Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thinking Pink

I have been complaining for some time now that I want to lose weight, but seem to lack the motivation or energy to do so.

I have also been complaining about how broke we have been in the last few months.

Last night, I decided to do something about these problems. A friend of mine has been selling the Plexus Slim "Little Pink Drink" for about a month now as well as taking it herself and has had amazing results in both areas. I have thought about it and have decided to do it as well.



I am not expecting to lose all of the weight in one day, week or month. I know that that will not happen. I do expect to have more energy and drive to achieve the goals that I have set in place. I think that this will help me. It has taken me a LONG time to get to the weight that I am now and I expect it to take a long time to come off.

I also know that there are some pretty lofty psychological issues surrounding my weight and how I got here, I know that I am going to have to deal with those things as the weight comes off and I think I am finally ready to deal with them. For a long time I have used my weight to guard against people hurting me, abusing me. I am finally content with who I am, the person that I have been created to be and that's why I know that I can make this work.

I am not expecting to get rich quick. We just need a few extra bucks a month to help us get ahead of the bills so that we can start to pay down some of our debt. I think that this can help us.

I am not expecting to lie to you and tell you that something works great or tastes great if it doesn't. I am not going to sell to you every single day. That's not why I started this blog, it's not what this blog is for. I will be honest with you every step of the way - even if it hurts my sales, even if it drives readers away.

I am going to post once a week to let you know where I am with this and show you before and after pictures. I know that I have to make the lifestyle changes to lose the weight along with this or it will never work. I accept that and am willing to give it my 100%.

If you would like to join me, you can visit my Plexus Slim website and check out the products. They cost about $4 a day (if you look at the monthly price I know that it seems expensive - but I think everyone knows where they dump $4 a day, I spend mine on Mountain Dew which I am not going to be able to drink anyway).

In January, I am planning on doing a giveaway of a 1 week trial pack to one of my lucky readers, so please stay posted on that.

I am excited about this opportunity and where I hope it will take me - I hope that you all join me for the ride!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Cobbled Path

I love the Scare Bear.

I have told you before how she is such a great friend and kind of a goofball. And I have eluded to her problem with a recent illness.

Today, she has an appointment to finally be cured of the evil that has been dwelling inside of her. What is it? An alien? Another child? A parasitic worm?

No.

It is a stone. A stone that she made in her kidney and I think she should get to keep since she has spent the last three weeks trying to labor and will and puke and pee that sucker out. But alas, it had to be removed by a doctor because it would not come out on it's own.

And so they keep it, because they are the ones that got it out. Phooey.

She made it, she labored it. It's not going to provide the cure for cancer or breathe or be a medical breakthrough. It is a stone. A kidney stone.

I personally think she should get it made into jewelry, a nice bracelet or necklace. Something pretty out of all of this mess.

Today, when she mentioned the need for a pep talk, I gave her jokes. I am not sure how to give a pep talk and should probably never be involved with the sick and ailing people of the world again. She said I was killing her. So much for my career in comedy to invalids...

I have named her stone George. Because everyone in her family is named George.

Goodbye, George. You will not be missed.

But, hey, friend? I do miss you...





Monday, November 28, 2011

...And Then Life Interupts

I have giant bags of great intentions.

I want to lose weight. I freeze half full bottles of water because I hate room temperature water. I freeze them solid, then add water so I have super cold water all the time. Except that I don't ever add the water or take them out of the freezer. They just sit in there, frozen solid, waiting for me, taunting me. Instead I continue to drink Mountain Dew. Mountain Dew that is tainted with the flavors of guilt, shame and gluttony. It doesn't taste very good anymore.

I want to exercise more. I buy a Zumba game and enjoy it. And then prime time television catches my eye and it gets late. I get lazy. I haven't even turned on the game in weeks.

I want to finally start grocery shopping on a weekly rather than daily basis. I clip coupons, I make lists. I realize we have no money and that too falls by the wayside.

I want to get my house in order and organized before the kid's birthday and Christmas take it over. I would like for Santa to not have to trip and stumble his way into the house but be able to move freely about the premises. I desperately need to rake the leaves on the west side of the driveway. Two days a week of chores by one person cannot cut through the mess of 2 people 50 hours a week that do not pick up after themselves. Or even seem to notice the issue.

I want to grow my blog and it's readership. I join NaBloPoMo. I blog everyday for a month and half. And then I just stop. For no reason. And then I feel like a loser because every time I think of the blog, I realize it has been another week, a few more days that it has just been out here floundering in the sea of the internets. And I am ignoring it too.

I have so much on my plate, so much that I have obligated myself to do, that the entirety of it all seems so very monumental and I am not sure where I should even begin.

I need to gather some momentum, some motivation to give me some follow through. Do they sell that somewhere on Cyber Monday?


Sunday, November 20, 2011

'Tis the Season...

I can not take Z in public anymore. Between the piped in Christmas music, the decorations and the employees wearing Santa hats, she knows that Christmas is quickly approaching.

And she wants everything in sight.

Barbie "Momma, can I have that for Christmas?"

TaDoodles: "Momma, can I have that for Christmas?"

Sometimes, she will change it up. Princess Doll: "Momma, can I have that for my birthday?"

I want to teach her that Christmas is not about what you get, it's about what you give to your friends, your family, your community. Unfortunately, this is not the message she is getting.

The new rule is, if she does not clean up her room and get rid of some things, Santa will not be able to give her anything.

And until Christmas, at least, I am going to try to keep her away from the bright lights of the strip malls.

We'll see how that works out...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Man...

When the older of my two younger brothers was very little, he had a man that lived in his stomach. When his stomach would growl, he would tell us that the man was hungry. When we made something that he didn't like, he would tell us that the man was angry.

And when he was sick, he would tell us that that man was attacking him from the inside.

***********

"Z, why do you insist on licking me ALL of the time?"

She smiles and looks at me. "The man that lives on my tongue likes the way you taste."

"The man that lives on your tongue? Tell me about him."

"He's a black man, and he wears black clothes. He has a little house and he drives a little car on my teeth. He has a boat for when I drink so that he does not get swallowed. He likes to eat hair."

"But you know that you cannot eat hair", I remind  her. 

"Yes, I know. That's why I lick. He can get the hair and I don't get in trouble. He told me to do it."

Hmmm...I hope that this stage is over soon. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

So, Yeah, That Couponing Thing

For a week, I have been printing out coupons, cutting out coupons, buying baseball card pouches and binders. I have been preparing to SAVE!

This past Sunday I bought not one, but two newspapers. I cut out more coupons, I placed them in my binders.

And last night? Last night was the night. I was going to use those coupons!

It started off with our nightly swapping of the parental duties in a parking lot. I arrived to find a no-nap Z that had not eaten since lunch at 5:30. She was excited. "Momma, we are going to the STO-O-O-ORE!! To buy GRO-O-OCERIES!" Everyone within earshot must have thought that we never buy food by how excited this kid was to go to the store.

"I know, I know," I yelled back at her as I tried to stop her from jumping her way to a certain death in the parking lot. (When she gets all excited about something, nothing else exists in her world, no cars, no dangers. She just jumps up and down non-stop yelling until she works it out of her system.)

We pack up in the car and head, binder in hand, to our local grocery store.

On the way in, I grab the ad for the week and add it to my binder. Then we begin to shop.

Here is what I learned:

  • Your first stop should probably not be the bakery for a free cookie. The sugar high and eventual low in your kid will  distract you from what you are trying to accomplish.
  • If your kid is running (or twirling or skipping) up and down the aisles screaming Nicki Minaj  lyrics at the top of her lungs, threatening to put her in the cart is not a great way to calm the situation. In fact, it may explode into a full scale temper tantrum which will end with her laying on the floor in the middle of the aisle. At 6 PM. 
  • 6 PM is not the best time to go grocery shopping with coupons. People are really not friendly after a full day of work. They see you, your 3"coupon binder, your screaming kid and your cart full of groceries and they feel nothing but an intense desire to not be behind you in line. 
  • Your 3 year old only serves to distract you from the deals that you are there to get. You think, "Ooh, BOGO crackers! The good ones!" She thinks, "I can climb that display." You end up not getting the right crackers. The expensive ones that are not Buy One, Get One. Your coupon doesn't even cover these. 
  • When you are finally getting in line to leave, your kid will now be starving. They will want everything that they can touch in the "last minute" aisle. Use the cart and your body to block them by the bag boy. 
  • When choosing which line you want, go for a line with an older "mom" cashier. The cashier I got was much more interested in the bagger's gossip than my coupons and missed several of the deals.
My total when I left the store was $72.86 which was down from the original total of $138.64.

Crappy picture, but this is everything I bought.
Once I got home, fed the kid and put her to bed, I checked my receipt. That's when I noticed the discrepancies.

I took a quick trip by myself this morning on the way to work, talked it out with customer service and received another $9 back plus some free products since the cashier and computer did not catch it the first time.

It was definitely worth my effort and I hope that the coming weeks will be more fruitful.

I'll keep you posted.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Letting Go

In support of EC Stilson's book, The Golden Sky, being released tomorrow I am participating in the Golden Sky blogfest. The idea is that we write about someone we have lost.


The only picture of my dad and Z.


The fingers laying on the white sheets weren't his anymore. My daddy's hands were stained with the yellow of tar and nicotine from 3 packs a day for as long as I could remember and motor oil that seemed to penetrate to the lowest layer of skin. These hands belonged to someone, anyone else, they were just too clean.

That breathing, the constant in-out, perfectly timed without a snore or a cough, that wasn't his either. And the antiseptic smell in the room, that was not his smell. My daddy smelled like Old Spice, mixed with cigarette smoke and exhaust. Kind of like my high school guidance counselor's office, which is weird but true.

My daddy was gone. And there I stood in a hospital in a town far from home, holding a child that I had only given birth to some 6 weeks earlier, next two a sister that I had not seen in years, staring at a patient with a shaved head in the ICU.

We had to make a choice, an operation that would leave him incapable of caring for himself followed by an endless array of surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments that may or may not help or let him go.  Turn off the machines, bring him back home so his friends and family could see him and let Hospice help us until the end.

For us, there was no choice. I had been told over and over, no hospitals, no nursing home, no, no, no. Of course, when he said that he hadn't been sick or hadn't known he was sick. But I knew, I knew from the moment that I was told that he was intubated, that this was not what he would have wanted.

I am not going to romanticize it. I am not going to make it seem like a peaceful decision or a decision that the hospital would let us make lightly. In fact, we had to meet with a slew of doctors and attorneys that questioned our decisions, that questioned our abilities to make these decisions. I am not going to make it seem like it was not the hardest thing that I have ever had to do.

Pointing out the family secret of my father's drug addictions to attorneys and doctors in an effort to show them that he would not follow the recommended treatment protocol felt very much like tattling.

But it is done.

He didn't die when they turned off the machines, unhooked him from the shunt. In fact, he lived, struggling in a hospital bed for nearly a week as the pressure built back up in his skull. Blood pressure, body temperature becoming erratic and scary, I sat in a corner holding his grandchild watching him die everyday for that agonizing week.

There were moments after the tubes had been removed, the shunt turned off that he was aware of what was going on, that he was able to talk to me, able to understand the choices that I made. He told me that I made the right decision and I hold that close because so many do not have that comfort.

The last year of his life was perhaps the best year. He had good friends that cared for him, he was a new grandfather, he was finally becoming independent again after so many years of being dependent upon first my mother and then me. I would not have traded that year for the years of surgeries, treatments and procedures that might make him well again.

For our family, the choice of letting go was not about living or dying. It was about the quality of the life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sad

There are days that I am just filled with this inexplicable sadness.

There is no reason for it. Or a million maybe.

I am just sad.

The sadness consumes me, my thoughts, my body. I focus on things I know that I shouldn't and the sadness multiplies. I want to cry, but the tears that feel like they are hanging precariously close to the edge just will not come. I mope, eyes down, quiet while my mind rages and races.

It's been a long time since I felt this way.

But I will not let the sadness win this battle. The kid needs me to function on all cylinders.

And then she says something so funny, so enlightening and I know that it will be okay.

"Wow, Momma!", she exclaims as she brushes my hair (a new obsession with her that I let her brush my hair, until she hurts me, she always hurts me). "All of these white hairs on your head are so POWERFUL!"

Powerful, even at my weakest, she sees me as powerful, sees the signs of me aging as a super power.

How could I still be sad?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A New Favorite

Taken from Filmbalaya

Z and I love fairy tales.

I can't tell you how many stories I have made up or derivations of princess/hero/knights in shining armor that we have seen.

When ABC introduced amongst it's Fall line-up a show called Once Upon a Time, we were anxious for the premiere.

And it was good. So good.

Now we are completely caught in this series, she asks me everyday if she can watch her "Fairy Tale" show and last night, since the Hubs had off, we watched a marathon of all four episodes back to back.

It is enchanting and brilliantly written. There are some holes that I do hope to have filled in at some point. Like why, if time has been standing still in this town for 28 years, there are children that do seem to age? Shouldn't the children also be frozen in time? And, why, if Prince Charming has been in a coma in the hospital for 28 years, no one has noticed that this guy is not aging (or even growing facial hair)?

I am writing to implore you to watch this show. And get your friends to watch this show. And call your parents and have them watch the show.

There is some weighty dialogue and adult issues in the show, but since it is on at 8 PM on Sunday nights and made by Disney, I feel that it is family appropriate. There are some dark and scary scenes, but the classic Disney movies seem to scare Z more than this show has.

I just don't want to invest myself into another show that I love and have it get canceled. It's disappointing. What happened to shows that could last for 10+ years and still be good?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Daycare and the Kid

When I went back to work, the plan was that Z would start school again shortly thereafter. 

She needs the discipline of being up, fed, dressed and out the door by 6:30 in the morning. 

So do I. 

She needs the interaction with people she is not related to. 

So do I. 

She needs these next two years before kindergarten to understand that she is not a miniature adult, that she is, in fact, a child. And school will help with that. At least I hope so. 

She needs a routine. A real bedtime. Specific times that people give her food and she eats. Time outdoors to play with more than a stick and sand (which is not to say that there is anything wrong with sticks and sand, but, well, she just needs to go to school). 

The Hubs is anxious to have her back in school, although, the truth of that has never been so apparent to me as it is after this weekend. We will get there, but I want to give you a little background information first. 

When I lost my job this summer, the Hubs was working two jobs. He was so sexy. I whined about never seeing him, but nothing turned me on more than my honey getting up early every morning, coming home sweaty every afternoon and supporting his family. It was a hot, hot summer. 

The day job ended around the beginning of August (although it could have been the end of August, maybe), for the purpose of this story, just know that it ended. And he decided to cut back his full-time's jobs hours so that he could "have a break". 

Fine, I thought nervously. Just a little break.

The dude has been bringing home $700 a month for the last two months. 

October was especially hard since it was my first month back at work and my payday is not until the last day of the month. It is seriously hard to make 700 bucks do really anything. My entire paycheck went to pay the bills for the month, because don't forget that $700 had to buy groceries and gas and all of those little incidentals that happen in a given month. And that wasn't a one-time payout of $700 either. No, that was two separate paychecks separated by two weeks of scrimping and being assholes to each other about the lack of money.

But last week he was given a semi-promotion and his hours were bumped up. A better paycheck appears to be on the horizon. 

School has been placed on the backburner. We're not behind, but we are so close to behind that we could get there pretty easily if we had to, say, pay for a month of daycare ahead of schedule. Except the Hubs talks about it on a daily basis. 

When are we going to be able to get her back in school?

Do you think she will be able to start school again soon? 

This weekend, as previously posted, I attempted to clean our house. I failed again, but I did make it to the kid's playroom and her bedroom. It is apparent to me that my almost-4 year old child is functioning a vast amount of her time throughout the day with little to no adult supervision. I know this based on the fact that her sheets have been cut by scissors, there was a bucket of pee in her closet (again) and every wall in each of the rooms has been colored. 

I know that I can easily remedy all of these issues. I have already taken the Magic Eraser to the walls. I have dumped out and thrown away yet another bucket. The sheets are now rags for washing the cars.  

There is a really good facade for the public.
She and I have discussed all of these things. She knows the difference between right and wrong, but I fear that she is doing these things to get attention, any kind of attention out of my husband. 

And it hasn't worked. He didn't even know what has been going on in her room 12 feet away from his comfy place on the couch. 

I am so very sad for my baby girl. I am sad that her father chooses to watch inane television programming or play video games rather than spend time or play with her. I am sad that the man I married who has a vast amount of potential chooses to be so much less than what he could be. 

When I do put her in school, her new sad reality is that she will only see him for a few hours every week. Saturdays and Sundays before he goes to work is all that she will get. I am sad that this is the type of relationship that he wants to have with her or that somehow he thinks that this is an appropriate relationship to have with your kid. 

I want to win this battle. I want her to be able to stay home with him. Not just because it would save us money but because I want them to have this cool father/daughter bond. I want him to read to her, talk to her pay attention to her. 

The sad reality is that if I win, she will end up losing. 

His demonstrated lack of motivation to step up and parent our child has shown me that he will be no more capable of giving her attention in the future than he is now. And I have known that for some time.

I wanted to be wrong. I wanted him to step up and show me that he is capable of spending 9 hours a day taking care of our daughter (actually, it's like 7 because they sleep so late). I wanted these things because I want to have another kid some day soon. 

And I think I may have just admitted to myself that I am not going to have any more kids. 

Well, shit. 


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Writing Block

There are so many things that I want to write, but I am not even sure of how to start the dialogue. I am verbally (okay, I guess not verbally) constipated. I keep trying to make the words flow, but they just won't come out.

There are funny things that the kids say. Things like, "I want to add Nitrous to my thankful list" and "Curvy mommas are strong. I like my mommas to be strong. Flat mommas are just weak." (LOVE that).

There are admonishments that I want to dole out to friends. Things like: the only bodies that I know better than my own are my friends. If I tell you to go to the damn doctor, you need to go to the damn doctor. It makes me sad when I see my friends, my besties, not taking care of themselves. We made an agreement. You are supposed to take care of me when I die. How are you gonna do that if you don't take care of you? (That's it, that's the only I told you so that I will ever give you. I am so, so sorry that you are sick and if I could take away all of the hurt, I would.)

There are many giant things that I want to say about my marriage. And babies. And about Z and daycare.

But I am not sure where to start or how to start or how much I actually should or can say.

I am all about transparency. I am all about putting myself fully out there to my audience so that you can identify with me, but to what end? Am I going to document Z's first period, the same way that I will document her first day of school or the first time she rides a bike? At what point do I need to start shielding my family from the things that I write on my blog?

I am going to go ponder that for a while. I'll let you know what I come up with.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Quiet Weekend at Home

I am so funny.

When I say things like, "I am going to stay home all weekend and clean", I truly mean it in my heart. Until I am locked up with a screaming wild banshee that spends most of her time at home.

It's all a game really. Like a relay race that can never be won. You take your kid hither and yon in attempts to tire them out so that you can have a bit of peace and quiet.

It would be easier to trim a cheetah's toenails or floss a lion's teeth than it is to clean a house with a stir crazy 3 year old in it. No matter how much I attempt to include her, make her feel like she is helping, the stark reality is she is just there to undo every attempt that I make.

Clean the playroom? A joke! Just an excuse to pull out every impossibly small toy ever given to her and PLAY, PLAY, PLAY! Laundry? No, that's an excuse to play dress up in the clothes that I just folded neatly. Scrubbing toilets? Ha, ha, that looked really fun! If that brush worked to clean them then OBVIOUSLY my hairbrush will work to clean them even better.

The Hubs? That guy? He stayed securely parked on the blipping couch all day until he had to leave for work. He tried not to snore too loudly.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Thankful Tree

This morning, Blade, Z, and I made the leaves for our thankful tree.

I loved listening to the kids talk about what they are thankful for and I thought I would share with my readers.

Z's Leaves
Dress Up, Friends, Food, Home, TV, Her Rooms, Christmas, Flowers, G-Daddy & Grandma, The Scare Bear, Mommy & Daddy

Blade's Leaves
Jack (his dog), Eating, Living, Mom, Cars, Friends, Cold Weather, Dad, His House, Video Games, Guns
It was a fun project to get to know the kid's ideas and thoughts, as long as you don't get all nervous about the being thankful for guns part.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Secret Goal

I am putting this into the Universe because they say if it is meant to be, it will be.

I have always wanted to be a clogger. I have always wanted to take clogging lessons and perform in cute outfits.

And when I found out that Z would be a girl, I envisioned it all in my mind. The mother-daughter clogging lessons, the matching outfits, her curls bouncing in rhythm.

How stinkin' cute is that?
I have no rhythm. In fact, my sense of rhythm is so bad that my band director once asked me not to tap my feet while playing my flute because it would throw him off while conducting the band.

I also don't know how to move my body at all. I have rarely ever danced in public and I blame it on my hands. Where do I put my hands? Should I run them through my hair? Should I hold them straight at my sides? Do I try to cram them in my pockets or hide them behind my back? Why do I have hands? Aaaaah.

It's a lot to deal with and no matter how often I look at other girls trying to figure it out, the result for me is always the same. And then, I look like I am staring at these girls and they want to know what my problem is. I am amazed that I have not been killed in some sort of bitchy girl bar fight. Dancing presents too much pressure for me.

So do bars. I don't like bars. I am much too awkward to hang out, trying to figure out how to dance, sober, watching people much younger than me imitate doing things that I wouldn't even do now. Home is safer. Dancing at home with the munchkin is not nearly as dangerous.

I also do not watch any of the gazillion sleep inducing dance shows that are on TV. It's all so boring to me, watching people waltz and tango and cha cha cha.

But I do want to clog.

In January, classes start for our local clogging group and I really want to do it. Z cannot join in the fun until she is 5 which will give me a chance to figure out if I am really going to do it before taking her along.

Maybe I can figure out what to do with my hands between now and then.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blah, Blah, Blogging

You may have noticed that I am doing a lot of blogging as of late.

Giving you a post every day, in fact.

I am participating in a little thing called National Blog Posting Month, NaBloPoMo, if you will. It's not just a month though, unless you want it to be. I have been doing it everyday since the beginning of October. They give you a topic for the month (October was Between, November is Blogging for Blogging Sake, or something like that) and they give you prompts each day. You can use those, or not, it's all up to you.


NaBloPoMo 2011

Today's prompt is "tell us about the day that you discovered that your house was not like everyone else's". After yesterday's emotional wreckage, I do believe that I will leave that prompt for someone else to deal with.

I need to heal after revealing my almost rape/molestation/potential kidnapping that I have never discussed in detail with anyone ever.

Instead, I would like to share with you, my lovely readers, some of the plans that I have been making in my personal life.

I believe that I am gonna start couponing. Hell, maybe I will be an extreme couponer just so I can give stuff to food banks and homeless shelters. But to start, I am just going to get my pantry stocked so we don't have another broke ass chicken soup night. (Even though that soup was the bomb, and the kid has been comparing everything I cook to that soup I made yester-yester-yesterday.)

I also think that I will be starting another website at the beginning of the year. I want to learn to sew better and have never taken the time to truly learn techniques and learn to do things the correct way. I have a few different books that I will be trying out to teach me by and I will be sharing the things I learn from basic to the end, step by step.

Finally, I really want to get back to doing the Zumba again. Z and I had so much fun with it this summer and since I am working a desk job now and not chasing a 3 year old hither and yon, I feel the pounds packing on yet again. I am going to include you guys in my weight loss trials and successes as well because I want to be as transparent and authentic with my audience as I have been in the past.

It is up to you to hold me accountable and encourage me along the way. I only see my friends once a week (if that) and my husband in parking lots at swap off time. I talk to you everyday.

At any rate, this is where I am today. Tomorrow may have a whole other set of wants and thoughts.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Anger Repurposed

It was my sister's birthday, a normal chilly and cloudy Wednesday in February. I was in the sixth grade, old enough to walk myself home from school. I was a little upset because the present that I had saved my lunch money for weeks to buy her was not for sale at the after-school commissary.

I was distracted trying to come up with a good idea for a last minute gift. I took my usual shortcut through the neighbors camellia bushes, when a hand reached out and grabbed me.

He pulled me close to him as he started to ask me questions about kids that I supposedly went to school with. I could smell the beer and cigarettes on his breath as I started to shake. He stroked my hair as he gingerly lifted my shirt. All I could focus on were his dirty fingernails, fingernails that looked as though he had been digging in the dirt without a shovel.

I started to struggle and then remembered what my mother had said about going limp, pretending to pass out. As he grabbed me harder and tried to pull me to the street, I dropped all of my body weight to the ground and broke free and ran. The branches of the camellia bushes and the early spring bamboo shoots cut my arms and legs, but I did not stop until I got home, breathless and crying.

When I stormed through the door, my father (awoken from his afternoon nap) bellowed, "What the Hell is wrong with you?" I locked the door behind me, but that wasn't unusual in my father's house.

"Nothing", I replied, "I couldn't get B's birthday present today." I teared up at the memory of the lost gift that had seemed so important just a short while ago.

"Oh, shut up, it's nothing to cry over," as he rolled over and went back to sleep. The butt of his cigarette was still smoldering in the ashtray. I stared at the smoke, trying to process what had just happened.

KNOCK, KNOCK.

"Jesus Christ, Heather, get the door." 

I pulled back the curtain to see him standing at the door. Dark, sweaty skin, dirty clothes, I felt like I could smell him through the glass of the door. He grinned at me as though we were age old friends. I dropped the curtain and returned to the chair.

The handle jiggled as he tried to open the locked door. I could hear him trying to talk to me through the door, the dog in the backyard going crazy as he tried to peer through the front porch window.

"Heather! Who is out there?" My father's anger was rising and I needed it to, for just once to unleash on someone who was not me. For just once, I needed it more than anything to just protect me.

I blinked hard and shrugged my shoulders. "I dunno, Daddy. I just don't know that man."

He yanked open the front door and saw the man sprint across the yard and out of the neighborhood.

Although he has been in innumerable nightmares and every dark alley and corner I have ever walked past, I never saw him in person again.

I should have told. I should have told my dad when it happened. I shouldn't have felt ashamed or dirty. His behavior could've stopped with me.

But I was 11.

And scared.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------


I grew up in fear. With my father, you never knew what might set him off on any given day. My siblings and I would often cower at just the sound of his footsteps coming towards us. On this day, the one day that I needed his anger to be directed elsewhere, it failed me. 


While the entire event is traumatizing and scarring to me in different ways, I think what I was most struck by was the fear that my father, who had always seemed like this gigantic force of nature, might not be able to fight off this guy. That he might not be able to protect me. Or that he wouldn't want to...


I wrote this in response to the NaBloPoMO writing prompt for the day ~ Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event.



Monday, November 7, 2011

Falling Back and A Shorter Week

I read an article the other day that said that if you were born during so-called "Standard Time" that your natural rhythm, your biological clock is haywire during Daylight Savings Time. And vice versa.

I believe that.

I have felt off balance for almost a month now, and although I was blaming it on returning to work, two jobs, the child that never sleeps and being sick, I think it was really because we weren't Falling Back when we were supposed to. The way we have for the last 34 years of my life.

I am not sure why it is still called "Standard Time" if it is now shorter than the Savings Time. How about we just Spring Forward a half hour and leave it that way, instead of jumping around all the time. Let's just split the difference.

Anyway, I love this time of the year. I get up at my old time. I can do things in the quiet before anyone starts stirring. I can read or crochet or just sit and watch the news.

This weekend is a 3 day weekend. I will be home if anyone needs me. I am not attending parades, festivals, birthday parties or any of the other revelry that you throw my way. My house needs me. A lot.

And I am going to clean and organize and make more rules to be broken. It's gonna be so great. I am extremely excited that I will soon have 72 uninterrupted hours to scour my counters, scrub my floors, dust my ceiling fans and brush out the toilets.

I may even get to the refrigerator.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Blessed Life

This morning, our church will embark on a new series called "The Blessed Life".

While I could list off all of the things that have been bad in my life, and I have spent many a day feeling sorry for myself or my circumstances or for my kid, the reality is that we truly live a blessed life.

We won the genetic lottery just by being born in this country. That makes us better off than most of the people in the world.

I have known how to read since I was 3. That means that I am more fortunate than 14% of the world's population that cannot read.

I have access to clean, running water at all hours of the day and night. I am luckier than 3 billion people.

I can drive a car, I have a roof over my head and food on my table.

Although I have struggled with infertility and miscarriages, my daughter was able to be conceived without medical intervention.

Although I was abused for the majority of the first 19 years of my life, I know that I will never again have to live in fear, isolation, or despair. When I go to sleep at night, I will not have to worry about how I will be awoken.

Although I have cut and burned myself in the past, I know that I will never again return to the illness that led me down those roads.

My family is living a very blessed life.

I hope Z understands how very, very fortunate she is. I pray that I find a way to make her understand how important it is for us to be generous with our time and our treasures. I dream that her mission in life will be for the well-being of others.

As my family works towards becoming debt-free, I pray that God will develop our servant hearts. That He will teach us how to stray from selfishness and worldly desires and focus fully on the needs of His kingdom.

And along the way give us the strength and knowledge to teach our daughter to do the same.

Matthew 20:26 "It must not be this way among you! But whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant. 20:27 And whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's All About Perception

Z and I stopped at a convenience store on the way home tonight. She said she was thirsty so I bought her a drink.

Gorilla Grape.

Z: Momma, this is so good. 

Me: Really? What's it taste like?

Z: Gorillas and grapes.

Me: (a little be startled by this response) Oh, yeah? What do gorillas taste like?

Z: Like fur.

Me:  (puzzled) What does fur taste like?

Z: (looking exasperated and rolling her eyes, a huge sigh escapes her lips before she responds) Like peaches.

From what I can come up with, peaches are fuzzy and therefore taste "furry". Since Z has no concept of what furry would taste like (unless she has been licking the cat or biting the bear) she would assume that it would taste like peaches.

It's fun to try to guess how her mind is working and to see how broad and ingenious her imagination is. It's also really cool to have conversations with her (most of the time) when she is not whining, begging or screaming. Those are the days that I know I am gonna keep her around.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The First Haircut

All of Z's friends have been getting their hair cut for sometime now. She used to be opposed to the idea, but lately she has been begging for a haircut. Last night, I finally relented. I called up Grandma, who scoffed at the idea and the remarked, "Well, it's just hair. I guess it will grow back."

I will never win. Never, ever win with that one. 

Just to give you an idea of where we were starting from, a gratuitous picture of the kid.


She had her hair shampooed. She hasn't had shampoo on her head in 3 years because everything I have tried dries out so bad. 


She had her hair blown dry. Again, something that I have not done because her hair is so very dry. Plus, the workings of a blow dryer elude me. I wonder about my girl status sometimes. 


Once it was cut, the hairdresser straightened it so we could see the girl with her hair straight for the very first time. 


It's funny how bad we want things to be different than what we were born with. She loves her hair straight. She was bouncing around, throwing her hair back and forth, standing in front of random strangers stroking her hair saying things like, "Isn't my hair pretty? I just got a haircut." (Totally doing that next time I get my hair cut!)

She looks so grown up, not at all like the curly headed baby that I took in there. I haven't seen it curly yet to see how short it really is. I know that she took about 4 inches off when it was straight, I don't know how short it will be once it curls back up. 

I am hoping for Shirley Temple curls. 

Z would be elated.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Sick Zone

I hate this time of year.

Actually, that's technically not true. I love that it is not so hot out that I can't breathe. And that there are so many seasonably wonderful things to bake that won't make me feel like the house is on fire. And that there are so many free and fun things to do with the kiddo.

But, for me, when the seasons change, my nose gets a bit stuffy, the throat gets sticky sore and everyone you meet happens to be sick.

Because then I get sick. And with all the pressures of the season to do everything and be everywhere - sick is just not a good place to be.

I have been eating my multi-vitamins and drinking water, and it seemed as though I was almost getting one over on the bug germs this year. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, as I sat at my desk I could feel my head getting heavier and heavier. I felt my nose closing as I typed, my throat becoming more raw with every call I answered. By lunch, I knew that I needed medicine. By 5, I knew I needed a bed.

And then the Hubs brought me Z. Sound asleep. She slept until we got to the grocery store. She insisted that I must have chicken soup for dinner, since I was sick. "I will just eat candy.", she said.

I should have listened to her.

By the time we finally made it home, my body was aching, my head pounding. I made dinner (a chicken pot pie, mmmm...I wish I could have tasted it) and finally settled down to watch the Wednesday night line up. Unfortunately, my ears being too clogged and my kid being too loud just made everything too bright, too much.

I smuggled the kid into my bed with the promise of a fort (I knew with a two hour nap from 5-7 there was no way in Hell she was gonna go to sleep at 9:20). I built a fort on the bed with extra pillows, blankets and sheets. I handed her a flashlight and a stack of books that I had stashed in my closet. I told her she could not leave the bed, even if Mommy fell asleep, because I really needed her to take care of me.

And I went to sleep. She brushed my hair, she rubbed my back, she sang songs about how much she loved me. She did not leave the bed.

What do you do when you are sick and your kid is not? How would you handle it if your significant other was not around?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Another

For the last almost four years since Z came on the scene we have talked about having another kid somewhere down the line. I even talked about the next time during labor. The plan was always for there to be more kids, to not have an only child.

And for awhile, although outwardly I kept with the plan, I prayed that she would be the only. I grew up in a house full of kids, but I am closer with my friends than my siblings. Physically and emotionally. I rationalized that what she needed was friends, lifelong companions that would stand with her through thick and thin.

Lately, though, I realize that our decision to have more kids was never about her. We didn't consider her feelings when we discussed things before she was born. We prayed that she would be multiples (triplets, actually) so that we could have one pregnancy and be done.

I want more babies. Or a baby. Just one more. A brother, since I haven't been down that road yet.

I miss holding that small person that fit so perfectly against me. I miss that new baby smell, that conglomeration of baby powder, wipes, baby soap and sour milk. I miss those firsts - the smile, the giggle, the tenuous first steps. Z will have firsts again - but they will never be like those first firsts.

Z needs another human's needs to be placed before her own. She needs too have to share space and attention. She needs to have someone knock her down a few pegs. She needs to be humble. And nothing (not a puppy or a cat or a fish) will do that like a baby.

Eventually that baby will become a kid, but a kid with a different personality than hers. Perhaps a bit more compliant or gifted in another way, and she will have to learn how to navigate and accept differences rather than shunning them.

We all want another. And it's not like we have been doing anything to hinder that process.

The whole thing makes a girl wonder if another is really in the works for us. Maybe instead of concentrating on our desires for our future, we should focus on this normal.

If it's going to happen it will - whether we watch for it or not.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Creating Jobs for America

 

 You all know my story.

Working mom gets laid off, not because she didn't do her job, not because she didn't love her job, but because the company that she loved and slaved for for years decided to take advantage of the current economy and change their business model. And lay off thousands of people throughout the country without it ever even being in the news.

Working mom becomes stay-at-home mom and nearly loses her mind. And focus. And drive.

Stay-at-home mom applies for many, many, many jobs and gets two interviews in 4 months.

She gets a job offer, it gets rescinded. 

And then she gets another job offer. It sticks. She has a job.

I was fortunate. I was on unemployment for only two months when I started working part-time from home and I only had to do that for a month and half before I got hired on full-time. I am so very, very blessed that I did not have to go through what so many others are going through right now.

Over the weekend, I received an e-mail from BlogHer, letting me know about a initiative that they are throwing their full support behind. They are not making any money for assisting with this program, they are doing it because they want to help America get back on track.

And I think it is awesome.

The initiative is CreatejobsforUSA.org and that's exactly what they are planning to do. By providing funding for small businesses, nonprofit organizations and affordable housing, Create Jobs and the Opportunity Finance Network will be doing exactly what Americans have been asking their politicians to do for the last 4 years.

Create jobs, help us get back on our feet, get us out of the mess.

I know that with the economy the way it is, it is hard to make donations - especially this time of year. There are tons of ways to help:

1. Donate $5 bucks. 
You get a cool wristband that, in my opinion, would make a great Christmas present. For every $5 donated, their sponsors will donate another $30 meaning that your donation of 5 bucks just turned into 35. I like that math!

2. Go to Starbucks. 
You go there anyway. They are a primary sponsor of this program. You can even make your donations there. Pretty awesome.

3. Facebook it, Tweet it! 
Even if you have nothing to give - status and tweets don't cost a thing and will draw attention to an organization that is launching today.

4. Become part of the solution! 
As they say on their website:
"We know that the Create Jobs for USA program won’t solve the problem by itself but we hope it can help create conversation, inspire ideas and empower us all to take action in our communities. Do you have ideas on how communities can come together to help the current job crisis? Do you have a story of inspiration or hope that might help a neighbor get back on their feet? Share your idea or story on our Create Jobs for USA Facebook page. We want to bring together a community of people who are excited to help one another and get involved. You can also follow us on Twitter for inspiring updates on Create Jobs for USA success stories, news about related programs, and information about CDFIs. And don't forget to sign up for email updates. We want to keep this discussion going strong until this crisis is over and Americans are back to work again."


This is our opportunity to make the world a better place. For our kids, our parents, and ourselves. It's time to quit complaining and actually do something about the world that we live in.
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