Saturday, November 29, 2008
We have done a good job in filling in the blanks and have become satisified with our lifestyle.
But a few weeks ago, there was some news from the female doctor about some "stuff". This "stuff" is very serious and out of left field. We have been coping and processing. We have been going to the doctor and I have three more appointments next week. It is slightly consuming and I am having a difficult time of not letting it get to me. It's hard to "forget about something for a while" when a large chunk of your free time is spent sitting in a waiting room. Flipping through crappy old health magazines and trying not to stare at the other patients waiting, equally as confused and thrown off.
I wish I could publish blogs about it, but at this point, I think I better keep it hush hush, at least until Wednesday, when I am going to see a specialist. I will know more. And I won't feel as if I am being too negative, or too hopeful. If I keep it hush hush, I feel I can stay removed from the truth, which is trying it's very best to upset my equilibrium. And while I have been writing about the experiences, I am keeping them to myself. I don't want certain people to read about it before I can talk about it with them in person. They may be offended, or unnecessarily upset.
It has occurred to me lately how precious our lives are. It dawned on me that until we got the news a few weeks ago, my husband and I were very happy, yet didn't stop to realize it. Life was good. Our jobs as a teacher and a public works employee, while not lucrative, are stable in the rocky economy. Our home is slowly but surely getting upgraded and fixed up to our liking. Our goals and dreams have just enough crossover to keep us connected yet just enough distance to give us space to grow as individuals. We have hit a pleasant rhythm in our marriage and life is good.
And perhaps it still is. We are both ultimately fine. But this recent "diagnosis" could change everything. Maybe for the better in the end, but also maybe for the worse. I am praying that God continue to show me that not only does everything happen for a reason, but that it happen in a way that I understand what that reason is. And sooner rather than later. I feel He has His hand in this. I am doing my best to not worry and fret about the future.
Since it's all very female and new and precarious, my husband and I are still working on making peace with it, therefore it's not the kind of thing we are ready to tell people in everyday conversation, particularly a holiday. When asked, lately, what I have been up to, I have found myself speechless for the first time in a long time. I think in my head, "You don't really want to know what I have been up to." and then hear myself say out loud out of desperation, "OH! Nothing! Really, not much at all," but really my life has been consumed and if I opened the floodgates I don't think I could stop talking about it.
In the meantime I am thankful I have my job and my supportive family and all of the other distractions that are keeping me from over thinking the possibilities and quite frankly, going nuts.
I know in the end everything will be okay. Our lives will realign and we will eventually barely remember this chapter in time. But for now, we are living it. Trying to be strong and mature and stable. Taking things one day at a time and waiting for the next appointment for more clarification.
*** Update: Everything is going to be fine!! Yeah!! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!***
Friday, November 28, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I had always looked forward to owning my own place so I could look over paint chips tirelessly and create a vision that would awe my guests into asking." what color IS this? I LOVE it!"
Not so much.
We had three things against us. Time, money and the kitchen tile.
The tile in our kitchen is blue. Yes, blue. And since you can see the kitchen from the living room/dining room, we had what we call a decorator's dilemma on our hands. I priced out tile immediately. And then after seeing the totals began to swiftly work with the blue. That's right, easy does it, match the blue.
So we ended up with khaki paint. In our living room. It's like swimming in cesspool of bad eighties pants. Our couches just mere slabs of brown boat shoe. I tried to lighten things up with some oranges and greens, throw pillows- candles- art work, you name it. But it's still khaki. And I can no longer stand it.
So I have decided to do some painting. And after perusing a varity of web sites, like Benjamin Moore, Restoration Hardware, and Pottery Barn for ideas and color schemes, I find I am stuck with painting only one wall burnt orange.
And now I realize what I was up against when I was forced to make my original rash and hurried decision. That flippin BLUE TILE. It's ruining everything.
In the larger scheme of things, it's not so bad. It's paint color on the wall. But with the housing market crashing around us, I have begun to accept the fact that we are going to be residents of this hear blue-kitchen-tiled, one-bedroom, two-bath, one-boxing-arena condo for a long time. And I want to make it ours in a way that really reflects our tastes. Soooo isn't going to happen.
And based on our budget and some other "stuff" going on, tile on the kitchen floor is of low..low... LOW priority. So burnt orange it is people. Burnt orange straight from the mid-nineties. Right here in my very own living room.
At least it won't be so boring.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
After climbing into so many layers of clothes I could barely move my arms, we loaded up the car. We needed to hit an ATM, and then the requisite-before-any-hour-or-more-long-drive stop at Dunkin Donuts. Which is literally across the street from our house. And I had to pee already. And then mid-stream I remembered we didn't bring the cooler. So now we neeeded to head back home again.
With the cooler in tow and steaming cups of joe and cash in our pockets we finally headed out. At 7:45.
After the hour long drive, wherein I asked my husband to be patient with me if I missed, we pulled into the sparse lot. The sounds of dogs and shotguns amid the rows of corn and marshy fields set the stage for our adventure.
The check in lodge was about as inviting as they come. With coffee on, two roaring fireplaces, free donuts, and ample sitting room. A myriad of men stood anxiously around joking quietly, as only men do at 8 am before a hunt. They eyed me cautiously. Wondering if I would be hunting as well.
Our guide, Alberto, saddled with his dog, called out to us. It was time. We zipped up our coats and grabbed our guns. We adorned ourselves with Day-Glo orange and loaded our pockets with shells. I was getting nervous.
Before we entered the field Billy starting asking Alberto some standard questions while the Brittany Spaniel ran circles around us. Alberto explained we would walk on either side of him and when the dog found a pheasant to flush he would tell us, since the dog was not a pointer. In other words, he told us to keep ourselves at the ready, safety's off and guns cocked and loaded. This was the big time!
We set out and it was easy going. While nervous, I felt safe. The ground we traversed was mowed and the dog, guide and Billy were easy to hear and see. Alberto then stopped in his tracks. "He found something... he found something... get ready!" We stopped and waited. A bird flew out and Billy and I shot at the same time. Feathers spewed into the air and the bird in flight landed like a rock on the ground. The dog ran and got it and brought it back to Alberto. Alberto stuffed the dead bird into his vest pocket.
We set out again after catching our breath and placing how it felt to shoot the bird down. Which I must say was good. Really good. The dog took off and we began to creep along again. Before Alberto could warn us, the dog came running back with a bird in his mouth. "Oops", said Alberto regarding his over-eager hound, " I will throw it up so you can shoot it."
He tossed it in my direction and as it flew off I aimed slowly and pulled the trigger. Bam! I got it. I really got it! Again the dog retrieved the bird and brought it back to the guide. Not sure if you could really call that hunting. But it sure felt like it.
As we progressed along, the terrain became much more difficult, we climbed through marshes, forests, trees, and six foot tall grass. The ground was hilly, rocky, and uneven. The guns became heavy as we pulled our thick, wet and mud-laden shoes out of the ground and over thick branches. It was exhasting.
The guide, sensing my weariness, offered to carry my gun for me. Not wanting to be a wimpy girl, I declined. After a couple of hours of this, and with increasingly longer and more frequent breaks, we decided to call it a day. We ended up with five birds in total. Billy taking claim to the majority.
We headed back to the lodge for some warming free beer while our guide cleaned and packaged our birds for us. After paying, we tiredly headed back to the car, feeling strong, successful, and hungry.When we got home, all previous thoughts of cooking fresh pheasant immediately withered in comparison to my need for a bath and a nap. So in the freezer they sit, waiting for some time spent on recipes.com and a stomach that feels up for it.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
With a fresh start on our Saturday, we headed out to the gun range, stopping to pick up a friend of Billy's on the way. The front of the shop was filled with a wide variety of guns and gun gadgets. Second amendment posters and army knives. I felt uncomfortable in my baby blue Cub's hat and New Balance tennis shoes, but quickly got over it when I spied several other females in similar attire. We paid upfront for our stall rentals and paper targets and were ushered to the waiting area, which was comprised of a picnic table and an old soda machine. From which I purchased a 75 cent Diet Coke. When some stalls opened and our ears and eyes were fully covered, off we went to assemble and shoot.
Billy had me go first, so he could provide the proper tutelage. I thought I did okay on the targets, but the thrill of shooting was, as usual, more exhilerating than my ability mattered. Billy then went, and I was more than impressed. He kept getting Bullseyes and I felt a mixture of pride and jealousy. More than that, I was impressed with his manor. Confident, safe, and methodical. He would never hurry to forego safety.
While he continued to shoot with his friend I became bored, so went back to the waiting area to read. I was stared at once or twice but ignored the questioning looks, I didn't care what they thought, my book was too good. Who wouldn't want to read about elective mutism anyway?
As we left, a trio of odd balls came in that made Larry, Larry and Darryl look refined. I kept trying to hide my face behind Billy's shoulder just enough so my stares wouldn't be caught. But the combination of military regalia and loud over-talking about gun details and the oddly thick and dirty coke bottle glasses, mixed with ill fitting clothes made me feel hincky. We left quickly but overall had a great time.
Saturday night we had two parties. TWO PARTIES! We stopped by my friend's bi-annual chocolate and cheese party. The beatiful open fire place home and the Frank Sinatra and the chocolatey martinis made it hard to not get comfortable and have a great time. Besides, they were my friends, so of COURSE I was having fun. And right as the party was climaxing we made our exit to get on to the next party. A 25th birthday party at.... Dave and Busters.
It was a bust alright.
The crowd was mixed between gangsta teen, upset five year olds, and twenty-somethings on the prowl. The loud noises and flashing lights could have given anyone a seizure. And while I really did want to play enough Ski ball to win a gigantic stuffed pink panda, I could see the anxiety in my husband's face mounting. And as soon as he ordered a beer he said, "This isn't really my kind of place". Like I didn't know that the second we walked in the door. We stayed long enough to order the birthday boy his 40 ounce beer and for my husband to finish his normal-sized one and we bolted.
It's too bad we didn't hit the parties in reverse, but the ages of the party hosts would have made that nearly impossible, unless we wanted to pre-party with the twenty-somethings and then later helped clean up the empty chocolate mousse cups while Frank began to skip on the CD player.
After such a rough night ( we were home by eleven ) we had to sleep in. So by eight AM things began to finally yawn awake around here. I convinced my husband to watch Failure to Lauch with me ( thank God at least Matthew M. was in it ) and downed a pot of coffee with the new Cinnamon Bun cream ( which is good, but really, I was just hurrying through to get to my fresh bottle of the delicious and seasonal Pumpkin Spice).
By mid-day we were eating at my MIL's, which is great because not only is the food delicious ( she's a native Greek! ) this also means I didn't have to cook. We made our Thanksgiving plans and somehow I wound up with the pumpkin pies. Not that I don't think I can do it, or mind, really, but I have made so few in my life that I question my ability to make the perfect pie as the meal pinnacle for all the in-laws. The PRESSURE! If you think I am not getting at least three frozen back-ups you are nuts.
With time on our hands we headed to Wal-mart to pick up our hunting licenses for the big hunt next weekend. The man waiting on us, or actually as it turned out, the man we were waiting on, was an immigrant from South Africa. I was fascinated. He told us he lived in a mansion with a company car ( thanks to Hewlett Packard), two swimming pools and two and half acres. We didn't get to what sort of house he has here but he did say he moved here because of the crime, well that and his Grandson and feels compelled to remind his daughter of this frequently. He also told us that he and his wife, even after forty-two years of marriage will start out on a beatuiful day and for no reason get into a fight. Forty-two years!! He said, with exasperation and surprise. He made the experience a great one.
So end over end, the weekend went. A good mixture of activity and now it's Sunday night and I know I will be restless when I try to sleep tonight, because it's Sunday night and that is what happens when I try to capture the relaxed feeling I have had all weekend, but find my thoughts slipping into those of work.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
In reality, I have never liked the stage. I have opted to be somewhat of a loner. I am as vain as I can stand and I could barely accept the attention I received at my wedding, which was all of thirty people. So this dream career as a movie star is really outside my comfort zone. Except for the wealth part. And really, I don't want to be RICH rich, just rich enough to not be in any debt.
Fame is different. Because, really, there are thousands of ways you can BE famous. I think being a famous writer would result in some kind of neurosis. All those NPR interviews. Thick stressing of silly words, "I DO, I DO, feel so DEEPLY of the CHARACTER'S connection to cake BATTER, as the metaphor for LIFE is so SO conslusive!". No thanks.
Fame for sports would be okay, I suppose. But then you would always be... dirty. It's a respectable kind of fame. It takes hard work and dedication. But then what would be the point if you only ever wore yoga pants or tennis skirts? To me, part of the "trade-off" to fame is the wardrobe and the red carpet and the jewels and all that sparkly pink stuff. So famous athlete would never do.
Fame for TV or Movies is just too lonely. Those Hollywood types, even the ones that are just in the "inspiring to be" stage, seem to be so driven and self-motivated, that they can hardly stand to be truly supportive of each other without stepping into a private bathroom and bitching out thier manager for not letting THEM know about the once availabe-but-now-filled role the "friend" got. And then let's not even get INTO the 'ole career is on the decline business. The celebrity has-been reality shows. Because if you are like me when one of those shows is on you sit around and say to yourself, who IS that? And WHY are they doing this awful show?
I don't even let myself consider famous singer or dancer. Those talents are as far away from me as Jupiter. I sing like a tone-deaf man and I dance, well.... I dance like a small town white girl who forgot her rhythm "back at the barn". If you think Elaine is bad, you should see me after four beers and some Euro-tech comes pounding in. Clear the floor ladies and gentlemen, or you MAY get hurt. And oh yeah, my lack of talent has NEVER stopped me from busting down a groove. When people stare I give them my personal catch phrase, " Dancing is a celebration of life, not a competition". And then I give them one of my signature hip-twirl moves, arms above my head, and knees knocked and cocked at an angle only a pretzel maker could have envisioned.
The bottom line is, I don't really think I am cut out for fame. Fortune, maybe, but fame, no way.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
And it's not the Fall weather, or the suggestion of imminent snow, or the switch to a warmer and cozier and fat-hiding wardrobe as much as it is "The Christmas List".
In my family, the siblings draw names. And because there are many busy working Mom's and a hint of type A personality, the "LISTS" are due by Thanksgiving. And you must submit a list because it's a rule in our family. Or you will be forced to receive something "OFF-list"... and that leads to a cluster-fudge of receipts and returns and frowns on the happiest day of the year, as you enviously leer at the person next you smiling and enjoying a gift they actually wanted.
I am not sure HOW the due date came to be, exactly, although I am guessing it has something to do with a barrage of friendly-with-a-hint-of-impatience e-mail reminders sent out by, well, you know who you are.
And so with one eye on the calendar, I have stepped up the perusal of random shopping sites. Carefully saving my list of possibilities under my Favorites until I decide I officially want it. Where it is then cautiously copied and pasted onto my "List".
And I have found something glorious. Truly glorious. The Staxx ring. SO cute. SO wearable. SO diverse! And you can buy all sorts of parts and kits and colors.
And I can't wait to see the others' lists either. To see what has been pumping up THEIR jam lately.
Being a special education US History teacher during an election has not made any of this easier. Kids spouting off at the mouth in an UN-educated fashion mimicking parents.
Kids trying to understand the issues and really only caring about the drinking age and abortion rights. Neither of which have any real bearing on my presidential choice.
Kids arguing the merits of having a first black president and what that will mean.
Don't get me wrong, as I recognize my roll is to educate. And I really do try to lead discussions that are thought provoking and two-sided and unbiased.
But it will be pure bliss when I step into my little ballot booth and punch in those choices which are completley mine. Without explanation.
Because sometimes regardless of my efforts, students come from where they come from and no amount of class discussion or eye-opening video or enthusiastic mock election can change attitudes instilled in children since they were born.
During the last election I actually had one of my students say, "Our governemnt sucks, my uncle had to weight EIGHT YEARS to get his section 8."
Yep. Shore did! He did say that! My response? "It only take four to get a degree, so that seemed like a collossal waste of time!"
Either way, I cannot wait to get back to my regular scheduled programming. Because even the SNL skits are starting to get boring.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Wednesday night was similar to Tuesday. And my husband asked me what seemed to be stressing me out. I didn't know. Couldn't put my finger on it.
Thursday after school I was meeting my friend Sonja and her five week old baby at a Dunkin Donuts a few suburbs away, and then joining forces with her to make the trek to go and visit our friend on hospice.
We had heard a variety of teary-eyed reports about what to expect. But nothing can prepare you or prevent you from your feelings of seeing your friend laying in a bed, so sick and so... barely there.
She was lucid and intermittently joined into the casual conversations, generally led by her husband, who has seemed to master the art of comforting those who walk into his home to well wish his wife he so obviously deeply loves. Cards and pictures and flowers covered the room, dripped from the walls and were stuffed onto the dresser.
On several ocassions he would ask her if she remembered some detail of an experience they had shared. A type of fish they ate. A name of a resort. An actor in a movie. And each time my friend would smile and give him the answer he sought. I almost cried every time as I wondered what he would do, or how he would remember these details later, when she was gone. How frustrated he might be to not be able to bounce those tiny, seemingly unimportant bits of trivia off of her. But we all know, these things are important. They are the ties that bind us into our relationships. The experiences of creating memories that we share just between ourselves.
When it was time to go, I hesitated. She looked at me and smiled and said, "Have a good school year and take care." And how do you respond to that?
I took her shrunken hand in mine and kissed her and told her to stay comfortable and that I loved her. She loves me too. I had to quickly walk out. I didn't want her family see me shed a tear. I felt like they would think I had no idea what it was like to be them.
When I got back into my own car, I tried to follow my horrible mapquest directions to Jen's house. I had pre-planned a trip to see my niece and nephew, knowing it would cheer me after such a painful goodbye.
And my distress and darkness of the night and bad directions and no GPS system left me in a tangled mess. I was incredibly lost. In every way. When I finally got to the house it was past the kids' bedtimes. I disrupted the evening and got the kids' all riled up.
Eventually I sat with my brother and Jen and had a beer. Finally having a chance to let the evening absorb.
And now I am still not sleeping any better.