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.



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.