Sunday, December 30, 2007

Moving right along...

I hope your Christmases were all wonderful: I am trying to take it easy in an attempt to recover from the flare (Is it one long flare now? or a million little ones? I honestly don't know - or care - at this point. I'm sooooooo over the flares, my friends.), but between Christmas, our medical chaos, the birthday Clump and other assorted nonsense, I'm not exactly getting much recuperating done.

To be honest, I am sick of thinking about everything. About me, about my grandmother, my aunt, my brother, his kids, my mum, any and all of my sisters.... just the whole dang thing. I would like a long, extended vacation from all drama, but that does not look to be on the menu. And so, we deal.

And I have to say that coming here, reading all of you, well, it helps me to remember that I'm not the only one dealing... that we're all just taking our own tiny steps, getting through each day. And it's good to feel not so alone.

Looking forward at 2008: I'm not usually big on resolutions. I have trouble holding myself accountable for arbitrary things, and generally, if a change is necessary, I tend to try to deal with it then, not wait for the new year to roll around. (I don't always manage to do that, but I try.) So I don't usually do a list of resolutions, and I don't think I'll do one this year either, but I want to do something. I need... something. I want to say control, but that's not exactly it. I need... some, power, maybe? In my own life.

IDK, exactly what I am trying to say. I feel so... swept away. Like I have so little say in what is happening in my life - from my illness, to where I live, to how I spend my day. To the illnesses of the people I love, to how other people's actions and behaviors influence me, to ... just, so many things, large and small. Time is passing, days and months and years, and I feel: stuck.

Not always, not every day and in everyway, but tonight, and lately... it feels overwhelming.

And so.

And so, I'm thinking of adopting the very wise idea I first read about at But You Don't Look Sick. Spoon Theory author and website founder, Christine Miserandino talks about picking just one word: a theme for the new year. It's an achievable and encompassing goal, to my way of thinking. It allows for both specifics and generalizations... a word that has meaning to me and can be easily remembered when I am faced with something that I feel like I need to change.

Of course, now I need to pick a word: a keyword that will help to guide me through what will most likely be a trying (and downright difficult year). I've got a few words rattling around in my head tonight, I'm going to let them simmer a bit more, and then settle on one.

Meanwhile, I'm interested to see if you all are resolution-ers, or if the start of the new year is just another day of you.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hey everybody!

I'm totally out of it, or at least I'm predicting that I'll be totally out of it, based on previous experience, so I'm writing this now to post later.

I've signed up to "Whore My Loot!" , but if I'm posting this as an alternative, it's just cuz I'm not feeling up to taking pictures (or typing... or probably doing anything except staring into space and remembering to press the "post" button). I'll get around to my own, received loot later, but how'd you like to see what I gave out this year instead?

I'm kinda proud of a lot of my gifts this year: having used my good sense & not spent big time $$$; having gotten very specific and individualized presents, and having discovered the joys of Esty, I really felt like this year I did particularly well.

So here's some of what I'm planning to give tomorrow (or... rather, have given and been exclaimed over!)

I spent the year picking up bargains on DVDs for Older/Only Brother, of movies that we'd enjoyed growing up. Here's a few:

For SisterJ, I got a print of an angel statue, sleeping:

And a print called "If Humpty Dumpty was a girl" from Esty artist, the Dreamy Giraffe, whose artwork I lurve...

So much so that I also ordered:
For Youngest/Only Niece:

For Her mama, STB Sister-in-law:

(Ahem... I may have also kept one for myself... ya never know.)
I wanted to keep SisterK's present for myself, but I bravely wrapped it up instead:

Isn't it gorgeous? It's also from Esty, from Little Dear, totally droolworthy prints, I promise.

Lil Girl/Only Niece also got the latest adventure of her favorite animal:

College Roommate/Best Friend got a framed photo of her daughter & Lil Girl, having a blast over the summer:

And SisterCh got yet another Esty find, a Monopoly necklace. Monopoly is her favorite game... it's kind of an obsession. So, hopefully she'll love this too:

There's more, but it's Christmas Eve and I'm still wrapping, so I'll type more later. Since I'm meant to post this on the 27th, I hope you all have had a fabulous, peaceful holiday.

I should be checking in soon.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dear Shoppers -

You may not be aware of this, but that roll of wrapping paper? Is right at neck level for individuals in wheelchairs. Who may also be trying to shop. And who would rather not be poked in the back of the neck with your purchases.

It would really help me out a lot if you took the time to notice that, um... hey, you have a big, long tube sticking out of your cart.

Like a lance.

That is aimed at my face.

And I would prefer it not to make contact with that face.


I realize it is just wrapping paper, but you are not leisurely strolling through the store, setting a snail's pace so that the roll barely grazes me. No, you are intent. You are on a mission to possess something that the store is probably already out of anyways, and you must get to where it is hiding, RIGHT NOW. And so, the force with which your festive cardboard bayonet pierces me is surprisingly strong.

And yes, I am taking into consideration that I have a very low pain tolerance level, but I also submit that anyone would be, at the very least, uncomfortable with all these dangerous weapons encroaching on them.

Also? Should your wrapping paper lance make contact with my body, the appropriate thing to do is not to glare at me as if I have somehow floated in, invisibly, in order to spear myself on your roll of wrapping paper. Surprised? Indeed, the correct response might be to ask if I am all right, or to apologize for ramming an object from your cart into my head. Just a suggestion.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MBS -- Tuesday?

Just because I really, really, really need some cheering up, let's see what the first Christmas picture to come up in my slideshow shuffle is... no matter what, I'll post that one.

ooh... it's a good one.

This is Older/Only Brother, Christmas Eve 1988, lighting the candles on the altar. This is one of his signature poses, the over the shoulder glance... For his scrapbook this year, I've got a page just of him doing it. (I'll try to take a picture today, but one of the reasons I need the aforementioned cheering up is that my stupid printer is not working. At all: it takes a piece of paper, immediately tilts it, then proceeds to tell me there's a paper jam. You think?? It's cuz you're eating it crooked! :Sigh:) Anyways, he was an altar boy for a number of years. Back before our Catholic churches allowed 'altar servers,' and there weren't that many boys in our neighborhood. Between that, and the fact that we live directly across the street from the church, he served at a lot of masses, got the pick of assignments. This is right before the children's Christmas Eve Mass, 1988, he's 12, I was 9 and in the pagaent as... probably a non-speaking angel that year.

He's a cutie, and I gotta say that Lil Girl and her big brother do have so many of his mannerisms, it's kind of amazing.

Alright, that kinda worked... I'm going to go curse at electrical equipment in my room. And hopefully take a shower, cuz we've got Lil Girl tomorrow, and I know it ain't gonna happen then.

Off I go...

Monday, December 17, 2007

MBSM: A Christmas Past.

Wandering around and seeing all the My Best Shot Mondays is a real treat for me, and pulled me (at least partially) out of my funk today. So I'll share a MBSM with all of you, of a happier Christmas..

Here's me, Older/Only Brother, & Oldest Sister/SisterS, Christmas 1984:

We're laughing at something crazy SisterJ (then almost 2) was doing, but I can't remember what it was. This was the year of the fake Cabbage Patch Kids - the kind with little bumps on the sides of their noses that looked like warts. The kind that you bought in pieces - heads, arms, legs, and trunk, and then assembled yourself. Trust me when I say that finding your grandmother's stash of doll heads by accident one year is plenty freaky, no matter how old you are.

Hey, this is pretty fun: I think, due to the cheering up aspect of this whole thing, I will try to do another one tomorrow ---> there's certainly plenty to choose from. Maybe I can find the one where my Dad is ready to punch out Santa, or Santa on crack, or find a year with authentic Cabbage Patch Kids... I know they're all here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oh people...

I really feel like, if I were happening upon this blog, I wouldn't believe half of the stuff I write about. I just retyped it all here, all the crap and confusion, all the chaos and clusterf#%^s, but it made me physically ill to see it all typed up again, all at once like that. So I erased it, wishing that I could erase it all from my mind, my life, just as easily. If only.

Today is Older/Only Brother's 31st Birthday. He has not been "the best big brother a girl could ever hope for," because this is not a made for TV movie. No, this is real life, and sometimes, he really sucked: He made fun of ever pimple I ever got, and teamed up with one of our cousins to christen me Moo-Cow. He used to make me play sting with him in the schoolyard near our house, even though (or maybe because) I was a sports equipment magnet and would wind up getting hit in the face, or the back, or the neck with the ball and would walk around for the entire summer with round bruises showing on every bare inch of skin. He is merciless; I am "overly sensitive." He's a master manipulator, and has taken advantage of me, at times. He had his own room, while three of us girls (sometimes 4) were stuck together in another. He almost never remembers to call when he says he is going to, or people's birthdays. His temper is legendary, still, and he once went through a period so dark he thought we'd all be better off without him, and did something I don't know if I can ever fully forgive him for.

But he's my big brother.

And I love him.

Because he is also an awesome guy.

Because, he used to let me 'help' him sort his baseball cards... and resort them. And sort them again. Because he was the first one of my siblings to understand just how much it sucks to be sick all the time, that I wasn't faking, that he really didn't get it (and probably never would), but that I needed him to help me out. Because even though he disagreed (maybe still does) on my position towards our father, he stopped trying to convince me of how wrong I was, when he realized that it was what I needed him to do. Because he trusts me to take care of his kids, and knows that I love them with all of my heart, just like I love him. Because, when we were little, he would drag me around behind him, in a laundry basket. Because I gave him a hernia. Because he's trying to be the best father he can, and growing up and accepting his responsibilities, and making me proud of him, every day. Because he sat through recitals, even if Mum made him. Because he's strong and doesn't see it, because he's smart but sometimes forgets. Because he puts his finger out like ET so that we can 'hug.'

So, when the phone rang from his (soon-to-be)in-laws place early Friday morning, I just thought that it would be him, asking us, last minute (AGAIN!!) to watch Lil Girl. And I was less than happy with that thought, but rolled over to get the phone anyways. And heard from his MIL that his job had called and told Soon-to-be Sister In Law that he'd had a(nother) seizure. This is his second seizure, ever, as far as we know.

His first happened in early June, and he was diagnosed with a seizure disorder, which he didn't believe he had (since he was also dealing with a pretty serious painkiller addiction, and was mixing them with his RX drugs, so this was thought to be the most likely cause of that episode). However, they did an EKG and put him on Depakote, and he was fine. But on Friday, he had a much less serious seizure, and was taken to the ER, and they found that his Depakote levels were ridiculously low. So, they doubled his dose and said that he needs to be more religious in his medication taking.

He's ok, he's fine now - a little achy, a little freaked out, because he honestly didn't think that the seizure disorder thing was going to be a real issue in his life, and now he has to rethink that. It's a pretty frightening proposition, you know, when you realize that your body isn't really under your control. When you start to think that whatever you've got, it could be with you forever. It probably will be with you forever. And now you've got to deal, you've got to cope.

I have to say, though, I'm getting really sick of coping. I'm getting sick of answering the phone to some new disaster, major or minor - "Someone mangled my driver side mirror while I was in the house;" "The basement refrigerator stopped working - no wait, maybe it's just unplugged - no, it's definitely dead;" "I presented your case at a health conference of immunologists - 2000 of them, and they were all amazed, but they didn't have any concrete answers for us!" I'm getting sick of having to type out the horrible things that are happening, of having to remind myself of how much worse things could be.

And, they could be So. Much. Worse.

Older/Only Brother is fine today, on his meds.
My aunt is improving enough that they let her use a walker to get to her in-room bathroom once today.
My Nana is being stubborn because they want to put a feeding tube in, just in case, while they do the radiation, but doing the radiation gives her an 80% chance of remission.
My cousin's twins were born on Monday, almost full term, and a respectable 4.5lbs and 5.7 lbs. Yes, they're still having trouble with feeding, and we haven't been able to see them because they're keeping them in the NICU, but they're alive. My cousin came through the delivery ok, is up and moving again.

Honestly, everybody is doing as well as can be expected for their own situations. And I am wholeheartedly glad and excited about that.

I would just like for there to be no more situations, if that is at all possible.

I am determined to write/post something uplifting soon... this blog is not here to depress me or all of you, and I could use something new and different... maybe even some pictures!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ok so here's the thing

I didn't mean to write this post about how much you all mean to me and then totally disappear. Things got a little heavier around here, and trying to hold up my end of things has been ridiculously difficult for me, so something had to give. I'm SOOOO behind in my bloglines, I'm afraid to check them. I have been following a few blogs who's htmls I could remember on my own, but it's mostly been quick check-ins, just to make sure everybody's doing ok.

Which is also what this is: Checking in here, with all of you, so you know that I am ok, and I know you are ok. Well, ok may be stretching it a big, but I'm definitely hanging in there. Flaring seems to be my constant state, just lately. Stress, infections, cold weather: sooo not helpful. Nor is trying to step-up & help out more...that is really one of the hardest things, wanting to help SO MUCH, and only being able to do this much.

Brief update on family situations: Tomorrow is Nana's radiation consultation, and we'll find out her radiation schedule. The other night she choked on her medication (she's supposed to take them one at a time, but forgot), and literally stopped breathing right in front of me. Thankfully I was not alone in the house with her, because I screamed for my mum while franitically trying to figure a way to heimlich her while sitting - I was trying to get her to bend over the back of a chair... but it was forutunately unnecessary, as she threw up the pill (and quite a bit more) just as I got her to stand. This damned cancer is in her throat, it is a rather large mass, and it is obviously getting in the way of important things. I will be so grateful when it is no longer there, and am cautiously reassured by what her doctors are saying as far as how treatable this is.

My aunt is improving slowly, but we'll take whatever we can get. She still weighs under 100 lbs (this is a guess, but I would say about 85lbs): She is 5'7", naturally slight, but this is majorly different. She's starting eating again, and they're weaning her off her feeding tube. So, that's good. She's not 100% back, mentally yet, but that doesn't mean that any damage is permanent. She's had some adverse reactions to drugs, so those could be contributing. Either way, it's nice to have her be able to hold short conversations, to know that she recognizes me again.

The PUS continue to terrorize us all, and I am so over them. I'm trying so hard to ignore their acts, but it is hard. I just spent two days on the couch (on the other side of the house) when Mrs. PUS decided to pour gasoline in the snowblower - right outside my room. Mr. PUS continues to campaign to get Nana to change her will, her medical proxy, her ... everything. And to maniupulate her into seeing him as the injured party - to the amazement & detriment of us all. Including his critically ill sister & mother (Auntie E, Nana), his chronically ill niece (um.. me), & his completely overburdened sister (Mum). It certainly shows that he's changed and deserves the 'benefit of the doubt,' does it not? It is beyond my understanding why Nana can not see how harmful he is, and continues to insist on inflicting him/his beliefs on all of us... even to the point where Auntie E's husband has almost banned her from her visiting Auntie E, if she's so determined to bring him up. The whole thing makes me want to throw up.

And this has turned out to be not as brief as I'd thought, and, as usual, I feel better for writing it down.

Now it's your turns: Everybody good? Anybody got good news? I could certainly use some. Let me know what I've missed, if you get a chance.

Love, Me

Friday, November 30, 2007

No more NaBloPoMo

Today is the last day of National Blog Posting Month, and I made it, again. I almost stopped caring, quite a few times, when things started to get heavier and heavier, but it gave me something else to think about besides what's going on here, and that wound up being a good thing.

Last year, after I finished my first NaBloPoMo, I was all "I can do this, this posting everyday thing: I'll keep it going all year." Yeah, this year, I know better - t'ain't gonna happen.

But, I also know I'm still committed to this, this sharing with people thing. I hate how my best ideas for blogs happen as soon as I click the little "Shut down computer" button. Or in the shower. Or while I'm too sick to roll over and type. But I love that I have this almost constant voice in my head that's urging me to write.

Because I am a writer - I've always written, assume I always will.

I may not be the best writer, but trying to figure out the right words to say to make people feel what I am saying is important to me. (Sometimes, too important, hence the multitude of unpublished drafts in my post listings... if I can't find the right way to say it, I probably won't say it at all.)

I also know how important all of you are to me: my readers and the writers of the blogs I read. I'm addicted to, and committed to, this community. All of the smart, funny, brilliant, quirky, understanding, thoughtful, determined, and generous (mostly) women I've met since I fell into the blogosphere.

Every single person who I 'know' because they've sat at their computer, turned on their brains, moved their fingers and opened their hearts to the world.

To me.

It's funny how often I start a conversation with "Well, I was reading this blog and," or "You know my friend Janice said," ...or Miss Zoot, or the Goldfish - you know, all of these people I've never actually met but who feel closer to me than my in-person friends?
Or how so many of the quotes going into my collected wisdom folders are from blogs.
Or how a trick/technique I've read about here becomes a part of my daily routine.
Or how often I will be doing something (watching TV, eating, sitting in a doctor's waiting room again) and something I've read in the blogosphere will pop into my head.
Or how frequently I find myself sending good vibes to places I've never been, except in my heart.

So, with all that's going on in my life right now - and all I can see that is going on in all of yours - I'm grateful that we've got these places, these little refuges.

I started this blog more than 2 years ago, looking for an outlet, a very necessary place to call my own, even if it wasn't a physical place. I never dreamed that it would also be a place where I would feel so connected - to myself, to women, to mothers, to the world.

In real life, I'm so often the misfit, the one who doesn't/can't just blend in: I'm too sick, too lonely, too straight laced, too weird, too anxious, too abby-normal.

And yet here, I belong.

I'm just another voice, just another open heart.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"And then

NTE fell asleep for a thousand years. And there was much happiness and rejoicing all through the land."

Which is a pretty good alternative to my actual life right now, so if there are any positions available in fairy tale land, please be sure to let me know.

Also... is anybody there? Did I chase you all away with all my whining & convoluted explanations (which would suck. For two reasons: 1) I like you all & 2) I'm not all that likely to stop venting here.) Or is everybody all caught up in the Christmas?

The Christmas seems to presently be evading us here at Chez NTE, given the heaviness of recent events/news, it's hard to be light and fluffy. I literally swore when a certain Christmas carol came on the radio yesterday - it felt so out of place to me it might has well have been June 29th.

My aunt is steadily improving, thank all that is holy. She's awake now, but we're still not certain what the issues really are. She's still very confused, but knew her sister enough to stick her tongue out at her, so she's starting to resemble her old self, a little, at least.

My Nana's biopsy results are due in tomorrow, but the doctor is pretty sure it's throat cancer. "Highly treatable, and usually curable" is a direct quote, but, somehow, the C word is so overwhelming that it's hard to see beyond it, just now.

We did have LilGirl today, though, and even though I was not in a place physically to be caring for her, I said screw it, because she cheers me up so much. It's nice to laugh at somebody giving a kissing parade, in the midst of all this crappola.

Also? For The Christmas?

I would like her coat, only with the furry part on the inside, because it is so freaking cute and snugly, I almost made her wear it around the house all day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

She loves to see the babies...

... and I can't pass them up either. Besides, it helps me to be not obsessing.

So, there we go.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"anywhere but here"

You Should Spend the Holidays In

India - where your Christmas tree might be a banana or mango tree

Just needed something light and fluffy for today.

And now for something completely different...

I'm going to confess that I have not yet read The Dangerous Book for Boys, even though it seemed like something I would probably enjoy. I haven't for 3 main reasons:
1) the ginormous size of my To Be Read pile
2)the fact that it was surrounded by hype ~ I am not a literary slob, but, having followed a few of the "must read/ bound to be a bestseller" trends, I find that I almost always disagree with popular opinion about what is good (Harry Potter is the only exception that leaps to mind, and I was on that bandwagon from just about the beginning. The DaVinci Code, on the other hand, is, in fact, almost entirely the reason for my skepticism towards letting the media steer me towards a particular book)
and 3)I just didn't like the title. The feminist in me instinctively balked a bit at a book whose title proclaimed it a boys-only zone.

But, I continued to hear good things about it - from people whose opinions are significantly more reliable than any list I've ever seen, and began to think that the only way to either confirm or rebut my initial reservations would be to read it myself. So, I added it to my ever-expanding TBR list, realizing that, given the Biblical proportions of that list, I'd get there eventually.

And then Mama Talk gave me the opportunity to review The Daring Book for Girls, the female counterpart whose publication was inevitable given the success of Dangerous. And I thought, "Why not?"

If it was as bad as it could be - all fluffy, filled with fripperies & frivolities, and ... pink, well then I'd have quite a review to write. And if it wasn't, then not only would I have a great review, I'd have a book to put on the keeper shelf, to add to Lil Girl's library, to recommend to my friends.

And, luckily, it is this second review that you're going to read.

Because, while it certainly doesn't - and shouldn't - ignore all things 'girly,' The Daring Book for Girls doesn't just cover those things - instead it strives to give its readers as a sense of perspective: that there is a world full of things to do, skills to learn, people to read about, choices to make, and all a girl has got to do is take the first step.

"Consider the Daring Book for Girls a book of possibilities and ideas for filling a day with adventure, imagination - and fun. The world is bigger than you can imagine, and its yours for exploring - if you dare." (Introduction)

It's not about boys or make-up or losing weight or sitting quietly, and I can't say how truly awesome that is. It's about making your own fun, your own adventures, your own choices. It's about learning from women who've dared, who've leapt, who've led - many of whom you, unfortunately, will never learn about in school. Curiosity, patience, wisdom, wit, adventure - that's the spirit this book is written in.

Andrea J. Buchanan & Miriam Peskowitz write in such an entertaining, engaging style that I can't imagine anybody who couldn't find something interesting between the covers. It's like an encyclopedia that's only filled with things you might actually want to know.

The illustrations, by Alexis Seabrook, are simple and purposeful, and there's -thankfully- more than one chart to help you follow along as you go.

There were more than a few topics that I wondered about their place in the lives of modern girls - Clapping games are still popular on schoolyards, but pegboards and willow whistles aren't exactly X-boxes or Barbie's Dream House... However, I don't necessarily consider this a drawback: There were a lot of things that I never did as a child, but maybe if I'd known how to, I would have. Daisy chains or a lemon powered clock would definitely have tempted a younger me. (Ok, I'm still tempted, but we've got no daisies, and I don't think I'm going to explain to Dad - who does the food shopping - why I need lemons.)

And they also include a lot of things I think should make a comeback - letter writing and tree swings, lemonade stands and female pirates.

It's also not just for 'little' girls -
I'm not ashamed to admit that I learned quite a few things on my first read through. For example, while I'm not interested in sports (and will never understand the obsession with them), I also don't like to not understand what people are talking about. I suppose I could've googled what a power forward was, but I didn't care that much. Now, I don't have to look it up.
I still can't change a tire, but that's more about the physics than a count against that entry. And I'm interested to see how the salary negotiating or public speaking guides measure up in real life.

And although I'm not as daring as I once was, this book provides more than a few adventures I'd still be willing to try out: Making a snowball that doesn't fall apart once it leaves your hand, tying a sari, whistling with two fingers (which, I swear I have been trying to learn how to do for years), finding ways to incorporate brobdingnagian into the conversation - or to call someone my flea in French.

I'm happy to be able to say that if you've got a little girl to holiday shop for, you should add this to your list. Honestly? Add it anyways - put it under your own tree, and learn how to supply a toolbox or what the heck a Chinook is. Go for it. Dare.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tempting Fate (part 2)

Here's yesterday's introduction to what we're talking about here, in case you missed it.

Mum's sister, Auntie E, was already in pretty serious shape - sedated and on a respirator, in a safe room - when we got up Thursday morning, so we knew it wasn't going to be the easiest holiday ... our celebrations, as they were, were supposed to be pretty low key anyways.

And then Nana (Mum's mother) calls and says that E's organ's are failing and Mr.PUS (Mum's brother) is going to drive her to the hospital immediately.

Now, in an attempt to not flood the internets (and my brain) with vicious hate, I have tried to keep the PUS postings to a minimum. (PUS, by the way is both the noun for what they are and the acronym - People UpStairs.) But there's a reason I call them that. They are, truly, despicable people. They are verbally abusive to all of us, most especially my Nana. If I must give a concise sort of encapsulate of their vitriol, I will say that the following things have been said, by them, to another member of our family: "If I have to, I will go down there and beat the shit out of them, I will set him on fire... you won't be able to stop me." "Your mother is a slut who hasn't worked a day in her life, because she couldn't keep her legs closed and just kept popping out kids." and... probably most important in this situation, "The wrong sister died." As said to Nana, about the death of her eldest daughter 20 years ago this month, and referring to his 2 remaining sisters, Mum and Auntie E.

Both Mum and Auntie E have refused to speak or deal with him, for about 3-4 years now. He, of course, considers himself the wronged party. It's all his sisters' fault for not speaking to him, for making him an outcast, blah de blah. So, this, of course, excuses his - and his family's - behavior towards us and towards Nana. It is ok to spread rumors in Nana & Auntie E's place of work, because it's our fault. It's ok to TOTALLY IGNORE Nana for more than a week - and I mean not speak a single word to her, even though you live in her house, on the same level as her - because it's us who are being mean to you.

It is all ridiculous and childish and hurtful and tense and disgusting, and, on its best day, makes me nauseous just to think about.

And, of course, this was not our best day.

So, long story short, Mr. PUS is not allowed to visit Auntie E - her husband has put a restriction on her visitors, and he is NOT ALLOWED.

So when Nana called and said that, Mum immediately said no, and said she'd take her. Nana - who, while I love her, totally makes this whole situation worse by not just doing something about it.. instead she plays both sides: she plays up her victim status to us, and let's him be the victim on his own side... says "Oh, but if it's that bad he HAS to see her... he's his sister."

No mention of the fact that it's his sister's RIGHT to choose, no, it's all about poor him.


Anyways... Nana has been sick out of her mind with worry this whole week - Auntie E is in bad shape (her chances, when last given, have been pretty evenly split), and Nana knows it. Not to mention that this time of year reminds her of when her daughter, Auntie M & her husband died (different years). Add the fact that she's got her own health issues: scary tests and possibly dangerous diagnoses to deal with.

But Mr. PUS doesn't care about that... it's all about how HE can't get in, how HE's trying to do the right thing, how SHE's doing him an injustice by not letting him in, how it's Mum's fault because she won't tell him anything, won't even look at him. And he's badgering Nana, all week long. I can see it; I can hear it.

And Nana, she just takes it. Snaps at us for interfering. Tells us he isn't, when he obviously is. Takes his side, again and again.

To the point that, Wednesday night, I got so upset and started planning this whole little speech (1 of about a million) I would give her the next day. About how she's constantly playing both sides, and it isn't right. How she keeps telling us that she's making them leave and then she never does. How all her daughters have ever done is stand up for her, their families, and themselves, and yet, somehow, she tries to make them seem like they are in the wrong.

But I never got to give the speech.

Because after Nana's phone call (and a quick check on Auntie E, who thankfully was not failing...she was, in fact the same - stable, and holding on), there was a little altercation between Mum and Mr.PUS (and me! Yay... blech~!) and then he took her to the hospital anyways.

He couldn't get in to see her (even though Nana tried to manipulate my uncle and cousin out of the room in order to get him in!!), and - here I am only guessing a little - took Nana aside and started berating her. He didn't scream (or else my other uncle and cousin would have heard & intervened), but he's capable of such a cold, blank intensity that it is frightening. And I am sure that he used it on her then. Then he left her there - without a ride - and came back home to slam the outer door and storm his way up the stairs.

My other uncle, Auntie E's husband, called Mum and told her to come get Nana... she left right away (leaving me in charge of the food).

And then she called, 25 minutes later, in tears.

Mum never cries... I mean... I have seen her cry, but maybe 10 times, total. So, I knew it was bad.

Nana had collapsed, she said. She'd thrown up and then passed out cold. My cousin had caught her, but they were taking her down to the emergency room.

Dad and SisterJ went to the emergency room right away - Mr. & Mrs. PUS both raced off as well - and I was here alone, left to call the rest of us and put Thanksgiving on the back burner, both literally and figuratively.

What followed is another, long, too-tiring-to-write-right-now post, but as of today, Nana is OK. She was dehydrated and stressed past her limit...and they've been giving her fluids and running tests. Since we already know that she's got some sort of mass (although we haven't really had a chance to digest that information yet, coming, as it did only a day and a half before my aunt's collapse), they're being extra careful and making sure the two things are not related. But she is much more her normal self, which is to say pissed off that she's still in the hospital, more than slightly scatterbrained (a whole nother worry), and ignoring that which she chooses to ignore.

Case in point - that SOB Mr. PUS is acting like the perfect son - taking her the paper in the morning, peeling her banana, acting solicitous to the doctors and nurses, trying to find out what he can. It makes me want to throw up. And here is one reason - in a post that is supposedly about my aunt and grandmother, who have I talked about the most...? He always manages to make it about him, when it is NOT ABOUT HIM!! And... even better... she lets him.

It is so hard to love someone so much, and still be so angry at them that they allow things like this to happen - to themselves and to our family. I'm mad at her for not taking better care of herself, or for not letting us take better care of her... but my being mad just adds more strain, which is dangerous for her. Does this make any sense? I feel like, even though I have a perfect right to be angry with her, I can't be angry with her because she's so sick.

SisterJ and I were talking about how, you always hear that when there's emergencies or difficulties, families are supposed to put aside their differences and come together. But how do we come together with him, with the rest of the PUS, knowing that their behaviors are one of the main factors in her being so sick? Having heard them screaming at her the night before, knowing how scared she was about her daughter, and still obviously not caring? How can you put that aside? I don't know that I can, even if it is what she wants us to do. I can't ignore it, knowing that this part... this solicitousness... is all an act, that nothing in his/their behavior has really changed. It would be nice to think that this scare has woken them up, but it hasn't: he continues to rail at my mother, at not being allowed access to Auntie E, at not being the one in charge of Nana's medical decisions (Mum is). He continues to try to manipulate things.

He hasn't changed, and neither has she: she refuses to see him for what he is, but I feel like I can't just put what I know about him aside.

I don't know if I can do that, not even for her.

And wow, this post is long and morose, and I thank you for listening, letting me babble it all out this way. Needless to say it's been a very difficult week, and adding my Flare to this all hasn't really helped - I was totally out of it Friday and Saturday, but my brain hasn't shut off since. The intensity of this Flare is largely because I tried to do to much - in the face of such crises, I couldn't exactly just go lay down whenever I needed to, plus there were a million things that Mum does for me that I had to attempt to do on my own, plus there were the million other things she normally does that I was trying to do. So, I'm not in the best spot, physically, right now either.

Which brings me back to the point: Things are getting better today. Yesterday, Auntie E was being taken off her ventilator, and the hope is that she'll be much improved today (Mum hasn't gone yet, so I don't know). Nana's ok right now, just pissed because they haven't let her go... she's hoping to come home tomorrow or Wednesday. And I am stuck in bed, but off to lose myself in the glories of the blogosphere (and maybe some internet shopping?): I really appreciate the chance to just get this all out of my head for a little bit.

And not typing anything else about how grateful I am that things are getting better, because I ain't tempting fate again.

Tempting Fate (part 1)

It took me more than an entire day to find the energy/block the pain long enough to type this much, so I know y'all won't mind if this post comes in fits and starts... here's the beginning. But let me just say this so you won't worry too much: today, we are all making do. We are all pushing through. We are all, hope to God, getting better.

From Wednesday's Post:

Because of issues - health, family, other assorted craziness - tomorrow is not looking like the easiest day, but also it is definitely not our hardest, and that is something to remember.

Why, exactly, do I feel the need to tempt fate? Was it our worst day ever... no. I've had a lot of worse days. And, sadly, will probably have more in the close-future. But... it was certainly our worst Thanksgiving.

Which makes it a prize, because five or six years ago, my Thanksgiving was spent in bed, while the rest of my family went to my aunt's house. And while I did not miss the in-law who laughs like a hyena, scarecrow girl, or the constant smell of wet dog, I did miss the family, the dinner, the connection.

Three or four years ago, in the week coming up to Thanksgiving, the PUS decided to spread mothballs in our basement, and I had to evacuate. I spent the week leading up to, and that Thanksgiving morning, bunked on the couch at Grandmother's house, and eventually got home in time to have a Thanksgiving meal with one sister, Mum & I, all laying on my bed, watching The Grinch. (And, this is all without mentioning my usual Post-Holiday Flare.)

And then, two years ago on Thanksgiving my Grandmother (my father's mother) passed out on our kitchen floor and we had to call the ambulance. She left looking like a ghost, and my brother said as she did "I feel like I'm never going to see her again." Fortunately, he was wrong: she's still alive and in pretty great health for a 90 year old. But it was unbelievably scary, impossibly chilling.

But, somehow, this Thanksgiving beat them all.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

thinking ahead..

Know I'm not going to be good today, so here's a little something I've got sitting in the draft folder, so all I have to do is click post.

You scored as Hermione Granger, You are Hermione. You are academic, intelligent, and reasonable. On top of this, you are highly concerned with justice, scorn the small-minded prejudices of others and work hard to defend the under dog. Many times you may find that your heart and mind are constantly at war with each other.

Hermione Granger


Albus Dumbledore


Remus Lupin


Percy Weasley


Neville Longbottom


Harry Potter


Luna Lovegood


Oliver Wood


Severus Snape


Draco Malfoy


Sirius Black


Ron Weasley


Bellatrix Lestrange


Lord Voldemort


Harry Potter Character Combatibility Test
created with

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Good morning !

Happy Thanksgiving...

I'm going to blog along with the parade for a little while, see how that goes.

- It smells good here. I may not like to eat, but these smells are pretty great.

- I love the musical numbers: I think we've talked before about how much I love Broadway...and, having never been there, it's awesome to catch some of the newer numbers right here from bed. Also, while I'm not a purist by any means, I'm hoping that next year there'll be some non-movie-inspired shows included. (Xanadu... blech)

- It does not bode well for the rest of my dad, drama-wise, that I started crying at the Michael Phelps commercial.

- I keep thinking "that's my favorite part of the parade." Favorite parts of the parade so far? The broadway kids at the beginning. The Rockettes...I could've been a Rockette (at least that's what I delude myself into thinking. )Some none favorites: the 'banter' with Al Roker...which are really just commercials for NBC shows.

- How cute was that Rudolph/Aflack commercial? I kinda liked it and kinda didn't: I don't like it when they take heritage type stuff and screw with it, but it was still funny, so I'm on the fence.

- I wonder what you have to do, who you have to be to get one of those seats behind the performers, at the Macy's Herald Square store...

- Also love: that the traffic light behind Matt and Meredith isn't off: 1,2,3 Red light. 1,2,3, Green light.

- Those toothtune toothbrushes are scary to me. Sending music right to your teeth (/brain)? uM... no thank you. It's a good idea, the 2-minute song thing, but the application seems freaky to me.

- Rockettes time! Yay! Did I mention that I could've been a Rockette? Well, thinking back... maybe/maybe not. When I was dancing, I was always the tallest, center of the line. I was also - am still - insanely flexible (Remind me to tell you about some of the theories that my FM may also be in the Ehler-Danlos family of connective tissue disorders). That led to a lot of high kicks. My dance teacher (who was petite... ok short) loved to show that I could kick high, and it was kind of a given that I'd be kicking high, doing splits, and stretching my long legs as much as possible. One year we did a Chorus Line number - One - and ended with those Rockette type kicks, as the curtain closed. We had to start out with 15 kicks, and then keep kicking as the curtain closed, opened, and closed again. The short people on the ends of the line only had to kick till the curtain passed them, breathe, and then wait for the curtain to come back to them. Me? I was dead center... kicking the entire time. I'm pretty sure we counted 31 additional kicks, after watching the recital video. And, mostly, they were eye-high. See... a few more years of training, and I could've been a Rockette.

- Why do they think that we'll think that these songs are being sung live? Well, actually, probably they are singing live, but that's not what we're hearing... We've all heard what live singing actually sounds like, and this ain't it.

- I should probably get dressed soon. Laying around in my bathrobe may be comfy, but it's not exactly company-ready.

- The family drama - for those of you who asked: it's freaking ridiculous. My aunt is on a respirator, her asshole of a brother (Mr. PUS) is making it all about him and creating ridiculousness, scaring my Nana, who's already scared out of her mind. And there's a restraining order involved and everything... It's awesome. That's ust the beginning, I'm afraid. So... I'm ignoring it for right now, even though my horoscope said to face things head on today. I don't wanna, and it can't make me.

- I have never built a bear.

- When she was like 9, I made SisterJ watch the tv-movie based on my favorite Stephen King novel, It and now she is afraid of clowns.

-I don't like - have never liked Hello Kitty.

- My high school marching band had about 25 people in it... and my high school wasn't really small. You can see how important it was to us.

- alright... am really getting dressed now... if I don't come back Happy Thanksgiving, everybody in the US. And to all of you who spend time here, however long or short, know I'm thankful for that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve

Baked a pie. Am now very sore and exhausted (and totally not listening to Dad rant and rave about how there was a blueberry stain on the table. Seriously: I do the best I can, and it takes a lot for me to try and pitch in like this... I couldn't keep an eye on everybody else at the same time, so you need to just lay off!) Almost forgot that I am supposed to post something before I take a loooooooooooooooooong hotttttttttttttttttttt shower, and let some things melt away.

Because of issues - health, family, other assorted craziness - tomorrow is not looking like the easiest day, but also it is definitely not our hardest, and that is something to remember.

My plan is to watch the parade in the morning --- YAY! I LOVE THE PARADE! - and hopefully post sometime then... But, in the hopes that you're having a fantabulous time and can't rush right over here to see what the hell I am talking about:

I'm going to wish you all the very best Thanksgiving you can possibly have...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ok... did I ever think I would have to say

that you don't blow your nose with your pancake and that you don't eat your tissue?

No, no I did not.

Monday, November 19, 2007

MBSM - Illicit

Today's Best Shot Monday picture combines a few of my favorite things: the energy of Youngest Nephew (7), time alone with just Youngest Nephew, and the two of us acting like children - which, although he can do it all the time, is such a treat for me!

Here's an action shot from our sleepover this weekend, when I caught him catapulting from the couch to the ottoman, something the grown-up me would've had to get mad at (if only because it's not technically my furniture, and I know his Papa would've), but the fun & games me just laughed and showed him the picture.

I don't ever remember having this kind of careless, frenetic energy -

but it's still really fun to watch.

Happy Monday, all: If you're one of Best Shot Monday-players who usually only stop by on Monday's then ---> I hope your week is filled with things to be grateful for, and that you spend your Thanksgiving exactly as you wish.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How to cheer me up...

I feel like everybody else is as behind in reading blogs as I am, and so I'm not going to feel guilty about it. If you're getting a comment from me on a weeks-old post, I'm sure you won't mind.

As for other things, can I just say that having your 7-yr-old nephew sleep over is a cure-all for many things? It really gave me no time at all to sit and obsess about some of the things that have been happening, and I'm kind of grateful for that.
My aunt is staying in the hospital till at least Tuesday - they still don't know what caused her to pass out, or why she's so anemic (I still vote for the whole, you have to eat food to get nutrients thing, but I'm not doctor). My dad is still on vacation, and I have only wanted to kill him 3 or 4 times. I'm still trying to do battle with this last flare, hopefully in time to get ready for the next, post-Thanksgiving flare. (I have, in fact, missed out on Thanksgiving before - twice - and so, won't do so again unless absolutely necessary. Let me explain to you how much I love gravy...)

But back to the sleepover.

Except for the fact that baby talk and whining are apparently Youngest Nephew's newest favored forms of communication (and the fact that Auntie NTE does not hear either of those things, which confused him a lot), we had a fabulous time.

We played computer games; he showed me his Webkinz' house & let me feed them (woo hoo); We played Clue Jr about 7 times.

He ate cold pizza for lunch and had dinner at 8:30 (I told you Dad was home - he was obviously in charge of dinner as well).

He got up at 7:30 this morning, came into my (freezing - where was the HEAT??) room, snuggled under the covers and we played Would you rather... He'd rather learn to scuba dive than learn to climb a mountain, btw, and I'd rather have him build me a house than try to build a house out of Legos.

He made scrapbook pages for his Mum & Dad, while I tried to do some but kept getting distracted by the glitter. And the scraps of paper that were flying in the air. And the mess.

We listened to the Animaniacs and Schoolhouse Rock.

He watched his first Looney Tunes cartoon with my dad - and laughed.

He told me he loved me about a million times and left a message on my dry erase board that reads:

To A. NTE:

This is from a book we both love, The Wicked Big Toddlah.

I slout you. He is not, contrary to Mum's opinion, calling me a slut. He salutes me... aw..
And I love you.

Love, ?
Secret messages are verrry popular in our family.

(Relly, it's from Youngest Nephew) That says "really," andd he signed it in cursive! He's getting so big.

You just can't beat that, if you ask me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Here's where SisterCh is hanging out today

Kinda takes your breath away... or gives it back, as the case may be.

Made me breathe a little deeper, anyways. Happy Saturday, all!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sitting around waiting for inspiration ain't really accomplishing much for me ~

It's been a long, long week.. everyday a new & surprisingly bad revelation, and for me - who was already worn out from this fantastic flare - it has been pretty hard just to drag myself through. Here's some of the highlights -

On Monday, Sister Ch developed a rash at work (again... this is like the 4th time in a row). Only this time, it was severe enough to get her to go to the ER... where she waited 4 hours to be told that she has some sort allergy. They gave her the name of an allergist and an Epi-pen. Of course, since she has no idea of what she's allergic to, it should be interesting to see how that works out.

On Tuesday, we discovered little bugs in our kitchen. They are not ants. They are not roaches, they are some sort of little beetle or something... and they like our windowsills. Oh, and also the cabinets.

On Wednesday, some of my Nana's test results came back and the news is not good. We don't know how not good yet, so I'm trying not to think of it just now... She's got an MRI scheduled for tomorrow morning, and then she's got to see an ENT for a biopsy.

Yesterday, there was no bad news. And we had Lil Girl, which was great. And she said SisterCh's name, which was adorable. And I breathed and took a shower, and waited for the doctor to call. He didn't, but that was O.K. cuz I didn't really want to talk to him.

And today? Well today was supposed to be a nice relaxing day for Mum & I, b/c Dad's on vacation starting tomorrow and 'vacation' for him in reality means 'more opportunities for driving us crazy.' Like making homemade raviolis, which he wants to do, you know... for Thanksgiving. (????) But instead of that, my Mum got a call from Nana saying my aunt had passed out at work and was on her way to the ER in an ambulance. My aunt has been sick for a while now, but - because she refuses to go to the doctor - nobody knows what's wrong with her. She just lost a lot of weight (and she had little to spare to begin with), her skin got all crepe-y and off colored, and she had trouble eating. Turns out she pulled a little me - the whole low-blood pressure = syncope number - and hit her head on the way down. (Boy, that hurts, let me tell you.) A few stitches, nothing big. But now that they've got her, they're trying to figure out the why of it: she's anemic and severely dehydrated, and, when my Mum finally came home right about 8 hours after she left, she told me they were thinking there was a problem with her liver.
(This is where I mention that alcoholism runs in both sides of my family - largely unacknowledged, btw. She wasn't drinking this morning, certainly, but I doubt that her drinking isn't in someway connected to her problems.) But she was awake, alert and cranky by the end of the day.

So - little annoyances, bigger issues, health worries right and left, a not-so-major flare, and Thanksgiving looming... it was, in fact, a particularly un-fabulous week. I'm pretending that a new week starts tomorrow, on Saturday. Because I need it to. Youngest Nephew is coming for his regularly scheduled sleepover, and I'm determined to have a better day.

I hope you all are having nice, normal, calm, peaceful weeks. Get ready to think of all the things you are thankful for: they've been uppermost in my mind just lately, I'll tell you that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm definitely not GIDDY,

but today's Thursday Theme is. So I searched through some of my photo archives, and came up with some pictures of giddiness. Here's the one that made me smile the most.

It's Youngest Nephew, his mum (Soon-to-be SIL), SisterCh & our Mum, New Years 2005...

They've just finished a puzzle. Seriously, who can get that excited about a puzzle? I do not like puzzles. At all... it's a huuuge waste of time to me. To each his own, I guess.. and seeing as how it was Mum's birthday - and puzzles are in her list of favorite things to do, it was nice that she found some people to play with her.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ok, in addition to being Elinor Dashwood,

I am also a big fat liar. Totally not coming back with anything resembling a fabulous post today.

Unless you think that quizzes I've saved as drafts count as fabulous... in which case, are YOU in luck!!

Thanksgiving Horoscope for Gemini

You're the sign most likely to bring up interesting and controversial topics at Thanksgiving dinner.

Your signature dish: Sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Your signature dessert: Pumpkin cheesecake

This holiday: Play bartender. You're family is much more lively with a few drinks in them.

And if, by "much more lively" they mean "totally crackhouse crazy," then this horoscope is right on target.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Hiding from the flare, in good old Regency England. (Not with Ms. Austen, although I did reread P&P recently, but rather Ms. Quinn, Ms. Kleypas, & Ms. Laurens.) Back again tomorrow, in hopefully a more pleasant manner.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Here's the newest member of our clan - Baby O, at 3 months old.

His parents, my cousin and her husband, trekked down from Maine to introduce us to their new guy. It was great to see them all, particularly since Baby O was a long time, and quite a few troubles, in coming. We're all so happy, and it was just one of those things that fills your heart: Seeing Baby O with his doting Daddy and head-over-heels Mommy. It's nice to see happiness where there was so much pain.

Plus, I am uncontested Queen of the Baby Hogs, and Baby O had no issues with that at all. (Although Lil Girl was more than a little put out at first... she handled it pretty well, though.) ;)

So here's the cutie, My Best Shot Monday, and totally worth the little flare I'm dealing with today.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Present time....

See yesterday's post Re: The 1st party of the Clump, and you will see that I am pretty exhausted, so here's a look at SisterK's birthday present. A year ago, I decided to do scrapbooks for all of my siblings, and each year on their birthdays, I add a year's worth of pages. I enjoy doing them (even though they are a lot of work), and so far, my siblings have all really loved them. Of course, I have a ton of work to do for SisterS and Only Brother over the course of the next month, but I'm not thinking about that now. Instead, here are a few of the pages I added to Sister K's book this year:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

And so it begins...

Yesterday was Youngest Sister/Sister K's 19th birthday, which ushers in our season o'birthdays. Or, as I like to call it, The Clump. Oldest Nephew really starts things off in the end of September, but then things really start to roll, and birthdays start coming fast and quick all the way through to the first week of February. Here's a brief rundown of the birthdays just in our immediate family:

Oldest Nephew - Sept 20th
SisterK - Nov 9
SisterS - Nov 30
Soon-to-be-SIL - Dec 10th
Only/Big Brother - Dec 15th
Mum - Jan 1
SisterCh - Jan 5
Dad - Jan 21
SisterJ - Feb 8

Hence, The Clump. If you throw in a couple of cousins, both of my grandfathers (who are now deceased), and a handful of anniversaries - not to mention Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years... well, you can see how it might get a little crazy around here sometimes.

When I was younger, I was jealous of The Clump - everyone in my family had their birthdays all together, and I was stuck out in June all by myself. (Of course, they were all jealous of me, because it was for my birthday and I could have cookouts. Grass greener and all that.) But additions to our family in recent years have contributed to a sort of Mini-Clump in the late spring. Now there's

Youngest Nephew - May 2
Lil Girl - May 21
Soon to be BIL - May 22
Me - June 5

It's not quite so isolated now, and with all the graduations and first communions we've had over the years, it's hard to remember a time when it really was just me, out there all by myself. I kind of like that our Mini-Clump is gathering new members... we'll see what the future brings.

Anyways, tomorrow is our first Clump-party: SisterK will be coming for cake, and my cousin, her husband, are coming down from Maine to introduce us to their new baby (yay! except I've been worried about my sinus infection and being contagious, but the doc said it's not strep, and I've been on the antibiotics for... well, these ones for a week, and he said I should be good. I've got masks, though, just in case.) I've finished up SisterK's present, and am resting, resting, resting for tomorrow. Now if I could only get some actual sleep, it'd be fabulous.

Friday, November 09, 2007

You know what I would consider fair?

I would call it fair if, as consolation for having the "sinus infection that laughs in the face of 3 (count them 3!) antibiotics," my sense of smell was diminished a bit. You know that whole hyper-olfactory sense? Yeah, I shouldn't be able to have that and what feels like three elephants sitting on my head. It really should be an either/or type deal...

But, if there's anything we all know, it's that fair very rarely enters into the equation.

It's certainly not the worst thing that I've got going on, but it just seems illogical that my sinuses are so clogged that I have to turn my head every three minutes or else that side starts to throb and my eye waters, and yet I can also smell that somebody has their fireplace going down the street. And that Mrs. PUS spilled gasoline in the driveway (Which is right outside my window. Yeah, my love for her knows no bounds.) when she tried to fill up the snow blower.

Doesn't that just seem wrong? Smelling or snot, but not both. That should be a rule.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I specifically waited until after The Office...

so that I could pepper this link with a fabulous quotes from this week's episode.

Here's is Dwight (Oh, boy was Dwight awesome in this episode): I keep various weaponry strategically placed around the office. ... People say "Oh, it's dangerous to keep weapons in the home or the workplace." Well I say it's better to be hurt by someone you know accidentally, than by a stranger on purpose.

I've never actually had a full-time, paying job. When I was a teenager, I babysat pretty regularly & subbed as the secretary at the local rectory. For two years before I got sick, I'd been an assistant dance teacher at the dancing school I took lessons at, but it was paid in kind - teaching classes to pay for my classes & a discount on the costumes. (Did I ever mention that? That I was a dancer before I got sick? I can't remember now...) When I got sick, I was 15 - about 9 months shy of being old enough to get my work papers (without parental permission and a whole lotta red tape). It worked for us. Anyways...

Then I got sick, and I went to school ~ still took some babysitting jobs here and there, but that was all I could manage. Then I did my placements and internships and semesters as a student teacher, but none of those are paid positions.

So I've never been in a union. What I know about unions comes from repeated viewings of Newsies and the scattering of information to be found in economics classes, history classes, & sociology classes about the intersections of poverty and prosperity. I realize I don't know too much about this strike beyond it's ability to impact me, as a television viewer (No Daily Show! No Jon Stewart! No Steven Colbert! How will I liiiiiive??)

But it seems to me that the contracts of workers should have to keep up with the development of newer technologies in that particular field. I don't find it absurd that they're asking to be included on ALL of the profits from their work... in fact, it makes no sense to me that there's even a debate about it. Aside from greed (or other excuses that seem to boil down to greed), I haven't heard any justification of the opposition's position to this increase.

And that's why I'm so glad that Steve Carell said he wouldn't cross the picket line, even if it means that there won't be any new episodes of the Office to watch for a while... Because he's standing up for the people on his team, doing what seems right to him. As if I didn't already love him enough.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I am not a normal people.

I know it most when I watch them go - walking, talking, absentmindedly - absent-bodily, actually.

They move without thinking, sure their bodies will obey. They don't think through each step; don't plan out those quick head turns. They never pause & wait for the "all clear" before continuing.

To them, movement is natural: It just happens - their feet know when to lift, when to fall. How fast they run down the stairs - never having to check, to reassess the distance between steps.

Their hearts beat faster when they need them to, slow down of their own accord.

If they trip or fall, it is because they were going so fast - too fast to notice an untied shoe or cracked sidewalk. It isn't because their bodies can't remember how to make energy or just gave up trying. It isn't because their nerves are too busy receiving pain signals to comply with the order to 'go.'

When they pause to talk to someone, they don't spend the conversation worrying about whether or not their heart will choose this moment to stall. Or if the person they are talking to can notice that they don't understand what they are talking about.

They walk. They stoop and swivel and sway as they go.

All of their systems remain connected: Each speaking to the other frequently, sharing all of the vital information that a person's body requires. My systems have turned rogue - secretive and paranoid, deciding it's best to only communicate through a complicated series of guttural clicks and signal fires.

While my body has decided to boycott anything more strenuous than yawning, theirs amble on. As they flow freely from one place to another, my body gasps at their courage - or foolishness. To face the sun unprotected?!? To wander recklessly without holding on to walls?!? To spray things at themselves without concerns of headache or nausea?!?

To move as if pain were not their constant companion?!?

Don't they know that sleep is the body's enemy? Obviously not, as they seem blissful in their hours of rest. My body knows better - it recognizes sleep as a necessary evil, battles against it as long as possible, often with remarkable tenacity. When it finally gives in, it does not surrender completely - the battle continues again and again, all through the night. And when the sun rises, I am all too aware of who has emerged the victor.

Perhaps it is their bodies that are neglectful - ignoring the obvious threats posted by any common wayward smell or ray of light. Perhaps my body is right to guard me from standing: after all, it is a a much higher place to fall from. Perhaps it is right to keep me from straying to far from my bed, to limit me to view the world outside from my bedroom window.


But I'll take one of those neglectful bodies, any day.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Here I am ...

Not too late for today's post, but a little late in the day for my brain to be working. But I have a good excuse - or, rather, a familiar excuse. I'll give you a hint.. it rhymes with Finus Bnfection.

Yes, that's right... the sinus infection from two weeks ago decided that it had enough of this whole "I'm getting better and just lingering a little" phase and decided instead to try on "I think I will make her throw up because the pressure in her head is so bad" for size.

So, a whole new antibiotic and a narcotic or two later, here we are.

Thankfully, I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for yesterday anyways, and Zack took one look at me and said, "What is with this sinus infection?"

And I don't mean he looked up my nose or down my throat and said that... I mean, he walked in the room, saw me, and said that. It was not the best compliment I've ever received, but it's also pretty awesome how well he knows me.

We talked about a whole lot of other stuff too - updates (including why my next appointment is with a neurosurgeon, and wth is Fibromyalgia-plus?) to follow on a day when I'm not oozing anything.

There, now aren't you glad you stopped by?


Monday, November 05, 2007


Most people are putting their Halloween pictures up for MBSM, and I already did that here, so I'm just going to leave that link for anybody who hasn't seen them.

As for other things, I'll just give you a brief update: SisterJ started back to work today, and she says that it is much easier today than last time. Last time, 2 weeks ago, when she was crying and hiding under her desk on the phone with me. I'm very, very glad that things are going better than that today, but since just about anything would be better than that, I'm not sure exactly what it means.

I do know that in the past week or so, I've seen a marked difference in her behavior & attitude - an ability to see past the next five minutes, for example.
Less panic, more steadyness.
Actual laughter. (Which, after she left, made me cry happy tears, I'm not ashamed to say.)

She's starting to resemble herself, and I am starting to not feel as if I have to check in on her every couple of hours - or panicked when I can't reach her. It isn't a miracle, of course, but it feels like one. Bit by bit, day by day, things are improving.

This is her third antidepressant, and it looks like it is finally starting to help her. The therapy is finally starting to help. She's finally starting to recognize that there are options and that time and life are not her enemy. When we talk, it isn't always in desperation: there's room for other thoughts and people, for the future, for planning. She's able to see that losing this job isn't the worst thing that could happen to her, that she can bear the weight all of the pressures she is under.

She has hope, again - I can see it.

It's still slogging through each and every day. It's still almost unbearably hard and sad and scary, but it's better, and I wanted to thank you all for listening and supporting me. Most important, I wanted to let you all know that things are changing, one little bit at a time.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

It is November 4th, is it not?

Because I heard Christmas music today.

And the Christmas channel is back on our digital music choices.

And that stupid Christmas Reindeer commercial for the Christmas Crafts Fair - I don't know if they have these in other places, but every year this stupid reindeer insists that there are only "Three shopping days till Christmas:" the Friday, Saturday, & Sunday of the craft fair. Which happens to be next weekend. But the reindeer's voice? ugh.

Of course the Christmas tree stuff is up in stores, I've heard. I'm not going to a store, and I'm using this as a reason why not.

Because Halloween was 5 days ago... literally FIVE days ago. That means it is not Christmas time yet. I love Christmas as much as anybody ~ I really, really do ~ but I like it to start after Thanksgiving. So that means it is much too early for this:

Saturday, November 03, 2007

You know, I am reading things besides Llama, Llama red pajama... and here's a little update on some of what's been making its way through my brain this week:

Here's the Quote of the Week, Books -->

"It had been a terrible day - Mam hadn't gone to Mass, and it's impossible to convey how serious this is to someone unfamiliar with the Irish Catholic mammy. The ICM won't miss Sunday Mass even if she's got rabies and is foaming at the mouth - she'll simply bring a box of tissues and brazen it out. If her leg falls off, she'll hop. If her other leg falls off, she'll walk on her hands while still managing to wave graciously at neighbors passing by in cars." p 54 Marian Keyes - The Other Side of the Story

I hadn't read any of Marian Keyes before, and I thought this was a great book - funny and honest and smart. This quote alone would make the book a keeper, because it's so true. My Grandmother is an ICM - My uncle usually drives her to church, but if he's not available and even though she has to walk down (and then back up) a hill that is referred to as Dead Man's Curve (I'm not joking), she'll walk it. In the snow. At age 90, with macular degeneration so bad in one eye that she's partially blind. (Of course, she could just call and say she needs a ride, but does she? No. But that's another story.) She honestly believes that giving Youngest Sister the Mass schedules for every church within 10 miles of Harvard Square is going to be enough to make her go to Mass every Sunday. When YSister calls home, Grandmother asks her which priest she had for confession. It's pretty funny.

But she's also, in recent years, become a lot more lenient in regards to other people's faith. When she lost two sons and her husband of nearly 65 years within a 2 year period, I think it changed things for her somehow. Shook her in ways she'd never have expected. I know she believes, but I don't know exactly how she believes. I wish I could have her faith, just that ability to know inside herself, but I don't. So it's amazing and wonderful to me.

But, even though she called the Pastor at her church when she found out my sister was reading The DaVinci Code, she's not nearly as set in her ways as she could be.

She's an odd mix of the radical - in that many of her more liberal beliefs fall way outside the official Catholic canon - and the traditional. She's pro-Gay rights, but not Gay marriage. She's against divorce, yet told me that leaving my father (her son) was the best thing my mother could've done (for all of us involved), and sees my half sisters (technically not blood related) as just as much a part of her family as any of her other grandchildren. I had always assumed that it was at her urging that my 16-year-old parents had gotten married in the first place, when my mother turned up pregnant, but learned recently that she was initially against it - and that she had offered my mother a home with them should her family object. She's always been extraordinarily kind, but she's also got unexpected pockets of coldness and stubbornness. She remembers all the Holy Days of Obligation - If I see the parking lot for the church across the street start to fill up, I'll call her and ask her why... and she'll know.

No matter what, though, I know if it's 5:00 on a Saturday, or 9:00 on a Sunday, Grandmother is at church. Even if she has to walk on her hands.

Friday, November 02, 2007


It may just be the end of the world: We have misplaced our copy of Llama, Llama, Red Pajama. A true tragedy, my friends.

Nevermind that we have, literally, hundreds of other books. Only Llama, Llama will do! LilGirl is, I am proud to say, a book lover. And when she's in love with specific books, there are no substitutions allowed. Llama Llama was last seen on Saturday, at Grandmother's House, although she insists it is not there. It is also not in the blue bag we brought back from Grandmother's House, either basket Lil Girl's books live in, or any of its usual haunts. I have faith that it will be found, but not during this naptime... Hopefully, when she wakes up, she will not remember that she wanted it, and we can instead see how many babies will fit into this carriage.

Also, while searching for a picture of Llama, llama, I find that there is a NEW LLAMA - Llama, llama mad at mama. You know who's going to the bookstore this weekend, right? Well, not me... but I can send somebody!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yay! NaBloPoMo Day #1

I'm still up, and it's after midnight, so I figured I'd get an early start on things.

Hi, everybody!

How was your Halloween? We got about 10 Trick or Treaters, total. And more than half of those were 12 year olds in wigs, with pillowcases. And eggs. But, whatever. My two favorite Trick or Treaters showed up, even though I was beginning to doubt that they would make it, and that was enough for me.

Here's what made my heart happy tonight... it's a good thing to start the month off right, that's for sure. (even if I didn't get the red eye out yet... you know they're not really demons, right? )

: Deep Breath :

Well, I'm gearing up for National Blog Posting Month, determined to post once a day, just like last year. (Although it seems to be more organized, and a bit more intimidating this year.) I'm committed to it, since cutting back on blogging because things have been crazy here hasn't cut back on my urge to blog (or the guilt from not blogging). So get ready for at least one post - every single day! Can you imagine? I'm quite looking forward to it, and to reading all of your posts as well.

Hope this Halloween finds you happy & healthy!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Taking Care

Sorry, but I've been too busy watching the World Series to post.

Yeah, I didn't think you'd buy that, but it gave me a chuckle to write it anyways.

No, in reality, it's more I've been trying to take care.

Care of SisterJ whose connection to the world seems fragile at best, and who needs so much, and makes me wish I had better answers (or, indeed, any at all).

Care of SisterCh who did the totally selfish thing last week, instead of supporting her sister, and now feels even more isolated from our family. Which is what I knew was going to happen when she decided to go back to Loser Boy, so I'm setting aside my anger at her behavior in order to help her see that she's still loved. Care of Youngest Sister, who spend all week 'preparing' to write a 7 page paper, totally intimidated by her first Harvard assignment. Helping her move past the fear to get to the actual writing took us 7 days... and she finally finished it at about 3 this morning, 5 hours before it was due. I know the next one will be easier, but jeesh...

Care of Lil Girl, who (like her brother before her and Oldest Nephew before him) helps remind me that there is happiness in the world, that I am doing something important with my life, even if it's not what I'd planned to be doing.

Care of Grandmother, when we found out one of my uncles (her second oldest) has lung cancer - a tennis ball sized tumor, but not metastisized, thankfully - on the 7th anniversary of another of her son's death. (PS. Typing "Lunch Cancer" instead of "Lung Cancer" probably isn't worth a chuckle, but I'll take them where I can get them these days.) Care of my other grandmother, Nana, whose doctors think she also has lung cancer - and taking care of her, in this case, means convincing her to not bury her head in the sand like she would like to: to at least have the (non-invasive) PET Scan (hell, I've already had 2!), so that they can have a better idea of what she's really facing.

Care of Mum who pretty much refuses to let anybody take care of her, and I seem to be the only one who's recognizing that this is all ridiculously difficult on her too. No, that's not true, but SisterJ can't feel better just for her - although she'd like to - and the rest of them just aren't helping as they should. So I try to make her eat, by eating. Or TiVo stuff for us to watch together and ask her to sit with me. Or nag her until she calls the eye doctor about her weird rash and makes her (2 years overdue - like Nana, like Mum!) GYN appointment.

Care of a cousin, pregnant with Twins - her first, very high risk pregnancy. Who's now confined to 'light bed rest' (meaning she can go to the doctor's appointments and the bank, all in the same week, but only if she absolutely has to) with more than 2 months left to go. Who never thought she'd have kids, but, now that she is, spends all of her time worrying over how not to lose them - and throwing up so hard it comes out her nose.

I'm trying to listen, I'm trying to help. I'm just showing up, because it is all I can think to do. I'm having trouble showing up at all the places I want to be though - a friend's housewarming, the other end of College Roommate's phone calls, this blog, friend's blogs - and because I'm also trying to take care of me, I'm giving myself the space to not feel guilty about that right now.

However, this is definitely one of those weeks where I'd like to dissect alive, piece by tiny piece, the people who wrote The Secret: "Law of attraction - really? Well, let's see... my scalpel seems to be unnaturally attracted to your pinky toe nail, whoops, I meant the whole toe... and also your kneecap...and..." Because there's only so much 'thinking your way to the positive' you can do when your body is trying to reject your babies, or when your brain is telling you that the only time you are safe is when you are asleep, so wouldn't "sleeping" forever mean you'd be safe forever?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Some things I've read this weekend

I am a constant reader - we all know this. Without reading, and being able to escape into books for all these years (and now into blogs), I can't imagine what would have happened to me. I've decided to start sharing some of the more interesting/unusual/entertaining things I'm reading here, because keeping the two places seperate really doesn't make any sense to me.

So, here's some stuff I've read this weekend that I think is worth sharing with all of you:

First, this passage from my St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital 2007 Holiday Hope Gift Book: Breakthrough discoveries at St. Jude have helped push survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent to more than 70 percent overall. In fact, in 1962, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was only 4 percent. Today it stands at 94 percent at St. Jude. I had to go back and reread that about 6 times, because it was staggering - in the past 45 years, the most common form of leukemia in children under 19 has become nearly 100% curable. Not all of the advances in treatment were made at St. Jude, obviously, but I'm so impressed with their facility, with their philosophy, and with their standard of care. I've done some fundraising for them in the past (Hello, would you like to receive a form letter from me asking you to send them money? Because I can totally send you one...), but I honestly don't get why people aren't just shouting statistics like that as they pass each other in hallways - "Up to 94%!! Can you believe it??" - (See, Janice, statistics could be good for something, I guess.) Anyways, please check out their site , check out their partners in Thanks & Giving, and do a little shopping, if you feel like it.

Next, and I hestitate to even think this in the same blog post as the whole St. Jude thing, but I'm not one to shortchange my readers, and besides your minds are probably as all over the place as my own. I've been on a Lisa Kleypas kick, just recently ~ Having started her Wallflower series completely out of order (and still having only the vaguest idea of what happens in Autumn), and when my mum went to the local library's book sale yesterday (which, unfortunately takes place in a tiny little room), I gave her that name to add to our list. She came back with Suddenly You, and I read it this morning. -- Just as an aside here, I find that Lisa Kleypas' historicals seem to all have gorgeous covers, and I'm sure other authors are routinely jealous. -- Anyways, the book was good, I loved the plot (30 year old spinster decides that she's had enough of being untouched and seeks out a local madam to help her out, local madam fascilitates misunderstandings to send a gentleman to her door at the appointed time, I bet you can happen when the gentleman shows up) & the characters were interesting, but this is not my favorite Kleypas, by far. I will say that it was certainly one of the more erotically written titles I've read by the author though - not just in the number of scenes, but in the content of those scenes. I don't think I'll look at raspberries the same way for quite a while...

I've also been doing some reviewing for another site (where I use my real name, so I can't show you the link, unfortunately), and one of the books I had to read was Understanding Sibling Rivalry the Brazelton way, which was pretty good. It was helpful to see experts write about sibling rivalry as something "natural and unavoidable," which we all know it is, and also to get their takes on how to best handle certain situations. The rivalry between Lil Girl and her big brother has been going on since he found out she was coming, and now that she's getting old enough to hold her own in her interactions with him, it's pretty interesting to watch how they squabble, but also how he's learning to show her compassion and understanding and she's learning more patience. Of course, she's also coming right into her "throwing myself on the floor is a great way to get what I want" years (which she's already started, and I am totally ignoring) while he's still stuck in his "I can't believe I have to share my room with this little loud annoying thing" stage. Which I didn't get over until I left for college... ok, so maybe I'm still living in fear of having to share a room with any of my siblings again, but that's only natural, isn't it?? Either way, it's so amazing to watch their relationship grow and change.

Lastly, there's a scene from another library sale pick, this book, Slightly Single by Wendy Markham, where the heroine describes herself wearing a teddy - only she's about 2 sizes too big for the teddy her boyfriend bought, and so she's wearing a regular bra and her ordinary, non-seductive panties underneath it, and the visual I got had me laughing out loud. Unfortunately, the book wandered into "I'm a fat girl who's unhappy, so I know that in order to be happy I will ultimately have to lose weight" territory rather quickly, and it didn't wind up being a keeper for that reason, but still - a teddy, with a bra and underwear underneath? Totally something that I would do. Because teddies look damn uncomfortable, even for the people they're supposed to fit.

So that's a little glimpse into what I've read in the past few days - some of the things up next for me include a present from my fabulous friend, I am America and so can you! by Stephen Colbert; a stack of magazines from this past month; Boys Adrift; and, hopefully, the latest In Death.

That should last me till tomorrow, anyways. :)