nonsensical text

Monday, October 30, 2006

crispy crusts and melted butter

sleeping with bread

The crust of French bread – so deliciously crispy – is completely foreign when compared to the soft warmth inside. People can be like that too. While all appearances from the outside show a cohesive and firm resolve, the center is tender and vulnerable. The butter of experience soaks into the pores of the innermost being.

From the outside, I am the least like myself. The way circumstances lead me to act is often contrary to my basic nature. Parenting is a good example of this. Over the last week, I have had several whiny children. Mild sickness tends to bring that aspect forth. The firm and decisive crust I exhibit when faced with the tantrums of a three or five year old does not come naturally to me. I am basically non-confrontational. I look at all sides of a coin and understand the motivations behind certain unacceptable behaviors. If I weren’t in the role of disciplinarian, I would likely reach out and be a shoulder to cry upon. As it stands, I know I must be firm, and somehow, God grants me the strength to do it. Sometimes, I choose not to rely on that strength, and I come to regret it. Sometimes, I resort to using the strength of anger to fuel my discipline, and that, while it reflects a side of who I am, is not who I want to be.

Perhaps the times I feel most myself, then, are pretty evident. When the discipline is over, when the crying has stopped, my children come to me for comfort. It is in those quiet teaching moments that I touch base with the doughy interior - that I soak up their love, their cares, their insecurities, and reciprocate with warm, gooey goodness. It is in the seconds of explaining the whys that I become most truly myself. Touch – it’s who I am, who God made me to be.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

don't you hate it when: are wearing laced shoes and you get an itch on your foot that you can't reach even with the aid of a really long pencil? rains really hard Friday night into Saturday and your rec football game is rescheduled for 7 PM on a very windy and chilly Sunday evening?

...all of the toy companies start airing their Christmas commercials?

...a little person asks for a drink the minute you sit down, and you know the container is too full for them to get it without your help? think you are finally about to catch up on laundry only to discover another full hamper hiding behind the bedroom door?

...a drink spills in the refrigerator, and it just happens to be sitting on the same shelf as the lettuce, celery, and carrots?

...your five year old suddenly decides to start chewing on his shirts?

...your husband kindly volunteers to announce for a youth cheerleading competition leaving you alone to make sure several kids get to different places at approximately the same time? go to put laundry away and realize that everything is not going to fit until you purge those things which are no longer in season/no longer fit? start a blog entry that never gets very interesting, but you can't seem to end it?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

the cone of silence

DH: How old is your mother?

Me: 66

DH: How long have you known me?

Me: 22 years.

DH: Which made your mother how old when you met me?

Me: Duh, 44.




Me: Oh my goodness, that's how old you are now!

There's just something wild about that fact.


Friday, October 27, 2006

the page is still blank

Sometimes it is so frustrating that no matter how long you stare at a blank page waiting for the ideas to come, nothing magically appears there. When I was in college, we would have writing assignments for poetry. This would be part of the reason I dropped out of college. I always accomplished the task at hand. I always did a relatively passable job of it, but something was lost in the process. I felt sort of like many bi-polar people must feel when they are medicated. It was all technique and not much of that deeper part of me which felt driven to write.

Since that time, I have never been able to fully recapture the drive I had before college. I write much less often. Granted, most of what I wrote before that time was drivel, with a few gems hiding in the rot pile. Now, if I don’t seem to be putting my finger on what I am trying to say in a way that I deem worthy, I am much more likely to abandon the project. The up side to this whole thing is that there are less horrible poems lying around that I cannot throw away. There is a down side though. The writing itself was therapeutic. Getting the emotions out through my words helped me not to tuck them into deep pockets of my mind where they would subtly affect every aspect of my life. Then again, I was a pretty depressed creature back then. Perhaps the writing just kept me from going over the edge of depressed into the realm of suicidal.

Now I sit and look at the page and wish that I could be a storyteller today. Things have happened which, at the time, gave me comic or angst-ridden inspiration, but I don’t seem able to hold onto the thoughts long enough to set them in print. I would suspect that I accidentally swept them away while cleaning, except that I haven’t managed to do much of that either. In fact, I still have the same darn load of clothes in the washer that I put there on Tuesday. I guess I should go wash them again.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

oh cruel irony

So, I put that dang word verification thingie back on, and what does it do to me to repay the favor? I get nine letters to enter in order to comment on my own blog. I ask you, did I really deserve such a fate? :)


In the still hours of nighttime,
I look into the depth of myself
and see so many thoughts and feelings
that I can never express aloud.

Hurtful things live
in the corners of darker shadow.
Hurting things hide deeper still.

I walked outside and saw stars in the city sky –
a rare thing indeed.

The illumination in my soul
is no brighter than those stars –
casting only slight touches of
less than dark
about each introspective glance.

Knowing the thoughts sets me free from them,
and allows me to walk closer to the one
who sees the deepest shadows.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

eek eek eek

N will officially be 16 in two minutes! Eeeeeeeek! Hold on, hold on, I can put off my freaking for another hour and a half if I think of it as his actual birth hour. If all goes well, I could be asleep by then and wait to deal with this until tomorrow....


(I just discovered the time stamp on these posts is wrong by about 7 minutes. How odd)


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

will i ever learn?

How incredibly naive I can be. When I saw J playing with his new build-a-bear koala complete with baseball uniform, why oh why did I make a suggestion? Suggestions go astray so easily. It seemed harmless enough, "Maybe the next time the paper towel roll is empty, you can use it to make him a baseball bat."

You can see it coming already.

J: "Mom, when I went in the kitchen, there was a puddle of water on the floor. I didn't see it so I slipped. I went round and round and then fell down. When I got back up, I could see it, so I cleaned it up, but there are no more paper towels."

Me: "That was almost a new roll of towels on there!"

J: "It was a really big puddle."

And to think, I was just sitting here ready to post about the advent of new technologies and my normal gratitude for the increased absorbancy of disposable diapers and pull-ups. I say normally because at this moment, there is a nice little pile of non-sweepable gel granules in my upstairs hallway (what happens when corner of door repeatedly meets discarded sodden pull-up device). I really do need to hire someone to come do some potty training around here, then I can use those leftover pull-ups for more important things - like cleaning up really big puddles.


Monday, October 23, 2006

when all you have are breadcrumbs

Why does it have to be Monday? Here I was, all set to be grumpy and mean, and I suddenly remembered sleeping with bread. I don’t feel like sleeping with bread. In fact, this morning, I was so full of general malaise, that all I felt like doing was sitting in a hot tub with a flotation device to allow sleeping without drowning. I need a vacation. I guess that makes it only fitting that I choose to examine when during the past week I have felt most alive and been most drained of life.

For the past two days, I have been so drained that they would have to qualify for this exercise. I am irritated by everything, stemming most likely from sheer exhaustion. Between football, a birthday party, a missed day of church, having two extra boys here for the weekend, and feeling guilty about forgetting to ever get out those birthday invitations (resulting in a low attendance kind of day), I am just frustrated with myself and everything in general. You would think after seventeen years of marriage, the dh would learn to recognize the signs of that mood in me, and work toward smoothing the road.

I am purposefully being vague about the details of all the various grump-inducers. Were I to go into any kind of detail, I would likely be carried away on the waves of my passion. Misery loves company and all that. But I know I need to keep myself from reflecting on the negative side of things, or I will stay in this mood far longer than is needed. I have likely already done so.

With all of my attitudinal issues this weekend, I dreaded opening up a bread post. I knew I would have to seek also the positive side of the coin. When I get into a certain stage of irritation, I seem to find a comfort in it. I have no great desire to look beyond it. I want to just be able to tell someone all that I am thinking and feeling and going through, and receive in return sympathy and understanding. I need instead to learn to let go of the irritation without sharing it.

During the past week, I felt the most alive while looking through old photos on the computer. Remembering does that to me. Images from the past bring back the sights, sounds, smells – the warmth of embraces long past. Even though I avoid the camera like the plague, I remember myself in the situations and recognize that I am still a separate me along with being mom. I am thankful for the huge storehouse of memories these beautiful children have provided me. I am grateful for the amount of ammunition my mother and I give them all for their later comedic storytelling as they grow and take over that responsibility from their father. I am glad to be alive and need to let myself live more fully.

I don’t feel it yet, but perhaps all I need to do is go look at some more pictures…


Friday, October 20, 2006

a sticky situation

When I was younger and had three children, I was ever vigilant. I learned by harsh experience that I couldn’t go to the bathroom, sleep, do laundry….blink. These little people, they have a way of finding exactly what they shouldn’t do, and doing it. Over the years, I have become more relaxed. With time, the oldest three have gotten big enough to share the responsibility of disaster management. There is almost always someone near at hand to notice any unconventional activity. I’ve gotten soft.

I should know better. Logistically speaking, there are times when every person over the age of ten in this household is blinking at the same time. There are those moments when everyone thinks someone else is on guard duty. Years ago, it was not uncommon to enter a room to find the words, “Are you sure you want to delete the contents of your C drive?” plastered across the computer screen. Age brings forgetfulness – and perhaps a touch of stupidity.

I mean, who in their right mind buys glue sticks in bulk anyway?

Yes, while the pink one was busy at work on her sidewalk chalk wall mural, the T-monster deployed stealth mode. I just have one question. Does anyone have any suggestions for removing glue from every key of the keyboard, the desk, and that wonderful phone cord which was the topic of a previous post?

Should you wish to respond, I’ll be hiding in the bathroom. Remember to use the secret knock.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

raw emotion

I’m trying to think of something fluffy to write – or maybe something mildly entertaining. I’m searching for profundity, digging for insight and wisdom, scratching around in the upper levels of my deeper self for something worth saying. I come up against the thin pane separating the life I lead and the swirling, screaming torrent of all that lies beyond. I hate days like this – where the raw emotion of every disappointment in myself and my decisions bashes against that pane from the inside, where I withdraw into the safer realm of consistency to avoid contamination should there be a breech.

It happens when I fall short of my own expectations, but that is not the only necessary ingredient. My goodness, I fail myself daily. When I foresee failure in the future due to my own lack of drive, it points a spotlight on my vulnerabilities, and paralyzes me like that old standby, the deer in headlights. Guilt disables, conviction enables. Knowing these things with the logical side of my mind somehow places a heavier burden on me. I know what I should do, but the more I know it, the less I seem able to do it. I sit and stare at a floor strewn with popcorn and toys, and I can’t summon the strength to lift my arms – to lift my voice in command that the children take care of their own chaos.

I’ll snap out of it; I always do. Until that time, I’ll continue to love and mother when the theatre lights of daytime are shining. I’ll somehow find the reserves to manage the barest minimum of cleaning absolutely required. I’ll get through the impending storm, most likely far less scathed than anticipation would have me believe. I’ll avoid the deluge of broken glass in my spirit. I’ll soldier on.

Fluff it ain’t

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

tick tock tick tock

In one week, my biggest baby will be sixteen.

I don't even have anything profound or moving to say about that at the moment; I just thought if I put it in print, it might get my behind in gear around here. It should serve as a screaming reminder of just how quickly the time passes, make me take advantage of every moment, jump start me into action. Instead, I sit here playing spider solitaire while trying to pretend I get to keep them all with me forever.

Ah well, I still have a week to go. I am sure I can think of some better avoidance tactics in that amount of time...


Monday, October 16, 2006

fried matzah

Again with the bread under my pillow. For more about Sleeping with Bread go here.

Belonging is sometimes so integral to our sense of self. Ironic, that. I mean, if you really stop to consider it, why do we tend to get a clearer understanding of selfness when we are around others – especially others who care for us? Is it perhaps in those times that we get a glimpse of how who we are fits into the scheme of things, due to the reflected oneness that comes from the blending of us and them? I don’t know for sure. I do know that belonging is important, even for an introvert. Everyone needs a safe place to let down their guard without feeling vulnerable. Granted, God is the safest harbor, the only true source of unconditional love, but He created us as social beings.

Ironically, the time during the past week that I felt the greatest sense of belonging was when I couldn’t join in with a group of friends. Several women who are traveling this road of stillbirth and infant loss with me, women I have come to love, met in Vegas over the weekend. The night before they left, we all got together and chatted. While you would think that listening to them iron out last minute details and make plans for the upcoming days – days I would not be able to hear about until after the fact – would make me feel excluded and alone, the opposite was true. I felt, ever so strongly, that I was indeed a part of their unity. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would be there with them even though I couldn’t send my physical body. It felt as good as soup on a cold day – and you know how I feel about my soup!

It is only fitting, then, that my time of least belonging occurred when I was around others. Saturday, after returning to the football field and undergoing all of the mouthpiece issues, I stood alone about ten feet behind the row of spectators. I couldn’t stand still, but I couldn’t walk far. I felt a need to be connected in some way to what was going on in the field, but I was alone among many. My children and husband were far away with the exception, of course, of the one standing on the sidelines. No one was there who really KNOWS me. The far-flung cornfields and maple trees met the enormity of sky. A crisp day was shrouded with the gentle warmth of the sun’s rays. People were banding together in united disgust with the officiating. I watched it all. I didn’t experience any of it.

Picture Window

Orange lines mark the sky
As she peers out from the rocking chair
Of her lace enshrouded living room.
Dim spots of parking lights
Caravan toward unknown territories -
Up the hill, around the corner,
Out of sight.
Two laughing voices,
Hand in hand,
A walk by sunset.
A child’s mirth
Rises above the semi-silence
Of a twilight.
She watches through a window,
Unable to touch life herself.

copyright 1996


Saturday, October 14, 2006

humor in retrospect

The dice rolled. The dh was sniffling all night, and everyone else was still sleeping, so S and I set off together for football alone. We took along the handy-dandy garmin, the ezpass for tolls, directions from mapquest, and our spirit of adventure - or as much of that as we could muster, not being morning people. The trip up was relatively uneventful. I missed one turn, but set myself to rights before the garmin could even say, “Recalculating.”

After arriving, the team did the standard hour of standing around doing nothing. I still have yet to understand why they are expected to arrive two hours before a game when things don’t even start happening until about 40 minutes before game time. So, most of the boys stood around playing catch while S used me as a sled and pushed me around the field. Uneventful to the extreme, until….

Have you ever noticed that there are “untils” scattered throughout your life? Every situation could be viewed in respect to its speed bumps and obstacles. Sometimes those obstacles take you on a path that is grand and glorious but that would never have been possible without a negative occurrence. Sometimes, they just cause grumpiness. This was one of the latter.

Right before weigh-in, the team was suiting up. It was at that moment that S noticed his mouth guard was no longer attached to his helmet. Great. Wonderful. We scoured the field in search of its fluorescence, but found it not. I made the long trek back to the car, searching every inch of ground as I went. Nothing. The team was getting weighed in when I made it back. I asked around, and none of the coaches or team members had a spare mouth guard. The stand which usually stocks them on the field was sold out. We had driven an hour and a half, stood around for an hour and a half, and now it would be for nothing. I tried to remember the stores we had passed in close proximity. There hadn’t been many. This field was pretty close to being in the middle of nowhere. Still, I had to try.

Someone remembered seeing a Sears at some point. It was worth a shot. I yelled to S that I would be out shopping, and ran for my car. I drove to all of the shops I had seen – nothing. The Sears just carried clothes, there were multitudinous drug stores and realtors, but nothing was going to fill my particular need. As I drove, I called the dh. He got onto the computer, and promised to call me back when he found anything. With his return call came proof to any interested party that we would never survive the Amazing Race.

Him: Where are you now?

Me: Driving North on _ _ _.

Him: Are you coming up on any crossroads?

Me: No.

Him: Do you see ___ ____ Park?

Me: No, where would it be?

Him: I don’t know where you are.

Me: I’m coming up to a road now.

Him: What road is it?

Me: I don’t know, these roads are marked really poorly, and you can’t see a sign until you are past them.

Him: Did you take my Garmin?

Me: Yes.

Him: Is it turned on?

Me: Yes, but I can’t look at it while I am holding the phone and peeking at the directions to see what roads I am getting ready to pass.

Him: You don’t need the directions. I am LOOKING at the directions.

Me: you don’t have to talk to me that way. I am not an inept individual.


I ended up driving down winding roads through trees and cornfields in search of a K-Mart that, apparently, does not exist. Finally, he found an athletic supply store a few miles further on.

After rapidly picking out a mouthpiece that I wasn’t sure about (they didn’t carry the brand the boy prefers), I again scurried off to the car in hopes that the more direct 13 miles back to the field would take less time than my circuitous outbound journey. I was coasting along fine for 6 of those miles, until….

You know, I have noticed that “untils” are much more likely to occur when you can least afford them to do so. That may not actually be the case. When you get a new car, you suddenly start noticing just how many people are also driving the same kind of car, even if you never remember seeing one of that type before in your life. Did everyone go out and get a car the same day as you did? Not likely. Perhaps the “untils” go unnoticed when they don’t cause inconvenience to your plan of action.

Road construction. I had noticed it the first time we came through the area on the way to the field, but at that time, traffic was not heavy, and it caused not a blip in our plans. This time, I spent miles behind a semi, going between 0 and 20 miles an hour with no view of what was ahead. Finally, I did make it back to the field. A quick look at the clock told me that I had likely missed the entire first half of the game. Still, all was not lost. Ignoring my swelling bladder for the sake of my child, I sped off to the field to give him his new mouthpiece.

It didn’t fit without molding.

A side trip to the concession stand had to be delayed – my bladder would no longer take on the martyr role. Either I visited the port-a-potty, or I wore wet clothes. That handled, I stood in the enormous line with the simple hope of obtaining a cup of hot water to mold the mouthpiece.

My objective was finally accomplished. The mouthpiece was duly molded; things seemed to be looking up, until…

Have I ever mentioned that I have a tendency to beat up on myself when things go wrong? I can feel guilt over anything, even the uncontrollable - sometimes, especially the uncontrollable. And here it was raising its ugly head. The mouthpiece still didn’t fit. The ends would need to be trimmed from the back in order for my child’s lovely palate to be protected. Whatever the odds that two first aid kits, a bunch of men, and an anal retentive mother (myself) would all be without any kind of sharp implement with which to cut the plastic, I am sure they were small. Then again, I am good at falling against the odds.

All of that for nothing, he didn’t even get to play. The team lost too (made harsher by the fact that one of the opposing team’s touchdowns was scored while they had one too many players on the field, which escaped the notice of the officials even if it didn’t escape the video cameras of our screaming fans).

There are more “untils”. I drove, briefly, the wrong way on a one way street. I almost forgot to look at my gas gauge, which would have been traumatic. The signage and turns were confusing at times (thus the wrong way adventure). Yet, we made it home safely. And if there is one thing I have learned over the years it is this: grumpy ‘untils” are the glue that holds relationships together. After the grumpiness settles, all that is left is a funny story. Sharing those moments will serve me well when I reach my rocking chair years.


the games people play

I came home from football practice with S this evening to find the dh, N, M & J playing a lively game of Monopoly. I may have mentioned before that the man hates playing with me, because I won't trade properties. Somehow, anyone who trades with him always ends up on the short end of the stick, even if it seems like a mutually beneficial deal at the time. It might have something to do with the fact that he played in tournaments when he was younger. That he always seems to be coming to your aid when you are in a tight spot doesn't hurt either. I guess, in a way, that's how many real life monopolies got their start (thinking Grapes of Wrath and the dustbowl here).

It was interesting mostly to see the character dynamics of my family brought to light through entertainment. I know my family pretty well, so none of it surprised me completely. Dh is a sore winner, N is a sore loser, and M & J enjoy egging on whichever one is in power at any given moment. My house is emptier by one piano, and the dh kept the kiddos up an hour and a half past their normal bedtime on the evening before we have a morning football game across the state line. Grrrrrr. I have a feeling we aren't all going to the game as planned.

Come to think of it, real life's a bit like that Monopoly game. Everyone is doing things with a planned goal in mind - small scale engineering of events in attempt to reach a particular destination. Everyone has a different destination in mind - even if they are very close, they are never exact in scope. So I guess my day tomorrow depends on who is rolling the dice.

Hey, as long as my playing piece is the little Scottish terrier, I guess I'm good.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

making nice

Since I have been so sarcastic about my darling husband of late, I figured it was about time I said something kind about him. After all, he does have just a few redeeming qualities. I could talk about how he loves me even though he knows me. I could go into great detail about the week he spent trying to retrieve data from a close friend's crashed hard drive. I could even wax poetic about the countless small ways he cares for our children. Instead, I just have to say this; he has informed me that he has been researching a new appliance package (a.k.a. fridge, double oven, cooktop, microwave, dishwasher), all in stainless steel. Now, how's that for love?


spongebob's last stand and other stories

spongebob’s last stand

T is sick of football and never wants to play again. Last week, we allowed him to just go to the game and not play. Tonight, I thought I would try to teach him a little bit about commitment and make him wear his full uniform, even if he didn’t get out there and play. The problem is, he thought he would teach me a little bit about choosing my battles wisely.

We were late arriving at the field, so I dropped T & J off with S while I went in search of a parking spot. The minute he was ejected from the car, Mr. Squarepants decided to put up a thorough fight, and glued himself to the side of the minivan. S did manage to peel him off, and I informed the child that he was to go to the field with his brother. I did let him know that I would be there as soon as I parked. Upon turning my vehicle around, I noticed S attempting to push a very stubborn five year old up a hill. With my verbal admonitions, the progress became slightly less sloth-like in velocity.

I found a parking spot, hoisted the portable chairs to my back, grabbed the pink one’s hand, and headed off to the field. Waiting for me, set apart from the rest of the team in a heap on the ground was a sobbing T. He was determined not to play, and equally determined not to talk about it. I set up all of the chairs, at which point, the boy relocated to a spot which would allow his siren wails to pierce the eardrum of my right ear from behind. The low wail continued for five minutes before I finally asked him what was wrong. I knew better than to expect an answer. When he has decided to make a point, he refuses to state his case, preferring instead to make you do so for him. Fool that I am, I chose to wait for him to talk. Mothers are supposed to have the upper hand in matters of control after all.

Twenty minutes later, when the dear spouse arrived, the sobbing lump could still be found, slightly in front of me along the sidelines where I had placed him until he could calm down enough to talk about it. Ten minutes after that, conditions had not changed but for the number of available ears to be damaged by his pervasive moanings.

Everyone learns, at some point in their lives, that five year olds are part noodle. The fascinating aspect of this phenomenon is that the doughy gluten travels so rapidly from one body section to the next, thereby hindering any attempt to support the metamorphosing frame. The dh tried several methods of planting the child. Feet, knees, and behind all quickly succumbed to the rubberizing influence. He considered placing T helmet down due to the unyielding strength therein, but the roundness quotient defeated his purpose. Eventually, the blubbering sponge was left in his heap.

Some around us perhaps thought us cruel parents for letting the child wail for these forty-five minutes. They know not the nature of the beast! Finally, realizing that a migraine was approaching, I called the child over to me and simply asked, “How long do you plan to keep crying?”

His tear-free reply came without hesitation, “Until we get home.”

Alas, mommy dearest found leverage! He had been told he would not get his drink until he stopped crying. He knew the Gatorade was already purchased for him. Mommy had a plan. “Okay, right, well, if you don’t stop crying before we get home, you won’t get to have your Gatorade when we get there. You will only get water.” It was as if someone turned off a breaker. Not a whimper, moan, or gulped breath followed. Blessed silence reigned. He got his sweet nectar; I got my peace.

Five minutes later, my darling spouse decided to make the boy sit with the team for the halftime chat. I hope I can be forgiven for my defection; it was at this point that I suddenly realized I had dropped something on the baseball diamond last spring.

and why I can’t even go christmas shopping, let alone out of state

Returning home after the wondrously relaxing football game, I muttered something to the hub about headaches and darkness, and needing just a moment in our room. There was no dissent, so I proceeded to plop onto the waterbed and embrace the fluffy blanket and body pillow. I guess he took the request literally. A moment later, he was stationed beside me informing me that M had spilled his iced tea accidentally by launching a ball into it, and oh, by the way, he is out of iced tea now, so he has nothing to drink. The iced tea thing - a constant in our marriage for seventeen years - all hail tradition!

the cat catches stupid-itis from the mom

So, I step out onto the back porch to accompany the dog on his nightly cleansing of the intestinal tract, and I notice the cat is perched upon the garage roof with every appearance of imminent jumpage. His target is obvious, the slim edge of the slimy, green, above-ground pool. I hate to admit that part of me was hoping he would miss.


Monday, October 09, 2006

crackers may be humble bread, but they still qualify

Again with the image not posting (though it tells me it is uploaded). Be that as it may, I am sleeping with bread yet again. For more about Sleeping with Bread go here

As I looked at the list of possible questions to ask myself, I was suddenly taken with the fact that it has been a nothing kind of week. Sadly, I think I have refrained from stretching myself into the passions of positive and negative emotion. Instead of completely living my life, I have pulled back and watched it from a distance. It is a bit difficult to answer intensely deep questions about the state of my soul when I have been trying so hard over the course of the last week not to go there.

That said, I thought I could learn the most by examining when, over the last week, I have given and experienced the most and least love. It will be a harsh lesson on the effect that psychological removal has on those around me.

The least love…

I suppose I am guilty of giving the least love for the majority of the week. I have not given out hatred or dislike, anger or spite; I have simply neglected to pay attention. The greatest moments of pain often come from sensing a lack of caring on the part of those close to you. I know I have deeply felt love toward those around me frequently, I have just not expressed it with the depth I know I am capable of achieving. When a crying child came running to me, I offered only one arm and a, “What?” instead of two arms and , “Calm down and tell me what’s wrong, sweetie.” When preparing food, doing bedtime rituals, teaching school my mind has continually been at least half occupied by other things.

I experienced receiving the least love by the simple gesture of S pulling away from me when I reached out to touch his shoulder. He is a teenager; it was in public, but it was a harmless, non-threatening, non-embarrassing kind of touch. I wondered, “Is this what my lack of emotion has spawned?”

The greatest love…

Giving great amounts of love when you are in a place of emotional distance is unlikely. It is therefore with some measure of sadness that I reflect on the love I have doled out over the past week. So many times, I have missed the opportunity to show tenderness. I suppose the evidence of true caring might still be present to those around me, but I am not aware of it. The only thing which comes to mind freely is the snack I prepared for S to eat after getting weighed in for football yesterday. It was only a peach and a granola bar with a little note simply bearing one word – “Honk,” our own special code.

Even receiving love is difficult when you close yourself off. Still, God is big enough to know me and touch me wherever I am. Because of this, yesterday at church, a message was preached which managed to spark a little bit of passion in an otherwise stilted heart. My Father knows me and loves me. What greater love can there be?


Sunday, October 08, 2006

the mysteries of life

It is close to midnight, and you are watching TV with your dear spouse. Suddenly, from above, you think you hear someone crying. You make the trek toward the upper reaches, listening intently as you go. Identifying the offending room, you hesitate for a moment outside the door to get a feel for the goings-on of the inner sanctum.

J: I hate you! Stay away from me! I never want to be near you or share anything with you ever again!

You open the door slowly to avoid alerting T &J of your arrival - hoping for the sliver of possibility that your sense of sight will bear witness to a crime in progress. In the bottom bunk lies a mildly sobbing child who, though sobbing, appears to be fast asleep. Your eyes travel upward to the top bunk. Also appearing to be in the realm of dreams, a hyseterically laughing child rolls from side to side. Neither respond to your voice or touch - their breathing unlabored and deep. In mere moments, it is silent again. You walk out the door with prayers on your lips and anticipate the day when all questions will be answered.


I never paint my nails - far too much hassle for something I am going to chip within five minutes. You might ask why, then, I actually had painted toenails last night - ones which had been painted long enough for me to forget about them. I wouldn't have a very good answer for you. The few times a year that I succumb to anything approaching feminine beautification rituals, I usually have no cause. Shimmery rose polish on the toes, the very toes inserted in an MRI. I am sure the actual metal content in shimmery polishes must be relatively low. Still, one particular frequency of the MRI can make those shimmery toes quiver in the anticipation of rising upward in search of magnetic connection.

Yes, my friends, the MRI is over. The medication has begun, but I am not really going to know whether it is working, because my ankle decided to stop swelling so much again yesterday. There is fluid or swelling of some sort further up my leg, but most of the liquid seems to have decided to avoid the scope of the MRI scan. I blame myself for this. I decided wearing sandals when it was only 50 degrees outside was a bit too much for me. I wore socks. Socks cause fluid to rise above elastic. Ah well, I can't ruin my perfect track record with health issues. All things physically detrimental must go into hiding whenever I seek medical care.

Other than that, nothing much is going on around here. Football was postponed until tomorrow due to rain. Though it was my only free day, I accomplished little around the house. I am stuck in a psychological rut which I hope to fill tomorrow. I want to write something interesting, but don't have the time or the energy (dh has been on the computer all day and needs it back again).

Until next time, then....

Friday, October 06, 2006

rambling responses (a.k.a. talking to oneself is only a sign of mental illness when observed by three or more psychologists)

Well, the first rheumatology visit is over. I didn’t dissolve into a quivering pool of four week old, room temperature gogurt either. After the round robin of office personnel, I was finally escorted back to a room. Despite the fact that gown donnage was a necessary part of the visit, I still held it together. The broken sink in the room was a bit of a bother – the water being stuck on at a low trickle.

You can be pretty sure you are going to like a doctor when the first thing he says to you after the introductions is, “Welcome to our Chinese water torture room. There are strategically placed cameras throughout, and men with clipboards are watching you to see just how long you can take it before cracking.” I did like him, even if he sent my poor foot into deep freeze.

It was obvious he had actually read my forms before coming into the room (you know, the 100 page autobiography they make you fill out before showing up for your first visit?), as he only referred to it a few times to verify his powers of recollection. He asked the mandated slew of questions, then agreed that the first step was to aspirate some fluid. That’s where the freezing comes in.

They sprayed my foot with some lovely numbing stuff which makes you feel as though a portion of your body has fallen through a wormhole and landed squarely on the apex of Mt. Everest. This is quickly followed by a very deep shot right into the nerve. The aspiration was not so very pleasant, but even less so for being unsuccessful. He couldn’t get any fluid from the standard draw spot and will not attempt to draw it from elsewhere until after “seeing” what is going on in there, which puts an MRI in my future – and more call-making.

I was supposed to go down the hall to get blood drawn, but I couldn’t find the lab. I did find a door marked “laboratories,” but these were of the “this is where we separate the blood, examine the tissue samples, and raise genetically mutated Peruvian mollusks” variety. It was at this moment that I remembered N had tried to call me while I was checking out of the office, so I listened to the message. It seems he got off work an hour early and needed me to pick him up.

Since he was, at the time, still without his cell phone, I couldn’t call him back. I decided to leave and get him. I stopped at the lab near my home after picking him up and sacrificed 8 vials to the centrifugal force gods. I promise I will attempt to call and schedule the MRI and x-rays (ankle and chest – the latter to check for sarcoidosis) tomorrow. He gave me a scrip for some stronger anti-inflammatory drugs in the meanwhile.

For now, the doc tells me he thinks the likelihood this is due to infection is less than 5% which leaves injury or something immunological as the most likely causes. He wanted me back in three weeks, but the next available appointment was not until November 9th. I wonder if I can milk my aching foot excuse for another day and get everyone to take care of me tomorrow. It’s never worked before, but that silver-lining stuff is hard to get out of the system.

And, by the way, I did let J eat a hotdog for breakfast. S even joined him in a celebration of alternative sausages. N did find his cell phone, and my appendages are still falling asleep. I am still trying to convert the children to the belief that commercial toy-dom was invented to rob children of their souls. I’ll let you know if I make any progress.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

more random babble

I survived a busy day with far less stress than expected. In fact, until piano lessons at church where T evaporated into "I didn't get enough pillow time" tears every time anyone looked at him for the entire hour, I was downright placid. Someone must have been praying for me.

I was feeling comedically inclined earlier tonight until the dog had his third seizure in 24 hours. Cleaning that up while half asleep added a touch of tragedy, so I figure I will just let my thoughts flow where they may.

The rheumatologist is tomorrow. I don't do well with first doctor visits (or second, or third). It's kind of like calling people. I am already rehearsing. Usually I am fine during the actual appointment; it is the aftermath that does me in. I need to find some lighthearted nonsense to keep my mind busy in the waiting room.

I hate magic markers, chalk, crayons, scissors, glue, and just about every other craft supply ever made. I forgot to mention hole punchers of the three-hole variety. I say this as I look at the pile of hole punch confetti under my dining room table (strewn with crayons, markers, and cut up bits of doodle paper) through the pocket doors decorated with chalk and permanent marker.

I just had to look up "hole" on because it looked funny when I typed it.

Children's toys are evil. All children should be forced to return to the days of playing with sticks and rocks (subtitled: Will Someone Please Come Clean My House?).

I want to be as tired as I was when I fell asleep on the couch fifteen or twenty minutes before the dog seized. Why does the body think it is raring to go for a full day's activity after such a short reprieve?

I wonder if I should let J eat a hotdog for breakfast like he plans (since the dh brought some home from the football concession stand this evening). It would certainly require less activity on my part, which can only be a good thing, right?

Why do my appendages keep falling asleep today?

Where did N put his cell phone, and will we find it since it is set on vibrate and we can't just follow the ringer?

Will I remember to do invitations for the next b-day party more than two weeks in advance?

Why is it that S will try to go more than a week without having his football practice clothes washed when they smell worse than skunk and are covered in grass stains, but immediately beg for washing when he spills one drop of mustard on them?

Do they make teflon coasters for the bottom of dining room chairs which do not scratch laminate floors (or laminate floors which do not scratch the coasters, since I am not sure which is really happening first), or felt pads for the same purpose which do not collect cat and dog fur in astoundingly large quantities?

Will I keep typing in hopes of getting interesting, or give it up and just try to go to bed? I think the latter (which is one of J's spelling words this week).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

attack of the killer dust mite

My anger astounds me sometimes. It isn't that it is so out of proportion with anyone else's anger, or that it causes major issues to those surrounding me, but the three year-old tantrum thrower living in my brain is a terror for me to behold in the mirror of self-examination.

The little things do it. I can be faced with an enormous loss and skip the anger part of grief. I can go through trials with friends and loved ones, and come out with forgiveness. I may splutter for a moment, but I always end up turning my eyes onto what the other side of the coin shows. But a tiny issue, like the fact that I recorded a show on the dvr which I might not get to watch for a week unless I stay up until 3 AM, gets to me. Or just ask me what's for dinner right after three other people asked me within your earshot, and watch the room fill with thunderclouds. Yeah, silly things like that. Then again, maybe they are not so small at all.

Perhaps what is at the root of all these small things is the perception that no one ever puts me first. My continual self-prescribed servitude makes way for the martyr complex as I suddenly get sick of always looking out for everyone else when they aren't looking out for me. I let myself momentarily swell with how selfless I am in the face of constant selfishness. But then again, if I were really so selfless, I wouldn't be getting angry. The truth is, I really must constantly be thinking about myself and how I am setting aside my own desires; I must be hoarding the (sometimes scant) evidence of continual lack of notice for such yielding; I must be striving to make myself appear to be more noble and giving, when really, deep down, I only care about me, thus my anger is really directed at me.

It ain't so pretty when you identify the beam in your eye, is it?

Monday, October 02, 2006

my yeast is outdated

Can't get the image to post, but I am sleeping with bread - or sleepwalking with bread as the case may be.

For more about Sleeping with Bread go here.

It’s still Monday. Making it under the wire is my specialty.

And as I stare at the empty page, it is easy answer the question, “When did I feel the least creative?” That would be right about now. There have been so many thoughts and ideas spinning through my head of late, and yet I just don’t seem to be able to get up the energy right now to tap into them. My day has been one that was marked strongly with lack of creativity and originality. I even almost gave in to the temptation of a , “Just do your work!” kind of school day. I know there are creative ideas inside me capable of dealing with this blog, schooling, and every aspect of my day, but I don’t have the drive to apply the energy necessary to implement that creativity. I have even used the word creative, in its many forms, far too often in this paragraph. I am sick of the sound of my voice and the sight of my type. And yet, I am not in a bad mood, just far more blah than I have any right to be with all of the blessings given to me.

“When did I feel the most creative this week?” Now that one is much harder to answer. Tapping into my passion and embracing the spirit of creativity has been hard for me. I must then lean on the advice of Northern Ireland (or at least my friend’s mother who represents NI quite well), and search for the silver lining. It may be the slightest glimmer of silver on the farthest flung cloud in the sky, but I have exerted my artistic nature this week. I have touched the piece of me which spawns newness – the part which allows me to be branded with the tag, “Created in God’s own image.” I felt the most creative, I suppose, when playing the silly game I made up to help the little ones learn the phonetic pronunciation of their short vowel sounds.

Ahhhhh – it’s a monster!

Ehhh - I don’t care!

Ih – that rutabaga tasted funny…

You get the idea.

Not much of a silver lining, but if you have a good magnifying glass, you just might catch a glimpse of it – unless of course my kids have buried it under Tostito crumbs along with everything else around here.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

wimpy, wimpy, wimpy, hefty, hefty, hefty

Oh the weight bearing down upon me! How can I be expected to stand up under the pressure? What shall I do to pull myself out from under this rock? How can I possibly live up to my own expectations as I sit here and run my fingers over the keyboard in an attempt to compose my fiftieth post?

Yes, I do realize fifty is a somewhat wimpy number to be celebrating, but if you had seen my relief upon actually completing number five, you would understand. Be that as it may, I have the task in front of me and know it is unlikely I will set forth the great opus, yet it will still qualify as a landmark simply by making it to the page. Do I then set my sights lower knowing that, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter? Nay, then I would be succumbing to the baser side of my nature and not fighting the battle set forth in Romans.

Last night we didn’t take all of the kids to football. It was a bit of a bleak and drizzly day. Though the clouds had cleared up by eventide, my husband took the boy off to football by himself. The child has to be there two hours before each game, but by 6:45 that evening (it was a 7 o’clock game), R and I had decided we simply couldn’t not go. N stayed home to watch the other peons.

It was a good game. For the first time, my little man was moved up to starting offense. Our team won their first game of the season – a much needed morale boost. But it was as I was driving home after the game that I experienced a “Eureka” moment.

R was tucked safely into her car seat in the back row where she proceeded to observe the world in total silence. S was riding with his father. As my driving music played and I cruised down the darkened rural stretch of road, my being suddenly swelled with the feeling of aloneness. I felt the full-fledged freedom that lifts me from myself and draws me in to the creation surrounding me. It is a feeling I often associated to being single and childless. And yet, I felt glad of the maturity that has come with motherhood, wifehood, and age.

Revelation - it is not being single which brings that intangible tingling awareness of life. It is closeness to God. Suddenly I understand Paul’s argument that it is better not to marry if you are not tempted in that direction. The distractions are so much less that way. I am reminded also of the prayer-closet, and Jesus taking the boat out from shore simply to be alone with God.

While my children have taught me valuable lessons about the need for rules and obedience that I never learned while I was young, while their very birth made me understand the Father’s supreme sacrifice in ways I could never otherwise have fathomed, while the love that flows through me because of them all is sweet nectar, it is aloneness with God that speaks breath into my lungs and sends the blood coursing – that sparks my nerves with anticipation and wonder.

I am glad that God is big enough to work around the busyness and give stillness to my soul even as chaos crashes against the walls of our shared solitude.