Monday, March 31, 2008

I don't think it fits

Here's My Best Shot Monday shot: Youngest Nephew tries on his dad's 1st Communion suit... it's a tad bit small. But I couldn't resist taking the shot anyways... he's too cute!

I don't think it fits
Originally uploaded by bbackprple

Now I'm off to check out all the other Shots... Happy week, everybody.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Monkeys? Hop on! Ducks? Screw that!

Some stuff came up this week, and the niece of transparency (thank you all for the shutter speed explanations, that's what I was guessing it was too!) wound up having to spend all the days (and a few of the nights) with us.

And, as I am still (41 days later!) hiding out on the couch in my living room, the pain, it is not so much the manageable all the time.
Needless to say, this has cut into my blogging time. But now I am recuperating a bit, and I thought I'd share this IM between me and Sister K, who stopped over to play for an hour or so on Wednesday, during her spring break.

Sister K [10:48 PM]: is tonight the night Lil Girl is sleeping over?
NTE [10:49 PM]: yesh. she is asleep, who knows how long it'll last, but right this second, she's asleep
Sister K [10:50 PM]: :)
SisterK [10:50 PM]: was she good today like yesterday?

NTE [10:51 PM]: she's such a good girl - like 98% of the time. No meltdowns today, just a couple of whininess-ish times
SisterK [10:52 PM]: :) i told everyone who would listen to me about playing play-do and carebears
NTE [10:52 PM]: yeah, we do a lot of that. Every single day.
Sister K [10:53 PM]: i like how she all of a sudden goes, 'WOWWWWWWWW'
NTE [10:54 PM]: today, on the way home, we sang the wheels on the bus. FOREVER. there were dogs, cats, monkeys... all on the bus
NTE [10:54 PM]: trying to keep her awake long enough to drive home was a bit of a challenge
Sister K [10:54 PM]: hahaha
Sister K[10:55 PM]: monkeys on the busss nice
NTE [10:56 PM]: hey: we do what we have to. i was trying to put ducks on the bus and she goes "noooooooooooo" Like "what are you thinking woman?? Ducks? On a bus?? You are crazy!" But monkeys? Sure... hop on!
Sister K[10:56 PM]: hahaha <3

So, just in case you were wondering: No ducks on the bus. Happy Friday, everybody. Thank God it's here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Transparent Niece

I know everybody's going to have their Easter pix up today, but my camera is in another room, and the card with the pictures on it is in it. (Imagine that!) I'll try to get a few of those up later in the week. I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend, no matter how they spent it.

In the meantime, take a gander at this one:

My Transparent Niece
Originally uploaded by bbackprple

I promise you that this is straight out of the camera. I have no idea how it happened: I was playing with F-stops and exposures and .. well, everything, but I was quite surprised to see the resulting photo. Any of you photographically inclined people got any ideas on how this happened? Anyways, it's My Best Shot Monday!

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I nearly just put down the computer and headed towards the kitchen for unnecessary food... (When you have no appetite, you often have to remind yourself to eat at all, but when I'm stressed, I eat no matter that I'm not hungry.) But I've been talking to myself for the past hour about facing my fears instead of distracting myself from them. And so, here I am.

This is one of those times that I'm going to write this whole long (or short) post, get finished, and then have to make the decision whether or not it just goes in the draft folder. Or if I am brave enough to push the post button.

I want you to know that I've appreciated your kindness, your generosity, the fact that you keep coming back to read, to say 'hey,' to check in when most of what you're getting is maudlin and dreary. And most of us are feeling enough of the maudlin and dreary on our own lately, and don't especially need extra. I know that feeling: I've been guilty of clicking on a blog I love, seeing how sad the post is and moving on, because I just... can't. Not on that day. So I understand if you just can't, too. That's ok. I hope you'll keep in touch, keep checking in, stop by when there's something more pleasant on our plate.

But here's the thing: that plate? Is overflowing. With everything and everybody. And everyworry.

At least that's what it feels like a lot of the time. I know I can handle it: I actually feel like I am handling it all pretty well, but I'm just saying: it's a lot.

None of the other problems I/we have been having disappeared when Nana died. Life doesn't work that way. My illness is not on hold because I don't have the energy to deal with it. My brother's relationship to his fiance didn't become all patched up, and his preferred form of dealing with stress (by not dealing with it) hasn't magically transformed either. The premature twins aren't uncolicky, and their mother is still a tad bit overwhelmed and depressed. The housing market isn't exactly friendly, and neither are the PUS. Things that were little got magnified, and things that were eventuallys became nows. It's unfortunate, but it's true.

And there's the grief. The little moments when you pick up the phone to call her for dinner, when you burst into tears because her favorite thing to teach was always the American Revolution, and she's missing a most awesome show? (Seriously, are you watching this show? It's on the HBO... and now I think Abigail Adams is a rockstar!)

I always feel compelled to put all the good things in, when I start a post like this, in the hopes of saying: 'I know it's a lot, but I've also got all of this!' I'm tempted to do that now, but that isn't what I wanted to write about. Check out my other posts from this week, if you're looking for the happiness.

And the happiness, it's here too. It's the complexity of things that's got me all churned up tonight. A night where my brother takes an Ambien and says it's for stress. Where Youngest Sister fills her plate with Harvard-y things, and becomes blind to everything else. Where Grandmother takes longer to recover from a cold than me (heretofore unheard of, I assure you). Where my doctor's appointment gets rescheduled, but I'm out of meds. Where my checking account starts to resemble Al Capone's Vault. Where my laptop's fan insists on making an extra hissing noise for no good reason. Where the Easter Bunny bought double the amount of candy, used to making twice as many baskets (one from us, one from Nana.)

It's a night for feeling overwhelmed, and I'm not going to apologize for it. I apologize too much: two people told me that recently, and I'm afraid they're right, so I'm cutting back.

Feeling everworry is a heavy thing, and sometimes you just need to set the load down for a few minutes. Thanks for letting me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ah, the details...

of being Maid of Honor are many.

But, they're also giving me some place to focus frustratingly unshut-up-able brain cells, so that's a plus.

I thought you might to hear some of the stuff that's buzzing around in my head re: the shower. If only because it's not entirely sad and depressing, which is a change of pace from our recent fare.

First off, here's a (slightly edited) version of our invitation -

Our theme is "a Perfect Pear," but only because I couldn't find any penguins that we could use as favors/centerpieces. (Penguins mate for life, apparently. Or, if they do not, my sister believes that they do, and she and her fiance call each other "Pengy" sometimes. They'd really be quite sickening if I weren't over the moon happy for them.)

Sister Ch scoped out some fabulous (rather large) glass pears at the Christmas Tree Shoppe (nice and cheap), and we're putting in pear jelly beans and a pair of pears, along with a little tag that says "J & K: A perfect pear." (I told you about the sickening sweet, didn't I?)

Things are moving along: the bill & final count is due next week, at the country club we're having the party at. The other bridesmaids voted against me (and SisterCh) and decided that having at a fancier place, but paying for set up and clean up would be better than having it at a less fancy place but having to do more of the work ourselves. Honestly? I didn't really care one way or the other. I just want the day to go well, and feel like if it doesn't, I will feel horrible for having ruined the whole thing. (I'm kinda sad like that: if things go well, I do not exactly rush to take credit, but when they fall apart, I'm right there with my hand held high. What's with that? IDK, but it's probably not for this post, since I promised not to be depressing.

In an effort to fight against that urge, though, I will tell you that I designed the invitation on my own. It's actually pretty easy, since I'm in love with Photoshop, but I still think it came out rather good.)

We're going to have games (although we're not 100% set on which ones yet), and cake smooshing, which I think is rather sensible, since Sister J is dead set against it at the wedding (what with the money she'll have spent on her hair and makeup), and Fiance is very much for it. I figure giving him his shot at smooshing cake in her face is a fabulous way to make sure he has a good time, anyways. And she won't care, because she's not like that, ordinarily.

Here's some of the info I just sent out to the other girls, to give 'em a nudge.

Hi! I just looked at the calendar just now, and noticed that the shower is.. you know two weeks from Saturday. Hello: time is moving too quickly!

I am going to order the favors this weekend, but we're up to 40 something right now, and there's only a few question marks, so we'll definitely come in under 60 people, so that's good.
We have to order the food next week (once we have the final count), as well as a cake (for smooshing & eating purposes), and then the total bill will be due right before the party.

Then I talked a lot of "show me the money," which I expect to be an issue. Because it always is. And these are my sisters I am talking about.

These are the favors we decided on for the wedding, though: how cute are they? And also? Because they're usable (everybody uses magnets!) they're much less likely to wind up in the trash or in the back of someone's closet. Mum has started packing up some of the stuff we almost never use, even though we aren't moving anytime soon, and unearthed a rather large collection of shower/party related ephemera that made me realize that a lot of this stuff is just more junk. People don't want more junk, but they do want something, so I thought this would be good.

So that's the latest from shower central: What's news or exciting where y'all are?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tatooed Bride

Tatooed Bride
Originally uploaded by bbackprple
I'm finally feeling up to a little My Best Shot Monday, and, since I spent hours and hours yesterday printing and then assembling wedding invitations (which I will hopefully post later this week), I thought I'd give you all a little gilmpse of Sister J - the Bride.

Two months from today, my sister will be a Mrs. It's pretty astounding, and I just couldn't be happier for her. (For all the drama and the craziness and all that... to have her be happy? Especially after our past 6 months or so? Too, too amazing.)

So: Here's My Best Shot Monday picture. You can head on over to Mother May I to catch some more glimpses.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Messin with your math since 2005!

Sometimes I wonder what people think I must when they check their feedreaders, and I've been on their site.

Because, if I find something I want to comment on, but can't immediately think of what I want to say (like on this post), then I shrink it down, and let it simmer for a while in my brain.

And, by a while, I mean... sometimes three days. I think that's the record, anyways.

There are lots of reasons I do this: If a post is out of control funny, or too emotional to read in one sitting. Or if it's so powerful that I want to sip it rather than gulp, I just keep maximizing and minimizing it until I'm ready to move on.

It happens a lot: The talent out there in the world o' blogs is immense, people. I'm very often humbled by the words I see on my screen.

But still... I must really screw up people's statistics. So I thought I'd just offer this explanation: I'm not exactly a stalker. Really. I just... need to process a bit.

Sorry about your graphs, but I think you'll understand.

Friday, March 14, 2008

How to feel semi-human

Take a shower. Seriously, if I told you how long it had been since I had a real shower, you would stop hanging out with me. I got washed and everything, but the grease in my hair could probably have been mined. (I might've been rich! What was I thinking, getting rid of it? Also, is it mining when it's oil? It's something... crap, not as human as I'd like to be apparently.)

And then I had a nice shower coma, even if it was in the parlor.

And now I'm going to eat food, take pills, and attack a list. It better beware! LISTS: BE WARNED!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I know there are times that I have felt less like posting, but I must be blocking them out, because they were so horrid.

In point of fact, I have missed you all, but when you have the walking pneumonia, the tonsils the size of baby turtles, the sinus infection that will. not. die. And you add all of those things onto the fact that I was in exile because of the PUS and therefore not at least miserable and at home, well, you might say that I just didn't quite get around to saying all the things I've had to say.

Or, that I said them, but because they were covered in mucus, I thought it best not to share them with all of you.

You're welcome.

I am much improved (well, much improved for me anyways), and my nearly three weeks of exile has come to a semi-end. I am home again, just stuck in our own parlor, as the painting that was supposed to take place on the porch (above and behind my bedroom) actually wound up taking place in the hallway (directly above my bedroom) and my room still smells like paint.

You can just imagine, I am sure, the cheery, happy, mucus-covered thoughts I have been directing towards the PUS. Ahhh... if only thoughts could kill. Or maim. I'd settle for maiming.

Our couch, at the very least, is in closer proximity to my millions of lists of things that still need to get done. Not that I am really accomplishing any of them (certain blog friends who have birthdays this week may want to wait awhile before checking the mail for their cards, for example), but I'm physically closer to them, and that's a start.

Isn't it?

Meanwhile, I have been catching up with all of you... and if any of you are catching up here: Hallo! It is the middle of March! Already! And there's a wedding shower I'm supposed to throw in three weeks! Would you kindly tell me why nobody knows what RSVP means anymore????

Wasn't that a nice welcome back?


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I am so over it

What, exactly?


Mhmm. The dramas, the sickness, the sadness, the PUS poisoning me; thank you cards, invitations, and RSVPs; food that I'm not hungry for, naps I want to take but can't,coughing; sick grandmothers and missing nanas; political 'news,' cold sores, lawyers. I'm sick of it all.

And so, today? I'm just going to forget about as much as I can. Lose myself in some rereads, and float far far away. (or, long, long ago, as the case may be: I'm off to England with the Bridgertons. Their drama I can handle.)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Thanks for stopping by

According to my sitemeter, the two most popular search queries that lead people to this here blog are "easiest ways to kill yourself" and "L is for the way you look at me."

If you got here through that first search, I just want to say this:

I know.

You're sure that I don't, but I do. I know the fear that this is all there will ever be, this pain, this mess, this struggle. And the way your tired brain makes you feel like this is the only option left to you.

It's not.

I promise.

And getting help, from places like this or this or this, will wind up being less scary than you thought.

Although it's grim, and most likely not what I should be saying, here's a thought that helped me through: I could always do it tomorrow. When I was at my lowest low, and the only things that really stopped me were the idea of someone in my family having to find my body or how Youngest Nephew wouldn't even remember me, the thought that helped me the most was 'if not today, then tomorrow.' And I kept saying that to myself, along with a running list of the things I would miss out on if I weren't here. Until there came a day, just a random day, when the list of things I would miss started to weigh more, to mean more, than the idea that I could end this whole thing anytime I wanted.

My circumstances have seemingly changed very little between my time in the pit and now - in a lot of ways I'm worse off: I'm sicker now than I was then. And I've got all the years between of being not just sick but disabled, not just being unable to work, but being unemployed and having to move home, not just single, but single while all of my friends - even my family - are married and having babies. I've lost a lot of close family members between then and now. Those are all tough things, all really hard things. Sometimes they seem impossible to live with. But I do, I can.

Because I'm not stuck in a depression, not mired in the middle of a molasses-y black hole, where all I am able to do is think about how I'm stuck and the impossibility of ever becoming unstuck.

I don't know how, exactly, I climbed out of it. I was so afraid to say I was depressed because for years, doctors had been telling me that I wasn't sick, I was really depressed, and I should just take an antidepressant and get on with it already. But depression, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't cause 104 degree fevers, doesn't weaken your muscle tone and decimate your immune system. It can't make your tonsils swell up to the size of those baby turtles you used to see in cartoons, can't give you bronchitis, pneumonia, or asthma. I knew that I wasn't depressed when I first got sick - if anything I was on a high - and I knew that the three psych drs I'd seen since then had not only ruled out depression as the cause of my ailments, but one had gone so far as to call my doc at the time 'a stunning fool' for having even suggested it.

So while I knew that my depression wasn't the cause of my illness, having it as a symptom was just as troubling. I was about 6 years into being sick; I had developed asthma that spring, spent the summer roasting and the fall struggling to make it through a very tough internship with a supervisor who told me I would "never become a teacher." I got sick again and again as the kids so kindly shared their every germ with me. My beloved uncle died, and I was to sick to drive down for his funeral. Things kept piling up, heavier and heavier.

It was like being in a snowstorm, and seeing all that snow coming down. You see the coating that comes and try to sweep it away, but it's too heavy for the broom you've brought. And while you were gone, looking for a shovel, the snow has gotten deeper and heavier. You try to shovel, but the snow is coming too quick. And by now you're very, very tired. So you walk away for a while, figuring to just let it sit, wait for the flurry to pass, and then you'll deal with it. But the flurry turns into a full blown storm, and the pile keeps mounting, it multiplies. You try to tackle at least one path, so you can get out, but every time you think it's clear, the storm starts up again. Exhausted, you retreat to watch the snow from the window, amazed at how quickly it piles up. You start thinking that the blizzard will never end, that you'll never be able to clear that much snow out of your way. You're stuck where you are - it might just as well have been an avalanche, for all that you don't have the strength to plow your way through what's there. And then it starts to seem reasonable that you would just go out there and lie down in it, let it cover you up, cold and numbing, until you didn't have to worry about it, suffer through it, anymore.

I wish I could say that the sun came out and melted all the snow away, but it's mostly still there. I've just managed to shovel out a lot of paths, to find safe places to hole up when the storms are strongest. For some people the path out is meds: I tried a few and found they were no real help to me (surprise, surprise: meds not working for NTE? Shocker.) Exercise helps, even the gentle stretching I'm sometimes capable of doing makes me feel peaceful.

For me, the best path was people: I'd been isolating myself, more and more, little by little. And the CFIDS/FM had already done a pretty good job of cutting me off from most people, so it was shockingly easy. I stopped calling home so often, I shared less with my Roommate/Best Friend. Kept things that were bothering me a secret, ashamed of what the people I had left - the people who were closest - would think.

It was dumb, and Roommate/Best Friend told me so, right to my face. She snuck her way back in, somehow, and wouldn't let me close the door. At home, Mum did the same. Wormed and wiggled their way back in until I could see that I didn't have to do this whole thing by myself. That there were people in my life who would be just as outraged as I was that a person who was supposed to help was so cruel to me (Roommate/Best Fried immediately began calling her Bitch Lady, as in "Bitch Lady left a message on the machine"), who would be just as scared as I was over the fact that my liver was malfunctioning, that it might, in fact be shutting down.

Once I realized that I didn't have to do it alone, I realized that I could do it. It was never easy - it still isn't easy. (An easy way to tell that would be to look at the name of this blog.)

But it's worth it - I may be sicker and older and sometimes feel more stuck than every, but I'm also so much better off in a lot of ways: I've watched Youngest Nephew grow from baby to boy, had a hand in his raising, and feel pride at how far he's come. Lil Girl wasn't even a vague idea at the time suicide was uppermost in my mind, and now she's what's uppermost in my mind a lot of the time. I've got a lot of honorary nephews and nieces to spoil, and can see that Oldest Nephew is going to be taller than his mother in a matter of months. I've spent time with the people who mean the most to me, shared moments of unspeakable sadness and unbearable joy. I've started this blog and 'met' some of the most thoughtful, caring, individual people I've ever known, all the while being able to work hard at writing true, to document some parts of my life and say: this is me, take it or leave it. To know that people get it. To have seen my illnesses go from fringe and crazy to less fringe and suddenly researchable. To be able to hope that someday they'll figure this shit out.

There's a lot of times, especially recent times, when I see the snow start to come down and I wonder, do I have the strength to shovel out this time? What if I don't, what if I get stuck again? And the best part is that now I know enough to think that if that happens, someone will come for me in their snowmobile, at break neck speeds if necessary. All I have to do is ask.

So, if the Google has brought you here in search of easiest ways to kill yourself, I hope instead that you'll consider this a shovel, a snow plow, hell, even one of those tiny gardening spades. There are people outside of the storm who can help you, you just have to let them know you need the help.

Oh, and if you want to see some of my shovels, click that second link up there: L. O. V. E.