Friday, October 30, 2009

I was having lunch with K the other day and talking about how tired I was and how my dear son hadn't slept and I never have any time to myself. (Yes, whining)
And she said,

"You make it sound really fun to have kids. Can't wait."

I backpedaled, hard and fast.

Because you see, having my son has been and continues to be the absolute best part of my life so far. Marriage is great too, but there is something so incredibly interesting about raising a child. His accomplishments make me feel like they are my accomplishments--I get so excited about them. I'm not talking about the people who live vicariously through their children by forcing them to do sports and stuff. I'm just talking about the triumphant feeling when your 18 month old poops and pees in the toilet.

Not only am I excited for him, I'm excited for me.

Because that means I'm getting closer to being done with the diapers.

Sometimes I look at other moms and wonder if I haven't adapted well enough, because some of them seem to make life all about the kids. I'm so not that person. I find that after a few days of no breaks from my kid that things get a little intolerable, and you just get the feeling that you are sucked dry.

I need sleep. I need to shower without a kid waiting in the pack'n'play in the hallway. I need a restaurant meal that does not involve me paying $13 for an entree and spending the meal picking up food off the carpet (and really? Carpet in a restaurant? Not great interior design work there) and taking so long managing my kid that my food gets cold.
A maid and a dog-walker would be nice too.

I am blessed with a wonderful husband who takes care of Holden a lot on evenings when I have homework or for a Saturday afternoon (his ulterior motive is watching football). But that doesn't fill up the empty tank. Even when I'm taking a "break" from my son, I'm feeling guilty that I'm not with my dad. Or my "break" is spent at the hospital with my dad. Or doing homework. Or getting groceries.

I'm stretched about as thin as you can get without falling apart.

I'm starting to miss my old self. The self that wasn't quite this exhausted or this sad. The self who didn't burst into tears in the cereal aisle of Wal-Mart. I'm missing the self who used to talk about things other than housecleaning, medical terminology, and grief. She existed before all this, I know she did. On my drive home today I was imagining her well rested with a new pedicure, new highlights, and wearing a cute little outfit and very high heels sipping a martini with a friend at the Starlite lounge.

I haven't asked my husband, but I'm sure he'd like to see that woman again soon too.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

So it begins

You know how some people tell the same stories over and over almost every time you see them? Or they told you yesterday, forgot, and are telling you again today? But you can't tell them you've already heard the story because then the conversation comes to an abrupt halt.

If you've talked to me recently, I'm one of those people. But I don't care, I'm going to tell the story again.

The other day I was sitting on the computer and the TV remote was sitting next to me on the table. Holden was running around and playing. He walked up to me, reaching for the remote,

"Tee? Tee? Tee?" (he is an insistent fella)

"No Holden, I'm not turning on the TV."

"Tee? Futball! Tee? Futball! Futball!"

Shocked (and embarrassed because do we really let him see so many sports that he's begging to watch them?), I said,

"No Holden, we're not watching football today."

He toddled away, looking for a toy. And then the next night Tony held him as they watched my dear husband's beloved Yankees in game 5 of the ALCS before bed. Tony put him in his crib half-asleep clutching a baseball. Yes, he went to sleep with a baseball.

The sports obsession has officially begun.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tony made fried pork chops for dinner last night. They looked and smelled delicious, but I didn't eat any because ever since I got pregnant with Holden I have had an incredible aversion to pork products. Which is a shame because I have an entire standing freezer full of pork. Oh the things I do in the name of love. Things like spending $100 on pork. A snapshot of my evening around 5:00 p.m. :

"Ham hock soup?" He inquires.

"No, I don't like pork." I reply. Five seconds pass,

"Ham steak? Pork chops?" He asks earnestly.

"Nope, still don't like pork." I smile.

"How about bacon? Sausage? Pork roast?"

"No honey, I'll just find something on my own. Make whatever you want."

This is the conversation we have had every day for the past week and a half. You have to hand it to him, he is persistent. And the man likes his pork.

"Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn't possibly all have good taste and a sense of humor."
I decided today as I was looking at my blog that the pity party should be put on hold for just a few days. But don't worry, I'm sure it will be back in full force sometime soon. I know how much you enjoy my pensive, depressing posts.
I think everyone has a certain way they see themselves at the very core. Not necessarily a realistic part of themselves but an image that is really part of their soul, part of who they are and how they see themselves. For example: My husband is a major league pitcher in his soul (among other dreams).
I happen to be a book editor, a rancher, a missionary, a wonderful pastry chef, and a mother at the core. It's interesting how marriage takes a mirror and shows you these things, in some ways shows you how to mold yourself so a part of you can be the things you want to be--but for a myriad of other reasons--time, talent, money--you aren't. Could I be those things? Yeah, probably.
The important thing is that for this moment, I have chosen this life. In the future could I be called to mission work, work in editing, or have a ranch in Western Nebraska (I doubt the ranch thing unless I meet Ted Turner and somehow get him to leave me land in his will, since I think he owns a significant portion of the panhandle)? Yes, I could. And perhaps I will.
The lesson I have to keep on learning day in and day out is one of contentment. When one dream/wish/goal comes true, you can move on to the next one. But more than ever with an 18 month old child, the lesson has become:
Don't miss the moment in the process of following your dreams.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Above pic is totally unrelated to blog topic. But doesn't Holden look like me in this pic?

This is just one moment; it’s not the rest of your life.

I’ve been having a little bit of trouble lately. I start writing a word or two and then sit as the cursor flashes, waiting for something more to come out. I have to admit I have also been screening calls, it’s gotten so bad that the only calls I answer now are from my dear husband, my stepmom, or my brother. It’s nothing personal; I just have nothing to say. I don’t want to hear stories about how your cat did something funny today or about you. The thing about grief is that it is pretty consuming and becomes all about me. Which is a shame because everyone involved wants to help the other people but doesn’t generally have the emotional resources left after doing their own grieving to help the others.

Yesterday was a good day with dad, yesterday he spoke to me. I was crying, saying,

“You always had all the answers, you’re my dad.”

He looked up at me and said clearly,

“I don’t have all the answers.”

I’ve known it for years in my head, since I was much younger and there were questions my parents couldn’t answer anymore. But in my heart he is still the person I go to for all the answers. How to change the oil, how to tape drywall, how to get my kid to sleep through the night, how to lay bathroom tile—the person I call to help with my taxes and to babysit. He has always been that person.

It annoyed my husband when we first got married, but I became more creative about asking Dad’s advice. I didn’t do it in front of my dear husband. There were/are just things we haven’t done and don’t know at our (young?) age.

I have always been a main beneficiary of Dad's wisdom, and his memory is akin to a steel trap. You want to know how to fly-fish? He can tell you. Would you like to learn how to be a great wrestler? He can teach you. You want to know how to start a fire like a boy scout? He will show you. Do you want to know the names of every battle of the war of 1812? He can tell you that too.

I was listening to a sermon on the radio the other day about people and prayer. The host was talking about how many people think God is their errand boy. If I ask Him to do this, then He will do it. Need to lose weight? God will help with that. Want to get rich? God will help with that too. Want someone to keep on living? Oh, God will answer that prayer.

I get a little confused when people say they will pray for my dad. I’m not really sure what that prayer sounds like. If someone is terminally ill, are they praying that he gets better? That he is comfortable? Every time someone tells me they’re praying for him, I want to say: You should be praying for the family. He is going to be in a good place when this is all over and we are going to be in pain.

But maybe that’s just the grief talking.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I am supposed to be sleeping. If you asked my husband he would say that I came downstairs to start laundry--he doesn't know I am writing in my blog. He doesn't like me to get on the internet late at night because much like most of you, the internet becomes a labyrinth I get lost in and tend to go in at 10:45 p.m. meaning to look at a few quick things and 1:00 a.m. rolls around and I feel like I have amnesia as to what I've been doing for the last 2 hours. Mostly looking at facebook I suppose. Then I'm tired the next day and generally kind of a whiner. It adversely affects my hubby.

We had a short date night tonight and ended up at the Macaroni Grill...we usually don't go to chain restaurants on dates but I don't get out much so as long as I'm going out to eat I don't care. We had the best waiter ever, and his name was Simon. He was so good it prompted us to ask for the manager and compliment the service. He was efficient, friendly, I always had a full glass and he never, never interrupted our conversation but somehow managed to ask if we liked everything. It was sort of like having a house elf a la Harry Potter (only not annoying). Like he wasn't even there but managed to get everything we needed. In addition, the food was piping hot and we watched the bread come out of the oven and to our table within 30 seconds. It was like the nirvana of restaurant service. It wasn't even painful to pay the bill because it was so good. And I know you're wondering...I had the seasoned halibut topped with tomato basil relish and served with pine nut pesto Parmesan risotto.
Jealous? You should be.

My dad is in hospice care at the hospital. There are just too many factors for his body to overcome at this point. I am overcome with grief at the thought of losing him, but I've known the day has been coming and was hoping it wasn't coming so soon. But it is. So forgive me if blog entries are sporadic and/or disjointed. We could use lots of prayers if you are so inclined.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Fish! Fish! Fish!"

The eerie silence on my blog has been due to my dad being in critical condition at the hospital. Saturday I really thought he was going to die. But he didn't. It's a long story and I don't really want to get into it on the internet, but he has a staph infection in his brain and blood. He is doing much better than he was, and I no longer believe that death is knocking (it is more lurking than actively knocking).
So my brother is in town because when I talked to him on Saturday night pretty much all I said was,
"I think you better come now or as soon as possible."
They (brother and future SIL) hopped on a plane and landed in Omaha yesterday--and of course after they spend hundreds on tickets and flew 2000 miles dad looks much better. Maybe even like he could make it out of the hospital.
I obviously didn't have my crystal ball with me on Saturday night--all I had was a neurosurgeon telling me dad was gravely ill so I thought maybe it would be a good idea to get the family there. At this point I think the word gravely might be pushing it, since today he was able to say his own name, my name, my brother's name and Holden's name. None of which he has said in months. Months. We have seen vast improvement but I do keep reminding myself that a blood/brain infection is never a good thing.
The picture above is my sweet little (slightly) spoiled son looking at his fake fish tank (it moves and sort of looks like a real fish tank). My brother and (future) sister-in-law were sitting at the window of the hospital gift shop and I mentioned how much Holden loves the fish, so they insisted on getting it for him. And since I got home and set it up he won't stop looking at it. I originally had it set up in his room and he kept grabbing my hand and asking for the fish so I had to set it on the kitchen table next to the computer so he is able to look at it to his heart's content.
I was at the hospital earlier this afternoon to see my dad and I've spent the remainder of the afternoon trying to forget the body bag I saw being wheeled onto the staff elevator as I walked out of the critical care unit. All I could think was oh, so that must have been why that big family was here all day yesterday and today there was an empty waiting room.
I know my blog is depressing now, just bear with me here for a little while and I promise it will get better. It really can't get a whole lot worse (knock wood).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Here is a pic of my favorite (only) Brother and future Sister-In-Law on the beach in Cabo...I didn't even mention I'm going to Reno on Oct. 22nd for their wedding! I'm leaving the boys at home and taking a quick weekend trip...
But don't worry, I won't spend the weekend at the tables, I'm not much of a gambler. I am contemplating learning how to play craps though.
Whenever I think of playing craps I think of the movie Indecent Proposal. I've never really liked Woody Harrelson but I can't put my finger on why I don't like him. Dear Husband and I were talking about it the other day and I believe his exact words were,
"Woody Harrelson is an amazing actor."
I laughed and said,
"I think the word you're looking for is adequate or mediocre, not amazing." (Sorry Woody.)
DH conceded, admitting I was probably correct in my assessment, and that the movie Kingpin doesn't necessarily qualify Woody for the title of amazing actor. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor. But that's a whole different post.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I never gave you a picture of my Halloween rug: so here it is.

This is what my child looks like when his mother lets him eat two chocolate chip cookies (and milk of course) at 9:30 in the morning. In hindsight, maybe chocolate chip cookies aren't such a good idea before church.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I had a meeting with my counselor last week. So all of you who kept gently (and by the way could you be more obvious?) suggesting that I go see someone, I am—although I am loath to admit it. There is something delightful to a slight narcissist (and of course I am or I wouldn’t have a blog) about having a captive audience…even if I have to pay her. But then again, I haven’t received her bill yet.

She handed me a list of stressful events and had me circle the ones that had happened to me since January 2009. The directions said to circle all that had happened in the last two years, but I think she wanted to narrow the scope of this particular exercise so limited it to the last 9 months.

Instead of scoring it like the directions said, she handed it back to me and asked me to look over the list and tell her how I felt about what I saw. I studied it for a few minutes and then said,

“Well, my first thought is that life could be worse.”

She laughed.

I continued, “I know that’s not the answer you were looking for, but my first instinct is to say that it could be much, much worse based upon this list of bad things. I know you were looking for me to say that my life has been really stressful though.”

She nodded. Then asked, “How could it be worse?”

“Well, at least my spouse didn’t die and/or I didn’t get divorced."
I don't remember how she redirected the conversation--which she has to do often because I tend to go off on long tangents (can you tell?)
If we were scripted charaters in a TV show like Gossip Girl or Dawson's Creek where the characters have unusually extensive vocabularies and are always witty she would have responded,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yesterday when Tony came home he found me lying on the couch watching Rosemary’s Baby (which happens to be directed by Roman Polanski--coincidence that they are running it this week? I think not) on HBO and Holden running around the house playing with toys. But don’t worry, if you’ve ever seen Rosemary’s Baby it’s mostly just a girl sitting around her apartment having weird feelings. And the one part in the beginning with the dream/drugged scene he wasn’t anywhere near the TV so I know he didn’t see it.

I didn’t get to the end before I had to leave for an appointment so I don’t know how it ends. Don’t tell me though because I’m thinking that sometime before Halloween I’m going to be able to finish watching it.

There is one HBO station that is kind of fun right now because it’s all scary movies all the time…

I’m guessing it's just for the month of October but maybe it’s always like that.

To celebrate the beginning of my favorite month of the year I've compiled a list of my favorite scary movies/thrillers:

1.) The Exorcist (I used to think the name Reagan was cute for a little girl, now not so much)
It happens to be the scariest movie of all time.

2.) Poltergeist (I just enjoyed the vibe of it and that it was an older one—and could my house have been built on an ancient Native American burial ground?)

3.) The Shining (all work and no play makes Kara a dull girl)

4.) It -- (The nursery in my church has a clown theme with a figurine of a clown sitting on a shelf. I have a hard time sitting in there alone with the clown. It creeps me out. And right after I watch IT I have a hard time looking at the bathroom drains too.
The movie scared the crap out of me when I was a kid except I had never seen the end of it until last year because I guess I’m like Phoebe Buffay and don’t watch the end of scary movies. I am determined to finish Rosemary’s Baby sometime this month though. It’s a classic.

5.) Mothman Prophecies (I still imagine sometimes that I’ve seen the mothman and that some horribly tragic event will befall me—I guess things like suicide and cancer and death of loved ones don’t count for some reason in my mind).

Just talking about my favorite scary movies makes me want to put up the kitschy (or tacky as my husband refers to it) Halloween shower curtain and bath rug I bought from the Terry’s Village catalog one year. My sister-in-law happens to be head of one of the design teams for that company and when he told her that I bought that particular set she looked at him incredulously, laughed and said,

No, she didn’t. Only little old ladies buy those!”

I sheepishly admitted that I had, in fact, just purchased the curtain and rug but held off on buying the whole Halloween bathroom set with soap dish, towels, Kleenex covers and the like.

I do still allow myself this one tacky pleasure…decorating my bathroom using a black shower curtain with a large pattern of bright orange jack-o-lanterns all over it and (of course) the matching rug…

For the entire month of October every year for the last 4 years.

It’s really the small things in life, you know?