Saturday, 14 December 2013

Things I almost blogged about since the last time I blogged

Yeah, that's right, things I almost said but didn't....
  1. Sometimes when I am doing yoga stretches in the living room floor I think Izzie is trying to do them with me. Then I realize the ungrateful mutt just wants me to scratch her belly.
  2. I kept finding scratches on my legs and couldn’t think of how in the world they got there. Then I was like, oh yeah, I have a cat.
  3. My world is really small right now. Most of the time that’s perfect for me….sometimes it pisses me off and I feel like I’ve somehow lost value in my friendships because I stay home now.
  4. I love my children. I do not like being cooped up with them in an ice storm and no way out.
  5. When animals have gas it’s far worse than anything that could come out of a human butt. If you don’t believe me, I will loan you Sky or Ninja for 24 hours.
  6. I am not from the UK…sometimes I wish I were though. Then I could say things like “arse” and “bloody” and “bangers and mash” without sounding stupid. Or, maybe I could just call someone a wanker. That would be immensely satisfying.
  7. I’m a really good cook. However, other than cornbread, pecan pie with maple whiskey cream sauce, and gumbo, I cannot duplicate anything I make to the exact specifications of the previous time I made it. However, it is always really, really good.
  8. I created a twitter account thinking I would figure out what’s so great about it. I’ll let you know when I find the answer…
  9. The cute little beagle mix from down the street is named Patches. She has figured out that if she comes and scratches at my door I will let Sky out to play with her. She’s also figured out that if it’s raining I will feel sorry for her, and let her in, and dry her off, and give her a place to warm up a bit, and probably a dog treat….. I’m kind of a sucker like that. Just ask the cat.
  10. I still play the sims. Sometimes, if you irritate me, I will make a sim that looks just like you and let it get struck by lightning… repeatedly. Really…
  11. I have a list of things I’d love to tell women in their twenties about men and relationships. However, it wouldn’t do any good, so I won’t.  Just know I think you’re all stupid about the whole bloody thing.
  12. Sometimes standing up for what you think is right means standing alone. I’m ok with that.
  13. I have not smoked more than 1 or 2 cigarettes a day for weeks. I’ll let you know when I figure out what’s holding me back from dropping those 1 or 2. Probably pure stubbornness though. I can be kinda twisted like that.
  14. I’m kinda tickled that I used “bloody” in #11 and it didn’t sound stupid. I even did a little happy dance and said, “Woot!”
  15. And the best for last….I did not take my Christmas tree down last year. Yes, you read that right. It’s been up all year. Initially, this was because my husband had rearranged the storage room and, like a goofball, he put the Christmas boxes in the back of the room where no one could get to them. By the time he got in there and arranged the room again it was spring, and the tree is pretty, and why bother taking it down just to put it back up in a couple of months? We’ve even been putting gifts for J under the tree all year. Way to torture a 12 yr old, huh?

Saturday, 14 September 2013

A little Hello...

One would think that with all this free time on my hands lately I would've found time to blog more.  Mostly, I'm just trying to get a routine established. I also have significantly limited my time on the computer. After all, the hours of sitting in a desk chair, and what it did for the pain levels, were the very reason I stopped working.

I had an MRI done shortly before I quit my job and finally got the results back. They found mild to moderate stenosis and some arthritis. For those not familiar with the term "stenosis", it is a narrowing of the joint space in the spine which, in turn, pinches the nerves in the spine.  This explains so much about the pain and numbness I've been experiencing. I see the rheumatologist in November, and am trying to find a new neurologist. Once that happens, I'll be able to figure out what the next step in the plan is to fix this.

I'm still on hiatus from Grace's story. But again, trying to stay off the computer.

I've had a lot more time to spend with "J", which I've really enjoyed.  I think it's been good for him, too. The dogs make me crazy, my husband is awesome, my dad is here and is a huge help when I don't feel my best, and I am now the proud owner of a cat named Ninja.

Ninja is the only pet in the house that is truly mine. She prefers me, naps with me, and is usually in my lap. We won't discuss the fact that I have a suspicion that I'm allergic to her. I just keep pretending it's not really happening. She's brought me a lot of joy.

I am also the proud owner of a kitchen aid stand mixer. I've spent many years coveting one. My dad bought it for me as a thank you for my part in helping him get moved. I still haven't used it, it's just too hot to bake. However, I can occasionally be found standing at the kitchen cabinet where it's stored, and muttering, "My precious..."  Not too much, but maybe just enough to make my family fear I might be Gollum's long lost cousin.

I'll try not to be so lax in my updates. I think I can handle sitting here long enough to make a couple posts a week.

Be back soon... :)

Friday, 9 August 2013

Gotta take the bad with the good...

So, I've mentioned recently on Facebook that there are big changes in my life. Really big changes....

As most of you know, I've struggled for quite some time with fibromyalgia and a couple of other pain causing conditions. Fibromyalgia has pretty much taken over my life. It wouldn't be so bad if I had some kind of pain management. But, I don't. I've had adverse reactions to all three FDA approved drugs prescribed for fibromyalgia pain. The only pain relief I've ever had has come from narcotic pain relievers. I absolutely refuse to get into a daily habit of taking them to manage the pain so, I just deal with it. Problem is, I'm not managing it well.

It seems lately that I miss more days at work than I manage to make it in. Mornings are the worst time for me. Despite taking a muscle relaxer twice a day, I am so cramped and stiff in the mornings that I can barely function. Generally, it's 10 or 11 o'clock before I'm as limber as I'm going to be for the day, and before I feel like I can finally pull myself together enough for a shower or put on a bra. Not to mention how many near misses I've had with falls in the mornings. It's kind of like walking on wet noodles. Not really effective.

I realize that my bra habits might be too much information; however, when you're toting around as much as I am in that area, it's a big deal.

All that being said, the difficult, life changing decision is that at the end of this month I will become a housewife/stay at home mom. There are a lot of sacrifices that come with this decision, and I won't bore you with all the details.

Overall, my close friends have been so supportive. They realize how much I need this time to take back control of my life and try to get healthy again. I'm reminded a lot lately of how special my friends are. I'm very selective when applying the word "friend" to any person in my life. I KNOW a lot of people, my friends I can pretty much count on one hand. So, thank you Sheryl, Sara, Julie, Penny, and Stephanie for your support, for understanding that even though I try not to complain, sometimes I just need to, and for being available to listen. I love you ladies.

That being said, let me also say that my husband is such a trooper. Once I finally decided to explain to him what was really going on, he wasted no time in understanding and supporting me. We made this decision together. He's taking on a lot by being the only bread winner in the house. But, we have a workable plan and we can do this. I have been truly blessed by having this man in my life. He's my lifeline.

So, now you know. There's the big, life changing decision. Hold a good thought for us because it's going to be an adventure.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Remembering teachers....

Have you ever stopped to think about what made your favorite teachers so great? In the past 24 hours I have.

While I remember most of my teachers, there are only a few that really stand out. This isn’t just because I liked them on some instinctive level. These were the teachers that I actually learned from, the ones who made the subjects they were teaching me interesting, the ones whom I can personally thank for my basic grammar and spelling skills.
1st Grade, Mrs. Thatcher – I’m sure I learned a lot from this lady. What I mostly know is that she hugged me – every day. She was kind, she was patient with a very stubborn and willful six year old who didn’t always deserve it, and she never made me feel inadequate. I’ve forgotten a lot of teachers through the years, but her kindness has always stuck with me.

7th Grade English, Mrs. Ragland – What an amazingly fun lady! She reminded me yesterday about Momma Comma, Papa Period, and Baby Semi-colon and I couldn’t help but smile a little. And, while I can’t recall how the songs went, I can use a comma (most of the time correctly), a period, and a semi-colon. She had this way of making any subject interesting, and is the one who helped me realize that putting my thoughts on paper was the best way to rid myself of all the clutter in my head.

The first day in class she handed out a worksheet. There were instructions that I pretty much ignored. I completed the first item, which was to put my name and the date on the worksheet. At item two I hesitated, it was some off the wall request to do something humiliating. I, being the shy type, and my first day in a new school filled with people I didn’t know, wasn’t about to do something so mortifying. So, I continued to read the items on the worksheet and each one was worse than the last. Finally, the last item on the test said to only complete item number one, which I had already done. In the meantime, there were people shouting silly things and walking around the room clucking like chickens.

Back to the instructions for the worksheet – they were, “Read the entire worksheet before you begin.” It was a test to gauge our ability to follow instructions.  Thank goodness I didn’t do something ridiculous.

I also remember that she paddled me once. I don’t remember why, but I’m sure I deserved it.

12th Grade English, Ms. Fulmer – Ms. Fulmer was a no-nonsense kind of gal. She didn’t coddle her students. She had expectations and you met them, or dealt with the consequences. However, she was also fun. She made Shakespeare interesting by making it relatable. She’d pull out all the thees, thous, and thines, and give you the dialogue in modern English so you really grasped the story.

Through 11 years of schooling I never grasped the concept of diagraming sentences, until her. She made it a point to keep every student in her class engaged for the full fifty minutes of her class. She just laughed and shook her head when David P. announced that he was going to be a gynecologist. I believe she loved her job and she loved seeing us learn. I also believe she regarded us each as individuals, respected our self-expression, and saw us as much more than the subjects of her job.

Keyboarding, Mrs. Rose – I don’t recall if it was 10th and 11th grade or 11th and 12th grade that I took her classes. She was not a favorite among students and I never understood this. I, for one, adored her.

This is a woman who kept a closet in her classroom stocked with unusual items. There were, among a few items, lipstick, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, peanut butter to get gum out of your hair, hairbrushes and combs, hairspray, and a multitude of other items you couldn’t even imagine.

She was fond of handouts that had nothing to do with the subjects she taught. In particular, I remember a day she was trying to remember what she did with a handout on STD’s. She walked around the room for ten minutes, scratching her head and muttering, “Sex, Sex, Sex. Now what did I do with that stack of handouts? Sex, sex, sex….”

How could one not love her? J

When on Facebook, I often feel proud in seeing what most of my former classmates post. Most of those that I attended high school with seem to have an above average grasp of spelling and grammar. Most of us can properly use a comma and know the difference between your and you’re. It’s because we had great teachers.

Anyway, my point was just to remember the teachers who go beyond what’s expected and remind them that they did a fabulous job. They put up with a lot and they deserve it.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

I was going to write a poem...

But it didn't work out.....

I used to be a chameleon
Fading in and out
Adapting by color
Blending with my surroundings

But someone melted my crayons....

Monday, 15 July 2013

Hooptastic Hooplah!

This lady right here....

That's Debi. She makes me smile and not feel so old.  In fact, if you tell her you're too old to do something she'll say, "Says who? Why you gotta follow everyone else's rules?"

So, thanks to Debi there's a hula hoop craze going on in my little world. See? Here's Debi hoopin'.

Now I'm hooping. J is hooping. My niece is hooping. My mother is hooping, too. My boss just decided she needs to get a hoop, as did one of my co-workers.
Bunch of hoopin' fools -- that's what we'll be. All because Debi reminded me that I don't have to take myself, or life, so seriously all the time.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Yes, it's a new post...

It occurred to me today, just now really, that I haven’t devoted any time to writing about my own personal adventures lately--Hmph, lately, as if that were an accurate representation of the time that’s passed.

It’s a shame really. There’s been so much I could have said over the last year about what’s been going on in my little corner of the world.

I’ve watched friends divorce, watched a teenage girl I know descend into some really dark place in her life and learned that I was helpless to help her, grown apart from some friends while growing closer to others, struggled with “fibromyalgia that might not be fibromyalgia”, watched my oldest boy find the love of his life and start down the path to adulthood, and my youngest boy reach the dreaded age of pimply, over-emotional almost teenager who thinks he knows everything.

I’m still working on Grace’s story. I’ve done an unbelievable amount of research in order to place family members in the right place at the right time to weave them into her story.  My greatest fear is that I will offend someone with an inaccurate depiction of their ancestor. I’ve written, and re-written as I’ve uncovered new information, made multiple timelines, and looked at more census records than anyone ought to in their lifetime. I’m so sick of names like Elizabeth, James, George, Mary, and most of all William, as an unbelievable number of my ancestors bore those names. How the hell am I supposed to remember the difference between what Mary Jane did and what Mary Margaret did, or Mary Mae, Mary Elizabeth, or Mary frickin’ Sue? There’s William Thomas, William Jasper -- there are three of those – and William David, too; all with the same last name.  Hell, they’re actually all siblings. What the Sam Hill were these people thinking when they named their darn kids?

Why is it necessary to have 4 daughters named Mary and 3 sons named William? Well, I asked myself that question and then started searching for answers. Children were usually named for someone important to the family hierarchy. The important name was always given as a first name and followed by a middle name. The middle name was the chosen name to call the child. So, Mary frickin’ Sue was really just Sue.

 My name is Sue! How do you do!

Now, if you didn’t read that in Johnny Cash’s voice I am sorely disappointed in you and not sure we can maintain our relationship without some sort of amends being made. I gladly accept cash, gift cards, and peanut butter cookies. No chocolate, as I’m not sure, since you can’t sing “My Name Is Sue”, that you won’t pull some version of Minnie from The Help. And, if you tell me you don’t know about Minnie, we’re done. Sorry… *wink*

So, I guess I’m gonna try and see if I can get back in the swing of things. In case it’s not heartbreakingly obvious, I need a little break from Grace.



Friday, 4 January 2013

Unedited and rough...but proof that I'm writing

It wasn’t supposed to end this way, you know - me, laying here birthing child number nine and contemplating the end of my life.  It’s the end. You can’t tell me any different. Childbirth is messy and painful, but not like this.
It’s been four years since the last one, since the last time I paid for being loyal to that man by bringing another of his offspring into this world. Don’t misunderstand. I love my babies. I love all of them with everything I have, and more with what I don’t have. They’re my one spot of joy in this strange life I chose for myself.
My name is Grace Margaret Brown Hayes. I was barely 17 years old when I married Hannibal. Almost ten years my senior, he was. He wasn’t an incredibly handsome man but, he was oh so charming. He convinced my papa in no time that he was going to be somebody.
He was going to raise those racehorses and make a proper life for me and our children. He was going to be able to give me the moon and then some. That’s what he told papa. What he didn’t tell him was that those horses weren’t for racing on tracks while men placed friendly wagers on the outcome. Those horses, those terrible racehorses, were for outrunning the federals. They were bred for the likes of outlaws willing to pay a pretty penny for them.
But me and my precious little angels, we all paid the ultimate price for those damned horses. Always running off in the middle of the night, loading up wagons with the little bit we could have just to stay one step ahead of those federals. Hannibal never lets us acquire much of nothing. The more we have, he says, the more we got to pack up and carry with us the next time we move on. You can’t go quickly if you got to load up a bunch of nonsense to take with you, he says.
Back and forth between Illinois and Indiana; so many times I felt as if the tenderest parts of my heart were laid bare on the path between. Why we have to run, I’d ask. Who cares what folks do with the horses we sell them? What they do once they have those horses ain’t any of our business. But, Hannibal doesn’t see it that way. The way he figures, the federals will find him just as guilty for selling those horses as outlaws are for using them to rob trains and the like.
So, we run. All these years we’ve run. Here Hannibal would come in the middle of the night, frantic and rushing, telling us we got 30 minutes to pack up what needs taking and get it loaded in the wagon. I don’t really know how he comes by his revelations that it’s time to move again. But, he does, and we go.
Much as we are now. Going, that is. Missouri it would seem this time. Hannibal feels like the only way to stop the going is to go further. He says as soon as this baby comes and I’ve healed we’ll be on our way again.  Maybe this will be the end of the going.
I hear Hannibal playing that fiddle of his. Soft and sweet to settle the children as the sun goes down.  I hear his sister Lizzie singing along as I’m thinking of how she hates that I call her Lizzie, and why can’t I call her Beth as the rest of them do.
I asked that girl to marry.
Won’t you go my way?
I asked that girl to marry.
Won’t you go my way?

Oh marry, never tarry.
Won’t you go my way?
Oh marry, never tarry.
Won’t you go my way?

Fitting, those words – marry, never tarry. Lord knows he married enough to suit himself. I’m wife number four, you know. He thinks me unaware that he didn’t divorce the others; that he just left them and went about his way.  Except for that Maryetta Shryock, she was fortunate enough to get her writ of divorce.

Of course, then there was that Boswell girl. That one he married on Independence Day while he was stationed in Memphis during the war. The way them southern girls are so damn proud of their heritage and such, it’s not farfetched to wonder what kind of respectable southern girl would marry a drunken union soldier in the middle of a war between the states.

Then there was the Canada girl. Melinda, I think. Perhaps this was the most disturbing to me of them all. They had borne one child already, a sweet cheeked baby girl named Launia Jane. He thinks I don’t know, but I’ve peeped a time or two into the cedar box he keeps under his side of the bed and on a few occasions I was able to get Lizzie to open up a little to me.

I found the photo of that angelic little babe tucked neatly into the folds of a letter from the cedar box.  It hurt my heart so to know that he would abandon such an innocent and, worse yet, that his beloved Melinda had another babe on the way. That little girl haunts me sometimes. Sometimes I even wonder whether it be my children who have Hannibal, or her children who don’t, that are the lucky ones.

I once asked Lizzie what she knew, only after making her swear not to tell that I’d been in the cedar box and that was how I knew what he’d done. She says I shouldn’t blame him so much for leaving that girl.  She says the Boswell girl’s brothers had tracked him down. That they demanded to know why he’d abandoned their sister, and that they intended to return him to her – either dead, or alive. They even said she had a boy by Hannibal and that boy needed a father.

She said that on the journey back the three of them travelled along the edge of the river. Thinking he would surely lose his life before they reached Tennessee, Hannibal took his chances with the current and leapt right off the back of his horse and into the river!

She says he thought it better to let Melinda think he was dead than it would be to crush her with the truth of the matter. That somehow, being a widow with two babies fared better for her than knowing that she was never really married at all to the father of her children.

I wonder then, what kind of woman am I that I would spend all these years with a man that I might not really be married to? I pray, especially now, that the Lord will allow me to make peace of that. Does it not count that when I married him I thought I was the only one?

I can just see now the sneers of those pasty faced women in church if they knew the secrets I harbor. The damn gossip mongers would spread my stories in no time, and all under the guise of “Christian” concern when what they really want is just to let everyone know that they have the scoop on my sorrows.

I’m worried now.  I haven’t the strength to move anymore. I lay here sweating buckets. That’s the price you pay for keeping warm in the winter, you birth babies in the summer.
Who’s taking care of my babies? Creasie, my oldest living girl, is only ten. That’s hardly old enough to bear my daily burden. She’s not strong enough to scrub out the wash, I’ve not yet taught her to cure the fatback when we slaughter the hog, or to make the maple pie that Sherman loves for his birthday. Had my sweet Clara Jane lived, she would have known what to do. I would have been able to teach her all she needed to know to care for my sweet brood.
Poor Lizzie is weary; hours of mopping the sweat off my brow and cleaning up bloody sheets. The sweet metallic scent of blood seems to permeate the walls of this room.  She can’t be doing it all, can she?