Thursday, November 29, 2007

in case you were wondering...

I still haven't smoked a cigarette. I haven't even tried to sneak a puff.

In fact, I still have four cigarettes and a lighter in the glove compartment of my car. I just haven't wanted one bad enough to smoke them.

Tuesdays are usually the worst for making me crave a smoke. Guess that's because they are currently my high-stress, deadline days.

November 15, that's the day I stopped smoking. The Boy keeps up with how long it's been. I don't really stop to think about it. If I do, I consider rewarding the progress with a smoke. No need to think about it.

Hmmmm...a cigarette sure would be good right now.

Yes, but I don't smoke. **wink**

I started the treatment when I stopped smoking. I'm supposed to use it three times a week, but I skipped this Monday and last Monday cause the aching and the other side effects set in and it was a little much to bear on Mondays and Tuesdays. So I apply it on Wednesday and Friday.

No, I have not yet gone on "official stay at home medical leave". I'm trying to put that off for as long as possible, but I told my husband tonight that it's entirely possible I decide any day not to go into the office at all. If I can get it set up so I can access the office server remotely, I won't even have to go in on Tuesdays. I'll be able to do it all from the comfort of my home.

For now, I've got to get in the bed, cause I've got an early morning wake up call. Busy day tomorrow...both of our US Senators are coming through town tomorrow, one at 12, another at 1:30, then I hop into the car and head for the state capital, where I will stay overnight for a two-day training session for prospective political candidates. No, I do not consider myself a prospective political candidate.

Ew, it just occurred to me that I will be spending a lot of time sitting in class over the next two days. Yesterday was Wednesday and tomorrow is Friday. Hope the chairs are comfy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

oh baby!

I've had baby on the brain.

My sister just brought a healthy baby boy into the world.

(Ok, technically she's not my sister, but I hate the term 'best friend', it makes it sound as though we're ten. Besides 'best friend' doesn't quite seem to do what we are justice. For the purposes of privacy, we'll call her Suzie, which is also the name of my beloved childhood teddy bear.)

I don't actually like babies. Don't get me wrong, it's not as though I dislike babies, I've just never been one to get particularly mushy over them. They cry, they eat, they pee, they poop, they sleep. (Ok, they do have adorable little clothes and softies and stuff.)

My own was the only one I ever really liked enough to be around, but I could never seem to get enough of him.

I'm actually kinda afraid of babies. They tend to make me nervous, kinda like when I'm in a big fancy house and I'm afraid of bumping into the table, toppling and breaking some priceless treasure.

So I don't actually have much experience with babies. The Boy is the only one under the age of two I've ever held or changed. Or at least, he was the only one until now.

(Sorry, I tend to ramble when I've got a lot on my mind, which is why I usually don't bother to write it all down.)

Suzie had an unpleasant pregnancy, filled with the constant worry of a mother's rising blood pressure. She was a trooper though, refused to let it get her down, and even pissed me off a few times, insisting on handling her shit on her own. She gets that damn pride from her daddy. Luckily she's a hell of a lot smarter than he is!

She wanted this baby so badly. Perhaps it was because she wanted it so badly, and not that she felt sick the whole time, that made us both worried so much that something would go wrong.

I kept telling her it was just the penis. "Of course you're going to gain more weight, it's the penis...of course you're going to be sick, it's the penis...of course it's going to be a difficult delivery, it's the penis."

All the while, I prayed. If God has "triage" angels, they probably got a real hoot out of the chick repeating "please God, let it just be the penis"!

I had never really seen Suzie sick before. Oh, I've been around for cramps, snotty noses, bad backs and even a funny woooshing sound that now lived in her ear, but this was serious sick. This was "blood pressure could spike up to the point of aneyurism or stroke" serious. I suddenly understood why, all those years ago, my husband told the doctor to save me if we could only save one. God meant for The Boy to be here, so they saved us both. I kept praying God meant for Suzie's little boy to be here too.

Suzie has spent an awful lot of time worrying about me over the years, worried about my health, fussing at me to quit smoking. This go around, I was the one worrying and I instantly felt like complete shit for every cigarette I ever tried to hide from her and every doctor's appointment I skipped.

The baby wasn't actually due until December 12, but I started telling her to keep her legs squeezed together and began answering her calls with, "Is it time yet?" the first week of November. She decided to fuck with me once by insisting that it was, so you can imagine the relief AND disbelief when, last Monday, it was finally time!

I picked her daughter up from 1st grade we could meet them at the hospital.

At 5:25 the following afternoon, Tuesday, November 20, Suzie delivered a healthy baby boy, weighing 5lbs., 3 ozs., measuring 18.5 inches long. Her husband and her mama were with her. (Her mama wasn't there for the first one, so that was extremely special.)

At the time, I was at the office, throwing a newspaper together on deadline, on the phone with her "blood-kin" sister, deciding who was going to call the hospital.

I felt much better about things later that night when I saw for myself that both mother and baby were safe. They got to come home Friday.

She lucked up (again) and didn't tear and says she isn't too awfully sore. She's just pissed cause she thinks she still looks pregnant! Hehehe, I know, I know, we expect the belly to go away the minute we have the baby, but it doesn't! We knew this, that's why they tell us to plan on going home in clothes we wore when we were 3-5 months pregnant, not clothes we wore right before conception, but it never fails to shock the hell out of us that we still walk out of the hospital with a baby belly!

It took the baby a day or two to figure out there's no more free lunch through the cord — that he can't just lay around in his mama's belly sleeping all day. Now that he has, everyone is home healthy and happy.

He looks like a little old man in his wrinkled up skin. I play with the wrinkles around his elbows and knees. It's amazing how much growing he has to do just to fill up all that skin, and almost scary to think of how quickly it will happen. Just like all little boys at the start of a growth spurt, he has big feet. He hates for you to mess with his feet and even wants to keep his socks on. He squeaks before he cries.

I loved him from the moment I knew he existed. Now I can quit worrying so much about him and his mama and go by him some cool socks!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

patting myself on the back

I think I may have my head screwed on right this time around.

I've made it through my first week of do-it-yourself cancer curing cream and only have a relatively small spot that's bothering me. Hehe, gives completely new meaning to "hottie"!

It woke me up at 5 o'clock this morning, screaming for me to go soak in the bathtub, which I did. That left me comfortable enough to go back to sleep and petroleum jelly is currently soothing the lingering burn. Good news is, I get weekends off so I won't have to put any more on until Monday!

I haven't had a cigarette since Wednesday night — not even a puff, which is really saying something, especially since we ate at Olive Garden last night! I was in the smoking section, munching on appetizers and salad, drinking a fruity vodka concoction and my husband was beside me, puffing away, yet still I resisted!! Go momma!

Of course, this morning I did want to "reward" myself with a smoke, but again, I resisted!

Earlier this afternoon the husband brought home some patches so he could quit too, which should make it much easier for me to resist.

AND, even MORE exciting, he brought home a new vacuum cleaner so we can get all this damn black dog hair up!! Life is good.

Monday, November 12, 2007

happily ever after

Growing up, I always preferred the tragic, heart-wrenching tales to the "happily ever after" fairy tales, until that is, I found myself in the middle of the former.

My aunt couldn't understand why I was getting married and having a baby when I was supposed to be at college, preparing for greatness.

One of her friends, who happened to be a nurse at the hospital where The Boy was born, told her she thought we were just two kids who wanted a family.

Exactly!

As I assume most parents do, we talked about the life we wanted our son to have, the kind of parents we wanted to be and our fear of failing him somehow.

Those kinds of talks always seemed to end in a fight, not because we disagreed on how to raise our son, but because my husband refused the idea of living to see 25 and made certain to remind me of that whenever we discussed the future.

"Baby, you can't count on me being here then," he would tell me.

He said that he wasn't trying to be cruel, only practical, that he didn't want me to be disappointed when the future got here and he wasn't here to share it with me.

He was right. He died at the age of 24.

And at the same time, he was so incredibly wrong. Here I am, in our future, and despite his continued warnings, his continued objections, despite having "prepared" myself for his death, I am still bitterly disappointed that he's not here for our "happily ever after".

Sunday, November 11, 2007

his presence lingers...

Oh how I miss him!
My every thought — his face not far behind.

The Boy is looking more and more like his Daddy every day. It's hard.

People say that I should no longer mourn for him, that it is unhealthy to still long for his presence. I suppose they may be right. But that doesn't change anything.

The Boy is beginning to develop his stride. He has this way of pursing his lips when his mind is puzzling over something. His limbs are all stretching, becoming more defined with age. AND, he recently announced he was growing his hair out.

Thank you God, for not giving my child brown eyes!

"Momma, why didn't you want me to have brown eyes?"

I knew I'd never be able to say no to both of you.

The Boy has the shape of his Daddy's eyes — wide almonds, tilted slightly up in the outer corners. They are currently a deep sea green. They darken and deepen each passing year as the flecks of dark amber and brown multiply. His Daddy's eyes were deep, molten pools of brown. I often thought a person could drown in his eyes, and the heat from them could melt one completely.

The Boy longs to feel his daddy's presence, frustrated that he can't. I wonder if that's only because he hasn't yet recognized his daddy in himself, because I certainly feel his presence when I am with The Boy. It makes me miss him all the more.

Perhaps that is why I can so readily believe that the very longing for God is evidence of His presence.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

stating the obvious

A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
- Bertrand Russell

If I were a true Southern lady I would clutch my chest and have the vapors upon recognizing the inherent truth of this statement.

I asked the fledgling debaters in the 4-H club to tell me who Bertrand Russell was and how this argument might be used effectively.

Perhaps we should all ask ourselves that often.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

how a song helped the paper keep its editor

I was driving into the office one morning, the windows rolled down, enjoying the crisp fall air. It was a normal trip to town, slowing down for suicidal deer along the road and offering a cordial raise of the coffee cup to the farmers along the way.

I had spent several long months debating whether I should simply quit my job, after a long line of unethical and highly immoral moves by the company. I kept coming back to all the phone calls and thank you notes I've received from readers over the years, but still I wavered between the obligation I feel to my readers, the community and my disgust for the corporation that signs my paycheck.

I was flipping through the radio station and heard this song. I haven't looked for a job since, although I have been approached by a few promising opportunities.

(Scroll to the bottom of the page to turn off the regular music)

startled out of a fog

The book I am reading, Come Be My Light, makes the point that the very longing for God is evidence of His presence in your life.

Over the years it has seemed as though every time I believe myself to be moving closer to God, feeling as though I have a stronger relationship with Him, or having a clearer understanding of what it is He wants from me, I find myself cast down into this dark vortex of longing.

I had long ago accepted that the haunting loneliness could only be eased by the presence of God, but it wasn't until I began reading the writings of Mother Teresa and her spiritual advisers that I considered the notion that it was God's presence in my life, not His absence, which made that longing so great at times.

For a long time I have viewed my earthly suffering as a penance that must be paid for my earthly sins, but I have been startled out of my most recent fog by several revelations.

1) If Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins then surely the trials we face here on earth are not punishment for those same sins, but instead either a calling from God drawing us closer to Him, or a temptation from evil that seeks to drive me away from Him and my faith in Him.

2) They say that storms arise in your life when you are closest to God and that by standing firm, your eyes and heart forever fixed on God, you will ride the storm out in safety.

I suppose the biggest obstacle for most of us is our need for instant gratification. No one ever promised that our life on this earth would be easy, or even tolerable, but we have been promised, a promise sealed with the blood of Christ, that we will eventually rejoin God. The only real question left isn't whether you can see God's blessings in your life now, but whether your faith is strong enough to believe in the promise He offered, even in the face of suffering.

not on little cat feet

I hate this! I can't even seem to find the words to comment on the other blogs I read regularly.

It's more of an overall funk than writer's block or some such mystical ailment.

I get like this sometimes and it can be difficult to shake myself out of it.

It would probably be much easier if I could at least identify what triggers it, but there doesn't seem to be any real trigger. After a few days it occurs to me that I'm not eating, which doesn't help my energy level at all. Before I know it, several weeks have passed in a fog.

During these times, my mind is in overdrive, constantly churning.

When I first noticed this drastic fluctuation in myself I thought it was a sure sign of mental illness and carried myself to a shrink. The boy was just a few months old at the time and I was terrified of him having a crazy mom.

I saw the shrink once a week for several months. Each visit I would insist I was somehow "fucked up in the head" and each visit he would insist that I was not suffering from bipolar disorder or anything like that but was instead suffering from chronic depression, which he said was the result of being "damaged".

Over the years, I've tried various anti-depressants, dietary changes, yada yada, but it never fails, once or twice a year I slip into this funk.

It's a never-ending cycle, one that many people do not understand. I've always been a "pull yourself up by the bootstraps, don't let life knock you on your ass" kind of girl, but it's not always so cut and dry. First the thick fog seeps in, muddying your mind and weighing you down. Then you begin to chastise yourself for not being able to see through the fog. Days, or even weeks slip by and you bemoan your inability to accomplish everything you needed to do in that time. You start beating yourself up for being depressed, which just makes you feel even more worthless, causing the dense fog to grow even thicker.

Then, something unexpected happens. A tiny ray of sunlight pierces through, reminding you of the world that exists outside of the stifling fog. You slowly begin crawling forward, suddenly aware that you're drowning in the darkness.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

time well spent

Sometimes the words do not come easily, or rather, the thoughts tumble over one another too swiftly for words to catch them.

And no Kate, I never seem to have enough time, but that's only because I waste so much of it.

I've been spending a lot of time with my son lately. He's growing up so fast. We got his report card today. His grades are all up and they say he's making the effort.

It's hard to watch your children grow up.

He's turning out to be a really good guy though. He can be a bit smart-mouthed, but he's learning the difference between funny smartass and asshole smartass and is beginning to be a good judge of when either may be completely inappropriate.

He made dinner tonight. I asked him to keep an eye on the stew as it warmed on the stove. A bit later he announced that dinner was ready and led me to a table where dinner was served.

I'm a lucky damn woman.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

heavy sigh

Wheww!!

Sometimes I just want to shout "STOP!! Let me off!"

Sometimes my momentum simply stops. As if the entire world has simply stopped spinning.

This is when I sleep.

And while I sleep I process.

I read a bit, I pray.

I regain my balance.