Friday, October 24, 2014

Consistently Constant

I don't have much to say tonight.
Mostly, it's because I spent the better part of my fall - thus far - being sick in some sort of way.  Between the flu, bronchitis, and that mysterious stomach bug, I've been to preoccupied to even care about posting on my blog.
Tonight, while I sit here and sip on my delicious mug of hot apple cider, I finally feel well enough, not just in body, but in my soul as well, to post a little something for my few but dear readers.

I have been doing an awful lot of TV watching lately.  I really don't fill my days up with productive work anymore since becoming disabled, so TV is my buddy through out the day.  TV is what keeps me company while she is at school and he is at work...
All I see anymore is what's going on with the Ebola scare and ISIS.  People with protective masks on their faces and other people with guns on their backs.  Lots of scary stuff is going on in this crazy messed up world.
I am thankful that my problems aren't nearly as tough as others have it.  I am grateful that my biggest concern is where to get my flu shot or when availability is to have blood work done.

And as my hours of TV watching turn into hours of falling asleep in my comfortable bed, I am really happy that I have the two most awesome people in the world to wake up to in the morning.

Things like ISIS and Ebola don't bother me here in my little and tiny part of this world.  My biggest scare is whether or not Apollo was able to catch the mouse in time before said mouse scurried back into its hole.  And I am unsure if this makes me really really appreciative and thankful or if it makes me really really selfish, but I am going to continue to be happy that I (for now) don't have to worry about the war going on across the world or the deadly virus that is taking over our TV screens...

John and Olivia are always going to be my constants.
My constant joy.
My constant happiness.
My constant concern.
My constant love.

Sure, I know that using that word - constant - is me just lying to myself.  Nobody lives forever, therefore neither one of them can be my constant anything.   But, for now, that's exactly what they are...

Those two are my constants.

John and I have been watching Olivia go through some tough times.  These awkward teenage years are proving to be a "constant" stressor in Olivia's life.  We have been noticing different ideas, different thought patterns, different ways of speaking in our teenage daughter.  Not all of it is a bad thing.  But, for the most part, being a teenager is becoming a bit too much for Olivia to bear.
Some of you know the worst of it, most of you don't.  And John and I plan on keeping the "worst" of it to ourselves.  Reserved for those that just "need to know" or those we choose to tell.  That's ok...  We're our own family  We're our own unit of support and guidance throughout these difficult times.  And I know that because we have raised our daughter right, and we have removed things and people from her life that no longer make her life positive, that she (and us as well) will get through this...

We have no doubt that our constant love and never ending support will help Olivia stay afloat and thrive during her teen years - and God willing, beyond.

So, I guess that's it for now... Sorry that this is one of those "vague" posts, but I am sure you understand...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Three Stages of Hell (of sicknesses)

We all go through friends in our lives.  Some are there to  listen to our troubles and maybe even give some much needed advice.  Some friends are out to party like it's still 1999 and they are the ones that  just wanna get shit faced with you all weekend long.  Yet, there are the other friends we have in our lives.  Friends I bet you wouldn't of thought of to even call them friends.  
This is what my post today is about...
This post is about the friends that nobody thanks when the war inside of our bodies has finally relented.   You all know what I am talking about too.  Don't pretend you don't.  You certainly do...

Here it goes

Week One

"John, I am not feeling that hot.  I'm gonna go lay down for awhile and see if that helps."
"You mean that little car ride killed you?"  John says this with a little smile.  He knows how I am.  Disabled, sure.  But, usually a car ride doesn't do me in like the one we were just on.  A quick trip here, another quick stop here.  And then we're on our way home.  
I got home, looked back the hallway where my bedroom was and immediately went that direction.  No force in nature would have stopped me from doing that.  I didn't even bother removing my shoes as I flew myself onto the bed and stayed there.  In my mind, I was going to stay till John had dinner cooked and then I was going to get up, feeling refreshed and have dinner with my family.  That never happened.  
In fact, the next time I opened my eyes, it was 3 in the am .... I had slept from 4 pm to 3 am and, of course I had missed dinner.  
Not that I was feeling that hungry anyway.  At 3 am, when everyone (including Apollo) is out, there's not much to do except look for meds to try and make yourself feel better.  
Because by this time, I was certainly NOT feeling my hottest.  Knowing of my pharmacy in the bathroom and the slightly smaller pharmacy in the kitchen, I started to dig for something to bring my fever down, to make me stop shaking, and to make the cough go away, which was getting worse as long as I was standing up...
The usual find came in the form of  Nyquil.  That stuff rocks.  Especially taken with the right additives.  I was going to take my last dose of my Oxycode for the day with this shot of Nyquil.  That oughtta get the zzzzzzzz's rolling, huh??

And it did.  I slept rather good that night, despite being so sick.  The Nyquil was helping with the incessant cough, but it was also helping to bring my 103 fever down.  The Oxycodone was for the small fiber nueropathy that I experience on a daily and nightly basis.  Something that WILL never go away and something I WOULD NEVER WISH on my own enemy...
So, that is how the next week and a half had gone.  Crying for more Nyquil and Oxycodone and sucking on cough drops and checking blood sugars and checking to see how high my fevers were going.... 
Days and days of that.  Up and down numbers on my glucometer.... can't wait to explain that one to the endocrinologist.  I had watched hours and hours of TV and Netflix.  Both were useless because once my meds had kicked in, I was asleep within a half hour anyway...  not a fun week and a half.

But, the flu seemed to go away on it's own.  I slowly started to come out of my sickness funk and slowly but surely rejoined the land of the living.  I noticed their faces when they both looked at me.  
"Hi Mommy.  Feeling better?"   Well, as better as I am going to feel now anyway.  

Week Two

After the flu, I was really surprised that I had fought it off with things we have here in the house.  Hot tea, Nyquil (Gallons of Nyquil) and loads of cough drops.  Tylenol and Ibuprofen to combat any persistent fevers.  I was really proud that I had not once even called my family doc.  I mean, I call him and he always gives me the same stuff anyway.  And the stuff he gives me, I still have in my house.  So, I saved myself a frustrating call to him and decided to get better all by myself.  Which I did.  

That's when Bronchitis hit.  And that HIT HARD.
The flu was a freakin walk in the park complete with care bears and unicorns and rainbows.  This bronchitis was mean and wicked and didn't want to see me survive.  I could tell it's evil motives from within.  Don't ask me how.  I could just tell...

Bronchitis is a very painful condition that may or may not lead to pneumonia.  Seeing as I had just received both the flu shot (yeah, I obviously got one that I didn't get protection from) AND a pneumonia shot in the hospital during my two stays with them, I felt confident in my abilities to knock this bronchitis out without outside help as well.   The only thing I wouldn't mess with would be my blood glucose numbers.  If they started to go crazy and stay crazy despite all of my help, I would've went straightaway to the closest emergency room.  

I started to drink crazy liquids.  Water, hot tea, sometimes cold tea, and if the stomach started to hurt from nausea, a little bit of ginger ale was thrown in there as well...  light eating.  didn't have much of an appetite to speak of anyway.  It was as if my body was trying to keep me sick to lose weight.   I was not eating, I was really trying to drink, but nothing seemed to go as planned there either... 

With every positive step I took, I seemed to have made two or three in the opposite direction.  Quite frustrating.  So, this whole time, I am checking my blood sugars every hour during awake hours and peeing badly at night.  My sugars were starting to go in that dangerous direction of up, and not down.  A serious situation.  One that does require medical care immediately.  So, I told myself that when John got up the next morning and my sugar was still crazy high I would treat myself to a ride to the ER.  

That never happened.  I woke up with John, and I checked my blood sugar and it seemed to go back down to it's normal limits.  Surprise, surprise.  

The next day or so, I had started to feel like my old self again.  I wasn't crying all the time.  I was finally showering when I needed to.  I was doing light household chores.  

It seems as though I was on the way to recovery.  And I was going to stay that way...

Or so I thought....

The next few days went by rather quietly.  No real illness to speak of.  I remember telling my mom on the phone how sick I had been for almost three weeks and she felt bad but was wondering how I was feeling now.  Not bad, I'd say.  Not bad at all.  I was once again sipping on hot coffee in the morning, and john and I finally changed the germy sheets so we could cohabit the same bed again.  So, things were finally starting to look up...  I was catching up on all the TV shows I had missed while sick.  THANK GOD for DVR...


Ok, you can't call this next bout of illness week three, as it only hit over a long holiday weekend.  It seemed the germs in my body were not quite done with their attack on my body just yet.  They still wanted to rule the body, and my body didn't like it.  

Between the CONSTANT vomiting and even more constant diarrhea, this third and final illness wasn't going to let me go so easily.  No fevers to speak of.  And since I was so incredibly sensitive in the stomach area, I couldn't even take my pain killers for the neuropathy pain.  I was a mess.  Vomiting and diarrhea and my painful condition of small fiber neuropathy.... there were many many many many many many many many tears going on during this illness.  There's absolutely nothing I could do to help myself from this one.  This one was going to have ride it's course.  And I was going to be a miserable rider... 

My blood sugars, despite my body fighting this third infection, stayed normal.  Probably because of the lack of nutrients that was going in.  I did try.  A nibble on a cracker here, a sip of ginger ale there... but every time I ate or drank anything - no matter how tiny - the vomiting always reared it's ugly head.  
I was a freakin mess.  At one point, I looked in the mirror when I stumbled into the bathroom to wipe my face off, and I hardly recognized myself.  I really looked sick.  My hair was all curly but a messy curly that if you stared at it too long, you'd be turned to stone.  
And the face looking back at me looked so pale.  Where did all of the blood go???  And my face was so skinny too.   

Between the flu, having bronchitis, and this latest battle with a various stomach ailment, I may have lost a total of 25 to 30 pounds - no kidding...

So, there you have it.  The Wicked Three Illnesses that wanted to kill me.  But, it didn't.  These different illnesses weren't expecting an awesome man like John by my side.  (can I just add here, that John reminds me of Bruce Willis from Unbreakable, I mean he never gets sick!)  But, John stayed by my side, as long as he was not working and he helped bring me ice for my head, he cleaned out the puke bucket for me.  He would hold my hair back so no flakes of vomit would get into it.  He took care of all the household chores and really spent alot of time with Olivia so she wasn't bothering me for anything...

I think next time I have a trio of infection, the first thing I am going to do is INSIST I go to the nearest ER.  I am not sure I could fight anything off anymore.  I think I have had my breaking point.  The next time something goes wrong with me, I am just going to get a ride to the hospital...


Saturday, August 16, 2014

"And I'd Like to Thank All the Stupid People"

As far as stupidity goes, and even idiotic people go, I could rattle off names of people that I not only know, but are also in my family - and we're talking both sides of my family... They pretty much know who they are. Whether or not they read my blog posts on the other hand, I do not know.   Nor do I care.

And when John and I discuss these stupid and idiotic people, we both just come to the conclusion that most of the people on my list shouldn't be getting as much thought as we are giving them.

We have so much more to worry about then the ignorance of people in our lives.

He's right.

He's so right...

Perhaps I put too much thought into smacking people upside their heads or simply just analyzing what these people do and say is taking too much of my time.  Why should I give these unbalanced and rash people so much power?  Why do I let them seep into my thoughts (certainly not on a daily basis, but more often than I should) and why, oh why do I even care?

I can tell you that I do care for a number of reasons.

The first reason is the most obvious one.

Some of the people on my "How Can People Be So Dumb?" list are members of my family.  Some more closely related than others.  And what do we do with family?  We love them.  We love them and we want to see these people succeed and have good lives.
But the decisions these people make are just so dumb and so "not thought out" that I am surprised to find they are still living and breathing next time I see them... No joke.

**Seriously, how some of them manage to even dress themselves is a shock to me...**

But, for the life of me, I cannot say that I understand why people are the way they are.
The ones that are really bad are the ones that are nice to your face, but mean and judgmental behind your back...  Other examples of how foolish these people are, are the many bad decisions that they make for their lives, day after day and week after week, and month after month....   Again, how do they manage to even dress themselves each morning???
 I really want to know... I suppose my burning question will never be answered...

As a woman of God, I can say these things without malice or ill intent.
I too was once fool hardy and I too made ludicrous choices for my own life.  And as a direct result of these poorly executed ideas and thoughts, I have suffered and have paid very deep prices.
But, with each and every bad decision, I quickly learned to grow and I learned to behave and react in different ways.
Of course, that's what life is all about, isn't it?

To live your life, make certain compromises and then to learn from these either really awful judgments or really grand decisions.  For example, if I prefer option A  to option B, how would it make my life, or the lives around me different?  How will making this determination affect those around me??

So, when I speak about these really crazy and insane decision  makers in my life, I am not being mean.  Just spewing out the truth.  For those not yet fully immersed into the rabbit hole, you'll read this and probably smack yourself on the forehead and say, "Yup.  She's right.  I need to start making better choices."
But the majority of the people on my list are too far gone.  They are sitting comfortably - for now - in their meaningless lives, thinking that either everyone else is at fault or that their lives are somehow good enough to keep going.  To keep going making the poor and rash judgments and choices.

People who happen to be branded as stupid is often because it's the direct result of either one single massive bad choice or a whole bunch of little bad choices made time and time again.

I truly hope that these senseless and silly people will open their eyes though.  One day (not too awfully far into the future) they will realize that being mean and being foolhardy in their lives not only makes people resent them, but also subtracts from the number of guests at their own funerals.

Like I said before, I am not being mean or hurtful - and should anyone reading this actually think this post is about you, it probably is - I'm just executing my right as an American to express my opinion and to memorialize my opinions onto my blog.

After all of this, you're might be thinking, "Does this girl have any friends?  If she feels this way about everyone, how does she even get along with other people?"
I only have a select few of names on my list of utterly ridiculous people, and like I stated above, if you think you're included on that list, you probably are.
However, for the most part, I like to surround myself with good natured and honest humans.  Though, it's not just humans of kindness that I prefer.  I love most of the furry friends in my life as well.  My four legged friends never ever lied to me, nor have they ever talked behind my back... (oooohhhh.... animals that act like humans.  Great next blog post idea!!!  LOL)

And let's not forget that the stupid morons in my life really deserve my thanks as well.  For without them in my life, I wouldn't get to really appreciate those in my life that make me smile and those that make me miss them when I'm away from them.

Let me end with that...
A direct and heartfelt thanks to the people in my life that are so dumb and so idiotic, that without them, I couldn't enjoy those in my life who are truly kindred spirits and those who truly lift me up in solid and caring ways.

This goes out to the utterly stupid and highly ridiculous.   Thanks!

Side note:  This post isn't about anyone in particular.  Just observations made in my 35 years on this planet.  I come across total strangers every time I exit my house that could easily earn a spot on my "How Can People Be So Dumb" list.  But, if you're thinking that this post is about you or you take offense, simply stop being so dumb.  :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Looking Back on the Summer post...

It's mid August already and this summer has just flown by.  I really cannot believe how fast the summers go, for me at least...
When you stop to think about it, and I mean really stop to think about how many summers go by and how many summers you actually get to enjoy -  normal life span, is like 75 to 80 years old, longer if you're lucky.  So, that is only 75 to 80 summers you have to enjoy.  When you start to break it down like that, it gets a little depressing.
I am currently enjoying my 35th summer and like last summer, it is going by very quickly.  Before I know it, Olivia will be going on to the 8th grade (WHAT?  Did I just say the 8th grade???)  Wow... Time is just that partner in life that doesn't wait for anybody...

So, this summer has been spent mostly on the river with John and other camping trips with him and my other family members.  I certainly have been spending alot of times outside, more so then last year, that's for sure.  I have been taking care of mosquito bites and poison ivy all summer long, or so it feels.  But, that is just a clear indication as to how my summer has been going.

Olivia is mostly ready for her debut to the 8th grade.  I still have to acquire a back pack for her, but that's easily accomplished at my local Walmart during one of our Wednesday night grocery runs.  And I need to buy her the usual new socks and underwear for the upcoming school year.  Socks and underwear that I'm sure will be lost to the dryer aliens once again this year.  I'll be doing the laundry and start putting socks together just to find out that not a single one of them has a match... sigh... Those darned dryer one footed aliens...

When I stop to think about the shopping and endless meals that Olivia consumes, it makes me realize just how luck John and I are.
God certainly knew what He was doing when he blessed John and me with just the one child to raise and care for.  I couldn't imagine back to school shopping for multiple children.  When just shopping for one makes me want to rip my hair out!  And perhaps it because I'm disabled and in a constant state of pain 24/7, but I honestly don't know if I could do this "back to school thing" for more than one teenager.

Anyway, during this post of looking back on the summer, it made me realize that it has been one year since that whole "family drama" thing... And a year since Olivia has even seen the whole family that brought on all the drama.  I wonder if they realize it has been that long.  I couldn't tell you how many emails I have written and then deleted and then re written and then deleted once again... I have much to say, but I never want to say it in an email.  Just seems so, and what's the word I'm looking for here... so... so in concise.  I want to say many things, but an email wouldn't do it to get my point across.  And it's not that I want to be a "right" fighter, I just need to get things off of my chest before things will ever be "normal" again.  I doubt highly that things will ever go back to being normal.  I just think it's sad that it's been an entire year since they have seen or talked to Olivia.  Well, that's if you don't count an hour or so inside of a loud restaurant where conversation is almost impossible anyway.

So, anyway, this summer has been an enjoyable one.  (and no, it's not because of the lack of the family either)... It's just been spent outside, in the sun, underneath of the bright summer sky, looking up at trees and swatting flies sort of summer.  We've tried our hands at fishing, and Olivia really likes doing that.  She even caught a fish or two of her own.  We've hung out with our good friend Mike too, alot this past summer.  It's cool to see him and John compare camping gear and talk "shop" about different methods on making their winter trips more enjoyable.
Mom and dad have spent quite alot of time with Olivia.  My mom has been helping Olivia deal with some of her "girl" troubles.  You know how teenage girls can be.  Petty and partial to say the least.  But, my own words of advice hit a brick wall when it's flying towards Olivia's ears.  She has stopped listening to my sage advice a long time ago.  Sure, she still is sweet and kind hearted, but nowadays, her friends and her have been going back and forth between being BFF's and EFL's...

I was published over the summer, which I loved!  And I think was the highlight of my year!  I mean, to write and write and finally have someone include it in a literary magazine is just an incredible high that no drug (legal or not) can help you achieve.

Speaking of drugs... my pain management doctor has upped my pain meds and I think for now, I'm finally stabilized as far as outrageous pain is concerned.  I fear though that this grand feeling of just "manageable" pain won't last.  I know that when he has changed my meds up in the past, that the good feeling of having manageable pain only last a few weeks.  This time, though, knock on wood, my pain level has been manageable for a couple of months now.  Of course, I did have to add one more pill to my daily intake of medicines, but what's one more pill when I'm already taking so many?

Well, I guess that's it for now...

Gonna hit the hay and wait for another day, so to speak.  Olivia has a well child exam in the morning, and at the moment, she isn't exactly "well."  Her ears are bothering her again and I know I'll have to get the doctor to give her something for it.  So, maybe she won't be able to bill the insurance company as a "well child" exam and we will need to reschedule that... Oh well...

Till next time, and thanks for reading...

John and Olivia fishing at the river

my mom and me camping

it rained alot of the time while we were camping... I mean ALOT

cindy and me

the group at Penn's Caverns

fire time!
ducks that John and I saw on a day trip to Scott's Run Lake
Just a view on the lake from the canoe where John and I were for a few hours of  alone time....
Ducks we saw on Scott's Run Lake
in the canoe on Scott's Run Lake with John

the campground was surrounded by stone roads
Walking down alot of steps to go swimming with Olivia
very scenic swimming
my little fish in the lake
the walk down to Penn's Caverns was a very long and steep one
family shot

One of the views from atop the mountain

this past summer wasn't all fun times... a shot of me in the hospital with a severe viral infection, had me in for three days...

John and Olivia singing to me on my birthday
me and John on an overnight camping trip on the river... <3

Olivia and me about to embark on an overnight camping river trip with John this summer...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Family that Camps Together

Most of you know that I recently returned from a family vacation.  A mom and dad, siblings and their spouses and spawn sort of vacation.
And for the most of the time, it was an enjoyable, if not eye opening time had by me and my own immediate family.  Specifically speaking, my own spawn, Olivia.

When I arrived at the campground - where cell service dies and nature takes over - after a three hour long trip that left my feet in such bad shape that I all I wanted to do was cry, I bit back the tears and said a happy and grateful hello to everyone as I saw them and as they arrived - car after filled up car.  All of them smiling back and returning hugs and asking the same old questions, "How was the drive?"  and "How have you been?"

Just three hours after arrival, a true test to the camper in everyone came in the way that only Mother Nature can give.  Rain.  And not just tiny annoying drops of drizzle either.  I mean, heavy and torrential rain.  Rain so hard that when my sister and her clan finally arrived, they sat in their van for a good solid hour till they felt comfortable enough to set up without getting too wet.

So, with 14 people, all getting wet and soaked underneath of one small canopy start talking and catching up, that's when the eye opening began - for me at least.  It was a simple request.  One, that as a mom I had every right to demand.  It was a simple, "Take this umbrella, go out to my car, open it up and get a fresh change of clothes.  Put them on and get warm and dry."
Sure, it's almost impossible to get warm and stay that way when the rain is relentless and unforgiving.  But, Olivia was soaked to the bone in her clothing.  And all I wanted to do was make sure she at least got a fresh change of clothes on.  If nothing else, to make me feel better.  Let's put aside the wet feeling and uncomfortable "ness" of being inside of wet clothes.  And despite her wanting to appear tough in front of all of her cousins, I felt it necessary to put on some dryer clothing.
But, that's when it started.
The "it" in the above sentence refers to the mixture of misspoken or misinterpreted things said by either me or people around me.  And days and days of it started to get rather annoying and very unpleasant.

Olivia eventually did go out to my car and eventually did put on dryer clothing, but it wasn't without argument from ~not just her~ but from others in the immediate ear shot of the whole mom-daughter battle of wills.
And when some of what got said mostly got put out of my mind (because let's face it, most of what comes out of my siblings mouths is either ignorance or plain stupidity) I did let some of the weeks goings on get under my skin.
I am not trying to be mean. Just stating facts about being a mom on a vacation ~a mom who is in at times unbearable pain~ but also being a single mom on a vacation (because poor John couldn't join us for this week of family fun) and having a teenager daughter to deal with.  Although I must say, that even though Olivia is definitely a teenager and she does give me lip from time to time, her behavior out shined her cousins rowdy and (at times) unbelievable actions.  Sure, girls mature faster than boys, but please, lets not make that the sole reason and only excuse for being rude and unthoughtful.
And it seems that whenever my whole family is together, that most of the other adults in the vicinity turn into the sole guardians of the two eldest cousins of Olivia's. When it comes to parenting the two boys, I have no doubt that my brother loves his kids, but is also totally blind to their behavior towards others.
I am not saying that he is a bad father. Nope, not at all. I know he would die for his kids.  But he takes advantage of those who are around in his assumptions that we don't mind disciplining and watching after his children~ without a thanks or any gratitude at all.  And I think that's what bothers me most of all.
John and I took (and still do) take great care in the raising of our only child, and we both know we aren't perfect.  But we are definitely trying to be as present and as involved in her life as we can.  No matter who is around to help us out.
So, as far as hanging with my whole family is concerned, I am going to take a nice long big break from it.
It's the little things that count ~at least to me.
And when I need to repeat the same sentence five times because I am being ignored or when I am just forgotten about all together (with the exception of one or two) "Please, don't let me stop you from your fun. I am just trying to fix my broken back pack here. But hurry up, you may miss something vital if you don't bother to wait for everyone in your party"
I don't know. It seems to me that I wouldn't have even been missed had I stayed home with my husband. A decision that wasn't made lightly either.
My family has no idea the lengths my husband goes to when it comes to me.  What he does to make sure I am comfortable and in as little agony as possible.  I made the decision to be with my family, (people I do love, but who are entirely ignorant to my health needs and pain) and left the only person who really and genuinely cares for me. I left him behind to get talked down to, to get disrespected, to be belittled and to be unheard.
A mistake that I can promise you will not happen again.
It seems that the family I love and adore are the quickest to let me down.
And no, it wasn't constant let downs. And no, the entire trip wasn't horrible. In fact, I have some fond memories of this past week with the fab five and their spouse's and spawn.  And it wasn't everyone either that let me down.  Just a few here and there ~ just a few people that left me more opened eyed than before this trip happened.
Like I said, next time the entire family is getting together and John cannot make it, I will not be attending. John is the only one that keeps me sane and collected when there is so many people talking at once. He is the only one that truly cares for me ~when I say care, I mean cares for me in the way a disabled person needs care...
I thought I did a good job of making it without him though. Some of the time, I didn't even need my walking cane. But, pain killers in high enough doses will do that to someone.
So, let me end this with this;
I do not hate anybody in my family. Siblings and newbies alike. I have a deep and unfailing love for everyone. I just know that the extended time with them has left me with hurt feelings (and perhaps it's because I have always worn my heart on my sleeve) and has also left me with more questions than answers. Questions like, "If I decided to stay home, and not killed myself on this trip, would I have even been missed???"
"Can I really count on everyone in my family when and if it really counted??"

Oh well.
I suppose every family has this problem. Someone who feels left out and perhaps unheard. I just never thought that someone would be me....

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Whistle Blower of the Schuylkill River

It was 11 pm or so on the island, along the Schuylkill River.  Small fire going in the ring.  Olivia already in her tent, sleeping soundly.  Insects buzzing around every now and again.  John and I are sitting by the fire just talking and watching the flames start to dim down.

Then something weird.

Normally, if you heard it, you wouldn't think twice about it.  But, alone on an island, already dark outside, and thinking you're all alone - hearing that sound was sort of - well - weird.

A whistle.  Like the ones you hear on a life vest.  Some life vests come equipped with whistles the user can blow into to get attention of emergency personnel.  We heard that whistle three times Friday night.  Three different times.  

Like I said.  Usually, when you hear a whistle, it's easily identifiable.  Like, a train's whistle.  Or a coach or referee at a sporting event.  But, after dark, alone on an island that is so remote that it's even hard to see from the river, hearing that very human sound makes one a little nervous.  On edge even.

John doesn't spook.  He's been camping - and I'm talking real time camping, none of this motor home and RV stuff.  He's been camping in tents, hammocks, and without the pleasantries of bathrooms, electricity, and running water for many years.  He knows what makes which noise and what you're supposed to hear out in the woods.  So, when he turned to me with a concerned look of bewilderment on his face, my heart skipped a beat.

He looked at me and said, "What was that?"

I shrugged my shoulders and told him that I had no idea.  I mean, I knew that we heard was a whistle, but as to why we hearing it though, I had no idea...

About a thousand thoughts start running through my mind.  Like, is there someone else on this island?  Some lost night fisherman that stumbled onto it completely by accident?

Let's break for a movie reference for a moment here:

Inigo Montoya: You are sure nobody's follow us? 
Vizzini: As I told you, it would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable. No one in Guilder knows what we've done, and no one in Florin could have gotten here so fast. Out of curiosity, why do you ask? 
Inigo Montoya: No reason. It's only... I just happened to look behind us and something is there. 
Vizzini: What? Probably some local fisherman, out for a pleasure cruise, at night... in... eel-infested waters...
Anyway, there were literally a thousand different reasons why we could have been hearing a whistle.  And most of those scenarios were creepy to say the least.  We discussed some of the more reasonable explanations for some time before we decided that we were just too tired to care.

So, we climbed into our hammocks for the night and were determined to get some sleep.  After all, what's to be afraid of?  We had many usable weapons on hand,  had we needed them.  But, alas, that night, there was no need for picking up the fire poker in order to beat someone's brains in.

Other than the strange noises we heard after the sun had set (and believe me, the mysterious whistle wasn't all we heard either) we had a really nice time camping.   It's nice to get away for a night or two, out into nature.  Getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and imagining bludgeoning someone to death for blowing a whistle is always something fun to do when otherwise bored at home.

We ate most of our Mountain House meals while we were away.  And we stuffed ourselves with marshmallows till we felt sick to our stomachs.  All fun.  All needed.

Next time we go away, we are going to camp on a different island.  No, we weren't scared off by the whistle blower... It's just that we've been going back to this island time and time again, and we feel that we need a change of scenery from our   ....... change of scenery.  If you get what I mean, and I think that you do...

We found out that Olivia isn't the happiest camper in the world.  She (and let's see if I can directly quote our 13 year old attitude filled teenager here)  "hates bugs"  and  "is completely bored"  and  "uncomfortable"  when she joins us for camping.

Next time we venture out, she will be staying with my folks.  Maybe my sister could take her for a couple of nights and let her swim... But, she definitely won't be joining us next time.  Don't get me wrong, she will be coming with us most of the time, but next time, it's just going to be John and me.

Some pictures are below... Enjoy....
Oh yeah, almost forgot...
John chopped down a tree... The tree didn't need to necessarily come down, but it made him so uncomfortable because he thought it was rotted enough to fall on top of one of us... So, he chopped it down before setting up camp.  Talk about fun!

Thanks for reading, as always.  And take care!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Grumpy Tomato

The joys of summer are here.  Long days that seem to go on forever.  Sleeping in till all hours of the day, sometimes till 10 or 11 in the morning.  Sitcom reruns.  Little trips on the river or on the trail.  Sitting inside to enjoy the air conditioning, but also being outside in the sun.  The smell of sunscreen and aloe vera gel alike...

All the joys of summer.


Although Olivia doesn't think so anymore.
The tears on her face as soon as her friend left from dropping her off said it all.

"Mommy, I hurt so bad!"

"I gave you two bottles of sunscreen and even gave you a demonstration as to how to apply it.  Why do you look like a grumpy tomato?"
She immediately broke down and started to bawl.

Can't do anything about the past, but sometimes that child should start listening instead of just saying, "Yeah."

She went swimming two days in a row at a friends house.  I made sure to pack her bag with plenty of sun block and I even showed her how to correctly apply it.  I also told her to have her friend help her with the back so that her back wouldn't get sun burnt either.  I gave her both the spray on kind and the rub on kind. Just so that I could cover any bases.

Did she listen?

Not really, no.

She applied it once, and that was it.  Perhaps I should have stressed the "re-application" part more than 5 or 6 times.  Maybe it would have sunk in at time 7.  I don't know... Maybe she just likes pain.

Her tears tell me that she doesn't like pain.  They tell me so much more than, "It hurts to move at all."
Her tears tell me that she's sorry she didn't heed my advice.  They tell me how sorry she is that she didn't use enough sunblock.  They tell me that she won't be making this same mistake twice this year.  They tell me that she has learned her lesson.

Today's agenda includes application after application of aloe vera gel.  Some Ibuprofen for the pain and maybe something tonight to help her sleep.  Lots of cold (but not frozen) compresses and many hours of TV time.
I do feel quite badly for her.  No good mother wants to see her child in so much agony and discomfort.  It rips a big chunk of my soul every time she uses her muscles to do anything.  I mean she winces when she puts on deodorant.   Poor girl... 

But, there's that tiniest of tiny voice in my head saying, "Hmm... I guess I'm not so full of crap now.  Mommy was right, and you should have listened."  I will never say those words aloud.  She's suffering so much that adding to it would just be torturing the sad and grumpy tomato that my daughter has become...

But, one of these days, probably  *way*   in the future, when she's holding a baby of her own, I'll hear those words...

Those words every mom yearns to hear...

"Mom, you have been right about everything."

That's when I finally realized my own mom wasn't full of it.  That's the moment when all of her words of incredible wisdom and all of those "Because I said so" and "Because I'm your mom" came flooding to my brain...
I was holding Olivia and said (more to myself than anyone),

"Mom was right."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Want My MTV... err... Money For Nothing

I have written and deleted this post six or seven times.  I just don't know what to write about.

I thought that I would write about the fact that John and I just celebrated our birthdays.  A week apart leaves little room for catching one's breath between celebrations.  But, we did it!  And both of us felt "special" and loved on our days.  And we each felt a bit heavier too.  Birthday cakes and celebratory cupcakes can never be "fat free" on a birthday!

Then, I considered writing about my type 1 diabetes and how difficult that has been lately. (and no, it's not because of our totally fattening birthday goodies)  But, I have written about that several times and am tired of saying the same things over and over again.  The ignorant s who read my posts will not be less ignorant from another post of mine...

So, I decided to write about one thing that makes me the most proud.

And that is that I was finally


That's right.  I finally made it in print form into a publication that I submitted to, had edited (by others), and then I was accepted.  I received the publication in the mail yesterday!  My hands were shaking so badly when I got the manila envelope in the mail.  Olivia was in the car with me and she asked me why I was so giddy.  I told her it's because I was finally published.  And since all I've been doing is working on my novel and blogging lately, she knew exactly what I meant by, "I am published!"  :)

I feel so proud of myself.  Not just because my submission was accepted, but because I have always considered myself a writer.  I write for the sheer fun and total joy I find in writing.  I haven't ever done it to be published or accepted by others.  Sure, I am working on a book, but I highly doubt that will ever be seen by the rest of the world.  I'm sure with the exception of a few rejection letters, that John and I will be the only ones that will enjoy my book... But, that's okay by me.  I don't need the recognition of my work in order to feel satisfied in my writing skills.

I know I am a good writer.

Those that write for a paycheck or for other's acceptance sometimes miss the completely freeing awareness that one gets while writing.

Without further anticipation and ado, I give you my published work:

Is There a Monster at the End?
     As each dawn brings a new day, so each day brings us closer to seeing the end of all libraries.  As I walked through my local building of books and unending imagination the other day, that is the thought that kept leafing through my head.  After all, America is really good at saying goodbye to the really greats. 
     The vinyl record?  Replaced with iPods and MP3 players.  The handwritten letter from grandma?  Your phone alerts you to an email sent from grandma (sans flowery stationary, of course.)  Heck, even notes between girlfriends are now “tweets” and “texts.”   So, why should we keep lugging our mountain of books each one hurriedly read so you can get it back on time (sure), but also because you can’t wait for the next book in the series back to the library?  Why should we continue dragging our two-and-a-half year old kids to that home of rectangular edifices called books? 
      How about, “Why not?”
     The library is one of the few remaining bastions of solitude left on this planet where being alone with our thoughts, alone with our reflections of the day, alone with what’s left of our sanity is not only the norm, but also kept as a general rule by the few librarians out there.
     Some of the publishing conglomerates out there are trying to murder books by relegating written matter into handheld devices called Kindles and Tablets.  While nothing is inherently wrong about that, I find it offensive that I am being forced to read some of my favorite authors on my smart phone instead of picking up that dusty and slightly bent novel.  I, for one, still have a relationship with my local library.  I also frequent my favorite neighborhood “mom and pop” store as I browse for those books that I fondly refer to as “keepers.” 
     Perhaps I am a stubborn curmudgeon because I was brought up learning about libraries, and taught how to properly read the Dewey Decimal System.   Standing before the card catalog, my fingers would deliberately march through that drawer of numbers and letters, and with much elation I would eventually pick up my book and check it out, proudly signing my ever-so-neat cursive name.  All this hunter-gatherer routine would surely sound mundane to the child who obsesses over Candy Crush on her phone.  But finding that perfect book that you can’t put down is something I always found joy in.  Library books even have a certain scent to them as well, don’t they?  They smell as familiar to me as freshly cut grass on a summer Saturday or spaghetti sauce on top of the stove.  That is something you won’t ever get to appreciate once you have surrendered your soul to inkless words pixelated on glass. 
     Once you start taking away libraries, you may as well say goodbye to the fireworks at the Fourth of July party or the hot dogs at your favorite ballgame stadium.  I don’t know… maybe I am just a silly little thirty something who is straining to hold onto a past that will inevitably be impossible to hold onto.  I sure hope not.  
     I hope that libraries are still standing when I start to read to my grandchildren.  I want to read all of the classics to them.  All of the Little Golden Books that I read growing up should still be around in paper form so my grandchildren can turn the pages and feel that same anticipation I did.  “There’s A Monster at the End of This Book” just wouldn't read the same on a Kindle. 

If we keep going down the same path we’re headed down today, I fear that the monster at the end of my book will be standing in an Amazon distribution center where a library used to stand.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Father's Day (times two?)

One of my favorite guys in the world gave me a ride to my pain management appointment today.  When I hopped - well, my version of hop, anyway - into his truck, he already had the AC running on high and he held out his over worked hand so he could help me into the passenger side...

Daddy and I have always had a special bond.  Maybe it's because I was his first born daughter after seeing three boys come before me.  Or maybe it's because I put him through the ringer when I was a teenager.  It could be because I take the time to heed his well spoken and thought out advice.  Whatever it is, my dad and I are close and I do cherish the times we have together.  Particularly when it's just the two of us.

On the way home from Allentown today, he took a detour.  I was a little confused as to why he made that right hand turn at the light, because I have always went straight, ready to put Allentown far behind me so I can get home quickly.  So, a little confused, I looked over at him and asked, "Daddy, why did you turn back at the light?"

He winked at me and asked me how often I get out of the (my) house.

"Well, it's a rare occasion that gets me out of the living room, let alone the house."

He laughed his contagious laugh and said, "Well, I'm doing you a favor.  You don't get out much, and this way home is alot more scenic."

So, I leaned back into the passenger side seat and put my head into a position that gave the best view to look out the window.  I was indeed going to enjoy the view.  My usual commute home from Allentown is Rt. 100, through little towns and past lots of shops and restaurants.  Cars, gas stations, traffic lights galore.

Daddy's route?
Windy roads that cut through deep woods and beautiful landscapes.  Flowers and birds.  Big spacious homes and tiny cute cottages alike.  Hardly any traffic.  It wasn't long before I had no idea as to where we were...  Let alone how long this particular route would take.

About three minutes or so into this new change of terrain and scenery for me, I had to make a few phone calls.  My first phone call turned into a dropped call.  Sighing with a bit of frustration, my dad suddenly pulled into the parking lot of a cute little church.
I asked him what we were doing there and he said, "Go ahead.  Make your phone calls.  I want to make sure you have good reception for awhile."
So, I thanked him.  And with gratitude I redialed the phone and made the three phone calls that I needed to make.

About three quarters of the way home, I finally started to recognize the buildings and landscape.  I excitedly told Daddy that I knew where we were.

He looked at me and said, "I knew where we were the whole time sweetie."

I almost started to cry.
Isn't that just the sweetest thing a good dad could say to his daughter?

She, confused about where she is and not knowing what is around the next turn.  Looking for stability and answers, she turns to the first man in her life for guidance... And he is always there.  Always and forever holding her hand and helping her up after she has fallen.

I love my dad.  He was the first "love of my life".  He has seen me through some of the hardest times and most difficult decisions that I ever had to face.  And when I married my husband, he was the first one (on my side of the family) to say "Congratulations!" and really mean it... I couldn't imagine the thoughts going through his head when he knew some other man was going to take over.  Some other man was going to be helping me, guiding me, and holding my hand through life's sometimes trying days.  
Even if John and I were separated, due to hunting trips or work trips, I always know Daddy is there for me to fall back on.  To catch me if I happened to misstep.  To kill all eight legged arachnids.  To fix the broken lamp so I can see in my living room.
Yes, my dad has always be there for me.
I don't ever want to think about how my life would be without him.

So, while I still have him, I will appreciate him.  I will hug him a little tighter next time we see each other.  I will look at him for a bit longer.  I will really pay attention to what he has to say.  I will never take him for granted.  I will always look up to him...

This one is for my dad.

I love you Daddy!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mom's Great Advice

 Today is Father's Day.  A day that some people find inferior to Mother's Day.  

I disagree.

After all, if it weren't for the hard work, the wisdom, the dedication of my own dad, I know that our own family would've fallen apart a long time ago.

My husband, John, who happens to be the most terrific Daddy to our Olivia, is one of the kindest and strongest men I have ever known.

I recognize the hardships and sacrifices that John has made to be sure that Olivia and I are not only happy, but deeply loved as well.

And John isn't the only one that has suffered to make sure that his family is happy.  My dad used to work long hours every weeknight so that all five of his children wanted for nothing.  He usually did all of the grocery shopping as well.  But, when he wheeled out the two carts full of groceries out to his car every Thursday evening, he always had a look of pride and of accomplishment on his face.

And it didn't stop there either.  He would make sure that the house always was in working order.  He'd be up early on Saturday morning fixing this or repairing that.  He added on rooms to an already enormous house.  He made sure there was a pool in the back yard for us to go swimming in.  He was always straightening the stones in the driveway so pot holes wouldn't be too prevalent.

My daddy always made sure we were loved by instilling good Christian values in all of us.  Moral and values that I still strive to live up to in my own family as well.

Yes, Father's Day is an important day after all.

John, in many ways, mirrors my dad.
John is kind hearted, he is compassionate, he is very loyal, and he loves his family with all of his heart and soul.  When I was a child, my mom would often say, "When you marry, make sure it is someone like your dad."
I never really understood that.  Not until I took her advice and married John, that is.
John is very much like my own dad.  And I love him and respect him for all that he does and all that he tries to do as well.
Without the men in our lives that not only raised us, but who love us today, I fear that no woman would be complete.  I know that John is the other half of me.  I wouldn't be a whole person if it weren't for everything he does.  I know that he loves me and that he takes his job as Olivia's father very seriously.

I try to tell him, at least once everyday, how much he means to us.  That we couldn't be where we are today, if it weren't for his hard work and loyalty to us.  I hope that he knows just how much we need him...

Happy Father's Day to all the men out there, to all of you who work tirelessly to provide for their families.  To all of those men who come home to read to their children, to make sure their wives are doing well.

Yes, Father's Day is a very important day...

John and Olivia
Daddy and me
My dad and John
John and Olivia

Daddy and me