Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns - A Book Review

When I first started reading The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns I was coming off the high of having finished (and loving) What Alice Forgot. The two could not be more different. I had a hard time getting started with this book because it all seemed so heavy, so negative.

Galilee (Gal) Garner is a high school biology teacher, with a devastating long-term illness that causes her to have to do dialysis several times a week. Her only passion in life are her roses, roses that she has made the top priority of her entire world. It's through her work with roses that she is attempting to change the miserable existence that she has made for herself and she truly believes that they are her only chance.

It takes a lot of energy, patience, and tenacity to be friends with a Gal. She is someone who will continually suck you dry - emotionally and physically - if you allow her to. She becomes jealous if she feels as though someone is taking priority in your life over her. And she will pull out the chronic illness card for guilt should you try to reason with her.

She has been doing it for years - to her boss, her one friend, her parents, and her sister - without realizing the devastation and animosity that she has bred.

It is not until her niece arrives, unexpectedly and unannounced, that you see a change in Gal's demeanor. She begins to ease up out of her own personal pity party as the emotional and physical needs of a teenager begin to supersede her own and she is forced (most likely for the first time) to focus on someone else's needs and feelings.

I ended up really loving this book, in spite of the slow and dreary start. It made me take a long look at my own life and self as of late and come to some powerful conclusions about the kind of friend and companion that I have been.

I highly recommend The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns for your summer beach reading list and am looking forward to reading Margaret Dilloway's first book How to be An American Housewife. 

We will be discussing The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns at the BlogHer Book Club for the next 4 weeks - come join the discussion!

This is a paid review for the BlogHer Book Club. All opinions and statements in this review are my own. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Anti-Announcement or Laboring in Vain

I am not pregnant.

I know that is exciting news (or not exciting news or maybe relieving news to some of you), so I just thought I would inform everyone this way. Besides, I figure that everyone else has taken to announcing their impending joys via social media, I can announce mine here. On my blog.

I am not pregnant!

My girly bits, however, are apparently thoroughly convinced that I am in active labor every 20 somethings days or so and this month I honestly believe that I need an epidural to get through this day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Little Bit Of Knowledge Can Be Dangerous

The Supergirl is smart. Crazy smart. The problem is that she tries to use her tiny bit of knowledge to make bigger points.

Example A: We are at the grocery store. They are having a sale on, umm... girl products. Not little girl products, but products that momma needs every, oh, 28 days or so. I am looking over what is left in the sale area since the extreme couponers have ravaged the very small selection, when the Supergirl begins shouting.

"NO. NO, NO, NO. I see what you are doing here. It is not going to work. You cannot have a baby. Don't even think about it."

I am puzzled to say the least, as well as embarassed that my kid is screaming at me in the middle of the feminine product aisle.

"What are you talking about?"

Friday, July 20, 2012

The More Things Change...

This has NOTHING to do with this post. I just found it very funny. And true. 
I was looking back over some old posts the last few days, and it occurred to me that as much as I have been thinking that my life is pretty stagnant and that nothing ever changes, my life has changed pretty dramatically over the last year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Skin, Dove, AND An Awesome Giveaway!!

This summer has been extremely hard on my skin, between the poison ivy, the steroids, creams, and antibiotics to treat the poison ivy, our hard water issue, and a few times out in the sun just a tad too long, my skin has been one dry irritable mess lately.

It's also not a secret that I don't make myself a priority in our household. I don't buy things that are just for me to use, and if for some reason, I have a coupon that makes body wash nearly free, I will buy a scent that the entire family will enjoy rather than splurging on just me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bad Parenting 101

I had promised myself that I wasn't going to out myself this way, as the bad parent that endangers her child. I had promised myself that I would keep this particular anecdote to myself. Of course, it keeps pulling at me, tugging at me.

And I know that I need to share it in the honor of complete transparency, honesty, what have you. Since that is what we all do here.

I had the Supergirl with me all day at work. In my space, messing with my things, pulling all of the stamps, markers, pens, post-its from their little spaces within my drawer. ALL DAY. Making noise, being loud, marching and running through the halls without an ounce of lightness to her feet.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Not a Normal Monday

My headphones are on and Pandora is playing some greatness and I am trying to find a good rhythm.

But it's not a normal Monday.

My door is closed because I have a lot to do, just like every other Monday morning.

I have voicemails and e-mails that demand to be answered. I have a hotel to call as well as a car rental company as it seems as though there were problems over the weekend with the reservations I made months ago. 

I am starving because of the lack of readily available snacks, just like I do every other Monday.

But it's not a normal Monday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Bit of Hypochondria Never Hurt Anyone

When I was around 10 or 11, years of reading nurse's medical guides and nursing magazines finally caught up with me. Phil Donahue may have also helped with this, as his was the only show way back when that would talk about such things.

In the sixth grade, I announced to my classmates that I had self-diagnosed my condition as non-allergic sinusitis. I may really have that as I am not allergic to anything (except, apparently, poison ivy). It sounded serious enough to serve my needs, but was definitely not something that I would die of. (Please let me know if someone has died from a sinus infection, I can add that to my list.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

You Mess With My Kid and...

I was putting the Supergirl to bed last night. She wasn't really cooperating so I announced that she would not be getting a packed lunch this morning.

And she lost it. Like "gasping-for-breath-and-snot-flying-everywhere" lost it.  I knew something was up, so I pushed because she is 4 and half and hasn't really learned about keeping information from her parents (thank God for that, I hope that that phase never goes away).

"I have to give a pickle to K*"

*Why I feel the need to protect the privacy of this particular 6 year old is beyond me. Believe me that what I would REALLY like to do is flip her over my knee and spank her bottom, but I would probably be arrested or sued or both and then what would I do?

I looked at her puzzled. "Why, why do you have to give a pickle to K?" I probed as she began to cry harder.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One Less Thing

In public, my kid tends to make me look like a bad parent.

People assume from her language and conversation skills and her size that she is really much older than she is, so when they see her rolling around on the floor or screaming and hollering at strangers about the joys of brussel sprouts (yes, really) they just assume that I am a terrible parent that is incapable of wrangling her one child.

I am okay with that, because it keeps her from getting kidnapped. And so, while I have a bagillion other things to worry about, I never have to worry that someone might snatch my kid. 

Don't believe me? Let's look at the facts.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Friendly Reminder

When your life is set to crisis mode, repeatedly, in a given year it is easy to fall into a thought process that makes you believe that everything (and everyone) revolves around you. You are so concerned with juggling all of these balls that you forget about the people you care about most.

You start taking people, especially the people most important to you, for granted.

I am a giver. I act as a personal assistant for those closest to me, making sure that they remember birthdays, making sure that they take care of all of the details so that their lives run smoothly. I am the person that they can talk to when drama, when chaos, when crisis enters their lives.

But this year, I have become a taker.

I don't offer advice, in fact, I barely listen. Who am I to give advice, look at the shambles my life has become? I don't call before birthdays with my friendly reminders. I work at the part-time when there is a holiday, so I can't take the children the way that I have in the past. I don't offer up and make charming gifts for friends and family members anymore.

I have become a bad friend. A friend that takes and takes, but does not return anything. I have become the kind of friend that I have screened from my life in the past. The friend that is hard to deal with, that just takes so much energy to deal with, a friend that is too much of a commitment.

And I am sorry.

I didn't realize that this is who I had become, but now that I see it, I am going to work hard to change it - I just hope that it's not too late.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Tale of Two Heathers

I have two jobs. People assume that I am exhausted, beat down, angry, or "over it", but honestly, I love my second job so much that it doesn't even feel like work a lot of the time.

And this is where I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.

At my full-time job, I get to dress up, wear heals, feel important, like I matter, which is hugely important. I have an office with a door (something I have coveted throughout my career) and am encouraged consistently to give my opinion and praised on my analytical abilities.

I am also alone 90% of the time. I have very limited interactions with any of the people in the office and as the "talking head" of the boss am avoided by many within the building. Conversations in the break room have completely ended because of my entry.

Not a super happy place to be when you are a people person.

When Supergirl came with me to work, she asked me why I was being punished since I sit facing a corner and being quiet all day. Mostly, I listen to Pandora and do my work, but I do wish that I had relationships with at least one or two people in my office. There is a woman downstairs that has written and published 3 novels that I would love to know more about than the half-hearted "hi" that we exchange each morning. I will probably never get to learn much about her other than professional  niceties and that's a hard fact for me to swallow.

I have great insurance, security and the ability to build a future here, should I choose to do so. They will also pay for me to go back to school, which is something that I have been saying that I wanted to do for forever.

On the other hand...

There is my part-time job. A job that I was sure that I was going to hate, but that I needed to take for my family to get back on track.

I love it. I love driving a truck and talking on a CB.

I love feeling like I am making a difference in a person's day. I love the personal satisfaction I get from being able to help people find what they are looking for. I love the comraderie between the employees and even the level of caring that the managers seem to have for each of us.

I get to be myself, my happy, opinionated, talkative, people-pleasing self for 20-30 hours a week even if it pays close to nothing.

And even though it's retail and I am on my feet for eleventeen hours a day, I leave happy, content, and eager to get home to my family.

I think I need to figure out which one I want to devote myself to, because I feel like the full-time may be getting short-changed as a result of the love that I have for the part-time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pushing Limits

Since Supergirl was born, I have had a chronic illness that causes extreme abdominal pain during flares (I used to call them attacks, because that is what they are doing, attacking me, sabotaging my plans). It also causes my abdomen to become extremely distended (to the point that I may look 5-6 months pregnant) and rigid.

I have been able to control a lot of the flare-ups through diet, and then the rare few that I do get are milder than usual and can be easily dealt with with pain medication and increased water consumption.

But sometimes, sometimes, there are weekends like the one that we just had.

It started at 4:15 PM on Friday. I was at work trying to wrap up the end of the fiscal year so that I could head to my part-time at 5. Suddenly, I could no longer sit in my chair. My abdomen was incredibly distended, rock hard, and tender to the touch. Every movement caused me more pain. I was not sure that I would ever get through the next 45 minutes. I finished my work day, on my knees in front of my keyboard, rocking through the spasms of pain that ricocheted through my core, tears rolling down my face.

Even after I took my medication after I left work, I was still incredibly sore, my stomach incredibly distended.

I was in that same pain all weekend. Without relief.

But I refused to lay in bed, or on the couch and bitch and complain. I refused because I had more important things to do.

I had a husband that I had barely seen or spoken to all week, that wanted to take his wife and daughter out to dinner and movie.

I had a kid that has been dying to see a new movie. 

We had church and birthday parties to attend.

I can not stop living my life because of my disease. I can't not let my kid do all of the fun things that kids do in the summer.

It wipes me out, but it's so worth this.

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