Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My tulips are for crap this spring. But there is this one that is so beautiful...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Don't be so sure...

...there is kindness and empathy in those around you.
...people won't talk behind your back.
...anything good will come out of it.
...you know who your friends are.
...you have nothing to prove.
...your anger is resolved.
...it's going to hurt less.
...there is a God.

There is no such thing as a sure thing.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lipton White Tea

How much do you LOVE this campaign? (make sure you click on the Free Your Y Contest...too fun!)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Miscellaneous thoughts

I haven't got much to talk about these days. Happily, life has settled into a bit of a routine. I'm reading for pleasure again. I'm crocheting. I'm working on bracelets. I'm hoping to get outside to get some gardening done very soon. I'm taking pictures of my boys. And I've even started scrapbooking again, albeit very slowly. Please excuse the hum-drum-ness of this blog. For those who come by for their daily gawk at the train-wreck that is my emotional state...we'll be back in full swing very soon I'm sure. It's that time of year again. But I, for one, am enjoying hum-drum while I can. :o)
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Sam's Go Diego Go walkie talkies pick up one side of the conversation from someone's two-way radio.
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A little girl got beaned at tball practice and my kind and loving son said, "See, that's why you should be wearing a helmet."
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A client called two days ago to let me know that they "definitely want to appeal the judge's decision." uh...okayyy...what decision?
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Myles' Ocean Wonders Aquarium can be turned on/off with the volume control on our television remote controls.
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At Sam's tball practice, a young boy with his grandma pointed at me and said excitedly, "Look at that, she has the same shirt as you!"
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Got that appeal business figured out...65 copies later it's actually filed properly (12 pages each copy...of the exact same filing...don't ask).
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Why, oh why, did I make chocolate chip muffins?!?!
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Oh...yeah...and a big thank you to my husband for the laugh last night while watching LOST. We haven't had a good honest spontaneous laugh like that in a while.

Ding Dong!
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

sigh

It seems as though the big companies are doing more than ok on our $3.59 a gallon.

Who said war isn't good for business?

Wonder if they'd let me park one of these at the courthouse...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another day closer

I can feel it coming.
Every single day toward...what?
I'm not sure how to say it.
Certainly not a celebration.
Not a lot of things.
But something...worth the pain remembering brings.
Blue skies and yellow daffodils.
I can't wear brown pants because they remind me.
How do I plan for it?
The moving-on has happened all around me.
I pulled the wreath from the earth...drawing the stand legs out of the mud with a silent wish.
But there was only the same silence as from the beginning.
In my head I rearrange my house and realize my bed stands where the crib was supposed to be with a baby boy who never came home.
Today we set up the new room for the baby boy who did come home.
He sleeps in the same crib in a different spot.
And I weep.

Miscellaneous thoughts

(written over the course of a few days)
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My aunt is in the hospital with unexplained "lesions" on her brain, behind her lung, and on her spleen. At first they thought she had a stroke...but the MRI turned out normal. They apparently keep asking if she's been to the southwest or Mexico recently. We're not close, but I can't help but worry about her. Weird infections seem to enjoy having their way with our family.
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For so long, my office was filled with the muffled sounds of my own crying. These days I can't help but smile because my office is filled with the scream-to-the-rooftops sound of my son's voice. Sure, there are days when I wish he would nap so I could get work done. But I will never never wish the sound away. I've been there...and this is much better.
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There is little in my job responsibilities that I care about as much as the work I do for Adult Protective Services. As with child services, however, it can be very frustrating work. Reluctantly, I attended a conference this morning with Paul Greenwood as the keynote speaker. It was life-changing. I'm ready to start some real work helping people instead of preparing for nuisance trials that never happen. I am most excited about the prospect of working more closely with another colleague in the criminal division of my office on elder abuse cases. I think we could be a good team and really create some change. I'll keep you posted if anything exciting happens on that front.
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A horse has FOUR feet. So when I ask how the horses' feet are...it is implied that I mean ALL FOUR feet...on each horse. OK? OK.
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My mom had a lovely bottle of soft red wine at the holidays that I just loved. I'm not much of a wine connoisseur, so when I find something I like, I tend to take note. Oliver Winery, just outside of Bloomington, Indiana has quite a wine list. And though they don't ship mail order out of state, you can find some of their wines through out of state distributors. Thankfully, the Ohio distributor sells to Super Walmart. I'm a happy happy girl tonight.
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PS2 Lego Star Wars is a great way to bond with your five year old son. I'm just saying.
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ABC's series Eli Stone is beautiful and fabulous and wonderful. Lawyers, George Michael, and God...what could be better? I really hope they renew it for next season.
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Personal avatars...why are they so much fun to play around with?
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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Up many many times last night. So tired today. Cranky. Really really cranky. Don't want to clean or cook. Hung up the bathroom shade. Hung up the curtains in Myles' room and made the room somewhat usable (as opposed to storage space). Indians lost. Played PS2 with Sam. Going to have grilled cheese and beer and then go to bed early. It was a good day.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A game of chicken for lawyers

No trial.

Case voluntarily dismissed by the Plaintiff.

He blinked first, which is good.

But now I have to stay home to do work that's been piling up while I prepared for the trial that he had no intention of going forward with.

God, I hate lawyers.

But at least I got out of jury duty.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why I shouldn't watch TV

We watched the last of our DVRd episodes of Las Vegas (NBC) last night. We had heard the show was canceled without a real conclusion/wrap-up/finale, so we were intrigued to see "the end."

Now I am...I don't know...disturbed.

Seven months pregnant, Delinda doubles over in pain, says the ever-popular-made-for-tv-line, "Something's wrong...the baby...", sees blood, looks up to see a blurry vision of her fiance, calls his name, and...

[CUT TO BLACK]

to be continued

And that's it. That's where they're going to leave it. Forever.

I had nightmares last night. (sigh)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Miscellaneous thoughts

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I deleted The Shape of a Mother from my blogroll after reading this entry. I hate how it makes me feel. I hate that I can't feel like a superhero. I hate that I'm afraid I'll never again feel comfortable in my own skin.
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The spring brings with it my own special torture. As the sunshine warms and the skies clear, I am reminded of those hopeful days three years ago. There are moments that I cannot let go of...sensations so clear that I feel like I can reach out and experience them again. Sensory memory. It can bring me to tears and ruin a perfectly beautiful spring day.
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Did you see the story of how the International Breast Milk Project saved the life of a preemie baby in Pittsburgh after her mother passed away? (Warning...you'll need Kleenex.)

The Madison Cassady Program is especially interesting to me. I wish I had known about it three years ago when I lost Alex.
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Speaking of breastmilk...
The stress of an upcoming jury trial does a real number on supply. I hope against hope that I can just have nurse-a-thon weekend and recover some of what we need. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
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I'm de-stressing by moving music to my cell phone MP3 player. I'm just now realizing how much I've missed my tunes. It's amazing how relaxing it can be to hear familiar music.
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A friend made a donation to the MOM Project in honor of her friend's baby, and I was able to mail out another batch of bracelets (including one to her friend). There is a certain beauty in the cyclical nature of this sadness and lifting up.
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I'm spending quite a bit of time volunteering for NILMDTS and I'm really enjoying it. Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to get serious about learning photography. I have a couple of friends who are really good photographers...maybe I'll ask them for some reading recommendations to get me started.
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Sam is playing t-ball. Next to soccer, I have never seen anything so adorable in all my life. All those munchkins trying to remember which way to run on the bases is just a great way to spend an hour of my time. I must remember to get some video soon.
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My husband put a pizza receipt in the checkbook...sauce and all. Lovely.
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Audrey Caroline

I have my own issues.
But I know something about the pain.
If you are so inclined, please send the Smith family a note.
Surround them with love and, if you are the praying kind, prayers.

Angie and Todd Smith (and Ellie, Abby & Kate)
PMB 210
8161 Hwy 100
Nashville, TN 37221

Two men and a baby

Today, I took a giant step for working mothers everywhere.

OK...so it wasn't as dramatic as all that...but it was something for someone like me who always follows all "the rules."

As I sat in the conference room and listened to Myles scream inconsolably upstairs in the office area, I thought to myself, "What the hell am I doing?" I excused myself, went upstairs, changed a dirty diaper, and brought my little munchkin with me to my meeting with opposing counsel...and my boss.

Things have been said during the course of the past four months. Like, "If he's quiet, you could probably bring him until he's two years old and the boss won't notice or care." Like, "I'm so impressed...you're like superwoman." Like, "I don't know how you do it." Blah. Blah. Blah. Today they got a lesson in my reality.

Screaming baby slung over my shoulder, I marched down to the conference room and continued my business as though nothing was out of the ordinary. The amazing thing was...so did they.

I'm working hard here. I'm tired. And I hope they both go home and kiss their wives' feet.

And a special thank you goes out to my coworker who took Myles for a walk in his stroller...two seconds into which he promptly fell asleep.

Yep...this is how you do it. You let go of any and all delusions that you're a good attorney...a good employee...a good mother...a good wife...a good anything. You accept help where it is offered. And you just do your best. And if your best means you bring your screaming baby to your settlement negotiations...then that's what you do.

Oh...and give up any hope of eating lunch before 3:30pm.

Have I mentioned I'm tired?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Love my camera

Look at what I captured today...

Do you see the little dog in the background licking her chops? LOL!


I call this one, "Boys will be boys." What's he doing, you ask? Digging a hole for no other reason than the pure pleasure of digging a hole. And yes, he's wearing a pullover sweater and shorts. He dressed himself. I give him full credit for that fashion statement.


Of course there has to be a Myles pic. He was not so sure about the big ball of brightness in the sky. A northeast Ohio winter baby has to be reassured that the sunshine is a good thing...it's so rare to see it before May around here, it can be frightening.


And look what popped up practically overnight! I so badly wanted to get out and do some gardening. Sadly, I had too much laundry to do to get out and dig around. But I will...SOON. It's supposed to be in the 60s all week!



Township for sale...cheap

SHIT!

This expansion will land a giant pile of trash in my back yard...literally.

Though I never imagined I'd be doing pro bono work for myself, I am now incredibly thankful to have spent the last five years learning zoning law.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Welcome to the world Baby Beanie!!!

I've just heard the news. Many congratulations to Rosepetal!!!

Listen to the kid

Back in August we got a school district calendar that specifically designated which kindergarten class is in session each and every Friday for the entire school year (M/W and every other Friday or T/R and every other Friday).

Late last night, Sam tells me that his teacher told the class that the calendar was "wrong, wrong, wrong" and that he had school on Friday despite the M/W designation on today's calendar block.

He's told me he was sure he had school before and he's been wrong, so I assumed that was the case here. So I didn't listen to him and we had a glorious sleep-in this morning (even Myles slept).

Guess who called while we were sleeping? Guess what the message said? Guess who had a misprint in their calendar? Guess who had a giant clusterf*ck this morning at school with kids showing up who had the day off and kids not showing up who were supposed to be there? Guess who had school today?

And the secretary I finally spoke to on the telephone? She tells me that the Principal sent out a letter explaining the mixup and alerting us to the change needed on the calendar. We got no such letter. It was either in the snail mail and we didn't notice it or it was "sent home" with Sam and he lost it. Either way...piss poor administration if you ask me.

Sam didn't want to go, I'm still tired and now have a headache, Myles is feeling crappy because he got shots yesterday, and it's raining. We're all staying home for the day. But next time I will listen to the kid.

I need a keeper

The other day, I bought some new underwear for that in-between stage my body is in now. I wore one of those new pair yesterday.

I went to Cleveland for a professional seminar...
went out to lunch with colleagues...
went home...
took Myles to the pediatrician for his checkup...
(15lbs 14ozs and 25.5inches...doctor already pushing feeding solids...but we'll talk about that later)...
went to Walgreen's...
...and took the family to my parents' house for my mom's Partylite party.

At the end of the party, I excused myself to go to the bathroom only to discover I had been wearing the "Our most comfortable waistband ever" sticker all day on my unmentionables.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Other stillbirth news

~Missouri - House endorses tax break for stillborn children.

~NY Times article - Seeking Answers to Stop Another Stillbirth

~NPR - The Human Body's Frailty and Splendor

TV warning (UK)

If you are in the UK, have lost a baby, and watch Coronation Street, a little warning for the end of this month.

It's all in who you know

Got this email from a friend. If anyone can help her out, let me know and I'll put you in touch.


Dear friends,

Please forgive the mass e-mail, particularly if we haven't talked in a while. This is hard to write even once.

If you hadn't heard already, the recession hit home for the *** family (again). CNET laid off 10% of their worldwide workforce last week and I was part of the cream of the crop.

I'm taking the opportunity -- and a page from (husband)'s book -- to go into business for myself. I want to continue doing what I love and watch my daughter grow up at the same time. There are plenty of job listing scammers who attempt to appeal to people who fancy themselves "editors," and yet I'm the real thing! So, if you know anyone in the world (literally) who needs a kind but ruthless, bona fide professional editor/copyeditor/proofreader/critique guru for offsite work, let me know. I can do anything from resumes to term papers to articles to newsletters to full-length books. (And if nothing else, let's not be strangers.)

Thanks, and be well!
***

Stuffed animals and life lessons

Proof that we're still feeling our way through the kindergarten experience without much assistance from the teacher...

Before Spring Break, Sam came home from school and informed me that he is "allowed to take a stuffed animal to school for rest time." Fine. No problem. He decided to take his beloved dog, Deja (named after a Dalmatian we fostered when Sam was two or three years old).

Yesterday, as we were leaving school for the day, Sam says, "Mommy, I have to tell you about something upsetting that happened today."

(Alarm bells ring in my head.)

"OK..."

"When I went to get Deja out of my locker for rest time, she was completely missing."

"Where was she?"

"I have no idea, but by the end of rest time she had reappeared."

"So what did you do for rest time?"

"I put my head down on my desk without her."

"Did you cry when you couldn't find her?"

"Yes."

"What did the teacher do?"

"Nothing."

"Did she see you crying?"

"No."

"So you just put your head down on your desk and cried quietly?"

"Yes."

"Why didn't you tell the teacher that Deja was missing?"

"I didn't have time before we were supposed to put our heads down."

Now, I know I have issues with the teacher. And this time, I shouldn't blame her because it was a substitute teacher overseeing this day. I do blame the regular teacher for indoctrinating my child into a mindset that a schedule leaves no room for human variation...no room for the possibility that shit happens. But that's a whole other story.

The conversation that followed was such that I wondered if another child had "borrowed" Deja without asking Sam's permission. He said he didn't know, though he did make a weird statement that maybe Lucas borrowed her "as a joke."

Prepare for the worst...that's my motto. So I asked Sam how he would feel if somebody took Deja and didn't return her. His sweet innocence peeped through when he said he would "go to their house and get her back." But what if he didn't know who it was?

"Why would somebody do that?"

"Why did someone borrow her today, Samuel."

"I don't know."

I suggested maybe he should take a different stuffed animal to school with him...one that he cares less about...just in case he loses it forever.

"But I care about ALL my animals." (which is absolutely untrue...just ask the three dozen stuffed animals in trash bags in the closet how loved they are...but I wasn't going to make the argument even larger than it already was)

"OK...as long as you understand the risk you're taking. If Deja disappears, there's nothing I will be able to do about it. So it's your choice...but I really think you should leave her safely at home and take a different stuffed animal with you to school...one that you wouldn't be too sad about losing."

He's decided to take Deja anyway and I'm terrified. Keep your fingers crossed.

(Apparently I'm not the only one with these problems.)

This made me laugh out loud.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Easter hypocrisy

It's no secret on this blog that I struggle with the concepts of God and religion. We don't attend church, nor do we proclaim any particular religious affiliation. There was a time when I wanted to be a part of the Christian religious experience and I distinctly remember feeling angry when other people didn't share that desire.

My father never attended church with us and my mother inexplicably stopped going to church one day. We didn't discuss religion in our house. It wasn't that the subject was off-limits...we just didn't talk about much in our house. But I remember feeling a bit bewildered by the lack of any parent-led religious focus in my life. And I guess you could say my religious upbringing was...self-taught.

I remember feeling weird around my friend Kristine because she was Jehovah's Witness. "How weird!" Now I realize that I only thought it was weird because it deviated from what I held as "normal."

And then there was my husband. He had neither interest nor inclination to seek any sort of religious experience with me. I distinctly remember the day we were in a hotel room in St. Louis when he told me he didn't think he believed in God...and I yelled at him. I was angry. Not because I had all the answers and he didn't...but because I clung to a belief that there had to be a God out there somewhere. Again...what I held as "normal."

But the truth of the matter is, my religious upbringing wasn't faith as much as it was a lack of faith. For YEARS I desperately longed to FEEL any faith...despite the fact that I never really did. Looking back, I should have realized the train was off the tracks when I was sixteen and I stopped attending confirmation classes because I didn't feel it. Intellectually and emotionally, I knew enough about myself at that age to know that I couldn't go through with something I didn't truly believe.

And then I let the church youth pastor and choir director talk me into it. Yep...they called me on my big button telephone in my bedroom (not my own private line, but good enough for my sixteen year old sensibilities) and tag-teamed me. The plan? I would go through with confirmation despite not having completed the classes and just make the work up at a later date.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to learn that I never made the work up. I never felt what I hoped to feel. There were MOMENTS of inspiration, but they were few and fleeting. What I do remember was the incredible pressure to conform...to pretend...to not disappoint. And that's how I became a confirmed Methodist...as part of a culture of appearance rather than substance.

Now...years later...having been pushed over the cliff head first and having my child-like beliefs in God come spilling out, I find myself needing to use basic survival skills of brutal skepticism and (finally) truth/honesty. All alone, finally asking myself how I got here and where I go from here. Oh, there are probably a dozen or so people in my life who would love to tell me what to believe...but they can't tell me how to get around the little problem of not feeling it. They answer with what they have been similarly taught...you just have to.

And if you don't?

That's probably why finding myself standing in Walmart and saying to my five-year-old son, "Easter isn't about getting presents," has bothered me now for more than two weeks. Seeing an older gentleman standing at the photo center counter smiling that approving smile at me that said, "You're raising him right," has caused me yet another crisis of conscience. If he really knew...

In response to some offhand comment from me, Sam asked who Mother Nature is.

On Easter Sunday he insisted that everyone gets candy on Easter.

And when I asked him if he knew who God was, he simply said, "No."

And the thing of it is...I'm finding it easy to explain to him that there are a lot of stories out there to explain why our world is the way it is. I find it easier to explain that Daddy and I don't know what we believe. And I was not shocked or angered when Sam said he doesn't believe in God. Having faced all that our little family has faced, it's no surprise to me that Sam doesn't readily accept anything on faith. Steve and I have 30+ years experience (each) on the little guy, and we're just now forming our true belief set.

But I am bothered by the reflex that made me defend the "meaning of Easter" while standing in that Walmart. Years of indoctrination into a belief system that is seemingly all around me caused a knee jerk response. I still retain my own version of "normal" somewhere in side me. Though we were never a religious family by any means, Christianity is still obviously the predominant religious culture where I was born and raised. In fact, I can list on one hand the number of other faiths I crossed paths with during my formative years. And all of that half-formed belief still causes the words to form and spill out of my mouth before I can even examine what they meant to me.

I've got to do better than spit out automatic responses that don't mean anything to me. I've got to be more honest with my kids about what these things mean to us as a family. And I've got to leave room for Sam (and eventually Myles) to decide for themselves. It's important to me that they never find themselves on the wrong side of fortune and feeling like their foundation God-belief has been ripped apart into a million pieces. It's important to me that they never feel like their chosen God has abandoned them...only because they realize they never really chose...that they were influenced by something outside of themselves or, even worse, someone else chose for them.

And while it may seem like I'm just covering my ass so I won't have to take the blame later in life (it's always the mother's fault, you know)...what is really motivating me is my belief that it is of utmost importance to me that they never feel like Steve or I feel. Abandoned. Misled. Lied to. Lost. Ignorant. Angry. Cheated.

I want them to have REAL exposure to different beliefs...what it means to believe different things...so that they can make a choice what they believe before they really NEED to. I don't want them to grab hold of what is easy...to fall into something without thought...to go with the flow. I want them to examine everything (or as much as humanly possible) and affirmatively choose. Because Easter may very well be about getting gifts...if that is what they choose.

And yes...I now appreciate the irony of my yelling at my husband for not believing.

(I have written and re-written this post in the hopes that it is clear and not offensive. I apologize if I have missed the mark and offended anyone. But after seeing that Islam has overtaken Catholicism as the world's largest religion, and the resulting goofiness, I felt inspired. Or maybe I'm just distancing myself. Either way, it is what it is.)

April Fools

Sam: Mommy, is today April first?

Me: Yes sir...it's April Fools Day! We're going to have to think of a good trick to play on Daddy.

Sam: (runs into kitchen for a moment and runs back out laughing maniacally) APRIL FOOLS!!!

Me: Sam, what did you do?

Sam: I'm not telling.

Me: Sam, WHAT DID YOU DO? You better tell me.

Sam: I hid the salt shaker and then said, "April Fools," to you! (laughing so hard I thought he was going to fall over)

I love that kid.