Monday, August 29, 2011

Outta here.

I've moved. Mostly. Well, I've moved but just have yet to unpack everything and get it completely set up. But if I don't make the leap I'm gonna be all co-dependent on Blogger and then I'll never leave. So if you stop by here, please click another time and come visit the new Itch!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Flying the coop

My baby is leaving me. Plain and simple, he's going. I get it and it's a natural trajectory of healthy behavior, but still. He is vacating. Loren will be moving to Denver this Friday because he should. He's 18 and ready to go.

So far I've been incredibly cool about the whole thing, thinking I'd break down sometime after we'd dropped him off and were heading west over the passes. This afternoon we spent a couple of hours in Target banging out a list of Must Haves. Things like a coffee maker, laundry hamper, hangers, etc. We visually went through every room and tried to gather as much as possible so he will have all his creature comforts when he looks out over the LoDO skyline from his new abode. His excitement was palpable as he chose a color theme for his bathroom and just the right trashcan for his room. I loved every moment of it as I pictured Lo in his new life with so much Wonder ahead of him.

Tonight while I was working and listening to Pandora, one of his favorite songs came on and out of nowhere I lost it; tears on my keyboard and the knowledge that my ribs would not be able to contain my breaking heart.  Loren is the one person in the world whose soul I fully understand. He is my first, the one whose splitting cells began this whole adventure. I carried his undeveloped nubs, brought him into the world, nursed him, took him to the park, experienced all those Firsts with him and now this is the Ultimate First. He is going and I want to curl up and die just a little bit about it.

I can't be cool about this. There is no nonchalance. It will never be the same because this is real and while I am so happy for this Beginning, I am also grieving the End.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The aftermath of the Juice Cleanse

As I've mentioned a few times before, this past winter was a bitch with a mission. First Matt had his stroke and scared the hell out of us with his weird blood vessels that want to fill themselves up with pearl-like bits of cellular material and then deprive his kidneys of blood. Then Matt's father was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma and given five weeks to live. So Matt and Jen, his sister, went out to Utah to help out and ended up staying until the end of May because the five weeks stretched on to six months. Then I learned all the intricacies of planning a Mormon funeral, a good time for me since we just cremate people in our family and then leave them willy nilly in drawers and what not. Then I was working two jobs and trying to sift through the daily madness of keeping it all afloat while not being able to find footing on the bottom while simultaneously eating everything I could possibly fit into my mouth.

Sometime in July Matt sensed my brittle state and suggested he and I try a juice cleanse in an effort to spur order from the inner core on out, a ripple effect it you will. So I said sure, why not, anything to slow the flailing of my arms to a quiet whir. And so we did it. Sometimes it was hard, sometimes I wanted to snack on the softer parts of Devon because I have long suspected he tastes like vanilla creme. But we did it, I lost about 10 pounds and it was empowering. Now most of my panties fit, I have at least six pairs of pants in my rotation and I feel pretty good.

The next step in the efforts has been exercise. I've been doing a few bike training runs with my friend Beth who is one of the most graciously sassy woman I've ever known. Beth gives voices to children who have previously had none and looks as if she drinks from the fountain of youth because sister permanently looks to be about 29, maybe 32 on a rough day. Anyhoo, she and I are training for a century ride in late September and I'm trilled to bits to have this goal. Matt and I have also been going on some hikes. These usually involve me saying I know of a great place that's only slightly up hill and then feeling him staring heat seeking missiles into my ass as the mountain seems to go on for an infinity of painful hell.  I've also been swimming with both Matt and Cassidy. Cass and I started our swim excursions a couple of summers ago, it's an activity she and I can do together without either of our heads exploding on the other and at the end we are both too tired to push the other's head under the water. It's a win-win with a side of mother-daughter bonding tossed in for some parenting points on my end. This morning Cass was exhausted from last night's first soccer practice of the season, she is playing a league age up and it seems like a brutal group, but a tired Cassidy means a peaceful night for me.

This morning I got to the pool right when all the old birds were lined up, lest they oust me from a prime swimming lane spot I quickly changed and hit the water. I knew from the beginning it was going to be a stellar swim and it was. By the end I had 52 laps, one mile, in a few seconds under 52 minutes! A personal best for me and a moment that made me feel like The Baddest Ass Mo-Fo of the pool. Sure, I got smoked by a couple of old grannies with flowered swim caps and skirted suits, but if those old broads are swimming a mile like that I'm gonna stay the hell out their way. Swimming like this is a huge step towards long term fitness for me but it also quiets the noise in my head and brings me serenity, a concept almost entirely foreign in my soul.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Attending church is going to send me to hell

For reasons I can't entirely comprehend some of my least stellar moments occur at or during Mass. I'm not sure if it's because I'm trying to be good? Thinking I should be good? Fantasizing I could be good. Whatever the case, I more often than not fall flat and end up looking like an ass. Sometimes big, sometimes bigger.

This last Sunday all was going well and I thought I was even in line for some extra Jesus Points because it was the second Sunday in a row I was attending and taking Cass and Devon. And? My mom wasn't even with us, I was there all my own thank-you-very-much. True, part of it had to do with the $100's of raffle tickets I have to sell for Devon's first school fundraiser and dressing him cute so he can pimp out the tickets is going to save me some cash. But still, we were present and accounted for, that's gotta count. All was going well until we were downstairs for the after mass coffee and snacks. Devon loves this part of church the best so I always make sure he can run downstairs and be first in line for any goodies that might tempt his tender palate.

While the kids waited in line I secured us an empty table a bit out of the way that would give us the impression of being social while not actually forcing me to make small talk. Devon and Cass loaded up a couple of plates, I sat, they sat. A pair of our favorite friends came over to sit with us and that left only one empty chair. So far good. Until the daughter of my All Time Nemesis sat down by Cassidy and started talking high school with her. I can't stand this girl, she'll be a junior this year. She is conceited and drives me crazy, but spying that there were no more chairs available I figured I could grin and bear it. But then? First the dad and then her mom pulled two chairs from another table and squished in across from us. Oh. My. Fucking. God.

I can't adequately describe how much I despise this woman. She is vile on every possible plane of being a human being. Our past extends seven years back to when she and her bland, boring husband first came to our wee neck of the mountains. She inserted herself into every organization possible and is universally despised by all the other moms and their daughters. She is fake, tends to gloat and loves to share just how much she enjoys giving all her time to those in need. This past summer she spent in Spain at a language school and on Sunday when she first sat down she said in an accent as bad as Peggy Hill's, "Buenas dias! Como estas?" When our other friend asked why she was speaking Spanish, the woman's reply was, "Well, doncha know that a lot of people speak it and I was, after all, in Spain this summer learning to talk just like them?" Really? No shit. I contributed, "Yes, actually, in many countries people speak Spanish, but none here at this table this morning." Then I gave her a big, toothy, fuck-you smile. She then tripped all over herself, gushing about how loooooong she'd been gone and how glaaaaaaaad she was to be back among her own people. At some point I got so sickened I left the table, pretending to be minding Devon. Cassidy claims I muttered in a none to quiet voice, "I can't take this damn woman anymore." I'll not publicly confirm that.

After I played with Devon it was time to collect Cass from the table when my nemesis turned to me with a huge grin on her dumb face and said, "Oh Heather, I just wanted to extend a huge thanks you to you for the little invitation you designed for the benefit this year. It was so lovely, blah, blah, blah.Will ya be going?" Then she extended her hand for a high five and held that stupid smile in place. For the tiniest millisecond I considered reciprocating her gesture, but then my true, inner bitch took over and I stepped back while she continued to reach out to the point of almost toppling out of her chair. "Yes, I designed that for the folks who actually sit on that board. Gotta go." (Because this woman does not sit on this board, my mother and her friends do. They asked me to do the design work and it had NOTHING to do with this awful wench. She just loves to be in the do-gooder know of all things. I had forgotten about the invite since we had finalized it a few weeks ago and the fundraiser isn't until sometime in September. I don't know the date because I have no plans on attending since the small talk alone is enough to make me itch at the mere thought of it all.)

I left her there in front of a table of people with her arm hanging the air and the expectation that I was actually going to be decent to her. Did she think just because we were in the church that I would actually be nice to her? No way, sister. It made it even better for me. I love being horrid to this woman, love it in a way that is so wrong it feels good. This woman has terrorized me through emails, notes, phone calls. She assumes everybody else around her is less than she is and makes every effort possible to showcase her spectacularness. So leaving her hanging in the church basement felt good, good and good. So much so that I giggled on my way up the stairs until I saw Cass' face going all Christian Jimminy Cricket on me and she said, "You know you're totally going to hell. Even for you that was blatant." Oh. My. Hmmmm. "Yes, but honey, she's awful. Don't you think? And someday you'll likely have a Mom Nemesis and this is good training for you. I'm just trying to be a positive role model here." For that I got an eye roll as she sauntered up the stairs.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I compensate with cheese

My love affair with cheese began in earnest sometime during my pregnancy with Loren. Up until that point I associated the word cheese with the word fat and that simply was not something to be allowed anywhere near my inner sanctum. But an unplanned pregnancy while still in college pretty much blew all my prior principles out of the water, and so when I met up with Sir Brie or his friend Blue I no longer shied away but embraced them as the true loves I now knew them to be.

When I stopped gobbling gluten a couple of years ago I think it was not as hard as I thought it would be because I still had cheese. Had my issue been dairy? Somebody would have had to pay and pay dearly for that loss. I can roll with rice crackers, but take away my dairy? No sir, that would be like taking away Sarah Palin's crazy. It just doesn't work. Also, cheese helped me to avoid that emaciated look celiac sufferers tend to get. Cheese left me with plenty o' padding.

During the most recent eating nuttiness, the juice cleanse, the hardest part of the elimination phase was cutting out dairy. Matt and I both saved it for the last day because we both love cheese so much. In fact, now that I look back on the time line of things...Matt knocked me up, and then introduced me to cheese and the happiness derived from consuming large quantities of it. Bastard. I'll have to remember that little nugget for future warfare. Anyway, during the cleanse we both talked about how happy we would both be to get right back on that wagon as soon as the fast was over. And he did. But me? Not so much.

Turns out I'm having a much more difficult time rolling with the solid foods. No, it's not from my days of ballet dancing and tendencies to not eat. It's my damn stomach. There were afternoons during the cleanse when I would fantasize about cheese and yogurt and all the fun things we would soon do together.We were going to frolic in meadows, take baths together, fall asleep thinking of each other. We had plans, dammit.  But the few times I've tried to ingest them the results have been smelly, loud and not over all crowd pleasers. I didn't sign up for this and it's starting to piss me off and break my heart. What if I can't do it anymore? My social anxiety is bad enough, if at the few gatherings I do attend I can't busy myself with the cheese plate? What then? This is really no good.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yes, I live with my mother. Shut up.

As mentioned above, I do indeed live in my mother's house. No, I don't live in the basement, have pasty skin and litter the floor with Cheeto bags while I play Wii. My skin is naturally dead, fishbelly creme, I can't eat Cheeto's due to my gluten issues and the Wii resides upstairs, thank-you-very-much. I actually live in one of her lofts, that makes me a high class live-in if you ask me.

I've been at my mother's house for a smidge over five years now. Sometimes it's been good. Sometimes comforting. Sometimes it's so difficult I think my head might burst. I know this is a distinct possibility because of the one sided conversations I have in my head with her about the importance of boundaries. Sure, we could have these chats be two-ways but it wouldn't work. My role is, and always has been, to be agreeable, take it as it comes and not, and I mean ever, rock the boat. Right now though? Because my head axploded all over the wall this morning? I want to tip the whole damn boat over. Know why? Although she can swim, my mother hates to get her face wet. Yup. I wouldn't tip it in deep water but it might take her a few panicked moments to realize the water was just five feet deep before she found her footing. And being the mean, awful daughter I am, those bits of panic would bring me satisfaction. I'm not proud of my intentions, but the mental image has stopped the head noise and I already feel better.

(Sometimes being evil is the best way out of madness. Plus, don't judge until you're co-habitating with your family of origin.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Because I'm wildly mature and a clear thinker

So. I've quit my job. Yes, in this economy where stable jobs grow on trees or fall from the sky like rainbow covered gumdrops, I said thanks, but no, I gotta go now. Holy. Fuck. Yup. Sure did. In my defense I have to say that this year has been an ass kicker and it opened my eyes to some realities I hadn't before grasped. I also have another gig and a half lined up and big plans to work on a bunch of personal flotsam and jetsam that has been piling up and making noise in my head over the last couple of years. Again, holy fuck with a huge side of YUP!

My last day of office work is August 30, although I've been doing a tiny slice of my other gig at night for the last month or so. And? That job totally did fall from the clouds with a soft thud in my lap. And? It's for a company I would have willingly sawed off my left small toe in order to obtain employment there. Only now I get to keep my toe and get a paycheck. Not too slouchy indeed!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

There aren't enough veggies in the universe to fill the void within me

As I mentioned yesterday the juice fast has been going really quite well. Over the weekend there was an annual celebration, Mountain Fair, where there are crafts, jewelry, fabulous drinks and more food than one can possible dream of eating. It's what heaven would look like if I could make it so. Most years I plot which vendors I'll frequent and what drinks I'll have with them. This year I ended up buying a fabulous cashmere sweater because I spent no money on eats or drinks, and it wasn't a sacrifice to do so. Actually, the 100% truth to that last statement is that I had given the kids all my money and I talked Matt, who was perhaps or perhaps not delirious with hunger, into buying said sweater. But it's a fabulous sweater and once it gets cold again it will be amazing with a pair of leggings....

So no solid food was all good, juice was good, I had a new sweater and was shedding pounds left and right. Turns out yesterday I hit a wall. That wall was painted with the color bitch, it was still wet and I got it all over me. Yup. I was so hungry, as in HUNGRY, DAMMIT! Luckily Devon stayed the night with Matt so all I had to deal with last night was Cass and my mom. Fair enough. But no. Cassidy had been at her summer job all day, teaching swimming lessons and training to be a lifeguard for next summer and she had done a mile in laps on top of teaching three classes. Girl was hungry, too. And my mom was feeling slightly peckish from her day. So they decided to go all out. I'm talking soups with sausage in it, some sort of gourmet bread dipped in olive oil. And then, if that wasn't enough? Cass decided she wanted brownies. As they baked I thought I had died and gone to the hell I have long deserved for all my daily, hourly, caddy comments. It was a smell so divine I would have gladly sold Devon to the circus for just one bite. I informed Cass and my mom I believed them to be truly evil minions of Satan and they laughed as they informed me that the gluten in the brownies would send me to the ER. I told them it didn't matter, they were horrid, awful humans and I was planning to abandon them and go live in an ashram to find inner peace. Again they laughed. So I went to bed and fell asleep in a puddle of self-pity, which I tried to eat but it lacked flavor.

This morning I woke up hungry and shaky. I've had some juice: beets, carrots, spinach, a few grapes, apples and radishes. The scale wasn't overly kind this morning, I lost a quarter pound yesterday. Really? REALLY? For all that self-discipline all I get it a something the equivalent of McDonald burger and it doesn't even taste good? Namaste. Three more days of this and then I'm-a-gonna chew me some food.


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Below are a couple of pictures from the above mentioned fair. Devon had just finished singing on stage. He had spent the week at a singing camp and had learned such classics as "Crocodile Rock" and "Sweet Home Alabama". Precious beyond words. As far as family portraits go it's slightly awkward with Lo's hands stuffed in his pockets while he seems to be thinking, "Why is my mom doing this to me?" Whatever.




The next picture captures the true joy that is Cassidy and her BFF Ticah. The two have been thick as thieves since they were in diapers. Notice the cup of lemondae Cass is holding. I suspect after that she ate a funnel cake and then had a piece of pizza anf then perhaps a gyro. There are words for people like that....


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 6 of the 10 day cleanse. I don't smell too bad anymore.

As mentioned above, today is number six out of ten days of the juice fast. Depending on who you ask things are going really quite well. If one were to ask me, I would point out that my tongue is no longer covered in white goo in the mornings. If you one were to ask Cass, well she might point out that right before my feeding times I might appear slightly bitchy. Whatever, she's 14 and prone to drama. Not to be trusted , her. Thus far I've shed nine pounds. That's right, count those! I now have a staggering number of maybe five pairs of pants in the rotation and a couple of dresses. My breasts aren't bursting out of my bras and I'm even back into some of my fun panties, not just the extra large Hanes, five to a pack that I get at Costco.

Despite my new found wardrobe expansion I don't intend to stick out 60 days of this madness. This ends Saturday night. At that point I'm going to make friendly with a zu-canoe and then On Sunday some more veggies that I'll actually be able to chew. Simple things for simple minds.


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A couple of weekends ago, Matt, the kids and I went to Denver to check out Loren's soon-to-be new pad. We stayed in LoDo close to where Lo and his friend Evan will be spreading their wings and living out in the real world. It's going to break my heart when Loren leaves but I fully understand this is the natural progression of events and he needs to get out of the nest. Across from our hotel was an enormous blue bear peeking into the convention center. It made for some good fun.



This summer I've been taking every opportunity possible to capture my three children in one place at the same time. Not an easy task and one that inevitably ends up with somebody pissed off. Big deal, they can just deal with it. In about a week Loren will move to Denver to work for a semester before attending film school so these moments will be even farther and fewer between.

Friday, July 29, 2011

TMI about my cleanse. Sorry. Sort of. Not really.

Today is Day 2 of the 10 day juice fast/cleanse. All told we are two weeks into this gig and so far it's not bad at all.  The food elimination was fine, well until we had to give up dairy which means no cheese. I love cheese like I love few other substances in this world. It doesn't matter if it's Velveeta or fine brie, I want to snuggle up to it and make it mine for life. My indulgent relationship with cheese is one of the reasons I find myself currently mourning its absence.  The fast is fairly good for the most part, my energies aren't super-high but then I'm not a real go-getter under regular circumstance so an extra dose of slothdom isn't shocking.

A few things I've observed with the fast:

  • Beets aren't lovely. No. Almost any way you serve them up, raw being my case, they taste like dirt. They also make your pee and solids purple which when you're an edge past 40 can make bathroom time slightly unnerving.
  • Radishes are beets' sassy sisters. When juiced they have a slight kick to them, like a Catholic school girl gone naughty under the high school bleachers. I like radishes and will continue to host them in my juice.
  • Detox isn't so pretty. This morning I woke up with white goo covering my tongue. Smelly white goo. Of course I quickly brushed my teeth but now I'm not sure I can ever use that toothbrush again. I'm seriously grossed out.
  • I get seriously bitchy when I run out of food. This is nothing new, but when I've been downing liquid carrots and cucumbers all day and it's 4:30 and Devon wants a snack and Cass is wanting something -likely everything in her case- please leave me the fuck alone until I can inhale more juice.
Good things about the fast:
  • My underwear is totally fitting again! Oh yeah, baby! No more upper thigh fat poking out of the bottom of my panties, thank you very much.
  • I'm so exhausted at the end of the day that I'm actually sleeping well. Yes, I wake up in the same position in which I fell asleep, but sleep is sleep and not something I can always achieve.
  • My skin is supple and soft and looks 38 rather than 49. At least that's my opinion.
  • Did I mention my diminishing  size? Every morning the number on the scale is less than the night before.
  • My worms are eating like kings in their worm bin!
Bad things:
  • The above mentioned tongue issue. I still have the willies from that.
  • Beets. Don't know if I can make that work.
  • Variety. I can see how I might hate carrots after this.
  • Turns out Cassidy also loves fresh juice multiple times per day. This just doubled my expense on this project.
  • What if I lose all this weight and then am petrified to ever put solid food in my mouth again? How will I cozy up to cheese then?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hot wives, race cars and holy men


I know that theoretically there is supposed to be a separation between church and state. What I didn't know is  when it comes to Nascar Jesus totally rides shotgun. This one caught me offguard this morning as I was driving to work. I love the "smoking hot wife" blessing.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A buck fitty

Back in the day I used to be a ballet dancer. Notice I didn't say ballerina, to me that means I was in a paid company and made my entire life be about dance. I was in a high school company and then a college company, I made no money and ballet was about 97% of my life. I loved it. I loved the daily ritual of warm-up at the barre, then centre work. I loved being totally in sync with my body and I looooooved being in wicked amazing shape. And although I probably could have eaten to my heart's content during those years, I didn't. Dancing eight hours a day and then skipping a couple of meals made me look all that more hot. God, I hope my 14 year-old daughter never reads that last sentence.

Fast forward to my early twenties when I got knocked up by a tall drink of cool water. Although my dancing days had tapered down to just a few classes per week, I still ate sparingly and kept in good shape. But sometime in the early part of my second trimester I got hungry. Hungry in a way that made me bitchy because I didn't know what to do. Yes, I was that out of tune with reality. I can't recall the exact sequence of events, only that Matt took me out to the Olive Garden and for the first time in my 22 years I discovered the joy of consuming food. Oh. My. Fucking. God. It was so good! It was beautiful! There were tastes. Textures. And the variety? Pastas with sauces! Breads with butter! And desert?????? It was truly a religious experience. So I kept eating. and eating. I ate in a way that had the OB team alarmed at my next visits. They thought I should maybe slow down. Could they not see I was eating for two? That food was good, dammit?

After I had Loren it took me about a year to lose most of the weight. The eating thing was still so amazing to me. Then I had Cass, nursed her and the weight came off again. Then seven years later Devon rolled on to the scene, I got post-partum depression, took Prozac and gained the equivalent of a baby. I hit the weight I was when I gave birth to Loren, 150 pounds. Then my dad died, I went on the cake and wine diet for a few months and maintained that awful number for a couple of years.

Two years ago I stopped eating wheat and luckily had the summer off from work. It enabled me to go for daily swims, long bike rides and I got down to nearly my pre-Devon weight. I felt good. I bought clothes and I vowed to never again get up over a buck fifty. This year has been a bitch in a half and apparently my way of dealing with it has been to stuff all the problems in my mouth and hide them in my belly where they'll never bother a soul. I have been harboring so much stress in my stomach that I got back up to 150. Fucker. It had gotten to the point where I had stopped wearing underwear and I could only where two pairs of my pants, both drawstring style. And although I totally rocked the drawstring, I suck at laundry and two pairs of pants simply doesn't cut it for me. But nor could I bring myself to buy more big girl pants.

As luck would have it, Matt intervened and suggested a juice fast. Then, since he has this summer off from work, he combined several plans and made it into a four week long effort. We are just finishing the first phase, food elimination. It started a week ago by cutting out one major thing per day. Friday was caffeine, Saturday, alcohol, And so on. Today is the last day of that, we cut out oils and vinegar today. Then it's on to three days of raw veggies, fruits, seeds and nuts. Then follows three days of smoothies, though they won't be a tasty without vanilla ice cream in them. Then it's 10 days of fruit and veggie juices, followed by a 5 day re-entry to regular foods.

So far I'm loving this. Maybe it's because when I cut out wheat two years ago, I learned how to make a big dietary change. Maybe I'm psychologically ready for next phase of life. Or maybe my body is just so damn tired of carrying around 25 extra pounds of me. In the last week I've lost nearly three pounds and I'm up to three pairs of pants in the rotation, one of them even has snaps.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm pretty sure that empty spot in hell is reserved for me

I've never made any bones over the fact that I am a fair weather Catholic. I grew up with devoted Catholic parents who were, thankfully, liberal in most ways. I was baptized, sent to Cathechism, took First Communion. Short of going not through Confirmation and then marrying an ex-Mormon and  having his babies in and out of wedlock, I'm a fairly upstanding church girl. At least that's what I tell myself.

A few years ago our parish got a new priest who I, and it turns out a majority of the congregation, despise. I'm not sure what his true name is because I alternate between calling him Father Higgins and Father Ass Hat. Higgins is the name of a friend's enormously dim Labradoodle, he's a waste of dog cells, quite possible the dumbest animal I've ever met. The Ass Hat name, well that's just plain bitchiness on my part. Anyway, this priest gives sermons that reference television shows. Every week he does this. I imagine him sitting about his priest pad, watching Thursday night prime time when it hits him, kapow, he must stick some religious words together for Sunday worshipers. Suffice it to say, his presentations are shallow and with very little spriritual fiber.

For most of the winter I skipped Mass. Partly I was working two jobs, partly I would rather stay home and clean than go hear Father A.H. spew his lack of knowledge to the congregation. But this past Sunday I was feeling jaunty and pure so I decided to accompany my mom and endure the fool on the pulpit. Luck would have it, or maybe God was smiling upon us, Father Higgins was out of town and we had a guest priest who actually had some lovely words of wisdom.

So we listened, sang, kneeled and then it was time for Communion. I lined up behind my mom and approached the alter with pure heart when the realization hit me: there's gluten in them there hosts and due to a food elimination thing Matt and I had started the night before, booze was no longer on my lists of can do's. Shitter. I couldn't just turn around, I was out of the pew with three more rows lining up behind me. I couldn't walk by and snub the offerings, that would be a faux pas. Before I knew it I was up and had no choice but to extend my palms and accept the body of JC.

Now, my reaction to gluten is pretty harsh. There are the red rash/hives that appear around my neck and face. There's the swelling of my throat, not breathing is no fun. Then there's the bloat and gas, perhaps the worst of all the effects for people around me. I couldn't eat the damn thing. Couldn't give it back. Couldn't turn to the person behind me and say, "Oops, I got an extra. Fancy a body wafer?" No. So I did what I had to and pocketed it. I know that like Superman, The Holy Trinity have X-Ray vision and totally saw the glowing wafer in my pocket. I also know they gathered in a huddle and made notes next to my name in their gaint Who's Who books.

After Mass my mother asked why I went to Communion and again I choked, I confessed my sin. She was all in a bind that between us in the car a bit of Jesus was riding shot gun in my pocket. Her instinct was to turn around and tell the priest. Mine, of course, was to cover it up. I assured I'd take care of it respectfully. And I did. After careful thought I buried it the planter of my hibiscus plant. That poor thing deserves to be in the tropics of Hawaii and is instead stuck on the confines of Matt's hot, dry deck. My thinking is that the plant could use a boost o' Sweet Baby J.

The next day my mother inquired about the host, apparently she'd been fretting over it. I told her not to worry, I'd taken care of things but that it was between Jesus and me. That didn't go over so well. But deep down I feared that if I told her the actual location of the waifer, she'd sneak down in the night and dig it up and take back to the church. But then again, maybe I lack faith.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sky Beam, I think I hate you

Dear People at Sky Beam,


If there was something the opposite of a sponsored post this would be it. Simply put, you suck.

You suck in the way that stepping barefoot in dog shit sucks. You suck in the way that bouncing a check sucks. You suck like a harsh hangover and thoughtlessly placed hickey suck. You suck like losing your only set of keys in the snow sucks. I think you see where I'm going here.

Your bandwidth is fully insufficient in the Western Colorado region. You know this because nearly everybody over here who is forced to use your slack-ass company calls on a monthly basis and tells you about this issue. You will usually give us $5 off our monthly bill and promise things will get better, perhaps some sort of tower will go up over here....

You have yet to deliver on any of your poorly expressed intentions of improving our service. Is it that you believe we here in the mountains are used to slowness and can be set aside? Or maybe you think if you keep ignoring us we'll just go away? Or maybe you assume we are all out hunting prairie dogs? None of the above are the case. We are pissed. Pissed in a way that makes us want to trudge over the Divide, find your offices and leave bodily fluids upon your desks to soak into your keyboards. then your computers won't work and you'll be screwed. Sort of like us on a daily basis.

Sky beam, if I were a super hero my Super Twin powers would be all about covering you in an icy waterfall cast. Were I a comet I'd be sure to land my flame kissed ass upon your buildings. If I could be a predatory animal, I'd be the lion and you a baby gazelle separated from your herd. Me a super virus? You an old lady with a weak immune system. And lastly, if I happened to be a big, ole gross booger? You'd totally be my wiping spot. Yup. That's just how much I am unhappy with your sloppy service and lack of caring.

Love and kisses,

Heather


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cherish

Over the weekend Matt, the children and I are made the trek to Provo for his father's funeral service. The drive was long, as always, and hot. The visit was hectic and tense with all the issues surrounding a death.

There is so much that could be said, but I won't because there isn't really any point. But I will say this, if you've got something of meaning to say to the people you love, fucking-A just do it. Don't wait around and have people do it for you after you're gone. Life is short, the after time an unknown. What we have here and now is tangible and real. Not telling those close to you how you feel is a pussy ass way out of things. It does them no favors to yearn for affirmation, only to hear it from other people after the fact.

I'm going to take this to heart for myself as well. I'm going to let the people I love know how I feel and never have to question it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The text bump

About 10 days ago one of my most favoritest people in the whole wide world got married to her long time man love. Kelly Lynne and The Bird have been together for about ten years. They have an adorable four year-old boy, John-Kelly. They are devoted to each other and so sometime last winter-ish, he popped the question, presented the ring and she accepted. The pair happens to reside in the Deep South of Mississippi where remaining unmarried and living next door to one another becomes a bit odd once you've bred a wee child, but a Southern to-do can quickly become a TO-DO so they traveled to the Colorado mountains to escape the heat and get hitched.

Somewhere around Christmas, Kelly Lynne asked me to be her maid of honor. She said it was to be a simple affair, as she is a gal of few needs and streamlined tastes. In my head I wondered why she would ask me of all people to do this job, I suck at weddings, they make me itch. She might have sensed my fear over the phone because she said something along the lines, "It's my wedding, I need you." Can't turn down that sort of thing so I said I'd be honored and then promptly forgot about my duties. I am really cool like that.

Every now and then the subject would arise, we'd chat about why the term simple wedding is an oxy-moron and then I would again put it all out of my mind. It's not that I was ignoring the gloriousness of these two people committing to one another for life, I totally dig it for them. The winter was a crazy busy one and wedding details don't lodge themselves in my brain.

A couple of weeks ago Kelly and her crew arrived in town to prepare for the big weekend. I was to have corsages ready, accompany Kelly for her nails and hair, help her get dressed, just generally be there for her and support her on her big day. While I was getting a spray tan, a coincidence not a preparation for the nuptials, I got a text:  Hey, I know you're dealing Matt's dad (he had passed away the morning before her arrival) so you can be off the hook for this weekend. I think we are good  and we don't need to add stress to your week.

I read the message over a couple of times before it hit me. I was being bumped. By text. Really? Who does that? So I wrote back: You're totally bumping me.

She replied: I totally am. But honestly it is fine.

Me: You're bumping me. In a text. I'm totally gonna blog about this, you know.

The next day Devon and I made it to the reception. I had a hard time getting out of my bathroom and to the party. Devon had a hard time transitioning from the sidewalk to the actual party. We both calmed down, tried to act like normal, well adjusted humans and then we spent a couple of hours blending. It was a lovely affair, Kelly and Jay were radiant.

Later Kelly texted me: You know no matter what, no matter the circumstance, you will always be my BFF. You were here in spirit.

And that's one of the reasons we have remained friends through 24 years. When you can realize your maid of honor is going to drop the ball and then you accept it and text her all in one? And in turn she can get the text and be at peace with it? That's what it's all about.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy 18th, Lo-Lo!!!!

Sweetest Lo,

Holy moly, today you're 18! It makes me teary to even write that in words. I know you're not a reader of this so you might not ever find this letter, or the one I penned last year, but I'm a believer of the Universe and knowing the words are somewhere out there for you brings me comfort.

This year, Loren, has been one of challenges and extreme growth. The choices you made were sometimes hard, but I firmly believe they will make you strong and bring you satisfaction. There are very few of us who know our passions as early as you have discovered yours. Rarer still is the person whose passion matches their talents. You, my love, have both. You make beauty with your camera, you put it to music and bring alive a message of joy and excitement to everything you make. I know taking your talent and transitioning it from high school to the Great Beyond has scared you to your bones, but again I see you forming a path and I know it will take you to wonderful places. As I write this, I see what I'm saying is that I have total and absolute faith in you, Lo. I don't know too many things, but I do know you and I believe in everything you are.

In the eyes of our society you are now an adult. As a mother that is sort of a difficult concept to accept, for you will always be my baby, my first born, the one who started this whole amazing ride. As I fell asleep last night I recalled that very late night/early morning 18 years ago. After some un-Godly number of hours I held you in my arms as the nurses and doctors cleared all the equipment from the room. I was 22, scared and so ill prepared to deserve such a miracle snuggled in my arms. The thought that your father and I were going to be giving you a life put the fear of the world in me. So I did the only thing I knew, I held you closer and made a promise in your ear, "I'll always be here for you. No matter what, no matter where. I will do whatever it takes." It was true then, now and always.

I love you, Lo. You are the light in my soul. I am honored to be here for the ride.

Always,

Mom

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This is why

There are spans of time so maddeningly packed with details, schedules, minutia...lots and lots of crap, really.

 This is one of them.

I feel as though I'm chasing after kite strings but am not so successful because I've lost all my toes in a freak knife throwing accident and am shoeless because now none of my shoes fit, plus I'm all tippy due to the no toe thing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vampire tan

I hail from a line of pale folks. To say we are melanin-ly challenged might be an understatement. My line of people belongs back on the misty hills of Ireland where we would be shielded from the sun's cruelty by soft fog. When my father's people immigrated to the states, they chose New Orleans for their home. The air there is tender and the low lying land far from the ozone. Unfortunately, as young man, my grandfather's health was not stellar and when he had a TB scare the family packed him off to the sunny hills of Colorado so that his lungs could heal. They did. He met a wee, feisty Irish woman. They bred a gaggle of red headed spawn. They, in turn, produced my generation. I met a fellow with my same complexion. We bred a small brood. And so on....

As a teen I hated my pale skin and went to great lengths to alter my whiteness. Some of that foolishness I now pay for with annual visits to my dermatologist. The other attempts left orange splotches on my clothes and much mockery from my family. At some point, maybe after I had Loren, I grew comfy with my color and the coverage of capris. But, alas, sweet Cassidy has hit 14 and hates her paleness. I truly believe her freckles look stunning against the background of her light skin, but sister has taken to wearing long sleeved shirts in the heat of summer to hide her limbs. I can't have that. She is devoted to sunblock and was easily talked out of slathering her body in oil and baking in the sun with the condition that she (we) give spray tanning a try. Cass had tried the lotion  a time or two, this resulted in the above mentioned streaks and splotches. So it seemed harmless enough and I booked us for back to back appointments last Friday.

Now, I've been naked in front of doctors, given birth in the buff, had massages and waxes, but going full monty in front of the spray tanning lady was a humiliation of its own grandeur. Maybe because for those other nudey activities I have been lying down? Don't know. But I do know that standing tall and naked in front of that sticky spray spawned a motivation in me to battle gravity with Jedi fierceness in the near future. But I did it and then Cass went in and did it, though she wore a bikini for her session. I don't own a bikini and, with Matt's urging, figured go buff or don't go at all.

We paid the tan lady an obscene amount of money and went home to await the results. I had forgotten the stench of tanning formulas. I've tried them all and it doesn't seem to matter if they are Estee Lauder, Chanel, Copper Tone, they all stink like the QT of yesteryear. And they are sticky. Sticky like you don't want any part of your body touching another part.

After waiting an hour or two the color started to show. By night my arms, belly and ass were a lovely shade of Clementine. The next morning? OMG. My legs. Apparently spray lady didn't like to crouch? Maybe the view back there wasn't pleasing? I'll never know because I'm never going back to her. It's as if somebody stood, while blindfolded, and tossed orange coloring at my legs. There are splotches, white stripes, brown patches. Cassidy's results were the same: color until her knees, at which point she is pretty much leopard spotty to her feet. I should have gone back and demanded a refund or a touch up, but things are fading and now it seems like such an effort that I don't particularly care. Plus, I have my collection of capris.

Cassidy has not given up and we have been online looking for at home spray tanner machines. Turns out we can buy one for roughly what I paid Lame Spray Lady. Cass figures I can spray her. Maybe Matt can spray me. We'll be orange and happy and splotch free.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

These days

Today is Matt's 40th birthday. I met him when he was 20, he was the tallest drink of water in the dorm. He was smart, funny, gorgeous and we clicked. What more can I say? Tons, actually. We got pregnant, married, dropped out of college, went back to college, had another baby. We got divorced, had another baby. And there were a gazillion other moments in between everything else. I don't know exactly how or why the fates have brought us back together. Love? I sure like to think so.

This year Matt had a stroke and was diagnosed with a freakish vascular disorder that seems to randomly chew on him whenever it feels so inclined. There's something about looking mortality in its beady eyes and realizing there's still some shit you've got to get done. If we could go back and do it all again, would we? I don't know. This road has been bizarre and bumpy, but these days when I look at the man with the green eyes, the one I've known half my life, bared my soul to, and loved, I am so grateful to be right here right now.

So, here's what I think: Green, you still are the tallest drink of freshness I've ever met. You're wicked smart, funny, gorgeous. You make me laugh and we still totally click. I love you to the end of the road and back and I never intend to get off that road again. I know birthdays aren't your favorite but I hope to make the next and the next and all the nexts spectacular ones. Happy Birthday to you and thank you for being here, it means the world to me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

5 Years

Recently I've gotten to the place where I can look at pictures of my father without crying. For so long I was unable to look at images, now I am finding comfort in them. I think Loren is about 9 and Cass 4 in this series.


I loved Cass' hair short. Looking at these pictures I realize how much Devon looks like Loren.

My father adored Loren, Cass and Devon. I always believed he got the opportunity to be the kind of father with them that he would have been to my brother and me had he the time and hindsight of age, but I think that's a gift that comes with being a grandparent. I know the children brought him immense amounts of joy.
I love the way Cass wraps herself around my dad in this one. It is so typical of her, her love is HUGE and envelops everything in its path.
In this last picture I am about 7 months pregnant with Devon. That summer was super hot and I took to wearing XXXL pajama pants in lieu of regular pants.

If I could I would say to my father, "Thanks, Dad. Thank you for everything you gave us, taught us, shared. We miss you. And I love you so very much."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

For the past five years Father's Day has been a weight of sadness around my neck. It falls just a day or two before the anniversary of my father's death and I've not been able to separate that loss from the celebration of the day, sorry Matt.

Recently, I went back through a bunch of posts I'd written for ParentDish and found a Father's Day post I wrote for my dad in the last few days before he died, it was a thing the entire staff did for each of their dads. At the time I obviously had no idea he would be dead in just a few days. I've been wanting to find that post for quite some time and now that I have it back I feel better.

This year Matt's father is dying, as truly in the process of passing. Sorry, Tom. But we are going to celebrate the beauty of this day because aside from the sadness of Matt's father, there is so very much to celebrate. Considering what is happening in Matt's family right now, I feel somewhat selfish about my giddiness for the day. We are packing a picnic, heading over the pass or West, haven't yet decided, to picnic, sample wine and enjoy the stillness of the air today.

Something I learned from Father's Day five years ago is that no one certain day stops what lies ahead. You can get caught up in that fear, and I have, and become paralyzed. Or, you can accept that change in inevitable and enjoy the moments of now.

So to this I say, Happy Father Day, Matt! I am so happy to have the day together and the adventures ahead. I love you, Green!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Penciling it all in

There's is a scene in Broadcast News where Holly Hunter's character unplugs her phone and sits on her hotel bed and cries. I can't remember the exact details but I think she times herself and at the end of that several minutes she sucks it up, plugs in the phone and gets on with things. I was 17 or 18 when that movie came out and didn't quite grasp her sobs at the time.

Now? Oh, yeah sister, I sure as hell do. But silencing my cell phone lacks the flair of unplugging.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The karmic weight of a shit sandwich

Yesterday sucked. Sucked in a way that makes you wonder what exactly it is you did to the universal balance to make it shit on your shoulder is such a spectacular way. It was really too bad because the weekend had been quite lovely, Devon and I stayed at Matt's house and had a quiet, relaxing time. Devon played in the communal courtyard with the neighbor kids on a new Slip and Slide we had hunted up in Target. Matt and I sat on his deck and listened to the children laugh. Truly, it was an island of bliss.


I still can't quite wrap myself around the events of yesterday, all I know is that by last night I felt as though somebody, probably of German descent, had sucked the marrow from all of my joints and it hurt to hold my head up on my neck.


This morning my body hurts and I'd like to hide under my desk all day. Though I will say this, while yesterday evolved into a mess of emotional guts, this morning the universe gave me a small pretty. Wade, my coffee friend who owns a local place called The Blend, made me the prettiest picture in my latte. (Yes, it's true, I hate making my own coffee and would prefer Wade or one of his beautiful barista sidekicks brew it for me.) It was such a vision that I had to take a picture of it and wonder why today of all days I got such a lovely leaf. Thank you, Universe. Let's call it even for today, please.




Friday, June 10, 2011

Life with Devon

Matt and I weren’t planning on having a third child, if I were to be candidly honest I would admit we weren’t actively planning on having the first two children. But that’s a story for another time, or really not at all because it’s fairly obvious how they all came about anyway. My point is that life before with two children had a sort of balance to it, a chaotic yin & yang, but a balance. Then Devon came, he was born with that bum heart and everything seemed to get out of control; it was as if we’d all stepped on a treadmill gone awry and were all just trying to hang on lest we trip and get a toe ripped off in the process. And who want to be walking around a toe or two short?

Things with Devon have mostly worked out to the point where I’m not 100% on edge with worry. He is a healthy, rambunctious nearly 7 year-old boy who loves to play, make noise, get dirty and then snuggle. But there remains an issue with him, a sort of inevitability of fates when we are out and about. When walking with the dogs in a field, if there is cactus? He’s gonna end up with one embedded in each of his hands without even touching the damn things in the first place. If there is a loose splinter on a log upon which he’s teetering? It’s totally headed for at least one or two of his fingertips. A closed glass door? Dude’s gonna do a Wiley Coyote and end up flattened like a pancake and then slipping to the ground while muttering muffled, WHY’S????

It’s not that he’s a full on klutz, Devon is actually very sporty and coordinated. He keeps up in Frisbee with his older brother and his friends. He can do all sorts of flips on the tramp and off of taller objects on to the tramp, much to my horror. Devon is also a fabulous skier and, also to my chagrin, an amazing video gamer. He swims, flips off the edge of the pool, can almost ride a bike. But. If there’s a random accident waiting to happen…..

The other afternoon I took Loren and Devon with me while I ran some work related errands. One of them involved stopping by the Big Office to drop off some newsletters in employee mail boxes. I informed the boys that we would all be quiet and invisible while I went about my task, they were cool with it. All was good, the boys met some employees, made chit chat and then…as we headed upstairs somehow Devon became airborne. He was literally horizontal but hovering a couple of feet off the ground. Of course gravity got the better of him and he came to rest with his face mashed around a stair edge. When he sat up his two front teeth remained behind and two small faucets of blood began to stream from his precious mouth. Then came the screams, the trail of blood, the frantic wiping of blood from hands.

A couple of co-workers helped us fetch ice and wrap it in clean coffee filters for Dev’s mouth pain. I cleaned Devon up while he wiggled in pain and Lo retrieved the teeth, wrapping them in tissue. Then we got the hell out of there as quietly as possible. Devon went so far as to crawl under tables so as to remain low key.

The one tooth was super loose and ready to come out while the other one was only slightly loose. The Tooth Fairy was a big ole sucker for the story and so was super generous to Devon to the tune of $10. And now when people ask how he lost his teeth he either acts entirely oblivious or launches in to the gory tale. Because if there are tooth eating stairs out there Devon is the first they will encounter and engage for battle.


This is Devon's new smile, well sort of since he had just woken up and the sun's mere presence was annoying him.

He his mouth looks like it used to because his lower teeth are stuck in the enormous vacancy from the last teeth. I miss his baby teeth and am somewhat broken hearted to see my last baby growing up.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Aging lady bits

Last week I visited a new ob/gyn I had heard was fabulous. Of course I cancelled about three appointments before actually stepping foot in the office. See, I have had three children and my body couldn't be bothered to kick into labor any of those three times, plus there was a surgery after Cassidy's birth and a tubal ligation after Devon; suffice it to say I have had more people looking up my girl parts than I will ever need in eight lifetimes. So I tend to dread these appointments. And put them off and then obsess over the possibility that I am jeopardizing my health....

The new doctor is a woman and so amazing I almost sat up in the stir-ups and gave her a hug when I barely even felt the metal and swabbing all that business. She was in, out and then just casually chatting with me. She told me. Yes, so basically you're body is just going to get more and more crazy as you go into menopause. I told her I'd started to notice a few things already. She replied, Yes. Be prepared, but remember you're not actually crazy, just your body. Everything just gets extreme.

And it's so true. Yesterday my boobs were just regular DD size. Today, as I approach my cycle, they are trying to reach my keyboard and take over for my hands. If they could they would hop out of my bra just for a breath of non-constricted air. It has long been my opinion that females got the short end of the stick in terms of hormones and messed up bodies. Not saying I want dangling man stuff or anything, but were it not for women's shoes and pedicures I might shuck the whole thing and look up Chaz Bono for some advice.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Under my skin

Lately the crazies have been less than kind to me, instead of remaing a respectful 7-9 feet away they've been all up in my grill -crawling under my skin, pulling on my hair, snuggling in my ear-wells. They're clever little fuckers and will take any opportunity to get their claws into my soul. They have been so bold that even red wine, a crazy inhibitor if ever there was one, doesn't even phase them. In fact, I believe they've developed quite a liking for a hearty Cabernet. Bastards.

There are many people/places where I'd like to lay the blame for my current state: the kids, the kids being out of school for the summer, my job, my weight, Matt's health, my crazy ex-in-laws. The truth is that I'm neurotic, high strung and lean towards the obsessive side of things. The crazies love that in a gal and I'm beginning to suspect that's why they love me something fierce.

One of the healthier ways in which I deal with it all is exercise. Being forced to breathe in and out because my heart is screaming from exertion is a good thing and often silences the noises in my head. However, I guess a large part of New Mexico is burning and so the pristine Rockies of Western Colorado look like most days in Salt Lake City. I could have been going to yoga, but with Groovy Yoga Dude chanting his Ohms and the crazies clacking their nails on my brain, I can't find any fucking peace in class. So I've been spending a large part of the evenings curled up in a ball and hoping the children don't notice my rocking back and forth while I silently weep here and there.

Last night I had the lovely fortune of dining with Matt and while I watched him prepare the food some sort of stardust must have fallen upon my head and I decided I would go swim laps in the morning. Matt came swimming with me one morning last week before work and it was such a great way to start the day. This time I invited my mom and we left the house at 7 in order to be there at 7:30 for opening time. We reached the pass counter at 7:27 only to find the line already full up with a group of sassy old women in skirted suits and flowered caps, one might call them old broads if one were to be so bold. Apparently this is a group that meets most mornings, women on one side raring to get in and the old dudes on the other side with their canes and thick glasses. The women were croaking out remarks like, Have you seen Eunice? Another replied, Nah, she usually stomps in at about 7:50. She ain't gettin' a good lane today! Right then I knew I was afraid of these women and I chose to line up behind them old dudes and chance the possibility of tripping over their canes.

My mom and I managed to get a lane, the water was calm and the sun just starting to warm the day. I started in, planning on doing about 30 lengths but kept going until I reached 52, one mile. My mom swam hers and then sat in the hot pool while I finished. I love swimming, the rhythm, the silence of the water, the constant motion. Plus, everybody who has any sort of sense knows that the crazies hate water more than they hate Ativan. They hate it so much that they've stayed away all day, just sort of sulking in the distance -probably waiting for a weak moment when they can return. Heartless bastards.

Friday, June 3, 2011

My boot floweth over

I always forget how insanely busy May is when you're a mom. One would think December would be the nightmare month, what with the pageants, all those damn teacher gifts and figuring out how to equally and affordably bring Christmas morning happiness to each child. But, no. May is the kicker. Not only are there pageants and more damn teacher gifts, but there is the prospect of the looming summer months and the scariness of what the hell am I going to do with all these kids for the next 90 days??? On top of that, this year we had graduates. A kindergartner, and 8th grader and a senior.

Oh. My. God. It was a slice of salami flavored madness to be sure. Three days in a row. Two ceremonies involved gowns and caps -Kindergarten and senior. One ceremony had a Mass. All three were followed by receptions. Much socializing, always a chore for me.

This week I feel like maybe I need a vacation from the next three months because I still haven't the foggiest idea what the hell I'm gonna do with all these damn kids this summer.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Smelly places

The other day I learned a term, coined by my friend/ex-husband/lover, Matt. Ass clown. As in, Heather you are an ass clown. It brings to mind so many visuals, most of them frightening because clowns are totally scary. And to have one in my ass or to be wedged, Pooh-Bear like, between the buttocks of a clown? That would be most uncomfortable and likely quite stinky.

Hadn't heard that one before but it made me fully giggle and wonder what the hell he and I have been doing for half of our lives. Totally adore his smartassedness and love it that he's here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The perfect summer song

I never make any secret of how smitten I am with my children. Simply put, they all kick ass in their own ways. Something I so adore about Loren is his musical tastes. Our preferences are often similar and he has the time and energy to always be on the hunt for new tunes for his edits. Since he has mostly been at his dad's house for the past few months I have really missed the near weekly mix he used to make for me.

Earlier this week Lo was at The Manor trying to finish up some last minute assignments so he can graduate and get the pesky task of high school off his plate. While editing he introduced me to a young man named Mac Miller. I love the happy beat and simple approach to his songs. The below clip is something I would have embraced at Loren's age, it's chill, not too deep and not serious. Any time you have lyrics that talk about bagels and an Eggo things are good. Love it.



Disclosure: If I ever had days when I was cool, they are far from over. I have no idea if Mr. Miller has been around for awhile or if he's fresh and hip, it doesn't matter to me because I'm so out of it it's all new to me. And, yes, I know he talks of naughty activities. No condoning from me. Not my kid, not my issue.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I'm the luckiest mom. Ever. Really.

On Sunday my mom, the kids and I all participated a charity fun run to celebrate the glory and glamour of being a mommy. It's a lovely event where you get a rose and apple pie at the finish line. I also love the fact that it's totally green and generates very little trash but lots of compost.

This year they had several starts, the youngest group going first, Cassidy's group just behind them. This meant Devon, at age 6, was among the very first ones out of the gate. My mom and I were fairly sure he would get lost somewhere along the one mile course so we ran/walked behind him while Cass took off and made the loop in a smidge under 8 minutes. Another mom felt she would also lose her son so she ran much more closely behind Devon and his buddy V.

Later I was about to run in what I thought was my group when my mother pointed out that, no, I was not included due to my age. I had seen the number 40 and assumed it meant me, with my aging eyes I hadn't read that it said under 40. I had to run in the next heat with the 40+ runners, the old farts. Needless to say most of them kicked my sorry ass when I came in at over 12.5 minutes. Who knew some of them could whip out a 5.75 minute mile?  Then my mom and I walked the last heat, the one where they don't even time you and all the children joined us for the very last leg to walk across the finish line together. I was to touched I got tears in my eyes.

When Loren asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day I told him I wanted an edit of his little brother. In truth I would love an edit of his sister as well, but Cass and Lo are at that age when just the site of the other sibling causes them to curl their lips. This morning the below clip was in my email. It is classic Loren and Devon. As always I am awed by the vision of my oldest child, his talent for color, timing and editing is truly an art. Lo perfectly captures Devon's whimsy for life in the clip. All in all it was one of the best Mother's Days I've ever had. My children are amazing, my mother is kick ass and I hope the years to come hold as much happiness for us all as this day did. Thank you to Mia, Loren, Cass and Devon. And thank you to Matt for giving me these beautiful beings, I hope next year we can all run this day together.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A date with Jesus or My Friend the Nun

Next Tuesday Cassidy and the rest of her 8th grade class will get Confirmed. It's an occasion to which I have given very little thought until recently, as in the last two days. This is partly because Cass seems cool with the whole thing and has managed any classes/information about it on her own. But the other part is that I'm just so overwhelmed right now that if something in my life isn't actively broken or screaming it doesn't hit my radar of what needs to be addressed. The only reason it's hit me that in five days my daughter will promising herself to the Catholic Church is because we have been out and about shopping for a dress, slip, shoes, etc. Yes, I am still crossing my fingers for that Mother of the Year award, with my stellar parenting skills I'm fairly certain I'll get it.

I was never Confirmed. At the age of 10 my Catechism teachers informed my mother I hadn't been to class in several weeks. My mom confronted me, at which point I told her I would never again be attending a class, I didn't believe in the whole crazy scheme and it wasn't working for me. My brother was 14 at the time and creating far more havoc than my wee religious rebellion. Picking her battles, my mom decided to let me take gymnastics instead.

I sort of assumed Cass was in the Confirmation thing for a new dress and some gifts. This week she has surprised me with the depth of her consideration regarding this step. While shopping the other day she talked about "Her Friend the Nun" who had been visiting with the class in preparation for the big day. I expected an eye roll followed by a tirade about how lame the nun was. No. Red Sister adored the God Sister! In fact, Cass went on to explain, in great detail, this nun's liberal views of Catholicism and how it applied to modern day life. I was floored by Cass' exuberance and perhaps a bit scandalized by her devotion to it. We had an Adam/Eve discussion about free will vs logic. I offered up that even if there was a pair of scantily clothed folks named such maybe they had simply evolved enough from the fight/flight status to reach emotions, but  fucked it up purely because it was all so new. To this I did get an eye roll. It went on, her giving testimony and me shooting it down with my lack of faith.

When I sent Cass to Catholic school it had nothing to do with religion on my part, much to my mother's sadness. It was a good fit for Cass and that was that. Now I find something has taken root in her, something she appears to cherish. It has prompted me to spew my liberal views tenfold, testing where her other beliefs stand. So far my half-assed mothering is successful, I don't have a young republican on my hands...yet. For that I think the Mother of the Year statue should defintiely be mine: I'll be turning out a faith holding liberal with a healthy side of aggression both at work and at play. Oh look, it's all about me once again.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Under Pressure

This spring has been brutal in terms of many things. To begin, the weather here has sucked in a huge way. True, the Colorado Rockies don't get tornados or tsunamis or earthquakes so as far natural disasters go I guess I shouldn't bitch too loud. But neither are our springs what one would call delicate; we don't bloom from one season to another. Nay, the bulk of the snow melts and then Mother Nature holds on to cold, gray and more cold for as long as she bitchily sees fit.

Where I'm going with this is: all this crazy weather means huge barametric pressure shifts, which if you're a migranie sufferer means pain. Big pain. Ongoing pain. Work-stopping pain. The kind of pain that makes one want to scream and rant at everybody that there's a bomb exploding in my head, goddammit and thank you very much.

Migraines a funny, not in a ha-ha way but in an odd way. They are, literally, all in your head. They don't have the weight of a broken limb or the glamor of a stroke. If you get them, you understand. If you don't, you find the person who does get them to be an enormous pain in the ass. There are times when I can go for a couple of months without one. Then there are times like now when my life nearly comes to a standstill because my head hurts so much, my arms are going numb and I can't see for all the black fuzzies in my eyes.

I know I can't blame it all on the weather, there is stress galore in my life right now. But to pick on The McStrokey would not be sporting, plus I don't have a bone to pick with him right now anyway. Shooting at his dad, whose body fills with more cancer everyday, is not lady-like -though sometimes I do it just for shits and giggles anyway. Then there are all those kids of mine with their daily demands of dinner and clean clothes. Whatever. All I know is that I hope the sun comes out soon, stays out and I can again move my head without wanting to scoop out the innards and toss them in the compost bin.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Henry

I have never met the Granju family but there is something about Henry's story that has gripped me like few other things have. Perhaps it is because Loren is a similar age to Henry. Maybe it's because I can indentify with a mom having a baby at a yong age and then the experiences of being so young with a child. Or possibly because Henry was an artist much as Loren is. Whatever the case may be, since I first read about Henry's death I find myself thinking about him on a daily basis. I think about his siblings and the void they must feel. I think about Katie's pain and the unthinkable hurt she faces every day. I think about Henry and how he must have been so worn out from addiction and wanting to get clean.

Addiction is such a cruel foe. We know it well in our family. It tears everybody apart.

Below is a clip Henry's family has put together. The song and pictures are absoultely beautiful. My love and hope goes out to Henry's family that the people who hurt Henry will be brought to justice.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jesus Juice

It's no secret that I'm socially stunted. I like company, but the effort of interacting especially with other parents I don't particularly know scares the crap out of me. The occasions most always leave me feeling exposed and vulnerable and in need of cover. Whatever. We all have our issues.

Last night Cassidy's class had a BBQ at one of the children's homes. I dreaded this most of the day and made up various scenarios in which I could avoid the dinner and hide in my room where I could talk to my hands and pretend they were actual people. Unfortunately most of my visions involved the emergency room or me quietly sneaking away to the desert, neither option had good outcomes because the ER would involve blood and bills and the desert required packing and sleeping in the sand. So the end of the day came, I collected Devon from a play date and off we went, Devon covered in playground dirt and me completely unmedicated in any form.

Here I'm going to mention that Catholic school was not always Cass' academic path. When she was younger both Cass and Loren attended a Waldorf school. It was lovely, time intensive and social occasions were rather strict, by this I mean the menus were exclusively, militantly organic and there was no alcohol at them.

When I walked into the house last night I was expecting something along the same lines and dreading it because I don't know any of the parents of Cassidy's peers. In fact I've made no effort whatsoever to know them and I was unmedicated, i.e, no Ativan because for some reason I'm trying to experience life without it and get a grip on my anxieties. As I walked up the sidewalk I saw that most of the other eight sets of married parents were carrying totes filled with wine bottles and six packs of micro brews. Huh. When I arrived in the kitchen the first thing the hostess did was stick a wine glass in my hand and offer me white or red, or something harder if I so desired. She saw me hesitate and said, "You're new here, not to worry. Enjoy!" Later as we sat around the table for chat and chew I told The Other Moms my earlier exposure to Waldorf dinners, their mouths fell open and they shook their heads in horror. One of them said, "Honey, we're Catholic. Wine is how we roll." I wanted to reply, "Praise Jesus! I am home!" Thinking better of it I raised my glass for a toast. I'm not sure I'll ever be a team player in terms of TOM's, but I might be able to hang with this crowd if it involves wine.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Striaght to hell

A couple of days ago I tried to take the high road regarding my feelings about my ex-in-laws. Well, perhaps not so high because were I to be truly gracious or noble about the whole thing I would just shut the hell up and turn the other cheek. Today I’m not feeling either of those, in fact my if I possessed the energy I would muster up something of a rage at the pair of them.

Yesterday Matt returned to Provo for what he has assured me will be the last extended stay with his parents. On May 9, Jen will be flying back to Missouri with both parents and then helping them to get situated in an assisted living facility. She clearly is footing the noble shoe in this case and to her I give a salute. Me? I can’t wait for them to board that plane and go two states away because I’m a bitch that way.

I’d be happy to leave it at that were it not for the fact that this last stint is simply so hard on all of us. Last night I picked Cass up from a movie and sensed some teen angst coming off her. When prodded she burst into tears, real tears not the drama ones she sometimes uses to get something shiny.

The tears escalated to sobs, in between which she said: “Mommy, I’m so worried about Dad.”

Me: I know babe. Me too.

Cass: No. You don’t understand. I’m so afraid he’ll die. He had that stroke and he’s so tired from going to Utah and they don’t understand that. They’re going to use him all up and he could die any day.

These are the exact same thoughts I’ve had rattling around in my brain for the past few months. I was startled by our similar thoughts and heartbroken that under her tough shell of badassedness Cassidy has been harboring this fear.

Me: Honey, this is his last trip. You’re right, he is super tired and that is why he took the train out this time. He is really trying to take care of himself.

Cass: Yes, but if he dies our family will be more broken and then you’ll get depressed again and I might lose you too. Then Mia will raise us and Devon will end up freakier than ever.

Here I paused because as a parent it is always fascinating to hear just how much your children understand what’s happening underneath all the day to day grind. And which depression was she thinking about? The one after Devon was born? After my dad died?

As if reading my mind she said: The time when you went to bed for a year after Pop died. That was awful.

Me: Cass, I can’t promise you anything I can’t deliver, but here are my hopes…. Your dad is coming home in about two weeks. Then he will be going to Denver to meet with specialists about his condition. He has being seeing doctors here when he is home, but we’re going to get an in depth look at his issues. Then we are going to work on all of us moving in together in the next few months. Yes, our family is somewhat broken but we are working on that as well. This too shall pass. As for me getting blue again, I work on that everyday and I’ll try to prevent us from ever having that happen again in the way it did.

I can deal with many things but nobody puts my baby in a corner. This Utah thing has gone on long enough and the folks at the other end of it are just too damn self-absorbed to understand the ramifications of their demands. My kids are a mess. I'm worn out -seriously worn out, not just bitching worn out. Yes, I totally get a man has cancer and a woman is suffering from dementia but neither of them are doing it with any grace or flair and it's pissing me off. There you go, now my ticket to hell is a gaurantee.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My head smells like a hippie's ass. And not in a good way either.

Early onset grayness runs deep on my mother's side of the family. My uncle Mark was entirely white by the time he was 27, my mother was gray by 30. For my uncle it was the stunning sort of silver beauty only men seem to get with gray hair, as a small girl in the 70's I remember his amazing afro coupled with piercing blue eyes. I also recall a large assortment of women in his company. My mother took the route of frosting, dying and tinting her hair until the late 90's when she let it go and it became a gorgeous silver bob that still sits upon her head today.

I was sitting in a figure drawing class when I got my first gray hair. I was 18 and more than horrified to realize I was a recipient of the family curse. Were I blonde it might not be so bad, but dark haired and young it was not a welcome find for me. Since then I have been coloring my hair on a far too regular basis, and lately it's been taking a toll on my hair. In all fairness I have to say it isn't just the harsh store bought hair coloring kits, after Devon was born I had a tubal ligation -because I believed my contribution of three spawn to this earth was more than sufficient, if not overly so. Since that procedure my body has kicked into to peri-menopause and things just aren't quite the same. First there was that wheat thing where I itched for two years straight. There has been weight gain. And my skin and hair are aging at an alarming rate. Not really a great plate of fun but at least I can't get knocked up ever again. So suffice it to say my hair has been an issue for me lately, among so many issues....

I have contemplated whacking it all off, sort of a la angry, power woman pixie style, I totally would if I had the face to carry it off. I'd pretty much buzz it, stop coloring it and get a diamond stud for my nose. Sadly that sort of carefree look isn't for me. Though perhaps if I were to get a full facial reconstruction....probably not practical. So I have recently been considering henna. Why not? It's natural, seems harmless enough.

Yesterday I went to Vitamin Cottage, picked out a couple of brownish/reddish packets and took them home. After I put Devon to bed I figured I'd mix them up, slap the color on and let nature's goodness pamper me with the color my hair ought to be rather than the old lady hag color it wants to be. Not to be. First there is boiling of water to be done, though NOT in a metal container, then the goop is mixed and it has to cure for up to three hours. The mixture stank like a rank combo of skunk and ass, basic hippie scent if one were to ask me. After an hour I started putting the stuff in my hair, it was both the color and consistency of green baby poo. I was super tired at this point so I gloved up and started coating my head in liquid ass. SO GROSS. Really. Occasionally some would fall on the floor and I had flashbacks to my children potty training and not quite making it to the toilet. After an hour of having ten pounds of clay on my head and heating it every five minutes or so I stepped into the shower to rinse it out. Again, not so simple. It had hardened in some places, flaking off in big gritty poo chunks.

By the time I was finished I was out of energy and truly considering shaving the whole damn mess. Instead I wrapped my head in a towel and went to say goodnight to Cassidy. As I tucked her in she wrinkled her pretty nose and said, "Ew, Mommy, your head smells like ass." Yes, she's my tender one.

This morning things are better. My head still stinks but the color isn't too bizarre. We'll just have to see if it holds for longer than the store bought dyes. If so I might be able to endure a bit off hippie stank every six weeks in return for non-hag hair.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blue

I'm just going to preface this with the fact that I know I'm fairly vile, and if such a place exists I will be heading straight to hell as soon as my cells stop moving. It's okay, I'm cool with it. And yes, I know bashing on a dying man is pretty much a no-no, but I'll try to be soft about it.

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There's a song by the Fine Young Cannibals containing some lyrics that go something like this: Blah, blah and I'm mad about that. Another blah, blah, and I'm mad about that. If memory serves the singer is pretty much just blowing off steam about all the things that piss him off on a daily basis. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly bratty I'll start singing that song in my head but add things like: My panties don't fit and I'm mad about that. I hate sitting in my cubicle and I'm mad about that, too.

Lately I find myself singing this song when I think about my ex-in-laws. (This is where my horrid nature comes in to the equation.) There are so many directions to go here, but I'll stick with the selfish one and make it all about me. I know there are some people who love their in-laws, good for you and congratulations you are worthy individuals. In the best of times I was never open-my-heart close to Pat and Tom, but we were always civil, well at least until I somehow got on Pat's Permanent Shit List and when she occasionally saw me there were always comments about the unfortunate length of my poofy hair or my weight gain. Whatever, I didn't want to grow up to be her so I figured I would mostly ignore it and strive to not be her. I could also go on about my almost phobic aversion to her, but I won't, I'll save that bitch card in my pocket for later.

So anyway, my frustration comes into play somewhere around here: Matt and I are getting back on track, we're excited about the future, a household consolidation, etc. All super good stuff in my book. But. Dude keeps getting uprooted every few weeks because he has to go back to Utah to care for his dad and babysit the train wreck that unfolds on a daily basis at Pat's nursing home. I'm not saying I'm not grateful for the few weeks he is home because that means Jen is out in Utah, away from her kids and man doing the same. For the record Jen has been Queen Conductor of the Pat Train for the past few weeks and her stint at her own home is beyond warranted.

So I should be happy? Yes. And mostly I am, but I'm really quite pissed in some ways. One, the little detail of that stroke Matt had last November. One doesn't usually just willy nilly have a stroke at 39, get diagnosed with a degenerative vascular disorder and then bounce right back into an active lifestyle. There are appointments with specialists and oodles of follow up care. That should be understood, however when your doctors are in Denver and you are 500 miles away in Utah the care doesn't happen, especially when the person you are caring for doesn't seem to grasp this -or in my Book of Bitch interpretation-  care. Again, my selfishness jumps back in because if Matt's own health is somewhat precarious and his father uses up all this time that should obviously be spent with me? I'm gonna be pissed.

Two. The kids miss their dad. Devon's little heart breaks every time his dad leaves town. He curls up in my bed with me at night and we count the days until his father will be back. When Matt does come back to town Devon spends nearly every moment he can with his dad. The older two miss Matt as well, they just lack the pitiful drama of Dev.

Three. I have three children, none of them drive, we live in a rural area, gas is crazy expensive right now. Just the logistics of transporting them all, even with my mother, is such a challenge. It's hard for me to even get 40 hours in a week at work because of the schedules.

There is more. I could get personal thereby ensuring my place in hell will not be a glamorous one, but I'll try to keep this clean. However,  I will say this, if our new Glee karaoke had the FYC's Blue on it I'd totally have fantasies of driving out to Utah, standing in the ex-in-law's living room and belting out a few lines. They wouldn't get it but it sounds fully therapeutic.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Divine Thing

My Dearest Red,

Lordy, lordy but today you are 14! Fourteen. Four plus ten. Obviously I am somewhat flummoxed by this fact. Truly,  it seems as recently as yesterday I was enduring the end of my pregnancy with you, trying to keep what little sanity I had, and getting ready to have a baby girl. It feels nearly impossible all this time has flown by and now you are taller than me. In fact you are many things -er than me: smarter, cleverer, patienter, slyer, prettier....I know not all of those are real words, but they are all true.

I know lately things have been challenging for you. Eighth grade is not the kindest of years and the children not always at their top form. You , being tall, willowy thin and graced with deep red hair, strong brown eyes and freckles don't look like most of the girls your age. I get it that at this age those attributes might not seem as such, but one day in the not too distant future you are going to wake up and be the most beautiful of swans the earth has witnessed in recent history. For me you always have been that swan, for you to see her it might take some time. My hope for you is that you understand this and can ride out these years where sometimes boys are mean and have nothing better to offer than their observations of your unusual hair color. And sometimes girls are mean just to be mean. But it will pass, I promise you.

This has been a challenging year for our family. Your father's stroke was such a shock. Then having him be gone for the last four months in Utah has been a strain. I know the drama of your older brother getting through his last year of high school is sometimes draining. Then there is day to day life with your little brother. Not to mention the fact that you were really quite ill most of the winter. Yet you have sucked up your guts and plundered on, getting stellar grades, kicking some serious butt on the soccer field and maintaining your amazing sense of humor.

Cass, you are my only girl, the sandwich child in between two needy boys. You're my self-sufficient one and so I sometimes over look your needs in order to put out fires with your brothers. I do this because I know you're taking care of business, it's not fair to you but sometimes that's just how it works. I'm sorry. I'll try to be more focused.

I love the times we share together, especially when it's just the two of us. Your sly observations never cease to crack me up, you are so much like your father this way. Your verbal combat abilities are also stunning, never is there a dull moment with you.

Red Sister, I love the child you were, the young lady you are evolving into and the woman I can see one day becoming. You are and will continue to be strong, smart, kind, gracious, funny, humble and absolutely beautiful inside and out. I can't wait to see it all unfold for you.

I think I can speak for your father here when I say we are so blessed to have you in our lives. You are Briar Rose, Red Sister, Cassula, Fifi. You are my Cassidy Jane and truly the most divine creature I have ever met. Happy birthday, my love. Go forth and kick ass today just as you have done every single other day of your life, it is your destiny.

I love you  ~Mom

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A secret on Thursday

I have a secret love, almost fetish, for aprons. I don't own a single one, usually when I cook I just tuck an old washcloth in the waist of my pants and call it good. But from time to time when I need a little pick me up I'll go on Etsy and ogle the aprons.

This following one is very sexy in an I Love Lucy/Marilyn way.


This one is beyond cutey fab! The polka dots make me feel bubbly.



I love the functionality of this half apron, plus the retro greens are uber hip.


Okay then, I feel much better now. Deep in my psyche I now believe I have ordered all of these and they will be arriving on my doorstep early next week. I didn't and they won't, but a girl can dream. And in those dreams I don one of the above, whip up gluten-free appetizers for my arriving guests who are as equally easy-breezy in their attire as I am. We sip bubbly drinks, snack on finger foods and everybody admires my amazing domestic style and skilzzz. I'm very grounded, thank you.