Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Chaos (No More?)

I'm a big proponent of the less is more philosophy, but was raised in a "more is more" household.  That's not to say I don't appreciate all that I have or was given, because I do.  A couple years ago, I got fed up with all the "expectations" of what we should do and who we need to see and exchange gifts with.  I wasn't alone & luckily, my SIL and I were able to convince my mom to make some changes.  We stopped doing the Christmas day race; open gifts at home, race to g'mas to open more gifts, quickly put away all gifts & clean up bc guests were coming for early dinner, while being yelled at to hurry up.  Screw that.  We now celebrate/open gift w/G'parents a day or two before Christmas.  We nosh on tapas that everyone contributes and can take our time to open & appreciate what we've received.  It's a much better way to go.  Christmas morning is just our immediate family, so we can sit around in our pjs all morning and enjoy our time together.  This year, we even had Christmas Eve "off" as the hosts of the dinner we usually attend have moved a few hours away.  We decided to opt out bc we didn't want the kids to be up too late.  We were thinking we'd drive around to see the Christmas lights at some of the more dedicated homes in our area.  Instead, we had an impromptu dinner w/neighbors.  Turned out to be one of the best Christmas Eve's ever.  Kids all played together, I made mulled wine & we got properly tossed.  Very fun.  My folks even toned down the gifts this year.  They spent the same amount as usual, (I'm sure,) but when w/the focus on quality instead of quantity.  In the past, the kids have gotten "present fatigue."  This year was pretty much right on.  After opening gifts, all the cousins piled into a back bedroom to play.  They played some with their new gifts, but really, they played with each other.  They get it too, the part of this really being about having fun together.

For many years now, we've gone to see the Nutcracker Ballet.  This year, the Girl Scouts took care of that one for me.  We had a tour of the theater; including the back stage, large props (& how they work,) old costumes and practice stage.  Then we had a hour to eat dinner and then all watched the ballet together.  It was a late night, but the girls really loved it, and it was fun to go with our friends as well.

Christmas in the Park is another tradition we try to take part in every year.  Unfortunately, I got sick the week school got out.  My parents took pity on me (or maybe on my girls,) and took them to go see the event one evening.  (It's way more fun at night.) Not only did my kids get to do the Park at night, (like they wanted.) I was free to curl up on the couch with a blanket and not feel bad about feeling bad. 

We added something new this year.  New for my girls, but sort of a revived tradition for myself.  When I was a kid we would head up to Union Square in San Francisco every December to go see the store windows.   It's crowded and parking is lousy and forget it, if the weather isn't cooperating.  This year I was offered tickets to see "The Grinch, The Musical."  I thought the girls might really like it, so I said yes and invited my mom to join us.  The day of, I was kicking myself for getting us involved in it.  I had tons still to do and had no business driving up to The City.  The musical was awesome and my girls LOVED it.  In hindsight, I'm really glad we went.  The weather was perfect, we got their early, and got nearby parking.  We had time to see some of the store windows and each lunch before the performance.  We had ice cream at Macy's after and when we came out, the Christmas tree was lit up.  It really was a fun day.  I believe it's going to be added to the list of traditions that will continue on each year.

Lastly, one of the big traditions my mom has been big on continuing is Christmas baking.  I have the best kitchen set up for all of us to do this together, so it's at my house.  The day before, I mentioned to DaddySpeak that we were baking at our house & to say he was not pleased, might be a bit of an understatement.  He then voiced that his concern was that I'm always a wreak after we're done.  If it were just the baking or just the cleanup, I'd probably be ok, but all of it together does me in.  I realized he was right.  It was silly of me to kill myself for baked goods that will probably mostly get tossed anyway.  I'd already purchased a gingerbread village, so the girls could decorate, because decorating is really what they're most intersted in doing.  So, I decided not to bake.  I think it might not have been something my mom was thrilled about. But you know what?  I was fine.  I helped the girls with decorating their houses.  I helped my  mom & SIL w/their cookies.  And guess what? I was ok that night & the next day.  Totally doing that again.  One of the smartest moves I've made yet.  For the neighbors we usually exchange baked good with; I printed up 5x7s of their kids that I'd taken over the year & wrote in their cards, "Some people bake, I take pictures."  I got personal thank yous from each of them, so I think it was a hit.

I took a lot on, with being the room mom for LittleSpeak's class.  But I did manage to pace myself this year.  The kids still got to do everything they wanted. And I'm not a complete loss now.  In fact, today we all went bike riding, as a family.  Someone remind me to read this in October next year. This has been a great way to end this year.

Friday, December 09, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is A Full Night's Sleep

So Mir, wrote this post that pretty much encompasses how I'm feeling right now. 

Since beginning of November, (right after our trip to Maui,) I've been feeling overwhelmed.  It's been building and is more or less coming to a head this week.  I'm averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night.  Six day of this, so I'm kinda a mess right now. 

Required Annual Santa Pix
Usually, I'm more or less done w/my shopping by December First.  This year, I started my list on Monday.  December 5.  Gah!  I'm pretty organized about it, Thank Gawd!  If I wasn't I'd probably be institutionalized by now.  I have spreadsheet of everyone I buy for and add new columns for each year.  It has columns for item purchased, budgeted amount & actual dollars spent. I can see how much we're spending each year and where we can cut back if needed.  But, this year, I'm having trouble w/what to get everyone.  I've sat staring at the list for several nights now.  I'm working on it, and it's getting done, but I'm nervous that it's ALL going to happen before the actual holiday.  I'm pretty sure the gifts that have to be sent are either going to be way over budget (shipping charges,) or be more like New Year's gifts.  Maybe even Lunar New Year, at the pace I"m keeping.  I'm also doing a lot of online ordering bc I can't get away from my kids.  My Fibro isn't great (lack of sleep and cold weather contributing,) so I've managed to go on three shopping trips so far.  (1 a day.)

Part of my problem is that my mom is one of those people who thinks Christmas should be nothing short of a "Norman Rockwell-esk" event.  (It's been drilled into me, and I'm getting over it, but old habits die hard.)  A few years back, us kids rebelled & told my mom to pick a day BEFORE Christmas to celebrate as a family. (She goes nuts w/the amount of gifts they bestow on the kids, so it takes a while to get through them all.)  We were tired of getting up at the butt-crack of dawn to do Santa gifts & rush through our families' opening of gifts on Christmas morning. Just so that we could rush through gifts at her house before all the extraneous relatives showed up.  We were lucky to have a cup of coffee, much less breakfast during those years.  Moving it to an earlier date, has taken some of the heat off, but not all. 

It's also important that we participate in several family traditions.  I'm not taking issue w/these.  For the most part, I want to do this stuff and want my girls to have these experiences.  Mostly, I'm just bitching bc it's my blog and I can, (neener-neener- neener,) and bc this is part of what makes me feel like I'm going to lose my ever-loving mind.  There are three "must-do" Christmas related activites: 1) Christmas in the Park, 2) Nutcracker Ballet and 3) Christmas baking.   This year, BigSpeak's brownie troop took part in a special showing of the Nutcracker, so we got to go to a tour of the back stage, costumes and props departments before the performance.  Had an hour dinner break, and then got to see the actual performance.  (I'm pretty sure, it was their dress rehearsal.)   Kudos to the Girl Scouts for arranging that one for me.  Christmas baking has become my thing in the past few years.  Not because I love to bake, but because I have best kitchen for all of us to work in.  I mentioned to DaddySpeak that the baking event is occurring Saturday, and he rolled his eyes & muttered under his breath.  (I believe that he feels about Christmas the same as what he feels toward Disney.  Told you I married the anti-Christ. I think Christmas would be okay, but it comes right in the middle of college football AND basketball seasons! Yeah, he's not real motivated to participate in anything else.)  I told him the girls had actually been pestering me about doing it.  To which he replied, he was fine with it, but he's not fine w/how I'm always wreaked for days after.  And he's right.  I had already purchased a "gingerbread village" for the girls to put together & decorate.  (All they really care about is the decorating anyway.)  I decided that I'm not going to bake.  I might use some refrigerator dough & cook a few batches, maybe.  I'll helping the girls decorate.  No one cares if I make cookies or not. Except my mom, so I'm not telling her till she gets here.  Not participating in the actual baking would throw off her Rockwell vibe.  The last thing is "Christmas in the Park."  It's really cool and we try to get to it every year, but it is the same every year.  Last year my parents were upset that we weren't taking the girls, so they took them.  I liked that version.  I think they should continue doing that & make it the new tradition.  Personally, I'm not all that into hanging out in the cold.  A few years ago, DaddySpeak and I mapped out the best local decorated houses & take the girls to see them.  We've hit Vasona's Fantasy of Lights, in past years, but it's pretty crowded & it had more cache w/the girls when they were younger.    I think there's something extra cool about seeing a house or entire street all decorated.  Even though we know it's there, there's still something unexpected about it, that makes it seem cooler.

I hadn't written anything, bc I was feeling so overwhelmed.  Maybe getting it all out there will help and I'll start sleeping again. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yes, There is a Santa Claus....

My 8yo happily believes.  A friend outed Santa to her last year.  She told me about it & I asked her what she thought.  She reasoned out why her friend was wrong!  I'm sure there's a part of her that knows, but obviously, she wants to believe for now.  And I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'm pleased she still does.  I'm starting to wonder if the 5yo is going to know before her though; she had questions about the characters at amusement parks recently; "They're just people dressed up as that character, aren't they?"  However, she was hard to contain when we went into a mall week before Thanksgiving & spotted Santa.  She HAD to go see him & tell him how much she loved him! Her devotion is somewhat troubling. When you put it in the context that we're basically encouraging her sit on a strange man's lap, and take pictures with him.  It makes me VERY uncomfortable, but I do love that they believe in magic, so I try not to think about it TOO hard.  In the case of both girls, our local mall has helped me out by providing a skylight that is best viewed from the Santa photo booth.  You can just see the tops of the reindeer's antlers in the skylight.  That's where he parks his sleigh, you know.  A few years ago, we go an Elf on a Shelf.  If I'd thought it through, I may not have signed up for that one.  You have to move the guy every night!  And I make sure to keep him up high so that neither of the girls can get to him, because if they touch him, he'll "lose his magic!"  And if the elf lost his magic, that would kinda put a damper on Christmas.  I was smart enough to make sure Elfie (girls' named him,) doesn't show up till December 1st, so there's at least one less week of that to deal with.  At the end, I'm scrambling for places to put him.  That first year of Elfie, was when Big was 4.  She, naturally, wanted to know, "why didn't Elfie come to visit us before that year?"  I quickly concocted an great answer; "When I was pregnant with you, we signed up to get a house elf for Christmas.  There's a limited number of house elves and we were placed on a waiting list.  We didn't realize the wait list was THREE YEARS long!  So we were lucky to get one, when we did."  As much as I complain sometimes about the maintenance of Elfie,  I do love the excitement of the girls trying to locate him each morning.  I need to remember that, I know the days of magic are numbered.

I think, part of the reason Big still believes has to do with the tale I've got going for them.  We also celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas, and I've explained to my girls that Santa gives to them because he was so taken w/God sending us his son as Baby Jesus that he wanted to show his love and gratitude to God as well. We are NOT super religious, but I think knowing that someone beside their parents loves them unconditionally is part of what makes the "lie" believable.  There's much comfort in knowing there's an adult out there, who loves you, even though he's never met you.  When the time comes I hope to handle the subject with half as much grace as Martha did here.  But I've also done some research of my own.  I plan to direct them to websites that talk about St. Nicolas and the legends that surround Santa.  And, like Martha, I plan to show them how to make the magic continue for all of us who believe.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not Quite a Train Wreck & Happy Halloween!

We have a Rainbow Fairy & a Pirate this year.
Last Saturday, was our school's big fundraiser.  We actually only have one, so saying it's "big" is somewhat redundant.  It's a Fall Festival, which includes a costume parade, carnival games, inflatables, food; including a chili cook-off & cake decorating, a haunted house, and silent auction.  I think I missed a few things, but you get the idea.  It's a BIG. FREAKING. DEAL.  Each class puts together a "basket" for the silent auction.  This task is put on the room parent...and now you know where I'm going with this one.  LittleSpeak's class did something fairly low-key; we decorated a tote w/all the kids hand-prints and had each child bring in a new copy of a favorite book.  I put together a list of the books as a 'book-club' recommended reading list, and we included gift-certificates to Barnes & Nobel and Starbucks.  It wasn't a huge deal and I had lots of help, so it seemed mundane.  I, sort of, blew it on the day of HFN.  I volunteered to pass out pre-paid tickets/bracelets from 1-3.  The parade, which kicks off the event, starts at 4.  I thought I was so smart, getting my volunteer hours before the actual event.  I did not, however, consider the fact that I was going to be at the school from 1 in the afternoon.  So, at 3, DaddySpeak, brought the girls over to the school so I could apply "make-up" and finishing touches on their costumes.  Everything went well.  The girls had a blast, the school raised tons of money.  (We personally "won" 3 of the baskets, which means I have more than done my part for the school this year.  AND quite possibly I've finished some of my Christmas shopping.)
By 8 PM though, we were shot.  We walked home, put the girls to bed and collapsed on the couch.  Big was supposed to go to CCD at 8:30, but I couldn't get her to wake up.  I could've forced the issue w/her, but I could see she was in the middle of a dream.  I decided she needed sleep more than religion that morning.  The fact that my whole body felt like it had been run over might have contributed to that decision.  The short version; I overdid it and spent my Sunday in bed.  More details?  I used up most of my spoons for the week.  Sadly, quite a few things like dentist & doctor visits had been pushed to this week bc we were so busy leading up to the event. 
We made our appointments, but lets just say I wasn't winning any beauty contests this week.  Sweats and baseball hats were the wardrobe rule, and anything I could schedule out, (working in classrooms,) walking in the morning, grocery shopping, cooking diner, etc...was put off.  I did not win any domestic medals this week.  I need to remember to pad my week after events like this.  I tend to get burned by this kind of stuff.  You'd think I'd remember, but it's like my brain loses those part of the memories.  We survived.  The house, laundry and food situation could be better.  But honestly, they've been worse, (not that I'm proud of that).

I started to write this post on Wednesday of this week.  It was supposed to be about what a mess I was this week.  And I was, a mess.  But now that I'm at the next weekend, I'm actually able to be more objective about it.  Yeah, no one is putting the merits of my domestic skills in a magazine.  But I got the stuff done, I had to.  I listened to my body and rested when I could.  And I had enough stuff in the freezer and with leftovers that we, (Daddy,) made a decent dinner for all each night.  So instead of being a train wreak, maybe I'm just a car accident?  (KNOCK ON WOOD!) I guess that's progress, right?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My So-Called Trip to Vegas

I'm dying to write about my weekend.  I went to a Digital Scrapbooking "Fest."  I've been telling my In Real Life, (IRL,) friends, that it's a 'digital graphics users group.'  It is, and if they had a Public Relations, (PR,) person, the organizers might know that.  I suspect it would've been much more costly though; good PR people are expensive after all.  ;-)  They want to call it a "Fest," if it's keeping prices down, I'm all for it.

So, I spent the weekend in "Vegas Baby!" (You have to say it like that you know.) And I didn't even put a nickle in a slot.  Ha! That would imply there were nickle slots.  I didn't put a quarter or dollar even, then!  Honestly, there was a time period, approximately 11 years ago, when the thought of going to Vegas would've made me cry.  I worked for a chip maker and had to go to Vegas about every two months for their tradeshow circuit.  I grew to loath the place.  I could have and should have written a travel book on the place, because my knowledge on what to do and not to do was vast, but like I said, it would be too soon if I'd never gone there again. When DaddySpeak, (DS) found out where I was going he was shocked.  I told him I didn't burst into tears at the thought, so there's that.  Guess I'm past my PTSD finally.  ;-)  I did have fun, but it was actually a bit stressful, not because of the conference.  I suppose, the stressful part of my trip put any issues I might have had related to the conference into perspective.  I traveled w/LittleSpeak's Godmom, H.  Her husband, A came as well.  He was going to gamble while we were in classes and they could go out at night.  About two hours after we arrived, we convinced him to go to a see a doctor at walk-in clinic.  He had a really bad cold & he looked and sounded awful.  He had planned to get a day pass at the spa we were going to, but instead agreed to go to a walk-in clinic which was right off the strip.  (My knowledge of this place, it still applies.)  So H & I went to the Spaaaaaaa.  It was the same spa I went to w/DS a year and a half ago.  I was afraid it wasn't going to be as good.  I was sure I'd built it up in my mind to be much better than it really was, but I was not disappointed.  It was amazing & relaxing.  Exactly what I needed.  Our plan was that when we got done, we were going to shower & head to the opening reception for our "Fest."  It didn't work out that way.  Well, it did for me.  Poor H, had 4 texts from A about all the places they were sending him from the walk-in clinic; the last one being that they were going to admit him to the hospital.  H didn't shower or anything, she threw her clothes on and headed to the hospital.  I was able to check-in for her at the reception and told them what was happening with her.  The reception seemed so weird to me.  My head was really more over at the hospital with them.  I was getting updates from H.  Apparently, Friday night at the ER closest to the Vegas Strip is a bit sketchy, who woulda thunk?  They did release A with strict instructions to take his antibiotics and get lots of rest.  They'd hydrated him and administered IV antibiotics.  Told him they'd caught the pneumonia  early, so he should bounce back pretty quick.  They got back to the hotel about 9:00 PM.   On Saturday, I woke to the sound of my cell phone buzzing.  It seems that around 3:30 AM, H realized that A wasn't getting any sleep and seemed to be not breathing very well at all.  They had headed back to the ER.  She was updating me with their happenings since that time.  At, 5:45 AM, when I woke up, the doctors had declared he needed to be admitted for 2-3 days.  His oxygen saturation was extremely low, so low, that when I discussed it w/DS he was sure I heard it wrong.  He couldn't believe that A was functioning at all w/a saturation so low.  I confirmed it w/H 3 times though, it really was that low.  A was actually stuck in ER for 14 HOURS on Saturday.  The hospital was so crazy busy that they couldn't get him to a room w/a bed.  When they finally did, he was so bad that they put him ICU.  H missed the Saturday classes and tour we had planned.  She got home late that night, once things had more or less stabilized with A.  On Sunday, things seemed a bit better.  She went over to see him in the morning and they had just managed to break his (very high,) fever w/an ice bath.  After an hour or so, things seemed to moving in the right direction and he had fallen asleep, so H came back to the hotel and we got lunch.  We went back to the conference room and started to cut papers on  a hybrid project we'd (myself & other attendees,) worked on that morning.  I figured she could get some of it done and I'd finish whatever didn't happen for her.  At least she'd walk away with something, right?  Only while we were doing that, she got a text from A implying they might discharge him that afternoon.  Some of his "bloodwork had come back very positive."  H was packing up to head back to the hospital and called him to find out what was going on.  (He'd been in no shape to leave when she'd left him that morning.  He was better, but the guy was still requiring oxygen to breathe.)  While she was talking to him on the phone, he was overcome w/the shakes.  No fever, just uncontrollable shakes.  Not long after H got the hospital, he finally spiked a fever around 103.7.  They'd given him meds to try and knock it down, but he couldn't keep them down.  They had to used ice packs and IV meds to try and get the fever under control.  They did get it back down, but there was no mistaking he wasn't going anywhere soon.  I forget what time H got back that night, but it wasn't early.   Monday, was the day we were all supposed to come home.  I attended the closing of the "Fest," while H updated me via text from the hospital.  A was still running a low-grade fever, he was still on oxygen and he obviously wasn't flying anywhere that day.  But, he seemed to be slightly better.  He even got out of bed and walked around the nurses desk w/H.  Then he fell asleep exhausted.  I was VERY torn about leaving H and A.  If something awful happened, H had no one there with her.  If my folks weren't traveling overseas, it would've been a no brainer, I would've stayed.  But, as it was, I had to ask my Sister-In-Law to pick up the girls from school.  I offered to stay, (it was via text,) but I don't know if H never got it, or just didn't reply.  All the medal in the hospital and casinos made it so that we didn't always get our text in a timely manner.  Luckily, things really were improving.  A was discharged last night and they flew home today, Wednesday.  I actually haven't talked to them since they've gotten here.  The last text I got was when they were boarding the plane.  I know they're both exhausted, so it can wait.  He's still very, very sick.  She's got to go back to work and they have four year old twins to deal with too.  I'm still reeling from this weekend and I'm not the one who spent all the time in the hospital worrying about my husband.  I can NOT imagine how overwhelmed they must be feeling.  So, if you would, please say a little prayer, or light a candle or send the good karmic vibes.  They could use it right about now.

Also, go give the people you love a hug.  It's so easy to forget how fragile life can be. 

In my next post, I might actually talk about what I did, beside text w/H all weekend. ;-)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Learning to Love

When I read this, I kept thinking about all the crushes kids at this age, (around ages 4-8ish,) have;  lots of boys want to marry their mommy's & girl's their daddy's  (I suspect visa versa too.)  Many, many kids have crushes on their kindergarten teachers.  No one thinks much of these "school kid crushes."  They're considered normal.  This is the way in which a child at this age processes love for the people they know.  I know both my girls claim they are never moving out.  They'll just move their families into our house with us.  They can't even imagine wanted to live away from home for college.  This makes me laugh, because, I suspect, they will be "chomping at the bit" to get out by that time.  And I do hope they're excited when it's their turn.  But they're kids and they can't imagine loving someone any more than they love us right now. As they get older their world gets bigger, and so does their idea of what love is.  My point is, that I totally agree with the author.  She's right, we should imagine as if all of our kids are being targeted by the hateful anti-gay rhetoric.  Even people who "aren't anti-gay" but are against gay-marriage need to stop deluding themselves.  While you might not be a hateful person, the message you send our kids is that they aren't equal.  And that is not okay. 

When the whole prop 8 thing started here in CA, it was interesting to me how many of our neighbors posted pro-prop 8 signs in their yards.  Churches were passing them out at their services.  To me it felt like they were going out of their way to point out their feelings.  So, in turn, several of us made calls & got anti-prop 8 signs for our yards.  Listen, I'm fine with the whole we can agree to disagree thing, but not when it comes to my child's self-esteem.  If it turns out, a child of mine is gay, then I want them to know that I will not tolerate them being treated differently. I will fight for them and their rights always.  I'm their parent and they are my child above all else.  There are no conditions on that.  That's why they call it unconditional love.  At the time of the prop 8 discussion, an older family member indicated that they "weren't anti-gay, but they just didn't think they (the gays,) should be allowed to marry.  They can have civil unions, why do they need marriage?"  I have to admit was I was shocked.  There are several people in our extended families who feel this way, but I was surprised by this person.  This person wanted to "agree to disagree," but I was really having a hard time with leaving it like that.  I finally asked them, "What if one of your grandchildren is gay?  Do you want any of them to be told they are a lesser person because of that?  Do you think it's okay to deny them the right to a marriage? They already legally can be on each others' health care, have children together, purchase a home together, (which is harder than any of those other things,) so why not marriage?"  Initially, the person wanted to drop it, so I let it go, but I made it clear I didn't like it.  The day after the election this person told me that they voted against prop 8.  The idea made them uncomfortable because of what they've been told are their life.  But when I put it in the framework of their own grand kids, whom they love and cherish and truly just want them to be happy, that made them realize they could live with uncomfortable.  Their grand kids deserved more."
Are either of my children gay?  I don't know, neither do they, they're too young to know.  What I do know, is that they are loved no matter what, and I will not tolerate people judging them harshly on that subject.  I know that any "crushes" they have at this age are just a normal part of growing.  It tells me we're doing something right; our children know how to love.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Monday Moring

I do get the irony that my blog is named "Mommy Speaks," yet I haven't been saying so much for the last several months.  Life is hard dude.  I often feel like I start feeling better, but when I start to participate in real life, I end up falling on my face.  It's that fine line I've mentioned; the one where you need to do just enough to help yourself move forward and feel better.  If I stay on that line, I'm OK, when I cross it....splat.
For me it seems like everything is ok, until it's not, but that's not totally true.  I take on extra responsibilities, which is fine at that time.  But then my sleep starts getting messed with, and little by little it chips away at my energy reserves.  My pain starts showing up again...and it feels like it's sudden, but really it's been building for several weeks.  I'm better at recognizing it.  I make myself slow down, back off, get to bed earlier, but eventually, it's not enough.  So, that's why I've been very spotty in my attention to writing.  It's too bad, because my writing is a big outlet for me.

I just reread my last post about "thriving."  I know, I jinxed my self in writing that.  BigSpeak being sick and DaddySpeak being out for a week is what started me onto my current status of lack of sleep and pain. (LittleSpeak waking me 2-3x a night is also part of the problem.) I play catch up a lot on the weekends, but this weekend was worse than most week days.  Monday morning, we all overslept,  Little too.  It's the first time this year, and I was able to get the girls to their classes w/out having to check in tardy, so that's still leaps & bounds from last year.  (I think I'd already gotten a letter from the school at this point last year.) I hate that feeling of being behind.  You know the one that comes w/a morning like ours; you're rushing around, can't find the things you need, going to be late regardless... I've had that rushed/hopeless feeling since sometime last week.  This morning's episode did not improve it.  Today, I'm trying to basically do nothing.  Right now, I'm on the couch, trying to find the least painful position.  My afternoon is full of doctor's appointments and lessons (for the kids,) so that doing nothing is relative to the time of day.  I'm heading to a scrapbook conference this weekend.  I'm excited to go, but I'm also really nervous for my family; getting to all the places they need to be.  I wish there was a way I could be reassured that would happen.  I also want to make sure I can do all the things I want to do on my trip too (spa time).  I need this feeling to go away, so I can enjoy what's going on around me right now. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mean (Little) Girls...and Boys

We're into our 4th week of school, (I think).  Things seem to be going well.  BigSpeak really likes her teacher, as expected.  LittleSpeak is thriving.  And, knock on wood, but I seem to be doing pretty well.  My cocktail of meds seems about right.  I have small set backs; Big was home sick all of last week, and DaddySpeak was out of town for work, but I didn't collapse.  I had to scale back a bit this week to recover, but I seem to be doing well.  I feel like we're finally thriving, instead of just surviving.  It's a nice feeling.  I hope it lasts. 
One thing that's new is the stories Little has been coming home from school with every day.  At first I thought she was embellishing, as she's prone to do.  But as the days pass, and each day I get a similar tale, I'm starting to think maybe most of it is true.  Little's class seems to have an awful lot of chiefs and almost no Indians. Everyday she comes home with a story of how E told K she can't be in their club-du-jour.  Or how D threw his blocks at the teacher when she told him it was time to clean up.  Every day I hear how A told the teacher, he "hates school and the rules." 

What the heck???  Who are these kids???

I'm not sure if it's because this grade has a lot of siblings or if we're just paying more attention, but none of that type of stuff EVER came up in Big's class.  They were what you would expect of five year old boys and girls.  They were mostly sweet and very young.  This group?  These kids are like five going on fifteen.  

Little tells me these stories, pointing out, of course, how she isn't the perpetrator in any of these cases.  I fear, in fact, that she's one of the "good" kids. Which is really kinda scary for her teacher.  We know how strong-willed Little can be, and I think she might not hold a candle to some of these kids.  In fact, she has been a "victim" of the Mean Girls on more than one occasion.  (I've witnessed it going on during Big kid pick up.)  When I saw it happening to her, I wasn't entirely surprised.  The major culprit is a neighbor and Little and her are "hot & cold."  They're either the best of buds, or ready to go to blows.  Honestly, I'm not that crazy about this other girl, but Little seems to hold her own, so I'm going along for now.  The last time I saw the Mean Girl action occurring, I called her over and confirmed what I was seeing.  ("E says I can't be in their club because all their shoes flash and mine don't. It hurts my feelings.")  Little doesn't take it lying down either.  She gets all up in E's face, points her finger and tells her off.  And while her feelings are hurt, she doesn't turn into a puddle AT ALL.  But, anyone's self-esteem is going to take a hit at some point, so last time I saw this and called her over, this was our conversation?

"Ummm, yeah.  Little, first of all, there are NO CLUBS at school.  The only clubs that exist are ones that ANYONE can be in.  If they exclude someone, then that's not fair, or nice and it's a form of bullying.  There is NO Bullying allowed at school." 
"Also, E is not your firend."

Yeah she is mommy. And I want to play pink pony tag." (Or whatever crap they're into that day.)

"No Little, she's not.  A friend doesn't put conditions on being included.  A friend doesn't care if you have flashing shoes, or any shoes for that matter.  A friend, sees you have different shoes, and either points out how it's cool you're different.  Or suggests everyone take of their shoes, and be equal.  When she talks to you like that she's not being your friend.  Tell her you want to play, but not if she's going to be mean.  Then walk away and find someone who is a friend." 

They're FIVE!  It's gonna be a long year is all I'm saying.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remember...and pay it forward

There's so much emotion for this day.  I feel like the whole world, or at least all of the US, we're holding our breath.  Just hoping to get through this day.  Through the memorials, the reminders of how much time has passed and how much hasn't.  Ten years can feel like a life time and a blink of the eye.  Ten years ago, I was newly married.  I remember at some point during the day, watching the TV, thinking, the year I was married will be remembered for this awful tragedy.  Such a happy time in my life was marred by such blackness.  It was a selfish thought.  So many had lost so much and I was concerned about myself.  At that point, I was allowed that kind of selfishness.  I was young and in love and all I needed to worry about was me.  And that's how it should be at that point in your life.  Watching the attacks on September 11, 2001 changed who I am, and how I approach things.  I lost a large part of innocence.  I know that sounds so cliche, but it's true.  I feel like something in me broke that day.  How could people hate so much, that they would kill others to show that hate?  Not just one or two crazy guys, a whole group of them, willing to carry out such an awful deed.  You could argue, that in someways the people in the buildings were of no consequence to them because they would never see them.  They were the nameless, faceless enemy to them.  But the people on the planes? They sat by them.  There were kids on those planes.  How can you be willing to hurt them?  I still can't wrap my head around it.
When the first tower fell, it was so surreal.  It was like you were waiting for an announcer to break in and say it was a movie, and now that you were hooked in, you had to come see how it ends.  Only it wasn't a movie. It was real.  I remember as that first tower fell thinking, "Oh my God, there are still people in there.  There are emergency personal who ran in to help and they can't be out yet." And everywhere you went that day, the image of those planes, the buildings, where all you saw or heard about.  We went into work that day, but no one did much.  Most people spent the day trying to contact loved ones on the East Coast and watching the footage on the Internet.  I have family in New York, they contacted my parents in relative short order & informed us of who was where and that they were safe.  We were learning of what a mess the communications were there, so much of it was linked to the buildings.  We were grateful to know they were okay and that they were able to tell us so. It would not be that easy for some many others. After several days, I had to stop watching TV and listening to the radio.  I think they call it "catastrophe porn."  It's like you're hooked on the image of the terror.  We've seen it with other situations, where the media play images of tragedy over and over and over again.  In this case, it didn't desensitize, or numb you.  In this case, it just made you feel sad and helpless.
I spiraled into depression after September 11, 2001.  It was the last straw, in my case.  It's really hard for me to see all the footage again.  I'm doing my best to minimize it.  I don't want to feel that sense of helplessness or hopelessness again.  It's hard for me to think about this event without feeling that way.  I have kids now.  I don't have the luxury to wallow in that kind of pain. 
What I do want to remember is how Americans behaved for the next several months.  People were generally nicer to each other.  We stopped cutting each other off in traffic.  We held the door or elevator for each other.  We made eye contact and smiled at each other.  On airplanes, the pilots asked us to greet each other.  We weren't nameless or faceless, perhaps if that had been the case, the terrorists might not have been as inclined to act.  It seemed everyone had a picture of an American flag in their rear car window.  We collectively agreed that life was too short and that we were going to show those who hated us that they were wrong about us.  We're naive about how the rest of the world views us.  We're brought up to believe that everyone is jealous of us and wishes they could be American.  Not true, by a long shot.  But the thing that is true, is that we are strong and we have each others' backs.  The terrorists assumed we were weak and afraid of death, but they were wrong.  The people on Flight 93 showed them that while we don't have a death wish, we will protect our own however we need to.  The emergency personal who ran into those buildings to get people out; showed them, that we will sacrifice if that's what required of us.  Our spirit and resolve is strong.  I can't explain to my kids why those people had so much hatred that they wanted to hurt us so badly.  But I can show them, that most people are generally good.  And when it comes down to it, good always wins. 
I know we're supposed to pause in memory at 8:46 EST.  We'll be asleep here on the West Coast.  But I'm going to try to remember the sense of family we had for months after.  I'm going to let people in, in traffic.  I'll hold the door for them. This week, I'll go donate blood.  Maybe pay for the coffee of the guy behind me at Starbucks.  I'm going to pay it forward tomorrow;  And the next day and the next.  Because the terrorists didn't win 10 years ago.  And they don't win today either.  I hope you'll pay it forward this week too.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

10 Years

I'm watching all these upcoming memorials for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I'm torn about how this makes me feel. This 10th anniversary is going to be hard for me. It's what prompted me to write after not feeling like I needed to for a month or so. So much of writing here is for me, to help me work through things in my mind. Help me see the forest for the trees, so to speak. I've been feeling tired enough, but well enough, not to need the therapy that writing is for me. I'd been able to exercise and sleep w/out needing to write. That's huge for me. I fear that this anniversary may set me back some. I hope not. The time period after 9/11 was a very dark time for me. I didn't lose anyone I knew. But still I felt the pain of the day so deeply. I still do. I'd managed to put it behind a closed door in my mind. Then a week ago, I was walking through a book store, and the display of all the 9/11 books was put up. It stopped me. Left a lump in my throat that hasn't really gone away. Made me realize how easy it was to just open that door and let those feelings overcome me again. I'm one of the lucky ones, if I had lost someone directly, I couldn't put it away like that. I don't know how those people have survived this long.
I just need to get that off my chest. I'm hoping this will be enough. I fear not, but maybe.


I'm still around. Just busy, and while at the beach exhausted. Too exhausted to deal w/PITA wifi issues. Busy living. So I did write some posts, but they never posted to the site. I'm debating if I should post them or not. I probably will, just after I get "caught up."

School has started. Little is in kindergarten, and as predicted, there's no living with her. Big has started 3rd grade. I'm working on figuring out schedules w/2 soccer teams, practices, dance classes, gymnastics, (maybe,) etc... I've been walking every day for a week now. That's big for me. My pain level has reduced significantly. Not always; like not this morning, because Little had me up half the night. But I believe (knock on wood) that my good hours are starting to out number the bad ones. I'm not sure the last time I felt like that; maybe when I was pregnant with Little. It's been a while. So there's that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

To The Winner - The Spoils

I told my husband, if he keeps bringing it up, he's taunting me into writing about it. It's already taking on epic proportions that will be an ongoing private joke between us.

Last night around 9:30ish, I was downstairs on my computer, editing photos, and skimming some rerun. He'd gone upstairs about 9 to take a shower before going to bed. I could hear him walking around, opening windows, etc...usual bedtime routine stuff. All the sudden, he comes racing down the stairs calling the dog. Poor Merit, was sound asleep next to me. She jumped up and was running to the front door barking before she was completely awake. You could see she was perplexed from the look on her face. Daddy was calling for her, so she was on it! He sent her out front barking. I assumed there must be two cats out front fighting or a raccoon or something. (He wouldn't send my preshus babah out after bad guys who could hurt her, right? Though, that might be better than a flea infested rat. Gah!) He called her right back in and closed the door.
"What's going on?"
"There was a group of teenagers coming down the street w/toilet paper. They were going to TP L's house!" (Next door's teenage daughter.)
blank stare
"So I sent the dog after them."
"To lick them? Why did you stop them?"
"Well they weren't even being that stealthy about it. They have to at least try!"
??? "Did you tell them to get off your lawn too? What are you 80?"
Only now he was gone & out the front door again. A few minutes later he walks back in w/4-5 rolls of partially used TP.
"To the winner goes the spoils!"
"Wha?? What are you going to do w/that??"

That settles it, I'm buying him a cane, so he can raise it up and wave it at the kids as he tells them he'll keep any of the balls that land on his lawn.

Saturday, June 04, 2011


Girls had their dance recital today. Their dance school does a very extravagant one every other year; so this year was what they call an, "ice cream social." Dance school serves ice cream sandwiches at the end. They break it into 3 separate half hour shows so the little kids won't totally lose it, waiting around. Of course, that meant my two girls were in the first & the last of those three shows. We spent our day running around before & between shows; standard family stuff.

DaddySpeak and I had taken separate cars for the first show, because BigSpeak had to be there so much earlier for rehearsal. This meant no pain pills as I was driving. Between shows,I came home and felt frustrated because I'd, once again, picked things up as I left, to have them undone in the short time I was gone. I was also in a TON of pain. I started snapping at Daddy and the girls. He finally had, had enough and snapped back. He pointed out that he was dealing w/a leak in our roof all morning, but he "doesn't get credit for the stuff he does do, only the things I feel he missed." He was right. I apologized. I told him, "I'm just so frustrated. I do things and I feel like no one helps, and I know he does. I'm just frustrated by how I feel and how little I can do." He replied, "You're frustrated, I'm frustrated! There's been a lot of downside and very little up(side) these last three years."
He's right; only it's been 4 years. I hurt my back four years ago. I honestly don't know why he stays. I can't be very much fun to be around. I feel like I spend my days apologizing to him and the girls for all the things I can't do. Or the things I didn't do, so he has to pick up my slack. Between that, I'm yelling at him because I'm tired, in pain and frustrated, so I take it out on him.

Lately, I wonder if my family wouldn't be better off without me. I hold them back so much. I'm not fun to be around. Since I can't take the pain pills unless there's another adult around, I never get to the point of relief any more. I don't even eat dinner with them, by that time of the day my pain is so bad I'm flat on the couch. Sitting at a table is hard to consider. I lie on the couch, so I can be there and still be part of the dinner conversation. My reality for everything these days is, I get through it. I get through the day. I get through dinner. I get through their recitals, games, etc... It's not fair to them. They deserve more. They deserve a mom and a wife who can be present and happy. Who is more focused on taking their pictures, than how much longer till we're home for good and I can take something for pain and lie down.
This is not living. I don't want to pretend it is anymore.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Traveling Pants of the Fat-Arce Sisterhood

I'm not sure if I should glad or insulted.

Walked Big to school today and on our way home a neighbor stopped Little and I.
"What pants size do you wear? I have a really good reason for asking."
(What do you say to that?) I told her my size, (which I'm not sharing here, because it upsets me,) and then added, sigh "It's the largest I've ever been in my life."
"I wanted to know, because I thought so. That's the size I was and I've been having a really hard time losing it, hormones, but I've finally gotten to the point where I'm down a size and can't wear these anymore."
She continued, "A friend gave me these pants and they're really good pants. I had a really hard time when I had to dress for stuff, these saved me. I wanted to pass them on to someone else in need. When you're out of them, have lost the weight, (I know you will,) pass them on to someone else who might need them or you can give them to me and I'll pass them along to someone else."
Her intent was in the right place.
Maybe they're magical pants and now the weight will come off.

I'm back trying to tackle my weight and dealing with my Fibro, (FM) at the same time. If you've dealt with chronic pain, you know that taking on other challenges (losing a vice,) is doubly hard, because it's often the thing that gives you some level of comfort. I've had a really hard time wrapping my head around Low-Carb, (LC,) while on Weight Watchers. Problem is, I'll see something I want and know I have enough points and eat it. I seem to forget to deal with the carb issue till it impacts me negatively. At the very least, carbs are contributing to my FM, by making me bloated and uncomfortable. At the worst? They're part of the reason I'm having such bad symptoms. Things got bad enough this weekend where I realized that I would be willing to live on next to nothing if it would assure me a pain-free existence. Once I hit that point, it's not so hard to give up anything.

I just want to feel better.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hello, I'm still here


I'm still alive! Things are...well, things mostly just are, that's all. I'm very day-to-day. I overdid Satuday & spent Sunday on pain pills in bed. Last two days have not been stellar; mostly waiting for DaddySpeak to get home so I can take a pain pill. Each day's a bit better than the next, until it's not. In the meantime, we had a softball season; BigSpeak's team came in 2nd overall! The outlaws came for a 2 week visit, during which LittleSpeak turned 5! (Christ-on-a-Cracker! How the heck did that happen???) and Big made her First Communion. This week Big turned 8!!! (I don't understand how these children are so big all the sudden!) (Also, you may have noticed, Big got 12" cut off her hair.) Today, is DaddySpeak & I's 10th anniversary. Woot! No, I don't know why he hasn't gone out for cigarettes, even though he doesn't smoke. I'm extremely thankful and lucky that he hasn't.
I know I haven't written in so long; it's just that I have really bad days and when I have moments (and that's all they are,) of ability to do something (laundry! dishes! my life is overflowing with excitement, no?) I tend to try and do stuff for the kids, instead of something for me. I have this sense that I'm failing my kids, but to date, I've only missed 2 of Big's games. I'm struggling not to let my Fibro be the thing that holds us back. I feel it, but so far I think they don't. They know I'm not well. They know mommy gets really grouchy sometimes (pain related). Overall, I don't think they feel much different about their living situation then their other friends.
So Hi! My doctor feels my meds are the right cocktail at the right times and it's just a matter of 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. It's really slow, but it is moving in a forward direction. Each of those things I mentioned deserved a post of it's own. Maybe they'll be forthcoming in the future (I can re-purpose scrapbook pages for those events. ;-) I'm nothing if not resourceful!
I think I'm at the top of this hill (knock on wood,) or at least, close to it. I'm hoping that I'm about to be on the downward slope soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My New CopyWriter...

I always take a quick peek, before bed, to see what Mir has posted. She's the writer I aspire to be; witty, pithy, funny...She's been having a rough time of it lately, and she's shared a lot of it with us. I know she doesn't share it all, she's good at setting boundaries for what is and isn't her story to tell. (Something I probably need to work on.) When I read the paragraph below, my mouth hit the ground; I've struggled to articulate where I'm at, why I'm frustrated and how lost it makes me all feel. Here she is putting it into a short paragraph, when I took up pages. The paragraphs after are my comments to her. Though, I kind of feel like I ought to give her crap for not writing this a day earlier. Would've saved all of us a lot of time and stress, no?

"I am somewhat prone to those sorts of rages. Sometimes I think I majored in righteous indignation in college. As we muddle through helping Monkey and the school deal with his meltdowns, every bewildered “He just gets so ANGRY” from someone who doesn’t quite get it is a little knife in my heart. Anger is a shielding emotion. It’s much easier to be angry than to be sad. Misery is vulnerable; outrage is invincible. I know why Monkey gets mad—being pissed at everyone still feels like being in control, while admitting that you feel lost and hopeless is a free-fall."

This paragraph is me right now. It's me I'm angry with; me and this damn FM. I'm angry w/everyone who doesn't understand, because I feel these are the people who should understand and should help me. I know, in my heart, they are doing the best that they can do. But the fact that I need more, make me sad, and scared...and angry.

I'm glad you have Otto, and I have my husband, who for all the bitching I do about him, is my rock in all of this. (And puts up with all my bitching.) I constantly apologize to him too. I can't understand why he puts up with me and all my shite. He wasn't family, he choose to be here, knowing what he was getting at the time too. (Mostly knowing, nobody really knows till you're physically living with it.) I know when he says he's not leaving he's not, it's just hard to believe when so many others do.

Thanks for giving a voice to feelings I have so much trouble expressing on my own.
Here's to the end of the week, and a large glass of wine.

And then I stepped in it....

I haven't really had the energy to write about my doctor's appointment, mostly because there really isn't anything new to report. I'll tell you more when there's more to tell. Basically, it went well, let's just leave it at that. So onto what that title is about...

My kids are on Spring Break this week. That's, at least part of, why, I haven't had the extra energy to write. Especially considering there really wasn't anything to write. Been doing my best to keep them busy and out of trouble. Simultaneously, trying not to overdo it. Blah, blah, blah...the usual blather I've been putting out lately.

Before I tell you what happened, I guess I need to provide a small amount of backstory here;

My brother's family is moving out of Silicon Valley. (Don't even get me started on my mom's reaction to this, to say she's not happy would be an understatement. She has trouble with change.) It's not my story to tell, so the long and short of it is this; they decided before things got any tighter, (budget-cuts,) they wanted to get into a smaller house payment. (No, they weren't having money problems! They just saw what was happening with public workers and did the long term math. They are being pro-active. I'm not making any kind of declaration about their financial situation; they are fine. They just want to stay that way.) They did some research and found an area they could better afford, with decent schools and from which they could still commute. That's the basics of it. They put their house on the market and it sold in like a week. Right now, most homes here are taking about 2 months to sell. They weren't entirely ready to move; read; kids are still in school. In the interim, they are living with my parents. It's temporary, and it was planned out. But it's obviously not the norm for my family. So that's your back story. My brother's family has recently moved in with my parents.

I think I mentioned a time or two before, that my mom and I have our issues. That many times those issues seem to be more about what she'd like to say to my brother or Sister-In-Law (SIL,) but instead says to me.
As I'm writing this, I do realize that I'm now probably putting my other foot into it as well. At least, if my mom were to read this, I'm putting my other foot in it. She insists she does not, so I guess I'll know for sure soon enough. But, I've mentioned before, this is my blog, for me, so that I might vent and not entirely lose my mind or eat my young.
With my brother's family in her house, I hear everything is hunky-dory, but I suspect everyone is trying very hard to be nice and, perhaps, walking on eggshells a bit. I don't know that, like I said, everyone seems to be in agreement that all is good. What I do know is that my mom has ratcheted up her comments to me as of late. I haven't really been tracking this or anything, but my guess is that it started around the time they started getting the house ready for them to move in. I could just be sensitive, certainly wouldn't have been the first time that happened, but that's my guess. It may also be because, when you come right down to it, my mom doesn't really accept that I have Fibromyalgia, (FM). She would deny that. I think she wants to believe, but the reality is that she just doesn't, and her actions speak very loudly to that. Since my FM has recently really turned itself up, her uncomfortableness with it, might also be the reason her comments have been surfacing more often. Who knows, maybe it's because Venus is in her moon phase. My point is, and I do have one, regardless of the reason, I feel, that my mom has started in on me again as of late.
Example: a few days ago, my mom watched the girls while I went to the doctor. In the middle of small talk, she asks me if the Christmas stuff was still on the dining room table,
(I have 1-2 boxes I'm working on getting completely put away. It's how things work when you have something like FM. You do what you can, when you can, and you try not to stress about the rest. No, my poor children haven't been deprived of other holidays. We have decorated for other holidays, the dining room has just become a Christmas staging area. I agree, I probably should purge some of the Christmas, I'm actually working on that. Different post, for another time.)
So, my answer is, "Yes, it's still out."
"Well, that's ridiculous, there's no reason you can't have had that put away by now." No, I didn't tape her, but that's pretty close to a verbatim quote.

So, now you get what I mean when I say she's started in on me. That little exchange is typical of what happens between us. It's a little dance we do. The whole conversation will be moving along about the kids and whatnot, and she'll throw a little jab in there like that. When I've been dealing with it for a while, I'm better at not engaging her. Right now, I'm out of practice. Not to mention, my defenses are down, because I'm so tired, in pain, etc... If you're still reading this, you are a real trooper, or need to get a hobby. Oh hey, maybe reading blogs is your hobby! Good for you! Because It's taking me this long to get to the story this whole post is supposed to be about. I've never claimed to be short winded.

The Start of the Actual Blog Post: (Cue trumpets!)

Today's event, for Spring Break, was supposed to be at a park w/a dozen or so other families from school. Everyone brings lunch and we have a picnic and let the kids burn some energy. It rained this morning, of course. But, I had a backup plan! We took the girls to movies. You may remember that movie going with BigSpeak, (Big,) has not had great success in the past. But it was raining, and we went to see Hop. It's about the Easter Bunny, how scary could it be? I asked my mom if she wanted to go, partly because I knew she wanted me to ask her, and partly because I knew it would be easier with the two girls, if things did not go well. (They were mostly fine, BTW.) Movie, was all good. We had one little mishap w/candy that G'ma let them pick out, but that was all. (Big picked out "sticky candy," she shouldn't have with her braces. It wasn't a big deal.) My mom got very testy w/me about it on the drive home to drop her off. Told me I should've bought her the candy, if it mattered that much. This was only because she was trying to tell me it was fine for Big to have it once in a while, in front of Big. (It's not. Trust me, I know this because we let her do it once and luckily were able to fix it on our own.) I wasn't criticizing her choice, it was when she told me in front of my kid that it was OK for her to have it, that I said, "Actually, no it's not." That's when she got all testy with me. But that's not the story, it just helps you understand my state of mind. I was tired, and at this point now, a bit testy myself. I got home about 3:30, and the girls wanted lunch, so I made them a late lunch. (They'd had a very large late breakfast.) Then LittleSpeak, (Little) got mad about something, and got in trouble for talking back. I was tired, so I vented. I vented publicly on a "social networking" site. (You just had your "aha moment," didn't you?) All I said, was that, this day was not going down as my favorite day of being a mom. I immediately got several comments from other moms and dads. It was actually kind of funny how quickly so many people were having the same kind of day. One mom suggested it might be the rain. Another told me I should've pawned them off on the G'parents, like her. There were some other things in there, so I quickly wrote into my own comments and replied to them. In my reply, I mentioned to the mom who suggested G'parents, that my kids were not the first grandkids, so the novelty was gone. Not one of my more stellar moments, I can assure you. I did it without thinking and hit enter.

Tonight, I got a text from my mom about it. She was less than pleased. I debated about how to answer her; I don't want to add fuel to the fire, but I felt that my comment, while ill-advised, was defensible. Should I do this via text? Call her? I finally decided to text her back, I felt calling her would be escalating it and potentially turning it into something bigger. I wrote her back and said, "When I ask for help with my kids, because they are a handful, and I say that is why I would like the help. I'm usually told too bad." Good or bad, that's the truth. I have been told "no" more than once, because they are a lot of work. They are a lot of work. I know that. That's why I was asking for the help, right? My kids are a lot of work because they're younger, then their first grandkids, I get that. I also have a child who is, what some might call, "spirited." Let's just say, you don't leave her alone in a room with a pair of scissors; running is probably the best thing she'll do with them. When you get down to it, that basically what I meant by the comment. Obviously, it's not how she took it. She did not write me back. After half an hour, I wrote again and asked if she was mad at me. She answered that right away, "no." I decided to call it even and leave it alone.

I'm spending the day with her, my niece and my girls at an amusement park tomorrow. I'll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

More of the Same

I go to see my "new" rheumatologist tomorrow. This last week has been more of the same. One day I'm pretty good & actually get a few things done. Next day, I'm down w/IBS or a migraine or both. I'm tracking everything and honestly, it doesn't seem like my diet (low-carb) is the reason for my IBS. But I'm going to stick with it. If nothing else, I will start to lose weight from it, at some point, and that won't hurt.

Last weekend I went to San Diego and stayed at a spa w/my BFF & another of her friends. I was actually really good for the weekend. About an hour after I got home, I got a headache. I had opened a soda about 10 mins prior and only had about 2 sips of it. But I hadn't had any soda all weekend, so I thought maybe I was on to something. But it seems not. I've had that same headache off and on since Sunday night. This afternoon, it got really bad. My meds got it under control a few hours after DaddySpeak got home.

I'm hoping for something enlightening tomorrow. Realistically, I know that's unlikely, but a girl can dream.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whatever It Takes....

I am trying not to lose my shit here. I feel like I'm bi-polar or something. I guess I feel like the Fibromyalgia (FM) is bi-polar. I'm struggling to "keep up" but I'm not. I'm "borrowing spoons" and paying for it. So I do I what I need to, and then I can't do at all. I have had a few opportunities to write this last week, but held off, because I wanted to write something that wasn't all bitchy and angsty. Now, I'm not sure when that might be, if ever. Yes, I'm catastrophizing, I do it well; Watch & learn from the master. Today, my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) made another command performance. It was my own fault, but I get so wrapped up in just making it through day-to-day that I have trouble seeing the forest for the trees. Which means, I guess, I just cut them all down? I don't know where that metaphor was going, try and keep up, maybe you can explain it to me later. Let me back up a bit. I had a bad day Monday, both girls were in school and spent that time in bed. Got through the rest of our Monday afternoon and was hit with a migraine right around the time DaddySpeak got home. (Lucky him.) I ended up in bed at 6:00PM. I did manage to kick the migraine about 1o:00 PM, so I got a fair amount of sleep. Tuesday, (yesterday,) I spent the day trying to make up for Monday. LittleSpeak is home that day, so we hit the gym, (her class,) Target, (groceries & b-day gifts,) hair salon, (Little needed a trim,) eye doctor, (I needed more contacts,) and the library. During all of this, my mom called to inform me she might need a ride to the doctor because she may have broken her foot the night before. (Don't get me started on the fact that there are currently 3 other drivers living with her right now, and that she waited till they all were somewhere else to call me. I don't have an issue with helping her, I find it curious that I was her first choice, when, clearly she had other options. Yes, another post, another time.) So in-between all this running around, I was working the phone with my mom. Not a big deal, but an additional stressor. At 4:30 PM, Little had softball practice (because so many games have been canceled due to rain,) and BigSpeak needed to be at warm up for her game at 5:00. No, they are not at the same field. I worked out a carpool for Big, (original plan had involved G'ma,) and during Little's practice texted Daddy to pick up Subway for dinner, chairs to watch the game, (which were not in the van,) and the snack for Big's game (we were the snack parents that night, of course.) Keeping up? I drove from Little's practice to Big's game. You may remember, that I'm the unofficial photog for my kid's teams. (The parents on Little's team haven't quite gotten the memo yet.) Big's team is so used to me, they see me with a camera nearby and they check their teeth and smile. I'm not joking. I have a few reasons why I prefer being a soccer mom to a softball one, but the top of the list is photo ops. I can't get in close to the action in softball, like I can in soccer. Thus I spent half of every inning on my stomach at the foul line, just past the backstop fence. As you might imagine, this did much for my back pain. An hour after the game, I could barely move. My neck, shoulders, back, hips were all in agony. I slept like crap. If I stay perfectly still I'm fine. Whenever I moved, it would wake me up. This morning, was not my best. I got both girls off to school, but I was hurting so badly. I decided I wanted one of those Starbuck Mochas. My version of comfort food. I've been really, really good on my low-carb diet for a little over a week now. Honestly, I didn't feel like it was helping at all, so I splurged.

I won't ever do that again.

Within 30 minutes, I was so very sick. I don't really consider a warm mocha my comfort food anymore. In addition to the back, neck, shoulder, etc...pain, I added a very bad bout of IBS to the mix. I took some meds for the IBS, I've had limited success with them in the past. I've been very, very good about my fluids all day. I did have some cheese this afternoon and a few hours later, some nuts (almonds and cashews); all high protein stuff. I got crampy, but my stomach held. That's where I am now. I kinda don't ever want to eat again, but I'm sure that will pass.

I'm going away for a girls weekend on Friday. I'm torn about going. I feel like I have so many things I need to be doing, and this two steps forward, three steps back dance I'm doing, isn't helping. I scheduled this weekend because we had nothing going on, and I wouldn't be missing anything. Now, because all the rain we've had, all kinds of events have been rescheduled to this weekend. The girls have two birthday parties and games. Daddy is going to either have an appreciation for what I do, or be gone when I get back.

I really, really hate this. I'm getting depressed. I'm just so tired and hurting. Big had to write a sentence for homework using the word spine, I suggested something to do with mine not being great and she replied, "I don't want the whole world to know!" Um, okay. I reminded her that my health issues are not exactly a huge secret. She said, she knew that, and she didn't mind if her friends knew, but not the whole school. So, yeah, my 7yo is embarrassed of me. I also got on a scale for the first time in a while and my weight is up. I'm at my heaviest non-pregnant weight ever. I'm not surprised by it, I can tell by the way my clothes fit, but confirming it, isn't helping my mood. I just wish there was some way to fix this, to make it all stop. A magic pill or diet or exercise. If there was a way to make it go away, I would do it. Whatever it takes...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Asking for Help

Growing up, I was mocked if I complained about aches, pains, being ill, etc... I was (not so fondly,) referred to as "Sarah Bernhardt" by my parents and grandparents. I can think of many, many occasions in which not only were my feelings/fears not validated, but were flat out dismissed. I remember these incidents with amazing clarity. Amazing to them, not me. I suspect, that many of these "aches & pains" were the early signs of Fibromyalgia, (FM). At the time, I just knew something was wrong, and my parents, the people who were supposed to take care of me, to be my champions when no one else believed me, told me to "stop being so dramatic." I was often told to "toughen up" and "suck it up." This left me feeling like I was weak and inadequate. Getting that message as a kid, it sticks with you. I struggle now to feel like I'm not inept.
I'm NOT making this up. When I say it hurts, it really does hurt. When I say I'm exhausted, I don't mean I need to sit down for a few minutes, I mean if I sit or lie down, I will fall asleep.
It's so hard to believe that other people will understand, when those closest to you, don't. I was raised that self-reliance was positive. Asking for help, a sign of weakness. Failing, not an option. I'm sure if you asked my parents directly about what I just said, they'd deny ever saying such things. Maybe they didn't say those things either. But their actions and non-verbals were quite clear to me. What they told me, time and time again, was that there was nothing wrong with me. I was "looking for attention." Nothing could be further from the truth. When you learn, at a young age, that weak = bad, you do your best to hide the things that would be seen that way.

I suppose, some of their response was due to attention my younger brother was getting. They thought I was jealous. He had some severe learning disabilities as a young child. We spent a lot of time, for a lot of years, going to doctors and appointments to get him help. I honestly don't remember feeling jealous of any of the attention related to that. I had my bouts of "that's not fair." But I don't recall ever thinking he was being favored because of the attention he was getting related to his needs. (You would never know he had these issues now, BTW. He's not on the spectrum & never was, or anything remotely like that.) I don't recall feeling like I missed out on things for me because of these appointments. I'm sure that happened, but my point is, none of it felt different from the day-to-day family give and take that most people deal with while growing up. I'm bringing this up because I think my parents may have been sensitive to that situation. When I would complain about something I think they thought I was looking for attention, because of the attention my brother was getting. I understand that, to a point. But at some point, shouldn't someone have taken it seriously? When the complaints didn't go away, shouldn't someone had said, "Maybe there's something more to this?"

I'm venting because in the process of my FM symptoms coming back, I'm once again being dismissed. Made to feel like that 7yo, who was told time and again, she was just a drama queen and it was growing pains.

Little has had a rotten cold that 5 or so days. She has been up with nightmares, ear aches and sore throats for the last several nights. I have not been getting much sleep at night because of it. (Remember, I don't sleep, I have pain. I have pain, I don't sleep. It's a cycle, I'm working really hard to avoid.) Today, her cough and complaints were enough that I kept her home from school and took her to the doctor. It's nothing big, just a really rotten cold and not much sleep for either us. About noon, her and I were both starting to crash. I knew if we napped, I wouldn't wake up in time to pick up Big from school in a few hours. I called my mom to see if she would mind picking her up for me, so I could sleep. She said, "No, because she had stuff she needed to do." Later, while sitting in the pick up line at school (watching the hail,) my mom started to text me. She apparently felt bad. Her peace offering was to offer to take Big to dance at 4. I declined. Big had some schedule overlap and wasn't going to dance. But I have to say, it pissed me off. My mom will bend over backwards for anyone, BUT me. I do not know why. I'm not the only one who has noticed this and commented on it. My brother and his wife have noted, more than once, how my mom, "always gives me the short end of the stick" and "definitely does not cut me any slack." For my brother's family, she will move literal mountains. For me, not so much. Let me be clear, her peace offering was not for me. It was because she didn't want to disappoint Big. I could go suck eggs as far as she was concerned. (That, is me being overly dramatic. See, I do know the difference.) Her peace offering was for Big, not me. She doesn't seem to understand, that when I ask for help with the kids, it not for the kids, it's for me. I need to rest so I can function. My parents seem to consider that a luxury.

It took me years to learn how to ask for help when I needed it. Years. I was taught that I should be able to do it all. When I couldn't and I fell on my face, they told me to "just get over it." "What would people think?" Falling on my face, was on an emotional level. Oh no, I did not do a public swan dive. Because, yes, what would people think? It didn't become public until I had fallen into such a deep depression it was obvious to the homeless guy on the corner, that something was wrong with me. At that point, I'm not sure what got me out of bed. On a lot of days nothing did. I asked for help today. I'm asking for help before it gets out of hand. I have kids now, I can't afford to worry about what people might think. I need to be there for them. I know I can't do it alone. Not right now. I let the house go. I haven't showered for days. I wear sweats and baseball caps to try to hide what I'm not doing. I have to prioritize my energies. But when I get to the point of asking for help, I need it. I can hear it in her voice, and see it on her face, she doesn't understand that I'm sick. She doesn't believe I'm sick. "Because I don't look sick." I'm sorry, I don't have a blood test or x-ray or CAT scan to prove something is wrong, but it is. If I get turned down, because you truly can't, that's fine, I understand. Trust me, I really do understand. But know, that if I asked you for help, I needed it. Something else is going to give.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Yeah, I'm going through the 12 steps, maybe by the time I'm done, the Fibro will be gone? Wouldn't that be nice.

I'm angry about a lot of things. Who wouldn't be? There are the things I'm missing, which makes me angry; activities w/the kids for example. I'm angry w/being sick & feeling like crap all the time. I'm angry about having an illness that isn't understood and that some people don't believe in. What I'm most angry about is all the guilt I have associated with being angry. There's a huge part of me that feels like I'm not allowed to be angry. I don't understand it either. I didn't choose to be like this. I don't choose to miss out on those things. I often borrow spoons from the future, so I won't miss out, but in the choosing I'm losing other things and I often get mad or at least frustrated with all of it.

Last night, LittleSpeak came in about midnight, upset from a bad dream. I let her lay in bed w/us, which, of course, turned into sleeping with us. I don't do well w/either of the kids in our bed. I tend not to be able to get any real sleep (REM) when they're there because I stay somewhat aware of what they're doing. I did get a few hours, but at 3 AM I woke because she had me pinned w/one of her legs. (She was pretty much sideways.) I had to wake up DaddySpeak to take her back to her room. Again, my sleep wasn't great, which means when I woke up this morning, I was already starting the day minus spoons; I was hurting. Little (our alarm clock,) came in to get us (me) up. (Somehow Daddy seems to "sleep though" her little wake up visits every morning.) I had forgotten to set the alarm, so we were late. (Big has CCD on Sunday's before church.) I got up, got both girls dressed, fed and dropped off Big at CCD. Came home, set Little up w/a "movie" (cartoons) and unloaded the dishwasher. Daddy came down in sweats a few minutes before we needed to pick up Big. I left to pick her up, took her to the bookstore, (gift for a party was going to later,) got her home, wrapped her gift, redid her hair (braids for jumping, going to trampoline place,) and pulled up the waiver for the trampoline place. I'd done all of this before 10 AM and was hurting more & more as we went along. In the meantime, Daddy was sitting in the same place, watching basketball recaps from yesterday. (Yes, he'd already seen them before.) Note; we have two printers in this house. One is supposed to be wifi, but went off-line a few months ago & we haven't been able to get it back online since. The other is plugged into our computer upstairs. I had to go upstairs to pull up the waiver for the party & print it. Sounds easy, yes? Except, my husband has loaded all kinds of extra software on that computer and it constantly wants to be updated. There's a continuous stream of pop-ups appearing to ask you if you want to update. He has put so much crap on there, that I don't know what's legit & what isn't, so I don't feel comfortable saying yes to any of the updates. I've asked him multiple times, over several months, to fix this, but he has yet to do it. Because the pop-ups are running (or trying to,) it inevitably locks up the computer. It took me 20 mins to print that damn waiver. (It should've taken 2.) During all of this, the girls kept coming upstairs to ask me how to spell words (b-day card,) & where things were (wrapping & card making supplies.) Daddy was sitting 10 feet away from them, but he doesn't answer or even acknowledge when he's watching (reruns) basketball. Stress will up your symptoms w/Fibro, and I was feeling pretty stressed by the time I got done. So, my pain level was going up, not down. Then I reread the email & realized I needed to drive Big to the b-day girls house, (I misread it & thought they were picking her up.) So I was scrambling to get her to their house. I was hoping to take Little to this place, to the little kids free play area & maybe get some pix of the the b-day party and Little bouncing, but I'm not up for it. I got back from dropping Big off & told Daddy that and I can tell he's not thrilled to take her on his own. But I don't think being bounced around is in my best interest right now. Truth be told, I need some down time alone right now. I also bit his head off about the computer thing, so he's thrilled w/me right nwo. I'm irritated w/life and him and he's irritated w/me. Here's the thing, I have a huge amount of guilt for being frustrated with him. Bah! It's not like he hasn't had plenty of time to fix the computer situation. But I'm feeling guilty because I end up missing so much and he has to do with the kids on the weekends.
I know rationally that he should spend the time with his kids. That, I too, deserve a break. I get that when I stay home from something fun, I'm not really getting "me time. I'm just making sure I have enough spoons to finish the day. I would actually be happy if I were to get to sleep in once a week, ever. He is slacking on getting the computer stuff done. But I feel guilty because I would take care of this stuff if I wasn't sick. It's like cruel trick of nature; you're going to feel like shite, you're going to miss out on lots of fun things and you're going to feel guilt for missing it all.
When do I get a break?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. There's an understatement. I'm currently in what one would call a "Fibro Flare." I went through a very long period of denial, months in fact, and the last couple weeks have been a hard lesson in acceptance. I was going to write something about how hard it is to have a chronic illness. Then I started thinking about all the chronic stuff out there; diabetes, arthritis, lupus...and realized that I need to get over that part. It sucks, there's no doubt about that. But everyone has crap they have to deal with on a daily basis, (and don't get me started on the stuff in Japan, because that will put me into depression,) so I need to quit my bitching about that. No, the hard part this last couple weeks is knowing what is coming and feeling a complete loss of control. Before, I didn't know what was in store for me. My primary Fibro symptoms have included; migraines, non-restorative sleep, insomnia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Chronic Fatigue, depression, TMJ, wide-spread muscular pain, etc... It's a long list, but those are the symptoms that were bad enough to require medical care. My migraines started back up several months ago. At first, they were clustering around "my time of the month," but started becoming more and more frequent and debilitating. I finally got into a doctor for them and also admitted my sleep patterns had not been that stellar as of late. This doctor was actually somewhat excited to treat me. He had "some great meds for migraines that weren't around when I'd been treated for them previously." He's also the one who brought up my Fibro and started asking questions about my sleep. He prescribed me a low dose anti-depressant to see if it would help with my sleep. Since then I've had only 1 full blown migraine, which I was able to mitigate w/the migraine meds he gave me. Lasted less than four hours, as opposed to the multiple day ones I was having before. I also realized all the peri-menopause symptoms I'd been having (bad hot flashes & night sweats,) seemed to have stopped around that time. Bonus! Awesome!

Since that time though, my body has been trying to change it's clock. Trust me on this, when your body does this, there isn't much you can do. My body clock would like to be from sometime after noonish to about two or three AM. I am trying to keep it on the 10 PM to 7 AM for sleep vibe, (since it's almost midnight now, you can see how well that's working,) so I can deal with my kids when they're awake, but not so much. I know all the tricks related to sleep issues; only sleep in bed, no TV, no books; go to bed and get up at the same time every night, keep paper by your bed to write things down (keep your mind from spinning,) there's more, but you get the idea. It's not working. My body is running at it's peak about 10 PM to 1 or 2 AM. I can't seem to shut down before that. New flash: When you don't get enough sleep you're exhausted. Your PSA for the day, you're welcome. I'm great at pointing out the obvious. The exhaustion is typically accompanied by pain, and round the cycle goes; the pain makes it hard to sleep, you don't sleep so you have pain. Whee! The final straw, (in the past,) has been my digestive system. When my GI Tract gets involved it goes big. By big I mean it's landed me in the hospital a couple times. I don't think it'll ever do that again, (I did a lot of the wrong things in the past & know better now,) but never say never, right?

The widespread pain started in earnest about 2 weeks ago. (I've had major pain before that time, it just seemed to be centered to my sciatic issues.) I have 2 types of pain, nerve, from my disc problems and muscular, from my Fibro. I may have been dealing with the pain issues for much longer, but it started traveling to old favorite areas (mid-back, neck, shoulders, ankles...) in the last month. Areas that have nothing to do w/my lower back or leg. I suspect the two things exacerbate each other for fun. The exhaustion kicked in at that time as well. For the last two weeks or so, I get up, get the kids where they need to go and get back in bed till I have to go get them. When they're home, I lay on the couch and have them move the kids chairs & tables near so I can help with homework, read to them, etc... Yeah, no nominations for mother of the year over here. I feel like I've got the flu or mono, that's the kind of tired I'm dealing with here. I've been working on getting back onto a very low-carb diet, because I felt in the past that it helped with my symptoms, but it's been slow going. When I'm in pain I want chocolate. (Understandable, chocolate releases endorphins, your body's natural pain killer.) What I really want is my Starbucks Mocha. It's my version of comfort food. The warmth of that chocolate going down my throat immediately relaxes me. That craving, is my Achilles heel for the low-carb diet. It's the hurdle I'm having trouble getting over. This morning, after 5 or 6 days without one. Five to six days spent in bed because of pain, I decided I was going to have one. I figured if I limited my carbs everywhere else all day that could be low-carb enough. I was taking Little to gymnastics, where I sit for an hour on a cold bench in an unheated gym. It doesn't do wonders for my pain level. I wanted one to get through that hour, and the next couple after that which would more than likely be pain filled. I indulged. My pain had been slightly better and the feeling of that warm mocha seemed to help melt the last of it away. Surprisingly, I ended up running quite a few errands with Little after gymnastics because I felt so much better. Then my stomach joined in. My IBS seems to have taken exception at that mocha. It took the Fibro pain and turned it into Fibro IBS. All the bloated, uncomfortable, out-of-control feelings that come with IBS have shown up. There are other, more graphic details, I'll spare you, that accompany a bout of IBS. Let's just say I have no doubt it's not just something I ate. It's me. It's the way my body responds to this; it's the Fibro.

I haven't wanted to admit it's back. I know I've said that in the recent past, but I'm still fighting it. I still don't want to believe it. I want to be back how I was when Little was an infant. That short period of time when both girls where born, my back had not been injured yet, and my Fibro was gone. I want that back. I want my girls to know that mom.

I have owned up to the fact this is for real. My old rheumatoligist considers me a new patient because of the amount of time since I've seen her. "She's no longer taking new patients." Can't make this shit up people. I went to see my GP last week. Seeing a doctor about it, makes it real. She's good, she listens and seems to care. I told her my details, she's concerned about depression. (She "doesn't know much about Fibro.") My response? "Chicken or the egg?" One follows the other, you don't sleep, you will eventually experience a true physical depression. I know of what I speak. She referred me to another rheumy & wants to me see a shrink as well. I have an appointment in April w/the rheumy; I'd seen him briefly 10 yrs ago, but had to change due to insurance. That got me the April appointment, as opposed to May. Glad I'm not an emergency. I still need to find a shrink, but I'm procrastinating. I've had good & bad ones in the past. The bad outnumber the good 2-1, I'm just not into it. I know I need to see one, but I just hate the process.

Know what I hate more though? I hate that my body feels like it's attacking itself. I'm ready to be done with that.