Saturday, January 31, 2009

First there is a mountain than there is no mountain, than there is

Tuesday Fiona Whitt
Oct 11, 2006 - Jan 30, 2009
Tuesday was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2008 and as one of their family friends said, she was a strong little bird.... Her family held her tightly in their warm hands until the very end. Please go visit Jessica's blog and share your kind words. I know they could use it right now.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Baby Trivia

I was visiting my neighbor, doot and she had this cute little questionaire. Just copy, paste and answer away. Let me know that you've done it so I come visit you!

First Baby Questions:

1. Were you married at the time? Yes

2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant? In the first 5 minutes, I was scared and anxious. After that and going forward, I was elated!

3. How old were you? 29 (and I had my son 6 wks before I turned 30)

4.How did you find out? EPT! Then, over the next two days, 6 more pregnancy tests... finally I was convinced at the Dr's office.

5. Who did you tell first? My husband and stepson, who were with me.... well, not in the bathroom, but you get the idea. Then I called my Momma

6. Did you want to find out the sex? I already knew. I knew because I had two amazing dreams about him... but yes, we did "find out" or as I like to say "validate" what I already knew.

7. Due date? Oct 4, 2000

8. Did you deliver late or on time? I delivered 2 days early (Oct 2nd) but if I hadn't, they were going to induce on my due date because I had extremely high blood pressure

9. Did you have morning sickness? No, I had migraines but no nauseau. I did however see my cat throw up two times, and it made me throw up. Think of how funny that must have looked.

10. What did you crave? It changed, but mostly different types of fruit.... Mango, Strawberry, Oranges.... then I would crave Cereal at 1am oh.... and Root Beer.

11. Who/what irritated you the most? The migraines; which I still get.

12. What was your first child's sex? Boy

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout pregnancy? None. I was overweight when I got pregnant, so I wasn't 'allowed' to gain. I actually lost weight, and gave birth weighing less than when I got pregnant.

14. Did you have any complications during pregnancy? Yes, High blood pressure and anemia. I was put on bed rest 1 month before I had him.

15. Where did you give birth? Denver, CO

16. How many hours were you in labor? 24 long hours

17. Who drove you to the hospital? My husband

18. Who watched? My husband and My Mom.

19. Was it natural or c-section? Natural

20. Did you take medication to ease the pain? I had 3 epidurals and none of them 'took'. Then at the very end, the anesthestiologist came in and said how sorry he was, then said he was going to "give you something to make you forget". It was while I was in the middle of delivering my son, like in the last push... I don't remember delivering the placenta, or getting stitched up, or holding my son! I had to have my husband show me the video to prove that I held him! Now I do remember much more but it took a LONG time to get there!!!

21. How much did your child weigh? 8 lb 14 oz.

22. Did your child have any complications? No, he just wanted to sleep, and sleep and sleep!

23. What did you name her? Something really really special.

24. How old is your first born today? He's a crazy 8 right now


'There is no grief
which time does not
lessen or soften'
It's just amazing to me. It REALLY doesn't ever get any easier. What I'm realizing now is that it's sometimes almost harder because as time goes by, things like this happen and you aren't expecting it so you feel blindsided. It happened to my love a couple of weeks ago, and now it's my turn. Maybe he's trying to make sure we don't forget about him. We haven't. We won't. But just in case.....
I'm with my husband at the specialist yesterday, and I'm filling out his paperwork (because hello. that's what I do... or the poor doctors, nurses, etc would never understand what was written).
I'm plugging along and then I see it.
Patients Parents:
If Deceased, how?
And, the tears start. Quiet, calm tears.... but tears.
He's gone and we miss him. It's not going to change. I can't bring him back. As my father in law would say, 'it is what it is'.
And it is..... what it is.
I still didn't want to write 'deceased' and 'cancer' next to his name. In no way, shape or sound. I just wanted to skip it, and make it not true.
Unfortunately, it is.... what it is.
I wiped my tears (not before letting one drop right onto the page of course), took a deep breath, looked deep into my husband's eyes (that let me visit my father in law because those eyes are just like his), and began to write.

The Update

So we went to the specialist yesterday. He looked over all of the previous tests that had been done, and examined TJ. He feels confident that TJ has the Sickle Cell Trait, not the disease but to be sure has ordered some more detailed tests to determine the extent of Sickle Cell as well as determine if he has any additional "defects" (lol). The reason he feels this way, is because TJ has never had any previous issues and he (the Dr) has great knowledge of Sickle Cell studies done with altitude and dehydration (which he believes was the cause behind TJ's "crisis"). The Sickle Cell "crisis" TJ had in the mountains did appear to cause what they call spleenic infarction, which is when a small piece of the spleen dies off from the sickle cells blocking blood flow to the spleen but the Dr said that is a common occurrence during "crisis" and that is not something we need to be concerned with. It only becomes an issue when it continues to happen, then they would remove the spleen altogether. However, the pain TJ is having is because of this and the Dr advised this may take a few weeks to return to normal. The blood work TJ did yesterday will take a couple of week to get the results, then we will be able to say exactly what we are looking at but we are all feeling really good about everything at this point. The difference between having Sickle Cell Trait and Sickle Cell Disease is huge. It means not having to make any drastic lifestyle/environment changes, and our love will continue to be with us for a very long time.

I want to thank everyone here for their support. It's so nice to know that so many people care about our family and please know, I feel the same about yours!

Monday, January 26, 2009

100 Things

Got this game from freeul who in turn got this from Ryan Ashley Scott over at Optimistic Cynicism. Anyone can play along, just BOLD the things you have done.

1. Started your own blog.

2. Slept under the stars.

3. Played in a band.

4. Visited Hawaii.

5. Watched a meteor shower.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disneyland.

8. Climbed a mountain.

9. Held a praying mantis.

10. Sang a solo.

11. Bungee jumped.

12. Visited Paris.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.

15. Adopted a child.

16. Had food poisoning.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.

20. Slept on an overnight train.

21. Had a pillow fight.

22. Hitch hiked.

23. Taken a sick day when you're not sick.

24. Built a snow fort.

25. Held a lamb.

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon.

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.

29. Seen a total eclipse.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.

32. Been on a cruise.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.

35. Seen an Amish community.

36. Taught yourself a new language.

37. Had enough money to truly be satisfied.

38. Seen the leaning tower of Pisa in person.

39. Gone rock climbing.

40. Seen Michelangelo's David.

41. Sung karaoke.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.

52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater.

55. Been in a movie (I was interviewed for one - a documentary - during the DNC but it hasn't come out yet so we'll see)

56. Visited the Great Wall of China.

57. Started a business.

58. Taken a martial arts class.

59. Visited Russia.

60. Served in a soup kitchen.

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.

62. Gone whale watching.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma.

65. Gone sky diving.

66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp.

67. Bounced a check.

68. Flown in a helicopter.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.

71. Eaten caviar.

72. Pieced a quilt.

73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.

75. Been fired from a job.

76. Seen the changing of the guards in London.

77. Broken a bone.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.

80. Published a book.

81. Been to the Vatican.

82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.

84. Had your picture in the paper.

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.

88. Had Chicken pox.

89. Saved someone's life.

90. Sat on a jury.

91. Met someone famous.

92. Joined a book club.

93. Lost a loved one.

94. Had a baby.

95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.

97. Been involved in a lawsuit.

98. Owned a cell phone.

99. Been stung by a bee.

100. Read an entire book in one day.

Premios Dardo!

One of my absolutely very FAVORITE people, Diane at Diane's addled ramblings gave me a wonderful award. This award "acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day". Isn't that just a wonderful thing to say? Those "things" are what I strive for everyday, and to be recognized for them is so touching. So, thank you... It means a lot. She also said "Denise has an open mind and an open heart... she's someone you just know you'd love to live next door to"! Oh boy, now that's a big one. Think about your neighbors? Sometimes you just get great ones, and then... there are the "others". The ones you check out your window for, before making a break for your mailbox, or car so they can't catch you. I sure don't ever want to be "that" neighbor! So here I ask for some help from my "actual" neighbor.... Melanie? What do you think....? What is it we always say; neighbors by fate, sisters by choice? That pretty much sums it up. We have great neighbors and a great neighborhood (but we do have the 1 neighbor you have to hide from). I talk to a lot of friends who don't have any relationship with their neighbors, so I'm thrilled to be able to consider a neighbor a great friend. We have a blast!
So, move on in Diane; we'll make room! You'd make a wonderful neighbor and we'd love to have you! ; )

This award has made my day. I've got a great big bloggy smile on my face and it CANNOT be removed!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Get off my mountain"!

Friday started out perfect enough... we were all packed and ready to go. Everyone was excited about our weekend retreat and our plans; tubing, checking out the snow sculptures, spending time with each other and let's not forget, the outlet mall! So, off we went. It was snowing at Georgetown and continued all the way up. It was snowing, icy and of course people were driving like they had lost their damn minds. But we made it! And it was beautiful.... everything was covered in snow; crisp, clean, and just stunning. TJ (my love) was experiencing some pain, and just thought it was some residual from the stomach flu he had earlier in the week. He had some 7up and we got some late (and I mean late...11pm late) dinner started. Throughout the evening, his pain grew increasingly worse. We tried to sleep but it was impossible; I could have slept just fine if it wasn't for the "ohhhh", "eeeyouch", "owwwww" and "yeowwww" coming from the body lying next to me! ;) My the early early morning, it was decided that this wasn't the normal pain that "people" experience (his description is as follows: "it feels like someone beat the shit out of me all up and down the left side of my body.... from ribs to hips") and we jumped on our "sleds" (ok, our suv) and headed to the closest hospital. Now let me just interject here; if this had been me? I would have been at the hospital at the first twinge of pain but... that's me. I have no tolerance for pain and make no excuse for my "wussiness"; I embrace it! We arrived at the hospital after many, many more "owww's" and after we got my love registered and in a room, he decides this whole issue has got to be nothing more than "really bad gas" (he doesn't want to look like an idiot when they come back and tell him this is the issue so he'll just "throw" it out there). Seriously? Really bad gas? At this point I had to ask what kind of really bad gas has he EVER had, that occurs on one side only and feels like someone has beat you with a baseball bat? He then decided at this point, that it was important that he also mention this to the Dr; I personally feel that he got the same WTF response but in a much kinder, gentler way! The doctor brought up some scenarios.... kidney stones or bacterial infection. Then he asked a strange question (and acknowledged the odd question prior to asking it) "do you have a family history of sickle cell" to which TJ advised maybe? Not that he was aware of but maybe there was a conversation about sickle cell when he was a child. He just couldn't remember. The Dr went on to explain that sometimes (in the mountains, at that elevation) they (hospital in Breckenridge) have experienced African American patients that have never known of a history of sickle cell but come up the mountain and the "trait" is triggered". He then advised, this is likely not the issue but just thought he would ask. A series of tests followed; although his elevated blood sugar (he's also a diabetic but controlled so this was alarming) everything was looking good.... kidneys were fine, urine was fine, ct scan of his belly was fine.... so that left the sickle cell test. It would be back in an hour. Let me break in here and just say, this hospital was beautiful. Great little cafeteria, great sitting area with a fireplace and leather chairs/couches, books and magazines to read (for kids too). It was cozy, if not for the worry and anxiety. So, in the time we needed to wait for the results, we decided (the kid and I) that we would go back to the condo and grab our camera since the hospital was so close to the Breckenridge snow sculptures (if it was going to be much longer, we would head up to see them). We were just getting ready to leave the condo to head back to the hospital when we got "the call"; Sickle Cell Anemia test came back positive, spleen and liver are enlarged. Spleen could rupture if we don't get off the mountain immediately. Ok. Stop. Breath. Ok. Stop. Breath. Ok. Breath. Ok. Ummm. What? The kid and I packed up as quickly as we could, and cleaned up the condo to it's "initial" state and busted ass over to the hospital. The Breckenridge hospital arranged for a transfer to our local hospital, and sent us on our way. It was a tense ride back down the mountain due to the road conditions and my loves condition.... although watching him fade in and out on morphine was kind of interesting (especially since he swears he was just resting his eyes... and the snoring was just)? Although this was a big scare, the process went smoothly. We got my love checked in, back on his morphine drip and relaxing comfortably. He had a wonderful nurse; not to stressful and very kind. She even made sure that we were able to get his dinner before they closed for the evening, and got our Dr in quickly to visit so I could get the kid home to bed. By this afternoon, my love was feeling much much better and was able to be released to his home nurse (that's me, of course). Tomorrow morning, we have to call first thing and make an appointment with the specialist so we can learn more about this new found visitor to our home; apparently it's here to stay so it's time to work out a comfortable living arrangement. So, I must say.... yes, it was very scary but I'm so glad that we were able to find this out the way we did, and as quickly as we did (the Dr's have all explained how lucky he was that we got him to the hospital as fast as we did and that they caught it before it did any real damage to his organs). I love this man more than life and this experience is just that; life. What do they say? Life; It's what happens when you aren't paying attention? Well, I am. I'm paying attention like a son of a.... and I'm holding on to this man.
On a side note, the pictures above are in Breckenridge after we packed up the car and Amiri and I had our own mini breakdowns.... we stopped the car so Amiri (the kid) could run up the side of that hill, see how deep the snowpack was, then jump off. TJ (my love) was safe at the hospital still waiting to get released. We just needed a quick release ourselves.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Focus Friday, Week 3

  1. Send out my Sister and Stepmom's birthday presents (yes, done! Whoa!)
  2. Find my camera cable (finally found it.... with every other cable I own)
  3. Download my Christmas photos (yes, and made backup cd's too!)
  4. Call the dog sitter and have her over to cover the many quirks of the three amigos (did this... and they just love her. Jordan is going to be wonderful with them)
  5. Get ready to go to the mountains for our weekend getaway (totally ready. Can you believe this? We packed everything up last night after work so when we get home tonight from work, it get's loaded in the truck and off we go! OH YEAH!)

I'm not sure what to add for this week.... hmmmm.

I really want to work on some "me" stuff.

By golly, I've got it!

  1. Study up on my Reiki "skillz". For those who don't know what Reiki is, it's a Japanese technique that is used to promote healing through opening the chakras. I am a Reiki Master/Teacher and practice Reiki when I'm not working my "day job".
  2. Work on my scrapbooking. I won't even begin to pick one to begin on because there are sooo many pictures, themes, etc I could go with. I'll just start with the one that jumps out first!
  3. Play with my camera. I have this great Canon Rebel XSI and I can do a lot with it already, but I really want to become more proficient. That's a good place to start focusing!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Writers Workshop.... a joyous moment

Mama Kat.... she just never fails to find good prompts for us all to work with. This week was no different. Stop by and visit her if you haven't had the opportunity.

So, this week there were some good prompts but only one REALLY stood out for me;

"other than the birth of a child or your wedding, write about a joyous moment"

You know, every time I look into my sons eyes when he's sleeping I experience pure joy. Every time my husband holds me in his arms, I feel it.

But really, when I get right down to it... right at my core.... what makes me "joyous"?

It's who I am, who I've become. The person that allows me to feel all of the joy of those around me; the joy of family, of friends, of society, and of the earth itself.

So, I choose to speak to when I remember finally feeling joyous about me. The very first time. Growing up I had low self esteem. I thought that external influences were who/what provided validation for who I was and I honestly.... I didn't truly know who I was after all.

When I left home at 20, I thought the only way to be happy and "fulfilled" required that I always have a man around. He would prove my worth and I had to be make him my first priority, not me.

Finally, I decided that I deserved better. It was my action (or inaction) that would determine my self-worth and I was the one in control; no one else.

I became powerful. I became independent. I was even a bit selfish.

Thinking back on it now, what I remember most was just how thrilled I was with being who I was, where I was, and looking forward to my future.

It was when I TRULY became a women.

I came into my own, and boy did I own it!

I stayed up late, hung out with friends, went out when I felt like it, dated (and yes, slept with) who I wanted, called boys back only if I felt like it, and enjoyed life.

I laughed a lot. I danced a lot. It was joyous!

And you know what?

When I finally knew who I was; when I understood what I wanted and needed out of life, LOVE found me. I was open to accepting TRUE and UNCONDITIONAL love and it was right there, just waiting for me.

And that was joyous. Life has been joyous ever since.

Because I am enough.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration, Mr President.

view from my office (since DNC)
This has been my first time watching the Inauguration because honestly, I didn't feel like I was part of this process before. This time, I did. I was there. I was involved. I work in Denver, and experienced every day of the DNC. I was able to sit 10 rows back in a 1000 seat auditorium and listen to Obama speak to his (and our) vision with my son, my husband and my mother. I believe in change, and yearn for it. I am ready for the world to experience a new America. So, today I watched this amazing man become our 44th President of the United States with so many others. And, I was so hopeful.
Keith Olbermann put it into words that best explain it (for me): "You've seen those videotapes of Walter Cronkite, the night that man landed on the moon for the first time, when Neil Armstrong stepped out, and he could just barely get out monosyllables. Politically, that's what this is. This is man on the moon."
It is the dawn of a new day. And as he said, it will take all of us. I cannot wait. I'm ready. Are you?
Yes, we can.... and we will.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr

I have a dream.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Not Me Monday

Oh boy......

I did not have a continuous dream on Saturday night about a wedding I had to attend as a bridesmaid that appeared to be out of "bridezilla".

I did not allow my son to watch Nanny 911 in order to get ideas on new bad behavior; I swear that this is not something he would study up on or would he say things like... "see Mom, now those kids.... THEY are BAD"!

I did not wash all of the boys clothes only to discover at bedtime, that the hamper was miraculously filled again? These clothes DO NOT resemble the clean clothes I asked him to put away, do they?

I did not allow my son to eat ice cream for dinner because he's been sick and was finally feeling up to playing video games with Dad, and having a little fun. Nope, I'm all about nutrition.... not mint chocolate chip.

I did not attempt to figure out why, I am still wide awake at 2:45am with my husband. I did not decide that we should pretend like we were in our 20's again, and just dating (with no kid asleep upstairs) and laugh hysterically to the point of tears at each other, play video games, then "just chill".

I did not get excited everytime I heard Barack Obama's name today; with the optimism I haven't felt in 8 years (if at all).... knowing that "yes we can" and we will.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Freedom #6, Roller Skating

Freedom #6, Roller Skating!

This post was originally on another blog ( and was published in Nov of 2008; I never moved it over here when I moved my blog so I apologize for the oversight. But.... what a great freedom!

When I was little, I started out my love for roller skating with those metal wheeled skates that went over your tennies. I can still hear the sound of the metal on the asphalt. Thinking back, it would have been faster to have just walked to wherever I was heading then to have skated but I'm sure my parents rationale was that there was no fear of crashing or breaking of bones.... since you could barely move with those clank clank clank, skates.

Finally, it progressed to the "rad" sneaker skates; so cool! The envy of the rink; anyone with those awesome skates will inform you. There was nothing better than hanging your "own" skates by the laces over your shoulder, heading into "your" rink.... ah.... oh.... the rink. "Our rink" was called "ups and downs" and apparently it still exists (in Escondido, CA for those that are interested). My friends, sister and I would get dropped off by our parents..... just to skate for hours on end (likely in jordache jeans with an extra huge "goody" comb in our back pocket)! The music, the lights, the fun.... it was a dream; we didn't have a care in the world! Nothing outside of that rink existed; just us and our fun. We'd do the Hokey Pokey and the Electric Slide. We'd go out during "ladies only" and "all skate" and wonder if anyone would ask us to skate during "couples only".

We skated everywhere inside and outside of the rink.... but that was the time; the late 70's and early 80's. For those of you that were around during those times, I'd love for you to comment on your memories.... the music, the scene, the friends..... it was all so fun!

I couldn't remember the last time I put on a pair of skates. I remember the feeling; the joy and the love of skating.... I just physically couldn't remember when the last time I was on the rink; probably High School. It hadn't been something I really could say I missed until the invitation came.

A skate party. Then, it all rushed back to me.

Last year, my son was invited to a skating party and as I watched him skate around the rink I couldn't help but yearn for that feeling. But the anxiety of getting out there at 354lbs and falling won out over the idea of recapturing that moment.

This year however, being 150lbs lighter.... I was feeling it! I got my skates and my son and out we went. Oh my gosh. Let me just say, yes... I did it. I went out and skated. I went around the rink. I was so scared! I don't ever remember my current feeling; the one in which I didn't have any control of my feet... that memory must have escaped me! It was fun, don't get me wrong.... but at 5'11" the floor looked much further down and much harder then I remember. My son kept asking if I was "good"; could he move on? Ummm.... no! He was not allowed to leave me out there alone with all of those maniac kids trying to cause a collision with me! No way! He even offered to turn around with me so I could go back where I started.... rude! I wasn't doing THAT bad! I was finishing this; I'm no quitter!

When we got back to where we had entered the rink, I was starting to feel a little more comfortable... THEN... on came a voice through the loudspeaker announcing a "skate-race" game.... my newly acquired escape was in motion; you didn't need to tell me twice..... I was SO outta there! I thanked him for sticking with me, gave him a big kiss and told him to enjoy the game.

And off my darling little boy skated, wind in his hair, music in his ears, not a care in the world....
And I was so happy for us both.

What are your memories of roller skating?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Focus Friday, Week 2

Ok, we are back... Week 2 already? Wow. That went fast... and I did not exactly complete my list! So, better luck next time? Please take a peek over at thrifyandchicmoms blog for more details if you're interested in joining in on this lovely accountibility list!
  1. Update my 2009 calendar with all important dates (so done... sooo sooo done)
  2. Take time each evening to read with the kid before bed (yes, complete and very nice.... although we need to make sure that I remain in a less vertical position during these reading times, as to not make it more of a cuddle/sleep time)!
  3. Purchase birthday cards for the year (done, and I'm so glad because it's such a pain)
  4. Send out my Sister and Stepmom's birthday presents (ok, this isn't done but I still have time... their birthday's aren't until the last few days of the month.... they are going on monday, promise)
  5. Download my Christmas photos (this is totally not my fault.... I went to download the pics from my card and it's not reading them! what the? So, I'm still working on it. I'm just going to attach my camera to the cable - which means locating the cable)

Alrighty then; 3/5 isn't horrible is it? I'm moving on.

  1. Send out my Sister and Stepmom's birthday presents
  2. Find my camera cable
  3. Download my Christmas photos
  4. Call the dog sitter and have her over to cover the many quirks of the three amigos
  5. Get ready to go to the mountains for our weekend getaway (can't wait!!!! Tubing at coppermountain, here we come)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Writers Workshop.... my man.

Ok, this weeks assignment with Mama Kat
Choose a prompt... I can do this!
The Prompts:
1.) Describe your significant other's most attractive quality (on the inside)
Ahhh, liking this one... so many to choose from
2.) Tell about a time you stole something.
Hmmm, stealing.... notsomuch! Let's clarify... not that I haven't stolen, but that story would be LONG! Oh, and I'd have to pick just one? Can't do it.
3.) Choose a poem you like. Take the last line and use it as the first line of your own poem.
Poems? Unless it's vulgar, I don't think I could do it.
4.) Write about a scary encounter with one of your old professors.
Oh, gosh... the only "scary" encounter I had was when my art professor told me I was "heavy handed" with my charcoal drawing and I just wanted to heavy hand his arse through the door.
So, we begin with the love of my life. My heart and soul. My joy.
There are so many reasons that I love my husband and I know you've requested just one.
BUT just one?
Ok, let's fix this. I can fix this.
Here is the MOST ATTRACTIVE QUALITY.... It's his heart.
Within that lovely heart of his...
He is kind and gentle, sincere and caring, non judgmental and sweet... SO, SO sweet. He wakes up at 1am to take the dogs and the boy to the bathroom. He goes out on snow mornings and cleans off my car (and warms it up) so I can drive in comfort. He cooks my meat for me, just because it grosses me out and that way I don't have to deal with it. He's the best snuggler ever and he rubs my back when I can't sleep. He listens to me ramble with a kind face and a gentle laugh when I catch myself. He has driven over 60 miles to pick me up from work because I didn't feel well; this man and his heart. He buys me flowers for no special occasion... just because. He laughs at my jokes, even when I can't get them right (and most of the time can't remember them). He completes my sentences and knows exactly what I'm thinking.
He adores me and is my very best friend.
He is the closest I've met to perfect, and I can't breath quite right when I think that we are together in this experience of life; this man and his big, full, wonderful heart.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Freedom # 5, Bathroom Stalls

A little background for all those who haven't read the previous freedoms. In October of 2007, I decided enough was enough and changed my life. I weighed 354lbs and was done. I would not continue to let weight and food rule my life. That day I started a list of things I wanted back, a freedom list. This list would keep my priorities straight while I was on my weight loss journey. I have a notebook full and have been adding them to my blog in efforts to share with others this journey as well (read the previous ones here). As of today, I have lost 165lbs and have 5lbs left to reach my goal. I encourage everyone, regardless of your struggle to start your own "freedom list". If you'd like to read more about my journey, here is a speech I gave at my weight loss center.

Freedom # 5, Bathroom Stalls

Ok, have you ever squeezed into the bathroom stall? At 354lbs, I squeezed into a many! This is how I recall the situation.....
  1. Hold your bladder until the very last second
  2. Make it to the bathroom with seconds to spare
  3. Attempt to adjust body (likely by hiding yourself sideways next to the toilet) enough to grab the swinging stall door, and close it.... safely securing yourself inside
  4. Stradle the toilet and squeeze on down in order to get your whole body on the actual toilet seat
  5. Pray that the paper roll is high enough up so that it doesn't obstruct the small amount of room you do have, cutting into your leg and causing you even more pain
  6. Adjust several times in order to wipe completely
  7. Reverse order, to escape your self-imprisonation in small stall hell
  8. Catch breath

Now, at work I often used to run into the Handicap stall at work to get more space. The issue was that there was/is a person at my office who actually really needs to use that bathroom. She has no other choice. So I thought I had figured out her break/lunch schedule somewhat and would run in when I thought it was less likely to run into her. Once though, I wasn't so lucky. I was in there, and I heard the automatic door open and she came in. I heard the "great, now I have to wait while some completely able person uses my 1 bathroom" sigh. I felt like I was in the "wanna get away" commercials. I came out, and as soon as she saw me (at my 300 plus weight) she smiled and I apologized profusely... making a joke about my size. I think I said sometimes I just need a little extra space. I was mortified. I never used that bathroom again.

Now fortunately (at 165lbs lighter), I don't need to use handicap stalls and can fit in any bathroom stall with ease. However, I believe this is an issue/freedom that many overweight people can relate to. If you can't physically "fit" into a standard stall, should that allow you to have the right to use the handicap stall without guilt? No, you're not "technically" disabled (yet) but being overweight carries with it so many "disabilities" and yet, the difference is.... an overweight person can (I'm not saying there isn't hard work involved) lose weight; these people with disabilities cannot change their situation. It's a struggle for several and such an embarrassing one.

This was one of my top 10 freedoms because it was so constant. Everytime I walked into a public bathroom, there was the anxiety there.

How ridiculous it all seems now but it was very real.

I no longer have to experience small stall hell, and if you have to have this experience.... I feel for you. Please know, you are not alone! But life isn't shouldn't be filled with anxiety about bathroom stalls!

Make a freedom list, and change your life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Duke

Today it has been 1 year since my father in law passed away. A whole year already.

I can't believe it.

I still hear his voice and that crazy laugh, see his toothless little evil smile, and picture that goofy "uga cha cha" dance he used to do through the living room when he was having a moment.

This man. This amazing man.

When I moved to Ohio from California, away from all family at the age of 20, this family welcomed me in. I spent Christmas' and vacations with them, even though I wasn't their daughter. I came over and did laundry, and played cards with them, even after my now husband moved to Chicago.

Duke was my surrogate Dad.

He was hard; his life had been tough but he never discussed it or complained. When I met him, he didn't give hugs or say he loved you but that all changed with me. I'm a person who hugs and says I love you eighteen times in one conversation.... and he had to get used to it. But once he did, it was wonderful. And other family members would always comment, "he doesn't hug us", "he doesn't kiss us", "he doesn't say he loves us" and I would just explain that he wasn't raised that way and that we needed to be proactive about it with him. He gave great hugs and kisses and the very last thing he ever said to me was "I love you too Dear" and that means the world to me.

What I appreciated about him was that he always called it like he saw it; you always knew exactly where he stood and he gave great advice. He had great one liners; most of which I cannot repeat!

This man, this amazing man is still with us in every breath, every step, every laugh, every tear.

He is in all of our moments because he is my husband, and my son.

He is always with us because he is us.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Not Me Monday

I did not actually expect the San Diego Chargers to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. That would have been irrational and expecting WAY too much from them. I would never do that to my favorite under-achievers.
I did not purchase my puppy a shirt because he'd look SOOO cute in it and it had a buddha on it which I thought was cool. I would never embarrass any of my dogs in this way.

I did not drop several "f" bombs while trying to get my son to complete his homework. Being that I only parent with "love and logic" that just would not come out of my mouth. Plus, I never use vulgarity.... NEVER.

I did not rent pineapple express and laugh when I realized that every pothead I've ever met or -not- hung out with (in younger days) was represented.

It's over....

San Diego Chargers.... all over.

Why break my heart? Why decide to only show up to the game in the 3rd quarter like you've done all season? Why, Phillip Rivers.... why must you hold on to the ball FOREVER?!?!

My 8yr old son is a Steelers fan. He's a little brat. I sent him to bed early as punishment for being a fan. I may restrict all TV use for the week if he doesn't shape up and change his loyalty (ok, maybe this whole last paragraph was just fantasy.... but come on, give me a bone here).


Oh, but before I leave, I must still express my undying love to you.... LT (you couldn't help being hurt). And, I'm starting to really fall for you too, Sproles. Just keep showing up like you do!

Go Chargers (wheeping).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fun with Therapy!

Did I get your attention?

Ok, great! My goal has been achieved. Isn't therapy always fun anyway? It not like they hand out "bullshit bingo" cards at the door (just to allow for some fun therapy action), but there is always a ton of enlightenment.

So, tonight my hubby and I attended couples counseling and I must say.... I've learned a lot about myself and it's not pretty but it is ME.

It's funny because this therapy thing has evolved over the last year into this. Originally we began attending therapy because we found out that my dad in law was dying and we felt it would be beneficial to have my son start getting therapy for this major life changing event; then when he passed away, we went through grief counseling (all of us). During this, I realized I could really use some parenting direction, so we started that.... My best friend (husband) was still attending grief counseling and started dealing with some issues that he has brought forward from childhood into adulthood and finally, our marriage. The issues surround "failure" and "confrontation".

This is where I come in.

We have a wonderful marriage; this man is my life. He is my best friend, my soul mate.... my one and only. He is everything and I adore him. Our only issue is communication regarding financial issues. We communicate wonderfully everywhere else, but here.... we lack.

My husband - for several years now - has maintained the bills, and budget for us. This has been due to my own anxiety over our financial status. The last year though, this has been just too much for one person. With the grief experienced over the loss of his father, work, raising a son, and all the other aspects of life.... it just became overwhelming. And, due to my anxiety about bills, and money... he had nowhere to turn.

What I've learned about my adorable sweet love, is that he doesn't ever want to say no to us (me or the kid). He wants us to have everything, and anything we want - even if we can't afford it. He "feels" like he's a failure if he can't get us whatever we want. He "feels" like he's letting us down and not giving us what we deserve. So, you can just imagine what happens next. Bills get out of control. I get angry and say REALLY mean things. Oh, and did I mention that hubby doesn't do well with confrontation? He shuts down. So, I get angry and yell... he shuts down and then just doesn't tell me when things are starting to snowball. Oh gosh, then.... more yelling. And this yelling? It's all coming from me. It's not productive or pretty. It makes him feel more of a failure, and then.... we just get more of the same.

So, tonight... the therapist asked a simple question. "Do you remember when you started to get anxious about bills and money"? And, my reaction... tears! OUT OF NOWHERE! And I don't even know why (at the time). My husband and I start addressing when we remember a change and miraculously, it's the same exact point in time. Right before we got married, I got really sick and was diagnosed with a lung disease; Sarcoidosis. I couldn't work and had to go out of state to a special lung hospital. Our bills just snowballed out of control and my Dad paid my debt (all of it). Now, here's the deal.... he said he would pay everything but he wanted me to send all my cards and bills to him so he could verify they were paid, then cut all the cards. I remember feeling like I was just this little kid, and couldn't be trusted. The therapist said it was "with strings" and I never really thought of it like that until tonight. It was control. He had to be in control.... even at 26 yrs old, he had control of my life again. It was a wonderful thing for my Dad to do, and I've always loved that he has helped me whenever I've needed him. I think that it's his way.... he has to "fix" things, and I can appreciate that. BUT, I was an adult and just needed a little help without any "strings". The therapist asked me what if I had told him no; I wouldn't send him the cards. What would the reaction have been? And honestly, I don't know. I don't tell him no. I don't know how to set boundaries with my Dad. He doesn't allow boundaries. My Dad calls me every week and I love that we have this great relationship now because it's not always been so open. The interesting thing that I have been evaluating tonight is this; if I don't answer the phone when he calls, he continues to call. He will call 3-4 more times and finally will give up. He then calls back the next day and wants to know where I was when he called. And, I lie. I was thinking about the questions that the therapist might ask me about this. She would ask, "what if you just answer and tell him you are busy and you'd like to talk to him later"? So, I thought about this.... He would just say, "oh".... and continue talking. He wouldn't accept that answer. And, I lie about not being home the next day because if I told him that I was home and didn't feel like talking, he might feel like I didn't think he was a priority in my life. The longer I think about it all though, I've realized.... he has to be in control.

He doesn't take no for an answer and guess what? I don't either.

I hate that about myself.

When we were discussing our issues earlier, my husband was talking about how sometimes I will ask about finances in an inopportune time and he explained how he'll ask to discuss it later.... I then get angry and insist on discussing it right then. She asked why and I explained because if I want to talk about something, I want to talk about it NOW! Hello? And so she said what would happen if he said no to me? And I explained it wouldn't happen because that wouldn't be ok with me. OK seriously? What's my deal? Who the hell do I think I am?

Here's an example of how this conversation would go........

Me... out of the blue: "Hey, what's going on with the bills? Are we good on money"?
Hubby: "How about I get all the info together and we discuss it later"?
Me: "Why can't we discuss it now"
Hubby: "Because I'm not comfortable going over that with you without all the facts"
Me: "Why not, what are you hiding"
Hubby: "I'm not hiding anything. You know I'm not good at just pulling numbers off the top of my head".
Me: "Then you should at least be able to give me an idea"
Hubby: "Everything's fine. Let's do this later"
Me: "I have a really weird feeling that you've got something you aren't telling me"
Hubby: "Not at all"
Me: "Well then, I don't understand why you can't do this now"
Hubby: "I just told you"
Me: "Whatever.... you know what?! I'll just takeover the bills and no one will get any money"!
Me: "I hate when you do this"!
Hubby: "I'm not doing anything"
Me: "EXACTLY"!!!!

Ok, so I can go on and on here but I think you get the point and really.... it's all me just yelling and you all might think I'm kind of sweet and I don't want to totally ruin any bit of love you may still have for me after you read this but it's ugly and doesn't really get us anywhere.

Here's the point. We don't ever move forward from this. We don't discuss the bills, I'm screamin' mad, and he's been verbally attacked and is just exhausted. So, in the end.... he get's what he wanted. We discuss it later, just with more hurt feelings.

I need to be in control; just like dear ole' Dad. But, I don't want to be like that. I'm mentally stronger than I have ever been. I'm not anxious and I'm ready. I want to be a partner in this. Not a dictator. Not a mother. Not a boss. Not a irrational tyrant. Just a partner. Ok, maybe a wife, a lover, a best friend, and a partner.... but his partner. Forever.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Focus Friday

Focus Friday

Being the completely focused person that I am ....

I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful weekly series! Over the last year, I have become increasingly "focused" and "organized" but I still need some improvement. thriftyandchicmom has put out this great little suggestion to assist in our success, and if you'd like to join me head on over to her blog and join in! I'm sure she (and I) would love to have you. Thanks once again to my wonderful friend, blueviolet for letting me in on this!

So, my focus this week.... hmmm..... where to begin.....

oh, that's right; <STAY FOCUSED HERE>.

  • Update my 2009 calendar with all important dates (ok, I've already actually done this but I wanted some sort of credit.... lol)
  • Take time each evening to read with my son before bed.
  • Purchase birthday cards for the year (I did this last year and put them in a monthly folder, it was so nice to just grab the cards each month, and send them out.... oh and the dollar store has great deals for cards btw)!
  • Send my Sister and Stepmom their birthday presents (to arrive on time/early... whoa)!
  • Download my Christmas photos!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Not Me Monday!

Thanks to my favorite "nut" for sharing not me Mondays with us (originally from MckMama). I'm needing this today!

Last week (and the week before) I did not make every attempt to not complete the list(s) of projects I had in order to just lay around, play around, and kid around with that adorable little boy of mine.

I did not leave the boxes of Christmas decorations in the kitchen dining area for several days, waiting on the storage elves to neatly stack them back in the basement where they came from.

I did not call Target the last two days, checking to see if there clearance Christmas items were marked down to 90%.... how rude.

We did not have a Guitar Hero tournament yesterday between my husband, son and I in which I was the champion... and the hottest character.

I swear to you, I did not pout last night when it was time to go to bed because it was my last night as a imposter sahm, knowing that my son would be returning to school today and I would be returning to work. I totally DID NOT do this..... not at all. No way.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lets go CHARGERS, Lets GO!

Our fifth straight win to secure the AFC West title! And, we lost LT in the 3rd and still did it!!!
How exciting!

My Blog Awards!

My Blog Awards!