You are such a special, wonderful girl. You have been a part of our lives for what feels like forever and I wanted to give you a token of what you mean to me, to us. You were there for Brittany during her darkest hour, and I can say with certainty that without you, she wouldn’t be us today. Thank you for that.
I know how difficult your life has been…how hard it is to not feel wanted or loved. You are wanted. And you are loved - certainly by us and so many other people in your life. I know that you want to be taken care of, to feel appreciated, to have things feel easy for once – and it is the experiences that have made you feel this way that are going to make you the most fantastic adult, the most loving parent (please not anytime soon!), and the best friend a person can have.
Remember these things, and do not sell yourself short. In spite of how you sometimes feel, you have so much to offer someone, and you deserve to be treated well, to be appreciated, to be wholly and completely loved for exactly who you are.
Merry Christmas. Love, Charlise, Brittany (and the rest of the Kindsfather clan)
This is totally lifted from An Ordinary Life:
I have highlighted the ones that I can do in bold.
1. Build a Fire
2. Operate a Computer
3. Use Google Effectively
4. Perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver
5. Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle
6. Do Basic Cooking (I am actually a very good cook)
7. Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention - I am not sure I am that good at this...
8. Win or Avoid a Fistfight – I suppose I can avoid them just fine, as I have never been in one outside of my brother...but I am also quite certain that if I were to get in one, I would get my butt kicked.
9. Deliver Bad News. This I suck at.
10. Change a Tire
11. Handle a Job Interview (I have Microsoft to thank for this - their process was HARD, YO)
12. Manage Time
13. Speed Read
14. Remember Names
15. Relocate Living Spaces
16. Travel Light - although I do tend to check baggage at the airport because of contact lens cleaner and such
17. Handle the Police
18. Give Driving Directions - I can give them, however I am very limited in where I know how to get without google maps or my GPS. God, I love my GPS.
19. Perform Basic First Aid
21. Parallel Park
22. Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits – I just don't drink anymore. At all. So it is pretty easy.
23. Select Good Produce
24. Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw
25. Make a Simple Budget
26. Speak at Least Two Common Languages - While I have learned Spanish, I promptly forgot all of it...ahhh, the mind is a funny thing, no?
27. Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups Properly
28. Give a Compliment
29. Negotiate - this is a funny one. I don't like to negotiate, or so I claim, however I am actually quite good at getting what I want, so I must possess this skill in some fashion, right?
30. Listen Carefully to Others - always a great skill to have and one I have to personally work on ALL THE TIME. Huh? Were you just talking to me????
31. Recite Basic Geography - Hey! I do to know where Texas AND Indiana are. Also, Tazmania, Fiju, the Congo, and Prague.
32. Paint a Room
33. Make a Short, Informative Public Speech
35. Flirt without Looking Ridiculous - What? This comes in handy. Shut up. It does too.
36. Take Useful Notes
37. Be a Respectful House Guest - at least I think so... god, I hope so.
38. Make a Good First Impression
39. Navigate with a Map and Compass - I have not done this since, oh, grade school, but that counts, right?
40. Sew a Button onto Clothing
41. Hook up a Basic Home Theater System - perhaps I could, but I don't have to - Todd does that. Thank god.
43. Protect Personal Identity Information
44. Implement Basic Computer Security Best Practices
45. Detect a Lie - I am quite good at this. Ask my kids. They get away with NOTHING.
46. End a Date Politely Without Making Promises - you have no idea how happy I am that I don't have to do this. I really am not a fan of dating.
47. Remove a Stain
48. Keep a Clean House
49. Hold a Baby - am also good at eating babies feet - NOM NOM NOM (yes Laurie, I am thinking of Abby)
50. Jump Start a Car
I can see quite clearly where my children get their sense of humor: dry, quick, ruthless.
We have had a busy weekend full of doctor visits, family coming in town (Hi Diedre!), pool table building, horse visiting, car key finding, debit card finding, senior center evaluating, cooking, eating out, furniture removing, kid wrangling and more. It was fun and tiring and sad. It was the stuff that life is made of.
I have written about my intrigue with Mt. Everest before. I have always wanted to summit that ridiculously dangerous mountain. No, I don’t care that people die doing it. No, I don’t care about ice crevasses. No, I don’t care about the lack of oxygen, the months of training, the ice climbing classes, the unpredictable storms. I have simply always wanted to try to make it to the top. But I won’t.
I have written about my intrigue with Mt. Everest before. I have always wanted to summit that ridiculously dangerous mountain. No, I don’t care that people die doing it. No, I don’t care about ice crevasses. No, I don’t care about the lack of oxygen, the months of training, the ice climbing classes, the unpredictable storms. I have simply always wanted to try to make it to the top. But I won’t.
I don’t think dangerous endeavors are the things coveted by people with families…moms with children…people with loved ones that they do not want to leave to wonder through life alone. At least that is my reasoning. As much as I would LOVE trying to do the impossible, it simply isn’t worth the risk to me anymore. Perhaps at an earlier time in my life – a time when I was young, single, had money and no obligation – oh, wait – THAT WAS NEVER ME. So, I suppose it was never really a reality.
The closest I will ever come to the peak of Everest is base camp. And I even wonder about the reality of that. A flight to Katmandu is not inexpensive. It isn’t really a “family vacation” – at least not one you take small boys on. Not my small boys anyway. I can barely keep track of them in the mall play area. I cannot imagine the mayhem involved in controlling them in that environment… “don’t eat that”, “don’t drink that”, “stop touching that frozen dead body”, “come here, come here, come here” – not even close to a vacation.
And yet, it still occupies my thoughts. No – I won’t ever try… But still…
I think it is this ongoing craving to see the magic mountain that sparked the same desire in my oldest daughter – and I have to admit that it makes me quite happy. I read Into Thin Air to Cassie when she was in first grade. I think she immediately decided that she was going to climb Everest, and I have encouraged it ever since that November night way back in 1996. She doesn’t plan to have a family. She doesn’t want children. She wants to work for the government and do spy stuff for a living…it is a perfect (even possible) dream for her. I don’t know if she will go through with climbing at all, or will be satisfied with base camp. I can say with certainty, if I were in her shoes, nothing could stop me from at least trying to beat the mountain.
Our family has been touched with what we are guessing is Alzheimer's and I have to say that I am not a fan.
being up all last night. I am not far behind him - banking 4 hours of
sleep at 6am.
Hopefully tonight will be better, quieter, less dramatic.
How was your new school?
Did you make new friends?
One boy...but I don't know his name. One boy hitted me.
He said I took his acorns. But I didn't. I founded them on the ground.
Did you tell your teacher?
How did that make you feel? Were you sad?
It made me feel confused.
You will start a new preschool on Monday. I think you are both excited, however I cannot be sure how you will adjust until your first few days are passed. Your grandmother has taken care of you most days since you were born...you were very lucky that we had that option. I think it has created a special bond that most kids don't experience. Unfortunately you are both wild, strong willed, exhausting boys and have become too much for her. What we are speculating is Alzheimer's is eating away at her memory and confidence, leaving the two of you at risk. While things might be fine the way they are, I am not able to make myself comfortable with it so we have decided to put you in full time care outside the home. This has been really hard on all of us, but mostly your father. He is so afraid of hurting his mom and loves her so much...I understand those feelings all too well, but don't know how to make them go away or lighten the load.
You are obnoxious and clearly tired, or hungry, or both. We head out to grab some sandwiches for dinner - what is supposed to be a break for me but ends up being more work than it appears worth. You both fight all the way there about the direction the sun is setting, what is playing on the radio and how the other is OHMYGOD breathing! You whine and cry about 1) wanting a drink 2) about wanting different chips 3) about wanting peanut butter and jelly (which damnit child - we are already getting you) and 4) about something I cannot even understand. The threats of time out are unending, as is your tolerance for said threats. You stomp around mumbling about how you will do what you want when you want and something else that I am certain translated to "f-you, bitch" in 4-year-old-speak. You end up in the threatened time out and then fake-cry while sitting there. You are mean and unhappy and want the world to know it. Within 2 minutes back in the car, you are both asleep. As I am carrying you into the house, your head nestled against my neck, your breathing steady and sweet, I think how lucky I am that you are in my life.
I never seem to get this thing right - the whole eating right and exercising thing. While I can manage the eating right OR the exercise part, I seldom successfully combine both for a cohesive sustainable solution. You know what I mean? I have months where I am obsessed with the exercise - I do the 30 day shred, I run, I mix in the gym. And then I think "wow - I really should eat right too" and head off in the eating right direction, only to leave working out on the side of the road all battered and abused.
I have spent the past 11 years working for a widely dispersed company – one where a good part of the work force worked from home or out of offices located across the country. I am used to not seeing the people I work with. In fact, I never met some of the people that I worked with regularly. It was simply how work was done. However in spite of that, I worked in the home office, and had an opportunity to stay plugged in at all times.
My new company is very different in many ways from my old one – and dispersment of the workforce (or rather lack of it) is one of the main differences that I see. The company I work for is in Austin, Texas. I live in Plano, about 3 ½ hours north of there. All of the other employees live in Austin. They all show up at the office every day. They are on kickball, dodgeball, soccer and softball teams together. They are friends. They work closely and are together all of the time. While this didn’t seem like a huge issue when deciding to take the job, it is now weighing fairly heavily on me.
The agreement when hired was that I would remain in Plano, spending time with one of our customers here, traveling to Austin one or two days a week. This seemed like an easy thing to manage – and it still may be. However the real issue is that I feel disjointed, separated, not plugged in – when I am not there. I feel like I am missing some special bond or experience – like an outsider – and like I am not giving as much as the people there.
I work smart. I work hard. I don't slack at home - yet I don't feel as though I am as valuable here. I know that they would like me in Austin more, however I cannot be away that much from my family and not feel like I am missing my kids growing up, missing time with my husband. I am not in a position to move to Austin right now, especially with Brittany still in high school. So what options do I have to balance this out and feel like we are all getting the best out of me?
How about you? Do you work in a company where you are not with the main work force, and if so, how do you manage it? How do you stay plugged in and attentive while not being in the middle of it all? And how do you feel as valuable as you would if you were there all the time?
You love getting the mail. You will sit and look at the names on the letters, trying to determine which piece goes to which person. I have seen you sorting the mail into piles in the entryway – pretending to be reading the address on the front.
You have started playing with “guys” – something you have not really spent much time on in the past. Power Ranger guys were always your brother’s favorite thing, however lately I have seen you carrying them around. Today you had a plastic cowboy with you and you had it in your pocket all day at preschool. You also still love playing with Legos, but your favorite thing to do is wrapping presents. I have no idea why, but you are actually quite good at it.
Your favorite food seems to be sugar pizza or pancakes. You have had pancakes for breakfast every single day since you were around 18 months old – that is a lot of pancakes. And you are not happy unless they are swimming in syrup. You actually say that too – “I want them swimming in syrup” – it is cute, yet annoying.
You have a hard time concentrating on things for very long, preferring to twirl around and sing to yourself. Perhaps you have a future in interpretive dance?
You are playing your second year of soccer this year. You KNOW how to play, and do well in practice, but don’t seem to enjoy playing the games. You told me last week that you like it, but you cannot run as fast as the other kids so you don’t want to really play. I disagree – you run really fast when I am chasing you!
You are also playing baseball for the first time. While you seem to love batting, you don’t seem that excited about being in the outfield.
This is your second year of swimming lessons and you love them. You are able to swim short distances on your own and always seem excited about going to class.
This is also your first year of preschool. You were going three days a week and we just enrolled you in the 5 day a week program. Both you and Cole are learning so much there and always seem excited to go. In less than a year you will be in kindergarten – and I think you will like that too.
You like bounce houses, playing at the park, swinging on the monkey bars, climbing ANYTHING (you climbed the fence last night and couldn’t get down – so you stood out there in the backyard yelling until I came out to help you). You love “yummy lunches” (lunchables) – especially the ones with pudding in them, and teddy grahams.
You love watching Scooby Doo, but we stopped letting you watch it at night, because you kept getting scared. Now you watch Handy Manny and Curious George at night, saving Scooby for daylight hours.
We can always tell when you are hungry, because you turn into a grumpy, obnoxious little boy – but a few bites of food and you are once again our wonderful Roark-a-sour.
You love playing tag and chase at the park. You like being outside playing any sort of game – baseball, soccer, football – as long as we are playing with you.
Another thing you love is playing the Wii. You are quite skilled at it too – beating me senseless in boxing, and showing your skill in baseball and even Tiger Woods Golf. You would play it for hours and hours if we would let you.
You have scored quite a few goals in soccer this year, even though you have backed off a bit lately. Perhaps it is time to move on to football? You love swimming lessons – and have improved a lot over the past few months, now able to swim short distances on your own!
This is your first year of baseball, and you have really taken to it. You can whack the ball far, but the real joy is watching you in the outfield. You go after EVERY SINGLE BALL – no matter where it goes. I have never seen a kid so into the game.
When you are tired, we all have to tread lightly, because you can become quite the grumpy kid. There are many afternoons where you will fall asleep and sleep right through dinner…waking up to eat and then will go to bed fairly well only a few hours later. Must be all that Wiii playing…
You don’t seem very excited about any particular food, except maybe sausage rolls – which you have had for breakfast most mornings for the past two years. We typically buy a few dozen at the donut place up the street and keep them in the freezer so that you can have them every morning.
You love preschool – and your teacher said that you are a fantastic student. This is good because starting today you are going to move from three days a week to five days a week. When I told you this, you clapped and cheered (while your brother mumbled something about being too tired).
You have been telling me that you want a race track every time they advertise them on TV. This fits well with your love for cars and trucks, and all pretend play.
You don’t really like coloring, or doing many crafts, although you will give play dough a try every now and then, losing interest inside a few minutes.
You were the black spiderman this year for Halloween and seemed to enjoy tricker treating – although you don’t really like candy much. In fact, you don’t seem that excited about much sweet, with the exception of strawberry ice cream.
You love watching Handy Many and the occasional Curious George, but don’t like any show where inanimate objects move on their own. Talking or moving furniture, clocks, or pictures scare the daylights out of you, even though you know it isn’t real.
You are our wonderful Coley-Kong.
I have captured all of the entries that were in my mother's notebook. I wish that there was more...I am left feeling like I only began to see a glimpse of the real Nancy. She was such a lonely person, searching for a true friend. She didn't focus on money or things, but kept her sights on love and understanding. She seemed to be such a good person way deep to the core in ways I seldom see in people. She clung to religion to fill a void that the real world couldn't touch and appeared to find some relief here, although she still longed for something more real? Tangible? Sustainable?
I think about the person she was, about the pain she felt and I wish that I could go back in time and let her know that I understand. I feel guilty for not seeing the person that she was when she was alive. I always feel guilty... It is not a child's responsibility to fill that void in their parents' lives, yet I feel like I could have helped her, shown compassion and understanding.
I wonder what happened to end her first marriage. What ended things with Charles? What did they fight about? What were the irreconcilable differences that tore them apart? And why didn't my father stay in our lives?
I wonder what happened to her second marriage. I know that Joe was an alcoholic, although I do not know where I learned this information. Is this what ended their relationship, or was there more to it? Was he abusive to her? To his children? To Shawn? To me? Why did they get an annulment and not a divorce?
So many unanswered questions...
An old couple sitting next to me in the doctor's office, reading the paper, talking about nothing:
---She: "Richard Gere is 60 Today"
He: Pretends to care, yet it is obvious to me that he does not. How could he? It is pointless...uninteresting.
She: My wedding ring is old. I need to have them look at it. I don't want anything to happen to it. What was his name? Yader? Yoder?
He: It's over there on Preston.
She: I know where it is
I do not want to be that couple. I do not want to grow old talking about nothing, meaning nothing but stability or friendship to the other person. I want so much more...
I feel like my mind is beginning to atrophy. Much of the time I feel as though I am merely floating through this life without feeling it, without experiencing it.
I have periodically pledged to be more in the moment, more focused on what I am doing right now, more dedicated to the important things, and almost immidiately find myself slipping back into the mindset of just getting through the day.
There is so much about life that isn't fun or exciting. Some of this shit - well we just have to do it - it has to get done. It isn't life changing or glamorous. And to be honest I don't want to fully live in those moments. I want to pass through them as quickly as possible.
I am never going to enjoy picking up dog crap in the yard, or making those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the boys after they have refused the dinner I spent an hour preparing (also not much fun). I don't like paying bills/reviewing the finances, or shopping for clothes, groceries, god-knows-what. I don't like those things now and I doubt I ever will.
So where does that leave me? I guess more grounded. It is ok to not love every waking moment of this life, because lets face it - sometimes lemons are just lemons and you don't feel like making god damned lemonade. But it also leaves me anxious for those important things in life - the deep conversations, the shared glances, the intimate evenings. I want more of THOSE times - and when in them, I want to realize it and savor it...
Phoned R.C. Char and Rich gone. Talked with Carol - slight edge to her voice - Stated Rich Sr. tried to use Roger's 800# and was unable to get through. When he got other number from Rich, had a business interruption and didn't talk with Roger concerning Rich Sr. conversation with Sergeant Webb.
12:15 Char phoned – Rich is seeing her attitude as being bad. She is unable to concentrate and retain info for her psych exam. Talked with English professor and was told he had been informed by Deans office concerning whole situation. He had been instructed by Dean's office to encourage her to leave school. Stated she had been a good student and would give her earned grade – Very depressed.
5:15 Annette phoned to ask description. Man had been in last night and today who is "creepy" and "strange." He talked about buying shoes there 6 months ago and wanting another pair. Talked about being here from Bloomington – with a woman – dark, attractive, with woman – wedding band.
Gave her Roger's number. Gave her Geoff's number. He had offered to see her for free.
1P Saw Geoff – good ventilation
5:30 Talked with Roger, told about Annette and English professor. Gave me name of support group.
9 Char called – English professor had something so awful he heard from an Ashton manager concerning her. Wants to wait until her exam tomorrow to talk with her. She still unable to concentrate.
Well, now the most interesting aspect of the dating service is the idea of starting a business of my own. I need to explore the services now available and determine if a more competitive approach is possible. Perhaps this would be a good subject for a research project. I like the idea of screening all the applicants, especially the men. I can have first choice on it ___ ___, how I want to own my own business. It will be exciting and stimulating to explore the possibilities and feasibility of marketing a professional service. Some real work will have to go into it.
Today I had a really interesting conversation with a co-worker, Barb. She jokingly mentioned at the end of one of our rare "real sharing times" that I should talk with one of the other employees, Sharon. "Sharon met a man and lost 35 pounds. She's a new woman." Wow, I thought, sounds good to me. So I met Sharon and we had a good old fashioned "girls talk." The rumor was that Sharon has a new outlook on life, weights "25" pounds less, and has a man friend who seems to meeting many of her needs. We talked, I again became aware of my fiercely ____ attitude. How many compromises would I make to _____ relationship? Not many. Would I be willing to make a time commitment to a man? How ____ am I in seeking a ____? I don't know.
This is a day of conflict. My conviction is that Sunday is the Lord's day and He should be worshipped in church. For years, sick or well, rain or shine, my children never questioned on Saturday night or Sunday AM, "What are we going to do on Sunday?" We go to church. One of my reasons for giving up a job was to be able to go to church on Sunday. What did I do this AM? I curled up on the couch, listening to my favorite evangelists and slept until 11:30 AM. My conflict is quilt for staying home not in the morning but also thinking about a movie in the evening! The other part is the absolute joy and freedom I have felt all day long simply puttering around and doing things that never get attended during an average schedule. I need to spend more time in prayer to ____ the truth.
Today was a pleasing day at the office. There's such an undercurrent of unrest. The glittering eyes that don't meet mine, the mouths curving down at the corner. The tight faces and sharp words. The conversations that cease when I walk in the room. What a pleasant atmosphere. Office politics and intrigue! How I abhor them.
How grateful I am for a loving daughter. What a blessing. The joy of seeing her peacefully asleep. The wonder of her smile. The fire of her anger!
Surprise – I've had 2 wonderful low key days – able to think – able to respond and react. Not feeling so angry with a low stress (wall?)
I feel like a very different person when I am able to be more of the person I desire to be and take time with everyone. Just to be able to slow down and smile at a whiny impatient child is a joy.
How curious it is to have to interact with people who are completely opposite in personality and (perspective?) All this in the name of team playing. My perspective is game playing is a better description.
Today is a day I am content to be me. What is contentment really about? "The joy of the lord is my strength." Perhaps I have that Joy – or more than yesterday. Just to be who I am – how wonderful. This is the essence of today – Just to be.
Anger, frustration, tension were all present in my day. Sometimes nothing but contradictions – how can the mind reconcile all the dichotomies?
I'm so grateful that with God all things are possible. How else is there any hope for tomorrow? Of my own self I am nothing. My own control over my world is but a sigh, a puff of air.
What does all the struggle mean? Why do I eat when I'm not hungry?
His face is painted like a clown. He carries a doll with a wand on it. His voice sounds like a 6 year old belying his near adult stature. His clothes – black tuxedo – look odd in contrast to the bland garb of the crowd. His silver shoes with 2 inch platforms do cause unmasked stares. He approaches a group of vacationers sitting in the park listening to the rock group. The conversation he initiates is so bazaar and inappropriate. Certainly he hears the conversation and comments. As he wanders through the groups of families and friends relaxing in the grass, "Boy, who is that weirdo?" seems to typify the reactions.
Who indeed is this young person – male or female is not really established. Where is he/she from? Where or what was the family like that produced him/her? Did he/she dance and play on the beach like the children here today? Is this person here enjoying the performances he /she is presenting or is this his/her reality? Who knows and sadder yet, does anyone care?
We go to Saugatuck at least once a summer season and have been for at least the last 10 years. Our first trip to Oval Beach and then shopping and eating in the village was a highlight in our family memorabilia. The beach house reminded me of something from the late 40s with its cinder-block construction and post WW II plumbing. A few spiders in the john – so what. That added to the mystique. The sand in the hamburgers made them the "best we'd ever eaten." A hamburger at the beach becomes a "family custom." This was an extravagance as in those days we packed our picnics as money was very tight. Admission to the beach was free, and that also helped the budget. We had a large pizza in a mom and pop Italian restaurant and that too has become a family custom. One of the charms for all of us for Saugatuck is the absence of fast food chains and shopping mall franchises. What a delight and surprise each year as we go back to see which of the favorite shops is still open. We grieve over the disappointment of a shop that is closed or replaced.
The atmosphere has always been from a by-gone generation. Value is given to hand crafted items and foods "made from scratch." What a gem of Americana. May it thrive and flourish as a contrast to Westfield Mall.
Outside the night is still. The streets are vacant as the city sleeps.
I lie awake, as I do most nights. I recall the past day, my sucesses and my failures. I remember the funny things Cole said, marvel at how energetic Roark was at 8:30pm, and mentally prepare myself for tomorrow. I am glad nobody else is awake - that I am able to escape the constant demands that seem to never cease during the day.
It is also at night that I try to remember everything I have forgotten. I have for as long as I remember played this little game with myself at night when I am unable to sleep. I close my eyes and try to capture new memories, things I have not thought about for years. I start with a very early, solid memory and try to extend it, try to follow it further ahead or back a few hours, days, years.
Somewhere between the ages of birth and 5, I am able to remember so many more things than I would think possible.
I remember two neighbors from the 'Big House' trying to fly a giant red kite in the church parking lot.
I remember sitting on top of the swing-set belting out "sitting at the top of the world."
I remember watching a scary movie with a hand that crawled around by itself, with my mom and brother.
I remember my parents finding some baby squirrels (or was it rabbits?) outside and bringing them inside to try to save them - they lived in a shoebox for a while (a day? a week?) and then died.
I remember being in sunday school, playing the piano - having a stiff neck so bad that I couldn't move my head at all in either direction.
I remember a little boy (a friend of mine) missing - the whole neighborhood searching for him. We found him hours later, asleep in my dresser drawer where I kept my dolls.
I remember the boy who lived across the street getting in trouble for trying to convince me to play in the rain naked.
I remember the first Christmas after my father left us - when he still felt obligated to send presents. I woke to a living room full of surprises - a cardboard refridgerator and sink, pretend food, play dishes. I also discovered real oranges in my stocking. This made me very happy.
I remember visiting my father's family in Cincinnati and my uncle giving me a stuffed pink weasel for Christmas. For some reason I had always thought my dad gave it to me, but now I actually remember who did (See? The memory game works). I named him Wesley the Weasel. He is in the boys' toybox as I write this.
I remember walking to Kindergarten by myself.
I remember the neighbor girls scraping up their arms with rose thorns and claiming my brother did it. I also remember their mother coming over to our house trying to fight with my mom about the incident. I got locked outside with the crazy neighbor...where I cried and cried on the front porch until my mom let me in. I am still not sure if she let me in before, or after the police showed up. Oh, and crazy-neighbor-lady put her arm through the glass storm door trying to get at my mom.
I remember not wanting to ride in the baby seat on the back of Little Tom's dad's bike to the park - wanting to ride my own bike with training wheels. I also remember getting sent to my room for crying about it - forced to take a nap instead.
I remember being woken up and taken down into the basement during a tornado. We slept there all night.
I remember not picking my toys up after my mom had screamed "for the umpteenth time, put your toys away or I will give them to children who will appreciate them" and watching her stuff evrything in trash bags and take it all out to the garage to be thrown out. I also remember her giving in and letting us keep pretty much all of it.
I remember laying in my crib and throwing my pacifiers out repeatedly so that my papa would come into my room and give them back. He would crawl in, staying out of mi sight, pop his head up so I could see him and then give them back. I would laugh and laugh and we would repeat this until I fell asleep. This may be my earliest memory.
I remember my parents yelling and fighting and my mother slamming the oven door shut - and my father slamming the back door after leaving.
I remember Mrs. Monhock - an evil older lady who would babysit us. I really didn't like her much at all. She washed my mouth out with soap for saying "shut up!"
I remember a little girl stapling her finger in kindergarten and having to go home. I also remember that she missed the oragami lady that came later and tried to show us how to make a swan. We were 5, so there were very few of us who made anything resembling anything other than crumpled paper.
I remember finding candy and makeup in the alley on the way to school (or was it the way home?) and my brother and I hiding it so nobody would know. I also remember eating the candy...we were lucky we didn't kill ourselves!
I remember hiding in a wicker basket at Little Tom's house and them looking all over for me. His dad told me I was lucky there were no snakes in there that day - because they usually kept cobras in there. It was a lie of course, but I didn't know that. I never did that again.
I remember an older kid (as instructed by his mother - who was RIGHT THERE) standing in the middle of his living room facing me, pushing me repeatedly and telling me that I was not invited to his birthday party. I cried and cried - and then hid in a bunch of pillows they had on their futon type matress on the floor in their living room. I also remember this same idiot mother carrying her younger son on her shoulders (the kid that was found in my dresser). He fell off her shoulders and whacked his head on cement. I kind of felt like she deserved to have that happen to her. I felt bad for her son though.
I remember before I had even started kindergarten, I would go to a baysitter's house during the day. The sitter, Mrs Pepper, had a daughter (Wendy?) my age. The highlights of my days in that dark, depressing house were watching the mailman come, and jumping on her mom's bed at naptime. This bed-jumping got me in quite a bit of trouble one time. Some guy (older son? husband? random man?) locked me in the basement, turned off the lights and told me the boogyman was going to get me. I have no idea how long I was down there. I sat on the steps by the door and cried. When they let me out, they made me take a nap in a baby crib because they said I was "being a big baby."
I remember traveling halfway across the country to some farm so that my mom could see the Guru Maharashi. We slept in a barn. My mother fell out of the hay loft one night and broke her arm. I think that is when we went home.
I remember my brother and I stealing rubarb out of the neighbor's garden. We would climb onto our garage roof, sit behind the basketball goal and eat it.
I remember our kitchen being a construction disaster most of the time. I think my dad was either adding on to the house of remodeling the back half. I am not entirely sure he ever finished it. I also remember the bed he built in my room - and how much I loved that it looked like a princess bed - framing the window.
I remember white gloves, a pretty hat, and a new dress and gray coat on Easter Sunday. I felt so perfect.
I remember my brother's prized Tony The Tiger stuffed animal and how he lost it when he ran away from home and hid in the window well at Sunnyside Church.
I remember my brother pretending he was sick so that he could stay up and watch TV when we had babysitters. He would put hot towels on his head and wrap the thermometer in them as well so that they would think he had a fever.
I remember goofing around in my brother's room, ignoring my mother's demands to "go to bed right now" and laughing so hard that I wet his bed - sprinkler style - straight up in the air... This still makes laugh to myself thinking about it now.
I remember eating space sticks. Lots of them. But I don't have any idea what they were made of.
I remember sitting by the heating vent in my room (where my crib had once been) playing with my tea set.
I rememebr my mom's sewing room in the back of her bedroom. And her closet that connected over the stairs to Shawn's closet. I also remember being assaulted by the numerous long-legs spiders that lived in there.
I remember being late for church on Sunday, hiding behind the cardboard refridgerator in my room. I didn't want to go past my closet door because I was convinced there were monsters in there waiting to get me. So I waited there, yelling for my brother to help me until my mother lost her everloving mind and threatened to leave at home alone. My brother finally rescued me.
I remember Uncle Tom bringing us inner tubes for the lake and a giant tractor tire that he made into a sandbox. He wass also our supplier of STP stckers and NFL football pencils (I liked the Steelers and th Dolphins because of the colors)
I remember my brother dropping a crowbar on my foot.
I remember all of the men my mother dated; the science teacher who had a farm, my ski coach, the man in th A frame house who always gave me a new book everytime I saw him, the real estate friend who's daughter was in my class. I was always so quickly attached to them and so sad when I didn't see them again.
I remember all of these things from such an early age. My mother always said that I had the most amazing memory. And yet there is this gap of two years when my mother was remarried. I remember nothing.
Outside the night is still. The streets are vacant as the city sleeps. And I lay here playing the memory game, trying to reveal the hidden one or two years of my life, yet hoping I never do.
"Do you remember when I got so mad at you I ran away from home?" "No," I responded, "tell me more about it." "Well, when we were living in the 'Big House' and you would not let me have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, I got so mad I decided to run away from home. I remember packing my suitcase. I think you helped me. I also made a stack of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to take with us. 'Little Tom' came with me."
Where does time fly? It evaporates like an ice chip in the blazing sun - or like an over-ripe dandelion head in the wake of a storm. Time escapes like a thief - stealing our dreams and phantasies. All those tomorrows - those wonderful golden times we believe are stored up "somewhere" just waiting for us to claim them. Only who has the password, the key, the claim check for this treasure. Did I misplace mine? Did I ever receive it? Where are the rainbows I have been saving for. How do I redeem my lifelong dreams? Where is the husband of my childhood fantasy. Is that green shuttered, rose covered cottage redeemed by a coupon or dream stamps? I suddenly see time compressed with an end in sight. Energy wanes as my ____ of dreams seems to be ____ endlessly out of sight on the horizon. Please stop ....
A friend - what is she, who is he/she. Is there some one to share my joys with, my tears? is there anyone who cares what I think or how I feel. Can I just be me with no masks, no walls, no guards? Is this a dream, a fantasy. I've searched. I've tried. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Perhaps I am out of step with the world. when I tried this approach, I received lukewarm politeness. Be honest about how you feel. I have discovered I was rapidly abandoned with this behavior form. Accept people as they are. I listen to what people profess and proclaim. I see how they respond and behave. What a dichotomy. Who is the hypocrite? Them or me. Am I as I perceive myself to be? Let me be my own best friend. Let me see the world through Jesus' eyes. Then truth will be mine.
Here I am again - exhausted with no energy. Is there really a meaning to all of this activity? What is quality of life?
Todd: So Kids, how many goals did you all score?
Kid 1: I had a hundred!
Kid 2: I had a million!
Kid 3: I had a hundred million!!
Todd: We'll work on counting later...
Verdict is sketchy. Definitely severe dehydration. Possibly heat stroke because of the seizure activity. Maybe dealing with blood clots - or just recovery from everything. The waiting and not knowing kind of sucks.
It has been a whirlwind few weeks. Work is at a critical stage (When isn't it? Huh? TELL ME!) and has been consuming a lot my time. The boys head to preschool tomorrow and Britt starts senior year.
I attempted the shred tonight. It has been about a month since I have bitched at Jillian, and I have to say that I hate her as much as I ever had.
In other news, I am re-gaining interest in writing that history book. And in finding a new career. I am getting anxious for a new challenge and am obscenely jealous of people who love their jobs. Don't laugh, but I would really like a career in advertising. A frind of mine and I were talking and even came up with a name...maybe someday.
For now, I am thinking smaller company, more meaningful job...
I have been recovering from knee surgery well. I am working out a bit, swimming, riding the stationary bike, doing PT exercises. I plan to try The Shred tonight (any haters can keep it to themselves – JAYSON). And yet, I am feeling VERY OUT OF SHAPE. I really miss running. I miss walking long distances. I miss how active I usually am. I hope I can do all of those things again…if not? I will DIE. Or just be a little sad…
* You can't fix stupid
* Sometimes things really are too effed up to fix them
* Someone will ALWAYS miss the big deadline
* There are very few good listeners in the world
* Urgency is apparently in the eye of the beholder
* Bad television is hard to make fun of alone
* Riding the bike? Hurts like a mofo. My Physical therapist can bite me.
* Even if it is not your job, you might as well do it - because in the end? You will end up doing it anyway.
* There are always going to be people who don't agree with you. Sure, it is personal, but it doesn''t really matter.
* When you do your best, the end result may still suck donkey balls - but at least YOU DID YOU BEST
When I was younger (a LOT younger), I did some figure skating. I fell. A lot. My skating days ended when my knees starting acting up, which I attribute to all of the falling. Skating is hard you know. I ended up having both knees scoped in high school, cartilage shaved and debris removed.
During my second marathon, my left knee started hurting - enough to slow us down quite a bit starting around mile 21 or 22. I finished, and continued to run. I have not gotten very high in mileage since then, not beyond a 1/2 marathon. This was mostly due to getting sick in 07, not because of the knee.
Over the past year or so I have had trouble with the knee locking up and hurting under the kneecap. This affects running, but it also affects simply things like walking, stairs, giving the boys a bath, sitting for long periods of time. I am sure when I screwed my quad playing soccer that the increased stress on the left leg didn't help...but I think it is simply over-use and poor alignment of the knee.
We have tried steroid shots, steroid patches, physical therapy, rest, ice, heat, elevation, voodoo magic and have come up empty. I am now scheduled for surgery - lateral release and hoffa pad removal - next week. I am a little skeptical at this point - wondering if this is the right thing to do. My doctor put it pretty simply - if I don't have the surgery, it will get worse. If I get the surgery, it might get better. This surgery is really the only option at this point. Dilemma.
As we passed a place called Chainsaw Sculptures:
Todd: I want a sculpture
Me: They are opened. You could stop and order one. So do they chop up people or what?
Me: Exactly HOW WOULD that conversation go?
Todd: I want a sculpture. Use one arm, two legs and half a head. Obviously you are the artsist - so I will leave the rest up to you.
Todd (to the driver ahead of us): Hey! There is NO stop sign. WHY are you stopping? 'Baby on board...IS THE BABY DRIVING?
Me: I'm salty.
Todd: My very own salt lick.
Me: What are you, a horse?
Todd: I'm hung like one.
I had a facial peel and microdermabrasion performed (like it is a circus act?) on my face yesterday. I have been seeing a dermatologist for a skin infection that left some dark spots and scarring on my face and I wanted them to go the hell away. So - this was the recommended solution. This morning I woke up to small scabs all over my face. It is really not very pretty. It is, in fact, the exact OPPOSITE of the outcome I had been seeking. I go back in this evening at 7:00pm to have them assess the damage.
Wouldn't you know that this weekend Todd and I are going out of town to celebrate our anniversary. Of course we are! Scabby face and all. Cannot wait.
We were looking at random pictures on Flickr. We came across a kid on a beach.
Roark: I wanna go there sometime. So lets go there sometime. I don’t know who built that beach. I think it was the American workers. The American workers are black workers. They wear black coats (oh thank GOD that is what he was referring to) and they live in
I have no idea where kids get some of their ideas...but they make me itch.
I finished up my meetings and read through my most pressing emails. I appeared to have some free time and decided to go for a run. I wasn’t really in the mood, but figured if I ran I would feel less guilty about the nachos I was making for dinner.
As I walked out the door,
I took the
After filling up my water bottle with
As I past the playground I noticed that there was NOBODY PLAYING OUTSIDE. This is unusual. There is always at least one parent trying to ignore their kids at the park even on the hottest of days…but not today. Of course not. IT WAS TOO HOT.
I was now at the point of no return. There were no shortcuts and it was as far back as it was forward…so I kept going. At one point some clouds showed up, and I firmly believe that is the only reason I survived. After crossing the street back into the neighborhood, I decided to stop at the pool and get more pond water to dump on my head – only to find a “Pool closed due to fecal contamination” sign on the gate. Commence gagging AGAIN.
The last few blocks were the worst. I nodded to my fellow dying worms on the sidewalk “dude, I know how you feel” and to the bunnies trying to nap in the shade.
This is a very drawn out way of saying that it is really effing hot outside and I wish I had not gone running. The end.
Last week I went to a pole dancing class. And? I loved it. I really did. The down side was the horrible pain my arms and back were in for the following 3 DAYS! Who knew those strippers were in such great shape? Not me. So now I am contemplating taking more of the classes. There is the upside of confidence, physical fitness, spending time with other girls, and just plain old fun. Todd would certainly be a big supporter of it as well. The biggest down side would be the cost. The classes run around 200.00 for 6-8 sessions...which is a lot in my opinion. What to do, what to do?
Life is moving along pretty much at a normal pace here. It is summer. In Texas. It is hot - and I love it. I have been working out, running, walking, doing The Shred and yoga. I have been working. The girls are home. The boys are running around non-stop. Life is good. Boring, but good.
Todd and I are going out of town for our anniversary next weekend (just the two of us), which will be fun. It would have been nice to spend more than a weekend away, but this is a bad time of year for that. See also Money, and Doesn't Grow on Trees.
Also up? A girlfriend asked me to go with her to a "thing", so this Friday we are headed to a little party a friend of hers is having at a local dance studio where they teach - pole dancing. Who would have thought. No, I don't harbor any deep desire to be a stripper, I just thought it would be hilarious and fun. Shut up. And no, there will not be pictures.
We found a preschool for the boys. They will start in the fall. We are just waiting for registration to open. Originally we discussed 2 days a week, however I am thinking 3 days is a better way to go - M, W, F. It is kind of expensive, but will be good for them. I think they are a bit much for Todd's mom these days, and need some structure and more to do. Plus - it would be nice if Roark quit insisting that all of the numbers are the letter R.
As I type this, my 4 year old son Roark is lying next to me, fighting the 3:00pm sleepies. He is dressed in a puffy-chested spiderman costume from last Halloween. He is always dressed in a puffy-chested spiderman costume these days. In fact, he has worn this for the last 45 days straight. I don't know how to relate to this. I hate comic books. I hate super heroes. I think I hate most things that 4 year old little boys like...insects, spiders, snakes, cartoons, all things star wars, all things garbage, and the list could go on and on. And yet - here I am with TWO four year old boys.
I like my kids. I love them. But sometimes...well, I just don't "get" them.
I am on a road trip to pick up Cassie from college for the summer. Brittany and Justin are with me. We stop by my childhood home so that I can marvel at the decline of the neighborhood and state of creepiness of the house. Decline, it has. And creepy, it is.
We look through the windows. It is vacant. A neighbor confirms that the owner has been missing for a long time. She thinks that the bank or city now own it. Parts of the siding have fallen off. The doors (all 4 of them) are locked - to keep things out? Or keep them in?
Justin notices that the front door is loose. It doesn't take much force to open it... We walk inside. There is no electricity. No gas. No AC. No heat. It is 80 outside, but around 60 in the house. It is damp smelling, like a cave, maybe. It is dirty...but empty.
We walk through the house and head to the basement. This is the part that I remember being so odd. I look down the steps. It is dark and full of webs. We head down the stairs straining to see. I head around the back of the steps toward the 'round room' - it makes me nervous and I glance briefly and leave. We look through the rest of the house and go.
At dinner (Barnaby's - oh dear god I love that pizza) we talk about going back and taking pictures. We want proof that it is as 'off' as we think it is. So, we buy a flashlight and head back.
Standing outside, we look up at the second story - the window that used to be mine...and in the bottom left corner ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE GLASS is a child's hand print. Why? How? WTF?
We go back inside and head straight to the basement. Standing at the top of the stairs I try to take a picture - but the camera won't focus and won't shoot. We are all a little freaked out.
We add some light and capture a picture. We take several more of the round room, the shower, the stuff that scares me, and we leave. Quickly.
There are several really strange things about that house. Doors. 4 of them leading outside. One is in the middle of a wall and makes no sense. One door in the house that leads no-where...or rather where a door USED TO BE which only led to the empty space above the basement stairs. Why would a door be there? It would just open above the basement and drop...hard to explain - but take my word for it, it served no normal purpose.
Then there is the hole. It used to be in the back yard. It was round. Maybe 3 or 4 feet wide and 10-20 feet deep. No purpose I knew of. It had a 'lid' on it. The have since filled it in and grown grass / weeds over it.
I am sure something terrible has happened in that house in the past. People killed? Rituals performed? Children or people held against their will? All of the above?
We bought the house from a man claiming it had been a Notre Dame rental. My mother paid 12 thousand dollars for it - fully furnished in the late 70s. I don''t know if it was a college rental or if the guy was just trying to unload it for other reasons...nothing would surprise me.
Pictures to follow.