Saturday, September 30, 2006

House update

A lot of the home improvement that's been going on hasn't been much for the "wow" factor (interior plumbing and wiring). But here's a look at the new porch!

And here is the new roof line for the side porch (which will get an overhaul too).

The next major exterior improvement coming up is the siding. And then we move indoors for the fun stuff.


Can I tell you how HAPPY I am about this? I know I have to drive that damn empty minivan (Steve and Sam will take this car...better gas mileage). But the key to that thought is that I get to DRIVE and not have to sit around and wait for a ride every single day! Yee Haw!!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I *almost* hate to do this

I really want to win this quilt.

But I'm posting it here and lessening my odds of winning because I think everyone should donate $5 for a chance.

The chance for this family to raise biological sisters together...well...that gives me goosebumps and makes me cry happy tears just thinking about it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Swirling thoughts

So my mother asked me if I'm insane. LOL. Hi Mom!

I told her, "Yes...why do you ask?"

She said, "You bought baby bedding?"

And her point is...?


Here's my feeling...Nothing makes sense anymore, so why should I?

Of course, the simplest things set of a landslide of emotions without so much as a warning. No loose rocks falling down, no rain softening up the hard earth...just all goes crashing down the hill.

For instance...

I bought a leather coat. I LOVE my leather coat. I've never owned a leather coat. I look awesome in my leather coat. Why haven't I ever owned a leather coat before? Because I'm too nerdy to wear a leather coat. Do I look stupid in my leather coat? Oh my God, people are thinking how dumb I am.

Get the picture?

I know I have underlying "daddy issues" and I worry too much about what other people think of me.

Here's another of my favorites from recently...

Let's adopt. My period is one day late. Could I be? Maybe I want to be. I do. I want to be pregnant again. But what I feel about a possible pregnancy isn't happiness or sadness or's embarassment. I'm thinking how people are going to react already! Going to the doctor for all those visits I know I'll have...embarassment.

I still feel like a failure. And that's all wrapped up in how I've always lived my life the way you're "supposed to." You go to school, get a job, get married, get a house, have kids... All so perfect. I don't smoke. I don't drink to excess. I've tried to clean up my language. I did it all the "right" way.

But who decided it was right anyway? And if I were to sit here and define what the right way is...I'm not sure I could do it. So where did this standard come from? And how in the hell am I supposed to live up to a standard I can't even define?

It's funny, because a lot of this stems from buying that leather coat...and watching Grey's Anatomy. Yep. Izzie fell in love with her patient. And someone on the show, can't remember who, said something about not being able to choose who you fall in love you just have to live and not worry about it all so much. And that's me (except I probably won't go nuts and try to perform weird medical procedures I know nothing about on my heart patient fiance). I need to learn how to just live and not worry about it all being perfect.

There are no extra points if you do it all right. When you die, are you going to be glad you did x, y, or z? Or are you going to be glad you didn't do them because they weren't socially acceptable? If I die today, I'll be glad I bought the leather coat. But there's so much more that I want to do. If only I could stop worrying about what everyone might think or say.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A favor

Go here and leave a comment to vote for my blogosphere friend, Kate.

The winners get a $50 gift card to Spafinder or Merry Maids (the nominee and the nominator).

And in case you want to know what you're voting for...

Here is the nomination post.

Here is Kate and Jonathon's blog.

This post and this post make me weep.

So that didn't take long...

Fraudulent. Stupid. Foolish. Like I have no right.

Hope...are you serious? I feel like any little ounce of hope I might have is some sort of foolish dream.

Who do I think I am to believe in that nonsense? Haven't I learned my lesson by now?

Guess it's going to take more than cute bedding...

Doodle's Mommy just called!

That's right! An ad in the paper and the Doodle dog is going home! Yay!

(And let me brag here...according to the director, the local APL returned only 1% of dogs to their owners last year. We're at 100%! Ha!)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I need my head examined

We made it through the big due date. It sucked. I cried.

Thank you for understanding that I needed to turn off my comments because I couldn't deal with another, "I'm so sorry," without totally losing my sanity. I know it is meant as supportive and loving...and I am incredibly grateful to have found friends in the blogosphere who understand. So I hope you understand this too. And to everyone who sent an email...thank you...I haven't read them just yet, but I appreciate your kindness nonetheless.

So...yeah...we made it through the big due date. It sucked. I cried.

Then I moved on.

God...I have turned into a cliche. But ya know, after the first dead kid, the second one is a bit easier to deal least for me. Maybe I'm a bit harder around the edges...but that's how it has to be in order for me to survive.

So we spent the weekend rescuing dogs from the side of the highway and buying baby bedding.


No...I'm not kidding.

No...I'm not pregnant.

And yes...I am crazy.

Here it is...Sam picked it out...

We all know our family isn't complete (again with the cliches...I have GOT to get help). HOW we are going to add on to our family, we're not entirely sure. Steve is happy that I'm, " a place where I could even consider something like this." I'm not sure whether he means buying the bedding or adding to our family.

I'm just thinking how cute the nursery will be.

I'll consider the rest later.

And we have a name!

The big black lab is named Dakota. And it seems he disappeared from home about three days ago. His mom suspects he ran off with this companion because she's a girl...and he's not fixed. hehehe. She's coming to pick him up after she gets off of work tonight.

We printed posters and put them up at local businesses. Steve went into the Kmart (not a SuperK...still an actual old style Kmart), asked the person at the Customer Service desk to hang up the poster, and walked out. This woman overheard and looked over at just the right moment to see the photos. She chased Steve out of the store (leaving her purse and everything behind in her excitement) and said with a smile, "I'm almost positive that's my sister's dog." A phone call to verify the words on his collar (Bark if you're Irish) and we knew we had the missing Dakota.

Despite everything, sometimes I'm still tempted to think that things happen the way they are supposed to. find curly dog's mom/dad. Because no matter what happens, I'm NOT raising puppies.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Two little souls

Look who we discovered on the side of the highway this evening...

It seemed like a good day to rescue two little souls.

Friday, September 22, 2006

How very softly you tiptoed into my world,

Almost silently,

Only a moment you stayed,

But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon my heart.

Faith's Lodge

In a sun-splashed room of a south Minneapolis home, young voices help warm the walls with breathtaking joy. Five-year-old Emmy and three-year-old Ally organize their dolls for a ball. Their mom, Susan Lacek, joins in, as their dad, Mark Lacek, takes in the moment.

One girl enthusiastically tells Susan, "You'll see if you get a card to the ball."

Susan responds, "Oh if we get invited to the ball!" "Yea, you are going to get a card," Emmy replies.

In this moment, that demands any parent to take a mental snapshot, Emmy declares, "Everybody gets two girls, and three dresses."

And the reality here is, there is a third dress for a third daughter who lives in everyone's heart -- but not heir earthly home.

"Her name is Faith," Emmy says. And her home according to three-year-old Ally is, "Umm, in heaven."

In a neighboring room, Mark and Susan reflect on another moment six years ago. "It was a pain that was so sharp and so deep," recalls Mark.

For months the couple had been anticipating the arrival of their firstborn daughter, Faith Ann Lacek. But on the way to a baby shower in June of 2000, the couple took a detour for peace of mind that would prove anything but peaceful.

Susan remembers, "We decided to just go into the hospital for, sort of an ease our conscience check, because we weren't feeling a lot of movement." It was then that the couple learned that just weeks before their due date that their baby had died.

Faith was stillborn a day later.

Susan says, "You're supposed to be looking forward to this great moment and instead you get the news, and your life has just changed in an instant."

Even more painful was the fact that Susan and her sisters were all pregnant at the same time.

Looking back Susan says, "I think that's when everybody in our family truly came to realize that having a healthy baby is just truly a miracle."

The laughter that bounces off the walls of their home is a reminder of the two miracles that arrived in the six years since Faith's death. The girls helped restore joy and hope, while the couple keeps Faith in their hearts.

Upstairs in the nursery, a special cabinet holds reminders of their first angel and first successful Faith-driven mission, which goes back to a keepsake birth certificate.

Susan asks, "How can you receive a death certificate, when you never received a birth certificate?" The Lacek's helped make sure families with stillborn children could get an actual birth certificate by helping pass a new Minnesota law entitling those families to certificates.

"We gave birth to them, just like any other child. The only difference was, we didn't get the reward at the end," explains Susan.

In Wisconsin's north woods near Siren, Faith has another birth certificate of sorts. Here on a country road, a sign in a driveway reads "Faith's Lodge - A Place Where Hope Grows."

Late in the summer of 2006, gigantic machinery began reshaping the earth and the future. As Mark Lacek watches the on-going work he says, "The dream is starting to come true."

This family that has borne so much pain in the loss of Faith, now plans to help others overcome similar tragedies in life. In the coming months, Faith's Lodge will be born. It's a multi-million dollar, eight family facility on 80 acres and it's going to be a place where those with critically ill children or those who've lost a child can come to heal.

Mark Lacek walks a trail on the property and as he comes upon an old bridge, he calls
it, "the bridge of hope." It is the Lacek's hope that through Faith's Lodge, others who suffer the pain of a stillbirth won't have to walk a path similar to theirs.

Mark recalls, "At the time we lost Faith, there really was no organized or central place where you could go to kind of figure out how to deal with something that you never expected."

At their nearby lake home, Susan Lacek still finds comfort in nature, while tending to Faith's garden. She says, "I kind of look at it as the time that I didn't get to spend with Faith."

And it is healing the couple found in another north woods spot after Faith died, that spawned Faith's Lodge. "It really hits home for me, when my mom or a close friend will say to me, Susan I think she'd be really proud of you. And that's when I realize exactly how much we've accomplished," says Susan.

Mark adds, "Because of (Faith), a lot of other people will have a much better experience either with a medical crisis or a loss."

While the Lacek's raise construction money, operational costs ranging from administration to counseling, will be covered by Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest. Executive Director Meg Katzman says, "It really struck us as a Ronald McDonald house in the woods." She adds, "I just think it's a wonderful thing. There're really very few places in the world that are doing something like this."

For the Lacek's the lofty quest, all comes back to loss. Not only theirs, but others
as well.

The reality of that loss becomes clear during a family visit to an area called Babyland in a Minneapolis cemetery where Faith is buried. Susan notes, "That's one of the things that I never get over, when we come out here is you know you see a new stone, or you see a new grave and you think, oh my gosh, it just happened to somebody else."

The family has a ritual where they release a balloon to Faith. And this summer day, they carry on that tradition. One of the girls says, "I want to do the balloon." Suddenly, unexpectedly, the balloon slips skyward. Dad and the daughters say, "Whoopsie, whoopsie."

In such a serious moment, the two miracles offer relief that warms the heart. And in Faith's name, the Laceks intend to warm many broken hearts. As Mark puts it, "This is our attempt to make the sun shine on a very dark period."

By Greg Vandegrift, KARE 11 News

Faith's Lodge

Courtesy KARE 11 TV

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Yesterday's update...a day late.

An undercover look at a working toilet...

I cannot describe my happiness over this.

A man and his house...

Don't they look like actual rooms?

There's always more to the story...

Did she or didn't she?

The thing that amazes me is that they were so eager to "profile" a woman who lost a baby. When in fact, the profile could just be that of a nutcase.

And when the story breaks, you can always change the profile.

"In the vast majority of the cases we have seen, they have not" miscarried, Allen added.

I need to stop following this story...because it will only serve to piss me off further as the story unfolds.

Moral : Everybody lies stretches the truth.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

...and exhale

I admit that I hold my breath. My heart races and my palms sweat when I see or hear my friends talking about certain things.

The story of the woman who attacked another and stole her baby...well that one has me very nervous. I have seen peeks of it here and there, but people have been pretty good at supressing the ugly things I can tell they really want to say.

People are sick. People are evil. There is no compassion.

I hold my breath and wait for those statements to hit me in the face like a slap. I don't have the energy to stand up and defend myself, let alone a complete stranger who is completely mentally unbalanced. I don't excuse her. How could anyone excuse that kind of behavior?

It's true, I don't know her circumstances. I only know she lost a baby (she didn't miscarry if she was at the end of her pregnancy...she had a stillbirth...but don't let facts ruin a perfectly good story) and a family member also recently had a baby.

And I can imagine it all.

I can feel that pain.

I understand her a little more than I am comfortable with.

And though I am distinguised from her because I maintained my sanity (only God knows how) through my grief, I could very easily be her. In some ways I AM her. That want...that drive to have a child at any is eerily familiar to me. (You're right is an odd world when you identify with the criminal more than the victim.)

So I hold my breath a lot and steady myself for the comments I know are coming. How could she? What a sicko. I hope she gets x, y, or z as punishment.

And then someone else offers up a little pity for this woman and I exhale.

It's not so hard to imagine anything anymore.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

So you've got a due date coming up...

Could you proof this layout for us and let us know if it's ok to proceed to production of your son's grave marker?

It's perfect...if something like this can be considered perfect.

This sucks.

More news that hits too close to home

Abducted newborn found; Woman arrested.

Beck (the suspect) had been pregnant but apparently miscarried shortly before her own child was to be born.

The abductor had been profiled as someone who had a child die recently or as someone who could not have children, told people she was pregnant and needed to steal a child so her lie would not be found out.

Shit...I fit half of the profile of a nutso!

Not a good week to see this

Monday, September 18, 2006

Why does this disturb me?

What day are we on?

Day One was 8/29/06. So we're headed into the one month mark. ONE MONTH! These guys are amazing. In case you can't tell from the photo, those are SHINGLES on the right side of the house. Now that the front facing peak is done, I'm guessing shingles on the left side of the house will follow Tuesday. The back of the house is completely shingled already. Like I said, these guys are amazing.

Tuesday...the plumber pays us a house call. eek!

Place your bets

Picture day is today and tomorrow at preschool/daycare. Sam has been in daycare since he was 15 months old and we have exactly ONE school picture. Will we get one this year?

The contractor cannot fix our toilet. He is "baffled." It is 3:30pm. Steve is calling a plumber right now. Will it get fixed today or will I be spending tonight peeing into a bucket?

They were supposed to be putting up the rest of our shingles and installing our windows today. It's raining right now and I'm not sure how long it has been raining today. Will it rain for the next five days as would be in keeping with our luck?

The bank seems to have lost our request for reimbursement for our building and plumbing permits. Will they find it before I am forced to call and yell at them?

Will Sam write his letters today at school? tonight at home?

Will I fall asleep at my desk?

Will I stop blogging in that really annoying suspense-announcer voice?

Place your bets.

A day late

Steve and I talked about adoption.
We happily discussed it.
Happily looked forward.
I was one day late and terrified I was pregnant.
I didn't tell my husband.
I tested.
...and something else.
Despite all indications to the contrary, I apparently still harbor some delusion that I could have another living child.
This makes me either stupid or insane.
Either way, I am clearly out of touch with reality.
Wow could I consider adoption when I'm so obviously not resolved about pregnancy?
And why am I not resolved about pregnancy?
Do I need clubbed over the head?
I need to go back to "not talking about it until after the house is done."
Or maybe I need to go to "not talking about it at all."
If I could just get to "not THINKING about it."
My hair is falling out by the handfull.
Right on the post-pregnancy schedule.
How fitting that it should be now.
Due on Saturday.
I didn't think it would hurt this bad.
I'm in my own special kind of hell right now.
I'm sorry.
I will wish you all well tomorrow...or the next day...or maybe next week.
Right now I just can't think.
I feel too much.
But I don't feel anything.
Forgive me.
Bless me.
Know that no matter how kind I may seem I am angry and bitter...
...and I don't want to be a day late...
ever again.
Or do I?

Parenting failure #48675423575

So we have hit the first roadblock that I am completely and totally stumped as to how to get around. My son refuses to write. Absolutely, flat-out, bribery doesn't work, won't even pick up a pen, would rather spend TWO HOURS screaming and crying...refuses to write.

Preschool has begun. Sam's having to adjust to a schedule of "appropriate behavior" and "school time" where he had previously enjoyed a rather unstructured and free atmosphere. And I don't mind saying, he's not doing well with it. He says it's boring. He says he doesn't know how to write. He says he is not going to do it ever, ever again.


To be fair, he did try writing. He tried, made a small mistake, and went ballistic because it was not perfect. He is harder on himself than we could ever possibly be. So the perfect solution is not to try at all. You can't fail if you don't even try.

Beautiful. I have apparently taught my son that it is better to sit there and cry than it is to give it your best attempt and make a little mistake here and there.

We have always said, "As long as you try," and, "Nobody is perfect," and, "Accidents happen." He never got this upset over potty training failures or any of the other potentially psyche-damaging mistakes he made along the path of his four short years. So why writing? What is it about writing that makes it better to refuse than to fail? And where do I go from here?

The thing is, I can't say that I don't know how I did this to him. There DOES come a point where you give up trying. Where you realize that failing brings too much pain and sadness, so you give up hope and don't even risk trying.

But that doesn't apply to writing a letter on a piece of paper.

Now how do I make him understand that?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A funny thing happened on the way to insanity

I'm sick. Achy, stuffy, feverish, vomiting snot, sore throat, lungs on fire.

I've got my period. Day one and you'd think I was bleeding to death. Cramps to add to the fun physical disaster I have become.

Our only toilet won't flush. The plumber would cost $500 because it's Sunday. We don't have $500 just because it's Sunday. Steve took the toilet apart and snaked it...used an air blaster...ran water through the vent to clean it out...still nothing.

I can't stop crying.

I can't turn it off. What I should be doing right now. The baby boy I should be loving.

Instead, I'm going to have to pee and vomit into a bucket...and I can't stop crying.

Maybe this will be funny in a couple of days.

But somehow, I just don't think so.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Clothing jealousy

Sam is a boy. I love him dearly. He is my life. Let there be no doubt about that.

But the shopping...

The clothes...

The little boy clothing is just not so much fun.

I was washing some laundry for our house fire friends (sounds like a weird branch of Campfire Girls, doesn't it? God, I'm showing my they even HAVE Campfire Girls anymore?)...anyway...I was folding their daughter's laundry after it had been washed and Oh.My.Gosh. The clothes are so stinkin cute!

I know I don't buy a lot of fashionable clothes for Sam (aka expensive), but I try to get him some of that good stuff from the consignment shop. So I got to thinking this morning that maybe I need to head directly to the source. Maybe the consignment shop doesn't carry the really good stuff because it's so cute nobody wants to re-sell it.


First stop...Gymboree online...
~My child is NOT a football, baseball, or rugby player. So why, oh why, would I dress him like one?
~Big trucks and earth moving got me on that one...he loves that stuff.
~Plaid? Really? Like a mini Bob Villa?
~Stripes are generally innocuous enough. But the dark colors are really drab and boring if you ask me (which you didn't, but this is my blog so I'm gonna talk about it anyway).
~Button down Oxford shirts? Is he 4 or 40?

Seriously, I can't stand to step foot into a baby department in any store...but I'm jonesing so bad, I'm baby gift shopping for friends who have baby girls just so I can ooh and aah over the pinks and teals and purples. That's how bad it is. And poor Sam, I keep going on eBay and finding him cartoon character clothes just so he'll have something fun and young looking. Think he's mind if I snuck something ruffly into his wardrobe? (I'm going to end up putting him into therapy, aren't I?)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Shhh...don't tell my husband...

Thanks to a tip from Donutbuzz...this trio is going to see the Wiggles on November 9th!

Could it really be?!?!

Help Isabel

Go here and bid on something to help Isabel and her family.

(I have an item in the auction)

Stream of consciousness ranting

I got my son this jacket on eBay. He loves it. Is he wearing it today?


No...he is NOT wearing it today.

Because he put it on the kitchen counter last night when he could find no other available free space in our construction zone...and Daddy could not find it this morning. So he's wearing his old Gymboree hoodie. At least that's what I'm hoping happened and it wasn't just that Daddy didn't put any jacket on him.

Steve's mad search for Sam's shoes was averted this morning when I heard him muttering and asked, "What did you say?" Luckily when he said he couldn't find Sam's shoes I remembered exactly where they were when he took them off. It could have been very bad if Sam had to go to school in his sock feet.

Have I mentioned that I am tired of the construction zone. I can't find anything! And if I do find something, I have to literally hold onto it for fear it will get lost again if I set it down (much like Sam's jacket).

This morning I am not wearing my engagement ring. Not because I couldn't find it, but because I was so busy looking for my shoes and my pants that I forgot to put it on!

This is seriously becoming annoying. As is the addition of three rubbermaid tubs to store stuff in since the closet has become the wettest place in our house (and that is including the bathtub/shower).

Speaking of bathtub/shower...we have our new shower and our barn. Yes, the crap is now spreading to be housed in TWO different buildings.


I feel better now. :o)

Knock it off!

Today I get a birth announcement...about someone I DON'T EVEN KNOW!

Hello All!

Just passing on that Dean T's wife had her baby this morning! It's a boy, Andrew T. For all of you who don't remember (and I guess that would be most!), Dean was once one of us in the white hats!

So this guy...who I've never met...used to work in this office...had a baby...or rather, his wife had their baby.



Seriously...using restraint in your emailing would NOT be a BAD thing.

Don't make me block you as a spammer. (Now THERE'S and IDEA!)

I'm sorry friend

Please send some love Laura's direction today.

This just is NOT fair.

On God and grief

Brooke has taken the time to post this excerpt from "Tracks of a Fellow Struggler" by John Claypool. It's worth a read for anyone struggling with the question of faith and resignation.

My favorite part...
"It is not rebelliousness, then, but faith that keeps me from finding any promise down the road of unquestioning resignation. This approach is closer to pagan Stoicism than Christian humility. I have no choice but to submit to this event of death. Still, the questions remain, and I believe I will honor God by continuing to ask and seek and knock rather than resigning myself like a leaf or a rock."

Thank you Brooke!

Not right AT ALL

Come with me on a tour of Columbus Blue Jackets ticket prices...

US $53.00 - US $150.00

US $150.00

US $140.00

US $93.00

US $16.00 - US $41.00

SKY TERRACE (Above Upper Bowl on West end of building)
US $25.00

Who do these guys think they are? The Detroit Red Wings? Good grief, their record last year was 35-43-4. They were third in their conference, which is a darn sight better than previous years when they couldn't BUY a win....But for these prices?!?! I just don't think so.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Anger revisited

Going back and reviewing my archives, I found that this is about the time anger set in last year. So you'll be glad to know that I'm right on track as far as that goes. I really can't think of anything to say that I haven't said a million times before. I am not "resolved" in my grief. I don't think I'm even taking steps toward resolving my grief. But my archives say differently. It's a damn good thing I keep a blog...if only to self-diagnose and self-treat my own mental breakdowns.

Yes I'm angry...let me count the ways (with apologies to EBB)...

At people who complain about mere annoyances as though they are real problems...and expect me to agree.
At the rain.
At people who ask me how I'm doing. Really. How do you think I'm doing?
At my body...wash, rinse, repeat.
At my dead children...I mean, it was all under their control, right?
At happy mommies. I want to choke the living snot out of all of you (yes, I know you don't deserve it).
At my house.
At this acid indigestion I've got.
At the fact that Boogie won Big Brother All Stars.
At the rude Manager at Michael's who wouldn't give me my coupon off the regular price of a Thomas toy because it was already on sale and she didn't know how/want to override the register.
At myself and the fact that I can't, despite all my best efforts, write a shiney happy post on this blog.
I read another blog today that said, "I don't want this to turn into a grief journal," and I was immediately pissed off at that too. Why not? What's so wrong with grief journals? When your support network falls away and moves onto happy places and you are stuck in a dark dark place where there is only a pinpoint of light to guide you out...a grief journal can be salvation. Don't make me ashamed of it.

Last night, mid-rant at Steve, Sam said, "Mommy..." and I turned on him and snapped, "WHAT?!?!"

He put his hands on his hips in a frighteningly accurate imitation of yours truly and stated very matter-of-factly, "You don't have to yell at ME."

And so it goes in our household.

There have been a few things I've been mulling over that other people have said to me...along with a few things people have not said to me. But I fear that to say anything would only serve to unnecessarily feed the anger. If I don't pay it any attention and don't give it any nourishment, I am hoping it will grow too weak to control me anymore. I know it will if I just give it time. But I am growing weary of waiting.

And so it goes on this blog.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Welcome to the world Nolan Cary!!!

Elizabeth had her baby!

He weighs 5 pounds and measures 18 inches long.

Congratulations mama!

A roof!

Sorry for the poor picture quality. I took this picture this morning from the minivan in the rain with my new camera phone...So ALL conditions were unfavorable. But you can clearly see that we have what is starting to resemble a roof! Yee Haw!

Think...shingles by Friday...

Yes, it's raining. Yes, we have water IN our house. No, we're not going to talk about it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

James Patrick Leahy - New York Police Department, 6th Precinct

Lessons Learned Young

James P. Leahy learned responsibility at a tragically early age. A New York City police officer, he was 13 and the eldest of five children when his father, a Parks and Recreation Department employee, was murdered while on duty at a city golf course.

Officer Leahy, 38, became the head of his family then and there, said Officer Tim Duffy, a colleague at the Sixth Precinct in Greenwich Village. His youngest sister, Danielle, describes James Leahy as the only father she knew, from the time she was a toddler until he walked her down the aisle.

Losing his father shaped Officer Leahy's devotion to his own family: his childhood sweetheart and wife, Marcela, and his sons, James Jr., 18, Danny, 13, and John, 6. To ensure his children's educations, he worked two part-time jobs, as a security guard at New York University and at a J. C. Penney store near his Staten Island home.

He coached his sons in football and was always on the sidelines for their Little League games. A die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Officer Leahy fulfilled a dream by taking his boys to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Ohio last summer (2000) for the induction of Lynn Swann, his favorite player.
-December 31, 2001, THE NEW YORK TIMES
JAMES LEAHY, 38, of New York, an officer working the New York Police Department's 6th Precinct, ``was always very unselfish, putting others first, and that's why he ran into Tower 1 on September 11th. He was trying to help the people,'' said his sister Michele Safatle. Leahy was told he didn't have to be in the building but took oxygen bottles and other supplies to firefighters anyway. "Jim would never consider what he did to be an act of heroism," said his brother, Arthur III. "He just took his love of people and wanting to help them seriously."
-Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press
Halloween was a favorite holiday of James Leahy. He and his wife, Marcela, decorated their Staten Island house each year. Often, he would dress up to look like a prop on the lawn and jump out at unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. He would even don a costume and go house to house with his children, to the delight of James Jr., 17, Danny, 13, and John, 6.

Perhaps Leahy, 38, enjoyed his children so much because his own father was murdered when he was just 13. As the eldest child, Leahy quickly became the man of the house, helping his mother with chores and tending to the other children, said his wife.

Leahy, an officer in the 6th Precinct, was working his usual shift in downtown Manhattan with his partner when they saw the first plane hit the buildings, his wife said.

At 9:35 a.m., she received a phone message from him. "I'm in the building. I'm OK. Tell the kids I'm OK. I'll call you later." When she heard the message, she panicked. "I called the precinct. They didn't even know they were in there," she said.

Later that night, his partner was found in a Brooklyn hospital. Tapes of radio contact with Leahy said he was carrying oxygen tanks up the floors. Marcela has heard the tapes and was surprised that he sounded so calm. "His last words to his partner were that there were more people upstairs and he was going up to help them," she said.

James and Marcela, who had dated since they were teenagers, were married 19 years. "I've known him since I was 11," she said. "That's why this is so hard. Everything in my life, he was there."
-New York Newsday Victim Database 10/18/2001
Police Officer James P. Leahy, 38, was appointed to the NYPD on January 13, 1992, and began his career on patrol in the 6 Precinct where he remained for his entire career. Although he was a high school football player and attended Walsh College in Ohio, his childhood ambition was to become a professional wrestler. The oldest of five children, PO Leahy became a surrogate dad to his four siblings when their father Arthur, a Parks Department employee, was killed in the line of duty during a robbery in 1975. He is survived by his wife Marcella; children Danny, James Jr., and John; mother Jeanette; sisters Danielle, Denise and Michele; and brother Arthur.
-SPRING 3100, Commemorative Issue

And because James wouldn't want them forgotten...

The following officers were killed during the attacks on the World Trade Center, September 11, 2001, as they rushed to the assistance of Trade Center workers, visitors, and fellow officers:

New York City Police Department

Sergeant John Gerard Coughlin
Sergeant Michael Sean Curtin
Police Officer John D’Allara
Police Officer Vincent G. Danz
Police Officer Jerome Mark Patrick Dominguez
Police Officer Stephen Patrick Driscoll
Police Officer Mark Joseph Ellis
Police Officer Robert Fazio, Jr.
Sergeant Rodney C. Gillis
Police Officer Ronald Philip Kloepfer
Police Officer Thomas Michael Langone
Police Officer James Patrick Leahy
Police Officer Brian Grady McDonnell
Police Officer John William Perry
Police Officer Glen Kerrin Pettit
Detective Claude Daniel Richards
Sergeant Timothy A. Roy, Sr.
Police Officer Moira Ann Smith
Police Officer Ramon Suarez
Police Officer Paul Talty
Police Officer Santos Valentin, Jr.
Detective Joseph Vincent Vigiano
Police Officer Walter Edward Weaver

Port Authority Police Department NY/NJ
Police Officer Christopher Charles Amoroso
Police Officer Maurice Vincent Barry
Police Officer Liam Callahan
Lieutenant Robert D. Cirri
Police Officer Clinton Davis, Sr.
Police Officer Donald A. Foreman
Police Officer Gregg J. Froehner
Police Officer Thomas Edward Gorman
Police Officer Uhuru G. Houston
Police Officer George G. Howard
Police Officer Stephen Huczko, Jr.
Inspector Anthony P. Infante, Jr.
Police Officer Paul William Jurgens
Sergeant Robert Michael Kaulfers
Police Officer Paul Laszczynski
Police Officer David Prudencio Lemagne
Police Officer John J. Lennon, Jr.
Police Officer John Dennis Levi
Police Officer James Francis Lynch
Captain Kathy Nancy Mazza
Police Officer Donald James McIntyre
Police Officer Walter Arthur McNeil
Superintendent Ferdinand V. Morrone
Police Officer Joseph M. Navas
Police Officer James A. Nelson
Police Officer Alfonse J. Niedermeyer III
Police Officer James Wendell Parham
Police Officer Dominick Pezzulo
Police Officer Bruce Albert Reynolds
Police Officer Antonio J. Rodrigues
Police Officer Richard Rodriguez
Chief James A. Romito
Police Officer John P. Skala
Police Officer Walwyn Wellington Stuart, Jr.
Police Officer Kenneth Francis Tietjen
Police Officer Nathaniel Webb
Police Officer Michael T. Wholey


James...the cousin of a friend...who was by all accounts, an amazing son, brother, cousin, husband, father, and uncle.

A good police officer.

A hero.


Mike...if you ever happen upon this blog...drop me a line...I would love to hear from you again.

(I didn't want to participate in an online memorial project though I did take inspiration from that idea.)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Gonna take some getting used to

Steve is upstairs. UPSTAIRS! It is unbelievable that this dream that hatched five years ago when we moved in is now becoming a reality. He can't believe it either. That's why he climbs up there every chance he gets, even though nothing has changed since yesterday, to check it out. I know what he's thinking in his head...because I'm thinking similar things. Here is where the closet will is where the bathroom will be...etc...etc.

It's really going to take some getting used to...hearing footsteps up above though. For the last five years we've been one-floor-living-and-loving. With the un-usability of the previous upstairs over just one third of the house, we didn't spend much time up there, opting to use the space mostly for storage. Our attempts to fill the existing two rooms with kids didn't go so well, so the "stuff" accumulated and gathered dust (and was, in its unused state, apparently a great receptacle for cat puke).

Which leads me to my current thought process. Not the cat puke...the unused state business. I'm not sure I'm ready to expand to two whole floors. Not only do I not have anybody to fill in the space with, but it means there will be more space between Steve and Sam and I. The mere thought brings tears to my eyes. You'd think I was contemplating Sam going off to college...not just his own bedroom. I won't be far away...and it's not like I think this new room is going to magically make him sleep in his own bed (though I think Steve is hoping) what's the big deal?

The big deal is that I just don't need anything to emphasize the emptiness right now. I convinced myself that I could distract myself with fixtures and flooring. And I have been. But now that I can "see it" happening, I wonder about the finished product. Big and empty. Not totally empty...just bigger than we need. And it doesn't help that everyone keeps saying, "Well, you'll need that extra room if you decide to have more kids." It's like they're saying, "That house is too big for just the three of you." And they're right.

Maybe it's not that I have to get used to the footsteps overhead.

Maybe it's that I have to get used to the lack of footsteps.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Marking time for (a year and) four months.

Last year at this time I made a list of what I've been doing other than grieving...and it seems like a good way to pass this day as well.

~Still doing animal rescue...though slightly scaled back due to gas prices.
~Still crafting...though less for charity and more for gifts for friends with new babies.
~Still mystery shopping...this weekend a "conflict diamonds" mystery shop. Sparkly things and making managers uncomfortable...this is fun stuff!
~Still volunteering with Memories of Mariam...making free memorial items...mother's bracelets and commemorative certificates.
~Not so much cleaning. Lots of playing. Trying not to lose my mind in the mess that is my house.
~Watching the destruction/construction.
~Working on a NILMDTS database. I also just signed up to be a parent coordinator to promote the organization.
~Talking to my June 2002 mommy friends about a planned vacation in October. I finally get to meet them! I've only met one so far so this is exciting for me, since we've known each other for five years already!
~Trying to figure out how to get the airport card to work in our old iMac.
~Planning my new flower garden...which will be extensively worked on as soon as they stop driving trucks around and over the area I plan to put it.
~Shopping for all things house-related.
~Enlisting the help of friends and coworkers to find someone to give Travis' baby stuff to...someone far enough removed from us that we won't ever run into them.
~Trying to work...though not doing a very good job at it.
~Gaining weight and hating my body.

Four months ago our world fell apart...again.

Instead of excitedly anticipating the arrival of our son on September 23rd, we are ordering another headstone.

Sometimes life seems unbelievably cruel.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

And then there were walls!


I'm going for the lighthearted stuff today because I have a headache and I know I'm going to feel like crap tomorrow through Monday (and probably blog sad stuff).

Today I cleaned the gunk out of my computer mouse and it has made all the difference. Two thoughts...(1)What IS that stuff and how did it get in there? and (2)Why didn't I do this sooner?

Today I am paying for the overindulgence in nuts yesterday. Note to self...find some self control...this is not worth it.

Today is payday! And we got our escrow refund from our old mortgage company! Money, money, money...

Today I realized that my failure to pay for tracking on a jewelry return to Limoges Jewelry will probably result in no exchange or refund. $89 lost in the mail. God, I'm an idiot. But I still hold the q-tip who works at the local post office partly responsible...since he didn't even OFFER me any sort of tracking or insurance. grrrr

Today (well, actually yesterday, but you're not keeping track, are you?) I received a lovely email from a lovely woman who has been reading this blog. The kindness of strangers (especially women) always brings tears to my eyes. I promise I will return your email, M, as soon as I get past this week of funk.

Today FedEx tried to deliver my new cell phone (phone, camera, MP3 player, robot...I'm kidding about the robot thing...but it does all that other stuff which I think is way cool!). Unfortunately, the FedEx guy wouldn't accept a signature from someone on my house work crew, so I have to wait another day so that I can sign the appropriate door tag and leave it for him to just drop off on my porch (if I still have a porch...which I'm not sure I do).

Today I spent all day at work reading funny things and trying to avoid pregnancy and baby-related things. My mood would qualify as 'good' if I could just get rid of this dang headache.

Today I worked on volunteer stuff for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I forgot to mention that I've joined their effort in a Parent Coordinator capacity. I'm also doing some data entry work. Over 900 professional photographers in the US, Canada, and several other countries. All because of the dedication and hard work of a handful of people who had an idea. Amazing. I am inspired.

Today I realized I don't have any yarn to make my friend Kathi a baby gift. I have blue...she definitely needs pink for her little girl baby. What to do...what to do... Shop, of course! Good thing the weekend is just around the corner (and it's a weekend after a payday too!).

Today I concluded that I need new shoes. I am currently nursing an aggravated ankle from too much high heel wearing at I am wearing completely inappropriate flip flops. I hope I don't get called in to court.

Today I couldn't find the doppler. It's not for how. It's for a friend. I actually sent it to her a while ago and she sent it back recently though she didn't really need to and I lost it in the great house funkwash of 2006. So now I need to find it so I can send it back to her again. But I don't know where we put it. Yeah, just what I want to do...spend time looking for a doppler in my pit of a house. Somehow I see myself portrayed by Meryl Streep in this sad drama. But that could just be because the face recognizer thing said I look like her (which I totally do not).

Tomorrow's another day. Can I just skip it? Or maybe I'll drink my way through it.


Make me giggle

Independent fighter for Ohio families.

This is an actual ad tagline for an Ohio Republican candidate for Senator.

"Independent" IS underlined in the actual ad.

Can anyone else see the humor in this?


I totally stole this off another blog. But it made me laugh until I cried, so I HAD to share it with you all. Enjoy!

Hey Joe

I have done it...perfected the absolute best way to drive my husband insane. It's true. It took me twelve years of marriage, but I think I've finally come up with the one thing that might actually drive him around the bend. No, it's not my poor housekeeping skills. No, it's not killing off two of our kids in utero. No, it's not suggesting that we forget our bad luck and attempt to remodel our house. So...What is it, you ask? I know, I know, I know...the suspense is killing you.

The key to my husband's mental in/stability? Have Sam call Daddy, "Joe."

No, I'm not kidding. Here's the story...

Sam, of the whiny, "Moooommmmyyyyy" and "Daaaaadddddyyyy" fame, was trying to sort out the incredible nonsense of middle names last night. I mean, really...two names? Why? I will have to look that up.

So anyway...

Sam said, in his best mommy imitation voice (and while wagging his index finger in the general direction of his father), "Stephen'd better..."

I interjected with, "No, YOU'RE Samuel Charles...he's Stephen Joseph."

Fast forward later into the night. "Daaadddyyyyy..."

Steve looks at him and says, in all seriousness, "Stop. Let's try something new. Let's try you starting sentences without calling me Daddy first in that whiney little voice of yourse."

I couldn't help it. I had to ask.

"So what SHOULD he call you?"

Hence...Joe was born. I guess you had to be there. We were reduced to a fit of giggles. Steve was not so amused.

As the night wore on, every time Sam would whine for Daddy, I would pop up and correct him by saying, "Joe." And Sam would politely oblige. After only a few times, Steve looked at me and said, "Would you STOP that?" hehehe

The thing is, whenever Sam says, "Joe," there isn't even a trace of a whine in his voice because he is so tickled with the whole idea. So I'm thinking Steve should just change his name to Joe. I won't have to listen to the whine...and Steve will go crazy. It's a win-win for me.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Somebody stop me

Google searches and other statistics

If you found me by searching for "23 weeks pregnant" - I'm sorry. Do not read anymore of my blog. It will only serve to scare you. Click the back arrow or the little X in the upper right hand corner.

If you found me by searching for "making a toast to Poe at his graveside" - Wha? Seriously...what?

If you're checking my blog at work - Shame on you! (You'll never get tenure/a promotion this way! You know who you are.)

If you're visiting for a length of time shorter than a minute - Why are you bothering? Are you a super speed reader?

If you're visiting for a length of time longer than a half hour - Don't. It will only serve to depress or annoy you.

To the edge and the edge and infinitum

I have developed a whole other cycle. There is my normal PMS cycle of course. And now there is a cycle the revolves around the 7th through the 11th every month.

I know it's not healthy to mark these monthly "anniversaries," but I seem to do it unconsciously even when I try not to. Round about the 5th of every month I start to become unreasonable...and screechy.

Of course it doesn't help that I have the king motor-mouth as a son and I always have to mediate (stupid) disputes between he and my darling husband. But you'd think I could find a way to break the cycle by now.
Pregnancy items I lent to friends are slowly making their way back to me. It's just sad and pathetic that I have to open each box.

If I didn't have control issues, I would just tell people to do whatever they want with them. That would make it so much easier. I think I'm going to try it.

If you have anything of mine that is pregnancy related...please consider it yours from this point forward. No need to return anything, regardless of how much it might fetch on eBay. If you want to pay me back, buy me some chocolate...or wine...or both.

Thank you very much.
Arranging "alone time" with the husband is more like planning the invasion of a small country. It takes tactical know-how that neither Steve nor I have the energy for to get the four-year-old out of our hair long enough to do...any good (what were you thinking? you have such a dirty mind!). So when we're both "in the mood" and are able to devise a game plan to get the munchkin to sleep, it's a very good (and rare) thing.

Said munchkin has, however unwittingly, devised the all-time winning-est gambit in this contest. He looks at us all innocent with those big blue eyes and says, "But I want you to come play with me...I don't want to play all by myself anymore." That's over. We both agree, "This sucks," and go play with the kid. All thoughts of "alone time" completely blasted out of your skull for at least two days.
She said to me, in that all-too-sure, all-too-happy voice, "So what's new with you? You obviously had your baby since it's been years since I've talked to you."

I had to think...

Which baby is she talking about? It can't possibly be that someone doesn't know Alex died? Can it? But I don't think she even knew about Travis?

All I could stammer was, ""


"Oh God, I'm sorry...uhhh...let's get to business then...I'm so sorry," she said...almost in tears herself.

I tried to talk. But even after all this time, I started to cry for my baby boy. My sweet Alex.

I finally said, with a half laugh, "Boy, that took me by surprise."

She repeated how sorry she was.

I started talking business and tried not to cry.
I finally made a call about donating our unused crib mattress and bedding set. The mattress was purchased for Alex and the bedding set was purchased even before we knew we would try for Travis (I can't pass up a good clearance sale for a 'maybe some day'. Now? Now I could probably walk right by without so much as a finger twitch in the direction of my credit card).

It seems right to get them out of our house.

Sad. But right.
I perused an old message board I used to frequent and was surprised to find how many women had stillborn children. What shocked me was the seemingly easy way in which they seemed to have moved on. What is wrong with me that I can't be like that? Why do I have to obsess over what cannot be?
Today I received Save the Children's Inaugural newsletter, Children in Emergencies and Crises

In Israel, Save the Children is working through a local partner to address the psychosocial support needs of children who witnessed violence and are exposed to great risk. One Save the Children partner created and distributed 4,000 household activity kits to children and their families in Nazareth, Haifa and surrounding villages. The kits offer a respite from the violence, stress and anxiety that children and adults experience. Save the Children also has been asked to support work with local partners addressing child trauma in northern Israel.
It's sad to lose a child...two children. But there is something to be said for perspective. I've got one kid...and a damn good one at that. I really need to get a grip.

Welcome to the world Dorothy Grace!!!

Becci had her baby!
Born September 5th, 2006 at 5:16pm.
Weighing 8lbs 2oz and measuring 19 inches.

Congratulations mama!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

God is in the smelling I'm not so fond of the prayers and good thoughts requests that seem to pervade online communities. But I feel the need to offer up some thanks today for the safety of our friends, H, C, and their little girl, A.

Whether an intervention of God, fate, or the universe...or just simply H's keen sense of smell...We are so glad you are all safe and sound (well, as sound as you were BEFORE you tried to burn your house down...hee hee). If you need anything, please let us know.

37 weeks

There is a good chance you would have been born by now. We'd be re-learning all about diapers and sleep deprivation.


That was supposed to be your day...our day.

It is less than one month away and I haven't fully contemplated that thought yet. I can't.

When Alex died, it was so near to his due date that it seemed to blur into the initial pain and sorrow. But this...this is like have a healing wound re-opened, inch by painful inch.

Each day that creeps by is another that I have time to contemplate that life where your soul remains...joyfully joining our that parallel universe that is so far away from this reality. That existence where we are happy again and we don't look at everything through the lens of what should have been.

I haven't been dealing with it at all. I've been, quite simply, ignoring it all...fumbling my way through each day the best way I can. Ignorance is bliss, or so they say. So instead of doing the grief work I know I need to do, I've been irresponsible and have turned a blind eye. Why? Because I'm tired of always having to work at this. I'm tired of having to figure out ways just to get through each day. I don't *&%^#! care that it's going to get better if I just work my way through it.

Maybe I don't want it to get better. Maybe not this time.

My husband said to me, "I look at Sam brushing his teeth and think how there should be a little one-year-old running up behind him, trying to imitate his big brother." And what could I say? How could I choose which reality I would take back?

I dealt with losing Alex, so I suppose it's easier for me to put those ghosts to rest...more so than the more recent ones. I keep thinking how I should be hugely pregnant right now. How we could possibly be holding our baby boy. But then Sam brushes his teeth and I'm reminded how very different it ALL should be. Or someone calls who I haven't spoken to in a long time and they say, "Now, how are you? You obviously had your baby, since it's been years since I've talked to you." And all I can say is, "No," as it all crashes down around me...all of and your brother and what should be. Old wounds are re-opened and I'm not sure they will ever heal. How can they?

I did a little dance this morning when my shirt buttoned in front. Not as comfortably as it should, but a far cry better than it did. That's progress, right? Progress...away from 37 weeks pregnant. Progress...away from 9/23/06. Progress...away from you.


Saturday, September 02, 2006


To the grocery store we go for vacuum cleaner bags...and beer.

Had a drip in the next room...punched a hole in the ceiling...and this poured out.

170 years of funk (no, you can't dance to it)

Since 7am, we have been bailing 170 years worth of funk as it drained from our open upstairs into our front room. We're tired. Why did I think we, of the horrible bad luck, should try a home renovation? 50 gallon tub...emptied four times...200 gallons of water in our front room. Oy!

Our contractor says we will laugh about this when all is said and done. Hysterical laughter of the insane has already come to visit...when discussing the smelly brown quality of the water we were bailing, Steve called it, "170 years worth of funk," and we both immediately decided that was a blog-worthy quote. We are sick individuals, there is no other explanation.

Day Four Construction - Day Five Water

Who am I? How did I get here?

When I was a kid, I collected unicorn collectibles. I have no real idea why. I think it started when someone gave me one as a gift and I sai...