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7/24/2002  

Boston


Okay, so we're flying into Logan and heading immediately for Maine, but just to be in Boston for however brief a time is wonderful. Maybe next week when we have a day to spend here I can drag everyone to Durgin Park for a bowl of fish chowder. Wonder if the servers are still rude as can be ...

I'm rubbing my hands together in glee just thinking about all the places I can take the kids. All my favorite haunts from when I was 12 years old.





 

anticipation


The countdown to takeoff begins. We have 2 hrs and 13 minutes more to wait. Assuming the plane is actually on time.

The kids were up at 6:30. Amazing! The fact that they were dressed by 6:35 was even more astonishing. Guess they are excited about this trip. Rick can't wait to see this "section of the northern U.S." When I told him that most people referred to this area as New England, he shrugged.

Kari would rather stay here with my parents, but the possibility of riding the swan boats was offered as a carrot and off she goes willingly.




7/23/2002  

Maine, Blueberries and a Buddy


For 2 glorious years we lived in the village of Kennebunk -- "the only town in the world so named." I loved exploring the wood around our house and stumbling upon lady slippers, trillium and other wildflowers. Deer were sometimes seen wandering past our yard. Lobsters replaced steak as the Sunday meal. Snow would pile up so high our dog could walk over the picket fence. Blueberries grew wild about 10 steps beyond our backdoor.

I love blueberries.

Now my children get to experience the wonders of Downeast. Where the ocean is so cold that you can't stay in too long. Where roses grow wild on the beach. Where the scent of pine and fir is always in the air. Where the letter 'R' is dropped unless it occurs at the beginning of the word.

I get to revisit my favorite places AND meet Steph. Wonder if she'll still feel like a kindred spirit face-to-face ... Hope so! Every woman needs a sister of the soul.




 

Wet Stuff


Rain is actually falling here in Durham. Exciting stuff when water restrictions are in place. Exhilarating when you can't even remember the last rainfall. Dad actually stopped and stared out the back door for a few minutes before turning to us with a huge grin on his face and awe in his voice, "That's rain!"

Robert and I woke up this morning to a good soaking. At some point during the night Michael had crawled into bed with us. He peed everywhere. NOT a fun way to be awakened.




 

Family Time


My family is loud. Eardrum shattering, disturbing the peace loud.

Thirteen of us were sitting outside on my parents' porch last night. My two uncles were braying and being their obnoxious (but oh so lovable) selves. My brother had to compete with them for noise level. Michael squealed and giggled like a normal 2 year old. Kari and Rick acted like an preteen would -- with complete disdain before jumping in the fray. The rest of us observe and dart in with our verbal ripostes when we think we'll get the biggest bang for our words.

Sometime during the madness the phone rang. For a few minutes silence reigned. We honestly believed that a neighbor was calling to complain about our rambunctious noise. Nope! He just wanted to find out what in the heck we were doing over here.

Hey, at least we were seated thru most of this. Uncle Bill and Uncle Bob will never be too old to run thru the house playing tag or wrestling my brother to the ground. The only person capable of remaining separate from our silliness is Nana.

Someone has to referee.







7/22/2002  

giggles


Toddlers can provide hours of entertainment. Nothing is sacred and nothing is kept secret.

Michael is fascinated by bellybuttons these days. He thinks nothing of lifting up shirts and pointing them out to all who might be paying attention. He pokes his fingers in them and presses as hard as he can. I swear he believes that if he pushes hard enough he'll be able to stick his arm right thru someone.

He's finally learning to say please and thank you. In German. I've decided that we'll take what we can get! His little voice saying "bitte" is sweet.

Michael does embarass us with the occasional swearing. Robert laughs and says "at least he is using them in the appropriate context." But does Michael really have to yell, "Shut the hell up"? Honestly. He dropped one of his trains during the car ride yesterday and popped out with, "goddammit, how am I gonna get that back?"

Very hard to scold him when you are giggling.




7/21/2002  

destination reached


Twelve hours in the van with 3 kids and a grumpy DH is something that should be avoided. Especially when said DH has only had 3 hours of sleep tops and the 2 year old is being extra-chatty.




 

and they're off!



Oh my, the earliest we've ever gotten out of the house. Just had to send a few quick emails.





7/20/2002  

Road Trip!


Nothing like traveling halfway up the Eastern Seaboard in a minivan with 3 kids and a tired DH. Oh my! Took the kids something like 4 hours to get the van vacuumed to my satisfaction. They kept blaming the shopvac. I know the truth! They were having too much fun chasing each other with the hose.

Binky and Frog, Skittles and Grimm will be ruling the roost while we are gone. Hopefully they will not totally tear the house apart. At least the turtles are contained. We have several people coming over to check on the cats and someone staying with them overnight. The house will be lived in while we travel up to New England.

Can't wait for the kids to experience a beach where rocks poke up thru the surf and roses bloom in the sand. Rick wants to see the Bush compound. Kari wants to shop and see lobsters. Michael will want to play with his trains. Me -- I just want to soak up the atmosphere and show Robert all my favorite places from my preteen years.

The Wedding Cake House, Moosehead Lake, Kennebunkport Bookstore, Boothbay Harbor, Cabbage Island where the river meets the ocean down in Ogunquit ... I could go on forever -- and that's before all the great places to eat. Unfortunately Noonan's is out of the question, even my epi-pen.




 

war update


Michael has entered the fray. He's raiding everyone's room. He's tossed trains into the turtle tank, pushed Kari's coins thru the hole for the cable outlet (where the cover is ...), carried Frog around upside down, colored on freshly painted walls. Oh he knows how to hit hard and often.

Rick is screeching at his brother and then attempts to retaliate by swiping Michael's trains. Since Michael has 70 plus, he just digs another train out. Kari is trying to stay out of the fracas, but she can't resist directing even the mildest of taunts at her brothers.

I had the honor of negotiating the latest truce. Okay, so it was really the threat of not being able to visit their grandparents. But the threat worked!




 

angst of a 12 year old


"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Rick has Aspergers Syndrome. He knows that he is not like the majority of children. Classmates and teachers have made that perfectly clear to him. At one point the kids were so merciless and Rick not knowing how to handle the situation, literally pulled his hair out. Last year he contemplated suicide.

Something clicked in his brain though -- thank goodness. Rick decided to work as hard as he could to make the most of his abilities and to learn how to socialize with his peers. Even we - his parents - are shocked at how much he has changed, grown up, and yet still has that essential "Rickness" about him. He isn't cured. AS is something that doesn't go away, but his ability to cope with it is amazing.

Over the past few weeks he just hasn't been himself. No matter how well I've been able to deny this to myself, last night I couldn't.

My sweetheart of a preteen crawled into bed with me and started sobbing. He says this depression is creeping over him and he's not sure where it's coming from or why. His ticks have returned and all his little tricks to stop or minimize them aren't working. Leaving the house makes him anxious.

What is a mother to do? I hugged Rick tight and just talked. We discussed where he was last year, 3 years ago and 5 years ago. He rediscovered how far he has come and how much he has overcome. He told me that he believes this current battle with depression will be easier to get past, because he has battled it before and won. He doesn't envision a walk in the park, but he also doesn't see being swallowed by the pit of despair.

Optimism in the face of depression. I think he'll win too.





7/19/2002  
Thought I'd share a favorite poem with you. If you happen to know who wrote it, please let me know!

STORM



the lightning crashed

the thunder roared

I danced within the rain

felt the energy Flow about

pull it in

cast it out

laughing

dancing

swirling

cleansing and renewing

Lightning crashed

thunder roared

danced for life

nothing more






 

"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it." - Margaret Thatcher







 
How is it possible for my children to totally mess up a house in one morning? This house was completely straight at 10 pm last night. Now it looks as if a hurricane has passed through. *sigh* Back to the mop bucket.

Sheesh! As soon as one mess is cleared away, another appears! Argh! Rick and Kari have straightened their rooms at least. If only Michael didn't insist on dumping everything out of his toybox when he wants to play. We all know he's going to only play with the trains -- nothing else.

And my kitchen! My poor poor kitchen.

Waaaaaaaaah!




 

What I Believe


Life is a miracle -- whether it was a gift to us from one god or many (though honestly I don't see how only one could have done all this).

Spirituality and faith is something that we find within ourselves. The physical trappings are simply touchstones to help ground us when we lose touch with ourselves. Some prefer a cross or a medal of a saint, some prefer to pray in a church or a mosque, some prefer to wear clothing that identifies their religion. I have my garden and several family mementoes.

Magic surrounds us. Technology and science are simply what we use to explain certain phenomena and how it occurs -- but the answer to WHY it happened will always be just beyond our grasp.

The earth is our mother. She nourishes us physically and emotionally. We should not deny our ties or our debts to her. If we take something from her, we should repay her in full. If we neglect her, she will slowly die. Her death would become our own.

The sky is our father. He encourages our imagination and curiosity. Without him we would not dream and without the dreams may not see the possibilities in life.

As people we find our faith in various places around us and within us. Even those of the same faith will discover they have differences.

Why is it so difficult for people to respect and accept the variety of religions/beliefs that exist?





 

my friday five


1. Where were you born? Durham, North Carolina

2. If you still live there, where would you rather move to? If you don't live there, do you want to move back? Why or why not? I haven't lived in Durham since babyhood. I would move back in a second. My family is still there, and we have a history in Durham. My ancestors have lived in the area for 250 years.

3. Where in the world do you feel the safest? Outside in my garden.

4. Do you feel you are well-traveled? Absolutely not.

5. Where is the most interesting place you've been? Maine





7/18/2002  

"It is difficult to steer a parked car, so get moving." -Henrietta Mears



A car without power steering is also difficult to steer. At what point will we start getting afternoon drizzles instead of these frog strangling downpours? The van despises having to drive thru puddles of any depth.




 

"Writing only leads to more writing." -Colette


This needs to be said once more. Writing is addictive -- especially when one can type. None of that writing by hand for me. Too lazy. The only thing more addictive is reading another's thoughts (or planting yet another rosebush).

Sue, you really need to come back from vacation or find some computer time. Angie, isn't your Big Brother vacation over yet? Hopefully Brian, Jennifer and Kim won't decide to take a break too. Poor Steph would be stuck with the burden of keeping me fully entertained.

My father is a journalist, so the written word has been a major part of my life from before I was born. My brother was a regular in Dad's column. Rarely mentioned by name, but his deeds prompted ideas and the ideas became a story of sorts. Dad is also a published author. He's only written one book, but it was well received. I have clippings of the various reviews for proof.

One of my distant cousins was a poet. She also is published. Her book is lost in libraries and rarely checked out.

Pleasure was the reason they picked up the pen. Pleasure is why I began blogging. Doesn't matter if no one reads my words or finds them less than fascinating. What matters is that I gain something from the doing.






 

the perils of travel


I'm flying to Maine for a much needed vacation. Hurray! Found a decent price on a ticket, staying in a very nice hotel, renting a car, blah blah blah.

This morning while reading my email, I receive an IM from Dad. "Must speak to you via the phone." Yikes! What could be going on that he can't communicate by an email or IM? Of course I immediately signed off and went to the phone.

Only a minor emergency. The airline I was supposed to fly on has been shut down ... closed ... no more. Figures. U.S. Air is honoring the tickets and had set up a dedicated line for Midway's flyers. After almost 20 minutes of being on hold, my ticket was switched from Midway to U.S. Air. Thank goodness. The downside is that on the way up it is necessary to switch planes in NYC (adds an extra 90 minutes) and on the way back there's a layover in NYC (an extra 2 hours). At least it's better than driving.





 

dusting is now a necessity


"Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?" -Phyllis Diller

My sentiments exactly. Unfortunately Rick's allergies are forcing me to take that chance. He is severely allergic to so many things that it's almost funny. Almost. The poor kid tested extremely allergic to everything except grass, trees (the lone exception was the Florida Holly) and dogs. The first thing he asked was "When can I get a dog?" My response, "When you move into a tent."

The doctor recommended that we do certain things: cover his mattress, pillows, the boxspring, no fabric at his windows, tile his floor, get rid of any houseplants. What? I do not get that one. According to the doc, studies have shown that the incidence of asthma episodes is higher in households that have houseplants. Why? Molds in the soil and dust on the leaves. He said we should get silk plants. Excuse me, but those are even bigger dust catchers! All my plants are in soil that has been sterilized, so they aren't going anywhere. Sorry, Rick.

I am also allergic, but to what they just don't know. Okay, so they know I'm allergic to shellfish (waaah!) and certain meds, but since I avoid those like the plague, what else could be causing my sniffles and the post-nasal drip that has made my throat look like a cobblestone street?





7/17/2002  

Da Blues


With no warning whatsoever the blues decided that tonight would be the perfect time to drop in on me. Why? Why? Why? I so do not need this. Robert is still at work and won't be home until close to midnight (the joys of shift work), the kids are wound up from days of being cooped up inside, the cats sit glumly by the front door staring outside.

I'm supposed to go to Maine for a week and have to get everything ready. Time can't be wasted being gloomy. Perhaps screaming into the night will scare the blues away. What do you think? Is it possible to frighten my brain's chemical imbalance into normality? Perhaps not, but the neighbors will scurry to their cellphones.

Sleep keeps trying to pull down my eyelids, but I refuse to even release a yawn. Can't afford to. Responsibilities are piled high around me. I also do not want that Franklin planner to get dusty again either.

Too bad chocolate really isn't a cure-all. Maybe if I add a few marshmallows ...





 
"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time." -- Sir J. Lubbock

This is certainly a good thing, otherwise we waste tons of time around here pointing out various cloud formations and sitting with the front door open watching the rain fall.





 

Creepy Crawlies



You'd think that after living in Florida for over a decade, the bugs and lizards would no longer bother me. WRONG!

Currently ants top my list of obnoxious beings. They parade across my clean counter, circle my ivy and then march out thru the outlet. What are they doing? Are they staking their territory? I'm baffled. What is even more confusing is why they thought my iron would make a nice cozy home for their colony. Have you ever caught the scent of burning ants? Thoroughly disgusting. Rick compared the smell to burning popcorn. Robert and I spent a good 30 minutes pressing the steam button on the iron and then slamming the iron on the board to get those nasty critters out of there.

Lizards only bother me if they run across me. Ewww! Frog - one of our cats - believes lizards were created to be his playtoys. Sightings of lizards that still have their tails is an extremely rare occurrence around here.

We will not discuss mosquitoes, cockroaches or spiders. *shudder*





 

Salivating



Steph strikes again. She knows I adore food -- baking, eating, looking, browsing recipes and drooling. Many of my family's favorite baked treats are recipes she has emailed me. This morning she bombards me with offers of scones and tea and then this ice cream quiz!

What ice cream flavor are you?

I scored 44.4% Butter Pecan
Butter Pecan is tied with Strawberry for the third most popular flavor, and organized, put-together, earthy Butter Pecan types are valued for their fairness, efficiency and naturalness. You won't see a Butter Pecan lover putting on airs. In fact, it can be hard for no-nonsense Butter Pecans to express themselves at all -- even though they're privately quite sympathetic and observant. As a Butter Pecan lover, you like to plan ahead and take charge, which means you're often over-committed. Like Vanillas, Butter Pecans are most compatible with their own kind -- other Butter Pecan lovers who appreciate hard work and good sense.

I scored 22.2% Chocolate Chip
If you're a Chocolate Chip lover, you're a creative force to be reckoned with (this also applies to lovers of Cookie Dough, Mint Chip, Rocky Road and other "chunky" ice creams). You've got a competitive streak a mile wide, but it brings out the best in you by forcing you to live up to your own demanding standards. You can be rather unforgiving at times with those who don't share your vision and drive, but friends value your magnetism, charm and originality. Chocolate Chips are best off with high-achieving Butter Pecans and empathetic, insightful Chocolates.

I scored 22.2% Strawberry
Strawberries are naturally loyal, honest and trustworthy. If you're one of many Strawberry lovers (it's tied with Butter Pecan as the third most popular flavor), you probably have a devoted circle of friends who rely on you for the right answer to any moral dilemma. Like Chocolate Chips, you set high standards for yourself, but you are somewhat shy and reserved. And you don't like to admit it, but you're also a tad pessimistic. Maybe you're just disappointed that no one can live up to your own responsibility and forthrightness. Strawberry types do well with optimistic, outgoing Chocolate Chips.

I scored 11.1% Vanilla
Contrary to what you may expect, Vanilla types aren't bland or boring. Vanilla is far and away the most popular ice cream flavor, and the Vanilla type is gregarious, impulsive, fun loving and expressive. In fact, you probably have a hard time making up your mind -- Vanillas are known for never saying no, even when they probably should. The Vanilla lover takes a romantic, hopeful view of life: Live for the moment, and everything will work out fine. And Vanilla types are happiest with their own kind -- only someone equally spontaneous and energetic will do.

My stomach is growling, and my daily serving of Cream of Wheat just isn't cutting it. Hmmm. Wonder what goodies are in my freezer ...





7/16/2002  

Faery Names


Don't laugh, but I do believe in faeries.

Anyway Steph sent me this link which tells me who my fairy is. Since I'm married, it seemd only right to plug in my maiden and married names.

Using my maiden name: My fairy is called Moth Willowglow. She is a caster of weird dreams. She lives close to crystal caverns and stalagtite grottos. She is only seen in the light of a full moon.

Using my married name: My fairy is called Moth Willowwand. She is a caster of weird dreams. She lives close to crystal caverns and stalagtite grottos. She is only seen when the seer holds a four-leafed clover.

I find lots of four-leafed clovers, so I intend to pay closer attention.



Lists


For the past 3 years I've lived without my Franklin Planner. Nothing ever gets done either or at least not done on time. Sad state of affairs, since I used to pride myself on punctuality (that didn't involve my actual presence) when it came to meeting project deadlines. But then during my pregnancy with Michael, my depression overwhelmed me. How could I accomplish anything when it was impossible to get out of bed?

Since Michael's birth, my life has revolved around taking care of him, running Rick around to his various doctor appointments, trying to keep Kari from turning into the proverbial middle child and wallowing in my own personal blues. Of course my mood affects the entire family. How could it not? So I have to take charge of myself and be more proactive when it comes to my treatment.

My Franklin Planner was pulled out from under the bed where I shoved it. The dust was at least an inch thick and those nasty silverfish were hiding among the unused pages from 1999 (yes, 1999). Rain was gushing from the sky and lightning was skipping up and down the ridge, so I didn't dare make a dash out for more pages. Luckily I discovered those weekly goal cards stored in the back and then spent 30 minutes planning out what I wanted to accomplish over the next few days.

Guess what!?! I've almost completed everything for today. All that's left is cleaning the kitchen, which I obviously can't do until after supper.

I'm so proud of myself.





 

Another beginning


"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on." ~Carl Sandburg

I'm going to become an aunt come next February. How can my brother be old enough to have children? Isn't he still a pesky pre-teen? When he's 80 and I'm 84, he'll still be my baby brother.





 

Agree to Disagree


Why do so many people envision Florida as paradise? They blab on and on about our perfect weather and the beach and... and... I'm here to tell you that the weather is NOT perfect.

We have 2 seasons: rainy and dry. Rainy season lasts from May thru October. Rarely does a day go by that we don't have a thunderstorm or at least showers. The average temp in July is 93 -- an extremely humid 93. Kids, who should be running around outside during daylight hours because school is out, stay inside where the a/c hums all day. Honestly, who wants to suffer heatstroke or a lightning strike?

Dry season isn't that bad. Months where rain falls rarely and the temps drop down into the lower 80s does sound heavenly, but consider what you are missing. Fall color, the first snow, snuggling in front of the fire, being able to drink something hot without sweating. There's no such thing as "football weather" down here. Canadians flock down here during the winter months. THEY are experiencing Paradise (if this is the time of weather you enjoy). Canada in the summer is Florida in the winter.

But here's my dilemma. I adore football weather. I love the sound snow makes as it falls. The scent of fall makes me smile. The long grey winter days do make me long for spring. When the first leaves start to bud and the grass gradually greens up, exhilaration is in the air. How can anyone truly appreciate springtime without first living thru winter?

Perhaps I'm just a winter baby. I miss my seasons!

(and in regards to the beaches -- erosion has done serious damage to them. Have you seen the Cliffs of Dover? That's what many public beaches are starting to look like here.)





7/15/2002  
It's

Sibling Battles


The "Dork Wars" have begun here on the Ridge.

Kari was visiting her grandparents last week, so she and Rick have to catch up on their fighting. Name calling is a declaration of war. Exaggerated drawings of each other signal the start of actual combat. Skirmishes occur in the hallway, kitchen, bathroom, the family room. If they weren't my children and they weren't reminding me of my brother and myself, this would actually be quite entertaining.

We may need to invest in earplugs. After I apologize to my parents for my teen years.






 

Aside



This is unreasonably addictive -- especially when I'm supposed to be doing other things such as cleaning. Ewww!

Venting on views of mental illness


Something I ponder everyday is how society views those of us with mental illnesses. This is a major personal issue with me since I am bipolar. Yes, there are many times when depression takes over and a dark cloud forms over my head. Yes, there are times when sleep eludes me because there is so much for me to do and I just know that accomplishing all of it is well within my grasp. Many people I've met seem to have the idea that if a person is mentally ill, the person must be totally wacky 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is simply not true.

My mental illness does not change the fact that I am a thinking and feeling person. My intelligence doesn't degenerate to caveman status or rise to brilliance. I am not contagious. My daily issues simply vary from what is considered to be the norm. Granted there are times when rising out of bed is nigh impossible and others where my husband is peeling me off the ceiling, but the majority of the time I am an average person. I will always be bipolar -- but it doesn't have to be terminal.

So what is it like to be me?

Imagine going snowmobiling on fresh snow on a sunny winter day. The snow is crisp and the light is glancing off in such a way that all the dips and curves of the land are hidden until you are on them. You're speeding along -- feeling almost weightless, giddy with the speed -- then you're in midair and the land is far below you. You crash. Now you're a wounded animal and want to drag yourself back into your cave -- not to lick your wounds, but to ponder them, relive them. They fester, so you go to sleep. When you wake, you feel better. You go out and do normal things. You go to the grocers, the bookstore, to the park with the kids. You pay bills on time, remember to check the air in the van's tires and to fill up the tank. One day you look out the window and see snow drifting down and you walk to the garage to get your snowmobile out ...





 

No! No! No! No! No!

My kids will tell you that yes is not part of my everyday vocabulary. Perhaps if they asked for reasonable things at appropriate times or weren't insistent on throwing a baseball in the house or tossing toys everywhere, "I said no!" would not have become my mantra.

At 9 am:

"Mom, can I have a hotdog?"

"No, hotdogs aren't for breakfast."

At sometime around noon:

"Rick, did you take your meds this morning?"

*deep sigh "I'll take them when I get back from biking."

"No, you will take them now."

During the midafternoon:

"I'm going out front to play."

"No, you are not, young lady. Do you see the lightning? Can you hear the thunder?"

"Oh, I didn't notice."

At 5:35 pm:

"Mom, can I have some ice cream, bitte?"

"No. It's almost suppertime."

Kids, being kids, hate to hear the word no. Even if they are clearly in the wrong, no is still a four-letter word.

My oldest son has gone so far as to complain about my overuse of the word no to his psychologist. This led to me being berated for being a punisher. Kids are supposed to be rewarded these days.

What? Am I not allowed to say no to inappropriate things like ice cream right before dinner? Am I supposed to ignore Rick's refusal to take his meds by letting him ride his bike and skipping a dose?

We spent 30 minutes in a big discussion about this -- me and the psych. He wants me to let them earn the rights to certain things. Okay. That's fine, as long as we're discussing privileges and not actual "things."

We have, however, been down this path many a time. My stubborn three think that just by being born they are entitled to anything and everything they see. Ha! They will refuse to do whatever they don't want to do, even if the inaction results in them not being able to participate in something fun.

Hmmph!

Can you tell it's summertime?





7/14/2002  

*Blush

Oh the shame of it! If only I had just clicked on refresh. Perhaps learning to think before typing would help.





 

Aging and Death



Once upon a time my parents seemed ancient to me, my grandparents as old as the earth and my great-grandmother older than God. When I graduated from college, my parents were simply middle-aged and my grandparents old. Now fifteen years later my parents are still middle-aged and my grandmother is in great shape.

Mom and Dad say that you recognize you are aging when you watch a college basketball game and everyone looks so young. Oh the horror I felt when I muttered, "Look how young those players are!" during the 1999 Final Four. My parents are probably still laughing about that. Mr. Slaughter, who was sitting next to me, also found my comment hysterical.

I recognize that life isn't forever. Friends of mine have died of accidents, overdoses and illness. Death is horrible when it comes for those who have yet to live. The shock of the loss keeps everyone silent. Grief is overwhelming, because everyone thinks of what might have been. Shortly after graduating from college, once of my friends and classmates died of cancer. What a horrible illness to have at any age, but it's even more obscene in the young. Many of us went to his funeral. We milled around after the memorial service with nothing to say. We became grey ghosts of sorts -- moaning and incoherent with no substantial thoughts, just a deep feeling of loss and shock. Now if we mention Michael, it's to mourn that he died so young.

My great-great aunt Eva died at the grand old age of 99 years and 6 months. She had lived in the same house for 80 of those years and on her own for all but the last month of her life. A truly astounding occurrence if you ask me. When her body gave out, we grieved -- not for what might have been but for what was. I didn't get to go to her funeral, but I can imagine how different it was from Michael's. Laughter mixed with tears, shared memories, snapshots of her at various moments throughout her life, comments about her peach pie (she made the BEST). Her friends and her family would have celebrated all that she had meant to them. No joy was found in her death, but we do remember her with joy.

What a mournful topic! Shall I blame it all on Kim? Kim offered proof that she has aged 40 years in the past 2 months.

The funny thing is that at her age I was knitting and wearing normal shirts and despising loud obnoxious kids, but never thought of myself as old. I just was. Now I'm just shocked whenever I remember that my 36th birthday has come and gone. Where did the time go? What do I have to show for myself? Have I accomplished a single thing?

I look at my kids and smile. To them I am just another old geezer.





 

Frustration


Honestly trying to figure out this blogging thing. I don't understand html or any computer language of any sort, so reading the instructions for adding links, etc is just beyond me at this point. It's difficult enough to try and think of anything interesting that happens in my life or find a thought that I can write down and have actually make sense.

Why oh why did Sue have to go on vacation? I truly hope that she's having fun up there in Alabama visiting her family and scouring for arrowheads.

(Slight update: Figured out how to add links within text, but how do I do the same on the side? What an idiot am I!)





 

Embarassing my preteen son


I posted this on a messageboard where I'm a member:

I seem to go to the grocers on a daily basis. Just to get out of the house and to buy bread that was made that day. ;)

Earlier this week on one of my infamous runs, Rick asked what we were going for. So I told him -- feminine products. The poor boy stuttered, turned red and absolutely refused to be seen with me in the grocers. In the parking lot he got a lecture on the history of kotex. Did you know that during the Great War, nurses started using the absorbent material used for gas masks as sanitary pads. (Yup! The next time you pull out the Kotex, just remember that.)

The man behind me in line took 3 steps back when he realized what I was purchasing. Didn't help when Michael pointed at the offending item and announced, "dat's Mommy's not having a baby diapers."

I walk outside in time to overhear Rick tell a friend (he was on my cellphone), "Yeah, my mom's in the store buying gasmasks. Her Aunt Flo is coming for a visit."





7/13/2002  

Sleepless in South Florida



From this morning's diary entry:

More and more often I find myself staying up all night. Thoughts chase each other thru my mind. At first I'm immobile from all the energy coursing thru my body, but then my big toe starts to move. Once that happens I have to get up and run around the house, otherwise I'll wake up Robert -- not a nice thing to do.

Okay, so I don't run. I pace. Can you wear a path in tile? I make myself a snack, play on the computer, read something boring, clean ... (Yes, the word clean was mentioned). Anything to distract myself from my racing thoughts.Out comes a sleeping pill. For some reason this rarely works. My body and mind are in high gear. The med just brings me down to an almost normal pace. Perhaps meditation ...

My candles are lit, my favorite touchstones are placed around them, I begin to relax. But I cannot make it thru my visualization. Even my mental image of myself refuses to relax and must sprint around everywhere and investigate every little thing. Talk about frustrating.

Back to the drawing board with me, which means I post on the playgroup messageboard. This is my last resort sometimes, at others it's my first. Half the time it works. The women on this board have been very supportive. They wish me sweet dreams and offer hugs and send me restful vibes.

This morning -- just thinking about past vibes -- I think sleep will come.





 

Reconnecting



Aeons ago one of my best friends was Julie. We had similar interests, but any differences were complementary. She never made me feel inferior or odd. Competition wasn't part of our relationship. Kind of odd to find a friend like that during the highly competitive teenage years.

I came across her name on our high school class list and really wanted to contact her, but the kids started fighting and you know -- the typical out of sight, out of mind occurrence. A few days later I mentioned to one of my email pals that I was going to try and get in touch with Julie. Imagine my surprise when I found a letter from her in one of my email boxes!

Tonight we were able to chat via the internet (gotta love instant messaging). Our lives have gone in totally different directions, yet there are still the similarities. Amazing!

I think I'll just sit and cry happy tears.





"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson