Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Checking in....

Just an update to say things are okay… I know when I don’t see someone post for a while, my radar goes off and I’m thinking “hmmmm, hope they’re not hitting a rough patch….”

No rough patches here, right now. We’re up to our ears in alligators cookies. DH continues the Great Cookie Adventure (for our clients and to take to friends and neighbors) and as much as we like to say that it’s His Project, it ends up being a family affair. Some days I make dough before he gets home from his part-time job, and then while I continue to work in the afternoons, he cranks up the Christmas music and mass produces dozens of Spritz and gingerbread boys. They are his specialties.

I make a lot of other types of cookies to add to it, and in the end, we have a pretty awesome selection that we package up on plates and he makes his rounds, delivering them.

Sounds idyllic. Should be idyllic. But I’m one of those who inexplicably gets very depressed at this time of year, so for me, it’s a very stressful time. But I guess there is no point in whining about it. He feels it is important to do for the clients.

I’m of the opinion that stellar customer service all year long, always turning in accurate, quality transcription with lightening-fast turnaround time, should be enough….and I’ve not had one complaint this year from any of our clients (and about ten written compliments). But that’s just me.

I know he enjoys the process and he enjoys giving the cookies out to friends, etc. Why rain on his parade? He mentioned to one of our daughters recently that “this is how I keep Grandma alive.” (He uses his late mother’s recipes. I miss her. She was a huge part of our more recent holiday celebrations.)

The indoor decorations are up. The outside stuff I’ll put up on Thanksgiving day. Our Thanksgiving will be quiet. It’s really a meal just for DH. The girls are vegetarian; I’m nearly vegetarian. The girls also have other homes to visit (best friends/significant others, etc), so I am cooking somewhat in advance, and DH will have a quiet day reading his newspapers and magazines and watching the news. I will hang a few last Christmas things outside, and I hope to get some time in my sewing room. If anyone drops by, there will be food available… but we probably will not be doing a big “sit-down at a groaning table” type thing.

DD2 mentioned she will be a part of a 40-family-member gathering at the Boyfriend’s grandma’s house on Thanksgiving, for a late lunch. I’m making a vegan silk chocolate pie she likes, so she can nibble on dessert later when they are at our house.

I have memories that I cherish of “groaning tables” at my grandparents’. One of my greatest sadnesses is that my daughters never knew anything like that while growing up. I grew up within a few miles of all my family, on both sides. My daughters have grown up at least half a continent away from their extended family. I tried to make things as traditional and fun as I could, with just the four of us, and the occasional visiting grandparents, but my memories of holidays and my daughters’ memories are so different. We immersed ourselves in church seasonal functions in the past, to get as close to the “family” atmosphere as we could within our church family, but it’s just not the same.

I think that is another huge portion of my sadness at this time of year. I miss my beloved Nana.

Then too, in the last ten years, there have been several holiday seasons like last year’s. A loaded daughter living on the streets just dampens things a bit. This year I am so very grateful that DD2 is sober. We’re in what I call the honeymoon period, where she is sober, she is on probation, she doesn’t want to go back to jail, and she’s willing. Willingness. It’s a big part of any success.

I am just rolling with it this year. We’ve scaled things down a bit, and I’m doing a lot in advance. I will do everything in my power to make a peaceful and happy celebration possible. The rest is up to others. Either way, I’m going to have as nice a time as possible.

Moving on! DD2 will be staying with us a few nights a week during the month of December. Her P.O. has given her until December 1 to find a new living situation, since her roommate’s husband is still actively using, and that puts DD2 in a bad environment. She is going to just move all her stuff to the Boyfriend’s place this week, and Probation asked me if she could stay with us several nights a week, while he is on the road with his job. She has a ride to work in the morning and will take the bus over an hour home. Weeknights that he is home, and all weekends, she will stay with him. This saves her one interim move, because Probation has decreed that as soon as Boyfriend is formally off probation (first week in January), they can just live together full time. They are really excited about simplifying things, combining expenses, and being able to spend more time together.

Whether I think that is premature, or whether I think that it may drive him bonkers (having DD2 and his teenaged daughter living with him)…..is not really my business to be thinking about!

1. We have so much. We have our home, our health, a full freezer (mostly turkeys! Just kidding!).

2. DD2 is sober and working at the moment. She’ll have a year clean on January 9, 2010.

3. DD1 is about halfway through her paralegal studies and doing an awesome job. She has a degree in History which proved pretty useless in the workforce, so she is reinventing herself. She should be done next fall. She will be moving out late summer or fall, into a place of her own.

4. This sad time of year will pass! The trick for me is to remind myself that the weepy mood is something I can recognize and deal with. The holidays are not holidays – they are a lot of work. But I can remove myself from exposure to the commercialism (incessant ads on TV, craziness at the mall, etc) and to focus more on my precious family, my gratitudes, and the “reason for the season” which so often gets lost in the glitter and noise of the season!

I may be scarce at posting over the next couple of weeks, but will try to check in with my dear blogging friends often! You’ll recognize me when I drop by; I’m the one who’ll be leaving dustings of flour and colored sugar sprinkles all over your comments sections!

May the true joy of this season warm our hearts in quiet, peaceful moments!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ten Honest Things about me

Bless you, Chicmama for thinking of me with this award…


I am not exactly sure how I qualified for it, but I appreciate it, and hey, maybe I can get someone to cook my dinner tonight! Queen of All Things has a very nice ring to it!

And thank you,
Tall Kay!

Thank you for thinking of me with this award/challenge! In no particular order, here are my Ten Honest Things about me.

1. When I was about nine or ten, I was cane-pole fishing at my grand daddy’s pond when my dad’s calm voice from somewhere behind me said, “honey, be very still and do not move.” Now normally that phrase was reserved for some sort of awesome wildlife near me that my dad wanted to show me (think Bambi!), or for some sort of impending “danger” like a bee crawling on my shirt. Something in my dad’s tone told me it was the latter, and I dutifully froze….. He went on to say, “there is a snake between your feet, and I’m going to get Ray to bring down the gun and I’ll kill it.” You might think I was scared, but my dad was an awesome shot and I had enough sensible outdoor training in me by that age to know I was fine, as long as I did not do something stupid…. Like run, screaming for the hills! Dad bellowed up in the direction of the farmhouse, “Ray, bring me the rifle NOW…..SNAKE” And my older cousin jumped up from whatever he was doing, and snagged the rifle from its shelf holder, and cheerfully jogged down to the pond, literally loading it as he ran. He slowed at Dad’s hand signal, approached at a snail’s pace, and I heard Dad say softly, “Okay, honey, I’m going to shoot it now.” And he did. Right between my feet, and the snake I had not dared to even bend over and look down at, shot forward into the pond, and floated, dead, in front of me. It was a water moccasin. Dad used my pole to fish it out of the water and we trooped up to show it to my mom and grandparents. Dad lost no time at all using it as an object lesson, reinforcing to my sister and I the need to sometimes do as he said, without questioning, and later we’ll probably find out why!

2. I hate the news. My husband is a news watcher. We’re working on it. Right now, he continues to watch one station, record another, watch it later, and all the while throw unbecoming comments at the TV as if the newscaster, or better yet, the folks in the news story, could hear and take heed of his opinion. And right now, I tend to close my office door and work, or put on my headphones and continue sewing, enjoying my music!

3. I hate politics (a continuation of “I hate the news”). I have come to the conclusion (and I really don’t care if this is a prime example of sticking my head in the sand) that I can only change my own behavior/goals, etc. No matter how upset I get about things “out there in the world”, I am totally used up and depleted each day by simply running my business, taking care of my house, and taking care of my husband/me personally. I have nothing left to try to change the world with. So I focus instead on trying to be the best person I can be, and maybe make a positive difference in the lives around me, in my family and in my work. I have no idea if that makes sense.

4. I love to sew clothing, purses, and especially QUILTS. I joke about cutting up perfectly good fabric, and sewing it back together again. But it isn't really a joke to me. I know that for many people it is an artistic expression of their creativity. For me, it is more basic. I explained it once to a friend like this: I know that I will be gone someday, likely sooner than I'd prefer. I want to leave behind something for those who have meant the most to me. A quilt is, just while sitting over a chair, or hanging on a wall, a thing of beauty that warms a room and the heart of the person it was made for. But take it off the wall, or pick it up from the chair, and it becomes even more. It is utilitarian, yes, in that it provides physical warmth for the body of that person. But it is, at its best, a tangible demonstration of the fact that this person I made it for MATTERED to me. It becomes a hug to wrap them up when my arms are no longer here to do so. Someday when my mind goes, even if my body lingers on, and I can't remember who the president is, or the day of the week, or even your name.... if I have made you a quilt, please wrap yourself in it regularly, and know that you were loved, treasured, and that I made the quilt for you with my whole heart. That I picked fabrics I knew you would like, and I thought of you, as I stitched and pieced and quilted... You matter to me. You are LOVED!

5. I am still pursuing The Dream. Semi-retirement to some acreage in Tennessee or maybe even near my sister in South Carolina. Part time employment only. Chickens, a garden, and a humongous quilting/craft room. And a stellar sound system that will drown out the news my husband will be watching in the den! We were supposed to be headed in the direction of The Dream in June, 2008. The stinky economy has delayed that a bit.
But we will get there!

6. I have a sister I have not seen face-to-face in twenty-some years. We talk almost daily, on the phone, on instant messenger, sometimes with our web cams. She lives on one coast and I live on another. I don’t know how the years got away from us. We share a lot of the same dreams and goals, and the quilting addiction, too! I positively adore her…. I’m so grateful she is in my life. (I’m kinda really fond of her husband and kids too!)

7. I have a hard time taking care of myself in a healthy fashion, with a diet appropriate for my diabetes and weight issues, and exercise, also helpful for lowering my blood sugar. This boils down to nothing except laziness. If I got up earlier every morning and walked for two miles, I would reap huge benefits. I know this. But I don’t act on it.

8. I want a pick up truck. My next car will be my last one, I think, and I want a pick up truck. (We drive cars forever – two we have now have 100,000 and 165,000 miles on them). And I want a cowboy hat to wear when I’m driving it to pick up the chicken feed, down at the feed store…. Yes, I am an odd duck.

9. I’ve worked for myself for the last 30 years. I started off as a babysitter, keeping kids in my home to bring in income and provide my little ones with some playmates. We followed a school-like schedule, and I taught them to read, count, do simple crafts, etc. They’d leave at 5 pm and I did medical transcription at night. Later, my girls went off to school and I was an independent contractor doing transcription for other transcription services for quite a while. I then bought my own dictation system, got some accounts of my own, hired some independent contractors like myself, and became a medical transcription service corporation. I type/hire/proof/assign work, DH does the books/taxes (when he’s not working at his regular part time job). It has worked for me/us. It’s a pain in the derriere. It was great when the kids were young and I could type when I wasn’t being a mom, cook, chauffeur, room mom, chaperone, Brownie mom, team snack mom, VBS helper, etc. But now, I am tired, and voice recognition is killing me. I look forward to the next chapter in my life. With a little luck, I will wind down about the same time that the older doctors who don’t want to learn how to use voice recognition technology wind down! We’ll all totter off to our respective retirements together!

10. I have hot water tonight and I’m grateful. Way to wind up a list, right? The Boyfriend and I were working on the front porch this weekend, while DD2 resurrected an old computer we had replaced so that she can hopefully use it for school next semester.…. At 4PM Saturday I grabbed something from the garage and all was well. At 4:30 PM I went back for something else, and found that the water heater had committed suicide rather spectacularly by exploding all over the garage floor. Swimming was necessary. The Boyfriend and I quickly worked up a second verbal contract and hastily shook on it, and then started mopping up. He would continue the porch work (contract #1), AFTER he installed a water heater the next day (contract #2). He made extra money; we got the job done by a guy we love!! Dishes were done that night by heating water on the stove. Worked like a charm (although my daughter thought I was nuts). But I am looking forward to a nice hot shower tonight. I can’t complain: the water heater lasted 16 years (at one time with five of us here!) and I got the new one at Home Depot with 10% off during a sale, 6 months interest free payment time, and DH found out we qualify for two rebates from gas company and city! Life is good!

Okay… I know I’m supposed to pass these along individually. But I’ve been unavoidably away from my computer this weekend (see swimming in the garage, painting the front porch pillars, etc) and I have not visited all my favorite blogs to see who else might have received which award, so I’m going to take the lazy way out and head for the shower. (My husband would probably appreciate that happening fairly soon – it was a long two days of working on this porch, and I really NEED the shower!)

If you would like to do the “Ten Honest Things about Me” list, please grab the picture of the Honest Scrap Award and make a list!! It’s fun!

I’ll catch up with y'all soon as I can! Wishing us all a peaceful week!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grateful for the status quo, and a codependent slip!

Things are relatively quiet and drama free…..and I’m grateful.

(In fact, it's been downright quiet for two days, and I'm codependently "wary"..... but I'm working on it!)

DD2 is working. She recently posted on her Facebook page that she had over three hundred days of sobriety. I’m beyond words grateful for that too.

The “no-contact order” has been lifted, and now she and the Boyfriend can see each other all the time, except they are not supposed to spend the night at each other’s place yet. However, that particular restriction should be lifted eventually and they hope to move in together.

I personally would love it if they would work on being complete within themselves, healthy, steady in their program, financially independent, etc*, before they moved in together. But it ain’t none of my business!

* Might be a good idea to be all those things, and for the Boyfriend to be settled into his “newish” role of proactive parent, as his daughter is moving in with him in January – she’s 16 going on 35, and already started down The Destructive Path, having recently been kicked out of school for possession of pot. Apparently the ex-wife threw up her hands and said something to the effect of “you try handling her!” I guess there are various ways to look at that situation, and the one I like is the one he voiced to me: “it will be harder for her to pull anything on me; I’ve already done everything she’s trying to get away with.”

We all went out to dinner the other night. That’s something I usually do not enjoy all that much. (rubs my frugal nature the wrong way!) My favorite restaurant is my own kitchen, stocked with good ingredients and with friends/family in there with me, cooking up a storm and then sharing the feast on our back patio! However, this was Boyfriend’s birthday, and we had a great meal and enjoyed each other’s company, and I am grateful for the evening and the memory made.

We’re focusing more on us these days (DH and I). We’re having a quiet Thanksgiving and an equally quiet Christmas. I reminded the girls (and Boyfriend) the other day that “I’m not the kind of mom that gets insulted if you don’t spend a significant quantity of the holiday with me.” If they can/want to come by and hang out, cool. If they want to hang out with other friends/family, equally cool.

My husband and I will have a good time either way! He’s begun the Great Hunt of 2009 – in which he bags as many turkeys as he can (on sale or free with purchases of staples we will use anyway), and stocks our freezer. We will probably score about eight of them before he tires of the game…. And that translates into him having a turkey once or twice a month for quite a while. He’d eat “thanksgiving” three times a day, if he could. Such a simple thing, but it makes him smile.

I’m sewing as much as I can, and that makes ME smile. I’m also working in the backyard to try to make it prettier. The old body isn’t what it used to be, so it’s slow going, with digging, composting, and planting, but it’s rewarding.

So as you can see, it’s just nice and quiet around here. You can understand, I’m sure, why I’m very grateful and wouldn’t have it any other way!

And a P.S.: I hate to tell this story because what I did was JUST PLAIN DUMB. Seriously, I can see the heads shaking and hear the "tsk, tsk, tsk!, from everyone and it's justified!! Just keepin' it real here, my friends. I fell flat on my face a few days ago with the enabling thing. DD2 called and mentioned she was, in fact, staying over at the Boyfriend's because the roommate's husband was again loaded and in fact so loaded he asked DD2 to connect for him. I was so blown away by the fact that he asked her to buy drugs for him (it was in a text message on his phone, no less!), and also by the proximity of an active addict in the home where she is renting a room, that I commenced "spinning" right along with her and found myself nodding my head and said "yes" when she said, "if my p.o. calls, I told her I was staying with you, okay? Love you, bye!"

I sat there after I hung up, all relieved that she was staying with the Boyfriend and likely safer, and then later realized I had agreed to lie to probation.

*bangs head on desk, repeatedly*

See, when I "spin", I don't think very sanely. I had a relatively sleepless night worrying that in fact, the p.o. would call, or worse, send an officer to see if she was here. This could have happened. It did not. And the next morning, I called DD2 and said "that's the last time I do that! it was wrong of me and I won't do it again." She thought I was being silly and over-reactive, but I told her, "I was being dishonest and I will not knowingly do that. And I certainly won't do it in THAT fashion again!" If she wants to cover her butt for probation, it will have to be done by her, with someone else's assistance.

It's a process, I know. We have slip-and-falls. But every now and then, I MAKE A TOTALLY BONE-HEADED MOVE!

And I'll learn from it and move on!

(note to self: No decisions or answers to questions while spinning!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

An old rhyme that came to mind

I was reading Lou's post of 10-31-09 ("This Is What It Is" is the title - sorry, I tried four times to imbed a link and Blogger is not liking me tonight!)

Anyway, it was about the impact of one child's addiction on his mother, and her five foot imaginary circle.... her comfort zone, and I think that mother was maybe alluding to being afraid to trust him, his current sobriety, whatever....

Lou ended with the comment:
"The wariness has penetrated all that I believed in about being a mother. It is here to stay."

I've never known if there was an author for the following little rhyme, and I can't recall what incident caused someone to share this with me, but it has stuck with me since I was very young. I've thought of it more than once, in the years of dealing with DD2's addiction, when we'd work at building up trust, only to have it broken down again....

Friendship is like good china,
beautiful, costly and rare,
when broken, not easily mended,
for the crack is always there.

I've found variations of this all over the internet, but no author. For me, my own version substitutes "trust" for "friendship".

(but still, we have hope!)

Still toeing our line....

We're still holding our own around here. DD2 has stopped asking for rent. She made a pointed comment last week about how she and Boyfriend had to sell cans and bottles to make her rent.... but since we routinely collect DH's soda cans and our plastic bottles around here and trot down to the recycle center and sell them every three months, I didn't think that was a terrible hardship for her. Yes, I'm feeling a little snarky today.

However, rent has been paid. Phone has been covered for another month. She has been eating. She has been bussing to work. And none of it at our expense. I am grateful that she seems to be getting the message and is not calling us for money at this time. The conversations were not always pleasant last week, but we got through it.

One concern is a staph infection she has. Right before she moved out of her sober home, a girl moved in, with a staph infection. (This girl had antibiotic impregnated cotton gauze in several gaping wounds on her legs!)

DD2 mentioned to the owner that that was highly contagious and the story is, the owner insisted "oh its not Staph, its just an infection." Well, this girl was in the same 4-girl bedroom/bathroom with DD2. DD2 has a huge staph infection on her leg now, likely the result of showering with the same soap bottles, or brushing up against damp towels or shower walls or something in the bathroom, and getting the infection in the scrapes on her legs from shaving. She presses hard when shaving and usually gets cut.

When she moved to her current living situation, she had a few bumps on her legs that looked like infected mosquito bites, and I thought they had the potention to be Staph. I mentioned this to her and she freaked and told me about the girl at the house. I gave her some triple antibiotic cream and alcohol and mentioned she could use hot compresses and if any of them opened, to be sure and clean them carefully and slather with the antibiotic cream, but that my foremost suggestion was that she get to a free clinic and get seen. I was pretty sure it could be Staph.

DD2 being the totally compliant type (not!), did none of the above. So she's now been to the emergency room twice, and probably still is not done with this, since she has no money for antibiotics to continue the IV antibiotics they gave her in the ER. They cultured and gave it a name and my worst fears were proved: MRSA (methicillin-resistent staphylococcus aureus). It's nasty stuff. Now she's got the antibiotic impregnated cotton packing and drains going.

I have been begging her strongly suggesting to her that she get on the county health care program (MSI?) as they suggested to her in jail. I've "played that tape" since the day she got out.

She just doesn't get it. She's had every excuse in the book. No bus fare, no money to give a friend to drive her, no time while she was working previous job, no way to do it while unemployed, and now, no time on this new job to do it. MSI would cover her expenses and retroactively (said two sources, but I am not sure about this) cover her previous hospitalizations for this infection. It takes a while to get it, but then it covers some previous treatments. She has to go to some office in the hospital and fill out paperwork. I have even offered to take time off and come down and take her to that particular appointment.

Codependent? Probably. Maybe necessary since she hasn't got the brains/maturity to see the benefit? Possibly.

But she's not been willing. So we're not coughing up $150 for antibiotics.

That is very hard for me. I want to "fix" her infection because I know from working in the field, that this is serious stuff.

Deep sigh and letting go!


- She's sober! She's working! She's looking forward to us possibly taking her and Boyfriend out to dinner next weekend, down in their neck of the woods. We think we should make the effort to visit them, instead of having them come up here all the time.

- My mom and dad are out gallavanting around in their small town, enjoying good health, good friends, and good clean air. They love their little ranching community and they are loved by the folks there. Daddy still pitches bales of hay around, and he'll be 80 next year! I'm so grateful!

- I had a better month, financially! Small improvement in the bottom line - Yay!

- I'm done with the billing process for my company for this past month - and this means I can go upstairs and sew a bit later this afternoon with a clean conscience! I do love me some sewing time!

Unrelated: I had a stroke of brilliance this morning. I am going to refuse to get exhausted and stressed out this Christmas. I plan to decorate for Christmas over the next two weekends. Heck, the stores start early - why can't I? If it were up to me, Christmas would be very quiet, very sparsely decorated, and lots of emphasis on just spending time with my family.... but DH is a real Christmas nut....

He bakes cookies for my clients and delivers them every year, the week before Christmas. He walks into all the physicians' offices that I transcribe for, wearing a Santa hat instead of his FedEx hat and hands out plates of cookies.... they love him for it!

Is he a Sweetheart, or what??!!

He started baking last week and I think that's what prompted me to consider spacing this out a bit and doing things early, and maybe not being too tired to enjoy the actual Christmas celebrations..... for the first time in 30 years.

Yeah, I'm a slow learner!

I'm off to find the Christmas boxes.... told my oldest daughter, "I'm going to play God this afternoon and build a tree!" (then I'm going to go sew!)

I'm nuts....AND a slow learner!

But I'm a grateful nutty slow learner! (Shutting up now!)