Monday, April 29, 2013

Duck Pond

During my time of avoidance we celebrated my mother's birthday. I was dreading it.

I love my mother more than I ever knew and I hate being reminded how much I miss her. It's this pain that is completely indescribable. It hurts Iike no other pain. It engulfs me in such sadness I'm left sobbing and shaking at everything that should have been and everything that isn't.

Unlike June 9th, April 20th isn't supposed to be a sorrow filled day. By its very definition, a birth day is always a celebration. That's where I struggle. I have an internal battle with my emotions, trying to be happy for the life my mom lived, celebrating her, keeping her day alive for my daughter, all the while I'm drowning in sorrow.

Somehow I managed. I'm quite sure my mom was proud of me. I had my moments, the night before her birthday and the night of, alone in my house drowning in my tears, unable to stop. But, I managed to keep the depressing feelings at bay during her day. My mother was the eternal family motivator/organizer. She kept us together and connected. I try really hard to keep that alive, though I'm often met with resistance from family members, I still try for Alice. This year I made arrangements for my sisters and our families to go to brunch together and visit a duck pond afterwards. In all honesty, it was nice. Alice picked out a balloon to take to the restaurant for her and her cousin, because no birthday celebration is complete without a balloon. It was my way of reminding Alice and my niece why we were gathering together, why this day was so special. The girls had a good time playing together, at brunch and at the duck pond.

Something happened at the duck pond. At the time I didn't think anything of it, only afterwards when I was reviewing the pictures I took did it hit me. When we ran out of bread to feed the ducks, the girls took to playing and climbing on the trees, and of course we started taking pictures. Sitting on the couch, looking at the pictures, it reminded me of being a child. My mom was never without her camera, and I remember this one photo shoot she did of us climbing trees. Now, my mom was far more overbearing, forcing us into bizarre poses and positions, often resulting in grumpy frowns. But that day, taking pictures of Alice and my niece in the tree, I got it. I got why my mom did what she did at that photo shoot. It's just what moms do. We love our babies so much we want to freeze every moment, never to be forgotten. If there was one thing I never doubted growing up, it was my mother's love for me. And I make it my mission every singe day of my life to show Alice how much I love her. I don't want a single day to go by where she doubts it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

My True Love

It's Friday and I'm feeling ├╝ber grateful to my bestest best friend in the whole wide world. I would like to dedicate today to...Amazon.

Two days ago my tub was clogged. I had been showering in two inches of my own filth, and the filth of every other member of my house. So freakin gross. There really is not much as gross as standing in soap and grime and hair and feeling it all swirl around you as you attempt to bathe. The solution was obvious, drain cleaner. But obvious and easy are not one in the same. Unless I'm intending to buy Alice a toy, I despise taking the kids to Target. It's a meltdown waiting to happen. I spend too much money, it takes too long, there's entirely too much whine (and not nearly enough wine) and in the end I'm exhausted and usually forgot the one item I drove to Target for in the first place. And then, standing in pubes (not my own, I have you know) I had an aha moment.

Amazon.com

I love amazon and buy an outlandish number of items from there every year. Birthday presents, applesauce, mason jars...you name it, I've likely bought it on Amazon. But sometimes it takes me a few days or weeks to remember the magical Mecca Amazon really is. Sometimes I get in my car and drive from store to store looking for a specific item before my moment of enlightenment....Amazon. Why waste gas and precious time when I can buy leather cleaner in my pajamas? Amazon delivers to me for free. FOR FREE PEOPLE. With gas at $3.50 a gallon, do you know how much it costs me to drive the forty minute round trip to target? And I have to get dressed and make children behave like they have a brain. Amazon loves me so much they will bring me my things for free. It's a no-brainer.

But, in case you aren't yet sold on the wonders of Amazon, there are the reviews. Hundreds and thousands of reviews. Why would I blindly buy a shower curtain liner from Target when I can read 503 people's opinion of one specific liner on Amazon? Literally 503 people took the time to post a review about a shower curtain liner. And let me tell you, they were right. So far the liner kind of kicks ass. Honestly, I'm addicted to reviews. I hardly buy a thing without reading a handful first. I want to know what I'm in for. If the thermos leaks after a month or so, I wanna know. No surprises.

I present to you my list of top ten life changing items I've purchased on Amazon. Without Amazon, I would have had to drive to actual brick and mortar stores to purchase these items. Some items I didn't even know I needed. Others I didn't know existed until I started reading reviews. In most cases I paid far less, and in all cases it was easy. One item may have even saved me from killing Hatta.

  1. Ceiling fan light bulb
  2. Drain cleaner
  3. Glass straws
  4. iPhone case
  5. Nivea hand cream
  6. Wireless router
  7. Breville juicer
  8. French press
  9. Bona wood floor cleaner
  10. Nivea kiss of smoothness lip care

My love for Amazon is growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, I'm expecting a date with the UPS man later this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow, too.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Balloon String

What can I say about my sweet Ellie girl. She was my true first girl.

She was one itty bitty kitten in a litter of five, born in the high temperatures of August. Ellie was a barn kitty. Her feral mother, young and inexperienced, kept her kittens tucked between bales of hay in the barn loft, away from human contact. Little did she know, her poor babies couldn't handle the heat or the fleas. On several occasions I moved the litter away from the tightly stacked bails of hay to a location in the loft where the air could flow, hoping Mama would adjust to the new location. No such luck, she always carried them back. Slowly but surely the kittens were dying, and left hopeless to nature I could merely watch. One by one, three kittens died, and I could no longer sit back and allow nature to run its course. I pleaded with my father to allow me to rescue the last two kittens from imminent death. On our farm cats were meant to stay outside, but I made my case anyway. I begged him to allow me to keep the kittens in my room. I reasoned, it would only be a month and then I would take them with me when I moved out. I left him little choice.

I became the proud new owner of two feral kittens, Ellie and Moo. Not at all appreciative, they wanted nothing to do with me. They lived under my bed, in the very center where my arms could not reach. As they grew, still very fearful of humans, they woud occasionally dart after my feet as I walked past the bed or as I dangled my legs over the edge. That was all the contact they wanted.

As time past, they came to accept me as their own. They grew to love me. One more than the other. There was just something about Ellie I was drawn to. I'm quite positive if she had been a person, we would have been great friends. The kind of friend you can share anything with and know you won't be judged. We would have drank tequila together. But instead, she was a cat. She had this aloof quality I always admired, as opposed to her brother who is and always has been so in your face needy. Ellie was best friends with my childhood dog, a black lab. They spent many hours of life together curled up on the dog bed, cleaning each other. It was the type of friendship cheesy Hollywood movies with talking animals are made of. They followed each other around the apartment and genuinely played together.

I sit here and think about the life Ellie lived, she was dealt a rough hand but you never would have known it. She was tough. She lived through a lot with me. In my current life, those two kittens were here before anything else. Before I was a wife or a mom or a homeowner. They were there before college, before responsibilities, when life was so simple. Together, Ellie and Moo began this journey of adulthood with me. We grew together. They were crazy kittens, destroying my apartment, while I was partying without a care in the world. Their wildness settled down right in line with my own. And now the duo has been split up.

Ellie had a fondness for balloon string and anything in that same family of string. I think fondness is an understatement, addiction is more accurate. She was hooked, she could sense its presence, she could smell it. She ate so much balloon string I was convinced it would be the death of her. Obviously I was wrong. Like most kids, Alice loves balloons. The placement of balloons was a constant concern in our house. The weighted string couldn't be on the coffee table or a side table, oh no, they had to be way up high. More occasions than I can recall we'd awake in the morning to a balloon floating on the ceiling with only a few inches of string attached. One day she discovered Alice's bike streamers and went to town. After that the bike was added to our list of things not to be left in Ellie's reach. This past Saturday we arrived home from brunch, Alice carrying a balloon in honor of my mother's birthday. And that sad moment occurred...I will never have to worry about balloons and their strings again. Ellie is missed dearly by every member of my house. But on the bright side, if there is one, my mom gained one more pet in heaven.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Oath

I haven't been writing. More accurately I've been avoiding writing. Even more honest, I've been avoiding processing and dealing with difficult events in my life. If I don't write about them, I am only forced to address them as much as life requires. If I don't write, I don't have to swim in my feelings. I can just go on.

The problem with this logic, I can't seem to go on. I can't just skip over them and write as if they didn't occur. To do so feels as if I'm lying.

Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I will tell the whole truth. On the 8th, I had to take Ellie to the vet to be euthanized. My mother's birthday was this past Saturday. I haven't had the words or the energy to write about either. But both deserve a proper post. I will give them this much. I will tell their story in their own separate posts. I do solemnly swear.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Juicing

I'm juicing. Not like Lance Armstrong or anything. Fruits and Vegetables. Today is day three of nothing but juice, herbal tea, and water. And I freakin want a triscuit so bad I can taste it. Ooh, I wish I could taste it. Last night I asked Hattta if he thought if would be cheating if I just licked the cracker. Mmm, salt. I also want black olives. Every damn time I open the fridge I see them, so pretty in the jar. I wanna drizzle olive oil on 'em and sprinkle with oregano. The weather has been beautiful lately, yesterday nearly 90 degrees, today should definitely reach it. I love sitting on the back deck with a homemade margarita, maybe muddle some cucumber in it. I want to walk down to the Avenue and sit outside any of the restaurants and drink and eat and celebrate spring's arrival. But I can't.

I've committed myself to this and I'm seeing it through. I have a tendency to start strong and never finish. The bag of yarn and knitting needles staring at me on the hutch is proof. I took a knitting class last summer, learned how and never knitted a thing. I had grand plans to knit Alice a doll hat and a matching hat for her, I don't even know if I'm on the second row. I will finish this. Before I started, I decided I would do a seven day juice fast. Then I upped it to ten days, and now that I'm in it full swing, I'm saying I can't stop until five days. After five days I will assess the situation and make a decision. Five days of nothing but juice will make me proud of myself.

I've been told by the countless success stories I've read, day three is the sweet spot. Some have used words like euphoria, clear headed, and even high as a kite. Fingers crossed on that one. Right now, I feel nothing other than a headache. Caffeine withdrawal is a bitch, and I had gradually weened myself down before I started the fast. I'm just waiting, any moment I'm going to feel amaaazing I just know it. I'm going to wake before Alice, feeling rested with a sparkle in my eyes. I'll have a new spring in my step, a new thirst for life. I dunno. Maybe I have to do the thirty day fast for that one.

At the present moment, I'm drinking a glass of one pear, one beet, two inches of ginger, and a quarter of a pineapple. To be honest, it's not my favorite juice so far, but it's better than the V28 recipe I made yesterday, that juice sucked. Do you guys eat beets? I never had prior to this, and I guess technically I'm still not eating them. Anyway. Beets make bathroom time rather interesting. Give it a try if you haven't. Thanks to the fast I'm familiarizing myself with the entire produce section of the market. I'm buying things I never knew existed. And even if I never enter the euphoric state, that in and of itself is a huge benefit.

When the fast is over, I intend to continue juicing. I will incorporate juice into my life while eating fruits, vegetables, and nuts and smaller portions of meat and dairy. I will eat healthier. I will still indulge in unhealthy eating every now and then, life is meant to be lived well after all. But, a diet of junk is not a life well lived.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rubbermaid Containers

Can I share with you my most hated aspect of parenting? The clothes. The endless buying and washing and outgrowing and changing seasons, over and over again and again. I despise the entire process.

For starters, I am the only one in charge of the clothes. I guess the day Alice was conceived, Hatta and I signed an invisible contract stating that I would oversee all things clothing. I would be in charge of ensuring our baby had warm clothing in the winter and bathing suits in the summer...every single year for the rest of her childhood. Easter dresses and Christmas tights, all on me, and do be sure you buy during a sale. I suppose I should just shut up and be thankful that we can afford to buy Alice clothing, first world problem I know. Still, it's exhausting.

Please, someone, explain to me why I'm the only one to notice when her pants become capris? Which presents another aspect of this problem, what to do with the outgrown clothing. Not only is it my responsibility to purchase new size 5 leggings in the middle of the season (hmm, does Hatta even know what size Alice wears?) I have to sort and box up the size 4 leggings that are no longer an acceptable length. Every season it's a juggling act to comb through boxes of hand-me-downs, pull out the appropriate clothing for the season and box up everything else. This all translates to piles of outgrown clothing stacked up in various places as the season starts winding down. And please repeat this process every single freakin season for years and years and years.

Four times a year, it's the same, survey the clothing, force Alice to try on clothing, sort through hand-me-downs, force Alice to try on more clothing, wash everything, buy new clothing to fill the gaps in the wardrobe, wash more clothing, remove old clothing from drawers, stack around the room, wonder where in the hell you are going to stack yet another large Rubbermaid container in the basement, cry tears into your tequila, repeat over and over again.

I do apologize for this rant, I suppose I'm just a touch bitter after four and a half years of the same and with another season change barreling down upon me I'm feeling the blood boiling inside at the upcoming task. My mind is already in spring clothing mode, with preparations for summer being made when sales arise. The only comfort is knowing I'm not alone. All of my girlfriends with children are also solely responsible for the children's clothing too. Maybe I should coordinate a strike, instead.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Not Fat or Sick or Nearly Dead

I'm about to disclose something that may change your perception of me forever. A week ago I bought a juicer. Please, please don't run away. It's still me. I love you, you love me...remember? I was desperate.

Remember the weight gain and the endless eating of Doritos? I needed to fix the problem drastically. I tried the normal approach, the calorie counting. For two weeks I kept track of my calories and nearly every evening I would bust my daily allowance. I was failing and there's no better way to reward myself than with more Doritos. And beer. Good beer. Relying on my good judgement wasn't working. Maybe I don't have good judgement? Maybe that's the root of the problem.

I needed drastic changes. If I couldn't be trusted to eat good food, maybe I could drink good food...and for the first time I'm not talking beer, wine, or vodka. Enter Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Now, I know I'm neither fat, sick, nor nearly dead...at least I hope not. Though I suppose I could find myself nearly dead in a car accident this afternoon or from the sting of a colony of bees on my next trip to the park, but that's neither here nor there. At the present I am not nearly dead. I would like to be healthier. I would like to crave fruits and vegetables instead of juicy cheesteaks and ramen noodles. So, with the encouragement of a close friend I have been juicing for a week now. And it's been good.

For a week I have not eaten breakfast or lunch, I have drank it. I'm buying produce I have never touched before, like Swiss chard. I was the freak at the zoo picnic table drinking green juice for lunch while everyone else ate like normal human beings. Surprisingly, I like the green juice. I think it actually tastes good. I've also been making juice for Hatta to take to work, at his request. A co-worker said it best when she compared his lunch to pond water.

Brace yourself for the best part...next week I'm starting a ten day juice fast. Ten days with no food to chew, no coffee to drink and no alcohol to celebrate with at the end of a stressful day. Ten whole days of juice, water, and herbal tea. Stay tuned to hear how happy I am, how much energy I have, and about all the pounds I've shed. But even more important stay tuned to days 1-3 when I'm irritable and hurting while detoxing from my coffee addiction, when I rip some unsuspecting person's face off for daring to speak when I'm starving and bitter for agreeing to fast. It ought to be a good time had by all. I imagine by the end of day ten, I'll be willing to lick the goldfish crumbs off Alice's face, shit I imagine I'll lick them off the floor.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Eating Bon Bons

I can't write today. I mean, I get this is technically writing, but it's not a solid story. It's my excuse. I am typing letters to form words to explain away why I can't write something compelling today.

I am addicted to The Young and the Restless.

There, it's out for the world to judge me based on my daytime tv guilty pleasure. I have been watching Y&R for as long as I can remember. I recall at daycare listening to the show when I was supposed to be napping. I learned all I need to know about life from the Newman's and Abbott's. I remember when Nicholas was just a baby and Victoria was sent away to boarding school, Christine was Cricket and Don Diamont was Brad Carlton not "Dollar Bill" Spencer.

But the thing is, I suppose I am not a true addict. Sadly, I function on a regular basis without my Y&R fix. I do not have TiVo or DVR or some other technological advancement in tv recording. So, if I'm not home with kids already napping between the hours of 12:30-1:30 I'm screwed. Occasionally I catch the last fifteen minutes, but most of the time I'm left with the shakes because I don't know if Adam is out of the comma yet. To combat the twitchiness I seek out episodes online. I will not admit how many hours of my life I have wasted searching YouTube for Young and the Restless videos. For awhile, it was easy. I could go to my usual YouTube subscription and watch grainy full length episodes. Then Sony started effing with us. From the chatter, I gathered they didn't want users posting their content on YouTube for addicts like myself to watch for free. Son of a bitch, they made me getting my dose ridiculously hard. I had to search and search and follow users because they followed an account that posted an episode yesterday which Sony removed within an hour all in hopes of being led to the next dealer, I mean poster. Then, I started settling for clips of episodes, just enough of a high to get me by. I suppose the day I watched clips of six year old episodes was the day I staged an intervention for myself. It had gone too far and I knew it. Without cable or DVR or a working PC, I was not going to be able to watch my soap opera. I quit cold turkey and never looked back. Until I heard the promotion on CBS for a brand new IPad App.

Now I can watch day old episodes anytime I want. Any. Time. I. Want. Which brings me back to my point. I can't write today because I have to watch Young and the Restless. I am many months behind and I must catch up. I'm like an addict who just moved in with their dealer. I'll resurface in a few days, don't worry.