Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Putting Liam to bed

Bedtime at our house goes something like this.

Chris takes Liam upstairs with him yelling “Stop” and “No” all the way. Once they get to the top and begin the teeth brushing and diaper changing and pajama donning, he stops yelling and is generally cooperative.

When his teeth are scrubbed and jammies on, Liam hollers “Mom.” Then it is time for me to go up. I straighten his bed and hand him his pony and blanket while he sits on Chris’ lap in the rocking chair. I give/get kisses and head back downstairs while Chris sings to Liam and rocks him.

This part of the routine works well. It is later that the system breaks down and runs off the rails.

Liam has taken to getting out of bed three to five times each evening after Chris has put him there. It is very frustrating. Chris and I only have just a couple of hours, at most, from the time Liam goes to bed until we crash ourselves. Time for us to talk and try to maintain our own relationship.

Once he is in bed the first time, we take turns going up and putting him back.

When becomes my second or third turn, I find myself flying up the stairs with the intent of swatting him on the butt and really giving him what for. I get to the top of the stairs telling him to: “Get back to bed.” Then I have to follow this tiny-little, bow-legged guy in footie jammies down the hall to his room. It tugs at my heartstrings every time, and inevitably I tuck him gently into bed and caress his hair and sing to him and tell him how much Mommy would like it if he would stay in bed this time. I am the biggest pushover in the world when it comes to this cute little dude.

I just don’t get it. I am generally pretty tough. The whole time I was pregnant I worried I would be too harsh as a parent. I am surprised and pleased that it hasn’t turned out that way.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Reversing roles

Back in August my mom’s eye doctor discovered a problem in her left eye. The lower lashes were growing inward and he thought she might need to have them cauterized.

Turns out the problem is more serious than that. The lower lid of her left eye is turning inward. This is causing the eyelashes to poke her in the eye. The lid issue can be resolved with surgery, but unless the underlying condition is treated, the eyelid will begin to turn inward again and within one to five years she could be right back where she is today.

My sister and I took Mom to Portland, Oregon, about three weeks ago to have specialists at the Casey Eye Institute look at her eye. After two consultations and a myriad of tests, including a biopsy of the tissue inside the eyelid, we headed home. Last week we found out the results of the biopsy were inconclusive. It showed something the doctors did not expect. They want to do a second biopsy.

One of the diseases which can cause this is an autoimmune disease the doctors call OCP. It is similar to rheumatoid arthritis only it attacks the mucus membranes instead of the joints. If this is what she has, it must be treated with mild, oral chemotherapy drugs to prevent the white blood cells from attacking the mucus membranes. The other possibility is something which can be treated with eye drops. Because there is such a huge difference in treatments, the doctors want to be very certain what we are dealing with and so do we.

My mom has never been sick a day in her life. She was only ever in the hospital to have her children. The woman is 68 years old and takes not a single drug. She takes a multivitamin and a glucosamine chondroitin supplement. That’s it. The result is this problem with her eye has her totally freaked out. I think she has now seen five different doctors and we are now trying to figure out how to get her back to Portland to see one of them a second time.

Mom lives 285 miles from me and I live 180 miles from Portland. Normally she drives herself wherever she needs to go, but with the vision issues she is having with her left eye, she is not necessarily comfortable driving all the way to my house, and driving herself to Portland is completely out of the question.

I have been struggling all week to coordinate a trip to Portland for her. Getting her here and then on to Portland when the doctor who can do the biopsy is in and when the pathologist who can read the biopsy is available, because if the tissue sets too long it is no longer viable to show what they need to see, and when I have someone to watch my two-year old and on a day when I don’t have work to do for my own business. Argh!

I told my husband this is very stressful for me. He asked me what part exactly was causing me the most stress. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized the most stressful thing about all this is the role reversal that has taken place between me and my mom.

My mom has always been a strong person, able to take care of whatever needed to be taken care of. This is the first time in my recollection she has ever seemed unable to cope.

Having to take on the adult role in our relationship has been an uneasy transition, and not one I’m particularly enamored with. I suppose it is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. It is not that I am incapable of doing the job, so to speak, but it feels very strange.

She’s the mom. Seeing her vulnerable and incapable of making the decisions that need to be made is disheartening and a little scary for me.

I’m not lovin’ it and I do have to wonder how Mom really feels about all this.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ogg attempts lame poetry

Blogging has become most difficult to do,
Ever since Liam turned two!

Friday, October 23, 2009

“String to short to use”

10) My mom and her sister (my auntie) came for a visit a couple weeks ago. We had great fun. It had actually been over a month since I’d seen Mom so we had lots to talk about. We didn’t do anything spectacular, but had good food and plenty of time to catch up. The first night they were here, Liam made us all get up and dance after dinner. There was no music, but he was dancing in the dining room and insisted we all dance too. We got our evening calisthenics out of the way.

9) I am struggling with spiritual issues. Faith is one of those “just when you think you have it figured out” kinds of things. I’m beginning to think it might be time to drop back five yards and punt. Of course, faith is also one of the hardest things to discuss and be open about.

8) “Mine” is the most common word in Liam’s vocabulary. I’m not sure how to convince him that everything in the world does not belong to him. Thank God he has to interact with other kids at day care two days a week. I’m hoping that will help him learn to relate to and share with children his own age. It is hard to know what’s the right thing to do.

7) I cut off all my hair earlier this month. Well, actually, I didn’t do it. I paid someone who knows what they are doing to do it. I think it looks pretty good. My hair was so damaged by color and a bad perm I couldn’t even get a comb through it. TerryAnn managed to get rid of a lot of the damage and used a demi-shade to return me to my natural color. For those of you keeping score, my natural color is a kind of golden brown. I am trying to like it.

6) How do I know if a Bible study I am leading is going well? The discussion seem lively enough and the book we are using is interesting. Everyone seems to be enjoying it, but am I really doing a decent job of this?

5) I am trying really hard to keep all my posts from being about Liam. It is hard because he is such a big part of my world these days. I do do other things, just not many and apparently they are not very noteworthy. I guess that is just the life of a mom of a two-year old. Sometimes that gets to me, but he is so very cute and we do have a lot of fun. So, if you end up reading an awful lot about the life and times of Liam, so be it. I guess you can just stop reading whenever you want.

4) Thursdays have notoriously been the worst day of my week. Something happened this summer to change all that. My friend, Nancy, had this idea that a bunch of us should get together and work on our PIGS or UFOs or whatever you want to call them. It certainly has brightened my Thursdays.

3) I can’t believe how easy it is to let the television become a babysitter. Liam loves to watch movies and football. He is learning from Chris and I to turn on the TV and leave it on as background noise, something we do with alarming regularity. We need to stop our bad television habits before they become Liam’s bad television habits. I guess I didn’t realize how often we did this until Liam came along and by example pointed it out to us. Yike!

2) Overnight it seems our trees and bushes changed from green to gold and red. The backyard has become a golden canopy and the bushes in front truly do look as though they are on fire. I guess they don’t call them “burning bushes” for nothing. At any rate, my favorite time of year is here. I wish I had more time to enjoy it, but life and duty calls.

1) Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. I’m considering changing my name. I don’t mind it when he has something on his mind, but it can really get on my nerves when it becomes a non-stop refrain.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I choose to choose

Normally you will not read about politics here. I don’t like politics. I have a husband who teaches social studies and is a complete news addict. Politics makes me hurl. That said, one of my facebook friends, a guy I went to high school with, posted a comment today that made me see red, no pun intended.

There is, as I see it, a fundamental flaw in Republican rhetoric. It is one I noticed a long time ago, but never bothered to point it out to anyone. I’ll probably regret this, but here goes:

“-- individual liberty! personal responsibility! a small government! low taxes! not much bureaucracy! entrepreneurial spirit!”

How can Republicans be for individual liberty, but against a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body?

Is it because we’re women?

Is individual liberty for men only?

Why is it that a three-day background check for the purchase of a gun is protested as an intolerable "inconvenience,” but a woman who chooses not to carry a pregnancy to term is condemned for acting out of "personal convenience." Huh?

So its like this: Don’t tell me what to do in the privacy of my own home, but please tell my wife/girlfriend/sister/daughter what to do in the privacy of her own body.


Because she’s too stupid to know what she wants?

Because she can’t be trusted to make the right decision for her own life?

Because as a woman she has no rights?

Because as a woman she is considered chattel?

Do Republicans really not see the oxy-moron inherent in this stance? Do they really not see that this is contradictory at best and sexual discrimination at worst?

As a final comment . . . argh! This is me tearing my hair out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

10 Awesome Things

For all my friends at Choose Awesome and anyone else who might be interested.

10) Doing one thing each day that scares me. Although being a Mom scares me to death, I do still try most days to do an additional thing that scares me just to make sure I keep on my toes.

9) Autumn. Fall. A rose by any other name . . . I absolutely LOVE this time of year.

8) Liam. My treasured son. He is awesome every single day and I get to be his mommy which has to be the most awesome responsibility ever.

7) My church community and the outlet they have given me to exercise my spiritual gifts.

6) Nancy, Jill & I started a little sewing circle. We meet every Thursday at 10 a.m. There is room for more. Care to join us?

5) The amazing body God has given each of us. Although mine looks more like a warehouse than a temple, I am determined to take steps to change that.

4) My mom: “more powerful than a locomotive.”

3) Fresh peaches. They have been exceptional this year.

2) The CD player in my car spontaneously starting working again. It took a six month hiatus, but I have tunes again and I am soooo happy!

1) Christmas music. It’s the best and I will listen to it year ‘round just as soon as my husband goes deaf.

Friday, September 11, 2009

There will be peace

I am alone.

Don’t feel sorry for me. This is in a good way. Solitude is rejuvenation for the soul. Loneliness is something else entirely. This weekend I intend to enjoy my aloneness. It doesn’t happen very often these days, so I will revel.

I will mop the kitchen/nook floor. At our house, with a two-year old under foot, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. Now I know most of you are thinking: “Well, why can’t she just mop the floor while the kid is napping?” Technically I could, but mopping is therapy and not something to be rushed or taken lightly. Several years ago we replaced our ugly vinyl flooring with beautiful stone tiles. A thorough mopping is all they need to look spectacular. Thus I will be Zen mopping at some point this weekend.

I will bathe Mufasa, my dog, and give him a haircut. This is another task that is difficult to do with Mr Inquisitive living at my house. Mufasa was my first “baby.” He and I will spend some quality time this weekend.

I will layout the blocks of my current quilting project on the floor in the family room and decide what order they should be in. Again, one of those tasks made absolutely impossible with an extremely energetic rug rat in the house.

I will blog. I have been sadly neglecting my blog for the past several months. I am hoping to give some much needed attention to both it and my journal.

I will linger in the shower because I don’t have to worry about Liam waking up in the middle of my ablutions and opening the curtain saying: “Mom. Mom. Mom.”

I will eat strange foods that I cannot get my husband to eat.

I will stay up too late and get up too early.

I will watch chick flicks.

I will revel.

It will be a quiet, introspective weekend which will end on Sunday at 5 p.m. when Chris and Liam get home from Grandma’s. I can’t wait to see them . . . I miss them both.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Being a mom is full of surprises

Last night when I was heading to bed, I made my usual trip down the hall to check on Liam. The door to his room wouldn’t open and it took me just a second to realize why. He was sound asleep on the floor right behind the door. I was tempted to just leave him there, but he had no covers and would have gotten very cold long before morning.

What to do?

I eased the door open just as far as it would go, knelt down and reached through the crack (it was just wide enough). I was able to gently roll him over which then gave me just enough room to slip through the door myself. I gathered him up, along with all the critters he sleeps with, and laid him back in his bed. He never even stirred. Whew!

Generally, after Liam goes to bed each night the adventure for the day has ended . . . but not always.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"String too short to use"

10) Liam went to the pediatrician today. Well baby.

9) I am starting to get my thoughts together about this trip we are leaving on in a week. We will be gone for three weeks! Yike! In my world this takes much planning, list making and thought. In CJE’s world he can walk out the door with his toothbrush in hand and be fine. Grr! I guess that’s why he married me . . . I always wondered.

8) I have not blogged in over a month. So sue me. Life was nuts and Liam was cutting eye teeth. Trust me when I tell you, eye teeth are the worst. Even the molars were easier.

7) I read the most amazing book. Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. Incredible. It goes on the list of books I would want with me on a deserted island.

6) Quilt camp. Extraordinary. Quiet, peaceful retreat with like-minded, crafty people. Heaven on earth.

5) Because, as I mentioned in #9, we are leaving in about a week, I am now trying to figure out how to cram a month’s worth of work into the first 10 days of June. Somehow I don’t think it’s going to work.

4) I am feeling the need to write again. Here and in my journal. I kept a journal from 1995-2007. In 2007 my life turned upside down and it hasn’t righted itself yet, but I have decided that’s no excuse. I so should be journaling anyhow. Fifty lashes with a wet noodle and here I go. No catching up, just start from where I am.

3) I found some of the best stuff on earth. Celestial Seasonings Imperial White Peach White Tea. Yummy. Because we live in the back of beyond, it is difficult to find around here. I ended up ordering it from www.amazon.com so then had to order a case, but it is scrumptious hot with a touch of honey and makes very delicious iced tea as well. You should try it.

2) Liam is two.

1) Time to read. Liam is napping, my work is done for today.

Affirmation is good for the soul

As a parent, I often wonder if I’m doing anything right. It is so very difficult to know. It is not like children come with instruction booklets and even if they did, each one is different so it mostly likely wouldn’t help anyway.

Today, however, I got affirmation that my hard work is paying off.

A friend watched Liam yesterday morning while CJE took me to a doctor’s appointment. She told us when we got back how much fun she and Liam had had and what a good boy he was and that she would be happy to watch him again anytime.

That made me feel good, but this morning she went one better. She called me and left a message on my voice mail. This is what she said: “I was just calling to thank you again for letting me come over and babysit your son yesterday. I had the best time and I just wanted to tell you that I think you have the most special child.”

Wow! I think he’s special, but my judgement is likely to be somewhat clouded on the subject. After all I’m not exactly an uninterested observer. Hearing he is special and sweet from someone else is a huge affirmation of what I am trying to do here.

There is no doubt this is the hardest thing I’ll ever do. They say that in order to grow and learn, you should do something everyday that scares you. Well, I got that covered; it scares me every day to get up and be a mom.

I want Liam to be healthy and smart and compassionate. I want him to be strong and wise and loving. I want him to love God and his fellow man. I want him to have good values and sound judgement. How do you teach these things? How do you instill them in your child?

Every day I take my best guess and hope something comes out right. Apparently it’s working cause he is a cute little boy who is strong and smart and sweet and fun. So, for today, I can breathe easy. Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Liam, The Great

I have made a discovery recently. I’m sure others know this, but until recently, I didn’t. There is something incredible about watching your child learn new things.

A few days ago Liam brought me one of my shoes. Just kidding around, I said to him, “OK, where’s the other one.” Three seconds later here he comes with the other shoe. He also knows where his shoes belong. When you take them off him, if you hand them to him, he will take them and put them away. I know this is a temporary thing, as he gets older he will never put his shoes nor anything else away, but right now it is terribly cute.

For Christmas we got him a stuffed beehive with 10 little bees. He immediately took all the bees out of the hive and threw the hive in the corner. He’s been hauling the bees around in a little red wagon for months. This afternoon while I was sewing, here he came with the hive and sat down in the middle of the room and industriously put all the bees back into the hive.

This morning I was picking up toys and straightening the house preparing to vacuum. He had spent most of the week emptying his sock drawer and carrying handfuls of socks all over the upstairs. Don’t ask me why, I do not know. At any rate as I came across various socks mixed in with the toys, I handed them to Liam and told him to put them back in the drawer. At first he just threw them down, but a little while later I noticed the socks were gone. I checked and sure enough, they were back in the drawer where they belonged.

When our weather finally broke a couple weeks ago, we all went outside to do some yard work. I was pruning the raspberry bushes and I could hear Liam on the deck singing: “La La La La.” I walked around the corner of the house so I could see him and he was holding a stick up to his mouth. Cracked me up. I couldn’t wait to show Chris. I brought Liam around to the front of the house and told Chris Liam was playing with a stick. His response was, “Is it a sword?” I said, “No even better than that; it’s a microphone!”

Liam is starting to talk:
He calls me “Mum” and calls Chris “Ada.”
He says “Bump, bump, bump.”
He says “E-o.” It took us awhile to decipher this one, but it is “Liam.”
He says “Duck.” This one is dangerous. I told Chris, we are really going to have to watch our language now.
He doesn’t say yes or no, but he does says something that passes for yes. I don’t know how really to write it out, but you can tell when he says it, it is yes.
It is very obvious sometimes he is repeating whatever you say right back to you. It doesn’t sound quite like what you have said, but the tone and inflection will be spot on.

I know everyone’s kid is the brightest and the best, but mine is, too.

Friday, March 6, 2009

"String too short to use"

10) Because I believe pajamas are the most comfortable clothes ever, some years ago I gave up shoe shopping and became a pajama connoisseur. I love my jammies and have enough gowns and pjs to wear a different one each night for at least two weeks. But I found something new at Jacque Penne tonight. Something I didn’t yet have. Something that helps to complete my collection . . . no, never. I found a lovely white eyelet gown with lace and frills. It is sweet and somewhat dainty and demure looking. Covers from head neck to toes, but still manages to make me feel sexy. I love it.

9) The major draw back to my jammie fixation is: my shoes are wearing out. I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes in about six years and some of my pairs are 20+ years old. Yikes! I noticed a couple days ago that two of my favorite pair are needing replaced. No cobbler can fix them as the upper is splitting. Damn.

8) Chris and Liam left this afternoon to spend the weekend with his mom and stepdad. I will miss them, but I really needed a little time alone. I haven’t been able to get up when I want or go to bed when I want in about 22 months. Not to mention how I’ve neglected some of my hobbies that are problematic with a toddler under foot. Ahh! Just a bit of time.

7) Liam loves to be outside. The minute I get him out of the car he takes off on a walkabout. He walks with determination all over the yard and driveway and sidewalks. When I picked him up at day care today, we walked out to the car and while I was opening the door and tipping the front seat forward, he took off down their driveway just as fast as he could go, and let me tell you, he’s fast.

6) God has blessed me with a gift for design and crafting. I am putting it to good use making paraments for the Echo Community Methodist Church. I am having so much fun with this project. My creative juices are flowing and I am inspired! I love it.

5) Tulips and daffodils are sprouting in my flowerbeds. I drove (carefully) through a flock of robins this morning. Spring is finally here!

4) I’m going to Quilt Camp this year! The first weekend in May is Quilt Camp at Suttle Lake. Two friends and I are going to drive to Suttle Lake in central Oregon and spend three days sewing, quilting and crafting. Can’t wait!

3) I read “Slaughterhouse Five” a couple of days ago. It was never required reading where I went to school, so I had just never gotten around to it. I found it to be mildly entertaining, although I must admit, I’m not sure I’m clear on what all the fuss was about. It seemed rather an innocuous little book to me. Maybe I just didn’t get it.

2) Small boys are like tornadoes. Very unpredictable.

1) Something I read recently about Lent: “Of all the seasons of the church year, Lent is probably the most abused. It has become a period of excessive introspection, empty abstinence and the enjoyment of the gloom of self-denial. We have a need to rediscover Lent’s rich tradition. The purpose of ‘giving something up for Lent’ is not just to do without something as an end in itself. The purpose is to free up time, energy and resources which can then be put towards a fresh use for a new purpose.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Invisible Woman - Nicole Johnson

If you've read this somewhere else that I have posted it, forgive me, but I have a need to read this every so often as a reminder, why I am doing this, so I have posted it many different places. Thanks for your indulgence. - Janie

I'm invisible... ..

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Pick me up right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going ... she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read -- no, devour -- the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals -- we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."

And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Endeavor to persevere

It has been a busy month. I'm sure you can tell that by my lack of posts. Sometimes, life gets in the way. This month it has.

I’m a bookkeeper and most companies had their year end about seven weeks ago and now we are frantically trying to get everything ready for the tax accountant. Out of nine companies, I have four ready to go, four not, and one whose year end is June 30. 50%. Not bad. If I was a baseball player I’d be a phenom.

Unfortunately, I am not a baseball player, I am a bookkeeper and this is driving me crazy.

Somewhat predictably, two of the four not ready are the ones who tell me they are most desperate to have their taxes done. I have never figured out how they expect me to do the work when they don’t supply me with any information. Am I supposed to just pull these figures out of my ass? Thin air?

There is an old joke among bookkeepers that goes something like this: A business owner is trying to hire a new bookkeeper and at the end of each interview he asks, “How much is two plus two?” “Four” is the standard answer. But at the end of one interview when he asks the question, the interviewee stands up, closes the door, pulls down the shades, leans across the desk and asks, “How much do you want it to be?” He hires her on the spot.

Now I don’t disagree with the premise that there is more room for creativity in my profession than most people realize, but nearing the middle of tax season without good information from my clients is absolutely making me nuts. I can’t be creative with numbers I don’t even have.

I was hoping by now to see the light at the end of the tunnel. No such luck.

So, I continue to endeavor to persevere. Posts may be few and far between for a couple more months. Things aren’t looking good yet, and I’m hoping the glow down the tunnel from me isn’t an oncoming train.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I must be dreaming

I don’t know about anyone else, but the years between my 18th and 24th birthdays were not my best times. That seemed to be the time in my life that I did most all of the things that, looking back, I am thoroughly ashamed of and sincerely hope no one else knows or remembers. That was most definitely my young and stupid phase.

Interestingly enough, I was brought back to those times last night in my dreams. A dear friend from high school who was party to many of the stupid things I did then was in my dreams last night. In my dream he looked as I imagine he looks today, but I don’t know for sure as I have not seen him since way back then.

He asked for my forgiveness for his behavior in those days and told me that he forgave me for the stupid things I did and said back then. He held me in his arms and we cried together for the wrongs we had done and all the years lost. Years in which we would have been friends still only we have both been too stubborn and prideful to admit how horribly we treated one another and how little either of us deserved it. We hurt each other dreadfully back then.

Many times over the years I have tried to locate him. I want in the worst way to say: “I’m sorry.”

I awoke with such a sense of peace. It was as if the conversation of my dreams really happened. In my mind it has happened about a thousand times.

I don’t suppose we really get second chances in this life. I know I wish I could undo the stupid, unkind and dangerous things from my past, but they are there, lurking, with all their warts, to haunt me. Just the opportunity to say I’m sorry would help me more than I could imagine, but to date I have been denied even that.

So here goes: “Mitchel, wherever you are, I’m sorry. So very sorry for my hurtful actions and the stupid things I said. I would like it very much if we could be friends again. I know you would be proud of me if you could see me today. I have a happy life with a loving husband and the cutest little boy in the world, but I have missed having you as a friend. I look forward to an opportunity to reconnect. Love always, Your Favorite Russian”

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Looking out on the world

I have been raving to my friends about the new windows we had installed in our home last month. The bay window I splurged on has been the subject of debate and conjecture.

I finally stained the inside trim and covered the cornice board. Chris hung the blinds and cornice board this week and so the inside work is complete. I am not posting a photo of the outside until the weather warms and I have a chance to paint. Right now it remains a bit strange looking, but after exterior paint it will look like it grew there.

As you can see it is beautiful and really adds to the family room. I love it and I'm so glad I took the advice of my friends. You were right. It is just hard for me to spend that kind of money on myself, especially with my husband in the background saying . . . "You do whatever you want, dear."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This is my life

How challenging it is.

The exhaustion is emotional, mental and physical.

How can one so small take so much?

I love him.

He wears me out.

Everything is new.

The laughter flows.

The world is amazing.

The tears just come.

I am wrung like a sponge.

Days go by in a blurr.

I cannot catch my breath.

I am trapped.

Life and time flies.


I yearn for yesterday.

Can I turn back the clock and relax?

Can I rediscover solitude and silence?

Oh, for a carefree day.

Will those days come again?

Will I recognize them?

Will they look like something else?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm getting smarter

Thankfully our son has given up on the peanutbutter toast and banana diet. He started it about the first of November and finally gave it up a couple of weeks ago. If you are considering it, I can’t say I recommend it. He did manage to both gain weight and grow while on it.

For reasons known only to himself, he decided the only things he was going to eat were peanutbutter toast and bananas. He would drink milk and juice to go along with, but not much in the way of other foods. Oh, an occasional Nutra Grain bar and Fruit Loops, but those hardly count as real food.

He went from being this sweet little baby who would eat anything and everything, with a particular fondness for vegetables, to a monster toddler who would spit out everything you put in his mouth. I learned a lot about stubbornness and toddlerhood in the past two months; things I wish I never knew.

However, we seem to be past all that. For now. I am well aware of the fact that it could return and blind-side me on some idle Tuesday.

So he is branching out again. Very slowly and very tentatively.

I find myself buying foods I never dreamed I would ever have in my house. Fish sticks. Banquet chicken nuggets, “not the Tyson brand, thank you very much, I will spit those out.” Nutra Grain bars, which I find to be a little cardboardy, but Liam loves them and at least they aren’t complete garbage. Goldfish crackers. Fruit Loops. Spaghetti-Os. In short, kid food.

He has yet to get wise to the ways in which Mom tries to trick him into eating something he likely doesn’t want. For instance, today for lunch we had green macaroni and cheese. He has recently decided that macaroni and cheese is OK. Today I threw in about ½ a cup of pureed spinach. He’s going to eat his vegetables one way or another. Actually this worked quite well, I tasted a spoon or two. Trust me when I tell you, if you don’t care for vegetables (but we all need to eat them, right?) this was the best. The color was a bit off-putting, but flavor-wise it was macaroni and cheese. Liam certainly fell for it.

I also put cooked, diced carrots in his Spaghetti-Os. That works for him, too. I don’t know how well they are actually disguised, I cannot abide Spaghetti-Os. I bought them out of desperation when we were trying to find something he would eat. Now he seems to like them, in moderation, too many days in a row is not acceptable.

So we are in the process of learning what works and doesn’t work with this new “Mr Independent” Liam. Just about the time we think we have it figured out, everything will change again, but for now we are getting smarter. I thank God that Liam continues to be cute as a bug’s ear and incredibly sweet when asleep. Both of these are very good things as I would have either given him away or smothered him otherwise.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"String too short to use"

10) I love that I call this “String too short to use.” That way no matter what day I manage to get it posted, it’s not late!

9) The Bible study I have been attending on Thursday evenings since just before Christmas is going to wrap up next week and we are going to take a week off, and then we are coming back together on February 5 for the first of 4 craft nights. I am excited. Then after that we will come back to a Bible study and then just switch back and forth. I love it. I may yet get some of my UFOs taken care of!

8) Worked my tail off today. I mentioned on Facebook that I wasn’t going to get a three-day weekend. I must work Monday. Chris is off so I have built-in childcare. He gets to be Dad for the day and I get to print W2s, W3s, 1099s and 1096s for all my clients. It will be a busy Monday for me. However, I have decided I will have a three-day weekend after all. I am taking tomorrow off. And I can do that . . . I’m the boss.

7) I live in a house of horrors. The place makes me shudder and cringe. It is so dirty and messy. My tolerance for that is better than it used to be (or worse depending on your point of view), but still, I believe we have reached patent pending. Must clean. Must clean.

6) My bay window is spectacular! I absolutely love it and it was absolutely worth it. I have to stain and finish the inside trim and then I will post the promised pics for all to see, but trust me, it is wonderful. It makes the family room seem larger and I could just stand and look out at the backyard for hours.

5) Two of my good friends and I are planning a pilgrimage to Portland. It is only three hours away, but I haven’t been there in quite some time. Fabric Depot has been calling my name. We will spend hours there and I will dream up new projects and fun things to create. It is Mecca for fabric people. 73,000 square feet of fabric, patterns and notions! What’s not to like?

4) I watched the “Golden Compass” yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, do so. It was wonderful. I love sci-fi/fantasy so it was right up my alley. The premise of daemons was fascinating to me. What a lovely idea. I have been thinking ever since about what form my daemon would take. I’m going to come up with something and give it a name, too. I guess I still have enough of a kid in me to want to believe they really could exist.

3) My mom gave Chris and I the coolest gift for Christmas. Actually it was the coolest in more ways than one. She got us a gallon of huckleberries, frozen of course. If you’ve never had them, you’re missin’ out. They have a flavor all their own, a bit like a blueberry only way, way, way much better. A gallon ain’t cheap, but it will go a long way. I am going to start by making a batch of jam this weekend and then I will still have enough left for muffins and pancakes and scones and . . . YUM!

2) Filing. I believe filing is a four-letter word. I love numbers and spreadsheets and debits and credits, but man, oh, I do not like to file. It seems to come with my profession, and I dislike it intensely. Hate is a strong word, one I don’t use very often, but I think it applies here. I hate to file.

1) If you were to pick the one thing that always makes you smile, what would it be?

Too easy: when my son, Liam, smiles, I smile.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"String MUCH too short to use"

5) There are people in this world who should be and should want to be a part of Liam’s life, both family and friends, who have never acknowledged his existence, no cards, phone calls, visits or gifts to commemorate his arrival, special days or events. This upsets me. These are people he should be connected to and they have made no effort to maintain or even begin a relationship with him. I just don’t get it, especially in light of my dad’s passing. Dad would “be here for Liam” if he possibly could, and these people could, but choose not to. It makes me both sad and angry.

4) Liam started walking three days before Christmas! It is now a constant foot race at our house. Holy *#^+ is he ever quick. He also has 1st year molars on the right side, both top and bottom. None on the left and no eye teeth yet, but his doctor had said molars could come first.

3) Thanks to our cat, we have a mouse in our house. Malcolm brought it in through the pet door and turned it loose. I can’t figure out how this stupid cat can catch mice outside, but as soon as he gets them in the house and lets them go, he is completely inept. No way can he recapture them. This one’s smarter than our previous house guests, it has managed to elude traps set on its behalf as well.

2) Our three new windows will be installed on Monday. I can’t wait. I have been frantically painting the exterior trim boards so they will match our current color scheme. Plum, doncha know. Those of you who advised me will be so proud. I said hang the expense and ordered the bay window for the family room. Never let it be said I didn’t do my part to repair the sagging economy.

1) I have been hurrying to finish paraments for ordinary time. You know, the green ones. Then a couple days ago I looked at the church’s calendar and realized: Lent is purple, Easter is white, Pentecost is red. We won’t need the green ones until sometime in June, and I must finish white and red before that! So I am now designing white and red, and then I will come back to the green.

Yes, only five this time. I couldn't come up with any more today and needed to get some of this posted before it was all oh, too late.