Sunday, November 6, 2011


I wanted to let you know, I have NOT fallen off the face of the earth.  I have not been kidnapped masked marauders, nor have I ran off with some dashing Doctor in a little blue box.  No, I am working on a book.  My book.  I am taking a sabbatical to get all of the characters in my head down on paper.

I will be checking in, and posting updates.  I might even share snippets of scenes now and then.

But for those who have followed so faithfully...I did not want to leave you in limbo.  I kept meaning to post an update, but it just never seemed to happen.  First there was some emotional drama, then some health issues, then a sickly computer...and we DID have some earthquakes round my parts this weekend.  Both those are not "reasons" just excuses.  The actual "reason" is that my Muse has been gracious enough to visit and, like any good Hostess, I must entertain her while she graces me with her presence.

So, wish me luck, and check in when the feeling hits you.  I will be around...I promise!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Healing Atlas

My arms are outstretched in supplication and my legs bent at strange angles. My back is bowed from the strain of trying to hold up things that seem intent on crumbling down. I yearn to shrug it all off. Strange then, when the burden is lifted, even momentarily.

Unspoken needs mysteriously met by those who could not possibly know the concerns that I hold in my heart. The three stray kittens and their mama cat who adopted us a few months back were given a bag of kitten food...just as their food bin contained little more than crumbs. A "new-to-me" shirt was wordlessly offered...just as my own clothes grew too frayed to be considered "work clothes" any longer. A stack of extra coupons was handed over to me the day before I planned to go to the store to see just how far I could make the food budget stretch.

Little things, to be sure...but things that strengthen my resolve, that make me carry on. Because I am a strong believer in carrying on.

Juno a/k/a "June Bug"
I sat on the porch last night and watched the kittens stalk one another amidst the blowing leaves, pouncing on one another and learning the life skills necessary for a cat. Whenever things got too loud and scary, they ran under the shrubs or up onto the porch...they went to the places they call home. Suddenly, I felt so lonely. Loneliness looms around me like a sickness.

I remember as a child being sick at times and being promptly tucked into bed, the television on low, a cold drink nearby, and a pile of books...oh, the pile of books!. Sometimes, I might be treated to a mug of hot lemonade with honey to help soothe a sore throat, or a heating pad to ward of the chills. Every few hours the door would open, and a cool hand would gently feel my forehead for fever. It was enough to make me want to prolong the malady a bit longer...if only for the respite...the ability to make things stop for a few have time to heal.

I need some time to heal now. But there is no one to bring me hot lemonade or to smooth my hair away from my face. Or rather, no on thinks to do it. Perhaps this is an "adult" is presumed that once you are an adult you no longer need to be tended to or cared for in the same way you were as a child. Rubbish.

I need it. Too often I tuck my needs away. Too often I push them down and carry bravely on. But today I will confess, I do not feel brave. I do not want to carry on bravely. Instead, I want to curl up in my reading chair, with a warm blanket and a good book. I want to drink hot lemonade with honey, and I want to lose myself for a while.

And if someone thought to smooth my hair or place a cool hand against my face...well, that might help with the healing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


There are days when everything shifts.  Your world spins on its axis, and you hang on…unsure when it will stop or how long you can defy the centrifugal force and remain standing.  Sometimes it is a phone call, a letter, or an email.  It might be a knock at the door late at night.  Perhaps a left turn when you so clearly should have chosen right. 

It doesn’t really matter what the thing is; the point is that it is sufficient to take your breath away.  The point is that you have to keep breathing. 

Life does not stop after we are dealt such a blow; bills still have to be paid, children need to be fed; kittens still mew at your feet; laundry does not wash itself…

You still have to eat, try to sleep…and retain your strength; because you will need it.  It is hard work holding together a shattered world.  It is hard work sorting through thoughts.  It is hard work maintaining some normalcy while finding your footing. 

And breathe.  For the sake of all that is good in this world, remember to breathe.  Deep breaths, nausea quelling breaths, tear allaying breaths.  Definitely breathe.

Drink tea.  Lots of tea…whatever kind you prefer, it does not matter.  A good Doctor once said, “Tea!  That's all I needed!  Good cup of tea!  Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses.”  Whether it is true or not, it made me smile, so I am including here, in case it makes someone else smile.  And I do like a nice cuppa.

There are days when words seem to have no meaning anymore, or perhaps their meanings have simply shifted beyond recognition, and you no longer know what to think, how to interpret.  Days when the words seem to jumble and shout and echo long after they were actually spoken.  Words that haunt.

Everyone has at least one of these days, at some time or another.  Today is my day.  Today is my day to muddle through somehow.  Today is my day to curl up with a cuppa.  Soon, it will be my night to lie in bed and stare into the dark. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Big Questions

The past few weeks have been exhausting.  Among the questions my kids (ages 6, 7, and 9) have decided to inflict on me ask are:

  1. Who made God?
  2. But if God didn't die, how did He get to heaven?
  3. Why are you putting on make-up?  It's's not like you're going to work where they care if you are pretty...
  4. What's vaginal discharge?
  5. Can we talk more about puberty?
Let me warn you, for some reason my oldest is very interested in the concept of puberty.  She had asked when it started, and I told her that it was probably starting about now, but that it was a process, blah, blah.  We talked about all of the different change that take place with your body.  I tried to be relaxed, and approachable, and really, really cool about it all.  I was rather proud of myself for how well I handled it all.

The next morning, she went up to her younger brother, raised her arm high, stuck her arm pit in his face and exclaim, "Hey, smell me...I'm going through puberty.

Um, right.

This got my youngest asking me when HE would go through puberty.  (Mind you, he has not even lost a baby tooth yet...another source of angst for him...and another recurring question.)

     6.  Mom, how come I never lose any teeth?  Does the Tooth Fairy hate me or something?

Yes, these are the big questions that have been tormenting me lately.  Actually, there is one more...

     7.  Mama, you cry every time you watch the planes hit the buildings on T.V., so why do you keep       watching it?

I pull them close around me, (while my middle child runs to get me a box of Kleenex) and we talk again about the fact that life can be uncertain, and people can be cruel...but that people can also be amazing, and brave, and strong, and so very, very WORTH remembering.

Department of Defense photo

We talk about the people who died, both those caught unaware and those who saw Death coming and stared it down until the end.  We talk about the brave first responders who ran INTO the building...when everyone else tried to valiantly to get out.

Inevitably, this leads to one more question...

     8.  Mama, if something like that happened here, would Daddy have to run in?  Would Uncle Boo have to run in?

The answer is yes.  And maybe that is part of the reason for the tears...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Time to Fill the Cupboards!

Fall is coming.  Despite the 100+ degrees outside, I know this to be true, because suddenly I want to hoard large amounts of food in my cupboards and my deep freeze.  My pantry mocks me with its barrenness.  I feel the overwhelming need to tidy and organize.  I want to stockpile food for the animals and cat litter.  For some reason, I have to use every bit of self control I have to avoid digging out the pumpkin shaped soup tureen and the tapestry "autumn leaf design" place mats.  I want to track down bales of hay (which are not yet available around here) to decorate the yard.  I want to stuff scare crows.  (Not like this however...

this Doctor Who creeped me out!)

I feel the undeniable need to purchase large quantities of pumpkins and squash and dried corn.  I want to make (vegan) fudge, and pop popcorn, and watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, because that is what we do in the fall.

The only problem isn't fall.  It isn't time yet.

And yet...I feel it so strongly.  So let me make my prediction now, on the record, and come Spring we will see if there was any truth to the instinct:  I predict a bad winter.  I believe the snow and ice and cold will take us by surprise.  I predict that you should stockpile your toilet paper now, to avoid a last minute convergence at the nearly-barren stores once "they" decide that perhaps the storm is a bit stronger than they originally anticipated. I suggest that, perhaps, if you have a few extra dollars in your budget, you  might consider getting a few more canned goods, or dried beans, or rice...

As for me, I will endeavor to hold off another week or two before I start breaking out the carefully packed boxes of autumnal glory.  And I will try not to complain TOO much about the 100+ degree temperatures, because I think that once the snow starts to fall we might actually miss it...just a we thaw our toes before the fire.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What Do We Say When the God of Death Comes for Us?

No, I am not dead...although I did have a close call last week.  I was at work, and realized I was getting hungry around 3:30.  So I decided to run to the break room and make a quick peanut butter sandwich on a vegan sandwich round.  Someone had left a sandwich baggie and knife out, so i cleared it away before making my sandwich.  I was so hungry that I had my sandwich eaten before I had even made it back to my desk.

And this is when things started to go horribly wrong.

I sat at my desk and tried to finish some work, but the tickle in the back of my throat was starting to feel rather itchy.  I kept clearing my throat.  I got up and went to the ladies' room.  There is a chair in there, and I promptly sat in it and tried to decide what the heck was going on.

One of my co-workers came in and asked if I was ok.  I am afraid I may have been a bit terse when I assured her I was.  Clearly my being rude was some sort of code to Send in Someone Else--namely, one of my best friends, Angela.

Angela came barrelling into the bathroom, her eyes full of panic.  After quickly assessing the situation, Angela went and got my Benadryl (which I was loathe to take, since taking it meant that my allergy testing would have to be postponed).  While Angela asked how much I should take, I swigged a mouthful, and felt my throat continue to tighten.

Angela ran and got my purse, which had my EpiPen.  Now, back when I first filled my prescription for the EpiPen, Angela and I had had the "EpiPenTalk."  She knew how to use it, but that did NOT mean that she was ready for it.  Hell, I wasn't ready for it.

But, once I actually had it in my hand and felt air becoming harder and harder to come by, I removed the endcap and looked Angela in the eyes as I jabbed it into my thigh.  She looked away.

At first, I thought something had gone wrong.  I did not feel the injection at all.  No pain, no prick, no...nothing.  Finally, after about ten seconds, I felt my hands go cold--like someone poured ice water under the skin.  I felt relieved, because I knew that "something" was working for me.

Then I grew shakier.

And shakier.

Angela went to go tell the office administrator that she was taking me to the hospital.  When she was gone, I was struck by the feeling that there was lightening trapped in my hands.  It felt like electricity was blowing through my fingertips.  (For all your Doctor Who fans out there, think of those regeneration scenes...

personally, I adore Doctor 10).  Sigh.  Sorry...where was I?

Oh, right!  Angela came back to tell me she was going for the car.  I tried to ask her to have someone sit with me.  I was suddenly worried about being left alone.  When I tried to talk, I became aware that my words were slow to come...halting...I felt like...William Shatner.  Then I realized that it was not my words that were slow to was my thoughts...the cadence of my thoughts sounded like William Shatner's speak pattern.

This alarmed me more than the lightning hands, which was actually kind of cool in a geeky sort of way.

I remember calling my husband.  I do not remember what I said.  I do, however, remember shaking a lot.

Apparently, I somehow half-walked and half-staggered with assistance until I reached Angela's car.

In case you wondered, Angela drives like shit when she is nervous/scared/worried.  I remember asking her not to kill me while trying to save my life.  She stared ahead, hands clenched around the steering wheel and said, "I know, right?"

We made it to the hospital (and Angela parked illegally over several "bicycle" parking spots).  She never mentioned having gotten a ticket, so I am assuming she didn't.  Which is good, because I feel guilty enough as it is.

The good news is that, apparently, if you have anaphylactic shock, they make a point to get you RIGHT BACK into the ER--no waiting.  The bad news is that we were asked to follow some unnaturally spry older gentleman who took no notice of my staggering and proceeded to sprint ahead of us as we tried to navigate the twisty turns of the "Fast Track Triage."  We did not even bother trying to keep up.  By this point, I felt fairly certain that we had kept Death at bay, so why run down corridors now?

My husband met us at the hospital, and I actually ended up getting home about the same time I would have if I had not decided to make a dramatic exit.

For those that have actually read this far, we do not know for certain what I reacted to.  I suspect that the mess I had cleaned up in the kitchen had one of my allergens on it.  (Thanks, Office Slob, for nearly killing me!)

And, having been deep in my reading of "A Dance With Dragons" (which, I lamented to Angela, I had left at work in all the allergy madness), I will end with the line that kept trickling through my brain as this all transpired:

"What do we say when the god of death comes for us?"  "Not today!"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Organizing Tornadoes

This week has been a bit of a surprise.  So many things I have been putting off dealing with are now actually being dealt with...or at least starting to be dealt with...or, well, something like that.  At any rate, at least I am not running wildly away in despair and frustration.  And yet, I still feel so...wary.  I guess I am waiting to see if things stay on track.

Last night, I dreamed of tornadoes.

Not just one, but a steel gray sky churning with uncountable tornadoes swirling and dropping down from the clouds.  I watched them from the 8th story window at work.  Finally, one of the attorneys said we might want to go to the basement.  (Attorneys are smart like know, all those years of college and all...)  Then, I blinked and--out of nowhere--I was outside on a hill, the wind whipping around me.  I was holding my black cat, trying to cover his head from flying debris, and trying to watch the sky while I scanned for some low place in a field to try to take cover...

...then everything shifted, and I was at a house which, apparently, was owned by an old friend from elementary school and they were getting ready to sit down for dinner, and I was wondering what I would eat, since I was allergic to everything...  Finally, I left her house and walked a familiar sidewalk which led back to my childhood home.  Everything was disjointed and stressful and...exhausting.

I have not dreamed about tornadoes in quite some time.  They tend to be my nocturnal indicator that I feel like my life is out of control.  As a result, I feel a need to get my metaphorical house in order.  I think that I am feeling so out of control with so much in my life right now, and that I just really want to get SOMETHING organized, and I want SOMETHING to make sense.

And  maybe, just maybe, things are starting to make sense again.   (Knock wood.)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life...

I have successfully navigated my first major food related holiday.  This 4th of July was my first holiday post-Eosinophilic Esophagitis and food allergy diognoses. I spent the weeks leading up to the 4th obsessing over what to take.  I knew that there would be NOTHING I could eat at my in-laws' house ("I am making hot dogs, hamburgers, potatoes salad, and fruit salad with pecans.  I also made a cake and we have ice cream!" they announced.  I mentally checked off each item, "Um, nope, nope, nope, no, no, nope, no-sirree-Bob, yep, that would be a nope...nada.")  Since we were going to be there for about 12 hours straight, I had to plan well.  I spend several hours at several stores getting everything I needed, and cooked all day Sunday; by noon on Monday, I was fairly certain I had slayed that dragon.

The 4th went off without a hitch.  Admittedly, it is a BEAR making a day's worth of food to take to someone else's shin-dig, but this was always an important holiday for my in-laws, kinda their "thing," so to speak, so I figured it was worth the extra effort.

Admittedly, I have no intention of doing this for all the holidays, Thanksgiving is MINE, dude, my house, my food, MINE.  And Christmas is rather a shared holiday...Christmas Eve is theirs, but Christmas Day is a time for kids to jump from their beds, wake up their parents with a shriek, open presents in a frenzy...only to fall asleep among the litter of paper, half pieced together presents, and empty boxes.  It is NOT a day to haul a bunch of food around from house to house, making the rounds, while other people eat things that suddenly look better than what you brought.

One perk of having a lot of food issues is there is no more battling over who has which holiday where, and didn't so-and-so do Christmas last year?, and what shall I bring?, and when does it start because some other relative wants us to come by there, too?  Shudder.  Nope, no more.  No one wants the responsibility of dealing with cross contamination and allergy accommodation.  So we are the outcasts when it comes to the Three Major Food Holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter).

Heh, heh!  Finally, I got them back.  All the holidays...they are MINE!

See, there IS a bright side to this whole food allergy thing.

I kid! I kid!

Kind of...

And now for something completely different...

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's the Little Things...

After work today, I will pick up the kids and drive to the nearby over-sized chain megastore in order to buy a new vacuum.  It is not a particularly expensive vacuum (i.e., it is NOT a Dyson...oh, but that it were, though!), but it is all HEPA-filtery and pet-fur fighting, and it is a snazzy shade of red.

Mine, all MINE!!!
But, the thing is, I am stupid excited about it.  Our vacuum was broke-ish a few weeks ago, but it rattled and clanked on, but then earlier this week I realized that it was not so much "picking up dirt and allergens" as flinging them out and spraying them around room at a high rate of speed.  There was no actual sucking up and retaining of said yuckiness.

So, today I am giving in and taking the plunge.  Honestly, though, as frequently as we go through vacuums, it is not that big of a commitment, it just means I have to fork over more cash.  I think this is the third vacuum in the past 12 months.

I am not exactly WHY we are going through so many vacuums.  When I moved out of my parents' house, lo those many moons ago, I took with my my mother's hand-me-down vacuum.  It had served her well for, perhaps, ten years, and it gave me another ten years of faithful service.  But, admittedly, that was before I was "married with children."  I won't even tell you some of the crap we have dug out of the bowels of those poor vacuums.

The thing that gets me is actually not so much the high rate of vacuum turnover, it is how absolutely GIDDY I am about getting a new vacuum.  I can't wait to buy it, to put it together, and (gasp!) to vacuum with it for the first time (swoon!).

Maybe my giddiness has something to do with feeling like if my surrounding are organized and pulled together that I am, somehow, miraculously, more organized and pulled together myself.  Maybe it is a control thing (i.e., I am a neat freak and it makes me happy).  Maybe it is just an aesthetic thing; I like to be surrounded by things that are beatiful and artistic and seeped in memories, not piles of crap.  Or perhaps it is some combination of all of that.

At any rate, I am getting a new vacuum...and I will vacuum repeatedly...until I can't get anything else out of the carpets, and the cats run in terror, and the kids' blare their TV to hear it over the noise of me cleaning...and I will be smiling.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Today I Did Not Crash and Burn...

...which, by my own definition, makes it a "good" day.

I am trying to keep some perspective here, so bear with me while I ramble.

You see, I have this checklist, and if I answer more than three of these questions as a "no" then I have to proclaim it to be a "Good Day."  Grab some paper and a pen (or pencil, I am not picky) and answer along with me:

  1. Did anyone I know and love (or at least like) die?  (This can include animals, if you are so inclined, as I am.)
  2. Did a major appliance or vehicle catch fire or become otherwise unusable?
  3. Did my major source of income dry up or otherwise become unavailable to me?
  4. Is there a major draught or famine that is affecting my ability to feed my family?
  5. Did I lose a limb or major organ which cannot be rectified by the "miracle of modern science"?

So, even though my son had to have ten (yes, TEN!) vials of blood drawn to check for a plethora of scary medical issues that might be causing his "heart pain" (as he describes it), and even though my roof is still not fixed, and even though I worry about cars, and bills, and insurance coverage matters, and taking time off for doctors' appointments, and all those other things that seem to be attacking me...I guess it is still a good day.

No one died (knocking on wood), no one has called about any fires or other major appliance meltdowns (still knocking), my husband and I are both still employed (knock, you see a theme here?), we have food in the fridge, and all my limbs and major organs are all accounted see, all is (basically) well.  (I am going to cease knocking now.)

They won't have the bloodwork back on my son until late this week, and I will let you know as we find out more.  Until then, I welcome any prayers, positive energy, good vibes, blessed intentions, or anything else that might fortify us in the meantime.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Too Hungry to Even Think of a Title

So...vegan it is.  I met with the immunologist on Monday, and she confirmed all my food allergies:  milk, egg, beef, pork, chicken, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, buckwheat, garlic, and pineapple.  And let's not forget the enviromental, sycamore, oak, maple, cedar, and many more trees, eight kinds of mold, various grasses, including one called Timothy, and ragweed and sage, and dustmites, dogs, cats, and birds.  But apparently I can go roll around naked in the Bermuda grass, because it is about the only thing I am NOT allergic to.

So I am currently going through a period of adjustment.  It varies from trying to educate myself and be very pragmatic about the whole thing, then ten minutes later I am ticked off and hungry and not coping very well.  Right now I am on day three of the cranky-hungries.  (Or, for you Harry Potter fans out there, I am feeling rather "Ron Book Seven.")

If you have any good vegan cookbooks you can recommend, favorite vegan products, or if you just want to leave a comment of encouragement, I would be thrilled if you would take a moment...  Food is such a social aspect in our life that having to eat such a restrictive diet is making me feel a bit isolated.

However, in the interest of being a "cup half full" kinda gal (even when my stomach is half empty), at least all this STILL makes for a better day than my kitty Sirius will be having come Monday...

...when he finally gets neutered.  (He doesn't know yet.)  I may have to forgo a whole pile of foods that I really love but, hey, at least I still have all the same girl parts as I came into the world with...I call that a win!

You may have noticed that I do actually have cats (despite said cat allergy).  To that, I reply...could you resist this?

Nope, neither could I.  So, we are looking at Rapid Allergy Desensitization, which is basically a fancy way of saying that I need to take off work, get allergy injections all day long at regular intervals while they watch to make sure I don't keel over, and then after said Day of Hell, I "get" to take shots every week for a couple of months, then bi-monthly, and then finally monthly (for about 3-5 years).  If anyone has done this, or knows someone who has, please let me know your experience with the procedure.

In the meantime, I am heading off to bed to read Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (but I will probably fall asleep as soon as I slide in bed...I gave up caffeine as well this week).  I am already so tired that my eyes hurt, and I have resigned myself to fixing any typos tomorrow...

Friday, May 27, 2011

If You Close Your Eyes...You Can Feel Them

We have always taken pictures in graveyards.  Always.

My husband has always found it strange...morbid.

For as long as I could remember, each Memorial Day was marked by another photo at the head of the grave--next to the stone, so the names and dates might show--giving the dead their place in the family photo.  Not everyone was in the photo, mind you, just those who chose to take the time, to make the journey.

My mother's side of the family had two graveyards to tend, and the journey took the better part of the day.  First driving one direction (for over an hour) then stopping, tending to the stone, arranging the flowers, scattering the rosemary (for remembrance, if you believed Shakespeare, and I did), then facing the camera for the flicker of a moment that it took to memorialize your duty.

Perhaps we would stop for something to eat at Judy Ann's Diner, then we would face the other direction, drive several more hours through twisty, turny back roads, venturing down unmarked gravel roads lined with evening primrose, past the the point where someone asked, "Are you sure this is the right road?  Maybe we should turn around" at least three times, before finding ourselves at a tiny, well-kept graveyard, surrounded by overgrown wildness.  A family graveyard so pristine, with its stones worn smooth, that it did not matter that the names were lost to time...they were family, perhaps a hundred or so faces that I never saw, but part of their blood runs through mine still, so I run my fingers over the vague indentions in the stone, wishing I had thought to bring some paper and some charcoal, and I try to spend enough time with them that I don't feel foolish for the five hour round trip drive that this graveyard's visit cost me.

After all, I remind myself, it is just time...and they have all the time in the world.  What was it that T. S. Eliot said?    ...time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions...

Finally, I raise to my feet for the obligatory photo.

This year, I think it is time to pass this on to the young ones.  I will scrawl a hand drawn map, as my great-grandmother did for me.  I will tell the same stories she told, pointing out the same markers as we drive, and I will feel her there with us as I do.  Her words as familiar to me as my own, as if her stories were mine.  And, in truth, they are.

So as we gather the things to for the journey, there shall be rosemary cut fresh from the plant, and a basket to gather the evening primrose, and there will be my camera.

This year, another generation takes their place in the photo.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Things that Got Me Through this Week

I did not get to bed until after 2:00 a.m.  Don't worry, I had a good excuse...the copy of The Bucolic Plague that I had reserved at the library was finally available.  I was beyond excited!

Just to be perfectly clear...this week has been draining, frustrating, and otherwise maddening!  The only thing that has gotten me through it has been obscene amounts of Triple Dazzle Caramel pieces and model walking (both watching and doing).  If are really fortunate (or if your week was really bad), you might even watch Josh model walking while you are eating the chocolate.  Just a suggestion.

So after I got off work last night, I went and picked up three kids, got groceries, put groceries away, made pasta salad, got children cleaned up, put away folded laundry out of some creepy sense of wifely guilt, then curled up on the sofa and read the book from cover to cover in about four hours.  I had not necessarily intended to read it all in one sitting, but I could not bear to leave Brent and Josh, a/k/a The Fabulous Beekman Boys, in a "bad place" so I had to keep reading and see it through to the conclusion.  (Apparently I am convinced that when I cease reading the characters are stuck in some sort of limbo until I return.)

Notes to self: (1) actually BUY a copy of The Bucolic Plague (hey, I gotta do my part to get Josh at the farm full-time!), and (2) track down a copy of I Am Not Myself These Days (since apparently libraries in middle America do not realize that people DO want to read about former drag queens).  Let's clear this up now, shall we?  We DO!

So, tomorrow is Day One of my testing.  I am having two days (Friday and Saturday) of allergy testing, during which time they will test 100 allergens (or as I like to refer to it "The Day of 100 Pricks").  I alternate between being excited (to find out what might be triggering the Eosinophilic Esophagitis and where I go from here) and panicking (because I love to cook and eat, and because this just sucks in general).  In preparation, I have spent the past couple of weeks eating everything they are testing for, just in case I don't get to eat it again...ever.  Although, I do still need to make a Stonefruit (peach/cherry) Patchwork Pie, and I should probably eat another hot fudge sundae...and I may need to dig out a pair of "roomier" jeans.

Before I forget, for those of you who have no idea who Josh and Brent are, please, please do yourself a favor and head over to Beekman 1802 and check out their soap, cheese, bath salts, seeds, recipes, and other things that make life Fabulous.  You can thank me later.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Love: I Know it When I See It (Do You?)

My mind has been preoccupied lately with the concept of "What is true love?"

I know that love is nothing like the movies and it is not all hearts and flowers.  People are not perfect; therefore, love is not grows and evolves and can come in unexpected ways.

For me, it seems like describing "love" is a lot like how I have heard "irony" described, I know it when I see it.  There has to be respect and honestly, and the ability to put another's needs above your own...but not to wallow in martyrdom.  A couple has to support one another...but not be co-dependent.  There is a delicate balance, a gentle shift and sway.

This has led me to ponder which couples seem to have "it," that intangible thing that seems to make the relationship work.  My votes for this week are:

  1. Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge - Yes.  We all adore Josh and Brent (and apparently we also consider ourselves to be on a first name basis with them!).  I love their banter.  I love they way the know each other and accept one another's imperfections.  You gave me the perfect "teachable moment" to explain to my eight year old (now nine year old, Happy Birthday sweetie!) daughter about how love find us in many ways, and that more love in the world is always a good thing.  Polka Spot is just a bonus!
  2. Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer - (Yes, we also consider ourselves to be on a first name basis with Neil and Amanda, but none more than my oldest daughter, who wrote to Neil and sent him a copy of the book she wrote.  He graciously responded to her with a handwritten note!  He now has a life-long fan in all of us!)  Ahem, but I digress...  Yes, they are the perfect power couple...strong, opinionated, self-assured, and eager to promote good Art--whether made by them or other talented people.  When one of this couple is involved in something, the other proudly shares in it and bolsters the other's projects and efforts.  It is a true partnership. 
  3. Pickle and Honey Puff - Any couple who are still calling one another by their pet names after that many years deserves an honorable mention.  And, no, "dumb ass" does not count as a pet name!  You rock, Pickle!  You, too, Honey Puff! 
And, yes, I am fully aware that two of the couples on my list cannot legally get married where I live; I find this fact a sad commentary on society.

I can't define love.  I only know certain characteristics of it...but I know it when I see it, and I see it in all of the relationships I mentioned above.  How sad that so many people are so busy trying to define it, legislate it, regulate it, and restrict it that they no longer SEE it when it stares them in the face.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Reluctant Vegan...Maybe

The results are in...Eosinophilic Esophagitis.  I am still learning what this all means.  The next step is seeing an allergist/immunologist.  My appointment is in a couple of weeks.  Until then, I take medication to help with the inflammation and try to quell the occasional bouts of foodie panic that goes something like this:

My Husband:  Wow, the cat is really getting big.

Me:  What if I am allergic to peas?  I can't be allergic to peas!  I just decided that I actually do like peas.  I grew up in a family that didn't eat peas...not ever...and it turns out that I actually really like them.  I can't give them up now!  What about my Shepherd's Pie?  I love Shepherd's Pie!  I make a damn good Shepherd's Pie!  How can I move to England someday like the psychic said if I can't eat peas?  What about mushy peas?  I have never even eaten mushy peas!  How can this be happening to me?

This is usually met by a moment or two of stunned silence, then with awkward attempts to placate me.  Typically, I grab a Kleenex and try to regain some composure.  I try to ignore the raised eyebrows of those that are forced to deal with my hysteria.

Sirius Black

My Husband:  Yeah, he is definitely getting bigger.  And his fur looks better...remember how funky his fur looked when you first brought him home?

Me:  Holy crap?  Do you think it is bacon?  Could bacon be doing this to me?  Dude, no...not the bacon!

Two more weeks of this; I am not sure he can take it.

I read online somewhere that the average person with Eosinophilic Esophogitis has 3.4 food class allergies (something like that).  Personally, I am hoping against hope that one of my allergies will be to wheat.  I figured that since my daughters have Celiac disease, and our home is already gluten free, well, it would be very convenient...  Therefore, this possibility has become decidedly more remote.  I simply don't have that kind of luck.

I need this shirt from Cafe Press
No, with my luck I will probably end up being allergic to sugar...and honey...and molasses....and pumpkin.  (Damn, I love pumpkin...) 

And don't forget the bacon.

What is really funny (funny/mean not funny/ha-ha) is that I had been toying with the idea of going vegan.  Depending on what the test results show, I may become a reluctant vegan.  I would definitely prefer the option of doing this on my own terms rather than having all my food options removed against my will.  I would rather embrace the option due to philosophical and/or moral reasons rather than having it forced upon me.

With the whole "Celiac thing," I have already mourned many a family recipe.  Beloved dishes, prepared lovingly each holiday, the recipe passed down from generation to generation...the memories of the flavors fading, the combination of spices forgotten.  Don't get me wrong, some recipes were modified...close approximations of the original...  How many more recipes will be lost, or changed, or will simply fade from the family table? 

I wanted to save all the recipes, to preserve the new version that had been lovingly converted into foods that my family could safely eat, recipes they would be proud to continue to pass on.  A dear friend and I even started another blog to share the recipes. The recipes I had planned may now all need to be reworked again...

I feel like I am in Foodie Purgatory.

I will let you know if I descend into Foodie Hell.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ginger In Waiting...for Test Results

St. Blaise, Patron Saint of Throat Illnesses

"Well, we have the results of your biopsy...and the doctor recommends that you come in so he can go over all the  results with you," the voice on the answering machine intoned.  There was a similar message on my voice mail.

I called the number and got the "Appointment Line" and did as I was told; I made an appointment.  The appointment was over a week away.

After commisserating with several friends at work over how unbearably long from now that was, I decided that the only prudent thing to do was to call the "Medical Records Department" to have a copy of the result promptly faxed to me at work.  I called the department and left what I thought was a very casual sounding request on their voice mail and waited.  Medical Records Lady called back within the hour; she was wise to me.

"I got your voice mail," she chided, "but I am not allowed to send you any results now.  You will have to wait until you come in.  You will get a copy of the report when you come in for your appointment."

"Yes, but that is over a week away," I whined, hating myself for whining, and feeling for all the world like my seven year old.

"I know," she said briskly, "but you'll be able to go over everything with the doctor then, okay?"

"Um, no," I said quickly, sensing her desire to wrap up the call and get off the phone, "It would be different to wait that long if I knew it was okay, you know?  I mean, if I just had something to hang my hat on, if I knew it was nothing...serious..that would be different..." I said trailing off, hoping she might offer some reassurance.  When she did not, I continued, "...but its over a week away!"

"I know," she said, sounding falsely bright to me.

I said nothing, hoping to wait her out.  There was a long pause and another sigh on her end of the line.  Finally she spoke, "When do we have you coming in?"

"Next Thursday," I replied, trying to pour all the desperation that was building within me into those two words.

" about Monday?" she asked.

"Monday would be MUCH better," I sighed, relief spilling over me.

"Oh, Monday won't work.  Tuesday?" she chirped.

"Tuesday would be fine," I said quickly, before she changed her mind.

"Okay, then...Tuesday...but we will be working you in, so you need to be on time or you'll have to wait," she admonished.

"Of course," I said gratefully. Then I blurted out, "Isn't there anything you can tell me?  Anything?"

Another sigh.

"No, I don't understand all...that," she said, "You wouldn't either.  There are a lot of big words.  It would just scare you.  Better to wait until he can go over it with you."  She hung up.

I stared at the phone.  Stunned.  A lot of big words?  Really?  What. am I stupid?  I mean, really...I can google things.  I can!  Don't think that I haven't already!  Hmmph.  Scare me!?  Right, like that statement in and of itself wasn't not knowing isn't scary.

So here i am...up at 2:06 a.m., eating a toasted English muffin with butter, and drinking a diet Canada Dry ginger ale.

My husband assured me that the doctor just wanted to collect another office visit co-pay.  If this is the case, I can assure you that he will be dealing with one PISSED OFF red-head come next Tuesday, the likes of which he has never seen.

Until then, I will wait...and pretend I am not worried.  I will drink my Canada Dry and eat my English muffin.  I will try not to google too much, because googling without direction can take your mind to places that there is no sense going unless you just have to, and I will wait.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lessons from a Storm

It stormed today, and it is storming still.  Not a few showers, but huge waves of rain, strong winds, and quite a bit of hail. 

There were tornado sirens blaring when I walked out the door after work, so I abruptly turned back around and (very reluctantly) went back inside.  My children were safe with my in-laws (and, undoubtedly, in the storm cellar), so I knew that I had to keep myself safe until the storm let up and I could get to them safely.

Any pretense of working evaporated as people congregated around computer screens to track the storm's progress.  Other groups gathered around windows to gaze at the blackened sky.  The thunder rumbled menacingly and vibrated the building.  After about an hour of hunkering down, people began to brave the elements and venture home.

The drive to gather my children and head home alternated between clearing skies one moment and driving rains just a mile further down the road, but there comes a point when you decide that the only place you can be at the moment was home and damn the consequences.  My husband sent a steady stream of messages to my phone encouraging me to be safe, and advising me of the weather conditions where he was...

Now, I love rain, I really do.  I love all kinds of rain...the driving rain that beats against the windows and rattles them defiantly, the light drizzle that tickles the flesh, the huge cold drops of an autumn rain that hints at  the first chills of winter, and the cooling summer showers that drive away the sweltering heat.  But there is something about a storm that separates me from my family that makes me feel...helpless, and exposed, and unbearably vulnerable.  Now, rationally, I realize that each and every  member of my husband's family would lay down their life for my children without a second thought, and yet the idea of not being able to be there, to comfort them, and to see tangible evidence of their well-being causes me indescribable distress.

As I drove through the rain, ticking off each landmark as I pass by, driving--perhaps a bit faster than prudent--toward three tear-splotched faces, who rushed to meet me at the door with a barrage of "we were so worried" and "what took you so long" lamentations, I realized how much is left to something bigger than ourselves...whether we call it God, or Fate, or Chance...there are things over which we have no control, things that keep us awake at night, things which we do not speak of aloud for fear of inviting their inevitability. 

For now, though, we are safe (knocking on wood).  As the thunder crescendos outside, I tug the blankets a little tighter around three sleepy faces and smooth furrowed brows back into innocence.  For now, we huddle a bit closer, mumble another prayer, and wait for the clear skies of morning.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mom's Don't Take Sick Days...and Other Lies

I have a cold, or maybe an upper respiratory infection; it is one of those head and chest things that saps your strength and leaves you gasping for breath (and I am asthmatic so that complicates things), and I am a I don't have time to be sick.  But I am.  There.  I have admitted it.

Yesterday as a bit worse than today and, for once, I actually let myself rest.  I did cook meals (hey, the kids had to eat!), and I kept the dishes washed (because it is ant season in my neck of the woods, and I freakin' HATE ants).  But I ignored the laundry, and I overlooked the dust, and I even let the kids skip their baths.

I spent the better part of the day on the sofa.  I watched The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring with the kids piled around me, and I watched Eat Pray Love while the kids pretty much trashed their rooms, and I watched other things that I guess I must have dozed through (and which I now, apparently, have no recollection).

I never do this.  I don't take days off like that.  When I had my gallbladder out a couple of years ago, the day after surgery I resumed my routine of carrying my then-five-year-old middle child up the ladder to her top bunk each night after she fell asleep in the chair in the living room (as was then her custom).

But yesterday, I realized that I spent so much time making sure that everyone else was rested, fed, bathed, medicated, educated, and everything else, that I never took time to make sure that my needs were taken care of, and I secretly resented it when no one insisted that I take care of myself.  Then it dawned on me...I was not impressing anyone by being a martyr...I was merely created some unsatisfying ideal that my daughters would assume that they had to live up to.  Shit.  Who wants that?

I made myself homemade chicken noodle soup (with homemade gluten free noodles).  It was a bit ambitious, considering how I was feeling, but when I am really sick I really want chicken noodle soup.  I put it on early in the morning, when I first realized how bad I really felt, and I let it cook all morning.  When we all finally piled onto the crowded sofa with steaming bowls of soup, there was a collective silence as we all relished the restorative powers of the much-esteemed comfort food.  It truly did nourish more than my stomach.

So, there...I admit it: I took a day off.  I proclaimed to all the kids that I was not feeling well and that I needed to rest.  My son, the youngest, had been recently ill himself (with the same type of crud), so he relished playing the role of caretaker.  He brought me blankets, heating pads, and thermometers.  He brought me cold drinks and extra pillows.  He learned to be a caretaker...something he would not learn if there was never anyone who needed to be taken care of.  Hmmm...never thought of it quite that way.

Today, I felt moderately better.  I had more energy, and I got up and got the house pulled together.  We had the last of the soup for lunch today.  It still tasted good, but today it no longer seemed like a magic it was just soup.

This made me wonder what it is that makes an ordinary day feel like it is somehow more than ordinary.  I realized that there is a certain feel in the air some afternoons.  I tend to notice it on weekdays, around 2:45...when I should be at work but, for whatever appointments, or vacation days...I am not.  There is a certain sense of freedom.  The sun seems a bit brighter, the air a little fresher.  The perfect song seems to offer itself up on the radio...some song from high school that inevitably makes me feel young and free.  Now, I know that 2:45 in the afternoon rolls around every day, but I certainly don't feel this way every day...just those weekdays when I find myself in the car rather than at work, just those days when I normally shouldn't be out driving.  Perhaps it is the unexpectedness of it.  You see, 2:45 used to represent the end of the school day.  Now it represents nothing more than the time I tend to get hungry at work.  But, one upon a time, that time was magic...that time meant FREEDOM.

Days off are like that--now they are quite few and far between, now they are magical.  So to decide to grant myself one...well, that was something.  I felt a bit like I did when I was a kid and faked an illness to stay home and watch soap operas (ahhhh, Bo and Hope's wedding), or read all day, or mourn the loss of some boyfriend whose name I can no longer recall.

I felt slightly guilty but restored.  I felt a sense of freedom.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2:30 a.m. Seed Check

Lately I find myself noticing more and more bits of myself and my husband in my children.  One in particular has my voracious love of books, they all (to varying degrees) have his love of music.  One is more melancholy while another is more pragmatic.

I don't know how much of "us" seeped into "them," but I do see huge chunks of our personalities reflected in theirs.  This makes me both proud and worried.  I love when I see one or another of them at the table, with pen in hand, working on a new story.  I am grateful that my middle child can laugh things off with a toss of her golden hair and a smile.  I worry when one of them sacrifies too much of themself to buffer the pain of another.  I wonder if they inherited that nasty martyr streak that is too often passed from mother to daughter.  I wake up in a cold sweat wondering if the melodrama that I am all too often a witness to comes from some childhood phase or from genetic code.

Don't get me wrong, I really wouldn't change a thing...because to change a part is to change the whole.  But there is guilt (isn't there always) in knowing that just as my son's red hair and asthma came from from me, so did his "suck it  up" attitude...for which I doubt his future wife will thank me.

The good and the bad--we pass them both on to the future, in our words, our actions, our beliefs.  We propagate them in our children.  This knowledge has led to more than sleepless nights than I care to admit.  I find myself taking inventory of my imagined "Sins of the Mother," and every mistake, every sharp tone, and every moment of maternal imperfection come into sharp focus in the dead of night.

I have always seen myself as a "glass half full" kinda gal and, since we are being brutally honest here, my husband is a decidely "the glass is half empty" kinda guy.  I tend to, in general, take things in stride.  I believe in making the best of things.  My great-grandmother taught me that "if something had to be done, that you were the person to do it, that it was best to get on with it."  And this has worked well for me.

My husband told me once that he was really annoyed by the "Nike Ad Approach to Life"--those people that say that we should "Just Do It."  (This approach, however, makes perfect sense to me.)  He points out that if Just Doing It were so freakin' easy that everyone would be successful.  (But they can be! a part of me screams silently...ok, maybe not so silently, I am not particularly good at silence.)  I realize now, though, that maybe that is what he saw...that life was hard, that the world was out to get them, that they were cursed...whatever seed that was planted so long ago and ultimately came to fruition inside him...his inheritance and his demon...this thing that tangles him up everytime he tries to take a step forward.

I want to plant seeds of love, faith, tolerance, dedication, hope, determination, gratitude, self-worth, compassion, many things.  I hope I plant the right seeds.  I hope I nurture them.  I hope to see them grow to fruition.

I hope I can sleep tonight.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Birthday Wishes, the Universe, & Bad-Friend Guilt

One of my dearest friends' birthday is tomorrow.  I have had all kinds of fabulous ideas of what I would like to get her.  She likes Edgar Allan Poe, and she loves Lisa Snelling's gorgeous artwork, so THIS seemed perfect.  But when the time came to be able to order it, the money was nowhere to be found.  There were bills that demanded attention, and a leaky roof that is still weighing on my mind, and empty cupboards that needed filling...  I contemplated a dozen other gifts, all so very perfect, and all so very out of reach at the moment.  I felt very much like a failure as a friend.

I went out this weekend, after scrounging what bit of money could be spared, and got her a few gifts...none of which feel "worthy."  I lament all that I so desperately wish I could give her--she who has been the best of friend to me and has steadied me so many times, especially over the past year.

Now, I realize that gifts are not a measure of friendship.  I do.  But that does not make me feel any better right now.  I feel this way when it comes to giving gift to anyone I care about.  I feel totally inadequate.  I just do...I will psycho-analyze it later.

But, for now, I weave together these words--also so very unworthy--but at least they are a testament to all I wish I could do; and I offer them to the Universe... the hopes that in some way, at some point, it will give to her all that I cannot...and that her true worth will be showered upon her in great abundance.

Happy Birthday, my dear friend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Duck and Cover...Death is Afoot

Once, when my then-boyfriend/now-husband and I were much, much younger, we went to a Renaissance Faire down near Texas.  There was a fortune teller there who read palms.  Ah, yes, this intrigued me quite a bit, so I convinced my beloved that we should go find out our destiny; however, to insure that we did not skew her interpretation of our future events, I thought it wise what we quickly separate from one another and approach the mystic as though we were strangers (although, I presume that if she knew her craft she would, in fact, be wise to my foolish attempts to thwart her all-knowingness).

My beloved was informed that there was something that he did as a hobby which he would eventually do as a career (this has, in fact, proved to be true!  One point for All-Knowing-One), and that he would have three children--possibly four (we did in fact have three children, and one very-early-on miscarriage,  Two points for All-Knowing-One).  She also told him (much to his relief) that he would die in his sleep rather in the tragic way he often worried.  (Now, these fears of which she spoke were, in fact, true fears, but the jury is still out on ultimate manner of no points to anyone, yet.)

Yours truly (who wandered over after a decent amount of time had passed, and tried to look oh-so-disinterested) was told that I would have three children...perhaps four.  (Wow!  A total of three points for the All-Knowing-One)  I was also told that I would live into my 90s, and would have two great loves in my life, and that one would be late in life.  (Woo-hoo me!  Ahem, sorry, babe!)  She also said that later in life I would move and would live abroad.  (Again, yah me!)  No points here, yet.  Time will tell.

However, the other night, I was quite certain that the All-Seeing-One's record would be shattered.  You see, lately, I have been having issues with swallowing.  (I know, I know, how hard is it?  I have been doing all my life, for Pete's sake!)  But, the other night, was particularly bad.  I took my first bite of potato salad and would not go up, and it would not go down.  So, I excused myself and went to the bathroom (which, luckily, is only about a foot down the hall from our dining room).  I coughed and struggled to breathe.

"You okay, honey?" came an overly cheerful voice from the dining room.

Unable to speak, I slammed the toilet lid a couple of times.

Yeah, that brought him running.

The kids did their "swirling around the feet, panicking thing" that they get from my mother-in-law (God bless her), and I became increasing aware of a crushing pain in my chest.

I slapped my back repeatedly, assuming this was some kind of Universal Code for "Give me the Fuckin' Heimlich Maneuver!"  He quickly caught on and, after much manuevering and back thumping (on his part) and chest clutching, gasping, gurgling, drooling, and panicking (on my part), sweet relief found me--I could breathe again.

Sweet relief...because I was not ready for All-Knowing-One to break her streak; I was not ready for Death to claim me in my decidedly untidy bathroom, with tears and drool running down my face.  I had always thought Death would find me at a slightly less embarrassing moment.  It should be dramatic, and memorable and, preferably, heroic.

But then again, as I am all too just never know where Death, that bastard, is lurking.  Maybe someday I will make friends with Death but, if so, it will be when I am in my 90s and living abroad with some hot stud.

Until then, it is duck and cover all the way.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Once Was Lost...

There is something to be said about stopping ever now and then and looking back to see from where you are coming.   I think that, perhaps, if I did this more frequently I would see that I was veering off track before I ended up hopelessly lost.

Right now I find that I am backtracking a bit, following my footsteps while they are still fresh to see if I can find may way again because, FUCK, somewhere I definitely got off track.

Great, now I have that Robert Frost poem threading through my brain, and yet that is not what I mean at all.  I am not talking about conscious decisions to take a certain road, or blazing new trails, or being all kinds of adventuresome.

I am talking about becoming so intent on the destination that you lose your footing, you stumble, and by the time you pick yourself up you find that you are not all all where you thought you were...and you become paralyzed by the sense of panic that swells up as you realize that You Are Lost.

Perhaps even worse, however, is when you misstep and take a fall, only to pick yourself up and catch a glimpse of yourself--just for a moment--in the faces of those around you, only to realize that you no longer recognize yourself and what you have become.

I still recognize myself.  There are a few more lines there that reflect this journey, and my eyes are a bit darker than I remember them, but I do still recognize myself.  I am relieved.

I must stop more, look around, and watch my step.  Perhaps sit down a bit, and let it all soak in before moving on.

I was lucky this time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Outside the Box

I woke up this morning with such grand intentions.  (That should have been my first indication that today would be a bit of a challenge.)  So ironic...I finally feel like I am finding my voice and the only thing I have been able to use it for today is yelling at the kids to pick up their rooms!

But I am finally carving out a few minutes...because I need this time even more when Life seems to want to allow it the least.  I need to know that I am more than just someone who cleans up messes, and packs lunches, and cleans out the cat litter box. 

I keep thinking about this patchwork of a life with which I have been blessed.  There are the stories that my grandmother told me when I was a child which are woven next to the poem my elder daughter wrote on the back of the past-due electric bill.  There are snippets of songs, and wafts of smells, that allow me to travel back in time stitched snugly next to my dreams for my children's future.  I am ashamed to admit that I have neglected this patchwork shroud.  There are parts that I cut out, and there are gaping holes that remain, that need desperately to be tended that I can continue to be proud of this mantel. 

But really, what I really want is to make sure that, when my kids look at me. they know that there is something more there...more than just someone who wiped their butts and kissed their boo-boos.  I want them to know that I have hopes, and dreams, and fears.  I want them to know that I am not perfect, and that I don't expect perfection from them either.  I want them to live life fearlessly, to love passionately, and to dream big. I want them to know that sacrifices can pay off, but not to play the martyr. 

I have seen too many fucking martyrs who wear their penance like a showpiece.  I want better than that for them.  

I woke up this morning with such grand intentions...but there is tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow will be the day that I can be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the best of friend.  Yeah, I doubt it too, but just maybe...

"maybe."  Such a loaded word.

It reminds me of Pandora's box, and how she let out all the evils except one...hope...the most dangerous of them all.

Good thing I like living on the edge.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Looking at Things Backwards, They Suddenly Make Sense...

I have been thinking a lot today about writing, living the life I want to live, being who I want to be, and lots of other things-involving-words.  I feel like I am just now starting to find my voice, to get comfortable in my own skin.  I am tired of trying to be what people need me to be.  I am ready to just be myself and, honestly, it is such a relief.  It is exhausting trying to live up to expectations, especially when those expectations aren't really coming from someone else, but rather are things you shackle yourself with based on what you THINK they want.

Reading back at several of my previous posts, I realized that I sounded more like a version of myself rather than my whole self.  It was like I had amplified parts of myself and excluded other parts.  Yeah...I don't want to do that.  I want to find out more about who I am, who I want to be, and project that out into the world.  When I look at the past ten years, I realize that the times when things seemed to "fall into place" were those times when I was being the most authentic.  But like when you are a kid and finally master a task, only to screw it up when you holler at your mom to have her come watch...I think that once I realized that the Universe had cast its gaze on me I have always immediately tripped over myself and face planted on the sidewalk.

 That seems to be my relationship with the Universe...I am the nerdy little sister that talks too much, tries to hard to impress, worries too much about what people think, won't let anyone have a moment's peace, and runs away crying when the Universe lashes out demanding some breathing room.

Time to try something new...embrace my inner geek, laugh at inappropriate times, act and react with spontaneous abandon, kick off my shoes and feel the cold ground under my feet as the warm spring sun shines on my face.  I have hidden away too long.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Words, Words, Words...

I have to be really honest about something...I have never been particularly fond of spring.  It freaks me out.  Sure, I like the fresh fruit and vegetables.  I like the flowers.  It is just...well, I was an English major.  March, well, it has the whole Ides of March thing, and I walk around slightly paranoid all month.  And then April, well, according to T. S. Eliot, it "is the cruelest month."  These things tend to put me a bit on edge.  But then I was also one of those kids that was afraid to step on cracks for fear of breaking my mother's back.  Words have always held too much power for me.  Words have always pained me more than deeds.

Yet, here I am, working with words.  I work with words at my "day job," and I am working with words on both of my blogs, and I write stories as well (yep, more words).  This has me wondering if I have some sort of unacknowledged masochistic streak (or is it sadistic streak?)...I should probably Google that at some point...

So, since I haven't shamelessly plugged it here, yet, I do actually have another blog that I am working on with a friend.  It centers around gluten-free food, seasonal eating, etc.  There are some really awesome recipes, tips for healthy eating, and you get to watch the both of us muddle through as we try to change the world.  There will be laughter, tears and, inevitably, some epic failures.   You should definitely come along for the ride.

Now that I am dealing with my word issues, I will be here more often, too.  No joke.  It is kind of like therapy.  I write; I feel better; wow, I suddenly want to write more; hey, I feel even better...

Then the old dreams emerge...dreams of books, and bookstores, and a long-awaited life just waiting to be lived.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Until Then We'll Have to Muddle Through Some How...

I have been on hiatus for a while as I learned to deal with the effects of Celiac disease on my family.  The Little Ones were diagnosed, and it has been quite an education learning how to substitute, make due, create, re-create...

Tonight, I will be trying to perfect my gluten free brownies.  Before Celiac, I had the perfect recipe.  Now, well, I am getting closer...  There is nothing that will get me off my butt and into the kitchen like the tears of an eight year old who is longing for some home-baked loved.  Food is seriously one of the ways I grew up showing love, so when a child of mine cries for a now-forbidden food, it feels like I am depriving her of love.

Soon, I will be collaberating with a dear friend on a cookbook that boasts amazing gluten free recipes and that celebrates seasonal eating.  We will also be collaborating on a joint blog that tracks our progress.  You can share in each truimph and laugh with us as we muddle through it all!

We will also share recipes on the new blog, so if you want us to post a gluten-free recipe, or recipe that just happen to be gluten-free, just let us know what you are interested in.  Since we are working with seasonal food, we will get to recipes in seasonal order.