Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Back From Vacation

The kids and I took a road trip this summer for the first time.  We drove from Austin TX, to Gastonia NC... 1200 miles one way, just the three of us.  We stopped in Fairhope AL to see family on the first leg of the trip, then stayed in NC for three weeks.

I wondered if I was crazy, honestly, but everything went so very well.  The girls were angels, the drive really didn't bother me, and we had loads of fun and adventures!  I would do it again in a minute.

We are back now, though, and I miss vacation.

Actually, more to the point, I miss home.  I miss NC more than I thought.

I miss knowing everything about the area where I live, always having someone around to talk to, always being included in outings, and being only a few hours from both the mountains and the beach. It can get mighty lonely living in a city where you only really know a handful of people, and in a state that is so big it takes you the entire day to drive across it (lookin' at you, Texas).

So, yeah... I'm a little bummed to be back in TX.  I miss my people, and my nice little home state.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I'm Awake, Because This Parenting Thing Is HARD

It's nearly one o'clock in the morning, and even though I am bone-tired and utterly exhausted, I'm awake.

Tonight I took some cold medicine, and curled up in my bed with a book.  I was feeling sleep curling around the edges of my body, seeping into my bones, and dragging me into that peaceful place you only know when your eyes are closed and your brain is resting.  Was.  Then there was a knock at my door.

Kid 1:
"I don't know what's wrong with me.  I feel so depressed."

We've been so sick the last week, the two of us.  She's been on a new medicine, and it's not quite ingrained in my head yet that it's a fixture, and I MUST REMEMBER.  I've been so focused on getting her well from this monster cold that I completely spaced out on giving her this medicine - for days.  The medicine for her anxiety.  Great job, Mom.

I go upstairs to try to help in any way I can, soothe her, give her the meds, get her into a warm bath, etc.

Kid 2:
(stops me)
"Hey, Mama.  :(  I'm so lonely."

The kids have been having trouble finding common ground/getting along these days, more than ever. Their interests have diverged widely, one of them is in the clutches of puberty while one is still clinging to dolls, they fight, they hurl insults... it's been a rough ride lately.  This is VERY hard for Kid 2, who is incredibly sensitive, and craves the connection she's not getting.

I do what I can, promise that we will find a place tomorrow where she can get plenty of interaction with other kids her age.

The long and short of all this?
I feel like a failure.
That lovely sleep that was closing in on me was gone in a flash, replaced with worry, my mind tallying up all the many ways I'm screwing my kids up.

I love them so much it takes my breath away, but the emotional toll of parenthood sometimes makes me want to buckle.  I don't just feel badly for them, I FEEL it too.  I feel it, and I feel the weight of failure like a brick tied around my body, because I couldn't or didn't stop it.

I'm up in the early morning hours now, wondering how everyone else does it.

How do other parents weather this without drowning under the weight of the emotions?  How do they keep it together, and when they don't, how do they keep the worry and guilt from rendering them sleepless and anxious?

I never knew how lonely and emotionally taxing being a Mom could be.
I'm not really sure I would have believed it if someone had told me... at the very least, I wouldn't have grasped it, not really.  I've been through a lot, so I thought I was prepared.  I wasn't.  I'm not.  You're never prepared.  There's a saying that being a parent means having your heart walking around outside your body... there was never a more accurate statement.  I wasn't prepared for what it would feel like to have my heart walking around outside my body, unguarded, and not be able to protect it.

This is effing rough.  It's rough, and I'm awake, but I'm sure I'm not really alone.

I wonder how many other Moms are awake worrying, and beating themselves up over their failures tonight?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." - Buddha

How many times have I done something that diminished, devalued, or sabotaged myself?
So. many. times.

I have prostrated myself at the feet of people who didn't deserve my submission.
I have taken shit from people and gone back for more.
I have accepted apologies given insincerely.
I have accepted apologies that were never given.
I have allowed myself to be used by people I loved, because I wanted their love.
I have believed awful things people said about me.
I have believed that I'm not worthy of love, because love has failed me so spectacularly in the past.
I have talked badly about others to make myself feel better, or powerful.
I have drank to excess to avoid my bad thoughts about myself.
I have hidden under a million excuses, because I'm so afraid of failing.
I have rejected love from those who give it to me, because I'm afraid to become attached/get hurt.
I have accepted little more than scraps from people I cared deeply about, and told myself it was better than nothing.

This shit is horrible.

If my daughters came to me and confessed this, it would break my freaking heart.
Imagining my little girls thinking so little of themselves, or being so afraid that they would do the things I've listed, breaks my heart.

Frankly, I've always thought of the things on this list in terms of ME... what I can handle, what I can deal with, how much I can take.  A few times, I've let my mind wander to a place of 'what-if'... what if my girls were telling these things to me?  How would I feel? It didn't have the impact it should have, because it's a theoretical, I think.  But today, in the car, I thought:

"If my Mom really knew all these things, she would be so sad."

My Mom would be sad.  It's a concrete thing, not a theoretical.
I have done so many things, and diminished myself in so many ways, and my Mom would feel sad, and like a failure to know that her daughter has rolled over so many times, has internalized bad feelings about herself, and allowed fear to dictate so much of her life.

I don't want to do this anymore.
How can I be a strong role-model for my daughters if I'm hiding, afraid to love, afraid of confrontation, afraid of loss?

Turning this around is going to have to start with allowing those who don't really care for me to slip away, focusing on those who love me, and being brave enough to live my life on my terms.

I wish it was simple.
I wish I had my old, fearless ways back.
I wish I hadn't wasted so many years feeling diminished and unworthy.

It's not simple, but I have to believe that it's doable.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Mortality Sucks

Sad post today, y'all.

I'm feeling very shaken up and out of my comfort zone these days, especially today.  Mortality is a bitch, and every once and a while she likes to remind you that she's part of your story, too.

I'm staring 40 in the face (T-minus 4 months, 4 days) and mortality feels less and less like an abstract concept, and more like a waiting game, or a roulette wheel.

December 19, 2016 my sister lost her 20 year-old son, while he was in the Army, stationed in NY. The details of his passing aren't known, but he wasn't ill, wasn't in an accident, no foul play... just gone.  20 years old, and gone.  The unfairness of this just takes my breath away.  As a mother, it terrifies me and breaks my heart to the core - her baby is gone.  How do you keep breathing, walking, driving, working, paying bills, etc. when your baby is gone?  It is incomprehensible.

Today I received bad news about a friend.  This friend is almost exactly the same age as me (within months) and she had a heart attack a few months ago.  She was saved, and has been waiting for months to get stronger so that she can have a heart pump, and eventually a heart transplant (her only hope, as her heart only operates at less than 20% now).  Today she found out that neither the heart pump or the transplant are an option anymore.  Her body is too weak, and can't tolerate the drugs she would need to be on to make the procedures successful.

This woman, this friend of mine, is my age.  MY AGE, and she found out today that hospice care is how she will spend the remainder of her 6-9 months that the doctors estimate she will have until her heart gives up the fight.  6-9 months.

Did I mention that this woman has two little girls, younger than my own?  The news has knocked me for six - I fully expected her to triumph.  If anyone, I thought it would be her.  She's an amazing woman, a kind, compassionate soul, and a fighter.  I can't believe that she's been stripped of her tools to fight this.  6-9 months to live a life that should have been 40 years longer.  It's not fair.

The day after Christmas, my siblings' cousin died from cancer.
Rob was only in his 50's, and he's gone.  His daughter moved up her wedding day by a year so he could be there.  He fought hard, but it wasn't enough.  He died calling his dead uncle's name, with one of his four brothers at his side.

Several months ago, my oldest brother had a stroke - his second, according to doctors.  He's 58, and has had two strokes.  The fear I feel thinking about this makes me sick to my stomach.  We are so lucky that he survived and is recovering well... so lucky.  But my God, does it make you sit up and take notice.

Suddenly the things that happened to 'other people' are happening all around me, to those I know and love.  When I see these things happening one after the other, 40 doesn't seem so young anymore.  40 seems scary, because after that comes 50 and 60, and more risks, more health problems, more people that I know and love succumbing to the trials of life and health.

Life is so uncertain, y'all.  It's so beautiful, but so uncertain.
If you love someone, tell them.  Don't assume they know.  Do it for them, and for yourself, because life is short.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Max, the Bengal

So, I haven't posted much (if any?  I don't remember.) about our newest family member, Max.
Max is an 8 month old Bengal cat.
Max is ridiculously cute.
He is fun, playful, beautiful, and SO entertaining.
Max is also kind of evil.  LOL!

Where to begin, with how Max has 'enriched' our lives (mine, most specifically)...

***************MAX'S RAP SHEET****************

Well, he likes cups.  Preferably full cups, sitting unattended.
Little Jerk (which is his other, more commonly used name) enjoys spilling things a great deal, and it's even better if you are around to see his handiwork.  He will make eye contact, and bat that glass right off the counter.  He dumped a full cup of water all over the flour and box of salt I bought for Thanksgiving dinner, necessitating a last-minute trip to the store.

Max has broken:
3 mason jars
2 drinking glasses
1 (purple) fiestaware plate
1 wine glass (and a partridge in a pear tree)
and the top tier of my glass cupcake/dessert stand.

Shortly after he came home with us, I discovered the hard way that LJ (little jerk) enjoys peeing in cramped, dark spaces.  I found out when my dirty laundry suddenly smelled like ammonia.  Yeah, he likes to pee in there... so I replaced them all with lidded hampers, and threw several items of clothing away, because, EW.

One day Ella's hamster escaped his cage.
The cat found him before I did, and now Muffin only has one eye.  Poor Muffin.  :(

Obviously I was concerned when Christmas rolled around, because, tree + evil cat... you do the math.  Well, the tree is pretty much safe, but I cannot say the same for my sock monkey ornament.  Max has managed to steal my sock monkey twice, now.  The first time I got him back, put him higher on the tree, and I thought that was the end of it.

NOPE.

A week later, I'm tucking Ella into bed, and I spot my sock monkey ornament in her closet, tucked among the rest of her stuffed animals.

So I'm all "Ella, what is sock monkey doing here?"
She is genuinely mystified, like IDK, I didn't put it there.  Then the lightbulb goes off, and she yells "MAX!  MAX IS TRYING TO FRAME ME!"

Yep.  He took it and dragged it into her room in the night.  (Hers is the only bedroom he has access to at night.)  LJ tried to make sock monkey 'blend in' with the other stuffed animals.

Max also loves toilets.
LOVES.
You have to make sure to close the lid before you flush, or he will try to play with your TP.  GROSS.

I will end with something he routinely does that makes me very happy:
Max is a great hunter.  Unfortunately, he's housebound, and a little frustrated with his lack of prey. This is Texas, however, and we live in a rental.  A rental with a bit of a bug problem.  And damn, everything is definitely bigger in Texas!

Every night my little jerk kills cockroaches the size of my nose, and does a damned good job of it.  He makes me proud.  Damn it, all the wet counters/floors/food, and broken dishes are worth it!

NOTE TO ANYONE READING THIS:
Bengal cats are seriously like having an incredibly agile toddler in your house.  Everything you love will be in jeopardy.  Plan accordingly.  LOL!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

DAR Days

So, I'm 'official' now.

I got my NSDAR number, and yesterday I attended my first 'real' meeting, and induction.

Yes, folks, I'm now a proud member of the DAR, Lohmann's Ford Chapter.  :D

I'm proud to be a part of this organization for many reasons, but I have to admit that a big reason is that I finally feel... legitimate.  If you know me, you know something of my convoluted origins, and what a mess my father made of things.  To know that I was able to unravel his mess, and amass enough proof to satisfy the DAR's standards, feels really good.

I feel like less of a freak, and more like an ordinary person, with an ordinary family.

It's nice to be a part of something bigger than myself - especially an organization that prides itself on historical preservation and genealogy, two things I have grown to love and care passionately about. And thanks to one of my patriot ancestors, David Parker (who provided support and supplies to the revolution), I am able to do that!

I'm just feeling very pleased, and wanted to put that out there.  :)

I can't wait to get started/get more involved!

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Nutritionist (aka: How a Pre-Teen Can Suck the Life Out of You)



I visited the nutritionist with my pre-teen today.
Lord have mercy, help me Jeebus.

The nutritionist.

I honestly thought that was just a thing that new-agey, hippy-type people did.  You know, the same people that swear by essential oils, chi, feng shui, and vegan diets... not hating if you do any of those things, they've just never interested me.

But now...
Now, I have a vegetarian daughter, and another daughter seeing a nutritionist.  I hereby eat my words/thoughts, in a big way.  I am far more progressive than I ever thought I'd be.  (Maybe it's Austin?  It IS the liberal hotbed of TX... but I digress.)

BUT... my daughter did not WANT to see the nutritionist, as was evidenced by her behavior during our appointment.

Think of every sarcastic phrase, every indifferent teen stereotype, and every disinterested pose you have ever seen/heard... then imagine a very tall, very thin pre-teen employing them in a very haughty nature toward a well-meaning, young, enthusiastic nutritionist.

Yeah.  That.  It was FUN.  /Sarcasm
(I have no idea where she gets it from)

Anyway, yeah... kiddo is 74 lbs, and over 5 feet tall.  Deja vu.  I weighed 66 lbs in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.  My doctor told my mom "Quit worrying.  She'll eat when she's hungry, and her body will catch up."  I didn't break 100 lbs until my senior year of High School.  I was a size 2 until I was 20....

But, at any rate, I think my body has finally caught up and then some... but that's a topic for another day.

Methinks it might be genetic.

But hey...
The doctors are worried, and we have the money, so sure... nutritionist.

I'm pretty sure my kid scarred her a little.
She seemed so enthusiastic, and so earnest... but my ASD kid who doesn't make eye contact, but is heavy on the sardonic comments and defiant questioning seemed to throw her.  *sigh*  Lets just say it was a LONG meeting.

I felt so badly about it that I ended up going to the first available food shop and buying things she recommended, to get this show on the road.

The only problem?
It was Whole Foods.  You see, I felt really bad.
Now I'm broke and will be subsisting on ice cubes and white bread.
But hey - double win.  The kid gets all the things she needs to GAIN weight, and I LOSE weight.  Ice cubes will do that to a person.  They don't call it "Whole Paycheck" for nothing!

Anyway, IDK.
I'm not sure that Greek yogurt and olive oil can effectively combat genetics.  We'll see....





Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sew Happy!

Just sharing my most recent work in the quilting world.  :)
I've been dabbling in fabric pet portraits, and I've been finally cutting up my vintage sheet/textile collection to make quilts.  It was scary to cut them up, I've gotta be honest!

First up, my fabric pet portraits:




Next up, my vintage sheet/textile collection quilts:





I'm actually really pleased with my progress lately.  My technical skills are improving, and I'm feeling much more confident in my abilities.  I'm miles away from where I started, and about ready to start selling a bit.  :)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happiness

What is happiness?
I really think that's something that everyone thinks they already know, am I right?

I mean, what is the initial reaction when you think about what happiness is?

I think, initially, a lot of people think very, very macro about happiness... and that alone keeps us very, very discontent.

When I was young, I thought of happiness as a very macro idea - very large, the ultimate THING in life.  I placed way too much importance on that ideal of what it would take to be HAPPY - it almost consumed me, reaching for that brass ring.

I was wrong.
I run into young people every day who have it wrong.
Why are we holding our lives hostage to some mythical ideal of 'happiness'?
Why do we feel frustrated and miserable because we haven't achieved it?

We are looking at it wrong.
Happiness isn't a goal.

Happiness is:

A lick and a cuddle from a puppy.
A kiss goodnight from your kid.
The smell of a storm coming.
A really great ice cream sundae.
A day so oppressively hot that when you step outside, the pavement shimmers, and the smell of honeysuckle permeates the air.
The roar of the ocean.
Bare feet on grass.
The sun warming your face.
A cold bottle of water after mowing the grass.
A great song on the car radio, and the wind blowing in your face.
A completed job.
A sincere smile from a stranger.
Just making it before the light turns red.
Slipping into a hot tub when the air turns chilly.
Liking what you see in the mirror, at least some of the time.
Turning to the first page of a new book.
Truly not giving a damn what other people think of you.
Being brave.
The happy bustle in the airport.
Kids running through a sprinkler.
That tingle in your gut when you throw your head back on a swing.
A fire in the fire pit on a fall night.
The smell of lavender.
Cool sheets on a hot night.

It's not a goal.  It's a thousand little things that, if you stop to enjoy them, are beautiful on their own. When I say I want my kids to be happy, I mean that I want them to notice life... I want them to appreciate the many, many gifts of happiness in an ordinary day.  I don't want them to think as I did... to constantly chase this elusive 'thing', this ideal, that just doesn't exist.

Happiness is everywhere.  You don't earn it, you don't achieve it, and you can't anchor it and make it stay forever... catch it in snatches, because that's how it comes.

It's always around.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer Break, Graduation, and Vacation - Lets Do This!

Tuesday.

Tuesday, the 7th.  I can do this... I can hang in there until Tuesday the 7th, when we get the heck out of here, and head to NC for my niece's graduation.

Did you catch that?  MY NIECE'S freaking GRADUATION.  Grace is 18, and graduating from Highland Tech on the 10th.  My baby niece who walked down the aisle at my wedding (at three years old) with her daddy as her 'flower girl helper'.  My baby niece who brought her stuffed monkey 'Brothie' everywhere for ages.  My niece who, when she was a baby in 1998, brought some of the only joy to my life during what was one of the hardest years I've ever known.

So yes.  That baby is graduating High School, and I am floored that the years have flown by so quickly.  In the blink of an eye, that baby is grown.  I am so pleased (and weepy) to be heading back to my hometown to celebrate with her.

Plus, I'm ready for a break; a suspension of normal life and everyday jobs and expectations.

Today is a good start - it's the first day of Summer Break, and I can already feel the stress kind of melting away.  Not worrying about sickness, school drop-offs and pick-ups, homework, grades, and the other issues that come along with school is a relief.  So far.  Ask me in a few weeks, and I'll probably be willing to sell my soul to move the back-to-school date up a month.  LOL!

But for now, I am peaceful.  I enjoy summer so much, and I'm really looking forward to a lot of lazy days of sun, games, movies, and sleeping in.  :D

Summer, bring it!  Let me have some of that brutal Texas sunshine I've heard so much about - I'm ready for you, I can handle it!