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Rest Well, Grandpa.

23 Jun

Somehow, my father’s father died yesterday.

When you’re a kid you just don’t think these big strong men will ever NOT be big and strong.

I haven’t sat in the presence of my Grandpa in years – both of us caught up in that rip current that is daily life, drifted miles apart. When I was a kid he used to spend part of his time in Florida, where I grew up, and the other part in Ohio, where my Dad’s side of the family is from. Dad and Grandpa shared a vocation, so they would mostly talk shop when we were together, but he was always kind and loving to my sister and I. I don’t remember being super close. I don’t think we had a crawl-up-in-the-lap relationship. But we laughed, we lived.

I have memories of driving to Disney in the back of his huge conversion van with my cousins (not a seat belt in sight, of course, cause that’s literally how we rolled in the nineties).

I remember he had a Cocker Spaniel named Tiffany, and he would always mix our names up, like “Tiffie, er, I mean Steffie…”, which would crack me up.

His Florida house had a little cottage apartment attached to it, which is – come on – like, the coolest thing ever. Perfect for playing house.

His voice. His hair (which had been white as long as I can remember). His laugh.

Eventually the travel took its toll, and my Grandpa sold his Florida house. I didn’t see him much after that. Then I moved to Texas, which pretty much ensured we wouldn’t be bumping into each other anytime soon.

I imagine Grandpa holding my father as a baby in his arms and looking at his face. I wonder if my Grandpa had any idea he would live to see this baby turn 60. That’s truly amazing to me. I can’t imagine what it’s like to see your child become a grandparent, though I can only pray I get the chance to see for myself.

My Grandpa never met my daughter or my son, who is in part named after him. I will regret that for the rest of my life.

You know the secrets now, Grandpa. I’m sorry we lost years – but I love you.

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Recovery

15 Jan

So it’s been almost 2 weeks since I had Moh’s and plastic surgery. Recovery has had its ups and downs, I’ll be honest with you. The first 4 or 5 days I struggled with what I would classify as mild depression. I really didn’t want to go anywhere, definitely didn’t want to see anyone (or rather, didn’t want them to see me).  I had a lot of time to sit and think about my mortality and the fact that my body is basically a ticking time bomb. My hypochondria flared up:

Me: What else is wrong with me? 

Self: Probably something. What is this on your neck, right by the surgery site?

Me: Hmm. Feels like a swollen lymph node.

Self: Or a neck tumor. Better go to the doctor. You’re probably in big trouble.

Me (after going to the doctor): Doctor says it’s a lymph node after all, probably related to the surgery, and should go away.

Self: She’s wrong. Tumor. Plus you’re probably going to get the flu.

So it went on like that for a week or so, me obsessing about everything I could see and most of what I couldn’t. My OCD intensified. I normally keep it in check, and you would probably never notice it unless you came to my house and observed me doing something like mindlessly adjusting the kitchen faucet so that it points to the exact middle of the two sink basins, or organizing my childrens’ play kitchen so that all “hot” play food is in the stove compartment and all “cold” play food is in the refrigerator compartment (Yes, I do these things daily). Very mild OCD can be a quirky personality trait, or at the very least help with organization. Severe OCD is a debilitating life-ruiner. I have no desire to go there, or even come close, which is why I’ve been working very hard to address the signs of worsening OCD before they have a chance to completely take over.

I’m completely thankful for competent and kind doctors, for good medical insurance, and prayers from many. And honestly, the amazing feedback I got from my previous post meant the absolute world to me, I’ll just tell you. My friends and family (and even one or two strangers!) lifted me up with comments, texts, and emails. A bunch of people told me that I wasn’t alone – they’d had similar experiences, and felt the same way I did. I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who has struggled emotionally with the after effects, either.

So, why has it been hard?

I have a theory about why the week following my surgeries was so difficult.

I couldn’t laugh.

I could barely smile.

This was me, at my most cheery:

Maybe she's laughing on the inside.

Maybe she’s laughing on the inside.

 

Good grief, I hated not laughing.  Toward the end of the week that I had stitches I came to dread something funny coming to my attention. The act of smiling hurt and I began obsessing that my scar wouldn’t heal correctly if I even tried.

Isn’t that sad?

Have you ever counted the number of times you smile and/or laugh in any given day? I haven’t, but I definitely took it for granted. I realize now what an astounding gift laughter is.

It’s probably no coincidence that I didn’t truly feel like myself until my stitches were removed and I could smile and laugh once more. Isn’t it amazing? Laughter has been my most effective tool in recovery.

I’m sorry this post isn’t funny. It’s anti-funny. I tried to make it at least a little humerous, but it just didn’t really work out. I’m happy to release these negative issues, though. Plus I warned you in the title that this blog wouldn’t be all sunshine. Here’s your occasional cloud cover! I’ll get back to the ray of sunshine part now.

I’ll leave you with a pic of me, 13 days post-surgery. I’m wearing no makeup, and there is no filter on the pic. Way to go, Prominent Facial Surgeon!

can't complain!

can’t complain!

 

xoxo

Taking the HI out of hiatus!

8 Jul

So…hey. It’s been awhile.

I feel like things could get a little awkward here, so I’m gonna just push through it.

Guess who joined me on my drive home from the store the other day?

Grasshopper in car

“GO BLOG ABOUT THIS”

If you’re a follower of my pointless ramblings, you know that the crickets hate me and often send grasshoppers out to scare and intimidate me. So I wasn’t all that surprised to see this guy staring me down from my dashboard. Thanks for reminding me to blog, nasty thing. “Preshiate ya.

So yeah, we moved. That’s why the no blogs in like three months. It all happened so fast…….I’m still not exactly sure how. I did a lot of smiling, nodding, and signing. Oh, and packing. I would estimate about 76 miles of corrugated cardboard passed through my hands during the months of May and June. We are now 15 minutes away from our old house in a general northwesterly direction. Why did we move? It sounds so lame to say we needed more room. Our old house was about 1800 square feet. Why was this not enough room for our family of 4 (plus cat & dog)? I have no idea. Growing up in South Florida my 4 person family lived happily in 1000 square feet. And we had turtles and cats and dogs and hamsters and whatever else too. I don’t remember ever feeling cramped. Go figure. My excuse is this is Texas. The rate of square feet exchange is like 50%. Or some other math figure that makes sense.

So what else?

Since I like to show you random food I’ve made, I’m going to do it again now.

20130525_085323

Sorry about Ariel’s “seashells” there. Crass.

This was for special breakfast and it was egg, hashbrowns, cheese, and ketchup. Food pyramid complete.

Mac n Cheese burger

Mac ‘n Cheese Burger

I posted this one on Facebook during my blog hiatus, and told myself I would go back and do a whole post on it because it was THAT good. Well that clearly didn’t happen, but these were mindblowing anyway. MO: Stuff cooked Mac & Cheese into hamburger patties and cook. I think I slathered barbecue sauce on these. Sounds like something I would do.

Alrighty, that’s all for now. I’m rusty and all this took me like an hour. Better next time. xoxo

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

29 Mar

So it’s spring now, although as usual, nobody told Texas. Or they did and Texas chased them off his porch with a shotgun. Forget the groundhog. Texas decides if we’re having another six weeks of winter or not. It’s pretty nice today actually, but it’s been super cold lately, in my opinion.

Anyway, in recognition of spring’s arrival, at least on the calendar, I decided to cut my hair very short. I’m normally very bad about getting my hair cut, or even trimmed. I get a trim maybe twice a year, but more like every 8 or 9 months. Last time I did a major cut was over 5 years ago, and I was pregnant with my son. Not adorable, all belly, beginning of the third trimester pregnant. I was fat, sick, middle of the first trimester pregnant. Experienced moms will tell you that it’s a bad idea to make any huge changes to yourself in the emotionally charged first months of pregnancy. It’s hard enough to deal with basically losing control of your body, but couple that with a drastic change to your appearance and it can be a lot to handle. And it was. To me, my long hair always symbolized cool things like youth and freedom. Losing that, while trying to grasp the reality of impending parenthood, was kind of a bummer. I remember catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror one time not long after that first cut. Was that really me? Boring shoulder length hair (red at the bottom with brown roots, since I gave up hair dye), fat, squishy middle, ill-fitting maternity capri pants that came down way too low on my legs since I’m short, and socks with sensible sneakers. I almost cried. I probably did actually cry. I felt like I would never be me again. I was just gonna be this lame mom version of myself who wears elastic jeans and serves Sunny D to adolescents. It would’ve been nice to look in the mirror and still see my same old long hair. Then at least a piece of the old me would’ve been there somewhere, you know? Anyway, I was able to donate my hair at that time, which made the whole experience a little better. At least there was a purpose. Even though I was carrying and helping to create life, which is a pretty great purpose in itself, but whatever.

So except for maybe 8 or 10 trims, I haven’t done much in the hair cutting arena since the trauma of that cut. I knew better to stay away from the salon when I was pregnant with my daughter, and for the year and a half after her birth while my body was still not quite recognizable. Does anyone else cling to their hair length like I do? Am I coming off slightly crazier than the Cocoa Puffs bird? Either way, I woke up one morning recently and was just ready to have it gone. I was tired of the tangles, the pulls, the clogged shower drain (although let’s be honest, that was more my husband’s problem), rolling it up in the car window (which happened more often than you’d think). Remember what happened to that gal in Big Love when her braid got caught in the car door? That terrified me.

Yes, I did it.

aint she a beaut!

ain’t she a beaut!

How come as soon as you cut off a ponytail of hair, it becomes slightly creepy? I didn’t mail this off to Locks of Love until a few days after the cut, and in the meantime I stored it in a bag in my husband’s nightstand. It was a running joke that he was a creeper who keeps human hair in a drawer next to his bed. You never know who people are until you look in their nightstand, am I right?

So, there you go. I finally cut my hair. It was fun, I was ready, and over a week later, I still love it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend with your loved ones! He is RISEN!!

Creativity

21 Feb

So, does anyone know how to get crayon out of, well, everything? My girl turned 19 months recently and is currently the resident artist of the house.

I know, I know..put the crayons out of reach. I do! Her brother gets them down for her while I’m in the bathroom and then he finds a comfy spot to settle in and watch the fun ensue. Earlier in the week she scribbled on about 5 square feet of hardwood floor in dark blue crayon. I won’t show you a picture of that because I don’t want to give you a heart attack (which is what basically happened to me when I saw it). Also I’m not one of those cool parents who, when their kids make a gargantuan mess, immediately grabs their camera to capture the whimsy of it all. No, my first instincts sent me running for the rags and cleaner and I scrubbed. Maybe I’ll regret that one day, as I’m watching them drive away to college, or walk down the aisle. But hey, it’s hard to change your natural instincts! I like a clean house. Or definitely just not crayon all over everything.

I also felt bad later because what if my baby has such a high level of creativity that she just has to get it out however she can? She must create!!! And here I am squelching that with my rags and Method bottles. People try to squelch Banksy too, but it doesn’t stop him. Drat, I’m no better than the squares who try to suppress free thinkers.

People who excel in their crafts always talk about how their parents turned themselves upside-down to give them outlets to do what made them happy as a child. I think I remember Gabby Douglas’ mom talking about being basically penniless because the gym fees were thousands of dollars per month. Plus she let Gabby move halfway across the country to train at like, what, 12? I don’t know how I would handle it if I was in her shoes, but I can imagine I would be like “Sorry hon, you can’t do gymnastics anymore. Mommy and Daddy have lost their house.” It’s got to take some incredible faith to trust your child enough to follow them into something so uncertain. Plus think about all the gymnasts who train like that but don’t win gold at the Olympics. It’s a risk.

I know ultimately, if the situation arose where either of my kids fell that much in love with something, I would do anything I could to help them grow and continue with it. I just might be around a little less on account of the three jobs I’m working.

A Fine Line

29 Nov

Earlier this year I ran into my OB/Gyn at the Museum. It was a little awkward, for me at least. I came this close to saying “Hey! I’m surprised you recognized me with my clothes on”.

What actually came out of my mouth was “Hey! I’m surprised —–uh— how crowded the museum is today!”.

My husband said I should’ve said it, that it would’ve been funny. But would it? What if she is completely uncomfortable with making light of the fact that 92% of our interactions take place with my clothes laying on a nearby chair in a pile. Maybe we’re not allowed to laugh at the fact that she watched me give natural childbirth, in all it’s humiliating glory. Can we talk about the fact that I swore I would never look her in the eye again?

That’s the problem with trying to be funny. It’s a fine line between a good laugh, and “you’ll be receiving a letter from my HR department”.

Hey, did anyone see Mr. Belding as one of the judges on How I Met Your Mother this week? Full disclosure, I backed the Tivo up at least 3 times to re-watch his part.

Did I ever tell you about the time I met him? It was at a Planet Hollywood restaurant in Atlanta circa 1999. He was eating with his wife and some other people. Since I didn’t have the courage to walk right up to his table, I did the classy thing and followed him to the bathroom. My grand plan was to wait by the door of the ladies’ room until he came out of the mens’, and just sort of run into him all cool like “Hey, aren’t you that guy from that TV show?” I realize this paints me with the crazy stalker brush, but it is what it is.

Amazingly, it worked like a charm. Not the keeping it cool part, I totally lost it. But he was the nicest guy and let me gush on about how I’d seen every episode of Saved by the Bell no less than 11 times. He let me walk with him back to his table and introduced me to the other people he was eating with. My memory of the whole things is fading, but I do remember him telling me that my face was as red as my hair (at that time I was pretty heavily into RR07 Intense Red Copper by L’Oreal). I told him I was pretty excited to be meeting him, and my face wasn’t normally so freakishly flushed.

Anyway, I walked on cloud 9 for a while after that encounter. I still have the pants I was wearing that night. My red Wrangler jeans. I’ve never gotten rid of them, despite the fact that from 2003 until a few months ago, they had no hope of fitting me anymore. They’re out of style, and come up way too high on the waist, but I wear them occasionally. Eh, I live in Texas now. Wranglers never go out of style here.

So anyway, maybe sometimes it pays to be slightly inappropriate and risky? Are there times when secretly following someone to the bathroom without their knowledge can result in something good? Yes.

“A building with two Beldings, one of whom is balding.” -Zack Morris upon meeting Mr. Belding’s brother. Haha, classic Zack.

 

Chocolate Wallets and Fancy Chili

25 Oct

Alright, I hate going so long without a post. The people around me suffer greatest when I don’t post regularly, because I jabber on even more than normal.

What’s been happening? First of all, my blog has acquired a number of new followers and “likers” whom I don’t know in real life. That’s kind of cool and scary at the same time. Though, strangers are just friends we haven’t yet met, isn’t that what they say? Course, strangers sometimes stalk and murder us too, but I’m sure that’s over-thinking it.

Let’s talk about why I haven’t been on the computer writing blog posts:

Remember when I told you our desktop computer wouldn’t turn on after the power went out? Well that was a whole thing where my incredibly computer savvy husband had to order a part and fix it, and as a result “the big computer”, as I call it, was out of service. I can blog from the WordPress app on my phone, but really, it’s a beating to work from such a small screen. With the recent death of our laptop, that leaves only the tablet. I try only to use the tablet sporadically because it hates my guts. We do not work well together, and it almost never does what I want it to. I fat-finger everything; it’s like I’m wearing oven mitts. I tried to post from the tablet once before, and when I hit “Publish”, it acted like I hit “Move to Trash”. I also learned the hard way not to try to use Facebook’s “poke” feature on the tablet (my husband and I have a fierce and long-standing Facebook poke war). Things can get awkward real fast when you accidentally poke the wrong person. Trust me.

So anyway, I haven’t really had the means to post for a couple of weeks. Here are some other reasons I’ve been away:

Life’s been busy, ok? It’s been a busy month. Plus the kids were sick. Don’t you hate how people with young kids blame everything on their kids being sick? Like at work, it’s a total get-out-of-jail-free card. Man that used to irritate me before I had kids.

A fair amount of any computer time I do get is devoted to the Etsy shop my mom and I have launched, and reading about how to operate an Etsy shop. I’m not that good at it yet.

My 15-month old has a new penchant for throwing important items away, and a good part of my life is spent cleaning trash remnants off of stuff. We are 99.3% sure she tossed the old iPhone my son uses for games sometime this summer, which was the last time any of us can remember seeing it. Last week she secretly threw away her Daddy’s wallet shortly before I decided to dump a container of old baking cocoa into the trash can. I’ve had that cocoa in the back of my pantry for the last 5 years and I chose that moment to decide to pitch it. Coincidence, Irony, or Murphy’s Law?

Chocolate Wallet

I still like to set aside time to play Draw Something.  By the way, what’s a “Zacefron”? Is he from Transformers?

Also, we’re working on getting our wills drafted. It’s a huge bummer and forces me to think about a bunch of stuff that I’d prefer not to dwell on. So that’s a downer. Looking forward to getting them done and filed away.

Anyway, that’s what’s up. Also, I made Trisha Yearwood’s Fancy Chili for dinner last night. I love her, largely because she’s married to Garth Brooks, whom I adore. I figure if I make Trisha’s chili and serve it to my family, then we are all one Kevin Bacon step closer to Garth. It was good! I couldn’t decide whether to serve it over rice or cornbread, so I made both. For the record, we all agreed we preferred the cornbread.

Fancy Chili

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