If it gets us through two more years it will have earned my love and gratitude.

Our existing pieces of crap have a date with Our Lady of the Wayside...pickup on Thursday 12/22...Merry Christmas suckers!

I'm off to relax and have some pizza. Have loads to blog about, but I must raise my blood sugar first or I will pass out at the keyboard and you'll only get oalr.iha.eflbcgol.j.kufgi;hhgoa;d(when my face rests on the keys and my drool seeps into the various characters).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The tale of the doomed scarf

My mother made me a beautiful scarf for my birthday...twice. It was this red, pink, and purple blend silky soft "fun" type yarn...peacock yarn, I think it's called. She struggled with it for hours, attempting to crochet yarn that is, quite honestly, really made for knitting. I remember she told me she had to hold it up to a lamp so the light would shine through and she could see where the stitches were.

So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to tell her that I lost it. I tore my house apart looking for it...and cried. I was pregnant at the time and was feeling particularly emotional about silly stuff. And I cried again when she gave me the replacement scarf...this one made out of the exact same yarn and with the exact same difficulties. She told me this was the last one.

So you can imagine how I cried tonight when I found that the foster dog had chewed it in half. I know it's just a scarf. But I feel like a complete idiot. I can't even take care of a damn scarf! I mean...twice now it has met its demise while in my care. First, I just plain lose it. Now I leave it on the kitchen chair (the typical dumping ground for coats and winter wear in our house), and the foster dog uses it to floss his teeth. What is wrong with me?!?! Why can't I just have ONE FREAKING NICE THING?!?! Why does everything I touch turn to utter crap???

Mom...if you read this...I'm sorry. And don't worry, I won't ask for another. I figure my bad luck will cost any future scarves their lives too. I can't do that to some poor innocent mass of yarn like that.

To the universe...f*** you too!

This isn't happening

That thought rolled around and around in my brain. I said it out loud...I don't think I yelled it, but it was screaming so loud in my head that I thought it would explode. That sound that was supposed to be there...that lovely, beautiful, amazing sound that I had heard so many times before...gone. All there was was silence and the screaming in my head. No! Nooooo! This isn't happening! Please God, I will do ANYTHING! Don't do this to us! Don't take our boy! This isn't happening! Where are YOU? This isn't happening! THIS ISN'T HAPPENING!

How loud silence can be. How deafening it can be to hear nothing but imagined screams in your mind. It's much like turning the car stereo up so loud that it physically hurts your eardrums. You have no choice but to turn it down.

I could almost hear the sound I was SUPPOSED to hear...that lovely little drum beat of his heart. I can imagine it how it sounded just a week and a half earlier. I can still hear it. I remembered the laughter as he wiggled away from the doppler and made my belly into a funny misshapen pyramid. I can hear the wrinkling of the paper on the exam table beneath me. I can see the ceiling tiles I stared at and prayed.

And then...I felt it all slip away and I heard nothing...nothing but the screaming in the silence. This isn't happening!

I did it...I gave birth to you...cry...scream...do something! This isn't happening!

I hoped. I prayed. And it was all for nothing. The silence continued...filled only occasionally by my sobs and my tearful pleas...my baby...my baby...this isn't happening.

But this IS happening...and there's nothing I can do about it but listen to the silence. I replay it in my mind. And the silence in our home is a constant reminder. It hurts...and I can't fill up the silence.

and the beat goes on...and on and on and on...

Sam went off to daycare this morning and now the car won't start and the truck is frozen shut. I am, in effect, snowed in. And I thought the universe was out to get me. Funny story though...when the office manager asked me if I was going to take it as vacation or comp it and work tomorrow, I sighed and said, "I really don't care." That's probably not going to win me any professionalism points...but I'm too tired to care.

So now that I've had a good cry about the utter lack of control I have over my own life (yes, these thing snowball into great big hysterical fits all the time), I think I'll spend the day watching soap operas (Steve was able to fix the tv in less than five minutes...show-off), crafting, and maybe eating and drinking too much (don't worry...I plan to indulge in Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi).

Of course, I COULD be spending today with my son (who wanted to stay home...but with DADDY), but I sent him off with a very mature, "Great...fine...bye...have a good day." I think there was a door slam in there too somewhere.

I have seen the future...and it ain't pretty. I am a bitter, angry old woman who is pleased with nothing. I feel sorry for myself over the littlest things. It's not the little things really that bother me...it's the one big thing that I never got past...that thing that could never be made right. All my energy has been sapped and I do nothing but entertain thoughts of how much people don't love me and how alone I feel, even in a crowded room.

I swear, I used to be a happy person. I found joy and light in the simple things. My little job was good enough to feed us and keep me occupied and challenged. I could play with my son for hours and entertain him so easily. My husband and I could laugh and talk for hours. And I only really cried at sappy television commercials like the Folgers coffee Christmas commercial or chick-flick movies like Steel Magnolias. I was happy.

Did I mention I have PMS? Yes, the universe has decided to give me a grand big ole f*** you again today. My eye is twitchy and I'm hungry.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A banner day

I tell ya, sometimes it doesn't pay to get out of bed in the morning.

I got NO sleep last night due to a puking child. I thought I might catch a few winks during the DVD presentation this morning...but you can guess what happens when your attention is anywhere else but on said puking child.

The other day I discovered the cat has been using the upstairs closet as his own personal bathroom. So today I decide to clean it, since the husband, supposedly in charge of all things cat-related, has simply decided the best way to deal with this problem (of which he has been aware for some time) is to ignore it. Found cat pee on the garment bag that holds my wedding dress...and on the dress itself. So I attempted to wash the cat pee out of the dress...using the shower rod to hold the dress up while I worked on it. The shower rod came crashing down on my head with all five/ten pounds of dress. There is now a lump on the top of my head.

I took the foster dog, Orbit, out for his constitutional. He zigged when I zagged and the end result was that we accidentally moved the satellite dish (a LOT)...So now there is no tv for puking child. I could hear him scream from outside..."MOOOMMMMYYYYYY!!!" I called the DirectTV guy...Kyle. After asking me if I was SURE the dish had moved, he went on to be absolutely un-reassuring. (Uh, yeah, I'm sure it moved...I watched it damn near fly off the post ya genius...I was standing right there...in fact, it's MY FAULT). He said I could have a technician come out (how much will that cost?) or I could try to fix it myself. I asked how hard it was to fix myself and he said, "I can be VERY difficult...you have to have a screwdriver to loosen it and then you have to adjust it just right." Oh my God...a SCREWDRIVER?!?! Whatever will I do? I'm not sure I can handle THAT!

So what does any good mother do? Attempts to fix it, of course. Ten frozen fingers and ten frozen toes later there is still no tv for the poor sick child.

I just got done breaking up a dog fight...over a bone. While putting the dogs in their respective crates, I see that one dog has THREE bones all to himself. Selfish little bastard.

Do you ever feel cursed? I mean truly cursed? I know people joke about Murphy's Law and whatnot, but I'm having a very hard time fighting the urge to curl up in a ball and just cry myself to sleep. I used to have a tolerance for this sort of day. In fact, I used to be able to look at days like this and laugh. Now I just feel like someone keeps adding weights to my side of the scale...just testing me to see how much I can take before I snap completely.

I think I might just round out this perfect day by going and working on our holiday letter. I'm depressed...I might as well depress everyone else too.

***update***

While working on our holiday letter, the cat stood at the top of the wooden staircase and threw his empty bowl down, hitting my sister's wedding picture on the wall and sending it crashing down to the bottom. Yes this is the same cat that has a pee problem. I've tried finding another home for him, but nobody wants him...and Sam is desperately in love with him. What's an over-tired mom to do?

but of course...

I can now say that I prefer that Sunday night feeling to the Monday morning pukey kid feeling. Yes, in true Sam fashion, we are now home with the sickies (him...not me...yet). He hasn't held anything down since lunch yesterday at about 2:00 on the train ride home. sigh. I think I'm going to curl up under the covers and watch Thomas the Tank Engine with him. Happy Monday.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

That old Sunday night feeling

I really hate that Sunday night feeling. You know the one...where you've realized that you have to go back to work tomorrow morning and you'd rather do ANYTHING but. It's a sense of dread that makes me tired and cranky.

We spent the day at the Santa Claus Express at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Steve and I lived in Bedford, a mere ten minutes away, for four years...and never road the rails. Now that we have a train freak in our three-year-old, we have the perfect excuse to indulge ourselves. We had wanted to ride the Polar Express, but they sold out in September. (We will know to plan better for next year.) We hadn't told Sam where we were headed. I wish I had the camera ready the moment he realized we were going for a train ride. And his, "Oh YEAH!" with the thumbs up sign was totally perfect.

I sometimes think I was born in the wrong time. I've been to a couple medieval fairs that made me realize how much I love the slower life. I know I enjoy my internet access and my blog, but taking time to just BE...to enjoy some time together...is just the thing for the soul. It forces you to live in the moment...to enjoy every second...all the small things.

We decided to enjoy the train trip with the layover in a teeny tiny village. I worried that Sam would grow bored and make us miserable. But when we got off the train, we were able to explore the station, eat at the Winking Lizard, and spend quality time in a small bookstore with a treehouse and complimentary coffee. It was...in a word...lovely. We enjoyed one another. We laughed (and cried) and generally slowed WAY down.

I wonder why it is we have to have nostalgiac things like trains to remind us that we don't have to rush, rush, rush. I know a lot of things seem important...but I couldn't replace today if I tried. And when I look back on my life THIS will be the kind of thing I rank as truly important.

It also made me realize how much I wish I could run a small bookstore. To spend my life surrounded by the wise (and not-so-wise words) of real authors...to be able to enjoy people as they come and not have to worry about processing them through on some deadline. To offer complimentary coffee and a children's treehouse that makes memories for families on a weekend getaway. That sounds so lovely.

I bought too many books and I think I'm going to send some of them out to friends...provided I ever have time to actually read them.

I just hate that Sunday night rushed feeling.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Your Blog Should Be Green

Your blog is smart and thoughtful - not a lot of fluff.
You enjoy a good discussion, especially if it involves picking apart ideas.
However, you tend to get easily annoyed by any thoughtless comments in your blog.

Welcome to the world Kameron!

If you get a chance, head on over to Kathy's place and welcome her new son, Kameron. He's absolutely beautiful. Congratulations to the whole family.

Christmas cards

We have obviously fallen out of touch with some friends during the year and I knew I should anticipate inquiries about our new baby since I signed last year's Christmas cards with a premature "Steve & Cathy & Sam & Baby #2." But despite steeling myself for its arrival, the card that was signed, "We expect to see pictures of both your children," really packed a punch. Little tiny landmines in my Christmas cards...

But then there was this incredibly thoughtful gift from a blogosphere friend. Catherine sent us this sweet little snowman angel ornament with Alex's name on it. Thank you so much for thinking of our Alex, Catherine. You are a wonderful friend.

Also in the mail, supplies for a gift for another mommy whose baby was stillborn. I love sending out the bracelets to these women. But it just makes me so sad that there is another mother who is going through this pain and sadness.

So after the adventure in opening our mail, I toddled off to my office's "unofficial" party where I ate and drank far too much (and let me just say that Margaritas are GOOD things). I returned home at midnight with a killer migraine headache...a combination of not having eaten lunch, consumed too much alcohol with dinner, and a weather front of some sort moving through. It finally disappeared about 8am this morning after six or so advil and 8 hours sleeping on an ice pack.

Today, I think we're going to head out and see if we can find me a car.

Tomorrow will be seven months since Alex was stillborn. I imagine a trip to the cemetery is in order. But that's tomorrow.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thursday Challenge - Orange

You can run but you can't hide...revisited

I had a whole big long feel-sorry-for-me post posted this morning...for about two minutes. Something about how I could run, but the sadness would always find me...lurking around like the morque from The Neverending Story.

blech. Now I even bore myself.

So I deleted it.

I spent the afternoon at the Elks Lodge attending another exciting Continuing Legal Education course on Ethics, Professionalism, and Substance Abuse. It was in the dining area that is smoke free only during the peak dinner hours. The walls have that dull yellow associated with years of smoking visitors during the remaining hours of the day. The carpet retained a stench that literally gave me a headace after the first hour. And I wasn't smart enough to grab a chair by the windows so I could gaze out at the lake. (What is it about Lake Erie...or any body of water really...that makes me feel at peace?) So I spent two and a half hours wishing I had chosen a different seat, or, in the alternative, brought my crocheting or my beading with me so I could at least be busy while the videotape droned on and on. And now, I'm counting the minutes until I can get home and change out of these clothes that reek like I was out all night drinking and dancing on tables. I may even wash my hair just to be sure I get it all off me.

I spend a good portion of my day running. I try to keep my mind busy so that IT won't catch up with me. And when I find myself bored to tears (like in a CLE), it's as if I'm a sitting duck. I know IT's there because I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, as though I'm watching a horror flick. The tears will follow shortly if I don't distract myself. It's an exhausting way to live...always on guard...always trying to avoid the unavoidable.

My dear sweet husband had a meeting with his manager this morning...to discuss his accomplishments from this past year. He broke out the old day planner to check dates and times and stumbled across January through May...filled with ultrasounds and doctor visits. That's why I run. I fill my head with distraction and nonsense so I don't have to wait for the pain and the sadness to catch up with me. (Steve WOULD HAVE commented on the post this morning...if I had left it up. Funny, the ripple effect that you can have on someone else with even a small decision like whether to write down some words or not.)

Anyway...same old song...tra la la la la la

Tonight I buy a ham for a small party I'm attending tomorrow evening. I've never actually cooked a ham before. Are they all like Schwan's where they're already cooked and all you have to do is heat em up? Guess I'll find out at the grocery. What have I gotten myself into?

As an aside here...YES, I know Cavaliers get horrible safety ratings but I have to say it's been a relatively good car for being ten years old and having 142,000 miles on it. The one I have is a 1995 and it was my husband's first car. Back then we were young and stupid and didn't care about safety...so long as we looked good. It is the non-Sam car. He's ridden in it only a handful of times since it started it's downward spiral...and then only for short trips. Hey, it's ok to risk our own lives, but Sam rides in the minivan. Now if I could wrap him in bubble wrap I'd be much more relaxed about his safety.

Thanks for the advice on the Toyotas. But I'm thinking cheap right now. I found a couple Honda's and a Hyundai I am considering. Toyotas, because they are so reliable, are a bit out of my price range.

David...welcome to our blog. We have issues with God over the death of our son. It's doubtful he cares about my transportation issues. But thanks for thinking of us.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

a car that's reliable...priceless

$500 for a new gas tank

$300 for new tires

$550 to repair the brakes

$300 to repair the brake lines

and now...

$1300 to repair my car...AGAIN. It needs a new starter and new gas lines and a new head gasket.

Just when we start to get back on an even keel from having to pay for funeral expenses and missed work, etc...now THIS. I'm so tired of all of it.

I don't want anything extravagent. I just want a car that isn't going to not start and leave me stranded somewhere in the snow. I just want a car that won't blow up if some redneck throws his cigarette out his car window in front of me. I just want a car that doesn't spit out oil and antifreeze at such a rate that it might as well be a noodle strainer. Is that too much to ask?

Why do I ask these questions? Of COURSE it's too much. This is, after all, MY life. It wouldn't be my life if it were easy. No such thing as smooth sailing here.

At this point, I'm going to junk the darn car and buy a different used one. Now to actually FIND one.

I need a drink. Too bad I can't afford one.

Holiday Ten

In an effort to find SOME holiday spirit in my, I give you the Holiday Ten...feel free to post on your own blog...I'm not into tagging the unwilling. :o)


1. What is your favorite holiday movie?
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation--I can SO relate

2. What is your favorite holiday song (title and artist)?
I'll Be Home for Christmas--I don't know who sings it, but it's on the Christmas Is album my Dad has on vinyl that we would listen to every year when we put up our Christmas tree.

3. What’s the best holiday gift you were ever given, and why?
My bath robes. Two in one year...a comedy of errors. And I just couldn't take either one back because they were both from people I love.

4. Do you have a special someone to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s?
Steve and Sam

5. Name of your favorite reindeer?
Dasher--He's the first, but he always get's overshadowed by Rudolph...poor guy.

6. Favorite Holiday food?
Pizza! Seriously, we always have pizza on Christmas Eve...family tradition.

7. Snow day — cuddle by the fire, or hand me a snowball?
Snowball...then cuddle by the fire after we've laughed ourselves silly and are achingly tired.

8. What was your New Year’s resolution for this year? Did you stick to it?
I think it had something to do with being a better mom. I stuck to it...the universe didn't uphold it's end of the bargain so it was shot to hell.

9. Is there really a Santa Claus?
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy...The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see...Nobody can conceive of imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world...Only faith, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond.

10. Present, or stocking stuffer?
Present!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Welcome to the world Ava Louise

My boss's newest granddaughter Ava Louise came into the world around 2 am this morning at 7lbs. 10z.

I am, surprisingly, ok with that information. Thanks for asking. Oh, what's that? You didn't ask? OH...that's right...that little tidbit of information might be like a terrorist bomb in my email inbox and you're just too insensitive to realize it...

I'm still ok. So there. (insert me giving Insensitive Receptionist the razzberries here)

Please read

Please take time to read Rachel's post about the mommy blogging phenomenon. She has insight I hadn't considered and she is an amazing wordsmith.

Rate Your Life - Oh Just Great

This Is My Life, Rated
Life:
5.6
Mind:
5.2
Body:
4.8
Spirit:
5.2
Friends/Family:
7.4
Love:
7.3
Finance:
5.8
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Lunch

What IS this Italian Herbs and Cheese bread at Subway I have been missing all this time? A gift from heaven? oooh la la! Yummy in my tummy! I must step "out of the box" every now and again if I can get happy suprises in my mouth like this (get your mind out of the gutter...I can hear you laughing from here).

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed (warning: slightly offensive)

• 1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

• 2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

• 3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

• 4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

• 5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Busses and Trucks and Trees and.....

• 6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

• 7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

• 8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

• 9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

• 10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle, Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ...

For the record...

I NEVER said mommy bloggers were shallow or anything of the sort. And I didn't mean to ridicule (pay attention here Mom) or make fun. My point...in case you missed it...is that it's all about BALANCE.

What I said is I AM BORED with all the mommy blather that means nothing. I AM BORED with reading about Johnny's escapades in potty training or how busy the soccer schedule is or...blah, blah, blah. I'm not ridiculing PEOPLE. These are their lives...and more power to them for having happy lives. I'm simply bored with reading BLOGS that don't actually SAY ANYTHING beyond what you can find in a Hallmark greeting card.

I am bored with the seemingly endless stream of nothingness out there. And maybe (and I think I said this), the problem is just that there are so many out there. My problem is that I read Person A's blog on Monday and then read virtually the same thing on Person B's blog on Wednesday. It's boring TO ME. And I would love to know what motivates these women to write (And don't think I haven't noticed that there is a distinct LACK of men who blog...about their children or anything else).

Sure, I have the option not to read these types of blogs. And, if you're paying attention, you'll notice that the majority of my blogroll does NOT include these types of blogs. The blogs I read are written by people I consider to be smart and funny and wise beyond their years (for one reason or another). I was merely commenting on the phenomenon that is "mommy blogging." (And if you doubt it's a phenomenon, try a Yahoo search for "Mommy blog" and you'll get 4,380,000 results...Holy sh!t that's a lot of mommies).

No, I don't understand it. I don't understand why mommies blog about the constant sweetness of being a mommy as though their experience is original and their insight into the beauty of motherhood is some new revelation they must share with the blogosphere. I don't understand how their lives seem completely without balance...all happy and no sad...all good and no bad. And IF they do mention anything bad, it is usually in passing and then they move on to the next happy mommy story. (Society's obsession with "moving on" at work here, perhaps?) Why blog if you're only going to share the good? Why all the sunshine and roses? Is it an effort to convince themselves? Are they simply hiding from something? Maybe their lives are perfect and I'm just one of the unfortunate few to have a shitload of unhappy things to write about. But somehow I doubt it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Obsessed with the dead? aka Obsessed Mommies

The blogosphere is filled with them. And in addition to my previously mentioned jealousy, I am experiencing an incredible feeling of boredom and frustration with their sugary sweetness and inspirational insights. They're moms. And they have nothing to say that is of any use to me anymore. I find myself rolling my eyes at the call-Guiness-Johnny-is-a-genius moments they prattle on and on about. Life is hard; and they have to drive their minivan full of living children from soccer practice to dance recitals; and, oh no, they had to eat at McDonalds again, will their children grow up to be fat; and when will they get a moment to themselves; and Christmas is so stressful, do you have your shopping done; and we have such an amazing bond...blah, blah, blah.

I'm BORED! Do mothers really have nothing else to talk about? (Never mind the aforementioned jealousy.) You are seriously putting me to sleep with all this blather. Hallmark could do many a movie of the week with the material you provide (and I'm quite sure I've actually seen a few of these stories on some made-for-TV movie or another). Does anything really and truly BAD ever happen to you? And if so, why don't you blog about THAT?

Now, I'm as sappy as the next girl and I love a good mother story to remind me how wonderful the adventure is. But good grief, the blogosphere is overrun with the same story told over and over and over and over and over and over...zzzzzzzzzzzz. Being a mom is great...scary...but great. I GET IT. Move on. Or at least distinguish yourself from the rest of the population who has access to a keyboard and an internet connection and give me something MORE. Give me something real. Yes, we all know you can turn a witty phrase...aren't you clever...yawn.

This rant leads me to believe that I may have an unhealthy obsession with pain and suffering. I read blogs by people I know have suffered and I am not so dismissive. I cheer for them and wish nothing but good things for them. When they tell me a happy story, I tear up and feel a lump in my throat. But for the "mommy bloggers" out there, I feel nothing but irritability and shortness of temper. Maybe it's because the sheer number of them is so overwhelming. There seem to be fewer bloggers willing to delve into the truly dark and scary stuff...the reality of life...the bigger issues.

Death.

There, I said it. When someone talks about a birth, they will go on and on and on...writing epic poetry about the grand experience of birthing a child. And I do not discount the importance of such an event. In fact, I have done the same. BUT...when people blog about a death or some other tragedy that has befallen them, you usually get a one paragraph, "Grandpa died," and if your lucky a one paragraph pretty reflection on Grandpa and how much he meant. Then we're back to regularly scheduled programming and we're talking about how Johnny successfully mastered the art of hitting the toilet with his urine while standing up (truly, one of the more annoying conversations I've seen grown women engage in). And this usually goes on for a dozen posts or more...at least until Johnny can sign his name in pee with a flair like Zorro.

I talk about my son and his accomplishments. I am proud of my son. But I would like to think that there is something more there. Something that makes me...well...ME. And that means getting real and talking about the bad as much as I talk about the good. Why does our society have such an obsession with being happy all the time? Why do we have to "move on" from tragedy and not fully experience and share sadness, or hurt, or anger? Surely, there is something to be said for sharing these experiences and realizing we are not all Stepford Wives who are content to smile and reflect on the beauty of all things motherhood.

In surfing the blogosphere this morning (yes, while I should be working), I stumbled across several books about motherhood written by women who are either on crack or have been beaned in the head by the tooth fairy's happy stick. I really don't understand the affinity for happy mommy stories. It's almost a collective consciousness...where the same story is actually passed from one woman to another for retelling with [insert names here] as the stars of the show. Susie's not counting to ten? Oh, well, let me tell you how WE did it. Let me guide you in the ways of being a happy mommy.

What? You're not happy? You feel like throwing your child in a closet and running over random strangers on the street? What is WRONG with you? Why aren't you HAPPY? Be happy. We like you better that way. Please excuse the snoring...she's obsessed with reality...and she talks about death and sadness...she's just not HAPPY.

I have begun to follow craft blogs because they seem to have some purpose. I can tell where they are going. And there is often just as much of a chance the the craft could go awfully awry and the person will end up with elephant sized slippers as they will a beautiful handmade sweater for Dad. It's concrete. It's going somewhere. Mommy bloggers have filled up the blogosphere with words that all reach the same conclusion. It's great to be a mommy. And this earth-shattering revelation takes pages and pages...megabytes of storage...and must be told and retold until the end of time. I feel like I'm being bludgeoned with a dull instrument...no...that would be too quick to be an appropriate comparison. Chinese water torture perhaps.

Are women so desperate to be heard that they will turn to writing about bodily fluids until the cows come home? Is there really that much value in the shared experience of gushing over your children and your experiences in raising them? Entire blogs devoted to what Billy ate today...whether he peed and pooped...what inarticulate babble he made from his bouncy seat. Does this sort of bonding really create any sort of lasting relationship with any of your readers? Or is it just intended to make people envious of your perfect life?

Perhaps I have an unhealthy obsession with my dead child. But it can't compare to the obsession some of these women have with their living children.

I can't take it!

~Christmas music piped into the street by the village in which I work. Once though charming is now literally painful.
~My new mommy coworker who cheerfully said to me, "We haven't put up our Christmas decorations yet, we need to put them up," and looked at me hopefully. This will be my third Christmas here. I was the one who decorated...and everyone made fun of me...laughed at me for being "Martha Stewart" just because I wanted a little holiday cheer. Well, Martha doesn't live here anymore...decorate your own damn office.
~The holiday decorations on every nook and cranny of every retail establishment I go to. Even the freakin Tractor Supply Company has cheery red bows and plastic sparkly snowflakes all over the place.
~The coworker who asked me, "Are you going?" Presumably, I was supposed to know what she was talking about...but I didn't. Why, the Ladies of the Court Christmas Party, of course. She had bought a ticket but wasn't sure if she was going to go or not. Yeah, I'll just drop the Christmas tree cemetery decoration off and be right over for drinks and dancing.
~Standing in the cemetery with Steve, Sam waiting patiently in the car, wiping away the ice and snow from Alex's headstone. Placing Alex's little Christmas tree, all festive with its red bows, so carefully...so it will hopefully stay standing. The only thing we could say to each other was, "This wasn't supposed to be this way."
~Overhearing another colleague this morning laughing and saying, "Now THAT was SOME Christmas party."
~The Christmas music on every freakin radio station known to man.
~Being on the verge of tears. Feeling them coming and knowing there is no way I can stop them. Knowing WHY they're coming and not being able to do anything to fix it or make it better.

Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Priceless moments

We just concluded a twenty minute sing-a-long. The Itsy Bitsy Spider never sounded so out of tune and wonderful.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Another commercial













A friend at my office, who is also addicted to beads and jewelry making, took my suggestion to find a dragonfly bead and make jewelry (for myself, obviously). She made this necklace and then refused to take money for it. Isn't it beautiful?

If you have a jewelry idea and would like Beth to make something special for you, you can email her at -----------. This necklace of all sterling silver would be $35. She also makes specialty bracelets and watches.