Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ink Sucker

I should have known that this would happen.  He should have known.

And yet, one day, I get a phone call.  He was supposed to go get dog food. 

I know what that means.  Even the kids do, which is exactly why the older three were with him that afternoon.

He does usually come home with dog food, but on the way to or from the dog food, there is another stop.

Always.

What?  You don't have to wander around Best Buy just because it's next to the pet store? 

Yeah, I know.  Me neither.

But, then I'm not a guy, so I don't fall victim to the magnetic pull of the building. 

Anyway, the kids know that when he says he's going to get dog food, he's really going to run in and get a bag, then kill an hour or two playing with all the really expensive toys at Best Buy. 

And he did. 

Then I got a phone call.  Actually, it was probably just a text message.

He got a laptop for the kids.  He did owe them a computer after he promised them one then proceeded to beat the hell out of it. (It really didn't work anymore to begin with).  And his hand was better.  So it was time.  Whatever.

Why is it that a man can go to the store and just drop $500 on something without advance warning, but if I did that, the sky would fall?  Like, it would actually drop from above and crash down on me.  Why?

So he got a laptop.  A cheap one.  Then spent the rest of the weekend setting it up.

He even adjusted the wireless network in the house so that the wireless printer actually works again.  Of course, when I asked him to fix it for my benefit before then, I got the obligatory pat on the head and lecture about how it really did work and why didn't I know better and why couldn't I just understand computers?

Except it didn't work like he insisted it did.  Ever.

I'm not an idiot.

As soon as the laptop was set up and the printer was working, the kids were in heaven.  In 15 minute increments.  And there was a tremendous amount of whining done by whoever was not enjoying their 15 minute increment. 

We got this again, why?

Then the girls discovered the barbie.com website.  One of the few they actually have access to, since Tom set up the parental blocks tighter than Fort Knox.

Barbie.  Barbie.  Barbie.

Barbie songs and Barbie games and Barbie screen savers and general Barbie awesomeness.

Then they discovered that if they clicked a little button, they could print things.

Little girls love to print things.

They really like to print things.

Like 100 things at a time.

The printer that is actually working as it was intended?  Out of ink. 

Barbie sucked it dry.

I don't care if she has a wardrobe to die for and a million successful careers, she is an ink sucker.

You all think it's funny that I never even got to print anything, right?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 30

Day 30 - Your family.

It's bittersweet to be writing this one today....this challenge has been so much fun!  I will be hosting more of these challenges in the future, for sure. 

This is my family.  Each and every one of them holds a special and unique place in my heart.  Some of them drive me crazy.  And I adore them all.

Baby Girl Christianson - the surprise only a few weeks after we lost Dad.
Life.Goes.On.

Riley - The world's most adorable nephew

My brother Gary and his wife, the sister I never had, Gretchen

 My In-Laws, Ken & Kathi

My brother-in-law who refuses to cooperate, TJ

My rock star marathon finishing brother-in-law, Tim

My gorgeous, I can't believe how grown up she is, niece, Athena.

My Mom and Uncle Dan

My adorably hilarious cousins, Rachel & Stephanie

My Christianson Aunts & Uncles, Karen, Susie, Curtis, Kathe & Kevin

Believe it or not, there are a bunch more than made it into this picture.
 The Christiansons...
and Nathan, my practically adopted brother.

The love of my life, Tom.

My kids, Aidan, Ashley, Ally & AJ

My Dad, without whom there would be no me.
I miss you Daddy.

I Don't Really Know EVERYTHING

I totally have the kids snowed. 

For now, anyway.  They are convinced that I know everything about everything.  This isn't an accidental betrayal, mind you.

Totally intentional. 

And I know it's not going to last forever. 

I actually try to listen to all the questions they ask me, rather than tune them out like I really, really, really want to sometimes.

There are entire days that my life seems like a gigantic, never ending game of 20 questions.  One question's answer inevitably leads to another question.  And so on.

It does get old.

And, to be honest, I really don't know the answers to everything that they ask me, even if I'm really good at making it appear that way.  They know now that if I don't know the answer to something they ask me, I'll find out and tell them eventually. 

Most of the time, that is.

Sometimes I just can't do it anymore.  I can't make my brain locate the answers to the myriad of questions.  I can't care enough to look it up.  I can't even keep listening to the relentless assault on my ears. 

Sometimes I really don't know, and I really don't care. 

Like yesterday.

I had to take Aidan to Children's for his second post surgery nut show appointment.   If you haven't had the pleasure already, you can read about our house full of disobedient nuts here.  Don't worry, he has his mother's self-deprecating sense of humor and really could not care less about me writing this stuff.

Anyway, we were alone in the car on the way back from the hospital when he somehow got onto the topic of jellyfish. 

Which he then insisted he needed to know everything about, of course.
Random, right????

Welcome to my life. 

Anyway, he was asking me question after question after question.  We talked about how they eat, how they move, about the fact that they are invertebrates. 

Then he wanted to know how they catch jellyfish, especially the larger ones, for aquariums.  I ventured a guess that they probably had to be captured in water filled containers since they don't  have a skeletal system and would end up a pile of mush if taken out of the water. 

This did not satisfy his quest for knowledge.  Yeah, but how do they do it, Mom?  Over and over.

Until finally my reply was this:

How am I supposed to know, Aidan???  I'm not a jellyfish hunter!!!

As soon as it came out of my mouth, I knew that my proclamation was one destined to live on in our family lore. 

I'm not a jellyfish hunter?

Who says stuff like that????

Apparently, I do.  Mrs. Doesn't-Actually-Know-It-All.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 29

Day 29 - Something that shows your personality.

I knew right away which part of my personality I wanted to show off here. Finding something that would do justice to it was a bit harder.

Fortunately for me, I bought this sign a few years ago.  Because, well, it's perfect.  And it's me.  And I practically live in the laundry room.

Kelly: Girl with a sarcastic, often inapproriate sense of humor

The One-Uppers

I'm sure that you know someone like this.

You might even know a few of them. 

I've tried to remove people like this from my life whenever possible because it's just plain exhausting to know them. 

Besides which, they aren't really friends.  At least not on any two way street.

They are the people who can't ever just be a supportive friend.  Who can't ever just shut up and listen.  Who can't lend an ear without interjecting.  Who can't let anything happen in your life without adding a running commentary to it.

The people who's successes are always bigger.  Who's challenges are always greater.  Who have more money or have less of it, whatever the case may be.  Who love their children more, who say things like I would never let my kids do that

Who had a harder time getting pregnant or who were sicker than you were.  Or who had an easier labor or a more difficult baby.  Who has a better relationship with their spouse and has to gush about it constantly or who wants out more than someone else does.

Who have overcome more.  Who work longer hours or have the better job so they don't have to.  Who have the more expensive purse, the higher heels.  The faster car.

The worse family drama.  The sicker parent. 

Maybe I'm just especially sensitive to it all right now.  I'm sure I am.  I know for a fact that I have far less patience right now than I should.  Maybe these people are just pissing me off more than normal because of the chaos that is my life. 

Or maybe it's just the clarity of grief pointing out that which is so apparent.  I know that I have turned a blind eye to people like this as much as I could. 

Eventually, you can't ignore the obvious anymore.

Life isn't a competition. 

There is something odd about a person who actually tries to convince others and themselves that their life is worse than someone else's.  Why would you do that?  Where does that come from?

When I was going through one of the worst periods of my life, just after Tom finished cancer treatment and I lost the baby, I actually knew someone who would interrupt conversations I had with those who actually cared to interject that she had awoken with a huge pimple.  And how that was the worst thing ever.  And what was she going to do???  And so on and so forth.

At some point, I stopped talking about the real things in my life causing pain.  I didn't want them compared to acne on a daily basis.

Which I also have.  And have had for decades now.  Decades. 

I could never imagine trying to compare that to someone losing a child or facing a life threatening illness. 

But the one-uppers don't even bat an eye at it. 

Clearly, they have it the worst.  Ever.  In the history of time.

If you know one of these people, do us all a favor and tell them to stop comparing every single thing in their lives to everyone else. 

If you are one of these people, do us all a favor.  Please.

Knock it off.

Monday, June 27, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 28

Day 28 - Joy.

One word.  So simple.  It surrounds almost all of us every day, yet we see it so rarely. 

My subject here, a given.  This boy who is the age where he does everything completely.  He plays hard, he sleeps hard.  He runs as fast as he can every single time.  His world falls apart sometimes, of that he is certain.  And he loves with every ounce of his soul.

Simply put, I adore this age.

As parents, we get caught up in the challenges.  The difficulty that comes with chasing a 25 pound wrecking ball all the time.  The worry.  The fear.  The constant need for supervision. 

Take the time to just watch them be.  Look when you otherwise wouldn't.

See joy.
Swinging on the newly repaired swings for the first
time, his big sis in the background pushing him.

The Bribery of a Pre-teen Boy

This summer has been an interesting one so far with my oldest.  He's anticipating his last year of elementary school, and we've already begun the long process of trying to decide where he's going to middle school.

Need to figure that out.

We're working on teaching him a lot of valuable lessons in life this summer.   Things that he's going to need to know to be a functional adult one day.   Some of them are things I hope he'll never need to know....others are ones I know he will.

Like the history of rock music.
Like how to throw a punch.
Like how to empty the dishwasher.
Like proper personal hygiene.

I bought him deodorant for the first time months ago, but it's taken this long to get through to him that a daily shower is a good plan. 

I think he uses soap. 

I don't know.  Sometimes it's hard to tell. 

He's been in a growing out the hair phase for a while now.  Not that it's anything new, mind you.  He's done this at least once a year since first or second grade.  He refuses to let me cut his hair, says he wants it longer, promises to wash and brush it.  

Fast forward a few weeks and his head looks like a giant brown q-tip.

This time, he started to actually brush it occasionally.  He used whatever hair care products he could find in the house in an attempt to get the hairs to stay where he put them.  No easy task, considering they'd much prefer the q-tip look. 

I've had to trim his wings and tail at least three times.  I can tolerate longer hair as long as it doesn't stick out over the ears or form a tail down the back of his neck.  Shudder.

I've been practically begging him to let me cut his hair since school got out.

It'll be cooler!
It will grow before school starts!
You won't have to worry about brushing it!
I won't have to feel compelled to try and fix it every time we go out in public!
It won't drive me crazy!
Your crazy mom might actually leave you alone for a few weeks!

None of those arguments worked.  Stubborn, the boy is.

I actually threatened to wait until he was sleeping, then hit him with the clippers in the middle of the night.  Shave just enough hair in the middle of his head that he'd have no choice but let me finish the job.  Mwhahaha.

Sometimes you really have no choice but to resort to drastic measures.

And sometimes you just need a little help from a friend.

Sometimes they make an argument for hair cutting that you forgot about or didn't even thing of.   One that is irresistibly appealing to a 10 year old boy.   One that worked, after weeks of begging.

You won't even have to wash your hair for weeks!

Guess who got a hair cut.

Of course AJ wanted one too.
Really?  This is what worked?   Boys are gross.

Thanks, Shel.  I think.  ;)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 27

Day 27 - Who you love.

Before you decide which picture to post, know that there is still a day for a picture of your family coming up on the challenge.  This one should be different.

I picked him, of course. 

The guy that I met 19 years ago sitting in uncomfortable desks in a high school classroom.  The guy who still, after all these years, puts up with me.  The guy who paints his little girls' nails and runs behind bikes that just lost their training wheels.  The guy who sings at the top of his lungs in the car with his children and reads them books before bed.  The guy who has always just loved me, no matter what.

I love him.

Even if he loves camping.

Lotion Girl

I don't honestly know why I thought about this story.  I have tried to shove it back into or get it out entirely of my mind before, exorcise it from my soul.  Pretend that I never saw it.

Some things just can't be unseen.

But I did.  And it's back.  And I'm sharing.

You. Are. Welcome.

When I was in college, I was so tremendously busy that I am frankly amazed at how much I got done.   In between everything else I did, I went to the gym religiously.  4 or 5 times a week. 

Sometimes I went with my roommate, more often I went alone on the way home from class or work.  The afternoon hours were the ones where you were most likely to encounter her, this lady of which I write today.

Lotion girl.

Those of you who went to college with me will remember her, I'm sure.  You don't easily forget someone like this.

I never saw her in the gym, or maybe I just never noticed her there.  There was, to be completely honest, absolutely nothing remarkable about her physically.  I probably did see her all the time on the machines, and never gave her more than a passing glance.  She was ordinary.

Inside the locker room, though, I saw her.

All of her.

All the time.

She was one of those people completely at ease with her nudity.  One with her body.  Comfortable letting it all hang out.  She'd itch and scratch and stretch.  She'd stroll to the bathrooms, to the showers, brush her hair and put her makeup back on naked.   No towel, no underwear.  Nothing. 

None of those things really caught me as weird though.  The thing I remember most vividly about her is the lotion. 

Oh, the lotion.

She had to apply lotion to every single square inch of her perpetually naked body.  It was not a quick process.
 
Even the places that you wouldn't think you really need to rub lotion on.

Oh yeah, those places.

Got the visual yet?  Okay good.

It seemed like it didn't matter what time I got to the locker room, or what day or the week it was, or the time of the year.  I always arrived just in time for the lotion application.

To apply the lotion, there was bending and leg raising and vigorous rubbing.  It was like a train wreck...you knew you weren't supposed to watch.  That you were supposed to will your eyes away.  Look at something, anything else. 

It's hard though, when some girl's crotch is right there, getting greased up for the day's business.

In some ways, I admired her.  She clearly had no self image issues.  At all.  Proud of who she was.  Owned her flaws.  Didn't give a rat's ass what anyone else saw or thought. 

In others though, I wondered why.  Why are some people that way, when most of us aren't even remotely close to it?  Why do all the rest of us slide our swimsuits off only when the towel is securely wrapped around our chests?  Why do we hole up in the corner of the locker room and wait for the room to clear out before changing quickly? 

Why did she spend so much time naked?

How much money did she spend on lotion?

I can say with complete honesty that I've never showered in a community shower.  I have in the locker rooms with stalls and curtains, with hooks to hang towels.  Where there was at least an illusion of privacy.   

But the giant room full of shower heads and naked?  No thanks.  No one needs to see that.

And I promise that I never have and never will grease up my crotch in view of another person. 

Again, you are welcome.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 26

Day 26 - Something that makes you sad.

I didn't intend to do this to myself, honest.  I really didn't look at the calendar in June and decide that this day of the challenge should land on this weekend. 

Yet, here we are.

This picture is from the garage in my parents' house.  Dad poured a concrete extension for the washer and dryer when we first moved in.

It would only make sense that I share a piece of my history here today, just as that story is coming to an end.

A piece of me will forever be there.

The House that Built Me

It's probably better that I didn't know I was walking out of the house for the last time in February.  I figured, as did we all, that it would take longer for it to sell and close and be gone from our family.

I thought we had more time.

And, as I've been reminded yet again, life doesn't really care what your time frames are for anything.

The house is almost empty, the boxes packed.  All that is left, a few loose ends. 

Yesterday, Mom left for the last time.  Sometime this weekend, my brother will say goodbye.

Truth is, though, once Dad was gone it wasn't home anymore.

I knew when I left the last time to go back to help care for him at the end it wouldn't be home anymore.  I knew that I was getting on a plane, fully aware that it would be the last time I'd be going home.   I knew even then that it wouldn't feel the same without him.

Just a shell of what it once was.

This is the house that built me.

This is the house we found one afternoon, Dad and I.  I'm not even sure where Mom and Gary were, but Dad and I went looking.  We found this house.   At the time, it was painted brown.  The driveway was lumpy asphalt.  The yard overgrown.  The backyard was covered with bamboo.  The pool in desperate need of repair.  The kitchen all wrong.  The entire house carpeted with the stuff you put in an industrial building. 

We saw more than all that, the two of us.  I remember going back to the house we had at the time to tell Mom we'd found a new one.  I don't know who was more excited, Dad or I.  It had a pool.  It had a three car garage.  It had a deck.  It had a bedroom downstairs for Nana.  It was perfect, even if only in his eyes and mine.

It took a lot of work.  For a long time, Dad jokingly referred to it as the money pit.  Something always needed fixed.  It was a constant work in progress.   An almost 23 year long work in progress.

I haven't lived in that house for well over a decade, but it was always home.

It was always my center. 

I've found myself telling my brother, my mother, my husband, my kids that it is just a house now.  I've heard the same in return.  It's just a building with walls and a roof.  Everything that it once was, no more. 

My head knows these things.  My heart isn't so sure.

I think we are all trying to convince ourselves.

I wish that I could be there to take that last walk through the house with my brother.  I wish I was there with him for the ending of this chapter in our lives.  I wish he didn't have to do it without me.

It's the walking away that will be the hard part.

This song, one I heard for the first time the day after my Daddy died.  You really can't go home again.

Friday, June 24, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 25

Day 25 - Something that comforts you.

I know that some of you are going to think I'm crazy.

I'm okay with that, I guess.

For me, these past few years on the roller coaster that is my life have been made infinitely more manageable because I have this. 

This right here.

It's helped because I can write my thoughts and feelings and musing and ramblings in public and in private.  I write so many different places these days.

Writing is therapeutic.  It takes the thoughts running through my mind and releases them.  I can express my hopes and dreams, my fears and concerns.  I can tell you all as little or as much as I want and save the rest for just me. 

Today is one of those days in my life that will always stay with me.  A cathartic one.  Seems like there have been a lot of those lately.  Turning points, no going back. 

To all of your, my dear readers, my love.  You've helped me, even if you don't know it. 

Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Divine Intervention

Okay, so I was going to write about lotion girl.

She's gonna have to wait.

I've been suppressing that memory for well over a decade now anyway, and I'm not really in a hurry to be bringing it back to the surface.

Besides, I have to share something else.

Yesterday, I heard angels sing.   Really.  Then, not long after that, as I was literally thinking in my own head that if I ran into any one of a small handful of people, it would have to be fate intervening.

Or the big guy himself.

What happened, you might ask???

I got these.
Oh yes, I did.

But only because God really wanted me to have these shoes.

Let me explain.

I went to Target to get groceries and to troll the clearance shoes to get a pair for the boy.  Poor child, he has literally one pair of shoes that fits him right.  When his sisters were his age, they probably had more shoes than I did.  It's not right, I know. 

Seriously though, have you seen how freaking adorable little girl shoes are???

Anyway, I was there to look for shoes for AJ.  Really.

But I had the girls with me, and they were in the mood to shop.  They were content to dig through the piles of boxes on the end caps in hopes of finding something cheap and cute.  We didn't find anything in either of their sizes, much to their dismay.  It wasn't for lack of trying.

Then Ashley found these shoes.  Well, not these ones.  This shoe in a 6 1/2, which is not my size.  I immediately fell in love with them, which was fine because they weren't my size.   And they were completely impractical and unnecessary. 

Behind the last box on the last shelf of the last end cap, these.  Insert singing angels.

I tried them on and they fit perfectly.  I immediately took a picture and sent it to my husband, asking him if he thought these were worth the $20 splurge.  Sadly, I don't ever spend that much on shoes for myself. 

I know. 

Tear.

He asked me if I needed them.  My response?  I don't think anyone needs aqua 5 inch wedge espadrilles.

He liked them, told me just to get them.

I put them in the cart, still on the fence.  I loved them, but I didn't need them.  Life these days is about needs, not wants almost all the time. 

I walked over to the purse section.  Shhhhh.  You know that you have to take a lap around the purse section every time you go there too, just in case something amazing is on clearance.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

On my way to the purses, I decided that I'd wait on the shoes.  I'd put them back.   Unless I was supposed to take them home.  Unless I ran into a friend who'd talk me into them or something like that.  Unless God himself sent me a sign.

I turned the corner into the purse section and my friend was standing there, also there for the obligatory purse lap.   Of course she gushed and squealed over the shoes with me, insisted that I need them.  Told me I deserved to get something nice for myself.   When I told her I already had matching nail polish at home, that was the final straw.  I needed them.

It had to be a sign.

Clearly God loves me and wants me to be happy.  He wants me to have these shoes.

I can't argue with divine intervention.

And, oh, are they divine!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 24

Day 24 - Your Pet

Okay, so if you don't have a pet, you might have to get a little creative.  But I trust that you all have it in you.  :)

This is my boy, Jake. 

Or as he usually is referred to, Jakey.

I went to the pet store to get dog food for Maddie one day and came home with him.  I can't be trusted around adorable homeless animals.

He was less than a year old, had been relinquished by the prior owner, was a sweet boy with a lot of energy, but clearly skittish. 

He'd been abused.

Even now, almost 10 years into his current living arrangement, he still runs and hides when the broom comes out.  People suck.

He's an old man these days, hobbling around like Tom and I with arthritic joints.  He fits in with the rest of us all, he's got allergies and anxiety issues.  It took until he was at least 7 or so for him to mellow out.  He's what I like to call a tennis ball freak.  You've seen the commercial with the little dog, you know that one where the dog just keeps repeating throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball.

That's Jake.

Just bigger and fluffier.

Since we lost Maddie a little over a month ago, he's changed.  He's more attached to me.  He's more protective of the kids.  It's his house now, and we are his people.

I love this dog.

Little Pieces of Joy

I have this neighbor. 

I've written about him in the past.   Many of you already have heard stories about him.  Some of you even know the things I suspect of him.  They are not nice things.

He has a red Corvette.  That he likes to park sideways in his driveway to wash.  Because, you know, his front yard is really a penis compensation sports car showroom.

I hate Corvettes.

I hate Corvette season.  He can only drive it when the weather is good, and I look forward to freezing weather, snow and ice in part because it means that he has to put his precious baby away.

Months without listening to him revving the engine for no reason other than to assure the entire neighborhood that he does indeed suffer from insufficiencies in his personal life.  Months without the classic rock cranked up every time he sits in it.  He's the douche that turns his radio up and listens to the rest of the song after he comes home.  Months without the completely unnecessary trips around the streets here.  The guy is a fan of taking a lap.  Seriously.

Drives me nuts.

Not nearly as crazy as his obsessive compulsive lawn care habits drive me, though.  He cuts his grass like every other day, six different directions every time.  He waters incessantly.  Seeds his grass at least once a week.  He fluffs his mulch habitually.  He even trims the edges with scissors. 

I wish I was kidding.

He doesn't tolerate any ounce of imperfection in his yard.   Which makes living across the street from him so damn fun sometimes.

You see, my yard is not like his.  Many ounces of imperfection.  Many.

My grass has too shallow of a root system, and it doesn't get better no matter what we try.  It yellows.  We have crabgrass and weeds in the grass that grow faster than the grass does.  It seems like our mulch is always disappearing.  The mulch fairy comes and poofs it away.   I have a few bushes that desperately need trimmed, and one really ugly plant that just needs to go.  Thanks, Centex, by the way for the "free" ugly bush. 

We did landscape it all, put in concrete pathways.  The tree in the yard is now mature.  Rows of huge day lilies and roses.  It's nice enough.  But I'm sure it fails to meet his standards.  And he has to walk outside and admire our imperfection.

every.single.day.of.his.life.

You know this humors me.

But not as much as what happened this week.

I bought a huge box of sidewalk chalk for the Relay last weekend.  We always have the back patio decorated this time of year, but for whatever reason never let it out of the backyard. 

The girls brought it out front a few days ago and drew all over our driveway and the sidewalk.  Tom was working on the sprinklers and they sprayed the chalk.  The kids mixed it up and turned it into a fabulous sidewalk paint.  Footprints and hand prints and even butt cheek prints as far as the eye could see. 

They even colored the street.   Gasp!!!!

My neighbor wandered outside at some point, made his angry disappointed face.  Stood in his driveway with his arms crossed.   He doesn't dare talk to my husband or I.  He won't even make eye contact.  For those who know the whole history, there is a damn good reason we don't talk to him.

We were defacing his neighborhood in a new way.  You could see it on his face.  I'm sure he contemplated bringing his own hose across the street and washing it off only about a million times. 

Rainbows and hand prints.  The newest weapons in my arsenal.  Mwahahaha.

I should have known that this was precisely the thing that would drive him more crazy that anything else ever has.  Little pieces of chalk being wielded by children.  His worst nightmare.

For me, little pieces of joy.

It rained and washed all the chalk art off the next day. 

The canvas is blank out there, again.  Pristine and untouched.  Just the way he likes it.

I think the driveway needs some color, don't you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 23

Day 23 - Someone sleeping.

This isn't intended to be some creepy voyeuristic picture, though I'm sure in the twisted heads of some of my readers it will be.  You know who you are.  LOL

For all the rest of you, it's a chance to capture a body that is constantly in motion at rest.  The kids that you spend all day chasing, still.  The dogs that play and play and play in the dreamland of milk bones and jerky treats.   Those with constant worry and preoccupation in the conscious world at peace in the subconscious one.

My subject today, my baby.  The one who hardly slept last night between his headache and his mother's relentless waking efforts.  Tucked beneath him, mink.  His softest yellow blankie that once upon a time belonged to his big brother.  His sweaty little head resting on my lap. 

Here he is, still and quiet.  Shhhh.

Bubbles & Helmets

Yesterday started out lovely.  A day with absolutely nothing to do, but hang out with my babies.  It was a good thing I didn't have anything to do since I'd pulled something in my back the day before.  I wasn't much in the mood for doing things.

I took the kids out back to make some more stepping stones, and while I was up to my elbows in cement, they decided to spill three full bottles of bubbles on the patio.  After over half an hour of trying to wash it off, I had a lawn full of suds and an only marginally cleaner patio.

I hate bubbles.

Logic would say that soap shouldn't be such a difficult thing to clean up...but it really is the worst.

I'm going to be hosing off my patio for weeks probably.  So if you drive past my house and there are bubbles coming from between the pieces of the fence and over the top of the house, rest assured I'm not having some kick ass rave party in my backyard that I didn't invite you to. 

Honest.

Shortly after I gave up trying to clean the bubbles and the suds declared victory this round, my husband came home.  Seeing my frustration, my half completed stepping stone projects, the residue everywhere, my wincing at the pain in my back, he whisked the kids away on a bike ride.

It was lovely. 

As much as I love and adore my children, I love and adore the peace and quiet when they are all gone too.

I got to sit on my front porch, alone. 

Halfway through cooking dinner, I peeked my head into the family room to see AJ lean back on his little wooden chair.  I cautioned him not to do that, so he tipped his chair back upright.  Except he over corrected. 

The chair smacked him on the back of the head, then he was launched forward and hit his head on the coffee table.

The kid gets hurt a lot, he's by far my biggest dare devil.  He cried a second or two, then went on with his normal business.  I didn't think much of it, went back to cooking.

Tom came in the kitchen.  We'd had a few seconds to talk when AJ walked back in.  He was rubbing his eye constantly, said it hurt.  He was woozy.  We tried to get him to make eye contact with one of us, he wouldn't.  Or couldn't.  His eyes weren't tracking together.  He got very sleepy.

You know it was right around the time that urgent care closes.  Again.

Off to the hospital I went.  With the third kid in 10 days. 

They know me there.

His neurological exam was okay, but the doctor was still concerned.  He clearly has a concussion.  They finally let us leave, instructing me to wake him every 90 minutes or so through the night. 

I was kidding about that whole punch card thing.

Guess I should have made that more clear.

Apparently, I also need to buy some helmets, coat my children in bubble wrap and isolate them in padded rooms.  In the past 10 days, 3 of the 4 have been in the ER with some kind of injury.

If I were Ally right now, I think I'd be nervous.  She's the only one who hasn't been there this month.

Better keep a close eye on her.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 22

Day 22 - Action.

This is a great chance to get outside, find some bright light and use the sports setting on your camera.  It has a faster shutter speed, but requires more light...so anything with lower light will probably come out blurry.

I have a few subjects here in my house who provide me chances to capture this every single day.

Up today, Ashley jumping.  Took the splint off this morning, and she's a happy girl.  It doesn't appear broken....which is good.  I cringe at the thought of keeping this one down.


Ye Intruders Beware

Aaaargh.

I've been watching too many pirate movies. 

In fact, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, World's End is on the TV right now. 

As an aside, if the powers that be at Disney want me to keep paying to see the movies in this series in the theater, they'd best be bringing back Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan.  Did not love the 4th movie.  At all.

Really, I've been watching too many movies.  I've been held hostage in my house for almost all the summer thus far, and I'm tired of it. 

Me thinks the pirate movies I be watchin' are rubbin' off on me.

Mostly I'm just feeling like I need to let my inner angry pirate out.

You know it's not a good thing when within seconds of meeting someone, you are hearing that line from The Goonies in your head.

Ye Intruders Beware

And yet I heard it.  Repeatedly.

But I was nice.  Like so nice that I deserve a medal.  Frankly, I am a little surprised that I even have it in me at this point in my life to be so nice.

Y'all know it's not like me to avoid conflict.  So, it's not that.   There isn't a bone in my body afraid of confrontation. 

I must have been feeling charitable.  That's the only logical explanation for it.

Thing is....I'm done with that.

So far past done.

There are things in my life too important to let them be taken over by negativity and whining.  Things too precious to my family to be intruded on by people who neither know nor care why we are doing them.  Things that will no longer be opened up to those people.

My boat.  My rules.

Intruders: let this be a warning to ye.

Get off my ship.

Summer is here, right?

That's what the calendar says anyway.

Summer solstice on schedule for late this morning.

I'm not entirely convinced though.  Ever since the kids got out of school, it's been a revolving door of illnesses and asthma attacks, concussions and injuries.

We've spent more time at the doctor than at the pool.  And that just seems wrong.

It's not like the weather has really cooperated anyway.  It hasn't been hot yet for more than a day or two at a time. 

Today, though, the pressure is on.  Summer's official arrival.

I read something a few weeks ago that made me giggle.  An article written by another mom about the ridiculous expectations that we all put on this season.  More than any other. 

It's not like we demand that Fall be awesome, that we squeeze all the activities we can into the Winter or save up for amazing Spring excursions.  Why, then, do we ask that of Summer?  Why do we set the bar so damn high?

It's a good question.

As for our family, there are no grand plans.  No vacations scheduled.  No expectations about anything for these months. 

I would like to, at least occasionally, have four healthy and intact children without broken bones, wheezy lungs or jiggly brains that I can take to the pool.

That's not asking too much, is it?

Monday, June 20, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 21

Day 21 - Capture your entire day in one picture.

Hard, huh?

I was going to have all the kids go out and play today to get some shots for this one, then Mother Nature decided to make it rain all morning.  I had to drive out to the airport, and the small child has been sleeping since. 

When the small child is sleeping, you let.him.sleep.

For reals.

So, since I had to come up with something for today, I am recycling a picture from late last year. 

This picture cracked me right up when I downloaded it.  I was fiddling with the settings on the camera and voila.  This. 

This is what life with AJ is like.  All day.  Every day. 

This Man I Love

Him.



He is my everything.

Happy Anniversary.

I love you.

You Look Familiar...

In the previous seven day stretch, the kids combined for one regularly scheduled trip to the asthma specialist, one cavity filling appointment and two drop-everything-and-get-in-the-car-right-now trips to the emergency room.

Last Sunday night, Aidan fell and landed on his head.  I'm still not entirely sure how he managed to land so badly, but I'm sure it has a lot to do with his superior skills in the coordination department.  Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

He had a concussion, confirmed in the ER at one in the morning.

That concussion has gotten him in trouble twice this week. 

Not the injury per se, but the conveniently prolonged recovery period.  The kid still hasn't figured out that I don't actually believe in the miracles that happen in this house.  You know, when he is magically better when he wants to be.  I let him hold the couch down in the dark, quiet house until his head was better.  Really, I did.  Then all of a sudden, one day he could play Wii and run around outside and hang out at the Relay all night long.  If he can do all that, he can empty the dishwasher too.  The headaches don't just show up when it's time for chores.

But I digress.

Ashley and Ally were out riding bikes Saturday night and ran into each other.  Ashley took the brunt of the crash.  There were a few milliseconds of slow-motion flight.  You know, those times as a parent when you can see what exactly is going to happen, but are completely powerless to stop it in time. 

She got laid out in the middle of the street, her hand beneath her.  It started swelling up and bruising almost immediately, so back in the car we went.  I looked at the clock.  7:56.  Urgent care closes at 8.  Awesome....no choice but to go back to the hospital.

We walked in and to the check-in desk.  They asked what she needed to be seen for.  Date of birth.  Had we been there before. 

That's when I laughed. 

Um, yeah.  Yeah, we've been here before.  The girl sitting at the desk looked up and gave me the very vague look of familiarity.  She'd been there 6 days before. 

She typed in the information and pulled up the family check-in history.

Oh, wow, you guys are here a lot. You weren't kidding.

No.  I wasn't.

Then I asked her for my punch card.  She was a little taken aback.  I explained a little more.  You know, the buy 5 get the 6th free ER visit card?  They should make one.  I can't be the only person who would get some use out of them.

There should totally be a punch card.

Or frequent flier miles program.

Something.

Anyway, a few of the nurses said hi to me as we were escorted to triage.  They know me there. 

The doctor came in to tell me the xray was clear, no obvious sign of a break.  I laughed at him too. 

Note to self....you have got to stop laughing at strangers. 

He was a little caught off guard too, so I explained of course.  I'm sure he isn't used to being laughed at. 

Every time someone in my house has broken a bone, the ER personnel has declared the xray clear.   Then I get the phone call from radiology or the follow up doctor visit or the persistent pain that leads to another xray.  This one magically shows the break that was there from the beginning.

Only time will tell.  Since she has squishy kid bones, it can take a few days for the break to show up anyway.

I really should stop laughing at the people who work at the hospital.  They don't get my sense of humor quite yet.  But I have a feeling I'll be seeing a lot of them in the years to come.  They'll get it eventually.

Knock on wood....AJ hasn't even been there yet.

As a footnote, I tried to figure out how many visits my family has made to the ER in the first six months of this year alone.  Aidan has gone twice, once for asthma stuff, once for his head.  Ashley went a few days ago for her arm.  Ally went to get her nose cauterized in March.  Tom went twice for his hand. 

6 visits so far.  The year's not even half over.

We really need a punch card.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 20

Day 20 - The view from where you live.

Apologies for not getting this one up earlier.  I've been busy today, mostly due to my need to stay busy today.

I am trying not to think about what today is.

It's not working, but I have a fantastically clean shower and bathtub.

Here is the view from where I live.  The place I now call home.  I took this picture last Fall on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, along one of the ponds on the West side of town. 

It wasn't even the best the picture could have been since that cloud was masking the twin peaks that dominate the skyline here.

To be surrounded by so much beauty can at times be overwhelming. 

But then, today, everything is.

Much love to you all.

A Year of Firsts

Today is the first Father's Day without him. 

As with everything it seems these days, whatever comes is the first. 

The first time we have to go through it all without him.

People tell me that it will get better.  That someday days like today will come and go, and I will reflect and be momentarily stopped in my tracks, then I will pick myself up and go on with life.

My Dad and Aidan, 2001
They say that.

And I am sure that they are right.

It's just getting there.

I'm grateful for the chance to have been his only little girl.

I remember dancing with my feet on his back then, and all those years later beneath the shade of the trees on the afternoon of my wedding.

He walked me down the aisle that day.  Proud, but not quite ready to let me go.  About halfway down the aisle, he leaned in and whispered to me that I could turn around and run and he'd be perfectly okay with that.  I could change my mind, even then.

He taught me how to ride my bike, he taught me how to live.  He held me steady, then let me go.  He let me fall.  He taught me to get back up and try again.  That failure was a part of learning.  That he'd always be there when I fell.

He picked me up and dusted me off, set me back on my path in life more than once.  He was never disappointed by my shortcomings.  Never questioned my choices.  Never said I told you so when those choices ended up being bad ones.  He just wanted me to know that he was there, only ever a phone call or plane flight away, in case I needed him.

He was selfless in so many ways.  Never wanted to impose or intrude on anyone.  He didn't want attention, he didn't want accolades.  He was terrible at asking for help, he didn't want to need anyone.  He didn't want anyone sacrificing anything for him, even at the end.

He wouldn't want anyone to be sitting around missing him today.  He would not want any of us to be sad.  He'd want us to share this day with our children.  To get back up again, dust ourselves off and get busy living. 

I'll go do that now.

I miss you, Daddy.

Happy Father's Day.

If Roses grow in Heaven, Lord,
please pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my Daddy's arms
and tell him they're from me.

Tell him, I love him and I miss him,
and when he turns to smile,
place a kiss upon his cheek
and hold him for awhile.

Remembering him is easy,
I do it every day,
but there's an ache within my heart
that will never go away 





Saturday, June 18, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 19

Day 19 - A Close Up Shot.

For this one, I knew right away what I'd pick. 

Since the day of this photo falls on Father's Day, there wasn't really any other choice. 

This is the ring my father gave me on my 15th birthday. 

I've worn it a lot off and on in the years since then, and every single day since he was diagnosed.

It's a simple ring.  I remember seeing something like it and telling him that I thought it was pretty.  He remembered. 
It's just something an amazing man bought one day for his little girl who wasn't so much a little girl anymore.

I miss you, Daddy.  Happy Father's Day.

Tired & Thankful

I'm tired, but it's a good tired.

We just got back from the Relay.

Many people came out, many more were there in spirit.

We surpassed our fundraising goal.

I'll write more later and share some pictures after I get them uploaded.

First though, a tiny tired ballerina has her first class.

Then, naps all around.

Thank you all for your time, your donations, your endless support.

Much love.

Friday, June 17, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 18

Day 18 - Water, in some form.

I had grand plans for this one.  Really, I did.  Then my kids had to tag team with their concussion and asthma flare-up to keep me largely captive in my own home. 

Oh well. 

Between all that stuff going on and getting ready for the Relay, I don't have a whole bunch of time to do something cool.  This is as good as it gets.  I know that you all can do better.

This Thing I Must Do

For a few months now, I've been dreading today.

Last year there was a lot of excitement and anticipation leading to the Relay for Life.  There was diligent planning and recruitment and fundraising. 

Last year, even though Dad had just received news that the cancer had spread to his liver the week before the Relay, there was still hope.

There was still a chance. 

By then, a minute one.  But it was still there.

Back then, we could hope that he was the less than 5% that would make it out five years.  We could hope that they were wrong.  We could hope that he'd one day be the guy who fought it into remission. 

Though it was small and dwindling with every scan, we still had a little hope.

I was never delusional.  I knew what was wrong with him before the final diagnosis came down.  Once you've been through cancer before, you know what it means when doctors start acting quickly and calling on weekends.  I knew what his chances were.  I knew how long he'd probably have.  I knew that any treatments he went through weren't going to save him.  I didn't hang on to that tiny piece of hope and live in denial.

I lived in the moment.

I had to. 

I did the Relay last year for him.  I did it for symbolic reasons.  I knew that any money we raised was never going to help him, but I knew also that the entirety of it would lift his spirits.  And that was more than enough reason to do it.

Still, it was hard last year.

That first lap for my husband, the survivor, seemed triumphant. 

The lap at sunset, with the names of those sick and gone filling the air, candles lighting up the sky, seemed far less a victory.

I knew that the battle Dad was fighting was one that he would lose. 

And he did. 

But not without putting up one hell of a fight.

Today is still for him, but it's different now.  I'm different now. 

Tonight is a bridge I have to cross, and I know that it's going to hurt like hell. 

This thing I must do.

If you're local, please come on out and join us.  Most of the ceremonies are from 6-9pm tonight at Roosevelt Park.   If you're not, do me a favor at sunset tonight and say a prayer for my Daddy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge ~ Day 17

Day 17 - The sky.

Since I've been largely captive in my house this week because of the boy with the jiggly concussion brain, I haven't had a chance to take many pictures.  The sky might have been great for this today with the thunderstorms, but I didn't get out there.  Oh well.

I'm reusing a few from about this time last year.

The sky here in Colorado is breathtaking.  No matter the season, it's always pretty to look at.  Whether it's the glitter falling from the heavens in the winter, the angry heaving darkness of spring, the soft white puffy clouds of summer or the windblown streaks of fall, it is always beautiful.

This picture was taken on a typical summer day, looking east from my backyard. 

We are almost always on the edge of the scary storms here, but close enough to see them forming in the distance.  Timed right, they make for fantastic light shows on summer nights. 

This is what the sky looks like from beneath a storm, just before the thunder urges the rains to come.

A Strange Birthday Request

My brother's birthday is today.

I'll spare you all the singing. 

He's not really a sentimental type. 

Which is good right now.  I don't have it in me to be sentimental about anything else right now.

Though he recently started following me on Facebook, he still claims he doesn't read this.  I have a sneaking suspicion that he might today though. 

Mental note: This shouldn't suck.

A few years ago, I asked him what he wanted and he said what he always says.  Nothing. 

Which is true, I guess.  He's reached the point in his life where he doesn't hold out for things he really wants or needs from other people. 

But I don't like answers like that.  I always feel compelled to get him something for his birthday.  So after me bugging the crap out of him all those years ago, he finally gave me an answer. 

He wanted a can of spray cheese, 15 red balloons and a pony.

For those of you who wonder why I am the way I am, there you go. 

You know he got a box in the mail with a can of spray cheese, 15 red balloons and a pony, right?

This year, he gave his typical response that he wanted nothing for his birthday.  In my typical fashion, I refused to accept his response. 

Finally, this is what he asked for this year:

A naked picture of Bea Arthur. 

And no, I'm not kidding. 

Turns out that Bea Arthur wasn't nearly as risque as her co-star.  Betty White did indeed take nude pin-up photos, which you can see here if you are interested.  Don't worry, they are really old.  Which is good, because she is really naked.  Ha ha ha.

This is as close as I can get to a naked Bea Arthur.  Painted by an artist named John Currin, this is what he envisions she would have looked like nude.  He clearly envisioned her having a great rack.   I'm not posting the entire picture here, but you could Google it if you're so inclined.

Happy Birthday, Gary.  Don't say I never gave you anything.

You.Are.Welcome.

To everyone else....my deepest and most profound apologies.
Bea Arthur (1991), John Currin, cropped

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 16

Day 16 - Hands

Most of you have probably noticed the picture I have on the side of the blog here.  That one was taken at just about exactly this time last year.

Oh, how life has changed since then.

Then, we were doing it as a long distance shout out to my father a few days before the Relay.  United with him in his fight.  Strong.  Courageous. 

Today, this is a much harder picture to take.

I'd like to believe that I'm still strong.  I know that he was until his last breath. 

These four little hands need me to be. 

Things We Learned at Dinner Last Night

Oh, the directions that conversations can take in my house.  Dinner was interesting last night.

I have one very literal child, Ally, who wants to know the precise truth about everything.  She is extremely serious.  All the time.  About everything.  She cannot tolerate thinking outside the box.  She is not a fan of deviation at all.  A rule follower, she is.  Holy cow, she is so much like me.  Because of her rigidity and intolerance of anything that doesn't fall inside the tiny little box of what she thinks is correct, it's fun to mess with her.  We try to do that with every opportunity.

I have one kid who's just plain weird, Aidan.  Throw in a concussion and it only gets more interesting.  Slow reflexes, foggy thinking processes, a lot of what and huh?  It doesn't help that he's weird to begin with.  He makes up songs that he sings at the dinner table.  He proclaims his love of cheese repeatedly.  He insists on talking in the Fred voice.  If you don't know what the Fred voice is, I'm going to guess that your kids don't watch iCarly.  If your kids don't watch iCarly, can I move in with you? 

I have one kid who's way too little to have the sense of humor he has, AJ.  The kid gets sarcasm already.  He teases his siblings just for laughs.  He fake cries when one of them does, not in sympathy, but to prod them.  He actually tells jokes already.  Why do I have the distinct feeling that he's going to be that kid in school???  You know the one.  The class clown.  The one always performing.  The one always in trouble.  The one always getting his mother in trouble.  Sigh. 

And then there is that last kid, Ashley.  She has the most elaborate imagination, coupled with a ridiculous sense of humor.  Which leads to all kinds of hilarious conversations around the dinner table.  Last night, of course, was no exception. 

We had chicken parmigiana.  Whenever we eat chicken, she usually calls it fish at least 4 times during the course of the meal.  I don't know why.  She does the opposite with fish.  Dinner started off with  a conversation about fertilized versus unfertilized eggs, since we have two nests in the front yard.  Tom, being the instigator of trouble that he is, asked Ashley if she'd ever cracked open an egg and saw blood inside.  Perhaps I should clarify about the number of children I have. 

How Ashley hasn't completely converted to veganism yet, I'm not sure.  I know that day is coming.

After being sufficiently grossed out about the whole egg thing, and calling her chicken fish two more times, she ate all the vegetables and pasta on her plate.  Pushed her chicken around her plate in circles, making faces at it. 

Then she asked what part of the chicken she was eating.  Tom replied that it was the breast.  She wanted to know what that was.  He pointed to his chest muscle.  Then she wanted to know if she was eating a boy or girl chicken.  Because, you know, girl chickens should have bigger breasts.

Then she scraped the coating off her chicken.  Looked up at me and asked where the nipple is. 

How the hell am I supposed to answer that with a straight face???

Tom snickered, then said that chickens don't have nipples.  Ashley and Tom argued back and forth for a while about who was right.  Aidan sat in his chair slowly giggling.  AJ jumped out of his chair and ran around yelling something I didn't completely understand about chickens.  And Ally just wanted the truth.

It quickly became a game of 20 questions.

Why don't chickens have nipples?
Why don't they feed their young?
Why don't chickens make milk?
Why do humans?
Wait....Mommies make milk, but Daddies don't, so why do boys have nipples?

If you can answer that question with a straight face, you are welcome to dinner anytime.

Occasionally we actually eat without laughing so hard that someone snorts at the table.  Honest.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 15

Day 15 - Something about yourself that you wish you could change.

Me and my self-deprecation love challenges like this.  Oh, the list of things I would change is long. 

Some of them are things that I may be able to alter slightly through diligence and attention, through discipline and effort.  Some of them are things that I probably can't change, no matter what I do.  And then there are the rest.  The things that aren't changing no matter what.

Those are the ones I wish I could change the most, probably for the simple fact that I know I'll never be able to.

Don't misunderstand me though.  I have very few self image issues.  I'm far from perfect, but embraced who I am a long time ago. 

Who I am isn't defined by my dress size any more than my shoe size. 

With time I also realized that though we may go to great lengths to attempt to change our hair, almost everyone looks the best with it the color and texture it's intended to be. 

I'm a real person.  With acne and moles and stretch marks.  With blemishes and imperfections.  This body is far from perfect, but it's perfect for me.  It's created and nourished four living, breathing human beings.  I think that's worth overlooking the flaws for.

There is one thing that interferes with my life more than anything else physically though, and it's my vision.  I'm practically blind, have been for as long as I can remember.  I can't even see the alarm clock. 

I wear my contacts far more often than I should because I have psychological issues with wearing my glasses.  If there is such a thing as junior high four eyed post traumatic stress, I suffer from it.  This is probably as close as any of you will ever get to seeing me in glasses.

Even if there ever came a time in my life that I could afford it, I am not a good candidate for laser eye surgery. 

Blind, I apparently will stay.

Grrrrrr

The Social Experiment

There really is no other title for this one. 

Facebook is more than just a social networking website.  So.much.more.


It's a huge social experiment.

For me, it's been a way to share my writing with more people.  It's been a way to reconnect with long lost friends from my youth.  It's been a way for family members to stay in contact easily across the country.  It's been a way for me to share pictures of my kids with the friends and family who live far away.

It's a soapbox for my rants.  It's a sounding board for my frustrations.  It's a way for us to commiserate with each other about this strange adventure of life we are all on. 

People announce their new relationships, their engagements, their marriages, their breakups, their divorces.

People share the news of babies on the way, people console one another over the loss of a child.

People celebrate their graduations and their career successes, ponder what it all means when that job disappears. 

People you wish could stay in your past reappear.  People you don't need to stay in touch with want to be friends.  Suddenly one new added friend changes everything about your online life. 

It's made finding that missing friend easier, but it's also made finding that past flame easier too.  It's made it easier to cheat, and I've seen what it can help do to a marriage.  There are those who blame Facebook for the downfall of those relationships, but that's a fallacy.  The relationship was broken already if someone sought out something from someone in their past.  Facebook just made it simpler.

People can easily misinterpret status updates, things can be taken out of context.  There is no subtlety or nuance in the online world.  Some may know your sarcasm and wit, others may take everything you say at face value. 

People can stalk your profile, find out who you are friends with.

Some people can be holdouts, refusing to join the network.  They do it for different reasons, but I'm always a bit amused at them.  For a long time, I was one of them.  I didn't want to get on Facebook.  These days, though, it's more a statement of noncompliance than anything else.  Which is fine, but exclude yourself with the understanding that most people aren't going to go out of their way to contact you with all the same information, pictures, updates and questions if it's harder to get to you since you aren't there.  Facebook makes all that easier.  Maybe almost too easy.

For me, I found myself using Facebook in deliberate ways when my father was ill.  We had to withhold the news of his passing for many hours until my husband could get all the kids from school and deliver the news in person.  We couldn't chance someone saying something.  Too many people may have.

I found the existence of Facebook to be both a comfort and a great source of uneasiness in those days and weeks.  It felt strange to be sharing something so deeply personal with the world.  It was certainly an inner struggle.  I wrote this only a few days before he died.

A new trend I've seen is the combination profile, the couple that merges their profile.  It's ironic that just yesterday, only minutes after I decided to write about this today, a friend there did just that.   Some people think it's cute and sweet, that it shows unity to the world.   They are a team.  What you say to one, you must be willing to say to the other.  Or about them.  Or whatever.

I think it is weird, like so many other things about Facebook in general.  No one is ever equally friends with both members of a couple.  No individual in a couple is ever friends with everyone the other is.  No matter how much they both have in common, they are not and never will be the same person.  I don't understand. To me, all it says is that one of them doesn't trust the other one to be an individual floating around cyberspace.   

Someday, this social experiment that most of us are a part of will be studied in history classes.  I would venture to say that it is a turning point in technology's impact on humanity.   There is no going back to the world we lived in before it existed. 

I've witnessed it reunite more relationships than it's destroyed.  In my life, it's done far more good than bad.  I can only hope that balance doesn't shift. 

Only time will tell where this experiment leads us all.

Monday, June 13, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge ~ Day 14

Day 14 - Everything currently in your purse and/or pockets.

Lucky for you guys, I cleaned out my purse sometime last week.  This pile would be a whole lot bigger.  And it would include no fewer than a handful of receipts, 6 silly bands and 2 dinosaurs.

Notably absent from this pile are three things that are with me at all times:
1. cell phone, used to take the picture
2. keys, only in my purse if I'm out somewhere
3. inhaler, on my counter because I just needed it

In my pile, in no particular order:
- wallet
- checkbook
- hairbrush with two ponytailers
- package of baby wipes
- 2 pens, one black, one blue (this is not accidental, trust me)
- my coupon organizer
- my backup sunglasses that I despise and only wear if I forget the good ones
- lip gloss
- a Spiderman comb (does everyone not have one of these?)
- brochures to tourist sites locally that I picked up while waiting at the airport last week
- coupons to Kohls and JCPenney
- an appointment reminder card for AJ's preschool check-up

 Are you brave enough to take this picture?

A long 43 minutes

I had to take my oldest child to the emergency room last night.  I had to make sure that he hadn't seriously injured himself.  That he hadn't done any irreparable injury or any of that.

Oh, Aidan.

Not the most graceful child.

His foot slipped off the patio when he was carrying a bowl to the table for dinner on the patio last night.  Since he was carrying the glass bowl, he didn't put his hands down.  And he fell like a ton of bricks.  Straight down. 

Head meet glass bowl (which thankfully did not break).  Then head meet concrete slab.  All in a split second.

He went down hard.

No loss of consciousness though, and he ate dinner fine (because this is Aidan we are talking about, and that would be the first indication that something was really wrong in my book).   We kept an eye on him a while and sent him to bed a little later than his normal bedtime.

He then spent his obligatory half hour in the bathroom and went to lay down.

Not more than a few minutes later, he came wandering down the stairs, saying his head really hurt.  It got worse when he laid down.  He was dizzy. 

Fan.Freaking.Tastic.

Off we went to the hospital.

I've been to this ER more than once.  They know me there.  I have enough kids that have enough stuff go on that it seems like everyone who works there gives me the vaguely confused look of familiarity, but dismisses it since I always have a different kid with me.  Haha....I wonder if they are wondering just how many kids I have!

Anyway, as soon as we pulled into the driveway, I knew it was going to be a wait.  The parking lot was almost full.  I signed him in, told the lady at the desk that he'd hit his head and we went to the waiting room. 

I noticed the cop standing in the corner.

Two guys were there on opposite sides of the waiting room, both actively bleeding from their faces.  Pretty sure bloody guy number one was fighting with bloody guy number two, hence the cop.   Bloody guy number one was there with his buddy.  Let's just say it was obvious neither of them had ever been married and the reasons weren't hard to decipher.  Bloody guy was talking loudly about the girls he was meeting online and expressing his concerns about getting herpes. 

Which is awesome.

Bloody guy number two was a little irritated that the nurse brought the local anesthetic out to the waiting room.  They were busy and if he didn't want to wait forever once they had a room, he needed to be prepped for stitches now.  I thought he was going to pass out.  Which would have been amusing considering that he'd clearly been in a fight earlier that caused the huge cut above his eye and he was covered head to toe in MMA tattoos.

There was the wheezy coughing chick in the other corner with dreadlocks. 

The poor guy in a wheelchair who'd obviously had some back surgery or something recently and was in intractable pain.  And his wife and daughter who seemed not to really notice how miserable he was.  It was hard to watch.

The huge old woman wearing a bright yellow urine streaked muu muu that didn't quite cover everything it was intended to.

We waited 43 minutes before Aidan was called back.  I figured they'd check him at triage and send us back out for hours of waiting.  Nope.  Went straight back and avoided the second trip in the waiting room.

Whew.  Trust me, you would have been holed up in a corner like we were, trying not to listen to bloody herpes guy, trying not to make eye contact with bloody MMA guy, trying not to breathe in whatever dread lock chick had, wishing they would call the guy in the wheelchair back first, but knowing that whatever they could do for him probably wasn't enough.

We went straight back, Aidan was taken quickly.  It's not often that you are thankful for a head injury.

He has a concussion.   After being put through the battery of physical and cognitive tests, they decided it probably wasn't anything worse.

He's okay, he just has one heck of a headache this morning. 

And I'm going to take three showers to wash off the nasty.

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